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
"I saw a fourth beast, fearful, terrifying, very strong; it had great iron teeth,
and it ate, crushed and trampled underfoot what remained.
It was different from the previous beasts and it had ten horns."
A small pile of crumbling stones lying on the west side of the Euphrates river in the country of Iraq marks the birthplace of the mystical empire called Babylon. This crumbling ruin now the dominion of Saddam Hussein is all that is left of Babylon's historic reality.
Yet the Bible has shown us that the historic aspect of this mystical kingdom that will forever mark the birthplace of human civilization has been far overshadowed by its spiritual essence. In the Bible's terms, Babylon stands for a world community that holds in prison the captive children of the House of Israel -- the people of God.
At the time of Christ the Jewish theologians were convinced that Rome was the spiritual Babylon of the Bible because it was this nation that then occupied Judea and administered its rule.
This notion seemed to solidify in 135 A.D. when Roman troops destroyed Judea as a nation and forbid Jews even to step foot inside the city of Jerusalem. Unknown to the Jewish leaders, that decree carried with it the power of God because it fulfilled the warnings of the prophets of scripture, and so it kept the Jews out of most of Palestine for almost 2000 years.
Rome at the time of Christ ruled the world. With all the prophecies of scripture concentrating at this focal point in history, coupled with the Jewish dispersion into Roman-controlled nations, it became obvious that the Rome of history and the 'Babylon' of the Bible were identical.
Filled with this spiritual comprehension -- a knowledge bestowed on them by the Holy Spirit -- those who listened to Christ understood the decrees of scripture, and so their faith was not shaken by the Roman annihilation of the Hebrew homeland. "Because they have not listened to him, my God will cast them off and they will be wanderers throughout the nations." Hosea 9:17).
As the Roman empire dissolved into western civilization, a third aspect of Babylon became apparent. The Holy Spirit blocked the spiritual march of Christ from going eastward and encouraged it to follow in the footsteps of the West.
Babylon, western civilization and the Roman empire all turned out to be synonymous terms.
Opposing Babylon in the ancient world was the empire of Persia. In the days of the Old Testament, Persia was a single country that sat on the eastern flank of the Euphrates river. Daniel prophesied that in one night this eastern giant would rise up and destroy Babylon.
Again, times in the Bible are symbolic. That single "night" represents the short term of the tribulation.
Under the influence of scriptural prophecy, the conflict between Babylon and Persia have become the template for the warfare surrounding the end of the world.
Scattered into all the nations that make up the spiritual empire the Bible calls 'Babylon', the people of God have been held captive in a pagan environment. This captivity became a key part of the mechansm for the rescue of God: "To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; there God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies." (Micah 4:10).
Pagan in its origination, Christ tried to cure the Roman empire and lead it to God. His disciples poured the Gospel of heaven inside its philosophic borders, filling the whole to overflowing.
This Christian attempt at cleansing Babylon met, at first, with immediate success.
The infusion of the Gospel saved the captive children of God, but the healing of Babylon, itself, proved shortlived. Like a cancer once in remission, paganism has quietly returned, suddenly turning metastatic in our day, and bringing western civilization immense notoriety in the modern world for a decadence unparalleled since the time of the Caesar's.
It's conversion to Christ is the proof of the mortal wound Jesus delivered to paganism -- the one described by John in the Book of Revelations -- and the western world's recent recant of that conversion, the wound's healing.
Rising up from the ashes of Sodom and Gomorrah, capitols of hedonism like 'Hollywood' and 'Las Vegas' now stand as sister-cities to their originals, and others just like them are rising up to dot the landscape of the nations of the western world.
Powered by people who hate Christ, these real-life 'Pottersville's' are enemies of everything the Bible stands for, and they are spewing out a satanic and godless filth that has covered the world like soot pouring up from a vast spiritual chimney rising up from the depths of the devil's Abyss.
As this empire's decadence grows, so, too, does a spiritual mace on the other side of the Euphrates river. It is growing there in response to the Bible's law. The only thing that has kept this Persian giant in remission is faith in Christ. With that now in freefall, Persia has awakened and has begun to break off its chains.
