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Countdown to Armageddon: Survivors of the War Behind All Wars

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Samuel Smith
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LESSON 19

COUNTDOWN TO ARMAGEDDON: SURVIVORS OF THE WAR BEHIND ALL WARS

You are welcome to another edition of Insights from God's Word, a Bible Study Programme that is committed to sharing God's Word by allowing the Bible to speak for itself.

In this edition, we continue with our series on The Final Events of Bible Prophecy. The topic for this study is: Countdown to Armageddon: Survivors of the War Behind all Wars. The prophetic events we are going to consider in this study are yet future. In other words, they are yet to be fulfilled. And I believe without any shadow of doubt that these future related prophecies are going to come to pass, just as other prophecies (such as huge portions of Daniel 2, 7, 8, 9 and 11) that came from the Omniscient God came to pass. From Isaiah 42:9, we read the following in relation to our Omniscient God: "Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them."

In this study, we are going to determine from Scripture, the following issues:

1. The sequence of events that will bring about the battle of Armageddon.

2. A biblical exposition on the battle of Armageddon.

3. The survivors of this crucial cosmic battle.

Friends, several of God's children begin to shiver when they hear the word Armageddon. This, I believe is basically because many people in our world today have been deceived by various religious and political leaders into believing that the battle of Armageddon is going to be a physical battle, something like a third world war that will be fought among the nations of the world, with a particular focus on the middle east.

But beloved, when we open the Word of God and begin to study into this subject, we come away with a totally different picture concerning this battle of Armageddon. We learn from Scripture friends, that this battle of Armageddon, instead of exerting fear into the hearts of God's children should rather be an incentive for great hope when we think about it. This is because from Revelation 16:16, where we come across this battle in Scripture, the next event that immediately follows is the glorious return of Christ from the clouds of heaven, as He interrupts the evil plans of Satan towards His faithful children and deliver them to the city of God.

This list should effectively begin from a discussion of the signs of the Second Coming of Christ. After this, we should have then zoomed into the following future event issues in their chronological order: emerging Sunday laws, the shaking out of the impenitent in God's end time movement, the latter rain, the loud cry, Satan's last day deceptions, the seal of God and the mark of the beast, the close of probation, and then the seven last plagues which capture the battle of Armageddon itself, and the glorious return of Christ to deliver His children from the oppression of Satan.

But beloved, to go through each of these subjects will make this study a tediously long one. Hence, I have decided to stay within the focus of this study which seeks to:

1. Present the final sequence of events that will bring about the battle of Armageddon.

2. Present a biblical exposition on the Battle of Armageddon.

3. Encourage each one of us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), so that by the grace of God, we can be numbered among the survivors of this crucial cosmic battle.

And so friends, to stay within the focus of this study, I have skipped a discussion of some of the final event issues that form part of the countdown to Armageddon. Thus, instead of a discussion of earth's last crises, we begin our countdown to Armageddon from the loud cry. The caption for this study once again is: Countdown to Armageddon: Survivors of the War Behind all Wars.

THE COUNTDOWN TO ARMAGEDDON:

1. THE LOUD CRY

As the earth rushes to her final hours, God's people are going to be filled mightily with the power of the Holy Spirit. All across the globe, the people of God will unite their voices in proclaiming the final warning message as is found in Revelation 14:6-12. This is what is referred to as the loud cry. At this time, great emphasis will be placed on the third angel's message, and the effect of this message will bring about great persecution on God's people (Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 14:13).

Just as in the time of the apostles, this persecution that breaks up upon God's people will be the springboard upon which God's final warning message will go clear across the world (Acts 8:1, 4). Now, as several of God's children are persecuted in various lands, and many of these people will rather choose hardship, torture and death rather than deny their faith in Christ, thinking minds will be aroused to check the biblical evidence for themselves. Moreover, as some of God's people are dragged to prison and are made to defend their faith at the highest courts of law, the truth will be brought to the hearts of thousands. At this closing time of earth's history, it is not popular sports, politics or entertainment that will cover the headlines of news items, but rather religion. As issues concerning the people of God are discussed from one network to the other, the earth will be lightened with the glory of that angel who comes down with power and unites his voice in proclaiming the present truth (Revelation 18:1).

