The Tremendous Transfiguration of Believers!

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What’s It All About?

Why am I here? What is the meaning of it all? Is there a purpose for my life? Does God have a plan for the human race? Does God really care about me and my future? Or, in today’s incredibly insecure terror-filled globe: “What in the world is going on?”

Have you thought about and even asked these existential questions, silently to yourself or aloud to others at some time in your life? It’s startling how many people seek answers from any and all sources other than the Word of God, which addresses all these anxieties and more. It’s also alarming that so many people avoid these questions because the right answers interfere with personal pursuit of power, prestige, prosperity, and pleasure.

The Bible contains a sweeping record of God’s majestic plan for the universe and mankind. Untold volumes of books and articles and commentaries have been written and sermons preached about the tremendous truths of Scripture; thus, the following is a super condensed summary that gives added meaning to the term, in a nutshell:

God created man and woman to worship him, fellowship with him, and enjoy the magnificent earth on which the human race was placed. It was, in fact, Paradise; aptly defined in Webster’s Dictionary as, “a place of bliss, felicity, or delight.”

Unlike animals, we were made in God’s image (soul and spirit) which includes the profound privilege of free will and choice. God did not create us as puppets. He wants us to willingly love, obey, and follow him because we want to; not because we have to. Adam and Eve chose wrongly. Sin entered the world, as did the revolting result of that deliberate disobedience: death, both physical and spiritual—eternal separation from God. To use the title of John Milton’s superb book, it was: Paradise Lost.

But God, through his immeasurable love and grace and mercy, offered a remedy: Salvation through the supreme sacrifice of Messiah Jesus, the Son of God (John 3:16). The just for the unjust, the righteous for the unrighteous, the innocent for the guilty.

For Adam and Eve, it was to believe what God said about disobedience bringing death to the human race. But if they listened to him and obeyed what he said, they would live forever in Paradise. It was really that simple. Then at the time of Christ, it was to totally trust the Lord by personally believing and receiving God’s ultimate plan of redemption for the human race, only possible through Messiah Jesus. A plan of salvation applicable to and sufficient for all people who have ever lived… before, during, and after his sacrificial death, and resurrection to validate the truth of so great a salvation.

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As it was in the beginning, so shall it be at the end of this age. All those who have acknowledged God’s solution for the otherwise unsolvable human predicament, and have agreed that only Messiah Jesus can bring us back full circle to what and where we were meant to be, will be (once again) given bodies equipped to live forever. God himself will bring Heaven down to the (new) earth through the (new) Jerusalem where all believers will live. Only it will be even better. In the Garden of Eden, God visited with Adam and Eve, but did not dwell with them.

Listen to the awesome promise for believers: “…Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (Revelation 21:3). There have been so many down through the ages and alive today that don’t want God living with or among them. Tragically for them, they will get their wish.

How will The Lord accomplish all this? What will he do in order to complete our destiny as first announced by Jesus: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1-3, italics for emphasis).

The Glorious Rapture

This wonderful promise from Jesus was then revealed in more detail to the Apostle Paul in one of the most famous prophecies in all of Scripture. Before we read it, let’s look at some synonyms of Rapture: Ecstatic, blissful, joyful, elated, and euphoric.

“We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who have died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died, will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:15-17, italics for emphasis).

Compare the italicized words in the John 14 passage (spoken by Jesus) to the italicized words from the Apostle Paul. Jesus, himself, will come to take believers from the earth to live with him forever in a place he has already prepared for us.

Since this is the first article that begins the fourth year of the Eye of Prophecy website, I’d like to quote from the very first article written (July, 2013). I would encourage you to click on the July and August archives of Eye of Prophecy and read the five-part series on the What, Why, When, Who, and How of the Rapture.

From, What is the Rapture?

The Greek word translated “caught up” found in the following passage is harpazo, which literally means to seize or snatch away (quickly).

I then quote the rapture passage from I Thessalonians 4. Continuing with the excerpt from What is the Rapture:

Yet the English word “Rapture” is entirely appropriate as a one-word description of the remarkable prophetic proclamations found in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15. Remember, the word Rapture is not a direct translation of the Greek word, although it is a very close transliteration of the Latin word; rather it is a substitute or alternative or expanded way to describe emotionally or spiritually what is taking place. One of the definitions for rapture found in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary is, “a mystical experience in which the spirit is exalted to knowledge of divine things,” and a companion definition is, “an expression or manifestation of ecstasy or passion.”

Thus, we have a captivating combination of the original Latin and Greek words, which is accurately rendered “caught up” in most English translations of the Bible. These words convey the dynamics of the actual time/space sequence involved in this literal transfiguration of the Christian’s physical body, with the spiritual joy, emotional bliss, and mental delight in what is taking place. Those who have accepted Christ as their personal Savior (both the dead and the living), will experience the highest degree of spiritual and physical euphoria possible, as we will be instantly changed and then transported to heaven, there to be with our Lord and King forever. As the sayings go, “It doesn’t get any better than this.” And, “What a way to go!”

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More Spectacular Features

Just three of four years after Paul disclosed this extraordinary event to the Thessalonians, he elaborated on God’s phenomenal plan for that part of the human race who trust in the redemptive sacrificial atonement of Messiah Jesus.

In this subsequent revelation to the Corinthian Church, Paul goes all the way back to Adam, giving us more marvelous details that can answer all of the questions (and more) posed in the opening paragraph of today’s article.

Listen to the words of the Apostle Paul:

“The Scriptures tell us, ‘The first man, Adam, became a living person.’ But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit. What comes first is the natural body, then the spiritual body comes later. Adam, the first man, was made from the dust of the earth, while Christ, the second man, came from heaven. Earthly people are like the earthly man, and heavenly people are like the heavenly man. Just as we are now like the earthly man, we will someday be like the heavenly man.

“What I am saying, dear brothers and sisters, is that our physical bodies cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. These dying bodies cannot inherit what will last forever. But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. For our dying bodies must be transformed into bodies that will never die; our mortal bodies must be transformed into immortal bodies” (I Corinthians 15:45-53).

*Note: If you only have time to read one of the aforementioned series of articles on the Rapture, then please choose, How the Rapture (will take place), posted 8-24-13. Reason: It explains in great detail that the sequence of Rapture events described in I Thessalonians Chapter 4 (by carefully correlating I Corinthians Chapter 15 with I Thessalonians 4) will take several minutes, and NOT be over in the twinkling of an eye. The only thing that will happen in the blink of an eye is the actual “transformation” from our earthly bodies to our heavenly bodies.

The New American Standard Bible translation uses the words, “changed” and “put on” (the immortal body in place of the mortal), which is the same as “transformed” employed in the New Living Translation … only a little less emphatic.

The Greek word used in I Corinthians 15 is, allesso. Which means: altered, changed, or transformed.

Transform is defined in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: “to change in composition or structure; to change the outward form of appearance; to change in character or condition.”

The operative description in I Corinthians 15 of transform is an action verb that further illustrates, confirms, and emphasizes God’s implementation of his divine plan and ultimate purpose for which we were created … to live with our great and glorious God and Messiah forever. But first we need to be saved from our sins and the penalty of those sins by accepting Christ as our personal Savior. When we do that, we immediately have (present tense condition) eternal life. Because we will need a body equipped to last forever, our earthly bodies must first be changed/transformed to a spiritual body like our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus who arose from the dead with the first (ever) heavenly body.

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Thus, the composition of our bodies will undergo an extreme makeover that will alter our appearance to a form or condition that will far surpass the most perfect of earthly bodies. Yet, we will still recognize each other and will no longer change in appearance.

We will never grow old again! No more balding, stooping, sagging, folding, wrinkling, expanding, or shrinking!

An Even Stronger Concept

“Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light” (Matthew 17:1-2, NASB).

Normally I would have quoted the above passage from the New Living Translation; all Scriptural references in Eye of Prophecy articles are from the NLT, unless otherwise designated. In Matthew 17, the NLT uses the English word, transformed, which is the same word it uses in the I Corinthians 15 passage concerning the change of our earthly bodies to spiritual bodies at the Rapture. The reason I chose the NASB (which translates the Greek word to transfigured) is because that Greek word is different than the word, allesso, found in I Corinthians 15.

Although the meanings are substantially similar (transformation or transfiguration … both are accurate and appropriate), the Greek word used in the exceptional scene we just read is, metamorphoo. Which makes the saying, “It’s all Greek to me,” not entirely true! There are several Greek words that are nearly identical to their transliterated English counterpart. This is one of those words. So what is the English word? You’re right: It is metamorphosis.

Webster’s definition of metamorphosis: “change of physical form, structure, or substance (especially) by supernatural means; striking alteration in appearance, character, or circumstances.”

Which is why the English word, transfiguration, is the better description of the astounding change in Jesus’s appearance on what most Bible scholars refer to as the Mount of Transfiguration.

Transfiguration is defined by Webster’s Dictionary at two different levels. The first level is more closely akin to transform, which is: change in form or appearance. But the second (higher) level of transfiguration is defined as: “an exalting, glorifying, or spiritual change.” In fact, Webster’s cites the transfiguration of Christ as an example. As noted, both of the definitions for metamorphosis and transfigured directly attribute this kind of “striking, exalted, glorified” change to one that is supernatural … by (the power of) God.

Which is exactly what Jesus experienced on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was a preliminary divine demonstration that Jesus was fully God and fully man. It was also a stunning “preview of coming attractions.” The greatest of which was the resurrection of Messiah Jesus in a new glorified body; one that was exalted even above and beyond the human body he was born with. It was a spiritual, heavenly body that could never die.

Although our great God and Savior, Messiah Jesus, is far above us in every way (for all the reasons found in Scripture), God has promised born again believers that we, too, will someday be graciously given the same kind of eternal, indestructible body like Jesus has; whether we have died before Jesus returns or are still alive.

How great is that!

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Yes, we will be transformed at the Rapture; but at the higher level of transfigured! Immediately after the transfiguration of our mortal earthly bodies to heavenly spiritual bodies, we will be “transported” directly to heaven. The change in our bodies and in our address and living quarters will involve a “transition.”

While we’re still in Webster’s Dictionary (at least I am), let’s also define, transition: “A passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; a movement … from one form … to another; an abrupt change in energy state or level…”

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait for my transfiguration and transition! And away we go!

For a more in-depth examination of I Corinthians 15 where the Apostle Paul uses the seemingly conflicting term, spiritual bodies, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, Spiritual Bodies … A Contradiction of Terms? Part I & II (posted 9-26-15 & 10-3-15).

The Second Adam

Often in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke), Jesus is referred to and refers to himself as the Son of Man. Whereas Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son (the main emphasis in the Gospel of John), he made it clear that he was also fully human. But in a unique way.

Thus uniqueness is readily apparent in I Corinthians 15. As we read earlier in that chapter, Messiah Jesus is referred to as the, “last Adam.” The context in that passage was a contrast of Adam’s natural body (which all human beings are born with and in which we will die) to our glorious hope of receiving an eternal spiritual body like our Lord Jesus Christ, made possible by his resurrection from the dead.

Later in the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul expands on the correlation, but also difference between the first and the last Adam. Before reading this passage, we need to remember that Adam was created physically, morally, and spiritually perfect. Not God-perfect (only God is God), but humanly perfect when created by God … “without fault or defect” (Webster’s).

The integrated body, soul, and spirit given to him was meant to be eternal. Had Adam and Eve not disobeyed God, they would still be alive today. And this wicked, weary world we live in would still be as it was in the beginning … a paradise.

“When Adam sinned, sin entered the world. Adam’s sin brought death, so death spread to everyone, for everyone sinned” (Romans 5:12).

Let’s pause here for a moment. Granted it’s a deep subject, one that cannot be fully explained or understood, even by doctors of medicine, physics, and theology. I’m referring to the process of aging and death itself. But Scripture is clear and the record of man’s existence fully attests to that clarity: Sin is a disease of the entire person—body, soul, and spirit. It is the ultimate cause of death in every human being. We begin to die soon after we are born. God said that if Adam and Eve chose to disobey the one and only commandment given to them, they would surely die. Which is exactly what happened, although God graciously gave them and others a long life before they died.

Many have heard the expression, “Two things in life are certain: Death and taxes.”

Wrong! Some down through the years have escaped taxes, like kings and queens and others. Not so, death. Mortality is a 100% certainty. One out of every one people dies. The only exception can be made by God … when he took Enoch and Elijah directly to heaven.

Whether through the blood, genes, DNA, or all of the above, every human being has been infected with sin. It is not a result of society, culture, or upbringing. Those can be factors that contribute to the nature and extent of wrong things we do, but they are not the innate cause. Any parent can attest to that fact when the first word they hear from their two-year old child is, “No!” Followed by a temper tantrum that shock mom and dad so much that they can’t believe what they’re seeing. Not their little angel! It took less than one generation for Adam’s son, Cain, to murder his brother Abel.

Time/space only permits partial examination of the Romans Chapter 5 passage that begins in verse 12 (earlier quoted) and goes through verse 21. You may want to read the entire passage; for purpose of our subject at hand (first and last Adam), let’s pick it up with:

“…Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come. But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ … For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins.

“…Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone … So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 5:14-21).

Adam and Jesus

Quoting from the commentator in the New Living Translation on this passage: “Adam was the counterpart of Christ. Just as Adam was a representative of created humanity, so is Christ the representative of a new spiritual humanity. We were all born into Adam’s physical family—the family line that leads to certain death. We have inherited his guilt, a sinful nature (the tendency to sin), and God’s punishment. Because of Jesus, however, we can trade judgment for forgiveness. Christ offers us the opportunity to be born into his spiritual family… To which family line do you now belong?”

The Virgin Birth of Messiah Jesus

The entire life of Christ was a miracle, if for no other reason that the numerous miracles he performed to heal horrible afflictions, dreaded diseases and inoperable conditions such as those who were leprous, lame, deaf, and blind. And also his supernatural power over the laws of physics, i.e. turning water into wine and walking on water itself.

Jesus’s entrance into this world was also a marvelous miracle. Some call it the Immaculate Conception, others refer to it as the Virgin Birth … which it was. Jesus came to us through the natural process of birth; but Mary’s conception was supernatural.

“Mary asked the angel (Gabriel), ‘But how can this happen? I am a virgin.’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God’” (Luke 1:35).

*Note: Luke was a medical doctor. He knew full well how babies are (normally or naturally) born! Yet he reports the Virgin Birth as absolute fact. And why wouldn’t he, after also receiving first hand witness accounts from the Apostles (mostly Peter) and many others of all the miracles Jesus did, including the greatest of all—the resurrection!

Luke began his Gospel by citing other people who had also undertaken written accounts “about the events that have been fulfilled among us…” via eyewitness reports. He writes: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write a careful account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught” Luke 1:1-4).

God’s perfect plan to rescue the human race from spiritual death (eternal separation from God) required a sacrificial shedding of blood by a human being who had never sinned … the perfect sacrifice. Why? Because as Scripture says, “For the life of the body is in its blood … It is the blood, given in exchange for a life, that makes purification possible” (Leviticus 17:11).

Blood and what it means to human life has been an enigmatic source of wonder and amazement from the beginning. Blood is symbolic of life, which is why we sometimes honor our fallen soldiers with words like, “they spilled their blood to keep us free.” Which is another way of saying, they died. Yet, it is much more than that: it is the literal indispensable substance of life.

That is why God gave himself, through the 2nd part of the Trinity: God’s Son who was born of a woman, but not from the seed of a man (which would have infected Jesus as a human being with sin). Because everyone in the human race has sinned, only God, himself, was qualified to be the perfect substitution to pay for our sins and pardon the punishment we all deserve.

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All true Jewish and Gentile believers (and even some unbelievers) accept this astounding but also unfathomable truth: that Jesus was (still is) God in human flesh. We believe the truth of it, although we don’t fully understand how it could be done. But then, there are myriad mysteries of life and the universe that no one comprehends completely, or even partially. Not even the scientists!

The Virgin Birth was necessary in order for Jesus to retain his Divine nature that he shared with his Father from before time began. As the prophet Isaiah tells us: Messiah (Jesus) is: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Jesus had to remain God in order to accomplish something no mortal man could possibly do: Become the flawless sacrifice to restore man (woman) back to God; thereby, enabling us to live forever with the same kind of transfigured, resurrected body of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There’s more … perhaps something that even some believers haven’t fully considered. We’ve already touched on this comparison; let’s examine it in more depth. I’m referring again to Paul’s representative depiction of Jesus as the second (last) Adam.

Another purpose for this correlation is to refute the notion that because Jesus is God, then, of course, he couldn’t sin. That his divine nature would automatically win out over his human nature. With this inaccurate inference: It was a foregone conclusion that Jesus couldn’t or wouldn’t sin; thereby diminishing or even discounting the once and for all efficacy of his substitutionary atonement for our sins. In other words: Though Jesus was fully man, his sacrificial death on the Cross was essentially meaningless because he didn’t have the capacity to sin. Thus, he was not a true representative of the human race. He was innocent of sin, but that innocence was predetermined by virtue of the fact that Jesus is God.

Not so!

As we know, Adam and Eve were created without sin. Evil existed, but only in the spiritual realm of Satan and his fallen angels. Not with God’s creation of man. Adam and Eve were given a choice of trusting and obeying their Creator to know and determine what was best for them, and what was required to live forever in their earthly Paradise. They chose badly. They sinned. They died. Their sin nature was transmitted to their descendants and all peoples thereafter. Which means that it is never an issue if a person will do something wrong. Rather, it’s only a matter of when. Contrary to popular opinion, a child does not enter this world with a “clean slate.” That slate is already tarnished and inevitably will bear ugly marks of outright sin.

Summary

Even though Jesus wasn’t born with the infected disease of sin (inherited by the entire human race from the time of Adam and Eve), he, nevertheless, came into this world in the same physical and spiritual condition as did Adam. Exactly like Adam, Jesus, as a man, could have chosen to go his own way, do his own thing, and seek the pleasures and power (which Satan offered him) of the world instead of the purpose for which he came. Jesus could have listened to Satan and agreed with his lies, just as Eve and Adam did.

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Although the Virgin Birth prevented Jesus from inheriting the dread disease of sin and assured the whole human race that he was the Son of God, it did not eliminate the free choice that Jesus was given as a man to obey or disobey God the Father. Thus, it was not impossible for Jesus to sin. That is why Jesus is called the second or last Adam. With one awesome distinction: Not only did he choose (as a man) to completely trust and obey God, he completed the plan and task given to him by God the Father … excruciating death on a Cross to take away our sins and pardon us from the eternal penalty of those sins.

How perfect is that? Answer: Christ is completely perfect. And so shall we, who have been made right with God, someday soon be transfigured to a heavenly body like our Lord’s. Which will complete our salvation begun when we were justified by God because we believed and received Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Throughout eternity, we will worship and serve Him, undefiled; in a transfigured body that can and will no longer sin; nor suffer any of the former consequences of sin … sorrow, pain, crying, or death (Revelation 21:4).

Things to Ponder

As the words of the song go: “Amazing love, how can it be; that you, my God, should die for me.”

To express my profound gratitude for so great a salvation because of what Jesus Christ did for me personally (for everyone who will simply place their eternal destiny in his hands), I’d like to quote an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666 concerning Satan’s temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

“Yet, it was the temptation scene that dealt the first Messianic blow to Satan’s plans, because that was the devil’s first opportunity to create an antichrist right then and there; to, in one fell swoop, twist and turn the true Messiah into Satan’s messiah.

“Eternal praise to our God and his Messiah that this did not happen! All glory to Yeshua who did not send a legion of angels to annihilate those who had arrested him in the garden! Everlasting gratitude to our Lord for not saying I’ve had enough, and stepping down from the cross! All power and dominion to the Son of Man for arising from the grave and conquering death once and for all! Go ahead, say it aloud with me. Amen!” (page 219).

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (II Corinthians 5:17).

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 or Against Israel?

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America’s Future and the Fate of All Nations Depends on the Answer

Last week’s post, America the Beautiful is Getting Ugly, might have been one of the most provocative titles in all 156 Eye of Prophecy articles to date. There is probably not much middle ground between reactions to or support of the basic premise. Readers from other countries might be more neutral, but most Americans would be ardently in agreement with or keenly opposed to the notion that America is in a free-fall decline, morally and spiritually. Which has begun to manifest itself in economic deterioration, social disintegration, and political divisions not seen in this country since the American Civil War.

Except now, we do not have the moral resolve or spiritual responsiveness to realize what has caused the United States to become so morally bankrupt. Which is: apathy toward the Judeo-Christian precepts upon which this nation was founded. And rejection of Biblical truths that guided our ancestors through the turmoil of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War fought to defend the principles of liberty for all people and races so powerfully proposed in our Declaration of Independence, the United States Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and Constitutional Amendments. These same values fortified our determination to preserve this freedom through two World Wars.

America is a nation divided. Many of these rifts seem to be irreparable.

Republicans and Democrats are at each other’s throats like never before. No longer is it a matter of or an effort to agree to disagree; to go on with bigger and better things through whatever party and Presidential candidate wins the election. Then start all over again in four years. The checks and balances in our Federal Government is as unchecked and unbalanced as it ever has been, what with the Supreme Court handing down decisions that circumvent laws enacted by the people through their representatives in Congress. And with the Executive branch of our government issuing Executive Orders that many in both houses of Congress consider to be unconstitutional.

Racial tension has reached critical mass, through flash point confrontations between African-Americans and white police officers, as we so sadly experienced the past few days in Minnesota, Louisiana, and Texas. The BDS style attacks against God, Jesus Christ, the Bible, Christians and Jews in this country are relentless.

“And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, ‘Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand’” (Matthew 12:25, NASB).

House-Divided

There is, however, one major division that is necessary: the distinction between truth and lies, good and evil, right and wrong; absolute and relative. Unless people grasp that only God can successfully build and sustain a nation (through those who acknowledge and seek after him), and only His Word (Scripture) can ultimately and decisively determine what is true, good, right and just; then that nation is doomed to be dysfunctional. With discord, demoralization, despair, and eventually demise the inevitable result.

“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen keeps awake in vain” (Psalm 127:1, NASB).

On the other hand: “How joyful are those who fear (acknowledge, respect, in awe of) the Lord—all who follow his ways! You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!” (Psalm 128:1, parenthesis mine).

America Has Lost Its Moral Compass

The United States of America is in big trouble. As is the world at large. The needle of our moral compass is spinning uncontrollably in circles. We refuse to fix it so it will point to God. Our spiritual map is devoid of highways with Biblical markers that can guide us to a destination God has surveyed for us.

Which is: A nation blessed because we have made The Lord our God (Psalm 33:12).

A nation that zealously trusts God when he promises: “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:11-12).

A nation which defers to and depends on the supreme, universal, divine truths and standards found in Scripture, enabling us to see and do things from God’s perspective. That gives us an absolute reference point to see the light at the end of the dark tunnel of uncertainty and unrest so prevalent in this country and in nations all over the world. To fully appreciate and follow God’s instructions for right thinking and living, both personally and nationally.

Such as: “No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

Instead, we are in the same condition that the Jews were in during the time of the judges when, “…all the people did whatever seemed right in their own eyes” (Judges 21:25).

Quoting again our first United States President George Washington in last week’s article: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

Also from last week’s article (reproduced here in italics):

…to deliberately dismiss or distort or defame the immense impact of the Christian faith embraced and espoused by our founding fathers in both their personal and public lives is to create an inaccurate, imbalanced, and unfair perspective of American history and of the Judeo-Christian beliefs that birthed our nation.

Scripture is exceedingly clear on the following: God normally deals with sin on an individual basis for those who have rejected the Lord’s only remedy for sin and its penalty—the once for all redemptive substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. But when the leaders of a nation (in today’s society … presidents, prime ministers, legislative officials, celebrities, and especially judges) and most of its people corporately and openly defy and distort God’s truth as found in His Word, then God’s punishment is applied to the entire nation.

It was crystal clear to many of our founding fathers: To marginalize, ignore, or certainly to reject God and the Judaic-Christian heritage that gave birth to One Nation Under God would inevitably erode the individual freedom and rights of the people on the one hand; and on the other hand imperil the nation itself if and when God withdrew his blessings and protection.

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Let’s examine another passage that confirms the Biblical premise so aptly summarized in Psalm 33:12.

But first, let’s sing the opening refrain to the famous American patriotic song alluded to in last week’s article. A poem originally written (with a couple of slight revisions thereafter) by a 33-year old English Professor Katherine Lee Bates after a trip to Pikes Peak, near Colorado Springs in 1893. With the music composed later by Samuel A. Ward, a church organist and choir director.

America the Beautiful:

“O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of grain,

For purple mountain majesties,

Above the fruited plain!

America! America!

God shed His grace on thee

And crown thy good with brotherhood

From sea to shining sea!”

More Biblical Truths Regarding an Entire Nation

While reading the following passage from Scripture—given specifically to Israel but also meant for any people in principle and practice—try and picture everything you can think of applicable to whatever nation you live in. For those in the United States of America, think of things that the Pilgrims and Pioneers experienced in our Promised Land. Such as the Native American Indians Samoset and Squanto showing the Pilgrims how to plant and harvest corn (manna!).

Said Moses to prepare and remind them of God’s instructions, just before the people of Israel entered the Promised Land:

“Be careful to obey all the commands I am giving you today. Then you will live and multiply, and you will enter and occupy the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors. Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness for these forty years, humbling you and testing you to prove your character, and to find out whether or not you would obey his commands. Yes, he humbled you by letting you go hungry and then feeding you with manna, a food previously unknown to you and your ancestors. He did it to teach you that people do not live by bread alone; rather, we live by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord … Think about it: Just as a parent disciplines a child, the Lord your God disciplines you for your own good” (Deuteronomy 8:1-3, 5).

Continuing in the passage:

“So obey the commands of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley, of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.

“But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the Lord your God and disobey his commands, regulations, and decrees… Do not become proud at that time and forget the Lord your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. Do not forget that he led you through the great and terrifying wilderness… He gave you water from the rock! … He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath” (Verses 6-18).

The passage concludes with:

“But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods, worshipping and bowing down to them, you will certainly be destroyed. Just as the Lord has destroyed other nations in your path, you will also be destroyed if you refuse to obey the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 8:19-20).

Does anyone in America today worship man-made gods and idols? If you’re thinking of carved idols of wood, stone, or metal, the answer is, no. (There are a few who do)

But many revere, to the point of worship, our celebrities—politicians, athletes, actors, musicians, wealthy businessmen, and money itself. Thereby, deliberately or inadvertently, making gods of them.

What’s the name of that TV show? Oh yes, it’s…

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Above all in the last two generations, the greater populace of the United States of America has made our Federal Government their god!

They cannot imagine trusting in or depending on anyone or anything except the provisions and promises of the government, both State and Federal. They refuse to grasp the Biblical and historical reality that the well-being of any nation is directly proportional to its government’s and people’s reliance on God himself.

