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January 3, 2009
Persia. Esther. Purim. When? Where? Xerxes?? ER
The biblical story of Esther does not match well with history. It is set in a hazy period after Babylon's defeat by Persia (thus after the Persian proclamation allowing a Jewish return to Jerusalem has been issued) but while the bulk of Jewish people are still resident in Mesopotamia. In other words, before most have left.
The importance of Esther's story is magnified by the fact that it seems to define one of the seven nations and personages designated in scripture as a "head" of the beast. Moreover, out of it comes a significant Hebrew holy period called Purim.
Add to that Persia's overarching significance in End-time prophecy and the possibility that Persia will field the 8th "head" of the beast, the fog surrounding the historical data becomes an extraordinary puzzlement. The study of prophecy depends on such data to triangulate circumstances in its proofs, and we are left here with one side of that triangle virtually missing.
We will never know the actual historical structure in this story; whether the featured king is Xerxes or how and where Esther and Vashti fit into a format that seems to preclude them. Fortunately there is so much written in scripture about the final era of history (the era Esther's story points to); and those events are scattered across so many divergent parts of scripture that deciphering involves a different process.
We have to put them together like pieces of a puzzle. Into this jumbled network must fit the events of the Maccabees, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, Daniel's 8th chapter, sections of the Book of Revelation, Mosaic declarations, Jesus' words, Paul's, even the Book of Chronicles. Much of this, material far afield from the geography and time frame circumscribed by Esther's residence in Susa.
It points to such a pivotal future event, we must take this story on its face (what God has given us) and ignore the forgotten elements that veil our understanding of its historical structure. Esther is a story about the future, pure and simple.
The fact that it is shown to take place after Babylon's defeat by Persia, and after Cyrus' proclamaation freeing the Jews from their dispersion, but still during the time of dispersion, places it (in terms of prophecy) within the 3-1/2 year period of the beast. That means it hasn't happened yet.
It happens after the Madman's forces have desecrated the holy place, trashed the perpetual sacrifice and after he has proclaimed an end to the Treaty of Peace Jesus made with Babylon on the cross. It takes place after the western world (excluding the United States) has been toppled by the forces of the East.
In other words, this is, without question, an event that borders the very end of time itself. The figures in the story represent the heirarchy of heaven engaged in a battle for the souls of the people of God against Satan and the planetary emperor Satan empowers here at the moment of the world's end.
When we fit into that story the parts we now know through Jesus, we can see that the king is God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit); the first queen (Vashti) represents that part of the world that refused the banquet of Christ, while Esther represents the new Creation (the new Jerusalem), the queen of that banquet , i.e., Christ's bride (Rev.21:9).
Michael the Archangel is represented by Mordecai while Satan is Haman, the evil Persian prince who struggles to exterminate Esther's people (all who accept God's offer to attend His banquet, the wedding feast of the Lamb Rev.19:9). This is a story of two wives and spiritual combat. It invokes images of Sarah and Hagar, while revolving around the Eucharist; the communion sacrifice and Satan's hatred of God's people, the two houses of Israel.
It ends in Satan's defeat and the rescue of all he intended to put to death,, all those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
The sudden collapse of AOL's member web page server on Halloween night not only vaporized a vast network of AOL customer web pages, it took our own AOL presence with it as well. That collection of web pages has been up since 1995 and was our second oldest web site on the internet. We are not new to having ISP servers and their companies suddenly vanish, be sold or tampered with, but this loss was particularly unsettling.
We don't know the financial circumstances at AOL, and our old e-mail address there is still in working order, but a change of venue in light of the current economic situation in the country seems to be prudent. No ISP pulls the plug on its internet servers except under extraordinary circumstances.
For this reason, we have opened a new e-mail site on Google's "gmail" service. The address is as follows:
All future e-mail to Goodnews Christian Ministry (questions as well as requests) should be directed to us through this new internet address.
I am endlessly amazed by the Book of Revelation and how closely it matches the things we are seeing now. Who still doubts that we are living in the last days? PT
Not just the Book of Revelation. The whole Bible.
What has been shown by events over the last 20 years is the absolutely certainty with which we can plot current history on the template of the Bible. Not only can the past be plotted on that template (including the recent past) but the future as well, and with astonishing clarity.
Why does scriptural prophecy work? Because it all points to Jesus and to His divine reality. The Old Testament was created for one overarching purpose to be a prophecy that God Himself would come into the world in the form of a Messiah that everyone must listen to. All who follow Him will be saved.
That Messiah was Jesus. He perfectly fulfilled all the prophecies made about Him long before He appeared. Even to the last which said the world that believed in Him would end up rejecting Him and thus usher in the bitter age of Wrath that follows the rejection of God's treaty for peace on earth.
His appearance proves the world was made for us. All of this, complex as it is, has been constructed to give us a chance to escape death. Jesus died on the cross for one purpose only to give us that opportunity. All who accept God's offer by rejecting sin and turning to the righteousness of the Lord will live forever. Jesus will raise us from the dead.
All who listen to Him and put His words into practice will be resurrected to a new life, far more sophisticated than this, a life of absolute perfection, to live forever with God.
I read the following on your web site, but I cannot find scripture verses that support this understanding. Please help. Thanks. A
"And that seed had nothing to do with evolution. It was breathed into man's flesh when the conditions were right. The universe was made only for Christ's appearance in it. It was made so that evil could be destroyed."
Paul wrote that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and the perishable cannot inherit what lasts forever." (1 Cor.15:50).. It is shown in the Old Testament that the flesh is the clothing of the soul. Just as clothing can be replaced while the person remains the same, so the body can be replaced while the soul remains the same. In Jesus we die to this body and are raised up in a new one, of God's design (see 1 Cor.15:35-44). That is what it means to be born again.
"In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead." (Col.2:13).
In Jesus' parable of the mysterious growth of the seed we read this:
"This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man throws seed on the land. Night and day, while he sleeps, when he is awake, the seed is sprouting and growing how, he does not know. Of its own accord the land produces first the shoot, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. And when the crop is ready, he loses no time: he starts to reap because the harvest has come." (Mark 4:26-29).
The seed has produced its fruit.
In this parable we are shown not the growth of the human body from a baby into an adult, but the growth of the Word of God within it, changing the internal thinking and therefore the behavior of the person so that their physical and spiritual actions come to mimic as closely as possible the actions of God.
This can happen at any bodily age. What has been changed is not the body but the growth of the soul within the body in gaining the strength it needs to overcome the natural impulses of the body to follow the world. It is this growth process that enables the soul to navigate the body away from worldly ways and along God's path of righteousness instead. As Jesus said, "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak". (Mat. 26:41).
What is changing in this process is the strengthening of faith within the soul to the point where it can overcome the body and guide it to produce the behavioral fruit of God. This process is described by Jesus in His parable of the seed cast into the ground.
This seed (God's Word) was breathed into man's flesh when he first heard the Word of God preached to him. The age of the man or woman receiving the seed of this sowing is irrelevant. Only the hearing matters the moment when the veil is torn. Just as a seed is cast into the ground, the seed of Christ (the Holy Spirit) enters a person to do its mysterious work to save the soul it has entered.
It is in this way that evil is destroyed (Mat.24-30).
The universe was made only for this sowing. We know that because Jesus said, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away" (Luke 21:29-31). Once the sowing and reaping is completed, this universe will be replaced by God's new kingdom, a kingdom that Jesus said "is not of this world" (John 18:36).
When we read the Apostle Peter's words, we can see the extent of the difference between this universe and God's new kingdom. The difference between them is enormous:
"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).
...about the illegal immigrants. Do you think they should be deported or forgiven? PL
In most ways that's a state issue. Peter said that God has given government officials authority to punish lawless behavior. Only when the law comes into conflict with the Gospel, is there a problem. In that case we should obey God.
Fortunately, those instances of conflict are still rare. The Gospel does not promote lawlessness. Being meek amd humble, giving money to the poor, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty and tending to the sick are virtually always legal actions. More than that, they are the very threads of the wedding garment.
There are several passages in scripture in which God orders the protection of fugitives:
"Listen! Fugitives and runaways come from the land of Babylon to proclaim in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God." (Jer.50:28).
"You inhabitants of Tema go and meet the fugitive and give him bread; since these are fleeing from the swords, from biting swords, from bent bows, from the stress of battle." (Is.21:13-15).
"Hide those who have been driven out, do not let the refugee be seen...be their refuge against the destroyer." (Is.16:3-4).
"Do not take your stand at the crossroads to cut off its fugitives. Do not hand over its survivors on the day of distress. For the day of God is near for all the nations. As you have done, so will it be done to you: your deeds will recoil on your own head." (Obadiah 7:14-15).
On TV a year or two ago law enforcement authorities entered a church where an illegal alien worked and had taken refuge. They dragged her out to be deported because she was in violation of the law. This event highlights a second side in this issue.
In scripture we, ourselves are the fugitives. And that is what these biblical passages are referring to. We are on the run trying to make our way from this world to the kingdom of God trying to escape with our lives from a world filled with evil, and all the while fighting a spiritual blockade set up by Satan to prevent us from entering the domain of God.
This blockade was erected by Satan to insure that each of us be carefully sifted so that our illegal nature might be exposed.
It was Satan, in trying to bring us into the disfavor of God, that labeled us "illegal" in the first place. Not only that, he proved it. In successfully tempting Adam and Eve he indelibly stained all mankind with a lawlessness mark that blocked the vision of man from the sight of God.
As far as heaven and God are concerned, we were created to be the newcomers. Scripture tells us that it was Satan's enormous jealousy against our being selected by God to enter what Satan had considered his exclusive domain that caused him to mutiny, fomenting the great rebellion that set the universe on fire and engulfed the entire creation in war.
Spewing out a flood of propaganda, Satan was able to convince 1/3 of the angels of heaven to back him in his contempt for us, and to help him in his efforts to keep our souls unrighteous. They are still fighting that fight today, still filled with hatred and contempt for us despite God's fury at their efforts.
In that anger, God has defeated Satan's forces in heaven, thrown them all down to earth and condemned them to death. At the same time He sent his only Son down to grant us, through the Law, a pardon from sin.
Jesus died on the cross to take our illegality away. He paid our penalty by dying in our place and in our name. His death washes away the sins of everyone who takes refuge in Him and guarantees them free entrance into heaven. Those who refuse to accept His offer of safe passage must remain outside. Those who make their way in illegally (without a wedding garment) will be expelled (Mat. 22:11-14).
On account of his treacherous cunning, Satan has been allowed to sift us all like wheat. That's where everyone reading this page is right now a fugitive and a runaway from Babylon, on a journey from illegality toward becoming a son of God being sifted by Satan a trial by fire designed to prove our faith in Jesus Christ a faith that offers us the only passage there is out of death.
It is an easy faith. All it requires is baptism in the name of Jesus Christ and a life of humility and compassion being meek amd humble, giving money to the poor, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, tending to those in need and forgiving all we would ordinarily condemn.
Simply put, we must live as the Gospel teaches. Not just when we think about it, but 24-7. And when we stumble ask God for forgiveness. The cross is there for that very purpose so that every sin be erased.
Will Gabriel sound the 7th and last trumpet at the 2nd coming of the son of David and could Gabriel possibly be David? And who are the 7 spirits of God in Revelation?? R
The 12-page exegesis you provided with your questions (answering your own questions) details a well-defined thesis, but it doesn't fit the format of traditional Christian understanding. By making a u-turn out of the New Testmant back to the Old, you glorify what oughtn't be glorified: angels and Old Testament figures for instance. And you make up your own definitions concerning many of these things.
The traditional thinking in Christianity is that it is not uncommon in scripture for angels to appear in the form of people and talk in human voices. An angel is a heavenly being that can, among other things, take the form of a man and speak like a man. This is obvious in Joshua's description of his meeting with the arch-angel Michael (Joshua 5:13-15). So common was this transformation, the Bible talks about our entertaining angels without even realizing it (Heb.13:1).
Jesus said the obverse was even more true. "For at the resurrection men and women do not marry; no, they are like the angels in heaven." (Mt.22:29-30). According to Jesus they are the same as the angels of heaven (Luke 20: 34-38), "and because those who are chosen are children of the resurrection, they are sons of God", i.e., not just angels, but a unique and surpassing category of being brothers and sisters of Jesus the Christ and therefore sons of God.
As we can see on earth looking at brothers and sisters of the king, it is the status of royalty.
Speaking of elevaton to that unique and surpassing category of being, Jesus said the least person who follows Him is greater than anyone of the past (Mt.11:11). In this sense no one can justify glorifing figures from the biblical past without recognizing that the least Christian is greater than them all greater than Moses, greater than Joshua, greater even than Elijah.
Jesus told us that John the Baptist WAS Elijah, thus it was Elijah by inference that Jesus referred to when He said that those who obey Him are greater:
"I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is. (Mt.11:11).
The advent of Christianity infinitely transcends the era and figures that heralded it. It is those who have heared, followed and obeyed Christ's Gospel who are this world's greatest figures. That includes even David.
The word 'David' in scripture is a messianic metaphore, but David himself was a man whose own lineage is well defined in scripture. He was no angel in any sense of the word. And he was not descended from an angel. In fact, Peter revealed David never ascended into heaven. He is still in his tomb awaiting the judgment (Acts 2:34). Remember, David is the one who ordered one of his generals to certain death because he lusted after the man's wife and wanted to marry her. Which he did.
When scripture uses the term "son of David", it is always in the metaphoric sense, alluding to the oft repeated prophecy that declared He would descend from David's root. Jesus, born into the lineage of David through Mary, fulfilled this prophecy.
David was a king of Israel. Long after Israel's monarchy disappeared, Jesus was declared a part of this royalty by Pontius Pilate. Pilate's station his absolute command over Israel gave him authority to do this. Thus both the lineage and the prophecies of kingship apply to Him. It is the David of prophecy, not the David of history that defines Jesus.
The Book of Revelation describes Christianity in terms of seven churches. The 7 spirits (angels) described in the Book of Revelation are the heavenly guardians of these churches. Scripture shows they are to be held accountable for their guidance (see Rev. 2 & 3). The number seven has to be metaphoric because there are more than seven churches. Many more.
We are far closer to the end of the harvest on earth today than to its beginning. Thus we can now see clearly the structure of Christ's 7 churches. They number in the thousands, a vast number that shows not a literal, but a metaphoric relationship to the number 7.
Seven is a number which, in its symbolic sense, has always meant "perfection", "completion" or "fulfillment".
The same symbolism applies to the number of angels God has assigned to oversee the immensity of all these denominations and churches. God has assigned as many as needed to oversee the job. He has assigned fulfillment and perfection. When the job is done we will see that it has been done both completely and perfectly.
The name of the angel who blows the final trumpet is not what is important to us. If it were the Bible would inform us clearly. It is assumed in Christianity that it will be Gabriel. What IS important is that as soon as the trumpet sounds, the Archangel will call out the command and Jesus will return (1 Thess.4:16).
Moses is considered the author of the Law. That is because the core of the Old Testament (the Torah) was written by him. In the same way, much of the the New Testament was written by Paul. Thus Paul is to Christianity what Moses was to Judaism.
Furthermore, Jesus appointed Peter to be the head of the Church, i.e., the priest in charge a station far higher than the one occupied by Aaron, Moses' brother in the Old Testament. Aaron and Moses merely anticipated the higher stations in God's Church. Peter and Paul assumed them.
Peter and Paul were always the rightful heirs. That is because the religion of God infinitely transcends the religion of Moses. In Christianity, Jesus has lifted religion up to divinity.
The bread of life comes from Jesus not Moses. Eternal life comes only through Jesus. There is no eternal life in Moses. That is why we can't go back to the Old Testament. We must stay with Christ. The writing of all the prophets was about Jesus. Even the Book of Daniel defines an attack, not on Mosaic worship, but on Christianity and Christian worship. The Hebrew religion existed only to proclaim and prophesy the Messiah.
The 2 witnesses of Christ on earth are Peter and Paul. The sackcloth they preach from takes its name from the traditional black sackcloth-like cover of the Bible. We know them by their words, and their words come to us only from that Book.
Who is Peter? Who is Paul? Who is Jesus? We know them only by their words and by the power of the Holy Spirit who guides us in the understanding of their words. We open the pages of the New Testament, and there they are.
The traditional Church teaches that we must stay in the New Testament. Jesus did not come to lead us back to the Old Testament . He came to fulfill the testimony of the old, yes, but in the NEW understanding that He brought down to us from heaven. The Old Testament only alludes to that new understanding (see John 6 :32-35).
The Old Testament had a violent understanding. Jesus led the Law out of that violence into peace.
What is the "WRATH"? When is it coming? How soon?GA
The wrath is the time of tribulation warned about in scripture. There can be little doubt that it is here now that it has already started. To see that we have only to look to the extraordinary global calamities that have wracked the world since the beginning of the 20th century. Who could ponder that uninterrupted cascade of disasters which began even before the century appeared and have tumbled unabated into this century as well with increasing fury, and not see global wrath?
