Crisis in the Middle East/Program 3

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Renald Showers; ©2006
Are we on the brink of another world war? What factors could bring it about?




My guests today are journalist Dr. Jimmy D. Young, who has lived in Jerusalem since 1991 and has personally interviewed many of the international leaders in the Middle East including every Prime Minister of Israel since 1991, as well as the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, the late King Hussein of Jordan, his son King Abdullah II, and many others. And second, author and professor of biblical prophecy, Dr. Renald Showers.

Ankerberg: Welcome to our program. We are talking about the crisis that is taking place in the Middle East and I have two great people with us: news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Israel since 1991, covered all the major players that are there. He’s interviewed them, he has known them personally; and Professor Dr. Renald Showers.
And, Jimmy, right now it is amazing, Newt Gingrich said that he believes that we have already entered into the first stages of World War III. Other people are agreeing with him. And, you know, we haven’t heard this kind of talk before. But the world is a mess and there are so many crises facing us, from economic chaos, to the threats from North Korea, you’ve got Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Paint a picture of why political leaders are saying we might have already entered into the first stages of World War III. How quickly could it escalate from where we are at right now?
DeYoung: You know, John, when I first heard the statement by Newt Gingrich I was taken back. I said, “Wait a minute, what is he talking about?” And then I realized, this man is an intellectual giant, to tell you the truth, with a background in history. He has looked at the previous World Wars and he’s seen some scenarios being played out that did take place in World War I and World War II.
And one of the things that I have come to agree with Newt Gingrich on is the Islamic world and what is happening. Islam is a number of people on this earth, somewhere in the area of 1.4 billion people. That’s almost a fourth of the entire earth’s population. Somebody said, “Wait a minute. There’s only 10% of that number that is really the Islamic fundamental radical.” I said, “Okay, well, that’s 140 million people.” That’s about half the population of the United States of America. Those peoples out there, scattered across the earth in different locations on different continents, that are doing what they can to take over a state where they may be living or take over an entire continent.
Look at the continent of Africa — almost every country in Africa in war. And the spread of Islam across Africa is unbelievable; moving faster than I believe any place else on earth today. Well, with that you look at Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, You look at Libya, you look at Egypt. Those are all African nations, and Islam playing a key role in what’s going on in those nations; even though supposedly President Mubarak calls Egypt a democracy, albeit he’s the only one that runs for President every election — if you have no other candidate but you let everybody vote for you I don’t know if that is a democracy, or a true democracy. But he has a terrible time with the Islamic brotherhood who would be the undergirding or the foundation for organizations like Hamas and the other Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups across the world.
You look into Europe with the spread of Islam there, I believe Rennie told us on a previous program how quickly Islam was spreading and Colonel Kadaffi of Libya made the statement that indeed without firing a shot we are going to take over Europe. That is the desire of the Islamic world.
When you look at Turkey for example, European Union discussing whether they should allow Turkey to become a member state. But then you look at President Erdigan, who is a radical Islamist, he has been in the past, his philosophy is resurfacing again as he leads his country. As you watch what is going on in that country you see that they are very much concerned about the Kurds in the north and what part they are going to play in the End Times. By the way, they do play an interesting part; the Kurds in northern Iraq also in the area of western and northern Turkey and in eastern Iran. These are peoples without a nation; they want to get in the action as well. They are mentioned, in fact, even in Bible prophecy as the Medes of the Medes and the Persians of history past.
You look at China; China controls every sea lane from the Middle East, the oil producing countries all the way back to China itself. They have military manpower all along those sea lanes; they are developing their military armament faster than any other nation in the world. In addition to that they are selling that off to some of these Islamic fundamentalist states who sponsor terrorism. The threat of them even selling some of their munitions to the terrorist organizations is there.
You talk about how that coalition is all coming together. It’s only progressing quicker than people can even report as you look at the situation. And I do believe the stage is set for World War III. And I think that Islam is a major force in all that that’s coming together.
Ankerberg: Yes, people in Europe right now are watching this program. So in England, as well as in Spain, France, Germany, across the Mediterranean Basin and so on, for the first time we have been getting calls from people saying, “What does the Bible say?” And, obviously, they have been experiencing bombings in their countries.
DeYoung: Talk about London, you talk about Madrid, you talk about even in France, in Paris itself, all the riots that took place there. They had better start paying attention.
Ankerberg: You also said that the EU is really taking a second thought about whether they are going to admit Turkey. Talk about that.
DeYoung: That would open up, basically, the European Union to membership from out of these Islamic countries. They have not admitted a member yet. And many of the members are taking a long look at that particular situation. They do not want to see Turkey come in and allow the doors to open for the Islamic world to come in and take over the European Union. So they are much concerned.