Based on the passage in Deuteronomy we just read, a simple (from time to time), “Thank you, Lord, for who you are and all you have done for us,” would do wonders for a nation teetering on the brink of…. (You fill in the blank)

Others stake their safety and security on the might of our military.

Anything, anyone, but regrettably: Not on the only One who can truly save them from destruction … in this life and/or in the life to come.

Is God’s Judgment on the USA Imminent?

Does that mean that God is ready to judge this nation like never before? According to the Biblical record of the rise and fall of previous nations, the answer is, yes. In turn, does that mean the judgment could begin any day now? The answer is both yes and no: (1) I believe that God began partially to withdraw his protection of the United States of America on September 11th, 2001. (9/11).

(2) However, not until the Great Tribulation when God pours out his wrath on peoples/nations all over the world, including the USA, will those left behind at the Rapture experience God’s full and final fury against evil. Nonetheless, partial preparatory judgment could be administered at any time; and the extent of that discipline could be agonizingly harsh.

Is it possible, then, that God would lessen or even withhold any pre-Tribulation judgment on the United States?

Yes! If, in fact, his people intercede just like Abraham did for Sodom and Gomorrah. God agreed with Abraham to spare the cities if only ten righteous (those in right standing with God through their trust in Him) could be found. Sadly, there were not even ten.

How many in America? Only God knows. But if we who are called by his name (born again believers, saved by the grace of God) plead with the Lord to spare our nation until the appointed time of judgment, I believe the Lord will listen and withhold apocalyptic things from happening to the United States until the seven-year period of the Great Tribulation.

“…The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops” (James 5:16-18, italics for emphasis).

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Who are the righteous?

Answer: “And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (Romans 4:22-25).

Let’s look at the verses that follow Psalm 33:12, which began last week’s Eye of Prophecy post, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord…”

“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. Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory—for all its strength, it cannot save you. But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. 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” (Psalm 33:13-22).

To summarize and conclude the first part of today’s article, which was a continuation of last week’s theme, I’d like to quote from an Eye of Prophecy article entitled, O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! (posted 7-12-14).

Any nation whose corporate leaders and national laws deny, distort, diminish, or even trivialize God’s spiritual and moral laws will be a nation that God will leave to itself. The worst thing that can happen to any city, state, or nation that deliberately turn their back on God is that the Lord will withdraw his blessings and protection. It is said: Be careful what you wish for! If by our words and actions we respond to God’s Word of truth, life, justice, and peace, with, “No thanks, we’ll do it our way;” then that’s precisely what will happen. He’ll give us our own way. Then look out: We’re on our own!

Of course, that’s perfectly okay, if citizens of a country place their trust and confidence in their political, social, and economic leaders! To the extreme of making all things secular and shaping that secular humanism into a godlike status. What’s to worry? The State or Federal government will take care of us! Our military will save us! Scripture is clear on that, too. Without God’s sovereign guidance and protection, all the military might in the world is futile. God’s own chosen people did that and look what happened: Total destruction of Israel and exiled captivity at the hands of their worst enemies.

Citing another excerpt from that post, which will lead into the title theme of today’s article, For or Against Israel:

In the grand scheme of things, this wonderful Republic is just one of many nations on earth, all of which will be ultimately judged (as a nation) by our treatment of Israel…

But we mustn’t make the mistake of thinking that this country has been and still is beyond God’s discipline and even withdrawal of his protection, especially if we oppose Israel or even ignore her.

For or Against Israel: The Divine Irreversible Principle of Nations Blessing or Cursing Israel

There is a higher standard more serious and more severe than America’s acknowledgment of God in the affairs of the nation that will gauge His blessings or curses on our country.

Even if the greater populace and leaders of a nation turn to the Lord (from individual and national sin) but still refuse to support Israel in general and (especially) specifically seek to harm the Jews, God will NOT bless and protect that nation. A verse quoted often by others and by me in several Eye of Prophecy articles regarding Abraham and his descendants (the Jews) … one that bears repeating:

“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).

Why is Israel God’s special possession? Why are the Jews God’s chosen people?

For one reason: To be a conduit for God’s plan and purpose for humanity … all languages, all races, and all nations. From the Jews would come Messiah—the Mediator of the New Covenant of salvation through grace by faith. Not self-righteousness by keeping the Law of Moses which no one has ever done or ever will do, except Messiah Jesus.

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Thus, for people and nations to denigrate, delegitimize, demonize, and attempt to destroy Israel is an affront to and contempt of God himself. It is biting the hand that feeds us.

Quoting from last week’s article: “History is littered with the rise and demise and irreversible ruin of nations whose leaders and people defied the Sovereign God.”

That reality applies even more so to nations who have harmed Israel, including all four of the kingdoms mentioned in Daniel’s prophecy—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome (and Assyria before them). With the Roman Empire also persecuting Christians who were inseparably linked to their Jewish heritage by our Jewish Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, most of the 1st century Christian believers were Jews … whom we call today, Messianic Jews.

One (there are others) modern nation also comes to mind. I’m not picking on that country for any other reason than to provide an example of God’s unaltered decree of his blessings to those that support Israel and retribution for those who turn on the Jews. Despite our American ancestors putting them in their proper place (stop oppressing your American colony!), I’m personally very fond of the British. Genealogy on my mother’s side is English. Plus, they’ve given us Downton Abbey! (A little humor, but not meant to in any way detract from the solemn subject of the fate of people and nations that have turned on Israel).

The United Kingdom

For sake of time/space, we can only scratch the surface of the historical details that reveal the rise and decline of England. Though the United Kingdom is still a viable force in today’s world, it is nothing like the British Empire of even one hundred years ago.

Israel and all those who love and support the Jews are indebted to Lord Balfour of England for the Balfour Declaration of 1917. This proclamation set things in motion for a partitioned Palestine (that England had just captured/won with final victory over the Ottoman Empire which previously controlled Palestine) to be jointly “occupied” by both Jews and Arabs. Although Great Britain’s worthy purpose was to restore a homeland for the Jews, she stopped short of declaring Palestine a Jewish State, for fear of antagonizing the Arabs. As it turned out, the Arabs refused to accept the terms of the Declaration as they wanted no part of living side by side with Jews.

Whether very many secular historians recognize the eventual result of England’s capitulation to the Arabs that prevented and precluded a Jewish State at the time, the historical consequences became tragically evident. Because the Jews still had no sovereign state of their own and they had nowhere to go (that wouldn’t come until after World War II), six million Jews were slaughtered by Hitler’s Third Reich.

Certainly, I’m not suggesting that England was responsible for the Holocaust. Still, the historical “what if” fact is that a good number of European Jews might not have perished had they been allowed to emigrate to Palestine or England. In that regard, other nations like the USA were also culpable by their refusal to accept many Jews wanting and needing to flee Europe.

Soon after the Balfour Declaration, England began to turn on the Jews, mostly to placate the Arabs, with whom Great Britain had fought alongside of during World War II, specifically against the Ottoman Turks. Remember Lawrence of Arabia and his Arab coalition that defeated the Turks at Aqaba? This covert animosity and overt hostility toward the Jews continued to manifest itself in several ways, not the least of which was denying weapons to Israelis and supporting the Arabs militarily before the attack of five Arab nations against Israel the day after she declared statehood, May 14, 1948.

England’s gradual rise to power began as far back as the 12th century, with wax and wane cycles. In the mid-17th century Britain rose to unprecedented heights throughout the world, thanks largely to her mighty navy and commerce on the seven seas. This prominence increased even more during the 18th and 19th centuries. During this time, for the most part, England did not display any antagonism toward the Jews … treating them fairly whether Jews living in England or elsewhere in Europe.

Great Britain’s empire started to diminish soon after World War I. Following World War II, the United Kingdom began what now appears to be an irreversible decline that will only get worse as reflected in the growing Anti-Semitism in England. Today, England is as or more so divided than the United States, as witnessed by the extremely close split of the Brexit vote … 52% to leave the European Union, 48% to remain.

Just three hundred years ago or so, England boasted that she controlled an empire, “on which the sun never set.” Meaning that her colonies and sphere of influence was so vast that the sun always shone somewhere in that massive realm. An empire so great that many historians consider it to have been the largest domain in world history—due to England’s direct or indirect control over one-fifth of the world’s population and one-fourth of the world’s land, including dozens of territorial colonies all over the globe. Today the United Kingdom has varying degrees of jurisdictional sovereignty over just 14 territories.

SNSONTBE

Although England’s diminished influence in world affairs was noticeable before the 20th century, the historical parallel of her exponential decline began in the 1920s with her mistreatment and sometimes outright hostility toward the Jews and later the State of Israel. Some strongly believe that the English empire is one on which the sun will never rise again (comparatively equating it to Great Britain’s former glory).

*Note: Some positive news is that the new British Prime Minister Theresa May appears to be pro-Israel. During her first visit to Israel in June, 2014 as British Home Secretary—similar in position to the US Secretary of State—she laid a wreath in the Yad Vashem Memorial in memory of Jews killed during the Holocaust.

Later, she said about the Jews in Great Britain: “Many Jewish people in this country are feeling vulnerable and fearful … I never thought I would see the day when members of the Jewish community in the United Kingdom would say that they were fearful of remaining here in our country … Without its Jews, Britain would not be Britain.”

Good for her and for the United Kingdom!

United States and Israel

It is absolutely no coincidence that America’s ongoing favorable treatment of the Jews and Israel bears a direct correlation with our blessings and prosperity directly from the hand of God. The United States supported Israel’s rebirth as a nation in 1948, and also have backed the Jews since America’s birth as a nation in 1776, the roots of which began in 1620. One reason is that American Jews have made many extraordinary contributions to our nation through the years. An entire book could be written on that subject.

Did you know that President Harry Truman was the first national leader to recognize Israel’s rebirth as a sovereign state in the family of nations, when he called Israel’s Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion to congratulate him and Israel? There are many other instances of prominent American leaders showing respect and favor to the Jews and Israel, as well as a good many of the American people.

That is, until now.

Normally, I prefer to pray for our elected officials, not the least of which is the President of the United States, rather than belittle the person in that position just because they’re not doing a good job running the country. But also realizing that constructive criticism serves a useful purpose.

Unless, that is, our President and his staff and the State Department take on Israel. That gets my dander up, if for no other reason that it also gets God’s complete attention—to the point of divine anger.

It’s no secret that President Obama politically and personally dislikes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For example, a recent news disclosure confirmed that our Executive Staff funded a political organization to help defeat Netanyahu in the 2015 Israeli elections. Since when has or does the United States of America interfere with proceedings in a totally democratic nation? Autocratic countries ruled by tyrants, yes; but not free countries.

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(President Obama & Prime Minister Netanyahu … Their Looks Tell The Story)

And that our Executive Staff and many Congressmen (mostly Democrats) are pushing strongly and relentlessly for a Palestinian State within the borders of Israel. Beginning with Israel relinquishing territory regained (the entire land belongs to Israel) in the Six-Day War of 1967 that would leave the Israelis virtually defenseless on several fronts.

Here are more divine warnings concerning Israel and the nations. First, in one of the spectacular Pre-Incarnate appearances of Messiah Jesus (this time to the prophet Zechariah).

Messiah speaks:

“…Jerusalem will someday be so full of people and livestock that there won’t be enough room for everyone! Many will live outside the city walls. Then I, myself, will be a protective wall of fire around Jerusalem, says the Lord. And I will be the glory inside the city!” (Zechariah 2:4-5).

Then in verse eight, The Lord (God the Father) speaks about Israel: “…Anyone who harms you harms my most special possession.” Or in the New American Standard translation: “…he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”

Then Messiah speaks again: “I will raise my fist to crush them … Then you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has sent me” (Verse 9).

From the prophet Joel:

“At the time of those events, says the Lord, when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will judge them for harming my people, my special possession, for scattering my people among the nations, and for dividing up my land” (Joel 3:1-2).

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Things to Ponder

This week, I would like to close on a very personal note.

As indicated earlier in today’s article, this is the 156th consecutive post (every Saturday), the three-year anniversary of Eye of Prophecy web (blog) site.

In addition to the articles on the Home Page, including Archives, you might want to take a look at the About page along with the page, God’s Plan of Salvation.

Quoted from the About page:

“As stated on the home page, the major emphasis of Eye of Prophecy website is to, “give a clear witness for Jesus,” who is the very essence of prophecy. Also, that of, “…defending and confirming the truth of the Good News” (Philippians 1:7)

“The intent, form, and content of Eye of Prophecy is presented through Eschatology

P I C T U R E S

“Prophetic Inspirational Connections Through Understanding Relevant Events (and) Scripture”

And so, a very special heartfelt thanks to the 141 nations (to date) that have logged onto this website. Most visitors/readers are from the United States. In second place is Brazil; third place, United Kingdom; fourth is Canada, fifth is Australia. With two other countries surprisingly in the top ten … India and The Philippines.

Most of all thanks to my Lord and Savior, Messiah Jesus. Ultimately, all the articles are from Him and for Him.

The Lord willing and through his strength and guidance, Eye of Prophecy will continue, “…while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:13-14).

America the Beautiful Is Getting Ugly

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The Beautiful Rise and Ugly Fall of America

Let’s begin with one of my all-time favorite verses of Scripture, one of several that pertain to God’s sovereign interaction with the human race, specifically applied to nations.

“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12, NASB).

There are also many passages that define and depict God’s relationship with individuals and with remnants of people (mostly the Jews) who seek and follow him despite most of the nation ignoring, disobeying, and even abandoning the true and living God.

When it fit the subject or thought at hand, Psalm 33:12 has been quoted a few times in Eye of Prophecy articles. Yet, I did not begin today’s post by first looking up the verse in the Bible, which would be the normal means of quoting Scripture—that is frequently done in my articles.

Instead, I was stunned to see the verse at the top of the next to last page of the Arizona Republic newspaper’s main section … Section A. Despite being the 15th of 16 pages in Section A, the page was prominently displayed; when removing the other insert sheets, this page unfolded as part of the front side. And equally amazed to see that the entire spread had been dedicated to the birth and founding of the United States of America, with famous quotes from prestigious American historical figures and sources. Such as our: Founding fathers, United States Presidents, Supreme Court Justices and Supreme Court Rulings, Congress, Universities, and Foreign Opinions.

The realty that the entire page was printed in the July 4th, 2016 (240th anniversary of America’s Independence) edition of the Arizona Republic didn’t diminish my surprise. If for no other reason than it is rare now days to find Scripturally-based articles or Christian themes in any public newspapers or on-line news sources, other than those dedicated to a conservative audience.

Without spending an inordinate amount of time checking other major newspapers throughout the United States (or the world), I can only wonder how many news sources consented to printing this page. Would even the ultra-liberal, anti-religious New York Times and Washington Post have dared to include this page in their July 4th edition this past Monday? Nah! (Well, maybe?). Did you happen to see it in your newspaper? Does anyone even read a newspaper anymore?

My aforementioned astonishment was tempered somewhat when I also observed the word, “advertisement” printed three times at the top of this page … left side, center, and right side. With the solemn realization: It’s unlikely that even the somewhat neutral Arizona Republic (leaning slightly toward the left, but for the most part editorially objective) would have printed this spread, unless someone paid for it. The very fact that a verse from the Bible is quoted, followed by several citations that referred to God, Christianity, and the Bible is rare indeed in today’s humanistic secular political, social, and literary world. Let alone Biblically based quotes from notable historical figures as Chief Justice John Jay, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and excerpts from the Student Guidelines of Harvard and Yale Universities in the early days of their founding, to mention a few.

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(First United States Supreme Court Justice, John Jay)

Undoubtedly, you’re wondering; so I won’t leave you in suspense. The Arizona Republic page was sponsored by a successful retail company in this country … one of the most courageous defenders of Biblical and Christian principles in the business sector that we’ve seen in a long time. An organization that has not capitulated to virulent anti-Christian individuals and groups such as the ACLU. (It is right up there with, Chick Fil-A).

I’m referring to Hobby Lobby based out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They are shown at the bottom of the spread, just below this line:

“If you would like to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, visit Need Him Ministry at www.chataboutjesus.com. To download a free Bible for your phone, go to www.mardel.com/bible.”

*Disclaimer: This week’s Eye of Prophecy article is NOT a paid advertisement for Hobby Lobby (or Chick-Fil-A)! It’s not an advertisement at all. Rather, a simple acknowledgement to give credit where credit is due.

You knew that, yet it was still fun to say it!

Now then, let’s get to some things that are not so fun, but must be said. First, the good news: America once was beautiful. Tempered with the bad news: The United States is plunging into an ugliness that was never meant to be.

Removing God and the Bible From American History

A few decades ago, Ads like this would have not been all that unusual. Some news outlets might have published this page without requiring that the originator take out advertising space. But, most likely, the spread would have been relegated to the Religion segment of the newspaper; if, in fact, there was such a section.

For that matter, in the not so distant past, the need to publish such a column in major news sources would not have even been necessary.

Why not?

Because just in the past 50 years or so, secular humanists (mostly liberal politicians, activists, and educators … particularly university professors) have been on a hell-bent rampage to eliminate any and all vestiges of religion, specifically targeting any references to or mention of Jesus Christ (or God) in our governments, universities, secondary and elementary schools, or in any public place.

They have gone to elaborate extremes to achieve their anti-Christian agenda, not the least of which is rewriting our history books to make sure there is no reference to God, Christ, or the Bible’s astounding influence on the birth and growth of this (once) great country.

*Note: Obviously our educational curriculum is not designed to replicate religious catechism or “Sunday-school” material. However, to deliberately dismiss or distort or defame the immense impact of the Christian faith embraced and espoused by our founding fathers in both their personal and public lives is to create an inaccurate, imbalanced, and unfair perspective of American history and of the Judeo-Christian beliefs that birthed our nation.

For example (a very mild one at that): Many Americans have read and/or can quote Patrick Henry’s famous words from an impassioned message (one of many made by the forefathers of our Republic) to inspire, rally, and clarify the only option left to the American colonies … to fight for their freedom from the tyranny of England’s oppressive monarchy.

Remember his words? Of course you do.

“I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Yet, how many history textbooks contain any of the preceding text (context) of Patrick Henry’s powerful plea for a call to arms?

Here is a portion of what headed Patrick Henry’s final words:

“An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left for us! … Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power… Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us… Is life so dear, or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take, but for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

Astounding! No less than four times, he dares to declare and defer to God. Way to go Patrick!

Now then, a confession is in order: I can’t recall the last time (perhaps only once) that I either read or heard all of Patrick Henry’s message. However, I have read or heard many sayings and writings, in part or in full, from several of our founding fathers.

Such as the quote from Benjamin Franklin that I posted in the following photo as part of the Eye of Prophecy article, Separation of Church and State … For or Against? Part I (posted 4-2-16). I would encourage you to read that article and the Part II sequel (4-9-16).

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Both Patrick Henry’s and Benjamin Franklin’s quotes were part of the Hobby Lobby sponsored page in the Arizona Republic. (However, they and others like them can’t be found in mainstream curriculum of American schools and universities).

As was a quote from George Washington: “It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

From all I’ve seen, heard, and read, George Washington, Patrick Henry, and other prominent men and women who founded and served the United States of America professed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ through believing and receiving him as Lord and Savior. They unashamedly and enthusiastically endorsed the Bible as the God-given source of truth, life, and liberty (beginning with freedom from the penalty of sin), through personal and national redemption.

In the context of today’s article and to understand the growing secularism in America that intends deceitfully to replace and remove God and Biblical truth from our nation’s governments (city, state, and federal), and our increasingly desperate need to return to the Biblical values and precepts upon which this nation was built, here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, Separation of Church and State … For or Against Part II. (in italics)

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).

Then, the Lord declares to Solomon: “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’ But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them…” (Verses 17-20).

Make no mistake … this beautiful land of opportunity that we call the United States of America was, in fact, given to us by the true and living God. The surest way to lose our freedoms, if not the land itself, is to as a nation (all three branches of government) abandon, reject, and mock our Creator and Savior. Ironically, this is being done by many who claim they are protecting those liberties by eliminating all things shown, said, or done that smack of religion, with practically everything they do directed against Christians (true believers). Their real agenda is to eliminate the name of Jesus and take away the rights of those who name the name of Christ, including freedom of worship, speech, press, and assembly, in say a meeting room on a high school or college campus.

I firmly believe if we and especially our presidents, senators, representatives, governors, mayors, and judges adhered to (the basic) truths and principles found in Scripture, at least acknowledging God’s ultimate authority and thanking him for all of his blessings, there would be no need to debate the issue of Church and State separation. Our leaders would fully comprehend what it means to serve both God and the people. This service would not need to in any way, shape, or form result in a man-made religion or hierarchical religious denomination or institution to impose a distorted view of government ON the people.

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One more quote from the Arizona Republic newspaper spread, this one from President John Quincy Adams:

“Is it not that in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity?”

Quite likely, John Quincy Adams had the following verses and others like them in mind when he said those words:

Jesus said: “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6).

“For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:11-12).

Founding Fathers

My reference (and many others who use the same terminology) to the founding fathers of our United States Republic logically and historically identifies those men (and women) who rightfully revolted against the repressive rule of England’s King George III.

In reaction to suppressive English laws imposed on the thirteen colonies, including the Stamp Act and tariffs on tea imported to the colonies, then later the “Intolerable Acts” enacted by King George III—which led to the main complaint of the colonists: Taxation without Representation—the American colonists formed the First Continental Congress. Although the very idea of a self-governing, representative body of constituents from the thirteen colonies was “revolutionary” (meaning the first time that the colonies exercised any degree of independence from their colonial benefactor Great Britain), the intent of this Congress was not armed revolt. Instead, their primary purpose was to consider response options to England’s “Coercive Acts.”

Concerned American colonists convened to discuss such things as: Presentation of rights and grievances with a formal petition to King George for redress of those grievances; also economic boycott of British trade/goods. This first “Congress” agreed to arrange another Continental Congress session if England refused to revoke the Intolerable Acts. Which, of course, King George III refused.

Essentially, the First Continental Congress was a “provisional government.”

The Second Continental Congress convened the following year (May 10, 1775). During this assembly, representatives did call for each colony to organize and train its own militia, in the event that armed resistance was the only alternative.

From there, most Americans know at least some of our history.

The Second Continental Congress led to a Declaration of Independence followed by military victory over England in what we all know as the American Revolutionary War. The Articles of Confederation for the Second Continental Congress became the foundational framework for The United States Constitution, which is arguably the greatest document of democracy and a republic (representative government) ever composed. It was signed on September 17, 1787, then ratified by all thirteen colonies (states) by 1790. It exists to this very day, modified (reinforced) only by the Bill of Rights and subsequent Constitutional Amendments down through the years.

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Getting back to founding fathers: Our country has actually had two sets of men and women who established America on the same Biblical principles that would lead to religious and political freedom from dictatorial nations and rulers. The most important of which: Belief in and reliance on the true and living God for individual and national salvation, protection, and pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness afforded by the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Did you know that the Pilgrims and Puritans patterned their aspirations and actual plans and execution of those plans on Israel and the Jews? They saw themselves in the same situation as the Hebrews who were delivered by God through Moses from Egyptian bondage. Some of them equated England’s King Charles I (ruled 1625-1649) to Pharaoh. And before King Charles I came King James I … yes, the king who sponsored publication of the King James Bible. Also the same man who believed in the “divine right of kings.” That English kings were “higher beings,” far superior over the common people. Not at all unlike Pharaoh.

Although not as many colonists who initiated and participated in the events before, during, and after the Revolutionary War had expressed the parallel between America and Israel (as did the first group of founding fathers), the majority of them nonetheless acknowledged that God and Scripture could be and should be the enduring foundation for such an unheard of thing as—what Abraham Lincoln would later so eloquently summarize—a government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Such a government and such a nation could not effectively begin nor successfully continue (indefinitely) without recognizing God’s sovereignty and seeking his providential guidance and protection. In that regard, they promoted the absolute truths found in Scripture.

Striking Similarities between the United States and Israel

Let’s examine some of the correlations between Israel’s birth and (what sadly became a stunted) growth to that of the United States of America.

First Comparison:

God’s deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Pharaoh’s Egypt was a prototype parallel to the exodus of the Pilgrims and Puritans from England and other European Monarchies to America in the 17th century. They considered America as a counterpart to the “Promised Land” of Israel.

Second Comparison:

Approximately 190 years elapsed (1600 to 1790) from the time our early American settlers formulated plans to begin a new life across the sea to their actual deliverance from English autocracy, culminating in the United States Constitution with the first American President. This was nearly identical in time, form, and substance to the period after the Jews entered the Promised Land until the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as Israel’s first king (1240 B.C. to 1050 B.C.).

In the interim, Israel’s twelve tribes were governed by judges who repeatedly led the people back to God after several episodes of disobedience and rebellion against the Lord. Likewise with the colonies that were not yet states and certainly not the United States; their leaders were governors and judges. Although there was some measure of independence, the colonies were still under the general political and economic jurisdiction of England or France (hence the French/Indian Wars between France and England in the mid-1700s). Same with the Israelites during the time of the judges. During this period they were often oppressed, even subjugated by surrounding peoples that the Jews had failed to conquer—as commanded by God himself.

*Footnote: Although there were thirteen colonies at the time, only twelve sent delegates to the First Continental Congress! And, no, they weren’t trying to match or copy the twelve tribes of Israel (in number); that’s just the way it turned out. Thus, we can/should consider Divine providence at work!

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During America’s formative stages (beginning with the Plymouth Bay Colony in 1620), our ancestors also went through tough times when many abandoned the Biblical principles that our first set of founding fathers followed during the early days. Though not as often as the Jews during the times of the Judges (cycle of rebellion and restoration), America experienced a few chapters of Biblical spiritual revival of her own. Not the least of which was the First Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s led by several Evangelical Protestant Ministers such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield. Then a second Great Awakening that began (not coincidentally) in the latter part of the 18th century—before, during, and after the Revolutionary War.

Third Comparison:

Beginning with King Saul, but not completed until King David successfully defeated several surrounding nations, Israel finally gained their freedom and became a “United Kingdom” with each of the twelve tribes maintaining delegated and functional authority over its God-given portion of the Promised Land. However, all the tribes yielded allegiance and kingdom control of the nation/land to its central government in Jerusalem under King David, then his successor (son) King Solomon. With the Scriptures (Mosaic Law) as their constitution both in principle and practice!

This was almost identical to the American colonies achieving complete independence from their enemies (chiefly England), then establishing a Federal Constitution that governed the entire nation, but also granted a good deal of regulations and rights to individual states.

Additionally, the underlying bedrock of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution is equal and inalienable rights given to every person by our Creator—the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob … the only true God. With the government’s elected mandate to protect those rights, not usurp them. It was crystal clear to many of our founding fathers: To marginalize, ignore, or certainly to reject God and the Judaic-Christian heritage that gave birth to One Nation Under God would inevitably erode the individual freedom and rights of the people on the one hand; and on the other hand imperil the nation itself if and when God withdrew his blessings and protection.

