Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth, to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him.
Well, hopefully, but not absolutely or positively, we’re going to try and conclude our discussion of Dave Hunt’s book A Cup of Trembling: Jerusalem and Bible Prophecy.
Dave, unless we digress a little bit—we call that a “rabbit trail”; there could be one or two here—but we could finish the book today. I know you’re leaving for Europe and places unknown (laughing), okay, for the next month or so, so it’d be good to get it finished, but if we don’t, we don’t. We can come back to it.
The two issues that we want to discuss: Armageddon and, so we just don’t end on that note, I’d like to talk about the New Jerusalem.
But Armageddon—that’s a point of controversy. The perspective that you take is a little bit different than most people who address the subject.
Dave: Yeah, I speak at many prophecy conferences, Tom, and it’s a rare person that I find who agrees with me, so, just on that count, why, I must be wrong, but…
Tom: And it’s also why we want people to be Bereans, to not just buy into whatever we say.
Dave: Right. I just try and go by the Bible.
Well, of course, what is the controversy? Well, everybody agrees—if you’re pre-Millennial, and especially if you’re pre-Trib—everybody agrees that Armageddon comes at the end of the Great Tribulation. You get that in Revelation 19. So what is the controversy? Well, where do we read the details of Armageddon? I believe Ezekiel 38 and 39 are Armageddon without a doubt. I don’t see any way that you could interpret it otherwise. But the majority view is, well, Ezekiel 38 and 39—that’s something that could happen before the Rapture, or maybe it happens just after; maybe it happens in mid-Trib, whatever. And we have the Russian armies coming into Israel, and they’re defeated, you know, slaughtered on the mountains of Israel.
Well, first of all, I don’t think it’s just the Russian armies. I have held that view—I mean the Russians and the Muslim armies, the Arab armies—but it talks about Gog and Magog. And you also get Gog and Magog in Revelation 20, and there Gog and Magog is very clearly the whole world, like the sand of the sea they come up against Jerusalem, against Jesus, in battle.
Tom: And this is during the end of the Millennial reign of Christ.
Dave: Right. So I think, when it says Gog and Magog, it doesn’t have to list every nation. This is the Antichrist leading his armies—the armies of the world. The whole world is against Israel at this point. I don’t think it’s just the Russians. They used to think it would be Soviet Union, but things have changed considerably. Russia is more or less an ally of ours now. Everybody wants to be part of NATO. The question would arise, well, what if Russia comes down here and the Arabs—where is NATO? They would be defeated by Israel, possibly—I don’t know. Israel has nuclear bombs, missiles—nuclear missiles—they can launch them from submarines. They are not going to go down without using their ultimate weapon. It could be horrible.
So I think that that is what the Lord is talking about when He says He’s going to have to intervene, Matthew:24:22: “Except those days be shortened, no flesh would survive.”
So I don’t see some preliminary war—Russia and the Arabs come to Israel, and they’re slaughtered.
And then, somehow, there’s another buildup, and later on, a few years later, Armageddon occurs. I don’t see that happening. It doesn’t make sense. But when you read Ezekiel 38—of course, Tom, I think that chapter 20 [of Jerusalem, a Cup of Trembling], isn’t it titled “Double Cross,” or something like that?
Tom: “Double Cross and Armageddon.”
Dave: Yeah, what is the double cross? Well, in Daniel:9:27, it tells us that the Antichrist—and it’s very clear that it is the Antichrist: it talks about the people of the prince who will come; they will destroy the city and the sanctuary right after the Messiah comes and is crucified. That was the Roman armies, and they’re the people of the “prince who will come”—the prince who will come obviously is the Antichrist, the pretender prince, and then it says, “and he… [that is, this prince who will come] will enforce a covenant for a week [well, that’s seven years; that’s the 70th week of Daniel—70 weeks. We’ve had 69 of them have passed, to the point where the Messiah comes, and then is crucified. Okay?] So…and then this is suspended, and who knows how long later, it doesn’t say, when the church is raptured, then everything moves back to Israel again. This is the focus—and that is what Daniel:9:24 says: “Seventy weeks of years are determined upon your city and upon your people,” okay?
