Goodnews Christian Ministry
"Listen, a rumbling in the mountains like a great crowd. Listen! The din of kingdoms, of nations mustering. It is the Lord God Almighty marshalling the troops for battle. They come from the far horizons, God and the instruments of his fury to lay the whole earth waste." ---Isaiah 13:4-5
"Persia takes up his quiver, Aram mounts his horse and Kir fetches out his shield. Your fairest valleys are filled with chariots and the horsemen take up positions at the gates; thus falls the defense of Judah."
There has always been a great sense of urgency in the Christian religion. The Sonlight, Jesus said, is only temporary. There is a 'night' coming which will replace it.
"As Long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the one who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5).
The great tribulation which scripture has foreseen as the instrument of the 'night' Jesus predicted will make its appearance in the formation of a ten-nation confederacy constructed among the countries of the Asian north.
With strong ties to Media and Persia, this amalgamation of nations will plunge the world into almost uninterrupted warfare; a reign of chaos so horrific that the Bible, from its opening pages, has termed it 'the Wrath'.
It is the very disaster Jesus came to warn the world about, predicting that it leads to a place of doomsday which scripture has termed 'Armageddon'. Covering the earth like a dark cloud, it will end the 'millenium' of Christian rule by taking away the light of Christ from the world.
Coming from out of the North and the East like the deadly hurricane winds of a fearful 'nor-easter' -- ten leaders, sporting legions of warriors, will rise to lead different aspects of this confederacy.
Two of these leaders will be momentous.
While both will come with the same intent -- to drive the western way of life out of existence, the first Persian king, amalgamating the other nine, will lead forces wrapped in a hostile and fundamental resolve:
"See now, I stir up against them the Medes, who think nothing of silver, who take no pleasure in gold. The baby boys all cut to pieces, the baby girls all crushed. They have no mercy on the fruit of the womb, no pity in their eyes for children." Is.13:17-18).
It is evident from Isaiah's description that this empire will be puritanical, savage and single-minded. The words are connotative of an eastern regime that is overwhelmingly harsh and driven by a strict and violent fundamentalism.
Their enormous sweep into the western world will be carried out by forces arising from what Daniel has shown to be a fourth Persian empire. The first three of these four eastern empires, and the damage they have inflicted on the Christian world have already been described. Together, these four empires constitute the "east wind" of scripture. (See Chapter 7).
One, by one, they conquered Jerusalem and held it for over a thousand years. They decimated the eastern Christian church (the Orthodox church), overrunning its capitol city, Constantinople. They almost reached the city of Rome in Italy, marched all the way into France and sent armies to the outskirts of Vienna Austria.
The Christian Crusades were a western counter-attack to these enormous incursions. The Crusades were not successful in reclaiming Jerusalem or the eastern lands for Christianity, but they stopped the repetitive Muslim invasions cold for almost a thousand years. Till now.
Now the kings of the east are stirring once again.
Daniel, allowed by God to see key visages in the 'night' of Satan, described the empire that precipitates this terrible darkness with these words:
"Next I saw another vision in the visions of the night: 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." (Dn.7:7).
This last Persian empire (an empire formed in the blast of the sixth trumpet of the Book of Revelation will banish the light of Christ from the world, canceling God's offer of reconciliation. Peace on earth will disappear in its van. Not only will it destroy Babylon spiritually, it will annihilate it physically as well.
As it does so, it will pass through three distinct phases. The first of these, the days of its inception and development, will be marked by protracted fighting and at least one major treaty according to Daniel. This first phase has already begun.
A rift in the Muslim world will effectively split the Middle East into two camps. On one side there will be what Daniel called the 'North' in his prophecies, and on the other, the 'South'. See Map 4. This division is already visible in nations like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, etc. Essentially, it roughly divides Arab Muslims from Persian Muslims, though not exactly.
Daniel has described the border between the north and the south at the moment of the attack to be along the Euphrates river, which today runs through the eastern part of Iraq. That river is also the historical division which separates the Persian and Parthian nations from the Arab nations. Such a border suggests the fall of Iraq into western hands.
Born out of the political turmoil that will soon generate a second Gulf War, scripture's prophecies (especially those of Daniel) show that the unrest between them will produce a time of endless combat on earth destined to continue virtually uninterrupted all the way to the End. That combat is quite evident even now; and we are in the earliest days of the rise of the fourth eastern empire.
The 'kings of the North and the South' in Daniel's prophecies are the various leaders who will fight escalating battles pursuing this militancy as they lead the world's progression toward the fateful Day of Judgment.
