Facing Armageddon

I stood with a few other Tulsa pastors in the parking lot of a monastery built in the 1200’s on Mt. Carmel at the traditional site where Elijah sought shelter after facing down the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18-19.) The view from the mountain top was spectacular. Looking east we could see just below the horizon the silver ribbon of the Jordan River that separates Israel from the nation of Jordan. Below us were the rich valley farmlands—the valley of Jezreel and the region of Megiddo. Countless battles from biblical days onward have been fought in this region; the last was in September 1918 as part of World War 1. We walked uphill a few yards, crossed the road, and looked westward. There we could see between the mountain ridges the glimmering blues of the Mediterranean Sea. Israel is a very small nation. With the Hamas War in Israel growing more tense each day, some are asking, Is the long foretold final Battle of Armageddon about to take place? 

I have a few responses to that question. The Book of the Revelation of John chapters 19 and 20 reveals that battle and its aftermath. Armageddon is over before it begins. All the personifications of evil, literal and figurative, are defeated and cast into a fiery imprisonment for a thousand years followed by the Great White Throne Judgement. With this understanding, the battle of Armageddon is not ours to worry about. In my perspective of last days, a destruction of the modern nation/state of Israel would be a marker that we have entered a great tribulation period where all the redeemed people would experience severe persecution or physical death for our faith, until the final shout, “Come!” All of the redeemed of all the ages will be present at the Lord’s Second Coming.

Last Sunday morning I asked the congregation to read Jesus’ teachings on the signs of His coming found in Matthew chapters 24 and 25. His continued teaching is—be ready for the day of His return. Bring hope and comfort to those you love who are anxious about tomorrow and what the future may hold. Tell them of the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross. Tell them that even death itself is not the end of life’s story, with Jesus as their Lord. And do not wait for a better time

Keep healthy. Pray mightily. Enjoy your life today. Be ready for the Lord. And let’s experience the love and power of God together.

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