Summary: Revelation is about a war to end all wars. But what is this about Armageddon and what does it mean to us?
OPEN: Years ago I received a flyer for a Revival to be held in Richmond, Indiana.
The “Revivalist” was going to tell us about 2nd coming of Christ. His topics would include the “rapture”, the rebuilding of the Temple, and the battle to end all battles – Armageddon.
Part of his flyer bragged that he was working to bring about the 2nd coming of Christ. He said he had personally gone to Jerusalem and had tried to lay stones in the Temple area that he declared would be the beginning of the rebuilding of the new Temple. And he boasted that this action had caused a riot and several people had been hurt.
Now there were a couple of problems with that.
First was a theological problem.
According the theology this man embraced – before Christ could come again there needed to be a Temple built in Jerusalem where various animal sacrifices would be made to please God.
God don’t need no temple.
YOU are God’s temple now. 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”
And God don’t need no animal sacrifices. You know why?
Because Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice. Hebrews 9:12 tells Christ “did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.” There’s no longer any need for any other sacrifice. Jesus offered the best and there’s nothing to be added.
That’s the theological problem with this man’s claims… but there was also a psychological problem.
As I read the flyer for that Revival it occurred to me:
“This guy’s off his nut!
More than that – he’s dangerous.”
He believed that by creating that kind of conflict in Jerusalem he could usher in a war that would culminate in Armageddon and that this would bring about the return of Christ to earth. And he was so committed to his delusional theology that he bragged about creating a riot! He was excited about hurting people!
He was delusional.
But where did he get his delusional ideas?
Well, he probably got his ideas the same place I got mine when I was younger and bought into this kind of thinking.
ILLUS: Back when I was younger, there was a really popular book written by Hal Lindsey.
Does anyone remember what it was called?
That’s right: “The Late Great Planet Earth” (1970).
It was an exciting and fairly well-written book – that is, if you didn’t know much about Scripture.
The story was well crafted and his reasoning seemed so convincing.
And do you know what Lindsay taught?
He taught that Jesus would return by 1988 and that after a seven year period of tribulation, Jesus would visibly appear in 1995 and fight the final Battle of Armageddon and thus would begin His millennial reign on earth. (1000 yrs)
Well, just in case you didn’t get the paper that morning… that didn’t happen.