The warriors of Iraq and Iran do not stand alone in these prophecies. The vast numbers involved show that even in the early stages of this fighting, Persian fundamentalists will apparently join ranks with much of the Asian north. This alliance, too is already in progress.
The name 'Persia' in the Book of Daniel is generic, encompassing the entire Middle East. But the Bible always matches such dualism with literal counterparts. It seems certain that this will be the case here as well, but just how remains a mystery yet to be revealed. The prophecies seem to describe it in terms of 'Parthia'. That is an ancient name that encompassed a wide area of people from the Black Sea, across southern Russia, possibly encompassing all the countries now called 'the Stans' and, most certainly, all of Media and Persia (Iraq and Iran).
It indicates that the lands surrounding the Euphrates river will prove to be the historic birthplace of the fundamentalist extremism which scripture indicates will obsess the eastern nations as they rise up to overturn western civilization in the waning days of history. That is to be expected because the same geographic zone is considered by most scholars to the birthplace of civilization itself. Certainly western civilization.
In the Book of Daniel the entire war of the last days is defined in North/South terms with an incipient division structured at the Euphrates river. That defines an attack that not only targets Israel and the west, but also the national regimes of a large number of Arab countries as well. If those Arab nations were included as a part of the attacking force, the boundaries would be different. They would be formed by Israel itself.
The troops of the North (Media/Persia) will come from a vast reservoir of nations scattered all across the northern part of the Eastern Hemisphere. Gog's armies are characterized in the prophecies as being 'like the sands of the sea' -- 'vast hordes' of men and material.
Such descriptions indicate that almost the entire Asian continent will mobilize behind the confederacy. While a large part of this area today is Muslim, a greater percentage is secular -- completely non-religious.
It was the committed goal of the communist regimes which ruled all through the 20th Century to drive religion out of all the countries of the Soviet Union. They referred to religion as the 'opiate of the masses'. How successful they were in their efforts to secularize the East can be seen on Graph 8 in the Appendix.
Ezekiel's prediction that the Rebel will come from the 'far north' seems to point to a geographic location close to Russia. The place name, 'Rosh' is mentioned in the Greek Bible in relation to Gog (Ez.38:3), indicating that a transliteration of a name similar to 'Russia' does appear in at least some of the original Biblical manuscripts.
Besides 'Rosh', two other countries bordering the Black Sea, Meschech and Tubal (Ez.38), are described by Ezekiel as forming a part of this empire as well, and they reinforce the Rebel's strong relationship with the nations which surround this sea. See Map 1.
While a return to communism is a distinct possibility in many areas of the former Soviet Union, the most militant force for eastern instability right now remains the growing threat of Islamic extremism which is inclined to violence, steadfastly opposed to western civilization, and whose adherents today occupy much of the territory described in the prophecies.
This is why the union between 'Persia' and the northern Asian alliance (the ten-nation confederacy) so obvious in Daniel's prophecies, seems to point to a fundamentalist revival within these nations. (Ez.38:5). That squares with the revival of Islamic fundamentalism we now see in progress across the entire eastern hemisphere from the Atlantic side of the Mediterranean Sea all the way to Indonesia.
Several of the nations in the new Russian confederacy have large, if not predominately Muslim populations and at least one of these countries is equipped with a large arsenal of the most modern nuclear weapons, complete with the latest missile delivery systems. There is no question that an incipient world power of enormous potential and Middle Eastern connections is building all across the Asian continent.
Nuclear weapons and the means to launch them is something that the Middle East has been trying to secure for many years. Israel apparently already has such an arsenal.
With the disintegration of the Soviet Union, thousands of nuclear and rocket scientists and technicians have been set free to fend for themselves. This sophisticated pool of nuclear architects is literally up for grabs to the highest bidder.
Awash with money and sitting on the richest oil reserves in the world, the Middle East is in a position to offer these nuclear experts the highest bids of all. This is one of the unsettling factors in the militant attitude (both anti-western and anti-Christian) that seems to be festering and growing throughout the Middle East at this time.
What happens here in the coming years has tremendous consequences for the rest of the world because almost every nation on earth is dependent on Middle Eastern oil.
There can be little doubt that this international dependency on the energy resources of the Middle East is the underlying factor which will give the beast such powerful leverage among so many nations of the world at the time of the End.
With a world consumed by the kind of warfare the prophecies envision, world economies will be simple, not complex -- and oil (the means to sustain this warfare or block it) will be the driving issue confronting almost every country on the globe.
