Goodnews Christian Ministry
June 1, 2006
Any ideas about the ten nations? JK
A recent news report revealed that a new axis is developing in the East called "The Regional Security Alliance of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization". This Shanghai Alliance is a mutual defense organization. On April 25, 2006, Iran was invited to join the alliance, bringing the current members to seven. They are:
There is no suggestion that these are the first seven of Daniel's "ten" (Dn. 7:7-8; Rev. 17:12-114), but since this is obviously a developing image of the future NATO-like eastern military alliance, it cannot be ignored. This list is a snapshot of the central members of the coalition of nations destined to play ever larger military roles in the eastern world in the coming years.
In terms of prophecy, the addition of Iran (Persia) to this list is particularly sobering. It combines the "vast hordes" of soldiers called for in all the visions concerning the Prince of Persia.
The narrative in the book of Daniel 7:1-9 describes four great beasts rising out of the sea. I thought there was only one beast, the Antichrist. Who are these others? How can you tell which one is the Antichrist? Which one was thrown into the fire in Daniel 7:11? What about the others? Do they go into the fire later? Who are they and what does it mean in Daniel 7:12 that they had their dominion taken away but were allowed to live for a period of time? Where? Is one of these the Antichrist? K
The entire Book of Daniel is about the reign of Jesus Christ on earth. So far, that reign has encompassed a span of almost 2000 years. Scripture described the Word of God that emanated from Jesus' mouth as a great sword on one side saving the righteous and on the other slaying the wicked:
"...out of his mouth came a sharp sword, double-edged, and his face was like the sun shining with all its force."(Rev. 1:16).
His Gospel ignited a spiritual fire on earth.
"I have come to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were blazing already!" (Luke 12:49).
Advancing into the domain of the beast, He mortally wounded paganism, consigning Babylon to a spiritual deathbed. That event is called in prophecy, the "mortal wound", a blow that killed the pagan Roman empire, enveloping it in the spiritual fire Jesus brought from heaven a fire that has continued to spread from sea to sea across the entire globe.
As a part of the sowing on earth of Christ's Gospel, God ordered Michael the Archangel to imprison the dragon (Satan) in the Abyss for a thousand years so that the divine work of the Word of God could be accomplished in the way God deemed necessary (Rev. 20:1-3). This imprisonment deprived the other beasts of their power. Those you asked about were chained at the Euphrates.
"...I heard a voice come out of the four horns...it said 'Release the four angels that are chained up at the great river Euphrates'. These four angels had been put there ready for this hour of this day of this month of this year, and now they were released to destroy a third of the human race." (Rev.9:13-15).
History has shown that God has given power back to them incrementally, one at a time. Re-energized, each has carried out a strategic war against the Gospel. Today, virtually the entire territory of the Eastern Christian Church (a third of the earth) has been darkened by their return. Daniel shows all of these beasts returning through Persia (Dan.11:2). This indicates Daniel is relating a circumstance as much spiritual as it is political.
Since the dragon has now been released from the Abyss as well, this motive (Satan's war against Christ) will become dramatically evident in the near future.
Everything that is a part of the dragon is termed "beast". Especially dominions and powers. Babylon is shown in the Book of Revelation to be a "prostitute" riding the beast. The beast she rides has seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:3-7). Each of its heads (because they represent dominions and powers) is also called "beast".
Each head has proved itself a mortal enemy of God. All have waged war on the House of Israel:
There is an eigth head as well. This, too is the beast the worst of all, and a reincarnation of one of the previous seven.
"The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction." (Rev. 17:11)
"The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come." (Rev 17:8)
Prophecy foresees a prince of Persia leading Parthian troops back to Rome to reclaim the throne of Nero, healing for a moment, the mortal wound (bringing back to life the pagan Roman empireRev. 17:8). This eighth head (beast) is the Enemy, the Madman who is to bring the earth to complete ruin.
Daniel and the Book of Revelation bear witness to "ten horns" in relation to the fourth beast . This fourth beast is to be a terrible empire, different from all others on earth (Dan. 7:23-26). Daniel shows it will have two rulers. The first will appear in an image that seems to symbolize Antiochus the Great (Dan. 11:15-18). He will be followed by the Antichrist, the eighth head who will come in an image reminiscent of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Dan. 11:21+).
The Antichrist's origin will be from a very small nation outside the ten horns (Dan. 7:8). Apparently by intrigue the Antichrist will bring down 3 of the ten horns and combine those kingdoms with his own nation. From this platform he will take control of the entire fourth beast.
With great fury he will launch his war against the Christian Church on earth. In the process he will consign Babylon to the flames (Rev. 17:15-18; Jer. 51:58; Dan. 11:44).
His end will come in catastrophe and once the wrath has run its course, all the beasts not yet there will be consigned to the eternal flames in God's lake of sulphur (Rev. 21:8). At the same time, Jesus will return on the clouds of heaven to claim His people and take them with Him into God's kingdom of heaven where He will give all who have had the wisdom to follow Him the eternal life He has promised. For all others, there will be enormous sorrow and gnashing of teeth.
How do you see the Bible? Literal or symbolic? RT
A common wisdom shared by most Christian leaders over the last 2000 years (until recently) was the understanding that the scriptures had an overarching metaphoric truth hidden behind almost every statement or prophecy. Jesus alluded to this fact by saying that it was God's will that only those specially chosen were able to understand the truths hidden within His parables.
"In all this Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables; indeed, he would never speak to them except in parables. This was to fulfill the prophecy: "I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world'." (Mat.13:34-35; Ps.78:2).
"The reason I talk to them in parables is that they look without seeing and listen without hearing or understanding. So in their case this prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled:
'Go and say to this people, 'Hear and hear again, but do not understand; see and see again, but do not perceive" Make the heart of this people gross, its ears dull; shut its eyes, so that it will not see with its eyes, hear with its ears, understand with its heart, and be converted and healed'." (Mat.13:13-15; Is.6:9-10).
With the rapid collapse of the "traditional" church in recent years, and the new emphasis on a literal interpretation of scripture, that traditional understanding has begun to erode.
While it is true that God will fulfill every statement and every prophecy literally at some point in the life of this physical creation, it may not be in our lifetime. Moreover, when it does occur, it will not appear in the literal manifestations we anticipate. God fooled the Pharisees at the time of Christ, and He will do the same with us as far as the End is concerned. In almost all cases, those realities will occur in ways we least expect.
Themes we are so concerned about, 'the mark of the beast', for instance, the statue, the false prophet, silver and gold idols, etc., are all elements of evils that were omnipresent in our world at the time of Christ. Because the dragon has been released from the Abyss, these monsters and the evils associated with them once again surround us today and will continue to do so in the future until Christ returns.
While we wait with trepidation for those terrifying specters to suddenly appear in a physical form we can identify immediately and positively as alien, they permeate our daily lives right now, so integrated in our perspective of "normal" that we think nothing of them. Seeing them as benign, we grant them full acceptance, and in many cases give them the glory scripture warns about.
When we literalize the scriptures (when we adhere to a literal-only interpretation of scripture), we allow Satan to cloak the the metaphoric truths they describe, making those truths invisible to our minds, and in this way anesthetize our fears of them. Busy searching the horizon for a physical fulfillment that we will probably never see, we have blinded ourselves to the dangers that truly threaten us as far as God is concerned. Historically Christian leaders have tried to address these misconceptions by showing the scriptures to be metaphoric, and encouraging all to "understand" what they really mean. Literalization undermines that understanding and can return the believer to blindness.
That does not mean that literal interpretation is not true. On the contrary, everything scripture predicts or states has been or will be fulfilled literally (at least literally as far as God is concerned) at some point in the human experience. Embracing metaphore does not mean tossing out literalism. It means integrating the two, always knowledgeable of the fact that the meaning behind scripture's descriptions carries the greatest weight.
There is a dragon. There is a beast (many in fact). There is a false prophet. There is a statue to wickedness. There is a mark that defines life or death. There are gold and silver idols, and there is to be a singular event that will be called Armageddon. While in many cases their true character is here now (a character we can only appreciate metaphorically) each will be manifested in a physical form that "reflects" them visibly to the unbelieving world at a later time.
Those who wish to escape being trapped by these evils need to "see" and understand them in their spiritual nature, not waiting for their pre-conceived physical manifestions because the spiritual reality is the true reality. That is where life and death actually lies.
The true mark of the beast is original sin. It is the mark of man and carries the name "Adam". Everyone on earth is born with this mark. It can only be removed by the mark of Christ which is baptism. That is the whole meaning behind the cross. Jesus went to the cross to take all sin onto Himself. That allows anyone who accepts His terms through baptism to erase the name of Adam (man) from their souls, affixing there, in its place, Christ's name (the name of God). Those who accept the branding of Christ are reborn into God's new kingdom of heaven above. After baptism, there is nothing to fear. No mark can cancel the mark of Christ. Only a renunciation of faith has power to do that.
The true idols of silver and gold are the baubles we worship. Fine houses, expensive cars, jewelry, paintings and all the rest. These are the things we point to with pride in our competition for pre-eminence over one another. They are the baubles thieves love to steal. When they assume more importance in our lives than our obedience to God, they become idols true objects of spiritual worship.
This kind of "spiritual" (i.e., symbolic) understanding permeates the entire scripture. Whether it is Adam and Eve or Sodom and Gomorrah or the quotations of Psalms and Proverbs, the metaphore behind every verse, like the hidden pictures in a child's book, conceals the ultimate truth of God.
There is a beast the Antichrist. Symbolically, he comes in a variety of political forms, but always spouting the same message that man is his own master and that man's way is more important than God's way. The revolt of secularism in the world that we see today is a manifestation of his handiwork. His sign is war. There is a false prophet. He comes in a religious form promising eternal life and preaching that his worship is superior to the word of Christ. His sign, too, is war.
Both are enemies of Jesus and when they combine both physically and spiritually (when the religion of the end integrates itself with the physical Antichrist) their Caesar-like coalition will form the final and disastrous world alliance that brings to a conclusion the last days.
6000 years? EV
There is nothing in scripture, not even in its prophecies about 6000 years. The idea of 6000 years was first deduced by scholars a thousand years after Jesus died. In those days, Jewish rabbi's, plotting the course of events in the Bible, calculated a timeline of events leading from Adam and Eve to their own day in the early Middle Ages. They came up with a figure just over 4700 years. Using that calculation, they applied it to their Hebrew calendar. From that day onward, just before the Feast of the Tabernacles, at the Jewish New Year, a year was added to this calendar. From that day to this over1000 years have been added. Consequently, by Jewish reckoning, today is 5766.
In Hebrew prophecy 6 days is like 6000 years to God. The Hebrew calendar is about these 6 days.
This date is about the End, not the beginning. It looks forward to the 7th day: September 6001. It is not about the beginning of time. It is about the end of time. It is not about monkeys and dinosaurs or a 6000-year geology, it points to a date in the future when Jesus appears again with all the angels of heaven with Him. It relates to a moment in history identical to the 3rd day of Christ when God descends the mountain in full view of the earth's people. The only way the date itself relates to Moses is as an allegory of Exodus19:16.
"Now at daybreak on the third day there were peals of thunder on the mountain and lightning flashes, a dense cloud, and a loud trumpet blast, and inside the camp all the people trembled. Then Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the bottom of the mountain." (Ex. 19:16-17).
Today it is early in the the Christian "third day", and in the Hebrew Law it is 5766. That means only 235 years are left until Sept 6001 (the 7th day) arrives. In other words, 235 years until everything that belongs to God has to be returned to Him inexorably according to the Hebrew Law. Everyone must return to their ancestral home. That means the end of the world.
There is one problem. Jesus said the time has been cut short otherwise no one could be saved. That means there are even fewer years than 235 left. We don't know how many, but it is possible that the time has been slashed substantially from this number. One thing is certain, there is not much time left. All the things we see in the world and the turmoil in the Middle East conclusively prove the certainty of the theophany descending down upon us. The kings of the East are gathering at the Euphrates in fulfillment of scripture. By this prophecy, we must assume the long-predicted Wrath is at hand and there is little time left for conversion.
Several centuries after Maimonides calculated the Jewish calendar date, Christian scholars (Bishop Ussher and later Lightfoot) re-added the Jewish calculations and determined a date for Adam and Eve more than 200 years earlier than the Jewish number. By their calculations, the year 6001 (the 7tth day) should have occurred in the 1990's. That date came and passed without significant event, proving that their calculations were errant.
The circumstance that makes the Hebrew date significant is the profound impact on the world of Hebrew Law itself. Jesus did not come down from heaven to draw us out of Babylon's laws or American law or Buddist law or even atheism. He drew us one and all out of the Hebrew Law. The terms of Moses bound themselves not only on the Hebrew tribe, but on the Gentiles as well. Consequently, their laws covered all mankind. God gave Moses that world authority for this very reason, so that all should either die by reason of the Law or be saved by being rescued by Jesus out of the Law.
That rescue is the meaning of the cross of Christ. That is what makes the Mosaic Law still viable in the world today. It continues to govern everone who refuses to leave it through repentance and baptism into Christ. Jesus changed the religion of God from Hebrew to Christianity over 2000 years ago, and by decree of the first Apostolic Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15). Yet, those still coming to birth in our time, 2000 years later, are still being called "out of the Law", no matter where they are born or into what genetic lineage they are born.
The Old Testament is still attached to the Bible. The Hebrew Law is still the argument for conversion. The pagans continue to benefit from the Jewish fall and defection. Their rejection continues to mean the reconciliation of the world at large, showing that their admission will prove, as Paul predicted, the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 11:36).
Why has God imprisoned all mankind in their own disobedience by making them subject to the Law? Paul said God did this only to show mercy to all mankind (Rom.11:32).
That is the reason why the Hebrew calendar remains meaningful in a world seemingly so distantly removed from it. And that is why the 6000 years it dictates remains so meaningful to us today. The Christian and Jewish timelines are meant to coincide on a single day in the not-so-distant future, a day unknown to anyone but God, but close.
And when that day comes, there will be no need for calendars ever again.
I would like you to explain the difference between the manifestation of the ark of the covenant in heaven in the Book of Revelation and Matthew's prediction of the sign of the Son of Man in the sky? And what differences between the two in time?? Do you think they are tied together some how? PL
This is a very good question.
There is an entire chapter in "the Last Days of Babylon" devoted to Matthew's sign. There is every reason to believe Matthew's sign correlates unquestionably with the Ark of the Covenant's appearance at the end. The narrative in Matthew and the narrative in the Book of Revelation show the two cosmic phenomena occurring at virtually the same point at the end of the tribulation and just before the Second Coming of Jesus.
"Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and within his temple was seen the ark of his covenant. And there came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake and a great hailstorm." (Rev. 11:19).
"He bent the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet; he mounted a cherub and flew, and soared on the wings of the wind. Darkness he made a veil to surround him, his tent a watery darkness, dense cloud; before him a flame enkindled hail and fiery embers. God thundered from heaven, the Most High made his voice heard; he let his arrows fly and scattered them, launched the lightnings and routed them. The bed of the seas was revealed, the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, God, at the blast of your nostril's breath." (Ps.18:9-15).
"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven; then too all the peoples of the earth will beat their breasts; and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet to gather his chosen from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." (Matthew 24:30-31).
The signs in the sky, both that of the Ark of the Covenant and the sign of Jesus, come intimately associated with the cloud of God that Moses was allowed to enter, and which accompanied the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to Jerusalem and which later filled the holy chamber of Solomon's temple. The cloud is the sign of God's presence.
"and a fire shone within the cloud by night, for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey." (Ex. 40:36-38).
The fire that blazed within the cloud was a veiled image of God, the Word of God, the Gospel He preached the fire Jesus came to set burning across the earth. That fire is imaged in the cross.
"And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand." (Luke 21:27--28).
Some of his Jeremiah's companions came up to mark out the way (to where Jeremiah had buried the ark), but were unable to find it. When Jeremiah learned this, he reproached them:
'The place is to remain unknown' he said 'until God gathers his people together again and shows them his mercy. Then the Lord will bring these things once more to light, and the glory of the Lord will be seen, and so will the cloud, as it was revealed in the time of Moses and when Solomon prayed that the Holy Place might be gloriously hallowed.' (2 Macc.2:7-8)
The Ark of the Covenant was built for one purpose only to house the Testimony, the word from heaven that was housed in Jesus when He came down from the Father. That means that the true Ark of the Covenant was Jesus Himself. Jesus is heaven's Ark. He is the Testimony and the everlasting covenant. He is the Word made flesh. He has implaced Himself inside each Christian soul, inserting God's own Testimony within our hearts. The Ark of the covenant was a house for the Word. Therefore the ark and Jesus are the same.
That means the sign described by Matthew of the "Son of Man" must be a manifestation of Jesus Himself, probably the image of the cross. The Ark of the Covenant, the same imaged by the same cross. It, too, is Jesus in the image of the cross. The cross is the vehicle that brings heaven's word to earth. It is also the vehicle that transports the people of God from earth to heaven. That is why Peter and Paul compared it to the Ark of Noah which saved only 8 people by water. In contrast to the Ark of Noah, the wood that is the cross of Christ saves all who come to it.
The cross is the spiritual Ark of the Covenant that takes us from earth to heaven. It transports us across the vastness of the cosmos in a way Noah's ark could never do, and safely deposits us in God's kingdom of heaven, far removed from this isolated wilderness.
Who in this day and age would recognize the Mosaic Ark of the Covenant if it were imaged in the sky? Virtually no one. Who but a handful of scholars even know what it looks like in this day and age? Have you ever heared anyone point to something and say, "That looks like the ark of the covenant!"?
More than that, we know for certain nothing in Christ will ever return Moses. Moses was the "Guardian". His images were all metaphoric. They all stood for something else in Christ. Heaven's images all point to the true Father, the Christ who has replaced Moses. No one would recognize the Mosaic Ark, but everyone on earth today would gasp if they saw the cross of Jesus in the sky. We know that just by seeing the immense crowds that gather whenever anyone sees what they think is an image of the Virgin Mary.
So when the Book of Revelation (which is filled with symbolic images) tells us that the Ark of the Covenant will be seen at the end in a vision, we see that, too, as symbolism. Especially since Jeremiah in prophecy predicts in no uncertain terms that the Mosaic Ark will never be seen again or even talked about in heaven. And even more especially since, as you point out, Matthew describes the same image, but in terms of Christ, not Moses.
Revelation's vision describes not Moses' ark but the true Ark of God that transports us to the kingdom of God. It describes the cross, and it describes Jesus Christ.
Please elaborate on the cloud (Rev. 14:14) and the hail (Rev. 11:19). PL
1. The Cloud:
The cloud is the sign of God's veiled presence in the world. He has determined that He shall not be seen here except by faith and by those who have faith. Even scripture, which is the word of God, comes to us in a clouded form every word wrapped in a veil of metaphore and symbolism.
The end of the world culminates in the ultimate theophany of God. Therefore it repeats on a global scale the theophany that occurred at Sinai when God, wrapped in a dense cloud, began to descend the mountain on the third day to meet the gathered Israelites waiting there to meet God face to face according to Moses' instructions. That gathering actually symbolized the Second Coming of Jesus Christ early in the "millenial" third day still ahead:
"Now at daybreak on the third day there were peals of thunder on the mountain and lightning flashes, a dense cloud, and a loud trumpet blast, and inside the camp all the people trembled." (Ex. 19:16)
That gathering in the Sinai wilderness purposely foreshadows the scriptural verses that show God assembling all the nations to Jerusalem at the end of time to witness His Son's return from heaven: "For in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I am going to gather all the nations and take them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; there I intend to put them on trial for all they have done to Israel, my people and my heritage." (Joel 4:1-2).
"Let the nations muster round you in a body, and then return, high over them." (Ps.7:7).
"He bent the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet; he mounted a cherub and flew, and soared on the wings of the wind." (Ps.18:9)
When he went up to the top of Mt. Sinai, Moses was brought into the presence of God but did not see His form. The area was wrapped in a thick cloud and fire came from a burning bush. Moses saw no shape or form whatsoever. There was only a voice. That is the same way we see God today. There is only a voice the voice of Jesus Christ.
When Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God face to face,
"they stood at the bottom of the mountain. The mountain of Sinai was entirely wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in the form of fire. Like smoke from a furnace the smoke went up, and the whole mountain shook violently. Louder and louder grew the sound of the trumpet. Moses spoke, and God answered him with peals of thunder." (Ex. 19:17-19).
In that first theophany, God agreed to the people's request for an intermediary, but the Messiah God sent with the Gospel (the completion of heaven's Testimony), turned out to be God Himself in the flesh. There was no intermediary, nor would there ever be again. Jesus was God in human form. Jesus is the cloud. He always was. The fire (God's word within the cloud) had taken the form of flesh. Jesus in the flesh replaced the cloud, yet the veiled nature of God continued for all who lacked the faith to recognize that fact.
God's veiled presence continues all through scripture. When the sanctuary and ark of the covenant were consecrated in the desert of Sinai, God took possession of the sanctuary in the form of a cloud
"The cloud covered the Tent of Meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the Tent of Meeting because of the cloud that rested on it and because of the glory of the Lord that filled the tabernacle." (Ex. 40:34-35)
"At every stage of their journey, whenever the cloud rose from the tabernacle the sons of Israel would resume their march. If the cloud did not rise, they waited and would not march until it did. For the cloud of the Lord rested on the tabernacle by day, and a fire shone within the cloud by night, for all the House of Israel to see. And so it was for every stage of their journey." (Ex. 40:36-38).
It was the same with Solomon's temple on the day of its consecration. The priests could not even continue their duties there. The cloud was so dense, it veiled everything.
"...when the priests came out of the sanctuary, the cloud filled the Temple of the Lord, and because of the cloud the priests could no longer perform their duties: the glory of the Lord filled God's Temple. Then Solomon said: 'The Lord has chosen to dwell in the thick cloud. Yes, I have built you a dwelling, a place for you to live in forever." (1 Kings 8:10-11).
Isaiah, at the moment of his calling, witnessed the cloud in Solomon's temple in 740 B.C. He saw not just the cloud, but God Himself, seated on the throne:
"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the Lord God seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary; above him stood seraphs...And they cried out one to another in this way, 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty. His glory fills the whole earth.' The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out, and the Temple was filled with smoke. I said, 'What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, the Lord God Almighty'. (Is.6:1-5).
Isaiah was cleansed by a coal from the fire that burned within the cloud. The fire inside the cloud is the Gospel the Word of God. One of the Seraph's took this fire and put it in Isaiah's mouth. It made him clean. At that moment, he was informed that God needed a messenger to go to the people. In response, Isaiah uttered the words, "Here I am, send me!". (Is. 6:9).
Isaiah likened the cloud when he saw it, to thick smoke. That is the same way it appeared to me in my own vision. dense brown smoke or fog. The thought that came to my mind was the smoke on a battlefield. Passing into the cloud I was led by an angel along a brown fog or smoke-bound path to a clearing where a thin promontory of land seemed to project out in the air above the middle of the Kidron Valley in Jerusalem. The clear darkness of the landscape was a stark contrast to the smokey muted visibility in the area preceding it. I could see on my right the angels of God ascending and descending near the Temple Mount. They were pulses of light that traveled up and down on shafts of light. They were coming down out of the black clouds that covered the sky. It was dark like night but with enough ambient light to see details. To my left, just above the tombs that crested the Mt. of Olives. there was a very small break in the dark clouds. Through it shone orange light in various hues like those associated with a rising sun. That small point of orange light highlighted the tombs.
Often when we read about the cloud in scripture it has to do with divine messages. Either God is talking to His people, or instructing the prophets to talk to His people, or consecrating His covenant, the ultimate message of all. The cloud also has to do with protection
"Then the angel of the Lord, who marched at the front of the army of Israel changed station and moved to their rear. The pillar of cloud changed station from the front to the rear of them, and remained there. It came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. The cloud was dark, and the night passed without the armies drawing any closer the whole night long." (Ex.14:19-20).
Michael, the Angel of the Covenant, and the pillar of cloud led the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land, the cloud always coming to rest within the tent of the Testimony when the Israelites encamped, dictating by its presence there, when the journey should continue and when it should remain at rest.
In my case the vision was associated with the message of this writing and all that has come before it i.e., this web page specific to the opening of the long-sealed Book of Daniel. This is, according to scripture, a necessary occurrance in the 70 weeks, one that contributes to "setting the seals on vision and prophecy" (Dan.9:24).
The opening of the Book of Daniel constitutes the end of prophecy. In the darkness destined to encompass the world at the end (and now so close at hand), true prophecy will cease. And, just before the reappearance of Christ, when the sign of Christ appears in the sky, there will be a period of complete silence (Rev. 8:1).
There are numerous prophecies showing the skies of the end covered in dense black clouds. Those clouds represent not just the enormous fires burning, but also the total failure of vision. "The Lord God says this: Howl: Alas, the day! For the day is near, the day of the Lord is near; it will be a day dark with cloud, the end of an epoch for the nations." (Ez. 30:2-3).
So just as the earth began in a cover of clouds "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling bands..." (Job 38:8-9). So will it return at the end. It is out of these clouds that Jesus will return, and it is a section of these same clouds that will part just before His return to show His sign in the sky, the true Ark of the Covenant.
"Then the Lord will bring these things once more to light, and the glory of the Lord will be seen, and so will the cloud, as it was revealed in the time of Moses..." (2 Macc.2:8).
When Jesus was taken from the apostles, rising into the air and disappearing behind a cloud, the angels told the apostles gathered there that He would return in exactly the same way from behind the cloud.
"...he was lifted up while they looked on, and a cloud took him from their sight. They were still staring into the sky when suddenly two men in white were standing near them and they said, 'Why are you men from Galilee standing here looking into the sky? Jesus who has been taken up from you into heaven, this same Jesus will come back in the same way as you have seen him go there." (Acts 1:9-11).
