The Middle East, the War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East – Program 6
|By: Dr. Jimmy DeYoung; ©2002|
|What events in our own lifetime indicate that Christ’s return to earth may be very near?|
The End is Near?
Today, Dr. John Ankerberg examines The War on Terrorism and the Hope for Peace in the Middle East. John’s guest is news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who lives in Israel. Today, he reports on what has been taking place in the last two months. Will a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs last? Will Yasser Arafat and other Arab leaders be willing to publicly denounce those involved in terrorist activities? Will Israel be willing to stop settlement activity in occupied territories, and be willing to give up land for peace? Who will govern the city of Jerusalem in the future, and what will happen in the Middle East if the peace plan fails? We invite you to join us for this special report.
- Ankerberg: Welcome. My guest today is news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who has lived in Jerusalem since 1991 covering news events. He has interviewed many international leaders, including Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens; Jordan’s new foreign minister, and Palestinian Arab leader Yasser Arafat, just to name just a few.
- Jimmy is also a Christian and a scholar who holds a Ph.D., and I’m asking him to comment on events both politically as well as from the Bible. And Jimmy, again, I’m glad that you’re here.
- DeYoung: Thank you.
- Ankerberg: I want to talk with you about the events in the Middle East that you’ve witnessed over the years. Apply that to your Bible that you’ve been reading all these years. What events kind of just slap you in the face? What events that you’ve witnessed in your own lifetime stand out as being indicators that Christ’s coming to earth may be near?
- DeYoung: Four major trends since Judy and I have lived in Jerusalem have just—wham! Right there! —helped me to understand we’re living in those days quickly approaching the return of Jesus Christ. One of them would be Alyia. Now, that’s a Hebrew word which means literally “to go up to Jerusalem,” and that was done three times a year during the three Pilgrim Feasts. Every Jew was required to go back to Jerusalem. But now that term is applied to making immigration. Since, for example, we moved into Jerusalem, over one million Jews from the former Soviet Union, most of them from Russia, have come to live in the land. That’s Alyia. That’s immigration into the land.
- On May 24, 1991, I reported on “Operation Solomon,” the greatest airlift in the history of the world. In 24 hours, 15,000 Ethiopian Jews were transferred from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to Jerusalem. I was there to cover it, and in fact, as we were helping feed those new Ethiopian arrivals, the tears started coming in my eyes as I thought about Zephaniah 3:10 where He says, “In the last days I will reach into Ethiopia and bring my prize into the land.” Now, the prize is defined in Isaiah as “His people.” So, Alyia of the Jewish people.
- Alignment of the Nations. We’ve talked about in the past how the nations, basically the ones that are the major players on the world scene today, will form a coalition headed by Russia, including some of the Arab nations, some of the Islamic countries, who will come against Israel in the last days. And we see these nations aligning themselves, forming coalitions, to come against the Jewish state.
- Anticipation for peace. Every world leader has that word peace on the tip of his tongue, talking about, “How can we bring peace to the Middle East?” President Bush spends much of his time working on bringing peace to the Middle East, to the Palestinians and the Israelis, to the rest of the Arab world, and to Israel. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, does the same thing. All these world leaders working for peace in the Middle East. So, anticipation for peace.
- And the fourth of these major trends, as I look at the world and know what God’s Word has to say about the end times, would be arrangements for the Temple. All the preparations have been made for that third Temple that will stand on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. The priests. They have trained. They have their garments. They have the implements to use in the Temple. They have a red heifer. They’ve just had a red heifer born in Israel itself that’s needed for this coming Temple. They know where the Ark of the Covenant is. I’ve talked to two rabbis who were underneath the Temple Mount, saw the Ark of the Covenant. The Bible in 2 Chronicles 35:3 says that’s where the Ark of the Covenant is. They have the Menorah, 100 pounds of gold used to produce the Menorah that goes into the Temple. So these preparations to build the Temple all in place as well.
- So you have Alyia—the Jewish people, immigration back into the land; you have alignment of the nations; anticipation for peace; and arrangements for the Temple. Those are the four major trends that I see happening. This is what I’ve witnessed. I’ve been a part of some of these things happening, and they are great indicators that Jesus Christ is on His way and it could be very soon when He arrives.
- Ankerberg: Not only that but Jerusalem is just, I mean, in the news all over the place, and right now, it is a place that the whole world has got to deal with, but they don’t know what to do.