For all these reasons, and especially because it is so clearly dilineated in the Bible, it is certain that a binding coalition between the Asian/Russian North and the forces of the Middle East is going to occur as a central process in the formation of the ten-nation confederacy.
Given the strict principles scripture predicts will drive this confederacy, and the names scripture often associates with it (i.e., 'Media' and 'Persia') the Middle Eastern emphasis cannot be overstated. (Is.13:17-18).
While the victories will see-saw back and forth for a period of time between North and South, Daniel shows that the South will be generally stronger in the early battles between the two. That will change, however, as the days pass -- days that will lead to a united and powerful eastern coalition.
According to scripture this eastern coalition of nations will have two horns. "Horns" in scripture imply a strength associated with armies and warfare. This tells us in prophecy that among the ten nations of the confederacy, two leaders of enormous strength will arise. The second horn, which is the 'beast' will follow the first. Both will inflict enormous losses on the western world. In fact, in concert, they will destroy the western world entirely and, according to the Book of Revelation, burn it's remains in fire.
Having earlier rejected Jesus and Christianity in a 'Great Revolt', the western world at that point will be pagan (secular) and so be called 'Babylon', Satan's ruling world government. According to Ezekiel, God has 'put hooks into the kings of the East' to bring them in to attack and destroy this pagan government. At the end, they, too, will become a part of it (Babylon) and meet the same fate.
Once the eastern coaliition is formed (the 'ten nations'), a great war-lord will arise to take the reigns of this confederacy, and under his direction, march them to a triumphant string of military victories that will lead them successfully across much of the earth.
Jerusalem will fall temporarily. Then Europe and even certain parts of the American continent. (Dan.11:15-18).
In contrast to the 'beast' who will appear later, the goals of the confederacy will be puritanical during this initial period. It will be steeped in a fundamentalist kind of morality. Not a Christian morality, though, which promotes peace and gentleness, but a violent and coercive morality that is exercised at the end of a sword or gun.
This committment to violence will be the key factor which divides the philosophy of the invading armies of the East from the Christian tenents that they will be so successful in tearing down. Peace on earth will disappear. Satan's mobilization of the world for war will proceed exactly as the Bible predicted it would. (Rev.20:8).
The fact that so much warfare could occur in the Eastern Hemisphere without the United States being drawn into the hostilities in a greater way -- especially in Europe -- may be an indication of how swift this first major campaign will be.
Significant capitulation will also occur (Dn.11:14) -- in fact, it is this betrayal that will dissolve the strength of the union binding the southern allies and make possible the overall success of the Persian assault.
Because the rise of this eastern coalition (the Ten Nations of the North) is so important to the terminal events of history, we need to go back and review some of the more critical aspects of this upsurgance in detail.
As we stated before, in the very earliest battles, the South will dominate the northern forces. (Dn.11:7, 11:11). This is the situation in progress now. Israel and the west are powers the east cannot yet overturn. Over time, however, Daniel indicates that the tides of battle will change.
The North will recruit a very large army and this time bring plentiful supplies. (Dn.11:13). When this happens, Daniel tells us, many allies of the South will bolt and join the northern forces. It is that capitulation that may likely underlie the early paucity of American retaliation or defensive maneuvers implicit in Daniel's visions.
At the same time, "men of violence will also rebel from your own people, thus fulfilling the vision; but they will fail." (Dn.11:14). One aspect of this prophecy describes the doomed fate of Jewish militants who will imprudently carry their war machine north to the Euphrates river.
Perhaps thinking to expand the Israeli presence to the boundaries of Israel at its greatest moment in history -- the northern extreme of Solomon's kingdom touching the banks of the Euphrates river -- it is this reckless Jewish contingent that will be caught unawares in the eastern ambush.
Another strong possibility surrounding these 'mercenaries' is that they constitute a militant contingent of Christian fundamentalists who offer their services to help Israel regain these boundaries by force. Either way, Daniel tells us that they will be 'men of violence' and therefore rebels as far as the true way of God (peace) is concerned. According to Daniel, none of them will survive.
Isolated so far from home, the entire Jewish army will be destroyed by the flood of eastern forces as they sweep down into Palestine in the North's initial conquest of Jerusalem. (Dn.11:16).
"Persia takes up his quiver, Aram mounts his horse and Kir fetches out his shield. Your fairest valleys are filled with chariots and the horsemen take up positions at the gates; thus falls the defense of Judah." (Isaiah 22:6-8)
The 'fairest valleys of Israel will be filled with enemy forces. The number of those killed will be enormous.