Into that space are crammed two world wars, almost every city in the Europe and Asia bombed to rubble and burned to the ground, the massacres of repeated genocides, more than a hundren million people killed, 500 million more maimed and injured radiation and poison gas; horrors far worse than anything ever seen before on earth by man.
During this same period, every nation in the western world has rejected Jesus and His Gospel. They have cast Christ out of all their governments. In that rejection, the mortal wound Jesus delivered to Babylon has healed.
Absolute proof of that healing was made manifest when atheism as a major system of world government returned from its 2000-year hiatus, suddenly blanketing Russia, China and all their satellites a third of the world practically overnight. Atheism had been held back by the Church. Governmental atheism was not allowed to exist on earth during the reign of Christ. It had been forbidden for almost1600 years.
On top of that return, the fourth kingdom of Persia, described by Daniel in his visions of the End (Dan.11:2), is now rising to power as we watch. Western troops have been sent to the Euphrates to block it in fulfillment of the prophecies (Jer. 46:1-10).
Mindless of the dark and towering waves approaching our shores, the government of the United States has expelled God from any participation in the governance of its people. The schools are forbidden even to mention His name. His words ridiculed, the name of His Son is becoming anathama to an entire global population.
None of the cataclysms of the 20th century have turned the people to God. And that is why they continue. Despite a ceaseless staccato of disasters, most have ignored it all and gone on in the same way as before, more stubborn than ever in their rejection of Him. No nation is listening anymore to the Lord. Instead, they ridicule the idea of a Creator in creation, and increasingly see God as a Bronze Age bias that needs expelling.
That vision, verbally expressed is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Scripture is very clear about what it brings.
"God will arm creation to punish his enemies; he will put on justice as a breastplate...he will forge a biting sword of his stern wrath, and the universe will march with him to fight the reckless. Bolts truly aimed, the shafts of lightning will leap, and from the clouds, as from a full-drawn bow, fly to their mark; and the catapult will hurl hailstones charged with fury. The waters of the sea will rage against them, the rivers engulf them without pity. The breath of God will blow against them and winnow them like a hurricane. So lawlessness will bring the whole earth to ruin and evil-doing bring the thrones of the mighty down." (Wis.5:17-24).
Now in the dark clouds of a recession so cavernous it may cut deeper than any depression the country has ever seen, a wrenching poverty has suddenly covered America like a blanket. Unemployment is surging around the world, threatening global stability. The banks are failing, finances are bankrupt, Wall Street has collapsed in shame and businesses are failing in thunderous crashes everywhere as the politicians play games some so aloof they remain unaware of the dire situation that faces their constituents. A growing number of economists expect a return of normalcy to be decades away.
What has suddenly encompassed us is not a passing event. It is nothing like the past. Everything has changed. The 20th century was not an aberration. The Wrath is a rising tide of catastrophe, punishing not all at once, but in inceasingly bitter stages so those inclined might still recognize the truth and repent. It is not God's wish that any person perish. He came to save everyone everyone possessing the courage to listen to Him.
Listening to Jesus taking His words to heart that is the light at the end of this tunnel. In God, rescue is certain! All His promises still hold true. Tough times will not change that
(For more on this, see "Tribulation")
With the world making a mockery of marriage and the laws of God, especially the United States, how do we fight against these laws? These men and women that sit in high places and pass laws that are an abomination in the sight of God and his followers, what is the answer? We that want to follow God and stand tall during these terrible times in a country where morality is fading fast..The Bible said what man thinks he will do and now they are passing laws that all are expected to follow and they are despicable.. Besides our faith and prayer, what are we to do? CFM
The times have changed. The world of Christian times is being slowly replaced by non-Christian elements in keeping with prophecy:
"The Spirit has explicitly said that during the last times there will be some who will desert the faith and choose to listen to deceitful spirits and doctrines that come from the devils; and the cause of this is the lies told by hypocrites whose consciences are branded as though with a red-hot iron." (1 Tim.4:1-3).
"You may be quite sure that in the last days there are going to be some difficult times. People will be self-centered and grasping; boastful and unappeasable; they will be slanderers, profligates, savages and enemies of everything that is good; they will be treacherous and reckless and demented by pride, preferring their own pleasure to God. They will keep up the outward appearance of religion but will have rejected the inner power of it. Have nothing to do with people like that." (2 Tim.3:1-5)
God said the time for the harvest would be short. The world is in the process of secularizing (terminating God's harvest). This has coincided with Satan being allowed to exit the Abyss where he was kept in chains for the period of time God allotted for the harvest (Rev.20:1-10).
Christ's harvest could not have occurred in perfection had Satan remained free during its course. That is why God had Michael lock him in chains for the 1000 years (a day made into almost two according to the prophecy in the Book of Joshua 10:12-14). In his return, Satan has reorganized his forces and is mobilizing the world for war. This is all in keeping with the prophecies in the Book of Revelation (Rev. 20:7-8), and in fact, throughout scripture (Dn. 9:26; Joel 1:16-18; 2 Thes.2:9-12, etc.).
This battle is described briefly in Daniel (Dn.10:13-21).
"The prince of the kingdom of Persia has been resisting me for twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the leading princes, came to my assistance. I have left him confronting the kings of Persia and have come to tell you what will happen to your people in the days to come. For here is a new vision about those days..." (Dn.10:12-14).
"Do you know why I have come to you? It is to tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. I must go back to fight against the Prince of Persia, and when I have done with him, the prince of Javan comes next. In all this there is no one to lend me support except Michael your prince on whom I rely to give me support and reinforce me." (Dn.10:20-21).
The spiritual forces of God are pitted against the spiritual forces of the nations of this world. We can see this relationship measured in Daniel's verse in terms of the prince of Persia and the prince of Javan. Persia, as we have seen embraced the teachings of Mohammed 600 years after the crucifixion of Jesus and immediately mounted three great wars against the people and lands of Christ.
Javan (the west) is now warring against Christianity in a different way, but just as spiritually antagonistic. This is happening in the ways your describe.
All this is the beginning of the time scripture terms "the Wrath" the time of the Great Tribulation. This time of fury is the great chaos (global sin) that begins Satan's attempt to overthrow the Church:
"...when the measure of their sins is full, a king will arise, a proud-faced, ingenious-minded man. His power will gather strength but not through power of his own he will plot incredible schemes, he will succeed in what he undertakes, he will destroy powerful men and the people of the saints. Such will be his resourcefulness of mind that all his treacherous activities will succeed. He will grow arrogant of heart, take many unawares and destroy them. He will challenge the power of the Prince of princes; but, no hand intervening, shall himself be broken." (Dn. 8:23-25).
"It (this horn) 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; the horn was active and successful." (Dan. 8:9-12).
Prayer gives God the means to fight the Wrath's persistant encroachment (note the spiritual warfare Jesus tells Daniel He and Michael are waging against the princes of Persia and Javan above). But as you have noted, prayer is waning. With the schools not allowed to talk about God (and actually able to mock Him), the young are being bred outside faith in Jesus.
It is going to go the way scripture describes, but that does not mean we should just give up. That would be to lose our faith as well, and thus our lives in Christ. Faith is very powerful and even a small amount can have a mighty impact.
Not only that, faith in Christ brings to our souls enormous peace. In these times, there is no peace outside of Him. Jesus puts us squarely into the 23rd Psalm where rod and staff truly do comfort and still waters abound; where there is nothing to fear; where absolute safety is assured forever.
The laws against God you write about come from our national leaders. In America, our constitution has language that seems to structure it against Christ, but it was not meant to be that way. Our earlier leaders understood this. That is why a compromise structure existed here from 1776 to 1963. We are a nation where 87% are stated to be Christian. We need to impress on our national leaders the need to return to some sort of compromise between the wording of the constitution and the morality of faith that made our nation so great in its first 200 years.
The truth is, we need our own form of "K" street in Washington. Much smaller groups have had enormous impact far beyond their size in lobbying there against God in opposition to His holy Word.
Questioning your writing re the "Christian era" you miss the complexity of history and present a benign and simplistic alternative that never was. Church rule was harsh and violent rule. If we have learned one thing in the study of history it is that religion is the driver of armies. KI
It is not religion that is the salvation of man, but Jesus Christ.
Everything Jesus said is true. And one thing He said was that He had not come to bring peace to the earth, but battle. "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth: it is not peace I have come to bring, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man's enemies will be those of his own household." (Mt. 10:34-36).
Not only does this warfare reach down into our households, it stretches all the way up to the churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the nations. It divides Christ from religion; as much as it does from non-religion.
The warfare is there because the world hates Jesus and everything He stands for. That is why Christians find themselves perpetually under seige. It is not Christ who brings the war He has brought peace it is His enemies that raise the sword against Him and against all who follow Him.
That is because His Word accuses them of sin.
And warns them that if they do not change they are going to die in their sins.
Even so, Any study of the thousand-year history of Rome from Romulus to Romulus will show there has been little correlation between religion and war over the long course of that history. The warfare that wracked the world in Roman times, though constant, was almost never driven by religion. Religion was persecuted, often violently, but was incidental to the ambitions drving a millenium of Roman sword.
Studying the previous regimes of world history before Rome we see the same intitiatives and motives. Religious factors were rare. Human ambition and an overarching thirst for power have been the driving motives for warfare on this planet.
According to the prophecies of scripture prophecies written long before the fact God dictated that He would make the religious views of the Messiah cover the world. This He did. It was into a world racked by war and violence that God inserted His Christ. His teaching preached peace and love and motivated a vast population to pursue such principles. Under the umbrella of a very powerful Church God placed the children He had found. The Lord then aligned that Church with the strongest and most powerful nations in the world.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the world's sword was purposely placed in the hands of those who protected the Church. The first world emperor to discover this fact was Constantine. It was this same formula, reenacted again and again over the course of history by other world leaders that produced, guaranteed and perpetuated the preeminence of the Christian era on earth.
God grasped the world on purpose and made it follow the course He dictated. The world had no choice in the matter, proved by the fact that Michael was ordered to lock Satan in the Abyss and keep him there in chains for the millenium prophesied. That left Satan's angels bereft of leadership.
God's purpose was to find the lost children of Israel those who had been stolen from God and hidden in all the hollows of Satan's illicit kingdom. Jesus' singular purpose was to lead these captives out of harms way to a place of certain safety. God fashioned the earth just for this purpose, making it reflect His aims, forcing it to fitfully follow the course He dictated until the harvest was complete.
The only way God's reality can be seen is to believe wholeheartedly in the truth of Jesus Christ and the Word He preached. That is the meaning of faith. Any other belief will precipitate a different view.
This world does not know or even care about God's purpose. It doesn't believe in God. The world has invented its own purpose and that false reality is the view we have been raised up here to know and follow. The world sees our existance here like a fair full of bargains and our life in it like a game. It regards ethics as a smokescreen for suckers.
Thus we have before us a way of righteousness and a way of evil. This is the crossroads. Between these two roads is the choice of life's travel we must all make; that we were all born to make.
God said the Christian religious era would be short-lived and we have observed it breaking down over the last several centuries as the ambitions and greed that underlie human nature have percolated back up through the populations, increasing as their faith has waned.
Today the bonds that tied the Church to the strong nations of the world have been broken. That alliance is gone, vanishing with the disappearance of world faith, and it has left the Church vulnerable to assault and violent overthrow. Even within the Church, civil wars have produced great fracture lines throughout its structure. This has weakened it further still.
Having abandoned faith in Christ and the peace He proposed, the strong nations are now forming bonds with His enemies. The sword of battle will remain firm in their hands, driven as it always has been by politics and nationalism. Unrestrained by compassion or love, these strong nations will set the world on fire, proving once and for all that war was never driven by those who obey Christ, but by the overwhelming absence of such people.
How can we tell the good prophets from the bad ones?OL
Paul said, "Keep to what is written". That means, stay with the bound scriptures, especially with the Gospel of Jesus. Anyone who follow's Paul's formula should be quite safe from false prophecy.
The main reason why the prophecies in scripture are so much more important than those uttered by the people surrounding us now is because God promised that the Bible's words would all come true. That promise does not hold true for the oracles uttered by ministers and other current seers.
With them it is maybe yes and maybe no. As Paul said, we see dimly (1 Cor.13:12).
Not so with scripture. Jesus confirmed that it was God's intent to keep His promise to make the prophecies in scripture come true. In fact, Jesus went to great lengths to prove that intent. Thus our faith assures us the prophecies that are written (those that have stood in scripture for the last 2000 years) are sure.
Because they are divinely programmed to come true, scripture's visions speak to us about the truth of Jesus Christ. Each time a prophecy happens as predicted, further confirmation of His truth is revealed. This should bolster faith and cause large numbers of people to navigate towards Him. Surprisingly, it doesn't. We find ourselves today in a time where, despite the fact that the prophecies of scripture are being fulfilled in numbers as large as any time in history, church attendance is in free-fall.
This also speaks to prophesy. Paul, in his letter to Timothy said,
"The time is sure to come when, far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect for themselves a whole series of teachers according to their own tastes; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths. Be careful always to choose the right course; be brave as you suffer your trials for Christ and make the preaching of the Good News your life's work as you fulfill your ministry in the service of the Lord." (2 Tim. 4:3-6)
We have surely entered the time Paul was talking about. That is why it is so important we listen more closely to Jesus than anyone else, so that we are not tempted to be moved by the collection of teachers that turn out myths instead of the truths of God.
Jesus told His followers:
"This Good News of the kingdom will be proclaimed to the whole world as a witness to all the nations. And then the end will come." (Mat. 24:14).
In 1963 Billy Graham, preaching to 100,000 people in the coliseum in Los Angeles, remarked that his words (the very words they were hearing) were being broadcast at the same time across the entire world both by radio and television. He said that each time he spoke he was able to preach the Gospel to more people than had all the apostles and ministers in the first century put together.
He said that in1963, almost 50 years ago. Imagine how far-more-reaching the ministry is today than then. Especially now that Christ's message is being carried not just by radio and TV, but by satellite and internet. Truly Christ's prophecy about the global extent of His ministry has been fulfilled in virtually every possible way. Jesus said that when this reach of the Gospel had been achieved...then the end would come. (Mat.24:14).
That prophecy has come true in our own time. Not yet in the End forseen, but in the reach of the Gospel.
In the Book of Jeremiah it is written that, starting with Jerusalem, every nation on earth must drink from the cup (that is the Gospel) a drink so powerful that many will be driven mad by it (Jer. 25:15-29). Jeremiah said that the "king of Sheschak will be the last to drink as God's cup makes its transit across the world. The translation of Sheschak is Iraq, a Moslem nation where the preaching of Jesus has been forbidden since 600 A.D.
All that changed in 2003 when American troops held communion ceremonies in Saddam Hussein's palace in the Green Zone. The country of Iraq has since gone mad, with war ravaging every quarter of the country for 6 years straight. More importantly, the cup of God has come full circle in terms of prophecy.
In 1947 a Jewish nation was restored to Palestine by the United Nations. In Jewish terms, at that moment, the rebuilding of Jerusalem was at hand. This fulfilled a great many prophecies in scripture. It was a seminal moment in Jewish history promising to put an end to the great Diaspora the 2000-year separation of the Jewish people from their holy city.
Not even this has stemmed the falling belief in Jesus Christ across the world. A virtual cascade of prophecies have now been completed as written end term prophecies pointing to the fact that the grandest of all the prophecies, the Return of Jesus Christ, is growing very close. And yet, in the face of a multitude of such prophecy-confirming events, all the people of this world can do is scoff.
That is why, in this shortness of days we must prepare for even greater displays of false prophecy:
"But when the Rebel comes, Satan will set to work: there will be all kinds of miracles and a deceptive show of signs and portents, and everything evil that can deceive those who are bound for destruction because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them. 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.2:5-12).
This is why I say to cling very close to Jesus. His words are the litmus test of prophecy. He comes to us in the name of God. The others come in their own names. Jesus said we will know them by their fruits. Instead of kindness and love of others, they promote the opposite. Overwhelmingly, their true god is money. So make the Word your home and listen to Jesus when He speaks. He really does know what He is talking about. Everything He said is coming true.
In the current edition of the National Geographic there is an in-depth article on the conversion of Russia to Christ. Since the renewal's beginning in 1987 when the communist Soviet Union collapsed, this transformation from atheism to the Gospel has been spectacular. "In 1987 there were only three monasteries in Russia; today there are 478. Then there were just two seminaries; now there are 25. Most striking is the explosion of churches, from about 2,000 in Gorbachev's time to nearly 13,000 today" (Serge Schmemann, National Geographic Magazine, April 2009). The fall of communism has not only spawned there a vigorous rebirth of the Russian Orthodox church, Christianity and the Russian state have become intertwined in it. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (vigorously pro-Christian) has called the church "as vital to Russia's security as its nuclear shield" (Ibid).
