There are two more nations worth mentioning in this part of the conversation as countries that are going to be involved in the End Time scenario. One of these is mentioned by their ancient name; we covered a little bit about them in the previous study in their relationship with Russia. The other country’s name is not mentioned in the Bible, but because of location given we can pretty well figure out who they are. This second country will play a major role in the battle of Armageddon.
Iran. This is one of the nations that is mentioned will be coming with Gog in Ezekiel 38:4-5 “I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets”. Persia is mentioned by name here, and it is mentioned at the beginning of a small list of accompanying nations. This place usually indicates a place of pre-eminence, like it will be a leader. Some teachers see Iran as starting s conflict with Israel, then dragging Russia on down with them, as Russia is a strong ally. So Iran could also have a prominent role in the End Time Events.
They are an extreme Muslim country with a theocratic republic government. They do have an elected president, Hasan Fereidun Ruhani, but the country is actually ruled by their top religious cleric, Supreme Leader Ali Sayyid Khamanei. Their legal system is a religious system based on Sharia Law. The main objectives of this country are to be the top regional power, to spread Islam, to have an active and deterrent defense against the threats against her. There is a big one for End Times meaning; they have made it clear that they want to annihilate Israel. This last reason is why some Bible teachers say that Iran will draw Russia down into the Middle East. The theory is that Iran will start a conflict with Israel, but Israel will put up a bigger fight than Iran is ready for. We see that Iran will pull Russia, who is their strongest ally, down into this conflict, just as Ez. 38:4-5 hints it will.
Currently, Iran is the 4th leading oil producing nation in the world, accounting for about 5% of world oil production; so they have the financial resources to build a mighty military. Since the Islamist Revolutionary in 1979, they have built themselves up so that now they are now the strongest power in the region. They have purchased most of their conventional weapons from Russia and China, which gives them strong diplomatic ties with both countries since they pay in cash. They are also growing technologically. They have a good space program. They have placed military satellites in space. In February 2009 they launched their own rocket into space. In February of 2010 they launched animals into space. This makes them one of only 6 nations to do that. If they do build a nuclear weapon, as many experts believe they are trying to do, they already have a rocket that could deliver a nuclear warhead.
They have made several centrifuges to create atomic grade material and are building more. They have stated they are not building a nuclear bomb, but many nations do not trust Iran and would like to do an embargo against Iran to prevent any possibility of building one. But, their strong ally, Russia, has put a hold on the United Nations from doing just that.
The primary Muslim religion in Iran is Shi’ite. Here is a little about their beliefs. According to Shi’ite Muslim teaching, the 12th Imam will return at the end of time and rule for 7 years. He is
the ultimate savior of mankind who will emerge with Isa (Jesus Christ, whom they consider to be a prophet of God) in order to fulfill their mission of bringing peace and justice to the world. They believe that there will be a time of violence that brings the 12th Imam back. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had said that he wanted begin this violent period so the 12th Imam can return. He is no longer in power, but another leader might do that if he believes it will help the 12th Imam to return to set up his caliphate.
A friendly nation to the west, Iran is not. Even though there are several people in the country who are friendly to the U.S., those who are in authority see the U.S. as the ‘Great Satan’. In the war on terror that is occurring in the Middle East, several weapons of Iranian origin have been found, and used, by the terrorists. So even though Iran is not directly involved in terror, somewhere from inside the government they are exporting weapons of destruction and also helping terrorism by training many terrorists. Bible prophecy says that Iran will be a key player in End Time events; we can see today how they are set up as a nation that could trigger a problem in the Middle East that could fulfill Biblical End Time Prophecy.
China. There are two passages in Revelation that warns of a large army going into the Middle East from the East. Rev. 16:12 “The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up to prepare the way for the kings from the East”. In Rev 9:14-16 we find a related passage that gives us the size of that army; 200 million, “It said to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind. The number of the mounted troops was two hundred million. I heard their number”. From putting these two passages together, it looks like a massive army is going to be coming from the East to cross the Euphrates River and go into the Middle East for the battle of Armageddon. This will be a very deadly time, as we see that a third of mankind will be killed during the ensuing battle.