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With great freedom and blessings come equally great responsibilities and requirements. To whom much is given, much is required.

Fourth Comparison:

Because Israel began to abandon the Lord their God by following after the gods of surrounding pagan countries and by refusing to believe what God had said would happen if they didn’t trust and obey him, the ten northern tribes of Israel broke away from the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin after King Solomon died. The individual and national sins and rebellion of the people finally exhausted God’s patience and he withdrew his protection from the northern tribes. In 722 B.C. Assyria utterly destroyed the Northern Kingdom, and deported the people to surrounding nations. In just a few generations, these Jews were virtually never heard from again.

It was actually during the reign of King Solomon (970 B.C. to 930 B.C.) that the seeds of individual and national disobedience began to sprout; top-dressed by Solomon himself when he allowed many of his wives to set up and worship their pagan gods. Regrettably, Solomon joined in this worship. Though Scripture does not give us the exact date(s) when this began to happen, it’s evident that Solomon and the Jews began their departure from God several years before Solomon’s reign ended.

If we split the difference and use the halfway point of Solomon’s reign, it would be the year 950 B.C. (I believe the evidence suggests that it began earlier than that). Thus, the time that elapsed from the beginning of the king’s and his people’s disobedience to God’s law and commandments (given for the welfare of the people and the nation) to the cessation of the Northern Kingdom in 722 B.C. is 228 years. If we move the date to say 962 B.C. (which very well could be historically accurate), then the intervened time is 240 years.

Where have we seen that number before?

Answer: In this article (and of course before the article through other news sources or just the math itself if you happened to think about our country’s birthday this past Monday). We the people of the United States of America just celebrated our 240th anniversary as a nation.

Although the Southern Kingdom of Judah continued for another 136 years (due exclusively to God’s mercy and patience), the Lord made it clear through his prophets that it would only be a matter of time before the southern kings and people of Judah would finally be judged. They had staked out an irreversible course, and stubbornly refused to get off that road of rebellion back to the path that God said they should travel.

When we combine the 240 years before the northern tribes met their demise with the subsequent 136 years when Judah fell to the Babylonians, we reach a total of 376 years.

The passage of time from America’s first colony to this very day (2016) is 396 years. That’s twenty more years than allotted to Israel before she ceased as a nation; then was reborn in 1948 in what is one of the greatest miracles of all time.

If our country was no worse off morally and spiritually than even 70 years ago (end of World War II) I wouldn’t be all that concerned. But we are worse off … much worse. So bad, that I’ll repeat what Billy Graham, the greatest Evangelist of our time, said over a decade ago:

“If God doesn’t punish America, then He will need to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah!” (Paraphrase).

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There is no doubt whatsoever that the Judeo-Christian heritage and values upon which this nation was built has eroded (almost—but that’s giving the benefit of the doubt) to the point of no return. And, for the most part, this has taken place almost exclusively in my generation … I was born in 1946.

Summary

Scripture is exceedingly clear on the following: God normally deals with sin on an individual basis for those who have rejected the Lord’s only remedy for sin and its penalty—the once for all redemptive substitutionary sacrifice of God’s Son, Messiah Jesus. But when the leaders of a nation (in today’s society … presidents, prime ministers, legislative officials, celebrities, and especially judges) and many of its people corporately and blatantly defy and distort God’s truth as found in His Word, then God’s punishment is applied to the entire nation.

It’s one thing for individuals within a society to abort babies; participate in same-sex behavior; individually mock and despise God, Christ, born-again Christians, and Jews; engage in hedonistic lifestyles; and privately wish there were no vestiges of Biblical Christianity (prayer, Ten Commandments, Christian emblems) in our courts, halls of government, centers of education, and any public place whatsoever. That’s between the individual and God.

However, from God’s vantage point, it’s altogether a different matter when governments and nations and organizations openly condone, publicly flaunt, then legislate and fund these practices. Please understand: neither I nor by brothers and sisters in Christ are judging individuals for their sins. Because I/We have all sinned (Romans 3:23). We all need the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.

Rather we are simply repeating God’s clear warnings found in Scripture. Such as:

“Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God’” (Psalm 2:1-3).

Then the Lord’s response later in Psalm 2: “Now then, you kings, act wisely! Be warned, you rulers of the earth! Serve the Lord with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling. Submit to God’s royal son, or he will become angry, and you will be destroyed in the midst of all your activities—for his anger flares up in an instant. But what joy for all who take refuge in him!” (Verses 10-12).

As well calling to remembrance God’s bountiful blessings as indicated at the beginning of today’s article.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord

(George Washington Prayed in Public, Almost Always with One Knee to the Ground)

The reverse of this model of God’s blessings is equally true. The nation who does not at least acknowledge the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the God of the Bible) will not be blessed.

Not to be blessed is not a good thing! For all practical purposes, not to be blessed is to be cursed.

History is littered with the rise and demise and irreversible ruin of nations whose leaders and people defied the Sovereign God. Including Israel during her times of disobedience. But in that regard, God promised that he would restore a remnant of Israel in the last days, which we are witnessing before our 20th & 21st centuries eyes. That has to do with the eternal covenant God made with Abraham (Promised Land of Israel belongs forever to the Jews) and with King David (Everlasting King who will rule and reign from Jerusalem … Messiah Jesus).

These specific covenants are not available to Gentiles or Gentile nations. However, the derivative benefits of God’s end-times blessings on Israel and the Jews will spill over to all those who have individually and on a national level accepted Messiah Jesus before and during the Millennial reign of Christ.

Yet, the universal conditional principles found in this verse quoted earlier is for Israel and all nations:

“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).

Things to Ponder

Though I am, like many Americans, passionately patriotic about my country, the truth must be told.

Some reading this article might question the premise that America the Beautiful (based on the song) is getting uglier by the day. Others could even be offended by the word, ugly as applied to America … especially its people.

First, my reference point and context is the condition in which the United States has fallen. One of many definitions in Webster’s Dictionary for condition is: “State of being.”

Secondly, let’s also defer to Webster’s Dictionary for some of the definitions of ugly: “Morally offensive or objectionable; repulsive … neither pleasing nor beautiful.”

For those things that begin in a perfect or near perfect state, then deteriorate to the point of demise, it is good if we can come full circle. As it was in the beginning in the Garden of Eden, so will it be again when Christ Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom of truth, justice, and peace.

As it was when the United States of America gave birth to freedom of worship and pursuit of life, liberty, and well-being through adherence to the timeless truths of Scripture and reliance on the Triune God of the Bible, we can only hope and pray that we will come (at least close to) full circle before it’s too late.

As we began this article, so shall we end it:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.

Antichrist’s Dreaded Arrival / First or Second Appearance?

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Antichrist … First or Second Arrival?

Many, including some notable students of Bible prophecy would say, “What kind of question is that?”

Why on earth wouldn’t the approaching arrival of the Antichrist be his first appearance? What is there in Scripture to suggest that he wouldn’t be a modern-day born man? What possible alternative is there, other than a man born in the generation that will experience the Rapture and the soon to follow meteoric rise of this man who would dare to oppose the Triune God … Father, Son, and Holy Spirit?

Certainly, the most logical assumption is that the Antichrist would arrive on the scene of history no different than past dictators and tyrants, such as Adolph Hitler. Isn’t that the natural way of things?

Answer: Yes it is. But not entirely. According to the Bible, there are two exceptions, one good and one bad: Christ and Antichrist—who is the man of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2); the composite beast of Revelation 13 & 17 who is also one of the seven heads (kings) of Revelation; the little horn of Daniel 7 and the ruler of Daniel 9.

God is Divine and Supernatural, right? Since when has he done everything the natural way of things? (Rhetorical!)

Last week’s article focused on the conclusive proof that Messiah’s soon arrival on this earth will be his second appearance—his return as the Lion from the Tribe of Judah in contrast to his first advent as the Lamb of God who died for the sins of the world. So, too, will Antichrist stun the world with his return from the grave (actually from the Abyss, Revelation 17:8). For that reason alone this deplorable man will capture the attention and allegiance of untold millions left behind at the Rapture (Revelation 13 and Revelation 17).

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have dealt wholly or partially with the Biblical evidence that the appearance of Antichrist in the final generation (The Omega Generation) will be his return to the earth, contrary to prevailing belief that this will be his initial arrival. For example, Modern-Day Antichrist? (Posted 9-7-13); followed by Antichrist … Is He Alive Today (9-14-13) which concentrates on Revelation 17. Also, The Legendary Return of Nero (published 4-4-15) that focuses on the 1st through 5th century A.D. remarkable belief by both Christians and secular Romans that Nero was still alive; or that he would return to his throne in Rome having been preserved for that appointed time.

Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, examines extensively all Biblical passages on the Antichrist and a study of 1st century history to demonstrate that he is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero.

Out of the Abyss

In today’s article, we will center attention almost exclusively on the same astounding prophecy in Daniel Chapter 9 that we examined in last week’s Eye of Prophecy post where we affirmed decisively that the exact time of Messiah’s first arrival matched the Palm Sunday triumphant entrance into Jerusalem by Jesus of Nazareth. Hence, the incontrovertible evidence that Messiah has already been to the earth—for the express purpose of being God’s final, once for all substitutionary sacrifice for our sins and the penalty of those sins. All who believe and receive this truth (Jesus is Messiah, the Son of God) will have eternal life.

For the Jews to realize that their Scriptures (Old Testament, as most non-Messianic Jews refuse to even read the New Testament, let alone believe that it, too, is inspired by God) specifically foretold the actual time of Messiah’s arrival and that Jesus fulfilled all of the prophecies including Daniel’s, is of utmost importance. As is the understanding for Gentile unbelievers that Messiah Jesus is salvation’s light to the whole world.

To flippantly brush aside the tremendous truth and fabulous fulfillment of Bible prophecies is to dangerously disregard the eternal consequences of what will take place when Antichrist, then Jesus Christ returns to this earth. If Jews and Gentiles reject that Jesus is Messiah and the purpose for his first appearance, it’s unlikely that they will choose Jesus over Antichrist Nero during the Great Tribulation.

Why?

Because the stakes will be incredibly high. To refuse to acknowledge Nero as divine will most certainly mean instant death. That will be too much for most people to handle. A few years into the Great Tribulation, those undecided (at first) will choose this man of lawlessness along with millions of others who have already worshipped him as their messiah.

One generation ago, it was Heil Hitler! In the near future it will be Hail Caesar!

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(Statue of Augustus Caesar, First Roman Emperor, Depicted Here as Jupiter, Chief Roman god; Nero Despised Religion Including the Roman gods. He Fancied Himself as God on Earth)

This same prophecy in Daniel 9 also shows convincingly that the ruler (Antichrist) would arise (soon) after Messiah was killed; that the armies of this ruler would destroy the second Temple. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (as predicted by Zechariah) in April of 32 A.D; was crucified a week later, and arose from the dead three days after that. Then in 70 A.D. the Roman Legions sacked Jerusalem, utterly demolished the Temple, slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Jews, and instigated the dispersion of the surviving Jews (Diaspora) that would continue until Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948.

It was none other than Nero who personally commissioned Roman Generals Vespasian and Titus to launch the campaign to crush the Jewish rebellion that began in 66 A.D.

Daniel Chapter 9

Let’s read again this stunning prophecy, then refer in part to Out of the Abyss; to once again establish the absolutely correct application of this passage, particularly when correlated and connected to all other passages on this man of sin to show that Nero is the Antichrist.

Said the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel:

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes…” (Daniel 9:25).

Exactly 173,880 days (483 Jewish years) elapsed from the time that the Persian King Artaxerxes issued the command for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to the time that Jesus of Nazareth rode into Jerusalem and the people acclaimed him as Messiah.

Let’s look more closely at what would happen next.

“After this period … 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…” (Daniel 9:26, italics for emphasis).

The reason that the translators of the New Living Translation, which I quote from most often, chose the wording shown above in italics is to acknowledge that the armies of the ruler were connected in time and space to the ruler. In contrast to the modern-day (erroneous) hypothesis that there will be a revived Roman Empire restored by a modern-day born man. Hence the armies (or people) of the ruler would be those (I suppose they are referring to Italians or other Europeans) who descended some 2000 years later from the Romans.

Although there’s no evidence that the translators and commentators who compiled the New Living Translation gave much thought to the historical evidence that it was Nero who ordered his generals to attack Israel and Jerusalem, they did recognize the obvious fact that the ruler who would arise would be directly linked to the (his) armies that destroyed the Temple.

The Possessive Power of Prepositional Phrases & Pronouns!

As both a means to encourage you to read Out of the Abyss, and also to best explain the staggering significance of the possessive prepositions and pronouns (“of” or “whose”) that directly connect the ruler (Antichrist) with the armies or people of that ruler in real-time (1st century AD), I’d like to quote from Out of the Abyss: (In italics)

In some Bible translations such as the New American Standard, we read, “…and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” (Daniel 9:26) … The perception of a Revived Roman Empire flows from the attachment or affiliation of the Ancient Roman Empire’s armies or people that destroyed the Temple to a modern-day Antichrist. But as we will soon see, this application contextually, grammatically, and prophetically stretches the connection to the breaking point.

The Hebrew word for “people” is am, which means people(s), people of a nation, members of one’s people, kinsman, or compatriots. This word is used 1,620 times in the NAS translation of the Old Testament. And, invariably, when relating people (am) 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. For example, “After this presentation to Israel’s leaders, Moses and Aaron went and spoke to Pharaoh. They told him, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Let my people go…’” (Exodus 5:1). The people were none other than the Hebrews alive at that specific time, during the final stages of their Egyptian bondage.

(Note: The Hebrew word am is not the same as the English word, “am.” As in “I am going…” It is pronounced hahm or ahm … the “ah” sound with “m” at the end).

In a few Old Testament verses the Hebrew word more specifically applies to troops or armies … It’s apparent that the New Living Translation chose the word “armies” to more precisely delineate the actual fulfillment of the prophecy. (Then I refer to the Roman Legions destroying the Temple in 70 AD). In other words, “People” of the prince or ruler to come 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. The NLT simplifies the English to demonstrate this connection by stating that, “a ruler will arise whose armies.” Whose is possessive; meaning those armies or people specifically belonging to that particular ruler. Or, if you prefer the translation that says, “People of the prince,” the same possessive principle applies. The people directly affiliated, associated, or united with the prince destroyed the Temple. (Out of the Abyss, pages 254, 255).

This chapter from Out of the Abyss continues with the explanation that had Gabriel meant that the Temple would first be destroyed and then the ruler (of the people or armies that destroyed the Temple) would arrive (much later … which is now 2000 years and counting), then Gabriel would have made this clear by saying something to the effect that the armies of the ruler would have already (first) destroyed the city and Temple, then the ruler would come. But he didn’t say that; in fact he logically describes the chronological sequence the way it was sensibly intended. (First) a ruler would arise, (then) his armies would destroy the temple.

I then state that Gabriel emphatically emphasized the need for Daniel (all readers) to pay close attention: “Now listen and understand” he told Daniel. It would be the people of the prince (or more precisely, the armies that belonged to the ruler) who would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. With the excessively strong implication that the ruler/prince didn’t live to see the conquest finished. Which, incidentally, but much more than coincidentally, is exactly what happened in 1st century history.

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(Roman Legions … One of the Most Formidable Fighting Force of All Time)

Nero ordered Vespasian and Titus to march on Israel. This campaign began in 66 A.D, but it wasn’t finished until August, 70 AD when Vespasian’s son, Titus, sacked Jerusalem and burned and dismantled the Temple stone by stone. In the interim, Nero died in 68 AD.

An amazingly exact historical occurrence to precisely fulfill Daniel’s prophecy!

Continuing in Out of the Abyss:

This is very true when reading history. Almost always, a historian (we speak in the same terms) will say that Alexander the Great conquered Persia, not Alexander and his armies. We fully understand what is meant; that Alexander the Great or Napoleon or whoever couldn’t have done it without their armies….

Yet, if a ruler dies, and his armies continue the battle or the war, we see, for example, that it was Genghis Khan’s armies or troops that did such and such after he died. “People of the prince who is to come” is a prepositional phrase that demands a possessive correlation. “People of the prince who is to come will destroy the city” neither prophetically or grammatically state nor even imply that the city would be destroyed before the prince arrived. In other words, this ruler and his armies are inseparably linked together in possessive relationship and in a real-time context.

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. Contextually and grammatically it makes no sense for Gabriel to tell Daniel that the ruler’s armies would destroy Jerusalem, but the ruler wouldn’t come until much later. If that were the case, then Gabriel would have told Daniel that the ruler’s ancestors (of long ago) would destroy the Temple, and then the ruler would arise. Conversely, the text clearly delineates and specifies that when the ruler comes, his people or armies would destroy the city.

And, as indicated, whenever the Hebrew word “am” 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? (Out of the Abyss, pages 255-256).

Here, I’ll condense what comes next in Out of the Abyss, by first quoting a part of our passage that immediately precedes, “…and a ruler will arise whose armies…”

“…the Anointed One will be killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing…” (Daniel 9:26, italics for emphasis).

This is another overwhelming corroboration that the ruler referenced by Daniel (Antichrist) arose shortly after Messiah Jesus was crucified (and arose from the dead). The text is emphatically evident: The ruler would arise during the time that the death of Messiah appeared to have accomplish nothing. Nero was born just 3-4 years after Christ ascended back to heaven. He would unlawfully assume the Roman throne in 54 A.D. at the age of seventeen. The Christian faith was still in its infancy; to many, the death of Jesus seemed to have been for naught.

Beginning in the latter part of the 1st century and continuing to this very day (interrupted in part by the Roman Catholic induced and dominated Dark Ages), the monumentally astounding accomplishments of Christianity are more obvious than any event or development in history. What Jesus Christ has accomplished through salvation of millions of people (true believers) and the remarkable impact of Biblical redemption personally and corporately on peoples, nations, hospitals, churches, charitable organizations, and much more is indisputable.

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(St. Luke’s Lakeside Hospital, Located in The Woodlands Division of Houston, Texas)

Thus, the ruler who Daniel said would arise (mentioned in the same verse as the death of Messiah, with the clear contextual connotation and plain understanding that it would be in the same time proximity that Messiah would be killed) had to have been revealed while Christianity was still inconsequential to many in the Roman Empire … “appearing to have accomplished nothing.”

Nero fits that 1st century time and space correlation far better than any ruler before or after him. One, because of the time-frame itself—born in 37 A.D., rose to power in 54 A.D, and died in 68 A.D. Two, because Nero instigated the first and most brutal agenda in all of history (sanctioned by his Roman Empire) to kill Christians.

His short-term evil plan: To blame the Christians for the great fire in Rome (which most historians are convinced Nero himself started or ordered it). The long-term diabolical agenda: To wipe out Christianity and put an end to worship of Jesus Christ over Nero. What better way to stop or preempt potential accomplishments of the Christian faith than to eliminate the followers of Christ.

Not only was Nero the man of lawlessness referenced by Paul (and will soon return as the Antichrist, the designation later used by the Apostle John), he was the most anti-Christ person who has ever lived. He threw huge parties in his palace gardens, with Christians hanging on poles slowly and excruciatingly burning to death (from ignited pitch or tar that covered them) to light the gardens at night. He ridiculed the Christians as they succumbed to such horrible deaths by saying, “Now you are truly the light of the world.” Which was also a malicious mockery and depraved defiance of Jesus Christ himself whom the Christians worshipped as the light of the world.

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(Depicts Nero’s Golden Palace and Death of Christians for Entertainment)

Not until a few decades after Nero’s death did Christianity began to flourish and spread throughout the Roman Empire.

When Nero became Caesar in 54 A.D. the Apostle Paul had written only three of his epistles: Galatians and I & II Thessalonians (51-52 A.D.). It’s no coincidence that Paul only refers to the man of lawlessness (later called the Antichrist by the Apostle John and beast-king in Revelation) in II Thessalonians before Nero “lawlessly” ascended to the throne. As indicated in Chapter 21 of Out of the Abyss, I’m convinced that Paul knew that Nero was (would be) this man of lawlessness.

Later the book of Revelation would challenge 1st century believers and all believers thereafter to identify the Antichrist beast through Hebrew gematria, … the number six hundred sixty-six (Revelation 13:18). From the Greek name for Nero (New Testament was written in Greek) converted to the Hebrew method of counting by the Hebrew alphabet, Neron Kaiser (Greek for Nero Caesar) adds up to the sum of six hundred, sixty-six. (666).

Then perhaps the most astonishing passage of all concerning the infamous biography of Antichrist: John tells us the beast (Antichrist) that he just saw in another vision, “…was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he (the beast) will soon (abruptly) come up out of the bottomless pit (Abyss) … And all the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of the beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8, parenthesis mine).

By the time Revelation was written, Nero had already died in 68 A.D. As covered in great detail in Out of the Abyss, it was Jesus himself (at his command and providential direction) who saw to it that Nero was killed (while still a young man).

“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).

Nero was “revealed” as the man of lawlessness who had been held in restraint by his predecessor Claudius (his step father), until Agrippina (Claudius wife and Nero’s mother), with Nero in complicity, murdered Claudius in 54 A.D. Paul knew that Nero was the man of lawlessness, but he didn’t refer to him as Antichrist. Years later, John the Apostle used that term in his first epistle. Even Revelation doesn’t use the appellation of Antichrist; rather it refers to him as a beast or one of the seven kings (Roman emperors). Paul knew that Jesus would strike down Nero but Paul did not know (wasn’t disclosed to him) that Nero would RETURN from the Abyss, as the beast-king of Revelation. That wasn’t revealed until later through John’s visions.

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(Bust of Nero)

To summarize Daniel’s prediction that the “rise” of the ruler would happen (soon) after Messiah was killed, appearing to have accomplished nothing (at the time) I quote again from Out of the Abyss:

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.

Thus, the rise of the Antichrist ruler predicted by Daniel HAD to have taken place during the first few years after Messiah (Jesus) was crucified. Just as the Messiah HAD to first appear (arrive) before the Temple was destroyed—by the armies of this same ruler … Nero.

Is all this amazing or what?!

A Few More Excerpts from Out of the Abyss:

Stating it bluntly: the Roman Legions of 70 AD could not be of, from, or belong to a ruler born some two thousand years later. This would stretch the chain that tries to bind the Roman Legions of 70 AD to a modern-day man to the breaking point. Remember again: this ruler or king originates directly from the fourth world power (Roman Empire) of Daniel Chapter 7. The ruler does not come from a future 7th empire, because there is no such empire in the book of Daniel…

The NLT translation is saying the same thing as, “People of the prince who is to come.” But the NLT precludes the tendency to forget or overlook the possessive prepositional phrase that is the linguistic and prophetic essence of this verse, in contrast to a ruler who will come long after his people destroy the city.

Daniel tells us that the ruler will come and the people of this ruler will destroy the city. He does not say that the Temple must be or is first destroyed before the prince arrives. But that’s the current hindsight application made by those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist and a Revived Roman Empire. Meaning that this “prince who is to come” must be born and rise to power after an enormous lapse of time (2000 years), with a 21st century result of an impractical and unrealistic time-capsule detachment from the armies that destroyed the city and Temple (Page 257).

Then picking up in the next chapter of Out of the Abyss:

Read again, if you will, the sequential syntax of Verse 26, which says, “…a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the Temple.” In which order do these things prophetically take place? Correct—the ruler arises, and then his armies destroy the Temple … To eliminate any misunderstanding as to when the ruler would arise, the angel would have told Daniel that when the ruler arrives, his armies would have already destroyed the city. But that’s not what Daniel says, nor did it happen that way in history.

Nor has any conquest, in ancient or modern warfare, been accomplished or even recognized by means of troops conquering a city or country, then the supreme leader (king or emperor) of that army born hundreds of years later or even a few years later. In fact, that makes no sense at all. The only way the armies can be connected to, belong to, controlled or ordered by their leader, is a direct result of the leader—by virtue of being alive—delivering commands to his subordinates; thus, for that ruler to be unequivocally associated with and attached to the people that do the conquering. Make sense?

So the angel Gabriel makes two clear distinctions in these verses. (1) Technically and actually the ruler’s armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, not the ruler himself. Why: because the ruler wasn’t there to take or be given credit. (2) Even more importantly, the armies are of or belong to the ruler himself, by virtue of the possessive correlation clearly articulated in the passage. The passage does not state nor even imply a (far away) future ruler to the Roman Legions of the first century. Instead we see culpability by direct possessive association with and correlation between first century Rome and a first century Roman ruler.

The armies or people who destroyed the city and the Temple were Roman Legions that belonged to Nero, as ultimate Commander in Chief of all Roman legions. These legions are long gone, and couldn’t possibly be the people or armies of a modern-day born Antichrist. Again I will stress: the ruler and his armies of Daniel 9 are inextricably conjoined, coupled, and connectively linked by the possessive pronouns employed in the text, whether the translation is “of” or “whose.” (Out of the Abyss, page 264).

Summary

The main Biblical passages dealing with the Antichrist in order are: Daniel 7, 9, 11; Zechariah 11; Matthew 24 (false messiahs); II Thessalonians 2; Revelation 11, 13, 16, 17 & 19. With the geographical and biographical profile of the Antichrist most prominent in Daniel and Revelation 13 & 17.

To wit: He will originate from the fourth kingdom (Roman Empire), not a 7th kingdom (a so-called Revived Roman Empire). He will lead an alliance of ten Tribulation kings (nations), forcibly subduing three of these kingdoms. At the time of the revelations to John, the Antichrist had already lived and died on this earth. (Revelation 17:8). He would reappear from the Abyss; with the totally logical conclusion that he had to be first placed in the Abyss (which occurred after Christ struck him down in 68 AD).

He will make an unholy alliance with the vestiges of the Holy Roman Empire (Vatican), but will then turn on the “Woman” and pursue his malevolent ambitions with his ten-nation coalition (Revelation 17). Though hundreds of millions will give him their allegiance—including taking the mark of his name or number—there will not be a One World Religion or One World Government. Instead, many left behind after the Rapture will surrender their complete loyalty (to the point of worship) for one reason only: his apparent resurrection from the grave. They will be people from every nation, language, and race; which will be a counterfeit representation of the true Messiah (Jesus Christ) and his followers from people all over the earth—but without a kingdom as such until Messiah Jesus returns in power and great glory at the end of the seven-year Tribulation.

If you are seriously interested in knowing everything that God has given us through his Word about this man of sin (including his very identity), you need a working knowledge and understanding of these passages. And you also need at least a cursory grasp of 1st century Church and secular history, especially the Roman Emperors. All of these things in great detail are presented in Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? Also in several Eye of Prophecy articles like this one, including most of the articles found in the category of Antichrist and/or The Rapture.

