Since the age of nine and a half I have heard scripture messages preached and taught within the context of the Church each one consistently containing the message 'Christians should be fearful of the wickedness of the times,' certainly the anti-christ and false prophet should be feared because of their super human powers. Scripturally we can conclude the end times will be a time where evil works and malevolent people seem to prevail where the intensity and proliferation of evil is substantive enough to cause forebode or concern. The end-times just before the 'second coming of Jesus Christ' will be gravely evil but there is no need to fear. When we take a closer look at the end-time senerio we should realize the enemy, satan by nature has never been disciplined enough, powerful enough to hold things together for a sustained victory.
The anti-christ and false prophet will come on the scene and be intimidating but we can be assured they will trip up, make mistakes thus losing the campaign at the end. One serious mistake that the anti-Christ will make is he will openly seek to be worshiped as God. This will begin his decline in the eyes of humanity especially with Jews and committed Christians. The public will see him for what he really is! Not everyone will be mislead, Orthodox Jews and Christian nations will revolt against the anti-christ. Ultimately God intervenes who is in control and He never makes a mistake but satan always does. Consider the following scripture that helps us understand satans limitations.
Many are the plans in a person's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails. Many plans occupy the mind of a man, but the LORD's purposes will prevail. You can make many plans, but the LORD's purpose will prevail.
Here are 7 things to consider implied in the above verse regarding humans especially those who are sold out to evil.
1. Mans thoughts or purposes are always shifting, changing or fluctuating while God's thoughts are solid and fixed.
2. Man becomes confused, frustrated due to not knowing what else to do at some point and frustrates others while Gods word is sure, firm and stands forever you can always count on it.
3. We may even presume to be smarter than God or try to out smart Him but it never works.
4. The anti-christ and false prophet are humans with human limitations coupled with satans lack of ability to be disciplined. These individuals will fail, it is inevitable given the human and satanic flaws.
5. Then there is God Himself who is all- powerful, matchless, in a class He alone occupies, satan was created is 'no contest.'
6. Humans not committed to God experience a flood of unrestrained thoughts and if mixed with anger can be malevolent such as a person who thinks "there are so many things I can think of to hurt you!" There are also many good ideas that are not GOD IDEAS.
7. Gods word or counsel - Hebrew "a-sat" was agreed upon by God's counsel-has been settled and will never be trumped by anyone or by any situation.
In history there are 7 significant events where satan failed and God triumphed that will help us understand satan's flaws as well as the inevitable failure when evil men live by the devices and schemes of their heart.
There is no need to fear the end-times nor the anti-christ. There will be persecution at its highest level including death, total inconvenience but both man and satan will show flaws and fail.
One of the many effects of the fall of man recorded in the Book of Genesis was man's vulnerability to become confused. In every millennia since the Garden of Eden there have been notable incidents associated with man's confusion and more salient man's confusion about who the true God of Creation is and the true God of the Bible.
The first notable incident was man's confusion regarding God's inherent unique status as set apart from all that is common and profane with full differentiation, distinct, one of a kind, peerless and without rival. Yet because God is inherently Love. He made Himself available to man to bring man back to Himself through Jesus Christ in this dispensation of grace. Adam and Eve entertained the notion that the serpent's ideas were equal to the law of God. Not so! Satan is an inferior created being and deceives man into thinking he is equal to God.
In each notable incident God had to make tough decisions and bring man to terms which we call judgment because man's behavior was extremely critical or chronic. The corresponding action for breaking God's only law given in the garden of Eden was to remove man from the Garden of Eden and close it off to man. When God acts it is always decisive, magnanimous and consistent with His status of being without rival. You cannot mistake an act of God.
The second notable incident was Noah's flood whereby mankind again was extreme in their rejection of God thus in this critical juncture when the earth's population at that time approximately 4365 BC rejected their creator except for Noah and his family thus God again acted magnanimously and decisively and started over populating the earth with Noah and his family. The flood was so decisive and executed with such precision and massive force that mankind did not stand a chance. This again was no contest. If man can only see the balance between the magnanimity between God as Love and God as being without rival?
