Bible Prophecy, War and the Middle East – Program 4
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Hal Lindsey, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dave Hunt, and Dr. David Breese; ©2003|
|Will nations in the Middle East ever be willing to live in peace with Israel?|
The Arab World After Saddam Hussein
Today, on The John Ankerberg Show: Bible prophecy, war, and the Middle East. In the midst of terrorist threats, divisions in the United Nations and events in Iraq, where does the Bible say history is headed? Today, in addition to events in Iraq, North Korean leaders sent shockwaves across the world threatening that any economic sanctions imposed against their nation would be regarded as a declaration of war and the start World War III. Are we approaching the last great war the Bible calls the Battle of Armageddon? What is the hope of Christians around the world? How close are we to the return of Jesus Christ?
Answering these questions, John’s guests are some of the most respected and knowledgeable professors and teachers of biblical prophecy around the world. They are: international journalist Jimmy DeYoung, who for the last 12 years has lived and reported from Jerusalem, Israel; also, Hal Lindsey, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dave Hunt, and the late Dr. David Breese. We invite you to join us.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. With all eyes in the world turned towards Iraq and events taking place in the Middle East, people want to know, “What does the Bible say about where history is headed?” Interestingly, the Bible teaches that history is headed toward events that will center on Israel and the nations surrounding her. Do we see that happening today? The answer is, “Yes.” Remember, President Bush said that what America is doing in Iraq will hopefully bring peace to Israel and her neighbors in the Middle East. But there is more, and I’d like to start with the question, will those in the Arab world be happy or sad when Saddam Hussein is deposed? Will they still hold on to some of his ideas, or will they completely turn against him once he is gone? I’d like you to listen to international correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived and reported from Jerusalem, Israel, for the last 12 years. Listen:
- DeYoung: Publicly they’re saying, we’ve got to stand with Saddam Hussein because the Arab in the street, the common Arab in all of these countries, is saying, “We like Saddam Hussein. He stood up in the face of the superpower of the world, America, and said, ‘I’m going to back you down! Don’t you dare touch my people!’” They like that. And that’s what the Arab world likes. They like strength. They don’t like weakness. And so the public pronouncements by these Arab leaders is, “We’ve got to stand with Saddam Hussein.” Privately, they’d like to see him taken out. They’re sick and tired of what he’s doing, causing trouble. They can’t exist in any type of a relationship with anybody in the Middle East.
- I was over in Atlanta, Georgia, speaking in a church and the sign outside the church said, “Jimmy DeYoung, journalist from Jerusalem, speaking.” And so people came to hear me that just saw the sign. One young lady, who was a Muslim, came to hear me. And after the service she came up and talked to me for a few moments. She said, “I’m Palestinian. I was born in Beirut, Lebanon,” she said, “but I grew up in Baghdad.”
- I said, “You did?”
- She said, “Yes. I want you to know everything you said about Saddam Hussein, I agree a hundred percent with.” Now she was Muslim. Not a Christian. She was Muslim.
- She said, “We hate the man! The people hate him. They want him to be rid of in that part of the world.”
- So, I think that the unspoken belief of these leaders and the peoples is, they’d like to see him removed, but they’re afraid to do anything now. I mean, he not only is a little man who carries a big stick, he’s a big man with a big stick and he is a treacherous dictator who runs his people and has them shaped up to do what he wants them to do.
- Ankerberg: Five years ago I had you on the program and you made a statement that was really prophetic in the sense of September 11. You said that America had just started to taste of terrorism and we were going to experience more. Well, we’ve experience a whole lot after September 11. Have you in Israel now found, I don’t know what you would call it, but the suicide bombing, you can’t use nuclear weapons against suicide bombers. Is this something that is something that could overthrow Israel in the sense, if you had enough people that just decided to die, be suicide bombers, how is Israel figuring out the future, if this continues?
- DeYoung: It’s a phenomenon that they really don’t know how to deal with. During the recent defense shield operation, the military operation of the Israeli Defense Force when they went into these areas like Jenin, for example, which was the headquarters for the suicide bombers. That’s where they trained them; that’s where they put together their belts that they would put on, prepared the explosives and everything else for these suicide bombers. They slowed it down a bit. But even in that, they still had, after that, almost two weeks of no suicide bombing when there was one a day almost there for a period of time, another one struck at a social club just outside of Tel Aviv.
- It’s a phenomenon that I think can spread around the world. And in fact, if you listen to the news, you have heard in India there was a suicide bomber the other day; over in Spain there was a suicide bomber. In different locations I believe they’re ready to strike here in America with suicide bombers. Again, I’m not a prophet nor the son of a prophet. Five years ago I was simply watching the trend and understanding the mindset of these people. I’m still saying that exact same thing.