2. THE SEAL OF GOD AND THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Beloved, the seal of the living God (that is, the Sabbath Commandment); which is actually the signature of the Almighty God upon His holy law will be clearly presented before the world during the loud cry. In the presentation of this truth, the falsehood of human tradition as is found in the Papal system will be clearly exposed. Through the power of the Holy Spirit working through the humble messengers of God, God's children who are scattered through Babylon and her apostate daughters, will discern with a higher level of understanding, end time prophetic concepts such as the mark of the beast, the image of the beast and the number of the beast. Now, when even at the hour of fearful persecution, God's messengers make the final appeal for all of God's true children to come out of Babylon (Revelation 18:4), thousands upon thousands heed the warning, take their stand with God's people and receive the seal of God (Revelation 7:1-4). However, another class, despite the conviction that is brought to their minds by the clear message from God's end time people, will reject the promptings of the Holy Spirit to accept the message. Thus it will be that the inhabitants of the earth will be divided into two main camps.

3. THE CLOSE OF PROBATION

At this point, every decision will have been made either for God or for Satan, who works through the antichrist power (Revelation 13:2). Now, after the last person who decides for God has been sealed, and the last person has rejected the grace of God, the sealing angel sends the message to Christ in heaven's sanctuary that the work of sealing God's people is over. Christ will then allow to fall from His hands the incense with which He mediates on behalf of fallen humanity. The temple will be filled with smoke from the glory and power of God, and Christ will be forced to step out of the heavenly sanctuary (Revelation 15:8). Now, as Christ steps out of the temple in heaven, He makes the dreaded statement: "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still" (Revelation 22:11). When these words proceed from the lips of Christ, the work of atonement and judgment will be over, and probation will have forever closed for the human race.

4. THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

After probation closes, the beloved apostle gives us the state of the temple in heaven: "And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled" (Revelation 15:8).

The Lord has made the highest sacrifice in the Person of His Son to save fallen humanity from the wretchedness of sin. However, many have despised and rejected this offer of mercy and grace. By rejecting the grace of Christ, the wicked must now pay for their own sins. They must now drink of the wine of the wrath of God which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation (Revelation 14:9-11). The first of a series of judgments that will be poured on the wicked is the seven last plagues.

A) A BIBLICAL EXPOSITION ON THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Beloved, before we consider the seven last plagues specifically, I will want to give a few biblical insights that I have gathered concerning these dreadful plagues. After I am through with this, we will then read together what the Bible has for us on the first five plagues that will hit the earth. After that, we will then delve into the battle of Armageddon, which is placed within the context of the sixth plague.

SOME BIBLICAL INSIGHTS ABOUT THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES:

1. They mirror the ten plagues that the Lord poured out on the Egyptians when Pharaoh hardened his heart to let the people of Israel go out of Egypt (Exodus 7:14-12:31).

2. As the plagues that hit the Egyptians were literal plagues, so the seven last plagues that will hit the wicked at the end of time will also be literal plagues.

3. The effects of some of the plagues will be seriously felt at certain portions of the earth than others. Otherwise, all the inhabitants of the earth will easily have been destroyed.

4. Even though the Scripture does not give the exact time frame within which the plagues will do their destructive work, we can infer from the experience of the Egyptians that the seven last plagues will not last too long. It was a matter of weeks that the ten plagues hit the Egyptians and humbled the Pharaoh before the God of heaven. I believe it will be the same in our time as well. For Revelation 18:8 tells us concerning Babylon the Great that; "her plagues come in one day". In Bible prophecy, a day equals a year (Ezekiel 4:6; Numbers 14:34). Who knows, the seven last plagues might fall within just a period of one literal year.

5. When the plagues begin to fall, it means probation will have closed in the heavenly courts. There is no more repentance and changing of sides as the destiny of every person is fixed for salvation or destruction. When the plagues begin to fall, the message found in Revelation 22:11 will have proceeded from the lips of Christ in the heavenly courts.

6. The wicked will suffer the simultaneous effects of the dreadful plagues. As one plague hits the earth and large portions of the earth's inhabitants are crying and howling in pain, the next one falls and complicates the matter. As operations teams are put together around the world to manage the effects of the first two plagues, the third one falls and soon everyone gives up as people begin to realize that the plagues are not the result of the natural convulsions of nature but rather from the finger of God Himself. The Bible says the people will blaspheme the name of God, Who had power over these plagues (Revelation 16:9, 21).

7. The righteous that will be living during the time of the plagues will be miraculously shielded from its effects. As the Lord miraculously protected the Israelites from the seven last plagues that hit the Egyptians (Exodus 8:20-23; Exodus 9:1-4; Exodus 9:22-26; Exodus 10:21-23), so will He protect His end time saints from the seven last plaques that will hit the wicked (Please note that the first three plagues fell on both the Egyptians and Israelites while the last seven plagues fell only on the Egyptians; see Exodus 8:22-23). From Psalm 91:7-10, we read some of the most encouraging promises in God's Word concerning His protection for His children: "7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" (Psalm 91:7-10). And so friends, when we give our all our hearts to the Lord, we don't need to fear the coming plagues; For the Lord will be with us and shield us from the terrible plagues that will ruin the world.

