What Unparalled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future? – Program 5
By: The John Ankerberg Show
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. Zola Levitt, Dr. Randy Price, Peter LeLonde, Dr. Dave Breese; ©1995|
|The panel answers audience questions, including what role the United States will play in end-time prophecy.|
Today, on The John Ankerberg Show: “What Unparalleled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future?”
- Dr. David Breese: We have the Rapture of the Church and then the world drops into the very, very dark abyss of the Tribulation. The Tribulation sees the rise of Antichrist, the establishment of world government and world religion; and then the Antichrist decides that the irritant to his total power is this faint memory of the existence of God as represented by Jerusalem, Israel. So he initiates a global war against Israel.
- Peter Lalonde: We’ve got to recognize the world in which the Antichrist arises. First of all, you’ve had the Rapture take place. Millions of people have vanished off the face of the earth and while we’ve been debating that subject, maybe we’ve sometimes forgotten what that event really is like. People have watched family members disappear. Children have vanished off the face of the earth. You’re sitting with your wife—she’s gone. It is going to drive the world insane.
- Dr. Randall Price: Now, for the first time in 2000 years we see Jews. Maybe it’s a minority, maybe it’s a handful of Jews, but though that minority can be a very vocal and demonstrable minority, they are preparing to rebuild the temple.
- Dr. John Ankerberg: Do you find it significant that we have the peace conference going on?
- Dr. Zola Levitt: Absolutely! Look, what would you say, what would any of us say, if the headline tomorrow morning is: “Here’s a new idea. We’ll let the Israelis have their temple worship. An amazing suggestion has come up. We can move the Dome of the Rock lovingly, carefully, to Mecca, Medina, Damascus, and by the way, the Israelis said they’re a little uncomfortable. They would sign for seven years.” That’s the ball game.
- Lalonde: CNN will go to immediate worldwide coverage. You know that there are going to be people just glued to their TV sets trying to figure out what’s taken place in this world. There will be chaos and confusion.
Ankerberg: My guests today are four of the premier teachers on biblical prophecy in the United States. They are: Dr. Zola Levitt, Host of “Zola Levitt Presents,” Peter Lalonde, President of “This Week in Bible Prophecy,” Dr. Randall Price, author of In Search of Temple Treasures, and Dr. David Breese, speaker on “The King Is Coming.” We invite you to join us.
Program 5: What Unparalleled Global Events Does the Bible Predict Will Encompass the World in the Future? Questions From the Audience
- Ankerberg: Welcome! We’re glad that you’ve joined us and we’re here in Dallas, Texas. We have some of the most popular and authoritative writers on biblical prophecy in our country today that are with us. This is one of the most enjoyable programs as far as the audience is concerned, both at home as well as here, because they get to ask the question that’s been burning in their soul—maybe the one that you would like to ask the panel. And we’re going to start right here with question number one. What’s your question?
- Audience: Yes. I would like to find out what the United States’ part is, what part they play in end-time prophecy.
- Ankerberg: Yeah, people want to know, “What happened to America? Why don’t you see a whole lot of verses about that?” Dr. Breese, want to try it out?
- Breese: Well, my answer to the question is that in Ezekiel 38 we have the story of a devastating invasion from the north against the nation of Israel. Now, through all of time, that is, this particular time for Israel, the protector for Israel has been the United States. In fact, any nation in the world could have been conquered on the telephone were it not for the United States protecting against the massive power of Russia, at that time the Soviet Union. So, we are therefore tempted to ask the question: What has happened to the United States by the time the king of the north thinks that he can move with impunity against the nation of Israel?
- I think there are three or four possibilities: One, America will have been destroyed. You have some provocative verses. The announcement is made by the beast with the form like a flying eagle announcing the fourth rider of the Apocalypse in Revelation 6 and a fourth part of the men are killed out of that activity. The nuclear capability in Russia is a very frightening thing. They profess to be our friends, but they’ve got 30,000 nuclear weapons, 11,000 of which are pointed at the United States. Never deal with a dictator in terms of his words or promises, always in terms of his capability. America may have been destroyed.
- Second, nuclear blackmail is a possibility. The Soviet Union has had a manned spacecraft up with people in it for the last two or three years at all times.
