Crisis in the Middle East/Program 4
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Renald Showers; ©2006|
|Is a civil war brewing in Iraq? What could be the implications for the Middle East if a civil war breaks out? What role will Iraq play in end time events?|
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 in the Middle East. And we are talking with news correspondent, Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Israel since 1991, covered all the major players, knows them personally, interviewed them. And also, Dr. Renald Showers, who is professor of biblical prophecy, has taught this for over 35 years, has written many books on it. So, guys, I’m glad that you’re here.
- Today we want to talk about Iraq, the future of Iraq in relationship to the crisis that we already see going on. People are concerned about over 400 civilians being killed in Lebanon, over 300 in Israel; but guys, in Iraq in the last 60 days over 5500 civilians have been killed, and it looks like there is no end in sight in terms of the massacre of civilians. And a lot of people say that we are headed toward civil war in Iraq between the Sunnis and Shiites. It was fomented by Zarqawi and it continues to be fomented by the people that took over from him. If that happens, how does that affect the crisis that we are already seeing with Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran and so on?
- DeYoung: Several ways, John. Number one, it fosters instability through the entire Middle East, because here is a nation that should be able to rebuild, they have elected their parliament, they have put in place their cabinet, their government, their leadership. But if they can’t bring under control this civil war, then that means instability is prevalent at least in that section of the world; and all of the surrounding nations next to them are going to feel the impact of that instability.
- Number two, if indeed the civil war goes full blown as many are predicting it will, it says the United States is not quite the success that they should have been. And if the United States is weak, as they perceive them, because they weren’t able to accomplish their goals in Iraq, then that says to the rest of the Islamic world, “Well, no problem. If they can’t deal with the situation in Iraq, they have hundreds and thousands of troops over there, they are not going to bother us. We are not concerned,” especially Iran. They are going to say, “Wow! I mean the United States is a paper tiger. And in fact when somebody gets hurt too seriously they cut and run, so why should we worry about them?” So that is going to foster a desire by the Muslim world to intensify their attacks on Israel and to re-strengthen what they are doing already. I think that indeed the Middle Eastern instability is going to…. weakness causes aggressive attacks. And I believe that’s what going to be the case.
- Ankerberg: Yes, let me follow up with that because both CNN and FOX have had a general on and an expert also from one of the institutes talking about what is happening in Iraq, that the radical insurgency is winning against the great American military. And that has encouraged, actually, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza strip. Well, if they can do that to the great American military power, we can do that against the Israeli defense forces. And so it’s inspired them to try these attacks. And now if Israel doesn’t really beat them back, than both America and Israel will be seen in the Islamic world to be weak and they can try other things.
- DeYoung: That is the case. Look for example, in 1982, the Israeli government went into Lebanon. They got rid of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinians. They gave the country back to the Lebanese people. But then civil war broke out. And so the Israeli defense force moved in there until 2000, May of 2000. They had that buffer zone to keep these Katyusha rocket attacks from taking place on northern Israel. The United Nations came together; they said you’ve got to remove your military might from southern Lebanon. Prime Minister Barak said, “Okay, we will,” and he pulled out. And in fact as he was pulling out Hezbollah is saying, “We were the ones responsible for running the mighty Israeli defense force out.” Now, you couple that with what took place in 2005, in the summer of 2005 when Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan was implemented in the Gaza strip and Hamas came to power because of that. They said, “We were the victors in that, and we forced the Israeli defense force to pull out.” And in fact they moved in, Hamas did, into those recently evacuated settlements, set up training camps, put up their launchers for the Qassam rockets that they are lobbing into Israel. Well, the fact is that this weakness that we are talking about with pulling away from dealing with the issue has invited the aggressiveness of Hezbollah of Iran, of Syria and all the other players in the Middle East. And Iraq is, it’s the centerpiece as far as President Bush’s desire to spread democracy in the Middle East. As Condoleezza Rice said, “This is the birth pangs of a new Middle East.” It may well be the death pangs of the new Middle East and in fact if that civil war goes full blown it will be the death pangs.
