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Daniel’s 70th Week: The Biggest “Prophetic” Dilemma? June 9, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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Another dilemma I would like to draw attention to concerning Daniel’s 70th week revolves around the current state of Israel, which scholars believe marks the “prophetic return of the Jews” to the Holy Land and the precursor to Christ coming. If the current state of Israel, birthed in 1948 as a result of the Balfour Declaration do indeed mark the prophetic return of the Jews then there is a problem in reconciling this to the traditional view to interpreting Daniel’s 70th week. Firstly, according to the interpretation Daniel’s 70th week will occur in a future time period in which the anti-christ will confirm a covenant with Israel at the start of the week and in the middle of the week (3 and ½ years later) will break the covenant and cause the sacrifice to cease and establish the abomination which makes desolate in Jerusalem. This results in another future exile of Israel as it flees into the wilderness for 42 months.

 We know from scripture that Israel has been exile (or made desolate) twice; the first time when Nebuchadnezzar plundered Israel and took most of the people captive to Babylon. The second desolation occurred when Titus the Roman general sacked Jerusalem in circa 70 A.D. But is this third period of exile after a second restoration period supported in scripture? No doubt a vast proportion of Christendom believes this to be the case. But what does scripture say? Here is what Isa 11:11-12 says though it is worthwile for the reader to read from verse 1 to get the full picture:

 11And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. 12And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

 We note here that the Lord will gather the remnant of his people the second time. If we read from verse 1 it should become clear that this day in which the Lord gathers Israel the second time is at His coming. How do we know this? Verse 4 provides the conclusive evidence:

 4But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.

 It is confirmed in 2 Thess 2:8 that Jesus will slay the wicked (man of sin) with the breath of His mouth at His coming and in Rev 19:15 we learn that a sharp sword goes out of His mouth and that He shall rule the nations with a rod of iron (at His coming). Where then is this idea of a third dispersion and a third re-gathering of Israel? That is perhaps the biggest dilemma of them all!

Busting the Pre-tribulation Rapture Myth! April 18, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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As I read the scriptures the more I find evidence which completely destroys the pre-tribulation rapture “theory”. Though I would not call myself a student of eschatology nor have I conducted much study on the subject, my excursions into this area has opened me up to certain truths that have been missed by students who have been studying this subject area for years. One of those simple truth is that if there were going to be a pre-tribulation rapture or even a mid-tribulation rapture then the disciples doesn’t seem to have been aware of it. The Apostle Peter for example, who was with Jesus from the time of His early ministry doesn’t seem to have any knowledge of a pre-tribulation rapture when he wrote the following passage:

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, 12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. 15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:10-16)

What do we learn from this passage then? From verse 10 we learn that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night (Matt 24:43, 1 Thess 5:20). It should be noted here that pre-tribulation supporters are agreed that “the Lord coming as a thief in the night” is the same day of the rapture which the unsaved will not be aware of due to the fact that Jesus comes hidden in the clouds and only those that are caught up with Him will see Him. As a result everyone else that are “Left Behind” will be here to face the tribulation during the anti-christ’s reign. However we also learn from verse 10 of the above passage that at the day when the Lord comes as a thief in the night, “the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat.” John describes the same event though in slightly different language in Revelations 6:12-17. This picture therefore does not fit with the pre-tribulation rapture theory then because every one on earth will be able to see that the heavens have dissolved and departed. So then it is either this day which Peter speaks of is the day when Jesus visibly returns to earth or there is another separate day in which Jesus comes to perform the pre-tribulation rapture then comes visibly to earth. However, there is no such day that can be found in scripture anywhere. From the prophets of old through to the present the day of the Lord has been spoken of as a single day and not two days. Here is the clincher. Peter says in verse 12 that “we” should be “Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God”.

Question: If the rapture takes place before the day of God, a day in which the heavens are dissolved or depart as a scroll why is Peter admonishing “us” to look for and haste unto the coming of this day? This of course would be irrelevant if the church would not be around (on earth) to witness this day. So what he should have said then is that “we” should be looking for and hasting unto the coming of the rapture – but he did not say that.

