Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence (Part II)

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Let’s Make a Deal

“Come on Down,” and see if, The Price is Right!

Or would you rather hear, Let’s Make a Deal. If so, then is it, “Door Number One or Door Number Two…?”

Do you recognize these iconic lines and the two longest running game shows in television history? You don’t have to be a baby boomer to remember; both programs are still aired on television.

The Price is Right originally aired in 1972, hosted by Bob Barker until 2007. Not long ago, TV Guide named it, “the greatest game show of all time.” The contestant who could most accurately estimate the price would win the merchandise being offered.

I’m using the analogy of this game show as an introduction to this week’s article, but with a twist on the name of the show to: The Prize is Being Right. This is no small prize, especially if you’ve wondered about or wanted to know whether you can know the identity of the Antichrist.

We were meant to know his identity, beginning with the 1st century Christians who expected Messiah Jesus would take them home to heaven at any moment (Rapture), and then the anti-Messiah to reappear soon thereafter. In all of Scripture, there are only two passages that challenge the reader to solve the mystery of the revelations underway. Both are in the book of Revelation and both apply directly to the identity of the Antichrist.

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

“This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast … also represent seven kings” (Revelation 17:9).

Let’s Make A Deal originally aired in 1963, conceived and hosted by Monty Hall. To begin the show something of value was offered to the contestants. They could either keep the prize or trade it for something unknown, which could be of higher value or of lower value (or virtually no value … a booby prize). There were three curtains or boxes from which to choose.

The contestant who advanced the farthest was eligible to participate in the “Big Deal.” This was the grand finale to each show and also involved three choices, but this time each surprise was hidden behind a door. Almost all contestants would risk what they had already won for something they hoped would be of greater value. When they agreed to make a deal, Monty Hall would say something like, “Is it door number one, door number two, or door number three?”

Though I rarely watched either of these game shows, I do recall more than a little suspense created in the live audience and I assume the T.V. audience while the finalist was agonizing over which price to quote or which door to choose.

Three Historical Doors to Choose

In my book Out of the Abyss, I used this analogy of which door to choose in order to solve the dilemma that Bible scholars have debated for decades, if not centuries. Some 40-50 years ago, the discussion virtually ended as nearly all Bible commentators decided that the only solution was to make kingdoms out of kings in Revelation 17. The 7th kingdom would be a Revived Roman Empire. Recently, some students of prophecy have abandoned a Revived Roman Empire in favor of an Islamic Caliphate as the seventh kingdom and a Muslim Imam as the coming Antichrist.

In the form of a question here’s why practically all Bible scholars inappropriately and inaccurately replaced kings with kingdoms:

Can Scripture possibly be accurate by saying there are seven kings when historically there were more than seven Roman Emperors from the time of Julius Caesar to the time of Domitian whom they maintain was the Emperor when John the Apostle wrote Revelation? In last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, we covered in great detail the compelling evidence to show that another man named John was the author of Revelation. With, however, the clarifying condition that no matter which John wrote Revelation (or when), the seven heads of the Antichrist beast are still seven kings, not kingdoms.

There are three historical doors (options) to choose from. Yet each one, when opened, will unmistakably show us that there are still seven kings behind each door.

Consequently, Bible scholars can and should safely trade in their mistaken application of the seven kings as kingdoms for the prize of knowing that the Antichrist beast of Revelation is Nero, the man of lawlessness first exposed by the Apostle Paul. Of course, I’m not equating Nero to the prize itself. Rather the prize is the understanding that the mysteries of Revelation 13 & 17 were unveiled and the cryptic codes that partially concealed the Antichrist’s identity can be declassified. With a “mind of understanding” and “wisdom” we can know just as the believers of the first few centuries AD knew who Antichrist was (is, because he will return from the Abyss).

Today we’ll examine more evidence to demonstrate that the sequence of Roman emperors in the first century credibly allows for seven of them to be the seven kings of Revelation 13 and 17; five of them had already died before John saw the beast of Revelation and one of the five was Nero.

“Why are you so amazed? the angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, at any moment) come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world (those left behind at the Rapture) … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, parenthesis mine).

If Revelation 17 as a whole or these verses just quoted in particular were the only references to Antichrist in the Bible, it would be sufficient to validate that the Antichrist beast was a first century man who would reappear from the Abyss at the outset of the Tribulation. This passage stunningly seized my attention in November, 2008 and completely changed my previous view (the same view still held by Bible scholars) that the identity of Antichrist couldn’t be known until after the Rapture.

This disclosure propelled me on an unforgettable voyage to the ancient Roman world, to the very origin and lair of the beast, to the Abyss and back again, to the pre-emptive death of the man of lawlessness, and then reappearance of this evil tyrant as the Antichrist beast. As a result, Out of the Abyss was published in February, 2011.

The angel continues to unveil the mystery:

“This calls for a mind with understanding. The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Revelation 17:9-10).

As indicated in the About page on the Eye of Prophecy website, all of my Scripture quotes are taken from the New Living Translation, unless indicated otherwise.

Now let’s quote the next verse from the New American Standard Bible:

“The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction” (Revelation 17:11).

Notice that the verse says the beast is “also” an eighth. Also is emphasizing that the beast, besides being one of (from) the seven kings, is the composite beast himself. It’s not saying that the Antichrist (beast) is an additional king, who when added to the seven kings makes a total of eight (different) kings; because the rest of the passage unquestionably states there are only seven kings. Thus the beast is one of the seven but will (future tense when he returns) also be an eighth king because he will resume his reign as one of the seven when he reappears from the Abyss.

Please understand: The composite beast as a whole is a man, the Antichrist (Nero), because the beast is referred to by the personal pronoun “him” in Revelation Chapter 17 and “he” in Chapter 13.

Before we open the three doors that will all lead to the same room full of seven Roman Emperors, let’s examine two more significant reasons why the seven heads of the Antichrist beast are kings (Roman emperors) not seven kingdoms, which students of prophecy identity as: Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome, and a so-called Revived Roman Empire.

Seven kingdoms are in direct contradiction to two prophetic passages in Daniel (Chapters 2 & 7) that incontrovertibly tell us there would be only four World Empires—Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome—in the prophetic context of how these kingdoms interacted with God’s plan for Israel, including the Messiah.

(Four World Empires as Seen by Nebuchadnezzar)

(Depiction of The Same Four World Empires As Seen by Daniel)

Reason Number One: Personal Pronouns Ascribed to the Kings

Of paramount importance is that the seven heads of the beast—explained by the angel as seven kings—are referenced by the singular personal pronoun of “his” (the seventh king, Revelation 17:10). Then, the ten horns (ten kings of the Tribulation period) also are referred to by a personal (plural) pronoun … they.

“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 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 the Lord of all lords and King of all kings…” (Revelation 17:12-14).

Although the seven (heads) kings were 1st century Roman emperors and the ten (horns) kings to come will be rulers of ten nations during the Tribulation period, all of them are kings, not kingdoms.

Grammatically and contextually, there’s no way to circumvent these pronouns. These masculine personal pronouns cannot and would not (certainly not in Scripture) be used in place of kingdoms. Sometimes in English, we use the personal plural pronoun “they” as a substitutional reference to places or things, but it is not an accurate use of the word.

For example, if we first identify the seven kingdoms by name (Babylon, Persia …) then refer to them in the plural, we might say or write, “They.” However, if we do, the personal plural pronoun is specifically identifying the people of those kingdoms. For kingdoms, the accurate grammatical term would be the adjective “These (plural of this) … kingdoms. Or just, “these.” Or “those” (plural of that) … kingdoms.

Bottom line: personal pronouns used in place of the noun kings in the Biblical text could stand alone as a reason not to substitute kings with kingdoms. Yet, there is another substantial reason why kings must be kings and kingdoms must be kingdoms.

Reason Number Two: Greek Words for Kings and Kingdoms

It’s logical that a kingdom should have a king (or queen) and a king should have a kingdom, but throughout history kings have been without kingdoms and kingdoms have been at one time or another without kings. Not only grammatically, but also experientially, kings do not equate with kingdoms and the two words should not be used interchangeably at whim, or at all. The same goes for the Greek language in which the New Testament was written.

The Greek word for kings is basileus: defined as leader of the people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king. This is the word used in Revelation 17:9: “…they also represent seven kings.” And it’s the same word used each time in this Revelation passage translated “kings.” It is also the Greek term used numerous times throughout the New Testament, translated king or kings.

Furthermore, the Greek word for king is a masculine noun, which makes sense because kings are men. Just as queens are women. Do I hear a, “duh?”

Just like the English word for king and kingdom are similar in spelling and pronunciation but quite different in their meaning and application, so is the Greek word for kingdoms, which is: basileia. The meaning: a territory or dominion or base of royal power, subject to the rule of a king or queen or prince or whatever. However, the Greek word for kingdom is a feminine noun, which also makes sense. Although there are rare exceptions, nearly all nations (kingdoms) are referred to by the feminine pronoun when substituted for the name of the country.

America is the land of the free and the home of the brave. Or, she is the land of the free… I love America. Or, I love her (which would be expressed even by a woman using the personal pronoun).

More Conclusive Evidence in the Passage

The very fact that the author John employs both Greek words for kings and kingdoms in Revelation 17 makes for an unambiguous grammatical distinction between the two.

“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” (Revelation 17:12, italics for emphasis).

