Messianic Jews … Who Are They?

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Messianic Jews

IDF Soldiers Warned Against Contact With Messianic Jews.

This absorbing headline revealed the provocative subject of an article printed on the website of israeltoday.com in December, 2013. Earlier that month another article in the same on-line forum was published entitled, Yeshua Campaign Causes Buzz in Southern Israel. That article featured excerpts from a radio interview with a Messianic Jew and Ofer Karadi, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish member of the Shas party of the Knesset. The orthodox Jew screamed into the microphone at his Messianic co-guest: “May his name be cut off forever … Are you (the host interviewer) so degenerate as to allow this impious infidel to even speak on the radio … It is unacceptable to allow these degenerates to speak about these things in our city.”

The caustic condemnation of the Messianic Jewish guest only got worse as the talk-show progressed. Although the Messianic Jew was allowed to speak, it was all too evident that Ofer Karadi not only loathed the audacity of the Messianic Jew and the interviewer for allowing this impious infidel to be on the talk-show, but also despised the Messianic Jew himself. The program began by the radio host citing a recent incident in which an Israeli IDF general had called a special meeting with his battalion after the general had observed a few signs along a highway that referenced Yeshua (Jesus). During this meeting, the general proceeded to explain to the soldiers about, “Messianic Jews and what they believe about Yeshua.” Moreover, it was apparent that this particular IDF general was, at the very least, tolerant of Messianic Jews and perhaps actually sympathetic toward them.

Not necessarily so with Israel’s Ministry of Defense and high-ranking IDF authorities which, mostly for political reasons to appease the staunchly “anti-missionary” Orthodox Jews, have issued a formal warning that all soldiers staying in Jerusalem through the Sabbath are not allowed to have any contact with members of this (Messianic) “sect of Jews” who preach faith in Yeshua. But it was also a throw-back to an IDF policy that began years ago, in which Messianic Jews enlisted in the Israeli military were considered to be a (potential) security risk. Though not all Messianic Jews were dismissed from the IDF, those assigned to elite or sensitive units were required to make a decision … serve Messiah or serve in the IDF.

Many years ago, during the enforcement of this policy, a Jewish friend of mine … now a Christian pastor who currently lives in Israel experienced this same dilemma. He rose to the rank of Major in the IDF specializing in military grid communications and logistics. When his superiors learned that he was Messianic they told him that his service in the IDF was a, “conflict of interest.” He was given a choice to fulfil his duty to Israel OR to Yeshua, but not both at the same time.

To further analyze and illustrate this amazing ambivalence toward Messianic Jews in Israel (and the world at large), a Messianic Jewish Sabra (native-born Israeli), who is now an IDF Air Force sergeant, asked his commanding officer if he could use a New Testament along-side of the (required) Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) while pledging his personal and military induction allegiance to the State of Israel. Without hesitation, his commander replied, “Yes you may.” Consequently, this young soldier became part of the IDF, along with scores of Messianic Jews currently serving in the Israeli military.

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IDF Recruits After Oath of Allegiance

Generally speaking, Jews belonging to the IDF who profess faith in Messiah Jesus are no longer singled out like they once were. To the contrary, they seem to be highly respected by commanding officers, to the extent of becoming officers in every branch of the IDF … even in Israeli Military Intelligence units, which requires high security clearance.

Why then did the Israeli Defense Ministry publicly issue orders to soldiers stationed in Jerusalem not to interact with fellow soldiers who were known Messianic Jews? As indicated earlier, it has everything to do with being politically correct, specifically to placate the Orthodox Jews, most of whom ironically refuse to serve in the military.

*On a side note, there is an alarming increase in the United States military to identify and isolate men and women who profess faith in Christ. Even military chaplains have been severely restricted in what they can say or do with regard to anything relating to Jesus Christ, including the very mention of his name!

Such Statistical Diversity!

The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is a microcosm of all Jews in Israel. In a nation with roughly eight million citizens of whom some two millions are Arabs, we find an incredible mixture of Muslims, Christians, and mostly Jews who are either secular (including atheists) or religious. But the practice of Judaism encompasses a wide spectrum that includes Liberal, Reformed, Conservative, Orthodox, and ultra-Orthodox, in that order from (the) left to (the) right. It is a truly perplexing phenomenon, one that can and will someday be providentially resolved by God himself directly through his Son, Messiah Jesus. A divine solution that began two thousand years ago when Jesus Christ came as the chosen, “…Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). And this same Messiah Jesus, as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah and King of all kings “…will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:11).

As much as I love Israel, the Jews, and my Christian heritage from the Old Covenant, I am profoundly saddened that God’s chosen people (selected to bring the light of God’s salvation to all nations through God’s Messiah) still don’t recognize that the New Covenant promised by God through his prophets has already arrived … when Messiah Jesus died and arose from the dead in the first century (See Jeremiah 31:31-34).

“After supper he took another cup of wine and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you” (Luke 22:20).

Then as the Jewish Apostle Paul said: “What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried (are still trying) so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock (Messiah Jesus) in their path” (Romans 9:30-32).

But some Jews have discovered that Jesus is alive! That he is who he said he is: Messiah, the Son of God and God the Son. Though still relatively small in numbers, this most astonishing and intriguing group are the Jewish Christians or perhaps better described as Christian Jews … known today by the term Messianic Jews. Why is this so remarkable? Because in a country that is historically known for its spiritual or religious traditions, nearly two-thirds of Israelis (based on a poll) classified themselves as either non-religious or agnostic or even atheists (eight percent). Though polls are often an oversimplification of what is taking place on any given subject at any given time, they do represent a fairly accurate cross-section of the population.

Thus, these surprising statistics make Israel less “religious” than Japan (62%), Germany (59%) and South Korea (55%); and almost identical to the United Kingdom’s 66% non-religious population. However, according to Rabbi David Golinkin, Professor of Jewish Law at the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, many Israeli Jews maintain some form of traditional Judaism (undoubtedly referring to periodic observance of Sabbath and certain festival days, such as Passover). Although not nearly as devoted to Judaism as the Orthodox or Conservative, they would not envision themselves to be non-religious.

If such a standard is used instead of a poll that merely asks whether a person is religious or non-religious, then the statistics would show that about 56% of Israelis considered themselves to be (at least technically) religious, slightly over half. Of this conscientious half, Orthodox Jews constitute 15%, ultra-Orthodox 7%, and 34% are traditional (those who observe Judaism to some degree or another).

Worldwide there are an estimated one million Messianic Jews, with 200,000 living in the United States. These one million Jews who embrace Yeshua (Jesus) as the Messiah, represent 7% of the world population of 14,218,800 Jews. However, the proportion is much less in Israel, with an estimated 15,000 Messianic Jews—according to the website, Maoz.Israel. This represents only .002% of the 6,300,000 Jews in Israel! Or one of every 420 Jews in the land, contrasted to one of every fourteen Jews worldwide.

But I’m not surprised at either figure, particularly the .002% in Israel, where it’s nothing short of amazing that there are even a hundred Messianic Jews. I say this in the context of the animosity held by the greater majority of Jews, both secular and religious, against Christianity, particularly those who survived World War II and moved to Israel. This originates primarily from the horrific massacre of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust, perpetrated by a Nazi fascist regime that many Jews associated with Christianity. In fact, one reason there are so many Jewish agnostics today is because of what happened to their parents and grandparents in the Holocaust. There are too many painfully unanswered questions for them, not the least of which is their (erroneous, but nevertheless overwhelming) belief that Nazi Germany was fundamentally a “Christian nation.”

True Christians versus False Christianity

As explained at length in the previous two-part Eye of Prophecy articles (principally on the subject of whether Islam is a religion of peace) the horror of the Crusades and Inquisitions hundreds of years earlier still have an enormous impact on the Jewish psyche. Here is an excerpt from last week’s article:

Time does not permit an in-depth analysis (indeed, books have been written on this subject), but the historical evidence is quite strong: First, the vast majority of these Crusaders were acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and French and English Kings who were, for the most part, subject to the Pope. These crusades in no way, shape, or form represented the essence of Jesus Christ or Scripture. Which is to spread the Good News of salvation to all mankind, with the crystal clear understanding that this is not done through violence or even by duress. Just the opposite: As any kind, caring parent wants their child to respond to their love with love and appreciation from the child (not out of threat or even obligation), so does our great God and Messiah Jesus give us the same choice. Thus, it’s a matter of the heart, not of the sword. An issue of gratitude, not attitude (brashness and arrogance that leads to compulsive compliance).

It’s so very sadly true that the Crusaders were hell-bent to retake Israel from the Muslims and restore what they perceived as the Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem. They did so under the mantle of a romantic, but more-so mushy misguided mission that this must be done by conquest (Crusade). In fact, Roman Catholicism is a doctrinal distortion of true Christianity, disguised in the form of an institutional hierarchy that attempted to replace and replicate the once mighty Roman Empire, with the Holy Roman Empire. An empire that encompasses the Holy City of Jerusalem, one that must dominate both the Islamic kingdom and the Jewish remnant left over from the Roman induced Diaspora of the Jews.

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Again, we can see the obvious dissimilarity between real Christianity (unforced believing and receiving Jesus as personal Savior … resulting in a change of the human heart) and compulsory adherence to a religious system that required physical baptism for membership, then maintenance of right-standing in the church by the keeping of sacraments and performance of good works. Which was and still is in complete contrast to Biblical redemption and the means of that salvation summarized succinctly by the following passage:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The overriding and overwhelming theme of the entire Bible is the coming of Messiah to redeem the world. Jesus Christ expressly fulfilled hundreds of Messianic prophecies, and would indeed sacrifice his very life to give all who believe in him life everlasting.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12). So our Creator gave us life, then he gave us life again.

And then to put this even more in the context of this week’s article, a quote from Part I of these articles entitled, A Religion of Peace?

Is Islam a religion? Of course it is: No less than Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Shintoism, or cultic sects like Mormonism that claim some (corrupt) form of Christianity … which is NOT, I repeat NOT, a religion. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word Christianity but will do so for the sake of identifiable terminology, because it bears this name in an attempt to classify or include it as one of the world religions. Christian … yes, as that expression clearly conveys one’s identity in Christ … a Christ-one.

But that doesn’t make believers in Jesus Christ religious or Christianity, a religion. Those redeemed by Jesus Christ do not belong to an ism. Rather, we belong to a Person. Actually three Persons in One: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can I get an AMEN on that!

Christianity & the Jews

Whether diehard secular or avowed religious or simply traditional, Jews throughout Israel and the world will tell you that their strong aversion to the Christian faith and, therefore, Jesus as Messiah, relates directly to what they perceive as Christianity induced persecution against the Jews dating back to the Crusades. But even further for some: Going all the way back to the formation of the Roman Catholic Church, a direct outgrowth of the Roman Emperor Constantine declaring Christianity the State Religion of the Roman Empire. Then, subsequently, the persecution of Jews throughout the Roman Empire and later Europe that began with the insidious and perverted concept that the Roman Catholic Church had replaced Israel in all of the Biblical prophecies pertaining to restoration of the Jews to the Promised Land and to their Savior—both individually and nationally, literally and spiritually. This, as many of you know, is called Replacement Theology. And it is straight from the gates of hell.

The roughly 20% of Jews who are Orthodox observers of Judaism, many of whom are Rabbis, would reject Jesus as Messiah, no matter what happened to their ancestors at the hands of misguided members of Roman Catholicism and even some Protestants (such as the tragic way in which Martin Luther turned on the Jews late in his life). To them, the Christian faith is nothing more than a deviant sect of Judaism. Although the Jewish Temple was demolished in 70 AD and the Jewish sacrifices were terminated, Judaism has adapted by relying on the Mosaic Law to (hopefully) attain a right standing with God; but absent the God-ordained sacrificial shedding of blood for forgiveness of sins. Please, I would encourage you to read the three-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled: Where is the Temple? (Published 11-29, 12-6, & 12-13-14).

Whereas, the roughly 80% of all Jews who are not Orthodox will invariably cite the aforementioned world events (Romanized Christianity, Crusades, Inquisitions, Holocaust) as more than reason enough to reject the historical Jesus as the real Son of God Messiah. In fact, many non-observant and even some observant Jews don’t know that Jesus was a Jew. They perceive him as the founder of Christianity … a gentile religion.

How incredibly ironic!

Jonathan Bernis, a former Rabbi and now a Messianic Jew, head of Jewish Voice Ministries headquartered in my neck of the woods (Phoenix, AZ) tells the story of growing up in an Orthodox Jewish family. He, too, thought Jesus was a gentile, and that Christ was his last name! Not understanding whatsoever that Jesus is the Christ, (Jesus Christ) which is the same thing as saying (in Hebrew) that he is Yeshua haMashiach. Christ and Messiah mean the same thing … anointed or chosen one. They are titles, not surnames!

So Exactly What and Who is a Messianic Jew?

If you didn’t know before, you obviously know by now: A Messianic Jew is a Jew by physical birth who has believed and received Jesus as God’s prophesied Messiah … Savior of both Jew and Gentile. That is the first and foremost reason why they are called Messianic Jews.

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As quoted from the Maoz.Israel website home page, Messianic Jews in Israel:

Come from various backgrounds and walks of life. The majority are still immigrants—many from the former Soviet Union and North and South America, with a growing number of Sabra (native-born in Israel) Jews—individuals and entire families, young and old, Sephardic and Ashkenazi.

Because of faith in the Bible (meaning both Old and New Testaments) and the words of Yeshua, the Messianic Jews in Israel are outstanding citizens. Israel Messianic Jews pay taxes, serve in the IDF, are honest business owners and valuable employees.

We embrace the Feasts of the Lord and other Biblical appointed times and celebrate them together. We love to fellowship together, pray together and share our lives with one another as we follow the Lord with the same passion that our ancestors in the Bible did.

And despite the ongoing persecution of Messianic believers in Israel, the body of Messiah is growing as more and more Israelis are accepting Yeshua as their Messiah and Savior.

We all look for the day to see the promise of God fulfilled in His Holy Land—that all Israel shall be saved.

During my visit to Israel in 2006 (along with one of my sisters), I experienced what you just read, firsthand. On a Saturday Sabbath, we attended a congregation of believers in Yeshua, called Grace and Truth. Following the typical pattern of singing worship songs (a couple of them brought tears to my eyes), the message was delivered in Hebrew for the Jews in attendance who speak this ancient language all through Israel. That’s an astounding story by itself … the miraculous restoration of a virtually dead language. But with God nothing is impossible. Even in this fairly small congregation, the message was translated simultaneously on one side of the sanctuary in English, and the other side in Russian! And this is the way of it week after week. It was simply amazing.

For those out there who may have a problem with a Saturday service (Sabbath) versus Sunday, or who question whether any believer, Jew or Gentile, should observe certain Jewish festivals (Passover, Feast of Tabernacles), I can on the authority of Scripture tell you conclusively: There is no problem whatsoever with keeping these Jewish traditions. Jesus did! After Jesus returned to heaven, his apostles continued to attend (and teach) in the synagogues (on the Sabbath).

As long as we fully understand that salvation comes by faith in the finished work of Messiah Jesus, not by keeping the Mosaic Law or Jewish (or any) rituals; what does it matter how we celebrate the Lord’s Day or traditions like the Jewish New Year or the more Gentile custom of Christmas. Or if we get together in worship and fellowship on Saturday or Sunday? Or what we eat or don’t eat and drink? (See Romans 14).

How strange that the term Messianic Jew was even coined? Or that today’s Christian Jews or Jewish Christians would even be referred to by that label. Why! Because for the first few decades after Christ ascended to heaven, nearly all of the early Christians were Jews! They weren’t called Messianic Jews. If a person believed in Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, it was pretty much understood that he or she was a Jew.

At first the group designation assigned to the early believers was, The Way. Most likely after Jesus astounding assertion that he alone was, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). Not until years later were they called Christians at Antioch in Syria. Still, the vast majority were Jews. In that regard, we’re returning full circle to Jews all over the world coming (back) to Messiah, like many of their first century ancestors began their new faith in the Jewish Savior—whose sacrificial death on the cross and mighty resurrection saves Gentiles who believe in him as well as Jews. In that respect, nothing has changed. As it was in the 1st century beginning of the church, so is it today … Jews are once again turning to Messiah Jesus as they did 2000 years ago. Scripture makes it plainly clear: This is God’s plan for the Jewish race!

Opposition from the Religious, Especially the Orthodox

Something else hasn’t changed. Opposition to Jesus and to early Christians came almost exclusively from the most religious of the Jews—Pharisees, Rabbis, Priests. And this was the only group that Jesus indicted to the point of condemnation with such observations as: “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. Blind guides!” (Matthew 23:23-24). In another setting, Jesus reprimanded the religious leaders as the “blind leading the blind.”

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And yet thousands upon thousands of common-folk Jews followed Jesus during his journeys through Israel. Within a few decades, however, the greater number of Christians in the Roman Empire were not found in Israel, much like Messianic Jews in contemporary times.

Which is why the ultra-Orthodox Jew referenced in the beginning of this article will vigorously condemn a Christian Jew; whereas an IDF general and the majority of less observant Jews have no problems with Messianic Jews in Israel or anywhere in the world. Which also explains why a Jew who wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Christians or their Jesus can and did find the incredible salvation and forgiveness offered by the true Messiah. Listen to the testimony of Mottel Baleson who is now a messianic preacher in New Jersey!

“Growing up, we always understood that we had our Bible and the Gentiles had their Bible—the New Testament—and that they were two completely separate books.”

As a college student he began to read all of the Scriptures but, as he points out, under the impression that the New Testament, “…was going to be a handbook on how to persecute the Jews. And yet, when I opened it, I read a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”

When he opened the New Testament to the genealogy of Jesus, who was written as being the son of David, the son of Abraham, he was astonished to realize that Jesus was every much a Jew as King David and the father of Jews, Abraham. He went on to say that, “This is the One (Jesus) who was promised in our Bible in the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It is astonishing if you were to just read that chapter … you would say, ‘Oh, this is some Christian Bible. This is Jesus’ What you realize, though, is that it is in the middle of our Bible—our Jewish Bible.”

Despite the enormous evidence that Jesus was the Messiah (incredible teachings of and from God, spectacular miracles, and resurrection from the dead), the religious Jews persuaded their adherents and the Roman governor to crucify him. Little did they know that this was God’s magnificent purpose for the salvation of not only the Jews, but also the Gentiles?

And this plan conceived by our Creator from the beginning of time is still working today in mysteriously effective ways that can only be described as supernatural divine sovereignty. Beginning with the rebirth of Israel and rapid return of Jews to the Promised Land; the astounding Six-day war of 1967 that restored Jerusalem as the Holy Capital of the Holy Land; the simultaneous spiritual awakening within the hearts of Jews everywhere (even in Israel) that has led to thousands of Messianic congregations and dozens of Jewish Messianic Ministries the world over.

Read with me these extraordinary words from the former Jewish Pharisee Saul who had a phenomenal life-changing encounter with the risen Messiah. Jesus then changed Saul’s name to Paul and redirected his passion for the Mosaic Law to salvation and eternal life possible only through the Son of God:

“…The longing of my heart and my prayer to God is for the people of Israel to be saved. I know what enthusiasm they have for God, but it is misdirected zeal. For they don’t understand God’s way of making people right with himself. Refusing to accept God’s way, they cling to their own way of getting right with God by trying to keep the law. For Christ has already accomplished the purpose for which the law was given. As a result, all who believe in him are made right with God” (Romans 10:1-4).

Things to Ponder

In the very same scene when Jesus blasted the Jewish religious leaders, he concluded by uttering one of the most heartbreaking announcements ever spoken to and for the people of Israel. Listen to these impassioned words: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets … How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me … For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

Whether secular or religious, whether traditional or non-traditional, the day will come when Jews in Israel and all over the earth will shout these same words. First to cry out to God and his Messiah to save them from complete destruction (Armageddon); then to acknowledge that Jesus, after all is said and done, is undeniably God’s chosen Messiah.

They will rejoice, but first they will, “…look on me (Yeshua) whom they have pierced and mourn for him as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him as for a firstborn son who has died” (Zechariah 12:10).

There is no question whatsoever: We all are complicit in the crucifixion of Messiah Jesus. It could be said that anyone of us and all of us held the hammer that drove the nails into his hands and feet.

Messianic Jewish Cross

But above all, it will be God’s chosen people who will anguish deeply over what their ancestors did centuries ago. Yet after the mourning, with open arms and hearts they will agree with King David when he wrote, “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in the place of honor at my right hand until I humble your enemies, making them a footstool under your feet’” (Psalms 110:1).

They will recognize conclusively that The Lord (God the Father) is speaking to David’s Lord (God the Son, Messiah). They will then say exactly what Jesus said they would say: Baruch haba, beshem Adonai. “Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord.”

Until such time, let’s continue to: Sha’alu Shalom, Yerushalayim. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalms 122:6).

For to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, is to plead expectantly for the soon return of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

A Religion of Peace? (Part II)

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Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Let’s begin this week’s post with excerpts from a recent article written by Uzay Bulut, a journalist based in Ankara, Turkey, who was born and raised a Muslim.

“The west seems to have lost the capacity and the will to criticize political Islam … So, their view seems to go, if you criticize Islamism, you are an intolerant, hard-hearted ‘racist’ or ‘bigot’ and your remarks are obviously ‘hate speech.’”

He goes on to say, “It seems painful for many intellectuals in the West to understand or accept that a religious ideology which permits enslaving girls, beating ‘disobedient’ wives or chopping off the heads of infidels can exist. They come up with supposed explanations for these acts, including poverty, ‘American imperialism,’ or mental illness … Poverty, anger, or alienation do not cause people to behead or crucify non-Muslims; cite relevant verses of their holy book as a justification, and brag about and film what they do. These leaders and intellectuals seem wrongfully to associate political Islam with ‘being oppressed.’ Political Islam, however, is not the ideology of the oppressed. It is an ideology that oppresses. It brings about the very sufferings to which these intellectuals object…”

In last week’s and this week’s Eye of Prophecy articles, we’re expanding what Uzay Bulut calls political Islam by examining and establishing the religious correlation between mainstream Islam—middle-of-the-road moderate Muslims—and the more radical among them. Then by guilt through association, the observable connection between political and religious Islam and Muslims. Indeed, it is virtually impossible to separate the two; because the Koran doesn’t distinguish between Islamic political and religious decrees or demands. Although the number of Islamic militants (including the actual terrorists among them) is relatively small, the prevailing belief of Muslims the world over is that the Koran not only encourages submission to Islam by force if necessary, but actually demands it.

The practical painful result of this religious government can vividly be seen in the Middle East through brutal enforcement of Islam by terrorist atrocities; and to a lesser (in terms of the level of violence) but nevertheless large-scale implementation of Sharia law by national governments, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria. And Turkey is becoming more and more Islamic in its daily administration of national affairs.

Only Messiah Jesus can and will one day establish an absolutely Divine Government on this earth, one that will bring universal peace and prosperity. Indeed, he will administer the Kingdom of God on the earth, and the entire world will be the better for it.

Read with me the inspiring prophecy from Isaiah: “The government will rest on his shoulders … His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

This magnificent Kingdom will be in its purest form a Divine Monarchy, based on God’s truth and justice. But until that time, Jesus, himself, recognized the necessary distinction between governmental administration and personal belief and conduct; between man’s individual interaction with God and his collaboration with the lawmakers and law enforcers of the land, when he said, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Mark 12:14, NASB).

