Fred R. Coulter - September 26, 2002

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The sermon today, we’re going to cover some things out of a recent Time magazine, July 1, 2002, entitled, “The Bible And The Apocalypse: Why More Americans Are Reading And Talking About The End Of The World.” And inside, the article is entitled, the “Apocalypse Now.” And this may be helping prepare a lot for more people coming into the church of God at a later time, just like we find with the apostle Paul in Acts 18, when he came to Corinth, he did not know that God had prepared a lot of people there. And we find this in Acts 18:9. “Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision,...” and God said to him, “...Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: for I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city” (Acts 18:9-10). And of course, he just got there. He did not know how much God was doing for it. So likewise, I think that things like this are also preparing people to understand the message at the end. And we’re also going to see, just like the apostle Paul said in Philippians 1, when he was in prison, that, while he was in prison it was a furtherance for the gospel, because some were preaching in sincerity and truth, and yet some were preaching in contention. But he said he rejoiced, because the gospel was being preached.

Now this article is based upon the books that maybe you have heard of. How many have heard of the book, Left Behind? There’s a series of one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, and the tenth one is now out called The Remnant. Now collectively, the first one sold 7 million; the second one 4.1 million; the third one 3.5 million; the fourth one 3.4 million; the fifth one 3.1 million; likewise with the sixth one; 2.9 million for seven; 3 million for eight; 3,100,000 for nine; and the first run for the print of The Remnant is 2,750,000. And all of this is because of what happened on 9/11. Now we’re also going to see some very interesting things in this, because in a certain way, in a certain way, the gospel is being preached, even though it is not in absolute truth.

Now let’s come to Matthew 24 and let’s look at verse 14, because this tells us an awful lot. And we’ve often wondered, “How is this going to be?” Matthew 24:14. Now remember years ago when we were producing eight million Plain Truth’s a year? We thought, “Oh man! We have reached the world! The witness has gone out to the world!” Well, what’s that been? Over 20 years ago now? And how many people remember that? We’ve got a whole new generation now. So you see, the gospel hasn’t been preached in the way that it says here in verse 14. “And this gospel of the kingdom...” Which is what? Christ is coming to rule the world; the kingdom of God is going to be set up on earth. Now that’s the basic, bare witness. And it will be to all nations, “...and then shall the end come.” Now we also know, Revelation 11, that there are going to be two witnesses who are going to witness of the power of God, and have the power of God of miracles and plagues for 1,260 days. And they are going to plague the whole world with the things that they do, and eventually they’re going to be killed. We know the whole account there in Revelation 11.

So let’s also understand this: there are many witnesses in the world who are telling of the things that are going to happen. Not necessarily involved in a church of God, because not everyone would listen to a minister from a church of God, would they? But if there are financial troubles, they’ll listen to financial people. If there’s sickness and illness, they’ll listen to the experts there. And you can go right on down the line with almost any field. And so there are witnesses out there who are bringing warnings and messages. And so likewise with these books. This may be something to sow the seeds, even though in a certain way it’s a little deceptive, because it’s planting the seeds of escape, which is, “The Rapture is coming, and you’re going to be spared.” But you see, I don’t think that everyone that reads all these books, if they read the books and then get into the Bible, they’re going to see that that may not be so. And I’m sure that I’ve got to do a sermon or two on the rapture to show that that also is a deception. But nevertheless, they’re being pointed to God and Christ in a certain way.

So let me read certain things here: (Fred’s comments on in brackets.)

What do you watch for, when you are watching the news? Signs that interest rates might be climbing, maybe it’s time to refinance. Signs of global warming, maybe forget that new SUV. Signs of new terrorist activity, maybe think twice about that flight to Chicago.

Or signs that the world may be coming to an end, and the last battle between good and evil is about to unfold?

For evangelical Christians with an interest in prophecy, the headlines always come with asterisks pointing to scriptural footnotes. That is how Todd Strandberg reads his paper. By day, he is fixing planes at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue, Neb. But in his off-hours, he’s the webmaster at… [So you see, so everybody’s going to be ready. (Laughs)] ...And the inventor of the Rapture Index, which he calls a ‘Dow Jones Industrial Average of End Time activity.’ Instead of stocks, it tracks prophecies: earthquakes, floods, plagues, crime, false prophets and economic measurements like unemployment that add to instability and civil unrest, thereby easing the way for the Antichrist. In other words, how close are we to the end of the world? The index hit an all-time high of 182 on September 24, asthe bandwidth nearly melted under the weight of 8 million visitors [to that website]: any reading over 145, Strandberg says, means ‘Fasten your seat belt.’

It’s not the end of the world, our mothers always told us. This was helpful for putting spilled milk in perspective, but, it was also our introduction to a basic human reference point. We seem to be born with an instinct that the end is out there somewhere. We have a cultural impulse to imagine it - and keep it at bay. Just as all cultures have their creation stories, so too they have their visions of the end, from the Bible to the Mayan millennial stories. Usually the fables dwell in the back of the mind, or not at all, since we go about our lives conditioned to think that however bad things get, it’s not you know what. But there are times in human history when instinct, faith, myth and current events work together to create a perfect storm of preoccupation.” [Now if you’re interested, you can buy the whole Left Behind series at Wal-Mart. Now continuing with the article.] Visions of an end point lodge in people’s minds in many forms, ranging from entertainment to superstitious fascination to earnest belief. Now seems to be one of those times.