- And I’m not a prophet. Don’t go out and say Jimmy DeYoung said it’s going to happen for sure. But I do believe that what we have seen happening is going to continue on. It’s going to be very difficult to shut it down. You can use all the military operations you want to. You can shut down all of the headquarters for training these suicide bombers, preparing them with their weapons, their bombs itself, but they’ll just move to another location and go back at it again. I think it’s going to be a phenomenon that we’re going to have to deal with until Jesus Christ comes back.
- Ankerberg: Next, as a result of what happens in Iraq, will we experience more terrorist attacks here in our own country? A few days ago, followers of captured Khalid Shaikh Mohammed were interviewed from a mosque in Karachi, Pakistan, by a reporter from USA Today. They told him that if President Bush attacks Iraq, for every Muslim that is killed, they will kill ten Americans. They also threatened that al-Qaeda sleeper cells in the United States will strike prominent landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, the Sears Tower, Disneyland, and hotels and apartment buildings. They said their work would be more deadly than 9/11 and that America would burn.
- Have we entered a new era of continual threats of terrorism at home and abroad? After America deals with Iraq, will we also have to deal with Iran’s nuclear facilities and its support of Hezbollah? What will happen when we begin to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Jimmy DeYoung takes us around the Middle East and identifies those who are openly calling for the destruction of Israel as well as anyone who will come to her aid. Listen:
- DeYoung: Well, the PLO is kind of the headquarters of the conglomerate of Palestinian organizations who want to liberate Jerusalem, liberate Israel from the Jewish people. That’s what PLO stands for: Palestinian Liberation Organization. You have within the framework of that, for example, in Israel itself, in the land itself, you have Hamas and you have Islamic Jihad. These are both Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups living in the homeland of the Jewish people, in the belly of the Jewish people so to say. You have Hezbollah located in southern Lebanon at the northern border of Israel continually firing Katyusha rockets over into northern Israel, continually a menace there. They are of the Shiite Muslim persuasion, which is what the Iranians are. Thus, the Iranians have, number one, brought them into existence; number two, supported them, given them all the monies they need to operate, all the munitions that they need, all the military armament they need to go after the Jewish people. They have the same philosophy.
- All of these monies and munitions and military armament have come through Damascus, Syria, so there’s a relationship as well, not only with Iran but with Syria. Bashar Al-Assad, the young president who took the place of his father when Hafiz Al-Assad died a couple of years back. The first move he made when he came to power, he’s got to try to make certain he has control of the Syrian military might and all that is in the body politic of Syria itself, so he stood with the Hezbollah leaders and said, “These are my people.” Forty thousand Syrian soldiers are located in Lebanon and they work in alignment with Hezbollah.
- Al-Qaeda who has, of course, played a role in the attack on the United States, they have put some of their peoples now into southern Lebanon and joined forces with Hezbollah. In fact, we even have intelligence reports that tell us that there are some al-Qaeda agents inside the Palestinian Authority located in Israel itself working with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
- You have the Elite Commando Units of the Syrians at the northern border. So, these other national military operations joining forces with these Palestinian terrorist organizations. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, located in Syria. In fact, there are ten Palestinian terrorist organizations headquartered in Damascus, Syria itself. Damascus is the headquarters, the capital for the state of Syria. They’re on the Security Council of the United Nations, but they are as well listed by our State Department as a state that sponsors terrorism. And so they’re one of those five states listed at the State Department that we’re not supposed to even be involved with and negotiating with; however, we continue to do that with the Syria leadership.
- Ankerberg: Where does the Bible say history is headed? The biblical answer is that world events will lead to the return of Jesus Christ. Listen as Dr. David Breese explains:
- Breese: We must see history as a continuum over which God provides and God presides. He sees the end from the beginning, and so prophecy is in a sense history written in advance. And when we think about it, the final test of ultimate truth is that ultimate truth can tell us what the future will bring to pass. Temporary science does experiments but, of course, it has to prove them by trial and error. Not so the Word of God. So God tells us about the future, and thank God we have, therefore, Peter’s declaration that “we have a more sure word of prophecy unto which you do well to take heed as to a light that shines in a dark place until the day dawn and the day star arise in your hearts.”
- It might be worth mentioning that Peter really says three things to us. He says that as we move toward the end of the age, the world will get darker; therefore, the promise of social Darwinism is not true. He tells us that we have a light in the midst of that darkness which is the Word of God and particularly, the prophetic Word. But then He says, “The day will dawn and the day star arise in your hearts,” alluding to the return of Jesus Christ which you have mentioned. Now, the great and marvelous gravamen of prophecy is the promise of the return of Christ. That promise implies that the world is not going to go on forever; whatever may be your human condition, it is temporary.
