Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Fire To Teach Bible Prophecy

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Eight Bible prophecy experts were asked, "Why do you teach Bible prophecy?" The following is how they responded.

Daymond Duck

God has laid it on me. He has laid about everything on me and I haven't always been willing to do all of these things. But, He opens doors for me and that's the way I pray, "God, if you got something you want me to do open the door, and if you don't want me to do it close the door." God opened the door for me to write. God has opened the door for me to be on television. God has opened the door for me to do all kids of things that I never dreamed I would be able to do.

Ray Gano

In Jeremiah it talks about the fire burning in Jeremiah's bones. I am a watchman on the wall. I am a lay person. I am really nobody. But, I just have a love for God's Word. Ever since sixth grade I read a book that changed my life and it scared the tar out of me. Actually, it was by Salem Kirba. It was called 666 and it startled me. After that, I, of course, read Hal Lindsey and he scared the tar out of me, and from that point on when I was in sixth grade I have been studying Bible prophecy ever since. It was weird when I came back to the Lord, you know everybody does their prodigal son time. But, when I came back to the Lord, God hit me up with a two-by-four and said, "These things are going on, look at this, look at this, look at this!" And it was like "Wow! Where have I been?" And, that fire in my bone came up and ever since then I have not been able to be quiet. I have to proclaim the Good New., I have to proclaim the Gospel. I have to tell people about the blessed hope of our Lord's soon return. It is soon!

Don Perkins

Well, first of all, the Lord placed His burden in my heart to teach Bible prophecy, and with that burden He gave me a love for the End Time message. I love what this message produces for my heart. As a born-again teacher, it puts the urgency in my heart to want to reach the lost. This message, out of all the messages in the Bible, to me really again puts that urgency there. It keeps the fire of God in my heart. I love the results of this message. As I teach it around the country I see men's lives changed as a result of them hearing Bible prophecy.

So, I teach it because I love it, and God has burdened my heart to teach it. It is a wonderful tool to bring in the harvest.

Nathan Jones

Because of the sign of the times — Jesus is coming soon!

So much of our faith in Christ is based on His promises, and He promised He is going to return again. We can trust Christ based on His promises always being fulfilled. I want the world to know that Jesus is coming soon. It's this urgent need, it's the gift of prophecy you could say, to get out that Jesus is coming soon.

Get your life straight if you don't know Jesus. Accept Him now, or it's going to be a miserable seven years ahead of you, then death. We want people to know Jesus as their Savior and get right with Christ.

Phillip Goodman

Because the Lord called me — He put it on my heart. Way back while I was still in the education system, He just laid it on my heart. He sat me at His feet and He opened the Bible before me and He sent the Holy Spirit down and helped me learn the Scriptures. I sat at his feet and learned. And then I brought in great teachers and their books. But, here was The Book. God was the teacher through His Holy Spirit, and He called me to do it in that fashion. And so, I knew long before I retired that I would be going into the ministry.

Al Gist

Well, obviously the answer to that is because God called me to it. But, you know, God uses people to accomplish His work. We are the hands and feet and the voice of God in this world.

There was this one man shortly after I entered evangelism. I went to a Bible prophecy conference. Now, I had been a Bible prophecy student for many years and it was a very interesting area of study for me. I was committed to it and I enjoyed it greatly. Even as a pastor I did the many series where I taught through Daniel and Revelation and did Bible prophecy teaching and preaching. But, when I initially went into evangelism I just felt to teach evangelistically like I had always done. And God was good! He blessed it and we saw a lot of people saved and we saw many Christians rededicate their lives to Christ and it was going well.

But, I had only been in full-time evangelism for about six months when God opened a door. A friend called me and said, "You know this guy named Dave Reagan is having a Bible Prophecy Conference at Bethel Baptist Church in Jennings, Louisiana." And he said, "Have you ever heard of him?" And I said, "Well, yeah, I have heard him on the radio." He said, "You should come with me and let's go to that." So I said, "Okay." And we went. During that conference, which was I think in the year 2000, Dr. Reagan preached and I honestly can't say what was preached about other then of course Bible prophecy and the return of Christ. And there was offered an invitation and I felt tremendously moved of God that something was just not right. I thought I was right in the center of God's will and that I was doing I thought what God had called me to do. I was a pastor and then He called me into full-time evangelism. "Lord what else do you want!?" And, not knowing, I went down to the altar and I just began to question God and I said, "Lord what do you want me to do?" There was an elderly gentleman in that church. His name is John Smith. I didn't know him at the time, and I didn't even see him. He is in bad health and he walked very slowly (my wife was telling me this later she saw it) and he came to the altar and as I was kneeling he came and put his hands on me. He prayed I think probably one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever heard in a very strong Cajun accent. With such simple power he in essence said, "God, this man is searching for something that you want him to do." It was almost like a light came on. I don't know how to explain that voice of God that you hear. But, what I heard of God that was at that time was that Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming and you need to tell people that Jesus is coming.

And so, in that particular Bible prophecy conference I surrendered to the idea that God wanted me to preach about the return of Christ. I began gradually to move my ministry in that direction. And within a few months, we were totally focused on that thing — to preach about the Return of Christ. I have been continued to do that for about 8 years now.

Ed Hindson

I was convinced very early in life as a teenager of the promises of the Second Coming of Christ in the Scripture. I was influenced very early on by a book by a man called Harry Rimmer who wrote a book called The Shadow of Coming Events and The Coming War with Russia. Harry Rimmer was a professor who taught at Wheaton College way back in the 1940's who literally predicted the outcome of WWII based on his understanding of the book of Ezekiel. He had a great influence on Bible prophecy teachers and speakers. When I was 16 years old, I preached my very first sermon on the Second Coming of Christ. It's always been part of my heart and soul and passion. My pastor was very committed to Bible prophecy as part of his ministry and built a very successful church, a very evangelistic church.

I think prophecy reminds all of us that if Jesus is really coming back we have to face Him one day either as a Savior and Lord or as our Judge. Prophecy compels us to proclaim the message of the Gospel to reach out to the world in our lifetime and to do all that we can because we believe Jesus could come at any time.

David Reagan

I think Jeremiah 20:9 best sums up why I gave up 20 years in higher education as a professor of International Law and Politics to become a full-time preacher and teacher of Bible prophecy. Jeremiah said that he had to proclaim God's prophetic Word because it had become like a fire within him that he had to release because he could not endure it. Well, that is certainly how I felt. I became overwhelmingly convinced through my study of God's prophetic Word that we are living in the season of the Lord's return, and that I had been called along with many others to proclaim that message to as many people as possible as quickly as possible.

The common thread that seemed to run through all those wonderful testimonies was the call of God on their lives to proclaim the prophetic Word. Like a fire in their soul, these students of Bible prophecy feel driven to proclaim the Good News and soon return of Jesus Christ.

Have you felt that same calling by the Holy Spirit? And, if so, how have you responded?

(You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Antichrist Will Be Headquartered In Rome

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Where will the headquarters of the Antichrist be located during the Great Tribulation? Will it be Rome, Jerusalem, New York, Babylon, or some other city? Twelve different Bible prophecy experts were asked this question. The following five answered that it would be some place else other than a rebuilt Babylon, or that it could be Babylon but they were not entirely convinced. Here are their responses.