Spiritually these two empires designate sin on the one side, and its scourge on the other. In spiritual terms, Persia is the Bible's natural law -- a response built right into the creation as an answer to profligate behavior. It has nothing to do with the judgment. That comes later.
The tribulation and the judgment are completely different and are powered by entirely different entities. It is the Bible that brings the tribulation, because, as Jesus proved, its terms must be followed. It is God that brings the Judgment and that will come after the tribulation has ended.
Babylon is a conglomerate of nations buried in sinful conduct, while Persia is the destructive force that is destined to bring Babylon to its final ruin.
While Iraq and Iran specifically define the point of the invasion itself -- the Euphrates river -- it is less clear what role each will assume in the physical manifestation of that invasion.
It is obvious in Daniel's prophecies that, as the days of the end wind to a close, a northern king will become obsessed with eastern ways (little different, probably, from the Macedonian-born Alexander whose obsession for Greece 2200 years ago propelled him to become that nation's champion).
It seems safe to assume this, since the Holy Spirit has used the exploits of Alexander as an obvious overlay to Daniel's words.
An obsessive fascination for things Persian will lead the beast to the Middle East in the last days. Subverting that area's ancient traditions, he will drag all mankind into the disaster described.
As we have already seen, the empire this evil tyrant will come to command will be the fourth in a steady series of eastern empires that have challenged western civilization since the time of Christ.
The Euphrates river, while a centerpiece of the prophecies, has had little bearing on the eastern world's spectacular re-emergence to global might in this century. It didn't figure at all in the Japanese rise to power. Neither did it play a significant role in communism -- the militant eastern philosophy of Russia which rose to prominence in Asia.
What the coalition of communistic nations has done, however, is to amalgamate a large section of the Asian north into a cohesive and militant anti-Christian eastern force, producing the framework for a north/south division yet to come. The pivotal role of the Euphrates in these prophecies, then, still lies in the future.
Following a pattern etched in scripture by the prophet Daniel, each of the three previous invasions of the west by eastern forces during the Christian millenium has involved this river in one way or another. We have already examined these invasions in chapter 7.
The muslim incursions of the early middle ages, for instance, which saw the Arabs overrun and subjugate almost all of the territory occupied by the eastern Christian church, poured right across the Euphrates when they began.
The eastern invasions of the last days will do the same.
"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. Then from the jaws of dragon and beast and false prophet I saw three foul spirits come...demon spirits, able to work miracles, going out to all the kings of the world to call them together for the war of the Great Day of God the Almighty...they called the kings together at the place called, in Hebrew, Armageddon." (Rev.16:12-16).
The reason why the sixth angel was ordered to empty his bowl over this river is because it is at the Euphrates that God has chained up the four angels that are armed to cause the destruction of the West and as long as they remain chained there, the power of these eastern forces will be held back.
"...I heard a voice come out of the four horns...it said 'Release the four angels that are chained up at the great river Euphrates'. These four angels had been put there ready for this hour of this day of this month of this year, and now they were released to destroy a third of the human race." (Rev.9:13-15).
This is how sin weighs into the picture. It is the world's faith that holds those angels in bondage. The voice coming out of the four horns will command their release when the people of the world fully abandon God's path of righteousness.
Jesus revealed that God's power can work on earth only in the presence of faith. The collapse of that faith will loosen the bonds, because it will take away the power that has held them in place. God will then be obliged to order the chains broken. That will signal the end of the harvest.
The earth exists soley for God's harvest. The profligate behavior which has eroded Christian ethics in this century is a warning signal that the harvest has yielded the major fruits of its intention, and that only gleaning now remains.
Completing God's allegory of sowing and reaping, when the harvest ends, the field must be plowed. And at the helm of that plow, says the Book of Chronicle's, will be the 'Prince of Persia'.
Like the three Persian invasions preceding it, the fourth eastern invasion of the West will cross the Euphrates exactly as the vision has foretold. This time, however, while an east-west hostility will continue to underly the warfare, Daniel's prophecies show that the focus of the attack will shift to a north-south plane.
