Is a New Wave of Worldwide Terror at Hand?/Program 7
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, Dr. Renald Showers; ©2004|
|Doesn’t the Bible say something about what’s happening in the Middle East? What God is doing. Why the Middle East? Why is the world’s attention focused on the Middle East? We’ve gone into Iraq, gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. We’re now trying to establish a democracy there, kind of a foothold in the Middle East in terms of democracy to try and stabilize things. Will this help stabilize the Middle East? Will this help in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?|
Announcer: In the last few months, terrorist bombings are increasing. How far will they reach? Is America at risk?
- Dr. Jimmy DeYoung: Well, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. And we see a non-tangible nation, a group of peoples—militant Islam, basically—rising up, involved in a war against those who are opposed to their philosophy of life, opposed to an Islamic rule that would control the entire world.
Announcer: One year has passed since the war in Iraq began. Is the Middle East a safer place?
- Dr. Renald Showers: I think what a lot of people don’t realize, at least in the Western World, is what Islamic theology teaches—that once an area of the world has been ruled over by Muslim rulers, if some non-Muslim power drives out those Muslim rulers and confiscates that land, that’s a smack in the face, that’s a dishonor to their Muslim god, Allah, and so for the sake of their Muslim god and his honor, they’ve got to eliminate that non-Muslim power that’s occupying that land.
- DeYoung: I live in that part of the world. Before this program is over, everything could start to happen. I mean, the stage is set. Every nation we’ve talked about—Syria, Egypt, Iran, Sudan, Russia, Libya, Turkey—they’re all in position to make their moves.
Announcer: Clashes also continue to erupt in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. World leaders understand this conflict must be solved or it could pull the whole world into war. Will a new Palestinian state bring peace, or set the basis for an even greater conflict?
- Showers: If there is a separate, sovereign Palestinian state there, side by side with Israel, once that becomes a sovereign state, then Israel is going to have another problem. If the Palestinians are developing weapons to use against Israel, the world will say it’s a sovereign state; Israel has no right to invade a sovereign state to try to put a stop to what they’re doing or take those weapons away from them.
Announcer: Today on The John Ankerberg Show, my guests are news correspondent Dr. Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Jerusalem, Israel since 1991, and has personally met and interviewed Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, and many other international leaders; and respected Bible scholar, Dr. Renald Showers, who has taught at Moody Bible Institute and Philadelphia College of Bible. We will examine worldwide terrorism, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in light of the Bible, and answer the question, “Is a New Wave of Worldwide Terror at Hand? Is America at Risk?”
- Ankerberg: Welcome. We have an exciting program. We have two of our favorite guests, Dr. Jimmy DeYoung and Dr. Renald Showers, and today, we want to talk about what you are seeing in the news. There are three news stories that, every time you turn the TV on, they’re there, and they’re going to be there for a long time.
- One is, you’ve got the worldwide war on terror that the United States is involved in and has declared.
- Number two is the fact of what’s happening in Iraq and the terrorist attacks that continue while we’re trying to form a democracy there.
- And third is, underneath all of this is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that continues to simmer and it’s a serious thing.
- People across the country when I travel are always asking, “Doesn’t the Bible say something about what’s happening in the Middle East?” And yes, it does and we want to take these three topics, but I want to start with the “big picture.”
- As people are focused on the Middle East, Jimmy, you have lived there for more than twelve years. You know the key players. You’ve interviewed Arafat. You’ve interviewed Sharon. You have gotten all of the key players through the years. You’ve been at some of the peace treaties when they were signed. Give us the big picture, first of all, of what God is doing. Why the Middle East? Why is the world’s attention focused on the Middle East?
- DeYoung: John, I believe one of the reasons is that the ancient Jewish prophet Ezekiel, 2500 years ago, said that in the time that we could consider the “end times” or the time of the coming of the Messiah, there would be three things that would happen:
- Number one, there would be a regathering of the Jewish people. They were dispersed to the four corners of the earth back around 70 A.D., but God would bring them back together. Ezekiel 34, for example, 18 times says, “I will find them, I will search them out, I will gather them into the land. I will give them this land back.” The Hebrew word aliyah, which means literally “to go up to Jerusalem,” is applicable here because now it’s used to talk about immigration.