I think this was best summarized in my book Out of the Abyss, so permit me to quote from it (in italics):

All scholars agree that the ten horns are just what the text states … basileus or ten kings. Although the same word for kings is employed for the seven heads in verse 9, they substitute kings with kingdoms. At the very minimum that seems to be inconsistent. At the maximum, it’s simply not grammatically accurate.

…the fact is that the Greek words used for king(s) and kingdom(s) are precise definitive words that delineate and distinguish between the two.

Both Greek words are utilized in the same revelation scene given to John; hence, it’s even more imperative that there is no confusion generated by liberally substituting the actual Greek word for kings with a kingdom interpretation. I believe this would be a violation of the textual and contextual language and meaning.

Please understand, it must be one or the other; it can’t be both king and kingdom. The rest of Scripture that deals with the Antichrist hinges on the proper application of kings to the word kings versus kingdoms.

To a great extent, one could make a strong case that the Greek words alone would decide the issue here. It is a case that probably would stand the test of any formal debate, in any etymological or linguistic court, as it were.

Footnote: The application of kingdoms to the Greek word for kings is not entirely new to modern prophetic study, although the magnitude of this application became much more evident shortly after the resurgence of prophetic studies in the 20th century. (Pages 124-125).

Is It Door Number One, Two, Three or All Three?

Before we can make a deal (agreement) that there are, with historical 20/20 hindsight, three doors (options) that can and will lead to seven Roman Emperors to precisely match what John is telling the first century believers and all believers thereafter, let me repeat why this is necessary.

We need to fully comprehend that the Antichrist will not be a modern-day born man—as clearly controverted by Revelation 17:7-8, which states the Antichrist had already lived and died BEFORE John even wrote Revelation, and that his identity can be known (Nero). Therefore, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor (an eighth but also one of the seven) not a Revived Roman Empire as the seventh kingdom … when, in fact, those seven are kings not kingdoms. Even though there were more than seven Roman emperors in the first century, there were only seven of these emperors who match and, therefore, confirm the seven kings of Revelation.

The following is a list of Caesars in the first century. Beginning with the first Caesar whose reign actually started in the 1st century BC. … before the birth of Messiah Jesus.

Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD)

Tiberius (14 AD – 37 AD)

Caligula (37 – 41)

Claudius (41 – 54)

Nero (54 – 68)

Galba, Otho & Vitellius (68 – 69)

Vespasian (69 – 79)

Titus (79 – 81)

Domitian (81 – 96)

Nerva (96 – 98)

Later, you’ll see why I’ve lumped three emperors together and why the emperor after Domitian is listed. The vast majority of Bible commentators believe the author of Revelation is John the Apostle, written during the reign of Domitian. Thus, the total number of “kings” would be twelve, not seven. Thirteen, if Julius Caesar is included—who many students of prophecy have (erroneously) classified as a (the first) Caesar. Hence, the substitution of kingdoms for kings.

Time and space in today’s article does not permit detailed elaboration, so I will simply relay the position of most historians who contend that Julius was not actually one (the first) of the Caesars, even though his name is linked to the title of Caesar. Some members of the Roman Senate murdered him before he could proclaim himself as Caesar and/or before he could be acknowledged as the first Roman dictator. In fact, history strongly indicates that Julius, himself, was undecided whether to proclaim himself as Caesar when he went to the Senate on that fateful day.

When you examine virtually any historical account, you will find the first Emperor listed as Augustus who was recognized by the Senate and affirmed by the Roman citizenry as the first Roman Caesar, nearly two decades after Julius was assassinated.

 So Who Were the Seven Kings (Emperors) and Which Door Is Each Set of Seven Behind?

*Note: Doors number one and two are for those who believe that another believer named John wrote Revelation, not John the Apostle. Door number three is for those who adamantly contend that the Apostle John authored Revelation and did so during the reign of Domitian. But what you are about to discover is that it doesn’t matter which door you open; they all lead to the convincing conclusion that there were, indeed, seven 1st century Roman Emperors to match the seven kings as stated in Revelation. Thereby, historically confirming the amazing accuracy of Scripture and the fallacy of switching seven kings to kingdoms.

Door Number One

First, a review regarding the status of the seven kings as relayed by John, at the very time he received these revelations on the isle of Patmos: “Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Revelation 17:10).

We’ll scrutinize the term fallen in more detail; for now sufficient to know that, in its broadest application, it simply means, died. Five of the seven kings had already lived and died (INCLUDING THE ANTICHRIST HIMSELF … as stated three times in Revelation 17 and three times in Revelation 13).

Some scholars who believe that another man named John wrote Revelation place the time of authorship shortly after Nero’s death, during the brief tenure of Galba between June, 68 AD and January, 69 AD.

Accordingly, the five Caesars who had already died were: Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero. Galba would be the sixth king who “now reigns” with the seventh king to follow but “his reign will be brief.” Sure enough, Otho succeeded Galba and lasted as Emperor for a whopping three months. Now that is a short reign!

So, the first door easily opens to a room of the first seven Roman Caesars (kings) to perfectly match what the angel is telling John the Revelator. Yet we must begin with Augustus, not Julius, which is historically accurate because Julius was never a Caesar in the first place.

Door Number Two

Although they are few compared to students of prophecy who ascribe authorship of Revelation to the Apostle John, the majority of Bible scholars who believe another John wrote Revelation believe the preponderance of evidence shows that Revelation was written during the reign of Vespasian, 69-79 AD.

Nevertheless, this door will also lead to a room occupied by seven Roman emperors!

If Vespasian was the sixth king reigning when John received the revelations, then his son, Titus, would be the seventh. By referring again to the list of Roman Emperors, we see that Titus was only Caesar for two years (79 – 81 AD). In contrast to Vespasian and the first five Caesars, the reign of Titus would certainly qualify as brief.

Now then, you’re probably asking the question, “What about Galba, Otho, and Vitellius? Wouldn’t they be numbers six and seven, (and eight) … with Vespasian number nine and Titus the tenth? Those numbers don’t fit with seven kings of Revelation 17.”

Ah, but Vespasian and Titus could be numbers six and seven. And were, in fact, if door number two is the historical explanation for the seven kings. Reminder: all three doors lead to seven kings. The only difference in the three doors that lead to the same room of seven Caesars is which seven are they. Moreover, there will be no cheating in order to make Door Number Two a viable option to explain the succession of emperors when Revelation was written! Here’s why and how.

*Note: A pause here to explain that if even one of these three historical options couldn’t fit with seven Roman emperors, then I wouldn’t have allowed my book Out of the Abyss to be published. In fact, I wouldn’t have even continued writing the book. Nor would many of the articles in Eye of Prophecy (category of Antichrist) have been subsequently written to further affirm that Nero is the Antichrist.

In order for Vespasian to be the sixth king and Titus the seventh, we need to eliminate Galba, Otho, and Vitellius as (genuine) Roman Emperors. “Really?” you reply. “How is that possible?”

Because the vast majority of historians have done exactly that. They have catalogued these three emperors as illegitimate usurpers to the Roman throne after Nero’s death, during an 18 month time of civil war upheaval in the Roman Empire. Please refer to, Out of the Abyss (Chapter 17) for a more detailed explanation, as time/space doesn’t permit in today’s article. The longest “reign” of these three pseudo pretenders to the throne was Vitellius … for only nine months.

(Some Historians List the First Five Roman Emperors as Claudian Dynasty or Julio-Claudian Dynasty. Either way, Julius Is Not Considered One of the Caesars)

(The Next Historical Dynasty Is Labeled The Flavian Dynasty. Notice That Galba, Otho, and Vitellius Are Not Listed in This Dynasty Or Any Other)

Another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

A modern-day comparison would be if the President of the United States died in office, the legal and proper succession would flow to Vice President. But let’s say that the Speaker of the House, or a senator, or perhaps a three-star general decided to be President. Likely, there soon would be civil war; at the very least disorder and unrest would be rampant throughout the country. No matter how long anyone stayed in office, few would ever consider them to be the legitimate President of the United States. Likewise, neither the Romans as a whole nor history acknowledged these three men as bona fide emperors. And, neither did the angelic messenger of Revelation 17, if he gave the visions to John of Patmos during Vespasian’s reign (Page 152).

In order to fully grasp that both of these first two doors are viable options (explanations) we need to place ourselves in the 1st century alongside of the believers who were reading Revelation for the first time. Most Christians would have been fully aware of the exact sequence of Roman emperors, including whether or not Galba and Otho would be the sixth and seventh kings (Door One); or whether those two and Vitellius would be disqualified and Vespasian would then be the sixth king and his son, Titus, the seventh. They would most certainly have known which emperor was the “sixth (who) now reigns” and the seventh in the event some believers didn’t read Revelation until the seventh Caesar began his reign, or any time thereafter.

This premise will also apply to Door Number Three.

Door Number Three

If, in fact, John the Apostle wrote Revelation and did so during Domitian’s reign, then a third door is necessary as an (accurate) alternative to accommodate seven Roman Emperors. Once again, as presented in last week’s article, we still do not know for sure which John authored Revelation. Yet, it was necessary to show—which was done through much evidence and analysis of that evidence—that another believer named John could certainly have been the author.

