In this, my final installment in my rebuttal of Ray Gano’s article on Christian militancy I want to focus on the context of some of the End Times prophecies of the bible. You will be able to see that ancient middle-eastern men were able to write about future events that will engulf the whole world.
This is the context of the bible’s End Times prophecies; God, while inspiring Middle Eastern men to write His word, about events focused on the Middle East, is quite capable of taking Scripture beyond the immediate context (Israel and the Middle East). We can see this in Jeremiah 25, where He is speaking of a list of nations, starting in the Middle East, but extending to the ends of the earth;
15 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel unto me; Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. 16 And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them. 17 Then took I the cup at the LORD’S hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the LORD had sent me: 18 To wit, Jerusalem, and the cities of Judah, and the kings thereof, and the princes thereof, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, an hissing, and a curse; as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, and his servants, and his princes, and all his people; 20 And all the mingled people, and all the kings of the land of Uz, and all the kings of the land of the Philistines, and Ashkelon, and Azzah, and Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod, 21 Edom, and Moab, and the children of Ammon, 22 And all the kings of Tyrus, and all the kings of Zidon, and the kings of the isles which are beyond the sea, 23 Dedan, and Tema, and Buz, and all that are in the utmost corners, 24 And all the kings of Arabia, and all the kings of the mingled people that dwell in the desert, 25 And all the kings of Zimri, and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes, 26 And all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another, and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth: and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them. 27 Therefore thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Drink ye, and be drunken, and spue, and fall, and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you. 28 And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup at thine hand to drink, then shalt thou say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Ye shall certainly drink. 29 For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. Jeremiah 25:15-29
Now, Jeremiah was not personally able to go to all the nations of the world in his lifetime, nor even the specific nations in the middle east, but in the passage of time, his message has gone everywhere! The Lord, through the Christian Church, has seen to it that this message is in every nation.
Yes, I know that Egypt has no pharaoh today, but the people mentioned here have descendants who are indeed alive today, so God was speaking of the tribes of that day with their modern descendants in mind. Ashkelon was a Philistine city in that day, but today their descendants mostly live in Gaza, although some actually live in North America. Moving from one place to another will not excuse them from the wrath of God, because His wrath is toward the entire human race, not just those who live in the Middle East!
We have numerous statements here which have no meaning apart from the context of the whole world. For instance, what could “kings of the isles which are beyond the sea” mean but places which are very distant from Israel. Notice that isles is plural. Not one island but all the islands!
Don’t forget that Europe, Asia, and Africa is one huge land-mass. Writing from the context of this land-mass, “the isles which are beyond the sea” must include North and South America, as well as Australia, Japan, Fiji, Malaysia, Iceland, and the Philippines…
But God does not leave it with one statement. Just in case we didn’t get it, He repeats Himself;
“all that are in the utmost corners” – not the utmost corners of Saudi Arabia, but the utmost corners of the world. Compare this to the event (Mat. 24:31)where angels scoop up the elect, and save them from this same destruction “from the uttermost”. Remember utmost, and uttermost, have the same meaning;
And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. Mark 13:27
Note that “uttermost part of heaven” here simply means the corresponding part of the atmosphere. The atmosphere of earth is the first heaven (see Genesis 1:20). These people will witness this destruction first hand, from the arms of angels, and will tell the story to their children as they repopulate the earth during the Millennial reign.
“and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the earth” All means all. The “face of the earth” describes the entire globe – every where where there is land, and human inhabitants. This is an unlimited statement. In other words, the passage in question will not be fulfilled until there is a war which includes every nation on the earth. This is God dealing with the human race as a whole.
“for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts.” Again, He uses the word “all” because He intends us to understand that this prophecy is against the whole human race, not merely the inhabitants of the Middle East. As just before the flood, God’s anger was directed toward the entire human race, so today all the nations of the world are setting themselves up for judgment, and the “Christian” west is at the forefront! The nations that have seen unprecedented gospel preaching, and then turned their backs on it will feel the full fury of the Lord’s wrath!
For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? I Peter 4:17
Later on in the same chapter He reiterates that this is a world-wide prophecy;
And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth: they shall not be lamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground. Jeremiah 25:33
There will be so many dead that there will not be enough left to bury them! This is in contrast to the battle of Gog and Magog, where it will take seven months to bury the dead (Eze. 39:12-14). The dead of Jeremiah 25 will not be buried, but will be left upon the surface of the earth, and eaten by birds and wild animals!
So we see then that the war spoken of in Jeremiah 25 is the same battle spoken of in Revelation 19:21, where the dead are consumed by birds. This is Armageddon, which will rage over the entire world, although the focal point will indeed be Jerusalem. The dead are killed, as they turn upon each other, but those left will be killed by the Lord Himself, and his army of resurrected saints! There will be no unbelievers left alive to go into the Millennial Kingdom. Not one!
As you read through the bible’s End Times prophecies, you must realize that the events spoken of will occur throughout the world. The ten nation confederacy of Revelation 17 is a world-wide confederacy, and not limited to Europe or the Middle East. Should we see a European, and/or a Middle Eastern ten-nation confederacy emerge, do not accept this as fulfilment of the bible’s End Time prophecies. It may actually be a counterfeit of the devil!
The nations of the Psalm 83 war just might number ten, but this is a Church-age war, and it will occur several years before Armageddon. The same goes for the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39; there might actually be a ten nation confederacy on one side or the other, but this is still a Church-age war, and quite separate from Armageddon. Those who identify it AS Armageddon will expect the return of Christ at the precise moment that the Antichrist is set to rise!
Your enemy, Satan, is very intelligent. Not only this but he has had some six thousand years to work out a plan, for these days. He is also quite familiar with the Scriptures. He knows what Christians are looking for, and is quite capable of moving in the hearts of world rulers to create a semblance of fulfilled prophecy. This is why I contend that many Christian teachers are actually teaching serious error. Following Amillennialists, Pre-millennialists, Preterists, and even some Dispensationalists, could lead us into disaster. There is no substitute for personal bible study!
Those who think it is the Christian’s duty to pick-up carnal weapons and create the kingdom of God on earth will one day soon crown the Antichrist as its ruler!
So Gano is correct to emphasize “context” but the context is found within the passage itself, as well as throughout Scripture. Scripture must interpret Scripture. God is sovereign, and quite capable of lifting the context above the context of the writer’s own circumstances. We must accept the plain sense meaning of the words of Scripture, and not read into it our pre-conceived ideas, as so many do today. All Scripture is a unit, and speaks with a supernatural unity.
Do you know some unbelievers? While I can’t give a day, nor an hour, when these things will be fulfilled, I am convinced we are within a lifetime of it. When the End Times prophecies come to pass, our unbelieving family members and friends will be lost for all eternity. Now is the time to share the gospel with them. Don’t wait!
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) II Corinthians 6:2