Yet, it is Daniel Chapter 9 (the focus of our attention last week and this week), that most thoroughly predicts and explains the first arrival of both Messiah and anti-Messiah at the exact time God intended. That and the fact that both would return (reappear) to complete the final epic struggle between God and Satan, between Christ and Antichrist, between good and evil.

Christ was the first to appear. Yet his Second Coming will be after the return of Antichrist Nero.

Thus, just as the Scriptures say: Messiah Jesus is The First and the Last! Alpha and Omega! The Beginning and the End!

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Here is one more citation from Out of the Abyss:

Where did the Roman Legions camp and prepare for the march on Jerusalem in 70 AD? Answer: Megiddo. Who ordered this campaign against Israel? That’s right: it was Nero. Where will the final conflict of Revelation be decided? Right again … Armageddon. Who will be leading these armies against Israel, then against Messiah himself? Easy answer: Antichrist. A chilling connection don’t you think? Do you think this and all the other correlations between Christ and Antichrist (Nero) are a bit more than coincidental?

As already indicated, I’m sure that Nero’s premature death both stunned and infuriated Satan. For sure Satan had read Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians; that Jesus would kill the man of lawlessness, “with the breath of his mouth.” Yet Satan assumed that his man would first accomplish all the things that Daniel and other prophets had declared. And, of course, Satan would attempt to write his own script and execute his own version of the final act. The Revelation of Jesus Christ had not yet been given to John. Thus no one, including Satan, knew that the man of lawlessness slain by Christ must first be confined to the Abyss and be allowed to rise again as the beast of Revelation.

If you still find it difficult to let go of a Revived Roman Empire that produces a modern-day (born) Antichrist, at least consider this; whatever form or shape this coalition takes, what ultimately makes it Roman and revived is a Revived Roman Emperor (Pages 265- 266).

Things to Ponder

As touched on in last week’s article that focused on the Messianic (first advent of Jesus Christ) significance of Daniel 9, and in preparation for this week’s article, I indicated that the Antichrist portion of Daniel 9 is not a matter of “life or death” as we speak … before the Rapture.

However, I’m convinced that the Lord wants us and certainly all left behind at the Rapture to realize that there are eternal consequences to the choice that everyone alive now and those left behind will make. And if they don’t decide it will be decided for them one way or another—either by the justified judgments of God or by the unjustified deceit and ruthlessness of Antichrist.

Is Jesus the Messiah Savior? Or is the one who is anti-Christ (Nero) to be followed? It truly will be an eternal life or death decision.

Those who know now and those who will realize after the Rapture that the Bible had disclosed the identity of the Antichrist all along won’t be so amazed when they see an ancient Roman Emperor return to this earth. Hopefully they (you, if you have not yet believed and received Jesus as Lord and Savior) will see beyond any doubt that the very Word of God (Scripture) foretold this long ago.

Rest assured, the true and living God and His Messiah will prevail.

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven (seven years), 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 9:27, italics for emphasis).

The italicized words in this verse provide more validation that the Antichrist’s (Nero) reign of terror began long ago (first century) and will finally come to a crashing conclusion when Jesus sets foot on the earth at the end of the Tribulation.

The terms, as a climax and finally, convey a long period of time. The 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation in which God gives permission for Satan and Antichrist to wreak havoc on the earth is far too short of a time to be expressed by the term, finally.

Rather, Daniel is referring to the time when the ruler would first be revealed (1st Century) all the way to his reappearance at the end of this age; when all of the hideous deeds of this depraved despot begun in the 1st century will resume and intensify and reach a climax at the end of his forty-two month reign of terror.

Finally, after all this time (2000 years), he will be destroyed.

After all this time (2000 years), Messiah Jesus will return and finally put an end to the beast who, “was once alive but isn’t now … yet he will soon (suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction” (Revelation 17:8).

Paul tells us: “Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed (so he was in the first century), but the Lord Jesus will kill him with the breath of his mouth AND (then) destroy him by the splendor of his coming” (II Thessalonians 2:8, parenthesis mine, upper case letters for emphasis).

Once you’re dead (killed) you are destroyed, right? Therefore, there would be no reason for this verse to continue by saying that this man of lawlessness will also be destroyed. That would be totally redundant and unnecessary.

Unless, that is, the Antichrist returns (from the Abyss) and then is finally destroyed (comes to his final end in the Lake of Fire, Revelation 19) by the return of the true Messiah … Jesus!

Do you see that?

Where is Messiah … Is He Already Here?

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Messiah’s Imminent Arrival! His First or Second Appearance?

Globally, especially in Israel, both religious and secular Jews are longing for redemption.

Yet, they do not all agree on the scope of this redemption. Will it be individual, national, or both? Will it be physical, spiritual, or both? Orthodox Jews, particularly Rabbis, contend that penitence is a prerequisite to their redemption. But they differ on what constitutes repentance … to what degree or for what exactly should they repent. Most Jews simply don’t know what’s expected of them, if anything.

Tens of thousands of Messianic Jews have embraced Jesus as Messiah; they have accepted Scripture’s claim that only he can redeem individuals and nations. They believe (along with their Gentile believer counterparts) that redemption is precisely what the Bible and Jewish tradition says it is: a purchase or buy back from slavery. Which is, Biblically, first and foremost an enslavement to sin and its consequences—eternal separation from God.

It is what Webster’s Dictionary defines as: “to free from captivity by payment of ransom.”

The Bible says: “The Redeemer will come to Jerusalem to buy back those in Israel who have turned from their sins, says the Lord” (Isaiah 59:20).

The major premise of this article is compressed in the verse just quoted: Isaiah is referring to the initial appearance of Messiah for individual salvation; but also his return to accomplish Israel’s national redemption.

Contrasting the Old Covenant of the Law to the New Covenant of Grace, we read:

“…For the gifts and sacrifices that the priests offer are not able to cleanse the consciences of the people who bring them. For that old system deals only with food and drink and various cleansing ceremonies—physical regulations that were in effect only until a better system could be established. So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect Tabernacle in heaven, which was not made by human hands and is not part of the created world. With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Hebrews 9:9-12, italics for emphasis).

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Many Jews see redemption almost entirely from a more secular meaning of the concept:

“To free from what distresses or harms; to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental; to change for the better; to get or win back.” (Webster’s Dictionary).

Thus, redemption to them means freedom from the constant distress and brutal harm from Palestinian terrorist attacks. They long for peace to overcome and replace the incessant detrimental threats of entire Muslim nations seeking Israel’s annihilation. They seek to exchange the relentless BDS actions against them for a better life of personal and national well-being and security. Some want to get back all of the land that has been given to them by God, himself, some 4000 years ago—the entire Promised Land of Israel, including but not limited to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

Messianic Fervor at a Fever Pitch

There is one common dream, one prevailing hope, one unified passion: Messiah will ultimately redeem Israel and Jews the world over. And the time is near … so very near.

As touched on often in Eye of Prophecy articles, such as Great Expectations for Messiah (posted 8-8-15) and Amazing Anticipation for Messiah (8-29-15), the level of expectancy for Messiah’s arrival has never been so intense since before the turn of the first century—when time itself was changed from B.C. to A.D.

From an article in Breaking Israel News posted by Rivkah Lambert Adler on 6-20-16, we read a quote from Orthodox Rabbi Pinchas Winston:

“Today, it is so much easier than, let’s say, 10 years ago, to want Moshiach (messiah) to come, because things are out of control… If you step back and look at all the events of history, everything is so ‘Armageddon-ish.’ It’s actually quite bad. The world is actually tremendously unstable.”

*Note: At least for me, it’s of no small interest that the Rabbi would even mention Armageddon. Why? Although reference to Megiddo Valley is found in the Old Testament (Zechariah 12:11, which will be quoted in just a moment), Armageddon (Har Megiddo … literally Mount Megiddo) is found only in the New Testament, which non-Messianic Jews do not consider on par with their Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) or consider much at all! I have been to Megiddo in Israel. It is a vast valley overlooked by a fairly steep and prominent hill.

“And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16, italics already in the text).

Listen to what Rabbi Winston says about the Messiah.

“And now we’re approaching the Final Redemption. Without question. Moshiach is around the corner… Without question he’s here already. I don’t know how old he is, where he’s sitting, what he’s doing, what he’s learning. But he’s here. He’s not going to be born tomorrow. We’re just too close to the end. Way too close to the end. He has to be here right now!”

Rabbi Winston is not alone in his enthusiastic expectations. Several other Rabbis have made equally strong statements that Messiah is already here … he just hasn’t shown himself yet. Such as Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky’s words to a grieving father whose son had just died. Said Rabbi Kanievsky:

“The redemption is closer than ever … Don’t be sad. The Messiah is already here. He will reveal himself very soon and your son will see his children again.”

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(Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, Lower Portion of Photo)

Just a few months ago, a group of rabbis led by Rabbi Yosef Berger—one of the rabbis with administrative charge over King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem—completed a Torah Scroll to present to Messiah upon his arrival. Before the project was completed, another prominent Rabbi, David Hai Abuhatzeira, told those working on the scroll:

“Write the Sefer Torah as fast as possible, you don’t have much time! … I hope you have a chance to finish!”

What Will Happen When Messiah Does Arrive?

Indeed, there will be great joy when Messiah appears, not just with the Jews but with all the surviving tribulation saints who are on the brink of Armageddon-ish destruction.

Sadly, before the rejoicing, there will be great sorrow and mourning throughout Israel and with Jews globally. I’ve sometimes quoted the following verses and will cite them again, because it is a passage that you seldom hear or see quoted by Jews, especially the Orthodox among them. It is one of several Messianic passages in the Old Testament that Judaism unfortunately ignores or tries to explain away. See Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son, Part I & II (published 10-31-15 & 11-7-15) for some of these key passages.

When reading the following passage, pay special attention to the personal pronouns. The context is clearly the very last days just before and during Messiah’s magnificent appearance. Actually, his return; which is, as indicated, the main emphasis of today’s article … reappearance versus appearance.

“Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David, and on the people of Jerusalem. They will look on me 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. The sorrow and mourning in Jerusalem on that day will be like the great mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the valley of Megiddo. All Israel will mourn…” (Zechariah 12:10-12).

Messiah is speaking, and he tells Israel that they will, “look on me whom they have pierced.” Then switches to the 2nd person and states, “…and mourn for him…”

The piercing was literally fulfilled when the Romans cruelly staked Jesus to a cross with spikes driven into his wrists and feet—a form of execution not yet invented (at least not like the Romans “perfected” it) when Zechariah made this prophecy.

Considering the anxious anticipation and eager expectation for Messiah and the wonderful things he will do to restore and redeem Israel, why on earth would Israel mourn when they first see him? If the Jews are right that this will be Messiah’s initial appearance, what then would produce such great sorrow, before their joy of being delivered from their enemies?

The text is explicitly clear: They will recognize that it was Jesus all along who was and is their Messiah. Their personal redemption had been purchased long ago, which is why they will mourn for him individually and separately (see the rest of Zechariah 12). Grief will flow from their (and their ancestor’s) rejection of Messiah and their decision to ignore the New Covenant that Isaiah and Jeremiah had promised would come.

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(Mourning and Grief Will Be Much Greater Than Portrayed in This Photo)

However, in light of the remarkable events taking place in the 20th and 21st century, the rabbis are right about the imminent appearance of Messiah. Please see, Look up, Redemption is Near, I & II, (posted 7-11 & 7-18-15) for a list of twelve of these Biblically predicted indicators.

The rabbis are also correct that Messiah is alive today!

But they are incorrect that he is now on the earth, or that he is a man born in the generation of the last days. They are mistaken that this will be Messiah’s first appearance. As clearly clarified in Isaiah Chapter 53, they are also regrettably wrong that Messiah cannot be both the suffering servant Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and also the Lion from the Tribe of Judah who will return it great glory and power to save the Jews, indeed the entire world from extinction.

Jesus is Messiah! Our Redeemer lives! But he’s in heaven waiting to return any day to the earth.

Remember King David’s amazing disclosure when he refers to The Lord (God the Father) speaking to David’s Lord (God the Son): “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’” (Psalm 110:1). See also Psalm 2 that speaks of “God’s royal son.”

David continues, “The Lord has taken an oath and will not break his vow; ‘You are a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek’” (Verse 4).

The, “you,” is the other Lord, David’s Lord, who is God’s Son spoken about in Psalm 2. When God says, “Sit in the place of honor at my right hand…” the syntax and contextual meaning is crystal clear: The sitting or resting at God’s right hand is a result of something stupendous that David’s Lord had already accomplished.

Hundreds of Old Testament and New Testament passages tell us exactly what Messiah (Jesus) would achieve. He would be both High Priest and King (after the order of Melchizedek). Even more: The Son of God, himself, would be the once for all sacrificial Lamb of God.

“For God’s will was for us to be made holy (called out and set apart) by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time … But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet” (Hebrews 10:10-13).

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Tragically, most Jews and also many (more) Gentiles either reject or ignore the indisputable historical evidence that Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled dozens of specific Old Testament prophecies about the coming Messiah. He was seen by at least five hundred people after his resurrection from the dead (I Corinthians 15). Several witnessed his physical return to heaven (Acts 1).

Many other Gentiles allow the historical record that Jesus was born in Bethlehem (his place of birth also prophesied … Micah 5:2) and even concede the fact that he arose from the dead; but they stop short of accepting the reason he was born and the reason he was crucified. They do not personally acknowledge him as God’s Messiah Savior, the Son of God who claimed to be the only way of salvation, the only way to God (John 14:6).

Thanks be to God: There are millions on this planet (including me) who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ Jesus. For one reason only: We simply believed in Jesus and received the amazing grace of God’s gift of the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus as our Savior to forgive our sins and pardon the penalty of those sins. Instead of eternal separation from God, we now have a God-given guarantee of everlasting life in heaven.

Jewish (and Gentile) Denial that Messiah Arrived at the Appointed Time in History

Most of the religious Jewish leaders of Jesus’s time refused to believe the evidence in front of them. Nor did they make any effort to match the timing of Jesus’s birth and years later his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday) followed shortly by his death and resurrection, with their Scriptures.

We’re going to take another look at one of those Scriptures. One that is the most definitive prophecy in the Bible with regard to the appointed time for Messiah to arrive on earth—precisely when the prophet said he would. A passage so conclusive in its prediction and subsequent fulfillment, that to deny or ignore it would have to be an uninformed but also deliberate effort to dispute the very truth of it. I am referring to the first advent of Messiah Jesus.

In today’s Part I article we have already and will continue to emphasize that Jesus is the Messiah and that he has already arrived (the first time). Hence, the emphasis will be geared more so toward Jewish refusal or at least reluctance to believe and receive their own Scriptures.

Next week’s article will concentrate on the extraordinary evidence as presented in the second part of this passage—the ruler who would arise (Antichrist) was none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. That he, too, will return (from the Abyss … Revelation 17:8); meaning that the Antichrist cannot be born in the generation of the Rapture and Tribulation to immediately follow, which I firmly believe is our generation. Like Christ, his counterfeit imposter will not be a modern-day born man.

Here, an important distinction needs to be made: The misapplication or misunderstanding of this passage (and a few other passages on the Antichrist, but especially the one that I’m about to quote) is unfortunate. However, this mistaken interpretation doesn’t have the serious impact or consequences that failure to recognize the fact that Messiah has already arrived has had on the majority of Jews (also Gentiles) and on Judaism itself. Although the Antichrist portion of this passage is not a matter of eternal life or death right now; it is still important to get right. Because if you’re left behind at the Rapture, you won’t be nearly as amazed as the rest of world when they see a Roman Emperor return from the grave.

On the other hand, it will be a matter of their eternal destiny if those left behind choose Nero over Messiah Jesus as savior.

Whether you’ve heard or read it directly from Scripture or from a prior Eye of Prophecy article or from my book, Out of the Abyss; or from other books or articles, or not at all, here is the stunning prophecy given to the prophet Daniel by the archangel Gabriel on direct orders from God:

“Now listen and understand! Seven sets of seven plus sixty-two sets of seven will pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes. Jerusalem will be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times. 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…” (Daniel 9:25-26).

First, a comment on the second sentence of this passage before we examine the fabulous feature of this prophecy that predicts the actual time (dates) when the Messiah would come.

That Jerusalem would be rebuilt with streets and strong defenses, despite the perilous times, took place progressively after the Jews returned from Babylonian conquest and captivity. The rebuilding included the Temple, then the walls of Jerusalem, and eventually the entire infrastructure of Jerusalem. By the time that Jesus was born, the Romans had taken control of Israel. Although the Jews were subjects in the Roman Empire, the Romans provided them with protection from other potential enemies. Some Jews were also Roman citizens, including the Apostle Paul. The fact is that Jerusalem was a well-fortified city when this prophecy came to pass.

The Actual Time Lapse of the Sixty-nine Sets of Seven (483 years)

Four Hundred, Eighty-Three years would, “pass from the time the command is given to rebuild Jerusalem until a ruler—the Anointed One—comes.”

At this point, I would like to provide some excerpts from my Eye of Prophecy article entitled, An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy, posted 1-18-14. That article immediately preceded and prepared the way for a trilogy of articles called Seven Times Seven (to the 4th Power), I, II, & III (published 1-25, 2-1, 2-8-14). Those articles contained a stunning disclosure from Leviticus Chapter 26; also concerning a specified prophetic time-lapse, but pertaining to Times of the Gentiles—the precise amount of time that Israel would be under Gentile domination which ended in 1967. That illumination was similar in principle to that of Sir Robert Anderson’s disclosed application of Daniel’s prophecy about the coming Messiah in his book, The Coming Prince.

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In italics from An Incredible Time-Lapse Prophecy:

At the outset it is vitally important to distinguish the command to rebuild Jerusalem (starting with the walls of the holy city) from another edict/command issued by a totally different ruler to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. It was the Persian King Cyrus who issued the decree in 538 BC for the Jews to return from their Babylonian captivity and rebuild their holy Temple. In fact restoration of the Temple began a few years later and was completed in 516 BC, 70 years after Israel was conquered and exiled to Babylon, i.e. the 70-year prophesied captivity. Some Bible scholars erroneously selected Cyrus’s edict as the beginning point of Daniel’s 483-year prophecy. They mistakenly assumed that the prophetic words of Daniel’s prophecy (rebuild Jerusalem) also applied to the Temple. But, prophetically and historically we can now clearly see that the rebuilt Temple and rebuilt walls of Jerusalem were two distinct events separated by nearly 100 hundred years.

Once again notice that Daniel’s prophecy is referring exclusively to the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The specifics of his prediction came to pass generations later, through another decree; this time given by another Persian King Artaxerxes Longimanus to Nehemiah in 445 BC. The Old Testament book of Nehemiah contains the records/history of the edict and renovation of the walls.

The Anointed One is none other than the Messiah; in fact, many Bible translations actually use the term Messiah in Daniel 9:25 (Messiah means Anointed or Chosen One). Yet, Messiah Jesus was on this earth for some 33 years, so what aspect (time-frame) of his life do we select as the year/time when he would come (to the earth)? His birth, passing into Jewish adulthood (age 13), beginning of his ministry, his crucifixion, his resurrection? Answer: none of the above. The moment in time to identify the passage of 483 years can be none other than Palm Sunday, a week before his crucifixion. Why? That is the precise time when Jesus allowed others to recognize and worship him as the Messiah, which is the specific fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy. Prior to his heralded ride into Jerusalem, he had discouraged even his disciples from publicly hailing him as Messiah. Why?

It wasn’t the right time yet. The time chosen by God long before was to synchronize and confirm his very identity as Messiah (Son of God) with his ultimate mission of purchasing our redemption through his death, burial, and resurrection. As indicated, Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday occurred in consecutive weeks. Nearly all Bible scholars agree that the accolades from thousands of people given to Christ as he rode into Jerusalem on a donkey (historically kings would ride into a city on a donkey if the king was coming in peace … a horse if the king was coming to conquer) demonstrated public acknowledgment that he was Messiah.

In 1894, a Scotland Yard Detective, Robert Anderson, who was also an ardent student of the Bible, especially prophecy, published his book called, The Coming Prince. Through extensive study and research, he corrected and clarified previous applications of Daniel’s prophecy from such notables as Sir Isaac Newton … one of the greatest scientist of all times, but also a Christian who studied Biblical prophecies extensively. We simply can’t do justice to Sir Robert Anderson’s book in one article; therefore, we will briefly examine the two most important discoveries by him (which are really disclosures and discernment given to him by the Lord).

  • Correct Application of Biblical Years: Simply stated, every Jewish month consists of 30 days (based on the moon’s phases); therefore, every year contains 360 days, not 365 days that we use on the Julian or Roman calendar. Biblical months/years are based on the Jewish calendar. The Roman calendar came along thousands of years after the Jewish calendar. Time doesn’t permit explanation as to why we use the Roman calendar, except to say that Sir Robert Anderson fully realized the necessity of converting Julian years to Jewish years if he or anyone could accurately correlate precise dates in Biblical and secular history …. Days, months, years.
  • Pinpoint Identification of Exact Dates, via Meticulous Investigation of Historical Records: Once again, time/space prohibits extensive review of what he found, so I will highly condense his amazing discovery: Sir Robert Anderson calculated (with partial assistance from the Royal Observatory, Greenwich) the Julian date of King Artaxerxes edict to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem to have been March 14th, 445 BC. Furthermore, the Julian date for Jesus’s magnificent ride into Jerusalem was April 6th, 32 AD. By employing the Hebrew calendar, Sir Robert Anderson tallied 173,880 days had elapsed which is exactly 483 Jewish years!! Absolutely astounding! I repeat for emphasis: Incredible!!

(End of excerpts)

Two Main Reasons Why Jesus Was Rejected as Messiah and therefore Crucified for claiming to be Messiah (before the Temple Was Destroyed)

Wrote the Apostle John about Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, Complete Jewish Bible).

Then, “He came to his own homeland, yet his own people did not receive him. But to as many as did receive him, to those who put their trust in his person and power, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12, Complete Jewish Bible).

First Reason: Although there was increasing awareness and fervor that Messiah’s time had come, both the Jewish religious leaders and nearly all of the common people expected (wanted) a Messiah who would arrive as a victorious king to deliver them from Roman oppression, to unify Israel, and restore the glory that began with King David and the successive dynasty of kings that ended when Babylon conquered Judah, the southern kingdom. They could not and would not recognize someone of less than noble birth—a carpenter from Nazareth, despite the power of the truth that he told and miracles that he performed.

They saw no purpose in the sacrificial death of anyone, particularly someone who claimed to be the Son of God … no matter that Jesus proved that claim by rising from the dead. After all, the Law of Moses was enough even though they didn’t and couldn’t keep it, and had been disciplined by the Lord through subjugation by Gentile nations for that very reason.

Second Reason: Some Jews like Simeon and Anna (Luke Chapter 2) and even some Gentiles—like the Magi who obviously had studied Daniel’s prophecy or they wouldn’t have traveled hundreds of miles to bear gifts to the Christ child—knew that it was time for Messiah to come. Whether the Jewish scribes and religious leaders had figured out Daniel’s prophecy and chose to ignore it, or whether they hadn’t even bothered to look more closely at the prophecy is anybody’s guess.

However, I’m convinced that at least some of them knew the prophecy, but simply dismissed out-of-hand the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah—mostly because the truth he spoke and the miracles he performed were jeopardizing their authority over the common people. I say this because of the previously quoted verse that they, “did not receive him.” In other words, this was a deliberate rejection of Jesus as Messiah and Savior despite the crystal clear evidence. As was their denial that Jesus was the prophet foretold by God through Moses who would mediate a New Covenant later announced by Jeremiah.

Moses writes: “Then the Lord said to me … ‘I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf” (Deuteronomy 18:18-19).

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(Jesus Reading from Isaiah Chapter 61, as Recorded in Luke Chapter 4. His First Announcement That He Came to Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies)

Said Jesus to the Jewish religious leaders: “I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life” (John 5:24).

Then later to those same leaders, Jesus proclaimed:

“In fact you sent investigators to listen to John the Baptist, and his testimony about me was true. Of course, I have no need of human witnesses, but I say these things so you might be saved … But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. And the Father who sent me has testified about me himself. You have never heard his voice or seen him face to face, and you do not have his message in your hearts, because you do not believe me—the one he sent to you. You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life” (John 5:33-40).

Jesus concluded with more astonishing words: “Yet it isn’t I who will accuse you before the Father. Moses will accuse you! Yes, Moses, in whom you put your hopes. If you really believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But since you don’t believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?” (Verses 45-47).

Not just Moses, or Isaiah, or Jeremiah, or Ezekiel, but also Daniel. The religious leaders rejected Jesus because they refused to objectively and comparatively match these and other prophets—particularly Micah (a ruler of Israel would come, born in Bethlehem whose origin is from the distant past) and Zechariah (riding on a donkey into Jerusalem) and Daniel—to Jesus’s birth, life … to all he said and did.

A cursory math calculation of Daniel’s prophecy would have matched the prophetic dates to their time; the very time that Jesus of Nazareth was restoring the sight of the blind, healing the crippled and the terminally ill, setting aside the laws of physics (walking on water), casting out demons like no one had ever done before, and raising people from the dead!

Even more specifically: The very time that he entered Jerusalem on a donkey (Zechariah’s prophecy, Chapter 9) which was also the time-lapse fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

He was the prophet spoken of by Moses. Which is why Jesus said that Moses would condemn them (for their unbelief). Many Messianic prophecies were being fulfilled before their very eyes. Yet, Daniel’s prophecy alone takes away all excuses and arguments against Jesus as Messiah.

Even Less Excuse after Jesus Was Killed and the Temple Destroyed

After this period of 483 years, “…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…” (Daniel 9:26)

herod temple destruction 03

(Depiction of Roman Legions Destroying the Second Temple)

Daniel’s prophecy is unambiguously clear: The Messiah would appear before the destruction of the Temple, which took place in 70 AD. And that’s exactly what occurred … Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection some 40 years before the Romans sacked Jerusalem, which irrefutably validates the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy.

Whereas, the religious leaders and people of Jesus’s time scorned him for the reasons given thus far—most prominent of which was ignoring the plain evidence for the time of Messiah’s appearance and marginalizing or outright rejecting his teachings and miracles—all those who deny that he is Messiah after the Temple was destroyed have no grounds whatsoever to refute the Messiahship of Jesus.

Why?

Because they have the 20/20 hindsight of history, right up to the present day. The Messiah would come at the end of 483 years, exactly when Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem … hailed by the people as the Son of David, the Messiah.

Then the Messiah would be killed BEFORE the Temple was destroyed by the armies of a ruler who would arise (shortly) AFTER Messiah arrived and was killed.

According to the time-line of Daniel’s prophecy, there is no way that the Messiah could (first advent) arrive on the scene of history AFTER the Temple was destroyed.

As Zola Levitt, a well-known Messianic Jew used to say: “And that’s all there is to that.”