The experience of last fall - the terrorist attacks, the anthrax deaths - not only deepened the interest among Christians fluent in the language of Armageddon and Apocalypse. It broadened it as well, to an audience that had never paid much attention to the predictions of the doomsday prophet Nostradamus, or been worried about an epic battle that marks the end of time, or for that matter, read the Book of Revelation. Since September 11, people from cooler corners of Christianity have begun asking questions about what the Bible has to say about how the world ends, and preachers have answered their questions with sermons they could not have imagined giving a year ago. And even among more secular Americans, there were some who were primed to see an omen in the smoke of the flaming towers... [And you might add, the crash of it too,] ...though it had more to do with their beach reading than with their Bible studies.

So then it tells a little bit about how they started the series, and so forth.

The series has sold some 32 million copies - 50 million if you count the graphic novels and children’s versions - and sales jumped 60% after September 11. Book 9, published in October, was the best-selling novel of 2001. Evangelical pastors promote the book as devotional reading; mainline pastors read them to find out what their congregations are thinking, as do politicians and scholars and people whose job it is to know what fears and hopes [that people have] are settling in the back of people’s minds in a time of deep uncertainty.

‘Now the 10th book, The Remnant, is arriving in stores, a breathtaking 2.75 million hard-cover copies, and its impact may be felt far beyond the book clubs and Bible classes. To some evangelical readers, the Left Behind books provide more than a spiritual guide: they are a political agenda. When they read in the papers about the growing threats to Israel, they are not only concerned for a fellow democratic ally in the war against terror; they are also worried about God’s chosen people and the fate of the land where events must unfold in a specific way for Jesus to return.’

Now you see, all of this in a Time magazine article. That’s really quite a thing when you think about it. Now we have a man on the Foreign Relations Council, his name is Walter Russell:

Walter Russell Mead is sitting in his office at the Council on Foreign Relations in midtown Manhattan on a soft June afternoon, at work on a book that was born last September. He published an acclaimed history of U. S. foreign policy last year and was working on a study about building a global middle class. But he has put that aside. Piled around him now are the Koran, a Bible, books on technology and a stack of Left Behind books. When Mead predicts that our century will be remembered as the Age of Apocalypse, he does not mean to suggest that the world will soon end in a fiery holocaust. ‘The word apocalypse,’ he observes, ‘comes from a Greek word that literally means ‘lifting of the veil’ [or that is, ‘giving understanding’].’ [And of course, who are those who really truly understand? ‘A good understanding have they who do Your commandments’ (Psalm 111:10, paraphrased).]In an apocalyptic age, people feel that the veil of normal, secular reality is lifting, and we can see behind the scenes, see where God and the devil, good and evil are fighting to control the future.’

Quite a thing. This is really quite an article. I was astounded that it was in the magazine. Scott Erickson called the other day and suggested that I get it. So what I did, I bought it at Rayleigh’s, and I didn’t know that a single copy in the store cost $3.95. Now here, just a couple of more things to read here.

It is one thing to become politically active to deploy that Gospel to improve people’s lives, another to try to promote a specific religious scenario. Intercessors for America [which is an organization], a 30-year-old prayer ministry, helps keep people politically connected through e-mail alerts and telephone-prayer chains. The June 11 Prayer Alert implored, ‘Lord, raise up government leaders in Israel, the United States (and worldwide) who will not seek to ‘divide the land’, and who would recognize the unique significance of Jerusalem in God’s end-time purposes. [Never happen.]

To the true believers, that seems less a threat [that is, the end times here] than the fulfillment of a promise. ‘If we keep our eyes on Israel, we will know about the return of Christ,’ says Oleeta Herrmann, 77, of Xenia, Ohio. ‘Everything that is happening - wars, rumors of war - in the Middle East is happening according to Scripture.’ [Now you see, there’s part truth in it. But you have to watch more than just the Middle East. You have to watch more than just Israel.] Herrmann is a member of the End-Time Handmaidens and Servants, a group of global missionaries who preach the Gospel with an emphasis on End Times teachings. September 11 is proof of her belief that the Second Coming of Christ is ‘closer than it ever has been,’…

So you see, even within it there is some truth going out. And then there’s another man:

…Kyle Watson on his prophecy news website,, He thinks “believers should be excited about the end of the world.” [Well, we’ll see that here in just a bit.] “Try viewing prophecy and current events [as] how much closer we are to being with Christ in heaven.’ [Too bad.] That impulse to hope for a good ending is one Cal Thomas, the conservative columnist, sees even in the disciples’ questions for Jesus. He cites Bible passages in which the Apostles press Jesus for clues about how the future unfolds. ‘This is intellectual comfort food, the whole Left Behind phenomenon, because it says to people, in a popularized way, it’s all going to pan out in the end...’ [“And there will be the Rapture, and you will be taken away. And cars will crash, and planes will crash, and trains will crash, because millions will be taken to heaven.” So there’s the hook at the end of it, you see. Quite interesting.]