- Ankerberg: I find it interesting that just last night on the news, the fact is that there was another group of senators and congressman that are saying to President Bush, “You’ve got to pull our troops out because this civil unrest is escalating. Get our guys out.” Now, and I think a lot of the American public would probably go for that, bring our boys home. The problem is, if what we are talking about is correct, that will be perceived in the Islamic world, in Iran and other places, as a sign of weakness. “We won,” and it will encourage them to go further. Where do you see this headed?
- Showers: Well, again, only the Lord knows at this point as to what our government is going to do and why they do it and what the full consequences will be of that. You know, if we do withdraw, as Jimmy has said, and as you have indicated, that’s going to be a sign of weakness. You know when you look at all the times, like from the ‘70’s right up to the present where American installations have been attacked, you know, by these radicals, and its just like, we let it go, we let it go, we let it go, we back off, we back off. And some say that’s why they felt bold to attack the World Towers there in New York City and everything, because America is a paper tiger. And so this is, I think this is a crisis moment for our country in Iraq. What are we going to do? And I can see the reasoning to withdraw, but again if we do, as Jimmy has said, the Islamic world is going to say, “See, they are not the big threat at all, so let’s be more aggressive.”
- Ankerberg: Alright, let’s go one step further. Let’s say that we don’t get it under control and this continues. What else have you heard?
- DeYoung: If it does continue and the civil war progresses farther than it is today, I believe we are in a civil war right now, as Prime Minister Maliki said when he addressed the joint session of congress recently in Washington D.C., “I have the power to bring this under control.” But then there was the side caveat that said, “If I don’t, we need a strong leader.” i.e. another Saddam Hussein. We don’t want Saddam Hussein back, we don’t want the harshness of that type of a dictator. But a benevolent dictator to come in with a strong hand and shut down the insurgency. I really don’t have anything good to say about Saddam Hussein, I guess I’d have to give the exception, when he was in power you didn’t have this civil unrest that is taking place, because he crushed it immediately — and was responsible of course for killing some 350,000 people. But Iraq is going to have to have a strong leader to shut down what’s happening. And that’s what they thought Maliki could do. I’m not sure he’s the man. First indications were that he was the man, now I’m not so sure that he is the one who can bring it back under control.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we are going to take a break and when we come back we are going to talk about, what does the Bible say about that area of the world in relationship to end-time events? And we are going to talk about some surprising things that you believe that the Bible is saying about what is going to take place in Iraq. So we are going to talk about that when we come right back.
- Ankerberg: Alright we are back and we are talking with news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung who has lived in Israel since 1991; and Professor Dr. Renald Showers. Guys, let’s talk about what the Bible says is going to happen, some surprising things that are going happen in Iraq. At least that is how you are seeing it. Tell me scenario.
- DeYoung: The way I see the book of Revelation Unfolding is, Chapter 17 of that book talks about an entity that is a false religion. We talked about in earlier programs how the Muslim world is going to attack Israel. And that God himself is going to intercede and basically destroy, or at least render inoperative the major players in the Islamic world. I believe that has to happen early on in the seven year tribulation period so the Antichrist can put together his one world religiosity headquartered in the city of Rome. As I see the scenario unfolding, I see that that religious entity, this false religion, which basically was prototyped right after the flood some 4500 years ago, in the city of Babylon, the literal city of Babylon, a mother/son cult developed which has been in existence since that time. I believe that that will be destroyed by the revived Roman Empire. The Antichrist moves to Jerusalem. There will be a temple standing in Jerusalem at that point in history. The Bible indicates in the book of 2 Thessalonians 2:4, the Antichrist, as the earthly representative of Satan, walks into the temple and fulfills a desire of Satan to be worshiped in the city of Jerusalem. He sits in the holy of holies, the throne room for the coming King of Kings Jesus Christ and he claims to be better than God. I believe they put up a statute that the world is going to have to worship, and another member of the satanic trinity, the false prophet, will cause the world through signs, wonders and miracles — and we do indeed have