This was an amazing response (one of many) given by Christ. The implications include acknowledgment that God is ultimately in control, but that he allows and even ordains that men shall be governed by higher authorities. With the strong inference that (given the fallibility of man) governments and administrative authorities cannot successfully legislate morality or spirituality, nor should they try. Meaning the Ten Commandments, as an illustrative example, came directly from God, not from a king or human ruler or government official or even a constitution. A constitution can and should reflect divine values from the true and living God of the Bible and enforce the legislative laws of the land; but a constitutional government of any kind (monarchy, parliamentary, democratic or representative republic) should not dictate its own (dictatorial) scruples, whether religious or secular, whether godly or ungodly. That belongs to the individual, and that person’s relationship (or lack thereof) with Almighty God.

Scripture is fundamentally clear that it is impossible for man (without God’s direct and personal authority through Messiah Jesus) to establish and execute a governmental system built on and from a religion, which is exactly what the Roman Catholic Church and the Islamic Caliphates have attempted to do down through the ages, often with tragic results. Even the Mosaic and Levitical laws (decrees, regulations, commandments) handed down by God to the Israelites were designed for two purposes: (1) A God-like high standard of excellence for human interaction, but also (2) to demonstrate to the Jews and all of mankind that they could not effectively keep God’s laws, either individually or nationally. That only Jesus Christ perfectly fulfilled the law and, thus, qualified as God’s divine sacrificial offering for the sins of every man, woman, and child.

Likewise, with an irreligious, agnostic world view that produces autocratic state controlled governments such as Communism or Fascism that has generated exponentially more wide-spread death and destruction. A Republic is the best form of a man-made government, as it allows representation of the people to the government and government to the people. But even a republic will pale in comparison to a Divine Monarchy administered by a benevolent King. A King who is the King of all kings, Messiah Jesus.

*See Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God, published 1-17-15 under the category of The Rapture.

Plainly Put: Islam Is Not Peaceful

To dismiss out-of-hand the reasonable conclusion that Islam is not a religion of peace or to rationalize that Islamic terrorism is only (simply) a twisting of the Koran, displays an obvious ignorance of what the Koran commands its followers to do. Which is to kill infidels who refuse to convert and/or severely discipline fellow Muslims who fail to practice Islam (as interpreted by whatever sect they belong to, Sunni or Shi’ite) as it should be practiced. Moreover, the latest effort to try to explain why Muslim militants are or become terrorists, is to hypothesize that (in addition to the reasons cited by Usay Bulut) they are no different from any other religious fanatics who have used violence to achieve their objectives. Granted, the degree of violence is virtually the same, but not the foundational and motivational conviction that generates this belligerence. That is where we must make the distinction.

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One of many incidents and photographs of Muslim atrocities

If anyone attempts to, for example, compare the Crusades with Muslim terrorism in order to establish a position of moral equivalency between the two, then it’s imperative that they first contrast the Crusaders with true Biblical Christianity. This was done at some length in last week’s Part I article in general terms, but with a specific historical example of the Israelites conquest of the land of Canaan … the Land of Promise given to them by the true and living God.

Then an equally insightful comparison between Muslim extremists and the doctrinal decrees of the Koran that unmistakably demonstrate a causal connection, i.e. Islamic creed carried out in gory detail by militants who view themselves as mainstream Muslims … enforcing the will of Allah on all who are not ready or don’t want to submit to the regulations and requirements of Islam and the Koran. And what can a so-called moderate Muslim say or do in response to such cruel enforcement? The gloomy conclusion is … not much. Fortunately, there are a handful of Muslims who have spoken out boldly against Islamic violence. Unfortunately, they are few and far between. Because to unduly criticize the implementation of Sharia law (by force or otherwise) is to confront the Koran itself, which is tantamount to challenging their god Allah.

The following is an excerpt from last week’s article to disprove the supposition of a moral equivalency between (for example) the Biblical conquest of Canaan and Islam’s Koranic instructions to summarily subjugate the world:

The contextual, historical comparison that needs to be made between God’s instructions to the Israelites to vanquish some of the original tribes of Canaan and the commands from the god of Islam found in the Koran is this: The Old Testament provides an account of a particular historical episode at a specific time in Israel’s (beginning) history, for a precise duration of time, for a special purpose. The Israelites were to be the instrument of God’s judgment on a very perverse people while taking over a relatively small portion of the earth (all of which belongs to God in the first place) to live and serve God. Whereas, the Koran’s instructions to all Muslims is a perpetual edict (to subjugate Christians and Jews and kill them if they don’t submit) that has no historical parameters, no national boundaries (world-wide), and is to continue indefinitely. It is, in effect, an unlimited Koranic license to suppress and kill infidels, i.e. all who refuse to become Muslims. There is a world of difference between these antithetical models.

As stated adeptly by Raymond Ibrahim in the March, 2015 edition of the (Zola) Levitt Letter: “The Old Testament is clearly describing historic episodes; whereas the Koran, while also developed within a historical context, uses generic, open-ended language that transcends time and incites believers to attack and slay unbelievers today no less than yesterday.”

Second Historical Event

The three Crusade campaigns in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries of so-called Christians against primarily Muslim controlled Jerusalem and the Holy Land that also included killing of Jews along the way, have caused great consternation with both Jews and Muslims even in modern times. Recently the Crusades have been cited by Muslim clerics, by Christian and Jewish liberals, and even by heads of state (including President Obama) as a morally equivalent example of extremist’s behavior in the name of religion.

Time does not permit an in-depth analysis (indeed, books have been written on this subject), but the historical evidence is quite strong: First, the vast majority of these Crusaders were acting on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, the Pope, and French and English Kings who were, for the most part, subject to the Pope. These crusades in no way, shape, or form represented the essence of Jesus Christ or Scripture. Which is to spread the Good News of salvation to all mankind, with the crystal clear understanding that this is not done through violence or even by duress. Just the opposite: As any kind, caring parent wants their child to respond to their love with love and appreciation from the child (not out of threat or even obligation), so does our great God and Messiah Jesus give us the same choice. Thus, it’s a matter of the heart, not of the sword. An issue of gratitude, not attitude (brashness and arrogance that leads to compulsive compliance).

It’s so very sadly true that the Crusaders were hell-bent to retake Israel from the Muslims and restore what they perceived as the Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem. They did so under the mantle of a romantic, but more-so mushy misguided mission that this must be done by conquest (Crusade). In fact, Roman Catholicism is a doctrinal distortion of true Christianity, disguised in the form of an institutional hierarchy that attempted to replace and replicate the once mighty Roman Empire, with the Holy Roman Empire. An empire that encompasses the Holy City of Jerusalem, one that must dominate both the Islamic kingdom and the Jewish remnant left over from the Roman induced Diaspora of the Jews.

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Depiction of Crusaders

For a more in-depth examination of the history of the Holy See, I would encourage you to read the six-part Eye of Prophecy series entitled, The Woman and the Beast, published 10-12-13 through 11-16-13, under the category of Antichrist. Then, Wiles of the Woman, published 4-5-14, under category of Current Events.

The Crusader’s might makes right mentality is not much different from modern-day Muslim militants or Islamic national governments such as Iran. In that respect, the proponents of religious moral equivalency are somewhat accurate. But also with a huge difference: Conversion by force and death for noncompliance is mandated by the Koran; thus, the greater number of Muslims the world over tacitly sanction the inhumane methods employed by Muslim terrorists, even though this “silent majority” would not actually participate in these killings and violence. Nevertheless, they are covertly complicit by their reticence and overtly guilty by association when, for example, thousands danced in the streets after the terrorists crashed hijacked planes into the twin towers and the Pentagon on 9/11.

Third Historical Event

The Inquisitions. Though not against Muslims, the torture and murder of Jews and later Christians who rejected the institutional authority of the Roman Catholic Church (whose erroneous doctrines of salvation through good works and sacraments are no different from Islam’s rituals of good deeds to please Allah) were every bit as malicious as today’s Islamic terrorists. Pure and simple: what the Roman Catholic hierarchy did to Jews and Christian dissenters through the horrors of the Inquisitions, decades before the Protestant reformation, was flat-out wrong … motivated by unquestioned obedience to the self-proclaimed universal authority of the Roman Catholic Church. Personal salvation by individual faith in the finished work of Christ was considered to be heretical substitution for sacraments and Catholic catechism, and a blasphemous insult against the institutional order of this church … sometimes even treason against the State.

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Depiction of Spanish Inquisition

Again, we can see the obvious dissimilarity between real Christianity (unforced believing and receiving Jesus as personal Savior … resulting in a change of the human heart) and compulsory adherence to a religious system that required physical baptism for membership, then maintenance of right-standing in the church by the keeping of sacraments and performance of good works. Which was and still is in complete contrast to Biblical redemption and the means of that salvation summarized succinctly by the following passage:

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Ephesians 2:8-9).

The Triune God of the Bible has not deviated one iota from his original creative gift of free will to mankind … the liberty to choose God’s way or man’s way. As it was with our ancestors Adam and Eve in the garden, so it is to this day. Which is summarized by God’s instructions to the Israelites (and to all of humanity) through Moses: “Today, I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

The overriding and overwhelming theme of the entire Bible is the coming of Messiah to redeem the world. Jesus Christ expressly fulfilled hundreds of Messianic prophecies, and would indeed sacrifice his very life to give all who believe in him life everlasting.

“And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (I John 5:11-12). So our Creator gave us life, then he gave us life again.

When we choose Jesus, we choose everlasting life. But, it’s our choice. No one can or will choose for us. Not so with Islam … administered through the callous custom of forced submission on pain of physical death and dismemberment, as well as the harsh treatment of fellow-Muslims including wives and children within both Sunni and Shi’ite Islamic sects.

Summary

Nowhere does the Bible demand or suggest that Christ followers pursue a campaign of coercive conversion against unbelievers. Certainly not violence … not even verbal or written intimidation. In fact, it is just the opposite. We who have been given so great a salvation by our Redeemer are to reach out in consideration and compassion to those who have never personally experienced the love and forgiveness of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ. Certainly, we Christians are not perfect … not even close. Nor are we better than unbelievers … not at all. But we are better off! Only because of our sure destiny of everlasting life in heaven.

Thus, the Crusades and Inquisitions were disastrous distortions of Christian conduct and callous misrepresentations of God’s Word. And those who wish to cite these historical deviations as equivalent examples of militant Islam do not understand true Christianity and/or the historical facts of exactly who or what was responsible for these calamitous episodes of Christendom. Nor, conversely, do they comprehend that the fanaticism of Muslim radicals is not an aberration of Islam. Because the Muslim god, Allah, through the Koran, explicitly commands Muslims to maim and kill all infidels, which Mohammed specifically identified as Jews and Christians … also Muslims who beg to differ or dare to dispute the violent tactics of Muhammad and subsequent generations of his followers.

Anyone with any objectivity about these issues can see that the Koran and Hadith (collection and commentary on Muhammed’s sayings), provide the fuel that ignites the fires of every terrorist group and nation. As just one example of many: The so-called moderate Palestinian Authority of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) headed by their “tolerant” President, Mahmoud Abbas, celebrate and glorify the Palestinians who bomb, beat, stab, shoot, and run over innocent Israelis. If the killing of Jews results in death of the Palestinian “martyr” the families are given monthly stipends to compensate them for the “honorable and glorious death” of their son or daughter. Often their picture is posted throughout the West Bank or Gaza Strip as a Palestinian hero. After all, the death of a Jew or Christian is not only condoned, but actually directed by Islam’s “holy book,” the Koran.

Which begs the question: Is there really any such thing as a moderate Muslim? Some say, no, perhaps because of the reasons provided in this article and others like it. Personally, I still say, yes—there are moderate Muslims; which, however, is giving qualified benefit of the doubt because most Muslims do not actively take part in murder and mayhem. Thus, they are moderating their belief in Islamic world conquest to the extent that they are content with their extremist brethren to do the dirty work. There are those who might even refuse, if pressed into service on the pain of death, to take part in murder of a Jew or Christian or a fellow Muslim belonging to a different sect, simply because down deep they knew it would be wrong.

What then can or should we do about Muslim terrorism? Though a loaded question, the truly Christian answer is fairly simple: Individually, we are to love each and every Muslim and pray for their salvation, no more or less than Jews, Europeans, Russians, North & South Americans, Africans, and our next door neighbor. As a nation, however, we must use whatever means necessary to stop terrorists in their tracks. This includes terrorist cells like Hamas and ISIS, as well as entire nations that support and fund terrorism. Stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount, but so is halting their export of terrorism in the Middle East, through proxies like Syria, Lebanon, and recently the Houthi in Yemen.

Scripture is profoundly lucid that an individual and a nation has the right to protect themselves reactively or even sometimes proactively against an enemy sworn to kill them. All the while turning the other cheek to those who insult us BECAUSE OF OUR FAITH IN AND TESTIMONY FOR JESUS CHRIST.

Do you see the difference?

We do not have God’s stated or implied permission to employ force in order to persuade unbelievers (no matter what their belief or lifestyle) to convert to Christianity or to otherwise give up their religion or agnosticism or decadent life. That’s between them and God … always has been, always will be. But we are commissioned to tell and show others the magnificent truth of the Gospel … salvation through believing and receiving God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. With understanding that only the Lord can radically change the human heart, not any religion and certainly not the radicals (or even moderates) of that religion.

Unless the heart is changed and freed from the chains and penalty of sin that imprisons us, there can be no (real and lasting) external transformation of a person’s behavior. Faith without works is ineffective and questionable at best. But works without faith (in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) is a one-way ticket to hell and everlasting separation from God.

If God, himself, gives every person the inherent right to voluntarily choose Jesus Christ as their personal Savior; thereby, choosing eternal life over eternal death, how can anyone, especially true Christians, think or do otherwise? Compulsory Christianity is not Christian in form or substance whatsoever. We preach, we teach, we give, we pray, we love because Jesus first loved us … all this because we are grateful for our salvation. And, because we still live in these earthly bodies, we all too often make mistakes, sin, and fail our Lord. But he still cares deeply. He still loves unconditionally. So we love him back, pick ourselves up, and start helping others some more.

The Great Commission Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

On the other hand, coerced, bullied, and forced submission to Islam is a basic tenet of the Muslim belief, and is practiced by Muslims, both moderate and militant the world over. In the recent brutal killings in Kenya, the Islamic terrorists asked their victims: Are you Muslim or Christian? What answer do you think led to their deaths?

Which is the way of war and which is the way of peace?

Things to Ponder

The recent P5 + 1 deal with Iran is not much different from a treaty, which God warned the Israelites not to make with certain surrounding nations, whose religious and cultural practices were an abomination to God. A treaty could lead to compromises that would destroy ancient Israel from within and without. No different than in today’s world; except it’s the United States and other notable nations striking perilous agreements with rogue nations that can mean potential annihilation of Israel through an Iranian nuclear strike. And doing so without regard for Israel’s concerns for a “much better deal,” or no deal at all, or the ultimate recourse … a preemptive military strike against Iran.

“But there is no peace for the wicked, says the Lord” (Isaiah 48:22).

According to the Prophet Zechariah, the day is soon coming when, “Many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord of Heaven’s Armies and to ask for his blessing” (Zechariah 8:22). When the President of the United States and many Democrats snubbed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to the US Congress in early March, including his warnings of a nuclear-armed Iran, it was evident that they were not seeking God’s providential blessing by listening to and blessing (supporting) Israel.

But the day will come when, “men from different nations and languages will clutch at the sleeve of one Jew. And they will say, ‘Please let us walk with you, for we have heard that God is with you’” (Zechariah 8:23).

But the greatest of all hope, the most enduring peace is possible only when the Prince of Peace returns.

Listed to Jesus’s splendid promise to believers in him: “I am leaving with you a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. Remember what I told you: I am going away, but I will come back to you again… (John 14:27-28).

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“Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

A Religion of Peace? (Part I)

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Islam, A Religion of Peace?

War and Peace. Terrorism and tranquility. Who among us does not long for and would not choose the latter over the former? In the 20th and 21st centuries, our grandparent’s and parent’s generations, our generation and our children’s and grandchildren’s generation have experienced death or devastation in some form or another, to some degree or another. World War I, World War II, the Korean Conflict, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the 9/11 induced Afghanistan and Iraqi Wars. And the seemingly never-ending ethnic and national strife in countries the world over. No matter the reason or size of the conflict, America and peace-loving nations of the earth have lost and are still losing fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters to the horrors of war. Will the carnage ever end?

In the First World War the enemy was misguided perverted nationalism, but with an ominous international twist of one bloc of nations aligned against another bloc. We fought against fascism in the Second World War, pitted against a nation who hailed themselves as a superior race. We bled and died halting the advances of communism in Korea and Vietnam. The new foe is terror(ism), which is an ideology (any “ism” is a belief system) that uses, “violence … in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands” (Webster’s Dictionary).

But this enemy knows no national boundaries; it’s more than just a race of people in one country fighting against another. Those who commit these barbaric acts are rightfully called terrorists, because they randomly maim and murder innocent men, women, and children for a malevolent cause that callously and arrogantly disregards all that is humanly good and right; bent on suppressing and eventually eradicating anyone who would dare think or believe differently. Worse, there are national governments that fund these terrorist groups, e.g. Iran, Syria, Qatar, North Korea, or Turkey.

What is the source, the driving force of their diabolical agenda and demented tactics? Ultimately, diabolical identifies the original source … Satan. Yet, the “devil made them do it” concept goes only so far, because we know who actually carries out the torture and killing. In the devilish perpetration of this cause, we see the same underlying motivation from the pit of hell that energizes the adherents of Communism and Fascism who seek to, by force, impose a belief system on their own people and other nations based on the insidious presumption that they and their secularist philosophies are superior to any other people and ideology. However, modern-day terrorism brandishes a substantially different breed of extremists than Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Mao-tse Tung’s China, Stalin and Putin’s Russia, or Jong-un’s North Korea. Instead of a cultural and political system that is fundamentally god-less and secular, we are now experiencing terroristic conquest in the name of Religion.

Specifically, the religion of Islam. More, however, than just in the name of religion. Islam itself is dogmatically (root word is dogma) terroristic in origin and methodology. If anyone disagrees with that premise, then all they need do is read the Koran, which is the foundational core of Muslim creed … the causative driving force within the heart and soul of Islam, not the least of which is Jihad … holy war.

Is Islam a religion? Of course it is: No less than Hinduism, Buddhism, Roman Catholicism, Shintoism, or cultic sects like Mormonism that claim some (corrupt) form of Christianity … which is NOT, I repeat NOT, a religion. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word Christianity but will do so for the sake of identifiable terminology, because it bears this name in an attempt to classify or include it as one of the world religions. Christian … yes, as that expression clearly conveys one’s identity in Christ … a Christ-one.

But that doesn’t make believers in Jesus Christ religious or Christianity, a religion. Those redeemed by Jesus Christ do not belong to an ism. Rather, we belong to a Person. Actually three Persons in One: God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Can I get an AMEN on that!

All world religions and cults have one common denominator: Rules, regulations, and a tediously elaborate but unattainable concoction of duties (works) required of its followers in order to gain favor with the god(s) of that religion. Essentially it is man’s attempt to please and appease God—their version or image of God. The Christian faith is just the opposite: It is God’s conceived plan of salvation to redeem fallen mankind, by offering his very own Son as the once for all sacrifice for our sins. Thus, to reconcile mankind back to God, which is why God created us in the first place and the way God intended it to be from the very beginning … a personal relationship with our Creator. As said in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles: no other belief system provides a Savior for mankind; only the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ does.

“For God made Christ who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).

Our right standing with God is possible only through God’s provision of salvation for us; not any “ism” we’ve manufactured to merit or earn favor with God. It is God doing for us what we cannot possibly do for ourselves. This is a huge soul-saving distinction from all religions.

Thus, “Christianity” is a unique relationship with God; not a pretentious performance check-list which we deceive ourselves into thinking that the Lord will accept; hoping that our good deeds (which we usually end up defining or comparing what is good and what isn’t) will somehow outweigh the bad things we do. God does not grade us on a curve. Sin is sin. And the wages of that sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Yes, according to God’s Word, we actually earn death, both physical death and eternal separation from God; which is one wage that I’m sure all of us would turn down if we could … but we can’t. Although we earn death on our own, no one can do enough or be enough to possibly pay the price to pardon that penalty. Even the courts of the world, including the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t permit a person to pardon himself or herself for a crime. Sin against God is much more than violating a city, state, or federal law; or may not even be a transgression of statutory law. You won’t be convicted or even arrested for coveting your neighbor’s possessions, but that is no less a desecration of God’s moral laws than murder.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness (grace), declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:23-25).

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A Peaceful Religion?

Is Islam a religion of peace, as we’ve read or heard world leaders and religious figures proclaim dozens of times, particularly since Muslim terrorists and Islamic terrorism have exploded (pun intended) on the world stage in the past few decades? Not even close. Instead, the religion of Islam—as categorically contained in and confirmed by the Koran—compels (for example) all Muslims to: “Fight those among the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger (Mohammed) have forbidden, and who do not embrace the religion of truth (Islam)…” (Koran 9:29).

And, “Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever you find them—seize them, besiege them, and make ready to ambush them” (Koran 9:5).

These are but two of several Koranic commands to subjugate and kill the infidels, which are primarily Jews and Christians, but ultimately anyone who doesn’t yield (submit) to Islam’s demand that the entire populace of earth be subjects of an Islamic Caliphate … a Muslim political and cultural structure of world-wide domination.

And yet there is an incredibly immature (false) premise widely held by global heads of state that Islam is inherently a religion of peace; that only a very small minority of its followers are militant extremists bent on annihilation of Israel, destruction of the United States, and domination of the entire world.

Did you know that the Arabic language doesn’t even have a word for peace? In fact, Islam means submission.

Our own United States President has often recapped this pervasive belief … that Islam is basically peaceful. That it does not promote conversion by force. That extremist groups such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Boko Harem, al-Qaeda, and ISIS, do not represent the real tenets of Islam.

Consequently, the United States along with the other P5 + 1 groups of nations (United Kingdom, France, Russia, China, and Germany) have seemingly ignored the obvious evidence of Iran’s increasingly long tentacles of terror that are gripping several regions of the Middle East. Iran is tightening this Islamic Shi’ite noose in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and among several ethnic groups. It can do this because the P5 is under the pathetically naïve notion that Iran (by virtue of its status as a nation) would be willing to negotiate its sinister ambition of Middle East dominance and eventual world supremacy. Oh, for certain, Iran will negotiate in order for economic sanctions to be lifted; but Iran will not relent (negotiate) its ultimate undeterred goal of manufacturing nuclear bombs that will assuredly be used against Israel and perhaps even the United States.

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But Iran is a “nation” not a terrorist organization, says the P5 + 1. You can negotiate with Iran because it has a President and a Foreign Minister, and the like. How blind can they be? It’s the Ayatollah who makes the final decisions in Iran, and who “makes foreign policy.” The same Ayatollah who is the supreme Imam of the Islamic State of Iran, which is exactly what Iran is and will continue to be as long as its own people and the rest of the world continue to believe that Islam is basically a religion of peace. Thus, Iran’s continued threats of “death to America” and “wiping Israel from the face of the earth,” are falling on deaf ears in the West.

