Sermon title:  VETERANS DAY AND GOD’S HAND IN WORLD EVENTS

 Psalm 44:1-7; Jeremiah 18:7-11

Immanuel Baptist Church – Sunday, November 10, 2019

 

 

Tomorrow, November 11th, is Veterans Day.

It’s a special day to remember our veterans—

all those brave men and women

who have served in the armed forces.

 

They have defended our freedom

from enemies

who would have taken our freedom away.

 

We appreciate our veterans

and their service to this country.

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The holiday was originally named “Armistice Day”

after the armistice, or peace agreement,

that ended the First World War

on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month

of 1918.

 

They didn’t have instant communication back then

like we have today.

 

So, the armistice was agreed at 5 a.m. in the morning

and they allowed 6 hoursfor the cease-fire command

to reach all the men on the front lines.

 

The last living veteran of World War I

was Florence Green, who died in 2012 at the age of 110.

 

But many of us knew WWI veterans

when we were growing up,  and we appreciated

how they kept the world safe for democracy.

 

President Woodrow Wilson had explained to the country

that he brought the U.S. into that war

“to make the world safe for democracy.”

 

The enemy was a 3-part alliance of un-democratic dictatorships:

 

The German Empire of Kaiser Wilhelm,

the Austrian Empire of Kaiser Franz Joseph,

and the Islamic Empire of the Ottoman Turks

under Sultan Mehmed the 5th.

 

They had already been fighting in Europe for 3 years

against England and France,

when the United States entered the war in 1917.

 

In 1915 a German U-boat torpedoed and sank

the civilian British ocean liner Lusitania,

killing the 1200 people on board,

including 128 Americans.

 

People often cite that event

as the reason the United States entered the war.

 

But America didn’t actually go to war until 2 years later.

 

What finally triggered American entry into that war

was a January 1917 telegram from the German government

to the government of Mexico—

intercepted by British intelligence.

 

The Kaiser promised Mexico

to help them take Texas, New Mexico and Arizona

away from the U. S.,

if Mexico would join the war on the German side.

 

Soon there were 10,000 American troops

pouring into Europe each day—

a million American fighting men

before the war was over.

 

They made famous the George M. Cohan song ‘Over There’

with the famous lyrics

 

Over there, over there
Send the word,     send the word over there
That the Yanks are coming
The Yanks are coming


It went on to say repeatedly,        So prepare,   say a prayer

And it concluded with


And we won't come back    till it's over
Over there

American Veterans made all the difference in winning that war.

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Now, all that I’ve said so far   was from our human standpoint.

 

But, from a biblical standpoint,  the outcome of that First World War

rested in God’s hands.

And God pre-determined the outcome

because Bible prophecy was at stake.

 

We tend to think of the World War One

in terms of the battle in Europe.

 

But God’s hand was involved

in re-drawing the boundaries of nations

in the Middle East.

 

Deuteronomy 32:8 tells us of

God’s interest in national boundaries in the Middle East

from the very beginning—

because that’s where Israel and Jerusalem are found

 

Deuteronomy 32:8 begins by saying,

 

“When the Most High

gave the nations their inheritance

 

and it concludes with,

 

He set the boundaries of the peoples

according to the number of the sons of Israel.”

 

The Bible talks about Jerusalem

more than any other city on earth,

from early in the first Bible book, Genesis

to the end of the last Bible book, Revelation.

 

But Mohammed’s Islamic empire

took control of Jerusalem and the rest of the Promised Land

more than 1200 years before the First World War.

 

And, except for a short period during the Crusades,

the Islamic Empire—the Islamic State—

continued to control Jerusalem.

 

That had to change,

in order for Bible prophecies to be fulfilled

about a restored nation of Israel,

and a Jewish Jerusalem welcoming Christ’s return.

 

So, God used human armies—including our WW1 veterans—

to make that change.

 

In the Bible book of Job, Job 12:23 Says,

He makes nations great,

and destroys them;

He enlarges nations,

and sends them away.

And it’s not talking about just ancient history.

 

Modern events and familiar places are involved, too.

 

The events in Bible book of Daniel

all took place in the land we call Iraq today.

 

Many American veterans

saw action in Mosul, Iraq, in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

 

And the prophet Daniel’s prophecies

speak of future wars in and around that region.

 

Daniel 2:21 says that God

controls the course of world events;

he removes kings

and sets up other kings.

 

So, God used the First World War

to change the rulers in the Middle East.

 

The Islamic empire of the Ottoman Turks

would never have allowed

Israel to be resettled by millions of Jews

and Jerusalem to return to their hands.

The First World War took the Promised Land

out of the hands of the Islamic State

and turned it over to Great Britain,

through a League of Nations Mandate.

 

But Psalm 44 helps us appreciate

credit for winning the warreally belongs to God.

 

Psalm 44 is actually speaking about

how ancient Israel came into existence

through warfare thousands of years ago.