a proliferation of signs, wonders and miracles today. Jesus said, “Deception will be prevalent at that end time period.” I believe that that will be the case. But I then think that the Antichrist moves into the literal city of Babylon, which is located still on the shores of the Euphrates River some 58 miles southwest of Baghdad, modern day city of Baghdad. Interestingly Prime Minister Maliki comes from Hilla which is located in the area of Babylon; and also there is a military multi-national peace force headquartered there led by the Polish military. I believe the literal city of Babylon, which had never been completely destroyed as Isaiah 13 and 14, Jeremiah 50 and 51, the book of Revelation, chapter 16 verses 17 ff., says, has to be destroyed and never inhabited again. Now, it fell from its place of power probably sometime after Jesus Christ, because Peter writes about being in Babylon and speaking to those people he was writing to from a church in Babylon, and those church members saluting the people, the recipients of his letter. So I believe this city has to come to power. It will be an economic, political governmental system. I believe the Antichrist will move his headquarters there. That’s during the period of time during the last 31/2 years when there will be people on the earth. The only way they can eat and buy food and sell items is having the mark of the beast on their forehead. And I believe that will be controlled from Babylon. It’s interesting to note, Benjamin Netanyahu former Prime Minister of Israel, graduate of MIT with a PhD, said that the silicon valley of the Middle East is going to be Iraq as they put together a cutting edge, state of the art telecommunication system. The Minister of Oil for the new Iraqi government made a statement that by 2010 they are going to challenge Saudi Arabia as the number one oil producer in the world. They are back up to par which is where they were during the times of Saddam Hussein. And they don’t know how much oil is under the ground there in Iraq. So that can make Iraq the richest nation in the world, the most wired nation in the world, and from that location the Antichrist could operate. It talks about in Chapter 18 of Revelation, it’s a city, it’s a great city and its name to be Babylon. I think that’s literal, I think that is where he will be headquartered and I think all that is going on right now, and in fact when you call for a strong leader, if that’s not a description of the Antichrist, I don’t know who it is talking about.
- Ankerberg: Rennie you look at that just a little differently. Tell us what you think.
- Showers: Well, let me say this. You know what Jimmy says may very well be true; and there are some good arguments in favor of that. There is another interpretation, though, of what’s involved there in chapter 18 with Babylon this great commercial center and everything else. And that is that what’s being described there is the last great form of Gentile world dominion, which is not literal Babylon but has some of the characteristics of ancient Babylon and that’s why it’s called Babylon there. And those who hold to that point out that in Revelation 11 where the Apostle John, who wrote also chapter 18 about Babylon, you have another city named there. Actually its called Egypt and Sodom but it’s the City where Christ was crucified. Well, Jesus was not crucified in Egypt and Sodom, He was crucified in the city of Jerusalem, indicating that when the Gentiles gain control of Jerusalem, at least by the middle of the tribulation period when Antichrist takes control there, things are going to become so corrupt that Jerusalem will have characteristics like ancient Egypt, which is opposed to God with it’s false gods and also Sodom with all of its tremendous breakdown of morality. So that John there is referring there to a literal city, but not with its literal name Jerusalem but by Egypt and Sodom. And so why could you not have the same thing again about the Babylon in chapter 18? In addition, when you go to Revelation 13, where John sees a beast coming out of the sea. Now in the Bible and in the ancient world kings and kingdoms were synonymous with each other. For example, in Daniel 2 where Daniel interpreted the head of gold in the image, he said to Nebuchadnezzar, you are the head of gold and after you another kingdom will come and through you. So the head of gold represented both the king and his kingdom. Well, in Revelation 13 the beast that comes out of the sea, I’m convinced, represents both the Antichrist who will be the head of that last great Gentile form of dominion in the world, but also his kingdom. And notice his characteristics. It looks like a leopard, but it has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion. That’s based on Daniel 7 where God was foretelling ahead of time the whole progression of Gentile world dominion from Daniel’s day when Babylon was the power right up to the last great power until Christ returns and ends Gentile dominion in the world. Babylon was represented as a lion, Medo Persia which conquered it in 539 BC is represented as a