- DeYoung: You know, in my neighborhood, I live in Gilo. It’s a neighborhood in Jerusalem. There is a place, Har Homa. Har Homa is between east Tal Piot and Gilo. These are neighborhoods in the city of Jerusalem. It’s the only section that faces out towards Bethlehem that did not have Jewish people living in it. And so the Israeli government gave permission to the city of Jerusalem to go out to Har Homa and start building apartments. You’ve got to put up 6,000 apartments, I believe, in that area.
- Well, the whole world got up in arms. In fact, the United Nations stopped talking about everything else—starvation running rampant across the world; AIDS, an epidemic that’s unbelievable in this world; all the unrest and non-peace around the rest of the world—and the United Nations stops everything to talk about Har Homa in the city of Jerusalem. You’re right, John. The focus of this world is on the city of Jerusalem. The debate as to “will it be a capital for the Palestinian state?” That’s on the lips of most world leaders, as well. Yasser Arafat making the statement, “We’re going to put a million martyrs together if we have to, to come in and take Jerusalem and put the Palestinian flag, wave it from every church, synagogue, and mosque in the city of Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem. There’s a magic in that word. The Bible says in the last days it will be a cup of trembling, a burdensome stone—that phrase probably referring to the fact it’s going to be a weight too heavy to handle, to lift up. So Jerusalem is key.
- Daniel 9:24 says this. He said, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and thy holy city.” God has a special plan for a special people in a special place. The special plan has seven years left in it—that seven-year Tribulation Period. The special people? Daniel’s people, the Jewish people. The special city, that holy city? Well, Nehemiah 11:1 says, “Jerusalem is the holy city” and if you want to know what God is doing, what His time clock is saying, you focus on two things: the Jews and Jerusalem. Then you’ll know where God is.
- Ankerberg: When General MacArthur left the Philippines, he promised the people, he said, “I will return,” and he kept that promise to the people in the Philippines. Very few people know that Jesus Christ, when He walked on this earth, said, “I am going to return.” I believe He intends to keep that promise. And I want to talk a little bit about Christ’s coming back to earth. And there are two aspects, if you want. One is called the Rapture. Now, people who look in their Bible won’t find the word Rapture, so where do we find it? If they had their Latin Bible, they’d find it real easy. But the fact is, where do you find the Rapture? What is it? And what’s going to happen?
- DeYoung: Well, the Rapture, as you say, that word is not found in the Bible. But in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 it talks about that the ones who believe Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior will be caught up to be with Him. And that Latin word is rapturo, which is where we get our word for Rapture. But “being caught up” is the picture of us going to be with Him. Just before He left, He said, “Let not your heart be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you…I shall come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” That’s the promise that Jesus made to His disciples, thus to all of us who know Christ as Lord and Savior. “I’m going. When I’ve got the place prepared, I’m going to come and gather you up to be with Me.”
- First Corinthians 15 talks about, in a moment, in the twinkle of an eye we’ll be caught up to be with Him; our bodies will be changed. This corruptible will put on incorruptibility and this mortal will put on immortality. We will be there to be with Him forever and ever. The Rapture; the next main event in God’s calendar of activities.
- By the way, I’m not too much concerned about the word Rapture not being in the Bible. The word Trinity is not in the Bible either and I do believe in the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. In fact, the word Bible is not even used in the Bible. But the principle of the Rapture of the Church is right there.
- Ankerberg: I’ve been reading some of the liberal scholars in preparation for another project, and I’ve been interested to see as they’ve gone back and looked at the early Christians, that they kept on hammering over and over again, that the early Christians, they believed that Jesus was God. They didn’t have it all figured out. That’s how we had the debates in terms of the creeds, in terms of Nicea and Chalcedon and so on. But also, one of the things besides the fact of Jesus was God and trying to figure out, okay, if Jesus is God and there’s only one God, then how do we figure all that out; but the second thing was, they expected Christ to come back at any moment. And in terms of the Rapture, we don’t have to have any events, we don’t have to have any signs that we’re waiting for. Christ could come back at any moment. But then, after that, the Tribulation takes place. Talk about, first of all, what is going to actually happen in the Rapture and then how that leads into the Tribulation. And what is the Tribulation, for people who say, “I don’t know what that means”?
- DeYoung: The Rapture is the taking out of the body of Christ, the bride of Christ, those who have trusted in Him as Lord and Savior sometime after the Resurrection of Christ until the Rapture of the Church. That would be the “Church.” The Church was not before that; will not be after that. But that is the Church who is caught up, His bride, to be with Him forevermore, 1 Thessalonians 4:17, says. “Therefore, comfort ye with these truths.”