With this regeneration of Christian faith in Russia as a backdrop, remember that Sister Lucia, the primary visionary in the 1917 Fatima apparitions announced that the second of the three mysterious prophecies associated with that event called for everyone to pray for the conversion of Russia. The call seemed an act of futility when Lucia first revealed the prophecy in the1930's. It widened even further over the ensuing decades cascading by the 1980's into what seemed a pipe-dream so far from reality that the possibility of its fulfillment was dismissed by most people out of hand.
A nearly successful assassinaton attempt on the life of the Pope by a rumored agent of the Soviet Union in 1981 steeled the impasse and seemed to illuminate beyond all doubt, the throne of Satan on earth, as it pushed the battle line between the powers of earth and God right up to the front door of heaven.
Six years later that line appeared to vanish. The impossible had happened. Russia had converted! Now over 20 years old, a renewed Christian Russia has not only converted, its transformation has been spectacular. Atheism's authoritarian stranglehold on that nation has given way to a burgeoning faith in Christ, awesome by any calculation and fiercely championed by Russia's political leaders. Despite overwhelming odds, Lucia's prophecy has come true.
Our own political leaders in the west, having just thrown Jesus Christ out of our government and out of our schools can only stand and watch in disbelief.
Jeremiah wrote in his biblical prophecies that the cup of the Messiah would first be offered in Jerusalem and from there pass west across the world like the transit of the sun, making its way full circle around the earth to the river (the Euphrates) where the "king of Sheshak" would be the last to drink. Sheshak is considered by most scholars to be Iraq, the same Iraq where almost 5000 American troops have given their lives trying to bring democracy and with it, freedom of worship to that area.
The mass held in the "Green Zone", king Saddam Hussein's Baghdad Palace, in 2003 by the American forces, speaks to the Sheshak prophecy. Concomitant with that full circle of the Gospel around the globe and its deep penetration into the Asian continent has been the conversion of Russia. Both events offering certain proof of the prophecies that foretold them.
The cup of Christ has indeed circled the globe. Not only that, it has reached its final frontier.
All the prophecies fulfulled in our time seem to have the same ring of finality to them. The rebuildng of Jerusalem, the "maginot-like" line at the Euphrates, the arrival of the the "third day", the swift appearance and quick passage of the 7th head of the beast (Adolph Hitler), the reappearance of Sodom and Gomorrah, the recent rejection by the western nations of Christ after almost 2000 years of embrace, the strengthening of the nuclear arsenal with all the nations mobilizing for war, and gathering around Jerusalem, the ships of Kittim, the return of atheism, love in most people turning cold, the time of terrorism, the fall of the towers, the rise of Persia and the East, the roaring of the seas and earthquakes in diverse places rocking the cities.
The signs are warnings that everything Jesus said will come true. Everything. We are very close to the end of days when salvation's offer will cease. Who is it that dares forbid us to pray?
"Which of you listening to this, will pay attention and mark it, against the time to come? Who handed Jacob over to the robber, Israel to the pillagers? Was it not the Lord? We had sinned against him, we had refused to follow his ways or obey his Law. On him he poured out the blaze of his anger and the furies of war. It enveloped him in flames and he did not notice, it burned him up, and he gave it no thought." (Is. 42:23-25)
I am actually surprised at how eerily quiet everyone has been about the sudden rise in popularity and power of our current president and the Biblical story of the rise of the antichrist. I am not trying to equate the two (I'll wait to see if time takes care of that for me), but I have always wondered how someone could have a vision so opposed to the Christian worldview and yet be hailed by so many as a great person - without someone publicly making the comparison. I always felt that the Left Behind series and so many other end-times fiction writers were unable to create a convincing scenario or series of events that could lead to someone "coming out of nowhere" to gain such power. Yet, we have someone who appears to be in his position solely based on empty promises and rhetoric. I suppose he is not the first world leader to come from nowhere, but to become the President of the US used to imply that a person had a serious resume' of service and experience...(It) shows how easily people are fooled or how shallow their judgment can be. (We) need to look beyond the surface of our elected leaders. We simply appear as hooligans voting for whoever will give us the most stuff. For the most powerful nation in the world to have done that is very disturbing. I see a trend that will result in (if it hasn't already) an elected leader who will quickly and easily steer the nation to idol worship. And the majority of the people will joyfully, cheerfully follow with 24/7 gala coverage by an adoring media.I have been mulling this over since the day after the election when a close friend (who supports Obama) told me - at church - "isn't it really nice to have someone in the white House who can speak so well". JF
The popularity of the Antichrist does not extend to America. The Bible shows America as his enemy:
"At the time appointed he shall return and come into the south; but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw, and shall turn back and be enraged..." (Dan. 11:29-30).
This passage in scripture clearly shows America to be at the doorstep of war with the Antichrist. From the reading, the standoff seems to be much like the Cuban missle crises of 1962. America will prove the stronger in this conflict, but it will only intensify the hatred between our country and the beast, as the rest of this scripture indicates.
The Antichrist amasses his popularity among his own among the people of the East the Parthians the people of Asia and the Euphrates. Even the Europeans will cower before him. But not the United States. He will build his popularity slowly much in the way Bin Laden (in his attempt to mobilize the vast Muslim world against America) has done. It will be the same with the Antichrist. He will build a popularity in the same theatre of focus aiming to impress the vast populations of the ten nations of the East.
The fact that Barack Obama is president of the United States eliminates him from consideration. If you check the full complement of the prophecies in the Bible concerning the Antichrist, you will see that Obama's position commanding the American presidential office, all by itself, negates any possibility of his being the Antichrist.
Even more important, Barack Obama has testified to the world that he is a Christian. This also excludes him.
Because he embraces Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior, he has divorced himself from Satan. Like the rest of us who have chosen Christ as our Lord, he lives under a blanket of grace. The Apostle John has specifically written in scripture that no one who calls himself a Christian can be considered the Antichrist (1 John 4:15).
"The man who denies that Jesus is the Christ he is the liar, he is Antichrist; and he is denying the Father as well as the Son, because no one who has the Father can deny the Son, and to acknowledge the Son is to have the Father as well" (1 John 2:22-23).
Barack Obama has acknowledged the Son.
"If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him, and he in God." (1 John 4:15).
Because John's words stand sealed in scripture, his statement acts as divine prophecy.
It not only means that Barack Obama cannot be the Anitchrist, it shows that the Antichrist will never voice acceptance of Jesus. John's statement is not just an absolute, it is a two-way street. The Antichrist will never embrace Christianity. And because Obama believes in Christ and has made this testimony public, he will never be the Antichrist.
Scripture's prophecies, as I have shown below, reveal that the Antichrist will arrive on the scene screaming terrible blasphemies against the Holy Trinity, against Christians and against the Church. And he will mobilize his enraged followers to do the same. He never endorses Christianity, just the opposite.
Jesus went to extraordinary lengths to insure that Old Testament scripture proved true. God will go to even greater lengths to make sure the prophecies of the New Testament prove true as well.
Paul expanded on John's prophecy:
"Face plain facts. Anybody who is convinced that he belongs to Christ must go on to reflect that we all belong to Christ no less than he does." (2 Cor. 10:7).
Everyone who embraces Jesus Christ begins a journey which is a trial by fire that tests and hones faith. We may stumble many times in this journey because we are imperfect, but as long as we persist in our faith, get up and continue on the journey, we remain on the path towards eternal life. It is God's decision who it is that is successful on this journey, not ours. For our part we must not judge other Christians, because it is God who is leading them through the fire of cleansing, not us. We cannot read the mind of the Holy Spirit.
We do know that as we judge, so will we be judged.
There are many, many Christians who seem not to live a perfect "Christian worldview" kind of life, but the Holy Spirit is often able, in His own way, through fire, to reformat their faith and bring them to the salvation they are working toward. Scripture tells us we need to pray for them.
Popularity does not make a person the Antichrist.
Barack Obama is popular because people feel he is committed to straighten out the mess our country is in. The nation is mired in the deepest recession the world has experienced in over 60 years, we are faced with Muslim terrorism, two active wars, bankrupting health costs, a financial catastrophe unseen since the Great Depression, and now a pandemic virus with possible lethal potential. Hope that he can be constructive against these malignant forces makes Obama popular.
Don't focus on popularity especially American popularity. We are the only nation in the world whose defacto national anthem is a call for God's blessing: "God Bless America". We are a blessed country and the Beast does not come from here.
Remember, the Bible does not say that everyone on earth will worship the Antichrist, just non-Christians. It says everyone EXCEPT those who live in Christ:
"...and all who dwell on earth will worship it (the Antichrist), every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb..." (Rev. 13:7-8).
Those whose names are written in the Book of Life will not worship the Antichrist when he appears.
When the Bible says that the "world" will worship the beast, remember there are only 350 million people in the entire United States put together. The world houses over 6 billion people. That's "B", billion. The world outnumbers us almost 20 to 1.
The East owns the extraordinary population numbers, not America. Think China, Indonesia, India, the "Stans" and so forth. A huge number of these people are atheists and non-christians. They have already been duped. "World" popularity demands an eastern Antichrist. Remember, in scripture the army of the Beast is described in terms so prodigious only the East could provide them; soldiers that number like the sands of the sea:
"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 been before, such as will never be again to the remotest ages." (Joel 2:1-2).
"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 mobilize 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).
"The Lord says this to you, 'Do not be afraid, do not be daunted by this vast horde; this battle is not yours but God's. March out against them tomorrow (but) You will not need to fight' ..." (2 Chron. 20:15-17).
The Antichrist rises to power in the East.
Barack Obama has risen to power in the West. These origins are polar opposites. The prophecies are very clear on the location of the Madman's appearamce (where he comes from). His origin is shown in the prophecies to be near the Black Sea. That's over near the Euphrates, just above Asia Minor. He is shown to command a Parthian army. That is a combination of Persian and Asian forces.
In the prophecies that army is hostile to America because we are aligned with Israel. The President of the United States sends his ships to block the Beast's army from invading Israel (Dan.11:29-30). So how could he possibly be the beast? Not only that, read in the following quotation how powerful America is in relation to the Antichrist:
"At the time appointed he (the Antichrist) shall return and come into the south; but it shall not be this time as it was before. For ships of Kittim shall come against him, and he shall be afraid and withdraw..." (Dan.11:29-30).
He shall be afraid?
At the very height of his power, the Madman is shown in the Book of Daniel to be blocked by American warships by the ships of Kittim (a mighty naval power in the western coastlands). Afraid, the Antichrist shall turn back. If this happens anytime in the next century we must assume that he will be thwarted by the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
Barack Obama is the commander and chief of that fleet, so if it happens on his watch, how can he be in two places at once? How could he attack himself?
Scripture gives us a description of the Antichrist that is so detailed, a grammar-school sleuth would have no trouble identifying him when he appears. Don't isolate these prophecies by choosing just one. Take them all together. Each prophecy tells us a part of the Antichrist's profile. When all the verses about him are added together, the details spell out his entire personna.
If you are searching for a candidate for the Antichrist that fits scripture's descriptions to a "T", try Bin Laden. He meshes with prophecy's mold so well, it is chilling. He rose up with a small following out of obscurity in the East, without election or royal credentials. He has no office and since he has chosen to dwell in a cave, he has no country. This is a profile very similar to the one detailed in the Book of Daniel.
Coming out of Persia without a country, and wrapped in the robes of intrigue, Bin Laden has spent his early career warmongering in hiding. He has been around now for more than 12 years and yet is still working his intrigue out of the shadows, from a cave.
"...there will rise a wretch: he will not be given royal honors, but will insinuate himself into them in his own time and gain possession of the kingdom by intrigue." (Dan. 11:21-22)
The Antichrist seems to use the same kind of tactics Bin Laden is using to try to secure his own grasp on world power.
The Antichrist comes with several names in scripture. they describe his character. He is called the Beast, the Destroyer, the Prince of Persia, Gog, the King of the North, the Lawless One, the Man of Lawlessness, the Rebel, the Madman, the Wicked, the Wretch, the Man of Sin, the Man of Perdition, the Son of Perdition, the Lost One, Blasphemy, even Daystar (Is.14:12-13+) This because his appearance directly precedes the Return of Christ.
The Antichrist will have no power of his own.
"His power will gather strength but not through power of his own..." (Dan. 8:24).
Isn't that how we see Bin Laden? No kingdom, no army, no navy, no air force. Just a small rag-tag group of thugs but now, even without a country or army, growing so strong in his warmongering he is able to pit himself successfully against all the worlds greatest nations and militaries simultaneously.
Where does Barack Obama fit in this profile? He is just the opposite he comes with enormous power of his own. He has been chosen by the people and duly elected to command the most powerful empire in the history of the earth. Elected by the people, his claim to authority is legitimate. As president of the United States, he is the most powerful and influential man in the world today.
When the Antichrist appears, he will mimic Bin Laden at first, an obscure warmonger without any army, navy, airforce or weapons.
"Still conspiring, he will go from treachery to treachery, ever growing stronger despite the smallness of his following." (Dan. 11:23).
Read that again: "the SMALLNESS of his following". That is coupled to Daniel's words "ever growing stronger" in the quotation above. Together they show a slow ascent to strength, not an overnight catapult into command of the world's most powerful empire. Bin Laden has been growing stronger for 12 years and he is still in hiding. All the while, his popularity is growing among the Muslim youth.
Scripture's prophecies talk about the Antichrist's warmongering his crushing defeat of armies (Dan.11:22), his invasion of nations, his plundering of the people and the institutions in the nations he conquers, the distribution of that plunder to his "Friends", etc. The Antichrist is a man of war, not peace. He comes with a brutal sword.
Even now while still operating from a cave, without any throne, or army (without even a country), Bin Laden has shown himself to be one of the more barbaric personages in history. Aside from directing multiple wars, he straps bombs on women and children and coerces them to go out and blow themselves up in the markets and cafe's simply to kill as many shoppers as possible. Using such measures, he is slowly ascending toward a future still unknown, and all the while gaining popularity among his own.
Will the Taliban give him Afghanistan? Pakistan?
Will Bin Laden prove to be the Antichrist? He is probably too old. The End is likely not so soon.
If he is not the Antichrist himself, he has certainly presaged key parts of the model the Madman will follow. The Antichrist will gain popularity among his own the way Bin Laden has donetrying bit by bit to mobilize the entire Muslim world (a third of the world's population) into combat against the West. So far Bin Laden has failed in this effort, but his other successes to date have been extraordinary.
Scripture shows the Antichrist bolstering his popularity by offering not to crush those who agree to join his circle of "Friends" (Dan.11:39). The Bible writes of these "friends" as if they are some kind of exclusive club, a national "order" that is given special favor, even land and financial assistance a group in which the populace covets membership, especially to escape the horrors that are unleashed on those outside.
There is a reason scripture refers to the Antichrist as the "Madman". He is a monster. He will be as crazed as Hitler. Don't be looking for a "nice guy" (in American terms). He comes on the scene shouting incredible blasphemies, fomenting vast hordes into frenzied mobs.
"In his own time he will invade the richest provinces, acting as his fathers or father's fathers never acted, distributing plunder, spoil and wealth among them, plottings his stratagems against fortresses for a time. He will rouse his strength and his heart against the king of the South with a great army." (Dan.11:24-25).
The Antichrist rises in the East, not the West. He wars against the "king of the South" (the Israeli-American alliance). He will be white, not black. His predecessor rises in an area that seems to be Moscow and he himself will come from somewhere midway between Moscow and Iran. His allegiance will be with the Persians (the Parthians) and, like a returning and reborn Nero, he will lead these troops (the soldiers of the ten nations of the East) to Rome to rebuild his empire there.
Enraged by his embarrasing defeat at the hands of the Amerians, Daniel shows he will turn on the areas already under his control. In an attempt to destroy Christianity, he will vent his fury on the Holy Covenant and on all who worship Jesus. He will order the assassination of the Pope and set up his throne in the Vatican.
"This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call 'god', so much greater than anything that is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God's sanctuary and claims that he is God." (2 Thes. 2:4).
"Then they fortified the City of David with a great strong wall and strong towers, and made this their Citadel." (1 Macc.1:33-35)
From this platform the Madman will launch the final war against Jerusalem.
None of this is imminent. It is still a long way away. First, world power must shift according to the prophecies: The East will topple the West from its leadership post, and secure that pinnacle of influence for itself (Dan.7:23). A world war will occur, and at least two more wars against Jerusalem will take place before the final war begins (Dan.11:16; 11:30; 11:45).
All this is in scripture in its prophecies about the Antichrist. It is spelled out in newspaper-like detail, especially in the Book of Daniel.
Most of the Eastern Hemisphere will be under the Madman's control, but even there, his reach will not be complete. We can see this by the fact that he attacks Jerusalem. If he controlled Israel, he wouldn't attack it.