This new alignment defines the major combatants on Armageddon's stage. The Euphrates river will divide an eastern 'kingdom of the North' from another which Daniel calls the 'kingdom of the South'. The location of the river as the division between these two groups of nations gives us a clear picture of the alliances involved.
The Euphrates river begins high up in central Turkey and flows down into modern Syria, cutting right through the center of both Syria and Iraq before emptying into the Persian Gulf near Kuwait. At the border of Turkey and Syria the Euphrates comes quite close to the Mediterranean Sea before cutting back east towards Iraq and Iran.
As can be seen on the map, this river hangs like a scimitar to the north and east of Jerusalem, separating this city and the nation of Israel from a large band of Asian nations that lie to the north and east of it.
Coming down from Turkey into western Syria, the Euphrates river divides the East from the West; and its long course from Syria to the Persian Gulf divides the Middle East into the 'North' and 'South' familiar in the words of Daniel.
This separation also divides a Persian north from an Arab south. A future 'Maginot'-type of line with those kind of perimeters could only occur in the event of an Islamic civil war.
The eastern oriented North will include major parts of Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, part of Iraq and a great many of the nations that formerly comprised the old Soviet Union. Alot of other nations are certain to be involved in this empire as well -- countries that could easily stretch from Europe to the Far East.
The kingdom of the South -- most of the countries situated below the Euphrates -- will encompass Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, Egypt and a part of what is now Syria and Iraq. As we shall see in the pages ahead, it seems certain in Daniel's prophecy that this southern coalition of Arab nations will involve the United States as well.
These boundaries are not entirely geographic. Libya, for instance, is specifically mentioned in the prophecy of Ezekiel as one of the northern allies. North Africa most likely will join it.
As we watch history unfold, then, we are certain to see events that support the formation of these two coalitions of nations.
While some of this configuration may seem odd at the present time (even though the final alignment appears to be close) we must remember that a second precursory battle has been predicted for this area of the world, and its consequences will have a major impact on the eventual political framework of the Middle East.
Syria and Iraq will end up partitioned in the aftermath of this war, and the Euphrates river will cut through their territory, dividing the nations of the North from those of the South as the fateful battle lines assume their predicted form.
By locking Satan in the Abyss and placing the forces antagonistic to the House of Israel on a temporary and worldwide hold, God facilitated the world's conversion to the message of Jesus.
God's chains have effectively blocked Satan's most militant angels from seizing control of the world, and it is in these chains that they must remain until wickedness reaches a critical mass, and the Lord sets them free to unleash the final violence.
It is this spiritual incarceration that has kept the latent military power of the East in check throughout the reign of Christ's Church on earth. It is not the East itself, of course, that is God's enemy, but spiritual dominions and powers who are able to coerce the world's people to do Satan's bidding.
We can see by history that Satan's dominions and powers have enticed the people of the West to pursue a course far removed from the teachings of Christ. And, because of this, into the people of the East, scripture states, God will instill a spirit of war -- a thirst for vengeance.
It seems obvious that Satan's goal is to bring the two (profligacy and violence) together in a mammoth collision of forces.
All of this seems destined to coalesce at some point in the 21st century unless a major faith renewal intervenes.
Augmenting the collapse of Christian influence in the world, a growing number of people on earth no longer believe in God. In fact, it is this agnostic secular movement that now constitutes the fastest growing segment of the population on the planet.
We can see this non-religious group emerging in the United States and Europe quite rapidly today, but nowhere is the growth of this godless contingent more striking than in Russia and the Orient where, according to the World Almanac, they already constitute the largest single group of people on the Asian continent.
This contingent played a key role in the formation of the godless Soviet Union in the early part of this century, and they figure to be no less involved in the amalgamation of the northern segment of the ten-nation confederacy destined to rise up out of the Soviet vacuum.
Secularists are not the only opponents to Christ in the East, of course. About thirteen hundred years ago, the muslim invasions coming out of Media and Persia where the prophet Mohammed lived and died, produced a powerful spiritual opposition to Christ's teachings.