8. After the terrible plagues that hit the Egyptians, God delivers the people of Israel with an outstretched arm. Similarly, after the seven last plagues that hits the wicked during earth's last hours, the spiritual Israel of God (Galatians 3:29) are also delivered by the mighty hand of God.

B) PREPARATION TO POUR OUT THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Now friends, at this point, I will want us to focus on what the Scripture has to say concerning the seven last plagues: "15:1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

15:5 And after that I looked, and, behold, the temple of the tabernacle of the testimony in heaven was opened:

15:6 And the seven angels came out of the temple, having the seven plagues, clothed in pure and white linen, and having their breasts girded with golden girdles.

15:7 And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

15:8 And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God, and from his power; and no man was able to enter into the temple, till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled."

(Revelation 15:1, 5-8)

C) THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES ARE POURED ON THE EARTH

"16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."(Revelation 16:1-11)

D) THE POURING OUT OF THE SIXTH PLAGUE

Beloved, the main topic for this study; which is the Battle of Armageddon, is actually set within the context of the sixth plague in the book of Revelation. And friends, for us to understand what this battle really is, what it entails, and how we can adequately prepare ourselves for it, we need to take our time to consider the various key symbols within the five verses that the apostle John has carefully utilized from the Old Testament to describe this battle.

From Revelation 16:12-16, we read the following in relation the sixth plague: "16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon."

(Revelation 16:12-16)
Friends, as you can easily notice, there is a lot of symbolism within these texts that describe the sixth plague, and consequently the battle of Armageddon. And so what I'm going to do now is to take the verses one at a time, and try to explain the symbols within them so that at the end of the presentation, we can put all the pieces together, and thus glean from the various explanations an understanding of this important topic before us.

D1 - THE DRYING UP OF EUPHRATES AND THE COMING OF THE KINGS OF THE EAST

Beloved, the first verse in connection to the sixth plague records the following:

"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared" (Revelation 16:12).

From this text above, we learn that in the soon coming future, the great river Euphrates is going to dry up to prepare the way for the coming of the kings of the east.

But friends, to understand what the apostle John is trying to tell us concerning these future events, we need to go back to the Old Testament Scriptures and to try to relate what we learn from there with what is yet to take place in the soon coming future. For the book of Revelation is basically made of a collection of Old Testament stories. Hence, we need to ask ourselves the question: Where in the Old Testament Scriptures do we see this same event occurring? Where do we find a river by the name of Euphrates being dried up to prepare the way for the kings of the east?

Beloved, history makes it clear that the Empire of Babylon was built with the mindset of making it impregnable to any military force. The walls which were built around the city were so thick and tall that they served as an effective barrier to any army that wanted to overtake Babylon. Moreover, beneath the impregnable walls, just below the massive gates to the city, flowed the great river EUPHRATES which served as the lifeline of the kingdom of Babylon. The Babylonians obtained water from the Euphrates for their domestic needs. Thus, they could survive without any difficulties, the siege of any army on earth. But in 539 B.C., the combined forces of the Medes and Persians invaded Babylon and overthrew it. You may ask; how did they do it?

Friends, popular tradition has it that the Medo-Persian army diverted the river Euphrates into open fields, and marched down the river bed into the city. In fact, several years before this event took place, the Prophet Isaiah, inspired by the Holy Spirit, described the strategy through which the kingdom of Babylon would be overthrown, and even named the leader who would accomplish this feat 150 years before this leader was born. Let’s check the biblical evidence:

From the Old Testament Book of Isaiah 44:27, 28 - Isaiah 45:1, we read the following: "That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut".And so friends, as we can see from the Prophecy of Isaiah, the great river Euphrates which served as the lifeline of the ancient kingdom of Babylon was to dry up; thus creating a way for Cyrus, the king from the east (see Isaiah 46:11) to enter into Babylon and overthrow it. And friends, as we know from history that is exactly what happened.

With this background knowledge, the question we need to ask ourselves at this point is this: How does this story of the fall of ancient Babylon fit in with our study on the final events of this earth's history? You see friends, what happened in the story we had just gone through concerning the fall of ancient Babylon, is actually a type or figure of how end time spiritual Babylon will fall during the seven last plagues.

From Revelation 17:1, we learn that end time Babylon also sits on many waters. And friends, this spiritual Babylon will also fall as her waters dry up to prepare the way for the Kings of the east. Now, before we move any further, it is imperative for us to contemplate these important questions:

1. Revelation 17:1 makes it clear that end time spiritual Babylon also sits on many waters. What do the waters represent?

