Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Luxuries of Babylon

 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 
   “standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 
   “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 
   “merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 
   “and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. 
   “The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. 
   “The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 
   “and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 
   "For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 
   “and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’ 
   “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ 
   “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!” 18:9-20. 

A Gigantic Financial crash

   The voice from heaven continues; these things of luxury you lusted after, they are gone now, and you will find them no more at all.  Repeatedly, we are reminded, that the inhabitants of Babylon were engrossed in the luxuries of life, at the expense of the poor people of the world.  Oh, that we Christians would heed the warning before we also experience the plagues of Babylon. 18:8.

   18:9-10 sounds as if the kings who enjoyed the selfishness of the commoners will stand back in amazement and sorrow.  Sorrow because they can no longer enjoy their accustomed affluence.  They are not concerned about the demise of the people, (when they see the smoke of her burning); they are sad because the people no longer have the means to keep them (the kings) wealthy.

   In 18:11-17 the merchants who were made rich by Babylon's selfish lifestyle, will now be poor because nobody buys their merchandise anymore.  In 17:15 we see again these words, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues."  If the waters are symbolic of multitudes of people, surely we can see that a ship could be symbolic of any method of transport that moves freight.

hese merchants used to sell everything: jewelry - stones and pearls, fabrics-fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, fragrant hardwoods from Africa for furniture-(every kind of citron wood), kitchen utensils made of ivory, utensils of expensive woods, brass, iron and marble-every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble.  

   They also sold spices and medicines-cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wines and cooking oil-wine and oil, twice sifted flour and wheat-fine flour and wheat, domestic animals and means of transport - cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, slaves and people who had sold themselves-souls of men, for whatever reason or amount that they assumed was reasonable in the face of starvation.

Those who conveyed all this merchandise from the far reaches of the earth to the selfish empires also suffer great financial loss.  It seems interesting that they said, What is like this great city?  The word used is "what" not "who".  Cities are no longer thought of as people; cities are just money making organisms.  This indicates that most of us have become terribly callous towards the bulk of humanity.  The way the writer sees it on the video, selfish Babylon is no more;  For in one hour (very quickly), she is made desolate. 18:18-19.

   They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing because they knew and understood that since the rich nations had plunged over "the financial cliff", even they, the providers of all the things that they used to deliver, will be out of work and consequently face starvation.

The Battle of Armageddon

   The Battle of Armageddon is on its way!  It looks as if the Near East is now preparing to start it.  The masses of the industrialized countries are in turmoil. The people of the United States made the wrong decision about gun control; that decision will lead to much more heartbreak, lawlessness, and bloodshed. 
   A few years ago some native people in Canada were threatening an armed uprising against our government.  Riots, for almost any excuse, in almost every country, are now the order of the day.  Even if the turmoil does subside for a bit, it seems that it will not be long before the lid, in fury, will blow off the seething cauldron!  About this Paul wrote, But know this, that in the last days perilous (this means, hard to bear) times will come. 2 Tim. 3:1.

    When the masses are agitated because they have nothing left to live for it will be easy for them to convince themselves that going to war is a good thing; at least, in the army, they will have food to eat. 

   The Battle of Armageddon is on its way, some say it has already started!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Babylon’s Wickedness

   G)      The Great City

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
    And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.
  “For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
  “Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.
  “In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’
“Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. 18:3-8   

Babylon, Naturally

   Naturally, history overlaps.  One piece of history does not completely finish before the next section starts.  So we cannot believe that all of history, up to the Battle of Armageddon happened before this part about Babylon began taking shape.  The Revelation has much to say about Babylon, and what the writer, or writers, wrote about Babylon does not fall into the order it is given in The Apocalypse - it is haphazard like history is. 

   Of course, the history of Babylon started long before the kings of the East engaged Israel in the Battle of Armageddon, but it is during that battle that Babylon will finally be overthrown for the last time.

   The name Babylon, in the Bible, represents captivity and sin.  John writes, For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 18:3  As we study more about Babylon we will understand that the fornication mentioned here is not sexual fornication only, (although that is a byproduct of the idea that we can have anything we want whenever we want it), but rather, it means an inordinate love of comforts, material things and riches.  Selfishness and love for things have been growing for thousands of years.