So, although Israel is being regathered, they’re very much in the news in fulfillment of many prophecies, that is not the final seven years. Okay? So, he enforces a covenant—that’s what the Hebrew says: He forces it upon the world, and only Antichrist could do that. And that is that the temple would be rebuilt. The Muslims are going to have to be happy with this, and I think they will be, and there are a number of reasons why they would be—you had a recent article in a major authoritative Egyptian periodical, as you know, that said that Al Aqsa is not Jerusalem—that never was a place of worship, there was no mosque there, that that really was Medina, and that’s where Muhammad made his journey on his magical horse that famous night, okay? The Night Journey, it’s called.
So, whatever it is, the Antichrist is going to tell them where the real Al Aqsa is, and they’ll move the Dome of the Rock there. I think. But however it happens, Antichrist will enforce this. It’s going to have to be. And why does he do it? The Jews think he’s their friend, and he enforces peace—it’s a false peace, Daniel:8:25…
Tom: Dave, you also mention in the book that this will be a time of unprecedented prosperity, which is something you usually don’t think about when you think about the Tribulation.
Dave: I believe so. I think it will be—for a short time. So the Antichrist poses as the friend of Israel—or they think he’s their friend. And when you get to Ezekiel:38:11, “He says in his heart, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages. I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, having neither bars nor gates.”
So the wall that Israel is building now—the fence, the wall—is going to come down. There’s no question about it. The Bible says so. And they will feel secure. The Antichrist has caused the temple to be rebuilt. The sacrifices have started again, and so forth.
And then, in the midst of the week—that will be 3 ½ years into it, says, “He causes the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” So, obviously, he must be the one who allowed it to start or made the provision that it would start. And now he double crosses them, and he puts his image in the temple, and he demands to be worshiped as God. This is “the abomination that maketh desolate” that Daniel spoke of, and that Jesus also spoke of.
So, I think you get that picture here in Ezekiel 38. Who are these people that are dwelling safely without walls? Well, the end of verse 12 says, “This is the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods” and so forth. They have taken desert and swamp and they’ve turned it into a garden. You know, they sell flowers to Holland. Amazing. Electronics to Japan. They take our stuff and soup it up. They have just done something amazing with that barren land that they took over. Okay?
So, these are the people scattered around the world, gathered up from the nations, and they now live securely, dwell securely, they think, under the protection of Antichrist. The temple is going, you know, the sacrificial system, and so forth. And then, boom! He stops it. He puts his image in the temple and demands to be worshiped as God.
Tom: Dave, this would be, as you said, mid-week, that is, 3 ½ years into the Tribulation. Isn’t that the time, as well, that God begins to pour out His wrath of judgment on the world?
Dave: I think so…
Tom: But you also indicate in your book that Israel is protected from that, which means that all of the things that you’re talking about—all the prosperity, all of the goods, and so on—this will be indeed the place to go to get the spoils of war.
Dave: I think so, Tom. I think we have a picture of it when Israel was in Egypt as slaves; they dwelt in the land of Goshen, and when the plagues came on Egypt, they did not touch the Jews. And I think the same will be here.
God is pouring out His wrath upon this earth. But He is protecting His people. And of course, that will cause great anger from the nations of the world. You remember during the Middle Ages when the Bubonic Plague, or the Black Death, or whatever—it didn’t sweep through the Jewish communities because they were following the rules, the sanitary…the hygienic laws that God had given them. They didn’t have open sewer running down the gutters and so forth. They did wash and keep clean, and then, of course, the world blamed them: “Oh, they must be the ones who are putting it off on us!”
So I think we get some pictures of what’s going to happen. So finally, the whole world comes against Israel to effect the final solution to the Jewish problem that Hitler tried and didn’t. And you know, anti-Semitism, it’s everywhere…
Dave: …in this world. Okay? So we read of this. Now, notice what God says, verse 11: “I will bring thee against my land.” Okay? “This is my land.” Do I dare just digress for a moment, and just—I wish President Bush could listen to this, President Putin, the UN, the European Union—because God says, “This is my land.” This is Leviticus:25:23: “It is not to be traded. It’s not to be sold. You don’t give it away. You don’t trade it to someone for peace.” And now we have the famous—or it will soon be infamous—“Roadmap to Peace.” And a major part of the roadmap is a further dividing of the land, and Joel:3:2: God very clearly says, “I am going to bring the nations into judgment for dividing my land.” And so, here He is, He’s bringing them: “I’m going to bring you against my land. Okay? This is my land. You’re going to find out who’s in charge of this land.”