Nathan Jones

I honestly don't know. I do believe that the Antichrist will rise from Rome. When it talks about the people destroying the Temple in 70 AD, the Romans destroyed Israel and the Temple. The Antichrist has to come out of Rome. Whether his capital, his actually physical capital building is in Rome, I am not sure. Babylon would be logical because if he has a peace treaty with Israel and it is all about the resources of the Middle East. It would be very smart to have a capital in the oil fields where you can defend it well.

Don Perkins

I believe it will be Rome. It may start off there and eventually go on to Jerusalem. I go back to 2 Thessalonians 2. I believe that it will end in Jerusalem because the heart of God is Jerusalem. I believe that Antichrist will eventually move his capital there because again he wants what God wants and Jerusalem is the apple of God's eye. But, I believe that it will start in Rome and eventually end up in Jerusalem.

Todd Strandberg

There are so many ways to look into that question. It says it will be destroyed and all the merchants of the world will mourn after it. That could be America or it could be Rome because of the revived Roman Empire. It could be Israel because the Antichrist will rule out of there. It could be Babylon and Iraq being rebuilt as some people propose. So, pick your choice there.

Ed Hindson

I personally believe that it will be Rome. I do not believe that it will literally be Babylon. I think that John is obviously using the term "Babylon" as a code word for Rome in the Book of the Revelation. The city that sits on seven hills in the ancient world was always understood as Rome. He is talking about a place where the martyrs of Jesus have been persecuted. He is talking about a place that has stood against the prophets of God and the people of God throughout the generations. I think he is making a very strong case for a great End Time system that will encompass the entire world.

The question is where will it be headquartered? Not likely in Babylon in Iraq. You are going to move the headquarters of the United Nations to Iraq and endure suicide bombers, Islamic threats, terrorism, etc? The Iraqis themselves have no real regard for Babylon. It is a pagan city, not an Islamic city. It is 50 miles from Bagdad. It's never been successfully rebuilt and it will never be successfully rebuilt according to Isaiah's prophecy. Alexander the Great tried to rebuild it and failed, Antiochus Epiphanies tried to rebuild it and failed, Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild it and failed, and if you try to rebuild it you'll fail.

David Reagan

I would agree that there are many prophecies in the Old Testament about Babylon that have not yet been fulfilled. And, I would agree that these prophecies apply to the End Time headquarters of the Antichrist. But, there is a problem with applying them to ancient Babylon. That problem is rooted in the fact that End Time Babylon is defined in the New Testament and the Book of Revelation, and I think those passages make it clear that the End Time Babylon will be Rome. For example, the End Time Babylon is identified in Revelation 17 as a "mystery" or as "Mystery Babylon" depending on the translations. But, either way, it seems to me to be a clear tip off that the author, the Apostle John, is speaking symbolically of some other city then ancient Babylon. In fact, John uses this very same literary technique a few chapters earlier in Revelation 11:8 when talking about the two witnesses of God that the Antichrist will kill in the middle of the Tribulation. The passage states that their bodies will lie in the streets of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt. He then goes on to identify the city as Jerusalem. He referred to it as Sodom because of its immorality, and he referred to it as Egypt because of its idolatry.

Returning to Revelation 17 where the End Time headquarters of the Antichrist is referred to as "Mystery Babylon," the rest of the chapter makes it clear I think that he is talking about Rome. In verse 9 he refers to it as the "city on seven mountains" which in that day and time could only refer to Rome. And, in verse 18, he refers to it as the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. At the time John wrote this in the First Century, that could only apply to Rome. Further evidence that he was speaking of Rome is to be found in 1 Peter 5:13 where the Apostle Peter ends his epistle with the greetings from "the church that is in Babylon." Well, there was no church in Babylon at that time, and Peter was writing from Rome. This passage makes it obvious that Christians in the First Century used Babylon as a code word for Rome.

Finally, there is a prophecy in Isaiah that seems to me to state clearly that Babylon will never be built again once it falls to the Medes and the Persians. Here is how it reads, it reads, "Behold I am going to stir up the Medes against them, against the Babylonians, who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold and their bows will mow down the young men, they will not even have compassion on the fruit of the womb, nor will their eye pity children, and Babylon the beauty of kingdoms the glory of the Chaldeans pride will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation."

Now some people respond to this passage by saying it was not fulfilled in the time of the Medes because they did not destroy the city suddenly with fire the way Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. But, the context makes it clear that it is talking about the conquering of Babylon by the Medes. And furthermore, it does not say Babylon will be destroyed in the same manner as Sodom and Gomorrah. Rather, it says that after the Medes conquer the city it will become like Sodom and Gomorrah. In another words, it will become desolate, and that is exactly what happened. The city went into a long decline and by 141 B.C. when the Parthian Empire took over the region, Babylon was in complete desolation and obscurity and that is the way it has remained ever since.

Today, rumors abound that Babylon is being rebuild for habitation, but those rumors are not true. Saddam Hussein built one of his many presidential palaces on the edge of the ancient city and rebuilt some of the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's Palace complex, but all of this was built for tourism, not for habitation. You can see from aerial photos that the ancient site of Babylon stands barren to this day.

So, my conclusion is that just as Isaiah says ancient Babylon will never be rebuilt again, and the headquarters of the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will be Rome.

Regardless of the Bible prophecy experts' differences over the location of the Antichrist's headquarters, all agree that the Bible teaches there will be an Antichrist who will rule the world from either Rome or Babylon. And, at the end of the Tribulation, his headquarters will be destroyed suddenly by fire from God in one hour of one day just as was the case with ancient Sodom and Gomorrah.

You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Has The Ark Of The Covenant Been Found?

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

The Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia has announced that today (Friday, June 26, 2009) he will unveil to the world the Ark of the Covenant.

The Problematic Legend

There has been a legend for many years that the Ark of the Covenant is in the Saint Mary of Zion Church in Axum, Ethiopia. In recent years this legend has been popularized in the writings of Grant Jeffrey, a Canadian Bible prophecy writer who often specializes in the sensational.

This legend is based on a bizarre story that the Ark was smuggled out of Jerusalem by Menelik I, the supposed son of a union between the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. Supposedly, a replica of the Ark was left in the Holy of Holies in the Temple in Jerusalem. The motivation for moving the Ark was to protect it from King Manasseh, one of the most ungodly kings in the history of Judah.

There are all kinds of problems with this legend. For one thing, it is doubtful that the Queen of Sheba ruled over Ethiopia. It is more likely that her realm was modern day Yemen.

Regarding Menelik I, he ruled over Ethiopia around 950 B.C., according to tradition. Manasseh did not become king of Judah until 253 years later.

Harry Atkins, an Ethiopian historian, contends that there is no record of this legend in Ethiopian history until the end of the 13th Century. At that time there was a dispute over who should be king, and one of the contenders claimed to be a descendant of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Atkins says it was at that point that the legend of the Ark entered into Ethiopian history.

The insurmountable problem with the Ethiopian legend is that 2 Chronicles 35:3 states that the Ark was still in the Temple during the time of King Josiah who reigned from 640 to 609 B.C.

Rabbi Slomo Goren, former Chief Rabbi of Israel (now deceased), spent his life studying the Temple Mount, the Temple, and the Ark of the Covenant. He always argued vehemently that it would have been impossible for anyone, including the priests of the Temple, to have unguarded access to the Ark. He dismissed the whole story as a "foolish suggestion" and a "joke." Modern day rabbis in Israel also consider the story to be ridiculous. Their consensus of opinion is that the Ark is hidden in a secret compartment beneath the Temple Mount.