Don’t miss next week’s article. Although there are other passages to show that the Roman Emperor Nero is Antichrist, we’ll concentrate on this same text in Daniel and its historical fulfilment to prove that the Antichrist has already been revealed and will also return (reappear) to the earth. Only to meet his final fate at the hands of the true Messiah, when Jesus returns!

Things to Ponder

The Lord calls Israel his special possession and the Jews his chosen people. He loves them with an everlasting love. So do I, and so should everyone who cares at all about the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.

Listen to the Jewish Apostle Paul, a devout Pharisee before the risen Christ changed his heart and his destiny.

Speaking specifically to Roman Gentile Christians, he writes: “I want you to understand this mystery … so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles come to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved…” (Romans 11:25-26).

ALL ISRAËL WILL BE SAVED

There are dozens of Old Testament prophecies and New Testament fulfillment of those predictions to conclusively confirm that Jesus is the Messiah. Yet, if I were a Jew truly seeking the truth about redemption and the Redeemer, the spectacular prophecy of Daniel 9 would be more than enough to convince me that Jesus was and is the promised One.

Jew or Gentile, what about you?

Hear the prophetic voice of Messiah:

“And now the Lord speaks—the one who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring Israel back to him. The Lord has honored me, and my God has given me strength. He says, ‘You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth’” (Isaiah 49:5-6).

Thousands upon thousands of Jews and millions upon millions of Gentiles down through the centuries have experienced the light of salvation directly from the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ. Which is: “…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

No other man in history has or will ever do what Messiah Jesus has done for me and for you!

He loves you. He gave his all for you. If you haven’t already, give Him your heart.

Call upon the Lord and you will be saved!

(Please take a couple more minutes to listen to this beautiful song written by Michael Card, sung by Amy Grant. With some stunning visuals from the movies, The Ten Commandments & The Passion of the Christ. El Shaddai means Almighty God. El Elyon, in the song, means Most High God)

BREXIT … What’s It All About?

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Brexit: In the Greater Context of Biblical Prophecy

We love our acronyms, don’t we? We only have so much time in a day to say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. In this fast frenzied world of ours, we are too busy to enunciate or write such things as: Very Important Person. When was the last time you saw VIP written in full? Or LOL? Or RAM (in case you forgot, a computer term for random access memory)?

Some acronyms can have dozens or hundreds of meanings; invariably one application rises to the top. For example: LOL can also mean, lots of love or little old lady!

Likewise with our abbreviations, such as CIA; or IEA (International Energy Agency); or IMF (International Monetary Fund); or FBI. Every state in America is abbreviated, as is the District of Columbia … Washington D.C. On the other hand, we’ve all been aggravated to no end when we hear or read an unfamiliar, unexplained abbreviation. There are literally thousands of these, particularly for world organizations and some of them are a bit bizarre. Like WOOMB … World Organization of the Ovulation of Method Billings. What?

Brexit is neither an acronym nor an abbreviation. It is none other than a portmanteau! We all know what a portmanteau is. Right? Well, some of you may know. I certainly didn’t until I looked it up. Portmanteau is: “a word blending the sounds and combining the meaning of two words” (Oxford Dictionaries). The original usage applied to a two-compartment case or carrying bag (suitcase). Now we use the word more often in a literary sense. Actually, we seldom use the term at all. But we like what happens when someone portmanteaues (verb form!) two things into one.

Which is another thing we love to do in our post-modern era: Combine things to lessen the clutter of everyday life or merge words to coin a whole new person, place, or thing. So we join motor with hotel and we get motel. If you miss breakfast and have other plans during lunch, no problem. Just do brunch. Would pomod (post-modern) work as a portmanteau?!

So what is Brexit? I’m guessing most of you have seen or heard this portmanteau by now. I briefly referred to it in a recent Eye of Prophecy article, The Final Treaty of Rome, Part I (posted 5-14-16).

Here is a brief quote from that article (in italics):

Although the initial design of the Common Market was to facilitate agricultural and trade agreements and cooperation between its European partners, the main objective was to ultimately establish a political union … which has been done. Which is, however, the reason that England refused to join the EEC (Common Market) until 1973. With the British objection based primarily on their apprehension that such a Union would force member states to relinquish national sovereignty to a centralized government with European (intra national) control. Which is also the main reason that England is now considering withdrawal from the European Union, a movement known as Brexit (Britain’s exit).

brexit

What could be the repercussions of Great Britain’s exit from the European Union should the referendum pass? European heads of state are more than a little concerned with such a departure. But not just EU leaders. United States President Obama made a recent trip to England, and dropped strong hints that the British should stay put in the EU.

Instead of dwelling in depth on the pros and cons of Brexit, in a moment I’ll defer to a brief summary in Wikipedia.

One reason for limiting any detailed discussion or debate about Brexit in this week’s Eye of Prophecy article can be summarized in the following premise: The immediate consequences of England’s referendum results are not nearly as significant as the big picture implications found in the context of Biblical end time’s prophecies.

It’s these Scriptural ramifications that we need to focus on.

Which is why I didn’t wait until after England’s vote next Thursday (June 23rd) to write this article. In the long run, it’s more than the effect on England or the rest of the world that the outcome of the referendum might have. What is taking place within and between nations of the European Union, which is showing signs of fragmentation, requires a more panoramic perspective. Not the least of which are the fragile, if not crumbling, economies of some European nations … especially Greece. These symptoms, among others, were dramatically declared and cogently condensed in the Bible long ago; unmistakable signs that we are living in the last days.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Brexit (or any European nation’s return to independent national sovereignty)

From Wikipedia, we read:

“Those who favor a British withdrawal from the European Union … argue that being a member undermines national Parliamentary sovereignty, while some in favor of membership argue that in a world with many levels of supranational organizations any theoretical loss of sovereignty is more than compensated by the benefits of membership of the EU. Those who want to leave the EU argue that it would: allow the UK to better control immigration, thus reducing pressure on public services, housing and jobs; save billions in EU membership fees; allow the UK to make its own trade deals; and free the UK from EU regulations and bureaucracy that they see as needless and costly. Those who want to remain argue that leaving the EU would: risk the UK’s prosperity; diminish its influence over world affairs; jeopardize national security by reducing access to common European criminal databases; and result in trade barriers between the UK and the EU. In particular, they argue that leaving the EU would lead to job losses, delays in investment coming to the UK and risks to large and small business.”

2016_EU_Referendum_Ballot_Paper

(Sample Copy of the Referendum Ballot)

Before we examine what the prophets Daniel and John said about the momentous global developments taking place mostly in the 20th and 21st centuries—prophecies that paint a much broader canvas (cooperation of nations that produced the European Union, but alliances that are and will continue to be a weak mixture of “iron and clay”)—let’s look at another less publicized reason for England’s possible withdrawal from the EU.

Through leaks by an EU official, it’s come to light that the European Commission—the powerful administrative arm of the EU—is beginning to implement plans to form a military force, which the European Union has never had before. Even though the Lisbon Treaty of 2009 called for, “permanent structured defense cooperation” (among EU nations), nothing serious has been done to create a standing army. Apparently, officials in Brussels (Headquarters of the EU) were attempting to keep these plans secret until after the June 23rd British referendum vote.

*Note: Reportedly, the actual aim is to start with border patrols and a navy, then build from there. Two EU nations are allegedly spearheading this military start-up … Germany and the Netherlands.

In reaction, former British Defense Secretary of State Liam Fox, who served under current Prime Minister David Cameron (Cameron obviously supports England’s membership in the EU), said that Britons, “…cannot be conned in this referendum as we were conned in 1975.” (The actual year in which the British voted official approval of EU membership).

One of England’s main concerns was voiced in Brietbart News Network: That a European Union Army would possess, “the ability to take control of national borders without the consent of the government of the nation in question.”

Ostensibly, one of the primary reasons for creating a European military is to better control the massive immigration scenario that is rapidly spinning out-of-control. But the longer-term consequences would be of far greater alarm to many Britons, as recently posted in The New American States: “Under the guise of dealing with the orchestrated ‘refugee crisis,’ the EU is also imposing a transnational armed force with power to intervene in member states, even against their will.”

A Biblical Perspective of Brexit and Alliances

In several Eye of Prophecy articles and with extensive detail in my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, I refer to Daniel’s prophecies of the four mighty Gentile kingdoms that would dominate the world in their time. Usually, my focus is on Daniel’s vision of four beasts in Chapter 7 instead of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as interpreted by Daniel in Chapter 2. The central content of Daniel 7 fits more precisely with Daniel 9 and Revelation 13 & 17 … the Antichrist, his murderous movement against Israel and Tribulation saints, and the ten kings who give him their authority—not part of Chapter 2.

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(Daniel Chapter 7, Left to Right: Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome)

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as recorded in Daniel 2 fits more snugly with today’s subject, as it contains material not found in Daniel 7 and other prophecies. Specifically a statue depicting the four kingdoms; a statue whose feet and toes represent many nations—not just ten kingdoms as we shall soon see.

Daniel Chapter 7 tracks more closely with John’s images of a beast in Revelation Chapters 13 and 17. With, however, the clear distinction that the four beasts of Daniel 7 are the same four Gentile kingdoms first seen by Nebuchadnezzar of Chapter 2.

Whereas, the composite beast (singular) of Revelation is indisputably a man … Antichrist (Nero). The imagery is the same (beast), but not the meaning, i.e. kingdoms in Daniel, king in Revelation.

One reason that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream doesn’t include the Bible’s initial introduction to the Antichrist as given directly to Daniel in his vision is because the God-given dream to Nebuchadnezzar was intended to reveal the four kingdoms in the context of God’s divine providential sovereignty over the rise and fall of nations. A plan that will ultimately result in the Kingdom of God on earth. Other than the triumphant victory and rule of Messiah in the Kingdom of God over the nations of the earth (contained in Daniel 2, 7, and throughout Revelation) there is minimal emphasis on the Tribulation period in Daniel Chapter 2.

Let’s see how this works, as Daniel explains Nebuchadnezzar’s dramatic dream to him.

*Note: Remember this astounding fact: Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t remember any details of his dream … only that it was disturbing and deeply troubled him (Daniel 2:1-3). Thus, Daniel not only interpreted the king’s dream, he first revealed the dream itself, which is impossible except through God.

Daniel Chapter Two

Daniel speaks to Nebuchadnezzar:

“In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver; its belly and thighs were bronze. Its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay” (Daniel 2:31-33).

We’ll pause here with a historical refresher: The head of gold was Babylon; the chest and arms, Mede-Persia; the belly and thighs, Greece; the legs of iron, Rome. But the feet (including the toes, which we’ll cover in a moment) were, “a combination of iron and baked clay.” The feet and toes represent nations in existence when the Tribulation begins.

Bible scholars who maintain that the seven heads of the Revelation 13 & 17 beast are seven kingdoms, with the seventh representing a Revived Roman Empire, point to this iron and clay mixture to support that theory. In Out of the Abyss and several Eye of Prophecy articles, much Biblical and historical documentation has been presented to show conclusively that the seven heads are seven kings (Roman Emperors), not kingdoms. That there will be a Revived Roman Emperor during the Great Tribulation, but not a (Revived) Roman Empire.

Granted, there will be a semblance of the Roman Empire. How? Why? To what extent?

Answer: A Roman Caesar’s mystical return from the grave will unite (some of) these nations of clay and iron, but not nearly well enough to duplicate the ancient Roman Empire. For two main reasons: (1) The Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation will last only a few years. (2) It will be rivaled in size and might by the kings of the east.

In fact, three of these ten nations will be forced to follow Nero and will most likely not even be European countries. (See, Eye of Prophecy article, One Ring to Rule Them All… published 11-21-15).

Daniel continues his explanation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s vision:

“As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth” (Daniel 2:34-35).

The main purpose of Scripture depicting the four world kingdoms (now past tense) and other kingdoms in existence during the last days in the form of a statue was to emphasize how God will bring down these man-made kingdoms; then establish the magnificent everlasting Kingdom of Heaven not made “by human hands.” In short, to dramatically denote the rise and fall of Gentile nations right down to the final ungodly nations on earth when Messiah returns to set up his Kingdom of righteousness, justice, and peace. There is no reference to the Antichrist in Daniel 2, nor his exploits against God’s people (Jews and Christians, including, of course, Christian Jews) found in Daniel 7, 9, 11, and Revelation 13 and 17.

statue

(Daniel 2, Statue Seen by Nebuchadnezzar–The Feet and Toes Will Also Include Some Non-European Nations)

Notice that only the legs of the statue were of (pure) iron … the Roman Empire, which would rise and fall completely. The feet (later we read also the toes) are a combination of iron and clay, but this mixture is NOT a separate kingdom; only four kingdoms are identified here, as well as in Daniel Chapter 7. Thus, the blend of iron and clay is an end-times spinoff of the fourth empire—ancient Rome reflected in and through a revived Roman Emperor (Nero) headquartered in Rome along with the Woman on the beast representing the Roman Catholic Church—in the form of other nations that yield their (individually weak authority) combined weight to the Antichrist.

More Confirmation of Only Four Kingdoms

Because there are obviously ten toes (five on each foot, even though the passage doesn’t actually specify ten or twelve nations if you include both feet), the correlation made by many Bible scholars is that they are the same ten nations as portrayed in Daniel Chapter 7 and Revelation 13 & 17. We’re going to discover strong evidence that the toes and feet can and do represent many more nations than just the ten that yield their governments to Antichrist.

The number of toes shouldn’t be equated to the ten horns (kings) of Daniel 7. Instead the feet and toes represent many nations attempting to align themselves together. We’ll get to that in a moment. This same rationale can be applied to the chest and arms of the statue (three body parts but only one nation, Persia; two if you include the Medes, but that’s still only two, not three. Besides, the Persians were dominant). Or to the belly and thigh; two parts, yet one nation … Greece. Same thing with the two legs, but only one empire … Rome.

Not until Chapter 7, do we find more details of these four kingdoms seen as beasts, e.g. the leopard (Greece) with four wings and four heads—division of Alexander the Great’s kingdom into four lesser kingdoms.

Daniel continues:

“That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. …You are the head of gold” (Daniel 2:36, 38).

Note: Daniel uses the plural, we will tell the king. To whom, besides Daniel himself, is he referring? Easy question: None other than the Lord God, the only one who could not only explain the king’s dream, but bring to memory what the king had totally forgotten!

Daniel then discloses the rise and fall of the second and third kingdom (Verse 39).

He continues: “Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength if iron. But while parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay to not mix” (Daniel 2:40-43).

Here are some key things Daniel is saying and not saying:

But first: Speaking of Greece (Chapter 7), the subsequent “dividing” of the fallen Roman Empire into many nations is no different than Alexander the Great’s Empire being split into four smaller, less significant kingdoms. The fact is: Neither Alexander’s Grecian Empire nor the Roman Empire was ever the same again—nor ever will be.

The fourth kingdom is still the last kingdom. There is no specific reference to or statement of a fifth kingdom. When Daniel says, “…showing that this kingdom will be divided,” this kingdom is directly connected to its antecedent, “that kingdom” which “will smash and crush all previous empires…” The very fact that Daniel says it will be divided, clearly means that he is still referring to the same kingdom … The Roman Empire.

Remember, the fourth kingdom (Roman Empire) is represented by the legs of iron, with the feet and toes as (divided) extensions of the leg, comprised partially of the iron contained in the legs, but also clay mixed in … feet and toes. The feet and toes are NOT a separate kingdom; rather they are a hybrid of many peoples (through intermarriage) from areas once controlled by the Roman Empire forming many nations that now incorporate primarily the European Union, but not just Europe. Also, other countries including a country that you probably wouldn’t guess.

I’m referring to the United States of America, which is the earth’s greatest melting pot largely of Europeans. Please, don’t compare or think that the United States is a “reincarnation” of the ancient Roman Empire. It is not. Nor is the European Union. Rather, the United States is the most prominent example and intermarriage result of descendants from peoples and nations controlled or greatly influenced by the ancient Roman Empire long ago.

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That doesn’t mean that the Roman Empire will be revived or reborn or reinstated or replicated in today’s world. That is NOT what Daniel Chapter 2 is saying or even implying. Nor is Daniel Chapter 9:26-27 as explained in other Eye of Prophecy articles and, with great detail, in Out of the Abyss.

In fact, as developed in One Ring to Rule Them All…, of the ten nations or confederations that will join Antichrist Nero (three by compulsion), only six will likely be from Europe.

The passage states: “This mixture of iron and clay shows that these kingdoms…”

To what or how many kingdoms is Daniel referring? Is he equating or limiting the kingdoms to only ten (the ones that Antichrist will reign over during the Tribulation)? If so, then there should be twelve kingdoms, as he includes both feet with the ten toes.

The formation of the multifaceted feet and toes of the statue began not long after the Roman Empire collapsed. Slowly but surely, nations developed into what we currently see today. Not the least of which are 28 countries belonging to the European Union. Not ten, or twelve. Plus the most obvious assortment of peoples mostly from Europe that constitute the United States of America.

Daniel goes on:

“During the reign 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. That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue or iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain” (Daniel 2:44-45).

Daniel’s summary explanation encompasses the essence and purpose of this prophecy. To divinely demonstrate God’s ultimate sovereign control over people and nations and fulfillment of his plan for the human race. In that regard, this revelation is different (excepting the four kingdoms being the same four of Daniel 7) in form and substance from Daniel 7 and Revelation 13 & 17; which deal primarily with the Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation that will compete against the kings of the east for world domination, but will not succeed.

Thus, the only world government will be the awesome Kingdom of Heaven on earth, governed by Messiah Jesus as the King of all kings.

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(An Accurate Comparison/Correlation Between Nebuchadnezzar’s and Daniel’s Visions)

“Those Kings” and “These Kingdoms” that God Will Crush Into Nothingness

Are they (just) the ten kings or kingdoms that give their allegiance and authority to Antichrist?

No, they are ALL of the peoples and nations that have come into existence through intermarriage, ethnic grouping, political alliances, and merging societies since the fall of the Roman Empire (legs of iron). They are countries that are part of the panoramic providential unfolding of the statue from top (Babylon) to bottom (some present day nations).

Chiefly, they are peoples and nations in Europe, but also northern Africa and the Middle East, some of which were controlled by the Roman Empire. Many of these countries have formed alliances at one time or another, especially in the last two centuries—including the United States of America, Arab nations, and most pertinent to today’s article, twenty-eight nations of Europe.

All totaled, there are at least forty modern-day countries that could be considered “divided” from and since mighty Rome fell. Not just ten or twelve (toes and feet). It will be, however, ten of these countries that will join Nero’s conquest to restore the glory of Rome. He will not succeed; hence, no Revived Roman Empire.

So, why must the ten kingdoms joining Antichrist all be from Europe or part of the European Union? Obvious answer: They don’t and won’t. After the Rapture, however, the ten nations who yield their authority to Nero, will be weakened by economic and political chaos the world over. Before Nero returns and after Christ returns, they will “not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.”

That is, with exception of a 3 ½ year period of time (part of the Great Tribulation) when God will temporarily allow a Satan inspired Nero, “…to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months … And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them…” (Revelation 13:5-7)

Whether England leaves the EU or not, many European nations are weak; staggered by poor economies, unable to pay mountains of debt (nations of clay). Along with England, there are a few strong European nations such as Germany and France and to a lesser extent, Italy. They are the nations of “iron.” As is, for now, the United States of America.

“The mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other…” (Daniel 2:43).

Summary

Modern-day international alliances began to take shape when no less than seven different coalitions were formed to counter the threat of Napoleon. At various intervals, these leagues included Britain, Austria, Prussia, Holland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and Portugal. But there were also groupings of some nations that supported Bonaparte.

A Serb’s assassination of Austria’s Archduke Francis Ferdinand ignited World War I. Austria retaliated by attacking Serbia in July, 1914. Because of defense pacts previously signed by various nations, war erupted throughout Europe … the First World War. The Allied Powers consisted mainly of England, France, and Russia with the United States joining them in 1917.

Their enemy: the Central Powers—primarily Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria, and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey). Originally Italy was part of the Central Powers but switched sides and joined the Allied Powers. Russia dropped out of the war early on, with Japan joining the Allies, but with minimal contribution to the war. There were other smaller (clay) nations who fought on one side or the other.

Then came a man who swore to lift his country from the ashes of defeat in World War I. But that was only the beginning. He wanted more. He sought revenge against the nations that (he believed) had humiliated his people. More than that: He was hell-bent to rule all of Europe … indeed, the entire world. Worst of all: He would instigate the Final Solution of the Jews.

Yet, Adolph Hitler and his Third Reich did not adopt nor activate this appalling agenda through alliances. Hitler was convinced that only one man could achieve his ambition of restoring Germany to greatness, of unifying Europe through conquest, of conquering the world.

Who else but he would be that man. Blinded by megalomania, he (vainly) would do what Napoleon failed to do. Though Italy and Japan joined this Axis of Evil, Germany alone launched an invasion of Poland, then France. Germany’s active association with Italy and Japan was, for the most part, after the fact. Had the Allies not prevailed, I’m convinced that Hitler would have eventually turned on Italy and Japan; had they not willingly accepted the Third Reich’s Aryan right to rule the world. He would not have shared his gruesome glory with them.

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(One of Many Parade Assemblies of the Third Reich)

Barely twelve years after World War II ended, the Treaty of Rome led to the ten-nation Common Market that developed into what is now the twenty-eight member European Union, of which Germany is one of the stronger affiliates. The objective to facilitate unhindered movement of people, goods, and services between the nations of Europe was only a start-up reason for such a union. The underlying motive was political cooperation and unity to prevent one or more European countries (like Germany) from attempting ever again to dominate Europe.

But as Scripture tells us: “They will not hold together.”

Even if the British vote to remain in the EU, there is growing discontent and alarm among and between the EU nations. Many citizens from several of these countries are becoming wary of the increasing power of the European Commission, the administrative branch of the EU.

There is also talk of the European Commission creating a CIA-like agency.

What’s next? Will the cycle continue? Dictator … Alliances … Dictator … Alliances …

According to Scripture, it will.

Like Hitler, but more suddenly and much more surprisingly, another man will leap onto the stage of world history. He will not need to pursue cooperation from the European Union or any other established coalition to achieve his malevolent warped objectives. People the world over will give him their allegiance for one reason only—his “supernatural” return from the dead (Revelation 13:3-4 & Revelation 17:7-8).

He will orchestrate a (seven-year) treaty; but he won’t need to form an alliance. Ten leaders of ten kingdoms will do that for him, three of them unwillingly at first (Daniel 7:8).

“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. Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him” (Revelation 17:12-14, italics for emphasis).

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The italicized sentence in the above passage clearly tells us that these ten kings/kingdoms will agree (among themselves) to give Antichrist Nero all the power and authority they possess. They will expedite political and military consolidation and expansion of power already afforded to Nero because of his “divine” status as having risen from the grave.

This ten nation confederation will be confronted by the kings of the east (Oriental and other Far East nations). Then they will foolishly combine their forces to take on the King of kings, Messiah Jesus.

“And the demonic spirits gathered all the rulers and their armies to a place with the Hebrew name Armageddon” (Revelation 16:16, italics already in the text).

Things to Ponder

Armageddon will be the beginning of the end of World War III. A war so horrible in addition to the awesome judgments of God, that Jesus himself said, “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones” (Matthew 24:22).

Who will shorten the Apocalypse of Armageddon? Who will spare mankind from extinction?

“…And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

“Then I saw the beast and the kings of the world and their armies gathered together to fight against the one sitting on the horse and his army. And the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who did mighty miracles on behalf of the beast—miracles that deceived all who had accepted the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue. Both the beast and his false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning Sulphur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse. And the vultures all gorged themselves on the dead bodies” (Revelation 19:19-21).

Evil must be and will be dealt with harshly and conclusively.

When that happens, “…God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people … He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. And the one sitting on the throne said, ‘Look, I am making everything new!’” (Revelation 21:3-5).

A Most Unlikely Ally of Israel!

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Who Could Imagine Such an Alliance

What would you think if someone told you that one of the nations listed below would one day (soon) become a faithful friend of Israel? Based on historical and/or contemporary animosity and out-right hatred these nations have constantly demonstrated toward Israel, I would argue strongly against any such alliance ever taking place. In fact, I would zoom right past improbable, to impossible.

They are: Russia, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Ethiopia, and Iraq.

There are other nations that could be candidates for such an implausible one hundred eighty degree turnaround from a bitter foe of Israel to its best friend. But to give you better odds of identifying the right one, the list will be limited to these eight nations. They are among the most conspicuous with regard to their almost uninterrupted Antisemitism. None more so than modern-day Iran whose leaders have boasted frequently that they will, “wipe Israel from the face of the earth.”

Later in today’s article, we’ll examine one of the most overlooked, but nevertheless remarkable passages in Scripture. Defying all odds, a passage predicting that one of these nations will eliminate all hostility against Israel and establish a loyal brotherhood with the Jews, no one would think possible. Often a bitter enemy of Israel, this nation will flourish under God’s forgiveness and favor. The Lord will make himself known to them like never before. He will rescue this nation, heal it, and its people will turn to him. They will worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

If you think this sounds a lot like what God has done and will do for what the Bible calls his “special possession” Israel, you would be right! Which makes God’s kindness to this Gentile nation all the more incredible, particularly in light of Scripture’s clear premise that God deals harshly with peoples and nations that have cursed the Jews and sought their destruction.

Can you guess which nation it is? If you’ve studied Scripture on anything approaching a regular basis, then you might already know. However, it’s unlikely that even some ardent students of the Bible are all that familiar with his passage; or they have minimized its importance in the last days in which we live … a time when Bible prophecies are coming together with stunning regularity.

Will it be Russia?

For sure that would be a surprising choice on God’s part to suddenly bless (show his favor) this agnostic giant to Israel’s north, what with the virulent anti-Semitism still prevalent in Russia. Persecution, nonetheless, that has been a catalyst to the Aliyah (ingathering immigration to the Promised Land) of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Russia to Israel in just the past few decades. An exodus that Scripture predicted would be greater even than the first exodus from Egypt.

“In that day, says the Lord, when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’ Instead, they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the people of Israel back to their own land from the land of the north and from all countries to which he had exiled them.’ Then they will live in their own land” (Jeremiah 23:7-8).

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Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, The Second Exodus, posted 5-10-14.

No, it will not be Russia. Why not?

During the seven-year Tribulation, Russia will be utterly decimated by God. There are some nations throughout history and in today’s world that have crossed or will cross the divine line of God’s tolerance. They have charted a course that is diametrically opposed to Israel and to God himself. They have passed the point of no return. They have sealed their own fate.

Russia’s destruction is clearly predicted by one of the most famous passages in the Bible, the Gog/Magog assault on Israel.

Several Eye of Prophecy articles have been dedicated entirely or partially to this spectacular end times prophecy as found in Chapters 38 and 39 of Ezekiel. Such as: Beginning of the End (posted 3-5-16); The Russians Are Coming! (11-14-15); Gog, Magog & Leviathan (1-3-15); Russia & Iran versus Israel (10-4-14); and Beware of the Bear (3-22-14).