- Since Judy and I, my wife and I, have been living in Jerusalem, we’ve seen a mass exodus out of Ethiopia and a major airlift into Israel of Ethiopian Jews. Within 24 hours, 15,000 Ethiopian Jews back in 1991—greatest airlift in the history of the world! Since we moved to Israel, 1.3 million Russian Jews have come to live in the land. So this aliyah, the re-gathering of the Jewish people out of 108 nations in the world—for the last 100 years Jews have come to live there.
- Then Ezekiel said there would be a restoration of a Jewish state. Well, indeed, that’s exactly what’s happened. We celebrate every year the restoration of a miracle. I mean, as far as I know, the only time in history when the people were dispersed to the four corners of the earth, re-gathered, and reestablished as a state.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, that’s something that has happened in our lifetime.
- DeYoung: It is. And indeed, it is operating in this part of the world on a land bridge that is very, very important in the Middle East. It connects Europe; it connects Asia; and it connects Africa together. And so they’re in a key location. The Bible talked about, even in Ezekiel, that Jerusalem would be “the center of the earth,” and that is the case. And we now see the reestablishment of this Jewish state.
- The third thing I would say probably is the alignment of the nations against the Jewish people. And you’ve just talked about it. As we introduced this broadcast you looked at the front page of a newspaper. Listen to the newscasts on radio and television. We’re talking about nations mentioned in the Bible that will align themselves against the Jewish people.
- So, those three factors, I believe, are indicators that we are living in a time near the return of the Messiah, but a time that all of us need to be paying attention to.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And we’re going to actually get back to this war on terrorism and Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in detail because you’ve just returned from Israel recently ago.
- But, Rennie, I want to continue with this thing. The fact is, we’re not just here to talk about world events, but we’re here to say that these world events are going someplace. And the way that we know that is because God has said this in Scripture a long time ago. But now they’re coming about and it’s going toward something that’s very, very key. Give us the broad outline of where history is going.
- Showers: John, the Bible makes it very clear that God has an ultimate purpose for history, and ultimately to glorify Himself by demonstrating the fact that He alone is the Sovereign God. And the Scriptures indicate that God works in and through nations, and Israel is always in the prophetic Scriptures the center of the whole foray there. But you also have other references to nations such as Iran, and Sudan, and Libya, and Turkey, and Syria, and Egypt. But all of them, what’s their relationship to the nation of Israel in the Middle East?
- And biblically, in order for God to accomplish His purpose for history, He’s got to crush Satan and Satan’s rule and domination over the current world system in which we live. And so the Scriptures indicate that in order to do that, there’s going to be a period of time when God will pour out His wrathful judgment upon Satan’s domain here upon the earth. We’ve come to call that the Seven-Year Tribulation Period. But we believe the Scriptures teach that before that, Jesus will come out of Heaven down to the air—not all the way down to earth on this occasion— He will catch up His Bride, the Church, from the face of the earth. His Church will meet Him in the air, and then Jesus will return with those Church Saints back to the Father’s House in Heaven.
- And then after that, Planet Earth will enter into this unique seven-year period of time, that the ancient Jewish rabbis called “the birth pangs of the Messiah” for seven years. And the idea was that just as a woman has to go through a whole series of birth pangs and suffering before she delivers a new life into the world, so Planet Earth is going to have to go through an intense period of seven years of birth pang suffering before a new age, namely, the Millennial Age, is born into the world when Christ will come back to Planet Earth—this time all the way down to earth in His glorious Second Coming after the seven-year period—and then will restore God’s theocratic kingdom rule to the world. And as God’s last Adam, Jesus will administer God’s rule for this entire earthly planet of God’s universal kingdom.
- But during that seven-year period of the birth pangs there will be three series of judgments that the Lord will pour out upon Satan’s domain here, upon the face of the earth. So you have seven seal judgments, and seven trumpet judgments, and seven bowl judgments, and what He’s doing is, He is beginning to bombard and systematically attack and tear down Satan’s domain here, and Jesus will complete that, doing away with Satan’s rule at His Second Coming when Jesus will have the Antichrist, the false prophet, and the rulers and armies of all the nations of the world that have come against Israel just decimated, removed from the earth. And then Satan himself at the Second Coming will be removed from the earth, imprisoned in the abyss where he is held as a prisoner for a thousand years. Every unsaved person—members of Satan’s kingdom alive on the earth at the Second Coming—will be removed from the earth in judgment. And then Jesus will restore God’s kingdom rule to the earth and reign for one thousand years on behalf of God.