If Revelation was written during Domitian’s tenure as Emperor, then he would be the sixth king and Nerva, his successor, the seventh. We see that Nerva was on the throne for only two years so that would definitely qualify as a brief reign. The biggest hurdle for scholars who maintain Revelation was written during Domitian’s reign is the verse declaring that five kings had already “fallen.” At face value that is a huge problem; by the time you get to Domitian, the previous ten Emperors had already died … seven if you eliminate Galba, Otho, and Vitellius. Either way it’s more than five.

During my extensive study, research, and writing of Out of the Abyss, this was also my biggest prophetic puzzle to solve … one of the toughest pieces to refit, or so I thought. However, the last thing I would or could do was to force this door open with mere supposition or some flimsy hypothesis for the sake of trying to prove my premise that Nero was the first century man of lawlessness (Antichrist) and will return as the 21st century beast (the same Antichrist).

In order to successfully enter this door without forcing it open, I needed to more closely examine the Greek word for “fallen.” Obviously it means death (died), but could it have a more specific meaning? The answer: Yes, could and does!

Here is another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

First, we need to scrutinize the Greek word translated “fallen” in Revelation 17:10. The Greek word is pipto. In the broadest sense it means to perish, to come to an end, to cease. But it also conveys a more specific meaning; that of being thrust down, to be removed from power by death at the hand of another. In the immediate context of Revelation 17:10, the angel could certainly have been referring to five kings who had been killed (removed or toppled from power) by someone else, as opposed to a natural death.

…If, in fact, the angel used the Greek word pipto (fallen) in the more contracted but nevertheless equal meaning of the word, then we should discover five Roman emperors who were assassinated, murdered, or killed by someone else (Page 153).

History shows us that four of the ten Roman Emperors from Augustus through Titus died of natural causes … Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, and Titus. Otho committed suicide which doesn’t qualify as being killed (eliminated) by someone else. That leaves five emperors.

To successfully open door number three, we’re going to allow Galba, Otho, and Vitellius back into the equation. Why? Because Scripture could certainly have included these three. As said in Out of the Abyss: “This is not an arbitrary manipulation of history; rather, we have a feasible application of more than one option with respect to the angel’s sequential choice of the seven emperors. Conversely, if even one of these doors doesn’t open, then the foundational options collapse and I suppose we return to kingdoms instead of kings—despite the Greek word for kings and the deference to personal pronouns” (Pages 153-154).

Here is the amazing fit: We do find that the remaining five emperors who had “fallen” (pipto) died at the hands of another. They are:

Caligula: Assassinated by the Praetorian Guard.

Claudius: Murdered by his wife, Agrippina (with assistance or at least collusion of Nero).

Nero: Killed by his servant. Some accounts indicate he committed suicide, but suicide was only his idea. History clearly shows he couldn’t go through with killing himself so his servant, Epaphroditos, ended up striking the fatal blows.

Galba: Murdered in favor of Otho assuming the throne.

Vitellius: Assassinated by Roman soldiers.

Summary

Door Number One:

If Revelation was given to John the Revelator during Galba’s tenure, then (the first) five kings had already died …by using the broader application of pipto (fallen). With the seventh king to come (Otho) having a very brief reign. Result: A perfect fit for the seven kings.

Door Number Two:

If John of Patmos or even John the Apostle received the revelations during Vespasian’s reign, the same five emperors had died (Augustus through Nero); however we—as historians have done—can exclude Galba, Otho, and Vitellius Why? Because they were temporary fill-in rulers generated by chaos in the Roman Empire after Nero’s death. Result: A very nice fit.

Door Number Three:

If the book of Revelation was written by John the Apostle during Domitian’s reign, we simply apply the Greek word pipto (fallen) in its more restricted usage … meaning forcible removal from power at the hands of another. But also to include the three quasi-emperors specifically in the context of how they died. Result: An equally fine fit.

In final summary, here is one last excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

The book of Revelation was not written exclusively for … whatever generation would be on earth when the end times arrived. In hindsight, we in this generation look back and subconsciously, even unintentionally or subliminally think that the Book of Revelation is applicable only to our age. But that is rear-view vision only, simply because Christ hasn’t yet returned. Obviously, the unfolding prophecies of Revelation will be applicable to the generation alive at that time; however, Revelation was first and foremost written to and for the 1st century believers as much as 2nd century, 5th century, 10th century, and so on. That is why Jesus told John, “Write down what you have seen—both the things that are now happening and the things that will happen” (Revelation 1:19).

Essentially, all but two things are future when it comes to end times prophecies culminating with the Day of the Lord, whether the future was the 1st century or the 21st century. Those two exceptions are men: the Messiah and his antithesis, Antichrist. Since Jesus could have returned in the first century, then there must also have been a first century man who would immediately precede Christ’s return! That is exactly what Revelation Chapter 17 is telling us (Page 155).

Adding to this excerpt, we can even better understand that a first-century Antichrist was necessary by realizing that this same man (Nero) has been confined to the Abyss and will reappear shortly after the Rapture. This sure prophecy could have taken place anytime since the first century to this very day.

Although all three doors are legitimate scriptural and historical options, which one would you choose? Whichever door you open you will have traded up for the prize of being right! And that’s a pretty good deal!

Things to Ponder

The price will seem right to those left behind when they choose Antichrist and refuse to trade up for the True Messiah, Jesus. But it will be a horribly heavy price to pay and there will be no turning back once they accept the mark or name of Nero in their right hand or forehead (Revelation 13:16-18).

They will have literally made a deal with Satan when they take the mark of the beast, and they will have sealed their eternal destiny (Revelation 14:9-10).

(What Many Forget Is That People Will Also Choose the Name of the Beast–Nero–Instead of His Number)

But for those who will not be amazed at the reappearance of a 2,000 year-old Roman Caesar because Scripture had predicted this long ago, they will choose (even on pain of torture or death) the true Messiah, Jesus.

And their reward will be very great.

“…They had not worshipped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4b).

For those of us who will be taken in the Rapture because we have already believed and received Jesus as Messiah:

“Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6).

“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” (Revelation 21:4).

Exposing Antichrist’s Identity … More Compelling Evidence (Part I)

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Which John is the Author of Revelation?

From where does the contemporary idea of a Revived Roman Empire come? Why do the vast majority of Bible scholars substitute kingdoms for kings in Revelation Chapter 17? Why is it that most teachers and students of Scripture adamantly maintain that only the Apostle John could have written the book of Revelation? How could so many students of Bible prophecy (including me at one time) miss the stunning evidence clearly conveyed in Revelation?

“The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now…” (Revelation 17:7).

My second book (Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, published in 2011) originated directly from the dramatic discernment given to me in November, 2008 regarding the staggering implications of this passage. Subsequently, several Eye of Prophecy articles have expounded on the above quoted verse and several other Biblical passages to affirm the identity of Antichrist—none other than the Roman Emperor, Nero.

But not to reinforce the misguided view of the Preterists who also point to Nero as the Antichrist. Because the Preterist maintain that the Great Tribulation occurred in the first century; which any number of Bible scholars have robustly refuted with clear Scriptural and historical documentation. As I’ve stated before, with abundant reasons given, the simple fact remains that the Great Tribulation is yet to come, preceded immediately by the Rapture, which unequivocally undermines the unscriptural and illogical premise advanced by the Preterists.

Yes, Nero was the Antichrist of the first century. But what the Preterists missed entirely is the astonishing disclosure in Revelation 17: the Antichrist had already lived and died BEFORE John saw this man in the form of a beast … as just quoted in the above verse. The few who believe that Nero was the Antichrist, do so primarily because the number of the beast through gematria (six hundred, sixty-six) corresponds to the name of Nero. Which it does, but that’s only one of many prophetic passages in Scripture that match Nero to Antichrist; some coming to pass in the first century, but most to be fulfilled during the Great Tribulation soon to come when Nero reappears from the Abyss.

Just as clearly and convincingly in this same passage, the angel who is revealing the mystery of the beast to John goes on to say that the Antichrist beast (who had already lived and died) would then, “…come up out of the bottomless pit…” And that the world (those left behind at the Rapture), “…will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:8).

This mind boggling fact was completely missed by the Preterists. But the same Bible scholars who astutely disproved the inaccurate claim by the Preterist that the Tribulation took place in the first century have also thrown out the baby with the bath water. Although I don’t like the analogy of comparing Nero to a baby, nearly all (if not all) students of prophecy have dismissed Nero as the Antichrist because the Tribulation has not yet taken place. Thereby, missing the extraordinary evidence in Revelation 17 that the Antichrist beast (Nero) will have reappeared from the Abyss when he arrives on the Tribulation scene.

(The Greater Majority of Evangelical Students of Prophecy Subscribe to Futurism Application of Revelation. I Would Add a Fifth Option: Partial Fulfillment in 1st Century–Nero Revealed, Complete Fulfillment in 21st Century)

Reasons Why Bible Scholars Changed Kings to Kingdoms in Revelation 17

A few previous Eye of Prophecy articles (see category of Antichrist) covered in part what was dealt with as a whole in Out of the Abyss. Such things as Antichrist (Nero):

Lived and died before John saw him (the beast) arise from the Sea (Abyss), thus the Antichrist could not be a modern-day born man (Revelation 13 & 17); the ruler who would arise shortly after Messiah was killed, whose armies would destroy the Temple (Daniel 9:26, 27); Nero was the man of lawlessness and the restrainer was the Roman Government and Claudius Caesar, not the Holy Spirit (II Thessalonians 2); suddenly (not gradually as would a modern-day born man) reappearing to the post-Rapture world (Daniel 7, Revelation 13 & 17); one of, out of, and from the seven kings who are seven Roman Emperors of the 1st century and not kingdoms as proposed by most Bible scholars (Revelation 17); and other passages.