- But God will one day intervene in history. John saw that very thing. In Revelation 19 he said, “I saw heaven open and there rode forth One upon a white horse and an army from heaven came with Him and that rider on the white horse and the army that is with Him become the masters of the world” and from there on out the rulers of the universe.
- So the, what shall we say, “generic” promise of the prophetic Word is that the glorious return of Jesus Christ will right every wrong, answer every question, prove what we should believe now—but we need to believe it more thoroughly—and that is that God presides above history and He will not finally allow His will to be thwarted. He’s coming back, and I can announce to this crowd tonight, He might be coming very soon. We’ll talk, I’m sure, ere this program is done, about the rapture and many other things, but every one of us should be looking up for a redemption that draws nigh, and that’s because the Bible says so.
- Ankerberg: When people examine biblical prophecy, they ask, “Why is the United States not mentioned in end-time events?” Everyone acknowledges that the United States is the only true superpower in the world today. Further, everyone knows that the United States is the sole friend and main supporter of Israel among the nations. So what has happened to the United States that the Bible can predict that in the last days all the nations of the world will come against Israel? Have we been destroyed? Is there something that turns us against Israel? Possibly the answer to what happened to the United States may be the rapture. The rapture is taught in 1 Thessalonians 4 and indicates there is coming a future day in which Jesus Christ will suddenly snatch or catch away all Christians living on planet Earth. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, they’ll all vanish. If the rapture occurred today, what would America be like tomorrow? I raised this question with Dave Hunt, Dr. David Breese, Hal Lindsey and Peter Lalonde. Listen:
- Hunt: But, the rapture, I think, is the key event that fits the pieces of the puzzle together. And if you just think about it for a moment, if suddenly—I don’t know how many; there are probably 80 million people vanish from China; I don’t know how many millions from the United States; Maybe 40 or 50 million from the Soviet Union; maybe 100 million from Africa—think of what that would do to this world, if suddenly you were left behind and you have seen people vanish in mid-sentence. They’re gone! It could make you insane. I mean, you have seen happen what possibly couldn’t happen. It’s the most incredible thing that ever happened in the history of the world. Forget the chaos and everything else. The terror, the terror that would strike the hearts of every person who was left behind. Where did they go? Who took them? Is some intergalactic power snatching slaves? Who will be next? Might I be next? Real absolute terror.
- And in the midst of this a man arises and he has the answer. He explains, “Hey, it’s not the good guys who left, it’s the bad guys that left.” As the New Agers say, “We’re about to take a quantum leap in consciousness.” So all those who haven’t practiced their yoga and they’re not ready to make this quantum leap to a higher state of consciousness, they’re going to be instantly removed to a non-physical dimension where their karma will have to catch up with them before they’re allowed back on a physical plain.
- Now, that’s only one explanation. I’ve talked to UFO cult members and Assad, the president of Syria, he’s really into UFO’s. And I’ve talked to UFO cult members who have said that the guys that are running the UFO’s, they say when they impose their New World Order, as Assad believes they will, everybody who’s not willing to go along with it will be instantly beamed aboard UFO’s, taken off to a slave planet where their minds will be reprogrammed before they’re allowed back on planet earth. So, they are literally expecting something to happen.
- And talk about uniting the world. If we were the survivors of a plane crash, for example, these people will have come through the greatest disaster beyond comprehension and they will have a sense of unity, everybody on this earth, and a new destiny arises for planet earth, a new age dawns with a new leader who has all the power of Satan who claims to be God, who brings peace to this world. It’s going to be a time of great delusion.
- Peter Lalonde: I think the phrase itself is telling in the first instance. It is the mark of the beast. And we have talked about the beast a great deal over this program, this great Antichrist who arises onto the scene; this great charismatic leader. We’ve got to recognize the world in which the Antichrist arises. First of all, you’ve had the rapture take place. Millions of people have vanished off the face of the earth and while we’ve been debating that subject, maybe we’ve sometimes forgotten what that event really is like.
- What is that going to do to the world left behind? Millions of people suddenly vanish. Suddenly, you have a real life episode of the Twilight Zone going on here. People have watched family members disappear. Children have vanished off the face of the earth. You’re sitting with your wife—she’s gone. It is going to drive the world insane. CNN will go to immediate worldwide coverage. You know that there are going to be people just glued to their TV set trying to figure out what’s taken place in this world. There will be chaos and confusion.
- We’ve talked about at the same time the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is gone from this earth. Think of evil, how that is growing in the world right now, and what will it be like when the restraining influence is removed—how quickly that’s going to happen. At the same time the Scripture says, “False christs and false prophets are going to arise,” so powerful, so deceptive, that if it were possible, they would deceive even the greatest believers who had ever lived on this earth,” whether it was the apostle Paul, Moses, or Noah. The deceptions that are going to come forth. The world is going to be in a time of chaos.