   When I was much younger, preachers told us that Babylon referred to the Roman Catholic Church.  Then, when Protestants realized that the Protestant churches were not exactly "the cat's meow" either, they changed their tune to include many Protestant churches, but, of course, never their own. 

   My opinion now is that worldwide selfishness and an unholy lifestyle, whether in the church or out of it, is here equated with the Babylon of The Apocalypse. This Babylon includes the selfishness of all individuals, regardless of their background, ethnicity, or religion.  Babylon is the mother of harlots, 17:5, selfishness is the ruler of kings. 18:9.

   The merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.  The love for comfort and ease among Christians is an abomination to our Lord.  

   We jokingly say we must shop to keep the economy strong.  This, of course, is not our reason for shopping; we shop because we love things and comforts.  Wasn't it Christ who said, take up the cross, and follow Me? Mark 10:21.  One of our songs so pointedly says, must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease? No, there's a cross for everyone, and there's a cross for me.  We are so deeply entrenched in the comforts of carnal Babylon, that we do not even feel embarrassed there, anymore.

Babylon; Not for Christians

   Because of the luxuries the citizens of Babylon are used to having, the businessmen of the world become wealthy, and all of us together forget that there are starving, hurting people all over the world; people without food, homes, medicine or hope that anything will ever be better.  We would rather live in, and pay taxes on, our six bedroom mansions than share with those in need.

     Immediately, after John saw the selfish pleasures of sinful Babylon, he heard a voice from heaven say, Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 18:4  As God called Lot out of Sodom, Abram out of Ur and Israel's sons out of Egypt, so our God, in mercy, before it is too late, is calling to us,  He is saying to us, Come out from among them And be separate…Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters. 2 Cor. 6:17-18.  Is our love for pleasures and comfort so great that we willingly ignore our Lord, our Redeemer?

   It was in Babylon that man first built a tower to reach into heaven, now, near the end of time, our materialistic, selfish, Godless society has finished that tower.  It is a tower of sin, for Babylon’s sins have reached to heaven. 18:5. The cup of iniquity is full, the tower of sin is finished and God "has had it" with the corrupt lifestyle of the people of the twenty-first century.  

   It is deplorable that we, the church at large, have become so hopelessly entangled in the same selfish web in which non-Christians find themselves.  Note the mansions, the toys and vehicles of many Christians.  Note, how Christians “do” Christmas, all the while forgetting that there are starving children all around the world, including Canada.  At Christmastime, 2012, it was reported that 33% of the children in Canada's largest city, Toronto, live in poverty.

Will Justice Prevail

   Is it the Christian Church praying to God for justice?18:6-7.  Is she asking God to punish Babylon, after Babylon has lived in luxury at the same time she was killing Christians?  If so, then in their prayers, they say, as much pride and selfishness as she had, that is how much torment and sorrow she should receive.

   Yet it does not sound like a prayer of the saints; it sounds as if Jehovah, (or the mighty angel of 17:1), is saying, Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works.  If this is right, this command would be for the Christians who are to rule the world with a rod of iron, 2:27, since it was the Christians, who suffered at the hands of Babylon (the carnal, selfish, religious lifestyle of society).  The cup of wrath, 18:6, that is to be mixed for Babylon is to be of double strength; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.

   She, in her pride, says I sit a queen over all the kings of the earth, 17:18, I will see no sorrow, 18:7.  In these words, the queen, the ruler of selfishness, foreshadows the state of the final carnal church?  The fact that Babylon is the Mother of Harlots, indicates that she has offspring; her children are the harlots.

   According to Mr Smith, this picture is the Roman Catholic Church, the Mother, and her offspring, the carnal Protestant churches which grew out of the Roman Church.  Mr Smith, of course, does not include the Seventh Day Adventists among the Protestants he is speaking of.  

All of them together, the Roman Catholic mother and her Protestant offspring, are so involved with pleasures that they cannot, or will not look into the future to see their doom.

   Her plague shall come in one day.  Vine says concerning the word day, that it can mean a period of undefined length marked by certain characteristics as it is used in Ephesians 6:13, take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day.   