Now let’s look at some scriptures, and let’s understand some things here that are really, I think, quite important. First of all, we know in Acts 1, one of the very last questions that the apostles asked Jesus before He ascended into heaven for the second and final time, they said, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He says, “It’s not for you to know the times or the seasons that the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:6-7, paraphrased). And He told them, “You go preach.” And He didn’t tell them it was 2,000 years away.

Now let’s come here to Amos 5. Let’s see something important. Everybody loves to preach on the Day of the Lord and the end-times. And many preachers use it to their advantage, to instill fear, to bring in more money, to motivate people, and so forth. But they really don’t know what they’re asking for. Let’s come here, Amos 5:18. Because they’re really asking for the worst times in the whole history of the entire world. And such a time, as Jesus said, shall never ever be again. And such a time that is so bad that it never has been since there was a nation on earth. So here in Amos 5:18, Amos says, “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house [after he is exhausted and running], and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?” (Amos 5:18-20).

So you see, what these things are doing here, like in this article, and the things I’ve read here, this is another way of getting peoples’ mind on what Christ is going to do. What God is going to do - the return of Christ. In such a way that they could not have their attention focused on that, if it were just a preacher up there preaching. Because we live in such an age now, that a lot of people won’t listen to preachers. So this is a good way to sort of, prime the pump. And this is a good way for us to be alert and realize that the time is coming that God will open the door so we can take advantage of that. Not only for what we do, but also for any of the other churches of God who really follow God and pay attention to the things that are going on.

Now let’s cover the situation concerning Israel. Let’s come to Zephaniah, please, the book of Zephaniah. Which you have Malachi, coming from the New Testament, Malachi, Zechariah, Haggai, then Zephaniah. Zephaniah 2, let’s begin here – yes - let’s begin here in verse 4. “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up. Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines,...” And of course, the Jews, I think, properly understand that the Palestinians are probably the Philistines. “...I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant. And the sea coast shall be dwellings and cottages for shepherds, and folds for flocks [sheep].” Now notice verse 7, “And the coast shall be for the remnant of the house of Judah; they shall feed thereupon:...”(Zephaniah 2:4-7). Now that’s the area around Tel Aviv, and coming down the coast a little bit further. The very reason that the Jews are having so much trouble is because they’ve gone beyond this prophecy. They want to take over the whole land. And they want to take over all of Jerusalem. But Revelation 11 says that Jerusalem will be divided. And it is divided. There will be a temple. Eventually it will be built.

Now let’s come to Matthew 24, and let’s look at the fourteen points that we need to watch for prophecy. And I think it’s very interesting that this article alertspeople to be watching for specific things, doesn’t it? Matthew 24, and we’re going to see them. Now I’ve got false prophets listed a little later, but Jesus starts right out with false prophets there. Matthew 24, and let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us [1], when shall these things be? And [2] what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and [3] of the end of the world [or, the age, the end of the age]?”

Now I’ve got down here famine, drought, pestilence to continue. And that’s what we have. We’ll get to the false prophets here a little later. And that’s what we have right here. Verse 6, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars:...” Even quoted in this article. So you see, in spite of themselves they have to quote the Bible. Now isn’t that profound? Isn’t that interesting? And God says, “...see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” And we still don’t know when the end will be, do we? But we do know it’s coming. “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers [different] places” (vs. 6-7).

Just today driving down here I heard that there was a large earthquake, I think about 5-point something, at Mt. Hood. Now remember, Mt. Hood is a supposed dormant volcano. Now this summer I flew up to Seattle. And as we were coming in to land in Seattle, guess what we saw out there on the horizon? Mt. Rainier. And every once in a while some plumes of steam come up out the top of Mt. Rainier. What would happen if Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens all blew together? That would really be something. Now, if you have a chance to see a documentary on what happened when Mt. St. Helens blew, by all means, watch it. I went up there in 19 - I think it was ’80 when it blew. And I was up there three days after it happened. Four days after it happened. And there was this gray soot everywhere. And it was just kind of a pall of death hanging over everything. You go up there now it’s all cleaned up, and everything is fine. So you see, things change. But those things can happen. And they can happen quickly. Now no one expected Mt. St. Helens to blow. But those who were watching the earthquakes, that’s how they knew that it was going to blow, because the earthquakes were getting closer together and more violent. And finally when it blew it just blew off the whole side of the mountain.

Number two: the unrealized war. Now there is a war going on that has not been a declaration of war. It’s not like the terrorist war we have today, or the other wars that are in the world. This is the undeclared war. Now let’s read it here. Let’s see what we have. Let’s come to Deuteronomy 28. Now when I bring this out, you’re going to recognize it. Now especially if you live in California, New Mexico, Arizona, or Texas, or Florida. And also in the cities in the East and Midwest, it’s more or less everywhere now. But here, in Deuteronomy 28, and let’s pick up in verse 43. “The stranger that is within thee shall get up above thee very high;...” And that’s beginning to happen. In California the white people are now a minority. They’re still the largest group of racial - if you want to measure it racially - then any other group. But it is, they are a minority. And the stated goal of the Mexicans have been to retake half of California, all of Arizona, all of New Mexico, and part of Texas by moving the Mexicans in here, and then when the time comes, to take over. Now they can take over. All you need is what? A popular vote, and you’ve got it. Now let’s continue on. “He shall lend to thee, and thou shalt not lend to him:...” That’s already happening. “...He shall be the head, and thou shalt be the tail” (Deut. 28:43-44).