2. How will the waters dry up to prepare the way for the Kings of the East?

3. Who are these End Time Kings who come from the East during the last hours of earth's history?

Beloved, from Revelation 17:15, we learn about what the waters represent. The apostle John clearly writes: "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" (Revelation 17:15).

Thus friends, the end time river Euphrates, where mystical Babylon sits actually refers to a multitude of people’s, nations and tongues. From our previous studies we have proven through Scripture and history that the Roman Catholic Church system is Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth (Revelation 17:5). This end time spiritual Babylon, operating from the Vatican actually presides over multitudes of people's, nations and tongues across the world. As the river Euphrates served as the lifeline of the ancient kingdom of Babylon, so does the over one billion people that the Papacy controls through her wine of false doctrines serves as her support base.

The second question we need to tackle is this: how would the waters of this end time Babylon dry up to prepare the way for the Kings of the east to come and destroy her? Friends, as l have stated earlier, the multitudes of people attached to this spiritual Babylon represent her waters or support base, so to speak. And there are two main events which will lead to the drying up of the waters of spiritual Babylon. The first event that will begin the drying up of the waters of end time Babylon is when the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14:6-12 are preached with Holy Spirit power by God's end time people. Now, as these messages go forth to the world, and the call is made for God's people to come out of her (Revelation 18:4), millions of people who have been deceived by this system and her apostate daughters through their wine of false doctrines (Revelation 17:2), will leave the false religious system and withdraw the support they have rendered her over the years.

And friends, I'm happy to let you know that the messages of the three angels of Revelation 14 are already going clear across the world and thousands upon thousands are taking their stand for God's truth and leaving behind Babylon the Great, thus drying up her waters. Dear friend, I know that it is not by chance that you are being exposed to this message today in this unique way. God I believe may be calling you out of Babylon to take a stand with His end time saints who keep the commandments of God and have the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).

Friends, the second event which will completely dry up the waters or the support base of modern Babylon is when the seven last plagues begin to hit. Now, when the plagues begin to hit, people are going to soon realize that they have been deceived into joining the wrong camp. The Bible says those who have given their support to the beast power will now hate her (Revelation 17:16), and withdraw their support. But unfortunately, even though these people will leave end time spiritual Babylon, they will leave when it's too late to change sides or allegiance. They will leave when probation has closed and the seven last plagues are hitting hard on the wicked. Oh! It's my prayer that as you read this message, beloved friend, the Lord will strengthen you to leave Babylon while there is still time. At the end of the day, multitudes of people are going to hate the whore for deceiving them, and will come out of her. But they will do so when it's too late. However, as the multitudes withdraw their support, the waters of spiritual Babylon dries up, and prepares the way for the coming of the Kings of the East.

At this point, I believe many of you, might want to know who the end time Kings of the east are? Friends, these Kings who will be coming from the east to destroy the power of modern day spiritual Babylon is none other than Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Now, to appreciate this fact, we will have to once again consider some parallels from the Old Testament story of the conquest of Babylon.

Cyrus, the leader mentioned in Bible prophecy to dry up the Euphrates and conquer ancient Babylon was described with certain key words. We read these key words from Isaiah 44:28-45:1. From this passage, the prophet Isaiah declares concerning Cyrus:"44:28 That saith of Cyrus, He is my SHEPHERD, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his ANNOINTED, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;"

(Isaiah 44:28-45:1; Capital Emphasis Added)
Friends, the prophet Isaiah uses two important words to describe Cyrus. The first of these words is SHEPHERED. The second is the word ANNOINTED. Friends, the word ANNOINTED in the Hebrew literally mean Messiah. Now, from Scripture, Who is the real Anointed One or Messiah (Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18)? Who does the Bible refers to as the Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7; Matthew 26:56)? Who refers to Himself in Scripture as the Good Shepherd (John 10:11-18)? Friends, the answer is quite obvious. Jesus Christ, friends is the end time Cyrus who is coming to destroy mystical Babylon which is the seat of Satan, and free the people of God from her oppression.

Friends, as Cyrus and Darius came from the east to destroy ancient Babylon, so does God's Word prophecy that Christ and the Holy Spirit will come from the east to bring an end to the deceptions and cruelty of modern day Babylon. From Ezekiel Chapter 43:1-2, we read the following:"43:1 Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that looketh toward the east:

43:2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory."
Beloved, from Matthew 24:27 we read a similar account: "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

Friends, Christ is the real King of the East. He is the King of Kings Who together with the Holy Spirit, commands His end time spiritual army to preach the everlasting gospel and the three angels' messages contained in them to the whole world. It is the preaching of this gospel that dries up the end time river Euphrates and prepares the way for the glorious second coming where Christ destroys the haughty kingdom of Babylon the Great, frees His people from her oppression and lead them into the heavenly Jerusalem.