In next week’s article we’ll see more compelling evidence to demonstrate that the beast/king of Revelation (Antichrist) was certainly known by the first century and subsequent century Christians to be a Roman Emperor … Nero Caesar. That there were seven Roman emperors who matched the seven kings of Revelation 17.

But first, in this week’s article, we need to examine evidence as to which John wrote the book of Revelation, as this issue is a formidable obstacle to correctly understanding that there were, in fact, seven kings (Roman Emperors) and not ten or more. Returning to the questions that opened today’s article, answers will be given this week and next regarding the two reasons why students of prophecy replaced seven kings with seven kingdoms. With the 7th kingdom purported to be a Revived Roman Empire instead of the clear textual reference to and meaning of all seven kings as men—by the use of personal pronouns and the Greek word for kings, not kingdoms as found in Revelation Chapter 17.

Reason #1: The prevailing view that the book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John in the mid-90s AD, not another John.

Reason #2: For reason number one, students of prophecy contend that there would be ten or more kings, not seven; thus, the only alternative for them was to (erroneously) replace the Greek word for king with kingdom.

“This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast … also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief” (Revelation 17:9-10).

If you haven’t read Out of the Abyss, what you’re about to discover is that no matter which John (the Apostle or who some call John the Revelator) wrote Revelation, first century history perfectly matches what the angel is telling John in the above quoted verses. We’ll see how that works in next week’s article. Therefore, there’s no reason to change seven kings to kingdoms just because there are ten or more Roman emperors up to the time that John the Apostle may have written Revelation (if he did), which is thought to be around 95 AD.

Why can I say that? Because, when we peer into the first century with historical hindsight (20/20 vision), we’ll plainly see that there’s more than one way (retroactively) to positively match what actually happened in the 1st century to what Scripture is telling us.

Please understand: The first part of Revelation 17:8, then all of verse 9 and most of verse 10 are not future tense (prophecies). They are, in fact, past and present tense (what had happened and was happening in the Roman Empire at the time), with only a slight future tense reference to the 7th king (Roman Caesar) who hadn’t yet begun his reign when the revelations were given to John.

If you’re confused or at least puzzled, that’s not all bad! Because you’re more likely to continue reading both this week’s article (Part I) and next week’s (Part II).

There’s nothing like solving a Whodunit mystery!

Let’s set the stage with an excerpt from Out of the Abyss (in italics):

The main reason that Bible scholars have discounted the seven heads as seven kings stems from the difficulty of sequentially selecting these emperors in the context of when John wrote Revelation. Why? The prevailing view ascribes authorship to the apostle John during the reign of Domitian (81 to 96 AD).

I will give you both sides to this issue, including compelling evidence to make the following assertion: No matter who wrote Revelation or when it was written, as applied to the five fallen kings, the 6th now reigning, and the 7th to follow with a short reign, Revelation 17 allows both views to fit! (Page 140).

(This Accurately Depicts the Four World Kingdoms of Daniel 2 & 7. But There Were Only Four, Not Seven. Which Is Another Reason That the Seven Kings of Revelation Are Kings, Not Kingdoms)

In Out of the Abyss I present the reasons that most Bible scholars and teachers insist that John the Apostle wrote Revelation; however, time/space in today’s article doesn’t permit elaboration on those explanations.

Nonetheless, I will quote another excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

Unfortunately, however, we cannot stake our theological lives on an unequivocal decree that John the Apostle authored the book of Revelation. I wish I could, as I have always been taught that, and always accepted it without reservation. By far, John (the Apostle) is my favorite choice (page 141).

Instead, we’ll look at reasons why the Apostle John may not have been the author; it very well could have been another Christian believer named John to whom Messiah Jesus and angels disclosed the awesome revelations as recorded in the Book of Revelation.

Reasons Why a Handful of Bible Scholars Believe That John the Apostle Did Not Write Revelation

John Identified Himself in Revelation

John the Apostle is correctly credited with authorship of the Gospel of John and the Epistles I, II, & III John. Although the Apostle John does not identify himself by (the author’s) name, I am in full agreement with all of the evidence to convincingly conclude that he did author these four books of the New Testament. Yet one of the reasons to question the Apostle John’s authorship of Revelation is the very fact that he doesn’t name himself in the above listed books.

Whereas, in the book of Revelation, the writer identifies himself no less than four times! Beginning with, “This letter is from John to the seven churches in the province of Asia…” (Revelation 1:4).

When you think about it, the author of Revelation naming himself not just once, but four times, is a substantial departure from the Apostle John not identifying himself in his Gospel and Epistles. It is also baffling because the Apostle John would have even less reason to identify himself as the author of Revelation. Why? If he did write Revelation during the reign of Domitian, he was already well-known in Christian circles. Likewise, if the Apostle John wrote Revelation, it would be more logical and consistent to refer to himself as a disciple or as an elder as he did in the Gospel of John and II & III John, respectively.

Differences in Writing Style & Semantics

Some scholars cite the substantial differences between the near flawless Greek of John’s Gospel with the more unpolished style and unrefined syntax of the book of Revelation. Their conclusion: these books were not authored by the same man. *Note: this observation must be given serious consideration. Nearly all authors, if not all, maintain the same basic style of writing, even if their works are both fiction and non-fiction. And especially if they are of one genre (non-fiction as is the case with all books of the Bible). Although the Holy Spirit inspired all authors of Scripture, he nevertheless utilized the individual literary talents, traits, and tendencies of each writer.

Persecution of Christians in the First Century

Another primary reason in contending that the Apostle John wrote Revelation (around 95 AD) is the presumption that Christians were more heavily persecuted during the reign of Emperor Diocletian than under any other Caesar. Hence, John the Apostle’s exile to the isle of Patmos. The view that Revelation was written by the apostle John during the 90s AD is still prevalent and predominate despite the indisputable historical evidence that Christians suffered and died much more extensively under Nero (including the execution of the Apostles Paul and Peter during Nero’s reign).

(Strong Church Tradition Indicates the Apostle Peter Was Crucified Upside Down At His Request … As He Didn’t Consider Himself Worthy of Dying Like Messiah Jesus)

Reasons/Evidence from My Own Study of Revelation

My fairly extensive research and preparation for writing Out of the Abyss involved a thorough study of first century history and all Biblical passages on the Antichrist, not the least of which was the book of Revelation. Because authorship of Revelation is one of the main reasons Bible scholars cannot reconcile the number of kings (seven) with the historical number of 1st century Roman Emperors to the time they believe Revelation was written (95 AD), I conducted my own scrutiny of Revelation’s authorship mostly from the text itself.

First, as indicated earlier, to emphasize that we really don’t know with concrete certainty who wrote Revelation. Which doesn’t detract in the least from the fact that this book (like the unknown composition of Hebrews or Esther or many of the Psalms) was/is just as powerful and true as any other book of the Bible, whose author is known.

Let’s look at seven more reasons why another John may have written Revelation, as developed during my examination of Revelation’s authorship.

(1) The Name of John

From the first century down to our 21st century, John has been a common name. As recently as 1923, it was the most common name given to newborn boys. Although slowly declining in popularity (what with the growing number of very unusual names all over the world), in 2015 the name John still ranked 26th in popularity. Hence, the distinct possibility that John of Patmos was other than the Apostle John. Also it’s entirely feasible that both had been exiled to Patmos, perhaps at different times.

(2) The Term Antichrist

I’ve asked the following question is a previous Eye of Prophecy article or two:

Where in the New Testament do we find the appellation of Antichrist? I would venture to say that nearly all unbelievers (those who know some of the names of the books of the Bible) but even a great many believers would answer: The term Antichrist is found in the book of Revelation.

Is that your answer … Revelation?

No, not in Revelation. Antichrist is found in only one book, I John, written by John the Apostle.

Yet, most of the Biblical passages about Antichrist are found in Revelation, however, by employing the terms beast and king. The other books of the Bible that refer to this evil man use the designations of little horn, ruler (prince), king in Daniel; man of lawlessness (II Thessalonians 2); worthless (foolish) shepherd (Zachariah 11).

(Please see Eye of Prophecy trilogy, A Beast by Any Other Name … Is Still a Beast, posted 3-14, 3-21, & 3-28-15).

If John the Apostle wrote Revelation to include two entire chapters (13 & 17) and parts of other chapters on the Antichrist, then why wouldn’t he have used the same term Antichrist that (only) John himself used in his first epistle? That is a question that cannot be brushed aside trivially or glossed over dismissively. You would expect the Apostle John (if he authored Revelation) to utilize the label of Antichrist at least once. But he doesn’t. Whereas, if Revelation was written by another John (who, for example, had not yet read I John or more likely because I John had not yet been written), he would and did refer to the man—called Antichrist by the Apostle—as a beast and a king, which are the descriptions of this tyrant in Revelation.

(3) John’s Exile to Patmos

“I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus” (Revelation 1:9).