It’s just a perverse form of saber-rattling they say. Really? How many more sabers must rattle and heads roll with conventional weapons of terror, before we realize that Iran and rogue nations like it will raise the stakes (all in) of terrorism to an unthinkable level if they go nuclear. With one nuclear warhead they can inflict mass casualties that would be the equivalent of thousands upon thousands of isolated terrorist cell attacks. Whether because of naïvetés or strategic risk calculations, who among our leaders is willing to take such a chance? That question should be rhetorical, but alarmingly, it’s not. That is exactly the dice-rolling going on within the game-playing mindset of the United States Executive staff and the P5 +1.

To prove his point and lessen what he and other prominent world figures believe to be an unfounded criticism of (peaceful?) Islam in general, President Obama recently made a comparison of the Crusaders to Muslim terrorists, by attempting to demonstrate that even Christianity has had its extremists. Our President and many others who share this view are partially right, but they are also very, very wrong.

Is There A Difference Between the Bible and Koran with Regard to Propagating Their Respective Messages?

Before answering that question, it’s significantly important that we understand the monumental difference between the Koran and the Bible in virtually every tenant and doctrine, not the least of which is the god of the Koran and the God of the Bible. The very fact that Islam does not recognize Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and certainly not God the Son who was crucified on a cross for man’s redemption and then rose from the dead to validate all of Christ’s claims of divinity, irreconcilably separates the Koran from the Bible.

In fact it’s blasphemy against Allah to suggest that God is three in one (Trinity) or that Christ is God’s Son (of course their god is Allah). “Infidels are they who say Allah is one of three” (Koran 5:73). And, “the Christians say the Christ is the son of God … may Allah’s curse be upon them!” (Koran 9:30).

But for sake of this week’s and next week’s Part II article, we want to focus on the goals of Islamic conquest by forced conversion (or death) versus the universal spread of the Christian Gospel (Good News) through individual voluntary heart-felt response of accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior. In other words, the true and living God of Scripture does not force anyone to believe and receive the atoning sacrifice of his precious Son. True, Scripture emphatically explains the eternal destiny of all who reject so great a salvation that Jesus purchased with so great a sacrifice; but nowhere in the Bible does God demand (forced) conversion of the unsaved. Instead, he appeals to every person on earth out of love and concern for the personal destiny of all … heaven or hell.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

What, then, about the three main episodes of history in which religious critics and even world leaders such as our own President have alluded to as examples of those within the Christian (or Jewish) faith that have employed tactics comparable to Muslim militants … in Mohammed’s time, throughout history such as the Ottoman Empire and Islamic conquest of Europe, and with today’s terrorists groups and entire nations (such as Iran).

First Historical Event: Often, when Muslims are confronted about their continued use of violence that is predicated on and fostered by forceful Koranic commands, Muslim clerics and virtually any Muslim who happens to know just enough Biblical Scripture to be dangerous will attempt to morally equivocate by citing the Old Testament instructions for the Jews to eliminate the inhabitants of Canaan—as preparation for the Jews to enter and occupy the Promised Land. Let’s take a look at what happened and why; to dispel the notion of moral equivalence between Jewish history and Muslim violence.

“So Joshua told the Israelites, ‘Come and listen to what the Lord your God says. Today you will know that the living God is among you. He will surely drive out the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites ahead of you’” (Joshua 3:9-10). Previously God had instructed his people, whom he had delivered from Egypt by magnificent miracles, to completely destroy certain indigenous tribes—for the express purpose of his people entering and possessing the land that God had given to them as an eternal inheritance … the land of Israel. Although the Israelites were required to fight for the land, this verse (and many others) also indicate that God would sovereignly assist his people in defeating the enemy. But there were also nations that God instructed Israel not to attack or harm in any way, for various reasons.

Said God to the people through Moses: “Be very careful never to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are going. If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped. Instead, you must break down their pagan alters, smash their sacred pillars, and cut down their Asherah poles. You must worship no other gods, for the Lord … is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you … They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them…” (Exodus 34:12-15).

Why did God order his people to purge the inhabitants of Canaan or not to make a treaty with any nearby nation? Scripture is clear that the moral mindset and lifestyle of these people were abhorrently evil and detestable in God’s sight. They were essentially in the same wicked condition of Sodom and Gomorrah—when God obliterated those cities and people—including the horrific practice of offering their children as sacrifices to pagan man-made gods such as Baal.

In today’s world, people may not worship wooden or metal gods mounted on poles and pillars, but they still pursue gods of pleasure, power, popularity, and prestige. And, tragically, how many unborn babies have been sacrificed on the abortion altar of convenience?

God is very patient, but there are a few instances in which people, individually and as a nation, cross the divine red line of God’s tolerance. Enough is enough, and he will judge them accordingly, often when least expected.

As an example of God’s patience pertaining to the Amorites, Canaanites, and all the other “ites,” long before the Israelites entered and took possession of the Promised Land he told Abraham: “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years. But I will punish the nation (Egypt) that enslaves them, and in the end they will come away with great wealth (the Exodus) … After four generations your descendants will return here to this land, for the sins of the Amorites do not yet warrant their destruction” (Genesis 15:13-16, italics for emphasis).

This is one of hundreds of spectacular prophecies from God in the Old Testament. One that would materialize in the time and place specified. But we want to focus on the italicized portion of this passage … as confirmation that God would give the Amorites (and by implication and association all of the other nation tribes in Canaan) ample time to turn from their evil practices to the true and living God. In fact, the Lord was so patient with these pagans that he delayed the Israelite’s arrival to the Promised Land for hundreds of years. By that time, the Egyptians and their Pharaohs had gone from providing for and protecting Jacob’s descendants to hostility toward and enslavement of the Jews. Jacob’s son, Joseph, the second most powerful person of the Egyptian Empire had been long forgotten.

For you see, God is everlasting … he knows the end from the beginning. He knows the outcome; yet, he still gives us great opportunity to repent, seek him, and to by faith receive his redemptive pardon. Our choices, both good and bad, can determine our fate. In hindsight, when the Israelites were prepared to enter the Promised Land, it was clear that the Canaanites were more wicked than when God told Abraham his descendants would return to the Promised Land (where Abraham resided temporarily). Now it was time for divine judgement, which coincided with and paved the way for the Jews to enter Canaan, where they would be free to follow and worship the Lord their God. A place blessed by God, flowing with milk and honey.

Summary

The contextual, historical comparison that needs to be made between God’s instructions to the Israelites to vanquish some of the original tribes of Canaan and the commands from the god of Islam found in the Koran is this: The Old Testament provides an account of a particular historical episode at a specific time in Israel’s (beginning) history, for a precise duration of time, for a special purpose. The Israelites were to be the instrument of God’s judgment on a very perverse people while taking over a relatively small portion of the earth (all of which belongs to God in the first place) to live and serve God. Whereas, the Koran’s instructions to all Muslims is a perpetual edict (to subjugate Christians and Jews and kill them if they don’t submit) that has no historical parameters, no national boundaries (world-wide), and is to continue indefinitely. It is, in effect, an unlimited Koranic license to suppress and kill infidels, i.e. all who refuse to become Muslims. There is a world of difference between these antithetical models.

Stay tuned to next week’s article and we’ll examine two more historical events often cited as comparison of Christianity’s use of violence to Islam’s ongoing Jihad against infidels … which primarily consists of Jews and Christians.

Things to Ponder

The god of Islam never sent anyone to give his life FOR you. Instead, this god requires that, if you refuse to submit and convert, your life be taken FROM you. But Islam requires conversion with the mouth only, not with the heart. What kind of change is that?

Not so with the true and living God of the Bible. We alone have the choice. No one chooses for us or takes our lives from us, if we say no to Jesus. God doesn’t send anyone to hell or heaven. Our decision about Christ takes us to one or the other place of perpetual existence.

There can be no greater love than God’s amazing love for every man, woman, and child. Real love is demonstrated by action … showing, sharing, and sacrificing. Which is exactly what God’s Son, Messiah Jesus, did when he voluntarily gave his very life on the Cross. So that all who believe and receive him will pass from the penalty of eternal death to the pardon of everlasting life in heaven.

Everlasting life begins the moment you, “confess with your mouth that Jesus is lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-10).

But this decision must be made now, while there is yet time. Once a person dies or when Jesus returns to judge the living and the dead, it will be too late. At such time, there will be world-wide acknowledgment that one Man (not a religion or religious system) bears the right to claim the title of Prince of Peace … Jesus the Christ. For only he can and will bring REAL peace.

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Why does Messiah Jesus have this right? Many passages of the Bible tell us that Christ is God, Savior, and Judge. But none more so than the following:

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God has elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11, italics for emphasis).

The Legendary Return of Nero

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The Legendary Return of Nero … Fact or Fiction?

Whether fictitious or factual, when we see, think, or read of a famous or even infamous person we sometimes classify that person as, A Legend. Thus, we rank the life and exploits of actual people or fictional characters as, legendary, which Webster’s Dictionary defines simply as: “of or relating to a legend.” Defining legend as: a story from the past, regarded as historical although not (necessarily) verifiable. A legendary person, place, or event can be a documented historical narrative, e.g. the conquests of Alexander the Great, or a folklore figure like Paul Bunyan. Or a combination of the two, such as: The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.

In today’s culture saturated with movies and books and seemingly unlimited internet data, we generally think of a legend as fiction; or we exaggerate the feats of a real historical figure making them historic … creating a larger than life legacy. Many of us have seen movies or read books about legends. For example: Legends of the Fall (Brad Pitt, Anthony Hopkins, Julia Ormond); Legend of Zorro (Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones); Legend of Sleepy Hollow (original short story by Washington Irving); The Arthurian Legend (King Arthur); Legend of Zelda (famous Nintendo game series); the Legend of Hercules or Tarzan and many others. As a golfer, one of my personal favorites is: The Legend of Bagger Vance (Matt Damon, Will Smith, Charlize Theron).

The idea of a legend is even useful in naming aircraft, cars, motorcycles, and boats. Such as the Honda car model, Acura Legend.

Legendary fictitious figures certainly captivate our attention, but real-life people both past and present can actually compel us to compare our own aspirations and accomplishments with their achievements … with their enduring legacy. Haven’t we all at one time or another thought or said, “I want to be like him (or her) … when I grow up.” Sports legends come to mind like Michael Jordan or Larry Bird; or film legends such as John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. And political or military heroes who have shaped our world … George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower. As a rule, we prefer that our champions be examples of integrity whose lives we can emulate and extol as (role-model) legends. Or someone with a standard of excellence that we admire and wish to mimic like the Apostles Paul or John. And certainly those who influence our lives on a daily basis, like a devoted hard-working father or a selfless, loving mother who sacrificed so much for us. Most of all, Jesus.

Consequently, there aren’t that many antagonists or villains who are afforded legendary status. But there are a few exceptions, such as Nero. Keep in mind that the original derivation and use of the term, legend, applied primarily to actual historical figures or events, whether their enduring legacy was good or bad. In fact, the earliest most often used meaning was a literal inscription on a coin; with the obvious implication that for someone’s image or name to be inscribed on a coin, that person had really lived and was considered to be a legend in their own time. Or, in the case of the notorious Nero Caesar, a legend in his own mind.

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Which brings us to one of the most astounding legends ever recorded, one that would last several centuries; but one that would eventually be lost to history or at the very least became irrelevant. In large part, this irrelevancy developed due to the notion that the Antichrist would be a man born in the generation that experienced the Rapture and subsequently the Great Tribulation. Which was also the understanding of the earliest generation of Christians, but ONLY because the final Biblical revelations (to Paul and John) about this man were given in the first century, no more than one generation after Christ arose from the dead.

Beginning, however, around the 6th century and continuing to the mid-20th century, the awareness that Antichrist (Nero) would return from the Abyss decreased in direct proportion to the waning anticipation that Messiah would (soon) return to the Earth, some seven years after he raptured the Church. Not until the rebirth of Israel in 1948, then more-so with the Six-Day War of 1967, have believers and unbelievers alike experienced a phenomenal resurgence in the interest of end-times prophecy.

When John wrote the book of Revelation, Nero had already died; nevertheless, the vast majority of first century Christians believed (knew) that this already infamous Roman Emperor was, in fact, the ruler-king foretold by Daniel, the man of lawlessness referred to in the present-tense by the Apostle Paul (just 2-3 years before Nero was crowned as Caesar), and the beast of Revelation that John said would return from the Abyss to continue his unholy reign on a global scale.

Please, if time permits, read the Eye of Prophecy articles under the category of Antichrist, as well as the book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved, 666? Combined, these sources will give you an abundance of documented detailed evidence and rationale that Nero is the Antichrist.

After Nero died in 68 AD his legend expanded, spreading throughout the civilized world. A great many believers and unbelievers throughout the Roman Empire were convinced that he would return. Obviously the non-Christians didn’t know or believe what Christians knew: that Nero wouldn’t reappear until the Rapture took place. But both groups held the common belief that Nero’s return would take place in the immediate or fairly near future. Some believed he hadn’t died; most knew for a fact that he had died, but would reappear at the appointed (by God) time. For nearly five centuries this astonishing, but very serious, belief was mainstream popular … so much so that several historians of the first five centuries recorded it.

It eventually became known as the:

NERO REDIVIVUS LEGEND

To this day, it bears the same name, retaining the specific ancient Latin term redivivus, alongside the more universal phrase of legend. There are no other traditions like this one in recorded history. Redivivus, is defined as: Living again, revived, or restored. As applied to Nero Caesar, it simply means: Nero will return.

*Note: Under no circumstances or conditions would I ever classify the resurrection of Jesus Christ and his promise to return to this earth as a mere legend; only because of the connotation that legend creates in our minds. To be sure, Messiah’s rising from the dead is a legendary supernatural reality; as will be the Rapture of his people any day now. Because Nero’s emergence from the Abyss will not be a true resurrection from the dead (rather, it will be a return in his original body that has been preserved by God in the Abyss, as explained at length in my book and articles), it should not be equated to the resurrected return of Christ. Nevertheless, the Nero Redivivus Legend does track with and confirm Biblical passages on the Antichrist.

But we need to emphasize that historians have attached the term legend to Nero Redivivus, apparently to establish a default disclaimer that the belief had any merit or truth to it. Not the known historical fact that many fully endorsed this premise in the first through fifth centuries; only that the legend, itself, was highly questionable to some … particularly the historians.

Early journalists tended to voice their opinion in addition to “reporting the facts.” Gradually interpretive journalism gave way to a division (the way it should be) between objective correspondent reporting and subjective editorial commentary. Even though today’s media is too often biased (based on their worldview, religious or irreligious affiliations, or their political persuasions), most field reporters are fairly impartial. “Just the facts, mam!” (Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet T.V. series). They leave the editorializing to the editorial specialists.

For example, in 422 AD the well-known 5th century Christian apologist and historian, St. Augustine wrote about Nero over 350 years after Nero died. This would be equivalent to a 21st century author writing about the Pilgrims arrival at Plymouth Rock (17th century). Equivalent in the time-lapse, and comparable to the established fact that the Pilgrims did find the new world they were looking for, despite conflicting accounts whether the northeastern or southeastern coast of America was their planned destination.

Here is what Augustine said: “Others, again suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom. But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjecture.”

Readily apparent in the last line of this quote is Augustine’s personal opinion that the Nero Redivivus Legend was just that: a (very questionable) supposition that Nero was not dead … he either didn’t die or had been revived after death. That he had been (bodily) concealed and preserved at the very age at which he died. With the most amazing feature of this pervasive, already centuries-old belief: he would return and be restored to his kingdom!

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Despite St. Augustine’s editorial comment about Nero’s legacy, the startling fact remains that he conveyed the broadly accepted belief of many Christians; that Nero was not only the (once alive but isn’t now, Revelation 17:8) Antichrist of the first century, but that he would return as that same Antichrist beast immediately following the Rapture. By the time Augustine penned his report, the passionate anticipation of the imminent return of Messiah (with his antithesis the Antichrist to ominously follow) had dissipated somewhat, but was still an undeniable expectation among believers.

Here was my immediate reaction to this astounding report by St. Augustine during my Scriptural and secular research of the first century in preparation for my second book, Out of the Abyss:

I was totally blown away when I read this, as I had already been shown how to refit the piece of the puzzle that didn’t fit (meaning that the Antichrist will not be a modern-day man, rather that he had died in the first century and would reappear as the beast of Revelation) … many Christians for centuries after Revelation was written believed Nero to be Antichrist.”

I went on to say: “…contemporary scholars have endorsed Augustine’s opinion as a reinforced reason to dismiss the early believer’s view of Nero as credible. Though the scholars extend deep respect for the Christians who held this belief (meaning in the first five centuries or so), they are deeply puzzled why anyone, especially a believer, would entertain such an idea.

Permit me to comment on Augustine’s opinion as to the validity of this belief … First, the conjecture of the early Church would be confined to Nero’s return as the Antichrist. I’m sure that Augustine didn’t mean to dispute the Biblically documented prophecy that Antichrist would return from the dead or possibly from some other state or place where he has been kept alive (Revelation 17:8, i.e. the Abyss). As we will later see, the bottomless pit is NOT the place of the dead.

Second, as suggested earlier in this book: Is it any more audacious to maintain that Nero could recover from a fatal wound, than a modern man doing the very same thing? A resurrection is a resurrection, as those left behind will see and classify it. No matter who performs this feat; it’s pretty impressive…

You may want to think of it this way: Instead of a revived Roman Empire, there will be a revived Roman Emperor!

Recently, a few prophecy scholars have partially abandoned the idea of a revived Roman Empire or blended it with and in favor of an Islamic tribulation kingdom, with a messiah type imam surfacing as the Antichrist. Again, I hold these prophecy students in high regard; however, this demonstrates the risk of a kingdom theory to replace kings as the seven heads (Referring, here to the seven heads of Revelation 17 revealed as seven kings to John … not kingdoms). Will the kingdom be the European Union, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, a Romanized Europe and Middle East, or an Islamic Confederation? I vote for none of the above.

Whatever form that a modern ten-toed collated tainted version of the 4th world kingdom (Rome) assumes, the single most prominent factor that will make this end-time confederation Roman in appearance is the return of a Roman Emperor. (Pages 187-188).

My conclusion that Nero was and will reappear as the Antichrist is based upon what I firmly believe to be irrefutable connective and correlative evidence between all Scriptural passages on the Antichrist and 1st through 5th century church history, not the least of which was the overwhelmingly dominant view held by many Christians. Furthermore, it’s deductively evident that the Christian’s awareness of Nero Redivivus was much more than just a legend to them.

Thus, I made it clear in my book, Out of the Abyss: This discernment or disclosure given to me by the Lord is nothing new (original) and certainly not revelatory. Yet it is new to the contemporary study of prophecy in the sense that it is a restoration of the prevalent early Christian belief that the Antichrist (Nero) would return from the Abyss very soon after the Rapture resurrection and transformation of dead and living believers, respectively. In essence, a retroactive refit of Antichrist to the prophetic puzzle that had been inaccurately assembled.

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Depiction of Christ’s Second Coming

Secular Endorsement of Nero’s Legend

There’s more: Not only did Christians subscribe to this Biblically supported premise of Nero’s return; so did thousands upon thousands of non-Christians throughout the Roman Empire as well as in Parthia, a nation descended at the time from the ancient Persian Empire. They longed for and actually expected Nero to return as Emperor; that his reinstatement as Caesar would magnify and realize their ardent desire for a Pax Romana (world peace and utopia) beyond their wildest dreams.

Naturally, the secular populace didn’t tag Nero as a man of lawlessness or a beast; those labels would have been fighting words to them. However, I don’t think the appellation of anti-Christ would have bothered them in the least. Until the Roman Emperor Constantine turned Christianity into the state-religion in the 4th century—that morphed into the cultic Roman Catholic Church—they would have applauded the idea of Nero as the “Antichrist.” For the reason that most Romans and people from other nations had little toleration for Christians, to the extreme that many hated these Christ followers.

Before and after Nero, some Roman Caesars were proclaimed as deities, but only after their death. However, Nero demanded divine honors during his reign, including the minting of coins with the inscription (legend): “Almighty God” and “Savior.” Also as the Greek god Apollo playing the lyre. Rulers from past and succeeding empires were sometimes considered gods, but with a lower case “g” that afforded them divine status along with (many) other gods. Nero boasted (and will do so again upon his return) that he was both Savior and Almighty God … meaning the one and only.

The true and living God of the Bible declared that there should be no other (man-made) gods before or alongside him. But the vain creation of such gods (whether by the pagans or by religions such as Islam) is not technically blasphemous. Scripture is clear: It is dangerously stupid to create false gods, but actual blasphemy (as also defined by Webster’s) is claiming to be God or claiming to possess his attributes, such as omnipotence. That is exactly what Nero did during his reign as Caesar, and will do again during his Antichrist-beast rule during the Tribulation. “Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God…” (Revelation 13:5).

At least three Nero imposters stepped forward and proposed or pathetically led rebellions against Rome, not long after Nero died. At least one of these Nero pretenders was approved by the Parthians who adored Nero and who almost went to war with Rome … believing that one of these imposters was, in fact, Nero. This was solemn business to them—much more serious than a modern-day sighting of Elvis by one or more Elvis groupies!

Between Nero and Vespasian, three pseudo-emperors (who many historians do not accredit as bona-fide Caesars due to the civil-war upheaval in Italy) assumed the throne: Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. The latter two lauded Nero far beyond what any normal successor would do, to the extreme of divine eulogies of Nero, rebuilding his statues, and staging his Greek plays during their coronation and very brief reigns.

Historian Lactantius contended that the circumstances surrounding Nero’s death were such that Nero suddenly disappeared; that even the burial site was nowhere to be found. He suggested that with reasonable speculation it was conceivable that Nero might have been transported to a distant region, preserved and reserved for a future purpose.

In Out of the Abyss, I commented on Lactantius’ historical report on Nero: One can only wonder whether Lactantius was completely serious or partially facetious; however, little did he realize that he had tapped one of the most fascinating reservoirs in the Bible… Here I was referring to the Scriptural fact that the Antichrist beast would reappear from the Abyss, with the all too obvious conclusion that he had to have been placed in the Abyss (by Christ) before he could be released from such a distant region.

Another ancient historical quote, this time from the Greek philosopher and historian Dio Chrysostom: “Seeing that even now everybody wishes (Nero) were still alive. And the great majority do believe that he still is, although in a certain sense he has died not once but often along with those who had been firmly convinced that he was still alive.”

This account strongly reflects the general mentality of Roman citizens as having been quite pleased with Nero; that they would have permitted him to reign indefinitely. Moreover, did you catch his phrase, the great majority?

I facetiously compared the Nero Redivivus Legend to Elvis sightings, to demonstrate that people do long for their legendary icon to come back to them. But the difference between Nero and Elvis is monumentally huge. There really is no comparison with their respective legends. For one thing, none of Elvis’s followers have staged an uprising against the government, such as occurred in the early decades after Nero’s departure! For another, there really aren’t that many who (whether out of fun or folly or fact) really believe Elvis will someday revisit them. As opposed to the very serious belief of the greater majority of Romans (and Christians in the Roman Empire) that Nero would return in their lifetime.

As seen in this report from Dio Chrysostom, there were two basic views regarding the Nero Redivivus Legend: (1) He had not actually died, nor would he die. Many said he had escaped to Parthia and would return to Rome with a large army; thereby, victoriously reclaiming his rightful position as Caesar. (2) He had died, but had been revived and concealed in a special place, for an extraordinary return at the appropriate time. Obviously unbelievers would have known virtually nothing about the book of Revelation. Thus, unwittingly, the second view they held was correct; as it reflected the Scriptural account of the origin and destiny of the Antichrist king-beast of Revelation and Daniel.