The third notable incident was the Tower of Babel or in Hebrew Migdal Bavel built approximately 200 years after the flood. Postdiluvian after the flood man decided again to literally fight with God and thought himself equal with God. We learn from Babel that man can accomplish anything he sets his mind to even evil. Cognizant of this fact God had to come down to confuse mankind or indeed man would have become a society that was powerful claiming to be greater than the one true Creator.
This was the main reason antediluvian before the deluge flood of Noah Adam and Eve had to be locked out of the Garden of Eden because they obtained detrimental knowledge in a fallen depraved state which made them potentially dangerous. The Jewish Talmud in the tractate Sanhedrin in the Gemara section has numerous reasons by great Rabbis why men attempted to build the tower of Babel but it seems man with his knowledge of the flood which occurred approximately 1635 years after creation wanted to drain water from the heavens, to avoid another catastrophic flood and circumvent lightening to avoid future lightening that could destroy the earth by fire as God promised Noah. Man thought a catastrophic flood would reoccur every 1635 years. Today we see time after time individuals and groups who set their minds to accomplish evil and if not stopped destroy the fabric of society in one way or another.
The fourth notable incident was bringing man to terms when the ancient plain cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire and brimstone only after Yahweh could not find a minyan or a quorum of 10 righteous Jewish men in any of the plain cities. By the way brimstone is the layman's term for pure sulfur balls 96-98% sulfur with traces of magnesium. These sulfur balls are still available in the excavations of the 5 plain cities Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Tzevoiim, and Zoar that comprise the Dead Sea area, recorded in Genesis 14:2, 8. This judgment was no contest, man did not stand a chance as the pure sulfur balls burned through virtually all matter it came in contact with. Scholars agree using cause and effect and the description of Genesis 19:23-27 this event was a massive upheaval and extremely forceful whereby the earth ripped apart and the ground in the middle sank deeply into the earth causing the Dead Sea region to be the lowest point below sea level on any continent at 1400 feet below the Mediterranean Sea and another 1050 feet at the deepest portion of the Dead Sea. In addition to sulfur balls from heaven Yahweh overthrew the cities. Yahweh uprooted everything. If man would learn to love God and equally understand His magnanimity?
The Fifth notable incident was God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt when God spoke through His prophet Moses to Pharaoh, "let my people go!" This corresponding action to Pharaoh's defiance was again no contest because Pharaoh and Egypt were confused regarding who the true God is. Egypt did not stand a human chance against the death angel and finally the tons of water from the Gulf of Aqaba commonly called the Red Sea used by God to drown the Egyptians. As any today the ancient Egyptians were polytheistic and worshiped elements of nature along with inanimate objects. After the exodus there was no more confusion as to who the real God of scripture is. His name is holy comprised of four Hebrew consonants also known as the tetragrammaton which means a four letter word, from which we transliterated the names Yahweh and Jehovah. It is our one true God who redeemed us through Jesus Christ His Son.
The Exodus route started in Ramases-Goshen across the canals of the Nile river to organize as a unit at Succoth that was still under Egyptian rule Exodus 12: 37,41 then continuing slightly south east across the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula or "the wilderness of the red sea" Exodus 13:18 to Etham, traveling night and day to make a rapid escape, then turned due south to mountain ranges of the Red Sea, then left through the narrow winding canyons through a ridge of mountains "that terminated by the sea" according to Exodus 14:2 and the Antiquities of the Jews, Book 2,15-3 or that entered out at a beach on the red sea called Nuweiba al Muzayinnah meaning "waters of Moses opening." If we observe the mountain ranges of the Red Sea from a modern day satellite image we obtain an accurate picture of the labyrinth through-route a type of maze with twists and turns that denoted a complex and confusing series of winding canyons that would confuse anyone. On their own the Israelites would have gotten lost in route and disoriented but the angel of the Lord was inside the labyrinth confidently guiding them through.
During the day Israel was shaded and given moisture by the pillow of cloud the angel leading them with precise precision - a pillow of light and warmth at night. God knew the precise route and navigated Israel through the maze of the Sinai Peninsula. According to Exodus 14:11 the Israelites were trapped on a beach head with a narrow opening Exodus 14:1 "camp before Pi Hiroth" meaning mouth of hole or canyon behind them and the Egyptian fort of Migdol Exodus 14:2 to the north of the beach.