D2 - THE SATANIC TRINITY AND THE GATHERING TOGETHER OF THE NATIONS

But friends, before Christ comes the second time to deliver His people from the oppression of spiritual Babylon, Satan is going to launch a massive attack upon God's truth and His people. And he is going to use a threefold power to do this. This threefold power is captured within the second and third verses that describe the sixth plague.

From Revelation 16:13-14, we read the following in relation to Satan's end time military strategy: "16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
Friends, within these two verses above is captured in a symbolic language, how Satan is going to attack God's truth and His people in the final moments of earth's last days. Satan is going to use a counterfeit trinity to try to accomplish this important assignment. As we can glean from the verse 13 of Revelation 16 above, this counterfeit trinity is made up of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. From our previous studies in this series, we have learnt about two of the powers that make up the satanic trinity. We have studied that the dragon is primarily a symbol of Satan (Revelation 12:7-9), while the beast power (antichrist) is none other than the Papacy or the Roman Catholic Church System.

Friends, the only power in this satanic trinity that we have not yet considered closely in this series is the false prophet. We read about the false prophet only three times in the book of Revelation. However, the information that we are given about the false prophet is enough to help us to know who this power is. At this point, I want us to check out the first two texts that mention the false prophet so we can glean some important characteristics from them. After this exercise, we will then figure out whether these characteristics fit in with the third Bible text that mentions the false prophet. Now, the first two texts that mention the false prophet are as follows:1. "13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty" (Revelation 16:13-14).

2. "19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Revelation 19:19-20).
Friends, from these two texts above, we can glean three specific characteristics about the false prophet:

1. He works or performs miracles before the beast.

2. He deceives people through these miracles to receive the mark of the beast.

3. He makes an image to the beast.

Beloved, these are the three specific characteristics of the false prophet. And friends, we find that these same characteristics are applied to the second beast of Revelation 13. Now, let's quickly review the message concerning the second beast of Revelation 13, and ascertain whether we will be able to discover the identity of the false prophet. The first five verses in relation to the second beast of Revelation 13 are as follows: "11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed" (Revelation 13:11-15).From one of our previous studies, we identified this earth beast to be the United States of America. But friends, the USA is not the false prophet in the book of Revelation. This is because the United States is described as a beast in the prophetic book of Revelation. And as we have studied earlier, the term beast is used in Bible prophecy to denote a political power. But as we can see friends, a false prophet is a religious power. However, the fact that the beast and the false prophet are used interchangeably in Revelation 13:11-18 actually gives us a clue that these two powers are somewhat connected. And friends, that is exactly the case. This is because the false prophet is the religious part in the earth beast. Friends, the false prophet is the religious part in the United States of America.

At this point, the question we need to ask ourselves to enable us to clearly identify the false prophet is this: What is the main religious institution in the United States of America? Beloved friends, I believe many of you know the answer. The USA is a Protestant Nation. And so this false prophet simply refers to apostate Protestantism. In other words, the false prophet refers to Protestants who are no longer protesting, but have gone into an alliance with the beast power through the vehicle of religious ecumenism. Thus, the false prophet refers to Protestants who have ceased to prophesy accurately because they have forgotten their history and is now in alliance with the Papacy.

And so friends, these are the three powers that form Satan's counterfeit trinity: The dragon (Satan) who is the counterfeit of God the Father. The beast (Papacy) who is the counterfeit of Jesus Christ, and the false prophet (apostate Protestantism) who is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved, through this counterfeit trinity, Satan is going to gather the whole world to fight against God's truth and His people. This final attack coming from the combined forces of evil is going to follow a progression of unity that leads to an all-out attack on God's truth and His people.

Friends, the first and vital progression of unity is between the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet. We have learnt earlier in our previous lesson that it was the dragon (Satan) who gave his power, seat and authority to the beast (Revelation 13:2). To put this differently, it was Satan who made the beast (the Papacy) powerful, and actually continues to support her today. As we have studied earlier, the dragon is also a symbol of Satan working through Pagan Rome. In fact, we learn from history how the papacy received both her political and religious power from the hands of Pagan Rome. Moreover, it is a proven fact that the entire religious system of Roman Catholicism is a baptized form of paganism. Thus, we can safely conclude at this stage that right from the time that the Papacy was born; there have always been a unity between the dragon power (Satan) and the beast (Papal Rome).