(Depiction of John and an Angel on Patmos)

If not all, then at least the greater majority of 1st century believers—especially while the Apostle John was still alive—would have known beyond any doubt that this beloved apostle was their brother (in Christ) and why he would be suffering (for preaching the Gospel). If the Apostle John wrote Revelation, I suppose it’s possible that he would have cited these reasons perhaps for emphasis; although it was the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter who talked much more about suffering for the sake of Messiah Jesus. However, the Apostle John says virtually nothing about suffering for Christ in his epistles and very little in his Gospel. Whereas, another (less well-known or not known at all) John of Revelation would want and need to emphasize to the churches that he was a fellow believer in Messiah. And that’s why he had been exiled to Patmos and why he was being persecuted … because he, too, was a brother and partner in suffering.

(4) John’s Intriguing Description of Messiah Jesus

“When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man…” (Revelation 1:12-13).

Two things caught my attention in this passage: (A) it’s clear that John did not recognize Jesus or didn’t know for certain if the man was the Lord. It’s also evident that John was amazed at the appearance of the man standing before him. Among other descriptions of what he saw: “…And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:16). If John the Apostle wrote Revelation, his amazement at the man’s appearance wouldn’t preclude him from recognizing the man as his risen Savior, Messiah Jesus.

(B) Nor would John the Apostle (if he wrote Revelation) have described the person he saw as, “…someone like the Son of Man?” He simply would have said, The Son of Man. I draw that conclusion because the Apostle John knew Jesus as the Son of Man, a term that Jesus used himself to emphasize that he was the Messiah. Whereas, the Apostle John’s definitive emphasis is that Jesus is the Son of God.

The prophet Daniel also saw Messiah Jesus, in one of Jesus’s pre-Incarnate appearances.

Here’s what Daniel wrote: “As my vision continued that night, I saw someone like a son of man coming with the clouds of heaven…” (Daniel 7:13).

Daniel’s description of Messiah is strikingly similar to that of John’s account. Both were amazed, but neither Daniel (before Jesus first came to earth) nor John of Patmos (after Jesus returned to heaven in his glorified body) knew for sure that they were looking at Messiah. So they both said someone “like the (a) Son of Man.”

Here is my conclusion as stated in the following excerpt from Out of the Abyss:

The disciple John would certainly have recognized Yeshua, even in his risen and glorified body and despite the glorious description of this man who stood before John. Not only had the apostle John been a constant companion to Jesus for well over three years; he was one of three disciples afforded the wonderful privilege of watching the awesome pre-crucifixion, pre-ascension transfiguration of Jesus (Page 144).

In the first chapter of his Gospel, John writes: “So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son” (John 1:14).

The Apostle Peter also wrote about this exceptional experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.

“…We saw his majestic splendor with our own eyes when he received honor and glory from God the Father…” (II Peter 1:16-17).

Who are the “we” referred to by Peter? You know the answer: Peter, James, and John!

Had not John the Apostle seen Jesus in his glorified essence (even before the Resurrection), it would make more sense for him to not know for sure if Messiah Jesus was standing in front of him on Patmos. On the other hand, it makes a great deal of sense that another John was looking at Christ Jesus for the very first time in his life. The best description he could muster was based on what Daniel had said (I’m confident that John of Revelation was a Messianic Jew who knew his Old Testament quite well) when Daniel saw “someone like the Son of Man.”

(5) Messiah Jesus … The First and the Last

Immediately after the author of Revelation, John, saw the dazzling appearance of “someone like the Son of Man” the man (Jesus) spoke to him:

“…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).

As already alluded, the Apostle John had been an eyewitness to Messiah’s life, transfiguration, death, burial, resurrection, and return to heaven. If the Apostle had learned nothing else, he knew that Jesus was the Son of God, born as the Son of Man—from everlasting to everlasting. In fact, John begins his wonderful Gospel with this magnificent statement in which, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he refers to Jesus as the (living) Word:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1, NASB).

Jesus would know that John the Apostle needed no reminder or assurance that he (Christ) had died, was now alive, and would live forever.

To the contrary, it would be completely plausible for Jesus to triumphantly declare, reinforce, reestablish, and otherwise bolster this tremendous truth to a man who had trusted Christ as Savior, but had never seen Christ before. It’s much like the touching scene (a small pun intended), in which Jesus invites the apostle Thomas to touch the nail imprints in his hands and feet, and the spear print in his side. Jesus effectively told Thomas: You followed me, you believed in me, but to eliminate all doubt, touch the wounds. How did Thomas respond? By proclaiming, “My Lord and my God!” And where is this passage in the Bible found! It is recorded in the 20th Chapter of the Gospel of John! The apostle John witnessed this poignant scene, one that I’m sure he would never forget.

It’s entirely sensible that we have another John, a believer, like many believers who have never seen Jesus, needed these words from Messiah to reinforce the undeniable, everlasting truth that Jesus is alive. He has risen! He has risen, indeed! (Out of the Abyss, page 146).

Let’s look at another incident, which actually occurred twice during the astonishing revelations given to John. If just these incidents were the only passages, they alone would provide persuasive evidence to suggest that another John (not the Apostle) was selected by Jesus to write the book of Revelation under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. But when combined with the reasons already given … well, you decide.

(6) John Fell Down and Worshipped the Angel

There are three sources of the revelations given to John: (A) Jesus, himself; (B) viewing what is taking place as a bystander; (C) from angels.

Most of the revelations are from angels, including the dramatic disclosure in Revelation 17 of the woman (city of Rome, which later morphed into the Holy Roman Empire … now headquartered in the Vatican) and the geopolitical and biographical origin of the beast (Antichrist).

The first incident in which John falls to the ground in awe (of the angel) was toward the end of his visions after all twenty-one seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments are finished. Upon seeing some spectacular sights of the heavenly host and hearing magnificent words of praise to God and the Lamb, John wrote:

“Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, ‘No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus’” (Revelation 19:10).

Just as the Apostle John would have recognized Jesus in the opening scene on Patmos and just as the Apostle (he if was the John of Revelation) would not need to be told—either for the first time or even as a reminder—that Jesus had died and rose again, I’m firmly convinced that the Apostle John would not have fallen at the feet of the angel, let alone worshipped the angel. In fact, as amazing as the scene John had just witnessed in heaven and as splendid as God’s angels are in appearance and power (given to them by their Creator), he more than all of the apostles would have known better than to worship an angel. He would have clearly comprehended that you don’t worship the angelic messenger; you worship the King who sent the emissary.

Alas, so many of us are slow to learn! A short time later we see John of Revelation again bowing before the angel, this time at the very end of the revelations given to him as recorded in the last chapter of the book of Revelation. Then, for the fourth and final time, the author identifies himself as John. Read with me his words:

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw all these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said, ‘No, don’t worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets, as well as all who obey what is written in this book. Worship only God!’” (Revelation 22:8-9).

Permit me to quote again from Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Even if the apostle John had been caught up in the splendor of the moment the first time he fell at the angel’s feet, would he have made the same mistake twice? Anything’s possible, but my guess is that the consensus answer would be a resounding, “No way” (page 147).

This conclusion is even stronger considering that the Apostle John would have been much older and more mature during the time Revelation was written than he had been as a young man (disciple) when Jesus was on earth. He wouldn’t have fallen at the angel’s feet even once, let alone twice; as he might have done as an impetuous young man who (along with his brother, the Apostle James) persuaded his mother to ask Jesus permission for them to sit on either side of Jesus in the Kingdom of God!

Before we look at one last reason in this study of the authorship of Revelation, I need to reemphasize that next week’s article will provide captivating confirmation to show that no matter whether the Apostle John or another John wrote Revelation and when it was written, the succession of seven Roman emperors still fits. This fit will, in turn, prove that the Antichrist (who had already lived and died before John wrote Revelation) was one of the seven kings of Revelation 17. Consequently, there was no need for Bible scholars to substitute seven kings with seven kingdoms because they couldn’t reconcile the number of Roman emperors. Or to maintain this hypothesis because of their contention that Revelation was written by John the Apostle around 95 AD.

(7) Was John of Revelation an (the) Apostle or a Prophet?

Included in the angel’s admonition (I believe it was a gentle reprimand!) to John’s second mistake of worshiping the angel was, “I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers the prophets.”

By the sheer number of prophetic revelations given to John (of Revelation), it’s obvious that he was a Prophet. Though the majority of prophets in Scripture lived in Old Testament times, there were some believers in the first century who had been called by God to be prophets. Even though both Paul and Peter had been given a couple of prophetic revelations, their commission and function was that of an apostle. Likewise with the Apostle John and all the apostles.

For example, Paul goes to great length to explain that each believer is bestowed a specific gift to serve the Lord (Romans 12). Also, God had given the Church specific administrative positions to serve the body of Christ. Those are listed in I Corinthians 12:28 beginning with:

“…First are apostles, second are prophets, third are teachers…” And so forth … there are eight specific roles listed, but Paul said these eight are only, “some of the parts God has appointed for the church.”

Then Paul asks a rhetorical question: “Are we all apostles? Are we all prophets? Are we all teachers? … Of course not!” (Verses 29-30).

As such, none of the apostles were prophets, in the sense of being called and designated by the Lord to do the work of a prophet as demonstrated by the Biblical concept, definition, and performance of what a prophet does.

With Scriptural understanding of these specific roles, I believe we can safely and surely state the following: If John of Revelation was the Apostle John, then the angel would not have referred to him as “you and your brothers the prophets.” Instead the angel would have said something to the effect, “I am a servant of God, just like you and the other apostles.”