We can also see other nations in that area still out of his grasp as well.. Among these are the kingdoms of "the South". Daniel says (of the Antichrist) that developments in the East (apparently the Far East) will worry him, as will reports coming from the north (Dan.11:44).
If the Antichrist had total control of the world there would be no ships to oppose him and no place for him to attack. No kingdom of the Souith. There would be no ships of Kittim to block his way. There would be no Jerusalem outside of his reach. All of these circumstances, detailed in scripture, show a United States and an Israel existing outside of the Beast's empire standing in opposition to him.
Since the Beast is killed and his army destroyed by God before it is able to topple Israel, how can anyone say that the Madman controls the whole world? He never does.
The Bible can only say that because scripture shows there is more than one "Beast".
The greater world control goes to the Dragon, the father of the Antichrist. He, too is the Antichrist.
The Bible not only calls the Madman the Beast, it calls Satan the Beast too. (Note that in the Book of Revelation the Madman [the beast] is one of the seven "heads" of the Beast).
"And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads...One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. "Men worshipped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshipped the beast, saying, 'Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?'
Confusing? One represents spiritual control (atheism, secularism) and the other represents physical control, the physical capture of nations.
...It was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. and authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life..." (Rev. 13:1-9)
There are two Beasts, one physical and the other spiritual. According to this passasge of scripture, both are worshipped. Also we can see in this passage that the worship of the beast will equate to authority. Those who commit themselves to the secular way will be selected for leadership. These leaders will lead their nations away from God.
Much of this has already taken place. The world's gods are changing as we watch.
Even in the darkest hours of the End, there will still be some people who reject the beast . These are the people on earth who have been chosen by God for eternal life. These include Christians and Jews, the people of the two houses of Israel.
Thus it will be Satan, not his Antichrist who gains total control of all the nations. He is doing this by moving the leadership (and with them the public) philosophically out of Christianity and back into secularism and from there into atheism, i.e., into a philosophy of godlessness. So that in the end, every nation on earth will reject Jesus and His Gospel.
Where the Bible speaks about total commitment to the beast by the world, it points to secular philosophy. It speaks to spiritual control. It speaks to virtually the total rejection of Jesus by the nations.
World leaders are throwing God out of favor, out of their schools, out of their government, and out of their cities, by changing the philosophical framework guiding human civilization. Science and education are being morphed into the new gods. In the end, Religion will be treated as a fable. This is the darkness of the dragon that Jesus warned was returning,. His words speak to a descending spiritual darkness endorsed by the leaders of the nations a darkness that will cover the whole earth.
And we can easily see this black cloud coming now. It is here today. Almost every nation on earth has already thrown God out of their government. Separation of State from Church is a ubiquitous term all across the world, not just in the United States.
By abandoning Jesus Christ, the nations have rebelled against God. Jesus said in the beginning that they would do this. And that is what brings the Wrath the fact that they have turned their back on God.
"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).
Scripture indicates that the rebellion we see now will accelerate and get much worse. Almost everyone will abandon their Christian worship as far as God is concerned. The world will be a spiritual wasteland before the End comes. Not just some of the churches will close, but most of them will follow in shuttering. Many will be forced to close:
"Determined to destroy us once and for all, they burned down every shrine of God in the country. Deprived of signs, with no prophets left, who can say how long this will last?" (Ps. 74:8-9).
"The city of emptiness is in ruins, the entrance to every house is shut. There is lamentation in the streets: no wine, joy is quite gone, gladness banished from the country. Nothing but rubble in the city, the gate is smashed to pieces; and so it will be on earth, among the peoples, as at the beating of the olive trees, as at the gleaning of the grapes when the grape harvest is over." (Is. 24:10-13).
"Oblation and libation have vanished from the house of God. The priests, the ministers of the Lord are in mourning." (Joel 1:9).
Those who are committed to sin will attack the Bible philosophically. As their ranks swell, this attack will grow increasingly fierce. They will call Christians bigots for clinging to God's righteousness, and blaspheme the scriptures for the very same reason. In their contempt for the Holy Spirit, they will pummel Christians with ridicule and violence. Throughout the nations there will be great social pressure (peer pressure) to abandon Christian doctrine.
When Adolph Hitler came to power, a large part of the population of Germany worshipped him and strew rose petals in his path where he walked, not just because his people loved him, but also because his "brown shirts" were in the crowds taking careful note of all who did not applaud or cheer. Hitler's popularity was driven by an engine of fear. Hitler was an insanely brutal madman, and all were advised to worship him or else.
The same will be true of the Antichrist, only more so. He will not be a man of peace. In the same way that Hitler focused his rage on the Jewish people (one of the two houses of Israel) the Antichrist will focus his rage on the rest of the House of Israel: Christians and the Holy Covenant. He will mount repeated campaigns to destroy Israel.
He will emerge like Bin Laden, a proud and haughty-faced warmonger in hiding who loves killing, who hates Christians; who also hates Jews; who hates both houses of Israel and is determined to rid the earth of them. That is how scripture shows the Antichrist presenting when he appears.
Blocked by the ships of Kittim, the Madman "will return and take furious action against the holy covenant and, as before, 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).
The fact that the United States is shown in the Bible opposing the Beast militarily (and with such might that the Antichrist runs away in fear), and the fact that we are shown to be aligned with Israel in the final war indicates we are a country that has been endowed with favor by God. The Antichrist cannot arise here. When the rest of the world chooses to follow the Antichrist, we choose to stand by Israel.
Our gravest danger is Jeremiah's 40:29-30 prophecy an act that could dictate the destruction detailed in Jeremiah 45:4 be launched now instead of in a more distant future. The timing for that destruction requires western troops to be stationed at the Euphrates river (Jer. 46:5-8). That is where western troops are now based. We have been there since 2003. Thus conditions are ripe for the catastrophe (Is. 24:1-6).
The world stands at one of the most dangerous crossroads it has ever encountered, and the public knows it. Not just in America but everywhere. The people want hope. Barack Obama may not be able to solve these problems, but he does offer a measure of hope. A far greater hope is Jesus Christ. The Bible shows that without Him the world will collapse and terrorism will fill the vacuum.
At the end of the terrorism a person who hates Christians, one who proclaims openly that Jesus is not the Christ, will come to power. He will never say that he is a Christian. Just the opposite. Scripture shows that from the very beginning, he will loudly and wildly revile God and voice to the heavens his blasphemies against Jesus and the Holy Covenant (Rev.13:5). His mouth will be filled with great boasts (Dan.11:8):
"The king will do as he pleases, growing more and more arrogant, considering himself greater than all the gods; he will utter incredible blasphemies against the God of gods, and he will thrive until the wrath reaches bursting point; for what has been decreed will certainly be fulfilled." (Dan.11:36).
"How much longer, God, is the oppressor to blaspheme, is the enemy to insult your name forever? Why hold back your hand, why keep your right hand hidden? ...Now, Lord, remember the enemy's blasphemy, how frenzied people dare to insult your name. Do not betray the soul of your dove to the beast...Respect the covenant! We can bear no more every cave in the country is the scene of violence! ...Rise, God, say something on your own behalf, do not forget the madman's day-long blaspheming, remember the shouting of your enemies, this ever-rising clamour of your adversaries." (Ps. 74:10-23).
"For forty-two ' months the beast was allowed to mouth its boasts and blasphemies and to do l whatever it wanted; ·and it mouthed its blasphemies against God, against his name, his heavenly Tent and all those who are sheltered there." (Rev. 13:5-6)
Such will be the character of the Antichrist when he appears. Such also will be the character of those who follow him.
Those of us who love God and worship Jesus will be kept safe from them. God will raise us up in His name.
It is our own behavior and our own faith that we must look to, not scan the horizon for a spectre whose appearance is still a long way off. When we see the Antichrist it may be too late.to act.
We can do nothing about the Beast, but we can escape him. Jesus gave us the way.
Will there only be 144,000 saved? NA
This question relates to the Book of Revelation, Chapter 7, verses 3-8 (& 3:9-17).
The number in question does not square with either the prophesies (both New and Old Testament), or with Jesus' teaching. Nor does it square with the numbers themselves. Christ has been preached for almost 2000 years. Much of the population of the earth over that time has been Christian. The 144,000 is not a number for the 21st century alone, or for 2009 alone. It is a number for all time.
Divide 144,000 by 2000 years (the number of years that have passed since Christ was crucified and you get 72 people a year. That covers all religions and all areas of the earth, and is a number that continues to get smaller every year as the distance in years from the date of the crucifixiion continues to increase.
72 itself is a very small number. Count the people in your church. 700? 2000? 8000? That's not in your denomination, it is in your current church building. How many Christian churches are there in America? In the world? Now figure out how to pick just 72 Christians from all over the world from all the churchs across the face of the earth, combined, discarding everyone else.
Are those who feel they can be saved without going to church included as well? Will any of them be a part of the 144,000? Add them to the list of candidates for salvation and the number shrinks again.
Even if you just count churches alone, most churches will have zero. There are tens of thousands of churches across the planet today, and only 72 people can be selected out of all of them put together. Entire denominations may have only one or two people in a whole year.
Statistics show 87% of U.S. citizens are Christian. There are 350 million U.S. citizens. Eighty-seven percent of that number is 304 million people. Out of this you get 72 people? In fact, much less because world-wide the Christian population numbers almost 2 billion people. The statistics say 72 people out of the whole world. Out of 2 billion Christians?
If only one Christian in each state of the Union were saved, that would be 50 in the USA alone, leaving only 24 for the whole rest of the world, Canada, Mexico, S.America, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, etc.?
Adding in all those other countries, it would be more like 8 or 10 Christians in the entire USA. More than 40 states would produce none at all. If God's salvation were in numbers that small, God could rightly be accused of making what amounts to an impossible promise. No common people would have a chance. Even most of the Mother Theresa's would fail. This is just the opposite of Christ's promise. Obviously this interpretation cannot be true.
Closer inspection of the prophecy shows it isn't true. The 144,000 prophecy is metaphore. The number itself is metaphore. It details a specific group of the saved, not all of them. For in the very next paragraph of the same prophecy in the Book of Revelation we are shown a vast throng of "saved" who number more than the sands of the sea:
"After that I saw a huge number, impossible to count, of people from every nation, race, tribe and language; they were standing in front of the throne and in front of the Lamb, dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands..."
"...One of the elders then spoke, and asked me, 'Do you know who these people are, dressed in white robes, and where they have come from?' I answered him, 'you can tell me, my lord'. Then he said, 'These are the people who have been through the great persecution, and because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they now stand in front of God's throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary; and the One who is on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will never hunger or thirst again; neither the sun nor scorching wind will ever plague them, because the Lamb who is at the throne will be their shepherd and will lead them to springs of living water; and God will wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Rev. 7:9-17).
Now that fits the promise. Everyone who chooses to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and tries to follow Him as best they can.
The road is narrow, yes, but it is not an impossible journey. The promise of an easy burden and a light yoke is true (Mat.11:28-30). Prophecy says that stumbling is allowed. It says that perfection is in progress (i.e., making headway), getting up from a fall and getting back on the road (i.e., returning to the path of Christ) (Ps.101:2,6). . The lesson the Exodus teaches is 'Don't turn back'. And Jesus Christ has said the same. Don't lose faith.
The Book of Revelation shows that no matter how low a person's faith gets, it can be rescued by their returning to the way of Christ. 'Think where you were before you fell...return to that...' (Rev. 3:2; 3:18-20)
This subject has been covered before in different ways on previous question pages.
To view these go to: "The 144,000".
How much time do we have till the world ends? GA
At the dawn of the 20th century in the earliest days of the1900's, the science fiction writer H.G. Wells was permitted by God to envision a bomb that could wipe out entire cities in a single explosion. Wells called his device the "atom bomb".
God used Wells to signal to the world that He was about to put into man's hand an instrument so lethal it had the capacity to destroy the entire world in a single hour. This invention arrived in 1945, fulfilling Wells' vision, and giving man the capability to bring to fruition the darkest prophecies of the Book of Daniel and John's Book of Revelation.
In hindsight, Wells' vision had put the world on notice that the peace treaty God had initiated through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was nearing its point of termination. Jesus warned that it would only be in effect for a short time.
That treaty (which allows the life of this earth to continue) is perpetuated by the communion sacrifice, and is held in place by agreement of both sides. Christians are required to remain humble and without ambition except to do good, while Babylon is required to allow its Christians to leave by the path of the Gospel without interference.
The allegory of this pact can be seen in Pharaoh's edict at the time of Moses allowing the Israelite captives to leave Egypt and make a trek to the Promised Land. Pharaoh agreed to let them go, but, as that exodus neared its end, changed his mind and attacked the rearguard of that departing column. He did not honor his word, nor is Babylon honoring the treaty of Christ which the Mosaic exodus allegorized.
This world only exists for the journey of Christianity to the kingdom of heaven. The treaty of Christ has given it extra life only for that purpose.
The global impositions we have seen initiated over the last century against Christian preaching point to a hardening of Babylon's heart. This includes the Soviet and Asian mandates to atheism, the religious intolerance of the Middle East and the global shift to secularism.
This escalating worldwide attack over the last 100 years on the teaching of the Gospel are early warnings that what took place in Pharaoh's palace are about to be duplicated against Christianity. It tells us the attack is near. The nations are no longer encouraging their citizens to listen to Christ's call. Instead, they are throwing up an ever increasing sequence of roadblocks to thwart that exodus and to discourage belief in the veracity of God's emissaries.
In the meantime, stockpiles of weapons capable of delivering the instant annihilation of almost all life on this planet are glutting silo's across the earth and dozens of nations are clammoring to add thousands more to the inventory. God, in the person of Jesus Christ, declared this world evil. It should have been destroyed at the very moment He preached, but God allowed it to live temporarily with His treaty of peace. This gave time for the righteous to be rescued. Jesus went to the cross specifically for that purpose.
Now, with the treaty nearing collapse under a burgeoning weight of wickedness, the mandate for the continuation of the evil planet is in dire jeopardy. The harvest is almost complete. Everyone seeing this transition progress, should note with care what they see and turn to Jesus for salvation and the protection of God. It is past time to enter His shelter.
The day of the End is known only to God and no one can foresee its moment, but we have been warned that before it happens, an intense darkness will descend on the land, snuffing out the light of the Gospel, causing people to run to and fro looking for God but not finding Him. The shadows of that darkness are represented by the changes that have roiled the Christian world over the last 100 years. These changes are the signs of its approach.
When the light of this world is taken away it will be too late (except for a very few) for anyone to accept God's offer of eternal life. Do not wait for the End. Work while you still have the light .
"As long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the one who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." (John 9:4-5)
I read one of your question answers concerning the Jewish "Feast of Tabernacles". You likened it to Christian communion. On what do you base your observation? NK
In the Hebrew calendar there are three primary feast days during the liturgical year. The first is "Passover", celebrating the exodus of the House of Israel from captivity to Egypt, the second, on the 50th day afterward, is called "Weeks", celebrating the first fruits of the harvest, and the third is the "Feast of Tabernacles", the feast of ingathering from the harvest (see Lev. 23:1-44).
These three feast days are a command of the Hebrew Law, the Torah. That means that God must honor them in the way of His own choosing. This He has done.
Christianity (formed in the schematic of the Hebrew Law) has superimposed on these three required festivals the spiritual counterparts which the Hebrew days metaphorically represented. Passover is replaced by the Easter ritual from crucifixion to resurrection. The day of First Fruits is replaced by Pentecost, the anniversary of the appearance on earth of the Holy Spirit; and the feast of Tabernacles is replaced by the communion service, the holy meal of the churches.
Each one of these three festivals honors a member of the Holy Trinity. Easter for Christ, Pentecost for the Holy Spirit and the Day of God for the Father.
A part of the ritual of the feast of Tabernacles required the Israelites to live for seven days in shelters (or tents) to remind them of the period of the exodus when all the tribes had to live in such tents when the Lord brought them out of the land of Egypt (Lev. 23:42-43).
These shelters correspond to the multitude of Christian churches scattered across the world and within which we now live as Jesus Christ leads us from the land of Babylon to God's new kingdom in heaven. All this is what the Israelite feast actually stood for, the true "exodus" to eternal life.
Leading this feast, five days before it's beginning, is the Day of God. In the Hebrew liturgy it is called the "Day of Atonement" (in Hebrew, "Yom Kippur"). It is the highest holy day in the entire Hebrew liturgy.
In Christianity we recognize the Day of Atonement as the Day of Christ. It is the day of His Sonlight shining on the earth. It began on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first appeared on earth in 30 A.D. and it represents all the days the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been preached across the earth from then to the present day. The light of God's day, though now waning, is still shining. It will continue to shine until the beast orders it to be turned off. This will occur when he desecrates the perpetual communion sacrifice (Dan. 9:27; 8:10-12).