- Third possibility, America may have rotted into imbecility. We believe so many absurd things today that there might not be any intellectual or courageous horsepower left.
- The fourth possibility is the Rapture of the Church. America would be far more affected by the Rapture than any other nation in the world. Possibly 50 million of us would go home and so I suggest one of those four possibilities and I would simply say that the argument for the survival of the United States in the final prophetic picture is not a strong one in Scripture.
- Ankerberg: Okay. Another question.
- Audience: Does the parallel of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 suggest that there are two distinct groups of believers at the time of the Rapture—those that are ready and those that are not? The filled and the foolish? The consecrated and the carnal? Can it be parallel/found in Revelation 3 with the Laodicean Church?
- Ankerberg: Zola, that’s got to be right up your alley.
- Levitt: I can’t divide the true Church. Every believer is going. To me, the five virgins with no oil are not the true Church. Oil in the Bible is the Holy Spirit. They’re not indwelt. I don’t think they’re saved. But they’re a peculiar group, if you look at it that way and let’s say that we are looking at a parable now, not a doctrine and we’re stretching it out. But their error was not in not knowing who was coming. They knew the Bridegroom was coming. They knew what they needed. It says they went out to buy some oil. They wanted to get married. Virgins wanted to get married. They made one mistake, and we should all heed this mistake: they didn’t think He was coming that night. We should all ask ourselves, “Do I think He’s coming tonight?” because He may; more likely tonight than last night. He didn’t come last night. I see them as what—okay, I’ll go out on a limb a little bit—what we’re calling the liberals: untaught, professing Christians as opposed to confessing. People in whited sepulchers with gorgeous crosses on the steeples and so on, but who have never really made a personal commitment. And we all know if we have. And I think that’s the whole group of the gnashing and the weeping and the calling, “Lord, Lord.” Turn on the TV, it’s going on all the time.
- Ankerberg: And, Dave, in 1 Thessalonians 5 Paul actually reassures the Thessalonians they’re going, because they were a little nervous about that. Want to help us out?
- Breese: Well, 1 Thessalonians 5 says, “The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” in which all these things it says, and it will overtake the world. “But you, brethren, you are of the day, so that that day not overtake you as a thief.” The doctrine of the partial Rapture is unknown to Scripture and it certainly can’t be built on the parable of the ten virgins. In fact, the parable of the ten virgins prophetically has nothing to do with the Church or the Rapture.
- Ankerberg: Next question.
- Audience: My question is for Dr. Price. What is the importance of the red heifer and are there in any Israel at this time?
- Ankerberg: Goodness sakes, what are red heifers. People want to know, what are we talking about red heifers for? What significance does that have? It’s a good question but let’s fill everybody in.
- Price: Well, originally in Numbers 19 there was the statement made about the institution of the red heifer, the sacrifice of the red heifer. And the ashes from that red heifer were mixed with water then used for purifying both the vessels that were used in the temple service as well as those who would officiate the temple service. It was simply a means of consecration in a ritual system. Now, there is a statement there made about ashes of continuity or perpetuity. Some have taken that to mean that those ashes need to continue from one sacrifice to the next—some of the original ashes mixed with the future ashes. More rightly understood in context, it is simply saying that that ordinance is to be a continual ordinance and that that type of cleansing was necessary when you had a ritual purification ceremony in a tabernacle or temple.
- Ankerberg: Who needs a red heifer?
- Price: According to the rabbis who intend to reinstitute this ceremony, a red heifer is not necessary. I mean, the ashes are not necessary; even the red heifer is not necessarily something that has to be found.
- Ankerberg: But this is in relationship to the rebuilding of the temple is why this is important. How is that important in terms of that?
- Price: Well, in that that is part of the removal of ritual impurity, particularly the type of impurity found by contamination from being outside the land of Israel or with idols or things like this. Today all of Israel is in a state of impurity because they have been outside of the land; the land has been desecrated by foreign enemies. So as a result, there is no one qualified to conduct the priestly functions or even rebuild the temple, so there are those who teach that either a new strain of red heifers has to be developed or the original ashes discovered.
- Ankerberg: And what’s the possibility, what’s the potential?
- Price: Well, I suppose there is always a potential of finding original ashes if such a thing actually exists or there was something like that in tradition.