Ankerberg: Professor Showers, when the average lay person looks at the world, they agree with a lot of the newscasters that the world is a mess. And they don’t know what the answer is. And where they start to worry is their own security. Now, people in Europe are worried about that; people in the Middle East are worried about their security, what’s going to happen in the future. But people even here in America were wondering, you know, how high oil prices are going to go in relationship to these crises regarding oil and so on. And also we have got Hezbollah cells, according to what the experts are saying, right here in America that are tied back to Iran. So, I can see why Newt Gingrich is saying some of these things. But apart from the political commentary and the way the news people look at it, where does the Bible say and why does the Bible say these things are happening? And where is it going?
Showers: Well, John, ultimately there has been a continuing spiritual war going on within the universe and the world between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan. You can trace it throughout history.
And, interestingly, when God created Planet Earth He gave man dominion over this entire earthly providence of God’s universal kingdom. That tells us the original form of government God established here is what is called a theocracy, in which God’s rule is administered by representative. He appointed Adam to be His representative and to administer His rule over the earth. Satan, God’s enemy, that evil fallen angel, enters the picture, gets man’s representative to defect from God. As a result the theocracy was lost and Satan was able to usurp the rule of the world system. And the Scriptures indicate that he has dominating it ever since.
Now, Satan’s goal in all of this is to overthrow God and replace God with himself as the ruler of the universe. God’s purpose for history, as revealed in Scriptures, is to glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the sovereign God of the Bible, and that none of His creatures can ever unseat Him. The Scriptures reveal that in order for God to accomplish that purpose there are certain things that God must do before the history of this present Planet Earth comes to an end.
Number one, He must crush His enemy Satan, get rid of him and his kingdom rule from the face of the earth. And the Scriptures reveal that God is going to do that through a combination of judgments He will pour out upon the earth during this seven year tribulation period, plus the second coming of His Son, Jesus Christ, back to the earth. Christ will rid the earth of Satan and his forces. The Lord Jesus will restore God’s theocracy and then as God’s last Adam, His representative, will administer God’s rule again over this province for the last 1000 years of its history. So God has to crush Satan and then restore His theocracy to the earth.
God has ordained Israel to play a key role in all of this. And in fact, when He established the Abrahamic covenant with Abraham, He said “I am going to make a great nation of you.” Not necessarily great in size but great in significance, because of the major role that Israel is going to play in God’s program for God to accomplish His purpose for history. He gave the Scriptures through Israel to the world. He sent the Messiah Savior, the Lord Jesus, through Israel to provide salvation for mankind.
And he also has revealed that He will not crush Satan until the nation of Israel repents the rebellion against God, and accept Jesus as Messiah and Savior. Not the Gentiles have to do that, not the Samaritans, it’s Israel. Why Israel? Because God has foretold that during the future reign of Messiah upon the face of the earth, Israel is to be the spiritual leader of the whole world. And so since you can’t have a spiritual leader that is out of joint with God leading other people to a right relationship with the true and living God, God won’t crush Satan and set up the kingdom until the nation that is to be the spiritual leader is itself spiritually right with God.
Satan knows the scriptures very well. And so to his way of thinking, “If Israel must repent before God will crush me, if I can totally annihilate Israel from the face of the earth before it repents, than God will never crush me.” And that is why the people of Israel down through the centuries of time have been hounded, persecuted, had more attempts at genocide brought against them than any other ethnic group in all of world history.
And that’s what’s ultimately behind all of this turmoil that is going on with regard to Israel and the Middle East. And notice how the whole world’s attention keeps being focused to that little state of Israel again, and again and again. It’s a focal point in God’s plan and purpose for history.
And the whole thing about a World War breaking out. US News and World Report, in an editorial a few years ago, said, “The issue of who is going to control Jerusalem cannot remain unsettled, If we cannot settle that issue peaceably, that one issue alone — who is going to control Jerusalem — could blow up in the face of the whole world and lead to an all out religious war of gigantic proportions.”
And so Israel with it’s capital city of Jerusalem is a focal point today, and Muslims want to eliminate it from the face of the earth, and they believe that Jerusalem belongs to them; because to them Jerusalem is the third most sacred site upon the face of the earth. Only Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, where the religion began in 600 A.D., are more sacred. They believe that Jerusalem is the third most sacred site because that’s where their prophet Muhammad stood on the temple mount in Jerusalem, they believe before he ascended to heaven and received revelation from God.
