Swept off your Feet
Part 4: Galvanized for Worship
End Times Worship: When Push comes to Shove―Which Direction will you Bow?
God’s priority in finding worshipers does not revolve around a location; it revolves around a person. Jesus emphasized this fact long ago by revealing the truth about Himself and about our Heavenly Father.
When the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s Well realized that Jesus was more than an ordinary man, the first question on her lips dealt with a location for worship. She said:
“I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” (John 4:19-20)
Few locations retain their geographic significance for more than a thousand years. One battlefield renowned for its reputation extends from the ancient past to the end of the future. It asserts a prophetic destiny with apocalyptic intrigue. Poised to accommodate worshipers and warriors, this place awaits an ingathering of world leaders for an epic conflict.
Throughout history, the Megiddo Valley (commonly called the Jezreel Valley) has served as a buffer zone between powerful empires. Historian Eric Cline designated this valley a “contested periphery” because it represents “a contested region situated on the periphery of two different and more powerful world systems”. Mitchell Allen coined this term in 1997 to describe a world systems theory involving Philistia and the Neo-Assyrians. According to Cline, “Allen identified ‘contested peripheries’ as ‘border zones’ where different systems intersect.”
Accounts of bloodshed far exceed narratives of worship both in and out of the Bible. From the start, Adam and Eve compelled God to slay an animal to provide a covering for their shame. With resentful rage, Cain murdered his brother Abel because God favored his offering. Since then, bloodshed has punctuated the militant history of the human race.
The cost of combat staggers the imagination, especially when compared with worship. Historians estimate price tags for war with casualty counts and financial ledgers. Their take away message underscores how long God has watched behavior that He did not want to see. While inventors devise terrifying weapons of mass destruction, anger, hatred, and revenge eclipse worship and praise.
A few hundred worshiping warriors saved western civilization from the most powerful army in the world. On three occasions, the Knights Hospitallers fought valiantly against a seemingly dominant Ottoman Empire. Considered “archaic relics of the past”, these warrior-monks stood in the gap with heroic force and prevailed for the sake of their European brothers and sisters.
Operating from a pure heart with a good conscience and a sincere faith, worshipers are connecting with God for strength, courage, and comfort. Men, women, and children are fighting against horrific evil using spiritual, emotional, and physical force.
God designed us for living and loving not killing and dying. He made our spirit, soul, and body for righteousness, peace, and joy. We are primed for praise with an aversion for war and an affinity for worship.
Each generation connects with God in a climate mitigated by worshipers and warriors. Worshipers venerate what they esteem, admire, and value whereas warriors attack what they fear, hate, and covet. Populations are galvanized for and pitted against one another based on their devotions and disputes.
Our Heavenly Father seeks worshipers. He awaits an ever-increasing multitude from both heaven and earth. As God performs signs and wonders to confirm the truth about Himself, Satan conspires with mystical phenomena to deceive those leaning in a wayward direction.
And he [a beast with ten horns, seven heads, and ten crowns] performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth. (Rev 13:13-14)