|(11d) What will happen to America during the Tribulation ?|
|Book 11 LESSON THREE * PART II |
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
As I have told you before, the only reason I teach is to help people better understand and enjoy their Bible. We have never attempted or intended to build a group or organization. We just like to teach the Word, and we have people taking it into their churches and Sunday schools and taking advantage of it.
Last lesson we were discussing the aspect of the red horse in Revelation Chapter 6. I like to tie it in with Ezekiel 38 be it right or wrong. I'm very comfortable putting this great invasion of Israel in the early stages of the Tribulation. Remember, after the Anti-christ signs that peace treaty of seven years with the Nation of Israel, she will suddenly drop her guard, thinking her borders are guaranteed with this treaty. So when you come to the language in Ezekiel 38, I think it is so appropriate that under those circumstances, with an outside power now guaranteeing their sovereignty and their safety, that it becomes what Ezekiel calls a land of unwalled villages.
When Ezekiel was writing, the walls of the city were the first line of defense. When you speak of a land of unwalled villages what does it tell you? Here is a land with no defense. They have been guaranteed safety by some outside political and military force, but for the nation itself, she is there with no real visible defense. This Northern confederation of nations, that we think will be headed up by Russia immediately takes advantage of this fact. Today, hardly anyone dares to attack the Nation of Israel because they know they will have a fight on their hands if they do. More than likely they'll get whipped. But here they now realize that Israel is complacent. Israel has finally gotten this almost Messiah-like atmosphere, that they no longer have to fear their enemies.
When we finally get into the Gospels, we will study about Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who suddenly had his speech given back to him. I always tell people to read what he had to say in Luke 1:67-71 and to read it carefully.
"And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, `Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people (Israel), And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;"
This is exactly what Israel is looking for today. That they could be safe from their enemies. It's not a spiritual thing. It's physical. And they will swallow what the Anti-christ will promise. Now picking up where we left off in the Book of Ezekiel. Chapter 38 and verse 9. God speaking through the prophet to the Northern Confederation, because it will involve more than just the Russians.
"Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land (not necessarily air power, but massive invasion armies.), thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee." It will be a consortium of all these nations listed in verse 5 and 6.
"Thus saith the Lord GOD; `It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:'"
"And thou shalt say, `I will go up to the land of unwalled villages (Israel is now sitting there relatively safe and secure. Now's the time for a surprise attack.); I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,'" Then to verse 12: "To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited,..."
What a perfect picture that is of Israel? It had been a no-man's land for years, and now since 1948, it has blossomed into a land of production. They are building highways; they're building apartments. It's almost like being in America. Their traffic patterns are much the same as any major city here. I had a gentlemen in my class when we were still in Iowa who's gone to be with the Lord now. He was stationed with an American group in Palestine during World War II. I can still remember his explaining the conditions. He said, "Why in the world would anyone want that country? I just couldn't understand. There's nothing there." Well that's not the case today. It's a vibrant country. It's producing. And they're just constantly coming up in production of agriculture, technology and medical. The Nation of Israel is at the forefront of all these things.
"...and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations (that's where the Jews have come from remember. Every nation on the globe.), which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land."
"Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, `Art thou come to take a spoil?...'"
Tarshish, I think, either refers to Spain or Great Britain, and I would probably say Great Britain. Some of the other nations involved there in the NATO alliance, will be under the rule or control of the Anti-christ at this time. And all they're going to be able to say is, "What do you think you're doing?" Because this has caught them so by surprise, they won't have time to retaliate, militarily. And so all that they do I suppose, is tell the media at a press conference, "Well, all we can say is, `What do they think they're doing' and there's nothing we can do about it." Read on:
"...hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey (are you invading)? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods,..."
In other words, to take a great spoil? That's about all the Western European nations are going to be able to do. But remember that God's going to intervene in short order.
"Therefore (God says to the prophet), son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day (when they invade Israel) when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts,...'" And that means everything from Lebanon, all the way, I think, to Moscow.
"And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days (that's the second time the word "latter" has been used. And that is why I have to feel that it will be in the Tribulation), and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen (or the Gentiles) may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog,..."
In other words, when the rest of the world will see what a Sovereign God can do to a modern military force.
"And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face."
You need to remember that Russia has been anti-God for the past 70 years. And God hasn't forgotten. God is always just. And when He pours out His vengeance, He has a reason. I think that Russia still is going to have to answer for all the millions that the Communists put to death, and for their ill-treatment of the Jew. God says, "My fury is coming up before me."
"For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, `Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;'"
As a result of this invasion. Now verse 21, and I want you to watch the language very carefully. God says:
"And I will call for a sword against him (that is, against these invaders) throughout all my mountains,..."