And so, yes, there is a potential brewing there from a biblical perspective for an incredible war to break out upon the face of the earth that can involve just about everybody upon the face of the earth.
Ankerberg: Alright we are going to hold it right there, and we are going to take a break and when we come back we are going to continue. And what I find interesting is that the Arab nations are afraid of Syria and Iran getting together, okay? And I want you to tell us why and this is why they have even made some statements against Hezbollah and we want to talk about all that when we come right back.

Ankerberg: Alright we are back and we are talking about the crisis in the Middle East. And we are talking with news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Israel since 1991; and Professor Dr. Renald Showers. And we are talking about this thing of, are we already in the first stages of World War III? And what I find interesting in the news right now is that the newscasters are reporting that the other Arab nations are afraid of Iran and Syria coming together, joining together. And Syria, as I have understood it, has already made the announcement that there is pact, so Israel, don’t come into our territory; because if you do you have got two more besides Lebanon and Hezbollah, you’ve got Syria and Iran. Where is this going?
DeYoung: John, early on the Arab world in particular, the Arab League got together, they denounced what Hezbollah had done. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia came out very vocal about the fact that he thought they had made a move too quickly.
I believe what is going on in the Arab world, the Islamic world, is that they don’t like this upstart Iran. In other words these other countries have been around a long, long time. Saudi Arabia, the richest nation in the world, because they are the number one oil producer in the world. And so because they believe in the golden rule — he who has the gold rules, or he who has that black gold is going to rule in the Middle East.
You have Egypt, Egypt has over 80 million residents living in its country; it is the largest Arab country in the world. And to some extent Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, has felt like he was the pan-Arab leader. Though he never has made that claim, everybody always comes to him. I remember even when Yasser Arafat was still alive he would always go and meet with Hosni Mubarak there at Sharm el Sheik for the purpose of knowing what his next move ought to be. And now Mahmoud Abbas, who is the president of the Palestinian authority does they same thing. So they don’t like the fact that Iran and this young rascal a radical, Ahmadinejad, is stepping forward trying to take the lead in all this situation.
By the way Iraq and/or Iran are fighting for the number two position with potential oil supplies, and so what Iran does with their oil is of concern to Saudi Arabia as well. You watch this happening, but the truth is that finally King Abdullah out of Saudi Arabia made a statement, “If the aggressiveness of Israel is not stopped with their arrogant” — and he used that term — “arrogant attacks on Lebanon, this entire Middle Eastern region could burst into flame, the conflict could go region wide.” The fact is, he said that, “Only God knows what would happen at that point in time.”
So though early on they were concerned, I believe they are starting to get on board. They were just concerned that, “Hey, we’re not ready. You are making a move too quickly, let’s all get united.” In fact that’s what King Abdullah had said. About seven months ago he made the statement that the Islamic world needs to unite and form a Muslim militia to deal with world problems. Along comes another King Abdullah, this one the King of Jordan. He confirmed what King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had said. He said, “This is what we need to do we must unite.”
So we see all this happening, it goes right into what biblical prophecy says is going to take place, and along with Newt Gingrich’s statement, we are entering into World War III.
Ankerberg: Go back now to what we said in the last program about Syria being the first one that will come down and do a major attack on Israel. Why, from what you are seeing right now, would it be Syria and Egypt.
DeYoung: Well, you have only the three countries, basically four countries, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, surrounding Israel at their borders; and because of the fact that Syria is the most radical of those four countries. Egypt has a peace treaty with Israel; they want to stay in line with that peace treaty as much as possible.
Jordan has a peace treaty with Israel, and Jordan is more moderate. They are watching what is going on as far as the Palestinians are concerned because that could impact their nation and King Abdullah himself.
Lebanon is just a shell of a nation, so they really don’t have any say so in the region at all.
Syria, the radical, they have made a military pact with Iran. The foreign minister of Iran has met in Damascus with President Bashar Assad. Bashar Assad went and met with President Ahmadinejad in Tehran. They have formed a pact that says, “If anybody attacks either one of us we will join forces to go after that attacking enemy. And so it is an agreement, a military agreement and a transfer of armament between the two countries that is driving this situation. And Syria, being close at hand, would be the first one to attack. Iran would encourage them, would give them all the help they need to go after the Jewish state.
Ankerberg: Rennie, how close are we here?
Showers: Well, at this point only the Lord knows, John. But just some other things with regard to this. With the threat of radical Islam now that they have agents even through the west, Australia and other areas of the world, that threat may force the west for survival to band together. And maybe that is what will give birth to this revived Roman Empire in its fullest form. That is not in its fullest form yet; it looks like things are moving that direction.