Now let’s come over here and see another part of the unrealized war. The first one is, all the immigrants coming in that are going to get very high above us. The second one is the trade war. Verse 52, “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates,...” That’s what’s happening. We are being flooded with foreign imports. Industries are moving out of the United States and going to these lands. You could almost say that Wal-Mart buys all their goods in the U.S.A. of China, if I could put it that way. “...Until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land:...” You see, today our defenses are meaningless against terrorist activities. Because you don’t know when it’s going to happen, or where it’s going to happen, or who’s going to do it, you see. “...He shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.” So that is the undeclared war. Watch that and you will see that it will continue.

Number three, there is going to be a holy place in Jerusalem. Now there was a very interesting book written by Ernest Martin before his death, which he showed (and I think proved very conclusively) that (and I gave a sermon on that about a year ago last spring) showing that where Fort Antonia is (where the Mosque of Omar is, the Dome of the Rock, that’s built on the ground that was Fort Antonia, where the temple was) was about 600 yards to the south along the ridge. And that’s where the temple was. Now it’s very possible that the Jews may build there again. Now we do know that they would really desire to blow up the Mosque of Omar, the Dome of the Rock, and to build their temple there. But that’s not the place where the temple was. So there is going to be a holy place.

 Let’s come here to Daniel 12:8. We know there will be the holy place. We know they will start the sacrifices. And we know that it is going to – however successful it’s going to be, how long it will be before the end comes, we don’t know. Let’s come here to Daniel 12:8. Now we’ll talk about the abomination of desolation later, but that comes after the fact. First you must have the holy place before you can have the sacrifices. And you must have the temple before you can have the abomination of desolation going and sitting in it. Daniel 12:8, “And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days” (Dan. 12:8-11). Now we don’t know exactly how that’s going to fall. I have done some things in prophecies of Revelation and have covered some of that. And I think that’s fairly accurate. So if you don’t have the series, the first two on the series of Revelation, Revelation #1 and #2, and the chart that goes with it, well, be sure and write for it.

Ok, number four. Return to religion. Now we’re seeing that. This article is all about that. And also, that the Catholic Church will grow in power. Now here this past summer the Pope had a meeting with the Buddhists, the Muslims, the Hindus, and the Protestants. And they said that religion can help bring peace and stability to the world. So we’re going to see this growing thing with religion take place. Now let’s come here to Revelation 13. And here we have the prophecy of the power that’s going to be given to the Catholic Church. Now let’s think about this. At the time of this video taping, Pope John Paul II is still alive. Now we don’t know if he’s going to last until the Feast of Tabernacles, but there’s a good chance that he could die between now and the Feast of Tabernacles. Very possible. What is a new pope going to do? Who is he going to be? How will he come on the scene? What will he do to help establish the power of the Catholic Church and bring all the other religions together? Could it be - so I’m just speculating here - that he will say for the priests, because they have to solve the problem of all the homosexuality and the pedophilia, could he say marriage is optional? Very possible. Could he also say women can become first-rank priests? Not full-fledged priests, but kind of like, you know, sub-priests. And could he say, “Because of the earth’s population, I agree with birth control”? Now if all of those things happen, think how many people will come back into the Catholic Church. Very possible.

But also, here is something, Revelation 13, that is going to take place. He’s going to have miracles. Now you know how the world is going to fall for miracles. They’re going to think, “Boy, this is something!” Revelation 13:11, “And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and [all] them which dwell therein to worship the first beast,...” So this is going to be the end result of the coming one world religion. “...Whose deadly wound was healed.” Now verse 13, “And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,…” (Rev. 13:11-13). And he deceives them with it.

Now let’s come back to Matthew 24. Let’s see how powerful these miracles are going to be. As we’re turning back here to Matthew 24, what did Jesus say when they came to Him and said, “Master, show us a sign!” And He said, “A wicked and an adulterous generation seeks after a sign. There will be no sign given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah” (Matthew 12:38-39, paraphrased). But now just think of this. Our society is giving itself over to occultism, and so is the world. Giving itself over to magical things. And you just watch on television, books, and so forth, you see how much people are taken up in magical things. Now think about a Pope. What would happen if, after he is declared Pope, that all of a sudden he is able to perform astounding miracles? You know what they’re going to say: “This is of God! Seeing is believing!” Now I don’t know how many of you have been watching the documentary, which they are already preparing for the demise of John Paul II. But they are building him up to be a near saint, and how holy he is, and how good he is, and so forth. Let’s see what these miracles are designed to do.