The theophany of that return is at hand now. The loud trumpet blast that heralds this return and sets the people trembling is the warning of a disaster that is beginning now. It is a disaster that is to overwhelm all who refuse to repent in earnest and turn to Christ for the salvation that can save their souls from eternal death. Time is very short. Do not put off another hour the escape Christ has set in place for those with ears to hear and eyes to see.
2. The reason for the hail (Rev. 11:19)? PL
Jesus Christ is the sin-offering. He has offered Himself on the cross in order to repeal the sins of mankind in accordance with the terms of the Law set forth by Moses. Without Christ's sacrifice eternal life would not be possible. No one could ever be saved had Jesus not gone to the cross. For this reason, and to fulfill the terms of Moses, Jesus showed at the Last Supper that His offering must be eaten by believers not only spiritually in the form of His Gospel, but physically as a "Perpetual Sacrifice" as well.
When the perpetual sacrifice was not eaten at the time of Moses, Moses prayed to the Lord and fire came down from heaven and burned up the holocausts. This is the reason for the hail in the last days. That same fire is built into the Law and it applies to the true Perpetual Sacrifice the Host of Christian Communion.
"If the victim is offered as a votive or a voluntary sacrifice, it is to be eaten on the day it is offered and also on the following day; but on the third day whatever remains of the victim's flesh must be thrown on the fire." (Lev.7:16-17)
"Moses had said, 'It is because the sin-offering had not been eaten that it was burned up'." (2 Macc.2:11)
The beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to attack the Perpetual Sacrifice, putting iniquity on the sacrifice and preventing its distribution (Dan. 8:11). "For the space of one-half week he (the beast) will put a stop to sacrifice and oblation." (Dan.9:27). Left uneaten, the communion Host draws the fire from heaven the hail. According to John, the hail is the most terrible of all the plagues of the last days.
"See how God lays the earth waste, makes it a desert, buckles its surface, scatters its inhabitants...for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant. So a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men are left." (Is.24:1-6).
It was essential to God that the Christian religion be built on the template of Judaism. It had to be constructed legally according to the Law. Otherwise Jesus would have been unable to get us out of the Law. That is why it was so important to Jesus that every pronouncement in it be fulfilled as written, but only in accordance with God's interpretation of that writing. In Moses everything has a single meaning and that meaning is physical. In Moses, scripture is literal. In Christ, however, true meaning is spiritual. The kingdom of God is not in the physical world. It is a spiritual kingdom far away.
For this reason there is double meaning in all of Christianity's elements, and in the Mosaic elements as well. That is why symbolic understanding is so essential. In terms of the sacrifice, Jesus is the Paschal Lamb of God, the perfect unblemished sacrifice demanded by the Law to take sins away by its terms.
Following the pattern of Mosaic Law (i.e., Leviticus), the sharing of God's sacrifice for sin with the people (communion) is divided into two parts. One part is shared with God and the other part, a complementary sacrifice (the azkarah or 'reminder' the portion reminding the worshipper of God) is shared with each other.
In the part we share with God (the peace offering), we eat the body of Christ by consuming and internalizing the Gospel He preached, making it a part of us. Christ's Gospel is "the bread of life" (John 6:48-51). The same is true of the blood. The blood, Hebrew liturgy tells us, is the life of the animal sacrificed. We drink it spiritually when we make Christ's life our own life. By listening to His words and following His path we attain peace i.e., reunion with God.
The physical side of the communion sacrifice is the oblation and wine offered in the church service which we perpetually share with each other. In Mosaic terms, the oblation is the reminder of the sacrifice. Jesus instructed the Church to institute this complementary "reminder" sacrifice when He shared bread and wine with His apostles at the Last Supper, informing them that these were His body and blood and that they (and all Christians after them) should "...do this as a memorial of me." (1 Cor. 11:23-34).
That there is a strong correlation between the spiritual food and the physical food in Jesus's sacrifice is made clear in John 6:51.
The peace offering of Christ, the forgiveness of sins and all aspects of communion, apply only to those who have been baptised in the name of Jesus, an act that legally breaks them with the flesh and insures their rebirth into the spirit of God and eternal life in Christ's new kingdom.
No one who has converted to Christ is subject to the Law of Moses, but all who have rejected that conversion are. So the Mosaic declaration regarding the uneaten Host (Lev.7:16-17) remains imbedded in a Law most of the earth is still chained to by their unfaithfulness and by God's command. Scriptural prophecy tells us that only 1/3 of the people of the earth will follow Christ (Zech.13:8-9). The rest are all bound to Moses by the Law.
The church's perpetual sacrifice of communion has enormous significance. When the Beast cancels it and puts iniquity on the sacrifice, the move is fatal. It means the end of the earth itself. It brings the hail the fire demanded by the Law down onto a world that has refused to leave that Law.
God said to Job, "Have you ever visited the place where the snow is kept, or seen where the hail is stored up, which I keep for times of stress, for days of battle and war?" (Job.38:22-33).
When the 7th angel empties his bowl on the earth, hailstones weighing a talent (75 lbs) each (Rev. 16:20-21) will descend out of the sky onto the land. In the symbolism of scripture this represents a hail of enormous size, probably much more than the 75 pounds depicted.
Revelation's account concerning the hailstones, seems to be specific to a bombardment from the cosmos something that descends on the earth from either nature or God. The "arrows" of the Medes (eastern missles) seem to be something otherwise. The same with the asteroid depicted in Rev. 8:8 (a mountain all on fire hurtling through the skies and into the sea). All three missles, asteroids and hail seem to have a role in the last days. It is not clear whether they come at the same time or in tandem, although there seems little doubt that all three will occur in close association with one another.
Cometary material tends to be light in weight. Gravity often breaks it into pieces, so these cosmic hailstones can come down in a single ball, sequentially or even like rain. The trajectory of comets is quite unlike that of asteroids. Coming from a different source (the Ort cloud that surrounds the solar system) they cannot be seen by astronomers until after they pass behind the sun. For this reason, they give very little warning of their apprroach.
The fact that science has discovered they come out of a cloud only adds to the divine picture.
If the word "hailstone" is fulfilled literally, it means comets and cometary debris, not asteroids. Ice chunks (cometary debris) falls out of the sky at speeds approaching 40,000 miles an hour so fast they don't have time to melt, no matter how hot they become on entry. Being ice, cometary debris would be true hail. Huge hail, to be sure, but momentarily true hail.
Impact then transforming the hail into the burning pillars of fire that fulfill the Mosaic decree, burning up the rejected food of God, the uneaten Host of communion.
I was discussing with my priest what you said about the word of God being taken away in the last days. He said your application of the prophecies was wrong. They only apply to the Jews of the first century, not the Christian Church. KA
There are two houses of Israel in prophecy. Not the classical definition, "Israel" and "Judah", but what they point to and preview, "Christianity" and "Judaism". Both, each in their own time, are destined to reject God.
Understand that in Bible prophecy, as in science, the past is prologue.
In scripture both houses of Israel are cut from the same cloth. They are God's people. The Jews were never abandoned by God, they were made blind for the sake of the salvation of the pagans (Romans 11:11-12).. At the end, after the pagans have rejected Christ, a Jewish remnant will return to God. In fact, according to Paul, their return is the pivotal act that brings this world to its conclusion (Romans 11:11-32).
As a part of the Jewish rejection of Christ, Jesus was sold to Babylon for 30 pieces of silver. From there He saw to the distribution of the Bread of eternal Life to the pagan world. In this role he fulfilled the prophecy of Joseph who was sold by his brothers to Egypt and rose there to command the pharaoh's graneries during a great famine. He distributied from Cairo the food which utimately saved, not only the Egyptians and other foreigners, but his own brothers (whom he forgave) from starvation.
At the end, the pagans are predicted to rebel against the Saviour Jesus Christ to whom they had earlier flocked in massive world numbers. This insurrection is termed variously in scripture as the "Great Revolt, "the rebellion", "the falling away" and the "great rebellion" (1 Thes. 2:3). Have your priest read the 2nd chapter of 2 Thessalonians and discuss this with you. Especially in light of current events. If not today, discuss it again with him ten years from now.
That falling away into Satan's delusion brings to the earth a great darkness. It is a darkness that hides from the world the word of God. It is a famine of God's spiritual bread the Bread of Life.
"I shall send my two witnesses (Peter and Paul) to prophesy for those twelve hundred and sixty days, wearing sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lamps that stand before the Lord of the world...When they have completed their witnessing, the beast that comes out of the Abyss is going to make war on them and overcome them and kill them (Rev.11:1-13).
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive all the nations in the four quarters of the earth Cog and Magog, and mobilise them for war. His armies will be as many as the sands of the sea; ·they will come swarming over the entire country and besiege the camp of the saints, which is the city that God loves. But fire will come down on them from heaven and consume them. ·Then the devil, who misled them, will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not stop, day or night, for ever and ever." (Rev.20:7-10).
"It (the Rebel) grew right up to the armies of heaven and flung armies and stars to the ground, and trampled them underfoot. It even challenged the power of that army's Prince; it abolished the perpetual sacrifice and overthrew the foundation of his sanctuary, and the army too; it put iniquity on the sacrifice and flung truth to the ground..." (Dan. 8:10-12).
"The ships of Kittim will oppose him, and he will be worsted. He will reture and take furious action against the holy covenant and, as before, he will favor those who forsake that holy covenant. Forces of his will come and profane the sanctuary citadel, they will abolish the perpetual sacrifice and instal the disastrous abomination there. Those who break the covenant he will corrupt by his flatteries, but the people who know their God will stand firm and take action. Those of the people who are learned will instruct many; for some days, however, they will be brought down by sword and flame, by captivity and by plundering. And thus brought down, little help will they receive, though many will be plotting on their side. Of the learned some will be brought down, as a result of which certain of them will be purged, purified and made white until the time of the End, for the appointed time is still to come." (Dan. 11:30-35).
"That day it is the Lord who speaks I will make the sun go down at noon, and darken the earth in broad daylight. I am going to turn your feasts into funerals, all your singing into lamentation; your loins will be sackclothed, and all heads shaved. I will make it a mourning like the mourning for an only son as long as it lasts it will be like a day of bitterness." (Amos 8:9-10).
"See what days are coming it is the Lord God who speaks days when I will bring famine on the country, a famine not of bread, a drought not of water, but of hearing the word of God. They will stagger from sea to sea, wander from north to east, seeking the word of the Lord and failing to find it" (Amos 8:11-12).
As you can see in the subjective variety of the verses above (and there are dozens more), the darkness discussed applies both to first century times and to "third-day" times as well. Both eras are well covered by prophecy in scripture. In many cases, the same verses apply to both because they are so similar in nature. In both, a rejection of Christ brings disaster, tribulation, and in the end, a redistribution of God's word.
And underneath all this chaos, God's secret intention is completed the safe two-thousand-year evacuation of all of God's people from this world to God's new kingdom far away. In the husk of this world that remains, Satan and all who followed him, like a virus and the computer it ruined, are left behind to perish
Satan's attempt to infect God's creation has been defeated.
Is America God's favorite nation? JF
The Old Testament tells us Israel is God's favorite nation. That is why so many people in Old Testament times were expecting a Messiah in the image of a conquering Davidic king who would bring the whole world under his command. Christians who focus on the Old Testament today still expect this kingdom to emerge on the world stage.
Christ brought a different view. He said that Satan is the prince of this world. He came to find the people of God Satan was holding captive in this world and lead them out, taking them to His eternal kingdom a kingdom not of this earth.
That should tells us all we need to know about this world and its nations.
The world population represents an admixture of 2 spiritual cities: Babylon and Jerusalem. We can see the balance for ourselves in the behavior of the nations. At this moment, no government on earth supports Jesus Christ openly. That represents a dramatic change from just 100 years ago and offers conclusive proof of the "Great Revolt" predicted by Paul in 2nd Thessalonians.
Despite the fact that God locked Satan in the Abyss at the beginning of the Christian era, and kept him there throughout its term, the people of the world have shown in their rebellion against God their preference for Satan. To God, this is certain proof that they never belonged to God in the first place.
Is it true that the Roman emperor Constantine changed the sabbath day from saturday to sunday and if so, who gave him such authority? H
The Holy Spirit is the architect of the Church, no one else.
It doesn't matter what an emperor like Constantine did, or even what a prophet like Isaiah thought. The issue that matters is what the Holy Spirit inspires these individuals to say or do for God that is essential to the Church. That is the situation here.
The Holy Spirit is the author of all inspiration. The people He uses are simply His tools.
That applies to Constantine (who, like most of us, was a pagan converted to Christ). Every Church document Constantine put his signature to also carried the signatures of the highest authorities of the Christian Church. The Church bound it. That means it was the will of the Spirit.
We have it on God's personal authority that every dictum accepted by the majority of the Church, also carries with it the unseen signature of God ("What you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and what you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"). As long as the "Day" (the day of God's offer of Atonement) continues, God will guard His Church. That is His promise.
The Holy Spirit has been diligent in keeping that promise.
The reason why few people understand this truth today is that we live in an age of scholarship, not faith. Scholarship ignores the role of the Holy Spirit. Their focus is human spirit. Scholarship follows history. In their concern for what Isaiah or Zechariah thought or what Constantine did, they present a Church molded by the serendipitous thoughts and acts of men.
Prophecy, on the other hand, shows a Church whose master architect is the Holy Spirit.
When Jesus took us out of the Law, He moved us from the Torah (the Old Testament) to the New Testament. That moved the Church from Moses to Christ. It moved the Church from the "Guardian" to the "True Father". By dictate of the Holy Spirit, the holy days of the Church (including the sabbath) followed that move. Everything went to Christ.
Proof that this was the work of the Holy Spirit can be seen in the concurring actions of mainstream Christianity from the days of Constantine to the current age, i.e., to the end of time.
What would you say? Is the Bible more a history of the relationship of God with His people or a history of the people's relationship with God? TR
Actually, the Bible is about a rescue.
It chronicles in great detail God's actions in coming into this world to search for His lost people (those of us Satan took captive when He contaminated the creation). It details step by step His Son's victorious liberaton of Satan's prisoners and their transport to a safe place without the loss of a single person. To call the Bible a history of God's relationship with His people is like calling a book about the Jewish rescue at Entebbe a history of the state of Israel. The Bible is about a rescue the reconciliation of a lost people with God.
There is ample evidence in prophecy to indicate that even the so-called "Big Bang" itself was actually an end-time event, the light of God crashing into the dark confines of Satan's dungeon to search out every nook and cranny of his prison, the great Abyss. The reality is, we have no idea about the complete history. We come in at the end of God's war with Satan. When the Bible starts, Satan's defeat in heaven is already known and defined.
That was a huge war and we know nothing about it except that Satan and his angels lost.
What happened before that? Where did we come from? Where were we before? We know those answers concerning our flesh. But what about our spirit our soul? Where does it come from? That is the part we really are. And we know that Satan contaminated our soul because Peter taught that baptism does not cleanse the body, it cleanses our spirit. It was not a contaminated flesh that imprisoned us here. It was a contaminated soul.
In this world the flesh and the soul are completely different from one another. Jesus said that of all the people who have died on earth, none of them is yet dead to God. We know that their flesh is dead. It turned back to dust or ashes long ago. Yet the soul does not die. That is why it can be cleansed by baptism and given a new body if God so chooses.
In baptism we receive a cleansed soul and a new body that is eternal. We know of this only by faith. It is that faith that gives God the power to transport us from this dying outpost in the wilderness to God's eternal city in heaven, wedded there to a new body that can never die.
And that is why the Bible stops at Jesus.
He took our sins with Him to the cross and marked out the path that leads to eternal life. If we accept baptism in His name and follow His Gospel, letting it live in our hearts until the very end, we will live forever. We will have escaped Satan's dungeon and participated in the great redemption the Bible chronicles and promises.
Heaven, is it in outer space the way Mormons say or in another dimension? What are your thoughts? JO
The Bible separates heaven from our universe. There are many examples in scripture describing this separation, but none more eloquently than in Peter's second letter:
"They are choosing to forget that there were heavens at the beginning, and that the earth was formed by the word of God out of water and between the waters, so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded by water. But by the same word, the present sky and earth are destined for fire, and are only being reserved until Judgement day so that all sinners may be destroyed." (2 Peter 3:5-7).
The material universe is mortal. It may have multiple dimensions as some scientists now say, but no matter how many, all would still be matter-based, and therefore mortal. Our physical universe is dying and so are all of its myriad dimensions. That is one reason why no part of our universe can house heaven. Heaven is everlasting. It cannot fit into a universe that is dying.
Actually, to call heaven a dimension of our universe is to make the same mistake the church in the Middle Ages did when they insisted that the earth was the center of the cosmos. The fact is, neither the earth nor our universe is the center of God's cosmos.
Eternal life is not possible in the physical universe. Science shows us that our physical universe is not only going to die, but it will do so by its own processes (by decay). It was not built to last. It was built to die. The soul, on the other hand, does not die unless God intervenes and destroys it. The soul is not matter, therefore it is not perishable in the way of the physical universe. In fact, had it not been stained by Satan, our soul was built to live forever.
It is in this dichotomy between flesh and soul that I feel heaven can best be seen.
There are two kinds of heavens (two universes). The lower universe is a physical place, it's heaven filled with galaxies and stars and all the elements of matter. The upper universe which we term "heaven" is the universe of the spirit and is the current domain of God, His Son Jesus Christ and all the angels, etc. Our physical body of flesh belongs to the former. Our spiritual soul to the latter.
Some may question this heavenly origin, but consider this: Not even a direct hit by a hydrogen bomb or the explosion of a super-nova can damage our soul. God has created it impervious to physical death.
According to Peter, the souls of all who died in the flood continue to live in the Abyss (1 Peter 3:18-21). Jesus went to them and preached to them after His death on the cross. Physical death (the flood), although it destroyed their bodies, and all other living animals on earth did not kill their souls (the reality of who they were). It is the same with everyone else on earth who has ever lived. That is why Jesus said that 'no one is dead to God' "To God, all men are in fact still alive". (Lk. 20:38).
That difference between flesh and spirit shows that the soul was generated by a universe different than the one we now occupy. The Bible points to our soul's heavenly origin by saying that Satan stole us from God stole us from heaven through contamination and is holding us captive in his own domain, the Abyss of this, the physical universe (the lower waters of Genesis 1:9 see Peter's quote above).
By the power of God there is a measured but dynamic interraction between these two universes (i.e., between heaven and earth). The Bible is the textbook that explains that interconnection. We see it in many ways in terms of Jesus and Moses and the prophets, of inspiration, of love, compassion and kindness, of prayer and its fulfillment, of miracles, of church, and continuing prophecy, of angels, of rescue, and even in terms of divine guidance and protection where faith is strong.
This interaction is apportioned by faith. Faith is the mechanism in man that regulates in this world the power of God, increasing it or decreasing it. When Jesus said faith has power to move a mountain into the sea, He showed that an enormous power from God's spiritual universe is at mankind's disposal. Permission to use it has been granted to all who obey Jesus. It is a power capable of altering this world's science in ways that have nothing to do with science in trackless ways completely beyond the realm of science.
The most visible demonstration of the ubiquitous interaction between these two universes is in ourselves. We are one part flesh and one part soul (the true essence of who we are). That spiritual essence and its potential dominance over the body by faith shows heaven's unseen power over the lower universe.
The union between soul and flesh was first formed in Adam and Eve. Students of the Bible date it at 6000 years. That late date comes quickly to a focus in Abraham who, as patriarch of the twelve tribes of Israel points to the Mosaic Law, which in turn points to Jesus Christ, all of it confirming that the material world was made soley for the spiritual rescue both Testaments of scripture prophesy. Nothing else.
"I will punish Bel in Babylon and take from his mouth what he has swallowed. In future the nations will stream to him no more. The wall of Babylon has fallen. Go out of her, my people; save your lives, each one of you, from the fierce anger of the Lord. But do not be faint-hearted! (Jer.51:44-45)
'Go away, go away, leave that place, touch nothing unclean. Get out of her, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord. But you are not to hurry away, you are not to leave like fugitives. No the Lord will go in front of you, and the God of Israel will be your rear-guard." (Is.52:11-12).
The material world was created by God to network with the universe of heaven for a specific purpose to shine the light of Christ into the darkest recesses of Satan's Abyss in search of the people of God which he took captive, and lead them home to God's kingdom in the upper heaven. This world's product and fate are written in its own creation code, a code specific to that ultimate and short-lived purpose as stated.
We do not know the size of the rescue God has in mind, but the dimensions of our universe alone argue an enormous endeavor spread across the farthest reaches of the Great Abyss. That helps explain why the sifting has taken such a long time, almost 2000 years, and involved so many successive generations.
As scripture says, God has made the seabed a road for the redeemed to cross. He has turned the waters of space (the Great Abyss) into dry land so we can make our journey dry-shod.
"Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in strength, arm of God...Did you not dry up the sea, the waters of the great Abyss, to make the seabed a road for the redeemed to cross?" (Is.51:9-10).
"And God will...stretch out his hand over the River, and divide it into seven streams, for men to cross dry-shod, to make a pathway for the remnant of his people..." (Is.11:15).
"Pass through, pass through the gates. Make a way for the people. Bank up, bank up the highway, clear it of stones. Hoist the signal for the peoples. This the Lord proclaims to the ends of the earth: Say to the daughter of zion, 'Look, your savior comes, the prize of his victory with him, his trophies before him'. They shall be called 'the Holy People', 'the Lord's Redeemed'. And you shall be called 'The-sought-after', 'City-not-forsaken'." (Is.62:10-12).
"No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before. See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds. The wild beasts will honor me...because I am putting water in the wilderness (rivers in the wild) to give my chosen people drink. The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises." (Is.43:18-21).
"And through it will run a highway undefiled which shall be called the Sacred Way; the unclean may not travel by it, nor fools stray along it." (Is.35:8).
No one can explain the enigma of the union of a spiritual soul with a physical body. Not only does it represent the wedding of a non-biological spirit with biological matter, its varied response to the Gospel demonstrates that the soul has a life of its own, far superior to that of the body, with power to recognize God and make our biological body obey His commands.
Christ's statement that "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak" suggests the body is much more than a sophisticated tool our soul either uses or misuses in ways closely watched and documented by God, but the perfect reflection of the soul it houses. God has wed us together in such a way that few can look at the body and not recognize the origin of the soul inside it.
Even so, like a worn-out suit of clothes, the body of flesh dies. It died, according to Paul, in baptism. In that divine moment we were born to a new body, invisible to us now, but ready to spring to eternal life in Christ's new kingdom in heaven, showing that everthing that constitutes who we are is contained in our soul.
God has sent every person on earth to this "Babylon" to be sifted by Satan (Micah 4:10) .
"Simon, Simon! Satan, you must know, has got his wish to sift you all like wheat; but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail, and once you have recovered, you in your turn must strengthen your brothers." Luke 22:31
No one has escaped this inspection. As Jesus said, the kingdom of God is like a great net cast into the sea that brings in a catch of all kinds. At the time of the End the angels gather on the banks and sort through the catch. Making their selection on the basis of the Gospel, they keep the good and throw the bad away.
Because it is imperishable in the physical world, the only way our soul can die is in a "second death". The body of flesh is subject to physical death and perishes with this world (the first death), but the soul can only die in accordance with the rules of the spirit. That is the spiritual death that has descended in judgment on the earth in Christian times. It has come in the form of the Gospel of Christ.
The Gospel is God's spiritual refining fire. For almost 2000 years it has burned across the earth bringing life or death to all it touches; and it has touched everyone.
All who turn their lives over to Christ and are baptised in His name, receive eternal life. All who renounce Him will perish in the second death, the burning lake of sulphur which John described in the Book of Revelation (Rv. 20:13-15; 21:8).
In addition to the two universes discussed here, the Apostle Paul tells us there is a third heaven (a third universe). The third heaven is the highest heaven of all (2 Cor.12:2). That is the unseen and unused heaven (the pristine universe) that awaits all whom God has chosen. It is there that God is constructing Christ's new kingdom in accordance with the good deeds of the saints.
"And I seemed to hear the voices of a huge crowd answering, 'Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints'." (Rv.19:5-8).
"Write this, happy are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb." (Rv.19:9).
"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband." (Rv.21:1-2).
"Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God; his name is 'God-with-them'. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness. The world of the past has gone. Now I am making the whole of creation new' he said." (Rv.21:3-4).
"Write this: that what I am saying is sure and will come true.'; And then he said, 'It is already done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water from the well of life free to anybody who is thirsty; it is the rightful inheritance of the one who proves victorious; and I will be his God and he a son to me. But the legacy for cowards...is the second death." (Rv.21:6-8).
"One of the angels came to speak to me, and said, 'Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married'. In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond." (Rv.21:9-10).
It is there that we, who are God's children will live forever in a new heaven, with a new imperishable body according to the promise of Christ:
"Think of the love that the Father has lavished on us, by letting us be called God's children; and that is what we are."
"Because the world refused to acknowledge him, therefore it does not acknowledge us. My dear people we are already the children of God but what we are to be in the future has not yet been revealed; all we know is, that when it is revealed we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is." (1 John 3:1-2).
Is Israel's war with Lebanon part of the prophecy? If so, which one? PL
War ravaging Lebanon? Rockets over Mount Carmel? Jerusalem girded for battle? Sidon in flames? Which Bible prophecies would headlines like these NOT be a part of?
The world today ridicules scripture and those who believe its promise. Yet the Bible's prophecies are fulfilled daily and graphically before the eyes of all nations. Television and newspapers across the planet scream the news at fever pitch. Who could miss it?
Almost everyone, apparently. Ironically, the world's persistant blindness in face of this overwhelming and ongoing historical testimony is, in itself, a part of the prophecy.
For centuries, Christians have pondered the Bible's prophecies and enigmatic signs heralding the last days, wondering when they would be fulfilled. Now, in our time, those answers have come pouring out of scripture like a river of revelation, cascading into truth before our eyes. And there is much more to come. Most of it written down more than 2000 years ago as testament to a rebellious people in the hopes that they might see the light and grasp Christ's offer of peace before it is too late.