- When that happens, it’s going to be unbelievable on the face of the earth. People are going to have to explain away Satan who is going to kind of move in those seven years to try to defeat God one final time. He knows the Scriptures. He understands what’s going to happen, so he’s going to put everything he has into defeating God in those last seven years. Satan is going to have a way of explaining it. You know, there are a lot of “Star Wars” movies. There are a lot of science fiction books out there. There’s a lot of television programs that talk about this—invasion from outer space. I do believe they may even use that to explain away what happened as far as the Rapture is concerned. But after that, the seven-year Tribulation begins.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re going to take a break and we’ll come back to that Tribulation time period. Christ comes; we meet Him in the air. We are out of here! The “great snatch,” as Hal Lindsey calls it. And we’re gone. Meantime, the people that have not believed are left and things are now going to happen on planet earth that the Bible talks about and we’re going to talk about that Tribulation and then when Christ actually comes and His feet actually hit the earth, and when He defeats His enemies. We’re going to talk about that. If you’ve never heard about it, please stay tuned.
- Ankerberg: Alright, we’re back, and I’m talking with news correspondent Jimmy DeYoung, who actually lives in Jerusalem, Israel. And, Jimmy, I want you to put the cookies on the bottom shelf here. People are saying, “You know, when I read that Bible, it’s a complicated book. And when I listen to prophecy teachers, I’m spaced out. I don’t know where we’re at. Just give me the picture so that I can understand it. You’ve got the Rapture, okay, when Christ comes and He takes Christians out of here. There’s a whole lot of people left in the world. What happens then, what do you call it, where’s history headed?
- DeYoung: Well, I believe there are three main events in God’s calendar of activities for the future, John. The next, as you said, is the Rapture of the Church, taking the Christians out of this land. Then, there’s a seven-year period of time before the next main event, which is the Revelation of Christ, or the Second Coming. Now, that’s when He comes back to the earth. At the Rapture, He comes in the air and we’re caught up to meet Him. At the Second Coming, He comes back to the earth, plants His feet on the Mount of Olives. Between those two events—and they’re two separate events—there’s a seven-year period of time. That’s called the Tribulation Period. After that there will be a Thousand-Year Millennial Kingdom, and then the Great White Throne Judgment.
- Let’s think about that seven years just for a moment. That seven-year Tribulation Period referred to in the Bible as sometimes “the times of Jacob’s trouble,” which is really the last three and a half years of it, there will be many events that happen. The first three and a half years there will be the appearance of an Antichrist, a world ruler, who claims to be the messiah. He is referred to as the Antichrist—has actually 27 names. He will be headquartered in the city of Rome over a false church, a church that is in a seven-hilled city, the city of Rome, and we can see all the trappings for a false church in place in this world even as we live.
- During that time, the Antichrist will confirm a peace treaty with Israel. There will be an attack. The second seal judgment in chapter 6 of the book of Revelation talks about that judgment of war, and a coalition of nations with Russia, Iran, Libya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, Syria, Egypt. These nations will come against Israel in the last days. And so we’ll see that all unfolding.
- Then they’ll build a Temple. That Temple will stand on the Temple Mount in the city of Jerusalem. Jesus talked about in Matthew 24:15, “When you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel.” Well, that happens at the Temple. Thus, there must be a Temple. There’s not a Temple in Jerusalem. All the preparations are ready to erect that Temple. They need to simply move that Dome of the Rock away, and possibly a stray SCUD will hit that Dome of the Rock during that battle between this coalition of nations in Israel, wipe it out. The Antichrist will say, “Well, see, I took care of that for you. Now, build your Temple up there.” Daniel 11:45 seems to indicate that’s the way it’s going to happen.
- When that all comes together, they start to worship in the Temple, but at the midway point, the Antichrist moves from Rome and that false church to Jerusalem. He goes in, desecrates the Temple, and then he’s going to move over to the city of Babylon. Babylon? Yes. Literal Babylon, located in modern-day Iraq. Saddam Hussein. Those are synonymous terms with where the Antichrist is going to be headquartered. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I didn’t say Saddam was the Antichrist. It’s impossible for him to be the Antichrist. But Babylon, a literal city that has never been destroyed. Jeremiah 50 and 51 says that Babylon has to be destroyed and Revelation 16:17ff and Revelation 18 talks about Babylon being destroyed. So Antichrist will be headquartered there.
- During the Gulf Crisis everybody said, “Can the Antichrist control this world from Babylon?” Well, Saddam Hussein was going in, took over Kuwait, was going into Saudi Arabia to take it over. That would have been 63 percent of all the oil deposits in this world within his control. Any economic will say, if you control 63 percent of the oil deposits, you control the economies of this world.