The term of God's Day of Atonement is the meaning of the "7 weeks" and "62 weeks" in the prophecy of Daniel. The Bible tells us that a day to God is like a thousand years to man. A prophecy in the Book of Joshua tells us that God will make the sun (the Son of God) stand in the sky long enough to make one day into almost two. To man, that means almost 2000 years.
If this prophecy is literal and is based on the first Pentecost, it means the light of Christ will go out before 2030 A.D.
In Daniel's prophecy of the "7 weeks" and "62 week", the first part (the 7weeks) stands for the first war against Christianity a war that drove the developing church into hiding (its time in the Roman catacombs). The "62 weeks" almost certainly began when Constantine issued his "Edict of Milan", allowing Christianity to leave its hiding places and be proclaimed publicly across the world. Christ's religion was embraced by the empire and given favored status over all other forms of worship.
In that same prophecy in the Book of Daniel, the last week (a terrible week divided into two parts) follows the "62 weeks". This last week of the world will produce two kngs of the East in sequence, who, one after the other, will conquer most of the world militarily, crushing the western world and toppling the religion of God. In the first part of this week, the feast of the tabernacles (communion) will be gravely threatened. In the last half of that week (the 3 and 1/2 year reign of the beast), it will be outlawed.
And then the end will come (Dn.12:7). The trumpet will sound and Jesus will return in glory.
The feast of holy communion represents the "wedding feast" that all who choose Jesus are to share in the kingdom of heaven following our resurrection at the end of the world. That is what the feast of the tabernacles is ultimately pointing to.
If God made us in his own image does that mean God has arms and legs like we do? KK
Scripture does not say that God is made in man's image, just the opposite. It says that God has made us into His image
Jesus said God is spirit.
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, and the perishable cannot inherit what lasts forever." (1 Cor.15:50).
In order to make us into His own image, God imparted into us His Holy Spirit. According to Paul we died to our body of flesh when we were baptised into Christ (see below) and in that moment, were reborn into a spiritual body whose form and shape will not be revealed until the resurrection.
What the exact form and shape of that new body is, Jesus and scripture do not say. Perhaps it is because we have no way to comprehend it it is eternal. It can navigate the entire universe. It encounters no barriers.
In order to wear that body, our soul had to be made sinless. This is why Jesus died on the cross so that our soul might be made into a vessel so clean and holy that we could be remade in God's image by housing the Holy Spirit within it.
The Holy Spirit brought our new body to us a tiny child of a body that needs to be nourished with the food of heaven so that it can grow up strong and eternal. We are fortifying it into adulthood now by obeying Christ's Gospel. That is the spiritual food that leads to our new life in God's kingdom. Jesus called His Gospel the "bread of life".
In baptism our soul is cleansed in Christ's blood and our body of flesh is destroyed, replaced by an invisible body of spirit that is made in the image of God a body we cannot see until the day of the End.
Until then, all we can do is speculate on its true nature. The following are some of the things revealed about that nature in scripture:
"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)
"Brothers and sisters: It is written, the first man, Adam, became a living being, the last Adam a life-giving spirit. But the spiritual was not first; rather the natural and then the spiritual. the first man was from the earth, earthly; the second man, from heaven. As was the earthly one, so also are the earthly, and as is the heavenly one, so also are the heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthly one, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly one." (1 Cor. 15:45-49
Remember, we have gone through massive supernova explosions and a Big Bang to get here. The fact that we exist now in the flesh, made in fire out of nothing but an array of electrical charges is a kind of guarantee that we can exist again in any form God wishes to mold us. Our flesh is made out of this creation (this universe) but our new body will be made out of the new creation God is making in heaven.
"You have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew..." (Col.3:10).
"In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision not performed by human hand, but by the complete stripping of your body of flesh. This is circumcision according to Christ. You have been buried with him, when you were baptised; and by baptism, too, you have been raised up with him through your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead." (Col.2:11-13).
"Someone may ask, 'How are dead people raised, and what sort of body do they have when they come back?'...Whatever you sow in the ground has to die before it is given new life and the thing that you sow is not what is going to come..." (1 Cor.15:36-37).
"You sow a bare grain, say of wheat or something like that, and then God gives it the sort of body that he has chosen: each sort of seed gets its own sort of body." (1 Cor.15:37-38).
"...There are heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the heavenly bodies have a beauty of their own and the earthly bodies a different one...the stars differ from each other in brightness.
It is the same with the resurrection of the dead: the thing that is sown is perishable but what is raised is imperishable; the thing that is sown is contemptible but what is raised is glorious; the thing that is sown is weak but what is raised is powerful; It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body." (1 Cor.15:40-44).
Using such metaphore, God has, throughout scripture, revealed deep mysteries that few on earth know anything about. When asked about these secrets, Jesus told His apostles: .
'The mysteries of the kingdom of God are revealed to you; for the rest there are only parables, so that 'they may see but not perceive, listen but not understand'." (Lk.8:9-10; Is.6:9) "For anyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away." (Mt.13:12).
It was very important to Jesus that we contemplate these unknowns (the differences between God's world and this world), and understand their true meaning (especially with respect to the parables), so that we see more clearly into the mind of God.
"If you do not understand this parable", he once asked (his apostles), "how then will you understand any of the parables?" (Mk.4:13-14).
The language of God is a language of metaphore. It is the only way of describing a world vastly different than our own.
The kingdom of heaven is vastly different. We have no basis in our understanding to even contemplate such a world, because in it even the atoms and molecules, if there are such things there, are of another kind. It is a construct that allows unimaginable freedom of movement throughout creation, unbound from the crutches of oxygen or wings or motors, and impervious to every kind of danger that stalks the natural creation.
The idea that there could be a form of life outside of biology is something one might see in science fiction shows like Star Trek or hear in the casual conversation of various physicts and astronomers, but to most the concept seems nonsensical. Yet this is precisely what the heavenly Host implies. The kingdom of God constitutes a vast civilization of eternal beings as real as you and me, yet entirely outside the realm of biology. Most likely, outside the realm of matter entirely. Who are they and what are they? All we know about them is that they are like us, but they are spiritual beings.
They are living beings with spiritual bodies. They have their own body but it is different from ours. In the form of the angels, these heavenly beings are around us right now, in our very room at times yet we cannot see them because God has ordained they be invisible to our vision. They can pass right through walls. Jesus did this when He materialized in front of His apostles after His resurrection (John 20:26)..
It is important that we think of angels here, because when asked about our nature in eternal life, Jesus said we will be like the angels (Mt.22:29-30; Luke 20: 34-38). Because we are immortal, there will be no giving or taking in marriage; no male and no female.
Since our entire existance here is predicated on the pleasures and conditions that make up this world, an environment so foreign to this may seem frightening to some, or at the very least uncomfortable to current understanding of the way things should be. Yet a great many of the pleasures of this world come from Satan, not God. They are perversions of the Creator's intent. With Satan and his intrusions here removed, our world would be vastly different.
Those differences are highlighted in the degree to which most people approach Christ. What are we willing to give up for Him? "I am sorry, I cannot attend the meal you offer, I have to go feed my cows." What do we hold onto the tightest? These sacred cows are a reflection of the magnetism of Satan's appeal. Thiey also show the strength of faith. Weak faith clutches the things of this world. Stronger faith gives them up, trusting instead on God and obeying Him despite the loss (of worldly pleasures and goods) incurred.
In our physical birth into this world, we (and the people before us) have spent thousands of lifetimes exploring its nature and trying to find out what it is about and how it is constructed. Yet in all this time we have barely scratched the surface of its complexity. And this is the world God is discarding. Think of the kingdom of God which is eternal how much more complex and beautiful we will find it. Especially since evil does not exist there. The polarity of this world will be left behind. Even the metaphore that describes that polarity will vanish. There will be no night; no darkness at all (Rev. 21:25).
Those who are blind to God cannot accept these things:
"The language of the cross may be illogical to those who are not on the way to salvation, but those of us who are on the way see it as God's power to save. As scripture says: I shall destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing all the learning of the learned. Where are the philosophers now? Where are the scribes? Where are any of our thinkers today? Do you see how God has shown up the foolishness of human wisdom? If it was God's wisdom that human wisdom should not know God, it was because God wanted to save those who have faith through the foolishness of the message that we preach." -1 Cor.1:18-21.,
"How rich are the depths of Godhow deep his wisdom and knowledgeand how impossible to penetrate his motives or understand his methods! Who could ever know the mind of the Lord? Who could ever be his counsellor?..." (Rom.11:33-35).
Have you noticed the world is getting angrier? We need Jesus now more than ever. GA
Anger is said to be one of the four stages of loss.
In individual terms, these stages happen over several months. In national terms or world terms, where vast populations are involved, the stages may take decades to work themselves through.
The greatest loss that could possibly happen to mankind is to lose God. This has happened to the world over the last 100 years or so. Jesus Christ and His Gospel, the flagship of the world for the last 1700 years, have been ripped out of the nations by their political leaders. The United States was ordered by its Supreme Court to follow this pattern in 1963.
The American politicians in subsequent decisions have concurred in the erradication of God from the state, thus solidifying the forfeiture and guaranteeing its permanence. The rule of the Christian Church on earth has ended.
The reverberations of that catastrophic loss have rippled through society ever since.
Anger is the third stage.
Since, in the case of God, the loss involves an invisible, intangible and hidden hunger, this anger cannot be focused on its real source. Instead it is an anger that is shotgunned throughout society, with every aspect of it, a target. Some are able to buck the rejection and ridicule of God and find their way to the outlawed church, but for most, the loss is permanent.
The final stage is acceptance. The outcome points to a secular society, godless and atheistic, the fulfillment of 2 Thess.3:9-12.
"In addition to Russia and China, the Shanghai group includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran has permanent observer status along with India, Pakistan and Mongolia." 10
This is a reader update on the idea that the developing Shanghai Alliance might be the formative nucleus of the 10 eastern nations prophesied for the last days by Daniel, in his book, and by John in the Book of Revelation.
See Goodnews question page, June, 2006
I have a question regarding a statement you made about the people who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. You said they expected two messiah's. Did they think they were coming together or at different times? What does the Bible say about this? JA
The Essenes, the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls, were a prophetic organization, secretive, very religious and convinced they were living in the days the messianic vision was to be fulfilled. They were a Jewish cult. Theirs did not constitute mainstream Jewish beliefs. They refused even to enter the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
When the Messiah appeared, the Essenes expected a final-day battle where human forces would join those of God against the armies of the world. Leading both angels and Israelites, this temporal Messiah, a fierce human warrior, would spearhead his divine army to a rout of the world enemy (the forces of Satan) and in the process, establish Jerusalem as the capitol city of the earth in a world-dominating kingdom of God.
They saw one transcendant and divinely chosen warrior, but were convinced he would be accompanied by a divinely chosen priest. Together, according to Essene writings, these two would rule Israel and the world once God's regime had taken control of it.
Some scholars are convinced the Essenes arose in the shadow of the Hassideans a military organization, passionate and nationalistic, built by the Maccabee's to help wrest Judea from the clutches of Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century B.C.
It is obvious in their writings the Essenes felt those officiating in temple services at the time of Herod had betrayed the trust of the scriptures.
As a consequence they broke with the Temple that bore Herod's name and refused to enter therin. Instead, they built a desert enclave in Qumran above the Dead Sea where they studied the scrolls of scripture, wrote extensive commentaries on their interpretations of these documents, and awaited the Messiah's imminentally expected appearance.
They studied the scriptures in minute detail and arrayed themselves in specialty groups, especially with respect to the Old Testament prophets. In their combined observations, they became convinced that there would be two Messiah's, a warrior and a priest, and that both would appear at the same time.
In scripture, the expectation for divinely inspired temporal and spiritual leaders in the messianic era was almost foundational. Israel was a theocracy. It followed the pattern of the Torah (the Law) which structured the partnership of Moses and Aaron (and the architecture of ritual they represented) at the pinnacle of Hebrew liturgy and politics.
Thus this dual expectation of leadership structured in Moses and Aaron followed through Hebrew history and can be seen in the people's demand for a king (with a high priest at his right hand). This led to David, and to a succession of kings and priests until the deportation to Babylon when Israel's monarchy ended.
In the final days of the exile, with the monarchy vanished, at least one prophet heralded the twin relationship in messianic terms. See Zechariah's proposed vision of a post-exilic "Joshua" and "Branch" (also named "Zerubabbel") Zech.3 & 4. It was most likely Zechariah's writings that cemented the Essene view.
Their great expectation zenithed in a holy pair completely invisible to the Essenes. It arrived in the person of Jesus, the ultimate King (God Himself in the flesh) and in Michael, the divine spiritual guide who assists Him as the Guardian Angel of the people of God. "In all this there is no one to give me help except Michael, your prince." (Dan.10:21. See also, Malachi 3:1-3). In these two, Christianity sees all of human history incorporated, past, present and future.
Throughout the entire exodus, these two bookended the procession of refugees that made the journey from Egypt to the Holy Land during their 40-year trek across Sinai the pillar of cloud in front and the angel of God at the rear of the departing column. (Exodus 14:19-20). This pattern will persist to the End. We have Jesus leading us now and in the final moments of history will appear Michael at the end of the procession.
The flight of the Exodus was, in reality, an allegory that pointed to our escape from Babylon under the leadership of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. It pointed to our liberation from Babylon by the Messiah.
"Writhe, cry out daughter of Zion, for now you have to leave the city and live in the open country. To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; There God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies." (Micah 4:10).
"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).
Scripture's vision did not forsee two "Christ's". Jesus is God and the Godhead is singular. There cannot be two Messiah's.
Instead, the Holy Spirit has revealed that scripture's vision focused, for the most part, on two earthly leaders. It followed in the pattern of Moses and Aaron. It focused on the two men chosen by God to head Christ's Church in Jesus' absence, i.e., two religious men, eminently holy, but below God Himself. These two turned out to be Peter and Paul.
Peter and Paul were for the New Testament what Aaron and Moses were for the old.
Christianity has persisted in this relationship down through history. In the shadow of Peter and Paul, we have seen a similar ruling pattern repeated again and again in the close relationship between the various Bishops and kings of the nations of the western world throughout history as, together, both temporal and spiritual leadership have supported Christ during troubled times, in a relationship that has co-ruled the world in His name down to almost our own time.
This is the pattern of government that produced the Christian era on earth.
Today that bond has been broken as the nations have revolted against Christ. The temporal part of this relationship has abandoned God and become secular. This rebellion was prophesied in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and stands as a signal that the rest of Paul's prophecies (the dark night of godlessness he forcast in his writings as the consequence of this revolt) has begun to descend on a house now divided (2 Thes. 2:9-12).
For additional information on Qumran, see our paper, "The Dead Sea Scrolls"
Why did Jesus rename Peter? NT
Originally, Peter's name was "Simon". He and his brother Andrew were the first two disciples Jesus called to be Apostles. Simon continued in his original name during a portion of Jesus' ministry, but at a key point in time, Jesus changed it to "Peter" (Mat.16:18).
Everyone who agrees to follow Christ becomes a new person. They have passed from a being of this world to a new creation in the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom not of this earth. Because in this process we do not physically die the moment we become Christians, a way to denote this change is by taking a new name. A practice born out of this can be seen in the Roman church where those baptised take the names of one of the saints of the past, ( a person of their own choosing or a person of their family's choosing).
In most cases, our new names remain unknown. They will be revealed later at the resurrection.
In Simon's case, Jesus chose the new name he was to receive and voiced it publicly. He selected the name "Peter", a name that related to the very nature of Simon's role as far as the Church is concerned. The name means "Rock". The symbolism not only stands for the stability of Christ's new Church on earth, it stands for a change in its very nature, a change in the way our worship of God is to be conducted.
Up to that time, the temple of God related in Hebrew worship to a place to a building, and to the exact location of that building on earth. It was fixed in Jerusalem, on the temple mountain, and on a particular rock on that mountain. The temple rock had been singled out by king David as the very stone on which Abraham had, under God's instructions, sacrificed a ram in place of his son. From that time on, it was considered the holiest rock in the world and the only place where the Hebrew temple could be built.
It is easy to see in David's Psalms how firm the relationship between "rock" and "God" had become in the Jewish mind (Ps.18, 43, 61, 71, 94, 95, etc.). All of these were drawn upon a relationship that was firmly based in the Torah, the Hebrew Law (Gen, 1:31+; Dt. 32:4-39).
It was accepted by the Jewish elders that David's rock was the only place on earth where God could dwell. That is why everyone had to go there to worship Him. That is why Solomon and Herod built their temples to God on that rock. That is why the Muslims, when they captured Jerusalem more than a thousand years ago, built their own temple (the Dome of the Rock) on that same rock, the rock of Abraham.
When Jesus changed Simon's name to "Rock", He signified that God had moved the temple off of David's rock, off of Mount Moriah (the Temple Mountain), and even out of Jerusalem. Instead, He had placed it in the heart of everyone who recognizes and accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord of thieir lives (Is.22:19-23).