The Ark's Disappearance

No one knows for sure what happened to the Ark. The last time it is mentioned in Scripture is in 2 Chronicles 35:3. That passage makes it clear that the Ark was still in existence at the time of the spiritual revival led by the boy king, Josiah. Within 22 years after Josiah died, Judah fell to the Babylonians (586 B.C.), and the Ark disappeared.

No one knows for sure what happened to the Ark. Some scholars believe it was simply destroyed when the Temple was burned. Others believe it was captured as a prize of war, taken to Babylon, and probably melted down for its gold. This latter theory seems to be substantiated by the Scriptures. For example, in 2 Chronicles 36:18 it states that when the Babylonians destroyed the Temple, they took "all the articles of the house of God, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem and burned all its fortified buildings with fire, and destroyed all its valuable articles."

The strongest tradition is that the Ark was taken out of the Temple by Jeremiah and hidden. Some are convinced he hid it in the ground on the Temple Mount. But most who hold to the Jeremiah rescue theory believe he either hid the Ark in a great cavern beneath the Temple Mount (known today as Solomon's Quarry) or that he hid it somewhere near Mt. Nebo in the modern day nation of Jordan.

The latter theory finds support in the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees. The narrative in that book says, "the prophet, warned by an oracle, gave orders for the tabernacle and the ark to go with him when he set out for the mountain which Moses had climbed to survey God's heritage. On his arrival, Jeremiah found a cave dwelling, into which he brought the tabernacle, the ark, and the altar of incense, afterwards blocking up the entrance" (2 Maccabees 2:4 5).

Another theory regarding the fate of the Ark is that it was translated or raptured, being taken up to Heaven to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Chaldeans. This theory is based upon a reference to the Ark in Revelation 11:15. This passage is a flash forward to the end of the Tribulation when Heaven opens and Jesus returns in wrath. The writer states that when Heaven opened "the ark of His covenant appeared in His Temple." Those who reject this theory argue that the Ark seen in Heaven in this passage is the heavenly reality of which the Ark of the Covenant was only an earthly shadow or copy (Hebrews 8:5).

The Ark in Bible Prophecy

Regardless of what happened to the Ark, the Scriptures suggest that it will never be found again. This comes as quite a shock to some Christians who have assumed that the Ark must be found before the Tribulation Temple can be built and animal sacrifice reinstituted. Others have simply assumed that the Ark would be replaced in the Holy of Holies when the Lord's Millennial Temple is built.

But Jeremiah says point blank that "the ark of the covenant of the Lord... shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they miss it, nor shall it be made again" (Jeremiah 3:16). The context of this passage is the Millennial reign of Jesus, so it does not rule out the possibility of a discovery prior to that time. Conceivably, the Ark could be discovered, and Satan could use its discovery to incite the rebuilding of a Temple where an apostate sacrificial system would be reinstituted. We know that such a Temple will be built, but I doubt if its construction will be motivated by the discovery of the Ark.

The important point to keep in mind here is that the rediscovery of the Ark is not essential to the rebuilding of the Temple. After all, the Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel following the Babylonian captivity, and the Ark had already been lost by that time. There was no Ark in the Holy of Holies during the time when Jesus worshiped in the Temple.

Nor is the Ark needed for the Millennial Temple. Ezekiel describes the Temple in great detail (chapters 40-42), and he never mentions the Ark. There is a Holy of Holies (Ezekiel 41:4), but it is empty, and it is not separated from the Holy Place by a veil.

The Ethiopians may have an object they venerate and consider to be the Ark. But I personally believe there is no possibility that it is the original Ark of the Covenant.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Antichrist Will Be Headquartered In Babylon

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Where will the headquarters of the Antichrist be located during the Great Tribulation? Will it be Rome, Jerusalem, New York, Babylon, or some other city? Twelve different Bible prophecy experts were asked this question. The following seven believe his headquarters will be a rebuilt Babylon in Iraq.

Daymond Duck

I believe it will be Babylon. I have believed that Babylon will be rebuilt for several years, for several reasons.

First, Zechariah 5:5-11 teaches about a wicked women, a women called "wickedness" who represents commerce and false religion which will be moved to the land of Shinar at the end of the age. And, I believe that women called "wickedness" is Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots. So, I think she will go to Babylon.

Second, virtually all scholars trace false religion and world government back to the Tower of Babel and Babylon. And, that is where I believe it will go back to. Revelation 17:10 teaches us this false religious system existed in Egypt and Assyria and Babylon and Medo-Persia and Greece before Rome ever came on the scene.

Third, I think there are several prophecies about the final destruction of Babylon that have not been fulfilled. Isaiah 13:4 indicates that Babylon's final destruction will be by many nations, but ancient Babylon was not destroyed by many nations. The Medes and the Persians conquered it and eventually ancient Babylon was buried under sand. Isaiah 13:5 indicates that Babylon's final destruction will be during the indignation or the Tribulation period. Ancient Babylon was not destroyed during the indignation or the Tribulation period; that is still future. Isaiah 13:19 says Babylon's final destruction will be like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Ancient Babylon wasn't destroyed by fire and brimstone like Sodom and Gomorrah were. In fact, if you go to the book of Revelation it tells us three times that Babylon will be destroyed by fire in one hour. It seems to me that God is going out of his way to tell us that there is going to be a Babylon that is going to be destroyed differently from the way ancient Babylon was destroyed. Isaiah 13:20 says Babylon will never be inhabited again. We do know that a few people are living in the part that Saddam Hussein has rebuilt. Isaiah 14 says Israel will be in the land when Babylon is destroyed. Well, when ancient Babylon was captured by the Medes and Persians, Israel was not in the land. One more of these, the bricks will never be reused again (Jer. 51:26). Saddam Hussein reused some of the bricks when he started rebuilding Babylon. There are many prophecies.

If you will read Jeremiah 50:5 and Isaiah 13 and 14, there are many prophecies about Babylon's final destruction that appear in both of those chapters. I think that God links all of that together. For example, Isaiah 13:21 says satyrs or demons, devils and false spirits will dance in Babylon after its final destruction. We go over to the Book of Revelation 18:2 and we read there that Babylon will become the habitation of devils and false spirits. Jeremiah 50:15 says, "As she, Babylon, as she has done, do unto her." We go over to the book or Revelation 18:6 and we read, "Reward her even as she has rewarded you." We go back to Jeremiah 51:7, Babylon has been a golden cup in the Lord's hand. We go over to Revelation 17:4 and we read mystery Babylon has a golden cup in her hand. Jeremiah 51:7, the nations have been drunk on Babylon's wine. In Revelation 18:3 we read Babylon has made the nations drunk on wine. Jeremiah 51:8 says Babylon has suddenly fallen. Revelation 18:2, we read that Babylon is fallen. Jeremiah 51:9 says "forsake her." Revelation 18:4 says "come out of her my people." One more, Jeremiah 51:13 says Babylon sits upon many waters. In Revelation 17:1 we read Mystery Babylon sits upon many waters.

In other words, there is a lot of ties between what is in the Old Testament that is a prophecy about ancient Babylon and what's in the new prophecy, the New Testament, that is a prophecy about rebuilt Babylon. I think God tied them together and we've always believe that those Old Testament prophecies were about ancient Babylon, not Rome and that kind of thing.

Arnold Fruchtenbaum

I personally take the Bible more literally, so I would say that Babylon would be the capital of the Antichrist. It would be both a political and economic capital. According to both Zechariah 5 as well as Revelation 18, his religious capital will be Jerusalem where he will set up his image in the Jewish Temple. Where his economic and public capital will be Babylon the city.