- God Himself sends a strong delusion on the world. And as the people are glued to their television sets in this moment of panic, one comes in front of them through television. He is this Antichrist. And he speaks great words. You know, the Bible tells us the first words that come out of his mouth in Revelation 13. It says, “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God.” Immediately you have someone standing up saying, “Where is this God you’ve heard about? Where is all this division? It’s time for us to recognize the power that’s within us. It’s time for us to forget about a new heavens and a new earth and build a new age on this earth. Forget about that ‘pie in the sky in the sweet by-and-by.’ Let’s build our own kingdom right here. Let’s forget all this God stuff. Everybody who’s on my side, let’s take this mark of unity to show.”
- It’s not about buying and selling. The Scripture says without the mark nobody will be able to buy or sell anything on the face of the earth (Rev. 13). But it’s not primarily about buying and selling, this is about allegiance. This is about a decision that people will make of which side they stand on. As a matter of fact the Scripture says, “Anyone who receives this mark will drink of the wine of the wrath of God poured out without measure for eternity.” This isn’t about choosing the wrong credit card. This isn’t about a wrong economic decision. This is the mark of the beast where people will make a decision and say, “I don’t believe God’s version of this thing, I believe this guy’s version!”
- They won’t be held down and forced to take any mark at gunpoint; this will be a voluntary thing: “Do you want to be a part of this system? Do you believe what this man says? Do you align yourself with this belief?” Which is exactly the lie out of Genesis 3: “You shall be as gods.” “You have the power within you. You don’t need God out there.” “Surely, God hath not said.” “We’ll build our own kingdom here right now.” It’s the heart of the pride of mankind and the mark of the beast is simply the mark that people take to say, “Hey, I believe this thing,” and at the same time they’re saying, “I don’t believe God.”
- Ankerberg: Let me ask you a question. Do you think that Jesus Christ could come back today? The biblical answer is, “Yes.” The rapture is an imminent event. That means it could happen at any moment. And after Christ catches up to Himself all believers, then the terrible years of the tribulation time period will begin. Those years will culminate with Christ’s return to earth when He will destroy His enemies and set up His earthly rule. Dr. David Breese explains:
- Breese: You know, people today say, “Yes, I believe Christ is coming but not now, not in this generation.” My question is, “Why not?” What is the purpose of the Church in the world? It is to bring many sons into glory for the purpose of ruling the universe. Now, the Lord has you, John, and the Lord has Hal and the Lord has Dave and He’s got me working on it strongly and all of these people here. I mean, why recycle things for another 500 years? Why not? Why couldn’t it be this generation. I say “amen” to what Hal has said. Christ tied it to a generation, Luke 21:24: “Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” Later, verse 32, “This generation,” which means the “born ones.” So I think the suggestion is that those who are alive and see Jerusalem in Jewish hands again will see the return of the Lord.
- And may I say something that comes out of the Mid-East War in exactly that context. Isaiah 13:5 says, “An array of great nations will gather against Babylon. Their arrows will not miss” and they will be there for the destruction of Babylon. And what does the next verse say? “Wail for the day of the Lord is at hand.” He ties it to an assembly of great nations coming against Babylon. Do we still have our eschatology straight? There is the Church Age, the rapture, the Day of the Lord. If “the Day of the Lord is at hand,” in Isaiah’s words, from our point of view as Christians that means the rapture is at hand, which begins the Day of the Lord. So we have events going on in our time, such a combination of them, so staggering, so inexorable in their indication of what the Bible says will be the consummation of history.
- So my answer is, “This is the generation that should look up and allow for the possibility that we will be caught up into the arms of Jesus Christ. It may be today. It may be tonight. Why not?
- Ankerberg: There is nothing more sobering than the moment a person realizes he or she is a sinner who has offended a holy God. But coupled with that, the realization that God loves you and sent His Son to make a way for you to be forgiven. Jesus came to this earth, lived a perfect life, taught that He was God, died on a cross and rose from the grave. When He was dying on the cross, the Bible says God placed our sins on Him. Jesus Christ, died a sacrificial death on our behalf, taking upon Himself the infinite punishment we deserve. After His resurrection, He sent His disciples to proclaim the good news that anyone who would place their total faith in Him, believe He had died for their sins, the very moment they believe He will save them and forgive them.
- Do you believe today that Christ died for your sins? Would you be willing to place your faith in Him right now? Then tell Him so. Say, “Dear Jesus, I admit that I’m a sinner. I’ve broken your laws. I confess there is nothing that I can do to save myself. But I believe that you died for me and are willing to grant me forgiveness and salvation freely. I trust you now to be my Savior. Amen.” If you would like to know more about what the Bible says about believing in Christ, go to our website at www.johnankerberg.org and click on “How Do I Become a Christian?”