Current World Events and Biblical Prophecy – Program 8

By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Elwood McQuaid, Dr. Renald Showers; ©1998
The panel answers prophecy questions from our studio audience.

Contents

Questions & Answers

Ankerberg: Question.
Audience: Is it true that Saddam Hussein is trying to rebuild historical Babylon and is that significant prophetically?
DeYoung: Well, I believe he is indeed endeavoring to rebuild historic Babylon. And in fact the truth is of the matter that a good Christian friend of all of us who is at Dallas Seminary, Charlie Dyer, has been into that Babylon twice, wrote a book on the subject, and testifies of the literal aspect. I saw July 25, 1990, Diane Sawyer, Prime Time Live, do an exclusive interview in the palace at Baghdad with Saddam Hussein. During that one-hour interview they did what we call in television parlance a sound bite for about a minute. They switched to Babylon. She was walking down the wall. She said, “This wall, see that brick right there. It has Nebuchadnezzar’s name on it. That’s an original brick.” She walked further and said, “They’re refurbishing the wall. Do you see that one right there. It has Saddam Hussein’s name on it.”
Indeed, I can tell you that the President of the United States at the time of the Gulf Crisis, George Bush, gave a direct order not to touch the city of Babylon because Babylon is yet to be destroyed. During the time of the Gulf Crisis we would get in a taxi and it seemed like everybody, including the taxi drivers in Israel, were prophecy teachers. They’d say, “Well, does this look like the fulfillment of Jeremiah 50 and 51?” That fulfillment of Jeremiah 50 and 51 has never happened. Babylon has never been destroyed, devastated as Sodom and Gomorrah will be. The Book of Revelation Chapter 18 talks about the destruction of Babylon. The Book of Revelation Chapter 16 says Babylon will be destroyed because God will bring vengeance upon Babylon. The reason was, Nebuchadnezzar brought the implements out of the temple back to Babylon and God will bring vengeance.
And it’s interesting to note in Chapter 50 of the Book of Jeremiah the Medes will rise up in those last days to assist the destruction of Babylon. The Medes are the modern-day Kurds, the Kurdistan people that are in northern Iraq, western Iran and eastern Turkey. Those who want to destroy Saddam Hussein. Had, during the Gulf Crisis, the United States of America not withdrawn their air power, the Kurds would have come down with the Shiite Moslems coming up from the south and they would have destroyed Saddam Hussein.
Ankerberg: So what do you think is going to happen with Saddam Hussein?
DeYoung: Well, I don’t see the Bible saying if Saddam Hussein wants to stay in life or not. He is an unbelievable man. In fact, he is still eager…during the Gulf Crisis we heard on radio reports when he would finish the radio broadcast to his nation about what was going on, he said, “Until we meet together in the city of Jerusalem.” He said, “There’s been only one people in the history of man who ever defeated the Israelis and that was us. We went in. We captured them. We controlled the world.” He’s talking about that he is a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, of course, which he claims to be. In fact, he claims to be the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar. But Iraq is positioned for that fulfillment.
Babylon is in position. I believe it will be the economic capital of the world. The reason I say that: Had Saddam Hussein been successful in the Gulf Crisis, he controlled Iraq, he controlled Kuwait, he wanted to go into Saudi Arabia. Had he done that, he would have controlled 63% of the oil deposits of the world and any economist, and I have clippings in my files of world renown economists saying if you control 63% of the oil deposits of the world, you control the economy of this world. From Babylon itself on a computer network the Antichrist, I believe, can rule a one world economy during the last three and a half years at which time it will be destroyed.
McQuaid: I think it’s Saddam Hussein putting a brick in the wall beside that of Nebuchadnezzar gives a witness of the arrogance of degenerate men who see themselves in imperial sized portraits as he likes to put around Baghdad. I’m not so sure about this rebuilding of the city of Babylon and that being the center of the world economy. I think rather the emphasis to be considered is that Babylonish system that engulfs the entire world and God is going to judge that system. So I think perhaps Babylon rebuilt but the emphasis we should see is that entire system that’s anti-God, anti-Christ is what God is going to condemn.
Ankerberg: Question.
Audience: Yes. When the one world religion is brought about in the Tribulation, they’re going to need a Bible to have a say-so over everything. Do you think that the new Bibles that are out today, such as NIV, NASB will be like the predecessor to this Bible?