Al Gist

Generally speaking, I try to always interpret the Bible literally. I think that's by far the best approach. So, when we read Revelation 17 and 18 where it talks about the city of Babylon, I tend to take that literally as well. I believe that Babylon will be his capital city during his Tribulation reign. Possibly, the events that we are seeing take place right now in Iraq are leading up to that. Iraq is becoming a central focal point of the world since our invasion in Iraq. And, I don't know where this is going to lead, or how it is going to develop, but I personally do believe in the revival of Babylon itself on the Euphrates River. I have heard the arguments about Rome being the leadership city I guess you would say of the Antichrist, and I am not a 100% opposed to that, but again I just lean more towards the literal acceptance of the city of Babylon.

Phillip Goodman

I believe that it will be Babylon because the Bible speaks of a literal Babylon in the Last Days. If we are to take as an example the prophecy of the First Coming of Jesus, that he would be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah (Micah 5:2), very specifically a city and a Messianic prophecy that was fulfilled literally, then we've got to take the prophecy that Babylon will be overthrown as Sodom and Gomorrah and never to rise again. It is a very specific prophecy that has to be fulfilled in every detail, and that prophecy of course has never been fulfilled. So, it requires the rise of Babylon in the Last Days.

You find again in Revelation 16 that Babylon exists right along with Jerusalem and all the cities of the nations they are literal, and so is Babylon. The cities of the nations will fall. Jerusalem will be split into three parts. Babylon will also fall at that time, very literally renderings of that city.

Finally, I want to make one last point. Babylon in Revelation 18 has an exact correspondence with the Babylon that is described in the two lengthy chapters of Jeremiah 50 and 51, precise parallels all the way down through those chapters. So, we know that Jeremiah 50 and 51 at least in parts of that has a prophecy of Babylon in the Last Days. I want to read you a passage out of there that specifically geophysically tells us that this is a literal city in the Last Days, and that it is the Babylon that is on the Euphrates River as we know it in modern day Iraq. Going back to Jeremiah 50:45, it says this it is talking about Babylon in the context of the Last Days of the End Times. It says, "That Babylon and His purposes which He has proposed against the land of the Chaldeans." So, the land of the Chaldeans is not Rome, it is not New York City, it's Babylon on the Euphrates. You come on down to verse 35 in chapter 51 and it tells us this, "'May the violence be done to me, may the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,' the inhabitant of Zion will say, the inhabitant of Jerusalem [the literal Jerusalem] will say, 'and upon the inhabitant of Chaldea.'" So, we have a geopolitical designation for a literal Babylon in the Last Days.

And so, at least we know this much, Babylon is going to be the megacity that Revelation 18 talks about, and it is going to be literal. And, the whole economy of the world is centered in Babylon and the Antichrist controls the economy of the world. The demand and supply that he has on buying and selling that the Scriptures say he will, then his capital will surely be Babylon in the Last Days.

Ray Gano

I am a person who reads Scripture literally. I believe that the End Time capital will be Babylon.

It is interesting to find out that Saddam Hussein started to rebuild the ancient city of Babylon. And, it was his intent to actually create this area as a Wall Street of the Middle East. Babylon today is highly wired. They got all this going on. He was turning it into a visitors center or a business center and then the war took place, construction stopped, things like that. The interesting thing is, is that the UN just announced that they are going to start working and rebuilding Babylon. In fact, just this last November 14 America jumped on board and they are going to start giving money to the process. And, I guess, our soldiers went in and occupied parts of Babylon as a fortress of something. They are going to help rebuild it, repay for it. And back in early 2003, Israel Today reported that the Quartet — and that's being the US, UN, EU, and Russia — they all came together and they started talking about the UN actually moving their headquarters from New York to Babylon. And so, I do see Babylon being the seat of the Antichrist.

Mark Hitchcock

I think the Antichrist's End Time capital is going to be a revived city of Babylon there on the Euphrates in what's modern-day Iraq. The reasons for that is you have the words "Babylon," "Babylonian," "Chaldea" — those are used about 300 times through the Bible. And, the Book of Revelation is called the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ. It is an unveiling, it is not a veiling. It seems odd to me that when you get to the very last couple chapters in the Bible all of a sudden Babylon wouldn't mean Babylon anymore, after 300 times or so of this being stated that that's what the word indeed refers to.

Also, when you go back to the Scriptures to the very beginning that's where, after the Flood, that's where the first world empire began — Nimrod build this city. And, from the very beginning, some have likened this to the Tail of Two Cities. You have the city of Babylon mentioned in Genesis 10 and 11 with the Tower of Babel and Jerusalem is first introduced in Genesis 14, and you kind of trace these cities all the way through. Then, in Revelation 17 and 18, you have Babylon again, and in Revelation 21 and 22 you have the New Jerusalem. It also says about Babylon in Revelation 17, this great city that rules over the kings of the Earth in the End Times. It says that this city is the mother of all harlotry. It's the fountain head of all harlotry. And, when you go back to the Bible, into the very beginning the fountain head of all false religion and all idolatry, there was the city of Babylon.

So, I think it's going to be rebuilt in the End Times as a great economic, political, and religious center for the final world leader. So, history is going to kind of come full circle, from Nimrod and the first world empire to Antichrist in the final world empire of Babylon.

Don McGee

That's a question I still struggle with. For years I thought it was going to be Rome, but I am beginning to lean in the direction of Babylon. And, one of the reasons I did not think so for many years is because of the decayed state of that part of the world. But, when you look at what is happening in Dubai and other places in the Middle East, you can see the magnificence structures can be built and great cities can be built in very, very short periods of time. I think that if you step back from the whole aspect of Scripture and look at it, I think Babylon means exactly that — Babylon.

Seven of the twelve interviewed have stated that they believe the headquarters of the Antichrist will be Babylon. And, they have given some very good reasons for coming to that conclusion. In an upcoming article we'll look at the other five answers stating that the Antichrist's headquarters will not be in a rebuilt Babylon in Iraq.

You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Could The Antichrist Be Alive Today?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Lamb & Lion Ministries sought out ten different Bible prophecy experts and asked the question, "Could the Antichrist be alive today?" The following is how they responded.

Ray Gano

The reason that I believe this is because no other time in history are we seeing Bible prophecy come to pass than what we've seen. Over and over again we are seeing Israel as a nation, Israel blossoming, Israel coming together, her people returning aliyah. On May 14, 1948, I imagine God taking a big 'ol huge hourglass and just going "wa-pump!," turning it over and we are seeing the sands of time run out. I believe strongly that the age of the Gentile is slowly coming to a close. In fact, in TV vernacular you have what's called a cross-fade transition. I believe the Church is here and I see Israel here in a cross-fade. At one point both scenes come together — one scene is fading out and one scene is fading in. At one point they both occupy the same time and space and that is called the cross-fade. The Church and Israel right now, I strongly believe we are standing in the cross-fade. Both Israel and the Church are occupying the same time and space. We are coming off stage, Israel is coming on.

So, yes, with all these things taking place today, I believe the man of perdition is around. We don't know him. I don't know he even knows himself. But, I believe he is at least alive and well today.

Ed Hindson

Not necessarily. It all depends on how close we really are to the time of the end. Could the Antichrist be alive today? Yes, certainly. Does he know he is the Antichrist? No. Is he moving in power to try to take over the world right now? No.