Simon was the first person on earth to officially voice this recognition and acceptance (Mat.16:18).
In that recognition, he became what Aaron (the brother of Moses) had only prefigured, the high priest of the new Church Christ had been sent to build on earth. On Peter's shoulders the rest of us stand. We become a royal priesthood offering the sacrifices that Jesus has made acceptable to God mercy, justice, and good faith. The true sacrifices God wants from us are the spiritual sacrifices of behavior (1 Peter 2:.9-10).
Jesus has removed the "Holy of Holies" from a specific building in Jerusalem and placed it in the center of our souls. Each Christian carries a part of this divine altar within us so that we may offer those sacrifices during the course of our daily lives in Christ. It is a living Temple, and each of us are stones making up that spiritual building (1 Peter 2:4-8).
This is why no physical temple can ever be rebuilt. God has not only changed its location, but its very nature. The temple of Christ has replaced the temple of Moses. There can be no return to Moses. He was only the guardian, not the true Father. The temple of Moses was a guardian temple, awaiting the true structure of God's temple, which is the very nature of Christianity itself. That is God true temple on earth.
A physical building would be a false temple. A building can be a citadel (a refuge), but never a temple. There is only one temple, and if we are in Christ, it is withiin us, wherever we are.
A question about Christians, our times and the tribulation. DK
Scripture has predicted this course of events (a global tribulation preceding the Return of Christ) but Christians should not be overly worried about this. The sufferings we bear are our share of the sufferings endured by Jesus in His rescue of our souls from death. Even terror at its very worst will rarely duplicate that received by Jesus in our name. More than 2500 years ago, Jeremiah wrote:
"The wall of Babylon has fallen. Go out of her my people; save your lives, each one of you, from the fierce anger of God. "But do not be faint hearted! do not take fright at rumors hawked round the country; one rumor spreads one year, next year another follow; violence rules on earth and one tyrant cancels out another." (Jer.51:44-46).
Violence and terror are nothing new on earth. Those in Christ must suffer alongside those who are not. Yet in Christ, the obstacle of misfortune is tempered by the knowledge that the suffering will be temporary and short-lived. More than that, we are protected by our faith and Christ's promise to rescue us from evil.
There is a time reserved in prophecy for an increase in the terror and wrath, and we may be entering that moment in history now, but as Christians we are still protected by our faith.
There are ministers who use dark occasions such as these as an opportunity to terrify those they lead with dire warnings of divine wrath and chaos as if it were Christianity's own behavior producing these effects. They preach to the wrong audience. It is rarely those in church attendance that have promoted God's wrath. Instead it is those outside who frustrate Him those who deny Him or refuse to accept His offer of eternal life.
And even then, God does not meet such obstinant behavior with wrath.
Behavior has its own consequences, irrespective of God's hand. A driver who drinks when he drives is likely to visit terrible wrath on the innocent people he impacts, but that catastrophe was not God's doing. When a large portion of the population of a nation or world become irresponsible in their behavior, the results are magnified. Terrible consequences will be the inevitable result.
The Wrath described in scripture's prophecies is not much different than this. It is little different than the drunk driver on the highway, but vastly magnified. It is when the whole world decides to turn their back on God (on Jesus and His Gospel). In this special case (in the vacuum of a collapsed faith) God's Holy Spirit will be withdrawn on a vast scale. This is not God wielding weapons of His divine wrath against a disobedient people instead, it is the world's loss of God's protective hand shielding them from harm. The whole world is handed over to its own serendipitus fate.
This is what makes Christians different through faith they retain the protection of God's shield. We have escaped serendipity. God's Spirit does not leave us, no matter how grave the disaster no matter how far into apostasy the rest of the world plunges.
It is those who refuse to accept the safety of the Church that must fear the terror of the times. Man in the flesh without God is a wild animal. On this earth he comes armed with terrifying weapons with little self-control or thought of compromise, while ever hounded by the dark urgings of the spirit of Satan.
Jesus did not promise great things for us in this world. He told His apostles that they would have trouble here, but that God would guide them safely through this rocky landscape to His own kingdom, a world of eternal life where all things exist in and of God's benevolent will where the wildness of Satan is non-existant.
We need to hold on to that faith and use this violent occasion as a means to do good in compliance with God's Gospel.
"I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; and they shall fear no more nor be dismayed; not one shall be lostit is the Lord who speaks." (Jer.23:4).
"...You see America as the Kittim of prophecy, a country more powerful even than the beast, and the world's final hope for victory over the forces of Satan on earth..." ZP
This iis not the question, but I will address it as if it were.
In the view of a great many Christians today, we are in the last days. If we accept that understanding to be correct, then it seems certain that America is the "Kittim" of Daniel's prophecy. That prophecy (and others) describe Kittim as a powerful far-western island-like nation surrounded by seas and stamped into history at the end of days. In composite, they describe much more.
Since America fits all those prophetic descriptions so well, and no other nation has (over the next hundred years) the capacity to rise to such a dominating strength, or of replacing the United States in all the ways foreseen and described, we cannot even imagine another contender for Kittim's title.
Added to that, Isaiah shows in his 'end of the world' Apocalypse (chapter 24) that this same nation will be among the last bastions on earth where the overt worship of Jesus Christ continues to be broadcast in loud voice as it does in America today:
"They lift up their voices, singing for joy; they acclaim the majesty of God from the sea. Therefore in the islands they give glory to the Lord, in the islands of the sea, to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel. From remotest earth we hear songs, 'Honor to the upright one'. But 'Enough, enough!' I say. 'Woe to the traitors who betray, to the traitors who treacherously betray!' Terror, the pit, the snare for you, inhabitants of the earth..." (Is.24:10-17).
Isaiah shows the Wrath will come in the very midst of this worship, and in spite of it. These voices, regardless of their strength are the only ones left on earth broadcasting Jesus Christ to an otherwised darkened world; everyone else has abandoned Jesus and forsaken Him.
That timing is now. Everything is in place. To make it different would require centuries and unimaginable changes. If Kittim is not America, then the End is not even close. Daniel's words concerning Kittim must be about America especially if we are to entertain any of the assumptions surrounding the messianic fervor popular today, i.e., the idea of the nearness of the Return of Christ.
Given current conditions, in keeping with the descriptions outlined in the prophecies, America (acting out the visions of Kittim) will block the forces of the beast just before the final end of the Wrath takes place. Our power to do this is already in place.
Our power to do this does not necessarily mean that America's military forces will be more powerful than those of the beast at the time of the End. The threat of America's vast and sophisticated nuclear arsenal alone, pitted against those of the East can easily rule the impasse.
This impasse blocks the beast, but only for a time. Kittim is not the salvation of the world or the sword that defeats Satan.
Scripture shows it to be an impasse that will be violently broken (Rev.17:16; Dan.11:44; Is.24:6).
Those last verses show that at the end of time all those rockets will be fired, regardless. That is the final stage of the Wrath, Kittim not withstanding. The only victor in this holocaust will be Jesus Christ as He gathers all who have followed Him during the course of their lives, and leads them (leads us) to His new kingdom, "a kingdom not of this earth" (John 18:36).
Those who teach that the planet will survive this fusilade, do so in direct contradiction of the scriptures...not just Christ's announcement above, but the fiery passages of Peter's second letter (2 Peter 3:7 & 3:10). To announce a future that is otherwise is simply wishful thinking by visionaries who must re-write the Bible to make their alternate impressions come true.
The thousand-year reign of Christ on earth is not a future event. It was the reign of the Christian Church. History shows us that it has already come, and is now passing by. It is a reign in its final moments.
The Church's ruling sceptre (the power of the Gospel over the nations) has already been broken.
The world's revolt against Christ is in its final stages because, over the last 100 years all the nations have rejected Jesus Christ, banishing Him from their governments and rejecting his Gospel as mankind's moral base. Christian morality has vanished. It has been replaced by a new morality so foreign to Christian sensibilities that it literally shrieks of blasphemy.
Daniel has written that the nation (the great horn) that achieves the two victories at the Euphrates will be broken and its empire scattered to the four winds soon after the second horn is defeated (Dan.11:4). Since history shows that the United States is the nation and the western world the empire that has won those victories (the two Gulf wars), America seems preordained to Daniel's fate. According to Daniel, its empire will be broken up and parcelled out when God gives the signal.
Daniel wrote that the timing for this signal will occur soon after victory at the Euphrates is declared, when western troops defeat the second horn of the ram (Dan. 8:7), and while its troops still guard outposts at the banks of that river (Jer. 46:2; Rev. 16:12). This speaks to the moment of victory in the second Iraq war. The announcement of this victory is close. There is a common wisdom in Washington these days that the proclamation of this second victory is either in place now or within months of occurrance.
According to Jeremiah, the signal itself will be an assassination (Jer.44:29-30). God will hand over the head of the western world to his enemies.
"And here is the proof for you it is the Lord who speaks that I mean to deal with you in this place: so that you may know that the words with which I threaten you will come true. The Lord says this: I will hand the pharaoh Hophra, king of Egypt, over to his enemies and to those determined to kill him, just as I handed Zedekiah king of Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who was bent on killing him." (Jer.44:29-30).
This event, says the Bible is to be the "proof" of Jeremiah's predictions concerning the Wrath that is to follow. It puts into place Jeremiah's final prophecy for the world (Jer.51:58).
Concomitantly, it speaks to an imminent and abrupt termination of American dominance over the world.
This is not Jeremiah's vision alone. All the prophets have joined in this discourse.
Daniel's vision implies that our world-dominating status will change dramatically and precipitously. America will survive, but its empire status will end. What does this mean? How does the sudden collapse of the western world, foreseen by Daniel, square with the power of a Kittim that later is able to force the mightiest army the world will ever see (the vast forces of the North and East in the last days) to withdraw in fear?
These prophecies show America with two metaphoric names in scripture. The first is "Egypt", the second, "Kittim". It is as if there are to be two "America's". The first as an empire (our nation today) and the second, the same nation, but in a different form. It is the second that blocks the beast in the very final days.
What conditions could precipitate such a swift and dramatic collapse in our international strength, a collapse that shatters one identity and precipitates another in our national identity and character? Isaiah has written a verse in prophecy which indicates America (guised as "Egypt") may be devastated by civil war
"I will stir up the Egyptians against each other and they shall fight every man against his brother, friend against friend, city against city, kingdom against kingdom." (Is.19:2).
Will civil war shatter us and rip away our authority among the nations and help bring down the western world?
America has already shown itself in modern times to be the "Egypt" of Jeremiah's prophecies. As did Egypt at the time of Jeremiah, it is the United States today that blocks the forces of the East at the Euphrates river. We are the nation standing at that "Maginot-like" line, and thus fullfilling Jeremiah's vision (Jer. 46:2). More than that, we are the "Egypt" Israel has turned to for military support (Jer. 42:18).
On this point all the prophets agree. Here is Isaiah's warning to Israel not to seek military assistance from this "Egypt":
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt to seek help there, who build their hopes on cavalry, who rely on the number of chariots and on the strength of mounted men, but never look to the Holy One of Israel nor consult the Lord...The Egyptian is a man, not a god, his horses are flesh, not spirit; The Lord will stretch out his hand to make the protector stumble; the protected will fall and all will perish together." (Is.31:1-3).
Thus Isaiah's prophecy of civil war in "Egypt" may be aimed at circumstances today in the United States in fulfillment of this scripture. If so, the primary prophecies for such an event are in place and coming to a focal point fast. The division of our nation today in religion, politics and race is as grave as it has ever been, mimicking in crucial ways the darkest moments of the 1860's. It is proceding along the same fracture lines.
The deep political hatred that has split our nation in half and pitted the two sides against one another is at fever pitch. We are at an incindiary point in our history. There is gasoline everywhere and a burgeoning band of crazies rising up looking for matches. A black president sits precipitously close to a metaphoric Dallas. Racial relations are collapsing as we watch bringing both fuse and fuel into certain contact. And that, too may be a part of the prophecy.
With an eye on nothing but controversy and ratings, our press has encouraged and enabled the wrath. We are on the razor-edge of a rage that could see every city in our nation burned down overnight, a boiling rage now held back only by and for Jeremiah's moment.
That moment alone, in Jeremiah's words (when the western world's great leader is cut off) is to be the "proof" of all the prophecies concerning the Wrath. According to Jeremiah, it will put the world on notice.
Quickly the ten nations will form. Revelation's predicted invasion across a dried-up Euphrates riverbed (Rev.16:12).will soon follow, bringing the hordes of the North and the East torrenting into the lands of the West. Their coming will be as Joel has described (Joel 2): They will stand in Jerusalem. The holy city will be spared only by a treaty.
According to scripture, that invasion will insure that the reign of violence across the planet will not stop until humanity on earth is a fraction of its current size (Is. 24:6) and Jesus returns to rescue those who, throughout history have held onto their faith until the End. These chosen represent 2000 years of people down through the ages who elected to believe in Jesus Chrst and set their lives in His truth.
Kittim, you see, is not a rescue. It is only a moment in time.
Jesus Christ is the rescue.
Hey, just wondering??? If the law of Moses was done away with but not the law of God which is what I have always believed then what about the commandment to Honor the Sabbath and keep it holy? How do we do that with the kind of jobs today? Example: Shift work? I understand that the first 5 commandment involve God and the last involve man. Jesus summed it up Love God and love others. Thanks for your help MT
You answered your own question. Here's more.
Implicit in the Mosaic understanding to honor the sabbath is the Law of God in Christ. It was of this underlying framework in the Mosaic code that Jesus said:
"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).
That Jesus understood there to be a specific day called "the Sabbath" can be seen in His response in saying "the Son of Man is Master of the Sabbath" (Mk.2:27-28). He did not intend to do away with the Sabbath. Instead, He changed the celebration of that occasion to spirit and truth. A key part of that spirit was, as you say, to do good on the sabbath, i.e., to keep the day holy.
Paul's teaching shows that the Sabbath day is related in a special way to the "day of atonement", i.e., the day the light of Christ shines on the earth. His light has been so shining from the first Pentecost to now. Even though that "atonement day" looks long to us from our perspective almost 2000 years later, Jesus said the light it gave would be short and when it was over, darkness would return. That means the Gospel will be taken away. We only have that "one day" (extended "almost" to two by prophecy Joshua 10:12-13) to do our work in God's word.
Thus the prophecy indicates this 'day of atonement" will not last a full 2000 years, so it is quite possible we are very close to the end of the world's opportunity for salvation at this very moment, increasing dramatically the imperative for action in the now. This end-time imperative is why we read in the Book of Hebrews the following admonition:
"Do not stay away from the meetings of the community as some do, but encourage each other to go; the more so as you see the Day drawing near." (Heb.10:25)
The "Day" Paul speaks of references God's promise of the day of rest which is to follow our work in the Lord. The Sabbath day of rest is a microcosm of that promised moment, (the Day) to come.
Paul has written that as that Day grows near, the days of bewitchment will grow stronger, and the temptation to fall away will grow greater:
"But when the Rebel comes, Satan will set to work: there will be all kinds of miracles and a deceptive show of signs and portents, and everything evil that can deceive those who are bound for destruction because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could have saved them." (2 Thes.2: 9-10).
"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).
It was Jesus' custom to go to the synagogue and preach on the sabbath (Mark 6:2; Luke 4:16; 4:31, etc). This was in keeping with His command that a light must be put on a lampstand, not hidden under a bushel. He went both where and when the people expected the Word to be preached. They were congregated there specifically for that message. "Where I am there will my servant be also." (John 12:26).
Jesus said the sabbath was made for man, not for God (Mk.2:27-28). This was a critical revelation. It was for our own benefit that God ordered a day of rest. When we do manual labor without sabbath rest, it is our own choice to do that. God did not mandate that kind of labor. Usually even critical care occupations in the most strategic areas of hospital work offer every other weekend off each month.
In Moses (incorrectly thinking that the sabbath was made for God) the Sabbath obligation was considered an absolute in every way. In Christ, that obligation has been tempered, first by His disciples who changed the day of the sabbath from Saturday to Sunday to make it coincide with Jesus' resurrection, and second by mercy.
The Apostles of the Church had every right to do both. Jesus gave them that right when He told them, "I tell you solemnly, whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven." (Matt 18:18; John 20:23). Their rights under this dictum were so complete they were able to rescind virtually all the commands of the Torah (the Jewish Law) with respect to Christians and to restate them in their own way (Acts 15:7-29). Our New Testament is the result of that action.
Jesus is the master of the sabbath because it is He who leads us to that promised day of rest. We spend our lives in Christ laboring in His commandments in expectation of that time of rest promised at the end of our toil on this earth in His name.
"The Holy Spirit says: If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts, as happened in the day of Temptation in the wilderness, when your ancestors challenged me and tested me though they had seen what I could do for 40 years...I swore that not one would reach the place of rest I had for them." (Heb. 3:7-12).