   The day of the plague will come just before the re-appearing of Jesus Christ; the return of Christ will not be altogether wonderfully glorious!  The judgment for Christians and non-Christians is inherent in Christ's return!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Sixth Bowl

And the sixth angel poured out his vial on the great river Euphrates. And its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the rising of the sun might be prepared. 
   And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. 
   For they are spirits of demons, working miracles, which go forth to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that day, the great day of God Almighty. 
   “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 
    And they gathered them together to the place called in Hebrew, Armageddon.

   The striking similarity between the sixth trumpet call and the sixth bowl of wrath is that both affect the Euphrates River in such a way that the kings of the East can cross the river to go to war in the near east.  Also striking is the use of the number three – the three plagues and the three unclean spirits.  

   This, among many others, is a good indication that chapters 12 - 18 need to be interspersed with chapters 6 -11. 

  The words, I saw another angel14:6, carry an interesting connotation.  If we followed the texts in the sequence they are in the Bible, the last angel mentioned would be the angel with the seventh trumpet in 11:15.  For the writer to say that he saw this angel is sure proof that chapter 14:6-7 must come before 11:15 since 11:15 heralds the Rapture of the Church. 

   It would be redundant for an angel to be preaching the everlasting gospel after all the people have been taken to the great white throne to be judged.  It is mandatory that all these seven angels of chapter 14, be moved to a position before 11:15, for if we do not do that, we repeatedly run into these types of incongruities.

   One is almost forced to conclude that the section, chapters 1:3-11:19, was written by one writer and chapters 12-18 were written by another and that both writers were writing the same story using different word pictures.

The Euphrates

   When the sixth angel poured out his bowl of wrath on the ... Euphrates, it dried up so that the kings of the eastern nations could cross it on their horses (the method of transportation in John's day).   so that the kings from the east could march their armies westward without hindrance. The Living Bible

   The writer could only write in words and ideas that he knew; he used the word horses because words like tanks and armoured vehicles were unknown in his day.  Even if he would have written "tank" nobody before the twentieth century would have known what he meant.

   Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphratesand its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.  Many Bible teachers see in this verse the incident when the armies of the Medes and Persians built a dam, to dry up the Euphrates so that the soldiers could enter Babylon under the wall of the city where the river used to flow into the city.  

   It seems to fit the picture well, but in this case, the kings of the East are not going to Babylon, they are heading for Megiddo, which is in Israel.  Hence, there is no reason to confuse the two incidents.

Spirits like frogs

I saw three unclean spirits issue out of the mouths of three sources: 

  1. The red dragon, 12:13, 
  2. the Antichrist, 13:1, 
  3. the false prophet. 11:11.

    Wuest#, at this point, is very graphic and deserves to be quoted.  I saw spirits (free moral intelligences without a physical body), three of them, unclean (in appearance) like frogs, for they are spirits of demons.  These spirits can do miracles, and because they can, they gain access to the presence of kings; the country's political leaders.  

   At this point, as in several other places in The Apocalypse, the prophecy is not just for the Mediterranean area.  The writer distinctly says, the kings of the earth and of the whole world.  When the false prophet has gone to the leaders of the whole world, instilling his hatred into the minds of the leaders a worldwide war will break out.  

   The intended centre of this world war will be Israel.  It is the Antichrist, the last "great" political leader of the world, which will call all nations to battle against the Lord and His army. 

When Will Christ Return?

    Those who preach that Christ could come back at any moment and that He will certainly return before the great Tribulation, have missed a number of vital statements in the New Testament and certainly in The Revelation

   For example, notice:

   In verse 15, we find these well-known words, Behold I am coming as a thief. In Christian circles, these words denote the return of Christ for the Church.  The Lord warns, when the Battle of Armageddon starts, then you better be ready for the return of Christ.  Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments (clean). 16:15

    Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments (clean), lest he walk naked and they see his shame. 16:15.  This verse is used in conjunction with the battle of Armageddon, and yet, it is spoken to Christians.  Simply stated, this means that the rapture cannot happen before the battle of that day, the great day of God Almighty. 

   When Christ returns Christians will be stripped of their filthy garments of selfishness and greed, and if that is all they are wearing, without any good deeds and kindnesses to cover themselves, they will be caught morally and spiritually naked and their selfish shame will be evident.