- Ankerberg: People say, “Come on, you guys! You really believe that?” And we’re saying, listen, if you believe in Jesus, you know, people believe that Jesus was born; He was put in the manger. They believe that He taught—He was a great teacher, and He went to the cross and He died. And yeah, He rose from the dead. Okay? But Jesus is the One who said, “Guys, you know, I’m coming back. I’m coming back.” And so, if you’re going to take any part of His teaching, you’ve got to take that one as well. And that’s what He said. He is going to return. And this thing you call the Rapture, somewhere along the line—it could be any moment; it could be while this broadcast is going on…
- Showers: That’s right.
- Ankerberg: …Christ could come and every Christian that’s on Planet Earth is gone.
- Showers: Yes.
- Ankerberg: And only the unbelievers are left. And then they go into this terrible time of tribulation. Do we believe it? Yeah, we believe it.
- Now, in terms of world events, there are some world events that seem to be the precursors, the setting up, if you want, of what we’re talking about. Because we talked about Jerusalem being on the table. That’s why it’s important. It came into existence as a nation while Jimmy, you and I, and Rennie have been alive. Okay? I can remember reading prophecy scholars, as you guys have, before the eighteenth century who were talking about Israel had to have this happen to them—they had to become a nation in the future sometime, and there wasn’t a shred of evidence back there that that was going to happen. But it has happened in our time. The Jews have Jerusalem. They’re talking about rebuilding their Temple, which is another topic we’re going to get to.
- But all right, let’s talk about in relationship to that big picture of where God says it’s heading, how do you guys see any of those three things that we were talking about? The war on terrorism—what do the Scriptures say or does the Bible say anything about the fact that we have a worldwide war on terrorism? Let’s start with that one. What comes to mind? Jimmy?
- DeYoung: Well, Matthew 24, a record of Jesus Christ. You start talking about Jesus teaching prophecy, prior to His death He taught prophecy. Forty days after His resurrection He spent one-on-one, basically, with His disciples teaching them about future events, prophecy. And so it was dear to His heart and He wanted to prepare them.
- But in Matthew 24 He said “there are going to be wars, rumors of wars, kingdom against kingdom, nation against nation.” Well, that’s exactly what we’re seeing and we see a non-tangible nation, a group of peoples—militant Islam, basically—rising up, involved in a war against those who are opposed to their philosophy of life, opposed to an Islamic rule that would control the entire world. And the Islamic militants look at us as “unbelievers.”
- And so the word Islam is never used in the Bible, the philosophy—anti-Jewish/anti-Christian philosophy—is very prevalent today. And as you look at the players—Rennie mentioned a couple of them just a moment ago. They’re all right there in the Scripture—as you look at the players, the lowest common denominator for all of those players is the Islamic faith and the militant aspect of that. And I think that’s what’s bringing it together to gel. At least one aspect of what you talked about, this terroristic war against the rest of society.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. In fact, we’ve gone through the countries that the Bible actually picks out that puts together in coalitions which is just fascinating to me.
- Rennie, before we take a break here, what else comes to mind when you think of worldwide terrorism?