- Ankerberg: But we don’t need that, we need…
- Price: Well, there are those who actually say we are working toward bringing a strain of heifers to Israel. There was a group at one time that I met with that contacted a man in Mississippi who felt his heifers were qualified. That’s gone different directions now, but they hope that they can develop their own red heifer.
- Ankerberg: The bottom line is, this is not an insuperable barrier, right?
- Price: No, it’s not insuperable. It’s just one of those things that’s going to be a part of the eventual ritual system.
- Ankerberg: Okay.
- Audience: Hello. All of us that love the Lord want our loved ones to be deemed worthy of the Lord to make the Rapture and that’s what my question refers to. What would you say to the Christian who exists today who Jesus referred to in Revelation as neither hot nor cold in relationship to the subject matter today?
- Ankerberg: Dave?
- Breese: Well, that’s the account of the Laodicean Church. The word laos means “people”; doceos is “the voice.” The Church was built on the voice of the people, and what would we say to them as relation to the present scene. We are not even told that these people were Christians but rather they said they were rich and increased with goods and had need of nothing, but the Lord said, “You don’t know you’re poor and wretched and miserable and blind and naked. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen.” And that account finishes with Christ knocking at the door of the Church seeking entrance so that the story of the Laodicean Church may be people who have nominal religion but are not indeed sincere Christians.
- But I would say again that everyone who is born again goes in the Rapture of the Church and degrees of, what shall we say, human good that might be true and they vary between Christian and Christian are not the issue. If you’re saved, you’re a member of the Body of Christ and the Body of Christ is finished with this world on the occasion of the Rapture.
- Ankerberg: Next question.
- Audience: Russia and other Islamic countries will attack Israel. Can you give the chronological table of the battle and Armageddon battle?
- Ankerberg: Want to take a stab at that, Peter?
- Lalonde: Sure. Well, first of all, Canada rules the world in the end-times if we’re going to get our theology straight! [laughter]
- Ankerberg: How do you spell that?
- Breese: And that brings on the Tribulation!
- Lalonde: I think that among all of the questions as to chronology on the end-times, the question of when this invasion from the north into Israel is probably the most discussed issue and the most uncertain. I sat at a table with four gentlemen, all well known prophetic teachers, one night with four completely different views of when this invasion would take place. To me it makes the most sense that it takes place at the midpoint of the Tribulation.
- Breese: Uh-oh….
- Lalonde: There goes Dave. He was one of the guys at that table. And the argument mainly that is used against that position is, you’re going to burn those weapons for seven years, the Scripture says. But according to the book of Isaiah, there will be the burning of weapons, Isaiah 9, during the Millennial Reign so there’s no reason that that can’t take place. How are you going to have a situation take place where Israel, we know that when God saves them from this attack, they recognize that He is indeed God and at that point, how are you going to have them recognize the true God and then turn around and immediately thereafter and sign a covenant with the Antichrist does not make a lot of sense to me. So I see it at the midpoint of the Tribulation and that this is really the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon.
- The four different views are: three and a half years before the Rapture of the Church in the Tribulation period; the early part of the Tribulation period; the mid part of the Tribulation, and as some believe, it is actually the same as the Battle of Armageddon, which I don’t think makes sense because Armageddon speaks of all the nations of the earth, whereas, this invasion spoken of in Ezekiel 38 lists very specific nations. I think they’re a different battle.
- Ankerberg: I think, Breese—if you want to give your opinion on this—the further question is, with all that’s happened in Russia, do you really believe that it’s Russia? Do they still have the capability to do this? We’ve got a whole new scenario with this generation now since Communism has fallen and so on. Do you think that it’s still going to be Russia that invades?
- Breese: I do not trust the announcement that the Cold War is over and that Russia is now a benign “has been” with no concern about the future. Russia is still the number two nuclear power in the world—30,000 nuclear weapons. And I’ve not heard that they’re destroying those weapons. Eleven thousand, by the way, are pointed at the United States. I was in Rapid City at a Gideon Conference a couple of weeks ago, and they said, “We’re destroying our minuteman missile silos. We’re pulling the weapons out and destroying them.” We are, in fact, cutting down our nuclear capability, which, in my opinion, is a form of insanity. Why do it when nobody’s making us do it. So, yes, I think that Russia still represents an awesome military capability and you’ve got a new guy around there—Vladimir Zhirinovsky—who says says he’s going to take back Alaska from the United States; he’s going to march his soldiers to a warm water port—the Indian Ocean, and all of that kind of thing.