Some 2,500 years ago when Ezekiel received many prophecies, including the Gog/Magog attack on Israel, the Lord said to Gog, the ruler of Magog (Russia and her allies), “…Gog, I am your enemy! I will turn you around and put hooks in your jaws to lead you out with your whole army…” (Ezekiel 38:3-4).

In the next chapter, God repeats for emphasis that Gog is his enemy. Because this epic clash between God and the Gog/Magog alliance would take place in the distant future (which is today’s very near future), it’s clear that Russia will remain God’s enemy until she is vanquished.

“Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Give him this message from the Sovereign Lord: I am your enemy, O Gog, ruler of the nations of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around and drive you toward the mountains of Israel, bringing you from the distant north. I will knock the bow from your left hand and the arrows from your right hand, and I will leave you helpless. You and your army and your allies will all die on the mountains … You will fall in the open fields, for I have spoken, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 39:1-5).

Although the Gog/Magog assault against Israel will entail a vast military alliance rolling down on Israel like a perfect storm, it’s evident now that Russia is preparing for this massive invasion through its recent unopposed military infiltration of Syria, right next door to Israel.

The destruction of the Gog/Magog forces will be so great that, “It will take seven months for the people of Israel to bury the bodies and cleanse the land” (Ezekiel 39:12).

Could Iran Be the Nation That God Unexpectedly Blesses?

No, not Iran; nor will it be Turkey, Libya or Ethiopia. For all four of these nations are part of the Russian-led coalition against Israel. They, too, will be crushed by God’s direct intervention to rescue Israel from this early Tribulation onslaught. With the second campaign against Israel led by Antichrist and his ten-nation confederation late in the Tribulation.

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Iran’s seething hatred of Israel as disgustingly displayed by the repulsive rhetoric streaming from the mouths of Iranian generals, presidents, and ayatollahs, will physically manifest itself in its participation in the Gog/Magog campaign. But Persia didn’t actually come into existence as Iran until the 20th century; nor did its leaders and people exhibit such malice toward Israel until Iran became a Muslim dominated nation in the 1970s.

History tells us that Persians have not always despised Israel, not on a national level. That is a relatively recent phenomenon. Have you read the book of Esther recently, or at all?! Most Jews read it or portions of it every year during the Feast of Purim, celebrating the supernatural chain of events that delivered the Jewish race from extinction.

Recall that when Haman—“the most powerful official in the empire” (Esther 3:1)—second in command to King Xerxes, plotted to kill all the Jews; neither the King himself nor most of the Persian people harbored any ill-will against the Jews. There were two reasons why King Xerxes gave permission for Haman to carry out this pernicious plan to exterminate the Jews. (1) Because Xerxes had recently promoted him to this high-ranking position; Xerxes granted Haman’s request in order to personally affirm Haman’s second-in-command authority. (2) Haman’s revolting rationale (fabrication, but the King didn’t know that or bother to find out at the time) which included the lie about the Jews; “…they refuse to obey the laws of the king. So it is not in the king’s interest to let them live” (Esther 3:8).

It’s readily apparent at the time of the edict, Xerxes didn’t even know that the people to whom Haman’s genocidal plan was directed were the Jews. Haman never identified this group of captive subjects as the Jews. He only referred to them as, “a certain race of people.” Then used the plural personal pronouns, “they” and “them.” The book of Esther strongly suggests that Xerxes didn’t know Haman was referring to the Jews until Esther (at the risk of her life even though she was the Queen) exposed Haman and his diabolical plot to Xerxes … right in front of Haman.

Time/space does not permit in this article, but I would encourage you to read the absolutely amazing sequence of events that fell into place one after the other, as recorded in the book of Esther. A chain of events that could only be attributed to God’s providential plan and execution of that plan. Speaking of execution, you may recall that Haman was executed exactly as he had planned for Mordecai, a totally innocent Jew … as were all the Jews in Persia.

Now that’s justice!

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Thus, it’s an altogether ironic shame that modern-day Iranians, who and whose leaders are so very proud of their Persian heritage, harbor such evil toward Jews in general and Israel in particular. As indicated, this malevolence will lead them to direct conflict with the true and living Almighty God who warns them, “When Gog invades the land of Israel, my fury will boil over!” (Ezekiel 38:18).

The List Is Getting Shorter!

Other Scriptural and historical evidence could be presented to also show why Syria and Iraq (formerly Babylon), as well as other nations absent from today’s list, will not be the nation for which God will make an exception to divine justice when he judges the nations who would dare destroy his special possession Israel and his chosen people, the Jews.

Just one example: Both Iraq and Syria already have been decimated by civil war; with powerful countries such as the United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia fighting on one side or another of the Muslim sects. With everyone seeking to eliminate the worst of the lot, ISIS.

For all practical purposes Iraq and Syria have reached the point of no return, in terms of God showing his favor to them as a nation. There are geopolitical experts who say that neither Iraq nor Syria will ever be the same again. That one or both of these nations will be divided into smaller nations or territories; for example, between Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims or the Kurds.

If you have a pretty good memory, then by the process of elimination you know by now which nation will inexplicably, but eagerly, turn from their incessant bashing of Israel and become Israel’s closest ally.

Egypt It Is!

For approximately 3,400 years, Egypt has been an active or at least a passive adversary of Israel. It was the first and has been, by far, the longest lasting rival of the Jews than any other nation on earth.

To be sure there were periods of time when Israel felt relatively safe alongside Egypt. For example, when a couple of Israel’s kings sought military assistance from Egypt against Assyria. Or when Jeremiah had the opportunity to go to Egypt with other Jewish exiles from the Babylonia conquest of Israel. He chose not to. Or, when Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt to escape King Herod’s murderous rampage to kill the new-born Messiah by slaughtering Jewish boys in Bethlehem two years or younger in age.

Most of us know where it all began. The amazing Biblical account of the Exodus is known even by non-Jews and non-Christians the world over. Books have been published, articles printed, movies made, and sermons preached about God’s miracles that led to the deliverance of the Jews from Egyptian bondage. Because of Pharaoh’s arrogance and stubbornness, God inflicted disastrous damage and death on the Egyptians, their crops, and their livestock.

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How soon we forget. Just like the Egyptians and their Pharaoh forgot that it was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who spared Egypt (and surrounding nations) from a catastrophic famine … through Jacob’s son, Joseph. Over a thousand years before the Persian King Xerxes promoted Mordecai to the second highest position in Persia, Egypt’s Pharaoh elevated Joseph to the most powerful position in Egypt, next only to Pharaoh, himself.

Eventually and inevitably, the Egyptians and their Pharaoh forgot all about Joseph. From that point on Egypt has despised the Jews and Israel. However, the more Egypt persecuted the Jews, the greater was God’s punishment of Egypt down through the centuries. God used the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, and other empires such as the Ottoman Turks to punish Egypt.

For example: “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel says, ‘I will punish Amon, the god of Thebes, and all the other gods of Egypt. I will punish its rulers and Pharaoh, too, and all who trust in him. I will hand them over to those who want them killed—to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and his army. But afterward the land will recover from the ravages of war. I, the Lord, have spoken!’” (Jeremiah 46:25-26).

That’s precisely what happened, including a resurgence of Egyptian prosperity and prominence among the nations, which was evident at the time the Roman Empire began to rise in power; and is again visible in our modern times. Remember Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, then Mark Antony.

Scripture is replete with references to Egypt, mostly in the context of God’s judgments on this life-long mortal enemy of Israel.

Modern-Day Egyptian/Israeli Conflict

For the most part Egyptian overt hostility toward the Jews subsided, but only because Egypt declined as a world power after the time of Christ. But there’s never been a shortage of people or nations to continue and practice the ugly pastime of Antisemitism. In the 7th century, Mohammed and Islam picked up where other ethnic groups and nations had left off.

Fast forwarding to the 20th century: Egypt began to rise again—economically, politically, and militarily. Though certainly not anything approaching a world superpower, Egypt is the most prominent of all of the Arabic countries surrounding Israel. Among Muslim nations today, only Iran rivals Egypt in clout; yet Iran isn’t even Arabic … it’s still Persian.

When the United Nations passed a resolution in November, 1947 granting statehood rights to the Jews and Arabs in Palestine, the Jews accepted this gracious proclamation and declared Israel as their sovereign state on May 14, 1948. As a reminder, the Arabs refused to form their own state; they couldn’t tolerate the idea of existing side-by-side with a Jewish State.

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Instead, Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, led by their most powerful Middle-East ally Egypt, ruthlessly attacked Israel the very next day. With one and only one objective: annihilate the reborn State of Israel. Literally against all odds, the Jews won a resounding victory over vastly superior numbers and armament.

Again, Egypt launched an offensive against Israel in the 1956 Suez War. Despite possessing military superiority, Egypt was soundly defeated.

Yet again in 1967, Israel routed an Egyptian led coalition in what the whole world knows as the Six-Day War. Although Israel struck first, everyone knew that the Egyptians and Syrians were planning an imminent attack on Israel, who beat them to the punch. No matter who hit who first, there has been no other war in history to rival Israel’s amazing victory over Egypt and its Arabic allies.

The Egyptians still had not had enough. Once again they tried to overwhelm Israel with yet another unprovoked and malicious assault during the holiest Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur. Although the Israelis were on the defensive for a few days, once again they prevailed.

By this time, it was becoming clear to anyone who knew anything at all about the God of the Bible and the history of the Jews, that the Lord himself had divinely orchestrated Israel’s victory over what military and political experts considered insurmountable odds. Even those who are essentially agnostic, include many Jews themselves, have no other logical explanation for many of the miraculous events that occurred during these wars, leading to Israel’s ultimate triumphs over Egypt, Syria, and other Arab countries.

After the 1973 Yom Kippur devastating defeat at the hands of the Israelis, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat finally understood the writing on the wall. Something was different. Unlike Israel’s past in which she had been thoroughly defeated as a nation by Assyria, Babylon, Rome, and then almost wiped out as a people by Hitler’s Third Reich, the Jews had become a formidable foe. Israel couldn’t lose a war, and they wouldn’t lose the sovereign state of Israel granted to them by the United Nations, in the land promised and deeded to them by God, himself.

So, what did Egypt do? In one of the most historically abrupt and amazing turn around imaginable, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat agreed to a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. This historical agreement shocked leaders of nations the world over; even US President Jimmy Carter, who had arranged the conference between Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

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(Sadat, Carter, and Begin Signing the Peace Treaty)

Two years later, Anwar Sadat would pay for this treaty with his life. He was gunned down by his own people—militant Muslims who branded Sadat a traitor to Egypt and Islam. Yes, as we all know by now: Islamic terrorists maim and kill other Muslims as well as non-Muslims, especially Jews and Christians.

As unlikely as it was for Egypt—of all nations—to reach a peace agreement with Israel, it was and remains a tenuous truce borne out of more selfish Egyptian desires. Why? Because one of the main conditions of this pact was that Israel return the Sinai Peninsula back to Egypt, that Israel had won in the Six-Day War. The fact of the matter: Most Egyptians, such as those belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, still hold a ton of hatred for Jews and a mountain of antagonism toward Israel. On the other hand, as a nation, Egypt has acknowledged the right for Israel to exist.

Other than Jordan, Egypt is the only Muslim nation that has, at least in principle, adopted an attitude of tolerance toward and acceptance of Israel as belonging to the earth’s family of nations. Which is why Jordan (part of ancient Moab, Edom, and Ammon) will also be spared annihilation during Antichrist Nero’s final onslaught against Israel and surrounding countries near the end of the Great Tribulation (see Daniel 11:40-43).

Although Egypt will not completely escape the carnage of Armageddon, it will not be utterly destroyed. I believe the reason for this and the reason for the God- arranged last day’s reconciliation between Israel and Egypt is because the Egyptians have finally acknowledged the right of Israel’s existence in the Promised Land. That, and God’s sovereign privilege to, show mercy and compassion to anyone he chooses (Exodus 33:10). All other nations who continue with their devilish plot to destroy Israel will suffer the Biblically prophesied wrath of Almighty God.

God’s Extraordinary Promise to Reconcile Egypt and Israel

Egypt’s reaching out to Israel and to the true and living God (which means abandoning Islam) will not come easy. As indicated, today’s respite between Egypt and Israel is a weak one, at best. One that is based on expediency. Thus, Egypt will undergo one final woodshed discipline from the Lord to get their attention that he alone is God, Jesus is Messiah, and Israel is God’s special possession.

In segments, let’s examine the Biblical passage in Isaiah Chapter 19 predicting Egypt’s startling turnabout:

“In that day, the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them” (Isaiah 19:16-17).

Commentary: Whenever Scripture says, “In that day,” it almost always refers to the end times or last days … also expressed as, The Day of the Lord. Whereas the first fifteen verses of Isaiah Chapter 19 pertain to a prophecy that would be fulfilled only dozens of years later—when Assyria conquered Egypt along with Israel and other nations—Isaiah abruptly shifts, which he often does, from the near future to the distant future. We’ll get to that transition in a moment.

But first: Ladies, don’t take offense! Or, if you do, take it up with God! Throughout the Bible, woman are afforded great respect, especially by Jesus, himself. There are numerous passages that relay the contributions and support by women for Israel and the Church. Not that God or what he says has to be defended, but when the Lord says the Egyptians will be “as weak as women,” he is making a simple statement of physical fact. Women have many attributes and skills that we men don’t have … God bless them! But generally speaking, physical prowess (especially in close-up battle) is not one of them. After all, God created innate differences between male and female. (I know, try to tell that to a transgender … sorry, couldn’t hold back on that one).

Initially, Egypt will shrivel in fear as they watch God destroy the Gog/Magog coalition, at the mighty judgments of God on the earth during the tribulation, at the ferocious fighting ability of the Jews in valiantly defending Israel against the overwhelming might of Nero’s confederation. Not only will the Egyptians be in awe of Israel and the God of Israel, but they will also shrink in fear at what Nero will do to them during his Middle-East campaign.

The prophet Daniel speaking of the Antichrist, says, “He will conquer many countries, and even Egypt will not escape. He will gain control over the gold, silver, and treasures of Egypt, and the Libyans and Ethiopians will be his servants” (Daniel 11:42-43).

Returning to Isaiah and his sudden acceleration to the last days:

“In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun” (Isaiah 19:18).

Commentary: From the Hebrew language in which the Old Testament was written, most Bible versions translate, “one will be called the City of Destruction.” In the New Living Translation which I use for all Bible quotes (unless otherwise noted in the article), it reads, “Heliopolis, The City of the Sun.” Which is an accurate rendition, because the Hebrew word, “ir haheres” parodies the Egyptian city of “Harcheres,” the “City of the Sun,”—Heliopolis. It was there that the Egyptian sun-god Ra was centrally worshipped.

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(Depiction of Sun-god Ra in Ancient Heliopolis)

Egypt’s enthusiastic embrace of the Lord and remarkable recognition of Israel in the last days (soon to come) is so strong that five Egyptian cities will learn and speak Hebrew! If any Egyptian alive today spoke only Hebrew while living in Egypt, they wouldn’t be around tomorrow.

Continuing in Isaiah: “In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshipped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them” (Verses 19-20).

Commentary: The NLT translation of “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies,” is pretty much unique to the NLT. Although they say pretty much the same thing, I prefer the more common translation in other versions which is: “The Lord of Hosts.” Adonai Tzva’ot in Hebrew, which means the Lord of the host of heaven. In other words, all the angelic beings and believers who are and will be in heaven with the Lord God.

Notice that these verses refer to, the land of Egypt. Which clearly indicates that the previously referenced five cities of Egypt represent the entire nation. It could be that citizens of only those five cities will actually decide to speak Hebrew. However, even if the rest of Egypt doesn’t learn the Hebrew language, they will still go to the extreme of building an altar and a monument as a sign that they have given their complete loyalty to God and God alone.

The text is crystal clear: The reason they do so is because the Lord hears and answers their plea for help (deliverance from Antichrist and his massive military force) by sending them a savior. Of course, the Savior is none other than Messiah Jesus. I think one of the most fantastic features of this prophecy is the fact that Muslim Egyptians actually turn to the true God and the true Messiah. Not to Allah and not to Antichrist.

Continuing with Isaiah’s prophecy: “The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it” (Verse 21).

Commentary: The fact that the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians is astounding. The Lord is telling Egypt that he will be their God and Savior no more or less than he is Israel’s God and Savior. This is not only for personal salvation, which will still be available to those left behind in the Tribulation, but actual physical redemption of Egypt in like manner that the Lord delivers Israel from the same threat facing the Jews. Although the text doesn’t specify Egypt’s vow to the Lord, I’m going to (spiritually!) speculate that it is a promise to cease all hostile thoughts and actions against Israel. From then on to consider the Jews as (Semitic) brothers and sisters and to treat them with the utmost respect.

At this point, Isaiah interjects a brief summary of his prophecy by saying, “The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them” (Verse 22).

Commentary: This is a reminder that the Lord must first discipline Egypt, for the express intent of getting their attention. Although the terrible threats against Israel during this last part of the Tribulation is not at all discipline from the Lord (that all ended in 1967), the outcome is the same: both Israel and Egypt call upon God and Messiah to save them from obliteration.

This “striking” of Egypt could also take place again, well into the Millennium, if Egypt disobeys the Lord (they probably will … see Zechariah 14:16-19). But if it does, it will also result in Egypt’s repentance and renewed loyalty to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

This passage closes with another remarkable disclosure: There will be a second group of Gentiles who will also become unlikely friends with Israel, alongside Egypt. Read with me:

“In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. And Israel will be their ally. The three will be together, and Israel will be a blessing to them. For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, ‘Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!’” (Isaiah 19:23-25).

Commentary: How stunning is that?!

Obviously with God’s omniscience (knowing the end from the beginning), he would know that the ancient empire of Assyria would not actually be a nation when all this takes place. Which is one reason that the passage says, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made” (Italics for emphasis).

Rather than referring to “the people of Assyria,” as relating to God’s favor poured out on them, God here identifies Assyria as, “the land I have made.” Other prophets, especially Isaiah, sometimes write in the past tense even when referring to the last days. This is one of those times. God will create (dedicate) a geographical area from the ancient Assyrian Empire where people who are descendants of the Assyrians but also peoples who intermarried (of which there were many) with Assyrians and peoples conquered by and transported to this region will live and serve the Lord in like manner as Egypt and Israel.

Time/space doesn’t permit an in-depth examination of the ancient Assyrian Empire. Please refer to the map that encompasses that land space. Plus, the Assyrians were a mixture of several Sumerian tribes eventually united under kings.

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Something, however, does come to mind. What about all of the migrants from several Middle East countries like Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan pouring into Europe, creating an enormous refugee crisis? Might those among them and many others who remain in the war-torn Middle East who call upon the Lord to be saved during the Tribulation, be relocated to the new Assyria!

Things to Ponder

If God hadn’t given the prophecy about Egypt’s unbelievable spiritual turnaround and improbable bond with Israel, I and others would have been incredulous at this development when we begin to rule and reign with our Lord during the millennium. Or, if the prophecy had not specified Egypt, it still would have been last on my list of nations God might have chosen to be specifically blessed alongside Israel. If for no other reason than the perpetual, seemingly never-ending bitter rivalry between these two countries.

But then any event that affects the whole world, to one extent or another, has been predicted in the Bible. How do we know that?

“Indeed, the Sovereign Lord never does anything until he reveals his plans to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7).

Which is why there are hundreds of prophetic passages concerning Israel’s restoration and the two advents of the Messiah, which are the most significant events of human history. And also a handful of seemingly less essential prophecies mentioned only once or twice. But no less important to God; or, in this instance, to Egypt and whoever the Assyrians might be!

The Vatican and Islam … A Perfect Match for Antichrist

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Roman Catholicism Plus Islam (What Some Have Dubbed Chrislam)

Roman Catholic Popes have always attracted a disproportionate share of media attention, but not quite like Pope Francis. It seems like everything he does and everywhere he goes generates global publicity. Once again he is making headlines. On Monday, May 23rd, 2016, Pope Francis met with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s Al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, who is widely recognized as Sunni Islam’s premier authority and spokesperson.

This was the first time that the Papacy had invited a high-ranking Muslim (Sunni or Shi’ite) cleric to the Vatican. Pope Francis told Sheikh al-Tayeb, “Our meeting is the message.”

Clearly, this comment was also for the media’s benefit … meaning what was actually discussed between these two global religious leaders wasn’t nearly as important as the meeting itself. In keeping with Pope Francis’ words to Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb, there were no significant ground-breaking words exchanged between the two religious leaders. There was no need; the meeting said it all.

However, just a few days before this historic conference, Pope Francis did make some shocking statements in an interview with the French Catholic news source, La Croix, in obvious preparation for the meeting with Imam al-Tayeb. Such as:

“It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”

Unbelievable! In no uncertain terms, Pope Francis made a contemptible comparison and calculated concession to Islamic Jihad (forced subjugation of Christians and Jews) by equating Muslim objectives of world domination and establishment of a global Caliphate to the Great Commission of Jesus Christ—to evangelize the world with the Gospel of salvation.

To be sure, the Pope provided a small window of escape, by interjecting the disclaimer, “it is also possible to interpret…” In anticipation, I suppose, that some would disagree with his incredible correlation between spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through violence in like manner that Islam has been forced on entire nations by the sword. However, it’s all too evident that his absurd association was an attempt to placate Muslims—even to the extent of cleverly explaining Islamic tactics of terrorism, by suggesting that Jesus (might have) endorsed the very same strategies of “conquest.”

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(Pope Francis & Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb)

If Pope Francis is alluding to the misguided and misinformed Crusades and Crusaders or to the Roman Catholic Inquisitions, then he has a point. If so, his finger pointing should and would be directed against the Roman Catholic Church itself, including all Popes, now and then; as the so-called infallible representatives of Jesus Christ on this earth (Vicars). Because it was Catholic kings, knights, and common citizens of European nations that launched these unholy and unbiblical campaigns against both Muslims and Jews.

Whether he intentionally or inadvertently was referring to the Crusades and Inquisitions, the last thing he should have done was to quote the Bible, especially the very words of Jesus. Why? Because the entire ministry of Jesus as recorded in the gospels plus the tenets of the true Christian faith as consolidated by the Apostles Paul, Peter, and John in their epistles neither say nor imply that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is to be promulgated through conquest.

That is simply not the way or means of spreading the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. I repeat for emphasis: nowhere does Scripture state or even infer that God’s plan of salvation is to be forced on anyone—at any time, by any means, in any place.

Here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, A Religion of Peace, Part I, posted 4-11-15.

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.

Then from A Religion of Peace, Part II, posted 4-18-15:

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.

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.

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.

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.

Irreconcilable Differences between the Bible and the Koran

Regarding the spread of Islam, there are two things the Koran stubbornly stresses: (1) absent any willing submission to Allah, the Koran demands that infidels—Jews and Christians—be conquered by force (including death). (2) The commands are directed to ALL Muslims, not just the militant among them. In fact, militant is merely an after-the-fact designation, based on the nature and extent of vicious rhetoric spoken or violent action taken by any given Muslim or sect of Islam

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The only reason why so many, including heads of states the world over—not the least of which is our own US President—separate Muslims into two basic groups (violent and non-violent or “peaceful”) is because some Muslims aggressively enforce the commands of Allah through Jihad, and some do not. Those who are belligerent in their tactics are considered terrorists; they supposedly do not represent the “peaceful” tenants of Islam. When, in fact, violence is an integral part of Islamic doctrine as asserted unequivocally in the Koran.

At the very worst, Pope Francis’ comparison of Christianity to “the idea of conquest … inherent in the soul of Islam” is a deceitful analogy to achieve his fundamental goal of identifying and integrating the two religions with the same intentions. For example, early in his Papacy, Pope Francis authorized, “Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran” at the Vatican.

At the very least, Pope Francis is saying that Christians (presumably the Pope defines Christianity by and through the Roman Catholic Church) and Muslims worship the same God; therefore, their objectives and strategies would (might) be the same.

Although I and other Bible scholars and teachers have written much about the fundamental differences—of which there are many—between Allah and the true and living God of the Bible (the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), let’s examine the text in Matthew that Pope Francis referred to … equating the promulgation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the militant advancement of Islam.

But first, a reminder that early in his ministry, Jesus told the Jewish religious leader Nicodemus that God’s magnificent plan of redemption to the human race was all-inclusive. Not by subjugation; rather this salvation was available only by a free choice decision. Not by force, but by an open, willing heart to believe (John 3:16).

Later, only a very short time before his crucifixion, Jesus then made what is probably one of the most well-known and definitive statements to the human race … demonstrating that salvation is inclusive of all who would believe in Jesus, but exclusively through him only:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The Apostle Peter affirmed both the inclusivity and exclusivity of the Gospel when he spoke to the Jewish religious leaders about Jesus Christ, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). *Note: By using the plural pronoun, we, with a universal connotation, Peter is including everyone. All people need Messiah Jesus, because redemption comes only through him.

Just before his amazing ascension back to heaven and after his remarkable resurrection from the dead which proved beyond any doubt that he was the Son of God and God the Son, Jesus said to his disciples (the passage referred to by Pope Francis):

“…I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18-19).

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For Pope Francis to propose that Jesus even implied that the gospel of salvation was to be forced on anyone is a complete misreading of this passage. And, from a pope no less! Worse, it’s a deliberate distortion or denial of all other Biblical passages that deal with redemption, free will, God’s all-inclusive invitation to believe in his Son as the only way to salvation, and the means of spreading the truth of the Gospel. But then, we shouldn’t be all that surprised. Ever since the Roman Catholic Church asserted the non-Biblical claim that it alone is the universal Church; popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests have created traditions and catechisms that are diametrically opposed to the Biblical truths of salvation and who or what a saint really is.

The only force and violence involved in God’s perfect plan of salvation was the torture and excruciating death of Messiah Jesus on the Cross. Moreover, this malicious murder was perpetrated by the religious Jews and the irreligious Romans. If anyone could give enough or do enough good deeds to merit God’s favor and pardon for sin, then Christ died for absolutely no reason.

More Incompatible Distinctions between Islam and Biblical Christianity

There are also discrepancies and fallacies in prior equivalency comparisons Pope Francis has made between Christianity and Islam. Such as his past statement that, “Christians and Muslims are brothers and sisters.”

Really? Try to convince Koran-reading, Allah-following Muslims of that. Try to tell them that the Koran must be hypocritically false when it says that Christian and Jewish infidels should submit to Allah, or be killed if they don’t. That Allah really didn’t mean that, nor did Mohammed try to enforce it (which of course he did, and quite brutally at that).

Referring to his disciples, Jesus said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” (Matthew 12:49-50).

They are those who belong to the family of the true and living God by virtue of simply believing in Christ and personally receiving his substitutionary sacrificial atonement on the Cross for their sins.

