The Ultimate Ending, Part 1
This week’s topic is not for the faint of heart: We’re studying the end of the world over the next two weeks! But we’re not talking about the destruction of the physical earth. Over the next two weeks, Chris walks us through Revelation 17 and 18 with a look at how the pandemic shaped our perspective on the end of the world and how God plans to bring that to pass.
To understand these chapters, we’ll have to understand John’s heart for Jesus and His Kingdom. We’ll explore how the end of the world relates to our society and the secularism that surrounds us. Our hope is that this study will not scare you but rather give you greater confidence than you’ve ever had in the Lord’s plan for our eternal future!
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher, Chris Katulka. Several weeks ago, we held an online virtual Bible conference, and we were so excited to see the response. Thousands tuned in for our eight-session study of the book of Revelation. And today we'd like to bring you just a little bit of what we experienced.
Chris Katulka: Steve, our online virtual conference was actually called the Ultimate Ending, where we studied the book of Revelation, eight sessions like you said. Now I have to be honest, it's very difficult to cover Revelation in eight sessions, but the thing I love about this study is that it actually gives you a great overview. I know Revelation can be, actually, very confusing. There's a lot of detail to the prophecy of Revelation. And I really believe these eight sessions helped bring some clarity to this. And also that you can see how God is using not only the church but using Israel in the future as well.
Something very, very important. And that's why today actually, I'm going to bring you one of my messages that I taught. I had a chance to partner with Dr. Jim Showers with Steve Herzig and Dr. Mike Stallard. They've been on this radio program before. And so I was able to teach with them and we're going to be looking at Revelation chapter 17 and 18 today.
Steve Conover: Please stay with us for that. In the news, the Times of Israel reported at least 45 Israelis were crushed to death and more than 150 people hurt in a human stampede at a mass gathering to celebrate the Lag B’Omer holiday at Mount Meron. And this is a holy site to the Orthodox Jewish community. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the incident "a terrible disaster and promised a thorough investigation."
Chris Katulka: I was just on an online event that was hosted by Israel Breaking News. And I had a chance to hear from some Israelis that were just calling in and you know, this is really painful for them right now, as a people. If you're in Israel, you can understand that it's a very tiny country. They feel the pain when somebody dies. When somebody's suffering, it's really amazing. The entire country feels the pain. And they're very, very sad by what's happened here with 45 Israelis that had died during this stampede.
Actually they're saying as many as a hundred thousand religious Israelis were crammed onto Mount Meron and this holy site actually only had one exit and it was very steep, it was very slippery. Sadly, during such an important celebration for the Jewish people. There was no security management of this event at all. The police chief of the Northern area of Israel took responsibility for the lack of management, which could have prevented the incident. So for our listeners out there, please be praying for Israel and the Jewish people who are dealing with a very difficult time.
So a couple of months ago, I was sitting in a room with Dr. Jim Showers, with Steve Herzig, with Dr. Mike Stallard and myself. And we were going over the idea of this Revelation conference that we were going to do online. And we were all looking at one another as to "who's going to teach what." There's only eight sessions. There's four of us. So we're each teaching two sessions. And so I'm sitting there and we're looking around and I'm wondering, "who's going to teach what?" Listen, we all know what we want to teach in the book of Revelation. We want to teach the return of Jesus Christ. That's our hope. That's our anticipation. But there's also those elements of Revelation that are associated with judgment, that God's judging the world. But we all, all four of us, we all are looking around like, all right, who's going to take the judgment part.
Well, I'm going to tell you something. You're listening to the guy. I took them. I took the judgment parts of the book of Revelation. And so that's what we're actually going to talk about. Because I think it's very important to the book of Revelation. I did a major section on looking at the tribulation period and the judgments that are being poured out by God, in our Ultimate Ending conference. But I also did a message on the world's last breath from Revelation chapter 17 and 18. So we're going to dedicate the next two weeks to Revelation 17 and 18. It's about that prophetic moment when God transitions from the future tribulation period, to the coming of Jesus Christ. It's His Second Coming. It's the hope that we have. I call Revelation 17 and 18 "the world's last breath" because it's the world's death. It's the end of the world system, as we know it.
So if you have your Bibles in front of you or maybe you're driving and you can just listen, turn to Revelation chapter 17 and 18, because we're going to spend the next two weeks studying how God really brings to an end this world, that's been longing and craving for the Savior to come, for the Messiah to come.