So, God is doing this. The end of verse 18, Ezekiel:38:18: “My fury shall come up in my face,” God says, and now, Tom, we’ve got something—I don’t think you find it anywhere else in the Bible: “In my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken. Surely in that day (this is the day of Armageddon), there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel so that the fishes of the sea, the fowls of the heaven, the beasts of the earth, all creeping things that creep upon the earth, all the men that are on the face of the earth shall shake at my presence.”
God is coming to this earth! Well, Zechariah:12:10: “They will look on me, whom they have pierced,” okay? The mountains will be thrown down, the steep places shall fall, every wall will fall to the ground. Wow! Tom, this—you can’t escape it! This is the finale! This is the big climax! The fishes of the sea, the fowls of the air—every creeping thing is shaking! God has come back to this earth. Well, who is He? Jesus Christ! And “they will look on me [Zechariah:12:10 says, that’s Yahweh speaking, but then it says:] whom they have pierced. They will mourn for him.”
“Look on me,” and they’re going to “mourn for him.“—“I and my Father are one”—you cannot escape it. But now, when you get down to chapter 39—well, let me go back to verse 23, the last verse in chapter 38: “Thus will I magnify myself and sanctify myself.” God is showing who He is. “And I will be known in the eyes of many nations.” Well, that means “all nations.”
“They shall know that I am Yahweh.” Okay?
So, Ezekiel:39:7: “So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people, Israel.”
There are two purposes for Armageddon. I think the Bible makes that clear. Number 1, God is going to punish the nations for what they’ve done to Israel. They’re finally going to get their “come-uppance,” okay? Zechariah 14: “I’m going to bring all nations against Jerusalem.”
So, are we talking about Russia? A Russian invasion? I don’t think so. “All nations” are going to come against Jerusalem under the Antichrist.
And then the second purpose of Armageddon is He’s going to break the hard heart of the Jewish people. “That generation will not pass away,” Jesus said. The generation of what? Generation in that day? You know, Nero was the Antichrist, as the Reconstructionists try to say? It was all fulfilled back then? Or the generation that sees Israel back in her land? That won’t pass away? No. I never believed that. The “generation of vipers.” Unbelieving generation. Rebellious generation, a gainsaying generation, a perverse, Christ-rejecting generation.
We talked about this earlier. Israel as a whole will remain in unbelief until—until all is fulfilled. When all is fulfilled, and this is the fulfillment of it, Christ returns to rescue them in the midst of Armageddon. “They will look on me whom they have pierced, and they will mourn,” and they will finally recognize, This is the Messiah! Jesus Christ, that we’ve rejected all these years, He really is the Messiah.
Tom: And Dave, the mourning has to do with recognizing how they have been, how they have—I want to say “related,” but that’s not the right word—how they have looked upon Christ…
Tom: …and it’ll be a sorrow…
Dave: Oh, tremendous—it says, Zechariah 12: this says, “It will be a sorrow such as has never been in Israel.” So, Ezekiel:39:7: “I will make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel.” They’re going to know who He is. “And I will not let them pollute my holy name any more. And the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, the holy One of Israel.” All the nations of this world will know—this is the God of Israel. Two hundred and three times He calls Himself the God of Israel.
Okay, so you go down—we just have to skip for sake of time—Ezekiel:39:22: “So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forth.” This is the day of Israel’s redemption. All Israel will be saved, Paul tells us in Romans:11:25. “Blindness in part has happened to Israel until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” And this is the last fling of the Gentiles to destroy the Jews, and they’re wiped out. And all Israel will be saved, and from that day forth, they will know the Lord.
But it gets even clearer, Ezekiel:39:29: “Neither will I hide my face any more from them…” See, He’s been hiding His face from Israel. They’ve been under His judgment because of their rebellion, their wickedness.
Tom: Dave, this is talking about collective Israel.
Tom: So we know that there are Jews today being saved all over the world. So it’s not saying this is absolutely—they’re all blinded. So that’s not the case. It’s a matter of their heart, it’s a matter of their volition, individually.