Now let’s come down here to Matthew 24:24. “For there shall arise false Christs,...” And of course, the Antichrist is a false Christ, isn’t he? “...And false prophets,” …and shall be stupid, and everyone will see and know that they are. (Laughs) No. No way. It says, “...and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Now let’s come back up here to verse 4, and let’s read a little bit more about the false prophets, you see. Because they are going to pave the way for the great final deception of the one world religion. Because, you see, politicians now understand that with all the things going on in the Middle East, you can never have peace until the religions get in there and help bring it about by giving the people a conscience, and fear, and control them with religion. And I think that’s the only way that they’re going to stop the Palestinians. It isn’t going to happen any other way. Certainly, Arafat, if he lives until the time of the Feast of Tabernacles, he has supported all the terrorism while at the same time mouthing that he is for peace. So there has to be the religious element brought into it to make it work.

So let’s talk a little bit about false prophets. Verse 4, they wanted to know these things. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.” We’re living in a time when there is such great deceptions on this earth, and are coming, that it is going to be so easy to fall for them hook, line, and sinker. Now to be deceiving within the church and without the church, we have to watch for those too. “For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matt. 24:4-5). Now we’ll see a little bit more about false prophets here in just a minute.

Part 2

Now let’s continue on here in Matthew 24, right here in Matthew 24:11. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” So there’s going to be so many out there, and I want you to stop and think for just a minute, how many have we been confronted with within the church of God, let alone just in the world? “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” And in all of this, here’s the key thing we need to do, verse 13, “But he [or that is, the one who] that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matt. 24:11-13)

Now when this great religious fervor with all these false prophets take place… Now let’s go back here to Revelation 17 and let’s see what’s going to - it’s going to affect the whole world. You see, and when the false religion takes place - which it’s going to include all the major religions of the world - what’s going to happen is everyone is going to think this is the most wonderful, best thing that has ever happened, and, “Look at the holiness, the Pope! Look at the miracles that he has done! Look at those who have been healed! Look at the changes of the minds of men and women who are all happy and cooperative now,” you see. It’s going to be awesome.

Now Revelation 17 shows how that is going to be. It’s going to be kind of like a drunken party for a while where everybody’s happy. What ends up? You end up in a brawl. So when this ends up it’s going to end up in a war too. And it’s the great whore that sits upon many waters, verse 2. “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication,...” So all the governments are going to be involved in it. And just like happened this summer, the Supreme Court approved vouchers, so now all of this money is going to start going to religious schools. So religion is going to get involved. “...And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Rev. 17:2). So that’s the leaders of the world, the inhabitants of the world. And we find in verse 15, “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” There it is. Revelation 17:15. It is going to be a phenomenon, that unless you have the Holy Spirit of God you are not going to be able to understand what is going on.

Now let’s come to number five. There’s going to be the false prophet endorsing the beast. Now we’ve already covered that. And this beast power is going to be awesome. He is going to be declared as God, or the Messiah. Now Revelation 13, let’s see that. Now I know this is a summary, because we’re just having an overview of the fourteen things to watch for in prophecy. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 2. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon [or that is, Satan] gave him his power, and his seat, and [his] great authority.” Now let’s understand something here very important. Satan must get permission from God to bring these men on the scene. Because Satan can do nothing without God’s approval. God’s allowance. Remember what happened with Job? Satan was talking with God, and God said, “See Job?” He said, “Yes.” And Satan said, “Let me just deal with him, and I’ll take away his children,” and so forth. And God said, “Go ahead.” And that still didn’t turn Job from following God. So he said, “Let me afflict him. Skin for skin, and then he’ll deny You.” And God said, “Go ahead.” So likewise, when the beast and the false prophet come on the scene, that has to be by the permission of God.

And now what’s going to happen? “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death;...” Now can you imagine what a tragedy this is going to be for the world? Because, you see, the beast is going to start out, as we find in Daniel 9:27, that he’s going to be in power for one week, or seven years. The first three and a half years are going to be marvelous and wonderful. Then there’s going to be the assassination attempt. And the world is going to be in shock. “What a terrible thing! This wonderful man!” Then he’s going to be resurrected back to life. And now then, the fervor is going to be, when his deadly wound is healed, “...And all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? [And] who is able to make war with him?” (Rev. 13:3-4). And then he continues another forty-two months, and then the tribulation begins.

Now let’s continue on here. So the false prophet, point number five, has to endorse the beast power. And the beast power will be a world-wide power. Now next, we find out what happens, which is this: persecution and war against the saints. Now since we’re here in chapter 13, just look across the page here to chapter 12, or turn the page, and let’s come to verse 12. There will be persecution against the church. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child” (Rev. 12:12-13). So number six is a time of persecution.

Now how is that going to be? It’s already being set up now with the laws that are being enacted in the United States, which they have in other countries as well. And that is going to be that, as we find in Matthew 24. I often wondered years ago, “Now how is this going to come about?” Well, I recently received quite an article on neighborhood watch. Now you know what neighborhood watch is? Watch your neighbors. And if they are little different than you, you better report it. Now let’s tie this in with the great false religion that is here, and everyone believing that. Those who don’t believe it will be marked as enemies. And here’s what’s going to happen. Matthew 24:9, “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake.” Because you’re upsetting the One World Order. “And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another,...” Yes, “Dial this 800 number and you can turn them in and you don’t even have to identify yourself.” And now the new Gestapo will come out and arrest you because you’re an enemy of the state. “...And shall hate one another” (Matt. 24:9-10).