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One of Many Nero Sculptures

Summary

In spite of Nero’s inhumane cruelty, especially against Christians, during the last few years of his regime, most of the Roman (secular) populace admired him and missed him after what they perceived as an untimely death (32 years of age). This was more than a brief nostalgic bout of grief. Remembrance of Nero incorporated a concoction of adulation, idolization, and veneration that encompassed a longing that he could and would arise from the dead! To such an extent that a legacy developed like no other before or since: his legendary return … it was just a matter of time.

As indicated, Christians were equally convinced of Nero’s reappearance, but their knowledge was based exclusively on Scripture beginning with the future ruler whose armies would destroy the Temple as foretold by Daniel. Then the man of lawlessness as revealed by Paul in his present tense description to the Thessalonians; then the past tense revelation to John that the beast had already lived and died (Revelation 17). Plus another future tense prediction that the beast would reappear from the Abyss.

Certainly the Christian longing was not for Nero’s reappearance; but for the awesome return of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Rather the emergence of Antichrist Nero from the Abyss would have confirmed that Yeshua had raptured his people from the earth, which was the precious and passionate hope of all believers. Thus, by far, the greatest expectation of the Christians was the imminent return of Christ, to complete their salvation through bodily transformation of both dead and living believers to their new and everlasting bodies in heaven.

Yet, it was also evident that it was important for the Christians to know and, therefore, warn their unbelieving family and friends that Nero would also return. That if their loved ones were among those left behind, they need not be so amazed at either the Rapture or the Post-Rapture return of a Roman Emperor. Certainly not to the point of worshiping the beast, his statue, or receiving his mark. Rather, to realize beyond any doubt whatsoever that Nero was, in fact, The Antichrist. With the equally obvious recognition that their only eternal hope was in the TRUE MESSIAH, JESUS CHRIST.

Now that we in today’s world have rekindled the blessed hope of Messiah’s imminent return, we, too, should correctly identify (as the early Christians did) the returning Antichrist. In doing so, we will have set the record straight to counter accusations by unbelievers after the Rapture such as: “What did they know, those Christians?” Or, “So much for their Bible prophecies. They were all so wrong … they had no idea that Nero would return from the grave.”

On the contrary, if they see that Scripture was right all along, that Christians before the Rapture did get it right after all; it’s likely that they will give second thought before blindly accepting the man of lawlessness as their superman.

Things to Ponder

“But very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb … they found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes … Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead…!’” (Luke 24:1-6).

Often in the early Church, one Christian would say to another: “He is risen!” And the other Christian would respond, “He is risen, indeed!”

Said Peter to a vast crowd in the first and probably greatest sermon ever given: “God raised Jesus from the dead, and we are all witnesses of this. Now he is exalted to the place of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand….” (Acts 2:32-33).

This is a wonderful time of the year. Jews celebrate the Passover—deliverance from Egyptian bondage, and entrance to the Promised Land. For millions of Jews, the Passover saying, “Next year in Jerusalem,” has become a reality, prophetically fulfilled as the Scriptures promised.

Christian Jews and Gentiles remember the resurrection of our Passover Lamb, Messiah Jesus; who delivers us from the bondage and penalty of our sins, passes us over from the coming judgment of God Almighty, and who promises everlasting life with him and the host of heaven.

The second coming of Christ is far beyond a legend, either fact or fiction. It is a magnificent reality … every bit as certain as when Jesus was born in Bethlehem; taught, healed, and performed incredible miracles in Israel; though completely sinless, was unjustly convicted, condemned, and crucified; buried in a tomb; then arose from the dead … the greatest miracle of all time. Thus, fulfilling hundreds of Old Testament prophecies of his first coming.

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Glorious Return of Jesus Christ

Messiah’s imposter, Antichrist Nero, will also return to the earth, but not in the glorious fashion of our risen Lord, nor the transfiguration of Christian saints at the Rapture. Still, those who belong to the world will perceive the beast’s reappearance as an even greater achievement. They will believe the lie that Nero is Savior and Almighty God; and sadly, ever so sadly, that belief will doom them for eternity.

For those alive now and for those left behind at the Rapture, who do you say that Jesus is? Is he the Messiah … Son of Man and Son of God? According to God’s Word, we all must make that choice, and the choice will determine our destiny.

When the beast returns, he, too, will give people a choice. Those who choose to take his mark and bow down to him, will seal their eternal fate in the Lake of Fire. If any refuse him, they most likely will be put to death. But at the moment of death, they will be raised to life in a brand new body, equipped to be with our magnificent Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, forever and ever and ever.

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

A Beast by Any Other Name … Part III

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A Beast by any Other Name … Is Still a Beast

We need to know, before we go! This curious but simple little challenge to believers in Jesus Christ concluded last week’s article; but it’s also meant for unbelievers … those who unfortunately will be left behind when the Lord takes his people from this earth. Since Israel’s amazing victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the resurgence of end-times prophecy has motivated millions all over the world to passionately look up and long for the imminent return of Messiah. We’ve not seen such anticipation since the first century. The Kingdom of God on earth to include Israel’s complete restoration and redemption is near, very near.

Likewise, the apocalyptic intrigue concerning Messiah’s antithesis, the Antichrist, has intensified exponentially; so much so that several past (e.g. Adolph Hitler) and present world leaders have been targeted as the Antichrist, including an American President or two. With regard, however, to the actual identity of the Antichrist, the prevailing premise of nearly all Bible prophecy scholars is that no one can know for sure until he actually appears on the scene.

There is, however, really only one thing that the Bible tells us we cannot know and, thus, should refrain from any conjecture whatsoever: the date when Christ returns. Jesus, himself, asserted no less than three times, “For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 24 & 25).

Although the Bible unequivocally declares that no one (including several misguided prophecy buffs who have tried and failed) can predict the exact time of the Rapture, Scripture is equally emphatic that we can “solve” the identity of the Antichrist. In fact, John of Revelation issues a challenge to believers to do just that. Read the verse with me, and ask yourself if the words mean anything other than what they say.

“Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18).

The language here is unambiguous; to the extent that the vast majority of prophecy students do agree that the number and name of the beast can (eventually) be known—but not until after the Rapture! But the fact remains that this stimulus to know was given not just to those alive at the Rapture, but first and foremost to the 1st century Christians who enthusiastically awaited the soon return of Messiah Jesus at any hour of any day. In fact, that first century group could very well have been the generation of the Rapture.

The book of Revelation was written to them, not to us! Of course Revelation is applicable to today’s generation, but only because we’re still waiting for the Rapture that triggers the awesome Day of the Lord. The first century Christians were meant to decode the identity of the beast right then and there, and so are we! Otherwise there would have been no reason at all for Scripture to include this last verse of Revelation Chapter 13; in which the angel exhorts John and all readers to unscramble the meaning of the beast’s number, which is tantamount to deciphering the identity of the beast, because the number is the number of a man.

The reason that contemporary scholars maintain that we can’t know who Antichrist is until after the Rapture, is because they subscribe to the logical, but inaccurate, supposition that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man born in the age that experiences the Rapture.

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A Depiction of the Rapture

Daniel’s Prophecies—Temporarily Sealed; John’s Revelations—Immediately Applicable

As intimated in my article, The Seal of Approval (published 11-15-14), prophecy students cannot use the parallel principle that the identity of the Antichrist has been sealed or hidden in the same fashion that Daniel’s prophecies could not effectively be understood until the last days had begun. The fact is: The beginning of the last days commenced with the birth of Jesus. From that point through the final revelation of Jesus Christ as recorded in the book of Revelation, ALL of Daniel’s prophecies were unsealed and ALL of John’s prophecies were, therefore, totally relevant to the first century Christians … including calculation of Antichrist’s identity.

Why else would the angel have instructed John: “…Do not seal up the prophetic words in this book, for the time is near” (Revelation 22:10). The time is near was another way of saying that Jesus’s return was imminent; therefore, the entire book of Revelation was uniquely pertinent to the believers (and unbelievers) of the first century.

We must think retroactive and grasp this obvious fact: Jesus could have returned in the first century … Christians expected that he would. For this immanency to have been a reality, the Man of Lawlessness would need to be a first century man to, immediately after the Rapture, begin his beastly reign of terror as depicted in Revelation. Which is exactly what John tells us in Revelation 17:8 … that the man had already lived, had died, but would reappear from the Abyss. Moreover, this man was one and the same as the ruler of Daniel 9:26-27, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple … which historically is none other than Nero; who hand-picked two Roman Generals (Vespasian and Titus) to lead several Roman Legions against Israel, some fifteen years after Paul wrote about the man of lawlessness.

The angel’s command to John was in direct contrast to Daniel being told to seal up his book; because it couldn’t be fully comprehended until Messiah had come, and until more revelations had been given that would effectively unseal Daniel’s prophecies … meaning they could now be understood by the very first generation of Christians. If, indeed, the identity of the Antichrist couldn’t be confirmed until the Rapture occurred, John would have been told the same thing as Daniel, i.e. seal up the prophetic words. In other words: Don’t bother to try to figure out the number (identity) of the beast, because it isn’t possible until (much) later. Yet, John was told just the opposite, which paraphrasing means: The time (of Messiah’s return) is near, so these revelations are for you to know and understand right now.

For that matter, why would John urge the Christians of his time to (with wisdom and understanding) ascertain the meaning of the number of the beast, if the identity of Antichrist couldn’t be known until after the Rapture? What’s the point? After the Rapture took place, it would be entirely too late for the Christians to “solve the meaning of the number of the beast…” It would be irreversibly irrelevant by that time for two reasons: (1) the Christians would already be in heaven. (2) The beast would have already been recognized and followed by many left behind, without the need to determine his identity by interpreting his number. Remember: those who take the mark of the Beast will have a choice for his mark to be embedded in their forehead or right hand; but also the option of taking the number OR the name of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17).

Figuring out the name of the beast by astutely applying the number of the beast (through Hebrew gematria) was meant to be done as soon as a first century Christian read the book of Revelation. That’s why the number was given in the first place. Nero’s name contains four letters; the equivalent number of his name is three digits, 666. A diabolically convenient fit on one’s forehead or hand, don’t’ you think?

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And, why would the angel even bother to explain (reveal) the mystery in John’s second and final vision of the beast found in Revelation 17, unless the origin and identity of the beast should and could be known? Listen to the words of the angel to John: “I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits” (Revelation 17:7). Then, the angel proceeds to do just that.

When a mystery is revealed in Scripture (and there are several), it no longer is a mystery. It is meant to be fully grasped, even though the unveiling of the beast was (for the safety and welfare of first century Christians, as much as possible) realized without naming names—such as the seven kings being the first seven Roman Emperors, and with more strong clues such as, “the beast you saw was once alive and isn’t now” (Nero).

Let’s continue our examination of the last two names assigned to this Man of Lawlessness.

Fifth Title: The Beast

When the term man of lawlessness is used by Paul, it is with direct reference to this evil man’s revealing (II Thessalonians 2:3); meaning the initial disclosure of the man who was the ruler foretold by Daniel, whose armies would destroy the Temple. But also as the subsequent little horn king who would exercise authority over ten kings, whose kingdoms would be yielded to him during the seven-year tribulation. As covered in last week’s article, this revealing of the lawless one took place when Nero assumed the throne through a secret anarchistic plot to overthrow (successfully) his step-father, the Roman Emperor Claudius.

The Apostle Paul was executed during Nero’s reign before John wrote the book of Revelation, and the Lord had not disclosed to Paul that Nero would return as the beast of Revelation. The term used in Revelation is that the beast would reappear, and the world would be utterly amazed at this sudden, startling, supernatural-like return (Revelation 17:8). This is a counterfeit replica of the First and Second Advent of Messiah Jesus.

The Greek words for reveal and appear are quite different. The Greek word for reveal or revealing is apokalupto, transliterated into the English … apocalyptic. The word means to uncover, to unveil, and to make known what was concealed or unknown. The Greek word for appear or appearance is horao, a very common word most often translated: to see, or seeing, to look, to appear, or having appeared.

An analogy is utilized in my book Out of the Abyss to amplify the difference between these two concepts.

Every four years we elect a new United States President. When the votes are tallied, the media reveals to us the candidate with the most electoral votes. Thus, the identity of the new President is revealed. That night or perhaps the following day, we see the newly elected President when the President appears on television. Hence, the winning candidate makes his appearance as President-elect. (Page 195).

Thus, when examined closely in the contextual references to Christ and Antichrist, we find a clear indication that the Antichrist will first be revealed as the Man of Lawlessness (ruler-king of Daniel whose armies would destroy the Temple); then return (reappear) as the beast-king of the Tribulation period. There is, however, one astounding verse in the New Testament passages about Antichrist in which both Greek words are used. It is a verse that many scholars (including me at one time) have overlooked with regard to the significant impact of what is being said. It is found in the same passage covered in great detail last week concerning the man of lawlessness, the thrust of which is the secrecy of the lawlessness and what/who restrained this secrecy and the Man of Lawlessness, himself (Nero).

“Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8).

Yes, you read that right! The verse means exactly what it says. There are two distinct events presented in this stunning verse: (1) Jesus, himself, will kill this man. Remember, the passage is not about the beast; rather about the man of lawlessness as revealed by Paul. (2) The Lord will (also) destroy the man when Jesus returns … by the splendor of his coming. The killing and the destroying are not the same occurrence; for one thing they are separated by the all-important connective word, and. Furthermore, two separate distinct words are used, kill and destroy. Although destroy can include death, it is much more than that. It is final conquest, domination, and destruction of one’s enemy, whether the adversary is actually killed or not.

When the time came for the man of lawlessness to be revealed—which happened when Nero became Caesar—Christ would subsequently kill him. Then at the second coming of Christ (the Greek word is epiphany which is a form of horao only used with a divine emphasis and connotation, i.e. Jesus the Son of God), Christ would ultimately destroy this man. Which is the fate of the beast when he and the false prophet are thrown bodily (alive) into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

There are examples in the Bible where God intervenes sovereignly in the lives of individuals or groups by “striking them down.” Because some cross a line that should not be crossed at a specific time for a particular reason, God will prematurely end their lives. In my book Out of the Abyss, I give five examples from Scripture, but there are many more than five.

Thus, we have the unmistakable evidence that the beast had already lived and died as the man of lawlessness before John prophetically witnessed his reappearance from the Abyss as described both in Revelation 13 and 17.

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The Historical Life and Death of the Man of Lawlessness … And His Subsequent Return

Again we ask: Why isn’t just the term Antichrist used throughout Scripture in allusion to this man? Why the other appellations? In further response to that question, please permit me to again quote from Out of the Abyss. But first to highlight the questions: Who does Jesus kill? Answer: the man of lawlessness. When is the lawless one killed and why? Let’s examine the evidence.

Paul’s description as the man of lawlessness points to the soul or persona of the man. Simply put: the man is unruly, anarchistic, uncontrolled, ungovernable … in short, outside the God-given laws of morality and nature. After Daniel’s … reference to this man as a king or ruler or little horn, and our Lord’s reference to false messiahs, Paul was the first to introduce this man.

The term antichrist refers directly to the spirit of this depraved man; in fact, the apostle John equates the Antichrist to the spirit of antichrist. Then John defines what this spirit represents or does: it denies God the Father, and God the Son as Messiah.

It is the spirit of a human being that is regenerated or made alive, when that person accepts Christ as Savior. Then the Holy Spirit bears witness with the redeemed spirit that we are children of God. The spirit of Antichrist remains forever spiritually dead; as does the spirit of every person who denies that Jesus is the Christ….

The bestial image of Revelation vividly depicts the physical nature (body) and corporeal deeds of this man, and all that entails. We still use a beast in modern language to expound the exploits of an individual. We might say, “He fought like a beast!” Or we might reduce the beast-like qualities to a specific animal and say, “She had the strength of a lion!” The soul and spirit of a person expresses all that is evil or good through the flesh or bodily presence of the individual. (Pages 204-205).

A reminder: When Jesus kills this man, the man is referred to (by Paul) as the man of lawlessness. “…The Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth…” is an expression demonstrating that Jesus would orchestrate (arrange) Nero’s death.

Then I go on to say in Out of the Abyss:

When Jesus, with his divine rightful authority, killed Nero, he eliminated the very soul of this wicked man from the face of the earth, at that specific point in time (68 AD), for a very explicit purpose, with a unique twist to a twisted man. Jesus would preserve Nero’s body for the precise plan of sealing the final destruction of Antichrist … bodily in the lake of fire. Yes, I did say, “preserve!” (Page 205).

Then an entire chapter of my book concentrates on the Abyss—what it is, where it’s located, and the fact that the beast of Revelation would reappear from this bottomless pit; witnessed by John as the beast arises from the sea (Revelation 13), and then seen by John a second time as a scarlet beast upon which a woman sits (Revelation 17).

To counter the notion that a modern-day Antichrist would be killed during the Tribulation, here’s another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

Why would Christ kill the beast half way through the tribulation, when the man hadn’t yet demonstrated his dark side or hadn’t yet begun his reign of terror? Only for the man to come back from the dead a few days later; then for Jesus to clinch the man’s final destruction in the lake of fire? Yet this is the contemporary view, minus the part about Jesus killing the man of lawlessness. As indicated, this dramatic fact has often been overlooked in the composite evaluation of Biblical passages on Antichrist.

Please understand: Jesus kills the man of lawlessness! That’s exactly what the Bible says. This divine preemption is a substantial departure from the normal cycle of life and death in the human race, including the evil, ugly act of murder.

Only God gives or creates life and only God has the divine right to preemptively take life, if he chooses. Moreover, God extended this capital punishment privilege to society as a means of dispensing justice and as a deterrent to murder…. (Page 205).

More Evidence

Recall, the beast had already died when John first observed it in Revelation. And before that Paul tells us that Jesus would kill this man—the beast of Revelation. If Jesus directly intervened by killing the man of lawlessness, then this man (later called the beast) could not be assassinated during the tribulation as we understand and define the term murder. (Page 206).

To repeat: The mainstream present-day explanation is that a modern-day Antichrist will be killed (some say his death is faked, but Revelation 13 indisputably tells us that it’s a fatal wound, i.e. death) at the hands of a Jew, or perhaps by a member of his inner circle. There are several theoretical scenarios presented by various scholars, but not one that I know of factors in II Thessalonians 2:8—that Christ, himself, will kill the man of lawlessness.

Continuing in Out of the Abyss:

Expressing it another way: Jesus did not kill the beast; he killed the man of lawlessness. Although the man of lawlessness and the beast are one and the same (Nero), this is not a contradiction. Why … because the Holy Spirit, through Paul, is telling us when the beast would be killed. The beast would be killed by Christ while the beast was the man of lawlessness, before he reappeared as the beast! As the beast, Nero will be cast into the Lake of Fire, alive. (Page 206).

We are more accustomed to the final victory that Christ will have over Antichrist in the epic battles of Armageddon, as summarized in the second half of II Thessalonians 2:8, when Christ returns. Consequently, we often overlook the first half of this verse and/or try to make it the same event as the second half of the verse. The words are crystal clear: Jesus kills the man of lawlessness. THEN at his second coming, Christ (finally) destroys this man of lawlessness who is now the beast who reappears from the Abyss.

There is no redundancy whatsoever taking place in II Thessalonians 2:8. Paul is telling us that, in addition to killing the man of lawlessness, Jesus also destroys him when the man reappears as the beast of Revelation (tribulation period); although Paul was not privy to the return of this man from the Abyss as the beast. The Antichrist’s designation as the beast would come a few years later when John saw the extraordinary visions recorded in Revelation. But Paul knew when and how this man would eventually be shattered. His final destruction would be accomplished by the splendor of Messiah’s “glorious appearance!”

Neither Daniel nor John of Revelation tells us that the king-beast will be killed during his seven-year reign. When the beast initially appears to John in Revelation 13, the first thing John sees is that one of the seven heads of the beast (the same seven heads which are the same seven kings of Revelation 17, discussed in these articles) had already recovered from a fatal wound. Because John saw this beast in real (present-tense) time, it’s obvious that the beast had already been dead, which was later confirmed in spectacular fashion by John’s second vision of the beast … and the beast you saw was once alive, but isn’t now. (Revelation 17:8).

At his birth and especially at his resurrection from the dead, our Lord was revealed as the Son of David, Son of Man, and Son of God. In the very last days of the Tribulation, he will reappear as the King of all kings, the Lion from the Tribe of Judah to rescue Israel from annihilation and the world from complete chaos and catastrophe.

His evil antithesis, Nero, was initially revealed as the man of lawlessness. Messiah Jesus struck him down for heinous crimes/sins that crossed the divine line of God’s toleration. Yet, Christ will permit him to bodily reappear from the Abyss with the spirit of (the) Antichrist to deceive the world through this lie of what Nero will boast as a Satan-empowered, yet self-resurrection from the grave.

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A Sculpture of Nero

As summarized in Out of the Abyss:

Moreover, it would make all the sense in the world for the respective advents of the true Messiah and false messiah to occur within a very close proximity of time, but in a manner that God chose. Jesus, who is the way, truth, and life because he perfectly fulfilled the Law of Moses arrived on the scene first. Then came the man of lawlessness who would seek to pervert and destroy this way, truth, and life. Nero arrived on the scene of humanity only some three and a half years after Jesus ascended to heaven. Nero will be allowed to reappear some seven years before Messiah returns, but Nero’s ultimate authority during that time will be for three and a half years. Thus, Christ will have the final say in the matter. Yeshua is the First and the Last. (Page 208).

Sixth Title: Antichrist

Well, not much more needs to be said. The very word says it all. The purpose of these three articles is to show that each and every name of Antichrist serves a prophetic purpose. Only the Apostle John employs the term, Antichrist, in I John. Yet, the other five designations of Antichrist are not merely arbitrary terms (for the sake of variety) to characterize this contemptible man. Rather, they were given to Daniel, Paul, and John of Revelation at the appointed time in history to clarify how, when, why, and from where this man would originate. Thereby, with a healthy dose of wisdom and understanding, we can accurately determine the actual identity (who) of this little horn, king, ruler, man of lawlessness, and beast, known the world over as Antichrist.

Nero was born shortly after Jesus returned to heaven. He rose to power through a sequence of lawless events. With his earthly body preserved in the Abyss, he will be allowed to return; but not to actually duplicate the resurrection of Christ … not in the fashion of the true Messiah and Christians rising from the dead. Only God possesses the power of resurrection. Nevertheless, the reappearance of the Antichrist Beast will resemble and mock the very foundation of the Christian faith … the miraculous resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. This return from the grave (Abyss) will be the lie that billions of people will believe during the Tribulation, to the extreme of actually worshipping this unholy beast of a man.

Though there will be no Roman Legions or a Revived Roman Empire as such; “Hail Caesar!” will reverberate throughout the post-Rapture world.

“The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now … yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit … the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died.”

A final summary quote from Out of the Abyss:

There is no question; the meaning of the verse is as irrefutable as anything can be. The beast had already died before John received this revelation. How else can this passage be understood? … If some can’t let go of a contemporary Antichrist, then what will they do with this verse…?

John didn’t see the vision in the future; he saw it in the present—that hour of that day. The beast is past tense … no longer alive when John saw the vision. The beast isn’t born and doesn’t die in the future; he’s already dead. When will the beast become future tense? Correct: When he reappears from the Abyss. At the beginning of the Tribulation, the world will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast that had died. Will the beast die during the Tribulation? No, he died even before John saw him from Patmos.