Showers: Revelation 17, which is the greatest revelation we have on that apostate religion says nothing about a book that they’re going to use as a Bible. And I do not see all of the newer translations as evil in the sight of God in all honesty. Interestingly, I know there are a lot of people that are King James Only, but interestingly, there were English Bibles before the King James came along and if you believe that God has preserved His Word carefully through the centuries, which I believe He has, then one of those had to have been the true Word of God in the English language before the King James. And what was the necessity, then, of the King James if they already had the Word of God in the English language? I have great respect for the King James and I use it in my studies, in my preaching, etc., but I’m not convinced that all the newer translations are evil in the sight of God.
Ankerberg: Yes. The King James before the King James was the Latin Vulgate and before that it was the Greek New Testament and if you really want to have a full answer, I actually got the editors together of the New King James, the King James Only people, the American Standard Version, and Revised Standard Version. I think we had them all there in the same room to face that question, and if you like, it’s 8 half hours of those guys talking among themselves.
McQuaid: What about something like this transpiring. You know, when Adolf Hitler was in the process of destroying the Church as well as the Jewish people, he envisioned a German church and actually established the German church and he said that on every altar in Germany would be Mein Kampf rather than the Bible. We have the sayings of Mao Tse Tung that a whole people followed. What about the Antichrist having his own little booklet that becomes the Bible for the world at that time?
Audience: What do you believe will be the extent of the Antichrist’s kingdom throughout during the Tribulation?
Showers: He will definitely want to bring the whole world under his dominion but I’m not convinced he’s going to pull that off in all honesty because, again, the Scriptures indicate different power blocs in the world. As mentioned before, the kings of the east and Russia and its Islamic allies, etc., that are going to be power forces in the world at the same time the Antichrist is. He will try to bring the whole world under his dominion but I’m not totally convinced that he’s going to be able to do that.
Ankerberg: Okay. Question?
Audience: I’ll address this to Jimmy DeYoung. Is there any biblical evidence that the Antichrist will come out of Syria?
DeYoung: I don’t see any biblical evidence of it. As I look at Daniel Chapter 7, the “little horn” comes out of the ten horns that come together, Revived Roman Empire. As I look at Revelation Chapter 13, it talks about basically the same thing as Daniel Chapter 7 and it says that it’s coming out of the Gentile world of the Revived Roman Empire so I don’t see Antichrist coming out of Syria.
Ankerberg: Let’s hit them all. I’ve heard he’s coming out of Spain. What about that one?
DeYoung: Well, that’s possible because of the fact it would be part of the Revived Roman Empire. But I don’t think it’s King Carlos, by the way.
Showers: Only the Lord knows that and I think people are conjecturing now trying to name specific ones or what country they’re going to come from are way off base. They’re going way beyond what the Scriptures permit us to go at the present time.
Ankerberg: I’ve heard Helmut Kohl.
McQuaid: Yes, Helmut Kohl, Henry Kissinger….and coming out of the United States. However, the thing that we need to always guard against is being distracted by things that are so intriguing in themselves that they turn us from a central purpose, that is to make Christ known and to look for His Coming. Our business is not to look for the Antichrist, not to name the Antichrist, and I believe that one of the reasons why God keeps us from that and directs us away from that is that our attention may always be on the imminent return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Showers: John, it’s very interesting. One of the very early Church Fathers, if I remember correctly it was Irenaeus, who was taught by a man who was taught by the Apostle John, in one of his writings, apparently people back then were trying specifically to identify who the Antichrist would be and he issued a warning against that and said that we dare not try to identify the Antichrist at all. The Scriptures did not permit us to do that because all the Scriptures indicates is that he will rise to power from within that future Revived Roman Empire but it doesn’t say what part of the empire, what country or his name.
Ankerberg: Let’s talk about this thing of setting dates for the return of Christ, too. Just a couple of years ago we had a ton of people that thought Jesus was coming and Scripture says not to do that. What continues to motivate folks to set the date? What’s the warning of Scripture along that line?
Showers: I guess it’s just a curiosity but people have done that from time to time during the centuries and the closer we get to the year 2000 we’re going to be bombarded by that. We’re already starting. And may I point out, and there’s evidence for this from the New Testament Scriptures, the coming of Christ to Rapture the Church was just as imminent in New Testament times as it is today. Now, please, imminency is not the same as “soon.” If you look at James 5:7-9, James made this statement: “The coming of the Lord” literally “has drawn nigh; the judge is standing at the door.” It’s significant to note in both those statements James put the verb in the perfect tense. Now, the Greek perfect tense, the significance of it is, it’s referring to a completed action in the past, but the results of it continue on. So James was saying that the coming of the Lord had drawn near even before James wrote his letter and it continues to be near even while James was writing his letter and that Jesus in a sense took his standing at the door of heaven even before James began to write his letter and continues to stand there. The implication being, He could step through that door of Heaven at any moment.
