Jentezen Franklin - Understanding Biblical Prophecy
Look with me in 2 Peter 3. I'm speaking today on where we are in Bible prophesy, or I guess you could call it "Understanding Bible Prophesy". The bottom line is I want to know what does the Bible teach about the foundational things concerning prophecy and what we need to know, and our children and our families need to know.
And in 2 Peter 3, it says one of the sure signs of the coming of the Lord is people don't want to hear about the coming of the Lord. Verse 3, "Knowing this first: scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation'". We've heard this all our life. Verse eight, "But, beloved, do not forget the one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day".
Here is why He hasn't come yet. Verse nine, and don't miss the heart of a loving God, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, but", the reason He hasn't fulfilled the promise of coming again is He's "longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance". "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; but the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all of these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with a fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells".
So he said basically in that scripture you should live your life as though Jesus Christ could come any day. I tell young people plan for 50 years, plan for 100 years; dream and go after life; get your education, do everything, but we should live, our conduct is addressed in these texts, that we should live as though He could come today. So be godly in your conduct. Be godly in your lifestyle and in your heart and in your life.
So there are three directions that I want to give you quickly this morning. Number one, if you want to understand Bible prophesy, you have to look to the east, according to the scripture. Revelation 16 said that the kings of the east will come down to the Middle East, a direct reference to China. Hudson Taylor, the son, or the missionary in, perhaps the most famous missionary ever in China, used to pray and it was quoted, "The sun has not risen one day in 40 years over China without finding him on his knees in prayer".
And this great missionary, in his lifetime, he's gone to be with the Lord in communist China, the underground church, raised up 1.000 missionaries personally and 1.100 nationals who went all out into the nation of communist China and very much with a threat to their life, they planted churches by the thousands. And there are 1.3 billion people in the world's most populous nation, China, and it is estimated, and they think it's a conservative estimation, that because of that missionary movement that that man started, that today ten percent of China has become Christian converts. That would be around 130 million blood-washed spirit-filled Chinese that have been saved. Jesus said, "I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it".
Why do I say look to China? Why do we need to keep our eye on China, according to the Bible? Well, in 1964, they detonated their first nuclear bomb. Shock waves were felt around the world. The dragon was awakened. And then, a major magazine put a picture of a clock with five minutes to midnight. They understood that the world would never be the same again. In 1974, they perfected and tested a 1.000 megaton bomb. If it exploded over the west, it would destroy, listen to this, three states at one time. To give you some perspective of how big a 1.000 megaton bomb is, and it is now ready; the Chinese have it, when America dropped the bomb on Japan and killed 250.000 people, it was a two and a half megaton bomb. But they now have ready a 1.000 megaton bomb.
And can you imagine the devastation it could have? CBS News did a simulated atomic attack over Omaha, Nebraska. You can look at this on the web if you desire to. The reason they did Omaha, Nebraska is because that's where our silos are that most of our nuclear weapons are stored in caves and silos there, so it certainly would be a first strike target, according to defense experts. Using sophisticated computer technology, they simulated what would happen if a 16 megaton bomb hit America and hit in that area. They said that it would not only devastate and kill millions of people, but it would generate windstorms that would travel up to 1.000 miles per hour.
Now, Katrina, in Louisiana, when that storm came through, it had winds of 150 miles per hour. But can you imagine a storm generated by nuclear warfare that could cause 1.000 mile per hour winds? They said 40 story skyscrapers would fall "like a house of cards". It would also generate a firestorm so intense that the heat would incinerate anyone within a five mile distance of these firestorms that would be generated.
America, by the way, has enough bombs that size that I just described, nuclear weapons, to drop on her enemies every day for the next 300 years. It used to have enough to do it for 600 years, but because of disarmament, we have enough to drop a bomb every day for 300 years on our enemies. And by the way, our enemies could return the favor.
We're living in a dangerous, dangerous world. Does the Bible speak of atomic warfare? Yes, I believe it does. In Zechariah 14:12, This was written by an Old Testament prophet who the only kind of warfare that he was used to was bows and arrows and horses and chariots and yet, he gives with astonishing accuracy the description of nuclear warfare. Listen to what he says. He says, "And this shall be the plague of the people who fight against", notice the location, "Jerusalem". And here it comes. "Their flesh shall consume while they stand upon their feet, Their eyes shall consume away in their sockets, their tongues shall decay and melt in their mouths".
That is the exact picture that the weapons we've created will have on the human race. "Their eyes will melt in the socket, their tongue in their mouth. They will be consumed while they stand on their feet. That is exactly the picture of the weapons we have created". The Chinese children are taught three great hates in school.