“Jesus told them, ‘This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent’” (John 6:29).

Which makes Pope Francis’ reference to Matthew Chapter 28 even more inexplicable and indefensible.

Why?

There are several references to the Triune God of the Bible, both Old and New Testaments. In his parting words, Jesus specifically identified all three … The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit. Muslims vehemently deny that Allah has a son, and the Koran doesn’t even mention the Holy Spirit. This above all other differences between Islam and true Christianity is the reason that Muslims classify Christians as infidels. Even though non-Messianic Jews also believe that God is not one God in three Persons, they, too, are considered infidels because their God is not Allah.

Why the Pope or anyone else can say that the God of the Bible and Allah are the same God is beyond belief.

Moreover, Christian believers worship the same God of the Bible as do the Jews.

When God revealed himself to Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, it was to announce that he was the ONLY God, not just one of many (man-made) gods worshipped by pagans at that time.

To Moses, God identified himself as I AM who I AM—the God who had chosen Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs of the Jewish people. God then proceeded to give the Law and Sacrificial System to the people, through Moses, as a means to separate the Jews from the pagan nations and their pantheism. But later, the Lord also announced through his prophets that a New Covenant would be implemented, which was accomplished through God’s Son, Messiah Jesus.

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Not so, with Islam’s Allah. This god, Allah, didn’t choose anyone. Instead, Mohammed chose the moon-god Allah from among many other gods that the Arabs worshipped … to rival and replace the God of the Jews and Christians. Which is why Islam’s symbol is the crescent moon.

After Mohammed identified Allah as his god of choice, he claimed that Allah gave him revelations through the angel Gabriel … an angel that he obviously identified and then plagiarized from both the Old Testament and New Testament appearances of Gabriel.

Other Comments on the Pope’s Catering to Islam

It cannot be emphasized enough: Pope Francis’ attempt to establish a moral equivalency between the tactics of Islamic extremists (who are literally following the commands of the Koran) and Jesus’s Great Commission to spread the truth of the Gospel to all nations through similar methods of conquest is a deceitful distortion of the very core of Biblical salvation and evangelism.

After I began writing this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, I read an article by Raymond Ibrahim entitled, Pope Francis’ Jihad on Christianity posted in Breaking Israel News on 5-20-15, reprinted from another online site, Front Page Mag on 5-20-15, from which Mr. Ibrahim is a contributing author. Based on his comments, it’s fairly obvious that he (and others) are also deeply offended over Pope Francis’ illogical insinuation that Jesus Christ (may have) intended for his followers to forcibly convert unbelievers in the same manner as Mohammed and his followers have done.

Raymond Ibrahim writes about the Pope: “Only someone who is either very ignorant or hostile to Christianity can make such a claim. To state the obvious: Yes, both Christianity and Islam seek to win converts. However, Jesus’s call to his disciples to ‘go forth and make disciples of all nations,’ in Matthew’s Gospel was understood and practiced peacefully. Disciples preached, people converted. No violence, no coercion. In fact, it was Christians—chief among them disciples and evangelists—who were persecuted and killed simply for preaching Christ, first by the pagan Roman empire, later (and still) Islam.”

I would also add to what he said: Not only the ancient Roman Empire and the subsequent Johnny-come-lately religion of Islam, but the Roman Empire’s proxy replacement (Roman Catholic Church) also has persecuted and killed thousands of true believing Christians and Jews down through the centuries. Stopped only when the Protestant movement combined with European Heads of State finally exposed the corruption in the Catholic Church; thereby, weakening the power of the Papacy. Which is exactly what Pope Francis seems bent on restoring. Hence his incessant high council meetings with national leaders and with prominent Muslim clerics, and even his attempts to persuade Protestants, especially Pentecostals, that the Roman Catholic Church seeks unity (at whatever the cost, including truth itself) with her Evangelical “brothers and sisters.”

In that regard, here is an excerpt from the Eye of Prophecy article, Wiles of the Woman, published 4-5-14.

You might ask, “What’s so wrong with Christian unity? Answer: Absolutely nothing. If, that is, unity and love are based in and on the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And in the proverbial nutshell, that truth is encapsulated in and represented by Ephesians 2:8-9: “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.”

And, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek … But the righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1: 16-17). Which is what compelled a Catholic Priest by the name of Martin Luther to boldly protest against the Catholic doctrine that claims a person is ultimately justified through self-actions that merit and maintain righteousness, or the granting of indulgences. If you doubt that Catholic dogma has changed to the point of assenting to mainstream Protestant or Evangelical or even Pentecostal emphasis of the Christian faith, just go online and read, The Catechism of the Catholic Church. The facts are clear: Catholicism still endorses a sophisticated set of rules, actions, and conditions that all Catholics in good standing must adhere to, in order to even have the chance of (pre-qualify) obtaining salvation and admittance to heaven.

Why would non-Catholic religious leaders like Bishop Palmer and Kenneth Copeland reach back to the Pope and give him a spiritual hug; when, in fact, the very foundation of the Catholic Church is based on salvation through good works, keeping of non-Biblical sacraments, and God’s ultimate acceptance of the individual just because he or she is a baptized member of the Catholic Church? The answer is equally and sadly evident: Because some (actually many) Protestant leaders have also distorted the very gospel of Jesus Christ; replacing it with a system of man-made do(s) and don’t(s) that circumvent Biblical salvation of justification through faith in the substitutionary death of Christ, with a works-based, cultic, law-keeping self-righteousness that nullifies the very idea and sufficiency of God’s free gift of grace (through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son) to save us.

To further confirm that the Pope’s ultimate objective is to divide and conquer through the shroud of unity, listen to his statements on Islam made in Rome during an ecumenical style meeting of representatives from various religious groups, including Jews and Christians: “I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you….”

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I applaud Raymond Ibrahim’s boldness in confronting the Pope. Not just because it tracks with what I’ve written in prior Eye of Prophecy articles (such as the excerpts quoted earlier in today’s article), but because it is the historical and contemporary truth.

Ibrahim also quotes the prophet Muhammad whose words were reprinted in The Al Qaeda Reader, page 12: “I have been sent with the sword between my hands to ensure that no one but Allah is worshipped—Allah who put my livelihood under the shadow of my spear and who inflicts humiliation and scorn on those who disobey my commandments.”

Raymond Ibrahim continues: “Unlike the spread of Christianity, Islam spread through the sword. This is a simple historical fact, acknowledged by more sober European leaders; the overwhelming majority of territory that today constitutes the ‘Muslim world’ was seized from non-Muslims by great violence and bloodshed. Two-thirds of Christendom—the Mideast and North Africa—was to be swallowed up by Islam a century after its founding.”

Antichrist Nero Will Take Full Advantage of a Roman Catholic/Islamic Liaison

As clearly seen, Pope Francis is making no pretense of trying to make Christianity (the Roman Catholic version) and Islam two sides of the same coin. However, this will not lead to a so-called One World Religion, as proposed by even well-meaning Bible students. Please refer to Eye of Prophecy article, One World Religion, posted 8-15-15. That article presents Biblically documented and detailed reasons why there will not be a single world religion during the Tribulation, either through the Antichrist or the False Prophet. However, Antichrist Nero will initially cater to and use Roman Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism (as well as occultism under the mantel of a “New Age”) to achieve his political agenda, through a seven-year treaty between these three religions and between Israel and Muslim nations.

Speaking of coins, may I also quote from the Eye of Prophecy article, Antichrist and the Vicar of Christ, Part I, published 9-5-15.

The better analogy is that Antichrist and the Vicar of Christ are two sides of the same coin. But even that will last for only a short time … most likely about half way through the tribulation. Nero will proclaim himself as God or as Messiah … the man/God. He will soon be worshipped by people all over the world as divine for one reason only: his astounding revival and return some two thousand years after he had died. With that kind of veneration, Nero will become the head of the coin; dragging the tail of the coin (the Pope) behind him. In fact, this coinage will soon become a coin with two heads, both of them Nero’s.

But before that happens, there will be a titanic clash of two men vying for the personal loyalty of billions of people while trying to (unsuccessfully working together) accomplish their agenda each through their own vile systems. One is boldly and blatantly unholy. The other is hypocritically holy. Both will claim to be God and Christ on the earth.

Through the centuries, popes and kings have clashed; sometimes the pope prevailed, sometimes the king triumphed. This time the “divine monarch” and his ten-nation coalition with crush the ecclesiastical head of state who would dare assume political power as well as religious (Revelation 17:16).

In like manner, many Jews will at first acknowledge Nero as a messiah-type, or at least as a sovereign who God allowed to return to save the world. Thus, they will gladly enter into a seven-year treaty with Nero, who will facilitate the building of the third Temple and allow Jews to restore their sacrificial system of atonement.

Likewise with hundreds of millions of Muslims. Who can possibly argue with or fight against someone who bodily returns from the dead? They will conclude that it had to be Allah who performed such a miracle. They will concede Nero as their Mahdi (messiah).

By default, people from nations and religions the world over will give their allegiance to Nero immediately after he reappears from the Abyss. (See Revelation 13). So, too, will a good many of their political and religious leaders. But above all Nero will initially establish a liaison with the Vatican. After all: The Vatican is the embodiment of the Holy Roman Empire, the reincarnation of the once great Roman Empire which for fourteen years was ruled by none other than a man who had returned from the dead. Both dynasties were headquartered in Rome. Both empires purported to be the universal kingdom on earth; the first one politically and militarily, ruled by a supreme and divine emperor. The second through a religion that claims to be the universal church, headed by the infallible representative of Christ, himself. Both will seek to restore the glory that once was Rome’s.

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Summary

There is simply no way that a One World Religion will develop during the Great Tribulation. Any more than its possible for adherents of Islam, Judaism, Roman Catholicism, or other deviant sects of Christianity (such as Mormonism) to convert in great numbers from one of these religions to another.

The closest thing to a global religion will be world-wide worship of one man, Antichrist Nero; by force if necessary—the same kind of force ordered by the Koran and suggested by Pope Francis!

Nero couldn’t care less what religion those left behind belong to. Nowhere in the Old or New Testament do we find any evidence whatsoever that the Antichrist (or the False Prophet) attempts to form a world religion.

In fact, both Daniel (Chapter 11) and Paul (II Thessalonians Chapter 2) tell us that Antichrist shows great disdain to the point of defiance of any god, therefore, of any religion. Instead he will claim to be God himself. He will not require people to adopt any current religion, nor will he create a new religion (such as the New Age movement).

Instead, Nero will seek to exercise control through the conciliation, cooperation, and coordination between Roman Catholic Clergy, Muslim Imams, and Jewish Rabbis.

Recognition and reverence for Nero’s inconceivable return from the grave will be the reason that, “…The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshipped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast … who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4).

Nearly all papal activities since Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Francis) became Pope have been designed to reestablish the authority and influence of the Roman Catholic Church. Which makes his latest effort to appease Muslims another amazing fit of the prophetic puzzle.

Nero couldn’t ask for anything better to prepare the way for his Pax Romana. He will reappear to a world absent of any born-again believers (true Christians and true Christianity). A world in chaos will be ripe for someone who has the mystical (by virtue of rising from the dead) power to unite peoples from every race, country, and religion. But it will not be a One World Government, as many nations will oppose Nero.

Yet there will be just enough cooperation through an already conciliatory toleration among religious leaders and a political correctness among both religious and non-religious leaders to give Nero carte blanche authority to implement a treaty between Jews and Arabs. And among governments seeking a global two-state solution to the already despised and increasingly boycotted, divested, and sanctioned nation of Israel.

But beware nations of the earth. Israel is the apple of God’s eye.

Says the Lord, the God of Israel, “On that day I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock. All the nations will gather against it to try to move it, but they will only hurt themselves” (Zechariah 12:3).

Things to Ponder

Did you know that one day there will be no more religions to confuse and corrupt entire peoples and nations?

Can I get an Amen on that!

However, there will finally be a One World Government! With a truly benevolent and caring King ruling over and judging between the nations. But only after the Lord vanquishes Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all those who, “…refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them … Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:10, 12).

This final conquest of evil through the use of force by Messiah Jesus is totally justified and necessary. “Then I saw heaven opened, and a white horse was standing there. Its rider was named Faithful and True, for he judges fairly and wages a righteous war” (Revelation 19:11).

“And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day there will be one Lord—his name alone will be worshipped” (Zechariah 14:9).

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We love you Lord, because you first loved us.

We eagerly embrace and anxiously anticipate your return to make all things right.

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

The Incomparable Power and Authority of Jesus Christ

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Incomparable Power and Authority of Jesus Christ

Power: “Possession of control, authority, or influence over others; ability to act or produce an effect; physical might; mental or moral efficacy…” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

Authority: Power to influence or command thought, opinion, or behavior; freedom granted by one in authority; convincing force” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

Right or wrong, positive or negative … we’ve all been influenced, to some degree or another, by the authority of our mothers, fathers, teachers, clergy, coaches, and government officials.

Unfortunately, national and international leaders through the centuries have been mostly power-hungry tyrants; who often lead their people to a precarious pinnacle of peace and prosperity, only to plunge them to the depths of despair and destruction. Even the few benevolent rulers still had their limitations and human weaknesses. And, no matter how much morality, integrity, and capability that caring leaders possess, their good intentions are all too often compromised (if not ignored) by the people under their authority. There is, after all, an abundance of greed, envy, selfishness, and indiscriminate pursuit of pleasure and popularity within the best of societies.

Incomparable: “Eminent beyond comparison; matchless; not suitable for comparison” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary). Matchless: “Having no equal; peerless” (Webster’s).

When incomparable (utmost positive connotation of the word) is combined with power and authority, we get the best form of influence and inspiration imaginable, that one person can have on another.

The following paragraph is a quote from the Eye of Prophecy article, Kingdom of God, posted 1-17-15.

“Isn’t that what most people want? They want: law, order, equality, safety, peace. And they want someone who has the kind of authority to realize those dreams, but also someone who is kind and considerate with that authority. One who truly cares about people and what’s best for them; who can rule and judge with impartiality and kindness. A truly wise and benevolent King whose attributes perfectly reflect who and what he is: Love, Truth, Justice, Mercy.”

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Let’s take an up-close and personal look at five amazing things that only one man in history has done or can do. If you answer no or even maybe to each of the five questions alongside the five matchless achievements, I would respectfully challenge you to ask yourself the question, “Why not?” First, because you honestly owe it to yourself. Second, because it is literally a matter of eternal life or death. It’s that serious.

(*Note: “I don’t know,” is the same as, “No”)

If one man had the incomparable power and authority to:

Control and Command the Laws of Nature and Physics—Would You Listen to Him?

A Wedding in Israel:

“The wine supply ran out during the festivities, so Jesus’ mother told him, ‘They have no more wine.’ … But his mother told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Standing nearby were six stone water jars … each could hold twenty to thirty gallons. Jesus told the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ When the jars had been filled, he said, ‘Now dip some out, and take it to the master of ceremonies.’ So the servants followed his instructions.

“When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. ‘A host always serves the best wine first,’ he said. ‘Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!’

“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed his glory…” (John 2:3-11).

This was the first of many miracles Jesus performed as proof of his power and authority … in this case over the laws of nature itself. No one has ever turned water into pure wine before or since; any more than anyone has successfully converted common elements like lead into gold (Alchemy).

The servants listened to Jesus and did exactly what he told them to do; knowing full well that Jesus was assuming a huge risk of embarrassment, ridicule, and future doubt of his divine credentials—who he was and what he could do—if the water remained as water.

A Stormy Sea:

“As evening came, Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.’ So they took Jesus in the boat and started out … But soon a fierce storm came up. High waves were breaking into the boat, and it began to fill with water. Jesus was sleeping at the back of the boat with his head on a cushion. The disciples woke him up, shouting, ‘Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?’

“When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the water, ‘Silence! Be still!’ Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. Then he asked them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?’

“The disciples were absolutely terrified, ‘Who is this man?’ they asked each other. ‘Even the wind and waves obey him!’” (Mark 4:35-41).

Jesus calms the storm

Why (how) would even the wind and waves listen to and obey Jesus? This is why:

“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation, for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth… Everything was created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:15-16).

Five Thousand Hungry Men … So Little Food:

“For there were about 5,000 men there. Jesus replied, ‘Tell them to sit down in groups of about fifty each.’ So the people all sat down. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he kept giving the bread and fish to the disciples so they could distribute it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers!” (Luke 9:14-17).

Five thousand men plus thousands more women and children, all who had listened intently to Jesus for some time were getting very hungry. Only five loaves and two fish were available. But the disciples listened to Jesus and the crown listened to the disciples, and the rest is history. This is one of my all-time favorite miracles of Jesus that stretches my imagination to the breaking point. Not my belief, only my imagination!

Should you, would you also listen to him, when Jesus says, “Yes, I am the bread of life! … I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh” (John 6:48-51).

When Jesus was miraculously transfigured on the mountain revealing his divine glorified essence, not long before he gave his own body and blood as a redemptive sacrifice on the cross, God, the Father declared: “…This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy. Listen to him” (Matthew 17:5).

If one man had the incomparable power and authority to:

Dominate Demons and Defeat Incurable Diseases and Untreatable Deformities—Would You Follow Him?

A Demon-Possessed Man in a Synagogue:

“Then Jesus went to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue every Sabbath day. There, too, the people were amazed at his teaching, for he spoke with authority. Once when he was in the synagogue, a man possessed by a demon—an evil spirit—began shouting at Jesus. ‘Go away! Why are you interfering with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One sent from God!’

“Jesus cut him short, ‘Be quiet! Come out of this man,’ he ordered. At that, the demon threw the man to the floor as the crowd watched; then it came out of him without hurting him further. Amazed, the people exclaimed, ‘What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!’ The news about Jesus spread through every village in the entire region” (Luke 4:31-37).

Fallen angels (demons) know all too well who Jesus is and what power he has over Satan’s evil kingdom. But, of course, they would never follow him; as their choice had been made and their destiny had been sealed long before. Nor would Jesus allow them to even speak of him, for two main reasons: (1) Jesus commanded the demons to be silent to demonstrate his divine authority over them. (2) He wanted the crowds to acknowledge and follow him willingly because of his redemptive words of life and hope, attested to by his miracles. Not because of what any demon might say.

“Many were possessed by demons, and the demons came out at his command, shouting, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But because they knew he was the Messiah, he rebuked them and refused to let them speak” (Luke 4:41).

A Crippled Man by a Pool:

“Afterward Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish holy days. Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was the pool of Bethesda, with five covered porches. Crowds of sick people—blind, lame, or paralyzed—lay on the porches. One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, ‘Would you like to get well?’

‘I can’t sir,’ the sick man said, ‘for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.’

“Jesus told him, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!’

“Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath, so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, ‘You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!’” (John 5:1-10).

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Astonishing! This was not the only time that Orthodox Jewish leaders criticized and trivialized an astounding miracle of healing that Jesus had performed, because of their technicality that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath. In this case they considered both the healing and the healed man carrying his mat to be “work” which was a violation of the Sabbath. Although many people, even including some Pharisees, believed in Messiah Jesus and followed him, the majority did not.

They had already made up their minds that Jesus’s powerful words and demonstration of authority over all kinds of diseases and disabilities was a threat to their own authority. They would not listen to him, let alone follow him. They were, as Jesus told them, “Blind guides leading the blind” (Matthew 15:14).

Not so, with those who have been saved by Jesus, the light of the world. Once we were blind, but now we can see. And we follow him.

Said Jesus to the people who demanded to know if he was the Messiah: “…I have already told you, and you don’t believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name. But you don’t believe me because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:25-27).

Two Blind Men Following Jesus:

“After Jesus left the girl’s home, two blind men followed along behind him, shouting, ‘Son of David, have mercy on us!’

“They went right into the house where he was staying, and Jesus asked them, ‘Do you believe I can make you see!’

‘Yes Lord,’ they told him, ‘we do.’

“Then he touched their eyes and said, ‘Because of your faith, it will happen.’ Then their eyes were opened, and they could see! Jesus sternly warned them. ‘Don’t tell anyone about this.’ But instead, they went out and spread his fame all over the region” (Matthew 9:27-31).

Astounding … Jesus miracle of making two blind men see, of course! But also their unwavering assurance that Jesus could and would heal them. They were so persistent in this confidence that they followed Jesus right into the very house where he was staying.

Notice, that Jesus told them not to tell anyone what he had done. Jesus had said this to others he had healed early in his magnificent ministry. Why? Because he wanted people to believe and follow him for who he was (Messiah), not just because of his miracles. That his ultimate purpose was that of spiritual healing, because of his great compassion and love for the human race that he created.

If one man had the incomparable power and authority to:

Forgive Sins, and Pardon the Eternal Penalty of Sin (Because of His Unconditional Love)—Would You Believe in Him?

A Paralyzed Man Lowered through the Roof of a House:

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’

“But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, ‘What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!’

“Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, ‘Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man, Your sins are forgiven, or Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.’ Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!’

“And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, ‘We’ve never seen anything like this before!’” (Mark 2:1-12).

You think!

Jesus performed countless miracles that had never been seen before. Incurable diseases, inoperable disabilities, irreversible blindness and deafness, and irrevocable death itself were no match for the matchless Son of David, Son of Man, and Son of God.

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By the very fact that Jesus had read their minds (what they were thinking), you would think that the religious leaders should have realized immediately that Jesus was no ordinary man. When Jesus asked them whether it was more difficult for him to tell the paralytic that his sins were forgiven or to instantly heal the man’s untreatable condition, he knew how they would react. They would affirm that it’s easy for anyone to say someone’s sins can be forgiven. Those are just words, and in this case words of blasphemy, for only God can forgive sins.

Which was exactly the point! By merely speaking the words, Jesus right in front of them told the crippled man to stand up and go home. Only God has that kind of power! And only God has the authority to forgive sins.

So, then, just who might Jesus be?

The paralyzed man and his four companions knew and believed Jesus was the Messiah. As did many in the crowd before and after what Jesus said and did.

What more or better proof did the religious leaders need? Sadly, they, like so many religious or irreligious leaders and their followers today, deny the authority and power Jesus has to forgive their sins—if they would only believe in him and his atoning sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.

A Jewish High Council (Sanhedrin) Member Comes to Jesus at Night:

“There was a man named Nicodemus, a Jewish religious leader who was a Pharisee. After dark one evening, he came to speak with Jesus. ‘Rabbi,’ he said, ‘we all know that God has sent you to teach us. Your miraculous signs are evidence that God is with you.’

“Jesus replied, ‘I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God” (John 3:1-3).

Talk about getting to the point, to the real issues … Jesus often did that! After Jesus explained to Nicodemus what “born again” means, he said: “…But the Son of Man has come down from heaven. And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life” (Verses 13-15).

As a Pharisee, Nicodemus would have known the history of the emblematic bronze snake during the wanderings of his ancestors in the wilderness, specifically their sins and rebellion against God. He also would have remembered and understood that simply looking at the bronze snake had healed them. He knew that the snakes represented their sins and punishment for sin (which has bitten everyone who has ever lived).

“So the Lord sent poisonous snakes among the people, and many were bitten and died. Then the people came to Moses and cried out, ‘We have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take away the snakes. So Moses prayed for the people. Then the Lord told him, ‘Make a replica of a poisonous snake and attach it to a pole. All who are bitten will live if they simply look at it!’ So Moses made a snake out of bronze and attached it to the pole. Then anyone who was bitten by a snake could look at the bronze snake and be healed!” (Numbers 21:6-9).

When Jesus put all this together with perhaps the simplest yet most profound statement of God’s love and forgiveness and pardon of sin that immediately produces eternal life through Jesus, Nicodemus believed that Jesus was Messiah, the Son of God and the Son of Man. We know this because later we discover that Nicodemus had become a believer, albeit one that silently followed Jesus.

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Listen to the words of Jesus. Do you believe him when he says:

“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. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-18).

A Passover Supper for Jesus and His Disciples:

In the final meal that Jesus shared with his disciples before his crucifixion, we read:

“As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, ‘Take this and eat it, for this is my body.’ And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, ‘Each of you drink from it, for this is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many’” (Matthew 26:26-28).

Soon afterward, on their way to the Mount of Olives, Jesus said: “But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there” (Verse 32). Once again, as the Son of God and God the Son, only Jesus could predict, then accomplish his stunning resurrection from the dead.

Shortly before he returned to heaven, Jesus made yet another bold statement confirming his divine dominion over the world—even greater authority than he possessed before his resurrection and glorification, when he was restricted by time and space here on this earth. Limited because he chose to strip himself of the absolute power that he shared with God his Father from the ancient past. Glory that he set aside to become a human being so that he could pay for the penalty of our sins.

“Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18, italics for emphasis).

Why does Jesus have the power and authority to forever pardon the penalty of our sins? I think you already know the answer. Because he paid the ultimate price demanded by God—a totally innocent, perfect (sinless) bodily sacrifice that only Jesus could offer.

Many Old Testament prophets wrote about the coming Messiah. Jesus literally fulfilled ALL of the Messianic prophecies. Writing of the Messiah, Isaiah says:

“See, my servant will prosper; he will be highly exalted. But many were amazed when they saw him. His fact was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man. And he will startle many nations. Kings will stand speechless in his presence…” (Isaiah 52:13-15).

This same mighty King must first suffer and die before he would be given ultimate power and authority over kings and kingdoms of the earth. Listen to Isaiah again:

“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).

That is why Messiah Jesus has power and authority to forgive us for all the wrong things we’ve done.

“He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21, NASB).

If one man had the incomparable power and authority to:

Abolish Death Itself and Grant Eternal Life through Resurrection From the Dead—Would You Trust Him?

Two Sisters Mourning over the Heartbreaking Death of Their Brother:

“When Jesus arrived at Bethany, he was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days … many of the people had come to console Martha and Mary in their loss … Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died…’” (John 11:17-21).

“Jesus told her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’ ‘Yes,’ Martha said, ‘he will rise when everyone else rises at the last day’” (Verses 23-24).

Martha knew something about the final resurrection, but she didn’t fully comprehend that bodily resurrection was possible only by and through Jesus Christ, the Savior of mankind.

“Jesus told her, ‘I AM the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die. Do you believe this, Martha?’” (Verses 25-26, italics and capitalized for emphasis).

When Jesus put it that way, Martha understood what we all must grasp if we are going to be among those resurrected by the power and authority of Jesus Christ at the rapture. Whether dead or alive, all believers will be transformed with brand new (resurrected) bodies.

Martha accepted Jesus’s authority and she replied with these remarkable words of trust:

“Yes, Lord … I have always believed you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who has come into the world from God” (Verse 27).

Lazarus raised

Jesus then went to the tomb where Lazarus had been buried four days earlier and proceeded to do exactly what he said he would do and could do. With power and authority, “Jesus shouted, ‘Lazarus, come out!’ And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, ‘Unwrap him and let him go!’” (Verses 43-44).