Once Jerusalem has been rebuilt, say the prophets, the Lord will gather all the nations of the world, in full military regalia and bent on doing battle, to Jerusalem. As they gather for Armageddon He will return high over them bringing the salvation He has promised to those wise enough to have followed Him.
Satan has returned from his prison in the Abyss and he has mobilized the world for war. The rebuilding of Jerusalem did not alter his plan, it simply highlighted his target. The stage for Armageddon is to be the land of Israel. Satan intends a fiery end to the planet, an inferno that brings the Last Judgment to all who are violent and unrepentant.
As the world watches the current fires of war burn across the Holy Land, the nations need to understand the calamitous chaos these fires portend and how close that approaching catastrophe lies.
The current war wratches up the warning for the secular world. It is a brutal reminder of what is coming and whereand why repentance is so urgent. Like it or not, scripture has ordained that Jerusalem is to be center stage for whatever history is left. Those who laugh should take a sober look around. It's not going to get any better. And time is running out for all who continue to procrastinate a return to Jesus Christ.
What is next? War with Iran? DH
No. There is nothing in prophecy to suggest the United States declaring war on Iran at this time. That comes later. Iran is the "Persia" of the prophecies, the central nation in the drive to Armageddon. Far from engaging in a new war, the United States may soon suffer a calamitous period of economic collapse.
The era we find ourselves in today is called, in scripture, "the Wrath". It is the age of the end, i.e., the last days. It began with the 20th century and has involved all the wars and turmoil that have dogged the planet ever since. The biblical signs showing that the end is close will continue wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in diverse places, etc., everything that is prophesied. God, who orders all things for good, has armed nature to fight with Him against the reckless. Even so, the Lord has decreed that even the Wrath be measured. He is being slow to act to give the world extra time to repent and follow Him to life.
"But you, our God are kind, loyal and slow to anger, and you govern all things with mercy. (Wis.15:1).
"God the righteous judge is slow to show his anger, but he is a God who is always enraged by those who refuse to repent." (Ps.7:12).
"Men were biting their tongues for pain, but instead of repenting for what they had done, they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores. " (Rev.16:11).
We are at the point in the prophecies where the political command of the world is about to fall from the hands of the West into the hands of the East. Therefore, what we are seeing now in world politcs is the rise of the East. The militancy in this exchange of powers portends Muslim civil war and a Bible-land division at the Euphrates river that Daniel designates, North versus South. The fighting between all the factions involved seems guaranteed to be continuous.
The transfer of political power away from the West is proof that the salvation of the pagans is coming to an end. And with it, the dispersion to Babylon that insured western power during the Christian era. The end of the Diaspora is to come packaged in the actions of the "Prince of Persia" (2 Chron. 36:17-23), a prophecy to be fulfilled in the wretched madman the Church calls the "Beast".
The Great Revolt (the disassociation of the nations from Christ 2 Thes. 2:3) has reached its mutinous apex. Except for the Vatican there is not a single western nation on earth that now stands in support of Jesus Christ. Two hundred years ago, all did. This sudden rebellion against God by the nations reflects a change in attitude among the people those nations rule. This insurrection is the healing of the mortal wound: it has raised up from its deathbed, Babylon, the great ruling city that has authority over all the rulers on earth.'
The world's apostasy is about to be addressed by God. The Wrath comes focused in two areas. One is aimed at a re-paganised world under a banner of secularism (Babylon reborn), and the other confronts a Jewish nation in violation of Jeremiah's terms of Ingathering. Together, God's response to these two rebellions (the Wrath) is at the heart of all that is immediately ahead.
According to Jeremiah, the proof of Israel's catastrophic future as outlined in his prophecies will come in the form of an assassination (Jer.44:29-30). It will involve an individual Jeremiah calls "Pharaoh of Egypt". On October 6, 1981, the president of Egypt was assassinated by militants for his involvement in a peace treaty signed between Egypt and Israel. This was without question a key part of the fulfilllment of Jeremiah's prophecy. It highlighted in advance the catastrophic invasion of Lebanon that was poised to come and darken Israel's former glory.
Eight months after this assassination, Israel under Ariel Sharon, invaded and destroyed Lebanon and massacred hundreds of unarmed Muslim refugees. He was exonerated of this crime by a friendly Jerusalem court and spent much of the rest of his life building at an accelerated pace, Israeli settlements in Palestinian lands. Everything he did brought Israel into open conflict with Jeremiah's warnings concerning the rules for the return from Babylon (Jer.42:10-18), and subjected his nation to the consequences of those violations (Jer.44:12-14)..
Jeremiah, in his prediction of the assassination, associates it with Egypt's conquest of Media (Iraq) and the stationing of Egyptian troops near the Euphrates river (Jer. 46:2-10).. Since those actions have taken place in our time under the flag of a different nation, it seems logical to assume there will be a different "Pharaoh." as well. This possibility is even more likely considering that Daniel's end-time prophecy revolves around a western figure reminiscent of Alexander the Great, his sudden death and the unexpected fracturing of his empire into four parts (Dan.11:3-4). Alexander's image in 21st century garb portrays the western world (Javan), the empire of democracy (Dan. 11:2).
The prophecy predicts the shattering of democracy into four parts across the world. All different and none like its source (the western empire that has collapsed).
The sudden collapse of Alexander's empire represents Daniel's symbolic reference to the ultimate fate of the western world (Javan). This collapse has to be particularly focused in the United States since we are the "wall of Babylon", the defense and protection (the policeman as it were) of the rest of the world.
Serious economic collapse would have to be a key part of it, but Ezekiel's prophecies of Tyre suggest the collapse comes in conjunction with disaster a catastrophe he associates with the waters of the sea (Ez. 26:19). If there are several disasters, they may well follow the format of those that descended on America after the Madelyn Murray O'Hare decision. In fact, a war of endless quagmire is already in progress. Whatever causes this abrupt collapse, it seems to have the effect of severely disabling America's role as the world policeman. There would be no way for America to stem the elements of anarchy that are destined to bring the forces of the East to power during the years between the collapse and the invasion of Israel.
Daniel chronology muddys up after this collapse. That is because it is the time of anarchy a period the Bible calls "the Wrath" (Amos 6:3). It is the time of the rise of the evil empire the empire of "great iron teeth" outlined in Daniel's prophecy (Dan.7:7). It's rise is concomitant with that of the ten-nation confederacy of the East (the ten kings Daniel foresees taking power in association with the Beast at the end of days). All this will take shape amidst continuous see-sawing battles that are destined to rake the Mideast from now until the end (Dn 11:5-14). The rise of Daniel's iron empire may take 10 or 20 years. Perhaps longer.
It is during this violent time that the nations will align themselves into the North and the South in relation to the Euphrates river. In this respect Muslim civil war between Arabs and Persians (Sunni's and Shiites) seems sure to happen. The nations will certainly divide, and it is inconceivable that the new Persians armed militant Shiites will be tolerated in those Arab countries trying to align themselves with the kingdoms of the South.
All this will culminate finally in a king (Dn. 11:10-19) from the far north (supported by the ten nations). He and his forces will come sweeping south across the euphrates and down into Jerusalem. This invader is the first king in Daniel's prophecy. His army will be immense. His appearance will be symbolically suggestive of Antiochus the Great. That is the image Daniel portrays him in. He is not the Beast, but many will think he is because he will capture Jerusalem, crush much of the western world and bring the East to world power in its place. He will try to attack the United States but will fail. In that attempt, he will be soundly defeated.
Jeremiah predicts disaster for Israel. According to his prophecies, the assassination that claims the life of the Pharaoh of Egypt is a certain signal to the world that Jerusalem will soon be overrun by armies. (Joel 1:5-7). According to Jeremiah, no one in the settlements will survive this invasion (Jer.44:12-14). The marauding warriors from the east will destroy the Israeli army and occupy Jerusalem. According to Daniel, only a treaty will save the nation from annihilation and total defeat a treaty that demands a marriage between Israel and "a woman's daughter", apparently Palestine (Dn.11:16-17). That accomplished, the foreign troops will withdraw and refocus their warmongering elsewhere, eventually sending attacking forces even against the United States (Dn.11:18).
Israel's treaty of peace with the "King of the North" insures that a Jewish remnant will remain in war-torn Jerusalem until the end, until the return of Jesus Christ. At the end, during the reign of the Beast, Jerusalem will be defended by the American "ships of Kittim" (Dn.11:30).
Blocked and defeated in his effort to invade the United States, the first king will withdraw back to the European continent and soon perish. In his place will briefly rise an "extortioner" (Dn.11:20), but he will quickly be replaced by the one they call the Beast (Dn.11:21-45). A madman, the Beast will attack the Church, murder its highest bishops (Dn. 9:26) and desecrate the Perpetual Sacrifice of Christ (Dn.11:31-32). The end of this madman will come in catastrophe and until the end there will be war and all the chaos predicted.
All the nations will be drawn by God to Israel. Babylon, the great city that has authority over all the rulers on earth will be burned to the ground. The waters beside her, all the peoples, populations, nations and languages will be consumed by the ten kings and the beast.
"The ten horns are ten kings who have not yet been given their royal power, but will have royal authority only for a single hour and in association with the beast. They are all of one mind in putting their strength and their powers at the beast's disposal, and they will go to war against the Lamb; but the Lamb is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and he will defeat them and they will be defeated by his followers, the called, the chosen, the faithful.' (Rev.17:12-14).
At that moment, with skies blackened with smoke so dense the sun will be unable to give its light, Jesus will return as promised to save all who had the courage to follow Him.
"The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up. Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and hope for the Day of God to come." (2 Peter 3:10-12).
This only scratches the surface of the prophecies scripture has been designed to reveal about the days to come. An in-depth examination of these and many others fill the pages of this website. God has decreed through the prophets that He will not do anything on earth without first revealing His prophecies to His people in advance.
"Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed? Does misfortune come to a city if the Lord has not sent it? No more does the Lord God do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:6-7).
I received a letter recently from a reader asking about a book he read in which the author, claiming to support Christ, charged that Satan had, early in the history of the religion, destroyed the Christian Church . That destruction, he said, corrupted every aspect of the Church, all the worship, the rituals; the nomenclature of the Deity, the calendar, and so forth.
That author's charges are false. By attacking Christ's Church, his book is a Trojan Horse. Standing at the doorway of the city of God in supposedly friendly clothes, it comes filled with its own tools of destruction. The fact is, nothing can harm Christ's Church, even the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it:
"So I now say to you: You are Peter (the name means 'rock') and on this rock I will build my Church. And the gates of the underworld can never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.' (Mat.16:13-19).
"I implore you, brothers, be on your guard against anybody who encourages trouble or puts difficulties in the way of the doctrine you have been taught. Avoid them. People like that are not slaves of Jesus Christ, they are slaves of their own appetites, confusing the simple-minded with their pious and persuasive arguments." (Rom.16:17-18).
The Holy Spirit is the architect of the Church. Satan has no power to penetrate the fiery wall the Spirit has erected around Christ's Church for the sake of its protection. The salvaton Christ offered within its walls is perfect. And that salvation is now almost complete. The Return of Christ is imminent.
Jesus reconciled everything in heaven and earth by His death on the cross (Col.1:19-20). In the divine architecture of that reconciliation, the Holy Spirit has divided God's Church into seven perfect parts encompassing virtually all of its denominations (Prov.9:1-2; Is.11:15; Rev.1:20), so that any baptised Christian within the Church with faith to follow Jesus Christ will live forever.
"Anyone who believes in the Son has eternal life, but anyone who refuses to believe in the Son will never see life; the anger of God stays on him". (Jn. 3:36).
In case anyone hasn't noticed, major assaults against Christ's Church are increasing dramatically. That is because we are nearing the end of days and Satan's ranks are increasing. The Church's growing adversaries attack with books, lawsuits, newspaper and magazine columns, radio and television commentaries, advertisements, countless misconceptions and a river of verbal hatred all aimed at trying to bring down the 2000-year old Church Jesus Christ founded on this earth.
From full-page advertisement in the newspapers excoriating Evangelical Christians, to bitter attacks blasting the Church in the interest of godless creation advocates, gay marriage proponents, the gambling communities, atheistic interests, anti-Catholics and on and on, these attacks continue unabated. The accusations come from across the entire spectrum of American society: from the education community, the media, the government, the judiciary, the homosexual community and even the corporate world.
There are almost 2 billion Christians on earth today. Virtually one-third of the population of the earth has committed their lives to the righteousness of His Gospel. Is that righteousness now suddenly a surprise? From the time of Sodom and Gomorrah to the writings of the Torah to the Gospel of Jesus, a time spread across the last 4000 years, God's morality has been indelibly defined on earth. It has not changed. Not in all that time.
So why now all this feigned surprise? Who's morality has changed?
The fact is, the world hates Christ's message. They hate God's Church. They hate His righteousness and have outlawed His name from their hearing. Their dark charges are false and misleading, and, with the umbra of the Armageddon now darkening the Bible-lands, and an intense global warming preparing tinder for the fires to come, their sweeping distortions offer alarming witness to the swift approach of the night of Satan foreseen by Jesus the night now descending when the light temporarily disappears and no one can work. (John.9:4-5).
Here we are in the very shadow of Armageddon. What do they think? That God is going to welcome them for their assaults against Him? We are at the very moment in history when everyone on earth should be falling on their knees to God in contrition and repentance and just the opposite is happening. War on His Church? It is unthinkable and so foolish. No one who attacks Christ will survive.
But this is Satan's world. The only reason Christ's Church was able to operate here at all is that God sent Michael the Archangel down from heaven in the earliest days of the Church to lock Satan in the Abyss for a thousand years (a term doubled by faith). Now, with Jerusalem rebuilt, the Middle East in flames, and the hostility of the Revolt encompassing all the nations, those thousand years are over. That means it will soon be night.
"When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive all the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and mobilise them for war. His armies will be as many as the sands of the sea; they will come swarming over the entire country and besiege the camp of the saints, which is the city that God loves". (Rev.20:7-9)
"But fire will come down on them from heaven and consume them. Then the devil, who misled them, will be thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not stop, day or night, forever and ever." (Rev.20:9-10)
"Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of life was opened, and other books opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged." (Rev.20:11-12)
"The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake." (Rev.20:13-15).
"Happy are those who die in the Lord! Happy indeed, the Spirit says; now they can rest for ever after their work, since their good deeds go with them." (Rev.14:13).
"Happy are those who will have washed their robes clean, so that they will have the right to feed on the tree of life and can come through the gates into the city." (Rev.22:14).
Was my soul alive before it was born into my body? If so, where was it kept and did I know I was alive at the time? OS
According to Jesus our souls were alive before the material world was created, but in the form of spiritual "seeds". Therefore pre-existant knowledge would not be possible.
You are asking about the mystical realites spiritual unknowns. We can actually look into these to some degree because God has created the physical world so that all of its elements echo the spiritual realities that underlie it. That is why we can see God's spiritual world so easily in the images of night and day, and the sun and the moon, and so forth. God has designed the physical world to act as a metaphore of the kingdom of Jesus.
God's power is beyond our fathoming, but it does follow a plan that is preordained one whose facets are symbolically echoed in the structure of the physical world so that we can understand it.
In the case of our souls, Jesus told two parables about them, using the principles of the earth, and both revolving around the sowing of seeds. In one (his parable of "The Tares"), Jesus compared our souls to seeds:
"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. While everybody was asleep his enemy came, and sowed darnel all among the wheat, and made off. When the new wheat sprouted and ripened, the darnel appeared as well. The owner's servants went to him and said, "Sir, was it not good seed that you sowed in your field? If so, where does the darnel come from?" "Some enemy has done this" he answered. And the servants said, "Do you want us to go and weed it out?" But he said, "No, because when you weed out the darnel you might pull up the wheat with it. Let them both grow till the harvest; and at harvest time I shall say to the reapers: First collect the darnel and tie it in bundles to be burnt, then gather the wheat into my barn." (Matt. 13:24-30)
God had planted in creation the seed of a holy people but Satan sneaked in and, with incredible power, mixed into God's creation an unholy seed, so that two different kinds of people rose together in the same field, one the children of God and the other, the children of Satan. (John 8:19; John.8:42-44).
The seed is our soul. It is a spiritual seed, i.e., its origin is heaven. The field in which it is sown is the earth. Combining with the earth, our souls rise up in temporary bodies made of the earth, called flesh.
The soul can live forever (if it is cleansed), but not the flesh. For this reason, Paul tells us that the earth's body cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. A temporary body is no good in heaven. Our soul must have a body that, like the soul, has the capacity to live forever, something no body can do in the physical universe where everything dies.
Both the seeds of God and the seeds of Satan were formed in heaven. When God discovered that surreptitious disaster through Adam and Eve, war broke out in heaven, Satan was defeated and he and his angels (the evil spiritual powers) were thrown out of heaven down to this earth.
There seems little doubt that all the seeds touched by Satan (both those of God's that he contaminated as well as his own) were also sent by God into the Abyss with Satan. Either that, or Satan took them with him. For that is where they all sat (in the Abyss) during the time of mist and darkness (the time of the exile) until a world was created by God where each seed (each soul) could be raised up to life by Christ to be examined.
Jesus called the world into which all these souls were raised to life in the flesh, Satan's world. He made certain that we knew that Satan was the "prince of this world" (the prince of Babylon) (John 12:31-32)., not God. God's world is not of this earth (Jn.18:36). It is in a kingdom far away another universe, in fact a place described in Genesis as the "Upper Waters" (Gen.1:7-8).
The brief life of the flesh makes life for our soul on this earth very short. Jesus came to rescue us from that short-lived fate by bringing the Word of God to earth.
In the second parable, Jesus likens the Word of God to seed. In this case, the field into which it is sown is our soul. His metaphore revolves around four different types of souls that come into contact with the seed of God's Word:
"Listen! Imagine a sower going out to sow. Now it happened that, as he sowed, some of the seed fell on the edge of the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky ground where it found little soil and sprang up straight-away, because there was no depth of earth; and when the sun came up it was scorched and, not having any roots, it withered away. Some seed fell into thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it produced no crop. And some seeds fell into rich soil and, growing tall and strong, produced crop; and yielded thirty, sixty, even a hundred fold. Listen, anyone who has ears to hear!" (Mark 4:3-8).
Explaining this parable to His disciples, Jesus said:
"You, therefore, are to hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path. The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once. The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing. And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty." (Mat. 13:18-23)
The soul that hears the word and understands it and yields a harvest because of that understanding is the seed of God, i.e., a child of God. Christ created this universe for the sole purpose of finding the children of God and rescuing them from Satan's grasp, and transporting them, one by one, to His new creation in heaven.
Speaking of this examination, Jesus said Satan had got his wish to sift us all like wheat. (Luke 22:31).
The soul cannot live alone. It must be clothed in a body.
The story of Adam and Eve tells us that man cannot live without clothing. When they ate from the tree of knowledge at Satan's request, Adam and Eve realized they were naked and tried to make clothes for themselves. God instructed them, however, that only He could make the kind of clothes their souls needed. God made them out of the skins of animals. This seems an obvious reference to the combination of spiritual soul and the body of flesh that covers it on earth today. Even our appearance here seems to bear witness to this possibility. This is an example of God ordering natural reality to mimic spiritual realities for the sake of our understanding.
According to Jesus, the soul is able to live without a body, but probably not as Adam and Eve did in Eden before the exile, but only in the form of a "seed". The seed that is our soul does not die with the physical world, but it cannot participate in a living experience until it is planted and raised up in a body made out of the substance of its creation.
If our soul is like a seed on earth it contains within it all the knowledge needed to raise up a body in the creation within which it is planted. In heaven, that body would be perfect and without blemish of any kind. In our own case, by the power of the cross we are able to shed the imperfect body of this world and be raised up (born again) into a new perfect body in God's new heaven above.
Because Christ sent us "living water" coming from heaven down to this earth by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is able to plant within each child of God, a new body, a body formed and nourished by the living water that created it. Our new body is not nourished by this world. It's entire being is nourished by the invisible flow of energy that comes from heaven by the power of God.
The souls of those who are enemies of Christ will not be given bodies of any kind to replace their physical ones that die. Instead, they will suffer the "Second Death", a kind of death that has power to destroy spiritual existance itself.
The teachings of scripture seem to show that our soul was kept as a seed for many years and planted on this earth after Jesus created it. The physical universe is the great Abyss into which the light of God came in the form of the word made flesh in order to find and sort through all the seeds (souls) Satan stole. I would suppose, if this is the case, we would have no knowledge of our pre-existance. It doen't seem likely that any of us were born before in some other world. This is our one and only chance to gain eternal life an eternal life open to all who choose to live in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
We know that Christ's offer is for everyone because scripture teaches that even the pagans will be grafted on and counted as Jesus' brothers if they have the faith to listen to the Word of His Gospel and follow Him.
Do you think the mention of Galilee as being "Galilee of the nations [Gentiles]" in Isa 9 and Mat 4 has any special application for today?
Also, you said in your "Short History of Israel" that "the prophecies strongly call for the lost ten tribes to return to Israel in advance of the Jews" and I wondered what you meant by that. I thought the lost ten tribes were really lost? HS
The Isaiah verse (repeated in Matthews Gospel) is a Messianic prophecy predicting the Christ's close association with Galilee, especially with the regions of Zebulon and Naphtali, the borders of which converged at Capernaum.
"Land of Zebulon! Land of Napthali!
Way of the sea on the far side of Jordan
Galilee of the nations!
The people that lived in darkness
has seen a great light;
on those who dwell in the land and shadow of death
a light has dawned." (Mat.4:15-16).
The Jewish learned who studied the ancient writings in Jerusalem at the temple would have been well-familiar with this verse and should have understood (by it's association with a 'light dawning') that the Messiah's earliest preaching appearance would come in this area. How many actually did, or related Jesus' preaching there with the prophecy is not known. Certainly in retrospect it would be obvious, and further proof that God had announced His plan in advance and in writing.
As you suggest, war and its violent machinery are pouring all over this area right now. And the area known as "Armageddon" is not far to the southwest. As prophesied, God is gathering all the nations to this area for the final Judgment. Watching that unfold before our eyes is stunning proof that scripture's messages are closely interrelated and undeniably the work of God.
About the "Short History of Israel":
The lost ten tribes of Israel were lost only so far as their visibility was concerned. To God, they were never lost. Now that we know about DNA and such things as that we can see that human identity remains and can be identified by tests, no matter how scattered it becomes.
God scattered the people who composed those ten tribes (with the help of Assyria) to all the nations where they intermarried with the Gentiles. That is why they were never seen again as independent nations. Yet the mark of them remains forever imbedded in their progeny. That is the way it is in the physical world with the physical body. But the identity of each person is even more perfectly defined in terms of the soul. God is caretaker of the soul and knows every one in great detail. No one can ever be lost.
The Jewish scholars could not conceive a divine intervention powerful enough to restore these missing people, because the lost tribes had become indistinguishable from the Gentiles into whose stock they had disappeared. For this reason, the Jews steadfastly (even to this day) see themselves as the sole beneficiaries of all the ancient promises in scripture concerning the House of Israel.
Scripture had long predicted a royal lineage for the tribe of Judah and the rabbi's translated that to mean exclusivity. In other words, nobody else, just them alone. There were so many prophecies all seeming to say the same thing, who could deny it? But all those prophecies of royalty were for Jesus, not the Jews. It was not the roots that were royal but the One who sprang from them. The royal heir was Jesus, the Christ the Son of the Almighty King. God in the flesh.
Jews, Christians and the lost tribes of Israel are all equal in the sight of God.
The lost tribes of Israel can be seen today only through Christian conversions. The fact that there are twelve tribes of Israel rather than just one explains the variations between the different churches of Christ. If there are eleven different tribes of Israel pursuing Jesus, it only stands to reason that they will each manifest themselves in different ways. Instead of hating and vilifying churches of Christ that differ from our own, then, we should glorify God that these differences exist because they prove the truthfulness of scripture by showing a rescue that spans the entire earth, pagans and tribes together. This diversity shows the following prophecy by the prophet Jeremiah has come true. And that means again the Bible is correct.
"God said to me, 'Next to faithless Judah, disloyal Israel seems virtuous. So go and shout these words towards the North: 'Come back, disloyal Israel -- it is God who speaks -- I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful..." (Jer.3:10-12).
"See, then, that the days are coming -- it is God who speaks -- when people will no longer say, 'As God lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!', but, 'As God lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of the North and back from all the countries to which he had scattered them'." (Jer.16:14-15).
Thus the lost house of Israel has returned in the form of Christianity. There are two houses of Israel once again by the power of God. They have returned just as the prophecies predicted they would.
The prophecies, calling for the lost ten tribes to return to Israel in advance of the Jews has been proved true by their conversion immediately after hearing God's Word. Together with the pagans, these lost tribes have been streaming to Christ for almost 2000 years.. Hundreds of churches have been formed in Jerusalem and all across the nation of Israel and Palestine throughout the 2000 years of this ingathering. The Jews, by contrast, were exiled from the country and forbidden under penalty of death to enter Jerusalem by Roman decree. Their lands were given to others. Consequently, they have remained in an 1800-year "Diaspora" ever since.
A codicile to that diaspora by the king of Babylon allowed a group of army leaders to re-establish a Jewish state in 1947. The prophet Jeremiah seems to have been closely involved with the prophecies of this return.(Jer.42 to 45). The true ending to the Diaspora involves both houses of Israel and, according to scripture, cannot occur until the Prince of Persia issues his proclamation releasing the people of God from their captivity to Babylon (2 Chron.36:22-23).
This discrepancy between ingatherings proves that the true ingathering is to the Jerusalem of heaven, not the Jerusalem on this earth.
Jesus has initiated a rescue of the scattered lost tribes of Israel from all across the earth and recalled them to God's Jerusalem in heaven just as scripture promised He would. Christians need to see themselves, then, in the context of this return, not as sole heirs like the Jews do, but as a family of heirs a family with a great many brothers and sisters all committed to the same master. As far as the Jews are concerned all these other vanished Israelites have been lost and forsaken forever. But the Bible tells a different story:
"God is going to abandon them till the time when she who is to give birth, gives birth. Then the remnant of his brothers will come back to the sons of Israel". (Micah 5:2-3).