1. They're taught in schools, from beginning of school all the way up, hate God for He is a lie.
2. Hate religion for it is the opium of the people.
3. Hate western capitalism. It will corrupt and influence.
And then they're taught about the great war, the great war that will be fought between the east and the west. They believe that one sixth of the Chinese, because they are the largest population, again, in the world and they believe by a sheer numbers game that one sixth, they teach this and they ingrain it into the mentality and psyche of every generation of Chinese for generations, that one sixth will survive and populate the world after nuclear war happens, and they will raise up a new world of socialism and communism. The world's most populous nation is found in Bible prophesy.
In Revelation 16:12, where is China? It says "the great kings of the east will come down. They will be drawn down into the Middle East". It goes on to say in verses four and five that, there it talks about, in Revelation 6, it talks about the red horse and many believe that is a reference. But it also talks about the great Euphrates River will dry up. I believe that's verse 14 in verse 12. "The great Euphrates River will dry up".
Now, this is astonishing, and you can check this out. The Chinese have built dams because the area that it would take to invade the Middle East from China, the direction that the armies would have to come is such a hostile environment, meaning it's not, you're not able to get there. You've seen the pictures of Afghanistan. We couldn't get in there with our troops. It's such a tough area to try to go into. And they said that the only way that you could get to the Middle East from that area and that direction in a massive way with the kind of army that they have, 200 million man army, would be to not only airfare but through the Euphrates River. And so they have dammed up, they have dams that they could cut off and it would stop the flow of the water of the Euphrates River. In 24 hours, they said that river bed would be dried up.
And that has happened in our lifetime, a direct fulfillment of that prophesy. Those inhospitable areas; now they can get through them and you can see the pathway to the valley of Armageddon. And then, it talks about the kings of the earth of the whole world will gather with them. And then, it says that these nations and kings will come and they will do war against the nation of Israel. Keep your eye on China. All I'm saying is keep: when you watch the news, when you hear, when you see China and its economy exploding and doing so well and America being diminished and the enemies of Israel being greatly, greater and greater influencing the world, keep your eye on China. They're a major player in end times events.
Secondly, if you want to understand Bible prophesy, you must turn to the north. Ezekiel 38 and 39 describes the power and influence of the north there in Ezekiel 38 and 39. These are known as the Russian chapters of the Bible. And I want to make a big point. God is not against the Russian people. God is not against the Chinese people. God is not against the Arab people. He loves us all the same, Jew, Gentile, Greek. He loves us all the same. When I talk about these groups of people and these nations, I'm not talking about the precious people. He loves those people. What I'm talking about is the systems of this world, the governments of this world, and the evil wicked leaders that are corrupting.
And so, I'd like to encourage you to open your Bible, Ezekiel 38, I want you to go there with me. It's important to see it. "Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying", verse 2, "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog", listen to these words "the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, Thus says the Lord: I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal". If you will look those words up, you will find the prince of Rosh is derived, That's where the word Russia is derived from. If you look up Gog and Magog, it will tell you the southern mountain region of the old Soviet Union. I'm not making this up. It's all there for you to research.
Then, notice verse four. God says, "I will turn you around, and put hooks in your jaws, and lead you out, with all of your armies". Notice who is going to come with them, Persia. Everybody say Persia. Well, who is Persia? Ancient Persia is Iran and Iraq. The ayatollah of Iran gave a speech and he kept saying in it, "Death to America". Now, we're negotiating a contract with them, trying to stop them from getting nuclear weapons; and while we're doing it, their leader, their supreme leader, is chanting, "Death to America". And one of their prime ministers, the former one, got up at the United Nations and said, "We want to drive Israel into the sea and wipe them off of the face of the earth".
Just like when you play chess and you control the pawns on the chess board, God has men and nations and leaders and they don't even know why they're doing it and He's moving things right in alignment with His holy word. Listen to what God said to Russia. He said, "I'll put hooks in the bear's jaw and pull you down". In other words, "I'm not going to send the Israelites up there".
You see, Napoleon could have conquered the world, but history records the greatest mistake he made was to invade Russia and the winter came and they starved and they lost the battle and everything changed when he went in to Russia and attacked and couldn't take 'em out. But God is smarter than Napoleon. God said, "I'll put a hook in the bear's jaw and I'll pull him down on My turf, where I will fight for My people". Come on, somebody. Oh, hallelujah.
Persia. Notice who He said would come, Persia, Iran and Iraq; Ethiopia. Anybody ever heard of a movie called "Blackhawk Down"? That is the area that is described here. Libya, where the Islamic terrorists have a stronghold, look at it. And as we see these things developing, as we see this happening right before our eyes, He says, "Keep your eyes on Russia". "Well, why are they going to invade? Why would they want to invade Israel, Pastor Franklin"? I don't understand. But He said they're going to come down to make a spoil, a spoil. Everybody say spoil. All right; let's spell it, S-P... All right, you've already missed the first two letters; so if you get the last three, I'm still going to give you a 100 on this spelling bee. Are you ready?