- The assurances we have now are not good enough. And here’s the current Russian leader in America this last week advocating further nuclear disarmament. Further nuclear disarmament would produce a great disadvantage for us and not a disadvantage for the Russians, because nobody’s going to attack them by taking the nuclear initiative.
- Now, as to the time of the battle of Ezekiel 38, I’m very disposed to hold that that takes place on or a short time before the beginning of the Tribulation because on the occasion of the battle of Ezekiel 38 it is my opinion—we’re on the opinion thing now—that Europe comes down under the leadership of the Antichrist and Europe is in Israel. The attack is destroyed by a counterforce from Heaven—fire from Heaven comes down; but also that army in Israel then, the Antichrist can take credit for the final destruction of the great threat from the north. As a result, he is escalated to world leadership. The perfect place for that to happen is when he ostensibly argues he is the great defender of the nation of Israel but, in fact, he is very selfishly interested in his own expanded power base.
- Audience: Do you believe Heaven is a third dimension, another dimension, a physical place? If it is a physical place, where would it be?
- Ankerberg: Zola, you’ve been there, haven’t you? No, no, no…
- Levitt: I was saying, “Is that a Bible question?”
- Breese: Then, too, we get a better answer. There are certainly other dimensions of life. There is a dimension where radio waves travel. We can’t hear it unless we pull out a receiver and then it’s there; or television. So, sure, there could be a third, fourth, fifth and twenty-seventh dimension. And Heaven is another dimension, although the exigencies of Heaven are instantly transferable into this dimension. You know, angels become visible; so did Christ. And so, sure, there could be a lot of dimensions. We aren’t told. But we are told in the Scripture all that we need to know “that pertains to life and godliness.”
- Audience: I’d like to direct my question to Peter Lalonde. Peter, could you please discuss Bill Clinton’s attempt to push a global trade agreement, the GAT agreement, through Congress and its prophetic significance?
- Lalonde: There’s no question we’re moving towards a world economic system. Revelation 13 paints an incredible picture of this generation that we’re living in. It speaks of a new world order. It says that, “Power was given unto the Antichrist over all kindreds and nations and tongues.” It says that all of the people of the earth are going to worship him. Then it also says that all will join this world economic system : “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark” and so on. So we’re moving towards a world economic system.
- There’s no question that GAT, I think less than the World Trade Organization, is at the center of this thing. The World Trade Organization is a Trojan horse. We don’t pay too much attention to these big meetings that they have because it’s so complicated and it’s economics and, you know, it gets five minutes on the news. But in the World Trade Organization, now you have national sovereignty issues being handed over to a world authority. I think it’s the beginning step. I think GAT is another step of that.
- We live in a world economy right now. What happens in the Japanese stock market affects what happens in New York and it’s the same the world around and they’re saying, “How do we control this? We need a global solution.” And I think there’s no question that in the days ahead we’re going to get that global solution and that is part of the very system that Revelation 13 said would come to pass. Couldn’t have happened in any other generation but now they say money follows the sun around the world—as one stock market closes at the end of the day, the money goes by satellite to the next stock market. We have new realities in this generation. It seems very logical. I don’t think there is anything intrinsically evil about it. It is just trying to keep up with the technology that exists, but it’s paving the way exactly for Revelation 13.
- Ankerberg: Even secular writers are picking up on the two themes we just got done talking about. Tom Clancey’s latest novel, Debt of Honor, combines both the fact of the United States’ nuclear weakness with the fact of world trade being combined and the Japanese and their power source and so on and has a very interesting slant on that. But I mean, even secular writers understand what you’ve just said.
- I think there’s something else we ought to bring in here, too, and that is, you know, we as Christians, when we talk about these things, the intellectuals would look and say, “Well, isn’t it a good idea to have a credit card? Isn’t it a good idea to have world trade?” Some of these are great ideas. They see a big problem. They see borders and they see boundaries. Every businessman in America that goes in and deals with Europe and deals with separate individual countries goes crazy. They love this European giant coming together in one. You put one office over there and you deal with all of those countries. So to them, it makes a lot of sense.
