THE LAST DAYS OF BABYLON Part 2, THE RISE OF PERSIA

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"God has roused the spirit of the king of the Medes, because he has a plan against Babylon to destroy it..." ---Jeremiah 51:11

CHAPTER 6

The Kings of the East

"The sixth angel emptied his bowl over the great river Euphrates; all the water dried up so that a way was made for the kings of the East to come in."
Revelations 16:12

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When the apostles were first beginning to spread the Good News of Jesus into the world, the Holy Spirit instructed them "not to preach the word of God in Asia". (Acts 16:6-7). In the footsteps of this admonition, the initial thrust of Christianity as it spread across the earth went toward the west rather than the east.

This had profound implications for the future, not the least of which was the fact that Christianity thereafter would be seen as a western institution and be identified closely with western government.

Because the Holy Spirit directed the pathway of the spread of Christian faith, it is obvious that the scattering of the people of God throughout 'Babylon' had defined spiritual limits which were known to God even though those borders were invisible to us.

Jesus came to Jerusalem like the rising sun, because he was the 'Sonlight' of God. And he followed the sun -- rising in the East and proceeding west.

History shows that this has been the course that the message of the Gospel has taken as it has been preached across the world. It started in the Middle East and spread north and west throughout Europe while its eastern course was blocked and thwarted.

Five hundred years ago Columbus brought Christianity to the Western Hemisphere where it began to spread across the American continent. (Jer.25:22). Today it is sweeping across eastern Asia, coming, like the sun, full circle around the globe.

In his vision, Jeremiah saw God take a cup of wine and force the whole world to drink it -- Jerusalem first, and then the rest of the world in turn. "Take this cup of wine from my hand and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it, let them drink and reel and lose their wits at the sword I am sending among them." (Jer.25:15-33).

That 'sword' is the word of God -- the Gospel of Jesus -- the proclamation of heaven that has swept across the earth nation by nation over the centuries. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be those of his own household." (Mt. 10:34-36).

The entire world is destined to hear this word, and when it does, at some point during its circuit eastward, God will deem the journey of the word complete: "As for the king of Sheshak, he shall drink last of all." (Jer.25:26).

The recent acceptance of western political and spiritual ideologies by the Asian nations of the Soviet Union has opened up many new areas throughout the East for the preaching of Christ's word (God's cup of strong wine) bringing the path of the Gospel in its migration around the world almost full circle.

Eastern resistance to Christ has been both political and spiritual. Christian government heads no country in the eastern world, and with only a few exceptions never has. Certainly not in the way that such government has flourished in the West over the last 1700 years.

Even where the Spirit of Christ has gained a foothold in the East, it has done so only with great opposition.

When the communists took control of Russia and the nations of eastern Europe, they mounted a concerted attack on the political influence of the Christian Church in the Asian community, driving it out of power and underground, effectively neutralizing a large part of Christianity's eastern inroads.

If nothing else, the easy and spectacular success of an atheistic and secular communism in Asia during this century has made abundantly clear the degree of philosophical antagonism that currently exists toward Jesus and toward His message in that section of the world.

For the most part, Christ's vineyard has proved to be the western world. This can be seen in the West's prolific conversion history over the past 2000 years. That is because the Holy Spirit has given us a scripture that relates, not to the world in general, but to the people of Israel and to their captivity.

While 'Babylon' and 'Persia' are generic titles in scripture, each describing generalities that transcends geographic and historic borders, it is still easy to see geographic elements in their composition.

In the two, scriptural prophecy is fulfilled on a double stage that weaves back and forth between physical and spiritual elements. This, of course, is true with every subject of prophecy in the Bible. While the interweaving patterns are often clear in retrospect, they are usually difficult to see in advance.

One thing, though, is certain: there is a definite contrast between west and east in the Bible's use of the names 'Babylon' and 'Persia'.

In the previous world -- the world before the flood -- the same two divisions were evident. The western part was called Eden and the east, Nod. When Cain killed Able, God deported him from Eden and sent him east -- to become a wanderer in the land of Nod.

From the beginning of man's history, then, the East has represented a land hostile to, and independent of, the God of Israel. That is why Abraham had to leave his ancestral home. God took him out of the East and led him west.

God did the same with Babylon itself. At first Babylon and Persia were separated only by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. But this changed when 'Babylon' reappeared in the world under the banner of Rome.

By restructuring Babylon in Italy, the God has not only prepared us to understand the global implications inherent in the earlier framework, He has clarified the boundaries between the western world and the 'kings of the East'.

Scripture's prophecies are going to be fulfilled on a world stage, with the Euphrates river defining the border between the two primary combatants of the End. (See Map of the Euphrates River and the Nations it divides).

Except for minor incursions, the message of Jesus did not make a serious impact on the Far East until just this last century -- partly as a result of eastern isolation, and also because of the strong resistance Christ's word has faced in this part of the world.