Now, I have been in the ministry for 40 years I have heard it all. That Hitler was the Antichrist, and Mussolini was the Antichrist, and Stalin, and Gorbatchev because he had a mark on his forehead so it was the mark of the beast. And before that, people said it was Khrushchev. People even said it was John Kennedy, or it was Ronald Wilson Reagan because he had six letters in each of his three names. It is George Bush and he doesn't know any better. It is Bill Clinton and Hillary is the False Prophet. And of course, now everybody wants to say it is Obama. He came out of nowhere and doesn't even have a birth certificate. Nobody knows where he came from. He has a Muslim connection in his background. He is going to take over the world one day, etc.

It is certainly possible that any individual could potentially become the Antichrist once he is indwelled by Satan. But, I am convinced that 2 Thessalonians 2 makes it clear that until the restrainer is removed, until the Church is raptured out and the spirit-baptized, spirit-empowered Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is no longer here to restrain evil in the world, only then will Satan have the power to indwell someone to become the Antichrist.

The Bible says in the words of Jesus, "That nobody knows the day or the hour of my coming, not even the angels of Heaven." Satan is a fallen angel, therefore Satan doesn't know the date of the Rapture. Satan can read the Bible. Satan can read the newspaper like anybody else. He can sense a crisis is coming in the world and perhaps this is the big one. He may even feel that he has to get a candidate ready potentially to be the Antichrist in every generation, but his hands are tied by the sovereignty of God and he can not move on someone to indwell them and empower them to be the Antichrist until after the Rapture of the Church.

So, I am not looking for the Antichrist, I am looking for Jesus Christ.

Al Gist

I believe that he is alive today because we are so close to the return of Christ. He probably will not be an elderly man when he comes to power, but he will be a adult and probably will have already achieved some political prowess in the international community. And, because I believe we are so close to the Return of Christ and the beginning of the Tribulation, I just believe that he is alive today waiting for his appointment with his political debut.

Nathan Jones

Most definitely! We are so close to Jesus' soon return. He has to be out there somewhere. He may be a minor politician, or religious leader, or something like that. But, as the signs of the times show and Israel struggling so hard to survive — big things are happening right on the horizon. And, he has to be ready to take the reigns and be the savior of the fallen world at the time. So, yes, I believe the Antichrist is alive.

Daymond Duck

Absolutely I do, course that is just speculation, that is just opinion. Sometimes I tell people opinions are like noses — everybody got one, so I have one. I would say to you that the Antichrist cannot appear for two reasons. First of all, he can not appear because the Church is still here. I believe he rises to power after the Rapture of the Church. And, the second reason I believe that he can not appear, I believe in Daniel it teaches that there will be 11 kings, 10 kings will rise first, 10 horns, and then an 11th the little horn which is the Antichrist he will appear. So we don't have these 10 kings yet.

Don McGee

Yes. I believe the Antichrist is alive today. The reason I believe that is because of the days in which we live. I believe that he is living somewhere probably as a minor official of some kind. Who knows, he might not be known even as a minor official today. The critical thing about Antichrist is that events are going to propel him into a situation where the world will demand him and his services. He is somebody, much like Adolf Hitler was, someone people will ask for. If you think about it, Hitler did not impose himself upon the German people as much as the German people demanded his services as the results of the post WWI depredation they were experiencing.

Don Perkins

I do believe the Antichrist is alive today. One reason why I believe that is because of the signs of the time that we see. First of all, the nation of Israel is back in the land. We are witnessing them rebuilding the third temple, or they have plans for rebuilding it. We see so many indicators that are indicators for the last days. As a result of that, I believe that it is so close. I believe that the Rapture again could happen at anytime as a result of that. I believe that when Antichrist comes on the scene it will be a turn-key situation. So, because what we are witnessing today the preparation for the Great Tribulation, I do believe the Antichrist could very well be alive today.

Phillip Goodman

I believe the Antichrist could be alive today, but 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us that he is being restrained. He will be revealed in his time, and his time will not come... that revelation of who the Antichrist actually is will not come until after the Rapture happens. Now the reason, as a matter of fact I will go a little stronger than that. I think that he probably is alive today, because I think the Rapture is so close. The Rapture, of course, has always been imminent, but the signs of the times are pointing to the Second Coming of Jesus. If that is true, how much closer is the Rapture? The Rapture is the curtain that has to be raised before the Antichrist will be revealed. So, if the Rapture occurred today, which it very well could, then the Antichrist is certainly on the scene because he would be revealed very shortly thereafter.

Mark Hitchcock

That is a question that is one of the main questions that gets asked at prophecy conferences... you know, "Is the Antichrist alive today?" Obviously, if we say anyone says for sure that he is alive then that means that the Lord would have to come back within 30 or 40 years because the Antichrist won't live forever. So, what I would say about that question is that no one knows for sure. But, if someone where to ask me, "Do I think he is alive?" I do. I do believe that he is alive somewhere on the Earth today because of the convergence that we see of the signs of the times and the acceleration of these signs. So, if someone where to ask me, I do believe that, but you can't state it categorically. I think that he is alive today. No one knows that for sure, but that is my own view of it.

David Reagan

Yes, I believe the Antichrist is alive today. But, I must add I think that he has always been alive. Let me explain what I mean by that. Satan knows Bible prophecy, but he does not know its timing, so I believe Satan has always had an Antichrist candidate ready to anoint with his power. And, I think he has one ready today, one who is very likely to become the actual Antichrist. But please, don't waste your time trying to guess who that person might be! The book of Revelation teaches that the Antichrist will not be revealed until the Great Tribulation.

Do not live looking for the Antichrist. Live looking instead for Jesus Christ! He is coming soon and the crucial question is, "Are you ready?" I hope so. If not then reach out to Him today, repent of your sins and accept Him as your Lord and Savior. Salvation is a free gift of God by grace through faith in Jesus.

You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Will The Antichrist Be Killed And Resurrected?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

There is a mysterious passage in Revelation 13 that implies the Antichrist might be killed and resurrected from the dead in the middle of the Tribulation. Is this what the passage means, or does it mean something else? Will the Antichrist be killed and resurrected from the dead? Lamb & Lion Ministries sought out eleven different Bible prophecy experts and asked this question. Of those eleven, two said yes, one said it was doubtful, and eight gave a firm no. Let's take a look at all eleven answers.

The following two experts answered "yes."

Arnold Fruchtenbaum

I would have to say, yes, because the very same term used of the Antichrist (Revelation 13:1-2) is also used of the true son (Revelation 5:6) as though he had been slain. In the case of Jesus, He didn't appear to be dead. He really did die. Under normal experience He should have remained dead. And so, He was alive because of resurrection. And the phrase "though he had been slain" is the Greek idiom for resurrected individual, was used of the true son in chapter 5 and is used of the counterfeit son in chapter 13. You have to understand the same way. He will be killed in this war against the 10 kings. He will be raised back to life by Satan's power. He will continue the war, kill 3 kings, then several will submit to his authority. And, therefore, he will undergo as part of the counterfeit program a counterfeit death and resurrection.

Mark Hitchcock

Yeah, I think in the Scriptures it seems clear to me from Revelation 13 and Revelation 17 that the Antichrist is going to suffer a fatal wound and come back to life. Now, some people take that it refers to the empire, that the Roman Empire is going to suffer this fatal wound and then the Empire will be revived or come back to life.