Even though scripture began in twelve tribes of Israel and will end in 12 tribes of Israel, most Christians today tend to view themselves as a kind of '13th tribe' of Israel, bound to the Jews as an 'adopted' son of Abraham a sort of second class citizen of heaven. But as the prophets have shown, this is not true. Nor was it ever. How could it be with the lost ten tribes of Israel a part of the package? The fact is, genetics plays no part in the determination of God's people. Not even with the Jews.
"...it is not physical descent that decides who are the children of God".(Rom. 9:8)
The children of God are chosen by the word that is preached. We are not in a competition between races. The struggle is between death and salvation. Christ has offered eternal life. There is no comperable offer in the Book of Moses.
"The word, that is the faith we proclaim, is very near to you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. (Rom.10:8-11)
It is true that pagans were given a way to become a part of the House of Israel through a Jewish graft, but that was so that God could bypass the gene pool and open up His offer of salvation to the entire human race. Even so, the ten missing tribes still form a key element of the prophecy.
"Son of man, the citizens of Jerusalem (the Jews) are telling the rest of the House of Israel, that since they were sent away from God, that it is to them that the land has been given as their domain. Say therefore, The Lord says this: 'Yes, I have sent them far away among the nations, and I have dispersed them to foreign countries...but I will gather them together from among the peoples, I will bring them all back from the countries where they have been scattered and I will give them the land of Israel." (Ez.11:14-21)
The kingdom of God that is hidden in the highest reaches of heaven has not yet been opened. No one has beeen allowed to set foot in it. Christ's kingdom will not be opened until the Last Judgment has been completed. Then the people of God will be allowed to enter in a grand procession, the House of Judah first and the others following behind:
"The Lord will save the tents of Judah first to forestall the arrogance of the House of David and the arrogance of the citizens of Jerusalem from rising to the detriment of Judah. When that day comes, the Lord will spread his protection over the citizens of Jerusalem; the one among them who was about to fall will be like David on that day, and the House of David will be like God (like the angel of the Lord) at their head." (Zech. 12:2-8).
In Matthew 5:17-20 Jesus states that He did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets and that anyone who breaks even the least of those commandments or teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in heaven. How can this compare with Paul's claim that Jesus came to free us from the Law?
"Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven." (Mt.5:17-19).
Jesus is speaking in this passage about the Law of Moses and its transition into the Law of God. That transition considers them to be two parts of the same Law. Moses authored a reflection of the Law which was fulfilled in its entirety by Jesus Christ when He brought the true Law of God down from heaven. The Law of God is the Gospel Jesus taught, and that is the Law referenced here i.e., the Gospel, the Law of God that completed everything Moses foresaw .
We are ordered in Mt. 5:19 to keep all the commandments of Jesus Christ, down to the very smallest detail, and teach others to do the same.
Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. We can see that completion in every aspect of Christianity. The Old Testament forms the template upon which the religion of Jesus Christ has been built. The entire architecture of the Church is built on this Mosaic template. That alone proves the template's fullfillment. So does the fact that Jesus made such extensive efforts to fulfill every prophecy written about Him in the Old Testament.
Through the teaching of the Holy Spirit, Paul recognized that there could not be two laws. One belonged to the Guardian (Moses). It was meant to be a caretaker of the poeple until the true law of God arrived to take its rightful place. He also realized that there is no place for the guardian once the true Father had taken His place. The Law of Moses had to pass away. Only the Law of God through Christ was eternal and would never pass away. As scripture teaches, no one can go into the sanctuary as long as the outer tent remains standing. It had to come down.
"By this, the Holy Spirit is showing that no one has the right to go into the sanctuary as long as the outer tent remains standing; it is a symbol for this present time. None of the gifts and sacrifices offered under these regulations can possibly bring any worshipper to perfection in his inner self; they are rules about the outward life, connected with foods and drinks and washing at various times, intended to be in force only until it should be time to reform them." (Heb. 9:8-10)
It was clear to everyone that no one could be saved in the Law of Moses. No one could survive the Law. Any slip in the Law at any time meant death. No one could stumble in even the smallest of its myriad regulations and live. Moreover, the Mosaic sacrifices were imperfect and for this reason unable to meet the stringent specifications of their own law. A perfect unblemished sacrifice for sin was essential to fulfill the precise language of the Mosaic Law.
That is why everybody in the Old Testament died. Moses could save no one. His Law was good, outlining sin in detail, but certain death to humanity. That is why Paul told the Jewish leaders the following about their Law:
"If you can teach the ignorant and instruct the unlearned because your Law embodies all knowledge and truth, then why not teach yourself as well as the others? You preach against stealing, yet you steal; you forbid adultery, yet you commit adultery; you despise idols, yet you rob their temples. By boasting about the Law and then disobeying it, you bring God into contempt. " (Rom. 2:20-24).
The Law was unable to do anything about a sinner but condemn him to death. God had carried out this very sentence on His own Son in order to cancel the Law's ability to condemn those who accepted Christ's death as their own in His name through baptism and conversion into His Gospel (the true Law of God). There could be no higher or more perfect sacrifice than Jesus, the Son of God.
Paul expressed our rescue in these terms:
"Before faith came, we were allowed no freedom by the Law; we were being looked after till faith was revealed. The Law was to be our guardian until the Christ came and we could be justified by faith. Now that that time has come we are no longer under that guardian, and you are, all of you, sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." (Gal.3:23-26)
"When law came, it was to multiply the opportunities of falling, but however great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater; and so, just as sin reigned wherever there was death, so grace will reign to bring eternal life thanks to the righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 5:20-21).
"Through the Law I am dead to the Law, so that now I can live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now, not with my own life, but with the life of Christ who lives in me." (Gal.2:19).
Jesus Christ died on the cross to replace the Law of Moses with grace.
"...we acknowledge that what makes a man righteous is not obedience to the Law, but faith in Jesus Christ." (Gal.2:16). "But if you do look to the Law to make you justified, then you have separated yourselves from Christ, and have fallen from grace." (Gal.5:4)
It is this same freedom from the Law of the Old Testament that was verified and codified at the Jerusalem Council meeting by Peter, Paul and the rest of Christ's Apostles without dissent. Faith (the Word we proclaim) is the Law of God, the true Law of heaven and earth that brings grace in place of the Law for all who are baptised in His name.
"The word, that is the faith we proclaim, is very near to you, it is on your lips and in your heart. If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved. By believing from the heart you are made righteous; by confessing with your lips you are saved. (Rom.10:8-11)
"He has overridden the Law, and cancelled every record of the debt that we had to pay; he has done away with it by nailing it to the cross; and so he got rid of the Sovereignties and the Powers, and paraded them in public, behind him in his triumphal procession." (Col. 2:14-15).
Because Jesus overrode the Law, Christians are able to stumble in Christ and not die because they are protected from failure by God's Grace which protects those who are faithful to Him.
"Does it follow that we should remain in sin so as to let grace have greater scope? Of course not. We are dead to sin. so how can we continue to live in it? (Rom.6:1-2)
"That is why you must not let sin reign in your mortal bodies or command your obedience to bodily passions, why you must not let any part of your body turn into an unholy weapon fighting on the side of sin; you should, instead offer yourselves to God, and consider yourselves dead men brought back to life; you should make every part of your body into a weapon fighting on the side of God; and then sin will no longer dominate your life, since you are living by grace and not by law." (Rom.6:12-14).
"You must live your whole life according to the Christ you have received Jesus the Lord; you must be rooted in him and built on him and held firm by the faith you have been taught, and full of thanksgiving." (Col. 2:6-7).
It was essential that the guardian law of Moses be separated from God's Law brought by Jesus Christ. As Paul's letters show, various Jewish Christians of his time were trying to resurrect the Mosaic laws and raise them up as legalities that competed with the freedoms of grace: not only circumcision, but saturday sabbaths, distinctions between pagans and Jews, temple rituals, rules of retaliation and graven images, idols, distinctions between male and female, hair and clothing styles; distinctions between foods, Hebrew and Greek language; jewelry, words and scores of other regulations either documented in the Torah or contained in the traditions of the Talmud.
The cut had to be 100%. There could be no middle ground. Arbitration on which rules constituted a saved Christian could only lead to division, separating Jews from Greeks and pagans and bringing choas to the religion.
Thus we can see in Paul's teaching that Christ's exhortation in Matthew 5:17-19 is divided into two parts. The first applies to Jesus' completion of the Law and the Prophets bringing to pass all that the Mosaic Law promised. The second applies, not to the Mosaic copy of the Law, but to what it pointed tothe Law of God (the commandments of the Gospel) brought down from heaven by Jesus Christ.
In fact, Moses, himself, bears witness to this transition (from the old to new). He wrote that God told him this about Jesus Christ:
"I will raise up a prophet like yourself for them from their own brothers; I will put my words into his mouth and he shall tell them all I command him. The man who does not listen to my words that he speaks in my name, shall be held answerable to me for it." (Dt. 18:18-19).
This command is clear. It is Jesus' words everyone must listen to.
"Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven." (Mt.5:19).
In other words, according to Moses, God's entire Law is in Jesus Christ.
"I tell you most solemnly, it was not Moses who gave you bread from heaven, it is my Father who gives you the bread from heaven, the true bread; for the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that a man may eat it and not die. I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever." (John 6:32-51)
Paul confirmed all this when he dismissed the Law of Moses, cancelling every record of our debt to it. Though he dismissed the Law of Moses from the Law of God, Paul suffered no penalty for his action (i.e., he is not the least in the kingdom of God; in fact, Paul is one of the highest figures in the Christian Church). The Holy Spirit has backed his action. Thus there can be no question that Paul had divine authority to take us out of the Law.
That authority can be seen confirmed in the history of the Church.
Today, the Christian era is almost over. We are already in the "third day", the day of Christ's return. The Church is now almost 2000 years old. That means all the things we are discussing here are virtually past-tense at this point. Those 2000-years clearly show that Paul's doctrine, later agreed upon by the Apostles at Jerusalem in Acts 15, was immediately embraced by the Church, codified in scripture, and reaffirmed by succeeding Church leaders throughout the Churchs' reign on earth. The outer tent was torn down completely, and not rebuilt.
Christian history shows that after the Jerusalem council (Acts 15:1-29), only Christ remained in God's salvation picture. The Hebrew Law thereafter was not used to bind rules on the developing Christian community. From that point on, grace ruled alone and the Old Testament's messages served the people of God almost soley as prophecy and historical reference (bringing understanding through contrast).
With the exception of the Ten Commandments (written by the hand of God, and reaffirmed by Jesus) the laws governing the Old Testament as far as Christians were concerned were replaced or transfigured in their entirety by the commandments of Jesus Christ and the guidelines of the New Testament. Even the Ten Commandments were so transitioned! (Mat. 5:20-48)
Even the holy days were changed. Where is Passover? Where is Weeks? Where is Hannukah? All these and the others were changed to Christ in the very earliest days of the Church. Each part of the Torah of Moses has been elevated and restructured in Christ in accordance with its true meaning to God. In fact, the entire legal structure of the Torah served the Christian Church as the template for the Law of God brought by Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament remained, but it was there in the way the Book of Hebrews announced it to be a law surpassed and slowly passing away. A document brimming with prophecies, some still to be revealed.
Salvation and eternal life apply only to those who follow Christ. Jesus gave His life on the cross as the perfect sacrifice according to the Law, able to remove forever the mark of the beast, Satan's stain on our soul. Everyone on earth, not yet baptised in Christ, carries this mark. It can only be removed by faith in Jesus through baptism in His name in heartfelt repentance.
God had given Moses full authority to bind the Law on the Hebrew tribes, and, because no one could keep the Law he bound, it doomed every Hebrew citizen subject to it. Yet, the Law's condemnation went far deeper than the Hebrew tribes, because it condemns all mankind to death through the apostasy of Adam and Eve (Romans 5:12-19).
This means that everyone on earth not yet baptised, whether in the Law or out of the Law, remains intractably subject to the Law which condemns to death everyone who continues to carry the stain Satan placed on our souls through Adam of Eve (i.e., "original sin"). Before the Law came, no one could be held accountable for sin (Rom. 7:8-13). Moses changed that. His Law bound the whole world in sin.
As Paul said, the Law "is meant to silence everyone and to lay the whole world open to God's judgment; and this is because no one can be justified in the sight of God by keeping the Law..." (Romans 3:19-20).
Since most people on earth have never been baptised, the Law remains very powerfully alive today, and fully binding on the human race. Those who refuse to acknowledge Christ's offer of redemption forfeit their chance to escape Satan's grasp and achieve eternal life. Obeying the Law cannot change that condemnation. Only baptism into Jesus can separate anyone from the law of sin and death.
Why would God make a law that leads to death?
To destroy Satan and the sin he brought to the creation. The Law applies to everyone on earth and in the Abyss and beyond. The Law is not only about the first death, it is about the second death, the destruction of evil itself in the spiritual world. It guarantees the death of Satan, and all who follow him: the Beast and the False Prophet included.
Only in Christ can we escape this sentence. Only Christ leads to eternal life. He was the perfect sacrifice that has power to take death's sentence off our souls. His commandments lead to eternal life.
Jesus Christ brought an entire new covenant. The old covenant of Moses no longer applies to those who have joined themselves through faith and baptism to God's new covenant. Those so joined have died to their flesh in ths world to put on a new body in Christ's eternal kingdom in heaven (Heb. 9:15-28).
"See, the days are coming - it is God who speaks- when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah), but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master (Jer.31:31-32).
"No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive: Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people." (Jer.31:33).
The first covenant is gone and it will not return. Not ever! The Old Testament itself has decreed that. It has been replaced by a new covenant, one that comes to us in the Christ that God sent the same Messiah the Hebrew and Jewish people waited for with such anticipation for so many centuries.
"By speaking of a new covenant, God implies that the first one is already old. Now anything old only gets more antiquated until in the end it disappears". (Heb.8:13).
This is why the Apostles made clear in Jerusalem the supremacy of Jesus over the old covenant. The Old Testament with all of its rules and laws will pass away but Christ's words will never pass away. His Gospel is eternal. It is the one everlasting Law of God. There can be no other.
Do any Bible verses apply to the war in Lebanon? NM
There are several scattered verses that point to the destruction of Lebanon the most famous, that of Habakkuk:
"The cup from God's right hand comes round to you, and disgrace will overshadow your glory. For the violence done to Lebanon is going to overwhelm you, so will the slaughter of terrified beasts, for you have shed men's blood and ravished the country, the city and all who live in it." (Hab.2:16-17).
This prophecy, seemingly written of the Chaldeans (the people of the East), seems a well suited answer to the disaster we now see unfolding in the war between these two countries. That is because it closely duplicates in terms of fire and destruction Ariel Sharon's war agaist Lebanon in 1982. Sharon, one of the original army leaders foundiing the state of Israel in 1947 rose to command the nations military forces at a critical time in Israel's glorious history. At least a history that had been glorious up to that moment.
In response to minor border incidents near Galilee in 1982 by an aggressive, but fledgling Shiite Muslim organization called Hezbollah, Sharon was sent to Lebanon's border to quell what seemed to be a minor problem.
Promising only a small border incursion, Sharon, instead launched a swift, overwhelmingly violent war against Lebanon. With lightening speed he led the Israeli army, the air force and navy right into Beirut, a city he ordered destroyed, buildiing by building and skyscraper by skyscraper. The ruin was complete. A city that days before had been heralded as the Switzerland of the Middle East, a banking and cultural center of the world, was reduced to third-world rubble almost overnight.
Then, in a fateful decision, Sharon allowed Lebanese Christians in Beirut to round up hundreds of unarmed Palestinian refugees (men, women and children). They then shot them all dead. The massacre briefly shocked the world and Ariel Sharon was relieved of command because of his suspected involvement. The case went to trial, but a sympathetic court in Israel found him not guilty.
Sharon subsequently went on to architect in earnest the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai in Israeli-occupied Arab lands (an incindiary issue today, and the subject of Jeremiah's perilous warnings (Jer. 42-44).
The controlling power behind Israel's government from 1982 to this year, Sharon lost his Prime Ministership in January.when he was incapacitated by a stroke. A leading figure in Israel's hard-line stance against Palestine and the Arab world, Sharon has spent most of his life directing and favoring those who have agreed with his stern policies.
Although the total destruction of Beirut, the jewel city of the Middle East, and the massacre of those militant Israeli's considered "wild beasts" brought world revulsion for a short time, it didn't last. As time passed, the anger faded and the event passed into what seemed to be no more than a transient footnote in the march of history. It was clear in Habakkuk's prophecy, however, that something enormous had occurred, an event so large for Israel that it would bring the seeds of disaster (the cup of God's right hand) down onto the nation.
True to the prophecy, Israel has known no peace since. That war has been followed by the most brutal period in Israel's history, 23 years of war, violence, and suicide bombings that have tried the nation to its limit. The only serious attempt to quell the fighting and establish a true peace ended in assassination. Not by the forces of the East, but by a hard-line Israeli militant murdering his own Prime Minister, Ishtak Rabin. Ariel Sharon's illegal settlements had spawned an assassin.and peace died. It has not returned.
Not only did Sharon's invasion bring a militant form of Zionism to power in Israel, it destroyed the delicate balance of political power in Lebanon; a catastrophe which ended up with Syrian Muslims coming in to rule the country in place of its former government. With them came a far more lethal Hezbollah. Their combined presence changed the whole balance of power of the Middle East, probably irrevocably. That seems to be the essence of Habukkuk's vision.
And now that all this is repeated again so brutally 24 years later, Habukkuk's vision is renewed. ("...the violence done to Lebanon is going to overwhelm you."), showing that the prophecy has only run half its course.
"Cast your eyes over the nations, look, and be amazed, astounded. For I am doing something in your own days that you would not believe if you were told of it. For now I am stirring up the Chaldaeans (the Parthians), that fierce and fiery people who march miles across country to seize the homes of others...they come for plunder, all of them. their faces scorching like the east wind; they scoop up prisoners like sand. They are a people that scoff at kings, and laugh at princes. They make light of all fortresses: they heap up earth and take them. Then the wind changes and (they are) gone. Sinful, he who makes his own strength his god." (Hab. 1:5-11).
Other prophecies, as we shall see, show a power called "Egypt" drawn into this disaster as well.
The majority of verses in scripture concerning Lebanon show it to be a place of majesty and beauty in the biblical world, filled with the tallest and loftiest cedars.
If we look at this designation in symbolic terms they point to a nation of supreme majesty and beauty whose leaders are the giants of the earth. In our time we could easily see the United States in such terms. Our national anthem bears witness to our country's majesty, as does the magnificent history of our unexcelled founders, presidents, architects and world leaders. Giants all of them.
The same comparison to Lebanon can be seen with respect to the entire western world. For over 2000 years the west has unfolded a world of great culture, beauty and majesty, parading a litany of world leaders, the greatest in human history across its stage. Before it recently recanted faith in Jesus Christ, faith had propelled it to the peaks of human endeavor and success.
These comparisons gain importance when we look at the prophecies of Ezekiel, especially his chapters 31 and 32, in which a nation called "Egypt" is likened to Lebanon.
However, when we look at Ezekiel's description of this Egypt (Ez. 31:3-10), we see a nation that bears no resemblance whatsoever to any Egypt the world has known for the last 4000 years. Either the prophecy has nothing to do with current history, or the word "Egypt" is a metaphore for another nation.
"Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to all his subjects:
'To what shall I compare you in your greatness?
Surely, to a cedar of Lebanon
with noble branches, thick-set needles and lofty trunk.
Its top pierces the clouds.
The waters have made it grow, the deep has made it tall,
pouring its rivers round the place where it is planted,
sending its streams to all the other trees.
This is why its trunk grew taller than all the other trees;
its branches increased in number, its boughs stretched wide,
because the plentiful waters reached it.
All the birds of heaven used to nest in its branches;
under its boughs all wild animals used to drop their young;
in its shade every kind fo people sat.
It was beautiful in its size, in the span of its boughs;
its roots went deep into plentiful waters.
No cedar equalled it in the garden of God,
no cypress had branches such as these;
no plane tree could match its boughs,
no tree in the garden of God could rival its beauty,
I had made it lovely with branching green.
It was the envy of every tree in Eden, in the garden of God." (Ez. 31:2-9)
Not only do the words above not relate to any Egypt in modern history, reading further through Ezekiel's verses we find the following written there:
"When I extinguish you I will cover the skies, and darken the stars. I will cover the sun with clouds and the moon will not give its light. I will dim every luminary in heaven for you, and cover your country in darkness." (Ez.32:7-8).
This verse is a reference to the end of the world. Ezekiel is telling us that this Egypt's comeuppance is to come in conjunction with the end of the world. That lets out a nation of the past. This prophecy is about now. Ezekiel's "Egypt" is on history's stage today, and it is not the Egypt of the Nile.
Some Christian leaders do not see an end of the world in global history, but those who study scripture's prophecy are overwhelmed with verses confirming, not only an end to the world as Jesus taught, but one that is closing in on the world today with unnerving swiftness.
Pinpointing the true identity of Ezekiel's "Egypt" brings us first to the two candidates listed above, but since no nation will survive the return of Christ, every nation on earth is a candidate. That widens the probability and suggests the passage may relate to the destruction of the harlot Babylon. Since Ezekiel addresses the harlot herself later on in detail, it is clear the designation "Egypt" here signifies a national power or group of nations within that Babylon. (such as all the nations of the western world that have evicted Jesus Christ from their ruling table)
There can be little doubt that God has tied the fate of this "Egypt" to that of Lebanon.
"You were like a Gilead to me, like a peak of Lebanon. All the same, I will reduce you to a desert...I have dedicated men to destroy you, each man with his axe; they will cut down your finest cedars and throw them on the fire." (Jer. 22:6-7)
While Israel is the center of Habukkuk's prediction (its fate also tied to the violence done to Lebanon) the inclusion of "Egypt" in Ezekiel's prophecy shows that both will be involved together in the reactive violence about to descend on the world in the form of the ram of the East. Lebanon is to prove a boomerang.
The destruction of Lebanon is a grave forewarning of all that is to come. Given haukkuk's prophecy, it is a political earthquake with biblical overtones a clear sign of what most people fear, that the war there has more than ordinary meaning, portending a far greater tribulation close ahead. We can see that possibility reflected in Ezekiel's descriptions:
"Very well then, the Lord God says this: Since it (Egypt) has raised itself to the full height, has lifted its top to the clouds, and has grown arrogant in its height, I have handed it over to the prince of the nations (the ram from the East), to do with as its wickedness deserves; I have destroyed it. Foreigners, the most barbarous of the nations, have cut it down and felled it." (Ez. 31:10-12).
"The Lord God says this: On the day it went down to Sheol, I closed the deep over it in a sign of mourning. I stopped its rivers, the plentiful waters dried up; I made Lebanon dark for its sake, and all the trees of the fields wilted for its sake. With the noise when it fell I made the nations quake, as I hurled it down to Sheol, with those who go down to the pit." (Ez. 31:15-16).
"In the regions underground all the trees of Eden took comfort, all the noble and lovely trees of Lebanon nourished by the waters. And with it went down to Sheol, to the victims of the sword, all those nations who used to live in its shade." (Ez. 31:16).
Much of this relates, according to Ezekiel, to the fall of Egypt's Pharaoh:
"Son of man, raise the dirge for Pharaoh king of Egypt. Say to him, 'Young lion of nations, you have been wiped out." (Ez. 32:2).
That statement by Ezekiel in reference to the leader of the Egypt that is like Lebanon, advances the prophecy into the biblical book of another great Seer in Israel: the prophet Jeremiah. He, too, chronicles the death of the Pharaoh of Egypt (Jer. 44:29-30). But Jeremiah characterizes his fate as one of the most dynamic prophecies of the age the proof of all that has been prophesied in scripture with respect to Persia's invasion of Israel, the catastrophe of the settlers and the collapse of the western world:
"Now I am knocking down what I have built, tearing up what I have planted: I am going to strike the whole earth. And here you are asking for special treatment! Do not ask. For I am now going to bring down disaster on all mankind -- it is the Lord who speaks." (Jer. 45:4-5).
That verse, in turn, leads one verse later to Persia's sudden invasion of Iraq across the Euphrates river, routing the forces of "Egypt'" standing guard there; and then without hesitation, pouring down in vengeance through the Holy Land, a vast army advancing across the settlers, right into Jerusalem itself.
"Terror from every side!it is the Lord who speaks. The fastest cannot escape, nor the bravest save himself: there in the north, there by the river Euphrates, they have collapsed, have fallen..."
'I will rise,' he said 'and drown the earth; sweep towns and their inhabitants away!...Now this is the day of the Lord God, a day of vengeance for his revenge on his enemies...yes the Lord Almighty has a sacrifice to make in the north country, by the river Euphrates." (Jer. 46:5-10).
If all this is as closely related as it seems, we are seeing a very powerful prophecy unfolding before our eyes in the war now raging between Israel and Lebanon a major tick on the clock that is chronicling the sad journey of our rebellious and unrepentant world toward Armageddon.
Why is the East not being punished for their wickedness as well? According to scripture their punishment will certainly come. Because we have come to the end of the age, Babylon must be punished in accordance with the prophecies. God has put His hooks into this Parthian army and is dragging it toward the battlefield of Armageddon to be His servants in dealing out the final punishments to Babylon's wicked this punishment is the tribulation so widely predicted. Remember what Jeremiah said: "Thus the laboring of the peoples comes to nothing; the toiling of the nations ends in fire." (Jer.51:58).
All of this is making the earth ready for the return of Jesus Christ.
Only in Jesus Christ can anyone escape whst is about to transpire in accordance with the prophecies. Everyone should see the war in Lebanon as a last call to repentance and salvation. Why continue to labor in vain? Repent and confess your sins, seek baptism and turn your lives over to Jesus Christ today. You may never get another chance.