Let’s come here to Matthew 10. Here’s what’s going to happen to those who are teaching and preaching the truth at that time. You’re going to be brought up to trial. And that will be a time of persecution, just like it was in World War II. First of all, Hitler persecuted the Jews, right? And in that it was step-by-step. They were then isolated in the ghettos; they had to wear the yellow stars so they could be identified. And also, remember, that even IBM is being sued now, because Germany used the IBM punch cards to identify all of the people in Germany and wherever they went, so they could racially select all the Jews. Now after they did that, then came the Holocaust. So you see, there’s going to be the persecution and then the martyrdom.

Now here’s what’s going to happen. Verse 17, “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; and ye shall be brought before governors and kings for My [name’s] sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Because we are going to declare, “Christ is coming. This one is not Christ. And the kingdom of God is going to be here, and our allegiance is to God, not the beast.” And that is going to lead to mass beheadings. And here’s how it’s going to affect the families: “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” And he said, verse 23, “But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come” (Matt. 10:17-23). So number six, there’s a time of persecution.

Number seven. The other half of the formula of the beast is the ten kings. Now let’s come back to the book of Revelation. Now as I’ve given in a sermon before, “The Beast That Was, And Is Not, And Yet Is,” and I show there very conclusively how that the United Nations will probably be that structure that the beast power is going to use. See, because what’s going to happen with all the, especially with United States doing what it’s doing now and other nations doing what they’re doing, they will understand that they cannot solve the problems militarily with just a national army. They’re going to need an international army.

Now I also read a report that was really, really quite something. It said one of the things that they’re going to try and do to unite the nations together militarily, not only just in the one world government, but to keep them from fighting against each other, is to stage some sort of alien invasion. And then declare to the people that, “We have to arm and prepare ourselves for an invasion from outer space,” and little will they know that they are preparing to fight against Christ. So there may be something to that. We just have to watch that and see. But nevertheless, when you read other parts of the book of Revelation then you know for sure that there have to be armies armed to the teeth all around the world. And so that’s going to have to come, and it’s going to be under the beast power, because, “Who is able to make war against the beast?” And then he comes and goes after all of those who have the Spirit of God.

Now number seven is the ten kings. Revelation 17:12. Now this is not a detailed explanation of how it comes about. I’m just pointing out what it needs to be at the end. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet;...” And it’s very interesting. The United Nations has the world divided down into ten regions. Now is it going to be that out of those regions there’s going to be a leader who’s going to fulfill the role of a king here? Could very well be. Now notice, “...which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Rev. 17:12-14). So there have to be the ten kings. Now how that comes about, we don’t exactly know. That’s why we need to watch and see.

Now there’s another faction which will come out of this too. When this starts breaking down, there’s going to be the king of the north and the king of the south. So number eight is, there has to be the king of the north and the king of the south. Let’s go to Daniel 11. Now we don’t know who the king of the north is, except it probably will be the beast power. The king of the south then will be the leader of the Muslims. So the king of the north and the king of the south have had peace for a while. Now you know the Muslims can’t keep peace very long. So this is what’s going to happen. Daniel 11, and let’s pick up here in verse 40. “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him:...” Now who is that going to be? Is it going to come out of Egypt, financed by the Arabs and all of their oil money? Or is it going to be out of Arabia itself? We don’t know. But we need to watch.

There’s a king of the south and he pushes at him, that is, the king of the north. “...And the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind,...” Gonna come down and take care of him. You know, and we know what whirlwind attacks are like, don’t we? We’ve seen that in Iraq and Afghanistan. And you can be sure that there’s going to be another war against Iraq. No doubt about it. And it’s going to be for several things. Number one, ostensibly, to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Number two, to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction. But number three, the unspoken thing that it is going to be for, is to keep America from falling into depression and the whole world economy collapsing. Because you see, that’s how you pull an economy out of a depression is to have war. Ok, so we have the king of the north, the king of the south.

Now when he enters into the glorious land, it says here of the king of the north, “...the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps.” So he’s going to go into the - it says down here in verse 45, “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain;...” And this is the next one, which will be the abomination of desolation. “...Yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him” (Dan. 11:40-43, 45). So number nine, the abomination that makes desolate.

Now let’s understand something very important. When that happens, that is the beginning of the last three and a half years. Now we can see the things building up to it. Let’s come back to Matthew 24 again here, and let’s see what is written concerning the abomination of desolation. Then we will see what that is, as Paul describes it in 2 Thessalonians 2. Matthew 24, and this is a very key thing. Verse 14, let’s review that again. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. [And] when...” I want you to circle it, because when you have “when,” we’re going to connect it with “then.” “[And] when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,...” Now here’s an editorial comment in here, probably put in there by the apostle John when he canonized the New Testament. “...(Whoso readeth, let him understand:)…” (Matt. 24:14-15). Because Jesus, in giving this prophecy, didn’t stop in the middle of it and say, “Oh, by the way folks, this is going to be written down. So the one who reads, let him understand.”