But, I think it is better to see this as the individual himself. The same language is used of the death and resurrection of the Beast or Antichrist in Revelation 13 that is used of the death and resurrection of Jesus, now back in Revelation chapter 5. Now some people will say, "Now, how is it that Satan has the power to raise people, someone from the dead?" Cause back in Mark 2 Jesus raises this man up who is lame and it is sign that only God has the power to do that. But, it seems to me like in 2 Thessalonians 2:13 it says, "God will send a strong deluding influence upon people in the world so they will believe the lie." So I think that God will allow Satan to have the power to pull off this great miracle as part of that deluding influence, because obviously God is the only one that has the ultimate power to give life. But, I think that He is going to allow Satan to do that as part of the great delusion that will take place in the end times.

This expert was doubtful the resurrection was real.

Al Gist

Revelation 13 speaks of an assassination attempt I believe on the Antichrist. In fact, it even goes on the say that it will be from the use of a sword. But, it uses some words there that indicate that it may not be successful to the extent that he actually, literally dies. It uses the words as though he were dead, or something to that affect. So, I don't believe that he will literally die. However this event will cause the world to wonder after him. So, whether he dies literally or not, the world will be amazed at this feat where he appears to die certainly and then is miraculously, so to speak, healed and able to resume his leadership of the world. So, whether he actually dies or not, I think is questionable. I tend to believe that he would not die but only appear to die. That is my personal position.

The following experts responded that they do not believe the Antichrist will literally die and be resurrected.

Daymond Duck

No, I don't. And again, there is a lot of different views on this issue and I think the controversy centers primarily around how you interpret Revelation 13:3 and Revelation 13:11-14. If you go with 13:3, you come up with one way. If you go with Revelation 14 and Revelation 13:11-14, you come up with another way. At least some people do.

Now, those who go with Revelation 13:3, they say that it is one of the seven heads that has a deadly wound and it is healed. And they believe that is the not the Antichrist, but that Europe fell apart and was killed, or died and was healed and came back as the revived Roman Empire which was raised from the dead.

Those that go down to Revelation 13:11-14, they look at those verses and they believe that those verses are saying that the Antichrist will receive a deadly wound and be healed and raised from the dead. Now, when I look at Revelation 13:3, the way I read that it says "this head looks like," or "this head is as though," "this head appears as," however you want to phrase that, as though it had a deadly wound that was healed. Now to me, there is a little bit of difference in saying it looks like, or it were a wound, a deadly wound that was healed, and actually having a deadly wound that was healed.

What I am getting at, when I get down to Revelation 13:11-14, we start reading about the False Prophet, and we see the False Prophet forces people to worship the Antichrist. And the False Prophet uses wonders and signs to persuade people to believe that the Antichrist received a deadly wound that was healed and he was raised from the dead. In other words, the way I interpret that passage it's saying the False Prophet uses persecution and force and phony miracles and deceit to cause people to believe that the Antichrist was killed and raised from the dead. Not that he actually was killed and raised from the dead, but that he uses deceit and force and things like that to perpetrate that untruth, that false doctrine, or that lie.

Phillip Goodman

No, I do not. I don't think the Bible teaches that.

First of all, we have to look at it from a theological standpoint that the evidence that Jesus himself is the Son of God is because of the resurrection from the dead. That is unique in all of human history. As a matter of fact, I want to read a passage out of Romans chapter 1 that speaks to that affect. Romans 1:4 tells us that Jesus was declared the Son of God with power by what, by the Resurrection of the dead. So, we could not possibly have Jesus rising from the dead and saying, "I am the life and the resurrection." And Satan on the other hand coming up and saying, "So am I, I am the life and the resurrection also." And also the evidence in the Scriptures don't indicate that.

Revelation 2:18 tells us what it is like to be raised from the dead. Jesus says this, He says, "I am the first and the last I was dead and I have come to life." We never see that about the Antichrist. In Revelation 13 he's got 7 heads — 7 kingdoms — one of those is slain.

The real commentary on what really happens with the Antichrist is Revelation 17, it says, "He was, he is not and he will come." That is the language of reincarnation. That is not the language of resurrection. And Satan has raised up reincarnation as the chief antithesis of the resurrection all through history. Satan hates the Doctrine of the Resurrection because of the resurrection of the Son of God. But, when we look at "I was, he was, he is not, and he will come, he was in past history, he is not" during the time of John when John wrote that particular passage and he will come in the future. That is the most it says about the Antichrist and his origins. He will come up by the way out of the Abyss. That also is not the language of Resurrection. He will be indwelled by a spirit that comes up out of the Abyss. So he is two persons in one, he is a man, and he is a spirit from the Abyss. And, he comes up from the past a spirit who controlled a kingdom in the past, comes up and indwells the Antichrist, raises him up in the last days. And perhaps fakes a resurrection, but Satan does not have the power to perform resurrection.

Ray Gano

No! Actually, I back that up with a couple points. First point is a lot of people point to and make an assumption that the Antichrist is being raised from the dead based on Revelation 13:3. You know John describes a beast with seven heads and that one of these seven heads has a mortal wound and is resurrected and everything. There is problems with this. I see in Revelation 13:1-3 that this is not the Antichrist. This actually represents the seven Gentile nations. And, in this I see it's: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the final kingdom or empire that has the wounded head. It is the one people totally disregard and forget about — the Ottoman Empire.

Nathan Jones

That's a tough one. That could be a reference to the Roman Empire being wounded and being broken up for so many hundreds of years and reviving as the European Union. God does seem to like a lot of symbolism, though. If you look at the seven churches, the seven churches of Revelation were seven actually churches, they also represent time periods, and they also could be representative of the seven churches today. So, the Antichrist could very well have something that seems like he died and then rose again. But, Satan has no power over death. So, if it is a resurrection, it's going to be another counterfeit resurrection, a counterfeit miracle.

Todd Strandberg

No. The healing of that wound is the Roman Empire in which it has two stages. I believe when someone dies you are in God's hands. Only God can resurrect someone. I don't think the False Prophet can bring him back to life.

Don McGee

I don't believe the Antichrist is going to be killed and resurrected from the dead because only the Lord Jesus Christ has the power over death. If you look at those passages that have to do with the slaying or the mortal wound of the Antichrist, it says that John saw that he had a wound "as if" he had been slain. Not every mortal wound results in a fatality. People have been healed from wounds that would otherwise be mortal in nature, but for some reason they were not. And, I believe this is going to be a resuscitation more then anything else. I believe that it is going to be fakery. I believe that it is going to be trickery. It's going to be one more thing in the arsenal of the Antichrist to convince the whole world that he is their Messiah.

Ed Hindson

I do not. I differ here from some other prophecy preachers. I think that passage that says in Revelation one of his heads was wounded unto death represents the multi-headed facets of the kingdom of the Antichrist in the last days. I don't think that it is an individual that is attacked. I think that you have serious problems with saying Satan will have the power to resurrect the Antichrist. That is a power given only to God in Scripture. Now it may appear to be a resurrection if it is an individual attack, but not a real resurrection. It is a pseudo-miracle at best. I think that it actually represents the fact that part of his kingdom will be devastated and that part of the kingdom will be revived. Could that apply to a nation, for an example like Germany, that was totally destroyed and has now come back to power as a major leader in Europe and as part of the kingdom of the Antichrist of the end times... I think that is certainly a very real possibility.