That has to be formed, then according to Daniel 7, after that is there as a ten division federation for a period of time, there will be this eleventh ruler, the Antichrist will rise to power from within and gain control of it. Then he makes a seven-year covenant with the nation of Israel in the Middle East. And there again, I think Syria and Egypt and those Islamic nations are going to say, “Hey, here is the West again intervening in our area.” And maybe that’s what will prompt Syria and Egypt to launch their attack against him, by launching their attack against his Middle Eastern ally Israel.
And then things just begin to snowball from there in light of what we have been seeing; how then Antichrist, keeping his covenant, will come in, deal with Egypt and Syria. But then you’ve got these other powers of Ezekiel 38 with Iran and other Muslim powers, and Russia. They come in, in the Middle East. No way are they going to allow the revived Roman Empire to take control of that part of the world. And this begins triggering the whole thing.
So we are not into the attacks by Egypt and Syria yet against Israel that’s in Daniel 11 or Ezekiel 38. However, we see what looks like many of those players are on the field right now and becoming a real issue in the world and world events. And this may be the groundwork, the prelude, to what’s going to force the revived Roman Empire to come together, the Antichrist to control, his seven year covenant with Israel and then all these other things we’ve been looking at from Daniel 11 and Ezekiel 38 that transpire.
Ankerberg: Cover this thing that we don’t set dates.
Showers: Yes.
Ankerberg: We don’t set dates when Christ is coming back or when any of these things are going to happen. But at the other side of the fence you also see the foundations of these things starting to come together like we’ve never seen before.
Showers: Yes.
Ankerberg: How else would you say it? Jimmy, take a stab at it.
De Young: Well, I’m not going to set the date! Oh, yes, I will. I say the Rapture is going to happen today and all these other things are going to unfold pretty quickly after that. Now, I’m in pretty good company because the Apostle Paul thought the rapture was going to happen in his day. But what Rennie just gave us, that scenario, has never been exactly like that in the history of the world. We can’t set the date when Jesus Christ is going to step down on the Mount of Olives in the city of Jerusalem. The next event on God’s calendar of activities is that Rapture. I believe that could happen at any moment.
Ankerberg: What is the Rapture?
DeYoung: The Rapture is when Jesus shouts, the arch-angel shouts, the trump of God sounds and those of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are caught up to be with Him, never to leave His presence ever throughout the eternity future.
Ankerberg: And that event is going to impact the world how?
DeYoung: It is going to impact the world; it is going to take out the backbone of this world that would stop this alignment of nations coming against Israel. When that does happen there is no resistance to that, they move in to make the kill and then as Rennie has said, the Antichrist is going to have to pull together that revived Roman Empire. I believe the European Union is the, indeed the infrastructure of it. I mean, every actor is in place, he is raring at the bit for the curtain to go up so the last and final act can take place. And I believe that we are so quickly moving to that, we have never been like this.
I mean, I have been studying prophecy now since 1972, what is that 30 some years, I have never seen it like this. And I have lived in the region of the world where it is all going to unfold. Those people have never seen it like that. And in fact Jewish people are saying, “Hey, something is going on here, talk to me about this.” I have Jewish friends asking me, “Tell me what the scriptures say.” They really don’t know that scripture that talks about prophetic events as well, and they want to know. Not only Gentiles around the rest of the world but the Jewish people are interested as well.
Ankerberg: 15 seconds, give me a little word of hope here.
Showers: Well, as we were pointing out earlier. Our hope is God fulfilling His purpose for history. And that He is going to intervene into history; going to remove the church first from the earth and then all of these events are going to take place very quickly. And one of the reasons God allows so much of this to take place is to back Israel into the corner where it will finally repent. And then God will crush His enemy, Satan; and Jesus comes to the earth and He restores God’s kingdom rule to the earth and is going to administer God’s rule for the last 1000 years of this present Planet Earth’s history.
So although the world has to go through very dramatic horrible times first, the greatest stage in all of world’s history since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden is going to be with the second coming of Christ back to the earth after the seven year tribulation period; and His administering God’s rule for 1000 years. But for people to be there they have to trust in Jesus as their Savior.
Ankerberg: Okay, next week we are going to talk about Iraq. What about the future of Iraq and what does the Bible say about Iraq because the United States, we are involved in Iraq and yes we have lost over 400 people in Lebanon and maybe over 300 in Israel, but in the last 60 days we’ve lost 5500 civilians in Iraq alone and that, a lot of people say, is going toward civil war there. So we are going to talk about that in relationship to the crisis in the Middle East. Where is the future of Iraq headed; and what does the Bible say about Iraq. We will talk about that. Join us next week.

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