  In the next post, we start a long, long, detour through the filthy city of Babylon.  It will seem as if we have completely lost our way and have totally forgotten that we are expecting the seventh trumpet to sound.  Do not despair -this disgusting path leads home.  

   Earlier I said that the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl of wrath are the second woe and that the second woe is the Battle of Armageddon.
   However, a prelude to that battle is Babylon, which we must visit first, then there will be a few other details to tie up and finally The Champion on a white charger will appear.
# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sixth Trumpet

Then the sixth angel sounded: And I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, 
   saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”
   So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. 
  Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them. 
  And thus I saw the horses in the vision: those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow; and the heads of the horses were like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire, smoke, and brimstone. 
   By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths. 
   For their power is in their mouth and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents, having heads; and with them they do harm. 
   But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.        And they did not repent of their murders or their sorcery's or their sexual immorality or their thefts. 9:13-21

The Euphrates

   Since we are not told otherwise it is safe to assume that the voice from the altar might be the angel we met in 8:3, the one who stood at the altar offering the incense with the prayers of the saints.
    Of the first five, in this group of angels, we read only that they sounded the trumpet, but of the sixth angel, we read that he is to do something more than sound the trumpet.  Release the four mighty demons bound at the great river Euphrates. The Living Bible 

   It is the sixth trumpet blast that inaugurates the Battle of Armageddon; it heralds the second of three woes.

  These four angels, bound at the Euphrates, are destroying angels, and it sounds as if perhaps they have four different plans; that is, they are ready for any contingency.  They are ready to do battle for as long as it takes, whether it is an hour, a day, a month or even a year.  However, Wuest# changes that meaning to; they had been kept in readiness for that particular time, down to the exact hour in which they would be loosed.  Their mission was to kill a third of mankind.

   Till this point in the Apocalypse the first five angels (with the five bowls of wrath), have destroyed thirty-three percent of the trees, The Sea, the creatures and ships of The (Mediterranean) Sea, and the apparent functioning of the sun, the moon, the stars, the day and the night.  During the last three woes, death to humans happens on a large scale.

   Maybe much of The Apocalypse is history to us.  The four angels, from the Euphrates, might, as some suggest, represent the four major kingdoms of that area, namely: Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome.  The locusts of the fifth sounding angel, 9:3-11, may refer to the Parthian cavalry, which rode against Rome, as is suggested by Asimov.  

   However, I think that I believe that this whole prophecy is still future for John.  I think that these four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates are four leaders of four armies coming from the East to The Mediterranean Sea area to wage the Battle of Armageddon.

Metal Horses

   The number of (equestrians) horsemen in the army is two hundred million, which is about six times as many as the total population of Canada.  John adds I am not just guessing at the number, I heard the number of them.  John says I saw the horses, (mode of transportation), on a video.  We must not confuse the army of 9:7 with the army of 19:11-15.  It is a completely different army with different horses.

   Those who sat on them had breastplates of fiery red, hyacinth blue, and sulfur yellow.  Unger++ says that in this case, jacinth (hyacinth, American Standard) refers to blue sapphire.  Unger also says, “brimstone is the gum of the gopher tree and from there the meaning was transferred to all inflammable substances, especially sulphur”.  In Greek, the word is theion, which means flashing.  

   Could it be that the fire, the flashing, and the blue intense heat refer to modern day explosive warfare?  After all, these were not actual horses, for they had heads like lions, and it was out of those mouths that the fire, smoke, and flashings came.  By these three plagues, a third of mankind was killed—by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which came out of their mouths.  

   John says their power is in their mouths and in their tails.  Perhaps he is referring to warfare with tanks.  They fire forward and backwards.  Also notice that their tails are like serpents, long and skinny like the barrel of a tank, and the tails had heads on them.  The flange at the end of a cannon barrel makes it appear as if it has a head, and, John says, it is with these heads that they do harm.  The breastplates are the cockpits of a tank.

   The Signs^^, suggests that the fifth angel’s trumpet depicts the battle between the Islamic Arabs and the Christian world and that the sixth trumpet blast continues with representations of the Islamic Turks.  It's fire, smoke and brimstone may well represent their use of gunpowder, which enabled them to do what the Arabs hadn't been able to do - to capture Constantinople.