- And some of these things, they do make sense; it’s just the fact that the ultimate end of these, according to the Bible, is that there will be a ruler that will come and control it but not for good means. The problem of our world is, we’re so optimistic, if we put everything under the control of one person, one government, one army, the fact is, we’ve got no problems. That is a wrong understanding.
- Lalonde: Well, it misunderstands the nature of the human spirit. First of all, the Tower of Babel was a perfect example of that: Let us all come together as one. But there’s also this misconception. First of all, let me address the point, you said, “It seems so logical.”
- The Scripture says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto man.” This is man’s attempt to govern himself outside of God; build a kingdom of peace without the Prince of Peace, so it is going to fail on that very level.
- But at the same time, we’ve had a misunderstanding in prophecy sometimes that we think that when we read the book of Revelation this is going to be something that comes from Planet “X” out there and suddenly drops on the world that will be foreign to us. It’s not. What the Scripture is speaking about is our everyday world. It makes sense to us in this generation the way it didn’t in any other generation. Global ideas, satellites, technologies, the interrelations. As you mentioned, in Europe, you drive across the United States right now, you go a long way till you get from one side of the country to the other. Go through Europe right now and change your money at a different border every 50 miles as you’re driving along. There are new realities that make perfect, logical sense. The Bible just told us that was coming to pass.
- Audience: I was wondering, what does John mean when he is talking about Babylon in Revelation 18? What nation is that?
- Ankerberg: Yes. The old question: Is it a real spot that’s going to be destroyed? Or is it talking about evil influence and power throughout the world? Who wants to take a shot at that? Randy, go ahead.
- Price: Well, you have in Scripture, I think Babylon is spoken of in different ways. There is certainly a “Mystery Babylon” which is the spiritual entity that Babylon represented which is that system of evil that encompasses all the world—that fallen system which is against God.
- Then you have a commercial Babylon which is spoken of by the Prophets which certainly is something that will exist in the last days that will exist in a physical place, because there literally was a Babylon and apparently Babylon will be revived.
- There are those who even point to the rebuilding of Babylon by Saddam Hussein today—an operation which has not ceased. It continues to go on and desire to consolidate power there in Iraq and that part of the world.
- So, I would say that, Yes, you have the physical Babylon which will be destroyed because of the literal understanding of that text of how Babylon has fallen; that it is the Mother of Harlots, the spiritual aspects are there as well; and the commercial Babylon because of the wailing and weeping over apparently the power brokerage that it had in its days.
- Audience: Dr. Breese inspired this question earlier and it has to do with the Gentiles after the Rapture. Will all who are saved during the Tribulation be martyred saints, sharing in Jesus’ heavenly reign, or can some who remain alive on earth be saved and perhaps be reigning with the Jews?
- Breese: A little bit garbled. Could you maybe read the last part slightly slower?
- Audience: Can some who remain alive on earth be saved or gain salvation and reign with the 144,000 Jews?
- Breese: Yeah, let me give a generic answer to that question. All who live in the Church Age are members of a very unique thing called the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ will be complete, and when it is completed, it is taken out of the world. Then, a new administration begins in the world.
- And the Rapture changes a lot more things than we think. The Rapture moves us from the day of grace to the day of judgment; the Rapture finishes the day of the Church and moves us to the day of the Lord; the Rapture changes the message from the Gospel of the grace of God to the Gospel of the Kingdom.
- Now, people who are saved in the Tribulation are saved by believing the Gospel of the Kingdom, so they are saved by faith but they receive in a sense a different kind of salvation. And the different kind of salvation means they become proselytes to the nation of Israel—which you had to do in the Old Testament to be a proper believer. The same will be the case during the Tribulation and those saved by believing the Gospel of the Kingdom in the Tribulation will inherit God’s eternal destiny for the nation of Israel—different from the destiny of the Church. The destiny of the nation of Israel is to inherit the world. The destiny of the Church is to inherit eternity. And so we are not told in the Old Testament that anybody will reign with Christ; but the New Testament says, “If we suffer, we shall reign with Him.” We are “joint heirs with Christ.” We are not the subjects of the Kingdom, we are the masters of the Kingdom.