A lot of people don't realize that Israel is mountainous. In fact, I was reading an article just the other day, of someone who was speaking to one of our head government people (I think in the State Department). He didn't know that Israel was a mountainous country! I know that our younger generation hasn't been taught geography like I was. But there are people who are, seemingly, in places of high authority and they don't even know simple geography. But yes, Israel is mountainous. The very center of the country is just a string of mountains and valleys. Here is the very series of words that I tie with Revelation Chapter 6. And this is my reason for bringing it. I go by that basic rule of Bible study: Always go to the place of first mention. In other words, when something is mentioned in the Old Testament and then again in the New, see if they tie together. Now look at the language:
"...every man's sword shall be against his brother."
Do you see that? Now to those verses that we read in Revelation, Chapter 6, and I want you to see the comparison. Of course, I don't get dogmatic. If anyone says, "I can't see this," that's fine. This is the way I see it and I wouldn't teach it if I wasn't comfortable with it. Now back here now in Revelation:
"And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they (that is, the combatants) should kill (who?) one another:..."
Not the enemy but each other! That's what's so unique about this great invasion of Israel. Go back to Ezekiel and compare the words. The Sovereign God is going to fight this battle here on the hills of Israel. And of course it happened before. Do you remember Samaria had been encircled and was under siege, and they were starving to death. Then the Lord gave them a prophecy that by tomorrow night at this time, they would have more food than they would know what to do with. And you know the Syrian army was put into a route because in their confusion, they were killing each other. So it's happened before. Now look what Ezekiel then says again in comparison to the red horse statement in Revelation 6, that every man's sword should be against his brother. In other words, they're going to be annihilating themselves. God, Himself, of course, is going to come in with His own power.
"And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. (which of course is the same language of Sodom and Gomorrah, you'll remember) Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD."
In other words, that Russian army or that Northern Confederation army will be defeated by not only its own confusion, but by a tremendous power of God. And it's going to be utterly destroyed there on the hills and mountains of Israel. Now we have to go into Chapter 39 because these two chapters tie together:
"Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; `Behold, I am against thee,...'"
It would be awful to have God simply tell America for example, "I'm against you." I'm afraid the day is coming. But so far it hasn't happened. Now then, verse 2. He says to this invading force:
"And I will turn thee back (God will. And remember that He brought them down. And this is the way God deals with nations when He judges them. He brought them into the Nation of Israel. He destroyed them there. And now He says, "I'll turn thee back"), and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:"
"And I will smite thy bow out of the left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of they right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured."
Now some people believe that this is Armageddon and I just can't agree with that. This is a separate war. A separate battle within the seven-year time frame. But it is not Armageddon.
"Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD (and then look at verse 6. Underline it if you haven't before). And (God says) I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles:..."
In other words, the homeland of Russia as well as the homeland of all these nations that have consorted against the Nation of Israel. The language is different than it is with the destruction of the army and Israel itself. Their (Israel's) God is going to do it by sending pestilence and hail and brimstone. That's God. But in Chapter 39 verse 6, I think God is using an outside force to destroy the Russian homeland. I'll comment on verse 6 in more detail, but first let's do verses 7-9 and pay particular attention to verse 9:
"So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen (or Gentile) shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the hand staves, and the spears (remember Ezekiel is writing the language of his day. We would say today the tanks, armored personnel carriers and so forth), and they shall burn them with fire seven years:"
People will say, "This can't be the Tribulation because there want be enough time for it." But if you will remember in Scripture a part of a year was counted a whole year. A good example was when a King would serve Israel for 10 years and 1 month, it would say he served for 11 years. So using that rule of thumb, an invasion of the Nation of Israel within the first 11 months for instance, after the seven-year treaty is signed, will still make this prophecy come true. I might also point out that back in the 1960's a Dutch scientist had perfected some sort of a process where he came up with a tank that was made with wood product that would actually repel shells and so forth. And the Russians bought a large quantity of them because they were so much more economical. Then after the war in 1967 in Israel, the Israelites captured some of these tanks and discovered that they burned like cardboard. Whether that is still the case, I don't know. But if it is, then you see again the Scripture is so accurate. The Jewish people will use this equipment as firewood if this is the case.
Now I want to finish commenting on verse 6 as I had promised. I'm going to speculate, and I want to make sure that people understand that this is only speculation. I can't prove it through Scripture, but I can certainly whet your thinking. And just consider the possibilities. Logically. Now I know that God doesn't have to work in the terms of logic. I know that. But many times He does. Logically then, I've put it before my classes over the years, and I've never had anyone ridicule the concept at all. Logically, if you were sitting in a place of authority, whether it's in the Kremlin or some other place in this Northern Confederation, and you were getting ready to invade the little Nation of Israel, I think that you would realize there's only one nation on earth that might oppose you. And who would that be? America. We are the only friend that Israel has in the world. And I think that the Russian leaders would understand that if they invaded Israel, America would probably come to her defense.