 

But the same thing applies to modern warfare.

 

Beginning with the first verse, Psalm 44 says,

 

1 O God, we have heard it with our own ears—

our ancestors have told us

of all you did in their day,

in days long ago:

 

2 You drove out the pagan nations by your power

and gave all the land to our ancestors.

You crushed their enemies

and set our ancestors free.

 

3 They did not conquer the land with their swords;

it was not their own strong arm

that gave them victory.

 

It was your right hand and strong arm

and the blinding light from your face

that helped them,

for you loved them.

 

4 You are my King and my God.

You command victories for Israel.

 

5 Only by your power

can we push back our enemies;

only in your name

can we trample our foes.

 

6 I do not trust in my bow;

I do not count on my sword to save me.

 

7 You are the one

who gives us victory over our enemies;

you disgrace those who hate us.

 

Yes, it wasn’t human military might,

but rather the power of Almighty God

that took the Promised Land—

away from powerful pagan empires,

and gave it to the people of Israel.

 

And Bible prophecy makes clear

that God’s power

would come into play in world affairs

over the centuries,

and especially as the time draws close

for Christ to return.

 

Besides what we see going on

in Washington and Moscow and Beijing

there are invisible forces at play

that really determine the course of human events.

 

Satan the Devil

has repeatedly tried

 to block the fulfillment of prophecy about Christ.

 

At our Wednesday night Bible study,

we recently read the book of Esther.

 

Its setting was at a time when the Persian Empire—

the land we today call Iran—

controlled most of the known world.

 

And it describes a satanic attempt around 500 B.C

to kill all the Jews

and eliminate the Jewish people, worldwide.

 

God’s miraculous intervention

stopped that from happening.

 

But modern Persia, modern Iran,

says today that it wants to wipe Israel off the map.

 

At the beginning of the New Testament

we read how king Herod

killed all the babies of Bethlehem,

in a satan-inspired attempt to kill the baby Jesus

before he could grow up into the Messiah.

 

But a miraculous warning from God

sent Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus

to safety in Egypt.

 

After the First World War took the Middle East

away from the Islamic State of the Ottoman Turks,

tens of thousands of Jews

began streaming into the Promised Land each year.

 

Even Adolf Hitler,

who wanted to get all the Jews out of Europe,

took part in sending Jews to the Promised Land.

 

In 1933 Hitler signed the Haavara Agreement

with Zionist organizations.

 

In exchange for around $160-million in today’s money,

between 1933 and 1939 a series of ocean liners

flying the Nazi swastika flag

transported around 60,000 Jews to British Palestine.

 

But Islamic leaders kept pressuring Hitler and the British

to stop that immigration.

 

After the First World war,

the French and British had put an end to the Islamic State.

 

But a direct descendent of the Prophet Mohammed

named Mohammed Amin al-Husseini

set up the World Islamic Conference

and served as its president.

 

He demanded that Hitler kill the European Jews,

instead of sending them to the Middle East.

 

In turn, he promised to raise Muslim armies

to support the Nazi war effort.

 

Hitler finally listened to Muslim demands—

inspired by Satan and his demons—

and set up gas chambers and execution squads

that killed 6 million Jews—men, women and children.

 

You can see a YouTube video online

where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—

whose father was an historian—

talks about this.

 

In the video Netanyahu says,

“Hitler didn’t want to exterminate the Jews at the time,

he wanted to expel the Jews.”

 

Then Netanyahu saysthat the Islamic leader

had protested to Hitler that “they’ll all come here,”

referring to the Promised Land.

 

“‘So what should I do with them?’”

Netanyahu quoted Hitler as asking.

And he said the Islamic leader’s response was

 Burn them.”

--which is what the Nazis then did,

in the ovens of Auschwitz and other death camps.

 

But the Allied victory in the Second World War

put a stop to that slaughter of the Jews.

 

As I’ve mentioned before,

my own father was a World War II veteran.

 

And he took part in liberating one of the concentration camps

where Hitler was holding Jews to be gassed.

 

The Allied victory

came in time to keep the Jewish people

from being wiped out.

 

Enough Jews survived

to found the State of Israel in 1948.

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Most of us

paid little attention to the Middle East

until Osama bin Laden launched his 9/11 attack

from a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan

and took down the twin towers

of New York’s World Trade Center.

 

Our servicemen and women

have been in Afghanistan ever since then,

still serving in America’s longest war.

 

But few Americans realize

that our wars in Kuwait and Iraq and Afghanistan

and the recent struggle

against ISIS, the Islamic State in Syria,

all have their roots

in World War One and World War Two.

 

During WW1, printing plants in the Kaiser’s Germany

printed pamphlets calling for Islamic jihad.

 

Germany’s ally, the Islamic State of the Ottoman Turks

used that printed propaganda to stir up Muslims

to fight against the British and French.

 

During WW2, Adolf Hitler also printed pamphlets

calling for Islamic jihad

in territories controlled by the British and French.