Looking at modern times, we see that this could very easily be China. Having a population of about 1.3 billion people, it is the most populous nation in the world. They have enough citizens to be able to build a 200 million person army without having to rely on another nation. The CIA webpage estimates that they currently have about 618,000 men and women between the ages of 16-49 that are fit for military service. But don’t worry; they are not near that size of a military amount now; they don’t have the money to afford that large of a military. But they do have the largest standing army in the world at over 2.2 million people. Even though they do not have the quality weapons of the U.S. or Russia, they are quickly gaining on these nations in technology. Depending on the source, they are considered the 2nd or 3rd most powerful military in the world. Unlike Iran, which buys a lot of their military weapons, China manufactures their own. So they are not dependent upon other nations in this regard.
As for their government, a few years after World War II the communists took over this nation and have imposed an autocratic socialist system that ensures China’s sovereignty. It imposes strict controls over everyday life there and has cost the lives of tens of millions of people since the communist takeover. Remember, in 1989 the Tiananmen Square Massacre killed and injured thousands of people. Since the 1990’s, China has been more involved in world affairs by increasing its global outreach and participating more in international organizations.
China is well known for their human rights violations. They have many prisoners do forced labor and organ donations. Their mining laws are quite lax; that is why we hear of cave-ins that cost the lives of hundreds of people. They have even forced many women to have abortions because of their one child policy. One problem with this is policy is that it causes couples to have sex selective abortion; meaning many girls are aborted because boys have greater earning potential to help their parents in their old age. Because of this, I found on the Yahoo! News on 1/11/10 that “More than 24 million Chinese men of marrying age could find themselves without spouses in 2020.” That could cause a lot of frustrated and angry young men.
China exerts great power in the United Nations by being 1 of 5 veto-wielding permanent members of its Security Council. They already have several nuclear weapons. Because China is the world’s leading exporter of goods, it has money to build up their military power. They are the second largest purchaser of bonds from the U.S. This means our country has to pay them interest payments. They are increasing in their ability in space. On January 11, 2007, China flexed some technical knowledge by destroying a useless satellite just to show that they could. This goes to show that satellites of other nations are not safe because China can destroy them. China is also only the third nation to put a man in space. They have done this a few other times as well.
China has long been known to want to put other nations under communism. It used to be that their size was a military threat; but now is looks like they are doing it through finances. They do have reason to want to expand their territory. One is that they are running low on water. Especially in the north, there is an over-extraction of groundwater and a falling water table. Water pollution is a big problem because of the rapid, unregulated, growth of their industries. A lot of untreated waste goes into their rivers. They have a lot of people to feed, water and take care of: so they might want to do that through their military.
These are just some of the things that are looked at to see where China could be setting up as the “Kings of the East” that fight the Antichrists kingdom in the Battle of Armageddon. Here is some speculation since they have the amount of people for a 200 million man army. China might see an opportunity to fight the west because they have been weakened by other wars during the Great Tribulation. So China could lightly arm much of their army, figuring to win the war by sheer numbers alone.
The United States
The final country I want to talk about is not mentioned in the Bible; the United States. The Bible mentions all of the key players in the End Times, but if the End Time were to begin in our lifetime, why isn’t the U.S. mentioned? After all, this country is the only superpower left in the world. Mind you, when the Bible was written, the United States didn’t exist, nor did the people who wrote the Bible know that the North American continent even existed. So we cannot expect a direct mention of the U.S. But does the Bible make an indirect reference to the United States? Many people have searched the scriptures diligently looking for it. Some have even thought that they might have found a reference to the U.S. in Daniel 7:4-5. This is Daniel’s dream of four beasts. It talks about the first beast having the wings of an eagle, and the second beast looking like a bear. They have thought since that the eagle is a symbol of the U.S. and the bear is a symbol of Russia, this passage could be a reference to these countries which, at the time, were both superpowers. But that is a stretch. Nothing has definitely been found. So there are no direct or indirect references to the U.S. in the Bible. If this generation is in the beginning of the End Times, as we seem to be seeing prophecy being fulfilled, what will something happen to the U.S. to make us a non-key player in End Time events? Something will have to happen to cause a downfall to make the U.S. a non-big player. The downfall of the U.S. could happen in a few different ways: Moral collapse – Financial disaster – War – Natural disasters.
Here are some possibilities of how one of these could happen. Another country(s) stages war against the United States and overtakes it; but this is rather unlikely since we are a superpower. Another is that the United States is completely annihilated by a nuclear confrontation. Again, this is rather unlikely because of our defense technologies. Something could happen internally that could bring the country down to insignificance. There is a possibility that the U.S. could still be a strong nation, but just not participate in the wars at the end of the age. But the wars during the Great Tribulation will be so major it would be hard for this nation to stay out. So please humor me as we look at current trends that could lead to the decreasing importance of the United States on the world stage.