Things to Ponder

I realize how unfathomably difficult it is to wrap our minds around the concept of a 2000 year old Roman Emperor reappearing on Planet Earth. But we also know that with God, all things are possible. Christ arose from the grave and so will millions upon millions of believers at the Rapture. Would it be any more difficult for God to revive Nero shortly after his death, place him in the Abyss, allow him to return from this prison of darkness, and then give him and Satan authority to resume his Antichrist agenda for a few short years on this earth?

Didn’t God transport Elijah alive directly to heaven in a flaming chariot?! Didn’t God split the Red Sea and stand the water up on two sides like walls?! Didn’t God provide the Hebrews food from heaven (manna) for forty years?! Didn’t God … go ahead, fill in more blanks!

After all is said and done, “…the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus (Revelation 19:10).

For those who have not placed their trust and destiny in the sacrificial death of Messiah Jesus, know now and after the Rapture that Christ is greater by far than Satan, Antichrist, and the False Prophet. Though it will cost you your life, please choose Jesus over Nero. Your reward will be everlasting life in heaven. If you choose the mark of the beast, your destiny will be sealed in the Lake of Fire, alongside of the false messiah.

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“He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon!’ Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

A Beast by Any Other Name … Part II

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A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast

Good and evil; war and peace; light and darkness; pride and humility; right and wrong; unjust and just; truth and lies. Words of reverse meaning (antonyms) often provide more insight and impact than do words with similar meanings (synonyms). There’s nothing like comparison through stark contrast to grab our attention and heighten our understanding and appreciation for concepts at the extreme ends of a physical, moral, or spiritual spectrum. Even oxymoronic phrases such as, “Until hell freezes over,” serve a purpose, I suppose. In this instance to amplify the idea that some things just don’t go together … never have and never will.

Unlike hot and cold, there are many words that don’t have an antonym; but that’s no problem. So if you’re against something like abortion (good for you), then how do you express your disagreement with just a one-word opposite?

Likewise, names of people in virtually every language carry with them a linguistic meaning (for example, my first and last name mean spear and flower, respectively); but ordinarily we don’t pair off names or groups of contrary names in order to compare or contrast the meaning of those names. With one universal exception:

Christ … Antichrist.

As we all know, anti means against and/or in place of. In the English language there are hundreds of words that allow the prefix, anti, in order to convey the exact opposite. Such as anti-abortion.

What better way for the Bible to accentuate the ultra-antithesis of the true Christ (Messiah) than to tag his evil counterpart—who was born in the first century a few years after Jesus ascended to heaven—with the name (that says it all) of Antichrist. For that is exactly what he was and will be again upon his return as the beast from the Abyss.

Yet, before the Apostle John coined the term Antichrist in the first century, both the Prophet Daniel and the Apostle Paul described this infamous man with other titles. When we understand the reason for Scripture’s different names of Antichrist and the context of those passages, then we will better comprehend that the future Antichrist is also the (past) historical ruler, king, and man of lawlessness.

In last week’s article, we examined Daniel’s appellations of little horn and king … then continuation of king as found in Revelation Chapters 13 & 17. This week we will scrutinize another descriptive term by Daniel in his prophecy of a coming Ruler, whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple; this same ruler would then orchestrate a seven-year treaty with Israel that is a catalyst to the Great Tribulation. Equally significant: To recognize that there is an extraordinary (what is now a lengthy) interlude announced by Daniel between the destruction of the Temple and the seven-year treaty. But it’s still the same ruler involved in these two events, already separated by nearly 2000 years! Then Paul’s phenomenal present tense exposure of this wicked ruler called by Paul, The Man of Lawlessness.

Third Title: Ruler

“After this period of sixty-two sets of seven, the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven, but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings. And as a climax to all his terrible deeds, he will set up a sacrilegious object that causes desecration, until the fate decreed for this defiler is finally poured out on him” (Daniel 9:26-27).

Bible scholars have astutely and accurately identified the Anointed One as Jesus who, to the very day when he rode into Jerusalem and was hailed as Messiah, fulfilled precisely the 483 year prophetic time-clock of Messiah’s appearance as predicted in verses 24 and 25 of this chapter. Then Daniel tells us that after Messiah is killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, a ruler would arise….

The Hebrew word translated ruler in the New Living Translation just quoted, and rendered prince in, for example, the New American Standard Bible is: Nagiyd. (Pronounced, naw-gheed). The English translations of prince, overseer, or ruler (in various capacities) correctly reflect the original Hebrew word. Clearly conveyed, however, is that the term prince or ruler is a generic designation, in contrast to a more position-specific title such as King. Although several languages use the positional title Prince to identify a particular historical ruler, the term prince is more frequently employed to simply label someone in authority in any number of administrative or nobility positions. And, of course, ruler is an all-purpose term that can refer to just about any person of prestige or power.

Daniel’s first vision of the Antichrist was that of a Little Horn in Daniel Chapter Seven; also a general description as the primary emphasis was that of his proud boasting against God from a platform of authority recognized and accepted by the world at large (as subsequently confirmed by Revelation Chapter 13). But then switched to a king who would suddenly appear in a specific sphere of influence; that he would rule over ten already established kings/nations during the Tribulation.

Yet in Daniel’s portrayal of the Antichrist as recorded in Chapter 9, he wouldn’t have known, nor did the Angel Gabriel disclose to him the exact title of what would later be a Roman ruler or even more definitive, a Roman Caesar. Thus, the angel utilizes the term of ruler which is a title anyone in Daniel’s time (or any time of history) would easily grasp.

Sometimes a prophecy given by God to one of his prophets will be spectacularly specific, such as naming Cyrus some 150 years before he was even born to be the Persian King, who would allow the Jews to return to Israel. Most often, however, Scripture provides just enough information to get the attention of those alive when the prophecy is given, then dramatically captures the focus of those alive when the prophecy is fulfilled.

Between the former and the latter, anyone who possesses any degree of anticipation, expectation, or intrigue is soon full of enthusiasm when the prophesied person appears or the event unfolds. Its like: WOW, this is actually happening in our lifetime. Which is exactly the positive response of many when Messiah Jesus was born in Bethlehem of a Virgin, then thousands more when Christ miraculously arose from the dead; and the equally negative reaction of Christians during Nero’s reprehensible reign as Caesar.

I believe God does this on purpose for our benefit. He wants us to take the time and effort to carefully observe and match the historical event to a long-ago Biblical prophecy; to better appreciate the intricacies of both the prediction and its accomplishment. But also to validate Scripture’s claim that the God of the Bible is the ONLY true and living God … through the miracle of fulfilled prophecy.

The Ruler is Nero

That this ruler is none other than Nero is extensively documented in my book, Out of the Abyss, by, as alluded to in last week’s article, dissecting and then correlating first century history to all Biblical references of Antichrist, none more so than this passage in Daniel Chapter 9.

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In order to maintain the hypothesis of a revived Roman Empire proposed by many students of prophecy (which is based on the improper substitution of the English word kingdoms for the Greek word for kings in Revelation 17 and disregarding the personal pronouns used for these kings and the 8th king who is one of the seven kings … five who were already dead, one reigning, and the seventh to come, whose reign would be very brief), the Roman Legions (armies of Daniel 9) are linked to this ruler, who is perceived as a modern-day born man, even though doing so stretches this linkage to the breaking point. In other words, the ruler and his armies (Roman legions) are most assuredly coupled, but this connective association actually took place in the first century.

As we shall see, this prince would arise shortly after Messiah Jesus was crucified, as opposed to what would now be a totally impractical and illogical time-lapse of nearly 2000 years. It’s essential that we grasp the grammar and syntax of exactly what Daniel is relaying to us in Chapter 9.

Once again we read, “…The Anointed One (Messiah) will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing, and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26a, italics for emphasis). Two things jump from the pages of this startling prediction:

(1) The possessive pronoun “whose” (armies) grammatically and prophetically bind the ruler to the actual armies that would destroy Jerusalem and the Second Temple. This fateful prophecy was agonizingly realized in 70 AD when the Roman Legions utterly demolished the Temple and destroyed much of Jerusalem, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews. The indisputable historical evidence clearly shows that this cruel campaign to crush the Jews had been ordered by Nero in 66-67 AD; moreover, he hand-picked the two Roman Generals who carried out his orders—Vespasian and Titus.

(2) The sequential syntax of the passage yields the unambiguous conclusion that the ruler would arise (shortly) after Christ (the Anointed One) was killed (on the Cross); as opposed to what is now a 2000-year gap between the Roman Legions that demolished the Temple and what is supposed to be a modern-day man (Antichrist) who would have absolutely no connection whatsoever to those legions. The text stipulates that the ruler would arise during the time when Messiah’s death appeared to have accomplished nothing. From my book, Out of the Abyss:

If the ruler is a modern-day man, then this verse doesn’t fit. Worse, the first part of the verse is simply inaccurate. What am I saying? I am saying that … we can look back some 2000 years and clearly see the monumentally astounding accomplishments of Christianity. Yet Daniel 9:26 effectively tells us that the ruler will sequentially rise to power during the time that Messiah’s death “appears” to have accomplished nothing. In other words, the ruler would arise fairly soon after Messiah is killed.

Nero was born just three to four years after Christ died, and he ruled as Emperor just two-three decades (later) … Christianity was still in its infancy. To the populace of Israel, the Roman Empire and world at large, the tragic death of Jesus of Nazareth seemed to have accomplished very little. To Jewish Zealots, Jesus’s death accomplished absolutely nothing … It took several centuries for Christians and the secular world to comprehend the increasing influence that the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ had exerted on the world. (Pages 256-257).

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Concerning the real-time 1st century correlation between the prince/ruler and the people or armies that destroyed the Temple, I explained in Out of the Abyss:

The Hebrew word for people … means people(s) people of a nation, members of one’s people, kinsman, or compatriots … invariably when relating people to a nation, king, ruler, or to God, the word is employed in the logical and sensible Scriptural context of possessive, immediate, or generational relationship….

I go on to say that the people of the prince or ruler that Daniel foretells, … includes all of the prince’s country-men; but more exactly it was the armies (Roman Legions) of this people that fulfilled the prophecy…. But whose armies are they? Whose people are they? If you study the text carefully, there is a clear possessive correlation between the ruler and the armies or the people…. Whose is possessive, meaning those armies or people specifically belonging to that particular ruler…. The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince destroyed the Temple.

Then a few paragraphs later: Where have you ever read or seen or thought that a ruler of any era would be connected to armies or people hundreds or thousands of years earlier. All monarchs, both in Biblical and secular history, are linked directly with the armies of that particular time of the ruler’s life.

And, as indicated, whenever the Hebrew word “am” (meaning people) is used throughout the Old Testament in conjunction with a ruler and a people, it is used to specify an immediate, real-time connection between the leader/nation and the people belonging to that leader… Why, then, should Gabriel and Daniel mean a far-off, time-warped differential between the Roman Legions and a prince that wouldn’t arrive on the scene for what is now a nearly two-thousand year gap? (Pages 254-256).

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Roman Legion

Daniel goes on to explain that the same ruler whose armies would destroy the Temple would then make a treaty with Israel, which is the Biblical passage specifying that the Tribulation is for a period of seven years. But before Daniel announces this seven-year treaty and the ruler’s violation of the treaty half way through, we have one remarkable interval between the end of verse 26 and the beginning of verse 27 that many Bible scholars have overlooked, missed, or dismissed (in terms of its chronological impact). There’s no doubt in the syntax structure of verses 26 & 27, that the decisive events described are sequential. I repeat: no doubt whatsoever; if for no other reason that the connecting words and the logical progression of occurrences are given in a specific order.

Here’s what the text says: “…whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple. The end will come with a flood, and war and its miseries are decreed from that time to the very end. The ruler will make a treaty with the people…” (Daniel 9:26b, 27a, italics for emphasis). I’ve italicized the crucial interim period of time that clearly separates the (now) historical sacking of Jerusalem in 70 AD from the yet-to-come seven-year Tribulation treaty engineered by the SAME ruler whose armies destroyed the city and the Temple.

The end will come … war its miseries from that time to the very end is expressive apocalyptic language to describe the Great Tribulation.

This is absolutely astonishing, and can only be truly apprehended and appreciated by realizing that the ruler (Nero) whose armies destroyed the Temple will also be the same ruler who will mesmerize the entire world by his astounding return from the Abyss; which will enable him to strike a treaty with Israel at the outset of the Tribulation, then break this treaty in 3 ½ years followed by an all-out onslaught against Israel and the tribulation saints for another 3 ½ years.

Thus, even without Revelation 17 which clearly and emphatically tells us that the 8th king (the Antichrist scarlet beast) is from the seven and had lived and died before John even saw this beast-king; history itself validates Daniel’s incredible prophecy that the armies of, controlled by, and subsequently ordered to crush the Jewish rebellion belonged to none other than the Roman Emperor, Nero. Combining Revelation 17 with Daniel 9 (and also Daniel 7), we have not one, but two historical and irrefutable proofs that the future tense ruler of Daniel’s prophecies became the first century PAST TENSE king-beast ruler known as Nero.

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Depicts Destruction of Jerusalem & Temple in 70 AD

Fourth Title: Man of Lawlessness

But there’s more! Not just future tense and past tense, but a PRESENT TENSE (right then and there as it was happening) expose of the fifth Roman Emperor by the Apostle Paul, who labeled him the man of lawlessness. Once again for sake of time/space in these three articles on the names of Antichrist, we must summarize in crash course fashion another chapter from Out of the Abyss (Refer to Chapter 21 for many more facts and details). Beginning with the riveting passage:

“…For that day will not come until there is a great rebellion against God and the man of lawlessness is revealed—the one who brings destruction … He will even sit in the temple of God, claiming that he himself is God. Don’t you remember that I told you about all this when I was with you? And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out-of-the-way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:3-8).

In this abbreviated review of the man later called Antichrist and the beast (of Revelation), we need to concentrate on the present tense grammar and the obvious implications thereof; to both the man of lawlessness and the secrecy of the lawlessness (that he was part of) that was being restrained or held back at the very time that Paul wrote this letter to the Church at Thessalonica.

First, a brief historical context: Paul wrote II Thessalonians in 51-52 AD, and the Temple of Jerusalem was very much intact. Believers expected that the desecration that Daniel, Jesus, and Paul spoke of would take place in none other than Herod’s Temple, in their very near future. In fact, it’s abundantly clear throughout the entire New Testament, especially from the Apostle Paul, that the Christians at that time fully expected Jesus to return any hour of any day. The “imminent return of Christ” was more alive and real in the first century that it has been ever since, with the possible exception of today’s passionate hope that his return is very near.

It’s just that the Holy Spirit had not revealed to Paul that the desecration of the Temple would take place in a 3rd rebuilt Temple, to replace Herod’s Temple that would be destroyed less than twenty years after Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians.

But I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit had disclosed to Paul the identity of this man of lawlessness, even though Paul could not and would not refer to the man by name … upon penalty of death and intense persecution of Christians, which would have begun as soon as Nero unlawfully ascended the throne, if not before. In fact, later in Nero’s reign, tens of thousands of Christians were murdered and both Paul and Peter were executed. Nero was subsequently “revealed” as the man of lawlessness, but not yet as the Beast-king. Nero’s future (resumed) fulfillment of his anti-Christ agenda would not fully materialize until the Day of the Lord had begun … precipitated first by the Rapture, then shortly followed by his (the beast-king’s) return from the Abyss.

How can we know with absolute certainty that Paul was referring to this man of lawlessness (who we know is one and the same as the little horn, ruler, king, and would be (later) called Antichrist and the Beast) as one who was already alive on planet Earth; as opposed to some far-off unborn ruler who would initiate a great rebellion against God?

Before answering that question, let’s also be reminded that Nero did exactly that. Not before Nero instigated and personally supervised a savage vendetta against Christians at the hands of an entire empire or until Nero resumes the rebellion during the Great Tribulation, has there ever been such brutality on this scale. Against the Jews as a race and nation, yes; but not against people from all races, nations, and languages, so identified because of their belief in the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus as their Messiah. Ironically, Nero’s direct participation in this first century persecution of Christians lasted about 3 ½ years, the same period of time that his diabolical revolt against God, and torture and death of Christians and Jews will last during the Great Tribulation.

The following is how we can irrefutably conclude that Paul was telling us exactly who the man of lawlessness was and would be, without actually stating his name. Once again let’s read the words, this time from the New American Standard Bible: “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed … only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way” (II Thessalonians 2:6-7, italics for emphasis).

Who or What Holds Back the Man of Lawlessness & the Secrecy of the Lawlessness?

These active present tense verbs and modifiers clearly convey and confirm the premise that all this was taking place before and when Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians. Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss to reinforce this premise:

According to Paul, the restrainer “is” (at that time) holding the lawless one back. This present tense application is augmented by the fact that what restrains is holding “him now.” Not later, not in some distant future, but right then and there while Paul informed the believers. Paul obviously is not referring to a man who hadn’t even been born yet. Nor does the text state or imply that the man of lawlessness is currently restrained from being born; in fact that would make no sense whatsoever.

Think about it. How could or why would the man be restrained if he wasn’t already alive? If Paul was referring to this man in the future tense (not what the man would do … that was still future), he would have said, “and you know what will hold him back.” The present tense grammar of the text yields a convincing conclusion; this man of lawlessness was already being held in check.

Newsflash: Nero became emperor in 54 AD, but Claudius Caesar and his wife, Agrippina (Nero’s mother), were already touting Nero as successor when Paul wrote I and II Thessalonians. Furthermore, all of Rome knew that Nero would not be a lawful successor to the crown. Romans had already prided themselves and their empire as the first and greatest law and order society in history. And, as we saw earlier: Paul wrote II Thessalonians in 51-52 AD. That’s a bit more than coincidental, don’t you think? (Page 191).

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Today’s contemporary application of these verses is that the Holy Spirit is the restrainer and that he restrains evil, but that is not what the passage is telling us. For one thing, the Greek word for lawlessness is different from the Greek words used for evil or wickedness in the New Testament. The Greek word for lawlessness is anomia, which means contempt for or violation of law—Biblical laws, moral laws, and civil laws. Found only fifteen times in the New Testament, the word conveys a more exclusive, or specific expression of evil, the very kind that Paul said was taking place. In fact, Paul said, “this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way.”

Before that, Paul referred to the restrainer as “what is holding him back.” The him of this verse is the man of lawlessness and the what (as clearly explained in Out of the Abyss) was the Roman government including the Senate that represented the people, and to a lesser extent the Roman legions. Moreover, the Holy Spirit is NEVER referred to by a neutral or impersonal pronoun anywhere in Scripture; rather, the Holy Spirit is always referred to by the personal pronoun, he or him. Why then would Paul even remotely imply that the pronoun what of this passage is the Holy Spirit? Yet, that is the (mistaken) association by many scholars, i.e. that this impersonal pronoun substitution (what) is the Holy Spirit, himself.

Furthermore, why would Paul be reluctant to identify or enunciate the name of the Holy Spirit in this context; when non-believing Romans or Greeks would have been oblivious to something or someone called the Holy Spirit? When, in fact, Paul often mentioned the Holy Spirit throughout his epistles, and even references the Holy Spirit in verse thirteen of this same chapter in II Thessalonians. It’s completely logical why Paul withheld the name of Nero, Claudius, or Agrippina, all of whom were part of the lawless scheme to make Nero the next Emperor. But no reason at all for Paul to evasively disguise the Holy Spirit as the impersonal (force) that was holding the man of lawlessness in check until the secrecy of this lawlessness was fully exposed (later in 54 AD).

The lawlessness Paul cited in this passage was the Machiavellian-style political intrigue and covert maneuvers underway through what would later become a (successful) conspiracy by Nero’s mother Agrippina to assassinate her husband, the Roman Emperor Claudius—which would pave the way for Nero to become Caesar.

Please, read the passage again: The lawlessness itself was not being held back; instead it was the secrecy of that lawlessness … known only by a select few including Paul, to whom it had been revealed. Thus it was the Roman system of law and government (what) that was holding Nero (temporarily) in check; which enabled Claudius Caesar (as long as he was on the throne) to hold back or (inadvertently) suppress the secrecy of what was unlawfully being planned by his wife and step-son Nero. But when the one who “now restrains” was taken out of the way, the clandestine, hush-hush, anarchistic plot would no longer be concealed. This lawlessness would and did rear its ugly head when Agrippina poisoned Claudius, and Nero succeeded him as Emperor.

As summarized in Out of the Abyss:

Obviously Claudius wanted Nero to succeed him, but certainly not as a result of Claudius being toppled from power by anyone, let alone his wife, Agrippina. Thus, Claudius was part of the scheme that would bypass his natural son’s right to the throne in favor of his step-son Nero. Little did Claudius realize that this plot would thicken with Agrippina’s lawless sub-plot to prematurely take him out of the picture, to remove him from power by revealing her true intention—that of Nero’s immediate unlawful ascension to the throne. (Page 201).

Things to Ponder

Next weeks’ article, the final part of this trilogy, will elaborate on the remaining two names: Antichrist and The Beast. To further expand on how these two designations (alongside the man of lawlessness) comprehensively represent the composite Antichrist, i.e. body, soul, and spirit of this depraved human being.

For all those who really want to accurately determine the identity of Antichrist, I am completely convinced that God wants us to know just as the early Christians knew, especially through the 5th century AD. That Nero was this man of lawlessness, the ruler, and the king (Roman Caesar) who had died; but would one day return from the Abyss as the (little horn) beast to continue his Antichrist reign of terror … but on a truly global scale.

We need to know these things before the Rapture takes place, so that many left behind will not be so amazed at a False Messiah … Nero’s returns from the underworld.

We need to know, before we go!

A Beast by Any Other Name … Part I

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A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” So why not use the first part of this famous line from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet as the actual title of this article? Answer: Because the beast is none other than the infamous Antichrist; and it’s too much of a spiritual and moral compromise to metaphorically equate this evil man to a rose … for that matter even to a weed!

If you were asked to designate the Antichrist by another Biblical alias or term, would you be able to pick one, or two, or four? Although the label Antichrist is known all over the world, including hundreds of millions of unbelievers, I would dare say that even many believers would be hard-pressed to come up with three or more of these Biblical names, other than the most familiar one … Antichrist.

Another question: Does it really make a difference what name we use to identify this notorious man? It all depends on how much we truly want to know what Scripture wants us to know. If we merely want to refer to him as the one who will be an (the) anti-Christ and a counterfeit Messiah during the Great Tribulation, then Antichrist will do just fine. But if we really wish to understand more than just the future of this terrible tyrant, if we are curious whether he has a past which also requires a present (tense) existence at one point in history; then we must carefully examine each of the Biblical names given to him. If, indeed, we actually desire to exercise the wisdom called for and needed (Revelation 13:18) in order to ascertain the accurate identity of this nefarious man, then we need to comprehend that different titles were given to him for that very purpose?

Those who have read my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the Beast be solved, 666; as well as several prior Eye of Prophecy articles on this subject, already know that the Antichrist has been identified as the Roman Emperor, Nero. Furthermore, this astonishing conclusion is not based whatsoever on the Preterist view; because the Preterists erroneously contend that the book of Revelation, including the Tribulation period (which is most of the book), took place in the first century. That argument has been soundly refuted by astute Bible scholars for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because the Tribulation has not yet taken place. There’s simply no way to symbolically equate (what will be) the literal seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments of Revelation with first century events.