A few months ago my family and i were talking about what will happen when the world ends, and my uncle said that if you believe in god you will automatically go to heaven and you wont have to stay on earth with all the demons. Is this true? please answer this is something i have been wondering for a while. C
Your uncle is partly correct. If you have faith in Jesus Christ you will automatically go to heaven and live forever. Faith in Jesus means you must confess your sins to God, and be truly repentant (see Psalm 32). Then you must be baptised in His name. Finally, you must read Jesus' Gospel in the New Testament of the Bible and do what He tells you as best you can. The writings of the New Testament can help you in this, as can the fellowship of traditional Christian churches. Everyone in Christ is tested. There will be difficult times ahead, but your faith will smooth these times out. Hold on to the end, knowing that Jesus never gives us a burdon too hard to bear. Do this and heaven is yours. That is the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Did Israel win or lose the war with Lebanon? NJ
I don't know if winning or losing is the correct question as far as Israel is concerned, because scripture has already given us the final results. We know that Israel wins in the end, despite the fact that Jerusalem remains a stone to be lifted by the nations (for all the nations of the earth are going to mass against her). (Zech. 12:2-3). The latest battle is a measure of the strength of the enemies massing against Israel at the present time.
Habakkuk (Hab. 2:12-17) has shown us that Jeremiah's prophecy of disaster for Israel (Jer.42-45) will come in association with its brutal attacks on Lebanon. For disaster must come before victory.
"Open your gateways, Lebanon, and let the fire burn down your cedars. (Wail cypress, for felled is the cedar, the mighty ones have been brought low!). Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the impenetrable forest has been felled! The wailing of shepherds is heard; their glorious pastures have been ruined. The roaring of the young lions is heard; the thickets of the Jordan have been laid waste." (Zech. 11:1-3).
It will come, moreover, in association with the eastern world's invasion across the Euphrates river (Rev.16:12), crushing the western troops which have aligned there in a futile attempt to prevent that invasion (Jer. 46:2-12). A steady progression of strategic prophecies already fulfilled in our time leaves little doubt that the time for this momentous invasion of Jerusalem is drawing near.
More than anything, then, the latest Lebanese/Israeli war must be seen in terms of its symbolism. The war has served as another graphic reminder to the world's people that the ancient prophecies in scripture reflect our own times and are not vestiges of a bygone era strangely and serendipitously repeated. The newscasters practically have to bite their tongues nowadays not to mention the correlation between the events now sweeping across the Mideast and the words of scripture which prophesied with such clarity all the things we are seeing materialize there now.
Most important, what we are watching unfold before our eyes is the early stages of the rise of Daniel's "Fourth Kingdom of Persia", the dreaded "east wind" of prophecy. At the same time, we are seeing the slow but steady disintegration of the western world. Immorality and disassociation from Christ have emasculated the West's military and financial strength. According to the prophets, a time will come for the East to regain its strength and challenge all the nations of Babylon. That time is now.
Scripture tells us the challenge of the Medes is God's doing. Bel must be punished in Babylon (Jer.51:44):
"The Lord God says this: The wide ramparts of Babylon will be razed to the ground, and her high gates will be burnt down. Thus the laboring of the peoples comes to nothing the toiling of the nations ends in fire." (Jer. 51:56).
We saw an image of those high gates fall when the World Trade Center towers were burnt down, proof again that all the works of God go in pairs by opposites, proof that the time is close.
According to scripture, the term "Babylon" relates to political rule. The title actually belongs to all nations that rule with secular, godless or atheistic political regimes, the beast that Babylon rides (Rev. 17). History has shown that most of these today are nations that once ruled their populations under the banner of Christ. Their return to secular or atheistic regimes constitutes their return to Babylon, a retreat that has healed the "mortal wound" which Jesus administered to such government in the first century A.D. (Rev.13:1-3).
That return to godlessness has freed Satan from his prison in the Abyss (Rev.17:8), and in his return, he is mobilizing all the countries of the world for war (Rev.19:7-8). The terms of Christ's treaty of peace with the world have always been clear. If the world rejects Christ's offer, the invitation to repent and be saved will be withdrawn, making way for the Wrath, the world-ending punishment for all transgressors.
"On these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19).
Jesus warned that only a short period was being given for salvation's offer. 'Walk while you still have the light, night is coming when no one can work' (John 9:4). The night that is coming is to be ushered in by the kings of the East.
Drawn by God to this fray, the East (i.e., Gog from Magog) is the mace God is using to bring to divine justice all the nations across the earth for their rejection of the Gospel of heaven and Christ's short-lived offer of peace that could have saved all who accepted it. The eastern forces that are drawn to this task do not know their purpose or who it is that has called them in. Not only have they been chosen to usher in the Wrath against Babylon, they are destined to be destroyed in it as well:
"Son of man, turn towards Gog and the country of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Say, 'The Lord God says this: I am against you Gog. I will turn you round, fixing hooks in your jaws, and drag you and your troops along...Persia and Cush and Put...Gomer and all its troops, northernmost Bethtogarmah and all its troops, and many nations with you. Be ready, be well prepared, you and all your troops and the others rallying round you, and hold yourself at my service." (Ez.38:2-7)
"On the day Gog attacks the land of Israelit is the Lord God who speaksI shall grow angry. In my anger, my jealousy and the heat of my fury I say it: I swear that on that day there will be a fearful quaking in the land of Israel." (Ez.38:17-19).
"At my presence the fish in the sea and the birds of heaven, the wild beasts and all the reptiles that crawl along the ground, and all men on earth, will quake. Mountains will fall, cliffs crumble, walls collapse, and I will confont him with every sort of terrorit is the Lord God who speaks. His men will turn their swords on each other. I will punish him with plague and bloodshed and send torrential rain, hailstones, fire and brimstone against him and his hordes and against the many nations with him. I mean to display my greatness and holiness and to compel the many nations to acknowledge me; this is how they will learn that I am God." (Ez.38:20-23).
We have entered the continuum of the End. Israel is to win, but not until the last day. Those who refuse to repent and turn to Christ are to be met by the day of vengeance now dawning on mankind. Only those who put their trust in Jesus will be saved from what is coming. There is not much time left. Those who still procrastinate should make their conversion today...and do not forbid baptism to babies.
(See also, "The Allegory of the Eagle")
In my Bible, the book of Ezekiel shows Gog coming from the "uttermost parts of the north", not the east. -Ez 38:15, R.S.V.. Where do you get the idea that he is from the east? NJ
We live in a time when "far north" and "east" can be seen as one and the same.
During the cold war between the western world and the Soviet Union, Russia was universally considered a part of the East. It's empire stretched from eastern Europe, encompassed most of the "stans" (Ubekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikstan, etc.) and reached to China, Japan and Alaska. It's ports opened, as they still do today, not only to the Black Sea and the Arctic Ocean, but also to the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean.
Were you to draw a straight line towards the north from Jerusalem to the North Pole, that line will virtually bisect Russia's capitol city of Moscow in the "uttermost parts of the north", near the North Pole. In other words, you cannot get any farther north or east than Russia. While Russia is peaceful today, that can change. Recently Russia signed a mutual defense pact (the "Shanghai Alliance") with China, Iran (Persia), and four of the "stans" (those listed above).
You will notice in Ezekiel's prophecy that the first nation listed as Gog and Magog's ally is Persia, a nation we know today as Iran (Ez.38:5). Prophecy's pieces are already in place. All that remains is for the "ten-nation" eastern coalition to form. If Russia becomes the centerpiece of that coalition, the prophecy is fulfilled.
The world's oil supplies are almost gone. The empire that controls the Middle East (the last major source of the petroleum for the nations of the planet) will control the world. This is the inexorable engine pushing global politics toward the alignments scripture has presaged.
According to a continuing Church prophecy that stems from 70 A.D., the first-century beast, Nero, will be reincarnated somewhere in the East and lead an invincible "Parthian" (Media & Persian) army back to Rome, retaking his throne there by force at the end of days.
The symbolism of that victory is, of course, the "Prince of Persia" (an eastern Nero) returning to conquer the western world's 'eternal" city, Rome (the "Babylon" of Jewish dread) and setting his throne there as final proof of the East's victory over the West, and of his destruction of the Christian Church. His proclamation to that effect, in fact, will end the Diaspora.
Only one task remains for Magog to attain after that dark victory: the capture of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the Jewish branch of the House of Israel. i.e., Armageddon, the intervention of God.
I read in the Washington Post...an article about the release of the Fox news journalists abducted several weeks ago from the Gaza strip. As wonderful as the news was announcing their freedom - and we all should rejoice in their freedom - I read that the chief reason they were released is because they were forced to convert to Islam. My question is not about judging the choice made for freedom; rather it is about the condition demanded for freedom.
Question: Is the condition the captors demanded, that of converting to Islam in order to gain freedom (otherwise the assumption would be to refuse would mean torture or, possibly, death), an indication of prophecy being fulfilled of an emerging Eastern intolerance toward infidels? Are we witnessing the evolution of a standard to be tested against that defines the times in which we live, especially for those who believe in Christ: conversion to Islam is the grantor of freedom? RA
I would have to say that to call what we are seeing now in the Middle East "an emerging Eastern intolerance to infidels" is an understatement of the current situation there.
But, yes, the fulfillment of prophecy is definitely involved here. I don't know if Satan's standard has changed, but we are witnessing the rise of a religious radicalism in the East that is set to be as powerful an agent against Christ as the godlessness of Babylon a turn that is moving the structure of choice in the last days toward the figures presented in Revelation 16:12-14.
Jesus came with an offer an offer that is entirely constructed in that decision to choose between this world and Jesus Christ. Most choose this world in order to save their earthly lives (Mat.10:39). A smaller remnant choose Jesus.
"Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake, that man will save it. What gain, then, is it for a man to have won the whole world and to have lost or ruined his very self?" (Luke 9:24-25).
In the Book of Revelation there are two beasts. The first is an atheist. The second is a religious false prophet. At the very end they merge into a single creature, the Antichrist (a kind of reincarnation of either Nero or Nebuchadnezzar). That is also the evolution of the sequence of the choice we are being called to make in terms of God.
The East is rising to power now as predicted so the time is close:
"In his place there will rise a wretch...He will...take furious action against the holy covenant and, as before, will favor those who forsake that holy covenant. Those who break the covenant he will corrupt by his flatteries, but the people who know their God will stand firm and take action." (Dan. 11:21; 30-32).
When Christianity began to spread across the world, the empire that controlled the world was pagan Rome, so the spread naturally first climbed to the top of that bough. The result was the Edict of Milan, a promulgation that quickly morphed into a stronger edict that directed all religions in the empire to be replaced by Christianity. All pagan gods and goddesses were forbidden and their temples closed.
From that day to the early part of this last century, almost all western nations honored the spirit of that edict, allowing Christianity to be the moral and spiritual compass for their governmental institutions and populations. Not only that, they actively helped to spread the faith of Christ everywhere.
In the last century that endorsement was withdrawn one country at a time until none remained except Vatican City in Rome. All the nations rejected Jesus, most of them embracing secularism in His place. The atheists marked it as a great victory, ending almost 2000 years of Christian domination over the world's politics and people.
The nations have gone Anti-God. This is proved in America by the fact that it is forbidden for any student or teacher in any school in the country to mention the name "God" or "Jesus" or "Christ" in almost any context whatsoever while the names "Hitler", "Stalin", "Marx", "Lenin" and "Mao", etc., remain perfectly legal and their activities may be expressed in great length and in enormous depth. This new manifesto is called "secularism", but, in truth, it is atheism's victory.
It is Anti-God. It's results prove that it is atheism returned, the first of the two beasts of the last days. Atheism's mortal wound has healed. Without anyone's notice, the beast with the mortal wound has suddenly risen up from its deathbed (the place the sword of Jesus had put it). And it has made that rise in just this last century.
The new edict demanding national secularism has forced all involved to choose between two loyalties. One to stand by Christ or two, to stand by their country's decision to evict Christ from the national stage, i.e., to choose between the world of man and the world of God. There is no middle ground (Rev. 3:15-16). And because this choice represents the nucleus of our faith, it stands as a preview of all that is to come.
All the works of God go in pairs by opposites. The edict above is the opposite that illustrates what is about to befall the human race the decision for or against God that puts all the world's people to the test. That is what the "mark of the beast" is all about the choice between Christ or His nemesis reduced to a single mark.
Everyone on earth is being called by God to choose for Jesus or for His enemy. According to the Book of Revelation, Satan has given all of his power over to the beast (the Atheist). In the international rejection of Christianity by the nations, atheism has returned to the earth as a powerful political force. Seeing the success of the revolt, every western nation has followed after the beast (Rev. 13:1-5). Not a single nation on earth now stands for Jesus. That is the single most extraordinary fact of our age!
"Then I saw a second beast...it had two horns like a lamb, but made a noise like a dragon. This second beast was servant to the first beast, and extended its authority everywhere, making the world and all its people worship the first beast that had the fatal wound and had been healed." (Rev.13:11-12).
The second beast is called the "False Prophet" (Rev. 16:13). The False Prophet appears in conjunction with the kings of the East. (Rev. 16:12).
The two Fox newsmen were mandated by the forces of the East to embrace the prophet Mohammed and pledge themselves to his religion or die. The two made their choice. They chose Mohammed and converted to Islam. They accepted the mark of the prophet. In that demand the forces of the East have begun to extend the choice between the Antichrist and Christ, everywhere.
Nero, the beast of Rome would understand the simplicity. The choice reduced to a single moment in time, i.e., all Christianity put to the test in one crucial moment, either to live or die, both in terms of this world and the next, in a single choice, each one the opposite of the other.
This is pretty much how it happened to the Martyrs in Christianity's first war at the beginning of the religion, when those who chose Christ were fed to the lions but still live and will live forever in the kingdom of heaven, while those who chose life in the emperor forfeited their future in God and are long since dead.
This choice is coming to much of the world again, and it is coming through the East. Scripture shows it to be one of the essential mechanisms of the Rapture (Ps.74:1-23).
Christ was sent to this world for only one purpose: to present God's offer of eternal life to all who renounce this world and its kings and choose Jesus instead. That choice is all there is. The entire universe revolves around it, but heaven revolves around only those who choose Jesus Christ.
"This is how it will be: I shall come like a thief. Happy is the man who has stayed awake and not taken off his clothes" (those clothes are the wedding garment, the white raiment given to all who are baptised in Jesus' name) "so that he does not go out naked and expose his shame." (Rev.16:15).
I have a cousin who converted to Islam not too long ago and I found myself thinking more about the religion.
Since Ishmael was also a son of Abraham, and he is thought to be the father of all Muslims, does it stand to reason then that they pray to the same God that Christians and Jews pray to even though they call him by a different name? Will they, like Jews, ever have a chance to be saved when the time comes? Or are they destined for the same end as Satan and his followers? If the latter is the case, were they then serving Satan without knowing it? If so, who is Satan to them? And why would they be denied the chance to repent that the Jews are being offered?
Also, in the Gospel of Luke and that of Matthew especially, there are a lot of references to the blazing furnace where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth. What does this mean for the people who refuse to believe in Jesus and are thus not allowed to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? Do their souls just cease to exist as is thought to occur in death, or will they forever live in this blazing furnace to suffer and regret not having believed? LA
It has become commonplace in these latter days to believe that eternal life is the right of everyone on earth and that any god who is truly righteous would see to it that such a resurrection take place for all.
The fact is eternal life has only been offered by two major figures in the history of the planet. And both put severe restrictions on its occurrance. Those of Jesus are the most restrictive. He said eternal life was rare and was a gift that had to be fought for with great diligence, though the yolk required was easy, and the burden light.
According to the Bible our relationship with God is determined by our righteousness. No righteous (merciful) person is going to be thrown in the fire or suffer in any way. God is merciful and wants us to show mercy to each other in return i.e., to love God with all our heart and to love our fellow man as ourself:
"Go and learn the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice." And indeed I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners." (Mat. 9:13).
"And if you had understood the meaning of the words: What I want is mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the blameless." (Mat. 12:7).
"This is why I have torn them to pieces by the prophets, why I slaughtered them with the words from my mouth, since what I want is love, not sacrifice; knowledge of God, not holocausts." (Hos.6:5-6)."...let justice flow like water, and integrity like an unfailing stream." (Amos 5:21-24).
"You who wanted no sacrifice or oblation, prepared a body for me. You took no pleasure in holocausts or sacrifices for sin; then I said, just as I was commanded in the scroll of the book, 'God, here I am! I am coming to obey your will'." (Ps.40:6-8)
"Notice that he says first: 'You did not want' what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the oblations, the holocausts and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them; and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to obey your will. He is abolishing the first sort to replace it with the second. And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of his body made once and for all by Jesus Christ." (Heb.10:5-10).
"When I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I said nothing to them, gave them no orders about sacrifice. These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper." (Jer.7:22-23).
Everyone who is merciful will receive mercy from God: Christians, Muslims, Hindu's and everyone else on earth. It is true that in the last days the kings of the East are going to attack the Christian Church and kill many Christians, but we can see, looking at the early perpetrators of such actions, that they are evil people with a political agenda. They misuse religion to do evil.
The world has seen violent agenda's in the past in Christianity, as well. Neither represent the righteousness of God, and the participants of both court His wrath. That is where the blazing furnace comes in. It comes in relation to the Wrath. It is designed to consume the wicked, those who hate God and war against His children, their fellow men. There is no blazing furnace for those who are merciful and forgiving.
And as far as the blazing furnace itself is concerned, remember, every star in this universe is a blazing furnace. And it is this universe that God is taking us out of through Jesus Christ. The kingdom of God is not of this earth.
Scientists tell us that at the end of its life, our sun (a blazing furnace in space) will expand into a red giant and engulf the earth inside it. So even science sees our world consumed in a blazing furnace at the end of its life. While this is the ultimate fate of the flesh, it can only be symbolism as far as the soul is concerned since nothing physical can harm the soul in any way. The fact of a wicked soul's end is known, but the spiritual mechanics of it is not because we do not know what spiritual fire looks like, just that it exists.
Jesus brought a higher offer to mankind. The offer was originally designed just for God's lost people (souls) that Satan contaminated and took away with him to this world. God sent Jesus down here (into Satan's domain) to rescue those souls, but in the mercy of God, He offered eternal life to anyone here who would follow Him, every soul in the universe who willingly renounced sin and amended their behavior to accept His offer of eternal life.
That means no one is being denied the opportunity of eternal life. It is a free choice. It is wide open to all but very few actually take it. That is why the road is so narrow. It is like the last garment left on a sale shelf.
Everyone is born into this life knowing the limits of life and death. Those who turn to Jesus and follow Him in the way that He set forth, can go beyond those limits. They will rise up out of physical death into eternal life in a new kingdom (a new universe) in the highest heaven. Here, again, mercy has a powerful impact on the choice, as Rahab discovered (Joshua 6:22-25):
"Anyone who welcomes you, welcomes me, and the person who welcomes me welcomes the Father who sent me.
Anyone who welcomes a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. Anyone who welcomes a holy man because he is a holy man will have a holy man's reward. If anyone gives so much as a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is a disciple, then, I tell you solemnly, he will most certainly not lose his reward." (Mat.10:40-42).
Mohammed came 600 years after Jesus and said that he, too, had power to lead his believers to eternal life after the death of their physical bodies. He did not die on a cross to take away our sins and make our souls pure as Jesus did, but Mohammed said that wasn't necessary.
Because there are two offers of eternal life, many are left with a decision of which way to follow. Only one is true because the two offers are opposites. Each person must make the decision on their own, to decide who they think really does have the power to raise people up after death into eternal life.
Eternal life comes to those who show mercy and love. It cannot be attained by those who live by doing violence.
In Lukes quotation about the roaring of the seas and its waves at the end, does that pertain to tidal waves? DA
"There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken." (Luke 21:25-26)
"But in those days, after that time of distress, the sun will be darkened, the moon will lose its brightness, the stars will come falling from heaven and the powers in the heavens will be shaken." (Mk 13:24-25).
"The sea will rise over Babylon, she will sink under its roaring waves." (Jer.51:42).
"Vast hordes thundering, with thunder like thundering seas, the roaring of nations roaring like the roar of mighty waters. He rebukes them and far away they flee, driven off like chaff on the mountains before the wind, like an eddy of dust before the storm. At evening all was terror; before morning comes they are no more." (Is.17:12-14).
In these quotations we can see that it is not only the sea that will be wild at the end, but the nations as well, i.e., masses of people rioting and pillaging, i.e., mob rule. In Isaiah's quotation, the two seem to be related to each other in time. It has been common for those interpreting these passages to see the stars falling to the earth in terms of hydrogen bombs, which in fact, are perfect duplications of star-fire. Those are certain to come. They are being stockpiled in huge quantities, earmarked for some future launch.
But if we interpret the passage in terms of meteors and asteroids, which fall like stars from the sky, a different sort of star-fire can be seen, one which has the capacity to roil the seas with waves hundreds or thousands of feet high, something hydrogen bombs cannnot do. We have already seen what a stream of cometary boulders the size of small hills were able to do to Jupiter a few years ago. The damage was vast and catastrophic.
There is a passage in the Book of Revelation that speaks of a "mouintain all on fire crashing into the sea" in the last days (Rev. 8:8-9), so there is precedent for this kind of interpretation. Especially in light of another passage in the same book which says:
"Every island vanished and the mountains disappeard; and hail, with great hailstones weighing a talent each fell from the sky on the people. they cursed God for sending a plague of hail; it was the most terrible plague." (Rev. 16:20-21)..
Daniel and other prophets make clear that God will hurl His own sort of thunderbolts down on the earth during the trauma of those last days. It would be difficult to see fiery asteroids and cometary debris not fitting such a description. And what do the scientists say, that 90% of the surface of the earth is covered by water? If it is anywhere near that total, most of those cosmic boulders will strike the sea instead of the land. In that case, tidal waves would be inevitable. Huge tidal waves, in fact, if it is anywhere near the scale scripture defines. That would certainly account for the loss of the world's islands and harbors.
If we consider the actual return of Christ (and therefore, the final end of the world) to still be down the road aways, there are some quotations relating to this that appear more immediate. Especially the quotation in Isaiah which laments the loss of "the harbor" (Is.23:10-11). The only fulfillment of this passage occurred thousands of years ago, close to the time of its writing. No Christian fulfillment has yet taken place. There will be one. Isaiah assusres us of this. And it will be pivotal to the collapse of the mighty empire of "Tyre".
"The Lord God Almighty took this decision to humble the pride of all her beauty and humiliate the great ones of the world. Till the soil, daughter of Tarshish, the harbor is no more. He has stretched his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms; the Lord has ordained the destruction of the fortresses of Canaan."
That passage may well relate to the "mountain all on fire crashing into the sea" as the means for the eradication of "Tyre's" mighty harbor. Not only that but the passage is written in association with the fall of the towers of Kittim (Is.23:13). That places it in our own era, both in place and time. And as we have seen a few weeks ago, the "humiliation of the great ones of the world" relates to the fires of Lebanon a sign of its imminence.
We seem to be on the very precipice of this prophecy's fulfillment.
It is very possible that the designation "Tyre" in Isaiah's passage relates to the West the western world. It is an empire founded far back in the past by Alexander the Great, and we know from prophecy that it is to be toppled in the last days by the kings of the East as they bring into world power the fourth kingdom of Persia (Daniel's designation). As we can see in Isaiah's passage, there is a close relationship between this "Tyre" and the land of "Kittim".
In our own time, the United States is the protective power of the western world. It stands as the guardian of the West. That brings into question (if these prophecies relate to current events) the specific identity of the harbor. I suppose that identity at this point is less important than the occurance itself. If it happens sometime in the near future, we will know the identities wihout question. If the event does not occur soon, we can concur that the prophecy stands for something farther down history's path.
The modern world had never been brought face to face with a massive tidal wave the way it was in Southeast Asia less than two years ago. So there has been little precedent for "roaring seas" in the biblical context in our history. If the tsunami of Indonesia stands alone far into the future, we can conclude it to be a serendipitous event. But if this event repeats again and again, it would be hard not to conclude that tidal waves are a key part of the Bible's prognostication for roaring seas at the end time.
There is another situation that can be added to this prediction and that is global warming. It is proceding far faster than originally foreseen, and will likely be a major engine for monster hurricanes in the not-to-distant future. Not only that, but it is also a mechanism for sea level rise and concomitant with that, increasing tidal heights.
We, as a world, then, seem to be coming into a perfect time for roaring waves, one way or another.
"As it was in Noah's day, so will it also be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating and drinking marrying wives and husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and the Flood came and destroyed them all. It will be the same as it was in Lot's day: people were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but the day Lot left Sodom, God rained fire and brimstone from heaven and it destroyed them all. It will be the same when the day comes for the Son of Man to be revealed." (Luke 17:26-30).
I realize you've probably been following the reaction from the East regarding the Pope's quote from a 14th century text of a discussion on holy wars between a Byzantine emperor and a Persian scholar. Studying prophecy, I had been curious as to what would drive such a significant wedge between Islam (East) and, especially, the Vatican in Rome (West). It appears it has happened and if there is any doubt left now in what time we live this incident should be prove to underscore the revelation of prophecy fulfilled. I was chilled by the words expressed from the Mujahidin Shura Council, the chief mouthpiece for Al Qaeda in Iraq.
The group was quoted saying the Muslims would be victorious and addressed the Pope as "the worshipper of the cross" saying "you and the West are doomed as you can see from the defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya and elsewhere. . . . We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion (to Islam) or (be killed by) the sword."
We appear to be moving closer between a clash of civilizations as foretold in the Bible. Your thoughts? RA
About the same as yours.