Combining these two we can see a 'type' of the eastern amalgamation against Jesus that the Bible says is soon to come -- a 'Persia' with a vast Asian army at its disposal.
An alliance between such powers could produce a union exactly like the one described in all the prophecies -- hordes of combatants from out of Asia aligning with troops filled with the kind of religious fervor found in Media and Persia in the northern Middle East.
Together, these two forces are predicted to mass for war against Jerusalem and the commercial West (the 'Babylon' to which Jerusalem has attached itself).
In the case of the Soviet Union this alliance did not take place, of course. These nations did not unite; the Anger never took hold. So instead of being viewed as the antagonists of the end themselves, current forces in these countries must be seen as the antecedents of future powers which have not yet arrived.
They stand as images of what could happen if sin is not countered in the western world by a resurgence of Christian faith.
The western world's march away from Jesus must be reversed. If not, the Bible's warnings clearly indicate that eastern forces will unite under a Middle Eastern banner, and, guided by two powerful northern kings, will bring forth a violent tribulation far more horrendous than anything the world has ever known. (Dn.9:12).
Pouring across the Euphrates, Daniel says, these forces will swarm into Jerusalem and crush the army of Israel. They will also capture Rome, overthrowing western rule in Europe.
Demolishing almost every nation of Babylon, these eastern armies will inflict vast devastation on earth as they fulfill the final visions of scripture -- violence rising up to become wickedness' own scourge. (Ez.7:11).
Caught in the middle of all this hostility will be the innocent and dwindling forces of the Prince of Peace. While the invaders of the past did not focus their attack on Christianity, the final eastern forces of the beast will do so with a vengeance.
Viewing the Christian Church as a foundation of western power, the Rebel's warriors will undertake a vicious attack upon it, and in so doing, they will bring the retaliation of the universe into the equation, sealing the planet's fate.
By aligning itself with Persia, this northern confederacy will become a party to the ambitions and obsessions driving the people of the Middle East. Thus, not only will intense anti-western sentiment exist among these forces, added to it will be bitter hostility toward the two Houses of Israel.
At the core of all this antagonism will lie the city of Jerusalem -- the unrepentant spiritual heart of Babylon. (Jer.50:12). "See, I am stirring up a league of mighty nations against Babylon. They will come from the land of the north, will draw up the battle line against her: there she will be captured; their arrows are like a victorious warrior, never returning empty-handed." (Jer.50:9).
Directly facing this affiliation of eastern nations will be the kingdom of the South -- a coalition of Arab nations supported by the strength of an isolated America, joining forces with Israel.
Despite the formidible military reserves of the United States, the Bible makes clear that the western world will be almost completely destroyed by the Persian onslaught. This is the time for the fall of Babylon, and it is written in scripture that it must occur.
While it is possible to see a secular ideology like communism driving the northern alliance, the very fact that the Rebel will be considered 'Persian' virtually guarantees that much of the momentum promoting this attack will be religious in nature and come from the Middle East.
Daniel confirms this, and his prophecies further show that the religion powering this attack will be alien, not just to Christians and Jews, but to most muslims as well (especially at the End, during the days of the Beast).
Looking at the militant Islamic character of this area today we could conclude that the religious element of the Rebel's army might be muslim. Perhaps so, but the Bible's descriptions of the beast and his forces are so unlike any Mohammedan sect currently known, such a relationship today seems quite remote.
Most muslim's, for instance, would be outraged at a warlord who came and claimed that he was God and commanded that they should worship him as such (which, according to Paul, is exactly what the Rebel will do -- 2 Thes.3:4). The Islamic religion doesn't even consider Mohammed himself as equal to God, let alone the Messiah predicted by the Koran.
Conditions necessary to allow such an individual to come to power in an area where religious barriers today block his kind of arrogance so well, can barely be comprehended.
Yet a military alliance authored by the beast between the northern Middle East and most of Asia is unmistakeable in Bible prophecy. This means that an incredible deception must take place throughout this area in the not-too-distant future.
We can see evidence of this deception in Daniel's prophecies. They indicate an Islamic civil war dividing the muslim stronghold right down the middle -- Arabs against Persians.