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What the Preterists completely missed, and what I (at one time) and many other students of prophecy have misunderstood is that the beast of Revelation had already lived and died BEFORE John was given the amazing revelation of the beast (Antichrist). Moreover, John was told that the beast would reappear from the Abyss! This extraordinary emergence would stun the world as most of those left behind after the Rapture would (logically) see Nero’s return from the grave as a supernatural event.

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast” (Revelation 13:3).

In support of this incredible conclusion (as to his identity) I carefully examined EVERY Scripture passage that deals with this infamous man. Indeed, the main purpose for sharing this disclosure and discernment in Out of the Abyss and in some Eye of Prophecy articles is so that (before and particularly after the Rapture) many will not be amazed … as they will realize that this man’s identity had been decoded and declassified long ago. That his sensational return from the grave (actually the Abyss) had been planned by the Lord who will allow Nero’s release from the Abyss, which will delude billions into believing the lie that they want to believe in the first place.

“So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:11-12).

The purpose of this article and the next two articles is to expand this evidence, by explaining the contextual reasons for Scripture’s allusions to Antichrist with more than just one title. To realize that the Antichrist is not just a future tyrant—a perceived modern-day man born in the generation that will experience the Tribulation. Instead, to fully grasp that the diverse Biblical references to this despicable despot clearly demonstrate sequentially that he had a future, then a present, then a past, and then (will be given) another (brief) future (appearance) on this earth.

These trilogy of articles will be a crash course that we might call: Names of Antichrist 101. Once again, because the vast majority of both unbelievers and believers know this wicked ruler as Antichrist, that will be the primary appellation employed throughout these articles. Ironically, however, the designation of Antichrist is the least used term for this man found in the Bible, and is not found at all in the two most end-times (tribulation) prophetic books of Scripture: Daniel and Revelation.

First Title: Little Horn

The very first reference to Antichrist can be found in the book of Daniel: “Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong … It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns. As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:7-8).

If you recall the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the terrifying statue (Daniel Chapter 2), then Daniels’s vision of the four beasts, followed chronologically by the (now) historical emergence of the four (and only four) world empires depicted in these visions, then you know that the first three kingdoms are Babylon, Persia, and Greece. With the fourth most dreadful and mighty empire of all … the ancient Roman Empire.

Later in this same chapter, Daniel tells us more about this little horn. “…This horn had seemed greater than the others (meaning the other ten horns of the fourth beast), and it had human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly. As I watched, this horn was waging war against God’s holy people and was defeating them, until the Ancient One—the Most High—came and judged in favor of his holy people. Then the time arrived for the holy people to take over the kingdom” (Daniel 7:20-22).

This passage coupled with Revelation Chapter 13 shows distinctly that these things are taking place at the outset and then throughout the Great Tribulation. Daniel’s choice of a descriptive tag for this man, small horn with human eyes and a mouth that boasted arrogantly (then later just horn), conveys the following: (1) the term horn signifies authority and power, but when given human eyes and a boastful mouth, it specifically tells us that the predominate characteristics of this man is that of conceited boasting against God and God’s people, i.e. Jews and Christians Jews and Gentiles during the tribulation.

(2) This is the same expressive language used by John in Revelation 13, which was his first vision of this man. “And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple—that is, those who live in heaven (meaning Christians who have been raptured just before the tribulation begins). And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them…” (Revelation 13:6-7).

What I have often said before bears repeating: Nowhere in Daniel 7 or Revelation 13 (or in any other Biblical passages about this man) do we read that he is a political, military, administrative, or economic genius that possesses charismatic statesmanship or oratorical skills that enable him to persuade people the world over. Instead, he is an arrogant, boastful tyrant who blasphemes God from the very beginning. Although both religious (from non-Christian religions) and irreligious unbelievers often attack (verbally and physically) Christians, seldom do they rant, rave, and rail against Almighty God, mostly out of fear and/or some measure of respect. But here we have a man who has “miraculously” reappeared from the grave that billions of people will believe to be God.

Thus, they will have no problem endorsing his blasphemous boasts against the true and living God. In fact, most will join their self-appointed god and curse the real God despite knowing full well that he is the righteous and just God who is judging the earth. “…and they cursed the name of God, who had control over all these plagues. They did not repent of their sins and turn to God and give him glory” (Revelation 16:9).

This first introduction to Antichrist shows us his true character from the very beginning of his reappearance … that he blows his own horn with an unholy, ungodly blast against the true and living God.

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Once again we read, “…suddenly another small horn appeared among them…” (Daniel 7:8)

Daniel employs the modifier “sudden” because that’s exactly how Antichrist will initially appear to the world … from the Abyss (Revelation 17) which is in/under the Sea from where the beast arises (Revelation 13). As opposed to the other ten kings and their kingdoms (nations) who are already well-known and established, this little horn springs up abruptly. A modern-day phrase would be, “He came out of nowhere.”

There’s a reason for EVERY WORD found in Scripture; and the adverb suddenly is no exception. In fact it’s crucial in this particular text toward full realization that the horn (later called beast in Revelation) suddenly appears, unlike a leader already entrenched in an influential political, administrative, and/or military position. The contemporary portrayal of Antichrist as a modern-day man who, after the Rapture, will rise in prominence by asserting and expanding already established credentials—whether from within the United Nations, European Union, or some other high-profile national or international position—does not track at all with a swift unexpected arrival to a world already dazed by the removal of hundreds of millions from the earth. And certainly not with the little horn’s reappearance as the beast of Revelation who had already lived, died, but would return again after the Rapture.

Second Title: King (Passage #1- Daniel 7)

At Daniel’s request, “one of those standing beside the throne” explained to Daniel the meaning of his vision including, “…This fourth beast is the fourth world power that will rule the earth … Its ten horns are ten kings … Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High… (Daniel 7:23-25).

To confirm that the small horn who seemed greater than the other horns would be a powerful figure to whom the other ten kings would yield their allegiance and kingdoms, Daniel is told that this man would, in fact, be a king … a second title assigned to the Antichrist. But this king would be different from the other ten. If you do a complete study of Antichrist (as is done in Out of the Abyss) it’s clear what makes this eleventh king in Daniel 7 totally unlike the other ten. Two things stand out: One is his origin; the other is found in the very meaning of different.

(1) He is a king directly from the fourth world empire of Rome. Please remember: Because some 2000 years have elapsed, we (for that obvious reason) classify this fourth kingdom in Daniel as the ancient Roman Empire. But when Daniel recorded this vision, it was equally obvious that this fourth (along with the 2nd & 3rd kingdoms of Persia and Greece) kingdom was a future empire which (historically) would emerge some five hundred years later.

Essentially, these ten tribulation kings are extensions of the fourth beast (the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue); not a separate beast or kingdom … meaning not a so-called Revived Roman Empire; because there are four and only four world empires seen by Daniel. What makes the tribulation alliance between the Antichrist and the ten kings a weakened extension of the fourth world empire is the Antichrist himself. More specifically it is who and what the Antichrist is, and when and where the Antichrist originates that connects the tribulation coalition with the fourth world empire. It is the fact that the king (Antichrist) is a Revived Roman Emperor!

(2) Most remarkably, what makes the Antichrist (king) different from the other ten kings is best, I think, clarified by the following excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

Especially as utilized in the context (of Daniel 7), the word itself is too strong to suggest an intrinsic variation, such as being a more polished, captivating, charismatic, or powerful leader … Different denotes difference, in all that the word means and implies.

I think this is important enough to refer to Webster’s Dictionary. Different is, “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality … dissimilar (could hardly be more). Not the same as … distinct, unusual, special, diverse, divergent, and disparate. Unlike in kind or character … implies marked contrast.”

That my friend is “different,” and it yields a comprehensive, composite explanation of the fundamental contrast between Antichrist and the ten kings … What specifically is that difference? I’m glad you asked!

The one thing that makes Antichrist different from the other ten kings is that he is a living miracle, and they are not.

He has arisen from the underworld, and they have not. The ten kings have a birth certificate, but the Antichrist does not. Nor will anyone, including crime scene forensic investigators be able to prove that he had died a short time before he arose, as there will be no autopsy or death certificate; nor any fingerprint records or dental records, nor any evidence of a crime scene, nor a coroner’s report, nor a coffin or a grave.

We must remember the shocking fact announced by the angelic messenger: Antichrist died before John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Therefore, his initial sudden appearance to a Post-Rapture world will be from the dead, which makes him dramatically different from the ten kings. There’s no way the beast can or will be born during the generation that experiences the Day of the Lord. (Out of the Abyss, pages 185-186).

Second Title: King (passage #2- Daniel 11)

For sake of time/space in this article, will simply say that Antichrist is again referred to as a king in this passage, specifically, the King of the North; but also with unmistakable reference to many of the Great Tribulation exploits of this king, some of which are similar to the initial prototype of Antichrist—which is the 2nd century BC Greek-Syrian ruler, Antiochus IV.

Second Title: King (passage #3- Revelation 17)

Revelation 13 is the first disclosure of the Beast, but without any reference to the (Antichrist) beast being a king, because the primary emphasis is that of the beast recovering from a deadly wound (rising from the grave) and the subsequent challenge for all readers of Revelation to (with wisdom and understanding) solve the meaning of the number of the beast. Which is tantamount to identifying exactly who the Beast is, when combined with more biographical and historical evidence presented in Chapter 17. Said the angel to John after John had witnessed this amazing beast upon which sat a woman (later identified as “the great city that rules over the kings of the world”): “Why are you so amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now…” (Revelation 17:8, italics for emphasis).

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The angel continues: “This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. (Rome) They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief. The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like the other seven … The ten horns of the beast are ten kings who have not yet risen to power. They will be appointed to their kingdoms for one brief moment to reign with the beast. They will all agree to give him their power and authority” (Revelation 17:9-13).

Ek which also means one of, out of, or from is the Greek word used to tell us that this eighth king is (also) one of the seven; which, by default, means that he is one of the five who had already died because twice the angel told John that the beast once was, but is no longer (alive).

Did you catch that? Can it be any clearer that the first half of Revelation 17, through verse 11, provides a PAST TENSE biography of this beast-king? That is simply amazing and refits the prophetic puzzle with the correct piece that identifies the Antichrist.

Thus, the emphasis shifts from symbolic imagery of a beast seen by John on a Sunday on the Island of Patmos in the first century; to the angel’s explanation of this stunning vision of a beast with seven heads being seven kings; which, by the present-day (in the 1st century) context of this vision, were five former (now dead) Roman Caesars, one currently reigning, and one to come whose reign would be brief. In Out of the Abyss, I explain how all that works. And with ten horns, who the angel said were ten kings not yet appointed to their kingdoms, which discernibly refers to ten leaders and their nations during the Tribulation.

The ten kings that yield their kingdoms (nations) to the eighth king (Antichrist) will be specifically identified only after the Rapture; however, I’m convinced that these nations are in existence today. And it may surprise you that I’m equally convinced the United States of America is one of those nations, specifically one of the three that will be “subdued” by the (antichrist) king depicted by Daniel. But that’s another article for another day!

Once again, please refer to Out of the Abyss for several reasons why the seven kings of Revelation 17 are, in fact, kings and not kingdoms (as most modern scholars have classified them), not the least of which is the very Greek words used for kings and kingdoms. But also how and why the sequence of seven kings can and does fit three different historical options. The reason there are three options or possibilities depends upon when the book of Revelation was written and by whom. Yet, all three alternatives allow for the seven kings mentioned in this chapter to have reigned sequentially as clearly explained by the angel to John … five have fallen, one reigns, and the seventh’s reign will be brief.

When the book of Revelation was written and copies distributed throughout the Roman Empire, it’s inconceivable that the 1st century Christians wouldn’t have known the sequence and identity of the seven Roman Caesars (kings) mentioned by the angel to John. But when we look back 2000 years and now see that there were (historical hindsight) three pseudo-Emperors during the approximately 18 month civil war upheaval in which none of these three (Galba, Otho, and Vitellius) were really bona fide emperors, we have three options to choose from with regard to the historical chronological sequence of the seven kings. See Chapter 17 of Out of the Abyss, because space does not permit in this article; but any one of the three scenarios can thread seamlessly through the angel’s clarification of the seven kings.

Summary

In slight contrast to the more generic term ruler which we will cover next week in Daniel Chapter 9, the title-specific designation of king for the Antichrist indicates that he would be a sovereign monarch (in Roman times, an Emperor) who would also rule over other kings. In the ancient world that would have been kings of conquered nations that became part of the Roman Empire. In fact, Nero was so fond of one of these subjugated kingdoms (Greece) that he wrote and performed several dramatic plays in the Greek language. During the tribulation, it will be exactly ten kings and their nations.

Ancient world: Emperors or Kings. Modern world: Presidents or Prime Ministers. All prophetically identified as kings.

Incredibly, history unfolded Daniel’s future horn and king into a man portrayed as a beast-king by John, who subsequently lived and died … a prophesied past tense biography of the Antichrist (Nero, who died a few years before Revelation was written and whose name spelled out in Hebrew equals six hundred and sixty-six). But it doesn’t stop there. Revelation 17 also tells us that this same real-life king (Roman Caesar) symbolized first as a beast in John’s vision, would rule over the ten kings which are exclusively (in Daniel and Revelation) future tribulation kings!

Thus, the Antichrist king of Daniel 7, Daniel 11, and Revelation 17 is not and cannot be a modern man born in the generation of the Great Tribulation. Why? Because part of the angel’s unveiling of the mysterious beast in Revelation 17 is that the beast had already lived and died. Which, of course, means that he had already established a (dubious) legacy as one of the five kings who had fallen, but would amazingly return as the eighth king who was the composite scarlet beast itself.

The title for Antichrist of king is used in connection to the ten king/kingdom confederation that will serve him during the tribulation; but it also makes a phenomenal connection of this same tribulation king to an actual king that had lived and died (shortly) before John was given the spectacular visions as recorded in the book of Revelation. Which, in turn, further unseals the mysterious visions of Daniel that match those seen by John. This “miraculous” (as explained in Out of the Abyss, Nero’s revival and emergence from the Abyss is orchestrated and allowed by God) return from the grave is the one thing that will captivate the world’s attention and deceive them into believing that a Revived Roman Emperor is a god … even the true God.

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First Century Sculpture of Nero and his mother, Agrippina

Things to Ponder

Not until John the Apostle wrote his first epistle, is the alias Antichrist used in Scripture; which is the last or next-to-last title given to this despot. Yet, Daniel, Paul, and the author of Revelation all paint a vivid portrait of this man; employing various names that, if studied carefully and placed in the context of the future tense prophecies AND past tense fulfillment, help us to understand that this man was already Antichrist before he would return to wreak havoc on the earth as the beast-king during the Great Tribulation.

In next week’s article we will see that Daniel then refers to him as a ruler (a non-specific generic designation) who would arise in a specific chronological sequence after Messiah came to earth and was crucified. That this ruler’s armies destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple which happened in 70 AD. That this ruler is indisputably directly connected to the armies (Roman legions) that destroyed the Temple.

If we think of and refer only to the title of Antichrist (as the end-times tyrant of the Tribulation period), we think only in terms of a modern-day man and his rise to power; which is logical in terms of a more natural and normal rise to power of a contemporary figure. But inaccurate when we carefully examine the (now historical) PAST TENSE existence of this man, as profoundly, but plainly presented in these passages from Daniel and Revelation.

And the PRESENT TENSE description of Antichrist through the Apostle Paul’s reference to the man of lawlessness, just a few short years before Nero assumed the throne as Rome’s fifth emperor. This will also be discussed in next week’s article. Stay tuned!

The third and final article in this series will examine the 5th and 6th aliases assigned to this man … Antichrist and the Beast.

In summary, the six designations:

Little Horn

King

Ruler (or Prince)

Man of Lawlessness

Antichrist

Beast (and Scarlet Beast)

A Modern Day Esther

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Once Again … For Such A Time as This

“My friends, for over a year, we’ve been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it. Now we’re being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That’s just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal. A better deal that doesn’t leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program in place until Iran’s aggression ends.”

The above quote is an excerpt from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stirring historical speech before the United States Congress earlier this week (March 3rd). The bad deal cited by the Prime Minister is currently being negotiated by Secretary of State, John Kerry, under the direction of US President Barack Obama. By and large, the precise details of this “bad deal” are unknown by much of the world; however, the fundamental framework would allow Iran to continue its centrifuges (on a limited, but nevertheless ongoing basis) for a period of ten years in exchange for relaxing economic sanctions against Iran.

Prime Minister Netanyahu proposed a much better deal with concluding remarks such as, “Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran’s nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war. The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.”

Even before Netanyahu’s riveting message to the United States Congress, the timing of his visit to America didn’t escape the attention of several Bible scholars/teachers (including me), as well as a great many Israelis. No, I’m not referring to the pretentious reason (excuse) why our President and his staff refused to attend this historical session of Congress—ostensibly because they don’t invite political candidates of another country to the U.S. so close to that country’s elections. Even though Benjamin Netanyahu is running for reelection (having himself called for early elections, which he didn’t have to do); the fact remains that he is the Prime Minister of Israel—for such a time as this.

I and several others firmly believe he places Israel’s security and relations with America far above any partisan political agenda, and in that order. How could he or why would he not, considering what’s at stake? Even though Israeli elections are set for March 17th; a much greater concern is the March 31st deadline for the United States to complete our (bad) deal with Iran.

Rather, the extraordinary timing of the Prime Minister’s captivating message is that it was given just one day before the annual two-day Feast of Purim begins in Israel. I wrote about this remarkable celebratory event of Israel’s history almost exactly a year ago in an article entitled, For Such a Time as This, published 3-15-14. Beginning with:

It’s that time of the year for Jews to celebrate the festive holiday of Purim, one of the delightful memories in Jewish history which makes the Jewish month of Adar (Feb/March) perhaps the happiest month of the year. They rejoice by reading the book of Esther, and playfully dressing up in disguise themselves, just as Queen Esther (at first) concealed her identity as a Jew from her husband, the Persian King Xerxes.

The article goes on to say:

The festival of Purim will be held tomorrow, just ten days after Israeli commandos intercepted the Klos C cargo ship sailing under the flag of Panama on its way to the Gaza Strip. The Israelis escorted the ship to the southern Israel city port of Eilat, where the Israeli Defense Forces unloaded the cargo, followed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inspection of the shipment. There for the whole world to see was an imposing arsenal consisting of hundreds of thousands of rounds of AK-47 ammunition, dozens of mortars, and the most imposing of all—forty long-range missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other cities deep into the heart of Israel. And, if these missiles could have or would have (in the future) been tipped with a nuclear warhead—even a tactical one—the tiny state of Israel would be transported to the state of oblivion.

From where did this destructive payload originate! Too easy of a question, right? None other than Iran, formerly known as the Persian Empire.

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Missiles from Iran, Intercepted March, 2014, by Israel

Another excerpt from, For Such a Time as This:

At the press conference that followed the viewing of the confiscated weapons in Eilat, Benjamin Netanyahu reminded the world (he had just articulated this during his meeting with US President Obama a few days earlier) of the malicious intentions and ominous threat Iran poses to Israel, but not just Israel … also the United States. Said, Prime Minister Netanyahu about Iran: (this) “…brutal regime has not abandoned its deep involvement in terrorism, its systematic efforts to undermine peace and security throughout the Middle East and its ambition to destroy the state of Israel … Those engaged in self-deception must awaken from their slumber; we cannot allow Iran to continue building nuclear weapons.”

Last year’s article goes on to explain what Purim is all about. That were it not for Mordecai’s counsel and Queen Esther’s courage, the wicked Persian official, Haman, would have accomplished his devilish plan to kill all Jews in Persia. Just as Hitler almost did in Europe … no different from what Iran’s Ayatollah would do tomorrow if he had just one nuclear weapon at his disposal.

“Who knows,” Mordecai said to Esther, “If perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

Benjamin Netanyahu … A Modern-Day Esther

Once again, for such a time as this, Israel’s chosen (elected) leader must stand up and speak out for his country, for its very survival. But not just for Israel … for the entire freedom-loving world. The passage of time, nearly 2,500 years from ancient Persia to modern-day Iran, has not buried in antiquity Satan’s diabolical goal to, “…wipe out Israel as a nation … to destroy the very memory of its existence” (Psalms 83:4).

Amazingly, these prophetic words written at least 2,500 years ago have been quoted nearly word for word in the 20th and 21st centuries by Israel’s enemies, particularly by Iran’s former president and by its current Ayatollah. Then mimicked by Iran sponsored terrorist groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, but even by leaders of other Muslim nations. When national leaders mouth the very words of Biblical prophecy without knowing or caring anything about the Word of God, then we know (along with dozens of other world events matching up with Bible prophecy) we are in the last days of the end-times.

As chosen representatives of their people and as played out in the extraordinary timing of today’s existential (Israel’s very existence) threat that a nuclear Iran poses to Israel—passionately conveyed in what could be called, the Purim Message to the US Congress—the striking similarity between Esther’s and Benjamin’s destiny is inescapable.

In Esther’s day, the Jews were on the brink of annihilation; as is the entire nation of Israel today. Yet there are additional factors in today’s world that make Iran an equal, if not greater menace than what Esther and the Jews faced in ancient Persia.

Such as:

Although the villainous Haman was a Persian “noble” whom the King had promoted to the “most powerful official in the empire” (Esther 3:1), who hated the Jews and plotted genocide against them, he was not the supreme ruler of the Persian Empire. Still, Haman somehow persuaded Xerxes to issue a decree that the Jews be destroyed. This was accomplished by means of a vicious lie that the Jews had refused to obey the laws of the king … all the while concealing Haman’s true agenda which was extreme hatred of principally just one Jew, Mordecai.

In contrast, modern-day Iran’s loathing of Israel and solemn vow to “wipe Israel from the face of the earth,” without any attempt to hide it, overtly originates from their very top political and military leaders. There is no Mordecai or Esther in modern Iran who (in ancient Persia Mordecai actually saved the king’s life by exposing a plot to assassinate King Xerxes) could influence the wicked leaders of this country to reconsider their plot to eliminate all Jews from the earth. For that matter, there are very few Jews that remain in Iran. Moreover, there’s no way that Iran’s Ayatollah or President would allow Israel’s Prime Minister to meet with them to explain that Iran’s pernicious pursuit of nuclear weapons is not in the best interest of world peace!

Are you kidding! If for some bizarre reason, the Iranians summoned Israel’s PM to meet with them, Benjamin Netanyahu wouldn’t accept the invitation. Why? Because he knows all too well that you simply can’t engage in diplomacy with an enemy who has sworn to destroy you.

But, that is exactly what President Obama and his staff are trying to do! Apparently, in order to leave some sort of presidential legacy, to directly and indirectly (as a proxy for Israel) negotiate a deal that would (by the very definition of negotiations) require that the United States and its allies make concessions to Iran BEFORE Iran reduces its centrifuge capacity to manufacture weapon-grade uranium.

And, so, instead of appealing to Iran—which would be an impossible exercise in futility to begin with—Prime Minister Netanyahu’s only recourse was to plead directly with the United States Congress (by invitation) and indirectly to the White House that they awaken from a dream-like sleep (nightmare to the Israelis) in which our President fantasizes that he can rationally negotiate with irrational evil.