“…Then...” See? Verse 15, “When you see...” Verse 16, “…Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:…” And so there’s going to be a mass exodus of Jews going out from there, and it’s going to be so urgent that Christ gave these instructions. “…Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:…” So this, you know, thing is going to be worthless. “…Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!” And then He says, “Pray that your flight be not on the Sabbath, or in the winter.” (vs. 20) paraphrased. Now verse 21, “For then...” Now notice, we have it this way: when, then, then. So we have one event, “When you see the abomination of desolation, then those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, then...” And the reason that they flee is because, “...[there] shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” (vs. 16-21).

Now here’s a very important verse, verse 22. “And except those days should be shortened,...” Now that’s an unfortunate translation, because that gives the connotation that God is going to intervene and stop these days by cutting them short. Now it doesn’t mean that. It really should be translated, “And unless those days were limited...” In other words, God has limited it to what, as we see in the other prophecies? Three and a half years. And unless those days were limited, there should be no flesh saved. “...But for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened [limited].”

Now let’s come to 2 Thessalonians 2, and let’s see what this abomination of desolation is really going to be. Now the type of it was with Antiochus Epihpanes when he went into the temple in Jerusalem at his time, desecrated it, set up an idol in it, and offered swine on the altar of God. This is going to be different. It’s not going to be that mild. This is going to be a man saying that he is God. This will be the beast power. Now let’s pick it up here in verse 3. “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [that is, the Day of the Lord, the return of Christ] shall not come, except there come a falling away [the apostasy] first,…” as it should read. Falling away. Now you’ve heard many different versions of the falling away. That is, there were many people in the church of God who have fallen away. We’ve seen that. But this has more of the connotation, the great apostasy, where the world, in worshipping the beast and following the false prophet, are going to be in total apostasy from God. Because they will worship the beast as God, and the false prophet is going to lead the people to do it. Now a lot of religious people say that it is the Pope who’s going to go into the holy place. Not so. It’s going to be the beast. Because he will be the Messiah, and he will proclaim himself to be God. And after all, he came back to life after the deadly wound, didn’t he?

So let’s read it and see what the character of this man is. “...Except there come… [the apostasy] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;...” Now there has never been a man like this. That’s why when the temple is built in Jerusalem, I suppose we could when we have it there for the holy place there will be a temple. You can add that to that one there. The holy place, we had that, number three, you can put “- temple.” Because he’s going to go into the temple. Never has there been a man like this, except the person of Satan the devil. And he is going to possess this man.

Now verse 4, let’s read it. “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;...” Remember Revelation 13 says that the whole world is going to worship the beast. They’re going to wonder after this beast, you see. So here he is. “...So that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Same attitude of Satan the devil. He said, “I will be like the Most High.” There we have it right here. Now Paul warned them and told them, “This is the mystery of iniquity. I’ve told you about this, and it’s going to show in his time” (vs. 5, paraphrased).

Now verse 8, “And then shall that Wicked...” You can put “one” there, because that’s what it means in the Greek: “That Wicked one.” Notice it’s capitalized. “...Be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,...” (vs. 8-9). And just remember, the false prophet is going to be right there with him, performing miracles too, and saying, “Yes, this is the Messiah! Yes, this is our God! Yes, this is God manifest in the flesh! Worship him! Serve him! He’s going to lead us to victory. Let’s get rid of all of these people who say that Christ is coming from heaven. No, that’s not true. If anything comes from heaven, that is going to be aliens from outer space, and we’ll unite all together and fight against it and destroy them and we will save ourselves and we will follow our leader, the great beast!” I mean, you can almost do the movie material, right?

Now notice, lying wonders “...With all deceiveableness of unrighteousness in them that perish;...” Now here’s the key so that you are going to know when it comes. Because you will know that they won’t know when it comes, because of this. “...Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” So then the opposite of that is true. If you love the truth, if you love God, if you love the way of Jesus Christ, if you love the word of God, you shall be saved. Correct? Because they don’t, God intervenes and He does something just spectacular. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (vs. 10-12). So that’s the abomination that makes desolate, number nine.

Number ten, the tribulation begins after the deadly wound is healed. And let’s put that together with Revelation 13. Because what happens is this: remember we read about the abomination that makes desolate, those in the Holy Land are to flee into the mountains because they will know that the beast goes into the temple. And in there, when he does that, the great tribulation is going to begin. Because now he is going to come out and pronounce himself God, and he is going to say, “We are going to get rid of all the enemies of the state,” which will be us. Let’s see it here. Now Revelation 13:5, “And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.” That is after the deadly wound was healed, three and half years. “And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God...” 2 Thessalonians 2, we just read it. “…To blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints,...” So that’s the next thing. We had the persecution first, you see. Now the next thing that follows, then, will be the war against the saints. And that begins the tribulation. “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” And then God gives a warning. “If any man have an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 13:5-9). So we need to hear. So number ten, the tribulation begins. Number eleven, war against the saints.