David Reagan

I side with those who believe the Antichrist will not be killed and resurrected from the dead. I think the passage is speaking of the Roman Empire rising from the dead and not the Antichrist. But, if it is speaking of the Antichrist, I do not believe he will be resurrected from the dead. Instead, I believe his death and resurrection will be a deception using modern technology.

I hope you found those answers as fascinating as I did, and I hope the discussion will drive you into the Scriptures to judge for yourself the meaning of Revelation 13:3.

You can watch this Q&A at our website on Christ in Prophecy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fate of the Muslims

Dr. David R. ReaganPDFBy Dr. David R. Reagan

What is the fate of the Muslims as it is revealed in end-time Bible prophecy?

Let's consider for a moment the fate of the Muslims as it is revealed in End Time Bible prophecy. The Bible prophesies that God will pour out judgment upon the Arab nations in the end times for their hostility towards the Jews and their attempt to claim the Jewish homeland as their own.

Consider Joel 3:19 for example, this passage has a clear end-time context and in that context it says, "Egypt will become a waste and Edom will become a desolate wilderness because of the violence done to the sons of Judah in whose land they have shed innocent blood." Keep in mind that "Edom" is often used as a symbolic term for all the Arab peoples, just as "Israel" is used as a term for all the Jewish tribes.

Ezekiel says that all of Edom will be dealt with in the end times because of its hatred against the Jews and its lust for their land. The result will be the desolation of the Arab states.

The book of Obadiah prophesies a similar fate for Edom in the Day of the Lord. Part of this destruction is going to take place in the wars of Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38, most likely before the Tribulation begins. Psalm 83 indicates that Israel will defeat the inner ring of Arab nations that have a common border with it. Ezekiel 38 states that God will supernaturally destroy the outer ring of Arab nations that will invade Israel under the leadership of the Russians.

But, these wars affect only the nations in the Middle East. The vast majority of Muslims live in nations outside the Middle East. I believe the Muslims in other parts of the world like Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and Indonesia will taste the wrath of God at the beginning of the Tribulation when they refuse to accept the European Antichrist. They will become the focus of the Antichrist military actions to subdue all the world to his authority. The book of Revelation states that one-fourth of humanity will die in the initial military campaign of the Antichrist — that is one and a half billion people in today's terms! Then we are told the war will expand into what appears as a nuclear holocaust and during this second phase one-third of those remaining will die. That is another one and a half billion! So, a total of three billion people are going to be killed in the wars of the Antichrist during the first half of the Tribulation. I believe that most of these will be Muslims.

But, the future of the Arabs is not all bleak. They must suffer for their sins, just like the Jewish people will suffer during the Tribulation. And like the Jews, we are told in Jeremiah 12 that a remnant of the Arabs will emerge from their suffering with their hearts turned to the one and only true God. The Bible says in Zechariah 2:8, "that the Jewish people are the apple of God's eye." But, that does not mean that He has no love for their cousins the Arabs. Just as God has covenants with the Jews, He has a covenant with the Arab peoples. It can be found in Genesis 16 and 17. In this covenant God promised to make the decendents of Ishmael (the Arabs) a great nation and to give them all the land to the east of their Jewish brethren. God has been faithful to those promises. Today there are 22 Arab nations with a combined population of over 300 million people. The Arabs occupy a total area of 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. By contrast, there is only one Jewish state with a population of only 5 million Jews who are squeezed into only 8,000 square miles of space. That is a population ratio of 58:1 and the land ratio of 662:1! The Arabs have truly been blessed.

There is no partiality with God. He chose the Jews not to be a repository of His blessings, but to be a vehicle through whom He would bless all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. But, the fundamental requirement to receive God's blessings for both Jew and Arab as well as all people is to accept God's gift of love in Jesus by receiving Him as Messiah.

When I consider the blessings that God has given the Arab peoples and the grace He is going to show them in the future despite their persecution of His chosen people, I am reminded of what Paul wrote when he considered God's grace towards his Jewish brethren. He cried out from his heart, "Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, how unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways."

Monday, June 15, 2009

Israel Tour: Day 10 on the Temple Mount

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Day 10 of Lamb & Lion Ministries 2009 Israel Tour was ripe with possibilities, as it was our free day to go anywhere and do anything (legal) that we wanted to do in Jerusalem. And indeed we did. Some followed Dr. Reagan up to walk the old walls. Others followed Shai into the dark, watery tunnels of Hezekiah's Tunnel. Some shopped till they dropped. And others of us journeyed to the Temple Mount.

I was part of the Temple Mount group. The center of world religion is focused on that platform on Mt. Moriah, and I wanted to be at the very place I'd been read to since I was at my mother's knee. It is also where all of us believers are going to be spending a lot of time at over the next 1,000+ years.

View From Hotel

While our families get ready for bed, our day begins here in Jerusalem. This view from the hotel room shows the uniformity of the buildings. The city requires that Jerusalem stone be used on all the outsides of buildings to give it that ancient retro look. Bullets also bounce off the odd angles of the stones.

King David Hotel

The best hotel in town, and where we didn't stay, is the King David Hotel. The floors of the lobby are etched with dignitaries from all over the world. It is here where Menachem Begin drove the British out of Israel.

Orthodox Jew

This poor Orthodox Jew! I was really trying to take a picture of the King David Hotel by way of the Jaffa Gate.


Supersize that bagel, please!

Bar Mitzvahs

Four bar-mitzvahs were being held simultaneously at the Western Wall. The 13-year old boy reads from the Torah scrolls and then becomes a man.

Dome of the Rock Group

Judy, Andrew, Suzy and I are admitted up to the Muslim-controlled Temple Mount during "infidel hours."

Second Temple Capitals

Capitals from the columns of Herod's Second Temple are all that remain after the Romans obliterated it in 70 AD.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

The true mosque on the Temple Mount is the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Dome of the Rock is more there for ceremony.

Dome of the Rock Side

We were wondering what kind of reception the Muslims would give us up on their third most holy site. Generally, they ignored us. Police lounged around and children played games.

Dome of the Rock Dig

Jackhammering going on under the tents.

Dome of the Rock Front View

The Dome of the Rock sits on what many believe is the original site of the Temple. Most likely, it sits where the Court of the Gentiles once was. "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Lk. 21:24).

Dome of the Rock Close Up

Yes, that's solid gold on the dome. And look at how many little mosaic tiles there are!

Dome of the Rock Doors

We were amazed that we could make it all the way to the front doors.

Dome of the Rock Holy Spot

I am most likely standing very near the exact spot where the Holy of Holies once stood, and will again. This parcel of land is the most sought after, most expensive land in all the world.

Trash Behind Eastern Gate

We walked up to the back of the Eastern (or Golden) Gate, the gate Jesus entered the city during Palm Sunday, and will again at His Second Coming (Ezek. 44:1-3). The Muslims under Suleiman the Magnificent in 1517 sealed the entrance and placed a graveyard in front of it to deter the return of the King. As we discovered, they went the extra mile since behind the gate is now a garbage dump.

Eastern Gate

When Jesus returns through the reopened Eastern Gate, should the layout of the ramp be the same, He will pass right where I'm standing, and we who return with Him will be following (Ps. 24:7-10).


The various groups happened to be drawn together to this little outdoor cafe for some much need ice coffee pick-me-up.

Temple Institute

What you are seeing here at the Temple Institute is the actual high priest's garb and other items they plan to use when they can rebuild the Third Temple, the one the Antichrist will desecrate (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:3-4). A fascinating talk with their tour guide revealed how different the Jews view God and the Temple than Christians do.