Things to Ponder

In closing, I’ll cite an excerpt from Out of the Abyss that also summarized that particular chapter concerning Revelation’s authorship.

I trust that you have accepted this textual exegesis for what it is: a possible alternative to the apostle John as the author of Revelation. One that is not intended to absolutely declare that another John was the author; or to patently prove that John the Apostle did not write Revelation (page 148).

To also express my love for my brothers and sisters in Christ and gratitude to the students of prophecy who have correctly put together much of the prophetic puzzle … but not all of it. That was part of my purpose in writing Out of the Abyss as well as many of the Eye of Prophecy articles to date.

That purpose is: clarification and correlation. But also correction … to accurately refit some pieces of the prophetic puzzle. In this case to demonstrate that the Antichrist was revealed in the 1st century as the man of lawlessness, and will reappear (return) as the beast of the (21st century) Tribulation. That he is one of the seven kings, specifically one of the five who had died before John wrote Revelation, and that ALL Biblical passages dealing with the Antichrist fit together in amazing fashion. To such an extent, when aligned with first century secular and church history, they show convincingly that Nero matches each and every passage.

Some of the passages in Daniel (the little horn, ruler, king), in II Thessalonians 2 (man of lawlessness), and in Revelation 13 & 17 (the beast who had already lived and died) were fulfilled in the 1st century when Nero unlawfully ascended (usurped) the Roman throne as Caesar. Then later the Roman Legions, personally dispatched by Nero, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (Daniel 9:27).

The remaining prophecies in these same books of the Bible will be completely fulfilled when Nero reappears (returns) as the beast/king of Revelation, called by the Apostle John as the Antichrist in I John.

“Why are you so amazed? the angel asked. I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (suddenly at any time) come up out of the bottomless pit and go to eternal destruction. And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, parenthesis mine).

The ultimate goal of Out of the Abyss and some Eye of Prophecy articles is to prepare people now and especially after the Rapture, so they will not be so “amazed” at the reappearance of the beast … Antichrist Nero.

Instead, they will be amazed at the accuracy of Scripture and the everlasting truth that Jesus is the Messiah. To then embrace him as Lord and Savior!

“But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved…” (Joel 2:32).

Build The Temple! Will Messiah Come?

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“If you build it, he will come.”

For the second consecutive week, the Eye of Prophecy article begins with another legendary citation, ranked number 39 on the 100 most iconic film quotes designated by the American Film Institute.

Do you recognize the line? What was built and who was it that came when it was built? Do you know the name of the movie?

You are correct if you said: Field of Dreams.

This fantasy drama sports film was released in 1989 starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, and Burt Lancaster in his final role before he died. Nominated for three academy awards, including Best Picture, it is one of my two favorite sports movies. The other is The Natural (Robert Redford, Glenn Close, and Robert Duvall).

If you watched the movie, then you remember that Kevin Costner’s character, Ray Kinsella, heard a mysterious voice telling him, “If you build it, he will come.” The plot is then shaped around his efforts to identify the voice and the reason for him to build a baseball diamond near a corn field in Dubuque County Iowa. Sure enough, when the baseball field is finished, Shoeless Joe Jackson and some of his teammates from the infamous 1919 Chicago White Sox appear. And so does Ray’s deceased father, John Kinsella, who was a devoted baseball fan.

My own take on the underlying theme of the movie is that of redemption; a mysterious restoration from the “unforgivable sin” of the Chicago Black Sox (as they were dubbed), throwing the 1919 World Series. Shoeless Joe Jackson is allowed to return once again to play the game that he loved so dearly, and in some fashion to atone for his misdeeds. And Ray was able to play catch with his dad, who some say was the voice that spoke to him, although it could have been Shoeless Joe Jackson’s voice. Either way, their pain was eased (another well-known quote in the story).

However, any fictional analogy to real-life historical, present, or future events always has its limitations.

Even the title of today’s article needs some up-front clarification. Which is: Messiah Jesus’s physical return to this earth will take place some seven years after he takes his bride (believers who have received him as personal Savior) to heaven. Known as the Rapture, this miraculous event will occur at the exact time appointed by the Lord. That time has already been determined, and many contemporary signs suggest that it is so very close at hand.

Thus, the Day of the Lord beginning with the Rapture and culminating with the glorious return of Messiah to Jerusalem to usher in the Millennium does NOT depend upon the Jewish Temple being rebuilt. Putting it another way: It is not the building of the Temple that will cause Messiah to return (for that reason). However, the sequence of the Last Day’s events is such that the Temple will, in fact, have been rebuilt before Messiah Jesus returns to the earth. See Eye of Prophecy article recently published on 2-25-17, entitled, End of the World Events … In Chronological Order!

Nonetheless, when the Temple is rebuilt (if you build it), it is a sure thing that Messiah will return to earth (he will come). In that regard, the thematic line in Field of Dreams is a dramatic likeness with melodramatic imagery of what will be the supreme building project of the 21st century. Which, in turn, will be a catalyst to the greatest event since Messiah Jesus came to earth 2,000 years ago as the Lamb of God to ransom many by his atoning sacrifice on the cross—the magnificent return of Messiah as King of all kings.

The Significance of a Rebuilt Temple

As written in a few previous Eye of Prophecy articles, a rebuilt Jewish Temple is a passionate prophetic anticipation of the Jews, second only to their longing for the appearance of Messiah. Religious and secular Jews alike yearn for the restoration of the Temple, although most do not understand its ultimate purpose and significance as set forth in Scripture.

For Orthodox Jews a rebuilt Temple will mean renewal of the long-lost Levitical Sacrificial System which ended with the destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70 AD. Most Orthodox and Conservative Jews believe that Messiah will not come unless the Temple stands again on Temple Mount. A few believe that God will literally send the Temple down from heaven and Messiah will appear soon afterward. Liberal and secular Jews also desire a temple but more as a symbolic confirmation of Israel’s existing and hoped-for perpetual status as a sovereign country in the global family of nations. A rebuilt Temple will solidify their identity and unity as Jews like nothing else since Israel was reborn as a nation in 1948, then reclaimed Jerusalem as their eternal capital in 1967.

(Image of Rebuilt Temple Superimposed on Temple Mount)

Will the 3rd Jewish Temple be rebuilt? Yes, absolutely it will. Scripture is abundantly clear on this fact. And animal sacrifices will resume, too. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, A Third Jewish Temple, Part I & II, posted 4-26-14 & 5-3-14).

Why and when will it be rebuilt? These are provocative questions, especially in the context of the Lord allowing not only Solomon’s Temple, but also the 2nd Temple to be destroyed. However, what is the point of another temple, when the New Covenant of Grace produced a brand new (spiritual) Temple for both Jew and Gentile?

What’s the purpose for resumption of animal sacrifices? When, in historical fact, the Ark of the Covenant with its Holy Seat of Atonement disappeared before or during the first exile of the Jews to Babylon. Then the Temple Curtain separating the inner Holy of Holies from the rest of the (2nd) Temple was torn in half while Messiah Jesus was dying on the Cross for the sins of the whole world. To this day, non-Messianic Jews are still in denial that the Levitical Sacrificial System ended because the purpose for which it served (a pattern and type) was replaced by the once for all redemptive sacrifice of their Messiah. For that matter, most Jews still deny that Jesus is the Messiah or that Messiah’s (next) appearance will be his return. (See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Cross and the Torn Curtain I & II, published 2-6-16 & 2-13-16).

Today’s article will answer these questions.

Since the New Covenant came into existence with the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus, the Lord through the Holy Spirit has taken up residence in born-again believers, Jew and Gentile alike. Believers are a spiritual temple; in our heart, mind, and body is the Kingdom of Heaven which will soon become the physical Kingdom of God on earth.

Said the Apostle Paul to the believers in Corinth: “Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16).

This verse emphasizes that the entire body of Christ (composed of born-again believers) is the collective spiritual Temple of God on earth, which replaced the Temple of the Old Covenant.

Then Paul declares that the Temple of God is not only the entire body of Christ (all believers together), but also each Christian is a temple of the Lord. “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

Indeed, Christ’s death on the cross was the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid. Not only forgiveness of our sin, pardon of the penalty of that sin, everlasting life in heaven, but also the precious privilege of God (The Holy Spirit) residing in every believer.

God’s Amazing Plan to Live Among and Then In His People

Though our Great God dwells in heaven, long ago he chose to live among his chosen people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This began with the Tabernacle built by the Hebrews under the instruction and supervision of Moses.

However, the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant fell into disuse and misuse as it rested in Shiloh for over 360 years. In part this was due to the constant rise and fall of Israel during the time of the Judges. Near the end of his life, King David embraced a passionate purpose: To construct a more permanent building (like the Tabernacle), but greater in size and more beautiful in its splendor in which God would dwell among his people. Although the Lord approved David’s plan, he told him that it would be David’s son, Solomon, who would build the Temple.

King David and King Solomon were the two greatest kings of Israel’s glory days some 3,000 years ago. Most know Solomon as the wisest man who ever lived even though he made several bad decisions, not the least of which was allowing some of his many wives to set up and worship idols in Israel.

Concerning the Temple, Solomon offered a lengthy prayer of praise and gratitude to the God of Israel; indeed, the God of the Universe. Included are these words:

“…O Lord, you have said that you would live in a thick cloud of darkness” (II Chronicles 6:1).