   Here we come to the sad part of the story.  Sixty-six percent of humanity is still alive but they repented not.  Here they have another chance to straighten things out with Jehovah!  Do they repent?  No!  They still worship devils and idols. They still kill, practice sorcery, commit fornication and steal.

++ Unger’s Bible Dictionary, Merrill F. Unger
^^ Signs of the Times Magaizines: What the Revelation says about. March 1998. David C. James

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Seventh Seal is Opened

Just to make things a little less confusing, let me reiterate.
  1. We have studied the blowing of the first five trumpets
  2. and the pouring out of the first five bowls of wrath
  3. We have studied the opening of the first six seals.  
  • The first four were the "four horsemen of the Apocalypse"; 
  • the fifth was when God sealed the saints in their foreheads; 
  • The sixth was when the 144,000 Jews were sealed.
   All the loose ends will be tied together when the seventh (the last) trumpet shall sound and when the seventh, the last bowl, of wrath is poured out and Christ returns. 

   When he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about half an hour. 8:1 

Silence in Heaven

   Of course, it goes without saying that we must not confuse the seventh seal with the seventh trumpet.

   To refresh our memory: no one was found worthy except the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome, to open the scroll and its seven seals." 5:5

   No events are recorded with the breaking of the seventh sealBut an ominous silence pervades all nature, which is indicative of the solemnity of the things that are about to take place. It is the calm before the storm. The KJV Bible Commentary.  Chapter 8 begins where chapter 6 ended. KJV Study Bible  

   Here is another, more accurate, point of view:
  At the end of chapter 6, the events of the sixth seal happen.  
  • In 7:1 the four angels holding the four winds appear to wreak havoc on the earth.  
  • in 7:2 the angel with the seventh seal appears and tells the angels of 7:1  with a loud voice ... "Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees.   
  • This parenthesis introduced in 7:3 with the words, Do not harm the earth ... till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads is closed at the end of 8:1 with these words there was silence in heaven about half an hour.
  • In 8:2 the story from 6:17 resumes with the opening of the seventh seal. And I saw the seven angels who stood before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. 
   The description of the 7th seal is in 7:1-2.  Nothing is said in 8:1, about the seventh seal except that it was mentioned as being opened.  This would not be so confusing if the man who divided the Bible into chapters and verses would have left 7:1-2 as 6:18-19.

   The gales and hurricanes mentioned in 7:1-2 are the fulfilment of the seventh seal of 8:1, for if they are not, we have the unlikely scenario of having only one seal (the seventh), for which we are not given the contents.   Furthermore, the actions of 7:1-2 do not fit into the sixth seal which is recorded in chapter 6; but they do fit into the seventh seal in 8:1.

  There are many Bible commentaries which teach that the opening of the seventh seal sets into motion the sounding of the seven trumpets.  I see a problem with that teaching because there is a time lapse between the opening of the seventh seal in 8:1 and the time when the angels who stood before God were given the seven trumpets in 8:2. 

   Furthermore, if The Apocalypse is arranged, as it is in this study, five of the seven trumpets have sounded and five of the seven bowls of wrath have been poured out before the events of chapter 8:2 take place.  

   Though the first four trumpets are listed in order in chapter 8:7-13 we must recognize that history continues to happen even during the blowing of the trumpets.  It is not as though a trumpet sounds and some history all of a sudden starts happening, then another trumpet sounds and history starts happening again.  History is a continuous ongoing thing. It is that history which is found in the last chapters of The Apocalypse which is interlaced into the sounding of the trumpets and the pouring out of the bowls of wrath.

   Admittedly, this sounds confusing but it is not trivial.  If facts like this are not put in their proper place when studying the Bible, we end up with teachings such as, for example:  
  • Christ will return before the Great Tribulation,
  • Christ is coming back two times,
  • our dead friends are watching over us now, 
  • we go to heaven as soon as we die, 
  • and the more flighty; people become angels when they die.  
These doctrines are not in the Bible!

Time in Heaven

   On opening the first seal, one of the four creatures was saying with a voice like thunder.  By way of contrast, after the seventh seal is opened, there was silence in heaven about half an hour.  Some have suggested that silence means inactivity, e.g. no trumpets blowing, no opening of seals, no visions for John. 