The West has created in Iraq a political 'petri dish' growing the kind of radicals you quote. The danger has always been that this militant minority might come out from their hiding places and take power and depose the moderates who still constitute the great majority of Muslim believers and rulers in most of the Middle Eastern countries. Scripture predicts that this overthrow will happen. And with the kind of talk you quote it is easy to see how grave a threat it will be to Christianity, not to mention the entire world when that day comes, and all those kingdoms (perhaps a third of the earth) fall into their hands.
That seizure is the very substance of the prophecies of Armageddon.
The prophet Daniel (Jesus referred us to him for information about the last days) warns that the end will come at the hands of a fourth Persian kingdom (Dan. 11:2).
That is what we see beginning to build now. The first three have already come and gone. (See, "The Last Days of Babylon", Chapter 7).
"The fourth beast is to be a fourth kingdom on earth, different from all other kingdoms. It will devour the whole earth, trample it underfoot and crush it. As for the ten horns: from this kingdom will rise ten kings, and another after them...he is going to speak words against the Most High, and harass the saints of the Most High. He will consider changing seasons and the Law, and the saints will be put into his power for a time, two times, and half a time." (Dan.7:23-24).
God, Himself, is drawing this fourth kingdom of Persia against Babylon according to Ezekiel (Ez.38:4), so there isn't much we can do about it other than to continue to live according to the Gospel. Because scripture is clear that it is wrongdoing and the world's violence that is bringing civilization to this pass. Were the world to live in the goodness and peacefulness of Christ, none of these terrible events would take place. God sent Christ to attempt to change the world, but that effort has not met with success.
"We tried to cure Babylon: she has got no better. Leave her alone and let us each go to his own country. Yes, her sentence reaches to the sky, rises to the very clouds." (Jer.51:9-10).
"Thus the laboring of the peoples comes to nothing; the toiling of the nations ends in fire." (Jer.51:58).
Though failing to convert the world, Jesus was successful in His primary mission and that was to find and save every child of God held captive here under Satan's bondage.
"But a court will be held and his power (the power of the fourth Persian kingdom's ruler) will be stripped from him, consumed, and utterly destroyed. And sovereignty and kingship, and the splendors of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Most High." (Dan. 7:26-27).
The events you describe show, as you say, very clearly, that we are going down this very road now. There can be little doubt any more that scripture is defining another era in some future time different than this. All the prophecies about the Return of Christ are unfolding before our eyes right now. We live in very scary, but truly momentous times.
The prophecies show that the Bible has told the truth about the future and that Jesus is for real. His return will prove that. But it also shows that the path immediately ahead will be very difficult to navigate and many will lose their faith; yet all who persevere in Jesus will rise with Christ in great glory when He appears, and live forever.
It isn't the radical Muslims we have to fear, it is falling away from faith in Jesus Christ.
What impact will Mal. 4:5-6 have on the world picture? Have you written anything on Mal. 4:5-6, Isa 40 and anything on the Two Witnesses? J
I am not familiar with Mal. 4:5-6. Do you mean Malachi? Please check your reference.
Isaiah 40 has many things to say. Which verse were you wondering about?
The "two witnesses" (see Rev. 11:1-13) are Peter and Paul, the religious and temporal leaders of the Christian Church on earth. They represent the central figures in the preaching of Christ's Gospel to the world, springing to work for Jesus every time any Bible on earth is opened.
Their work is spiritual. It is conducted from heaven in association with the temporary rule of the Lamb on earth in keeping with the prophecies of Rev. 20:4-6. This is a reign intimately associated with God's thousand-year incarceration of Satan (Rev.20:1-3), a prison sentence virtually doubled, extended to almost 2000 years by the mercy of Jesus (Joshua 10:13-14).
These two apostles (Peter and Paul) have fulfilled the roles structured in the Mosaic template, occupying the offices prefigured for them by Aaron and Moses. In this respect, Paul is the author of most of the New Testament and Peter is the head of Christ's Church on earth.
The sackcloth they preach in is the traditional black sackcloth that covers most Bibles. Their confrontation with the Antichrist can be seen in the preaching of the Gospel across the world (Rev.11:1-6).
When Zechariah defined the offices that would govern the New Covenant, he named only two: the high priest (which we now understand to be Peter) and the temporal leader (i.e., Paul). These he called the two olive branches that stand before the Lord of the whole world (i.e., before Jesus). Zechariah named them "Cornerstone" ('Peter', of course, means 'Rock'), and "Tent-peg" (Paul was a tentmaker) The tents he made reflect the churches he started across the world with his preaching (Zech.10:4; see also 4:1-14; 6:11-14)..
These tents fulfill the vision of the tent-dwelling days the wandering Israelites had to endure during their 40-year trek from Egypt to the Promised Land, tents later honored by the Hebrew festival known as the "Feast of the Tabernacles", a festival the people celebrated by living for seven days in shelters made of branches (Lev. 23:42-43).
This celebration tied together the tents of the Godly in the wilderness, their association with the harvest of God and the branching out that structured the tents into a single Church of many parts.
Zechariah gives Paul the prophetic name "Branch". Jeremiah, in chapter 23:5 of his writings, prophesied that "where he (Jesus) is, there will be a branching out". We can see this reflected in Zc.3:8 and 6:12-13.
The branching of churches brings us into the seven-church framework (Rv.1:20) defined by John and the other Apostles. Jesus defined the limits of this "branching out" when He said that wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there He would be as well. The seven churches, a metaphoric number, is represented prophetically, not only in the Book of Revelation, but also by the seven streams Isaiah said God had divided the River into as a pathway for His people (Is.11:15), and by the seven pillars of the house of God invisioned in the Book of Proverbs:
"Wisdom has built herself a house, she has erected her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beasts, prepared her wine, she has laid her table." (Proverbs 9:1-3).
This branching out of the Church into seven parts allows the seven 'eyes' of God (Zc.5:10) to search the entire world for all the people taken captive by Satan, so that they can be rescued by Jesus from the farthest recesses of the devil's dungeons.
The two offices are closely associated in the Christian Church. The priesthood of Peter brings all of us into the unity of God's priesthood, while the churches structured in the writings of Paul guard us from falling away and sinking back into sin.
The Book of Revelation shows that the two witnesses are to be assassinated at the pinnacle of their preaching. There is good reason to believe Fatima's third prophecy is strongly related to the death of these two witnesses, as well, bringing to the prophecy actual events that overlie and reinforce the symbolism.
As camera's watch, their sudden resurrection and glorification point to the reward of faith, and to the ultimate victory of Christ's saints that the prophet Daniel has promised. Once the "three-and-a-half years" have passed, Jesus will return with all the angels in great glory and majesty, bringing with Him the time of peace that has been promised.
Evangelical Christians term this restoration the "Rapture", assigning to the time of peace a set framework of one-thousand years, a reign with Jesus on our current planet. Traditional Christians, on the other hand, see the peace that follows the 3-1/2 years of persecution as eternal, with Christ rearranging all elements (2 Peter 3:9-13), completely transforming this existance into an infinite and timeless peace in a brand new eternal heavenly city which scripture terms the "Bride".
"Come here and I will show you the bride that the Lamb has married'. In the spirit, he took me to the top of an enormous high mountain, and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven. It had all the radiant glory of God and glittered like some precious jewel of crystal-clear diamond." (Rev.21:9-10).
"The ban will be lifted. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in its place in the city; his servants will worship him, they will see him face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shiing on them. They will reign forever and ever." (Rev.22:3-5).
Intimately associated with these two witnesses is a prophetic period of time defined as "a time, two times and half a time" in scripture. It is also expressed, as we have seen, in the prophetic terms "42 months", "1260 days" and "three and a half years".
All of these are different expressions of persecution, all relating to the same period of time. They have to do with the Christian era on earth. The outer court of the temple has been handed over to the pagans who will trample on the holy city for "forty-two months" (Rev.11:2-3). The bodies of the two witnesses are to lie in the street for "three-and-a-half days" (Rev.11:11). God made a place of safety for the mother of the male child for her to be looked after in the "twelve hundred and sixty days" (Rev.12:6). The reign of the beast is to last "three-and-a-half years" (Dan.12:11).
This time period can be traced back in scripture to the time of Elijah the prophet when heaven remained shut for a period of "three years and six months" when no rain fell, and a great famine raged throughout the land (1 K.17:1; 18:1, 42; James. 5:17; Luke 4:25).
The Christian era is structured into three time periods. These are: 1., the first war; 2, the incarceration of Satan which produces the time of the conversion of the world, and finally, 3., the second war, in which the conversion of the world collapses and brings the era of the pagans to an end.
All three relate to persecution. In the expression "a time, two times and half a time", the first "time" represents the first war at the beginning of the religion when Christians were fed to the lions in the Roman arena's. The "two times" represents the 2000-year era of the Christian Church on earth. It is expressed as "two" times because it is a period extended (almost doubled) by the mercy of God, for it represents the time of atonement and the salvation of many. The date January 1, 2001 ushered in the "half-a-time", scripture's "third day", the time of the end which brings the second war against the Church the tribulation.
This time of wrath will end with the Return in glory of Jesus Christ, and eternal life for all who have made His word their home.
I looked up the terms used for cornerstone and tentpeg (Zech. 4:1-14; 6:11-14). I tried several translations, I get cornerstone, yes, I can see how Peter can be called the rock. With tent peg, that was harder. the translations all say branch or shoot that will shoot up... C
Sorry. I failed to list the proper source. The term comes from Zechariah 10:4:"From Judah will come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow, from him every ruler." I have corrected the reference. As far as the "tent peg" is concerned, see also Isaiah 22:23-25. The latter part of his prophecy is particularly relevant today.
1. People talk of seeing loved ones in Heaven. If we are spirits without bodies how would we recognize them?
2. Why do we want to go to heaven if Jesus assended far above heaven. Should we not want to be WITH him to see HIM, and not just want go to heaven to see loved ones and just get out of hell.
3. If Jesus promises to present me faultless and blameless before God will I not then have to continue to be transformed into His likeness after death perhaps in levels of heaven before assending up to where He is?
4. How can an unsaved person who is DEAD in sin...die and go to hell. If he is bound in sin, held in its grip he can't even choose life. If he is DEAD how could he die again in sin? Seems to me unless one is born again, you don't have the liberty to choose life or death. Any scriptures for me on these questions? .. JK
1. In heaven, Jesus teaches we will recognize each other and be recognized. The resurrection of the body is Christianity's primary teaching. The body is the clothing of the soul and every soul must be clothed if it is to live and experience life.
The only body we know here on earth is this perishable one we wear now, but in heaven we will wear a body that is imperishable and will live forever. Obviously that means our body will not be one made of flesh and blood. It will be different, but just as real as the one we wear now. More real, because it will never die and leave the soul naked as this one does. Paul addressed this in 1 Corintians 15:35-58.
2. The heaven of Jesus is the highest heaven (the "third heaven" according to Paul) and those of us who are chosen for eternal life will live there with Him and the Father. We will not live in a separate or lower place.
3. All whom God sees as blameless are free of sin (see Psalm 32). That is why we are baptised in His name: to make us pure. We stay pure because of the forgiveness pouring out from the cross of Christ. He gave up His mortal life to pay our penalty for us so that Satan's death sentence on us could be paid in full and therefore negated. So if we have been baptised in His name, we are free of sin and have escaped eternal death as long as we remain in Him. If we do sin, we have Christ on the cross to cleanse us anew if we repent.
There is no such thing as levels. Salvation is the same for all. See Christ's testimony in Mat. 20:1-16 with respect to the payment each person receives. The Lord of the Vineyard is God and those who labor in His vineyard are those who choose Him. All receive the same payment: eternal life. That is the offer we have all been given in return for our labor in His name, no matter when in the course of our lives that labor is begun.
4. We are two parts, body and soul. The second death is the death of the soul. Nothing that happens to the body affects the soul. Jesus said all the souls who have ever lived on earth are still alive, but in prison, sentenced to death by the Law because Satan has stamped them with his own fatal blemish. The perishability of the fleshly body takes care of the body's fate. The coming Judgment in relation to Jesus Christ will determine the fate of the souls that inhabited those bodies.
Those who turn to Christ in repentance and conversion are washed clean of Satan's sin, forgiven their sins, made pure and given new bodies. These new bodies are different from these that we wear now, and of far better quality.
We were counted among the dead because Satan's damage to our souls condemned us all to death. Hoping to correct that damage, God came and put everyone into temporary bodies so that Jesus could rescue those who would follow Him out of this prison and its death sentence. On earth, God has given every person (evrey soul Satan contaminated) the opportunity of following Jesus or Satan. Eternal life is not a right. It is an offer. Everyone is free to choose whether to take it or not.
Now that the new Pope (the Bishop in white?) has offended the followers of Ishmael's descendents...what do you see happening next? His assassination in the Vatican? JF
If you live to see the Pope assassinated, head for the Canadian Rockies with some haste. The assassination of the Pope is THE critical event in prophecy, It ushers in the 3-1/2 year war on global Christianity (most times in scripture are metaphoric, but in this case I don't think so) and terminates in two fiery bombardments of the earth, one by the forces of the Madman (Daniel), and another either followiing or interrupting it with a rain of "hail" by God from the cosmos (Revelation). It is the "grand finale" that darkens the skies of the earth and brings the Return of Jesus. Paul referenced this assassination in 2 Thessalonians 2:7. Daniel spoke of it in his verse 9:26, and there are other references as well.
So, no, this is not the time for that. It is coming, but there are many other events that must take place first. Judging from all the events prophesied, yet still to unfold (and dependent on whether or not these are the times described) I suspect there are a number of years left. I would guess at least 20, if not more. Only the unfolding of the prophecies will determine that, and, as so clearly stated in scripture, only God will ever know the exact date. God is still in control of world events. While the forces of the East are to play a pivotal role in all this, they, too, are constrained by God and will remain so until their time matures.
The eastern world, according to Daniel, is going to grow into an empire larger than the Soviet Union (governed by a similar entity it seems), and comprised of a ten-nation confederacy of eastern nations (the ten horns of scripture).
The end of the world cannot come from a cave. These forces have to be amalgamated and controlled, brought under a single umbrella, and massed into an army capable not only of taking control of the entire Eastern Hemisphere, but confident enough to invade the Western Hemisphere afterwards. And all that has to occur BEFORE the Madman comes to power. The "beast" is not the first king of this empire. He is the third (Dan.11:18-21). So while the birthpangs continue to be violent, the time is not yet.
A lot of importance has been placed of the fact that Jesus rose from the dead after three days, but for years it has bothered me that there aren't three days between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning. Then recently I stumbled upon an article in Wikipedia about the Roman Calendar. Apparently, when the Romans count the time between two events, they count the days inclusively. Thus, we have three days between Friday and Sunday.
But that leaves me with another question. Why would Jesus use the current counting scheme of that time when the church he founded would eventually come to replace it with the one we use today? In replacing the counting scheme, it would seem the church has invalidated the 3-day time period between Jesus' death and resurrection. Any thoughts?. AR
The Holy Spirit is the author of this prophecy, not Rome. It is global, not local, and because it is prophecy, the language is spirit and metaphore as well as narrative. Like the others, this prophecy, too, is built on the Old Testament (the Mosaic template) and it points to the timeline of Christianity on earth and to the end of the world. It is one of the largest of the prophecies.
When the people asked Jesus for the proof of His claims, He responded that the only proof would be the sign of Jonah. As he was in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights (Jonah 2:1), so would Jesus be in the belly of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights (Mt.12:40). That statement comes from the mouth of Jesus. Thus it is an absolute that must be fulfilled as stated.
While that proof approximates the term of His stay in hell as far as man is concerned, God is the true author of day and night, not man. We merely measure it as best we can, and as you point out, our measurement changes with the ages. Day, in God's sense, applies to the light of Christ and night to the time when that light has been removed from the earth. That is a measure that will never change.
Not only that, Jesus was crucified under the Jewish timeline, not the Roman timeline. In Jewish terms, the new day began at sunset. That is why it was so important for the priests to see that His body was buried before the sun set on friday because sunset ushered in Passover, the next day when Jewish Law demanded that no dead body could be outside the tomb.
Because Jesus died before the sun set on friday, both day and night occurred in a spiritual sense before saturday even arrived. Saturday came when the sun set late friday afternoon. The day, sunday, began in night but turned to day spiritually with Christ's resurrection even before the night hours had vanished to man's vision. Thus, as far as God is concerned there are three days and three nights in this equation.
Today's measurement (which begins at midnight) sees the three days, but not three nights. The Jewish measurement would also see three days but would ignore the nights, because every one of their days begins at night fall. God's vision is global and would encompass both day and night together as one.
Days and nights in the biblical sense relate to God, not man. We can see this in the prophecy of Joshua 10:12-13, when God stopped the sun in the sky making one day into almost two (i.e., with one Son, He made almost 2 days into one). This prophecy relates to the one you asked about. Because it corresponds to God's action during the three days that correspond to the age of Christianity on the planet.
These pivotal three days were prophesied in the Book of Moses when God told Moses to take the people out of Egypt on a 3-day journey into the wilderness and there make a sacrifice to God. In relation to that sacrifice, he told them to wash and clean for two days and then on the third day, God would descend from His holy mountain in their presence.
We know from the Psalms and Peter that a day to God can be like a thousand years. Here the three days of Christianity correspond to the time beginning in the year 1 A.D. (the age of Christ). On January 1, 2001, 2000 years passed (2 days to God as far as Peter's and the Psalms were concerned, yet combined into a single day by prophecy). These were the two days of washing and cleaning (baptism and repentance), i.e., the "day" of Atonement, a single day to God).
On January 1, 2001, we entered the "third day". This is the "day" Jesus is to return to earth, and we can see by the example of the tomb, that His return will occur "early" in this third day. Signs of that return are everywhere now. Not only that, but before Jesus appears, the night will come again. War against the Church will usher in the time of tribulation, and it is into that darkness that Jesus will suddenly appear, just as He came as the light of the world into the spiritual darkness at Bethlehem.
The three "days" apply to 1., Christ's appearance on earth in Galilee, 2., the two days in one that constitute the light of the Church, followed by 3., His Return. The three nights are 1., the time before Jesus appeared, 2., His crucifixion, and 3., the tribulation to come when the Church is attacked and bludgeoned in the last days.
All of these constitute the "proof" that Jesus told the Pharisees would confirm that He came from God. It was important to God that Christ's resurrection occur early in the third day, because that is when our resurrection is to occur as well, the object to which Christ's whole life pointed, the rescue of God's lost children.
Another example of this principle can be seen in the Internaitonal Date Line. It came into existance in man's perspective after Magellan's voyage. But the day has always existed, beginning and ending somewhere because the planet is round, so that a complete day and a complete night always exist on earth together at the same moment of time.
Taking the earth as a whole, then, day and night always coexist, a reality that insures scripture's definition cannot be refuted. Anytime there is a day on earth, there is also a night. Jesus came to save the whole world, not just Jerusalem. His time in Sheol preaching to the souls there was not a local event, it was planetary, encompassing days and nights together as one.
Where was time's line before Magellan's voyage? God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginnng and the end. The line was wherever God wanted to put it. Wherever He wassomething He could change at will. Days and nights are God's alone to determine. We start the day far out in the Pacific Ocean today, but God starts and ends it with Jesus Christ.
I am studying the he-goat and the ram in Daniel, because there the Jews got between the Persians and the Europeans or the west represented by Alexander. Not too long after that, a Greek ruler arose in the Babylon-Syria area who attempted to stamp out Judaism. He was Antiochus Epiphanes. If this scenario repeats in our modern era, then one might be able to guess at world events before they unfold. What do you think of these ideas? EG
The "guessing" you refer to is in full swing now it seems.
There are three books in scripture that either specify or allude to Antiochus in scripture, the two books of the Maccabees and the Book of Daniel.
As the only "sealed" book in scripture (self-stated) , the book of Daniel has enormous relational significance to the end times. That is the subject of most of its text. The book's unsealing, according to its own statement can only occur when the last days arrive. The two events must dovetail.
When they asked Him about the end of the world, Jesus sent His apostles (and therefore the rest of us) back to the Book of Daniel. He sent us specifically to a passage historically relative to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. I think that answers your question. Jesus did nothing serendipitously.
As a text of history, Daniel points back to Antiochus IV. As prophecy, however, (which is its main purpose) his book points forward to the "madman" of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-8, a future mirror-image in many ways to Antiochus.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, Daniel's outline of events surrounding the rise of this Rebel to power would be expected to reflect remarkable similarities to the Antiochus events following the altered historical pattern documented by Daniel. I have written about this extensively on the web page. It brings into play Alexander the Great and all the figures and events Daniel's words depict, propelling them all into a disassembling Christian future.
And that is the key to the lock on Daniel's book. It is about Christianity primarily, and Judaism only in respect to the harsh road ahead that leads to an ultimate acceptance of God's Son at the end.
The ram and the he-goat are a part of this, revealing themselves with respect to the two wars at the Euphrates. Also documented by Daniel is the rise of the fourth kingdom of Persia and the ten "horns" of the beast, the ten kingdoms that compose the war machine of the kings of the East.
Even the False Prophet, the handwriting on the wall, the statue of the beast with its two clay feet, the conquest of Israel, the attempt to stamp out Christianity, the burning of the churches, the abolition of the communion sacrifice and so on are now rising up from historical pre-existence to take their place on today's stage through Daniel's prophecies.
Daniel documents the rise of the Medes, scripture's dreaded east wind that dessicates the fallen branches that remain at the end of the harvesta principle familiar at this time of year when the leaves of fall are burned. For that is what this Antiochus-like figure will mean to humanity when the time comes for him to grab the steering wheel of world politics and take it where no one wants it to go. Fortunately he is not in power yet and he can't appear until God has pulled the plug and decreed the End at hand.
In the meantime, as you suggest, we have Daniel's "map" to follow as we wend our way through an unknown period of time past each of the checkpoints he and the others have listed that mark the path ahead.
the scripture reference 1 corth. 15: 35-58 mentions after we are raised. Since Jesus said, No man has ever ascended into Heaven that makes me think David, Abraham etc are NOT in heaven YET.
(Ed. Note: "No one has gone up to heaven except the one who came down from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven..." John 3:13).
It says David is Dead...........I seem to feel we die, are buried and then lose all memories etc, of what is happening UNTIL.............the Lord returns and we are raised.
Do you find any scriptures to support we immediately go to heaven? Other than when we die we are in the presence of the Lord it seems the body dies, the dead do not see what is going on...........are not watching us now. ......but are simply dead and awaiting with others the return of the Lord. JK
Two-thousand years have passed since Jesus spoke those words. Your suggestions are also complicated by the fact that Paul said there are three heavens, not just one (2 Cor.12:2-4). Which heaven was Jesus referring to?
Certainly not the one directly above our heads. That is a physical heaven that is passing away. There is nothing eternal there. Perhaps He was referring to the highest heaven, the third heaven, which is to be the future domain of Christ's kingdom of God. That heaven is not yet occupied by people. It is to have its grand opening following the Return of Christ when God confers on Him sovereignty, glory and kingship (Dan. 7:13-14).
The Gospel documents a raised Moses and a raised Elijah because they appeared with Jesus on the mountain during His transfiguration. Were they raised up from below the throne of God where many souls are waiting (see below) or did they come down from the second heaven? No one knows.
John in the Book of Revelation speaks of two resurrections (Rev. 20:4-6). Both relate to the kingdom of God and therefore apply to those who have died in Christ. This means that Christians are being raised to heaven in two groups, the first having already taken place early in the faith. The rest of the dead will not be raised until Jesus returns.
The Apostle John, himself, was not included in the first resurrection. Jesus said he had to remain behind until the Return (John 21:20-23). That gives us some idea of a calendar date. It tells us the first resurrection took place sometime between 33 A.D. and 95 A.D. (or thereabouts) when John died. The most likely date would be in relation to the Apostolic Massacre in Rome followed by the death of the beast Nero around 70 A.D.
Except for a prophecy in Jeremiah 52:24-27, we do not know who was involved in this first resurrection. Most of the Apostles for certain. The others you mention are possibilities. No one knows. Mary, Jesus' mother would have been in her early 90's if she were still living in 70 A.D.
A passage in the Book of Revelation speaks of those who have died in the Lord all still awake and gathered beneath the throne of God. In response to their questions about the length of the wait, each have been given white robes (symbolism for their new bodies) and told to be patient a little longer untul the full role of Christians (their brothers and sisters in Christ) has been made complete (Rev. 6:9-11).
This passage points to a living and knowledgeable wait.
I am writing to ask what may you be able to share about the third horse of the apocalypse - the Black horse of commerce.
second, I want to ask you are you aware the the fourth horse - the Pale horse, in the Greek Septuagint actually mean Green. Enclose are some of the support factors of the Green Horse.
Islam (?); the fastest growing government & religion indicates this pale horse
Your suggestion relating to the Greek scriptures is interesting. I often use a Greek Bible and the translation in mine is "deathly pale" rather than green. This horse has two persons or designations associated with it. The rider is called "Plague" and "Hades" follows at its heel. The Parthian kingdom and its ten satellite nations are to have two rulers. They relate, acccordeing to Daniel, to Antiochus the Great and his son Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the Beast).
In the traditional understanding (i.e., that of most scholars) the white horse relates to the Parthians, barbarous warriors who are to occupy in the last days the lands now peopled almost exclusively by Muslims. In keeping with prophecies swirling around the Christian community at the time of Nero, the Parthian designation was given to John's quotation because of the bow in the riders hands and because the scholars continue to see only terror in the four horsemen. The Parthians were excellent archers. Their bows and arrows easily translate today into missles and launching platforms.
The ancient word Parthian is a prophetic term in our own time. It stands for a future militant people in Iran, Iraq and the "Stans" (Khazakstan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, etc, etc.) conjured from a wedding between biblical warnings concerning the eastern "Medes" of the last days and rumors that developed in the wake of Nero's death. Those rumors saw Nero returning at the head of a great Parthian army, crossing the Euphrates to retake his throne in Rome by force.
It seems certain that the Parthians cannot constitute two of the horses, but considering their divine purpose per scripture, they certainly must be considered when thinking of the four horsemen of John's Apocalypse.