Ankerberg: And you better watch out.
Showers: Yeah. And in fact, that’s what James said. You better be careful how you treat your fellow believers because the Judge is standing right at the door. In other words, the fact that He could come at any moment, even back then, should make a difference in how you’re living now. We know that from our perspective today, even though it was imminent back then, it wasn’t “soon” back then because almost 2,000 years have gone by since James wrote his epistle and the Lord still hasn’t come. Imminency is the concept He could come at any moment. And as soon as you set a date, you’ve destroyed the concept of imminency because then you’ve said He can’t come until this date and that ruins the concept He could come at any moment. And so if you set a date, you are militating against the New Testament teaching of the imminency of Christ’s return.
DeYoung: Well, let me just take exception with that. I want to set a date that I believe Jesus Christ is going to come to gather the Church up. It’s today! Because in Acts Chapter 1, those disciples standing on the Mount of Olives as Jesus was gathered up in that cloud, having been told He would come back, the Bible said they were steadfastly looking toward Heaven. I always didn’t understand why “steadfastly,” but they were anticipating His coming. The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 4 says in verse 13 and following, we will see the Rapture. He expected it to take place that day. Indeed, at the conclusion of His ministry of some 30 years, he says in 2 Timothy 4:8, I have a crown of righteousness and all that eagerly await His coming. Now listen, I hope and pray He comes today. If He doesn’t come today and you see me tomorrow, I’ll predict He’s coming tomorrow. I believe and I want to live my life in light of the fact He indeed is coming today.
Showers: And that’s imminency.
McQuaid: Now let me give you the rest of the story. You see, the big fallacy, John, is that people are enamored with date setting, to associate the Rapture of the Church with a date. The Rapture of the Church has absolutely nothing to do with a date. That’s why date-setters will always be wrong. It has to do with a number, that is, the gathering of the bride of Christ. That’s our focus. That’s our mission. That’s our obsession. Make Him known. Make Him known. Make Him known. When that job is completed, and only He knows when that will be, we’re going to find ourselves reposing at His once wounded side. But about this matter of imminence, you know, I was reading through 1 Thessalonians 4 again just the other day and I was reminded, when the Apostle Paul said, “And then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air.” So he was expecting to be one of those who would be raptured. So the Apostle Paul said that. I and agree with Rennie and Jim.
Ankerberg: Rennie, let me ask you a question about 2 Thessalonians 2 where it said these things can’t happen “until.” And it sounds like we’re talking about the Rapture there. A lot of people have gotten confused on that. Help us out.
Showers: Some of the translations say that the day of Christ cannot come until the apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin. The Greek text literally says “the day of the Lord” cannot come. And that’s different from the Rapture. The day of the Lord is going to be the seven-year Tribulation period plus the Second Coming of Christ after the Tribulation plus the Millennium.
Ankerberg: Both good and bad events.
Showers: Yes, both good and bad events. Let me share a humorous thing with regard to date setting. Just a few years ago there was a rather prominent radio Bible teacher who published a book that the Lord was going to return in September of a certain year. Well, every year his ministry takes over one of the Bible conferences on the East Coast for a week of Bible conference and people come in to attend it that listen to his radio broadcast. And he was there that year in June that he said the Lord would return in September. Well, at the end of that week of conference they came to the directors of the conference and said, “Could we schedule that same week next year for your conference?” And they said, “Isn’t that a little inconsistent? You’ve been saying the Lord’s going to return in September of this year. Why do you want to rent our conference for next year?”
Ankerberg: Question.
Q. The Word of God talks about a woman being preserved and earlier, Dr. DeYoung, you talked about a piece of land where God was going to preserve some Jewish people. How does all this tie in together?