- Showers: Well, I have to go back again to the fact that Israel as a nation has experienced it more than anybody else over decades, and you can count on it that anybody who is allied with Israel as a result can become a target for terrorist activity. But you know, the nations we named earlier, every one of them today are Islamic nations religiously. And they’ve been the ones that often have been supporting terrorist activities—at least a number of them have been, like Syria, for example, and some others as well, and Sudan and Libya supporting terrorist activities. And so it’s interesting that the Scriptures are portraying all these nations are going to play a role, particularly in relationship to Israel, and that has ramifications for other nations as well in the end-time events of world history.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break and when we come back, I’ll give you a couple of mind-boggling numbers on the amount of money that Saudi Arabia has given to the Wahhabis [also Wahabi: a reform movement within Islam] to teach radical Islam around the world. It has just come out. It was broken by Newsweek and I mean, it’s just off the charts. And then we’ll talk about the numbers involved in terms of the people that hold that position which will kind of tell us where we’re going in the future. But then I want to come back to: How do you put into perspective that which has happened in Iraq? We’ve gone into Iraq, gotten rid of Saddam Hussein. We’re now trying to establish a democracy there, kind of a foothold in the Middle East in terms of democracy to try and stabilize things. Will this help stabilize the Middle East? Will this help in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict? We want to talk about that. We’ll do it next. Please stick with us.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and we’re talking with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung and Dr. Renald Showers on biblical prophecy and world events. I told you I would talk a little bit about what’s coming out—here’s U.S. News, “The Roots of Global Terror: How the Saudis Made Jihad an International Industry.” This is brand new at this time that we’re taping the program. What is says is that 70 billion—with a “b”—70 billion dollars was given to the Wahhabis across the world to establish fundamentalist Islamic groups in different countries. Seventy billion dollars!
- Or, here’s Time magazine. “Exclusive: The Hidden Enemy—Going Behind the Lines With the Terrorists.” With what is taking place in our world, we have been glued to our sets all of 2003. Now we’re looking at our sets in terms of what’s going to happen in Iraq. How do you see Iraq and some of the things the Bible says about Babylon in the future? Give us what you think, Rennie.
- Showers: A lot depends, John, on how you interpret Revelation 17 and 18, which are referring to a future form of Babylon. And there are some very fine Bible scholars who believe that it will be a revival of literal Babylon and that the ancient city of Babylon will be rebuilt and that will become a dominant at least “commercial” power in the future.
- There are other Bible scholars who take a different approach and feel that Babylon there is symbolic of what will be the center of the last great form of Gentile world dominion here upon Planet Earth, namely, a future form of the Roman Empire with the city of Rome as the capital city of that. And so they believe that Babylon there is a symbol for Rome. One reason they do that is because, for example, where it is referred to in Revelation 17 it talks about the city that sits on seven mountains or seven hills, and obviously, the city of Rome was always noted along those lines.
- Historians have stated that Greece adopted almost the entire Babylonian culture into its Grecian kingdom and then that was passed on to the Roman Empire when Rome conquered Greece. And that therefore, Rome became the ultimate Babylon symbolically. It’s interesting that in Revelation 11 you have Jerusalem referred to symbolically as Sodom and Egypt and so some say that’s what you have here with Babylon. It’s also interesting that we’re told in Revelation 18 that when this city “Babylon the Great” is destroyed, that the merchants and sea people who have carried on trade with her extensively, they don’t go near where it is. They stay in their ships out in the sea but they’re close enough where they can see the smoke rising when this city is destroyed. Well, it’s interesting if you look at ancient Babylon where it was located, that was about 250 miles from the sea. Would you be able to see the smoke of a city that far away being destroyed? Whereas, the city of Rome is only 15 to 20 miles from the sea and would be much closer where people would have greater opportunity to see it. So, these are some of the reasons. There are others as well that some believe that Babylon there is symbolic for the last great form of Gentile world dominion that will be there right up to the Second Coming of Christ, which was a future form of the Roman Empire with the city of Rome as it capital city.
- Ankerberg: Yeah. And then there are some other verses that seem to stand out to some of the others and we don’t have to be the final word on this one. There are some things that we’re open to, but I find it fascinating, Jimmy, that there seems to be a difference between what is said about Babylon in Revelation 17 and what it says in Revelation 18. Kind of explain that.
- DeYoung: Well, I happen to believe that Revelation 17 is referring to an ecclesiastical Babylon; Revelation 18 referring to an economic Babylon. Now, what I mean by that, the one world false religion headquartered in that seven-hilled city called “Rome” and the prototype was basically put in place 4500 years ago by a man named Nimrod back in the 10th and 11th chapters of the Book of Genesis where he went to the literal city of Babylon, establishing a one-world religion and a one-world government at that point in history. That prototype has been evident basically throughout history, or at least the philosophy of that prototype.