We do have a strong military, about 1.5 million people, but our government is making cutbacks to reduce its size. Neither is our government updating the weapons and aircraft. Many weapons, aircraft and ships are getting outdated and in need of more maintenance. So even though now we are strong, this is a point that will make the U.S. militarily weaker.
This nation’s military is seen as the most advanced and strongest in the world. Our standing army is the 2nd largest, about 1.5 million people. We have more active nuclear warheads than any other nation and some of the most sophisticated weaponry in the world. Yet, even though this current administration has raised the amount spent in about everything they can, the amount of the budget set aside for the military has decreased as well as having cut some programs that will give us more advanced weaponry. This will keep the military using aging hardware. In what the government is doing, they could be bringing our military down to the military levels of other countries of the world. The Executive Branch has disregarded the military in some ways; in doing this, it is also bringing down morale in the military. The President has also recently stopped the proposed missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. This will prevent giving our allies in Western Europe needed protection against first strikes from Russia, Iran and other nearby nations. This is being done at a time when Iran is believed to have nuclear weapons that they can put on their missiles. North Korea is another nation that is known to have nuclear weapons; they are testing some of their missiles by sending them over Japan. By the U.S. removing the commitment to install these missile defense systems, it makes Russia happy; as they did not want our country to not build these. It also harms our credibility with our new allies in the area; who were depending on us to protect them from any aggression from Russia.
Another problem; this country is deep in debt. Currently the deficit is estimated to be almost 17 billion dollars. This makes the debt per citizen at $54,587; and the debt per taxpayer at $150,286. This country has been in debt for a long time, but this is much worse than it has ever been in the history of the U.S. About 1/3 of this has built up in the last 4 or 5 years. This is because, in December 2007, our country started into a big recession, which rolled over into a global recession. A lot of people lost the mortgage on their houses and some large corporations didn’t have the money to keep themselves afloat. In an effort to boost the economy and get more money circulating, our national leaders passed American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, or the Stimulus, which gave trillions of dollars to the Federal government to spend. This is more money than all the combined Presidents previous to President Obama have spent. When this massive spending bill was passed, there were also about 8,500 additional projects added onto it by our Congress. The government has given this money to banks, General Motors, AIG and various other companies to keep them afloat in attempt to try to stimulate the economy. However, there is still a high unemployment rate. The actual unemployed amount is over 19 million and there are almost 47 million people on food stamps. This administration has seen the highest numbers of these that this country has ever had.
To try to pay for the Stimulus package, the treasury is printing much more money than has been printed in the past. This is a big reason why the U.S. dollar isn’t as valuable against foreign currency as it used to be. Since there is a lot more U.S. currency, which doesn’t have any gold or valuable commodity as backing, it has lost value. But to help all that money to have some real backing, several countries have purchased US Bonds. One of the largest holders of U.S. debt is the government of China, which has purchased over 1 trillion dollars of US Bonds. This means we are deep in debt, and paying interest, to a totalitarian nation who is working to become a superpower and is completely against our way of life. Not only are they an enemy of the United States way of life, but they are well known for human rights violations. This gives China more power than we realize over the economy of the U.S. What kind of damage could they do to the U.S. economy if they were not just content in collecting interest, but also wanted their money back?
Here is a thought; the government does not let us know exactly how much money is in Fort Knox; which is where the U.S. gold reserves are supposed to be kept. I have seen a show, Brian Meltzer’s Decoded, which was a mystery and conspiracy theory investigation series on History Channel. They investigated a theory that there is no gold in Fort Knox. No firm conclusions, of course, but they had presented enough evidence that the government might have spent it already on debts, rewards and other places. So there might not be any money in Fort Knox if China would call us on our debt. I bring this up only as a possibility.
Against the will of most American’s, and having modified some Congressional rules, in 2010 the government passed The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. So they will take over the healthcare for the country. Whereas many people see this as a good thing that will provide healthcare for everyone, other people look and see where premiums are going up, as well as taxes, to help pay for it. This will also give the government direct access to everyone’s personal health information. Another concern is that several medical professionals will leave the profession because of the added burdens they will have to bear. Let me add this, if our government cannot stay within budget and goes deep in debt, what makes us think they will be able to properly manage our healthcare? These burdens will be put on a profession that already sees a shortage of doctors and nurses. They also want to do what is called ‘Cap and Trade’. That is to increase the cost of utilities to get people to seek to build and use alternate energy sources. The biggest thing this will do is increase charges for the average person.