Another Eye of Prophecy article, Let’s Make a Deal, published 12-14-13 not long after the initial “interim agreement” with Iran began, contains the following: Would you make a deal with someone whose main purpose in life was to destroy you and members of your family… How do you negotiate with those who would lie to you, cheat you, and ultimately kill you to accomplish their warped objectives? Where do you start? Why are you even there in the first place? But none of these questions seem to bother the G5 + 1, with perhaps the exception of France.

Then this example, from several of Iran’s visceral acts of hostility, presented by Prime Minister Netanyahu that partially correlates with another portion of the cited article, Let’s Make a Deal. Said Netanyahu: “Just last week, near Hormuz, Iran carried out a military exercise blowing up a mock U.S. aircraft carrier. That’s just last week, while they’re having nuclear talks with the United States. But unfortunately, for the last 36 years, Iran’s attacks against the United States have been anything but mock … Iran took dozens of Americans hostage in Tehran, murdered hundreds of American soldiers, Marines, in Beirut … killing and maiming thousands of American service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

From, Let’s Make a Deal, article: “Suppose, we can reason with them?” (Here, I referred to the White House supposition that terrorist groups or rogue nations might listen to reason). Really? Concerning Iran, if they had done just one positive thing in the last 34 years to suggest the slightest hint of cooperation or concession, then there might be a slim chance (say .01%) of reaching some sort of agreement. *Note: It’s been 34 years since the attack on the US Embassy in Tehran and kidnapping of dozens of US Embassy representatives by the newly formed Islamic government of Iran. If we’re even a fraction wrong about Iran’s true intentions, then there’s a 99.9% chance they will follow through on their threats.

The Real Deal

Rather, the only “deal” that makes any sense is one that fully considers who and what the enemy is all about; a deal that unilaterally demands what is expected of them without making any concessions whatsoever. At the bare minimum, to enforce what’s already in place. But preferably, to strengthen the sanctions. To tighten Iran’s money belt around its neck until it begs for relief and immediately stops then dismantle its centrifuges, including allowance of detailed inspections as often as necessary.

More insightful recommendations from Benjamin Netanyahu:

“This deal won’t be a farewell to arms. It would be a farewell to arms control. And the Middle East would soon be crisscrossed by nuclear trip wires. A region where small skirmishes can trigger big wars, would turn into a nuclear tinderbox. If anyone thinks … this deal kicks the can down the road, think again. When we get down that road, we’ll face a much more dangerous Middle East littered with nuclear bombs and a countdown to a potential nuclear nightmare.”

Netanyahu continued: “Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve come here today to tell you we don’t have to bet the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change for the better. We don’t have to gamble with our future and with our children’s future. We can insist that restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program not be lifted for as long as Iran continues its aggression in the region and in the world.

“Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things: First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And, third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state.”

Throughout the Prime Minister’s moving message, there were thundering accolades from the Congressional audience with some 40 rounds of applause, 24 standing ovations, including six or seven applause interruptions in just these last few quoted sentences and in the next couple of sentences in which he said:

“If Iran changes its behavior, the restrictions would be lifted. If Iran doesn’t change it behavior, the restrictions would not be lifted. If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal county.”

And then, “Iran’s nuclear program can be rolled back well-beyond the current proposal by insisting on a better deal and keeping up the pressure on a very vulnerable regime, especially given the recent collapse in the price of oil.”

Here is what I said in the Eye of Prophecy article recently published on 2-21-15, entitled: God Is in Control.

At least for the moment, I believe that God has sovereignly circumvented the folly of this nation and other nation’s ignorance and dismissal of God’s supreme counsel found in Scripture concerning the nation of Israel. Specifically, how abuse of Israel will rebound like the recoil of a powerful weapon against those who despise God’s chosen people/land.

The Lord has extended his grace to believers and unbelievers alike through divine intervention; with regard to the beneficial result of drastically reduced gas prices to help jump-start our nation’s still sluggish economy; and at the same time making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for Iran to finish their (not-so-secret) malevolent plan of manufacturing nuclear weapons. At the minimum, it provides more time for Israel to convince the United States and the EU to wake up, to come to their senses and realize that the Iranians mean business. They are absolutely serious about destroying Israel and setting up an Islamic Global Caliphate in which Muslim Sharia law will rule the world. First Israel, then the World is their malicious objective, as is the goal of ISIS and other terrorist groups and even entire nations.

And, in the context of Benjamin’s words of betting the security of the world on the hope that Iran will change or gambling with the future of our children, the following except from my recent article:

God’s omnipotent sovereignty will be vividly displayed in Iran’s humiliating defeat during her vain alliance with Russia in the Gog/Magog attack on Israel. However, that doesn’t mean that the United States or any other nation should ignore the profound consequences of endangering or abandoning Israel through reckless negotiations and agreements with countries bent on Israel’s destruction. If we persist in putting Israel in peril, you can bet the farm that this nation will suffer the same fate as ancient Babylon or Persia. That is if you have a house left to bet with even before the great end-times battles begin.

Another quote from God is in Control:

Even milder mistreatment such as disrespect, denigration, or constant disapproval of Israel will have ramifications. But if we deliberately snub Israel to the point of scorn or humiliation and certainly hatred, then it is a Biblical certainty: God will snub the United States of America, primarily by withdrawing his protection from this country that God blessed from its birth. And that won’t be a pretty sight. To the potential extreme that if we allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, then pray to God that one of those nuclear-tipped missiles doesn’t explode on American soil.

nuclear_explosion_by_theabp-d59sy3y-300x168

A nuclear-armed Iran is, by far, the greatest threat to Israel; greater even than the terrorist groups that lurk near Israel (Hezbollah in Lebanon) and within Israel (Hamas in the Gaza Strip). A nuclear Iran is also a grave threat to the United States, but it is not the ultimate risk that America faces. No, the paramount peril to this great country of ours is turning our backs on Israel. To ignore Israel’s safety and to put her in harm’s way is to place ourselves outside of God’s omnipotent protection. We may get to that point anyway, via our inexorable slide down an avalanche of immorality that has carried with it executive and judicial decisions designed to eliminate God from the very fabric and foundation of our country. But it’s a foregone conclusion, a sure thing, that we will lose God’s sovereign intervention if we offer Israel on the altar of a sacrificial agreement with her enemies.

Negative Reactions to the Prime Minister’s Message

Sadly, even tragically, here are some of the responses of our leaders to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s passionate plea for this country to wake up to what radical Islam is all about. *Note: Though a topic for another article, radical Islam is actually moderate mainstream because that’s exactly what the Koran calls for, i.e. jihad and ruthless suppression of all infidels—Christians and Jews alike—who refuse to submit to the Muslim god Allah. Islam means submission.

First, more words from Israel’s Prime Minister: “Iran’s regime is as radical as ever, its cries of ‘Death to America,’ that same America that it calls the ‘Great Satan,’ as loud as ever. Now, this shouldn’t be surprising, because the ideology of Iran’s revolutionary regime is deeply rooted in militant Islam, and that’s why this regime will always be an enemy of America. Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America. Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire.”

Netanyahu then concludes that portion of his speech with this profound warning: “In this deadly game of thrones, there’s no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews, or Muslims who don’t share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is (still) your enemy.”

Adverse Responses:

President Barack Obama: Essentially, he concluded that Netanyahu said nothing new, that it was the same kind of speech he delivered when the US, “came to the interim deal … about how dangerous that deal was going to be…” He further said that Netanyahu, “offered no viable alternative.”

Comment: First, the recent speech contained many new and different points, not the least of which was a concrete solution to the problem, which has already been summarized in this article. Second, of course some of the speech was repetitive of past statements made by Israel’s Prime Minister. Because Israel understands her enemies far better than the current administration of the United States when the interim agreement began in 2013, Benjamin Netanyahu at that time said, “The most dangerous regime in the world must not be allowed to have the most dangerous weapon in the world … we will not allow Iran to receive a military nuclear capability.”

When the stakes are so high, such warnings need to be repeated … over and over and over. Referring to the Holocaust, Jews have incessantly echoed, “Never again.” As did Benjamin Netanyahu in his speech when he recognized and honored holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner, Elie Wiesel.

We all must be reminded continually how apocalyptically serious Iran is in its misguided messianic pursuit of world supremacy, beginning with Israel’s destruction.

In other words, if the White House thinks that Iran (because of its status as a nation) is different from the terrorist organizations it supports (such as Hezbollah and Hamas) or because Iran doesn’t like ISIS usurping Iran’s Islamic goals of a global Caliphate, that they can reason with Iran … well, it’s the proverbial, “You better think again.”

Vice President Joe Biden: Conveniently travelling abroad.

Comment: No comment needed; his absence said it all.

Secretary of State, John Kerry: Equally convenient, he was in Geneva where negotiations are taking place between the United States and Iran. In fact, the day after Netanyahu’s speech to Congress, Kerry met again with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed javad Zarif.

Said the Prime Minister in his speech to Congress: “Last year, the same Zarif who charms Western diplomats laid a wreath at the grave of Imad Mughniyeh. Imad Mughniyeh is the terrorist mastermind who spilled more American blood than any other terrorist besides Osama bin Laden”

Comment: Does John Kerry or our President or anyone seriously think that Iran will keep any bargain without debilitating sanctions that will economically cripple the capacity to develop their uranium enrichment program as well as subsidize terrorist groups in the Middle East? The historical image of England’s Neville Chamberlain negotiating with Adolph Hitler for “peace in our time” compels me (and others) to shout on the rooftops: “What in the world are you thinking?”

House of Representatives Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi: “I was near tears throughout the prime minister’s speech…” She then gave the reason for her sorrow: “…saddened by the insult to the intelligence of the United States as part of the P5 + 1 nations … and saddened by the condescension toward our knowledge of the threat posed by Iran and our broader commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation.”

Comment: Seriously? Does she actually believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu insulted the United States (meaning her and other liberal versions of America which, among other things, includes a gross miscalculation of Islamic objectives) intelligence—perhaps meaning actual intelligence agencies like the CIA but also the US capacity to grasp the issues? Does she truly believe that the Prime Minister is condescending to the White House by underestimating or belittling or trivializing the U.S. recognition of what a nuclear Iran means to the world?

I’ve followed the career of Benjamin Netanyahu for many years now. I can say with utmost certainty: He unconditionally respects the United States and cherishes Israel’s relationship with this great country. He fully appreciates that the United States understands the danger of a nuclear-armed Iran, primarily to Israel but also to America, herself. But he also realizes that a good many in America, including the presidential staff and some in the Congress, simply don’t grasp the doomed strategy of negotiating with one of the three Axis of Evil nations … as former President George W. Bush classified Iran.

Summary

Let’s Make a Deal was a hit television game show years ago, full of fun and prizes. But we must not play such a game with Iran, because it’s a deadly game. To make a deal with what very well could become a nuclear monster is to make a deal with the devil. A deal void of any fun; rather one filled with fatal consequences. A deal where the prize goes to the enemy: the severed head of Israel and (possibly) America perched on an Islamic nuclear mushroom.

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Instead, we lay down unqualified conditions that stipulate complete compliance. If our adversary refuses to abide by the terms, then we tighten the economic screws. If that doesn’t convince the enemy, then we resort to a harsher solution. If it means war, so be it. Prime Minister Netanyahu prefers a “better deal” over war and so do I, and so do you. But if Iran doesn’t want (or lies about keeping such an agreement) a better deal, sooner or later war is what we will get by making concessions to an enemy committed to our ruin. The ultimate difference is war on our terms, not theirs. If that means a preemptive strike by Israel, then the United States should support that initiative in whatever form it takes to accomplish the objective.

This was no less true with Napoleon’s France, Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, the Empire of Japan, Stalin’s Russia, Mao tse-Tung’s China, North Korea’s Kim Jong(s) father and son, and any other number of despots and despotic governments throughout history. Had the allies intervened in the 1930s against Hitler’s blatant disregard for and deliberate violation of the armistice conditions of the First World War … well, many blanks could be filled in with that scenario. Including the probability that there would not have been a Second World War.

We must understand beyond all doubt: Satan’s hideous resolve and horrifying reprisals against the Jews and Israel have been ruthlessly relentless. From Pharaoh to Haman, from Haman to Herod, from Herod to Hitler, from Hitler to Hezbollah and Hamas … to venomous Ayatollahs and Imams bent on Israel’s destruction.

Things to Ponder

We are in a battle, a struggle of physical and (even more so) spiritual life and death with the forces of wickedness. We cannot, we must not let down our guard. The only way we can truly comprehend and then confront the insidious, devastating effect of both religious and irreligious lies, hate, evil, and darkness in this world is to first acknowledge the source of absolute truth, love, good, and light … which is God; expressed through his very image, Messiah Jesus … vividly portrayed in God’s Word, the Bible.

God’s love and light reaches out to mankind’s free will to choose and says, “If you will only believe and receive the way, truth, and life through my Son.”

Hate and the darkness of evil says, “You will (do this or that) or else.” That is exactly what Islam teaches through the Koran and which millions of Muslims (not just terrorists) firmly believe … forced conversion through deprivation, torture, and death if you refuse to submit.

“Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them … But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, ‘Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light’” (Ephesians 5:10-14).

“Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, ‘I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life’” (John 8:12).

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Let believers in the true Messiah, Jesus, continue to pray that our President, and all who are stumbling around in the darkness of bad deals, turn on the light!

May God bless America?! He will, if America blesses Israel!

 

One World Government?

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Will There Really Be a One-World Government?

Contrary to what has been a recurring theme for several decades promoted even by the best of Biblical scholars and teachers, I firmly believe there will be no such thing as a One-World Government, until Jesus Christ returns and establishes the majestic Kingdom of God on this earth. THEN there will be a divinely unified system of truth, justice, and peace never before experienced on this earth … the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus.

If you recognized this introductory paragraph, then thank you for reading the Eye of Prophecy article published just two weeks ago (2-14-15) entitled, A Sleeping Giant. This statement can be found in the last part of the article under the heading of, Things to Ponder. With some concluding remarks in that article which centered primarily on China and the Kings of the East taking on Antichrist during the Tribulation, the following questions were also posed:

How can there be a One-World Government (economically and militarily) unless ALL nations (at least the powerful ones) are part of that Government? Bible prophecy unequivocally tells us that the Antichrist and his ten-nation kingdom will have enemies, i.e. the king of the south and even more dangerous foes—the Eastern kings (and their kingdoms) who are giants awakened from international neutrality by a man who wants to conquer the Middle East and then the whole world.

If you have one multi-national force opposing another multi-national force, does that sound like a global world government or military to you? To me it sounds exactly like what happened before and during World War I and World War II; one bloc of nations conspiring and warring against another bloc of nations. Prior to the last day when Christ utterly vanquishes ALL the forces and armies of evil, Armageddon—by Biblical prophecy and historical precedence—will become World War III. With West pitted against East.

One more quote from that article: Notice the plural significance of the following passage when it comes to kings and nations contrasted to the typically taught premise of a one-world single unity type of government. Also take note that the only reference to a world-wide kingdom is none other than the Kingdom of God:

“During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever” (Daniel 2:44).

To reinforce the clear-cut Biblical evidence that many nations will still wield great power and prestige (as opposed to one giant conglomeration of countries belonging to a central government) upon the magnificent return of Christ to rescue Israel from annihilation and the world itself from total destruction, let’s look at another passage in Daniel.

Referring first to Antichrist at the end of the Great Tribulation, then the true Christ who will crush his antithesis, we read: “But then the court will pass judgment, and all his power will be taken away and completely destroyed. Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:26-27).

I’m not sure how much clearer this passage, and others like it, could be. Once again notice that all kingdoms (plural … many … all) will still be (individually) powerful and sovereign right up to the time that the rulers (plural) of those nations yield their self-governing empires to Jesus Christ who establishes the Kingdom of the Most High God. With the clear connotation that the vast majority of nations will not merely be absorbed into a global governmental melting pot, in which they lose their identity and influence. However, individuals from races all over the world will (as we shall soon see) submit with blind loyalty to and worship of the one whose, “power will be taken away and completely destroyed.”

Christ will conquer all of the kingdoms (nations) of the earth that would dare do battle against the King of all kings. At the time of the final battle of Armageddon, these nations will consist of two main world alliances which will initially war against each other: the kings of the east versus the ten-nation confederation directed by Antichrist. Then these huge coalitions will join forces to do, “…battle against the Lord on that great judgment day of God the Almighty” (Revelation 16:14). But they are alliances, no different from the Allies of World War II (including the USA) doing battle against the Axis nations, headed by Hitler’s Germany. Even the three most prominent Allied leaders, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, had major differences during execution of various battle campaigns against the Axis powers; as well as disposition of Germany after the defeat of the Third Reich.

According to Daniel 7 and Revelation 17, during the Great Tribulation ten kings will yield their kingdoms to the little horn (Daniel) and the king-beast (Revelation), respective titles for the one called Antichrist. Naturally, this ten-nation league will be a formidable military and political union, but it will NOT be a global, world-wide kingdom as such. Once again, for emphasis: How could it be a one-world government when the King of the south and the Kings of the East will oppose it and set out to destroy Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition?

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Future World Dictatorship/Dictator … Theory or Realty?

Question: Other than promoting a sensational conspiracy theory that so many people love to contemplate and investigate; from where, then, does the notion of an end time’s prophetic one-world political and/or religious system originate? Why has this idea been so predominate among even the best of prophecy scholars for several decades? To include the assumption that this global organization will be a Revived Roman Empire; or the fairly recent presumption of a Muslim (Imam) Antichrist and Islamic Caliphate ruling the world.

Answer: Almost exclusively from an inference based on the wording found in Revelation Chapter 13. But when we closely examine some critical verses in this chapter, we’ll see that the language describing those who give their allegiance to the beast (Antichrist) to the point of worship is actually, in form and substance, a counterfeit replica of the current Kingdom of Heaven—the true church comprised of people all over the world who have believed and received Messiah Jesus. That, in reality, the perceived global authority of the beast (Antichrist) is politically, militarily and economically limited to a ten-nation coalition, not a centralized universal government. In actuality, the beast largely exerts his influence on and through his followers from all races and ethnic groups who are sealed with the visible mark of the Beast much like the Holy Spirit invisibly seals all those in the family of God … born again believers.

When we grasp the significance of what is being said in these verses, we will better understand that the “kingdom” of Antichrist will be a federation of ten countries, NOT a duplication of the once mighty Roman Empire. Although (as documented with an abundance of Scriptural and historical evidence in my book, Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles) it will be headed by a Revived Roman Emperor!

The post-Rapture return of a first century Roman Emperor will give this ten-nation union that he leads an ancient Roman flavor and appearance, but only because of the Emperor himself; not because there will be a replication of the ancient Roman Empire. And certainly not a One-World Government. As powerful as the Roman Empire was for several hundred years, it never fully controlled the entire world, civilized or uncivilized.

What the Roman Emperor, Nero, will find upon his reappearance (return to the earth) from the Abyss will be a whole bunch of nations and people in shock from the removal of hundreds of millions from the earth (Rapture). He will not find anything whatsoever resembling the mighty Roman Empire in which he ruled as Emperor for fourteen years (54-68 AD). Nor does Scripture indicate that he will instantly or even gradually “revive” or reassemble or resurrect or reproduce the Roman Empire that he once knew. He simply won’t have time to do that, as he is essentially given only 3 ½ years to try to achieve his Satanic agenda. Instead, he will be given ten kings (Presidents or Prime Ministers in today’s terminology) and their nations over which to rule.

People from all nations will give their total allegiance to the beast, but not to the extent of all countries on earth yielding their national political and military administrations to the beast … with exception of the ten kings and the nations they lead.

A Misapplied or Misunderstood Passage That Led to the Premise of a One-World Government

“And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to the world worshiped the beast…” (Revelation 13:7-8).

Semantics, syntax, and symmetry (comparing, balancing all passages of Scripture pertaining to a specific subject) are always significant in correctly understanding Scripture. It’s vitally important that we read this verse the way it is written (intended) without immediately jumping to the conclusion that the Antichrist beast will rule the entire world. If he did, then Scripture is essentially contradicting itself, which it never does.

Scripture unequivocally states that Antichrist (little horn in Daniel, beast-king in Revelation) rules over ten kings/kingdoms … not the whole world. The very existence of enemies from the kings/nations of the east is, by itself, enough to refute the idea of world-wide domination by the Antichrist. In fact, as alluded to in the recent article, A Sleeping Giant: by sheer population numbers, the eastern nations will far exceed the people that comprise the Antichrist’s ten-nation alliance.

Or, in the form of a question: If Scripture tells us four different times that Antichrist’s domain will consist of ten nations (Daniel Chapters 2 & 7; Revelation Chapters 13 & 17), then why would we expand that to include worldwide supremacy?

Revelation 13:7 tells us that the beast, “…was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation.” The preceding and clarifying phrase that is of paramount importance to this ruler ship is that of, “given authority” (to rule); meaning supreme authority if, in fact, he could/would successfully gain control of what we often refer to in modern terms as, the whole world … politically, militarily, and economically. There is a substantial distinction between the beast possessing (potential) authority to rule and actually accomplishing total domination over the entire world. Thus, we should not construe this verse to automatically mean that Antichrist will actually rule the earth through a universal government.

Read the verse again: It doesn’t say, “he will rule over every tribe…” Instead, he was given authority to rule over… Daniel Chapter 11 combined with Revelation 16 & 19 clearly indicate that Antichrist will be stopped cold in his tracks by Messiah Jesus before he (Nero) accomplishes his goal of world conquest.

But there’s even more compelling evidence to support my premise. It is found in the phrase itself, “over every tribe and people and language…” which is identical language ascribed to the true Messiah, Jesus Christ; but, of course, for a different purpose … for salvation of peoples the world over. Whereas, with Antichrist, it will be destruction for those (many but not all) who follow him because they believe in the lie that he is the Messiah and/or God.

Read these magnificent words with me: “You (Christ) are worthy to take the scroll and break its seals and open it. For you were slaughtered, and your blood has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9, italics for emphasis). Does this verse mean that every person on earth will be saved by the blood of Christ? No, it is fundamentally telling us that the sacrificial blood of Christ has ransomed people from all races (tribes, languages, nations) in the world, but certainly not all people from all nations.

By actual results for the last 2000 years and continued throughout the Tribulation, only some (a minority) will experience his salvation; as confirmed by the very words of Jesus: “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14, NKJV).

In that same context and with the same parallel meaning and application, there will be those from all over the world who will follow and even worship the beast, but certainly not everyone. There will be many who won’t take the mark of the Beast; who will instead choose (on pain of torture and death) Jesus Christ, the true Messiah.

In other words, there will be a host of Antichrist dissidents from every language and nation… individuals, communities, and entire national governments such as China who will reject Nero’s authority. If virtually all peoples and nations voluntarily surrendered their loyalty and lives to Antichrist, there would be no need for him to order everyone to take his mark for the purpose of separating and distinguishing them from those who oppose him. The mark is his name (Nero) or the number of his name (the Hebrew gematria number 666, which spells Nero). And there would, indeed, then be a One-World Antichrist dynasty.

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Why So Many Will Be Amazed at The Beast … The Real Source of His Influence?

What is it exactly that causes people from all languages, tribes, and nations to worship Antichrist and willingly take his mark?

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, italics for emphasis).

You think! Who could possibly kill or even fight against someone who had already died, and came back from the dead after 2000 years in the grave? What is it that the whole world will marvel at? Why will they give their total allegiance to the point of worshiping this man? The text is crystal clear: Because of the miracle recovery from a fatal wound (death). The entire sequence of events from the beginning of Nero’s reign, to his death at the orders of Jesus, himself, (II Thessalonians 2:8), to his revival from the dead and banishment to the abyss, to his reappearance from the Abyss … all this and more is covered in Out of the Abysscan the number of the beast be solved, 666? Beginning with another astounding revelation of the Beast to John as contained in the following verse:

“The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8).