Christ Church

We next visited Christ Church, the first Protestant church built in the Middle East in the 1830s. The spiritual and political effect of this church put Jerusalem back on the map.


The highlight of the day was our conversation with our Messianic Christian tour guide, Hadar. Her testimony of how she came to know the Lord over the Internet and what the 15,000 Messianic Christians in Israel have to give up and suffer for moved us deeply. Our prayer time with our sister-in-Christ from the other side of the globe was very meaningful to us. I ask that you, too, will continue to pray for Hadar and the other Messianic Jewish people in Israel.

Odd Observations

  1. Lavendar and rosemary, which the Israelis use in plenty in all their landscaping, is a great aromatic idea.
  2. Don't eat the fruit from the Arab market - ever!
  3. There's only so many shofars (ram's horn trumpets) one man can buy.
  4. Pilgrims to Israel are given the title "Tourism Goodwill Ambassador" and a certificate by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism.

Our evening ended after dinner with a special ceremony. We have plenty of devotions and good Bible teaching from our four teachers on this trip, but tonight had the additional fun of being an awards night. Dr. Reagan gave out cards for such categories as the "Gold Plated Character Award," the "Special Endurance Award," "Good Shepherd Award," and many others. The teens on the trip cleaned up on many of those. We got to share our special thoughts about the trip and what has impacted each of us, and all agreed what a wonderful crew this was to share these adventures with.

Day 11 and 12

The final two days of our tour will fit in some exciting biblical spots. God willing, on Day 11 we will hold a special worship and communion service at the Garden Tomb and visit Golgotha. We will move on to what was Kireath Jearim where the Ark of the Covenant was stored in a farm house for 70 years (1 Sam. 7:1), and where Elvis lives on in the hearts and gas pumps of the locals. We may even visit the Valley of Elah where David fought Goliath. And hopefully, we will get all this in before heading to the airport for the toughest part of this trip - Day 12 and the loooong flight home.

Final Thoughts

How can I sum up this tour?

I used to balk at the word "pilgrimage," as it had connotations of some works-based act for attaining salvation. And yet, "pilgrimage" is what this tour really is, not in the sense that we are seeking salvation, which we already have, but to better understand our salvation and the things we were taught in Sunday school that we long have taken for granted.

For some, it was the trip of a lifetime. For others, a valued learning experience. But, for me, it was a worship experience, for I got to fellowship with my new-found brothers and sisters in Christ in the echoes of my Savior's time here on earth.

It was a journey well worth the taking.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Israel Tour: Day 9 at Bethlehem

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

On Day 9 of Lamb & Lion Ministries 2009 Israel Tour, we delved deep into the sorrows that lie in the back of every Jewish mind. We visited the cemetaries of the great statesmen who helped make the nation fulfill it's prophetic destiny, and mourned with them over the Holocaust that made the nation come to life.

We had another opportunity to delve into Palestinian-controlled territory, nervous about what kind of greeting we'd receive from the other story that dominates the news concerning Israel. We entered armed with only dollars.

Katie on the Bus

Half the fun is in getting there, as Katie demonstrates for us on the green bus.

Herzl Grave

Theodore Herzl, the Father of Israel, is buried in Herzl Cemetary, along with the many famous names of Israel. I put a rock on his grave in memorial, the Jewish custom of remembering and honoring the deceased.

Herzl Memorial

This display is the Israeli equivalent of the U.S. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It's made to look like a lost submarine.

Children's Memorial

We next visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum, where architecture, print and video tell the true story of the Holocaust. Pictures are not allowed indoors so as not to disturb people. Outdoors, this monument is for the youth cut off in their prime before their full potential was every realized. Most people leave Yad Vashem visibly moved.

Yad Vashem Verse

"I will put my breath in you and you shall live again, and I will set you upon your own soil" (Ezekiel 37:6). The world may wish to wipe out the Jews, but God's promises stand unmoving.

Town of Bethlehem

"O, little town of Bethlehem." Not so little anymore at about 40,000 people. The Palestinians now control Bethlehem.

Palestinian Police

The symbol of the Palestinian police. They were nice young guys who serve to protect the tourism trade.

Abbas Billboard

Pictues of the Palestinian leader Abbas are everywhere, this billboard with the Pope.

Lunch in Bethlehem

The red bus enjoying their Palestinian cuisine.

Mosque in Bethlehem

Being Palestinian controlled, Bethlehem Christians have fled in huge numbers. The Christian population went from near 80% in ten years to near 20%. The remaining Christians live under a mafia-like protection racket.

Gift Store

This Christian gift store has the most beautiful olive wood and jewelry pieces. Tourists are the only customers Bethlehem Christians can expect.

Church of the Nativity

The Church of the Nativity is the only church left standing that dates back to Constantine's time near 300 A.D.

Church of the Nativity Sanctuary

The newest of churches built on older churches, this sanctuary is magnificent to behold, full of old and priceless works of craftmenship.


Nativity nuns go for the milk chocolate brown habits.


Supposedly, this is the manger Jesus was layed in... assuming Bethlehem animals ate out of marble-covered troughs.

Jerome's Tomb

Jerome, the 4th Century scholar who gave the world the Latin Vulgate (yes, there was something before the King James version), holed up in here for 24 years alone working and was buried in his cave under the church. The bones have since been moved.

Fence Graffiti

We finally left Palestinian territory, the most tense part of our whole tour. The wall that keeps terrorists out of incursions into Israel is covered in graffiti art depicting the "evils of the Zionists."

Model of Ancient Jerusalem

The Israeli National Museum has the biggest model of ancient Jerusalem. People can peer back into Jesus' time and see what the city looked like then.

Dead Sea Scrolls Museum

The Dead Sea Scroll Museum roof is meant to look like the pot lid from a scroll jar. It's water-cooled as there is no air conditioning inside. Many pieces of the original Dead Sea Scrolls not traveling on display are held here, pieces of the Old Testament that prove the Bible is as accurate today as it was 2,000 years ago. Should a nuclear bomb hit Jerusalem (and one never will), the scroll vault drops into a protective bomb shelter.

Odd Observations

  1. Hamas must train their street merchants, the most pushy and hostile gauntlet of salesmen I've ever experienced.
  2. Street lights in Jerusalem: green, yellow red... then red, yellow, green
  3. Muslim women can look hip, too, with the most ornate head scarves and colored robes.
  4. If I see another gaudy gift shop I'm going to hurl.

The Jews in Bible Prophecy

Every Jew today will tell you concerning the Holocaust "never again." The slaughtering of six million people merely because of their race is a renching experience to remember. And yet, we must, for the Holocaust of the Jews will happen yet again according to Bible prophecy.

Revelation 12:13-17 and Zechariah 13:8-9 fortells that during the last half of the upcoming 7-year Tribulation, the Antichrist will pour out his anti-Semitic anger against Israel, annihilating two-thirds of the Jews (that'd be 8-12 million today), making those remaining who are able to flee to the dessert fortress of Petra. God will supernaturally protect them with Michael the Archangel, though, and many of them will accept Jesus as Savior, joining the Tribulation believers of that age (Zech. 12:10, Rom. 9:27-28; 11:25-27). Another Holocaust horror will turn instead in the end to a blessing to the Jewish race, for they will finally know and accept their Messiah - Yeshua (Jesus), the Son of God.

Tomorrow for Day 10 is a free day, open to explore wherever our whims may take us. Until I report on those events, learn more about the Jews in end-time Bible prophecy.