A Hill Called Golgotha (Place of the Skull):

“Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him … The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. ‘Ha! Look at you now!’ they yelled at him. ‘You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!’

“The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. ‘He saved others,’ they scoffed, ‘but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!’ Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him” (Mark 15:24-32).

Everything Jesus said and did was remarkable. None more so than one of seven things he spoke while hanging on the cross.

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing’” (Luke 23:34).

What amazing grace and love for Jesus to say those words as he was dying an excruciating death on the cross.

Not only didn’t they fully realize what they were doing to Jesus (why Jesus was actually on the cross), they also couldn’t fathom the implications of what they were saying. Though the people said it sarcastically to mock him; indeed, Jesus saved and would save others … past, present, and future. They mockingly challenged him to come down from the cross; completely ignorant of the fact that had Jesus called a legion of angels to destroy his crucifiers and deliver him from the cross, he would not have the power and authority to resurrect believers (in him) from the dead. Jesus, himself, must first rise from the dead. And he couldn’t do that unless he completed the mission for which he came to this world.

“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.

“The women were terrified and bowed with their faces to the ground. 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).

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From the Earth and Under the Earth, At a Time Soon to Come:

“We tell you this directly from the Lord: We who are still living when the Lord returns will not meet him ahead of those who died. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the Christians who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words” (I Thessalonians 4:15-18).

Do you trust Jesus Christ—his incomparable power and authority—to do such a thing?

I certainly do. Because all of the Lord’s promises are true. They are absolutely trustworthy. Many prophecies have come to pass precisely as God said they would. Why shouldn’t this one, the glorious Rapture … described again by the Apostle Paul in another passage:

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (the transformation, not the whole event of the Rapture) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed …

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’” (I Corinthians 15:51-55).

Said Jesus to John: “…Don’t be afraid! I am the First and the Last. I am the living one. I died, but look—I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave” (Revelation 1:17-18).

If one man had the incomparable power and authority to:

Govern the Earth and Rule the Nations with Truth, Justice, and Peace—Would You Love, Honor, and Obey Him?

This is what will take place near the end of the Seven-Year Tribulation:

“And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

“…Blessing and honor and glory and power belong to the one sitting on the throne and to the Lamb forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heaven, ‘It has come at last—salvation and power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ…” (Revelation 12:10).

“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…” (Isaiah 9:7).

“Look at my servant, whom I strengthen. He is my chosen one, who pleases me. I have put my Spirit upon him. He will bring justice to the nations” (Isaiah 42:1).

Things to Ponder

The evidence is irrefutable. Scripture is brimming with the prophetic and historical record of who Jesus is, what he has done, and what he will do.

Near the end of John’s Gospel, he writes: “The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name” (John 20:30-31, italics for emphasis).

Remember Jesus’s probing question to his disciples and Peter’s remarkable response:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’

‘Well,’ they replied, ‘some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say Jeremiah or one of the other prophets.’

“Then he asked them, ‘But who do you say I am?’

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’” (Matthew 16:13-16).

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT JESUS IS?

The Bible says we must all answer that question. The answer will determine our eternal destiny

The Final Treaty of Rome … Part II

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The Final Treaty of Rome

“Then in my vision that night, I saw a fourth beast—terrifying, dreadful, and very strong. It devoured and crushed its victims with huge iron teeth and trampled their remains beneath its feet. It was different from any of the other beasts, and it had ten horns” (Daniel 7:7).

The magnificent prophecies of Scripture never cease to amaze me no matter how many times I read them or write about them. Most have been fulfilled, such as the 300-plus predictions of the Messiah coming to pass precisely in and exclusively through Jesus of Nazareth. Many things separate the Bible from all other religious writings, none more so than fulfilled prophecy. Other so-called sacred texts are virtually void of eschatology.

Right near the top of these stunning prophecies is Daniel Chapter 7. It was the second time in the book of Daniel that God disclosed the four mighty kingdoms which would usher in the “Times of the Gentiles” by ending the Davidic dynasty of kings in Israel. Beginning with the split of Israel into two nations, then Babylon’s (the first of the four Gentile kingdoms) conquest of Judah, culminating in the Roman Empire’s devastation of Israel, Jerusalem, and the second Jewish temple. From 70 AD Israel ceased functionally to exist as a nation. Miraculously, in fulfillment of God’s prophetic plan revealed numerous times in Scripture, Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation in 1948.

Both Biblical and secular history confirm irrefutably that the four kingdoms were Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. With the Roman Empire, the fourth beast of Daniel, far greater than the three that preceded it. The Roman Empire exceeded the previous three kingdoms in geographical size, number of people, and accomplishments—economic, architectural, political, and military—as well as ultimate authority and power. John’s two visions of the beast of Revelation (Antichrist) further corroborate that the fourth beast of Daniel is the Roman Empire, because of the ten horns identified in all three of these visions (two from John, one from Daniel). With the clear contextual correlation that the horns are future Tribulation kings who will yield allegiance to the little horn, king, ruler (other names for Antichrist).

The composite beast itself (himself) of Revelation 13 and 17 is a man (the same man as the little horn of Daniel 7 and the ruler of Daniel 9), by virtue of being referred to by personal pronouns, he and him; and by the fact that the beast of Revelation 13 and 17 also has seven heads, which are referred to as seven kings in Revelation 17 … meaning seven Roman Emperors, one of whom was Nero.

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(Depiction of the Revelation Chapter 13 Beast)

The distinctions that need to be made are: (1) the ten horns are future tribulation kings who give their kingdoms (nations) to the Antichrist. (2) The composite beast of Revelation 13 and 17 is the Antichrist … Nero. (3) The seven heads are seven Roman Emperors of the first century.

Daniel’s fourth beast has only ten horns, not the seven heads (plus ten horns) that the beast of Revelation 13 & 17 displays. That’s because Daniel’s vision initially focused on the four Gentile kingdoms, especially the rise of the Roman Empire (Daniel 7: 1-7), not the kings (emperors) of that kingdom during its existence. But beginning in verse eight, Daniel’s vision switches to another horn (king) who would rule over the ten horns (kings) during the Tribulation period.

Whereas, John’s visions in Revelation included the biographical and geographical origin of the Antichrist himself as one of the seven heads of the beast and as the entire Antichrist beast itself.

The most shocking feature of John’s vision—the “mystery” of which was unveiled by the angel—was that the Antichrist beast (Nero) had once been alive, but had died before John saw the beast, yet would reappear from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 17:8).

“The beast that was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven…” (Revelation 17:11, NASB, italics for emphasis).

The Greek word for (one) “of” is: ek.

It also means from, out of, or like the seven. So, the Antichrist beast is an eighth king only because he will reappear separately and subsequently during the Tribulation. But the text indisputably states that he was also one of (from, out of) the seven kings (Roman Emperors); five of whom had already died, including the beast himself (Nero) because the angel specifically told John that the beast had already lived and died before the vision. Nero was the fifth Roman Caesar.

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(Busts of the First Five Roman Caesars … Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero)

All of this is explained in great detail in my book, Out of the Abyss, can the number of the beast be solved? 666.

Concerning the Antichrist beast arising from the sea (Abyss) with the metaphorical features of a leopard, bear, and lion, the following excerpt is from Out of the Abyss, page 160 (in italics):

In Revelation 13:2, the angel is giving John and all readers a brief history lesson of Daniel’s prophecy. This beast looked like a leopard … feet of a bear … mouth of lion!”

The prophet Daniel, however, doesn’t representatively equate his fourth beast with the likeness of an animal. Consequently, Revelation 13 incorporates the Grecian leopard, the Persian bear, and the Babylonian lion into the features of this new beast, which the remainder of Revelation 13 (and later in Revelation 17) clearly shows us to be a man. Remember, only in Daniel are we expressly told that the four beasts are four kingdoms.

Unlike Babylon, Mede-Persia, and Greece, the Roman Empire, as characterized, epitomized, and personified by the Roman emperors, was truly eclectic. By the end of the first century, Rome had incorporated vestiges of these three empires. That’s the main reason that the leopard, bear, and lion are in reverse order as they are presented in Daniel; a chronological reversal to show the historical fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.

The Roman Caesars typified the authoritative monarchy of Babylonians kings, whose law was decisively final. Like the Babylonian monarchs, the Roman Caesars spoke with power … mouth of a lion. Yet, they emulated the idea and practice from Persia that even the king was subject to the law. If a Persian king issued an edict, he, too, was subject to that decree. Persian supreme law was transported throughout its empire … feet of a bear. Rome also integrated the noble ideas of Greece, that the people could and should have a voice. Thus, the Senate of the Roman Republic became an integral part of the checks and balance system within the empire. Despite the greatness of Rome, Greek culture, language, and philosophy permeated society … looked like a leopard.”

The Treaty of Rome

It is no random coincidence that seven European nations selected Rome as the site of the symposium that would lead to The Treaty of Rome. Or that the 1957 Treaty of Rome would produce the ten-nation Common Market. Or that the ten nations of the Common Market would eventually lead to one of the most amazing historical achievements of all time … a twenty-eight united states of Europe … The European Union. This is part of God’s divine plan in which Rome will once again for a brief time (especially during the first 3 ½ years of the Tribulation) be in the international spotlight where Nero will engineer the Final Treaty of Rome. The world will view this as an impossible achievement—a peace treaty between Jews and Arabs.

Last week’s Part I Eye of Prophecy article provided Biblical evidence why Nero will be able to accomplish this feat … exclusively because of his remarkable reappearance from the distant past.

Although Rome will be recognized even more as “the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Revelation 17:18), it will not be the center of a (so-called) Revived Roman Empire. Rather, it will be the headquarters of a Revived Roman Emperor who will strike up a liaison with “the great prostitute” (the modern representation of the once great Roman Empire) which is none other than the Vatican. This is persuasively presented in Revelation Chapter 17, including the fact that Antichrist Nero will rule over an alliance of only ten kingdoms (nations).

Nero will eventually crush the Roman Catholic Church which he hates and considers a rival to his kingdom (Revelation 17:16-17). He will also break the seven year treaty with Israel at the half-way point of the Tribulation (Daniel 7:27).

The once great Roman Empire that lasted for some 600 years is no more, nor will ever be again. Listen to the words of the prophet Daniel: “…I kept watching until the fourth beast was killed and its body was destroyed by fire” (Daniel 7:11). Daniel not only saw the rise of the Roman Empire but its utter demise, which occurred in the 5th century AD, some one thousand years after Daniel’s visions.

Thus, Scripture makes a significant prophetic distinction between Rome and the Roman Empire—meaning the political and military might of the Roman Caesars—before the collapse of the Roman Empire. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Rome remained the great city that rules over kings, but with a new identity and sphere of influence … The Roman Catholic Church. It would be through ecclesiastical authority that Roman Catholicism would mimic the might and sustain the splendor of the ancient Roman Empire.

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(Vatican City in Rome)

Rome, Not Babylon, Is the Woman (City) on the Beast—Revelation Chapter 17

Time and space in this article permits only a summary overview to support what I believe is the clear Biblical evidence that the Woman on the Scarlet Beast (Antichrist, Nero) is both ancient Rome and the ensuing Holy Roman Empire represented by the Roman Catholic Church. But the city remains the same … Rome. However, in the book of Revelation, Rome is symbolically referred to as Babylon.

For an in-depth analysis of identifying both ancient Rome and Roman Catholicism as the Woman of Revelation Chapter 17, please refer to Eye of Prophecy articles, The Woman and the Beast (I through VI, especially the first article), published 10-12-13 through 11-16-13. You might also want to look at, A Beast by Any Other Name… (Is Still a Beast), Part I, II, & III, posted 3-14, 3-21, and 3-28-15. Followed by, The Legendary Return of Nero, published 4-4-15.

In a recent Eye of Prophecy article, entitled One Hundred Forty-Four Thousand Messianic Jews … Part II, I wrote:

One hindrance to correct understanding of Scripture, especially prophecy, is a tendency of even well-meaning Christians to do way too much symbolizing. Of course there are metaphors and similes in, for example, the book of Revelation. But there is also a ton of literal people, places, things, and events.

My purpose in that article was to demonstrate decisively that the 144,000 Messianic Jews (12,000 from each tribe) were literal, not figurative. Notice, however, that I also indicated there is (obviously) symbolism in Revelation; including, but not limited to, the symbolic substitution of Babylon for Rome. In today’s article, we’re doing the reverse … examining evidence to show that Babylon is a figurative representation of Rome.

Said the angel to John just before John’s amazing vision of the woman on the scarlet beast: “…I will show you the judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute, who rules over many waters. The kings of the world have committed adultery with her, and the people who belong to this world have been made drunk by the wine of her immorality” (Revelation 17:1-2).

Later, the angel gives the meaning of the metaphorical, many waters: “…The waters where the prostitute is ruling represent masses of people of every nation and language” (Revelation 17:15). People from every nation and language absolutely applied to ancient Rome with its political and military domination of many countries; and would also relate to the subsequent global influence of the Roman Catholic religion. As of 2013, there were an estimated 1.2 billion Catholics in the world.

Then in the last verse of Chapter 17, John is told: “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world” (Verse 18).

Not only is the woman the great city, but according to the angel’s disclosure of the mystery, so also the seven heads of the beast, “…represent the seven hills where the woman rules” (Verse 9). Bible scholars for centuries have (and I agree) accurately applied the seven hills to Rome. In fact, Rome is known world-wide as the city built on seven hills. You can hardly find a hill in Babylon, as it sits on a plain in modern day Iraq.

BabylonUndugAndRestored

(Picture of Modern-Day Babylon, To Show the Flat Topography)

First of Five More Reasons Why the Great City is Rome, Not Literal Babylon:

The judgment of the woman (prostitute) prophesied by John obviously had not yet taken place. Whereas, Babylon and the Babylonian Empire had already been crushed by Persia and had virtually disappeared from the historical scene, just as Scripture predicted. Jeremiah Chapter 51 is only one passage of several that foretold the utter destruction of Babylon … now a historical fact. Moreover, there is absolutely no indication in the Bible that Babylon as a “great city” (especially one that rules over kings and nations) would ever rise again.

This one-time divine judgment by God on Babylon was emphasized emphatically when Iraq’s evil dictator Saddam Hussein—who believed himself to be a reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar—was “dethroned” and his meager (futile) effort to rebuild Babylon came to a screeching halt, just a little over a decade ago. One thing is crystal clear: Iraq, which is the contemporary land mass constituting a portion of ancient Babylon, will never be anything approaching an influential nation or city on this earth again. In fact, geopolitical experts are predicting that Iraq will eventually be split into two, three, or four smaller countries; at the very least divided between Muslim sects, as a result of the Syrian-Iraqi civil wars currently underway.

Second Reason:

In addition to the “judgment that is going to come on the great prostitute,” (Rome is still very much intact and is still considered one of the great cities of the earth), let’s scrutinize the tense of some verbs in Revelation 17.

Such as, “The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules” (Revelation 17:9, italics for emphasis).

(*Note: One of the important lessons I’ve learned in my study of Scripture, especially prophecy: To pay exceptional attention to the tense of verbs and the use of pronouns, especially personal pronouns. So when verse 11 states, “his reign will be brief” (the seventh head or king), it means exactly what it says: his is referring to the seventh of seven kings—not kingdoms as many teachers contend. There is absolutely no way to get around that personal pronoun.)

Getting back to the verse just quoted: it says, where the woman rules. The woman was ruling then and there. Or if you were reading Revelation in the first century, you would say the woman rules here and now. Whether in the first century or 21st century, we immediately realize that the woman (the great city that sits on seven hills) was ruling at the very time when the visions of Revelation were given to John. For that reason alone, believers of the first century knew beyond any doubt, whatsoever, that the angel and John were referring to Rome. What else was ruling over most of world’s nations at that time? It certainly wasn’t Babylon. Almost everyone knew of or was part of The Glory of Rome.

Later, we see the same present tense (at that specific time in history) in verse 15: “The waters where the prostitute is ruling represent masses of people of every nation and language. This is even stronger language, by virtue of using the helping (present tense) verb, “is.”

Once again in Verse 18: “And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world”. “That rules,” is unquestionably a present tense rendering, with that referring to the woman (the great city) and rules conveying a present tense condition and action.

Not past tense, as in long-gone Babylon. Nor even future tense in these verses, although future tense is definitely included in Chapter 17. For example, the ten kings (not the seven kings, five who had died, one who was ruling and one to come shortly) who will yield their authority to the beast, who John previously told us had died but would reappear from the Abyss. The angel says about these ten kings “They will be appointed to their kingdoms … they will all agree to give him (the beast) their power and authority” (Verse 12-13). Will yield and will agree to give are distinctly future tense … during the Great Tribulation.

Third Reason:

Most of the prophet Daniel’s prophecies have already been fulfilled, including the rise and fall of four colossal Gentile kingdoms—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome; the first arrival of Messiah; the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the armies of the ruler (Nero, whose legions completed the conquest of Israel that Nero had set in motion) who would arise after Messiah had been killed.

The yet unfulfilled prophecies of Daniel will take place in the Tribulation period. Likewise, with the book of Revelation. Yet, in Revelation, we are also given the biographical and geopolitical origin of the Antichrist (beast), including the shocking fact that he had already lived and died before the revelations were given to John. And that the beast would “reappear” from the Abyss, which will take place very soon after the Rapture.

However, Revelation was written first and foremost to the first century Christians. As clearly indicated by the Apostles Peter, John, and Paul in their epistles, those very believers were eagerly expecting that Jesus would return any day. And Jesus could have returned any moment of any day. For this reason of what we call the “imminent return of Messiah,” the great city depicted by the woman had to be Rome. I repeat for emphasis: It could not have been Babylon, it only could have been Rome, which was the great city of the enormous Roman Empire at the time. Even though Messiah Jesus has delayed his return, the fact remains that Rome has maintained prominence in the world including the powerful ascent of the Roman Catholic Church.

The first century Christians, most of whom were Jewish, knew their Old Testament. They knew that Babylon had long since vanished. For Christ to rapture his church at any time, which would set in motion the great Tribulation, Babylon would have to not only exist, but at that time be (or somehow arise from the ashes, despite Scriptural evidence to the contrary) the ruling power over “people of every nation and language.” It was obvious to those believers that the figurative representation of the woman could refer only to Rome. And, it should be equally evident to us in the 21st century: only Rome has survived for 2000 years, not Babylon—which for all practical purposes ceased to exist over 2,500 years ago.

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(This Picture of Rome Selected to Show Hills In and Around the City)

That same reasoning (imminent return of Jesus Christ) is used in my book, Out of the Abyss, as yet another proof that the seven heads of the beast are kings, whereas many prophecy students claim they are kingdoms, i.e. Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and (what they say will be) The Revived Roman Empire.

From pages 165 & 166 of Out of the Abyss:

Revelation was written to and for the believers alive at that time, not just for the generation alive when Christ would return. In fact, the first century believers could certainly have been that generation … every subsequent generation that was replaced by another generation eagerly awaited the imminent return of Jesus. Otherwise, the Biblically based concept of the imminent return of Messiah would only be for the last age. In other words, any age group including the first century Christians could be the last or “that” generation.

Beyond all doubt, the early Christians knew that the sixth or seventh head (indeed all of the seven heads) could not be an empire, because if the 7th head was a future revived Roman Empire to replace the 6th head, then the current Roman Empire would have to be destroyed and rebuilt in some fashion. If that were the case, then there’s no way that the return of Christ would be or could be considered “imminent” to them, as it would have taken decades or even longer for the Roman Empire to fall then to be restored. In fact, history bears this out, as the Roman Empire dominated the world for another four hundred years or so.

Fourth Reason (Two Parts)

The entire 18th Chapter of Revelation graphically depicts the consummate destruction of Rome (Babylon by symbolical representation); with virtually all the verses pointing to both ancient Rome and the subsequent Holy Roman Empire, via the Roman Catholic Church. Not literally to ancient Babylon, otherwise the descriptive language would be contradictory. For example:

“Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen!” (Revelation 18:2). Then, in great detail, the angel tells John what will actually happen. In one of these descriptions we read: “… And all the captains of the merchant ships and their passengers and sailors and crews will stand at a distance. They will cry out as they watch the smoke ascend, and they will say, ‘Where is there another city as great as this?’” (Revelation 18:17-18).

This is literally detailing the horrified reaction of both sailors and passengers on ships. I can assure you that there is no large body of water near enough to Babylon in Iraq for sailors to watch the smoke ascend from the city. The Caspian Sea, Black Sea, Persian Gulf, and Mediterranean Sea are pretty much equidistant from Babylon, and they’re all at least 500 miles away. However, if Rome were to go up in flames, the smoke could easily be seen from vessels on the Mediterranean Sea.

old-testament-world-19

(Shows Babylon’s Proximity to Bodies of Water)

Then we read: “Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes” (Revelation 18:20, italics for emphasis).

And, “…Praise the Lord! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God. His judgments are true and just. He has punished the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her immorality. He has avenged the murder of his servants” (Revelation 19:1-2, italics for emphasis).

Ancient Babylon did, in fact, destroy Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple, and exiled many Jews from the southern two tribes to Babylonia. This was allowed by God to discipline Israel, but lasted for only 70 years. Other than the incident in which the young Jewish men Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow before a statue of Nebuchadnezzar, there was no real persecution of the Jews while in captivity. And we all know about the divine deliverance of these three men from the fiery furnace!

Babylon did not kill any Jewish prophets before or during its conquest of Judah. And there were certainly no apostles at that time. In fact, Jeremiah—the most prominent prophet who prophesied Babylon’s triumph over Judah and Jerusalem—was treated with kindness by his captors.

“The captain of the guard called for Jeremiah and said, ‘The Lord your God has brought this disaster on this land, just as he said he would. For these people have sinned against the Lord and disobeyed him. That is why it happened. But I am going to take off your chains and let you go. If you want to come with me to Babylon, you are welcome. I will see that you are well cared for. But if you don’t want to come, you may stay here. The whole land is before you—go wherever you like” (Jeremiah 40:2-4).

(Note: Jeremiah’s own people had put him in chains)

To the contrary, Romans (none more so than Nero Caesar) tortured and killed thousands of Christians, including the apostles Peter and Paul. As did the Roman Catholic Church in subsequent generations during the Inquisitions, and in wars against true believers, many of whom were Protestants (protesters against the false creed of Catholicism).

God would, therefore, have no reason to punish (the city of) Babylon beyond the first and only complete judgment that took place ages ago. But all the reason in the world to finally judge Rome (primarily religious Rome) during the Great Tribulation.

Fifth Reason:

Other than Revelation’s allegorical depiction of Babylon (for the reasons already given), those who contend that Babylon is where Antichrist literally will set up his headquarters, use only one other passage … Zechariah 5:5-11. If you like, please read that text. In this article space only permits the following observations:

The Woman (called “Wickedness”) and the basket in which she sits is a figurative representation of the sins of Israel that will be symbolically transferred to the land of Shinar (Babylonia). A temple (also translated shrine, more in the meaning of monument) will be built as a memorial signifying that Israel’s transgressions will be forever removed from them when all Israel is saved at the glorious return of Messiah and allegorically deposited in the very area that produced “Mother Babylon” (Revelation 17:5).

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(A Fairly Accurate Artist Rendition of the Woman in the Basket, Zachariah 5)

In fact, Zechariah Chapter Five doesn’t actually mention the city of Babylon. Nor is it, at all, saying that the land of Shinar is the Wicked Woman herself (that’s where she—representing the sins of national Israel—will be taken). In short, Zechariah is not referring, whatsoever, to the Antichrist; including, but not limited to, the speculation that he will establish his headquarters from the literal city of Babylon. Which is why Zechariah doesn’t specify Babylon; instead he refers to all of Babylonia (Shinar) as the central epitome of occult paganism that spread to other nations, which sadly included Israel.

Why Then Does John Substitute Rome with Babylon; or Use the Imagery of a Woman; or Encode the Beast’s Identity by Referring to the Number of His Name, Six Hundred, Sixty-Six?

For John to have named Rome itself in the Book of Revelation, or to have identified Nero as the beast (even though Nero was dead, it would be an affront to the office of the Roman Caesars), or for Paul to have written Nero’s name as the Man of Lawlessness in II Thessalonians, would have meant instant death for Paul, John, and thousands more Christians. Already, Nero had murdered many believers; there was no reason to risk the slaughter of thousands more. Instead, represent the seven Roman Emperors by the seven heads (kings) of the beast which include Nero as one of the seven heads but also the composite beast itself; encode his name by Hebrew gematria (Nero’s name matches the number six hundred and sixty-six); and use Babylon in the place of Rome to lessen suspicion of Roman officials, especially Caesar.

Babylon in Revelation Chapter 17 does not represent the woman herself. Rather, “A mysterious name was written on her forehead: ‘Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World’” (Verse 5). In this context, Babylon is identified as the “Mother” who would bear children who would prostitute the very existence and truth of God and of the Messiah. Or, as done in ancient Rome, create the idea that Caesar, himself, was a god; exemplified by Nero’s ambition to actually be worshipped as God—with this ambition elevated to a whole new perverted level during the Tribulation.

This corruption and distortion of God’s everlasting truth is also the core foundation of all non-Christian world religions, cults, and anti-religious systems such as the New Age movement or communism. Including, unfortunately, the Roman Catholic Church which would continue the legacy of the Roman Empire through religion.

Thus, when Babylon (Rome) is crushed during the tribulation, Mother Babylon which birthed the “Woman” is also destroyed.

Things to Ponder

In the next to last page of Out of the Abyss, I summarize:

In closing, we need not look to modern Rome, or to Brussels, or to Mecca, or Berlin, or Moscow, or London, or Paris, or New York City, or to Washington D.C. to find the Antichrist. Look to ancient Rome, and then look to the sea. Peer into the Abyss, and you will find the man of lawlessness; the unholy beast who would dare to be “anti” Christ.

And then, look to Jerusalem for the true Messiah. Focus on the Mount of Olives for his triumphant return. Antichrist will gather his armies to fight against Yeshua. The beast will be granted authority for but a brief time. During that reign, he will strike many times. Jesus will strike but once and crush the man of lawlessness…

In the first above quoted paragraph, I was referring to the here and now, to the current pre-Rapture population of the earth. When the glorious Rapture takes place, the world’s attention will be redirected for a time from Jerusalem to Rome. Nero will suddenly appear from the Abyss. This “miracle” will amaze those left behind.

I totally believe that the Lord meant for all pre-Rapture believers to know the identity of the Antichrist. Otherwise, why would he have given us so many clues to the proper fit of the prophetic puzzle? Moreover, I trust that some left behind after the Rapture will not be so amazed at Nero, because they will understand that Scripture had disclosed long ago who this man is and what he would do upon his reappearance. It would be Satan’s attempt to counterfeit copy the magnificent return of the true Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus often referred to himself as the Son of Man.

“…I saw someone like the son of man coming with the clouds of heaven… He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14).

Please, take a few more minutes and listed to this great song, with some wonderful visual effects.

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