MOUNT JULIET, TENN. (Christian Examiner) -- Days before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a controversial speech to the United States Congress warning of the danger of Iran building nuclear weapons, Bible prophecy teachers told an audience at Victory Baptist Church that current events involving Israel, ISIS, Iran, and the United States may be part of end-time events prophesied in the Bible.
"I can only say that it looks like Isaiah's prophecy about Babylon or Iraq is starting to be fulfilled," said Daymond Duck, a retired pastor and founder and president of Prophecy Plus Ministries.
Conference speakers Duck and Gary Fisher asserted Christians are living in unprecedented, perilous times. Duck and Fisher, an evangelist and founder and president of Lion of Judah Ministry, both teach from a pre-millennial, pre-tribulation perspective -- a view which holds that the events in the biblical book of Revelation are literal, future events and that Christians will be "raptured" or removed from the earth before the events of chapters 5-19 occur.
While not commiting to any specific date for Christ's return, Duck said the current world response to ISIS' terroristic threats may put into place the multi-national force needed to fulfill an Isaiah 13 prophecy about the destruction of rebuilt Babylon in modern-day Iraq.
"[Isaiah 13] is about a multi-nation attack in Iraq that will take place when the Tribulation period is close, but the prophecy continues on down to a second battle in Iraq at the end of the Tribulation period," he said.
At the end of the Tribulation period, the Kurds, who are the ancient Medes and Persians -- will attack Iraq and destroy the rebuilt city of Babylon, Duck further explained.
A great multinational army gathered in the mountains of Iraq could be the beginning of this prophecy he said, noting that the United States is building a base in the mountains of Iraq with troops from several nations.
Duck also pointed out that recent atrocities by ISIS have been met with a multi-national response by the United States, Syria, Hezbollah, the Kurds, Jordan, and Egypt.
"Are we looking at a multi-nation attack?" he asked. "I don't know."
But Duck said the Isaiah 13 prophecy also includes Kurdish action.
"This prophecy requires the Kurds to survive so they can destroy Iraq and the rebuilt city of Babylon during the Tribulation period. Islamic State has attacked the Kurds and the Medes in many places, but the Kurds and Medes have pretty much fought the Islamic State to a standstill. The Kurds have even recaptured more than 100 towns and villages that the Islamic State took from them. No other nation has been able to do that," Duck said.
Duck commented on the relevance of Netanyahu's March 3 speech to members of the U.S. Congress in terms of the biblical Battle of Gog and Magog prophesied in Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39.
"Russia, Iran, and others will attack Israel in the latter days & latter years," he said. "Iran said if she can build nuclear weapons, she will use them on Israel. Iran has said they will strike Israel in the right time and the right place."
He reminded listeners that in September 2014 Netanyahu addressed the United Nations declaring that a nuclear-armed Iran presented a greater threat to Israel and the world than ISIS. Elements necessary for an Iranian attack on Israel already are in place, Duck noted:
- the completion of a Russian-built nuclear reactor in Iran;
- hidden facilities for uranium enrichment near Tehran (something he said he heard on FOX news);
- battle plans to attack Israel drawn up by Hezbollah and Syria at the request of Russia;
- billions of dollars of Israel's national budget devoted to preparation for war with Iran; and
- efforts by Iran to create a new battle front with thousands of fighters along Israel's border with Syria.
"Prime Minister Netanyahu's speech to Congress is a very, very important speech. This is what all this is about," Duck declared. He noted that some reports have indicated Iran will not agree to give up nuclear capabilities by the March 31 deadline leaving only two alternatives: possession of nuclear weapons by Iran or the destruction of Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Both options could trigger a major war, and the world would become much more dangerous if that happens," he said.
SIGNS OF GOG & MAGOG
Duck was quick to point out that although many things appear to be coming together to fulfill biblical prophecy, no one knows the exact time frame in which these events will occur.
"If it should turn out to be the Battle of Gog and Magog, it means that we are in the latter days and the latter years. The experts may not be right, but many so-called experts think war will increase the call for a peace treaty, a world government to solve the world's problems, and more.
I think the only thing that we can say for sure is that every jot and tittle of the Word of God is going to be fulfilled, and that's what we go by, not by what is in the news. But it could be shaping up," he said.
THE GATHERING OF JEWS IN ISRAEL
Fisher, who regularly leads trips to Israel and has plans for another in November 2015, informed the crowd about key end-time events involving God's interaction with Israel.
"The most prolific prophecy in all of the Bible is the one that says Jesus will gather the Jewish people back to the land of Israel, and once He assembles them there, He will send them their Messiah," Fisher said.
When Israel became a nation in 1948, only 500,000 Jewish people lived in the land. Today there are almost 7 million there. And the tourism industry defies logic – even in times of conflict – with over 3.5 million visitors in 2014, reflecting a 30 percent increase from China.
"What is happening here?" Fisher asked. "An acceleration of end-time events, and the main capstone to those accelerations is what's happening in Israel. No man knows the day or the hour, but we can know the season."
BLESSINGS OF ISRAEL
"God says He is going to bless the nation of Israel in the end times," Fisher said, referencing Ezekiel 36.
Students of Bible prophecy have been puzzled for years about Israel's seeming vulnerability to the oil-rich Arab nations surrounding it, he said.
But that changed in 2009 with the discovery of more than 90 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Israel turning the once energy-dependent nation into an energy-exporting nation that now sells natural gas to those neighboring Arab countries.
The reinstatement of the Old Testament sacrificial system reported in Daniel 9:27 was another topic Fisher explored.
Bible prophecy experts have long held that the sacrificial system could not re-start until the Dome of the Rock is removed from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and the Jewish temple is rebuilt in its place.
Not so according to Fisher.
In his work with Israeli Temple Institute officials, he learned they are already prepared to re-start the system having trained hundreds of Levitical priests for this purpose.
The Institute's ultimate goal is to rebuild the temple. however, they are ready to proceed with the sacrificial system based on the fact that it was instituted in the tabernacle in the wilderness long before the temple was built.
A re-built tabernacle rather than a rebuilt temple is what is needed to reinstate the system. They are simply waiting on permission to begin from Jordanian Muslims who control the region. "We're part of something bigger than we know," Fisher told the audience.
PROPHECY PROMOTES LIVING BY FAITH
Victory Baptist Church senior pastor Chuck Groover told Christian Examiner that devoting a day to the subject of prophecy as it relates to current events is important to the church's overall goal of encouraging faith living.
"I believe the particular message that these men present enhances and encourages faith living, and that's a focus we have as we encourage these men to come. These events are unfolding. This is an hour that is strategic, and we need to be more involved in bringing people to Christ," he said.
The presentations by Duck and Fisher also included extensive discussion of biblical passages on prophecy and other current events such as the increasing influence of Islam in the United States and persecution of Christians who stand in support of a biblical definition of marriage.
Two of the prophecy conference presentations can be viewed in their entirety on the church's You Tube channel. The other presentations are available in audio format from the church.