Despite such obstacles there have lately occurred widespread conversions to Christ in a variety of eastern countries -- South Korea, for instance, and India, and, before that, in places like the Philippines. Smaller successes have occurred in Japan and China.

With the fall of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries, the existence of hundreds of thousands of Christians behind the Iron Curtain has recently come to light as well. The size of this underground church has swelled the ranks of the eastern church far beyond the numbers that were previously thought to exist in this part of the world.

These are exceptions, however, because for the most part, the East continues to this day to strongly resist Christian conversion.

While the resistance of the East to Christ is a measure of spiritual limits defined by God from the beginning, the true boundaries of God's faith are not physical, they are spiritual. The rejection of Jesus in Mongolia is no different than the rejection of Jesus in Kansas. Therefore, in many ways they are two parts of the same thing.

Yet Asia persists to be the heartland of Christ's rejection in the world and, according to scripture, somewhere within its perimeters lies the throne of the Antichrist. So it is in this contrary and militant hostility toward the Gospel that the differentiating factor seems most strongly to reside.

A good example of this can be seen in the intense antagonism to Jesus Christ which is now exploding across the Middle East. Iran, for instance, will not even allow a Christian church to exist inside its borders; and it forbids the existence of the Bible.

Scripture has always portrayed in draconic imagery this kind of overt antagonism to Israel's God. To the Hebrew's, the dragon is symbolic of the devil. But in the Orient, it is a symbol of worship. This has been true for thousands of years. For instance, Nebuchaddnezzar and his people worshipped in Babylon a giant serpent-dragon called 'Bel'.

One of the more persistent representations of the devil in scripture is that of a great red dragon (Rv.12:3), a master serpent who rules the lower waters. "That day, the Lord will punish, with his hard sword, massive and strong, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent; he will kill the sea-dragon." (Is.27:1).

Satan's reptillian imagery in scripture started with Adam and Eve in Eden. And John completed the Bible's imagery with his fire, smoke and sulphur-breathing serpent -- the 'great red dragon' described above -- destined to lead the kings of the East into the gathering of the nations at Armageddon.

In Greek mythology, Draco, the dragon, was the constellation of stars in the heavens which were thought to be responsible for bringing famine and pestilence to the world. But in the East (especially in China and Japan) the dragon has always occupied a place of great honor.

Since the light of God began in the East and followed the progression of daylight, going across the earth from east to west, we can expect the darkness of Satan to begin in the East as well, and to spread across the earth in the much the same way.

This is how the Euphrates river relates to that moment in the future when the Day of Jesus on earth is destined to come to an end. It is at this river that the 'night' of Satan will burst its eastern boundaries and move west, proceeding westward from there to take away the light of God across the world.

That aggressive and militant movement is stirring now in the camp of the Medes where Bibles and churches have recently been expelled.

The invasion of the West by the forces of the East is one of the most significant events of the last days. From its earliest pages, the Bible has consistently predicted that the final destruction of Babylon will come with the rise to power of the Prince of Persia. (2 Chron.36:20).

The prophecies are so numerous and so clearly stated in this regard that not even casual inspectors of scripture (astrologers like Nostradamus, for instance) could overlook or ignore them.

A harbinger of this eastern destruction happened centuries ago when the original Babylon was overthrown by the Persian king Cyrus, but that action was only a foreshadow of the future. The ultimate Prince of Persia is still to come.

At the head of an army greater than any the world has ever seen, this ranting madman from the North will overthrow the power of the western world, and, in his rampage, destroy the entire earth. In that disaster a third of the human race will die in warfare alone. (Rv.9:14).

The army which will inflict this terror on the planet will number 200 million soldiers. (Rv.9:16). Their battle colors, according to the Bible, will be blue, orange-red and yellow. (Rv.9:17). John said that in the van of this army, demon spirits would issue "out of the jaws" of the dragon, calling the entire world to the battlefields that prelude and surround Armageddon. (Rv.16:13).

'Out of its jaws' means out of its mouth. John is not talking only about military conquests here, he is also referring to a spiritual disaster. Something the dragon says -- the philosophy it preaches -- this is the 'demonism' that surrounds the Beast.

It is the spiritual darkness that will engulf the earth by systematically taking away from it the light of Christ -- creating a philosophical eclipse that will cloak almost every nation in spiritual darkness.

In this atmosphere of hostility, anti-christian sentiment will rise to fever pitch. Then, far from ruling the earth as it had in the past, Christianity will find itself at the mercy of those who hate Jesus and the type of righteousness He stands for. The whole ethical structure of the world will change. When this happens, the East will sweep to power.

The Bible teaches that there is a cause and effect relationship between sin and disaster.

As the West, steeped in a growing secular arrogance, sinks into profligate behavior, buried in pornographic fixations and a fanatic quest for wealth, its actions against Jesus will precipitate the formation of the mighty Persian armada, loosing the angels tied up by God at the Euphrates river -- and thus removing the final barricades that have kept this eastern force from assembling. (Rv.9:14).


The Last Days of Babylon

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