- I believe that the Bible, when it talks about a religion or a false worship center there in Rome, it’s referring to the Antichrist ruling from that particular location in Rome—this one world religion. But it says in Chapter 17, verse 16 that the revived Roman Empire comes to power, they destroy this false religion, they give then their power to the Antichrist. The last verse of Chapter 17 refers to a city that will rule the kings. And then we go to Chapter 18, and six times in Chapter 18 it talks about a city as it had talked about a prostitute, a whore, or a woman in the 17th chapter, now a city. I believe it’s the literal city, a city that has never been destroyed. Isaiah 13; Jeremiah 50 and 51; the Book of Revelation 16:17ff talks about Babylon being destroyed, a literal city being destroyed.
- And I see in the last six months to a year we had seen the emergence of an opportunity to make Babylon, i.e., Iraq, the headquarters for an economic center of the world. Ambassador Paul Bremer said that they are going to build from the ground up a telecommunications system, state-of-the-art, in Iraq, which would give a capability for a false world leader to control the world economically from that position. They say they tap less than two percent of the oil deposits underneath the earth there in Iraq, and some have estimated that oil source could be greater than Saudi Arabia, Russia and Venezuela all put together.
- So, this could be the richest country of the world, positioning Iraq and/or then the city of Babylon where, by the way, we now have a 21-nation multi-national military force headquartered—in the city of Babylon. One of my staff members on my nationwide radio talk program was there. He’s arranging for us to go into Babylon and do some television programming from there. And so there is an active city of Babylon going on. It has never been destroyed and the Scriptures talks about it being destroyed.
- Ankerberg: It talks about it being destroyed “in one hour.” It keeps using that number—one hour.
- DeYoung: Three times in Chapter 18.
- Ankerberg: Any thoughts about why one hour?
- DeYoung: Because when it’s going to be destroyed, chapter 16 of Revelation says God is going to release His judgment upon it because of what happened when they desecrated the Temple—Nebuchadnezzar back in Daniel Chapter 5, when Belshazzar continued to desecrate the implements from the Temple, God pronounced an eternal judgment on the city of Babylon. And I believe God will destroy it. It says great hailstones, the weight of a talent—50 to 100 pound stones—destroying this city. I believe the scenario then the Antichrist will leave the city of Babylon, make his way back to Jerusalem, try to gather the armies of the world to go against Jesus Christ.
- One interesting caveat to this. Saddam Hussein has been involved for over a decade, before he was deposed and then captured, trying to rebuilt this city of Babylon. He thought he was the reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar. He put together a Jerusalem army of seven million people. That’s a third of the population of the state of Iraq. He was going to go to Jerusalem, he was going to liberate for the Palestinians the nation of Israel and the city of Jerusalem.
- But I think God realized that was not in the prophetic scenario He laid out in Scripture. I don’t believe He in an audible voice spoke to George W. Bush, but I do believe that God works through world leaders, as it says in Chapter 17, verse 16, “I use world leaders to accomplish my will.” I believe He used George W. Bush, the mighty military might of America to go in to depose Saddam Hussein because it wasn’t in the scenario that Iraq would go against Israel. And I believe that stage is set in Iraq and I believe the Scriptures are unfolding before our very eyes.
- Ankerberg: That’s interesting. We’ve got lots more. People are jittery; they’re jumpy. They look at world events and they know that the Middle East could be a place where the next war, world war occurs. In fact, 70 percent or more of the American people hold that according to surveys that were just taken. We need some hope. We can’t leave them in this position. What is the hope for those who have possessions but they’re not happy with life. They’re looking at the world events and they’re saying, “I’m kind of scared. I don’t know about the future.” And they don’t like that feeling. What does Jesus Christ offer to them?
- DeYoung: You know, I think about Jesus in the Upper Room with His very anxious disciples the day, or the evening before He was crucified. He had been telling them He was going to be crucified. He looks at them and He says this: “I tell you this before it happens, so that when it happens you can know I am who I said I am and I’ll do what I said I would do.” I believe that’s where we are today. He wrote through ancient Jewish prophets these scenarios for the end times. We see them unfolding. He says, “I’m telling you this before it happens so you can know I am who I am and I’m going to do what I said I’m going to do. Don’t be anxious. Just put your faith and trust in Me.”