My own thought parallels yours, that they constitute the fourth horseman, i.e., the Wrath (Death & Hades). This, because it is their destiny according to Daniel, to bring the earth to a flaming end. They bring to completion and termination the whole process of the Wrath the cleansing of sin from the earth begun by the sword of Jesus Christ the destruction of the spiritual city known as Babylon the Great.
Almost certainly we are seeing the seeds of this barbarous fourth horseman growing now out of the caves inhabited by Osama bin Laden and his followers. Too many other signs have coalesced over the last 50 years not to suspect that our world has now been captured in the "tractor beam" of God, and He is pulling us to the End defined.
While modern scholars see the four horsemen as four terrifying wings that structure the Apocalypse, some early Christian scholars argued that the white horse represented God and its rider the Church of Jesus Christ. If we ascribe the Parthian label, not to the white horse, but to the fourth horse as you suggest, a new designation for the white horse would be necessary. Jesus Christ would definitely be my choice.
This because the wording closely associates with Ezekiel's chapter 9, and 21 through 24. Jesus Himself said that he had not come to bring peace but a sword down onto the earth. The Word of God comes as an escape from the death of the Wrath, but it does not represent an escape from the martyrdom or trial by fire that each Christian is called upon to undergo in defense of their faith. Jesus alluded to these trials when He said that "the kingdom of God is to be subjected to violence, and by violence are all getting in".
Remember, the four horsemen came galloping out when Jesus broke the first four (of seven) seals that have always hidden the truth of scripture from the people of the past. This means their hoofbeats represent an unveiling of the hidden truths of God. I believe that the scholars simply do not want to believe the truth of the sword of Christ, i.e., what it means in relation to mankind the spiritual death inherent in the second side of Jesus' sword. The mayhem is spiritual and it comes from God because the creation must be cleansed of Satan's contamination.
Man is constantly fighting wars against evil tyrants, they pop up with the frequency of ads on an internet screen, but no one wants to admit that God has a similar but far nobler purpose in mind. One that is accomplished through the peace of the Church using the sword of God's Word. The message is peace but the spiritual reality underlying it burns to a cinder the scourge of sin and the tyrants who pursue it. Jesus said He came to set a fire burning across the earth and longed for it to inflame the land swiftly.
It is not that God wants to hurt us. On the contrary, He is rescuing us. But it is written that the wicked are to perish in their own violence. Were they not to impose that violence on the poor and downtrodden, they would have no guilt. As it is, they cannot deny their guilt. Christ addressed this dichotomy in His Sermon on the Mount.
The whole vision is spiritual. It relates to spiritual life and death because it centers on the fate, not of the human body, but the eternal souls that those shells encompass. The two middle horsemen represent the power of sin to bring catastrophe to mankind.
The red horse represents Satan's power to destroy souls, those who refuse to repent and be baptised. The primary purpose of the vision is not to portray physical warfare or physical death, yet Satan's infection and it's malignant nature spills over into the physical world. As a consequence, war, plagues, floods and even earthquakes and tidal waves testify to the broken nature of this world and the far-reaching consequences of sin's power to harm.
The black horse not only represents commerce, but centers its focus on business' long and uninterrupted history of trampling the poor in its rush to wealth across the ages. Jesus threw the gauntlet here when He said that man cannot serve money and God at the same time. Babylon, in scripture, is described as a commercial center. Money is the object of its whole purpose. "Babylon" in this case is not a geographic designation. The whole world is involved in its existance and perpetuation.
The novel, "A Christmas Carol" with Scrooge and Tiny Tim elaborated on the greed involved in money's pursuit and its damages in the 19th century. Today, with the world and all its nations in the grip of a handful of powerful corporate oligarchy's, the sins of Scrooge pale by comparison.
The rations of corn and barely in John's descriptions of the black horse represented prohibitive pricing. Every day brings more disclosures of untold billions disappearing no one knows where, after it passes into the hands of government contractors, a fact that shows that the corporate world is so awash in such hordes of money that they cannot even keep track of it. This while Africans and many others die of starvation for the lack of a loaf of bread. It is here and in circumstances like this that lies the truth of the violence by which the poor are saved. The fat cats would laugh at such a claim, but the Sermon on the Mount testifies to it (Mat. 5:1-12).
We can see the prophecy on which John's vision is based in the Book of Ezekiel:
"Then as I listened he shouted 'Come here you scourges of the city, and bring your weapons of destruction'. Immediately six men advanced from the upper north gate, each holding a deadly weapon. In the middle of them was a man in white..." (Ez.9:1-2)
"The glory of God called to the man in white and said, 'Go all through the city, all through Jerusalem, and mark a cross on the foreheads of all who deplore and disapprove of the filth practiced in it. To the others I heard him say, 'Follow him through the city, and strike...but do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead. Begin at my sanctuary." (Ez.9:3-6).
How similar that verse to this in the Book of Revelation: "Do not touch the oil or the wine". That seems a symbolic representation pointing to the sacramental elements of Christ's Church: Key ingredients in baptism and communion. "Do not touch anyone with a cross on his forehead."
"While they were hacking them down, I stayed behind; I fell face downwards and exclaimed, 'Ah, Lord God, are you going to annihilate all that is left of Israel as you turn your anger on Jerusalem?' He said, 'The guilt of the House of Israel and Judah is immense, boundless; the country is full of bloodshed, the city overflows with wickedness...I mean to call them to account for all their behavior." The man in white with the scribe's ink horn in his belt then came back and made his report, 'I have carried out your orders'." (Ez.9:8-11).
The fourth horse of John's Apocalypse is the Wrath completed. Brought in by a people from the Middle East (the fiery east-wind of scripture), it dessicates everything, not only bringing spiritual termination, but physical termination in the form of war, riots, holocaust, massacres, the destruction of Christ's Word across vast areas of the planet, and finally, a fiery cataclysm by man and nature that few on earth will survive. This end will darken the skies of the planet in dense black smoke. Then Christ will return and rescue all who had the faith to believe in Him and follow the path He defined that leads to eternal life.
Why are most prophecies negative like Isaiah's that says the Lord is going to shake the nations in the seive of destruction? Why doesn't the verse read that He is going to shake them in the seive of salvation because that is what He really did? JT
Jesus is bringing salvation to the lost children of Israel (their identity proved by their willingness to follow the Gospel of Christ, and their perserverance in that endeavor). He did not come to save the nations. The nations, as prophecy predicted in advance (and now history has confirmed) welcomed Him at first but then grew tired of His expectations and cast Him out of their presence.
Not much more than a hundred years ago almost every nation in the western world dedicated the populations under their direction to faith in Christ. Today none do except the Vatican. The nations are not going to be saved. They have indeed been sifted with a seive of destruction just as Isaiah prophesied.
What more can you tell me about the papal assassination? PL
First of all, while this event is scheduled to occur in the current time period (the "third day"), and very likely in this century, it is not yet close. Many years must pass before the conditions Daniel specified align themselves into world political reality.
There are two major assassinations described in biblical prophecy and only one of them has to do with the head of the Church. The other one is political, relating to someone (an Alexander the Great kind of figure) high in the leadership of the western world.
This "Alexander" assassination revolves around the symbolic "Pharaoh of Egypt", and according to Jeremiah is scheduled to be the proof of all the prophecies relating to disaster in Israel. Unlike the Papal event, the "Pharaoh" prophecy is probably very close and, according to Jeremiah will be the conclusive proof offered by God that a coming invasion of Israel by the kings of the East will occur without question and precisely in the manner Jeremiah predicted, i.e., sweeping west and south across the Euphrates river. (See Jer.44:28-30, a vision relating to chapters in Jeremiah directly preceding and following this verse)
The Papal assassination, on the other hand, will occur in a way somewhat similar to the history and prophecy surrounding an enormously popular and holy Hebrew high priest named Onias III, killed in 172 B.C. by a priestly cabal friendly to the political madman Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the wretch prophecy teaches to be the precursor to the Beast of the last days, the man Revelation calls "666". (See 2 Maccabees especially 4:30; Dn. 11:20; 9:25-27; 11:31, etc.).
Directing that cabal in history was the priest, Menalaus. Supported by the king (Antiochus IV Epiphanes) two turncoat priests, Jason and then Menelaus were named to the high priesthood, one after the other, subverting the normal process of such selection. This, too, can be expected in the future circumstances, with the beast involved in the appointment of his own Popes. The prophecy shows that God did not go along with the appointments unseating Onias, proof that neither will He in the future.
Feigning friendship, Menelaus convinced Onias to leave the confines of the sanctuary, and once outside, attacked and killed him.
In Sister Lucia of Fatima's vision, the "man in white" is set upon and killed on his way up a hill strewn with the bodies of other priests and topped by a large cross. Her vision describes a scene astonishingly similar to the yearly Good Friday procession by the Papal entourage through the ancient part of the city of Rome, through the ruins of the coliseum and up the winding road that leads to the cross on top of Palatine hill.
If that is the case, his assassination will occur in relation to that service, symbolically uniting this unthinkable act with the Church's final journey on the path of Christ, bringing a true "Good Friday" to the Church itself. Accompanying this assassination according to Lucia's vision will be a priestly massacre of significant proportions.
(A similar massacre at the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes occurred 3-4 years after the assassination of Onias, but in Lucia's vision the assassination and massacre seem to be united in time).
Soon after, the Beast (also called the "Prince of Persia") will issue his proclamation outlawing the practice of Christianity and Judaism in His empire (along with all other religions and faiths not acceptable to him). That proclamation will free the Christian Church (all denominations of it) from the treaty with Babylon structured by God through the life-saving sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
In that release from the terms of God's peace treaty, those few Vatican priests and holy persons surviving the massacre at Rome will begin a long journey back to Jerusalem a journey that will encompass the time involved in the remaining reign of the Beast (prophetically three-and-a-half years). This group will be led by Michael the Archangel (Dn.12:1; Ez.43:1-4, etc.)
Also freed from the great Babylon exile by the Prince of Persia's proclamation will be the Jews.
The arrival in Jerusalem of the Christian refugees (the City of David) led by Michael, and their welcome there by the Jewish holy communitiy will be the event that reunites the two Houses of Isreal, returning sight to the people. Their coded greeting to Michael (Mat. 23:38-39) will immediately trigger the horn of Gabriel to blow, and bring the Return of Jesus Christ to the earth.
As a part of that Return, honor and great glory will be bestowed on all who chose to follow Christ in their lives on earth. At the sound of Christ's voice they will rise from their sleep and inherit eternal life in a kingdom that will never die or pass away, spending their lives free of danger forever in the company of God and Jesus, the Patriarchs, the Apostles and all others God deems of faith.
See also, "Michael the Archangel".
See also, "Terms of the Peace Treaty"
Was the spirit of God that was on earth in the Old Testament the same as the Holy Spirit in the New Testament? ER
Yes. To say otherwise would be to say there were two different Trinity's.
The Holy Spirit appearing after Jesus was glorified comes to us differently armed now with the Gospel so that He can speak to us in God's own language a language we can understand because we have learned to speak it through the Spirit's instruction. The Word of Jesus is spirit and life the bread of eternal life brought to us in Jesus' name by the Holy Spirit.
"But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine. Everyting the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine." (John 16:13-15).
Sometimes called "Wisdom" as in Proverbs, or the "wind" as in Jeremiah, or the "River, as in Isaiah, but more often simply the "spirit of God", as in the Psalms, the Holy Spirit has existed unchanged from the beginningGod's master architect, fashioning creation according to the design of God through Jesus Christ.
The Gospel tells us that there was no Spirit on earth when Jesus was here physically. John wrote:
"He (Jesus) was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive; for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified." (John 7:39).
That would suggest that the Holy Spirit was a new Presence of God on earth. But scripture shows that the preexisting Spirit and the Spirit sent by Jesus are one and the same. Theologians often claim the two to be different Spirits, but the difference between them is in the preaching and crucifixion of Jesus. We can see that in the angel's words to Mary just prior to her conception:
"The Holy Spirit will come upon you" the angel answered "and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God." (Luke 1:35)
The Holy Spirit that came to Mary before Jesus was glorified is the same Spirit sent by Jesus after He was glorified.
Jesus told His disciples that unless He returned to the Father, the Holy Spirit could not come down to them. This tells us that the Father could not, by Himself alone, send His Spirit to save us from the death sentence Satan had imposed. God decreed that His Holy Spirit had to come to us through Jesus Christ glorified. And Jesus could not be glorified again in heaven unless He returned to the Father.
Moreover, Jesus said that when He returned to the Father, He was to be glorified in heaven with an identical glory He shared with the Father before He came down to this worlda glory He had shared with the Father since before the universe began (John 1:1):
"Now, Father, it is time for you to glorify me with that glory I had with you before the world ever came into being." (Jn.17:5).
The glorification of Christ in heaven is like the power of the sun and the spirit that emanates from it, like sunlight but in spiritual terms, not physical, and infinitely more powerful a power so great that it has complete control over the material world and the spiritual world. It is through that all-powerful glory that the Spirit can shine forth on earth and carry out God's will for creation. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit emanates from the Father, but comes through Him (Jesus Christ) as well. We know this to be true of the Christian era, but scripture shows it to be true even before this world was made:
"In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men..." (John 1:1-4).
It is possible that the Spirit's words that were spoken through the prophets of old came from the Father alone, but the fact that Jesus was with the Father and glorified in heaven at that time and, according to John, was instrumental in the formation of this universe (John 1:1-3) argues that the Spirit that "hovered over the water" in Genesis 1:2 in the beginning came also through the Son. All three are manifestations of the Word in different forms.
Putting those two statements in scripture together (and others as well) we can see that, by the authority of His Father, Jesus Christ in heaven, was the "Lord" in the following declaration, and the "breath" that emanated from His mouth, the Holy Spirit:
"By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, their whole array by the breath of his mouth...he spoke, and it was created; he commanded, and there it stood" (Ps.33:6-9).
Jesus, through His Father, was architecting our return from sin when He created this universe. The "Big Bang" of light coming into the primoridal mist and darkness of pre-existance as a "breath", and fashioning it into a dry land for the redeemed to cross (Ex.14:21-22; Is.51:10) was part and parcel of that same Word coming to earth in the flesh to gather us to Him as a shepherd gathers sheep. It was the first step in that process.
God's Spirit through Jesus was deeply involved throughout in helping to bring to fruition God's entire plan.
The Gospel and the cross go together. The Holy Spirit's presence in the Old Testament was not enough for mankind's salvation. Jesus had to die for our sins. Without that payment, no person in the world could be saved. Once Jesus had taken control of the Law taken it out of the hands of those who ruled it (by fulfilling its terms), He could offer forgiveness from the Law's dictates to whomever He directed.
Jesus had paid our penalty in full on the cross the cross by which we can now be saved.
The Holy Spirit was able to wash Jesus' saving blood across all mankind (across all who were willing to accept His offer). This was true even of those who had fallen asleep before Jesus appeared, because no soul had died. Everyone, as far as God is concerned, is still alive (Luke 20:38). Only their clothing has worn out.
This is proved by Jesus going down to those souls after He was crucified and preaching to them where they are in their prison in the same way He preached to us before He went to the cross. (1 Peter 3:18-20).
The Holy Spirit was permitted to come down after Jesus' glorification and bring the Word of salvation to mankind because of that cross. Through it, Jesus made a way for us to receive His Word in a purified vessel (our cleansed soul). Now, because Jesus has made us pure, the Holy Spirit can enter us and live in us, enveloping us in Christ's Word and building around our soul a new, perfect and everlasting body that will never die.
Because the Holy Spirit has now been empowered to communicate to us in Jesus' name and through His Gospel, He has been able to tell us of the things to come. He also brings us to the complete truth of God. In the Old Testament, the writers and prophets did not have this clarity of vision. That may be why we see in their writings an intermixing of angels and God's Spirit. Since both were invisible (the Holy Spirit always and the angels most of the time), the vision of the prophets, if it is hazy, is excusable.
We cannot be certain their vision lacked clarity, theologians simply assume it. This is paricularly true in the case of the prophet Malachi, who, like Zechariah, saw an angel in the place where most now see the Holy Spirit. Malachi called the Angel of the Covenant 'the refiners fire and the fullers' alkali who will take his seat as refiner and purifier of mankind' (Malachi 2:1-3). The Gospel indicates that refining fire is, in fact, the Holy Spirit.
The prophet Zechariah (Zech 3:1-10; 4:1-10) in his metaphoric description of the purification of Peter and Paul not only saw the same figure and described him as the "angel of God", but equated him with Michael the Archangel in relation to the Book of Jude in his confrontation with Satan (Jude 9-10).
The angel with the highest authority in heaven (as far as we know) is Michael the Archangel. Usually in scripture, he is associated more with battle than with purification (but the two may be the same in Christ), and is seen as the angel with a sword that appeared to Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15) when "the sun stood still in the middle of the sky, making one day into almost two" (Joshua 10:12-15). He was also instrumental in helping to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and across Sinai:
"I myself will send an angel before you to guard you as you go and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. Give him reverence and listen to all that he says. Offer him no resistance; he would not pardon such a fault, for my name is in him. If you listen carefully to his voice and do all that I say, I shall be enemy to your enemies, foe to your foes. My angel will go before you and lead you..." (Ex.23:20).
He appeared again when Joshua was faced with the walls of Jericho. Daniel describes Michael as the Guardian Angel of the House of Israel (i.e., the Guardian Angel of both Christians and Jews),
A figure so glorified one would assume it to be Jesus in the Old Testament, appeared before Daniel and described Michael as "the only one to lend Him support" in bringing the Children of Israel out of Babylon and leading them to the Promised Landi.e., to the kingdom of heaven (Dan.10:21). Jesus told Daniel that Michael was the "Prince" of Daniel's people. That title ("Prince") further ties him to the Angel of the Covenant.
Jesus told Daniel that Michael will "stand up"(Dan.12:1) at the end of time when he (Michael in the flesh?) brings the last remnant of Christians out of captivity in Babylon's capitol city, Rome, and leads 'this "City of David" in exile (the Church)' back to Jerusalem where these survivors will be welcomed in the code words that end the world (Mat.23:39; Rom. 11:15) by the Jewish remnant still in that city at the End.
"At that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who mounts guard over your people. There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existance. When that time comes, your own people will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace." (Dan. 12:1-2).
Many New Testament writers in the early days of the Church equated the Angel of the Covenant with the Godhead, i.e., with Jesus Himself. This is because scripture says "no one can remain standing in his Presence".
There is no question that Michael the Archangel (a spiritual figure) stands at the pinnacle of heaven's heirarchy, just below the Godhead; no other angel in heaven comes close to his authority. But no scholar today sees Michael as God. It would be considered theological heresy if they did. Instead, they see the Holy Spirit and Michael working together as one in the same way we do when we are perfectly meshed in Christ.
The Holy Spirit does not come to us in His own name, He comes in the name of Jesus Christ (John 16:13). Yet many theologians expect the Third Person of the Trinity, God's Spirit, to be personalized in the last days. If that is the case, and His name is made known to us through prophecy, we may at that time look back to the prophecies of Malachi, Daniel and Zechariah with a new sense of astonishment.
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I am reading your paper on The Seven Churches chapter 15. Seven Visible Churches but one Invisible Church.
In your writing about these seven churches it seems you are pointing to the multiplicity of the different churches and that God seems to be working through all of them. I can truely understand that God would do this, but at the same time this leaves me a bit confused. Are we to believe that because of all these different denominations and teachings that they all are contributing to the furtherance of the gospel of Christ? If this is true, and all of these churches have a "part" in this furtherance, then why are we so divided when it comes to doctrine?
When I look at the general protestant churches alone there are the Holiness, Baptist, Pentacostal, Bretheren, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, then the such as the Seventh Day Adventists, Mormon, Jehovah Witnesses, etc. All these different "churches" have different doctrines which divide each of these churches.
How can we ever hope to come together unless we all agree on the same doctrinal principles of scriptures. One believes in speaking in tongues, another, feet washing, another, in entire sanctification, and the variations go on seemingly forever. Can we still say that they all have a part?
Similarly, I hear TV preachers such as, forgive me but, "--------"! and I'm convinced that in a lot of this mans doctrine, he doesn't have a clue!
Men like this give some or even a lot of truth but it is mixed with false doctrine and theology. I cannot listen to this kind of teaching. I have sat a watched him and have actually got up from my chair and said, that man is totally wrong and I've walked out of the room.
The scripture says, how can two walk together except they be agreed?
If I am misunderstanding where you are going with this or what your thought is, please correct me. I want to know the truth. I hope you can understand what I am asking here. Thank you so much for a reply, R
I think we have all turned off tv preachers now and then. But even at the fuzziest moments of their preaching, they are still following an order God gave to each one of us when He said:
"...your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God." (Lk 9:60).
Their preaching is "testimony" to Christ. They testify to the truth of the Good News. Our imperfection in giving that testimony comes from our human nature. God knew about our nature, but wanted us to go out and spread His news anyway. He did not say: 'Wait until you are perfectly schooled in the most accurate theology there is, and then go spread the news of the kingdom.' He meant right now.
That is because it is not the preacher who saves. The Holy Spirit saves. When the Word is preached, the Holy Spirit travels with it and does all the rest. We spread the news, He does the saving.
Jesus said that faith is not given to everyone. God has decreed that those with sight will be made blind and those who are blind will see. It is for that purpose that Jesus spoke in parables. It is for that purpose as well that there are preachers who speak in a garbled tongue. The Holy Spirit will save everyone who belongs to God. Not one will be lost the Bible tells us. We can depend on that.
Doctrine is not an issue because doctrine cannot save us. Doctrine, such as the Torah, is Law and no one is saved by the Law. Paul made a big issue of this and so did Martin Luther. We are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. Everyone who has such faith is saved.
The "church" each of us attends cannot save us. That isn't even the church's purpose. The purpose of the church is to guide us to Jesus, to protect us, and to enact processes that help us hold onto our faith for a lifetime rather than just for those first few years when our discovery of God was new (see Rev. 2 through 3).
Jesus said that God does not want sacrifice, He wants justice and mercy. And no one can use the Law to condemn anyone God has already forgiven and sees as pure. Our purity is compromised only when we disobey the Gospel Jesus preached.
Peter bears witness to this truth: "It is to him (Christ) that all the prophets bear this witness: that all who believe in Jesus will have their sins forgiven through his name." (Acts 10:43). Not only does this statement ignore doctrine, there isn't a single mention of a church in his pronouncement. Just the name of Jesus. And this comes from Peter, the head of the Church on earth (the all-encompassing Church).
And if we do stumble in Christ, His cross remains our salvation, because if we get up, and ask for forgiveness it will continue to wash us clean so that we can return to faith, still pure and cleansed.
We do not know how often He will continue forgiving us that way, but He told us to forgive 70 times 7 times. The meaning was clear: always. Since we are called to be like Christ, His behavior must be identical to the doctrine He preached. That is our hope. We have His assurance that He will forgive us in the same way as we forgive those who trespass against us.
No church goes to heaven. Only people. Church brings everyone to the Gospel Jesus preached, but not everyone so brought, wraps themselves in Christ's word. Many choose, instead, to follow other ways. The church doesn't, of itself, save. It offers Christ. It is only Jesus who saves. The prophets are clear on this. Over and over we hear in their books warnings such as this: "Do not follow man or any mortal man, he cannot save".(Ps.146:3-4). Jesus is the crossroads between death and eternal life. No one else. He is the only shepherd. The sheep who listen to His teachings will live forever. Those who do not will not. And that truth is the same in every church.
As far as the "two men" are concerned, two men may walk together, as in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament (the new covenant) it is written of the two who are together: only "one will be taken and the other will be left". Group salvation would be nice, but it is not to be found in Jesus.
It is not a question of us getting together. It is a question of each of us individually getting to the kingdom of heaven. That is not a group equation. It is singular. We are each responsible for our own lives. We can save no one else. All we can do is testify to the truth. God has fixed it so that every person has to make an individual choice with respect to Him. This is true if you are a Lutheran, or a Mormon, or an Evangelical, or a Roman Catholic, or whatever. It is true whether you are a pope or bishop or priest or minister or a widow with her mite. There is only one Christ, and His one teaching.
Any church that does not offer Christ is not of Christ. That is an assembly without the food of eternal life.
There is a difference between churches. Everyone knows which churches are mainstream and which are out on the periphery. The closer to the Apostolic understanding of Christ the church is, the safer it should be. But, in the end, each of us is responsible for our own decision. The rams may muddy the water, and some have to drink water muddied by the feet of rams (as the prophecy says), but those who are firm in their knowledge of Jesus cannot be led astray. And that knowledge is easy to know. If you understand the four Gospels, and follow their teachings, you cannot be led astray. You will live forever.
Just remember, there are churches at the periphery only because God sent them out there on purpose (see Luke 14:16-24). God's banquet hall still has room. That is why His servants have gone out past the hedgerows, out to the farthest quadrants of the world in search of those who would come to His Feast. We tend to see that periphery as weakness, but the Lord sees weakness in a different way than we do: He told Paul, "My grace is enough for you: my power is at its best in weakness." (2 Cor.12:9)
Paul calls the Church the body of Christ, showing that each of us, like all the individual churches, are like parts of the body, each with its own specific function in the architectural plan of the Holy Spirit. Paul said that if the parts were identical, they could not form into a body It is the composite form that is perfect as far as God is concerned..
Jesus never told a lie. He spoke the truth in every word he uttered. If He said (as He did) that some ministers and priests would fall in love with their titles and robes and authority, they will. Expect that. Jesus told the truth. But that is not our concern. That is theirs, because they are following the same path we are. And if they are stumbling on that path, it does not mean we should follow them and stumble ourselves. We should pray for them, because they have to answer to the same Christ we do.