 The space of half an hour is not a reckoning according to a heavenly chronometer, but it does indicate a very brief period. The KJV Bible Commentary

   With a different point of view in mind, a technical question could be asked; if John were really in heaven, our eternal abode, how could he have recorded the time to be half an hour, since, we are told, there is no time in heaven.  

   The statement by John that it was half an hour lends weight to the idea that John was inside a spaceship, which at that juncture had its clocks set to measure earthly time.  

  As I said in the introduction to this study, in almost every aspect of The Apocalypse one can choose one of many paths to follow and the chosen path seems right.  One thing I am sure of, I have not yet read any interpretation and arrangement of The Revelation with which I agree at many points.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The False Prophet Appears

Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
   And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 

He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
   And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
   He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
   He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
   and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. 13:11-18   

   The first beast, the Antichrist, came out of the sea. 13:1. For more on this see: 

   Now, another beast, the false prophet, is shown as coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns, like a lamb.  He seems thoroughly gentle as a lamb.  Mr Foster*** wonders if the two horns might represent the leaders of the ecumenical movement and ungodly education; this beast spoke like a dragon. That is, inwardly his intent was as deadly as the intentions of the red dragon, Satan. Outwardly, though, he appears to be interested in the unity of all religions and enlightenment by education.

   He has all the power of Antichrist, the first beast, the last political ruler.  The purpose of the false prophet is that everyone on earth will worship the Antichrist.  

   The false prophet can work miracles such as making fire come down from heaven.  In this connection, we need to remember the words of our Savior, For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders. Mat. 24:24.   We also remind ourselves of the words of Paul, then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth…The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders. 2 Thes. 2:8-9

   By his miracles, the second beast, who is the false prophet, deludes humans and convinces them to make an image to the first beast, the Antichrist.  This sounds as if the false prophet, the last leader of the universal church, will be willing to do and teach anything that the world’s last political leader would approve of or demand.

   He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark... and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark.  While studying chapter 7, we read of God sealing his servants in their foreheads.  Here in 13:18, Satan, the great counterfeiter, is issuing a mark to all humans and they must accept it, on the penalty of death, for without it there will be no buying or selling of the necessities of life.  If a person will not worship the beast, that person also will not get the mark, and without the mark, starvation is inevitable to the people of the world in the last days.

   His number is 666.  Mr Foster suggests that since the number six represents sinful mankind, or even sin itself, then 666 represents sin to its sixth power and that number again to its sixth power.  Though he does not write it in technical terms his point is that the false prophet is a man as wicked as a man can be.

   If we believe the mark or the number of the beast is for the purpose of business transactions than it makes sense that no two of the numbers issued would be identical.  What is the purpose of identifying numbers, if every number is the same?  The Bible does not say that every number will be the same; it says that "666" is the number of the beast.  

   One can surmise, that the 666 are the first three digits, (specifying its origin) of a longer series of numbers.  The sequential numbers after that might represent countries, date of issue, a person’s sex, date of birth or other facts down to identifying the individual.  They would be much like numbers on plastic cards are in our present day society.  The whole idea of having chips implanted into the forehead or into the right hand, for business reasons, is really frightening. 

Delving into upcoming atrocities created by these chips is far outside the scope of these posts and so we will not go there except to mention this one possibility.  

A scary thought about all of this is that technology could easily develop to a point where a signal could be sent from "head office" to a person's implant which would cause a person to act in a way he would not normally act.

For more on this topic see: 

   Buying and selling are already done on “the screen”, but in the future perhaps all business transactions could be done that way.  So unless you have a number, like an Internet customer number, you cannot buy or sell, and you cannot get a number unless you pledge allegiance to Antichrist.

It seems as if many Christians are already doing that, judging by where and how they are spending their time.  Two minutes a week in Bible reading, three minutes a week in prayer (both in the Sunday morning church service) and about thirty hours a week watching the blasphemers on the TV screen.

   the number of the beast, ... is the number of a man: His number is 666.  The first beast is a man, the leader of the last worldly political system; the second beast is also a man, his number is 666 and it seems that he is the head of the worlds last artificial church.