The last three letters are S-P-O-I-L. What does that spell? Oil. So why would Russia, why would China, the Bible said they will think an evil thought. This is in Ezekiel 38. They will think an evil thought. They'll come up with a treacherous plan. And what is the evil thought? One hundred percent of Japan's sp-oil still comes from the Middle East. Eighty-five percent of the European nations' sp-oil still comes from the Middle East. Fifty percent of America's sp-oil still comes from the Middle East.
If you wanted to ground our planes and tanks to a halt, if you wanted to sever the economic jugular vein of America and wipe out our economy, what would you do? You would think an evil thought. You would have a wicked strategy. And they're going to come down to the Middle East and they're going to take the oil. And the only obstacle between them and that oil, the strongest military in the Middle East, is a little nation called Israel. They have the fourth largest military in the world. And the only thing that they have to do to get their hands on all of that oil and effect and diminish and devastate America and all the nations of the world.
And we used to think it was going to be communism, but it's not communism. It is Islamic terrorism is exactly what is taking place. And all they've got to do is get the little speed bump out of the way named Israel. And so they will come down with force. They'll surround Israel. They'll gather in the valley of Megiddo. It's huge. I've stood there, and you can see forever, just exactly where the Bible predicts it will happen. Jerusalem is the center, the bullseye. Draw a circle around Jerusalem and any time you see activity there, know that something is going on.
Now, the Bible has two prophecies about the Israelites. Now, listen to me carefully. Number one, Deuteronomy 28:64 they will be scattered over all the nations of the earth. They will be scattered. And 70 years after Christ ascended to heaven, Titus and his Roman armies came in and leveled and wiped out the city of Jerusalem and those who were left were scattered as slaves all over the world. And they were a people who were but were no more existent as a nation.
So the scripture was fulfilled that they would be scattered. Hitler came along and the death camps and liquidated by fire six million of the Jewish people. The prophet said in verse one of Ezekiel 37, he said, "And the spirit of the Lord took me out and put me in a valley of dry bones. And the spirit of God said to me, Son of man, can these bones live"?
The millions of Jews laying in the valley, in the bones, their bones and death. And God takes Ezekiel and puts him in what he called a valley of dry bones, a ditch, and He says, "Can these bones live"? And he said, "Lord, only You know". And then God said, "Prophesy to the wind and prophesy that life will come back to these dry bones". And suddenly when he prophesies, the bones come to life and stand up and life and flesh comes on them and that which was dead and everybody said is over comes back to life.
The Bible put it like this, an exceeding great and mighty army. Then God sums it up by saying, "This is the house of Israel, O Ezekiel". And that is exactly what God did in 1948. It looked like it was over, but God raised up the dead bones and filled that nation with life and they became a people and a force in the earth again. and one day, when they invite me to speak at the United Nations, and I'm expecting that invitation any day now I'm going to get behind the same pulpit that that Iranian president said, "We'll wipe 'em off the face of the earth", and I'm going to read my text. I already know what I'm going to preach.
Amos 9:14. "And he said, And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel and I will build the waste cities and they will inhabit. They will plant vineyards. They will drink wine thereof. They will also make gardens and eat the fruit of them". Watch this. God said, "I'm going to plant them in their land and they will never be pulled out again". Don't care what the politicians try to do. "They will be pulled out of their land. They'll never be pulled out of their land which I will give them, saith".
This book is the oldest real estate contract in the world, and God said they'll never be pulled out of that land again. Hallelujah. I close with this it talks about how that "seeing these things come to pass, is it not high time that we awaken from our sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than what we believed". Look at the next part. "The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light". "Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife, not in envy". Look at it. "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ. Make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lust thereof".
He's saying three things in those verses. He's saying if you see that you're near the coming of the Lord, here's the first instruction out of that that I get, number one, he said, "Wake up". Come on. Look at somebody and say, "Wake up". Shout it, church. "Wake up". Wake up, because the church is going to sleep and many Christians are asleep. And he said, "The big thing is it's high time to wake up".
And then, did you catch what he said? He said, "And watch out for the flesh. Watch out for drunkenness. Watch out for the spirit of the world". And he said, "Don't just wake up, but clean up". Everybody shout, "Clean up". Get clean in your thoughts. Get clean in your lifestyle. Get clean in your private life. Get clean in your morality. Get clean. Get clean. This is no time to be defiled. This is no time to be compromising. This no time to be drunk. This is no time to be in the flesh. This a time to wake up and clean up, and lastly, look up. Come on, shout it. Look up, for your redemption draws near. Hallelujah.