"The king of the North will then come and throw up siege-works to capture a strongly fortified city. The forces of the South will not stand their ground, its picked troops will not be strong enough to resist. The invader will treat him as he pleases, no one will be able to resist him. He will take his stand in the land of Splendor, destruction in his hands." (Dn.11:15-16).
The 'strongly fortified city' described in these passages is Jerusalem. (See Is.25:2). Isaiah's words show that the city of Jerusalem will be captured in this stunning assault.
Instead of pressing home his victory, however, the eastern monarch in command of the ten-nation empire will make a treaty with the king of the south and withdraw. This will free Jerusalem from his grasp and buy time for the South to reorganize its defenses.
What roll the United States will play in the promulgation of this treaty is uncertain. Daniel does not suggest any western involvement, but clearly the threat of nuclear annihilation is just about the only penalty that would thwart such a powerful eastern empire from carrying out an easy eradication of this ancient thorn from its side. Having already wiped out almost all of Israel's army and surrounded by such a flood of troops, total victory could be concluded with a mere sweep of their hand. Something blocks this. Something has to force such a treaty
Once the treaty is signed, however, the king of the North will not simply go home.
Instead, fortified with more infantry than Pandemonium's army, he will turn toward the west and try to extend his conquests all the way to, and even across, the Atlantic Ocean. This is the march that will bring him across Europe, and in the process, overturn western civilization. The United States (the 'Kittim' in Daniel's prophecies) will still stand, but its western alliance will be in shambles torn utterly to pieces.
"He will next turn to the islands and conquer many of them..." (Dn.11:18). His hordes will be so successful in their march west that they will not be stopped until they have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and secured substantial victories in the Western Hemisphere.
By bringing the war in Europe to the Western Hemisphere, the king of the North will likely draw the United States into the action. When that happens, the western response could be so intense and devastating that the eastern forces will be routed and have to withdraw. Daniel's exact words on this are: "a magistrate will put a stop to his outrages in such a way that he will be unable to repay outrage for outrage.". (Dn.11:18).
If it is a western 'magistrate' who puts a stop to this eastern march around the world, it would have to be a future commander of the forces of the United States military. No one else on earth will command forces powerful enough to crush a Persian war machine of such size and ferocity, especially one driven by the momentum of so many victories.
Many scholars considered Daniel's passage fulfilled long ago when the Roman consul, Lucius Scipio, humiliated the armies of 'Antiochus the Great' at Magnesia.
But Scipio's crushing defeat of Antiochus the Great (the father of the Rebel Antiochus Epiphanes IV) only serves to throw light on this prophecy. The true meaning of Daniel's words (as we have shown so many times before) relates to a time that is still to come. Moreover, all of his prophecies relate to Christ. They describe the events of the terrible 'night' which Jesus said was to come.
In it's initial sweep west, as the giant war machine of the Medes marches across Europe, that continent will cease to exist in any political way that we know it now.
The damage there will be incomprehensible because it will involve the opening stages of the ravages defined by scripture -- sin's scourge of the earth. "The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them." (Joel 2:3).
In order to accomplish destruction this extensive, a vast armada of armies will be needed. "Listen, a rumbling in the mountains. Like a great crowd. Listen! The din of kingdoms, of nations mustering. It is the Lord God marshalling the troops for battle. they come from a distant country, from the far horizons...to lay the whole earth waste." (Is.13:4-5).
The dualism of scripture takes this prophecy in two directions. It is to be fulfilled in both. On one side, we see God's warfare the nations of Christ carrying His Word across the earth in the 'Daylight of the Son'. On the other we see the 'night' battalions of the end of time preparing the world for its burning. In both instances, this warfare will be world-wide. Ultimately it will witness the ten-nations expand their power and influence across much of the earth.
Even though the carnage will almost certainly be enormous, Christians, during this period, will apparently not become a primary target for extermination on account of their religion. The warfare will be intense, producing incredible damage and Christian losses will be very large, but the king steering it will not carry his warfare into the Church per se.
This is undoubtedly the reason why so little writing about this first king appears in scripture. It is only from the pen of Daniel that we are given images of his exploits. (Dn.11:15-20).
With its forces defeated on the shores of the 'islands of the sea' (on the shores of the South American continent), Daniel says this eastern scourge will collapse and the ten-nation Asian empire will falter (Dn.11:18).
Although this attack by the first major king of the East will not be levelled against Christians per se, we can see in Isaiah's prophecy that these eastern forces will be extremely vicious, and the damage they inflict on those they attack will be as ruthless as anything ever seen on earth in the past. Christians in great numbers will fall victim to the incredible violence of these times. In the van of this assault, religious activities or proselytizing will be forbidden or highly curtailed. That is a given because strict curtailment of Christian activities has always been an eastern law, even during the most peaceful of times.