I want to read from Revelation chapter 17 really quick. And then I'm going to talk a little bit around it. So let's first begin with Revelation chapter 17, verse one: "Then one of the seven angels who had seven bowls came and spoke to me. “Come,” he said, “I will show you the condemnation and punishment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters with whom the Kings of the earth commit sexual immorality and the Earth's inhabitants get drunk with the wine of her immorality.” Though he carried me away in the Spirit to the wilderness and there I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. Now the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held in her hand a golden cup filled with the detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name, a mystery. Babylon the Great. The mother of prostitutes and the detestable things of the earth. And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of those who testified to Jesus. I was greatly astounded when I saw her, but the angel said to me, “Why are you astounded? I will interpret for you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and 10 horns that carries her."
So we want to walk through this together. Who is this woman? Who is the beast? Especially as we're studying the world's last breath, who are these people? Who is this beast? How do they play into the final moment right before the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? Revelation 17 and 18 is looking at the woman and the beast. And then right in Revelation chapter 19, we see Jesus coming.
So listen, when John sees this vision of a prostitute riding a beast, he's giving you an image of the world during the tribulation. I want you to know something, the world has had a death notice for a very long time. The world's been on notice since the very beginning in Genesis chapter three, when the first message of the gospel, the first prophecy of the gospel is announced. And so the world has always been on notice.
God has always said that this world system will come to an end. God would provide a way for his presence to return. Now, the end of the world is actually on a lot of people's minds. Actually just listen to this, about 44% of likely voters in the United States, see the Coronavirus pandemic and the economic potential meltdown as either a wake up call to faith, or a sign of God's coming judgment or both. This was according to a poll commissioned by the Joshua Fund, which is an evangelical group run by Joel Rosenberg, who often writes about the end of the world. He writes about prophecy. But there's a large percentage of people, voters, not just Christians, but voters who think, man, this pandemic, this just recent pandemic is either a wake-up call, a sign to wake us up to faith in Christ, for people to turn their hearts to God, or it's a picture of what's coming.
For them, they think maybe the end is near. And so they're thinking about these things. They're thinking about the end of the world. It's very interesting that it was just last April of 2020, that this was done.
Again, as we're thinking about the fact that the world has a death sentence, since the very beginning, people are thinking about the end of the world in light of the pandemic. Listen to this, Bible sales, according to the Christian Post, Bible sales have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Lifeway Christian Resources, one of the world's largest providers of Christian books and educational materials.
It even says that David Jeremiah, senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in California, hosted the radio program Turning Point, which I'm sure maybe you've listened to. He told the Christian Post that ever since the shutdown began viewership of his online services has dramatically skyrocketed.
I want you to think about this because pastor Jeremiah teaches a lot about prophecy. The Friends of Israel Today, and Dr. Jeremiah have a lot in common theologically when it comes to how we understand the future. When it comes to how we understand what the scriptures say about the end times. And people are tuning in to hear what he has to say, especially on television. And during this pandemic, Bible sales are up, as it says. I don't think that's by accident. People are wondering, "God what are you doing right now?"
People believe that there is an end to this world. And this is important to understand. Because God did put this world on a death notice. It's a death notice, that's waiting for the world to finally come to a completion. And we know this, even from the prophets. Listen, Isaiah chapter 13, 9 through 11 talks about a global time of God's judgment being poured out on earth.
The prophet Zephaniah, chapter one verses 17 and 18, again, talks about a global judgment that's coming. All of the earth will be judged. All of mankind will be judged. And finally, even Paul, the apostle himself, talks about it in Romans chapter two, verse five. That the world is actually, as we know it, storing up wrath for itself, because of its sin, it's storing up wrath for itself for the day of wrath that's coming.
What Isaiah, Zephaniah, Romans, where all this is pointing to is a seven year tribulation period where God is going to judge the sins of the world. And what are those sins? Selfishness, pride, arrogance, greed, jealousy, idolatry, envy, murder, sexual immorality. You know, all of these things that really define, if you think, what the world is today. God is going to judge the world because of these things.
You know, I always find it amazing that we live in such an advanced time. We have technology. I mean, you're interacting with me through technology. Maybe you're, like I said, driving in your car, or maybe you're listening on a podcast. If you watch the Ultimate Ending online, it was a live online experience. People from all around the world tuned in to watch the conference on the book of Revelation. It's amazing the accomplishments that we've been able to do as a human race, but the reality is at the same heart that existed in the days of Paul. The same heart of man that existed in the days of Jesus. The same heart of man that existed in the Old Testament. All the way back even to the very moment when Adam and Eve sinned. It's the same heart that's full of deception. It's the same heart that's full of sin.