"Even though they ate from the rock that was Christ and even though they drank from the rock that was Christ, their corpses littered the desert because they failed to please God." (1 Cor.10:8).
"And those who made God angry for forty years were the ones who sinned and whose dead bodies were left lying in the wilderness. Those that he swore would never reach the place of rest he had for them were the ones who had been disobedient. We see, then, that it was because they were unfaithful that they were not able to reach it." (Heb. 3:17-19).
"Be careful, then: The promise of reaching the place of rest he had for them still holds good, and none of you must think that he has come too late for it. We recieved the Good News exactly as they did; but hearing the message did them no good because they did not share the faith of those who listened." (Heb. 4:1-2).
"(Because) those who first heard the Good News failed to reach it through their disobedience, God fixed another day when, much later, he said 'today' through David...If only you would listen to him today; do not harden your hearts.
If Joshua had led them into this place of rest, God would not later on (through David) have spoken so much of another day." (Heb. 4:6-8).
"There must still be, therefore, a place of rest reserved for God's people, the seventh day rest, since to reach the place of rest is to rest after your work, as God did after his. We must therefore do everything we can to reach this place of rest, otherwise some of you might copy this example of disobedience and be lost." (Heb. 4:9-11).
In these verses we can see how important to our faith the day of rest is. It is the day of salvation; the day of the Return of Jesus Christ as promised. Since the Sabbath day recapitulates in a weekly rotation the absolute day of rest promised by God to the Israelites, each sunday brings that ultimate day closer.
Scripture is clear. Our need to attend church does not decrease with time. It increases. That admonition is not in the Bible by accident. The Holy Spirit had great purpose in putting it there. We should heed His words and be careful not to be disobedient
Please list the nations that belong to Babylon and the ones that belong to God. NT
That really isn't possible any more.
Jesus was sent by God to call us out of Babylon's spiritual captivity. We make that exodus through baptism and conversion and a life dedicated to the obedience of the commandments Jesus preached, especially the commands of service to love one another to feed the poor, give drink to the thirsty, food to the hungry, comfort to the sick, help to widows and orphans, and to live a life of humility and compassion in the ways of the Lord.
Virtually all the nations of the world have descended at this point to a level of behavior Jesus needs to lift us out of in order to save our souls.
Secularism and atheism coupled with ridicule for all things holy have returned almost every nation on earth to Satan's command (rule). For this reason we now live in a time much like the one that faced the Church and its earliest Apostles 2000 years ago where the people not yet baptised lived in captivity to and within a spiritual empire called Babylon.
The 1700 years of Christian rule in the world has run its course. What will follow is something quite different. Jesus said the time of God's offer would be short. We can now see with increasing clarity the parameters of that abridgment. Though long prophesied, its ending comes surprisingly unforeseen.
Starting late in the 18th century and building slowly through the 19th, then rapidly as the 20th century unfolded) a giant wave of secularsim swept unchallenged across the earth. In its wake, virtually every western country on earth has removed Jesus Christ from His guiding position at the moral helm of their nations. At the same time, the Bible as the moral authority of western world government has been abandoned and discarded.
This has produced a major changing of the gods on earth.
Early in the 20th century, as the nations began this accelerated move away from God, political atheism was reborn in Russia. From there, under the influence of Karl Marx and others, it flowed into many nations in the orient as well as Eastern Europe. This embrace of a culture at war with God, and the secular mentality that enabled it, is the resurrection of Babylon. Atheism is a part of secularism so both East and West have collaborated in its return.
Prophecy describes this extraordinary pheomenon as the mortal wound healed.
This reincarnation on earth of godlessness, is, for the most part, a one-way street as far as God's offer is concerned. The harvest is coming quickly to an abrupt end. Jesus Christ will not be returned by the world's citizens to His position of authority over this world. This is for real. The revolt is terminal.
Almost to a one, the nations have signaled they are finished with Jesus Christ. Increasingly, their citizens (the people of Babylon) feel the same way. They have listened to what He had to say; been instructed by their leaders to follow the pattern He directed, tried that course, and are now rejecting it openly.
And that is the reason for the Supreme Court decisions, for the plummeting church memberships and for the closing of large numbers of church buildings. The people of the world are discarding His offer. This is exactly what prophecy said they would do.
This change of heart is the reason for the Judgment.
With few captives left to find, and a harvest that is almost over, the world is now entering the final stages of gleaning in God's spiritual search. These are Babylon's last days. The harvest is almost over. The fields are being prepared for ploughing. The tares are being gathered for the fire.
Drowned out by a cacophany of evil, Christ's message of salvation now falls unheard on a vast sea of ears. Buried in the flashy symbols of our time (money, false witness and the fast life), a power of deception has descended on the earth in keeping with God's promise in 2nd Thessalonians 2:10-11. It is a cloud of darkness, and it is bringing the "night" Jesus warned about.
It is true that Russia has converted and rejected communism and its atheism, and returned that nation to rule in Christ. This astonishing development has completed the 2nd prophecy of Fatima. It has proved Lucia's prophecy true.
But her third prophecy will be proved true as well.
Between her two revelations lies the time of the Wrath. Not the end of the world. That will come later. For now we are entering the night Jesus warned about.
With Satan's full powers put at their disposal, his forces will use them to darken almost all of the earth. Russia's return to Christian rule will not withstand the ferocity of this assault on its newly recovered faith.
Even in America, the fracture lines can be seen. Christianity is splintering into pockets of faith, driven there by enemies growing ever more hostile to the doctrine of Christ enemies who disseminate the hatreds, fears and greed of an unfoldng culture that now seems to seethe with rage against compassion in all its forms. It is a rage that has incorporated even the religious even the children of God if that were possible.
One nation, the Vatican, still rules in Christ. Beyond that there are very few nations on earth that have resisted the temptation engineered by Satan to expel the teachings of Christ's Gospel from official society. The separation of God from Babylon is now virtually complete.
This is the way it must be. It is written in the Book of Revelation that when Satan returns from the Abyss he will mobilize all the nations in the four quarters of the earth for war (Rev.20:7-8). This we have witnessed and are continuing to witness because he is here now, mobilizing every man, woman and child who will listen, for war and hatred in keeping with God's prophecy.
Where did compassion go? (Mat.24:11-12)
When the coming night (the Wrath Jesus warned about) has run half its course (Dan.9:27), Peter's successor will fall (2 Thess.2:7). Prophecy tells us he must be removed before the Beast can appear openly. The two witnesses will be silenced (Rev.11:1-10). But they will rise again (Rev.11:11-13). The Wrath will be short. But it must happen before the end can come. The night is close at hand, but its darkness will be temporary.
We must brace ourselves in faith and hold on until the dawn. Jesus has promised that dawn will come. Therefore, it will return.
Jesus will return as God just as He promised.
How close is it to the Rapture? JG
The rapture concerns the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. About that moment, the New Testament gives us the following description. It comes from the Apostle Paul:
"At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord forever." (1 Thes.4:16-17).
The faith that has energized the Church for the last 2000 years sees this moment as a singular point in time when Jesus will return visibly before all people. The argumentative polemics that seek to fracture this moment into two returns, the first invisible and involving only certain Protestant righteous have stirred great controversy of late, but lead away from the faith first taught. The Rapture and the end of this world are one and the same.
"To turn now, brothers, to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and how we shall all be gathered round him, please do not get excited too soon or alarmed by any prediction or rumor or any letter claiming to come from us, implying the the Day of the Lord has already arrived. Never let anyone deceive you in this way.
It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared. This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call 'god', so much greater than anything that is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God's sanctuary and claims that he is God." (2 Thes. 2:1-4)
"Surely you remember me telling you about this when I was with you? And you know, too, what is still holding him back from appearing before his appointed time. Rebellion is at its work already, but in secret, and the one who is holding it back has first to be removed before the Rebel appears openly." (2 Thes. 2:5-7)
Prophecy when it is fulfilled will always surprise us even more in the way that it happens than by the fact that it happens. It never comes as we expect it. It comes as written, but never as expected.
A recent example of this can be found in the prophecies of the Book of Revelation documenting the fallen towers in New York (Rev.18). The writing was astonishing in its accuracy, but most of us before the planes attacked, envisioned an entirely different kind of unfolding. By the way it came to pass, we could not have been more stunned.
In a similar vein, the biblical experts in Judea at the time of Jesus had no idea that He was the Messiah the scriptures predicted. They knew the Bible backward and forward, they were aware of all the predictions about the Holy One Moses had promised, they waited for him with enormous anticipation, yet looking at Him in person they scoffed at the idea he was the one they were waiting for. But look what happened. They were looking with their expectations, so their eyes deceived them.
This is the way it is with prophecy when it comes true.
All that is predicted will happen. Scripture's prophecies all come true. It is God's will. Jesus said so (Luke 21:22). It will happen in exactly the way it is written. Yet much of this unfolding goes unseen. So busy are people looking the other dirction, they fail to notice. Most of what we wait for are human predictions that go far astray from the words of scripture. All the speculations that go beyond the Bible's own words are suspect. Those are expectations, not Bible prophecy.
Complicating Bible prophecy, the Holy Spirit has directed that its prophecies be fulfilled in more than one way, with one or more apparent fulfillments preceding an ultimate completion to come. There is often more than one fulfillment to each prophecy. This was necessary so that the Bible stay relevant over several thousand years.
This dualism follows a precise theme (scripture's prophecy itself), but it comes in different ways. Not only physically, but spiritually as well. It has to pass back and forth through the boundaries of matter and spirit. That necessitates metaphore. In Christ, there is a spiritual meaning to every prophecy. All this dualism can be summed up in the Bible's declaration that all the works of God go in pairs by opposites.
We can see this in the very structure of the religion itself. God's religion has come to us in two formats. First as Judaism and then as Christianity. First as a physical religion and then as a spiritual religion. First Moses and then Jesus.
Moses brought the prophecy of the Messiah. Jesus is the Messiah. The first was reflected light and the second the true light of God. The religion of the Hebrews was the reflected light of Moses. His words were an interpretation of the light he saw on the mountain. That reflected light (his interpretation) had no life in it because it was not the true light of God.
Jesus, on the other hand was the light the light that gives eternal life. He was no reflection. Jesus was the Word of God itself, come down from heaven in person. There is nothing in Moses that can even compare to that.
Jesus is God. That is the teaching of the Trinity.
This is why no one can be saved by Moses. There is nothing in Moses that gives eternal life; he simply leads us toward the light that is Christ. Moses points us in the right direction. The Mosaic religion was a physical reflection of a greater truth to come.
So it is with the Old Testament relative to the New. The Old Testament leads us to the New Testament. It is in the New Testament that we find our God. The old was prophecy. Jesus was anticipated there, but not seen..
In the same way that the moon provides no life-giving energy, but by the sun all things on earth grow, so it is through Christ, not Moses that all things come to eternal life. So important is this message, that God has manifested the cosmos in its metaphore in the form of sun and moon. Did He do it on purpose? I think He did.
It is much the same with the duplication of prophecy. The destruction of the World Trade Centers in New York presents a physical reflection of a greater truth still to come. A far greater destruction still awaits the true towers of Babylon. In the same way, the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul in 1981 was a physical reflection of the Fatima prophecy, but not the perfect truth of it. That also is still to come.
These visions involve dual physical realities. One has already occurred and another will follow. In the second example we have a prophecy which seems not to come from the Bible. But when we look closer, it did. Not just in the assassination of Onias III (2 Mac.4:30-38), but in the writings of Daniel (Dn.9:26) which drew from Onias' historical setting. There is one that holds back the appearance of the Beast and he must be cut off before that Madman can appear openly. Lucia tells us who that "one" is.
Since prophecy is fulfilled both literally and physically, scripture's dualism is compounded. Not only may the physical fulfillments be repeated, the ultimate fulfillment of all prophecy is spiritual. A spiritual truth is at the core of all prophecy. Thus God has ordained that prophecy unfold before us in multiple formats to sharpen our understanding and to prove the truth (the essence of scripture's prophecy) in advance.
When Bible prophecy is fulfilled, we can expect to see it arrive in installments. Usually it happens in two's. But there may be more. The first is designed as a proof of what is to follow, and a warning that the prophecy is true. It comes as proof that God's path is leading as specified. The attacks on the towers in New York carried with them just such a warning. Revelation's prophecies relate to "Babylon", a spiritual city, not just to New York. It is to that spiritual end that the prophecy ultimately leads. That is the core of the prophecy.
Babylon serves mammon, not God. The towers in New York were dedicated to money to world trade. Their footprints stood in the shadows of Wall Street. The towers represented the pinions on which stood the entire financial system of the world the twin towers of mammon the stock market turned casino on one side, and the real estate bubble with all its hocus-pocus credit swaps on the other. So in the prophecy we see the forces of money structured in two towers toppled by the prophecies of God. In spirit then (in terms of the two spiritual cities of the Bible), Babylon and Jerusalem meet head-on. The culminaton of this collision is the Wrath.
The Return of Christ cannot occur until the Wrath has run its course. The Beast cannot appear until the Prince of the Church has been "cut-off".
The fulfillment of prophecy will always bring surprise. The same can be said for the Rapture or anything else we expect even the nature of our heavenly bodies. Our expectations always mask the realities hidden from view behind the words of God. Many expect a pre-tribulation rapture. But the Bible says nothing about that.
Instead, the Bible promises a Great Revolt a huge falling away (2 Thess.2:3). The Christians are to disappear from earth in great masses, but through unbelief, not by sudden rapture. This enormous collapse in the faithful comes in the form of a secular revolt, with polls showing Christian ranks falling precipitously from over 80% to 40% and below when numbers drop so low that America becomes like the other countries, its own mission field.
Knowledge of this great falling away comes to us from scripture, it is not speculation. And we can see it happening all around us right now.
One thing is certain, all prophecy coming from scripture is inexorably true. It will happen. Very often quite different than expected, but perfect in the words that describe it's unfolding and the path down which it leads.
American troops are now lined up near the Euphrates river. A similar line of western troops at that location was prophesied over 2500 years ago by Jeremiah in relation to his "proof of all his prophecies". This was in regard to the fate of a prophesied Jewish homeland reborn from Diaspora to militancy rather than peace. The western troops described by Jeremiah were said by him to be "Egyptian", a nation whose army had signed a military alliance with the Jews of Cyrus' time to insure their protection.
So here we are. Today America, acting like that Egypt of prophecy with its own troops at the Euphrates has a similar military alliance in place with Israel. This has all the earmarks of prophecy fulfilled. If so, the prophecies have not only shown us that this would happen, Jeremiah's words tell us what happens next they lead us to the unfortunate proof he offered.
Prophecy is at the very core of belief. Jesus Christ was promised in scripture to appear. He was called the Messiah and came as predicted. When He departed, He promised to return. Between those two appearances Jesus structured a harvest of souls a harvest enabled by the cross and based on compassionate behavior toward all people. The time is short because the life of the earth is short. It is caught between two destructive pinchers man on the one side and nature on the other. Jesus' short mission and its interpretation have been often maligned, but through it all God's goal has been accomplished. Those who have turned their lives over to Him in humility and perseverence, in their salvation will be proved victorious.
Prophecy is the one thing the enemy can't counter. It is easy to invent a religion, but to put one together with thousands of prophecies in place that must occur to prove it is without precedent in human history. Down through the ages, piece by piece, the world has been able to watch the fulfillment of this prophecy unfold in real time. What mind could have done this? to bring forth one religion whose sole purpose it was to prophecy (and thus prove) a second one a divine one to come that features God Himself offering total forgiveness and true eternal life.
Thus God has built His two religions in the same format that He structured the prophecies themselves. In a bed of predictions. He has even architected the cosmos in the very same metaphore. No matter which way we look (if we bother to look), we see His truths. It is incredible. And the focal point of all of it is the Second Coming.
Those who think they can prevent this Return with scoffing delude themselves. It is a part of the architecture of everything. It will happen exactly as predicted. Once and for all.
Is it too early to know who is the False Prophet (in the Book of Revelation)? JT
There are different prophets that might qualify since differing prophets exist depending upon which system of government one looks, and the characteristics of the age in which they live. Much of the East has chosen Muhammed as the prophet of God. For almost 2000 years the West has centered on Jesus. But that belief system is changing now with the advent of science and the atheistic forces that control it.
The two fundamental gifts God gave to mankind were Jesus Christ's sacrifice which took away our sins, and His Testimony, the Gospel of God (the Bread of life), which has power to give us eternal life.
In the case of the latter (the Gospel) the Apostle Paul pinpoints the world's opposition to Jesus' prophecy less in religious terms than secular. To Paul, it is man's philosophy that is the great dispenser of fallacy on earth (1 Cor.1:1 and 2). His assessment shows that a chasm exists between faith and knowledge. Moreover, the worldly philosophy Paul warned against is inextricably bound to the world's academic system.
It is a fateful alliance.