 

Hitler also put on the radio

the president of the World Islamic Conference,

calling from Muslims to join with the Nazis.

 

Some of those jihadist sentiments

stirred up during those earlier conflicts

have grown into the support for terrorism

in today’s jihadi movements.

 

After the First World War

the British and French carved up

the Islamic Empire of the Turks

into territories to be administered

by Britain, France, Russia,

and the League of Nations.

 

So, instead of the Middle East all being under

one Islamic State—as it was for over a thousand years—

we now have the modern nations of

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait,

Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Syria.

President Erdogan of modern Turkey

has let it be known

that he wants to see Turkey reclaim

the territory lost by the Turkish Islamic Empire

in the First World War.

 

He wants Turkey to head up the modern Islamic State,

and his invasion of Syria last month

was his first step in that direction.

 

ISIS, whose leader al-Baghdadi died last month

during a raid by American Special Forces—

ISIS is trying to do the same thing:

to re-establish the Islamic State

that once ruled over Portugal, Spain,

Eastern Europe, North Africa & the Mid-East.

 

And many of the Islamist terror groups

that our servicemen and women

are facing off against today

in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan

use Jerusalem

as a rallying cry to recruit terrorist fighters.

 

They want to put Jerusalem back under Muslim control.

 

Osama bin Laden, ISIS, the Al-Quds Brigades, Hezbollah

they all have the same goal:

to re-establish the Islamic Empire,

put an end to Israel,

and ultimately put the whole world

under the rule of an Islamic caliphate.

 

And that’s the challenge facing the men and women

of America’s military over the past couple decades.

 

It would be discouraging,

if we didn’t know that God is in control

and that the Bible tells us the outcome

of the coming battles.

 

Respected Bible commentators

like Sir Isaac Newton,     Jonathan Edwards,

John Calvin and Martin Luther

all saw prophecies in the Bible

telling of the rise and spread the Islamic Empire.

 

Luther saw the Islamic Empire as the “little horn”

of Daniel Chapters 7 & 8.

 

Matthew Henry,   Jonathan Edwards and others saw the

200-million mounted cavalry troops of Revelation 9:16

as the Muslim forces

that swept over Christian lands

in North Africa and Europe.

 

Some see the Islamic conquest

in the words of Daniel Chapter 11, beginning at Verse 40

where it speaks of huge armies that would

 “conquer many countries,

and even Egypt will not escape”

and that would

“gain control over the gold, silver,

and treasures of Egypt,

and the Libyans and Ethiopians will be his servants.”

 

And the prophecies of Ezekiel and Zechariah

give us some details

of the coming wars

that will lead to the return of Christ.

 

Ezekiel says that he saw his visions

while at the Kebar River, a tributary of the Euphrates.

 

This means the prophet was

either in Iraq, half way between Karbala and Basrah

places familiar to American war veterans—

or in nearby northern Syria,

close to where

the remaining U.S. forces are based

after President Trump

moved them last month.

 

Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39

foretell an end-times multi-national attack

against a restored nation of Israel.

 

The opening verses

name several of the nations whose troops

will take part in that attack.

 

Iran, called by its old name Persia,

is the only one we can identify for sure.

 

And we know from recent news headlines

that the Ayatollahs governing Iran

have made speechesdeclaring their goal

is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

Commentators believe that either Russia or Turkey,

will lead the attack described in Ezekiel,

along with other neighboring states in that region

designated by their ancient names.

 

Zechariah Chapter 9

seems to speak first of recent decades

when modern Israel

has repeatedly defeated its Arab neighbors

in a series of wars during our lifetime.

 

In Zechariah 9:2 God says,

 

2“I am going to make Jerusalem

a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling.

 

And then he goes on to speak of

a final end-times attack

by all the nations—maybe meaning the United Nations:

 

3 On that day,

when all the nations of the earth

are gathered against her,

I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock

for all the nations.

 

The Lord describes the battle

and then he gives the outcome in Zechariah 9:9,

where he says,

 

9 On that day I will set out to destroy

all the nations that attack Jerusalem.

 

And then he concludes

by saying that Israel will turn to Christ at that time:

 

10 “And I will pour out

on the house of David

and the inhabitants of Jerusalem

a spirit of grace and supplication.

 

They will look on me,

the one they have pierced,

and they will mourn for him

as one mourns for an only child,

and grieve bitterly for him

as one grieves for a firstborn son.

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Yes, as we read at

Daniel 2:21

God “controls the course of world events;

he removes kings and sets up other kings.”

 

And the World Wars

and wars in the Middle East

that our veterans took part in

have played a role in the fulfillment of prophecy.

 

All these things will come to a head,

when the final battle for Jerusalem

leads to the mass conversion of the Jews

and the return of Christ.

 

Then we will see the end of this wicked world

and the answer to our prayer

for God’s kingdom to come

and for his will to be done

on earth as it is in heaven.