Beloved, it is also very clear to us today how the beast and the false prophet are united. In one of our previous studies with the caption: "Come out of her My People: God's Final Call of Mercy to His Children in Babylon", we saw how the papal power, through religious ecumenism, has been able to bring back the Protestant world under her fold. And friends, regarding the unity between the dragon and the false prophet, I believe that shouldn't surprise us. This is because a false prophet is nothing but an agent of the devil. Beloved, have you noticed the strange fire that is going clear across all Christendom in the name of the power of the Holy Spirit? Have you noticed the false miracles and the signs and wonders movement that have taken precedence over the clear "thus saith the Lord"? Have you noticed how spiritualism and pagan occult practices are entering the churches today in the religious guise of spiritual formation and contemplative prayer? Have you noticed how spiritualism has taken centre stage in many churches today through the guise of speaking in unintelligible ecstatic utterances, commonly referred to as speaking in tongues? Have you noticed the bizarre demonic activities such as people being slain in the spirit, laughing in the spirit and even getting drunk in the spirit? Where in Scripture do we find any of these practices in the early Christian church? Friends, these modern phenomena that are attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit actually have their origin directly from the false prophet, who is the third person of the satanic trinity. It is his work to deceive the people with miracles and signs so that they will receive the mark of the beast (Revelation 16:14-15; Revelation 19:19-20; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

At the moment friends, there is a solid state of unity between Satan's counterfeit trinity. In other words, the first progression of unity is now complete. And the second is on the way! But someone is likely to ponder at this stage, what is the second progression of unity in regard to Satan's final military strategy against God's truth and His people?

Beloved, from Revelation 16:14, we learn that once the dragon, the beast and false prophet are united, they go to the kings of the earth, (that is, the political powers of this world) and convince them through deceptive messages, as well as spectacular signs and wonders, to get them to back their military strategy against the people of God. And friends, this threefold power have already begun soliciting for the strength of the political superpowers of the world. You see friend, this progression of unity is very important to the satanic trinity because they will need a military muscle which they don't have to push forward their agenda to the whole world (Daniel 8:24).

Friends, from Revelation 13:13-17, we obtain a glimpse of how the satanic trinity will utilize the military muscles of the political superpowers of the earth to war against God's people. We read from Revelation 13:13-17 the following: "13:13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

13:14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

13:15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

13:16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:

13:17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name."

(Revelation 13:13-17)
Friends, as you can see from the above passage, in the journey by the threefold satanic union to convince the political powers of the world to back Satan's military strategy against God's truth and His people, the false prophet which we have proven in this study to be Protestant America, will actually take the initiative. Friends, when Protestant America succeeds in forcing her government to pass a Mandatory National Sunday Rest Law, then they would have formed the image to the beast (Revelation 13:14-15). In other words, they would have acted just like the beast power. Thus, the image of the beast is basically a phrase that describes the character of the beast. And as we have seen over and again in history, the Roman Catholic Church does not hesitate to use any means including brute force to ensure compliance to her dogmas. Thus, when Protestant America forces her government to pass a law that will coerce her citizens to worship or obey the false Sabbath (Sunday worship) of the Papacy, then they would have acted just like the Papacy, and would have made themselves into an image or a copy of the beast power.

Beloved, you must take note of this, that when the United States take the lead in passing a Mandatory National Sunday Rest Law, which is actually the mark of the beast, the rest of the world will follow suit. And this will be the great gathering of the nations against those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:17).

D3 - AN EXHORTATION TO WATCH

Friends, our Saviour loves us so much that in this apocalyptic detail of earth's final events as depicted in Revelation 16, He takes a moment to remind us of our great need to watch and prepare ourselves for the thunderstorm that is just on the way.

Beloved, this message which is also captured within the sixth plague is actually a blessed loving reminder from our Saviour. For the Master says unto you and l in Revelation 16:15 the following: "Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame". Friends, in this message, the Master pronounces that He commeth suddenly as a thief and that if there is any preparation we have to make in our lives so we can meet Him in joy, then it is now; for the Angel has already sworn that there is no more time (Revelation 10:6).

Beloved friend, this is not the time to be playing and trifling with any known sin; for we are in the time of the fearful sealing of God's faithful children (Revelation 7:1-3). And so we must do now is to always examine ourselves whether we are truly in the faith or not (2 Corinthians 13:5). Friends, this is not the time to be glued on our seats watching various TV programmes, shows, movies and other forms of worldly amusements; for if we do this, we will be exchanging our eternal inheritance for a mess of pottage (Genesis 25:29-34).

Friends, this is the time to consecrate our hearts and mind to God and to His service. This is the time to diligently fast and pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in our lives so we can resist sin. Friends, this is the time to study God's Word like never before so that we can overcome the enemy as Christ overcame him in the wilderness of temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Friends, the deception that is soon to break upon our world will require a constant watching to overcome and be victorious (Matthew 24:24). Thus, Christ encourages us with the words: "Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame" (Revelation 16:15).