In Greek times, a symbiotic opposition of similar character was clearly demonstrated by Antiochus IV Epiphanes when he ordered a Greek learning and physical education facility, called a Gymanasia (actually a school with an overarching emphasis on Greek sports) to be erected next to the Jewish temple in Jerusalem at the time of the desolating sacrilige about 167 B.C. (Dan. 8:11-12).
Antiochus' sole intent was to convert Jewish students to Greek thinking and practices (including accepting his sports oriented Athenian gods). This transformation required that they desert their Hebrew faith. Many did. So many, in fact, that his facility and the Jewish opposition to it led directly to and through the desolating sacrilige in the Temple next door, to the war of the Maccabees.
We can see through the lens of Jesus and Daniel that the Book of Revelation has centered its prophecies of the Beast and False Prophet on a replication of the events surrounding the desolating sacrilige in the Book of Daniel (Mat. 24:15). The beast still to come will be an Antiochus-like figure. There will be another desolating sacriligethis time against the Eucharist, the truth of the perpetual sacrifice in the visions of Daniel (Dan. 8:12).
In the midst of all this will be the people of a foreign god (Dan.11:39).
To some, the book of Revelation seems to reveal that both the beast and false prophet existed in past times (before 95 A.D.) and were both consigned to the flames of hell 2000 years ago. This relates to the "mortal wound" described in the Book of Revelation.
If this were the case, how were they able to get out of those eternal flames to reappear now (in our very near future)? Scripture explains this by showing a multiplicity of figures. The beast had 7 heads. That's seven individuals, i.e., seven beasts. The Apostles considered Nero the sixth. Assuming Adolph Hitler was the seventh (and there is every indication he was), all seven have now come and gone.
The one left still to appear, the Madman of Revelation, will be, according to scripture, a reincarnation of one of the past seven. Since this is the case with the Beast, the False Prophet should follow suit. In other words, even though the Athenian gods worshipped by the Greeks and Romans are all dead and gone, their philosophic opposition to God lives on in other forms. And in current times, the focal point of that opposition is centered in a missapplication of science, specifically in those who try to use science to advance the growth of atheism
Essentially, the philosophies entertained by this world are pitted against the teachings of Jesus Christ, and in the last days, the substance of the warfare between them will likely be centered in an atheistic scholastic/sports framework as it was at the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes. We saw that same kind of framework with Adolph Hitler and again with the Soviet Union. In the case of these latter two, the academics represented the strict views of a party platform and replaced free and open discussion or debate in science. All dissidant voices were stilled by imprisonment and execution.
It was the same with China. When the forces of atheism were successful in their war against the old government, their first move in power was to remove all the teachers, especially in the colleges and universities, and exchange them for the illiterate farmers who tilled the fields. Instantly the educators became the laborers, and the farmers the university professors. In the exchange, science became the slave of war machinery and propaganda.
The attempt to pervert scientific thought by all these groups shows what a powerful belief force science has become in the modern world. Truth and science are becoming synonymous.
The enchantment with sports, common to all, shows an extraordinary fascination with the human body a worship of the flesh. This fixation is evident in many forms, sexual and otherwise, especially warfare. Atheism, combined with these physical obsessions, speaks to the worship of man himself, not tolerating any living entity higher or stronger or more beautiful. No masters. It sees man as master. It sees faith as weakness owing to its subservience to a greater power.
The false prophet in the Antiochus system of academics was the family of Athenian gods. They changed their names under the Romans, but remained philosophically the same. So sure of that system's association with the false prophet were the Apostles and early Christians that they looked for the beast to erect a statue of Zeus on top of Jerusalem's Temple Mount. The Jews were of similar mind. So when it actually came to pass, they saw Daniel's prophecies fufilled.
We can now see that fulfillment as preface. It was a road sign from God pointing to the future.
When communism raced across the eastern hemisphere in the early 20th century, it did so under the banner of atheism. Atheism at the head of government was banished with Christ. Edicts by the Roman emperors Theodosus and Galerius 300 years after the crucifixion of Christ demanded the worship of Jesus Christ around the world and forbid atheism in any form. As a result, in the advance of the Church across the planet governmental atheism disappeared completely.
It's rebirth on earth 1700 years later in the form of Marxist communism was a seminal moment. It marked the healing of what scripture calls the mortal wound (Rev.13:3; 13:14).
Atheism is the Anti-christ. As such it represents the fundamental and overriding religious opposition to God on earth. It's philosophy is very much false prophecy as far as Jesus Christ is concerned. Is it THE False Prophet? It certainly fits the format defined by Paul, and its growth since its birth in the last century has been formidable.
Between 1910 A.D. and 1989 A.D, atheistic communism was able to envelop 1/3 of the population of the earth in its race to become the strongest belief system in the world. Those who follow Mohammed constitute roughly another 1/3 of the world's population. Until recently, Christians made up the final 1/3rd. The conversion of Russia has changed those balances, but the rise of academic atheism, especially in the west has counterbalanced those figures.
There is an overwhelming volume of prophecies in scripture that show the East deposing the West as the world's great superpower just before the End. That did not occur during the first 2000 years of the Chrisian era. Using the Bible's formula that a day to God is like a thousand years to man, this means it did not occur during the first two days, which Moses called the two days of "washing and cleaning" (Exodus 19:10).
We interpret that to mean baptism and repentance (i.e., an era often described as the milleniumthe Day of God on earth). Consisting of 2 days made into almost one by an act of God (Joshua 10:13), the day of God is the period of divine light during which the people are baptised, and hold themselves in readiness for the third day, the day of God's descent (Christ's Second Coming).
The tribulation that brings that cleansing period to an end, then, must be an early earmark of the third day in that metaphoric trilogy.
Using the Christian era as our guide, the third day began January 1st, 2001 A.D. On that day we entered the third millenium of Christ. Nine months later (the time it takes for a child to grow in the womb), the East formally attacked the West in what many are calling the "Pearl Harbor" of a coming war between the two where terrorism and the destabilization of civilization seem to have become the first weapons of choice. The third day of Christ is destined to be a time of misery and suffering duing which every prophecy concerning that distress will come to pass.
This includes a crushing blow against God's Church (Dan.12:7). That assault will usher in the time of darkness that Jesus warned was coming to the earth when it would become almost impossible to do God's work.
Since the prophecies show the rise of the East centering at first in the northernmost reaches of the Eastern Hemisphere, the Middle East does not seem to be at the architectural hub of this movement in its early years. That leaves a system opposed to God, centered in the far north at the helm of the warfare, atheist in nature, but using foreign religious elements in the structure of its armies.
Daniel says it will command a military satellite of 10 nations, one that seems to include China. Although Russia's return to faith has become the stuff of legend, China is still firmly controlled by the forces of atheism.
With the chief architects and spokesmen of science proclaiming, as they do today (in large numbers, and in major print) that their studies prove that faith in God and those who hold to such faith are "delusional", there is no question that the scientific community is being used to spew out false prophecy, or that it inspires false prophets; and with worldwide acclaim championing scientific truth as the real truth of the universe, it is hard not to think about it as constituting the philosophic ideology preached by the False Prophet.
Out of the scientific community pours a growing stream of those on earth who reject not just belief in Jesus Christ, but even the notion of God's very existance. These figures are the chief priests of the new atheism. What makes their prophecies global is that the vast majority of planetary citizens are accepting their assessments without question, and so in the grand scale of two sides in the choosing, are lining up on the side of the disbelievers and thus proving themselves to be the community scripture terms "Babylon".
In this case, the prophet opposing Christ in our current system is focused on man's burgeoning belief in himself, using his misinterpretations of science as proof that he has no rivals. With science controlling reason, and the enemies of God controlling science, such proofs present a formidable foe. Philosophically science is considered irrefutable. It's declarations are global. And that voice today is arguing fiercely against the existance of God.
So compelling is the world's growing belief in science that many Christians think nothing of using it like a microscope to test the words of the New Testament. Did Jesus walk on water? Could He cure broken bones, the blind or deaf? Could He raise the dead? Is there a resurrection? In its arrogance, science demands on its own terms a rationale to Christ's assertions a codicle to faith one that brings doubt to faith and shreds the weak like grass before a scythe.
Faith reels under this onslaught; proof that the world has found a new god one overtly atheist in nature a prophet it believes in more than Jesus or Buddah or Mohammed. This new system of belief is a global phenomenon and reaches across all borders and religions.
The war between the two does not center (as it would appear) on various church ideologies that differently postulate speculative dates and ages as we see in questions like evolution, it goes much deeper than that. It strikes at the heart of God's very existance. Jesus says there is a God; science under current management says no.
In this sense, they have their prophet, and we, ours.
This doesn't mean the major discoveries of science are false, most appear quite accurate; it means interpretations of those discoveries are being missused by leaders in the discipline to promote the false conclusion:that no Creator can possibly exist and that to believe otherwise is delusional. That is a fatal teaching. It is even bad science.
There are great numbers of people who believe science and religion equally and see the first supporting God and bringing understanding to His ways, but such voices no longer hold sway. It is not science saying no to God, it is those who control its teaching the ones who interpret its prophecies incorrectly that offer it up now as a belief, just as they did during the days of Hitler when he proposed his thesis of a master race, and of the pollution of inferior races that needed extermination.
Because so many believe in the truth of science, it has become the ideal tool of despots. Today it is atheism that has science in its grip. Atheism is a religion of purely Satanic character. One with only a single avowed goal to do away with belief in God entirely for the purpose of the purity of what it considers academic reason. It is Hitler's ideology reborn in a new way.
The scriptures do not describe the world of the future as coming under the influence of an evil religious ideology. While they describe the Madman as using the people of an alien god to help him in his defenses, everything said about him indicates he will consider himself a god one who honors the god of fortresses, a man of war who honors a god unknown to his ancestors with gold and silver, precious stones and valuable presents. He will be heedless of his fathers gods and he will consider himself greater than them all (Dan.11:37-39).
"This is the Enemy, the one who claims to be so much greater than all that men call 'god', so much greater than anything that is worshipped, that he enthrones himself in God's sanctuary and claims that he is God." (2 Thes. 2:1-4).
With hydrogen bombs and all the other ghastly weapons produced by science, its servitude to a military master other than itself tracks closely scripture's words on the subject. Especially when, in this sense, a false prophet emanating from a misinterpretation of science can serve both East and West with equal facility.
It s not hard to imagine a world not far away bristling with scientific inventions, satellites, rockets, supersonic aircraft, all armed to the teeth with the fire of the sun, spouting messages of evil, and made visibly manifest to the world through the medium of talking heads, boldly officious, perhaps as they were to the mind of John when he was shown them in vision.
To him they looked like the multitude of statuettes sold in his markets as divinity, but now gargantuan in size, focused on a single individaul, and beaming down from a giant wall screen, speaking and moving as if alive.
"Then I saw a second beast; it emerged from the ground; 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, which had had the fatal wound and had been healed. ·
And it worked great miracles, even to calling down fire from heaven on to the earth while people watched. ·Through the miracles which it was allowed to do on behalf of the first beast, it was able to win over the people of the world and persuade them to put up a statue in honour of the beast that had been wounded by the sword and still lived.
It was allowed to breathe life into this statue, so that the statue of the beast was able to speak, and to have anyone who refused to worship the statue of the beast put to death." (Rev. 13:5-15)
In this sense, the False Prophet does not tell us there is a different God. It tells us there is no god except the Beast. This is the ultimate heresy, the declaration that man himself is greater than God.
Many questions remain, however. Scripture shows the False Prophet's appearance coming, not with the early empire of the East but with its successor (Dn.11:21+). The False Prophet seems to arise with the Madman, the one they call the Beast. (Rev.13:11+).
The Beast will be a person far more associated with Persia in particular than was the first empire. He is described in scripture as the Prince of Persia, and in early Christian prophecies as a reincarnation of Nero at the head of a Parthian (Middle-eastern army) which he will use to recapture Rome; and from there, launch his final attack on Jerusalem.
Given the religious nature of Persia today, a religious prophet, rather than an atheist may very will be at the foundation of these prophecies. A careful reading of Daniel however, shows that if religion is a part of this second Eastern regime, it will not be anything like any religion extant in the Middle East today. More likely, it will be Caesarian in nature. Far more like Nero in character. It will be a perversion of religion, with an obsession for war and riches and the pre-eminence of a man over God.
The appearance of both of these individuals (Beast & False Prophet) is still quite a ways away. Many prophecies have to be completed before either appears on the world stage.
In the meantime, atheism remains Christianity's greatest threat in today's world, and with its seizure of the way science is currently portrayed, the principal engine powering the growth of atheism in the modern era. From grammar school through post-graduate school in every nation of the world, those teaching science seem to be overwhelmingly united in their willingness to use it as a tool in their campaign against the existance of God.
That speaks to the indoctrination of our children in a way little different than the Gymnasia next to the Temple in the days of Antiochus. The results, too, are proving similar, and the trajectory as well.
What is it about the Old Testament that makes it such an attraction with certain churches? PL
It is being taken literally. This dramatically magnifies its credibility. It also represents a return to the old ways, and in the case of a literal Old Testament versus a metaphoric New Testament, that kind of restructured diefication signals a desire to return to Egypt. There is a precedent for that in scripture, and in the case of the Old Testament, precedent means prophecy.
At the time the Israelites were journeying out of Egypt toward the Promised land, a large segment of these travelers grew weary of their trek through the desert and revolted (Exodus 32). In this rebellion they turned back to Egypt in their thoughts. This occurred during Moses' absence, while he was on the Mountain with God.
These Hebrew revolutionaries represented such a sizeable majority among the Israelite tribes that, in their numbers they were able to pervert the very structure of their faith. They convinced Aaron to fashion a god to go before them as a symbol of their return. Aaron took their gold and out of it moulded for them the effigy of a calf. In the ancient East, the bull was worshipped as a god.
Aaron's calf of gold symbolized that the Israelites had taken to worshipping as a god, this world, its ways and its money rather than the Lord. When the people saw the effigy a shout went up, "Here is your god, Israel", they cried, "who brought you out of the land of Egypt!" Together they worshipped it and offered it sacrifice (Ex.32:8).
God informed Moses of the rebellion and signaled He was going to destroy the Israelites on the spot for their apostasy. Moses argued for clemency and begged God to wait until His visitation to carry out the sentence. God agreed to Moses' request.
The corollary to that ancient rebellion is happening now once again. The ways of Egypt that the Christians of today are demanding a return to is their way of life before the difficult commandments of Christ altered it. Their religious focus has changed from the parables of the Christian Gospel to a literal Old Testament with its easy human-nature values touting revenge, fear, war, and hatred of outsiders.
Today, Aaron's calf is full grown and represented by the statue of the sacred bull that stands in front of mankind's new altar of worship, Wall Street. The gold is self-explanatory. Embracing militancy and all the trappings of worldly society, the people that once followed Christ are worshipping money once again. To them the Old Testament is literal and personal wealth is its reward. Saying the word "Jesus" simply gives it credibility. It is Jesus stripped of His Gospel.
These are rebels. They view the New Testament metaphorically because it allows them a multiplicity of interpretations. They take the Old Testament literally because it has become their god. In this exchange they have gone back to Egypt.
In proof of this, we now hear charges being leveled against the New Testament saying that its text has been perverted by "liberals" and "socialists"; contemptuous comments that are demanding changes in the Gospel's wording to show how God really favors the rich. Such charges constitute blasphemy of the Holy Spirit.
They say "Jesus, Jesus" in lip service, but it is not Jesus they take literally, it is the Old Testament. Their true concern is not compassion for others, but governmental politics. They have embraced this world as their god. In this corollary, an absent Moses on the mountain corresponds to an absent Jesus in heaven with God. Meanwhile, here on earth, Aaron with the people of Israel around him has segued into the church with its flock.
The golden heifer is the perversion sweeping through large segments of the modern church as its ministers rape traditional church teachings. In this revolt, many ministers have joined their flocks in extoling the virtues of Babylon, worshipping money and clammoring for war; others march to glorify homosexuality, while still others have made themselves busy molesting the children. This is the nature of religion under the influence of Aaron's golden calf.
This revolt is a clear indication of the decline of faith at the end of the harvest. A weariness is sweeping the church because of the difficulty of the journey and it is because of this fatigue, said Jesus, that God cut the time short otherwise no one would be saved. Paul warned that this moment in church history would be coming in his 2nd letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thess.2:11-12). This delusion is the precursor to the wrath and the darkness it portends is, in itself, a herald of the final days.
As it is written in the scriptures, it is in the abandonment of the Gospel, the tabernacle of the Testimony of Jesus Christ, that this wrath occurs:
"...the Levites (are) to serve the tabernacle of the Testimony..they are to take care of it and pitch their camp around it. In this way the wrath will be kept from falling on the whole community of the sons of Israel." (Num.1:48-53).
Take refuge in Jesus while He is still to be found. His refuge is true and the safety He offers is eternal life.
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