We’ll stop here for a moment to remember that when God guided his people through the wilderness, his glory was concealed in a dark cloud by day and column of fire by night. When the Lord spoke directly to Moses and whenever his glorious presence filled the Tabernacle, especially in the Holy of Holies over the Ark of the Covenant, he did so through a dark cloud.

This was absolutely necessary to shield the people, Moses, and the High Priest from the (literal and lethal) brilliant light and glory of God’s presence. Though God is Spirit, his very presence consist of and is surrounded by tangible light and pure spiritual holiness that would be the death of anyone looking directly at the Lord. That is one of the reasons that God the Son came to this earth as a man. Not only to bear our sins as one of us (Son of Man), but also to shield us from God the Father’s awesome glory by temporarily giving up the divine glory that also belonged to Jesus, the Son of God.

We see the same thing happening at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, one of the grandest celebrations of all time as described in II Chronicles 5 and I Kings 8.

Before the planned dedication service could be completed, we read what happened:

“The trumpeters and singers performed together in unison to praise and give thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals, and other instruments, they raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words: ‘He is good! His faithful love endures forever!’

“At that moment, a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord. The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God” (II Chronicles 5:13-14).

Continuing with Solomon’s Prayer of Praise:

“Now I have built a glorious Temple for you, a place where you can live forever! … Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, who has kept the promise he made to my father, David. For he told my father, ‘From the day I brought my people out of the land of Egypt, I have never chosen a city among any of the tribes of Israel as the place where a Temple should be built to honor my name…’” (II Chronicles 6:2-5).

We see two powerful precedents being set here: (1) God would now dwell among his people in and through a permanent Temple, not a portable Tabernacle that had already served its purpose during the Hebrews’ journey through the wilderness. (2) God had chosen a special city in Israel to dwell with his people: JERUSALEM. Actually, God’s presence is what made Jerusalem special.

Temple Mount was also the ancient site where God spared Isaac’s life. Only to not spare the life of God’s own Son, Messiah Jesus, some 2,000 years later and nearly 2,000 years ago. But praise and glory to God: To not spare his son meant that we could be saved from an eternity in the Lake of Fire separated from God. ALL we need do is believe and receive Jesus as personal Savior (Romans 10:9-10).

Yet our majestic God created the universe, the heavens, the earth, and all living things. Does he really need a Temple in which to dwell on earth, when the entire earth belongs to him, when the entire expanse of heaven is his home?

Listen to Solomon’s wisdom to understand all this:

“But will God really live on earth among people? Why, even the highest heavens cannot contain you. How much less this Temple I have built!” (II Chronicles 6:18).

Then at the close of this splendid prayer of praise:

“And now arise, O Lord God, and enter your resting place, along with the Ark, the symbol of your power. May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation; may your loyal servants rejoice in your goodness” (Verse 41).

Why Did The Lord Choose To Live Among His People?

Many people don’t know or have forgotten (including some Christians) that God actually dwelt on this earth in the form of what is called in Hebrew his “Shekinah” glory. Yes, God was present with his people the Jews, and is now present in his people, both Jew and Gentile, who have been redeemed by the Son of God, Messiah Yeshua.

Why on earth (an expression we often use) would God choose to live on earth? God is God no matter where he dwells. Scripture clearly shows us that God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), and omnipresent (everywhere and all at once if he chooses to be).

Solomon knew that, which is why he was in awe that the Lord would, “really live on earth among people.”

From direct Biblical passages and from inferred reasoning, I believe that Scripture is abundantly clear: the main purpose (above all) that God chose to dwell among his people is to show us (his creation) that he is a PERSONAL GOD. Then he sent his beloved Son, born as both God and man, to show us that he is a PERSONAL SAVIOR. Then he gave the Holy Spirit as a gift to indwell each believer to be our PERSONAL MENTOR.

In Tabernacle and Temple times only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and only one time a year—Yom Kippur, Day of Atonement. Under the New Covenant of salvation through grace apprehended by faith in Christ Jesus, each believer is a spiritual temple indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Triune God. As a result:

“And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God” (I Peter 2:5).

With this wonderful position in Christ each born-again believer has the awesome privilege to:

“…boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean…” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

Praise God, there are tens of thousands of Jews all over the world who have recognized Jesus as Messiah, who have accepted his once for all redemptive sacrifice.

As the Jewish author of the book of Hebrews writes: “…He (Messiah Jesus) cancels the first covenant in order to put the second into effect. For God’s will was for us to be made holy (separated from the world) by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time” (Hebrews 10:9-10, parenthesis mine).

Sadly, there are still millions of Jews and billions of Gentiles who do not believe or do not care that the New Covenant prophesied by Isaiah and Jeremiah has replaced the Old Covenant of the Law with its incessant sacrifice of animals. If they could only see and accept that:

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship. If they could have provided perfect cleansing, the sacrifices would have stopped, for the worshippers would have been purified once for all time, and their feelings of guilt would have disappeared. But instead, those sacrifices actually reminded them of their sins year after year. For it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Hebrews 10:1-4).

I would encourage you to read a trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles entitled, Where Is The Temple, Part I, II, III, published 11-29, 12-6 & 12-13-14. Here is a brief excerpt from Part III (in italics):

The intriguing question posed in this article and the past two Eye of Prophecy articles relating to the fate of the Jewish Temples is designed as a challenge to explain what happened to them and why. To stimulate reflection about the repercussions of such a devastating time of Jewish history. To investigate the staggering impact on the entire Jewish faith WHEN Solomon’s Temple, then (hundreds of years later) Herod’s Temple, was destroyed. But also Gentile participation in this history pertaining mostly to religious systems that, to varying degrees, were patterned after and around the Mosaic Laws.

To once again come to terms with the rolling Premise of these articles: No Temple, no sacrificial offerings. No sacrifices, no atonement forgiveness of sins. No forgiveness, no redemption. No redemption, no right standing with God.

Once again I will pose the question: Will there be a rebuilt Jewish Temple? And yet again, the answer is: Absolutely it will be rebuilt.

But why? And even more so: Why will the Jewish sacrifices be restored, when Scripture clearly tells us that Messiah Jesus’s death, burial, and resurrection was and is a sufficient sacrifice for all time?

In the final Revelation of Jesus Christ that completed the Canon of Scripture, we read about the magnificent New Jerusalem that descends directly from heaven to hover over the earth for all eternity. Included in that amazing description is:

“I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light” (Revelation 21:22-23).

(It’s Quite Difficult to Artistically Depict the New Jerusalem)

Yet only believers in Messiah, both Jew and Gentile, will inhabit the New Jerusalem and not until the end of the Millennium.

(Size of the New Jerusalem If Placed Over the Above Land Mass on Earth, Dimensions are 1,400 miles wide, 1,400 miles long, and 1,400 miles high … Revelation 21:16)

However, (Old) Jerusalem—the eternal capital of Israel and the city most loved by God above all other cities—will remain on this earth. There are numerous Old Testament prophecies and promises to validate this statement. During the Millennium, Christ Jesus will rule and reign from Jerusalem, Israel, and believers will go freely to and from Jerusalem … all the while serving him throughout the earth wherever he stations us.

And on Temple Mount in Jerusalem, there will be another Temple.

What a Temple It Will Be!

Ezekiel Chapters 40-47 provide meticulous detail on that temple, which was not the 2nd Temple built by Zerubbabel (see books of Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah). One of the differences between Ezekiel’s Temple and the 2nd Jewish Temple was the size (dimensions).

Another remarkable distinction: from Ezekiel’s Temple flowed a river with many trees growing on both sides of its banks.

With the astounding result that: “…This river flows east through the desert into the valley of the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will make the salty waters of the Dead Sea fresh and pure. There will be swarms of living things wherever the water of this river flows. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will become fresh. Life will flourish wherever this water flows” (Ezekiel 47:8-9).

I’ve been to Israel; unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make it to the Dead Sea. But I’ve read much about it and seen many photographs of people floating on the surface, buoyed up by the tremendous amount of minerals including salt. There’s nothing alive in the Dead Sea. All that will change when Messiah returns.

John, the author of the book of Revelation, confirms that the Temple will have been rebuilt before the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.

“Then I was given a measuring stick, and I was told, ‘Go and measure the Temple of God and the altar, and count the number of worshippers. But do not measure the outer courtyard (Court of Gentiles), for it has been turned over to the nations. They will trample the holy city for 42 months” (Revelation 11:1-2, parenthesis mine).

As written in several past Eye of Prophecy articles, Antichrist Nero’s seven year treaty with Israel will lead directly to the rebuilding of the 3rd Temple soon after the treaty goes into effect. Although Nero will desecrate the Temple near the very end of the Tribulation, the Temple will not be destroyed. Instead, it will be made even better and bigger to fit the size of the Temple as given to Ezekiel. Or it’s possible that the Jews who rebuild the Temple soon after the Rapture will follow precisely Ezekiel’s specifications. Either way, half way through the seven-year treaty Nero will bring a screeching halt to sacrifices (Daniel 9:27).

Nevertheless, Temple services will resume when Messiah triumphantly returns to earth to vanquish Israel’s enemies, including Antichrist and the False Prophet. The offerings will then continue into the Millennium. How do we know this? And once again, why?