- We have perhaps made a mistake within the Church by not having a sufficiently exalted, stupendously high view of the ultimate eternal destiny of the believer in Jesus Christ. As a member of the Body of Christ, and think of what that means: he will inherit all of the realities of eternity. Nobody will be higher in this universe or any possible universe than the believing Christian who accepts Christ by grace. That will not be true about the nation of Israel; it will be true about us.
- Ankerberg: Final question.
- Audience: According to the Bible there will be a mark of the beast, and there are micro chips now that can be placed under the skin so they can track you. Would it be okay to use these chips now to locate, you know, children if they’re lost or kidnapped and that’s basically the question?
- Lalonde: Well, I think in the first instance there’s no question that there’s micro chips developed today that can be implanted under the skin, and I wouldn’t have any suggestion or any evidence that indicates they’re being used under the skin of people anywhere in the world, but you can go into your Humane Society anywhere in Canada and the United States, throughout Europe, for $15 they’ll put a chip under the skin of your cat. Scanners—same level of technology as the scanner you would find in your grocery store—you can read that chip if the dog of cat runs away from here in Dallas, Texas, up to my home in Niagara Falls, Canada. I can bring it into the Humane Society there, a database that can keep track of 34 billion cats and dogs exists already. So the technology is in place, there is no question.
- The question that becomes the big one is: What if someone suggested such a system today to keep track of children? Say, for example, one of the ones being discussed by a plastic surgeon in Florida is to implant it in the arm. Is that the mark of the beast? No. It is a micro chip implanted under the skin. It does not become the mark of the beast until the beast arises on the scene, for the first part. This thing is not about technology; it is not about tracking; it’s not about communications, but an internal decision we’ll make of, to whom we will bow our knee.
- The Scripture says that in the mark of the beast, people are going to fall down and worship the Antichrist as God. We’re supposed to worship God as God, not the Antichrist as God. That’s what makes it the mark of the beast. Anything in the meantime, anything that has to do with credit cards, that has nothing to do with the mark of the beast. It’s technology that makes it possible, but it is nothing more than that.
- Ankerberg: Okay, finish it up, Peter, and that is, for a person that has been listening and says, “You know, all of this prophetic information,” they’ve read their Bibles and they say, “You know, that’s what I see as well;” but they still are worried about being left at the Rapture because they haven’t got a personal relationship with Jesus. How does a person get that relationship?
- Lalonde: So much of the talk we’ve done through this entire series for your program, John, has been about peace, about a new world order, about a new age. We talk about peace on this earth. We talk about peace between nations. And there is such a great peace movement today. People walking around with signs for peace. Peace in the Middle East and so on. But the peace the world is defining is a cessation of hostilities in the world. It’s the putting down of arms and agreeing not to shoot each other for a period of time. That’s not the ultimate peace the Bible promises.
- The Bible promises peace between man and God. And that’s what this whole thing is about. Zola made mention of the fact that Job said, “Though he slay me, yet would I trust him.” It is peace between knowing that our hope is not here in this world; our hope has nothing to do with any of these events that may come upon the earth, because “I know that my Redeemer liveth.” And that is the secret to this whole thing. The way of salvation is so very simple. There is nothing complicated to it whatsoever. What is tough is getting serious about it; making a decision. And that’s the exciting thing about Bible prophecy: it brings us to a point where we say, “Hey, there is an end to the road here. There is an end to this line. It’s not just going to continue on as it has been forever.”
- And when we take an honest look at the world situation, it’s time for us to make a decision: Who are you going to bow your knee for? Will you bow your knee for the Antichrist? Or will you bow your knee to Christ? This is the decision that the world faces at the Battle of Armageddon. It’s a decision that we all face today and today is the day of salvation. All we have to do is put our faith in Christ, but we have to be serious about it. It’s not just repeating some words.
- Ankerberg: Guys, I just want to say “thanks” on behalf of the audience. Dr. David Breese, Zola Levitt, Peter Lalonde, and Dr. Randall Price, thanks so much for sharing this information with us and come back again. God bless you.