Summary: This message seeks to expose and reveal the mysteries of apocalyptic images right before the Second Coming of Christ. it challenges believers to be faithful, focused and unflappable in light of the Return of Christ.

Best life practices, most solid advice, came from my time as a boy Scout … Scout motto is be prepared, and its always worthwhile to observe some timeless codes of conduct, especially practices like: thrifty, clean, brave and reverent, they are go-to principles when the future looks uncertain. I have made some wrong predictions,

in spite of the timeless codes of scout practices, I've missed many opportunities. I have bought when I should have sold, sat when I should have moved, quit when I should have pressed forward, and lived in fear when I should have trusted God. I am thankful that Jesus gives peace for the past in spite of the pain from our regrets and resentments. I am grateful that Jesus gives power for the present when we feel pressured to comply with the standards of the world. I am also indebted because Jesus gives hope in spite of those who speak and predict a pessimism for the future. There has always been a boom in doom and gloom. I read about some doomsday predictions.

• In 1939 the US Department of the Interior said that American oil supplies would last only another 13 years. 1949 Secretary of the Interior, the end of US oil was in sight.

• Life Magazine, Jan 1970. “By 1985, air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half. eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” “scientists have solid experimental and historical evidence to support each of the predictions.”

• Ted Turner Dec. 2, 1998 blamed Christianity for overpopulation and environmental degradation, and argued that the people who disagree with him are “dummies.”

• In 1968, Paul R. Ehrlich wrote The Population Bomb the battle to feed humanity had been lost, major food shortage. “In the 1970s, hundreds of millions starve to death,”

• I love the last one, prediction in 1890, panic, within 30 years horse manure in the streets of the city would be piled 3 stories deep in NYC. Good thing that automobile was invented!

There’s a boom in doom and gloom, What is the future hold? I was Reading the paper and noted some of the news stories and headlines, Here are some of what I read

* stories of economic stress, volatile market climate.

* political accusations, upheaval in gov’t.

* panic, we are a house on fire, claims an Environmental activist, catastrophic disasters coming to planet earth.

* I read about wars, rumors of wars, new threats in the mid east, Rather gloomy pessimistic forecast!

What will really happen? What does the Word of God say about the future? In brief, I have some Good news some bad news and some great news, From our scripture in Revelation here's what we Know:

The good news is that Jesus is on the throne, He is sovereign over all things, his ways, thoughts and time schedule is superior to any of ours.

The bad news is that conditions on planet earth will get worse before they get better, there will be a 7 year period of trib, God releases judgment, and Satan’s wrath and rage against Christians will be barbaric, However God will seal His people with protection to not just survive but to overcome.

The greatest news happens in the end -- Jesus returns, as Lord and King. He establishes a new heaven and new earth. i.e. "we win." the details of these events ... they are found in Revelation, its apocalyptic literature, it means unveiling, so that what’s unknown, is revealed and may be seen.

Today Revelation 16: refers or peeks back at Revelation 9 and the intriguing description of armies who are assembled, John said he heard, they counted in number 200 million troops total, in Rev. 9, John does his best to describe their appearance and the sound of these armies, uses language which at that age sounded like science fiction, they appeared like a cloud of locusts, had power like scorpions to sting, caused agony, tortured not animals, but only people, and wore something like crowns of gold, faces resembled human, but had long hair lke women, teeth like lions, breastplates of iron, the wings sounded like thundering chariots and horses rushing into battle,

I believe what John is describing may have sounded like bizarre science fiction for his generation, but today it makes sense its believable based on what we know and see with our weapon technology, military equipment. this advanced technology was not around in John's age but we almost take for granted the sights and sounds smells of battle equipment. We hear John straining to describe what he sees and hears, but we know what it looks like and how it sounds and where it is used today. A 200 million man army must have made John scratch his head in bewilderment, it would have sounded impossible in that gen. because the whole world pop was less than 1 million, but today 8 billion humans on planet earth 200 million troops in multinational army is a small fraction.

The Big question, its baffled Bible scholars for centuries -- Who is this army at Armageddon? John writes in Revelation 16 about kings who lead armies and gather at a place called "Har" "Megiddo", Where is this place? There is an Actual site found in many history books called Megiddo, its a historic site, and identified as the crossroads dividing east, west, north and south, an actual site where great battles have been fought:

I have been there, I stood looking over the plains of Jezreel, at this location called Megiddo, its at the base of Mount Carmel, and the valley serves as the crossroad of the world, I believe it is the site being described as the place of the final battle in Joel 3:9-14:

2nd in Daniel 12:1-4, we read, at the end times, Satan will try to exterminate the people of God! When we consider Rev. 16:12-16 in the light of Joel 3 and Daniel 12: Jesus will reveal a secret as an answer to the burning question: Who are these armies at Armageddon? he helps us Uncover in Rev. 16, five facts about this great army:

1st, is about what will happen, Rev. 16:12, impediments in the past which have made impossible armies advancing to Megiddo, there's a large River, the Euphrates river. Historically impossible to cross with army, we need to get that dried up. Vs. 12, Angels pour out a bowl and river dries up. All nations who will be involved in this battle won't be impeded by that river;

2nd has to do with How, how Satan will motivate kings or deceive nations to entice them to send troops to a battle; Some details are given Rev 16:13-14 "Then I saw three evil spirits that looked like frogs; they came out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet." What John is seeing are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, they are out of the counterfeit trinity, and they have such powerful influence they command loyalty from world leaders so they will obey what they are told to do.

3rd Who, these spirits go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty. These evil spirits which come from the mouths of the counterfeit trinity; travel to the kings of the earth, convince them somehow that they need to send their troops to be assembled as a great Army. i.e. 200 million man army, Rev. 9, and the leaders, kings of nations comply with their orders.

4th Where, this great army will gather at a place most people know about, its identified in verse 16, in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” Armageddon is a compound word. “Ar” means mountain, “mageddon” rendered Megiddo. Megiddo was Biblical city that was built on a large hill in the northern part of Israel, It overlooks a beautiful sprawling valley that’s been the site of numerous bloody battles during the days of Joshua, and the Judges and the Kings of Israel. Its in the shadow of Mount Carmel, where Elijah had the historic showdown between the prophets of God and the prophets of Baal. I Kings 18-19 describe that epic mountain top battle. In fact, the last known battle to have taken place there was during WWI when the Allies fought the Turks in 1918. Armageddon!

5th fact we discover is what is ahead, what we need to do, how we need to prepare for such a time as this, In Rev. 16:15 its a word from Christ to us, His church. “Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!” Jesus lets us know what is ahead. And we need to remain faithful and true so that we will be overcomers, God is still calling the shots, He is the ultimate director of all that will happen.

Next Sunday, How do we prepare? Razor sharp focus so we don’t yield to Satan’s deceptions and strength to persevere during the everyday battles, one of the best ways God teaches us these lessons is through the struggles and troubles we battle daily. That the next time trouble comes into our lives, instead of complaining or even blaming God, we can ask Him to show us the spiritual lesson he may want revealed in the trial. It’s our familiarity with the word of God and his ways that will protect us from Satan’s deceptions.

Armageddon will catch many people off guard, But if we are making the right preparation each day, we’ll pass. I encourage challenge you to begin today.