The violence now plaguing the Middle East could be a signal that Armageddon is not far off, according to the Rev. Dr. Bryan Sharp.
The ultimate earthly battle between good and evil, as described in the Book of Revelation, will involve 10 nations from the East attacking Israel, said Dr. Sharp, an evangelist who will speak tomorrow night at Northwest Baptist Church.
Certain events prophesied in chapters 16 and 17 of Revelation need to occur in sequence before Armageddon can take place, Dr. Sharp said from his office in Missouri.
One prophecy involves Israel being attacked by five nations from the East, which he said took place in the 1967 War.
Phase Two involves Israel being attacked by seven eastern nations, which he said is now occurring with Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine participating in attacks against Israel.
At the Battle of Armageddon, the previously listed seven nations will be joined by Pakistan, India, and China in waging war on Israel, he said.
“You can see that the dominos are all in place,” Dr. Sharp said.
He traces the root of the Middle East conflict to the Book of Genesis, when the sons of Noah - Shem, Ham, and Japheth - went in separate directions after the floodwaters receded and the Ark landed on Mount Ararat.
God said the promised land would belong to Abraham's bloodline, Dr. Sharp said. Abraham was a descendant of Shem and bore a son, Isaac, with his wife, Sarah. He bore another son, Ishmael, with Sarah's Egyptian maidservant, Hagar.
Isaac had twin sons, Esau and Jacob, and Esau sold his birthright to Jacob.
“The inhabitants of the land today who are attacking Israel and chanting `Death to the U.S.' and `Death to Israel' are not descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob. They are descendants of Abraham through Ishmael and through Esau,” Dr. Sharp said.
Another prophecy that must be fulfilled before Armageddon is the division of Jerusalem into three parts, he said, as mentioned in Rev. 16:19. Dr. Sharp predicted that it will occur after Jews, Muslims, and Catholics sign a peace treaty.
He believes that the Catholic Church will bring Apostle Peter's bones from Babylon, in present-day Iraq, to Jerusalem and establish a shrine that will become a major tourist attraction. Muslims will acquire land in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which will enable them to grow in population relative to the Israelis. Jews will build a temple on the site of the Dome of the Rock mosque.
“Whoever gets into the Dome of the Rock and offers sacrifices, that is what Daniel says is `the abomination of desolation,'” he said.
When the armies amass for war on the plains of Megeddo, the Lord will come down from heaven on a white horse and defeat the forces of evil, as it states in Rev. 19:15: “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and He shall rule them with a rod of iron.”
This end-of-the-world scenario should not scare Christians, Dr. Sharp said.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,” he said. “One can't even begin to understand without accepting that verse. And then the great comfort is trusting Christ as our Savior.''
Dr. Bryan Sharp will speak on the topic of “The Pending War Against Israel and the United States” at 7 p.m. tomorrow at Northwest Baptist Church, 3906 West Alexis Rd. He will also speak at a service honoring military veterans, law-enforcement personnel, and firefighters at 10 a.m. at the church.