DeYoung: Revelation Chapter 12 is talking about and describing this woman who brought forth the manchild which I believe is the nation of Israel, and as you study through Chapter 12 you see in verse 6 that God has prepared a special place. He says in Chapter 6 it’s in the mountains. Matthew 24 says “flee for the wilderness.” And as you stop to think about it, the location that I suppose is going to be where they’re going to house these Jews during the last 3-1/2 years to protect them would be the location called Petra, 25 square miles that was the impregnable city during the times of the Edomites and during the times of the Nabataeans. You can only get into the city through a Siq which is a narrow gorge almost 500 feet high, 18 feet wide. It’s about a mile and third as you go in there. There are already God-made caves and man-made caves and places for people to be housed during that time. I believe Petra is the location that God has prepared and is going to take care of His people during that last 3-1/2 years. And the woman of Revelation Chapter 12 is the nation of Israel.
Ankerberg: Alright. Two more questions.
Audience: In addition to the Ark of the Covenant, the ashes of the red heifer are needed for Jewish Tribulation temple worship and what is the status of the search for the ashes of the red heifer?
McQuaid: Well, the Jewish rabbis will tell you–those who are involved in this Temple Institute and others who are preparing for sacrificial worship that it would be nice if the ashes of the red heifer were discovered but that isn’t necessary; that they’re in the process now of attempting to breed red heifers that would be acceptable to reinstitute that worship.
DeYoung: Numbers 19 talks about the ashes of the red heifer being an everlasting covenant. So there is some discussion among these personalities preparing to build the temple as to do so they need some of or at least a portion of the original ashes of the red heifer. A friend of mine, a believer in Jesus Christ, is doing some excavation underneath the Antiquities Authority and their responsibilities at Qumran and there is suggestion through seismic readings and ground penetrating radar, satellite, NASA-like technology that’s looked into the ground underneath the plateau at Qumran and they have protected… now listen, don’t you dare go out and say that Jimmy DeYoung said it’s absolute, but potential. They have projected that there are canisters underneath that plateau that have some kind of ashes in them. And so the projection is that possibly that would be the ashes of the red heifer. I believe whether it’s through what Elwood brought out, the fact that they are breeding now red heifers. In fact, they have made preparation and got Israeli approval to bring those red heifers from Mississippi where they have been bred into Israel or whether they find the original ashes. But somehow they will have ashes to go for the Tribulation temple. Those ashes are not needed during the Millennial Temple when Jesus Christ rules and reigns from the Holy of Holies.
Audience: Since you gentlemen give a lot of time and energy to prophecy, on a scale of one to ten, how much emphasis do you give to the Great Commission both in interpretation and implementation?
Showers: We give great emphasis to it. In fact, one of the reasons that I teach as part of my ministry prophecy is because I have found it to be a very effective evangelistic tool. One church that had asked me to come and do a prophecy conference, the leaders of the church had trained their people very well to invite business associates, etc., to come to the conference. One woman there invited all the people that worked with her in her office and all of them came. And eight of those people got saved just in the prophecy conference. At that same conference there was a men’s breakfast. One of the men invited the superintendent of the whole public school system of that city. That man got saved. The superintendent of the public schools got saved through a prophetic message. And so I believe that God has revealed these future events not to satisfy our curiosity but to change the hearts and lives of people. To bring unsaved people to the saving knowledge of Christ and to shake Christians loose from their lethargy and make them evaluate their lives. What am I doing with my life that will count for eternity and what should be the priorities of my life? But prophetic teaching is only one phase of my ministry. And, by the way, I’m associated full-time with The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry and the major thrust of our ministry as a mission board is evangelism, trying to reach Jewish people and in the process Gentiles as well all over the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to play a role in the fulfillment of that commission.
McQuaid: You know, there is a phrase in the 36th chapter on through, and it’s this: “And they shall know that I am the Lord.” “And they shall know that I am the Lord.” This is the most frequently occurring phrase in that entire prophetic element of Scripture. And I believe the emphasis there is that God is bearing His heart and allowing us to look in and see. What does He want us to teach? What does He want us to learn? What does He want us to know? That He wants men to know Him. Where does that take us? It takes us right back to the commission Jesus Christ gave us 2000 years ago. And I believe that if one is a competent prophetic teacher, that the reason God gives us prophecy is to tell us not what the future is about–yes, that’s involved–but what we should be doing about it right now: and that’s to evangelize.