Question: If “we” (the church) are looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, will this day happen before the tribulation or after the tribulation spoken by Jesus in Matt 24:21? The answer can be found here in the following scripture:

29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt 24:29-31)

In conclusion, we have therefore learn that the day of the Lord, which comes as a thief in the night will occur “immediately after the tribulation of those days”. This is the same day spoken of by Paul in I Thess 5:2. So in spite of Peter being privy to all the epistles which Paul had written to the church (see verses 15-16); privy to the Olivet Discourse prophesies since he was there in person; privy to the scriptures of Daniel; he seems to demonstrate a distinct lack of knowledge concerning a pre-tribulation rapture. The implication then is that neither Paul’s epistles nor the scriptures in Luke or even Daniel can be used to support the pre-tribulation rapture position. Where then is the evidence for the pre-tribulation or even mid-tribulation position?

The Identity of the Seven-Headed Beast March 25, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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In a previous article I wrote about the coming one world government and I raised some “clues” which pointed towards this. However in this article I will attempt to demonstrate what some of the prophesies, notably Daniel and Revelations, say about this coming world system and identify the nations that are involved, bearing in mind that I made references to the European Union being a precursor to the coming world system. I will attempt to achieve this by allowing scripture to interpret scripture. To begin with we will look at the first beast that John saw in Revelations 13. Although John saw two beast only one will be looked at here.

 Rev 13

1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.

 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.

 In his vision John saw a beast rising up out of the sea but it will soon become apparent that this was not a literal beast. Consequently, the physical characteristics of the beast are merely symbolic as well. So what then is this beast? I must say here that I have seen quite a few varied interpretations of this portion of scripture, but by sticking to the principle of letting scripture interpret scripture we can safely answer this question. To do so therefore we need to look at Rev 17:

 Revelations 17

7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

 Lets pause here for a moment. The beast that John saw in Revelations 13 is the same beast here in verse 7 the meaning of which the angel is about to explain to John. But here we see that the beast now have a “woman” riding it. The reason I want to draw attention to this is that somewhat prophetically the symbol of the EU is that of a woman riding a “beast” and that woman is called Europa, from which Europe incidentally gets its name.

 So the angel explains the meaning of the beast as follows:

 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. 9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. 10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. 11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

 We can now see that the beast is not literal but an allegorical reference to a world kingdom and the physical characteristics of heads and horns are also allegorical references for kings or seats of governments. So then we know it is a world kingdom (or world government) because we learnt from Rev 13:7 that power was given to the beast over ALL kindred, tongues and nations. The beast is also personified by a man (the anti-christ) and this is denoted by the reference in Rev 13:5 that a mouth was given to it to speak. We also know from Rev 13:18 that the number of the beast is the number of a man which again establishes the fact that the beast is represented by a man. Such a man will therefore be akin to a world president, in terms of our current understanding of world leaders.

 Now that we know that the beast will be a world system of government which overtakes the globe how can we identify the nations involved in it’s creation? The Book of Revelations does not tell us the identity of the nations but nevertheless other scriptures are given which can be relied on to identify them and these are in the Book of Daniel. But before going to Daniel, cast your mind back to the description of the beast in Rev 13 quoted above. We noted that the beast had seven heads and ten horns and it was like a leopard; it had the feet of a bear; and a mouth like a lion. Now Daniel saw four beasts that had the same characteristics as this beast that John saw and we can see this in Daniel 7:

 Daniel 7

2 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. 4 The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. 5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. 6 After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. 7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

 From this passage of Daniel we can discern that John saw more or less the same vision as Daniel because when merged together these four beasts becomes the beast that John saw. This should be clear also from the point of view that the fourth beast Daniel saw had four heads and when added to the heads of the other beasts we get seven heads. The fourth beast also had ten horns. So bearing in mind that these beasts are kingdoms we can discern that John’s beasts constitutes an amalgamation of these four beasts of Daniel. We do not need to speculate however as the explanation of the fourth beast is given further along in the passage:

  16 I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things. 17 These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.

 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 It should become clear to the reader therefore that this fourth beast of Daniel is the same beast as that which John saw in Revelations 13. Indeed it would be worth reading the entire passage of Daniel 7 and comparing it to Revelations 13. Having said that we can now see that the beast is the fourth kingdom upon earth and which shall devour or overtake the whole earth. Again in comparison to the beast of John’s vision this beast is given a mouth to speak great words (blasphemy) against God (see also 2 Thess 2:3). One of the main differences in the two visions therefore is that whilst Daniel is speaking of the beasts from a future perspective according to his day, John is seeing one beast from a historical, present and future perspective. Hence the reason John says in Rev 17:8-11 that it is the beast that was (existed before), is not (not “presently” existing), and is to come (will exist in the future).