- By the way, our president is discussing, even as we sit here doing this program, the possibility of invading Iraq and taking Saddam Hussein out. Why? Because he’s concerned that Saddam Hussein, with his weapons of mass destruction, can control this world. We’re concerned about anthrax. You sniff anthrax and in three weeks you die. Saddam Hussein has VX nerve gas. You put a drop on the tip of your finger and in three minutes, you twitch to death. He has 200 tons of it—enough to kill every man, woman, boy and girl on the face of the earth. Again, he’s not the Antichrist. I’m simply saying, from Iraq, from biblical Babylon, you can control this world. That’s part of the scenario that is unfolding here in the book of Revelation during that seven-year period of time. In fact, if you want to read it, you can go to the book of Revelation chapter 4 verse 2 through chapter 19 verse 10 and that fifteen chapters unfolds what’s going to take place, along with some of the other things we’ve talked about on the program today.
- At the conclusion of that time, in fact, the last thing that’s going to happen before Jesus Christ comes back is the destruction of Babylon and the capture of Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet—the Satanic “trinity.” If we’re so close to doing something militarily in Iraq and dealing with Babylon, how close could we be to that prophetic scenario laid out in God’s Word and the Second Coming of Christ? But remember, seven years before that, seven years before that, the Rapture of the Church takes us out of here.
- And then Jesus Christ comes back. He sits down on the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives splits. I believe that false church that was built on the Temple Mount where the Antichrist desecrates with the abomination of desolation is destroyed. Zechariah 6:12 says, then Jesus Christ builds a Temple. The armies of the world—we’re talking about, well, let’s just conservatively say, 100 nations. There’s probably 200 plus nations in this world. And each of these 100 nations has one million soldiers—that 100 million soldiers gather at Jerusalem. Jesus Christ comes back. They flee to the valley of the mountains.
- What’s the valley of the mountains? Well, that’s the Jezreel Valley. It’s 67 miles long, 14 miles wide, a thousand square miles. That’s a great battlefield. Napoleon said it’s the greatest battlefield in all the face of the earth, and the mountains surround it—Carmel, mountains of the Galilee, Mount Moreh, Mount Tabor, the mountains of Samaria—all of these mountains around it. Mount Tabor over there. Anyway, that’s where the battle is going to take place.
- Christ will go up there, He’ll speak, and all He’ll have to say…I don’t know what He’ll say. Probably, “Die!” and they’ll all die. And the Bible says the blood will flow as high as the horse’s bridle for 176 miles. Now, is that possible? Well, yes, if you’ve got 100 million soldiers up there, they have six quarts of blood in all of those bodies, that 600 million quarts of blood. That’s about 50 quarts of blood for every foot for 176 miles. I think the Bible is literal when it talks about that Battle of Armageddon.
- Do you know what it says in Isaiah 63? Messiah walks down that trail of blood to Bosra in Edom. That’s Petra; that’s that location in southern Jordan today which many people, many Bible scholars, including myself, believe that that’s the place God has prepared to protect the Jewish people. He goes down there. He gathers them in. He comes from the way of the East across the Mount of Olives, across the Kidron Valley, up through that Eastern Gate, and He walks into the Temple, into the Holy of Holies and sits down to rule and reign for that Thousand-Year Millennial Kingdom.
- Ankerberg: That’s fantastic. For the person that does not know that Jesus, who has got just kind of a fairy-tale image of Jesus, talk to them about having a personal relationship with the living God through Christ.
- DeYoung: John, when I was eleven years old, December 23, 1951, Miami, Florida, I almost get teary-eyed on this, Mr. Cribbs, my Sunday School teacher, said, “You’re a sinner without Christ as Savior, and your eternal destiny is hell if you don’t receive Christ.” Now, at eleven, I understood that. I wasn’t a great sinner. I’d never stole anything. Never even knew how to cuss at that age. I’d never smoked any cigarettes, drank any liquor—all the things we think are bad. But I’d been born in sin. And God said that sinful nature cannot come into My presence. And now Mr. Cribbs told me that Jesus Christ had come to take away my sin. He shed His blood on Calvary’s tree to take away my sin.
- You know, when he explained it to an eleven-year-old boy, it was as simple as A, B, C. A, I had to admit that I was a sinner. B, I had to believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ and that He would save me; and C, I had to call upon Him. That’s what the Bible says, Romans 10:13: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord.” And in childlike faith, I received Christ. All of our friends listening in today, who have understood that we are approaching the time of the return of Jesus Christ, need to be prepared. They can follow the ABC’s – Admit, Believe, and Call upon Christ as their Lord and Savior.