Especially in his first term, the President’s speeches have implied that he is more interested in downgrading the U.S. so we are not a threat, since we are such a mean nation as he says. On one European tour he took several commentators said that he did a lot of apologizing for this country in his speeches while there. This President is apparently doing things to weaken this country which could easily diminish it from being a superpower. Thus, he is setting up this country for the last scenario in the first paragraph. So by him being our President, he is helping to set up the United States to be in a much clearer position to fit the End Times events happening in our lifetime. That is, the United States would be much weaker than it has been, so it would be on an even par, financially and militarily, with other nations in the world. Thus, we could probably be an ally of Europe, out of which could come the Revived Roman Empire, since President Obama most appreciates their way of governing, and it looks like he wants to pattern our government after them. Not saying these things will happen, but the possibilities are there for this nation to collapse from within.
One World Government?
There has been speculation that there will be a one world government that the Antichrist will lead; therefore everyone will be under his rule and will have to worry about taking 666, the Mark of the Beast. This is a possibility as there has been some foundation work done to accomplish this. People have conjectured about a conspiracy of world power brokers trying to unite the world under one umbrella in a one world government. A French periodical, Lecturere Francaises, said they snuck a representative inside the 1991 meeting of the highly secretive Bilderberg Group. They have the following quote by David Rockefeller; “We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost 40 years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years. But the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march toward a world government which will never again know war but only peace and prosperity for the whole of humanity. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in the past centuries. It is also our duty to inform the press of our convection as to the historic future of the century.” [i] If this is true, then it sure looks like the media has been intentionally helping the power brokers to try to attain this one world government.
Mikhail Gorbechev was the last leader of the Soviet Union; since then has been working toward a global restructuring. He founded the Gorbachev Foundation in 1992 to try to help accomplish this. He is quoted as saying “What is emerging is a more complex global structure of international relations, an awareness of the need for some kind of global government – One in which all members of the world community would take part – is gaining ground.” [ii] He is known to be working toward a change in global government. Makes you wonder who he is talking to as for why he said this. If his dream comes to pass, think how a New World Order would be appealing to a world that is tired of war, rumors of war and unspeakable brutality and incivility.
Some have speculated that the Antichrist could use his powers of persuasion to have the world under his control. This is a possibility. But the Bible only places the Antichrist as leader of the Revived Roman Empire. It does not state that everyone will be under his control. In the 4th Lesson we talked about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the large statue, how each part represented a different empire that was world power. The Antichrists empire, the Revived Roman Empire, was the feet of this statue. Meaning, it is only a world power. The Antichrist might not be ruler over a vast majority of the world.
EVENTS DURING THE TRIBULATION
The Tribulation Period will be the worst time that planet has ever, or will ever, see. Jesus said in Mt. 24:21-22 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. The book of Revelation speaks of three different judgment periods during the Tribulation. They are signified by 7 Seals being opened, 7 Trumpets being sounded, and 7 Bowls being poured out. After each of these occurs, then significant events will happen. About half of all the people in the world will be killed during the Great Tribulation. Back when this book was written, this kind of damage couldn’t be imagined except for coming from the hand of God. But today, we are aware of nuclear warheads that could easily wipe out all of mankind. There is no specific time frame given as to exactly when during the Tribulation these events will happen. Different teachers will put them at slightly different times; so I will not guess. We can only look at the events and see what terrible things will happen.
7 Seals Rev. 5 – 8
These seals are found on a scroll that is in God’s hand. The only one who was found worthy to open the scroll is the lamb, who is Jesus; the sacrificial Lamb of God who died for the sins of all who will accept Him. When the Lamb opened each of these seals, events are set in motion events that will happen in the End of the Age.
The First Four Seals – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
These four horsemen represent a picture of man’s inhumanity to man. They appear to be a prediction of the affairs of man which will cause much human suffering. This isn’t something new. When man is in control of affairs of this world there is a history of causing his fellow humans much suffering with false hopes of peace, followed by war, famines and death.