 In order to identify the nations or kingdoms that make up the beast therefore we need to ascertain what kingdoms constitute the first three beasts (kingdoms) that Daniel saw. In order to do this however we also need to look at the heads (i.e.,) the seven heads of the beast that John saw (bearing in mind that John’s beast is a unification of Daniels first three beasts which then expanded into the fourth). According to Rev 17 therefore:

  10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

 Note here that the seven “kings” are the seven heads or seven seats of power and in John’s day he is saying that five of the kings or heads had fallen (their reign had come to an end), one was in existence in John’s day, and the other is not yet come and when he comes he will continue for a short time.

 The first thing we need to realize then is that the four beasts that Daniel saw are after the pattern of the statue of gold, silver, brass and iron mixed with clay which the king Nebuchadnezzar saw in his vision in Daniel 2. Daniel explained that the head of gold of the statute was actually Nebuchadnezzar himself (see Dan 2:36-38) therefore his kingdom (the kingdom of Babylon) is the first beast that Daniel refers to in Daniel 7. The second beast that rose up after Babylon was the Medes and Persians which conquered Babylon and this is evidenced by Daniel 5:25-31. The third beast having four heads is Greece, which conquered the Medes and Persians and we know this from Daniel 8:20-22. After Alexander the great was killed the kingdom of Greece was split up into four kingdoms under his four Generals.

 At the time of John’s exile in Patmos we know that the Roman Empire was in full swing so when John says that five of the heads had fallen and one is we know that this one that existed in his day was Rome as Rome had conquered Greece. The five kings that had fallen therefore were Babylon, Media-Persia, and the four kingdoms of Greece. The problem here though is that we have 6 heads instead of 5 which seemingly had fallen. However, we know that Greek influence and culture was preserved under the Roman Empire hence historians refer to the Greco-Roman era or empire. Therefore symbolically three of the kingdoms of Greece had fallen but the head which represented Greece/Macedonia was preserved through the preservation of its language, culture and influence throughout the Roman Empire. If we should look at these kingdoms historically then we will realize that they had control and influence over the same geographical regions except where some of these kingdoms had expanded. The seventh head of the beast therefore will represent the head of the future world kingdom that in essence will replace the Roman Empire. We know from John’s description that the beast (and hence the fourth beast of Daniel) will comprised of all the nations/kingdoms that made up Daniels pervious three beasts and much more. In our day we can witness a beast forming in the shape of the European Union which in essence comprises of the Nations that formed the Roman Empire and the earlier Greek Empires. Note that Israel is part of the EU and that there is a plan for expansion towards the Middle-East, the Mediterranean and North Africa (see the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and the link below) and when this happens it will have incorporated some or all of the nations which formed part of the Media-Persian and Babylonian Empires thereby fulfilling the “image” of the beast that John saw. But as we have learnt from Daniel 7 this beast will eventually be a world kingdom that spans the whole globe. Can we still be in any doubt therefore as to the coming world government?

 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7095657.stm

The Coming One World Government – Part 1 February 23, 2010

Posted by Henry in Eschatology & End Times.
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The events that have been prophesied of, particularly in the book of the Apocalypse (Revelations), which marks the beginning of the end of the age is both terrifying and intriguing for most people. One of the reasons for this is that throughout history many people believed that at least some of these events would occur in their own lifetime and the prospect of this fills one with fear and dread. This is no exception in our day. Imagine having to live under the rule of the anti-christ and at a time when the mark of the beast is being issued? Of course pre-tribulation rapture proponents believe they will not be in the world to witness the rise of the anti-christ. There are also others however who will argue as a way of escape that these events are not likely to occur until years into the future when they are long passed from this world into death. As Christians however, what can we learn from scripture in regards to the signs of the end? Are there any discernable signs today from what we see on the geo-political landscape? In Mark 13:33, after outlining the signs of His coming, Jesus warned us to watch and pray for we know not when the time is. Jesus emphasised this point again in verse 35 through to verse 37 of the passage to demonstrate how crucial it is to watch. Jesus used the illustration of the fig tree in Matt 24:32 to say that when we see the twigs get tender and the leaves come out we know it is summer. If we are watching therefore we should be able to discern some of the signs that precede Jesus’ return, not least the signs leading up to the revelation of the anti-christ and the system of the beast. This article therefore attempts to look at some of the events that are presently happening on the world stage and how they might relate to Bible prophesy concerning the end times.