D4 - THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

After the apostle John gives us this loving reminder from Christ, he then leads us into the real conundrum of the sixth plague, which is the battle of Armageddon. From Revelation 16:16, we read the following concerning this battle: "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon". From this Scripture, we learn that after the satanic trinity is finally successful in bringing the inhabitants of the world together against God's people, he (Satan) will gather them into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

But what is the meaning of this word Armageddon? To many, Armageddon has come to represent something like a third world war that will be fought between the superpowers of the world somewhere in the Middle East. However, when we open the Word of God and begin to study into this subject, we come away with a totally different picture in regard to this battle. We learn from Scripture that the battle of Armageddon is not a physical battle that is going to be fought somewhere in the Middle East, but rather a culmination of a cosmic spiritual battle that has been going on for centuries (Revelation 12:7-9).

The word ‘Armageddon’ is derived from two Hebrew words: Har and Megiddo which literally means the Mount of Megiddo. Some Bible scholars believe that this Mount of Megiddo is an apparent reference to Mount Carmel that towers above the valley in which the ancient city of Megiddo was located. And so friends, for us to be able to understand the end time battle of Armageddon, we will have to once again go back to the Old Testament and learn whether this Mount of Megiddo had any meaning for the people of ancient Israel. After we are able to understand the meaning of this word from the perspective of the people of ancient Israel, we will then be in a better position to apply the word to apocalyptic or end time prophecy.

Beloved, there are two particular stories in the Old Testament in relation to Mount Megiddo that help us to understand the end time battle of Armageddon. The first story is found in Judges Chapters 4 and 5 while the second story is found in Judges Chapter 7. These two stories describe battles that were fought between the people of God (the Israelites) and their enemies in the Valley of Megiddo.

Now, in the story at Judges Chapters 4 and 5, we learn about how the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord when Ehud was dead. The passage in Judges four tells us how the Lord sold them to Jabin, king of Canaan, who mightily oppressed them for twenty long years. But the children of Israel cried unto the Lord and the Lord heard their cry. At that time, a prophetess by name Deborah judged Israel. The word of the Lord came to Deborah and she calls Barak and says to him: "6... Hath not the LORD God of Israel commanded, saying, Go and draw toward mount Tabor, and take with thee ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. 8 And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go" (Judges 4:6-8).Friends, Barak feared to go because the Israelites have been oppressed for so long by the Canaanites. He wondered how they will be able to stand in battle against this vast army who boasted of 900 iron chariots. From a human point of view, there was no way the Israelites could defeat this enemy and win the battle. But the message from God's prophet to Barak was go and the Lord will deliver them into your hand. And so when Barak heeded the voice of God, the Lord gave an overwhelming victory to the Israelites. We are told in Judges 4:16 the following: "But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left". And so friends, the crucial point we take away from this story is that in this battle that was fought in the Valley of Megiddo, it was basically the hand of the Lord that gained the victory for His people.

Friends, besides the story above, we read from Judges 7, another interesting story about another battle that was fought by the Israelites in the Valley of Megiddo. And beloved, this is the story of Gideon and his 300 men. In the story of Gideon, we find the same thing as described in Revelation 16. We read about how a threefold power consisting of the Medianites, the Amalekites and the people of the East gathered themselves together against the Israelites and oppressed them.

Following God's instructions, Gideon selected only 300 men for the battle and divided them into three companies. The men were all given a trumpet, a pitcher and a sword. And following the instructions of Gideon, the Israelites at the right time broke their pitchers, trimmed their lights, blew their trumpets, raised their swords and shouted. Now, after all this was done, the threefold army, whose number was as the sand of the seashore, woke up in confusion. They heard the noise of the blurring trumpets; they saw the lights and thought that a vast army had come upon them. In the ensuing confusion, this threefold army turned on each other and began killing themselves. There was a great victory for Israel on that day. And this battle fought at the Valley of Megiddo, was also won through the mighty hand of God.

Thus friends, to the Israelite, whenever you say the Valley of Megiddo, besides other things, it also brings into memory battles that were won when God fought for them in miraculous ways. And so when the Scriptures says in Revelation 16:16 that; "And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon", what it basically means is that; things will look hopeless for God's people, it will look as if we are going to be destroyed, but at the last minute God will intervene and fight for us.