   The words that Christ spoke to the church at Ephesus, Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love, 2:4, and the words He spoke to the church at Laodicea, I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth, 3:15-16, are certainly applicable to the modern church.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The European Common Market?

Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority. 13:2

So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. 
Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 
It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. 
All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 
If anyone has an ear, let him hear. 
He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.13:4-10 

    The beast is swift as a leopard, (swiftly he will infiltrate all countries), strong as a bear, (to tear down anyone standing in his way), insatiable as a lion, (being ruler over a few countries will not be enough for him).

The Dragon - Satan

  • has seven heads,
  • ten horns
  • seven crowns upon his heads
  • The dragon has no name of blasphemy.     
  • He wears the crowns on his head because he is the "undisputed"        king of this world.
  • To the beast, he gives His power, 
  • His authority and 
  • His throne

The Beast - The Antichrist

  1. has seven heads,
  2. ten horns
  3. ten crowns upon his horns. 
  4. The beast has the name of blasphemy.
  5. He wears his crowns on his horns because he is not the king but his crowns are in honour of his achievements.  As we already learned "horns" represent strengths or accomplishments.
  6. is just a pawn in the hands of his master, the dragon (Satan). 13:4. 
  7. this mouth is speaking great things. 
  8. blasphemies are given to him. 
  9. Also, the power to reign, for three and a half years, is given to him. 13:5.  
   We read the word he to represent a human.  Some say it is not just one person but an institution created by humans.  Adam Clarke insists that this beast refers to the Roman Catholic Church.  Barnes agrees with him but he is not quite as adamant about it.  

   One major problem with thinking of this as an institution is that it lasted only 3.5 years.  On the other hand, we remind ourselves, again, that the term "3.5 years" may be a figurative number only, without any meaning as to actual time.  It is exactly half of the number of perfection, therefore it might represent evil.

   Without Satan's power, he could do nothing.

   It is strange what the power of suggestion or flattery can do.  The world is worshipping him, saying he is the greatest, and he starts believing it and opens his mouth even against God. 13:6.  

  It brings to mind so many of the movie and sports stars who, by words and awards, have been led to believe, that "they are the greatest".  It has come to a point where public blasphemy against Jehovah, His Church, and all those who dwell in heaven is what one expects to hear from the "stars". 13:6.  

  For how long is the church going to be among those who are mesmerized by those haughty, immoral, self-seeking snobs?  The Lord said to His Church, Come out from among them and be separate. 2 Cor. 6:17

  It is distinctly stated that this prophecy is for the whole world, not just for the Near East; over every tribe, tongue, and nation.13:7   His main thrust will be against Jehovah's chosen: those who actively follow Christ's teachings.  Many saints will be killed as martyrs. 13:7.  

Another Call to Repentance

   All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life ... If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  Surely, this means that if God, in His grace, has let you hear the warning about the last days, the least you can do is pay attention to it.
  The phrase, The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, is easier to understand as Wuest# has translated it, The Lamb who has been slain (in the mind and purpose of God) since the time when the foundations of the universe were laid.

   In the past, many Bible scholars agreed that the seven heads, ten horns, and ten crowns, referred to Europe in the latter part of the twentieth century, namely: the European Common Market.  As late as 1998, Jack Van Impe, in his book, Final Mysteries Unsealed, insisted that it must be understood that way. 

  However, history moves on, and suppositions must change as the political scene shifts.  Because of that, it behoves all Bible teachers not to be too dogmatic in teaching certain areas of theology.

  As was mentioned in the studies of chapter one, the word “horn” can be a symbol of strength.  According to The Revelation, each of the ten horns is wearing a crown.  

  Perhaps, it is still too soon to pinpoint those “horns”.  However, we are seeing events happening in the Middle East, which causes new speculations.  The allied forces are fighting terrorist groups all over the Near East.  People are disposing of the dictators of their countries, around the Mediterranean Sea.  Perhaps, before all this turmoil is finished ten crowns (rulers) will have fallen.

  He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword.  These words seem to fit well into the scenario of those dictators of the countries around the Mediterranean Sea in 2011-2017.

  Those dictators led their own people into captivity, then the dictators were taken captive or killed by their captives.  

# An Expanded Translation, K.W. Wuest.