bear, then Greece which conquered Medo-Persia in 331 BC is represented as a leopard. And then the fourth beast that appears there is different from the lion, the bear, and the leopard, in the sense that it’s a conglomeration of characteristics of Babylon the lion, plus the characteristics of Medo-Persia the bear, plus the characteristics of the Grecian king Alexander the Great the leopard. And so that Revelation 13, I’m convinced, is portraying that this last great form of Gentile world dominion will have some characteristics of Babylon, he will have some characteristics of ancient Medo-Persia, he will have some characteristics of ancient Greece. And it’s a conglomerate of that, but now it is a revived Roman Empire. And of course in Daniel 9:26 we are told that the Prince who will rule over that will be the Prince of the people who destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD, and that was the Roman people, so he is a Roman ruler. But him empire has some of the characteristics of Babylon within it. In addition in Jeremiah 50 and 51 the destruction of Babylon that is described there is through military power. Over and over again verses are talking there about a great military power that is going to come down from the North and destroy Babylon and so it will never be settled in again. And it talks about the Medes coming against it and it names some of the other nations that come against it at that particular time. So it’s not… The description there is God using human military powers to destroy the Babylon that is described there and to the place it will not be inhabited by human beings or animals again. And so for these reasons it seems to me, and some others as well, that perhaps the Babylon of Revelation 18 is not literal Babylon. It’s the last great form of Gentile world dominion and be a kind of conglomerate of these previous Gentile world kingdoms and have some of the characteristics of Babylon within it — commercially and that type of thing.
- Ankerberg: Alright, put it again in the big picture, because that’s a slight disagreement in terms of where the Antichrist resides during a certain time in the tribulation. But for people that are brand new to this whole topic, take us from the time when the rapture of the church, Christians are pulled out of the world, okay? Now, what’s happening in world events right after that period of time? Give a simple outline.
- DeYoung: I believe it’s Daniel 7, the ten horns, the revived Roman Empire, as actually interpreted for us by an angel delivering the interpretation to Daniel also in chapter 7. That revived Roman Empire comes into power and out of that the little horn, one of 27 names for the Antichrist, he comes to power, he takes control of the revived Roman Empire. At that point in time he goes to the Middle East and there he confirms a peace agreement, Daniel 9:27, with the Jewish people, basically for a seven year period of time. In fact, the truth is, the Rapture takes place and there is a period of time between the time of the Rapture and the beginning of the seven year tribulation period. The clock starts ticking when the Antichrist confirms that peace agreement. Then the seven years of terrible judgment upon the earth. Revelation 4:2 thru 19:10 lays out 21 judgments that get progressively worse as we go through them. Just in comment to what Rennie had to say, in the last of those 21 judgments the 7th vial judgment, Rev 16:17ff., it says, “the great city Babylon,” referring to chapter 18 back in chapter 16, “the great city Babylon comes to remembrance to God because those Babylonians in days past, Jeremiah 50:28, messed with His temple, desecrated that temple, that worship center for the Jewish people to worship their God. Because of that He brings destruction upon them and it says, “An earthquake like had never hit the face of the earth in all of history is going to destroy that city.” So I believe that it is a literal city that the Antichrist is going to rule and reign from and if that be the case, which I believe it is, than the last thing before Jesus Christ steps back on the Mount of Olives in the city of Jerusalem is destruction of that city of Babylon, the Antichrist, the false prophet, and Satan himself, fall back to Jerusalem. Zechariah 14:2 says, “all the nations of the world are gathered to come against them”, with the satanic trinity, to come against the return of Jesus Christ. It will be the last thing. What’s so thrilling, exciting, to me if that is the case and what we see happening in Iraq and if it is preparation for the Antichrist, we must be close to that time.
- Ankerberg: Alright, next week we are going to continue. And we are going to talk about, will here ever be peace in our lifetime in the Middle East? And what about this peacekeeping force that the UN is going to place between Israel and Lebanon, getting rid of Hezbollah forces? Will this work or is Condoleezza Rice correct in stating that if we don’t do it right now we are going to be doing this again in just a few more months, alright? We are going to talk about that next week. I hope you will join us.