After the First Seal is opened, a white horse appears. Its rider had a bow, was given a crown and rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest. Several people believe this rider to be Jesus Himself because in Rev. 19 we see Jesus coming on a white horse with many crowns. The conquering that He does is not a physical war, but a spiritual war. I lean towards Billy Graham’s belief, that the rider is the Antichrist. He is coming in deception, which is the way he gains power. The rider has a bow, (something never seen on Jesus); this is a symbol of aggressive warfare. But there are no arrows, meaning that the rider will conquer by diplomacy. Nonetheless, he is a “conqueror bent on conquest”, greedily riding roughshod over all who stand in his way in his lust for power. The crown worn here in the Greek is stephanos, or the crown of a victor in battle. But the crowns worn by Jesus in Rev. 19 are diadema, or crowns of royalty. So the Antichrist, at the beginning of the Tribulation, will look like a man of peace; but he will be aiming toward great conquest.
When the Second Seal is opened, a fiery red horse came out. Its rider had a large sword, and he takes peace away from the earth by making men kill each other. Many have seen this as wars being fought between men. But this doesn’t say ‘war’, but men slaying each other. War, anarchy, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor – the complete breakdown of sane human relationships has characterized human history. [iii] This problem could be multiplied many times because of the chaos of events that will happen during the End Times. The red horse could signify an increase in persecutions or that more dangerous gangs rising up. Something like the current situation in Mexico; there is less peace because of the drug cartels killing police and civilians. The Antichrist will look like a man of peace, but shortly after he gets power, that peace will go away.
The Third Seal is opened and out comes a black horse; its rider had a pair of scales. Now food prices have shot way up because of a great famine that is going to come. With the coming of the third horse, Jesus shows how the great deception leads to wars and fighting’s. Wars and fighting’s naturally lead to famine and pestilence, because wars will destroy crops. There won’t be as much food to go around to the multitudes of people around the world. When something is low in supply but high in demand; the price for it goes way up. When the Apostle John wrote this book, a denarius was a day’s wage. In normal times, this could purchase 16 quarts of wheat. But with this famine, one denarius would only buy one sixteenth of what it would normally be able to buy. Talk about a huge inflation of prices! With famines of this magnitude, there are going to be a lot of people dying for lack of food and the lack of being able to afford it.
The Fourth Seal is opened and out comes Death himself, riding on a pale horse, followed by Hades. These had the power to kill a quarter of the world’s population by sword, famine, plague and wild beasts. The world’s population has been recently been estimated at 7.1 billion people. That means around 1.8 billion people will die or be killed if it happened now. After World War I there was a great famine in Europe. So it makes sense that after the wars and fighting’s caused by the rider of the Red Horse that a great famine will happen. With all the diseases there are in the world, physically weakened people would set the stage for outbreaks of plagues, causing many deaths. It looks like even wild animals will join in the killing; they will be hungry also, so could take advantage of weakened humans. But this could be people doing the killing, because in Daniel some kingdoms are pictured as beasts. When the Fourth Seal is opened, there will be a worldwide death like this planet has never seen.
After all of this death and suffering, the Fifth Seal is opened. Then from under God’s altar come the souls of those who were killed for their faith in Jesus. This could be the same people as in Rev. 7:9, which describes “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language”. There will be a lot of Christians who lose their lives during the beginning of the Tribulation. These will cry out to God to avenge their loss of life. But God, who knows the beginning from the end, will tell them that the time is not completed yet. For God knows that this is just the beginning of this wicked time.
When the Sixth Seal is opened, God does pour out judgment upon the earth. There are major catastrophes throughout the earth. There was a great earthquake. The sun was blackened and the moon turned blood red. These last two could be indicators of volcanoes. Like when Krakatau exploded on August 27, 1883, in Indonesia. The sun was blotted out and volcanic ash seemed to make the moon look red. The bible also speaks that stars will fall, which could be meteors. Other cosmic disturbances will be occurring. Mankind will be hiding in caves and rocks of mountains to avoid God, because they know that this is His judgments are happening to them. Yet they will not repent of their evil. More things happen before the 7th Seal is opened.
When the Seventh Seal is opened, there is silence in Heaven for about half an hour. Heaven is shocked at all that has happened.
Yet this is just the calm before the storm. The 7 angels present themselves before God and are given trumpets. Next up are the trumpet judgments.
http://www.usdebtclock.org – 2/21/14
[i] Planet Earth, 2000; Updated Version – Hal Lindsay – Pg. 58
[ii] Planet Earth, 2000; Updated Version – Hal Lindsay – Pg. 59
[iii] Approaching Hoofbeats – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Billy Graham – Pg. 122
Much of this was written before I kept track of the source.