 As aforementioned the Book of Revelations contains some profound prophesies concerning the events leading up to the end of the age, which the Apostle John received whilst exiled on the island of Patmos. However, many theories abound as to what these prophesies mean and indeed concerning the timing of these prophesies. One theory for example suggests that the events outlined in the book have already occurred. This of course is implausible since Christians are still awaiting the return of Jesus Christ and there are prophesies that are yet to be fulfilled prior to Jesus’ return. As Christians who are watching therefore, what can we discern from the Book of Revelations concerning the end? It would be beyond the scope of this article to look at the whole of Revelations so this article will concentrate on namely Revelations 13 but more precisely verses 15 to18, which says:

 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

 In the preceding verses John started out by relating a vision of a beast rising up out of the sea having seven heads and ten horns.  John also saw another beast which rose up out of the earth having two horns like a lamb but which spoke like a dragon. These beasts however aren’t literal beasts but symbolic beasts and it is not until we go to the book of Revelations 17 and 19 that we learn what these symbols mean. The seven heads of the first beast represents seven kings but also seven hills on which a woman sits but more about that later. The ten horns also represent ten kings who are yet to come and haven’t been given a kingdom yet. Once these kings, who are of one mind, have been given their authority they will give their power to the first beast. The sea that the beast comes up out of represents the nations, kindred and tongues of the world. The beast with the two horns represents a false prophet which exercised the power of the first beast and caused those whose names were not written in the book of Life to worship the first beast, and he was able to achieve this by performing deceitful miracles such as bringing down fire from heaven (see Rev 19:20 for the identity of the second beast).

 The implication of the verses of Revelations 13:15-18 outlined above therefore is that towards the end of the age a universal world power will rise up and its main characteristic is that it will be both a pseudo-religious and political power. It should be clear from the scriptures that this will be a unified world power because the 10 kings for example, who are of one mind formed an alliance with the beast by giving their power to it. We also know that the beast will be a pseudo-religious power because the second beast, the false prophet, caused many to worship the image of the first beast and put to death those that will not worship it. A second implication here is that within this universal world system there will be a system of monetary union (or a world single currency) which will be governed through the issue of the mark of the beast. This implication is clear because none will be able to buy or sell without the mark, name or number of the name of the beast. Money as we know it today will therefore not be of value and unless one accepts the mark one will not be able to function as a member of society. The third implication here therefore is that in conjunction with the one world power of the first beast, there will also be a one world religion which is being promoted by the false prophet through his lying signs and wonders. This single world religion is characterised by the woman who is a prostitute and who rides the beast having the seven heads and ten horns, as alluded to earlier. This woman represents an apostate church that fornicated with the kings of the world and who is drunk with the blood of the saints (see Rev 16).  The false prophet therefore represents this apostate church. Another scripture which lends support here is 2 Thess 2:3 which says the Lord cannot return until there is first a falling away (into religious apostasy) and that the man of sin, the son of perdition is revealed.

 It is interesting to note that there are individuals in our day who are not necessarily Christians but who recognise that there is a certain “force” enveloping the globe even at this present time. This force which is being driven by globalisation they call the New World Order. The NWO got its name from world leaders like Sir Winston Churchill, a former British Prime Minister, who uttered the words in a speech following the end of Word War Two.  Perhaps it could be argued that this force has been with us since the dawning of humanity but in more recent times it has manifested itself in the formation of the League of Nations after the First World War and which later became the United Nations after the Second World War. The stated goals of these organisations were to facilitate peace and global corporation amongst nations to ensure stability and prevent wars such as the two Word Wars. In conjunction with these organisations there was also a global monetary system governed by Bretton Woods which eventually became the IMF and World Bank. Although these organisations seem quite benevolent NWO sceptics see them as morphing into what will eventually become a fascist one world government lead by a tyrannical leader. To this end such sceptics are branded as conspiracy theorists and whose voices are largely drowned out from mainstream media. What should be clear for a Christian however is that the NWO is synonymous with the one world government under the anti-christ’s rule. What then are the evidence which points to a future world government, monetary union and one world religion?

 Watch out for Part 2