Mankind really hasn't changed that much when it comes to our nature. The same issues that we've read about in the Bible from thousands of years ago, are the same issues that still resonate with us today. Because as Jesus put it, it's a heart issue. Even though we live in advanced times where modern people, we’re 21st century people, it's still a heart issue. And so this concept of the world's last breath, this is it. The moment, Revelation 17 and 18, the moment is coming to an end.
I want you to see something that's fascinating. When Jesus was talking in the gospel of John, he's talking to Pontius Pilate, and he was speaking to him in this amazing moment, and it's at his trial. And Pontus Pilate, the Roman, is questioning him. And he says, “are you the king of the Jews? Tell me, come on, answer the question.” And Jesus says this, this great statement. "My kingdom is not of this world." Now for Pontus Pilate, who represents the Roman empire in Judea at that time, his concept of a kingdom and this world are completely different than the way that Jesus understood what the kingdom and the world is.
See the gospel of John, all of John's writings, he likes to define the world in a certain way. See when John writes in the gospel of John, when John writes in the epistle of John, and the reason I'm highlighting John here is because he is the one who God used to author the book of Revelation. Even when he writes in the book of Revelation, when he is talking about the world, when we say that that's the world's last breath, when he is talking about the world, he's not simply talking about the physical world that we know. That when you walk outside and you take a breath of air and you see the beautiful trees and the mountains, or maybe you're walking on the beach, you're embracing the physical nature of what God created, the physical nature of the world.
But see, when John talks about the world, he's talking about the kosmos in Greek. It's completely different for John. He wants us to think more multifaceted about the world. A deeper definition of the world that he has. But listen, before we get to that deeper definition, because I want you to know about it. Before we go there, before we continue our discussion on Revelation 17 and 18, the world's last breath.
I actually want to invite you to get the DVD, the Ultimate Ending. Where you're going to see your hope-filled future unfold through the book of Revelation. It's an eight session teaching series on the book of Revelation.
We're going to walk you step by step from Revelation chapter one, all the way to the very end, Revelation chapter 22 through the new heavens and new earth. And you're going to get a great understanding of what God is doing in the world today in light of Israel, being a nation today. In light of the fact that the Jewish people are returning to the home land. What is God doing today in light of what's going on in the book of Revelation and the future as well? Steve, how can our listeners get their hands on the Ultimate Ending?
Steve Conover: Yeah, to learn more or to purchase the Ultimate Ending on DVD visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org, or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940. And someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Once again, that's (888) 343-6940. If you're in Canada, call (888) 664-2584. Once again, in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: Earlier I mentioned during the news spot that I was listening to some Israelis talk about the horrible incident, the horrible tragic incident that happened to the Orthodox Israeli community. 45 religious Jewish people were trampled to death during a Lag B’Omer celebration that they had. And I was listening to these Israelis talk about this event as they were in Israel, and it was a global event where we were all able to listen in. And as one gentleman from Morocco tuned in and he said, "you know, I love the Jewish people. I love Israel." This is from Morocco. And he's talking to these Israelis. He says, "you know, I just don't know what's going on in the world today. What is going on?" He's asking a very difficult question. And he says, "it feels like the whole world is just falling apart. Tragic event after tragic event is happening."
And he really was looking to try to find out how are we going to solve these world problems? I could hear it in his voice. And he's asking these Israelis and the Israelis really didn't have an answer for him, but you know what? I have an answer for him.
The world is going to find hope. The world finds hope even today in the Lord, Jesus Christ and His return. That's why this concept of the world's last breath is so important. Because actually that world, that he's feeling pain for, the world that we're suffering in right now, is a response to sin. And God wants to deal with this issue. And it's all going to take place in the book of Revelation. And that's why understanding what the world is, especially when this guy thinks about, why is the world like this today?
It's important to understand what we mean by the world. Listen to how the apostle John defines the world. In Greek, it's the word kosmos. And according to John, the world, the kosmos, it constitutes a unique subject that is totally opposed to God. It resists the redeeming work of the Son. It doesn't believe in Him. And the world hates God. It's ruled. The world is ruled by the prince of the world. And we know from Ephesians chapter two, that's Satan, the evil one nonetheless, the Son remains the Victor over the world. So think about that. The Redeemer brings out of the world, those who are born of God or from God. So believers, even though we're in the world, we can endure much anguish today, but we're removed from the domination of Satan in the world. That's interesting. So see, for John, when John thinks about the world, he's not thinking about the physical attributes.
