Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” 2 Chron 20:20
The name, Armageddon, is famous far beyond the Bible but, sadly, most of what we know about it comes from Hollywood not the prophets! I wonder if any of you reading could even find Armageddon on a map. In fact the name is found only one time in the Bible, in the book of Revelation.
Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. (Rev. 16:16)
That’s it! There is no “battle of Armageddon”! Armageddon is a large plain to the north of Jerusalem where the anti-christian armies will gather on the great and terrible day of the Lord. From there they will assemble to march on to Jerusalem, to wipe it off the face of the earth.
From the prophets we learn that the armies of Antichrist and the 10-nation federation will get no further that the valley of Jehoshaphat outside the walls of Jerusalem. As the armies ascend up the valley the Lord Jesus Himself will directly descend from heaven and will intervene and set foot once again on the Mount of Olives, splitting the Mount in half and rescuing the people of God.
“I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel.” (Joel 3:2)
“In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.” (Zech 14:4)
2. Gabriel never spoke to Daniel of airplanes or the invention of the computer.
“But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase.” (Dan 12:4)
Ask any 10 Christians on the street and 9 ½ of them will tell you that “going back and forth” means increased travel and knowledge increasing means Einstein’s theory and the Internet!!
Yet the context of Dan 10-12 is one long discourse by Gabriel to Daniel of events that will build up to “the end of time”. The book of Daniel was to be “sealed up” until the Last Days and then men and women of insight would run to and fro throughout the book and their knowledge of its message would increase.
Thankfully we have scores of scholars from another age who see this point clearly:
“Many shall run to and fro,” that is, scrutinize it, running through every page. It is thereby that “the knowledge (namely, of God’s purposes as revealed in prophecy) shall be increased.”
“Shall run to and fro” – Shall diligently search these prophecies; and they shall know the signs of the times, and wait upon God in the way of his judgments.
“Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” — that is, towards the end of the time appointed, many persons will be stirred up to inquire into these things delivered in this book, and will spare no pains or cost to get knowledge of them.
3. Babylon is not Rome, London or NYC. It’s Babylon on the Euphrates River in the Middle East.
Here is another dreadful place we have left the wisdom of the prophets and taken the advice from human wisdom.
The bible can be said to be a “tale of two cities” — Jerusalem, the city of God; and Babylon, the city of Satan. In the NASB Bible, Jerusalem 811 occurs times; Babylon 294 times and Rome only 9 times (and never in Revelation).
There is no reason or rationale to suddenly call Babylon “Rome” in the book of Revelation. The only supposed basis is Rev. 17 which many take as describing Rome and the papal system – the proof being that Rome historically was called a “city of seven mountains”.
“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits… The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”” (Rev 17:9,18)
From the prophets we learn that a kingdom is a mountain.
O LORD, by Your favor You have made my mountain to stand strong; You hid Your face, I was dismayed. (Ps 30:7)
But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Dan 2:35)
The woman, the great harlot, sits on “many waters”; she sits on a “scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns”; and she also sits on seven mountains. These are not suddenly literal mountains which surround a city but a symbolic designation of seven mountains which equals complete sovereignty.
“Put your trust in His prophets and succeed” (2 Chron 20:20) Indeed, all the more so, as we discern the signs of the times and, with heads lifted up, “we eagerly await” His coming. (Phil. 3:20) Jesus wants us to be faithfully about His Father’s business and serving “spiritual food” to the community of Christ around us.
“Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time?” (Mtt 24:45)
[These] parables alert us to the strategies Satan has been using to hinder the work of God in this seed-sowing age between the time of Christ’s first coming and His coming again. (J. M. Boice)
Satan’s strategies to thwart the Kingdom’s growth.
1. SOWER — In the first parable, the parable of the sower, Satan’s assault was from without — the “birds of the air” snatch away the Seed. More subtly, Satan uses “affliction and persecution” that arise because of the Word so that they fall away and, finally, the deceitfulness of wealth that chokes the Word.
2. TARES — In the second parable Satan’s activities were to surround the believer —he sowed his tares “among” the wheat. During the night, “while men slept” (v. 25), Satan crept into the field sown by Jesus and, into the only field that was producing a good crop, he sows an imitation crop! These tares, Jesus tells us, are “stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness” (v.41).
[Satan] could gain nothing by sowing another’s field with darnel, for it is not a saleable produce, and no profit can be made out of its growth. It is as worthless to the man who sows it as to the owner of the field. This sowing, then, was the result of pure malice… It was an act prompted by hatred for the owner. (G. C. Morgan)
It is important in our reading to begin to grasp the “accumulative effect” of these series of prophetic parables! They describe a construction, line upon line, of a counterfeit kingdom in the midst of the kingdom of heaven!
3. MUSTARD SEED In the third parable, the tare’s mingling and impact among the wheat is seen as the kingdom “grows” from a small mustard seed (an annual plant) into a large tree (perennial) with the “birds of the air” nesting in its branches.
All varieties of the mustard family, which are herbs, have thin, pulpy—not woody—stems and branches. It is nothing like a tree. This mustard plant did something abnormal by growing beyond its design parameters; it became larger than what God designed as normal. This plant ceased to be God’s church when it perverted its doctrines and objectives, moving beyond God’s intended limits. It became a counterfeit of the true church. (Martin G. Collins)
Furthermore, the birds of the air (which in the first parable were a type of satan) lodging in the branches “most probably refers to elements of corruption which take refuge in the very shadow of Christianity.” (Morgan)
4. LEAVEN In the fourth parable Satan’s activities was more subtle than ever — the tares grew beside the wheat but NOW the leaven grew inside the measures of meal.
Little is know of the properties of leaven as most baking is done with yeast. Leaven is “sourdough” that is left over from the original dough by allowing it to ferment and to rotten and therefore is consistently a symbol of corruption and evil in the Bible.
From a lump of leaven, which symbolizes corrupted Christianity, Satan, in the form of a woman, hides within “a large amount of flour” corrupt doctrine (Mtt. 16:12) and hypocrisy (Luke 12:1)
Please notice that the leaven is “hid in the meal by the woman”. In the previous parables we had a man, symbolizing Jesus. Here the woman must be a type of a false system/ false teachers who influence the whole batch of dough, “until it was all leavened.”(13:33)
Many times I ask myself, “What difference does it makes if we have these parables right or wrong…?” It seems like the more I study the area of prophetic texts and prophetic parables, I find more and more conflicting interpretations. Yet I am rock sure that it does make a difference to “get it right” and “handle accurately the Word” of God.
Here is a voice from another century that agrees:
Sad and solemn it is to see how lightly we think of error; for it is but another way of saying how lightly we value the truth. Yet by the word of truth are we begotten, and by the truth are we sanctified. (F. W. Grant; 1834-1902)