DeYoung You know, the disciples in Acts 1, they were steadfastly looking toward heaven waiting for Jesus to come back, but they didn’t sit down on their blessed assurance. Chapter 17 of the Book of Acts, verse 6 says they went out and turned the worldwide right side up. It actually says upside down but it’s already upside down. They started turning it right side up. I’ve had the joy and Rennie’s had the joy also of being with a dear missionary in Italy. And he didn’t want to do prophecy for so many years and finally he said, “Okay, Jimmy. Do a prophecy conference for us.” We traveled all over the state of Italy and we had the greatest evangelistic meetings ever in Italy through the vehicle of prophecy. One last thought. Daniel 9, prophecy, verses 24 to 27, pinpoints the time Jesus Christ the Messiah would come. He had to come 69 weeks after the decree was given to go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. That’s 483 years, 173,880 days after that was given Jesus Christ appeared on the Mount of Olives. He said, “If you had been studying the Scriptures you would have known I was to be here today.” That is absolute, when it uses prophecy to pinpoint who the Messiah is.
Ankerberg: One more question.
Audience: In reference to the possibility of a midtribulation Rapture, looking at two Scriptures, 2 Thessalonians which you cited a minute ago, and that term “our gathering together with him,” won’t happen until. And also in Revelation 6 where the sixth seal is broken and the wrath of God is then revealed toward men, contrasting that with Christians do not undergo the wrath of God.
Showers: Okay, first of all, let me address the sixth seal. It’s not John there that’s saying that the wrath of God comes with the sixth seal, it’s the unbelievers of the world saying that and unbelievers are usually wrong. In addition, the tense of the verb where they say, “The day of his wrath has come,” unless the context indicates otherwise, and a certain Greek structure which is there refers to a past action, and so that the unsaved there are saying the Day of the Lord came in the past but they didn’t recognize it until these cosmic disturbances. That obviously was from God and they recognized the Day of the Lord had already begun in the past. When you look at the first four seals, with the fourth seal, for example, one fourth of the world’s population is destroyed through war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. In Ezekiel 14:21 God says these are my four sore judgments: war, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. God indicating those are elements of His wrath being poured out upon mankind and that’s at the fourth seal, two seals before the sixth seal.
With regard to 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul is not saying there that our gathering together with the Lord cannot take place until the apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin. What was happening is, there were people coming to the Thessalonians after Paul had been there teaching a pretrib Rapture and saying, “Hey, you’re being persecuted as Christians; therefore, you’re already in the Day of the Lord.” And they were thereby attacking Paul’s doctrine of our gathering together to be with the Lord before the Tribulation and Paul is saying there, if you look at the language, he’s saying: for the sake of this teaching I gave you about our gathering together to be with the Lord before the Tribulation, let me tell you, you’re not in the Tribulation now. You’re not in the Day of the Lord now. And the reason you’re not in it is because the apostasy has to take place first and that hasn’t happened yet; and the revelation of the man of sin has to take place before the Day of the Lord and that hasn’t happened yet. And so Paul is not saying there that these things have to happen before the Rapture.
On top of that, if you hold to a midtribulation Rapture view, and we all agree the Tribulation hasn’t started yet, then you have to say the Lord can’t come and Rapture the Church for at least another 3-1/2 years and as soon as you say that, you’ve destroyed the whole New Testament concept of imminency because if He can’t come for another 3-1/2 years, then His coming is not imminent, that it could happen at any moment. And so the only view that fits the imminency concept of the Bible is the pretrib Rapture view because the midtrib says He can’t come for another 3-1/2 years; the pre-wrath says He can’t come for another five or five and a half years; the posttrib view says He can’t come for another seven years. As soon as you say He can’t come until a certain time, that destroys the whole New Testament concept of the imminency of Christ’s return.
DeYoung: John, on the question of the wrath of God or the wrath of man, Revelation Chapter 5 says that Jesus Christ is given the sealed book containing the seven seal judgments. Chapter 6, verse 1, “The Lamb opens the first seal.” Chapter 6, verse 3, “The Lamb opens the second seal.” Chapter 6, verse 5, “The Lamb opens the third seal.” Chapter 6, verse 7, “The Lamb opens the fourth seal, the fifth seal, the sixth seal.” Even Chapter 8, verse 1, “Silence in heaven for the space of half an hour. The Lamb opens that seal. As I understand just simply reading the Scripture in the literal understanding of it, the Lamb, Jesus Christ, is the One that opens the seals to release the judgments upon the earth.
Ankerberg: Guys, we want to say “thank you” for being our guests tonight and being with us. We appreciate all the hard study that you have put in and for your guidance in terms of world events and biblical prophecy. Thanks for being with us.

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