Now then, number twelve. Enforcement of the mark of the beast. “Now how are we going to test that everyone is going to be loyal? Well, we’re going to identify them. And we’re going to know that everyone who does not bow down and worship the image of the beast, we’re not going to give them the mark of the beast. And we’re going to have it so that no one can buy and sell.” Now I just in the past months gave a sermon on the coming mark of the beast. And isn’t it interesting, since that big furor of the chip, the insertable chip in the right hand or in the forehead, now they’ve said, “Well, we’re going to put it in the upper arm. See, so this can’t be the mark of the beast , because it says in the right hand or in the forehead.” But notice how the furor of that has all calmed down. But you just watch how it’s going to spread and grow, and spread and grow now that people are not all, you know, hyped up about it. And then this is going to be used as the way that they will know who is loyal to the beast. And this is going to divide the Christians from the rest, and those that are left behind - now I don’t know what this new book, The Remnant, says, but if they have it right they will show that they are going to refuse the mark of the beast and they will be killed.

Now, number thirteen, somewhere in all of this mix… Let’s come to Revelation 3. Now there are two things that everybody wants. Number one, they want to be spared the tribulation; and number two, they want to go to a place of safety. Right? So therefore, when they read Revelation 3, and the church of Philadelphia, they like to claim that they’re the church of Philadelphia. Because, after all, that makes them feel good. You see the same misapplied psychology that the rapture has. Now as we’ve covered before, if anyone is taken to a place of safety - which is not the rapture - God is going to be the one Who’s going to do the selecting. And He’s probably going to send the angels to take the ones who are going there, so they will know where to go. So we need to be careful by making declarations that we are Philadelphians. Now it is true, this is the attitude and things that we need to follow. So let’s read it here.

Revelation 3:8, “I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it:...” Now “open door” can mean two things: it means to preach the gospel, number one, and it can also mean a means of understanding the word of God. Both. “...For thou hast a little strength,...” So physically it’s going to be a small group and weak. “...And hast kept My word,...” So they’re going to be the ones who keep the word of Christ. Now you can put in your margin there John 14: “If you love Me keep My commandments. And the one who loves Me has My commandments and is keeping them, he it is that loves Me, and he that loves Me will keep My words. And the words are those the sayings of the Father” (John 14:15,23, 25, paraphrased). So in order to be a Philadelphian, to love the brethren truly, you first have to love Christ and love God the Father. “...And hast kept My word, and hast not denied My name.” It’s so easy under pressure to deny Christ, isn’t it? Remember Peter? Peter said, “O Lord, I’ll go with you to the death.” And Jesus said, “Peter, before the night is over [it was the Passover night], you’re going to deny Me three times.” And he did. It’s going to take courage over fear to not deny Christ. It’s going to take love of God over protecting your own life and love of self in order to do this, you see.

Now then, He makes quite a statement here. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not,...behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee” (vs. 9). Now there are two ways to understand this. Number one is that they come before your feet and they actually worship God, not you. That’s one way to understand it. Another way to understand it is this: since you are going to be the sons of God, and this is going to take place after the resurrection when they know who you are, and you are the same as Christ, and you are part of the family of God, would it then be wrong to receive worship? I don’t think so. But we can look at it from those two points of view.

Now let’s go on. Here’s the verse everybody looks at, and this is the one they want. And I am absolutely sure, though not having read any of the books of the Left Behind series, that this is one that they really tout. Verse 10, “Because thou hast kept the word of My patience,...” Now you see, they have a great problem with that, because they’re mostly Sunday-keepers. So they haven’t been patiently keeping the Sabbath, have they? But nevertheless, they read it and think that they are. “...I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” So they say, “Boy, we are going to be raptured! We’re going to be saved!” Those in the church of God say, “We’re going to a place of safety.” And in both cases they can have a misapplication of it, can’t they? Yes. That’s what everyone wants. So Christ says, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown” (vs. 10-11). And if you let someone deceive you, you can lose your crown. Then He gives the promise, and so forth.

Now number fourteen. The truth of the matter is the Laodiceans. Number one, we live in a Laodicean age. If you don’t believe it, just go shopping. You have everything you want, anything you need, everything at your fingertips. You’re increased with goods, and rich, and have need of nothing. That’s the way this society is. That’s the way Protestantism is. That’s the way that Catholicism is today. They are all rich and increased with goods, and have need of nothing. Now we have two categories of that, because we also have those in the church of God who are Laodiceans that get spewed out of the mouth of Christ. He tells them to repent and be zealous, and do the works. Now then, we have another group here. And I’ve often thought, could this be a lot of those Protestants that, you know, like we read about in the article here concerning the “Apocalypse Now,” could it be that Christ has been there - let’s read it now, verse 20. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:...” Now I wonder how long Christ has been knocking at the door of the Protestants? “Love Me and keep My commandments. Love Me and keep My commandments.” And they haven’t opened the door. So He says, “…If any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” Now that’s a possibility. We don’t know.

But these of the fourteen things that we need to watch. And it would be good periodically to kind of take that little list and go over it, look at the things that are happening in the world, the things that are happening in religion, the things that are happening in the church, and check and see how things are coming along. I know the first time that I gave this sermon, now, believe it or not, was back in 1972, when we had to explain why we weren’t going to a place of safety. Now mind you, that’s thirty years ago. And these things have yet to really manifest themselves in a - how shall we say - a ripeness. Just like watching fruit get ripe. It hasn’t yet happened. So that’s why we need to keep watching and seeing these things as they develop. But we need to stay alert, stay close to God, grow and overcome so that we don’t get caught short. So these are the fourteen things to watch in prophecy.