Now I mentioned in my last program, and Time magazine just stated it again a couple of weeks ago, that every missile that has ever been pointed at America before, is still sitting there. Still pointing at the American target. Speculate, project, that's all I can do. If you were the commanders, what would you do? I know what I would do. I would say, "Let's unload everything that we have on North America. They're the only possible enemy that we have." And that's what I think will happen. I think the Russians will unload everything that they have and will utterly knock the Western Hemisphere out of the rest of prophecy. Because there's nothing for us in prophecy. Then, when it says that God will send a fire on the Russian homeland, we know that we have submarines all over the oceans of the world, loaded with ballistic missiles on board. So after we have suffered that initial attack, I think our military will still have enough left to give the command to unload all our submarines on the Russian homeland, which will destroy it.
I said that this is all speculation and I don't say it to cause fear or anything like that, because you want to remember that in the Tribulation, events are going to start taking place that are so beyond human understanding. And that's why I think it's so logical to teach it. That when America retaliates and knocks out the whole Russian homeland, then you see between those two annihilations, North America out of the picture for the most part. And the Russian homeland is also out of the picture. Now I want you to come back to Revelation once more. And you can stop again at Matthew 24, because I told you that Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 are direct parallels. So you might as well stop first at Matthew 24 verse 7. And remember, I stopped in the middle of verse 7 with regard to the red horse. Alright, let's go to the last part of verse 7. And this will tie us to the third horse of Revelation 6:
"...and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places." Now flip back to Revelation Chapter 6 verse 5:
"And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast (or creature) say, `Come and see.' And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts (or creatures) say, `A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny;...'"
What does that black horse indicate if you're going to have to ration the food supply? Famine. Alright, come back to my premise. Take, for example, the great production areas of the North American Continent; whether it's the great grain belt to the north, or the citrus growths in other areas such as California, that have vast food production. If you knock out the great food production area of Russia (the Ukraine), what does that do to the world's food supply? It almost annihilates it. So what will the rest of the world suddenly find itself in? A famine.
The language in this verse boils down to the average worker (a field worker for example) having to work a full day, sun-up to sun-down, just to earn enough money to buy bread for the next day. It's going to be runaway inflation caused by a shortage of goods. You're going to have a tremendous decrease in the production of food stuffs. And whenever you have famine and the amount of death as we've seen in Somalia and so forth, what accompanies it? Disease. It just goes hand in glove. Now, lest you think that I'm stretching the point, come down to the fourth horse in verse 7, because these all tie together now. The black horse spoke of famine. What comes as a result of the famine?
"And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast (or creature) say, `Come and see.' And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
The fourth horse is the pale one. As a result of the demise of two great power structures, he now sees this pale horse and on him was Death; and Hell followed with him. And power was given over them to kill with the sword. And what have you, what portion of the world? One fourth. Whether it's one fourth of the geographical area or one fourth of the population, either one. But this is the Tribulation. This is just the beginning.
Go back to Matthew 24 again. I guess you could just put a mark in it because we will be flipping back and forth. In Matthew 24, after these four horsemen have made their appearance (remember these are merely symbolisms. This isn't really someone riding on a horse and announcing that the world is going to have famine. They are symbolic of these events that are going to come on the planet) Jesus goes on to say in verse 8 that there would be famine and earthquakes and pestilence in divers places.
"All these are the beginning of sorrows."
"Travail" is a better word. The King James uses "sorrow." Your newer translations may have the word "Travail" because Jesus is speaking in terms of a delivery. When we were back in Chapter 5 of Revelation, I spoke of a scroll, which was the paying off of a mortgage. It was also a delivery of the earth from the curse that was instituted back in the garden. This is what Jesus is referring to; all these events that are going to come on the planet, beginning with these horsemen of Revelation. This is just a beginning. This is like the mother who is about to deliver. Her birth pains are relatively mild and far apart. That's what we have here. As great as this is going to be, it is mild compared to what it is going to be at the end. And so he says, "These things are just the beginning of Travail." This is the beginning of the delivery process. Look at one verse in the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 30:
"Alas! for that day is great (that is, this Tribulation), so that none is like it: it is even the time of (who's trouble?) Jacob's trouble (the Nation of Israel); but he shall be saved out of it."
So these things will have their vortex upon the Nation of Israel.