Does the assassination in Lebanon mean another war with Israel is in the offing? PL
I do not know. The assassination may itself be the message. It speaks of chaos. What we can see in Lebanon now (and have been able to see there for the last 30 years or so) is the civil breakdown and unrest that has transformed this "Switzerland of the Middle East" into the boiling rubble-strewn caldron we see there today. Terrorists now roam its landscape. The Christians who once ruled there have all but disappeared and warfare has erased the nations former glory completely.
The importance of Lebanon in biblical prophecy corresponds to its symbolic relationship with the people and times of the New Covenant. It lies directly north of Israel, its landscape covered with the stateliest and most storied trees in the biblical world, the "cedars of Lebanon". The wood from these trees was used in building the most expensive homes, palaces and temples in the ancient world.
Scripture tells us the "lost" ten tribes of Israel disappeared into the lands and people of the "north". Geographically, Lebanon was such a land. It was the nation directly to the north of Israel at the very northern border of those lost tribes.
It was not difficult for the seers of Israel to read the words of the prophets concerning Lebanon and suspect a correlation between scripture's multiple visions concerning her and the missing people as they reassembled for their return to their ancient homeland. Afterall, Jeremiah had predicted that God was going to call these lost tribes back from that north and return them to Israel as conquerors.
Isaiah made that correlation very clear in his oracles. In chapter 29, he warned "Ariel" (Jerusalem) that "because this people approaches me only with lip-service..." God will bring to pass an extraordinary prophecy, a "prodigious marvel", in which all the wisdom of Jerusalem's sages will collapse. Those with sight, he said, would be made blind, and those who were blind would be given sight in their place.
"Can something that was made say of its maker, 'He did not make me'?...In a short time, a very short time, shall not Lebanon become fertile land and fertile land turn into forest? The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow of darkness, the eyes of the blind will see." (Is.29:16-18).
The magnitude of that prophecy is clear today. God covered the eyes and ears of the elders and prophets of Jerusalem (the wisest visionaries in the world) with an impenetrable veil. They went blind and deaf, while others who had been blind and deaf beforehand saw and heard the words of a book preached to them. After the brief shadow of Jesus' death on the cross had passed over them, there came the Holy Spirit and the New Testament (God's book published), and with it, the light of the New Covenant in Christ.
Lebanon, the land of the north, had been made a fertile field. The stately trees grew tall. Out of the exile to Babylon came the bread of eternal life, offered there in the north in the same way that Joseph offered the grain of Egypt to his own brothers after they had sold him into slavery, trying to rid themselves of him.
For almost 2000 years the light of that moment ("the Day of Atonement") has shone brightly across the earth. During that time, the leaders of every western nation have encouraged their populations to read the words of that Book and follow the path it proclaims. That is, until now. Suddenly, in the same period that Lebanon has been transformed from its ultra-civilized past into the wreckage we see there today, so has the relationship between Christ and the nations been transformed.
They have shut the book. Not a single nation on earth now encourages its citizens to follow the Gospel. Instead they scoff at the Creator, saying of Him, "He did not make us."
Their courts have declared that statement the law of the land.
The prophets tell us the world, once they have shut His book, will not come back to Christ (John 3:19). Nor will Lebanon, it seems, ever return to its former glory. It's future is tied to God's allegory. This is what we see there now and it is sure to continue. And grow worse. "There is going to be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence." (Dan.12:1).
At the end of those days, when darkness covers the earth and all appears lost, Jesus will return in power and glory with all the angels of heaven above Him. When that time comes, the righteous "will be spared, all those whose names are found written in the book. Of those who lie sleeping in the dust of the earth many will awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting disgrace." (Dan. 12:1-2).
Will the Pope be murdered during his trip to Turkey...? JH
No. His time is not yet. In fact, it really isn't that close. There are still many things that must happen first. Besides, his murder will take place in Rome, not Turkey. The office he occupies has such an important place in the prophecies (actually in the whole Christian religion) that his fate is tied to forces beyond human plottings.
The attempted assassination of his predecessor, John Paul, had a purpose focused in the visions of Fatima, underscoring those prophecies and elevating them to a place unrivaled in modern times. Without that assassination attempt, Lucia's third prophecy would never have come to light. It was locked away in a Vatican vault under seals meant to be permanent. That is because it confirmed that the Pope was the figure Daniel foresaw in his vision of the "seventy weeks":
"And after the sixty-two weeks an anointed one will be cut offand...will not be for himthe city and the sanctuary will be destroyed by a prince who will come." (Dan. 9:26)
The prince "who will come" is the beast, the madman who not only assassinates the Pope, he oversees the destruction of the world. He will murder the Pope as a part of his plan to attack and destroy both houses of Israel on earth. He is the one who will put iniquity on the sacrifice and ban its practice in all the lands under his control. Anyone who tries to violate his ban will be ordered put to death. As a part of that decree, everyone in his kingdom will be forced to accept his "mark".
For more on this, see "Papal Assassination" in the information index
I am curious about one thing: You mentioned that the Bible speaks of two wars in the east. The second longer than the first. The west winning both of them. But it seems this 'second' war will have no real victor. It doesn't seem that the US will have a definitive victory there, so how could this be the prophecy the Bible speaks of. What are your thoughts on this? GD
The prophecy still stands. It does not come from me. It comes from Daniel. Speaking of the last days, he said that a powerful western force will fell both horns of the ram of the East:
"This is what I observed: a he-goat came from the west, having covered the entire earth but without touching the ground, and between its eyes the goat had one majestic horn. It advanced towards the ram with the two horns...and charged at it with all the fury of its might. I saw it reach the ram, and it was so enraged with the ram, it knocked it down, breaking both its horns and the ram had not the strength to resist; it felled it to the ground and trampled it underfoot; no one was there to save the ram." -Dan.8:5-7.
Perhaps the difference between our expectation of this prophecy and its true meaning lies in the terms "win" or "lose". Neither word is used by Daniel. Instead, he describes a ram that has not the strength to resist the might of the West. That was settled early. Iraq's army was trampled underfoot convincingly.
Certainly the forces in Iraq hostile to the West have no capacity to confront the western troops there in a pitched battle, even today. They would not have the strength for that even if the combined armies of Iran and Syria were added to the mix. Nor will they for quite a few years to come.
The mess in Iraq today has nothing to do with western military superiority or inferiority, it has to do with Iraq's inability to form its own stable government. That's a completely different problem. The country is in a civil war and the people there are in no mood to form a conciliatory government between their two warring factions. They hate each other. And no one can bring them together, because their differences lie in their two competing interpretations of the Koran.
Remember, in the Muslim world, their religion is their politics.
Saddam Hussein maintained control of his Iraqi government by using the Sunni Muslims in his country to brutalize the Shiite Muslims. America's introduction of democracy into the country has produced an election which has reversed Iraq's ruling party. Now the Shiites dominate the new government there. The Shiites not only refuse to work with the Sunni's, many of them want revenge for the past atrocities.
In seeking that revenge, as well as political/religious dominance, a new set of atrocities is occurring daily on both sides, producing a repeating cycle that is spiraling toward a bloodbath. America is caught in the middle. Both sides resent our presence there, primarily because we prevent them from launching the all-out slaughter they so want to initiate.
The dissembling processes in Iraq come from a government unable to run the country on its own with its own forces. They are being propped up by American military might, a might that is not being used to fight military battles, but to be a police force against the rival gangs that are using their own badges to make the cities lawless.
Iraq harbors three competing Muslim philosophies. One of these three, the Kurds in the north are not involved in the processes currently ripping the country apart. The other two philosophies are doing that. These are the Shiites and the Sunni's. Historically and geographically, the allegiance of the Shiites has been with Persia (Iran). The allegiance of the Sunni's is with the Arabs, i.e., with Saudia Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, the three major Arab countries to the south. Also with the Arabs are Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar. On the other side, Lebanon's Hezbollah government and Syria have joined with Iran to support the Shiites.
Because both Muslim sects coexist in almost all Muslim-dominated countries, it is easy to see in this conflict the danger feared by the rest of the world that Iraq's localized civil war will turn into a larger altercation embroiling the entire Middle East, plunging the vast reaches of the Muslim world into a bloodbath that stretches from the Phillipines on the shores of the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts of Africa.
The Sunni's outnumber Shiites by almost 5 to 1, and would seem the inevitable winner in a civil war, but the Shiites, for years, have been launching fundamentalist religious campaigns in all Muslim countries and communities, using the Mosques there to try to get the youth to convert to the militant fundamentalism embraced by the Shiite sects.
There is a huge "burr in the boot" that is driving Iran's attempt to encourage the Arab youth to make this fundamentalist conversion, and that is the presence of Israel, and its confrontation with the Arabs of Palestine. Often (and for what they maintain are "good reasons") Israel has blocked the Arabs from forming their own country in Palestine even though the United Nations authorized such a nation in 1947 (at the same time it authorized the formation of Israel).
This has infuriated the entire Arab world, and given Iran its ability to stir the pot.
That is why the Middle East crises cannot be solved without first solving the conflict between Israel and Palestine equitably, and to everyone's satisfaction. There is no one involved in this attempt.
Instead, the Americans and Iran, the two forces managing the strings behind the current situation in Iraq, are each backing the Shiites. They are both backing the same side (the side prophecy later will call the "king of the North"). No one is there to stand up for the Sunni's because they were the party used by Saddam Hussein.
America wants a democratic government dominated by the Shiites of Iraq, hoping against hope that it will secularize in the interests of democracy and serve American interests, while Iran wants a totalitarian Hezbollah-run Shiite government there, instead a militant, Persian-oriented fundamentalist religious government like the one Syria and Iran are trying now to set up in Lebanon, which will do Iran's bidding in the latter's attempt to take over the Middle East and its oil.
The Sunni's see themselves as cut out of the process and threatened with poverty and/or annihilation, so they are reacting with violent acts which are being reciprocated right back at them by the Shiites. Perforce, the growing civil war.
Jeremiah's prophecy shows the western forces of the future manning a sort of "Maginot-line" on the other side of the Euphrates. Such a line would take the American forces out of harm's way for the most part and put them in a place where only a Muslim army (something that does not now exist) could attack them. Such a line would guard against Iran taking control of the oil, and prevent its attacking Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, etc.
Such a line would also prevent Iran from uniting geographically with Syria and Lebanon, prohibiting the Iranians from establishing a Mediterranean port for their nuclear submarines or other naval vessels which they could use to attack Israel.
That is the "victory" I believe Daniel foresaw an American-dominated western line near the Euphrates river. No eastern force has the power to evict America from such a line, especially if one or more of the three competing Muslim forces in Iraq asked the West to stay there and help them guard the area. At this point, the Muslim world has no military force in place to even dare try to counter such a move.
Scripture is very clear on one thing if Daniel's prophecies are visions of the two Gulf wars, America and the western world are not leaving Iraq, at least not until the day of the "Great Invasion" across the Euphrates (Rev. 9:14-15; 16:12; Jer. 46:2-6). That cannot take place until the "king of the north" appears at the head of his "ten nation confederacy" and all the troops of the East with him (Dan. 6:7; Dan.11:13+).
These are prophecies that are leading not to peace, but to the end of the world. Nothing can prevent their fulfillment, because God is directing them to the goal intended, exactly as scripture has defined. Babylon is to be destroyed precisely in the manner that has been dictated (Rev.17:16-17).
There is no nation left in the entire western world that still supports Christ. Many people still do, and they will live forever because of their faith, but all the governments on earth except the Vatican have abandoned Him, most of them in the last 100 years.
According to Jesus, that abandonment is the world's death sentence (John 3:19).
Where do you get the idea about the kingdom of Persia? Please answer and give references. GS
What we are witnessing build in the Middle East today is the "fourth kingdom of Persia", the empire described in the prophecies of Daniel, the kingdom of "great iron teeth" and "ten horns":
"Next I saw another vision in the in the visions in the night: I saw a fourth beast, fearful, terrifying, very strong; it had great iron teeth, and it ate, crushed and trampled underfoot what remained. It was different from the previous beasts and had ten horns." (Dan. 7:7)
"Three more kings are going to rise in Persia; a fourth will come and be richer than all the others, and when, thanks to his wealth, he has grown powerful, he will challenge all the kingdoms of Javan." (Dan.11:2).
The modern state of Iran has gone by the name "Persia" since biblical times. Many Iranians still call themselves "Perisians" even today. Prophecy's use of the term may be regionally symbolic (like the designation "Egypt") but Iran's role as the birthplace and homeland of the prophet Mohammed, the architect of Christianity's rival religion on earth, and all the warfare that religion has spawned against the West offers compelling evidence that Iran may be, if not the nucleus, then a significant element of that fourth kingdom.
Iran is considered a nation of the East, it stands east of the Euphrates river, is oil-rich, and militantly opposed to the House of Israel. It has called for the destruction of the nation of Israel, and considers itself an enemy of the Christian Church. It is using its oil revenues to build nuclear reactors, and has purchased nuclear submarines from the surpluses of the now-defunct Soviet Union. Recently it joined a 7-eastern nation mutual defense pact that includes Russia and China.
President Bush has accused Iran of actively supporting and financing Muslim terrorism in the world.
The Gulf War between the West and Muslim forces in Iraq is proving to be a major catalyst in speeding the rise of Persia's fourth kingdom, and with it, the "challenge" Daniel has foreseen. The American attack on Iraq is fusing the formerly disparate kingdoms and forces of the East against the West in a way that is unprecedented in modern times, and harkens back to the wars of Mohammed and the Crusades which followed them.
Mohammed taught that the kingdom of God had to be spread by armed militia's because he viewed the world as too violent to obey the way of peace prescribed by Jesus. Mohammed's death in 600 A.D. led his followers to launch three major Muslim military campaigns against what they viewed as the infidels of the western world.
Combined, those attacks captured Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Constantinople (the capitol city of the Orthodox church, and pushed all the way to the Atlantic Ocean, reaching into France, and even to the city of Vienna in Austria before being countered by the Christian Crusades.
Those three attacks, spawned by three Arab kingdoms, all carred Mohammed's Persian mandate in their sweep westward, and for this reason likely constitute the first three kingdoms of Persia foreseen by Daniel. No other conclusion is possible if we consider today's buildup, the fourth Persian kingdom in his prophecy.
"Javan", the kingdom Persia intends to "challenge" according to the prophecy stands for the West, whose kingdoms are represented by the combined countries of Europe and America. Javan also stands for Greece, the birthplace of democracy, the governing philosophy President Bush, two years ago in his second Inaugural Address, declared he intended to spread to the ends of the earth..."by force, if necessary".
Daniel's words show that this western push is going to be countered by a formidable eastern force its rise to power fueled by its immense wealth. To our eyes, the wellspring of all that money is oil. The Middle East is home to most of the world's remaining oil reserves. As a result, modern civilization can be likened to a marionette whose strings are controlled by the countries that govern middle eastern oil.
Oil is the magnate that is drawing all the nations of the world to the Middle East for God's Day of Judgment
"For in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I am going to gather all the nations and take them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; there I intend to put them on trial for all they have done to Israel, my people and my heritage. For they have scattered them among the nations and have divided up my land among themselves. They have cast lots for my people..." (Joel 4:1-3).
Daniel's prophecies are about the end of the world.
"Son of man,' he said to me 'understand this: the vision shows the time fo the End." (Dan. 8:17).
"But you, Daniel, must keep these words secret and the book sealed until the time of the End." (Dan.12:4)
This means Daniel's prophecies have little to do with the past. His words were written for us. And, because his long-sealed prophecies have been opened now in our time, their unveiling shows that we have come to the time he specified the time of the appointed End.
Key to the last days is the rise of the ten eastern kings so vividly portrayed in end-time prophecy.
"As for the ten horns: from this kingdom (from the fourth Persian kingdom) will rise ten kings, and another after them; this one will be different from the previous ones and will bring down three kings." (Dan. 7:24)
The appearance of these ten kings which are arising now in Persia is one of the most important developments in the history of Christianity. They herald the labor pains that signal our imminent birth into the new life promised by Jesus. And we are watching them come to life right now.
We can see their importance in the prophecies of the Book of Revelation, especially in Chapter 13, which shows the beast emerging from the sea in a frightening vision that has captured the attention of every Christian who has ever lived: "...it had seven heads and ten horns, with a coronet on each of its ten horns, and its heads were marked with blasphemous titles." (Rev. 13:1).
"The ten horns are ten kings who have not yet been given their royal power but will have royal authority only for a single hour and in association with the beast. They are all of one mind in putting their strength and their powers at the beast's disposal, and they will go to war against the Lamb; but the Lamb is the Lord of lords and the King of kings, and he will defeat them and they will be defeated by his followers, the called, the chosen, the faithful." (Rev.17:12-14).
These ten horns constitute the kings of the East who are to come across the Euphrates river durng the last days when its waters dry up (Rev.16:12). Together with the Persia of which they are a part, these ten horns will "devour the whole earth, trample it underfoot and crush it." (Dan.7:23). This was the horn Daniel saw making war on the saints, and proving the stronger until the return of Jesus (Dan.7:21-22).
Considering what these ten mean to the civilized world, to its utter decimation, to have them coming to life now, in our own day, is heart-stopping:
"Sound the trumpet in Zion, give the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the country tremble, for the day of God is coming, yes, it is near. Day of darkness and gloom, day of cloud and blackness. Like the dawn there spreads across the mountains a vast and mighty host, such as has never existed before, such as will never be again to the remotest ages. In their van the fire devours, in their rear a flame consumes. The country is like a garden of Eden ahead of them and a desert waste behind them. Nothing escapes them." (Joel 2:1-3).
Yet, though the beast will crush the pillars of the world, not everyone on earth will fall under his power. Scripture shows that he will have a major western adversary with a strength greater than his own:
"The ships of Kittim will oppose him, and he will be worsted." (Dan.11:30).
Not only will the Madman be worsted by the ships of Kittim, his predecessor, too, will, on an earlier occasion, be defeated in his attempt to press his victories against the United States on the American continent (Dan.11:18). That defeat will send him back across the Atlantic, intent on destroying the strongholds in his own country, those regions still resisting him, "but he will stumble, fall, and never be seen again." (Dan.11:19-20).
Scripture is clear that the Diaspora (the great exile to Babylon structured by Christ's treaty on the cross) cannot end until the Prince of Persia issues a decree to that effect (2 Chron.36:19-23). It is the Madman, the eighth head of the Beast who will fufill this prophecy, cancelling Christ's treaty, and voiding it by proclamation. That edict, though it ends the exile, will not end the violence. On the contrary, it will increase it. (Rev.17:16; 20:7-10).
For in compliance with its decree, the new wine will be dashed from Christian lips as now every Church is enveloped in the Beast's assault against the House of Israel, our God the focal point of his rage (Ps.74:1-23).
"Priests, put on sackcloth and lament,. Ministers of the altar, wail. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God. For the house of our God has been deprived of oblation and libation." (Joel 1:13).
All these things are being structured now by God to happen, precipitated, as we can see, by the West's war at the Euphrates, the war that has opened Daniel's book of visions in the night (Dan.8:5-8). The fourth kingdom of Persia will be central to all the warfare that lies ahead, even to the end of the world (Jer. 51:58).
All who put their trust in Jesus will be rescued by God, whisked away to His new kingdom and saved. Those who do not will be abandoned to Hades. Everything scripture promises will come true.
For more on the four kingdoms of Persia, see this link.
Where does it say it in the Bible that the beast is going to be charismatic when he comes? MQ
There are several places where the beast's character is described (Dan.11:21-45; Joel 1 & 2; Ezek.38 & 39; Ps.79; Rev.12:7-18; 13:1-9, etc.).
Paul, in 2 Thessalonians says that Satan will send evil signs and portents to delude the people in association with the beast's appearance. (2 Thes.9-12).
We can see the public's acceptance of those evil delusions rising now in its embrace of homosexuality, pornography, adultery and abortion. We can see it in the movies and on television and in the language. We can see it in profligate behaviour the open rejection of every kind of behavior stressed during the age of the Church.
These delusions have not only promoted an increase in warfare and violence on earth, they represent a decadent change in the entire social fabric itself.
The fact that the world's population embraces these evil signs and portents with such open abandon today is an indication that these signs, themselves, are the parts of the beast that the world finds most charismatic and appealing.
And deceptive. We can see the degree of that deception in the fact that so few today even think of these changes in society as evil.
The Apostle John, in the Book of Revelation describes the beast's appearance as that of a great red dragon with 7 heads and ten horns screaming blasphemous words against Christ and His Father an anti-christian, warmongering creature that is thousands of years old (Rev.12:7-18; 13:1-9).
It's sixth head was alive at the time of Christ; its first five heads were alive long before Jesus was born, and its seventh head, appearing 2000 years after the sixth head, was Adolph Hitler. It has an eighth head as well, but that is counted as one of the seven because it once was but now is not. It will come again an empire which had a mortal wound that heals just before the world ends.
Many scholars define that healing in terms of Nero, the insane emperor of pagan Rome who launched a bloody purge against Christians and put to death several of Christ's original Apostles. He is predicted to come in association with Persia.
We tend to think of the beast in terms only of its heads, but the beast is far more than that. The seven heads represent all the rulers throughout the history of the earth that have ruled outside of Christ or His Father. The number seven is symbolism for completion or fullness, i.e., all of them.
There was a time (the age of the Church just past) when the beast was not here. God had locked him in the Abyss so that the nations could follow Christ.
For those 1700 years, all the nations of the western world promoted Jesus Christ and encouraged their citizens to worhip Him. As it says in Handel's "Messiah", "The government is on His shoulder". In the last 100 years, every one of those nations has abandoned Jesus politically and philosophically. They no longer encourage their people to follow Him. No longer are the governments of the world on His shoulder. Worse, many of them have forbidden Christ's name or the word "God" to be mentioned in scholastic or governmental settings. That is true even in America.
It takes a certain kind of charisma to entice national governments to abandon centuries of Church rule in Jesus, and we have seen that occur over the last 100 years all over the western world. Leader after leader has bewitched their populations to accept the ouster of Jesus Christ from their governments without so much as a wimper of protest.
It could only happen under delusion because it is on that very ouster that the sentence is pronounced:
"For God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world, but so that through him the world might be saved...on these grounds is sentence pronounced: that though the light has come into the world men have shown they prefer darkness to the light because their deeds were evil." (John 3:17-19).
As Paul said:
"The reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue is to condemn all who refused to believe in the truth and chose wickedness instead." (2 Thes.2:11-12).
The Book of Revelation, in describing the seven-headed dragon as the beast, has shown that the true beast is the wickedness of which each of these heads is a part. It is this wickedness that everyone in the world will worship at the end of time (see Revelation 13;1-9). It is not the heads per se that will rule the entire world. It is the wickedness of which the heads are a part that will do the ruling.
At the end, it is Satan's wickedness that takes over all the nations, not the man of perdition. It is the 7-headed beast that makes all the nations renounce Jesus and return to secularism and profligacy, just as it has made the American government renounce Jesus Christ and forbid His name to be mentioned in schools or on government properties or lands.
The Rebel, himself, will have enemies right up to the end. He does not rule the whole world, because scripture shows that he will be blocked by the ships of Kittim. That could not happen if he ruled the whole world. The Rebel will not rule the entire world, but wickedness will. Wickedness will command the whole world and take over all the nations.
That same civilization-ending wickedness is present in the world now. It has caused the world's governments to revolt against Jesus Christ, and the populations to chase after gold and licentiousness.
We can see evil charisma in all the heads of the beast, even the worst of them.
Adolph Hitler was a terrifying figure. He spouted hatred, blasphemy and everything that is evil. Many people worshipped him and threw rose petals in his path, but most did so out of dread. The same is true of his 6 predecessors. Look at Nero. He was so hated and feared by his people that even in death people expected him to be reincarnated in the East and lead a Parthian army back to Rome to regain his throne there.
We should expect the 8th head to come in the same malignant dress as those who preceded him, and of which he is a reincarnation. He will be terrifying, evil, bent on fierce warmongering and touched by madness. He will attack the Church with a vengeance never before seen on earth. And worse.
We can also see the charisma of the beast in our educator's teachings.
The world is currently marvelling over the signs and portents of science which are now being touted as proof that there is no God. There is nothing wicked about science, per se, but it is prodigious of signs and portents, many seemingly miraculous, that are being used by practically every scientist and educator on the planet as proof that God does not exist. And people everywhere are marvelling about it and about the lies being extolled in its name.
All this blasphemy is being broadcast throughout every school across the world.
In order to counter it, many religious educators are calling science error, which it is not, but only because of the strength of the impact of the lies being told in its name. Science has been pitted by Satan against God and the world is listening, and marvelling, and falling away from Jesus as a result.
This is the kind of marvel that the beast uses, the signs and portents being used today a halo of perceived truth, wrongly interpreted and microscopically shallow. Do not expect a magician doing tricks on a sidewalk table, or a charismatic person in the traditional western sense.
The simple fact is, we can see the beast right now. We can see its charisma all around us.
This shows the nations are already worshipping wickedness. They are already worshipping the seven-headed beast.
Certainly a man will arise at the end, the one who assassinates the Pope and, in so doing, removes the very last nation on earth still promoting Christ on earth. When the man of perdition crushes the Church (Dan.12:7), he will embody every aspect of evil that wickedness can perceive. Scripture tells us he will turn the earth into an oven. But the way for his appearance has been made easy by the fact that all the nations have already abandoned Christ and turned back to receive Satan, and embrace all the wickedness he espouses.
The 7-headed beast is here now. Satan has been set free from his jail in the Abyss and he has come to mobilize the nations for war, just as it is written of him. The wicked charismatic proofs that have allowed him to overthrow the Church in the world and its 1700-year rule here are loudly being broadcast openly and marvelled at as we watch.
The world has marvelled over how science seems to be disproving God in the classrooms and they have marvelled how the era of Church rule in the world has been overturned and how it has returned all the nations to pagan rule in the name of secularism, a blasphemous and godless world convinced that the creation is nothing more than particulate matter in a self-made universe.
Many Christians are actually encouraging this appalling overthrow of the Church in the world. They remain ardent supporters of this revolution. That is the most shocking thing of all that so few even see it.
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