Under this mercilous monarch's direction, the ten-nation confederacy will appear invincible, starting with his attack on Jerusalem and continuing with his march across Babylon (a now-pagan western world). He will not be stopped until well after his forces have secured major victories in the Western Hemisphere.
Thwarted by his losses in America, the king of the North, Daniel tells us that he will return to the Eastern Hemisphere and try to consolidate his victories there, attacking fortifications opposed to him in various places throughout Europe and Asia.
While he is attempting this, however, Daniel says that he will suddenly stumble and die. "He will then turn on the strongholds of his own country, but will stumble, fall, and never be seen again." (Dn.11:19).
"In his place there will rise a man who will send an extortioner to despoil the royal splendor; in a few days he will be shattered, though neither publicly nor in battle." (Dn.11:20).
Again, Daniel's prophecies relate to Christ; so we must view Daniel's words through Christian eyes.
The Bible is about Jesus and the rescue of God. Nothing else. It is in this light that we must view Daniel's words. Proof of this is obvious in Daniel's vision of the Last Judgment. (Dan.7:9-14).
His reference to the 'royal splendor', then, applies to a major Christian Church, not to a Jewish temple or synagogue. The place in question (the location of the royal splendor) is the City of David in exile -- i.e., the City of David in Babylon.
The only cathedral that fits the location Daniel has specified is the Christian headquarters situated in the city of Rome. St. Peter's is the largest Christian church in the world and it is a cathedral whose "royal splendor" is unsurpassed in the entire world filled to its rafters with much of the artistic treasures of the entire western world.
An extortioner at these premises, commanding the removal of much of this statuary and artwork, could indeed, despoil 'the royal splendor'. The term 'royalty' applies as well. First in Christ, and then physically: It is the only Christian church on earth to actually boast a throne (that of St. Peter).
The prophecy indicates that after the first king dies, he will be replaced by a man who will challenge the sanctuary of the Vatican. This could not happen unless the empire of the Medes -- the 'ten-nation empire of the east' -- controlled Rome.
We can see in this prophecy, then, that Italy will have fallen to the eastern forces very early in the course of the tribulation. And it will remain under the control of the eastern forces even after the first great king has died.
This indicates that the death of the first eastern monarch will not take the world back to the way it was before he brought his hordes of troops west.
Much of western Europe and the Mediterranean will lie under permanent eastern administration as a result of this king's earlier victories.
Such will not be the case with Jerusalem, however, and this is further proof that Daniel's prophecy of extortion does not relate to a Jewish worship center. The administrators from the North cannot extort what they do not control.
Daniel's words are very clear in this respect -- the forces of the first king of the North will be driven from Jerusalem and kept away from that city by the same western power that pushes these eastern forces out of the 'islands of the sea'.
Thus the kingdom of the South (the western-Israeli alliance situated on the east side of the Mediterranean will remain independent and exist apart from the vast Persian empire that lies to its north.
Daniel's extortion prophecy indicates that the eastern governor who replaces the dead king will send a team into Vatican City to assess the treasures there -- and almost certainly in relation to some kind of hostile taxation specifically targeting the Christian Church.
Despite its extensive territorial gains throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, the power structure of the ten-nation confederacy is certain to lie in some disarray after it's powerful leader's death, especially following so closely the empire's decisive defeat at the hands of powerful U.S. forces.
The eastern attempt to blackmail the Vatican is to be a key signal to all Christians that the Body of Christ is about to be attacked. The extortioner will die -- seemingly by the hand of God -- but the gauntlet will have been thrown.
The autonomy of Christ's Church on earth will have been challenged at the highest level, a clear signal that the End is at hand. It also means that the beast and his small band of fanatics have arrived and are now standing at the final moments of human history.
The world, however, will see all these events differently. With the great eastern warlord dead, and the battles drawing to a close, many nations may breathe a collective sigh of relief and look forward to clearing the wreckage of the massive devastation just past with the hope that they can rebuild peace and prosperity on earth once again. Committee meetings and political wrangling are a given.
Even so, the prosperity they are looking forward to will elude them. That is because, according to Paul, it is in this atmosphere of expectation for peace and a new world order that the Rebel will suddenly appear.
"It is when people are saying, 'How quiet and peaceful everything is', that the worst suddenly happens..." (1 Thes.5:3).
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