Dave: That’s right. So, you read in the Scriptures, Isaiah:59:1: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save. Neither is his ear heavy that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God. And your sins have hid his face from you that he will not hear.” Okay? That’s the condition of Israel as a whole, and God’s judgment is upon the nation of Israel until this time. But now something happens. They’re going to recognize—they’re going to repent. And He says, “Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.” That is Zechariah:12:10. This is the end of the Great Tribulation. This is Armageddon. There’s no way you could explain it away, Tom. This cannot be some preliminary war before the Rapture, just after the Rapture, the middle of the Great Tribulation, and the armies of the Soviet…or they’re Russian now, the Russian armies have been destroyed. No! That’s not the whole picture! He pours out His Spirit upon Israel. Israel has repented. Israel is redeemed!
Well, that doesn’t happen until the end. It doesn’t happen until Christ returns, and this is obviously Christ returning. God is returning to this earth, and everything is shaking.
But now Ezekiel:39:28 is even more interesting: “Then shall they know [that is Israel] that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity” among the heathen, among the nations. “But I have gathered them unto their own land… [now, notice this phrase] and have left none of them any more there.”
Wow! This is the climax! There’s not a Jew left anywhere on this earth. They will all have been brought back to Israel. How are they brought back to Israel? Matthew:24:30, Jesus tells us. It says, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be dark and the moon won’t give its light,” and so forth; “they will…see the Son of man coming in power and glory, and he will send his angels, and they will gather his elect from the four winds.” This is not the Rapture when Christ the Lord himself catches us up to meet Him in the air. But this is Christ coming back in judgment at the Second Coming, and He has the angels gather every Jew from anywhere on this earth back to Israel, where He is going to establish His kingdom, and He will reign over them.
So, Tom, I don’t see how anyone can come up with anything else. Now, one way they do—one thing that bothers them, it says, going back to Ezekiel:39:9: “They that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth…” (this is after the defeat of these armies) “and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and the arrows, the handstaves...”, you know, that’s using the language of that day. I think these are atomic weapons, probably, but anyway, “they shall burn them with fire seven years.”
So people say, “Wait a minute, now, how can they be burning…if this is the beginning of the Millennial reign of Christ, how can they be burning? You know, they’re going to bury…the people of the land shall bury them, and so forth, and it shall take seven months, searching out the dead bodies and burying them, and so forth. Well, that couldn’t be in the Millennium.”
Well, there’s a cleanup time for the Millennium. God doesn’t do everything just miraculously. As Genesis:2:15 says, “The Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” So, Adam had something to do, too, a little work to do. And I think there’s going to be a little work to clean up during the Millennium.
And so, I don’t see any problem with that, and there are so many other problems, you couldn’t possibly make this some preliminary war.
Tom: Dave, I just read an article by, interestingly, two Muslim college professors here in this country, and they were taking on fundamentalism with regard to Armageddon. They said this could be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is anybody working here as a believer to try and make Armageddon come, you know, come to pass?
Dave: “Self-fulfilling prophecy.” That’s nonsense because how are you going to bring all the nations of the world against Israel? Of course, self-fulfilling prophecy—are they—and they’re going to be among them, the Muslim nations, the Arab nations, so are they saying, “Okay, you guys say this is what’s going to happen, so we’re going to make it happen”?
No, “we’re going to make it happen?” Try to make it happen, because of their hatred for the Jews, and let me just quote again—we’ve quoted Muhammad: “The last day will not come until Muslims confront the Jews and the Muslims destroy them. In that day, Allah will give a voice to the rocks and the trees, and they will cry out, Muslim! There’s a Jew hiding behind me. Come and kill him!” Self-fulfilling prophecy? No, it’s a prophecy that foretold the anti-Semitism, the hatred of the world, against the Jews and the final battle that they will try to fight, and exactly what God is going to do. He’s going to intervene, He’s will destroy the nations, He will judge them for dividing His land, and He will redeem Israel, and all Israel will be saved.
Tom: That’s really the upside, Dave. This is God’s solution to the problem of the heart of men, and men have tried to bring peace, tried to do all of these things, but in opposition to the true and living God.
Dave: Tom, the nations of this world are defying God. He said this is His land. He’s told what His plans are for it. They’ve got their own plans, and we know who’s going to win.