This is why the angels God has tied up at the Euphrates are so important. Their chains have blocked the kind of violent deceit in this area which the Rebel needs before he can ascend to his throne. Satan's power of deception is so strong, scripture tells us, that these chains were necessary for the word of God even to take hold on earth.
Satan's freedom in the last days, therefore, combined with the release of the jailed angels at the Euphrates are certain to be the two mechanisms that will facilitate the dynamic religious changes that scriptural prophecy projects for this part of the world in the few years that lie ahead.
As we have seen, the Book of Chronicles tells us that the Beast will be called the 'Prince of Persia'. Since the Rebel of the end is described in scripture as coming from the 'far north', he apparently will not be Persian by birth. In fact, scripture seems to indicate that he will not be.
His allegorical counterpart, Haman, was not Persian by birth (though he later rose to major power there), and the Anti-christ is certain to be formed in Haman's mold. (Esth.3:1). Like Haman, scripture shows that the beast's association with an area immediately east of the Euphrates will be indisputable.
The Rebel will gather his political following and much of his military strength by embracing the philosophies of the Parthian east -- philosophies which, at the end will be thoroughly militant and even though religious, bitterly antichrist.
He will gather all the kings of the East and their hordes of people to his cause. And, like Haman whose template he must follow, underlying everything will be his obsession with the destruction of the House of Israel.
Reenacting on earth the action Satan and his angels took in heaven when they tried to destroy the people of God at the time of the creation, the Rebel will be a mirror image of Satan. Because of this, he will stand directly opposite Jesus Christ who is the mirror image of God.
The war between them will replicate and terminate the conflict which began at the creation.
Before any of this can happen, of course, much of the Asian north will have to return to the kind of totalitarianism which characterized its days under communism.
And, above everything else, all of these events are dependent on the western world's relationship with Jesus Christ. If this 'Babylon/Javan' of scripture repents its current course, everything described above will be forestalled. But in the absence of that repentance all these things are inevitable, because the End must go by the Book.
Since John prophesied in the Book of Revelations that the throne of the beast -- the lands from which he is destined to rise and take power -- will be plunged into darkness in the last days (Rev.16:10), we would expect to see Christianity being driven out of those parts of the eastern world most closely affiliated with the Rebel's appearance.
Since this has already started to happen -- beginning in Russia in 1914 and moving currently to the Middle East, it is a further warning of how close the predicted tribulation now appears to be.
Russia's recent conversion shows that the process can be stalled and even reversed, but the prayer and faith necessary for this to happen must be powerful and unified and carry with it an immense repentance. The power of the underworld is strong and must be countered with terrific faith in order to be overcome.
While it does not seem fair that God would allow righteous people to be crushed with the bad in the wrath of the last days, the Law has decreed that sin bring disaster on everyone, not just on sinners.
The Bible teaches that"The instruments of sin are instruments of punishment." (Ws.11:16). This is why innocent people die of AIDS and it is the reason why Adam's sin was able to bring us all to this condition of sickness and death in the first place.
When the time comes for the foundations to fall, Jesus said the upright must flee to the mountains because once the decree has been issued and the doors locked, it cannot be overruled -- not even by faith.
In Jesus God has given us a way to escape the ultimate sentence of Babylon, but not its transient violence. "Up to the time of John it was the Law and the Prophets; since then, the kingdom of God has been preached, and by violence everyone is getting in." (Lk.16:16).
"Over those who have converted to Jesus, the strength of the beast's eastern army will have no lasting power. "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell." (Mt.10:28).
While the righteous must suffer and die along with the wicked, their death does not produce the same effect as the death of the sinner. "These people see the wise man's ending without understanding what the Lord has in store for him or why he has taken him to safety." (Ws.4:17).
The souls of the virtuous are in the hands of God, no torment shall ever touch them. In the eyes of the unwise, they did appear to die, their going looked like a disaster, their leaving us, like annihilation; but they are in peace. If they experienced punishment as men see it, their hope was rich with immortality; slight was their affliction, great will their blessings be." (Ws.3:1-5).
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