Friends, this is exactly what happens in the end when the threefold power of the dragon, the beast, and the false prophet gather the entire world together to oppress those who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus in the last days. For it will be determined in the highest councils of the earth, that the stubbornness of this small group in refusing to join the majority to obey the beast power is what has brought the fearsome plagues on the earth. Thus, the people of God will be accused for being the cause of the plagues that the Lord will be pouring on the earth because of the lawless deeds of mankind. Then a decree will finally go forth from the highest courts of the world that all such religious fundamentalists should be exterminated. And friends, at this point the stage would have been set for the final showdown: the real the end time Battle of Armageddon.

E - THE POURING OUT OF THE SEVENTH PLAGUE

Now, the people of God, with their faces pale and weary from the announcement of this death decree, will cry out to God for divine protection. And just as the entire wicked world are getting ready to destroy God’s people, behold! From the eastern sky comes a glorious cavalry to our rescue. Beloved, it's going to be a great rescue as Christ and the army from heaven (angelic host) descends from the skies to deliver us from the oppression of the enemy (Revelation 19:11-21).

The people of God who in some few moments ago have been pale, weary and fearing the worst, will now possess faces that beam with gladness and wonder. As the seventh plague is poured out, there is a great earthquake. This earthquake devastates the earth, and the proud cities of the nations fall (Revelation 16:17-21). Now, as hailstones from heaven do its destructive work on the earth, the people of God shout for joy: "... Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation" (Isaiah 25:9). The wicked on the other hand flee from the presence of the Lord to take cover in the caves and mountains of the earth (Revelation 6:14-17). Some of the wicked perish from the hailstones and other convulsions of nature, while the rest are slain by the overpowering glory that enshrouds the Son of God (2 Thessalonians 2:8).

F - SURVIVORS OF THE WAR BEHIND ALL WARS



Now, as the army from heaven nears the earth, the trumpet of God goes forth. And across the earth the graves of the righteous are opened, and the redeemed from the grave comes forth clothed with immortal glory. In the twinkling of an eye, the living saints, the 144,000 who the Lord has miraculously saved from the effects of the seven last plagues are also translated and given the most precious gift of immortality (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:52-53; Revelation 7:1-17; Revelation 14:1-5).

Now, the redeemed of the earth behold their Maker, and the thousands and thousands of angels who attend Him on this rescue mission. Words cannot express the joy that God's people will feel on that day. The survivors of the war behind all wars; they have gone through trials, persecution, loneliness, pain, loss, sickness and many of them even death in the great controversy battle between Christ and Satan (Revelation 12:7-9). But it's all over now. Soon Christ gives the command, and the angelic host sweep down and gather the elect from the four corners of the earth to meet their Lord in the skies (Matthew 24:31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). With celestial songs of victory, the cavalry from heaven will lead the redeemed to the city of God. For God's people, living as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, have looked for a better country, that is an heavenly one: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city (Hebrews 11:13, 16).

Beloved friend, this is not just some fairy tale story. These words are true and faithful (Revelation 22:6). Soon and not too far away, our Saviour will come to redeem us from this miserable world into His heavenly home. I will encourage you not to allow any sin however trivial to take your name out from the Lamb's book of life, and thus prevent you from experiencing the rich treasures of eternity. The apostle Paul says concerning the things that God has prepared for His children: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).



Exhortation: "2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. 3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. 4 Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest" (Revelation 15:2-4).

"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years" (Revelation 20:4).

REFERENCES / FURTHER STUDY

1. Last Day Events by E. G. White (Inspirational Book downloadable at centrowhite.org.br. For easy download, just Google the keywords: Last Day Events - Centro de Pesquisas Ellen G. White).

2. The Battle of Armageddon by Pr. Doug Batchelor. (Video Presentation Downloadable on YouTube: Link address is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DN_yzhDw2k)

3. The Battle of Armageddon: the Coming of the Kings of the East and the Final Gathering of the Nations by Pr. Taj Pacleb (Video Presentation and Transcript Downloadable at http://www.3abn.com/Series/ROHB/index.html).

4. The Next Superpower by Pr. Mark A. Finley. (Contents cover Ancient Prophecies, Global Events, and Your Future.) You may obtain a copy of this book at any nearby Adventist Book Centre (ABC).

5. Beyond Orion’s Gates (Your Part in the War Behind All Wars) by Pr. Mark A. Finley. You may obtain a copy of this book at any nearby Adventist Book Centre (ABC).

Beloved, this study brings us to the end of our 18 - part series on Bible prophecy dubbed: THE FINAL EVENTS OF BIBLE PROPHECY. We believe you have been blessed by this prophecy series. Thus, we invite you to join us at WTM in thanking the Almighty God for enabling us to run this series successfully. We know that none of this work will have been possible without the strength and blessings from our Creator. May the name of the Almighty God be glorified forever and ever. Amen

May the Lord richly bless you and keep shining for King Jesus.

Maranatha!

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