The Flesh of Kings: The final battle begins after Armageddon
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Is this really what Revelation is about? In order to understand this mysterious prophecy, we must first study some Bible history about ancient Israel and literal Babylon. In B. Jerusalem was conquered and Judah was taken captive for 70 years Daniel After 70 years, an amazing set of circumstances occurred. This history forms the background for a true understanding of Revelation Ancient Babylon sat on the Euphrates Jeremiah , A wall surrounded the city.
The Euphrates ran through Babylon, entering and exiting through two spiked gates whose bars reached down into the riverbed. When these twin gates were shut and all other entrances were closed, Babylon was virtually impregnable.
The Battle of Armageddon - What it Is & What it Will Mean
So were the guards, and they forgot to fully close the double doors. Thus Cyrus was a type of Jesus Christ. Cyrus and his army dug trenches upstream alongside the river Euphrates which diverted the flowing water. The river gradually went down as it ran through Babylon. No one noticed. Quickly they overran the doomed city, killing the king Daniel , and conquering Babylon. Then Cyrus issued his famous decree to let Israel go Ezra 1. The Jews were free. In the Old Testament, the battle was clearly between the literal nation of Israel and literal Babylon Daniel 1.
Does this apply to a rebuilt city south of Baghdad? Some say yes. The evidence suggests otherwise. In Old Testament days, literal Babylon sat on the literal river Euphrates. A woman in prophecy represents a church. Because the river Euphrates is destined to run dry. But what does the Bible say dries up the river? Thus, it is the wrath of God, not Turkey, that dries up the Euphrates! What does it mean? Brace yourself. Thus their misplaced support for a false system will vanish. Surprisingly, this exact word is used only once in the Bible, in Revelation It was a place where the armies of Israel often met foreign enemies in bloody battles.
But is this right?
Will it be a military battle in the Middle East? The answer is in the context surrounding Revelation While it is outside the scope of this article to discuss the fascinating details, here are the main points:. In conclusion, the Middle East remains a powder keg, our U. Will the literal, fleshly descendants of Abraham turn en masse to the Messiah, be restored as a nation, and saved as a people? Repeatedly, the nation of Israel was warned of the dire consequences of disobedience.
Both blessing and curse were set before them, depending on obedience or disobedience. Because of continued patterns of rebellion, God allowed them to be decimated and scattered into Babylonian captivity for seventy years. Many prophets were raised up by God to foretell their return from that captivity. Some modem commentators have made the mistake of applying those prophecies of restoration to some future gathering of Israel. They refuse to see that the restoration spoken of by Isaiah and Jeremiah has already taken place.
There is neither time nor space to record here a fraction of the graphic threats of rejection made to Israel. But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments Finally, as related through the prophet Daniel, God allotted a probationary period of years for the Jewish people to see what they would do about the Messiah Daniel In that same year the gospel began to go to the Gentiles, Stephen was stoned, and Paul went forth to begin his unique ministry to the non-Jews. The occasion marked the formal and final separation of Israel from its covenant relationship.
Jesus had explained to the Jewish leaders in the clearest possible language that their rejection of Him would seal their own rejection as the children of the kingdom. There is no mystery as to why the hundreds of specific Old Testament promises were never fulfilled to Israel. They utterly failed to meet the conditions of obedience.
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Otherwise, they would have inherited the earth, been delivered from all their enemies, and made Jerusalem the worship center for all nations. Or must we still put our faith in some future turnaround that will restore national Israel to the divine favor? All those points will be completely clarified the moment we establish one basic rule of biblical interpretation.
Without this principle in mind no one can properly understand the books of Daniel and Revelation, nor can we identify the true Israel of today. Here is the rule: There is a primary, local, literal application of prophecy which points to a future, worldwide, spiritual application. By applying this principle to the Old Testament Scriptures there is absolutely no confusion as to the place of Israel in prophecy and history.
All the glorious promises were primarily aimed toward immediate blessings that God wanted to bestow on the nation. But in a secondary sense they pointed forward to a larger spiritual fulfillment on a worldwide level. Even though the local fulfillment failed when Israel failed to be faithful, the promises were never nullified or withdrawn. Who is that nation and people? The New Testament is saturated with the most explicit statements as to who the new Israel is.
Here is the new nation which replaces the nation of Israel. The Gentiles who will receive the true Messiah now enter into the New Covenant, ratified by the blood of the cross, and become the true spiritual Israel of God. Indeed, the Bible says that they are counted as the actual seed of Abraham. Paul makes it even clearer in Romans Notice that true Israel will be characterized by circumcision of the heart and not of the flesh. What is heart circumcision? Just as the Old Covenant was represented by the cutting off of the physical flesh, so the New Covenant would be exemplified by the cutting off of the fleshly nature of sin.
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In other words, all who accept Christ and are born again are the truly circumcised and the only true Jews. And according to Paul they also will inherit the promises made to Abraham. After the crucifixion of Christ, there is not one indication that the literal Jews were accorded any recognition as the children of God. It is true that the door was left open through the preaching of the apostles until A. But from that time on no recognition is given to Israel as a nation. The Old Testament imagery and terminology is still used, especially in the book of Revelation, but Israel is now the church.
So we can see that there was no failure of the promises at all. They simply were transferred to the true spiritual Israel, which is the church, made up of all true believers in Christ. And the things that will happen to the church spiritually were foreshadowed by what happened to ancient Israel in a literal sense. Several chapters are devoted to the precise measurements and physical appointments of that temple. Yet the temple has never been built.
Other prophets referred to the program of building or restoring such a temple. Many modern interpreters apply this promise to some future construction of a physical temple. But the Bible principle is that there is a secondary, worldwide fulfillment which is not physical, but spiritual. The New Testament confirms this by explaining how the prophecy of Amos has been fulfilled. Please notice how the Old Testament temple prophecies apply to the living church! The physical temple has now become the spiritual temple of the church, made up of Gentiles and all true believers.
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No one should now be looking for any restored, literal temple to be built. Some have felt confused because much of the Old Testament terminology is carried over into the New Testament description of the church—words like kingdom, nation, Israel, temple, Jerusalem, Zion, tribes of Israel, etc. This is one reason the futurists and dispensationalists believe the book of Revelation pertains to the literal Jew in modem Israel. But there is no cause for such confusion. The explanation had been so clearly made in so many places that the New Testament writer assumed all were aware that the church now replaced national Israel.
The vast confusion on prophecy today stems from ignorance of this principle.
Israel and Armageddon: Facts vs. Fiction
Let us repeat once more that the kingdom prophecies given by Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc. With this background we are prepared to study the subject of Armageddon. That world-ending conflict is tied closely to the things we have just stated about spiritual Israel and a secondary application of prophecy. A most amazing parallel exists between what happened to ancient Israel and the events concerning spiritual Israel in the book of Revelation. Ancient Israel Spiritual Israel Jer. They were forced to worship an image and were rescued by someone from the east who dried up the river Euphrates to set them free.
Within this broad outline there are scores of other astonishing similarities between the two Israels—one literal and the other spiritual. In the book of Revelation they are delivered from spiritual Babylon in connection with the battle of Armageddon.