Here is an excerpt from Out of the Abyss that provides a stark contrast to the contemporary notion of a modern-day Antichrist (as opposed to a man—Antichrist—who had already died when John saw the vision of the beast in the 1st century, but who would return from the Abyss) who is often portrayed as some brilliant mastermind, whose charismatic characteristics charm or compel billions to follow him:

“The Antichrist is not afforded blind worship because he is a superman in terms of being an accomplished statesman, orator, or leader. The False Prophet does that for him. The superhuman qualities accorded him will literally lie in his mystical return from death. Neither in Revelation Chapter 13 nor in Chapter 17 is there a direct description of the beast with regard to personality traits normally ascribed to anyone who can sway a lot of people to follow him.” (Page 182).

After referencing Daniel Chapter 7, I go on to say in my book: “We have additional language similar to Revelation, in that the beast arrives on the scene with arrogant boasting against God himself. Like Revelation 13 and 17, this passage in Daniel is also conspicuous for what it lacks, i.e. no hard evidence (statesmanship qualities) that the beast is other than an arrogant boastful tyrant who opposes God right out of the starting blocks. That is, right after he negotiates a treaty with Israel.” (Page 183).

Thus, the striking and predominant feature of Antichrist’s influence over the world will be exactly the same as the persuasive reason that millions down through the ages (and also during the tribulation) have accepted Jesus Christ … resurrection from the dead.

Restating the premise based on correlation of all Biblical passages relating to the subject: The Antichrist will not rule and reign over every person, or city, or state, or nation of the earth. There will not be a one-world government. Not even close. He will command a ten-nation coalition; albeit, one that will vainly seek control of the entire world. He will, however, exercise god-like influence over billions of people on the earth, who will willingly (some unwillingly due to threat of death) follow him; in the same vein (a false, counterfeit anti-Christ parallel) that millions love and follow Jesus Christ.

Just as the Kingdom of Heaven currently exists in the hearts and minds of those who have believed and received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, so will the kingdom of Antichrist Nero be primarily in the minds, hearts, and skin (literally from the mark of the beast) of all those who are utterly amazed at his return from the grave. (Actually the abyss, but the world will think only in terms of resurrection from the dead that they believe Nero, himself, accomplished—when in reality it is Christ who releases him from the Abyss to join Satan in this great end-times rebellion against God).

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More Evidence from Similar Bible Passages

Let’s look at another verse that uses this same descriptive phrase: “And I saw another angel flying through the sky, carrying the eternal Good News to proclaim to the people who belong to this world—to every nation, tribe, language, and people. ‘Fear God,’ he shouted. ‘Give glory to him. For the time has come when he will sit as judge. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and all the springs of water” (Revelation 14:6-7, italics for emphasis).

This is incredible. The time is so short and the need so great, that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is now (after the seal and trumpet judgments and just prior to the final devastating seven bowl judgments) proclaimed by an angel flying throughout the entire earth. In addition to salvation, the angel is imploring the same people whom the Antichrist will seek to rule to acknowledge the one true living God. It would seem that the angel is especially targeting evolutionists and agnostics, when he reminds the world who actually made the heavens, the earth and everything in/on the earth!

But we reach the same logical result with the same reasonable conclusion: The unmistakable meaning in this passage and others that reference all or every people, language, tribe, or nation is that Scripture is referring to a cross-section of people from virtually every nation on earth. This is true of Jesus’s ransom price of his very blood in which some, but certainly not all, will be redeemed. It’s also true of Antichrist Nero’s granted authority to rule. Whereas, he will have a substantial following of individuals all over the globe because of his miraculous reappearance from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) and will be given power to rule over ten nations and their leaders, it certainly doesn’t mean global dominance.

The One-World Government will be reserved for The Alpha and Omega, The Lion from the Tribe of Judah, the King of all kings, and Lord of all lords … Christ Jesus the Son of God, Son of David, and Son of Man! And what a glorious government it will be!

The true church of Messiah Jesus is composed of people from all races on earth, but it does not consist of a localized or regionalized or nationalized seat of government found in a specific location on the planet. The Roman Catholic Church headquartered in the Vatican, in Rome, is NOT the true Christian church, the body of Christ. Although the ten-nation confederation headed by the beast will undoubtedly have a strategic headquarters (most likely in Rome), there will still be in existence many national capitals, as well as international headquarters for the United Nations (New York) and the European Union (Brussels) plus other powerful groups such as the World Trade Organization, OPEC, and NATO.

One other passage with identical language: “And for three and a half days, all peoples, tribes, languages, and nations will stare at their bodies…” (Revelation 11:9, italics for emphasis). This is referring to the two witnesses (Elijah and Moses) who will be killed by Antichrist at the end of 3 ½ years of testifying for the true Messiah. Many people will still not have access to television or the internet and will not actually look at the dead bodies, though they probably will be told what has happened. However, if just one person on earth didn’t view the bodies of the two witnesses, then the word, all, is erroneous. But not if we correctly comprehend the intended meaning of passages that refer to all or every in the context of many end-times Day of the Lord prophecies up to and including the Millennium. Not until after the Millennial Reign of Messiah will ALL always mean ALL.

For example, “All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous deeds have been revealed” (Revelation 15:4). But in Zechariah we find that some nations won’t always obey God and Messiah’s commands to, for example, travel to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles during the Millennium. There really is no conflict between these passages, not if we understand the pattern throughout Scripture wherein the context of the passage plus comparing the passage with others like it, clarifies whether ALL means ALL or whether it means a representative cross-section (some or many) of ALL or EVERYONE.

In fact, we use the same kind of expressive language in our modern age. For example, you might relay to a friend that you had just seen on television the best basketball game ever played in the Olympics finals by beginning with, “It was great. The whole world was watching!” When, in fact, the reason you’re telling your friend about this sensational game is because he didn’t see it; nor did maybe ½ of the world’s population.

Conversely, when we read a verse like John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”), we clearly understand that it is, in fact, the whole world—every man, woman, and child that God loves—because the passage then says that whosoever … meaning just those who believe and receive Jesus Christ as Savior … will not perish but live forever.

Summary

If some are going to assert that Antichrist will establish a One-World government with total control over all the nations and people on earth, then they will need to draw on another portion of Scripture other than Revelation Chapter 13 … every tribe and people and language and nation. But, in fact, there are no other Scripture passages to support the supposition of a Global government during the Tribulation, headed by the Antichrist or any other world ruler. Yet there are Biblical references to world leaders and nations (Kings of the East and King of the South) that will oppose Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation.

In this same Chapter 13 of Revelation, another passage is used to support the idea of the Antichrist as a World Dictator, with total control over ALL people and ALL nations.

“He (the False Prophet) required everyone—small and great, rich and poor, free and slave—to be given a mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could buy or sell anything without that mark, which was either the name of the beast or the number representing his name” (Revelation 13:16-17).

Notice that Antichrist through the False Prophet “requires” everyone to take his mark. That certainly doesn’t mean all people on earth will (voluntarily) let themselves be branded. Requirement is one thing; successful enforcement is quite another thing. Two groups of people will reject this decree and refuse to comply: (1) the national leaders of the eastern nations (oriental) and millions upon millions of people living in those nations; (2) millions more from all races, languages, and ethnic groups who choose the true Messiah, Jesus Christ, over Antichrist.

Likewise, some will find ways and means to buy and sell (black market) that will circumvent the False Prophet’s “requirement” of buying and selling only through the mark. For sure, it won’t be business as usual; meaning that without the embedded name or number of the Beast, many won’t be able to buy or sell food and all sorts of other products in a normal transaction that we are accustomed to in today’s high-tech world. And that will have a profound impact on their daily lives to the point of extreme deprivation, possibly even starvation or death from lack of urgent medical care. However, though it will be difficult; some will figure out a way to live and conduct life-sustaining deals without the handy implant in their right hand or (laser) inserted mark on their forehead.

Things to Ponder

Several times Revelation also refers to, “All the people who belong to this world.” Each time that means all those who have privately and publicly sworn their loyalty to the beast … by taking his mark, worshiping him, or worshiping the statue of the beast. Once they actually take the mark of the beast, it is absolutely too late for them to recant or repent. They have literally sealed themselves for destruction.

Returning to a verse quoted early in this article: “His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27). Now that kingdom (the Kingdom of God on earth) will be a magnificent universal Government to end all governments. Moreover, the all rulers that will serve and obey him (here in this passage as it pertains to the Post-millennial reign of Christ in an eternal kingdom) means just that—ALL RULERS.

God Is in Control

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The Incomparable Sovereignty of God

Just a few days ago, I filled my truck up for $1.73 a gallon. Gasoline for less than two dollars a gallon! Can you believe it? For those of you who have a thirteen year old teenager, the price of gas hasn’t been that low since your child was born. For baby boomers who can barely remember cheap gas, it’s something we never expected to see again … along with a gallon of milk for less than a dollar (we’re still waiting for that one).

This free fall of fuel prices is pretty amazing. Although the cost is creeping back up, economic experts do not expect gas to rise above three dollars a gallon for quite some time. The bottom line is a savings of hundreds of dollars a year for many motorists. Let’s hear it for so many hard-working moms and dads!

So what does the price of gas have to do with God’s sovereignty? In my opinion, absolutely everything. Through God’s gift of free will to the human race, the Bible is clear that he allows individuals and nations to make choices that affect their lives and destiny. But throughout history, Scripture is equally clear that God sometimes intervenes in human affairs, both naturally and supernaturally to accomplish his short-term and long-term purposes for the human race. Many passages in Scripture speak of his divine sovereignty, such as: “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all” (Psalms 103:19, NASB). And, “God reigns above the nations, sitting on his holy throne” (Psalms 47:8).

Permit me to quote an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss:

We don’t know what’s going to happen next hour, let alone next month or year. Yet, by our decisions and actions, by our good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices, we can change things that otherwise would or would not have occurred. We can also be changed by the decisions and behavior of others, by events beyond our control.

How then, does God still achieve his plan? How does he circumvent the innumerable bad decisions that we all have made, not to mention the evil in the world to accomplish his purpose? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: Because he is God! This isn’t just the humble opinion of one man, nor is it a cop-out, nor is it an oversimplified answer to an otherwise unfathomable question or concept.

To be sure, however, the “hint” does beg the question: he can do anything because he is God. But that still doesn’t explain how he does it. So we are left begging the question because it is simply beyond our natural, finite comprehension; which is why God doesn’t demand or even ask that we completely grasp his providential sovereignty. If we could wrap our finite minds around his infinite omnipotence and omniscience, I suppose that we would be God.

Ironically, that’s exactly what most of mankind, including natural scientists, human secularists, occult spiritualists, God-less governments and agnostic academia in general try to do. They inevitably ascribe to themselves the controlled capacity, the distinctive domain, and the potent position of determining their destiny. And, if you will but afford them the privilege and opportunity; if you will “give them an ear,” they will gladly assist you in discovering your origin and purpose for life. Ultimately, if you yield complete attention and allegiance, they will be delighted to direct your future (page 22).

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In the global arena of fuel supplies, for decades we have been at the mercy of the OPEC nations, chief among them, Saudi Arabia. But those days may be coming to an end. In a recent interview with an OPEC representative, the stated reason for OPEC’s continued production of an abundant supply of oil is because they want to maintain a market share to compete with increased output of non-OPEC oil and gas reserves. If this means tolerating losses due to competitive declining prices, then so be it. Actually, what it really means is that they are willing to be less greedy and settle for less than the enormous profits of the past! For an indefinite period of time, Saudi Arabia—including some smaller OPEC countries—can and will absorb the revenue loss from lower fuel prices.

Along with (especially) Israel, the United States, and the European Union, Saudi Arabia is also deeply disturbed with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Saudi Arabia’s enormous distrust of a nuclear-armed Iran trumps their need for vast wealth. Although they (tacitly) support the idea of an American (or even Israeli) preemptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear plants, they also appreciate the debilitating effect of economic sanctions against Iran, imposed by the US and/or the EU. However, should America and the EU relax its sanctions in a completely misguided and misunderstood effort to “negotiate” with Iran, OPEC nations aligned against Iran can rely heavily on Iran’s huge loss of revenue from this unparalleled drop in the price of oil.

Most experts agree: It will be extremely difficult for Iran to invest more billions in its nuclear program if, in fact, most of those billions are no longer available. It’s no secret that Iran’s military budget depends desperately on revenue from high oil prices. The tremendous impact of a 50% decrease in the price of a barrel of oil in just the last six months could severely cripple the best laid plans of Iran’s military objectives; indeed, of its entire economy. It would also drastically reduce this Islamic Shi’ite regime’s funding of terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others.

As Daniel Yergin, an expert in oil finances wrote, “The OPEC members in big trouble are the ‘have-nots’—those with small financial reserves and high government budgets.” These have-nots include Russia, Venezuela, and Iran.

Something Positive for a Change

What we have here is an incredible Win-Win situation, when most of the time recent world events have resulted in a Lose-Lose … or at the very best, a Win-Lose scenario. I’m referring to the one-step forward, two steps backward progress against things like a weak global economy, or dealing a blow to one terrorist group like Al-Qaida (death of Osama Bin-Laden); only for another more vicious, more blood-thirsty gang of terrorists to take their place … ISIS.

I’m sure that many Christians in the United States and believers all over the world have prayed that US President Obama and other government leaders will not capitulate to Iran’s distorted and diabolical desire to produce nuclear weapons. Many have voiced their strong disapproval of negotiating with a radical regime whose avowed objective is the destruction of Israel, but also of the country that their Islamic clerics and leaders have often called the Great Satan, none other than the USA.

I firmly believe that God, in his mercy and sovereignty, has heard these prayers. Which can explain the inexplicable, give insight to the inconceivable, provide meaning to the otherwise unfathomable, completely unexpected and (in terms of historically high fuel cost) unprecedented plunge in gas prices. While, at the same time, throwing a giant wrench into the Iran’s nuclear machinery by severely limiting the monies needed to build or buy that machinery.

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Make no mistake: Among the myriad of ominous global developments including the ugly resurgence of Anti-Semitism mostly in Europe (of all places … the site of the Holocaust just one generation ago), the most dangerous of all (especially to Israel) is that of a nuclear Iran. So much so that our Republican dominated Senate and House has called upon Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the United States Congress on March 3rd. Many kudos to our legislative leaders for inviting Prime Minister Netanyahu, who knows better than anyone the grave peril to Israel, the Middle East including Arab countries, and virtually the entire world should Iran become nuclear.

And shame on our Presidential staff to scorn the Congressional invitation and refuse to attend this historical event just to snub Israel and her Prime Minister. Under, sadly, the hypocritical pretense of not allowing foreign leaders (politicians) to meet with US executive leaders a few weeks before that foreign country’s election. While at the same time sending Democrat lobbyists to assist Israeli liberal opponents of Netanyahu’s Likud party. I’m not normally one to bash any sitting President, mostly due to my great respect for the most important position in our country, but also in (at least some) deference to the one occupying that position.

But wrong is wrong; right is right. And, no, I’m not equating right or wrong to beauty (for example), which is in the eye of the beholder … a subjective evaluation of the one deciding what is right or wrong. Rather, I’m referring to the truth of Scripture; applicable, in this context, to God’s unmistakable sovereign plans for the Jewish people and the nation of Israel. And, in turn, how nations of the world treat Israel.

To Bless or Curse Israel … The Stakes Are High

We all should be seriously concerned about the growing hostility of our executive branch against Israel, as expressed by this latest friction between our President and Israel’s Prime Minister. I’m not talking about personality differences or variances in political strategy and the like. Instead, I’m getting straight to the heart of the matter, to the heart of God. Which among other things includes a Biblical prophetic warning and (down through the ages) a historically documented fact: Any and all nations who treat Israel with contempt (harassment, oppression, suppression, mockery, denial of Jewish rights to the land, economic sanctions or boycotts, siding with her enemies, and certainly hatred and murder to the vicious extreme of genocide) have paid and will pay a great price. A price exacted by God, himself, as demonstrated against nations listed in Scripture and those in existence during the last days of the end times, which is today’s world.

History is littered with the corpses of nations that attacked or subjugated Israel, only to be utterly defeated and destroyed themselves. Where is mighty Babylon? Have you seen an Assyrian lately? Show me where the Roman Empire is today. Though the contemporary nation of Iran arrogantly boasts of her military might and her capability (now by conventional means, later by nuclear means) to annihilate Israel, what happened to the mighty Persian kings of her gloried past? That Persian Empire is long gone, one of several national victims of God’s sovereign promise to judge nations and peoples that attempted to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.

God’s omnipotent sovereignty will be vividly displayed in Iran’s humiliating defeat during her vain alliance with Russia in the Gog/Magog attack on Israel. However, that doesn’t mean that the United States or any other nation should ignore the profound consequences of endangering or abandoning Israel through reckless negotiations and agreements with countries bent on Israel’s destruction. If we persist in putting Israel in peril, you can bet the farm that this nation will suffer the same fate as ancient Babylon or Persia. That is if you have a house left to bet with even before the great end-times battles begin.

A collapsed economy far worse than the Great Depression of the 1930s or the Great Recession of 2008 may reclaim millions of homes across this once great nation that we love and in which we have the freedom to express that love and to worship the true and living God. But for how long? We need to wake up from our spiritually drunken stupor! We need to pray for God’s mercy. We need to speak up for the truth of God’s salvation. We need to expose the new morality for what it is; where bad is good and good is bad—which is nothing more than age-old immorality wrapped in a contemporary cloak of lies about tolerance and diversity.

Despite the totally unique and diverse feature of Christianity (God through his Son dying for our sins … doing for us what we could not do for ourselves), if you are a Christian you are not diverse. So say those who despise God, Christ, and anyone who claims to have been born-again by the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus. If you believe and repeat the very words of Messiah Jesus, who said that He is the only Way, Truth, and Life; no person can come to God except through Him, then you are not tolerant. Don’t bother those who say otherwise, with the facts. Don’t try to reason with them, because they only know how to argue in a circle.

The fact is: If someone claims that someone else is not diverse (espousing diversity) or not tolerant because of what they believe, then the one making that indictment (by logical definition and by default) is also intolerant. If they accuse someone else of being intolerant, then what does that make them? Tolerant? If so, then one plus one must equal three.

God’s Sovereignty, Expressed through Israel

Even milder mistreatment such as disrespect, denigration, or constant disapproval of Israel will have ramifications. But if we deliberately snub Israel to the point of scorn or humiliation and certainly hatred, then it is a Biblical certainty: God will snub the United States of America, primarily by withdrawing his protection from this country that God blessed from its birth. And that won’t be a pretty sight. To the potential extreme that if we allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, then pray to God that one of those nuclear-tipped missiles doesn’t explode on American soil.

At least for the moment, I believe that God has sovereignly circumvented the folly of this nation and other nation’s ignorance and dismissal of God’s supreme counsel found in Scripture concerning the nation of Israel. Specifically, how abuse of Israel will rebound like the recoil of a powerful weapon against those who despise God’s chosen people/land.

The Lord has extended his grace to believers and unbelievers alike through divine intervention; with regard to the beneficial result of drastically reduced gas prices to help jump start our nation’s still sluggish economy; and at the same time making it much more difficult, if not impossible, for Iran to finish their (not-so-secret) malevolent plan of manufacturing nuclear weapons. At the minimum, it provides more time for Israel to convince the United States and the EU to wake up, to come to their senses and realize that the Iranians mean business. They are absolutely serious about destroying Israel and setting up an Islamic Global Caliphate in which Muslim Sharia law will rule the world. First Israel, then the World is their malicious objective, as is the goal of ISIS and other terrorist groups and even entire nations.

God is so patient. He gives individuals and nations an extraordinary amount of time to change their mind and their ways, to turn to him (unbelievers) and return to him (believers). But only up to a point; eventually even the patience of God will be tested. If we cross red lines established by God or allow other nations to cross those red lines, or erase legitimate red lines that we, ourselves, create; then enough will be enough. One red line already drawn is found in Genesis and in other passages throughout Scripture concerning Israel and Gentile nations. In no uncertain terms, God declares to Abraham and his descendants (Israel): “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:3).

An example of a red-line that the United States created, then retreated from was Syria’s use of chemical weapons against its own people. All threats of retaliation by our President were simply withdrawn. Same thing with the ongoing sanctions against Iran … they are being reduced, not increased in size and severity. Said Florida’s Governor, Jeb Bush (probable Presidential candidate in 2016) about the current Administration: “They draw red lines … then erase them.”

(I have said the same thing in a few Eye of Prophecy articles such as, Let’s Make a Deal, published December 14, 2013, which presents similar challenges found in this article. Also, For Such a Time as This, published March 15, 2014. I would encourage you to click on those articles in the archives of our blog site).

When the Lord shows great favor to us by supernaturally intervening in personal and world events, shouldn’t we acknowledge him in the matter of individual, state, and national affairs; instead of ignoring or even snubbing him in virtually every area of our individual and corporate lives. To say as our Savior, God’s Son, said to his Father just hours before he died a cruel death on a cross, “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42, NASB). In fact, God’s sovereign will was done. By raising Christ from the dead, God accomplished his mighty plan of salvation for you and for me. He providentially turned the cruel torture and unjust death of his Son into the greatest episode of human history and the utmost blessing known to mankind.

“For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (II Corinthians 5:21).

“For God so loved the world (you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16, KJV).

Our Sovereign Lord is just a whisper away. Or if you prefer to shout, then yell!

After God sovereignly shook the Philippian jail, “…to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailor woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, ‘Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!’ The jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas … ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ They replied, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…’” (Acts 16:26-31).

So, why don’t you join me in a heartfelt prayer of gratitude to the Most High God and to the Son of God? Whether you doubt there is such a God, or whether you question that Jesus Christ died for your sins and freely gives you redemption through simple faith in him, it will do us all good to acknowledge God’s grace, mercy, and sovereignty. In spite of your doubt, if you are sincerely seeking divine answers and truth, then reach out to God and he will reach back to you. Draw near to him and he will draw near to you. These are God’s promises in Scripture.

Thank you, Lord, for who you are and what you do. You are so great and so very good. Thank you, Jesus, for dying on the cross for me and rising from the dead so that I can be saved from my sins and have eternal life. Thank you for your providence in the little and big things of my life. I am thankful for lower gas prices. And equally grateful that you have made it more difficult for Israel’s enemies to carry out their threats against your chosen people, but also against nations and the people of those nations who agree with your Word and say with the Psalmist: “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance.” (Psalm 33:12, NASB).

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Things to Ponder

More verses in Psalm 33 that was just quoted:

“The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race. From his throne he observes all who live on the earth. He made their hearts, so he understands everything they do. The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior … But the Lord watches over those who fear (respect, acknowledge, in awe of) him, those who rely on his unfailing love… We put our hope in the Lord, He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone” (Psalms 33:13-22).

Can you … will you say with King David:

“No pagan god (man-made) is like you, O Lord. None can do what you do! All the nations you made will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your holy name. For you are great and perform wonderful deeds. You alone are God” (Psalms 86:8-10).

Come on brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s agree with God when he says: “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).

Great is our God, and greatly to be praised!

May God bless America! May God bless Brazil! May God bless … all peoples and nations whose God is the Lord.

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