The cloud and angel moved behind the Israelites Exodus 14:19,20 to close off the narrow opening to the beach so that the Egyptians could not have access to the beach until the Israelites could cross over to Saudi Arabia or Midian before journeying on to Jabel el Lawz the actual Mount Sinai Exodus 14:3. As you can see I placed Mount Sinai in Midian, Saudi Arabia instead of the southern Sinai Peninsula following the sequence in Exodus closely. There wasn't archeological debris left behind nor a smooth logical argument to support the claim of Mount Sinai being in the southern Sinai Peninsula. With the Eilat deep to the northern portion of the Red Sea and the Aragonese deep to the southern portion of the Red Sea, if God opened the Red Sea at any of these points Israel would have to climb down then back up one mile of jagged steep rock each way.
This alternative would have been dangerous, vigorous for young and old and impossible logistically to manouevre cattle and belongings. God knew the route and the angel of the Lord lead them with precision through a gradual descent to 2600 feet and then a gradual ascent back up at a precise spot on the beach head Nuweiba al Muzayinnah. Using the reports of Numbers 22:1 as well as Deuteronomy 1:1 eventually after wondering in the desert of present day Saudi Arabia the Hebrews journeyed northward to the current day Dead Sea area in now what is current day Jordon continuing north pass the northern portion of the Dead Sea then crossing the Jordon River east to west from the country of Jordan into Israel. The journey then continued on to Gilgal then to Jericho all part of the Promised Land of Israel.
Why didn't Israel just cross the Sinai Peninsula then go north into Israel through Eilat and upwards? Maybe they weren't ready to occupy Israel, maybe they were not thinking right and had too much of pagan Egypt in them. Maybe they did not have God's law as yet and had to obtain God's law as their purpose for being a special people. The raizon d' etre for Israel is to obtain God's law, disseminate God's law to all people groups and finally to bring forth Messiah. Israel was created to be a leadership nation for morality and to deliver witty scientific inventions. According to Isaiah 49:6 Israel was designed to be a light to all other nations of the world, L'Or Goyim.
The Sixth notable incident was Elijah and the prophets of Baal recorded in 1 Kings 18:36-39 (NIV)
36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, The Lord he is God! The Lord he is God!
This incident wasn't a showdown, it was actually no contest! The inferior deities represented by the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of asherah were no match for Elijah's God the true God of Israel and after all was said and done all were then convinced Jehovah was indeed the one true God. Again God delivered convincing evidence that was indisputable. Both groups of prophets were advisers to queen Jezebel all who believed Ba'al was the master deity and Aserah was the wife or female consort to Ba'al. Tree trunks were carved as symbols to asherah thus the prophets of asherah were known as the prophets of the groves. Ba'al and Asherah were perceived to have sons and the entire concept was denounced by the prophets Elijah, Hosea, Jeremiah and the Israelite Judge Gideon. Jeremiah referred to Asherah as 'the queen of heaven' because Ba'al was seen as 'the lord of heaven.' See 1 Kings 18:19, Jeremiah 7:18-19, Hosea 4:13, Judges 6:25-32. Because worship to both the male deity Ba'al and the female deity were performed on the highest elevations of the land as well as under trees in groves, see Jeremiah 17:2, Elijah's confrontation took place on the highest point on Mount Carmel and Gideon was ordered to cut down carved tree trunks with the branches removed dedicated to Asherah and many times referred to as asherahs.
The Seventh notable incident was the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. This was the final showdown, again no contest between God the Son and the created cherub called satan. When Jesus defeated satan after a genuine death and took from satan the authority satan stole from Adam in the Garden of Eden so that the Old Testament Saints as well as you and I could go free this was also no contest but a painful process for Jesus Christ the Son of Man who suffered and died for us. The resurrection was the ultimate piece of evidence delivered to us decisively so that there will be no doubt as to who the true God is for all generations to come. This corresponding action to satan's cruel crucifixion of Christ was done openly and decisively with recorded eye-witnesses to the account so there would be no doubt as to who the real true God is. This year let us expect God to remind us convincingly and to clear up all confusion as to who the one true God is with full apologetic evidence!