When we're thinking about this world's last breath. John's not thinking about the physical attributes of the world. He's thinking about the values that the world has. He's thinking about the economy of the world. You know, how those values drive, what we spend money on, the values that we have, the economy of the world. He's thinking about the religion of the world. That cultic, religious aspect of the world. He's even thinking about the governments that would control the world. He's not thinking about the trees and the mountains. He's thinking about those things that would impact your heart. Those things that impact you internally. And for John, everything that the world is, is in opposition to who God is. The values of this world are completely opposite of the values of God. And God is going to bring an end to those values of the world.
God is on the move. He's going to bring an end to the economies of the world. The cultic religious elements of the world. And he's going to bring an end to those. The government that's associated with the woman riding the beast. God is going to bring an end to those. God is going to ultimately usher in a kingdom to this earth in which his Son, Jesus Christ, is ruling and reigning forever.
God's values will reign in his kingdom. God's economy will bless the nations. God will be exalted and Jesus will be the King forever. That's amazing to think about. And I promise you, we're going to be getting to Revelation chapter 17 and 18, but we're going to come back to that next week.
So we're not finished yet. We're just getting into the details of Revelation 17 and 18. It's important for you to understand that when John is talking about the world, he is not thinking about those physical things. He is thinking about the things that impact your heart and how the world relates with God. So who is this woman? Who is this beast? Well, you're going to have to come back next week to see and hear about the world's last breath.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: A while ago I had a long conversation with our Arab neighbors. They always speak of killing us and driving us into the sea. They strap explosives under themselves to blow us up, and they even turned their children into suicide bombers to kill us. All because they want to take our land. I told them, "What you are doing is written about in the Bible. Do you want to read it?" So one read and his friends listened: “Thus says the LORD, “Have you murdered and also taken possession? In the place where dogs lick the blood of Naboth, dogs shall lick your blood, even yours.” (1 Ki. 21:19)
God was angry with king Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, for killing Naboth and stealing Naboth's land. “This is what you're doing.” I told them. “If you would believe in the Lord, you would be more considerate of one another. We are ready to release hundreds of Arab prisoners to secure the release of a few kidnapped Israeli soldiers.”
But you say you will only return our soldiers in a coffin. Yet you pray every morning. Is this your faith? To kill men, women and children? “The Lord our God commands us not to murder. And what does your laws say? That you should kill murder and turn people into suicide bombers so you can go to heaven?
And then one man declared "Islam will control the world!"
It is difficult to speak to these people, yet the Lord commands us to bring His salvation to them because they walk in such darkness. So I continued, “You have tried to destroy us, but we're still here. And we will survive against all our enemies because it is written in Psalm 126 verses 2-6: Then our mouth was filled with laughter and our tongue was singing. Then they said, among the nations, the LORD has done great things for them."
They wanted to know where this was written. So I showed them, and they were surprised. My Bible contains the new Testament. One immediately asked, "How did you come to faith in Christ?" I was happy to tell them. “You see, I found in the Bible so many places where it is written about the Lord Jesus Christ. I learned about truth, faith in the living God.”
"We want to know more!" One said, "You must show us where all these things are written in the Bible. Show us where it is written about Jesus". So I gave them my Bible and showed them Isaiah 53. From then on they asked many questions, including "why do all Jewish people not believe as you do?"
"Many do!" I replied, “Come to our congregation and see how many Jewish people worship with us. Even a rabbi was baptized and many Arabs also come to our congregation. We never go to people and say, "you must believe in Christ." Only God can help people believe. They must read the Bible and see for themselves where the truth lies. And I pray that in time, you too will come to know and believe in Christ as your Savior. Then you will have peace and worship the God who loves you.”
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us today. We'll continue our two-part series next time. Chris, where will your teaching focus next week?
Chris Katulka: Okay. So I know some of the people maybe listening today, we're thinking, "okay I opened my Bible to Revelation chapter 17 and we read through a little bit, but Chris gave us a lot of background.
Well, it's true. I did give you background, but next week we're going to look at Revelation 17 and 18 and see how all of those pieces fit for the world's last breath.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold. I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey 08099. And one last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
The Ultimate Ending DVD
If you fear the future or struggle to understand the end times, don’t miss this powerful study of the book of Revelation! With eight sessions of biblical truth from our popular speakers at The Friends of Israel, you can find clarity, peace, and wisdom through these teachings of God’s Word.
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Apples of Gold: We Want to Know More
Zvi was talking to his Arab neighbors. These men admittedly hate their Jewish neighbors and teach their children to kill them—all because they want the land of Israel. Zvi asked them if they knew the conflict between the Arabs and the Jewish people was in the Bible. They were curious as he showed them the Scriptures. Then Zvi’s neighbors realized his Bible he was holding contained the New Testament. Many more questions followed this realization, and Zvi was able to share about his faith in Jesus.
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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