Not only from Ezekiel, but also from the prophet Zechariah, we read:

“In the end, the enemies of Jerusalem who survive the plague will go up to Jerusalem each year to worship the King, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (none other than Jesus the Messiah), and to celebrate the Festival of Shelters” (Zechariah 14:16, parenthesis mine).

All seven of the Jewish Festivals ordained by God required sacrifices, including the Festival of Shelters (Feast of Tabernacles) or Sukkot as it is now called by the Jews. Sukkot will be the one Festival in which representatives from all nations will be required to attend.

Continuing in Zechariah:

“On that day, even the harness bells of the horses will be inscribed with these words: HOLY TO THE LORD. And the cooking pots in the Temple of the Lord will be as sacred as the basins used beside the altar. In fact, every cooking pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy (consecrated) to the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All who come to worship will be free to use any of these pots to boil their sacrifices. And on that day there will no longer be traders in the Temple of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies” (Zechariah 14:20-21, parenthesis mine).

At the beginning of the marvelous Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus, the Temple will once again be purified … to be what Jesus said (quoting the prophet) it was intended to be from the beginning.

Soon after Jesus’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem when he was hailed as the Messiah, the Son of David, we read:

“When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, ‘The Scriptures declare, My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.’ When the leading priests and the teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching” (Mark 11:15-18).

(Depiction of Solomon’s Temple)

This wasn’t the first time that God’s chosen people had defiled their own Temple. Listen to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah concerning the people and Solomon’s Temple:

“Don’t be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It’s a lie! Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, ‘We are safe!’—only to go right back to all those evils again? Don’t you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (Jeremiah 7:8-11).

Read with me one of the many end times prophecies concerning the return of the Jews from exile to the four corners of the earth, which is being fulfilled before our 20th and 21st century eyes:

“I will bring them to my holy mountain of Jerusalem and will fill them with joy in my house of prayer. I will accept their burnt offerings and sacrifices, because my Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations. For the Sovereign Lord, who brings back the outcasts of Israel, says, I will bring others, too, besides my people Israel” (Isaiah 56:7-8).

What God says will happen, always happens. What he says he will do, he always does. Hundreds of fulfilled Biblical prophecies attest to the indisputable fact that there is one and only one God, who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Yes, Jesus of Nazareth will return as King of all kings.

“On that day life-giving waters will flow out from Jerusalem, half toward the Dead Sea and half toward the Mediterranean, flowing continuously in both summer and winter. 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 14:8-9).

There is no doubt whatsoever: The Temple will be rebuilt and will once again be filled with God’s glory. But there’s more this time: The Son of God who was the first to be raised from the dead with an everlasting spiritual body will return to rule the nations with truth, justice, righteousness, and peace. And we, who will be given these same wonderful spiritual bodies at the Rapture, will reign with him … as we have been destined to share his inheritance.

Among many other glorious experiences (soon to come):

“In the last days, the mountain of the Lord’s house will be the highest of all—the most important place on earth. It will be raised above the other hills, and people from all over the world will stream there to worship. People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’

For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear” (Micah 4:1-4).

Summary

The two-day Jewish Festival of Purim begins tomorrow. Jews will celebrate Queen Esther’s bold, but uninvited entrance to King Xerxes’ presence to save her people from genocide. Bold, because Esther didn’t know if the king would accept her or reject her (under penalty of death). For Messianic Jews and Christians the world over, we also honor the story of Esther. And in our remembrance, we can be thankful for another miracle: the miracle of God’s grace that (through redemption in Messiah) grants us unlimited access to the very presence of God.

In fact, the King, God’s Royal Son, has already extended his standing invitation:

“So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Things to Ponder

If you build it, he will come.

And, if you build it, they will come.

This was an intriguing invitation from a fantasy filled story that even the authors and actors didn’t fully understand what they were saying, or what it meant, or how it would work… not in the context of today’s realty and things to come. Yet, the Bible—the Word of God—tells us so much of what has happened, what will happen, and how and why. Scripture presents God’s remarkable plan of redemption for the human race and the fascinating finish of our salvation including, but not limited to, Messiah’s ultimate victory over evil and death itself.

In summary answer to the questions of why a rebuilt Temple and resumption of offerings:

Solomon’s Temple was built so that God’s glory (his very presence) would be personally with the people. But God’s people couldn’t and wouldn’t keep the Lord’s commandments nor trust in him as their God, the only God. Thus, the Lord abandoned them and withdrew his presence and protection, allowing their enemies to completely conquer them (not once but twice) and exile them throughout the earth. The Lord departed from Solomon’s Temple and his glory did not return to Herod’s Temple. Both of these temples were destroyed.

Thus, the Lord implemented his New Covenant with the Jews, to this time include the Gentiles. The physical temples of stone and wood and the sacrificial offerings were but a pattern, a prelude pointing to something, someone far greater and much better. They gave way to the spiritual temple of the believer’s body, soul, and spirit.

When Christ Jesus returns, he will be forever Immanuel … God with us. As will the Father. But this time the Temple and the Temple offerings will point back as a solemn and also joyful reminder of so great a salvation purchased by the life blood of so great a Savior.

It will be a graphic illustration and meaningful reminder of the timeless sacrifice of the Jewish Messiah for his people, which is the culmination of Israel’s destiny from the beginning—to be a light to the Gentiles.

And while we wait, may we always remember:

“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 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 2:11-14).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Everlasting praise to the Lion from the Tribe of Judah

Does The Holy Spirit Restrain (the Man of) Lawlessness?

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“May the Force be with you.”

Have you heard this famous line? Have you ever said it to someone? Do you know from where it originated? Most likely you do. If not, then you’re probably a Millennial, less than thirty years old. But I’m sure even Millennials have seen the 2015 film, Star Wars: Episode SevenThe Force Awakens; the fourth sequel after the first trilogy of movies released forty years ago, and the first of a new trilogy of Stars Wars episodes produced by Walt Disney Studios, instead of George Lucas.

Of course, I’m referring to the blockbuster movies Star Wars (1977), followed by The Empire Strikes Back (1980) concluding with, Return of the Jedi (1983).

In 2005, The American Film Institute ranked “May the Force be with you” number 8 of the 100 most iconic movie quotes of all time. According to George Lucas, the creator/director of the original Star Wars films, this legendary line recited by several of its characters was representative of an underlying purpose for the Star Wars genre: “to awaken a certain kind of spirituality” especially in the younger generation. The online source Wikipedia reports that George Lucas was suggesting “a belief in God without endorsing a specific religion.”

This “Force” (capitalized to distinguish between “the” Force and just “a” force), was explained by Star Wars character Obi-Wan Kenobi as, “an energy field created by all living things.” Which, by definition, poses a problem because extremely evil men and other vile creatures of the Star Wars movies are part of all living things. Thus, The Force had its Dark side (think Darth Vader) and its Light side, such as Princess Leia, Han Solo, and the Jedi Knights, including Yoda. (Cool he was!)

May the Force be with you was spoken (normally when saying goodbye to someone) in the context of the good side of the Force, not the evil side. Which makes the entire idea (according to Wikipedia, “a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in the Star Wars fictional universe opposing the dark side”) of such a Force quite difficult to grasp, if not contradictory. In other words, was the Force still the Force even though it had split into dark and light sides? You certainly don’t want the dark side of the Force “to be with you.”

For example, what Luke Skywalker and others opposing the evil Empire should have said when departing a scene: “May the light side of the Force be with you as we continue our heroic fight against the dark side of the force!”

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Oh well, that’s Hollywood fiction (and all humanistic philosophies) that seeks to educate us about “spirituality”; but doesn’t have a clue, because they don’t or don’t want to understand who God really is as He so magnificently tells us through His Word, the Bible.

Which leads us to the trilogy (three-part emphasis) of today’s Eye of Prophecy article.

(1) Who is the Holy Spirit and what does he really do? Is the Holy Spirit just a collective, ethereal, impersonal force; or is the Holy Spirit a Person?

(2) Which will then be tied into the question: Is the restrainer of II Thessalonians Chapter 2 the Holy Spirit or something or someone else?

(3) This, in turn, will provide even more confirmation that the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) will not be a modern-day born man. Instead, he is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero who will return to earth from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation.

The Holy Spirit

Messiah Jesus, himself, was the first to teach us about the Holy Spirit. Before we examine the most definitive passages on the Holy Spirit—who he is and what he does—let’s listen to some of the final words of Jesus before he returned to heaven after his remarkable resurrection from the dead.

“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. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commandments I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20). Note: the baptism referred to by Jesus is not (just) water baptism which is a sign of our salvation; rather it is immersion into and identification with the body of Christ (family of God) for all believers in Christ Jesus.

Repeating what Jesus promised to all to have believed and received him as Lord and Savior: “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

That is fact and realty … light years beyond and far better than a fictional ambiguous, “May the Force be with you.”

Granted, there is a “force” in this world. Yet even this “energy” of evil began and continues with a personal being—Satan and his demons.

Not long before he left the earth, Jesus also promised his disciples (all believers) that he would be with them through the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you” (John 14:16-17).

Early in his ministry, Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth … For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23-24).

woman-at-the-well

Messiah Jesus is God Incarnate, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God…” (Colossians 1:15). The Father and the Holy Spirit are the First and Third Person of the Trinity who are invisible to the human eye. They are Spirit.

All believers have been given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, to enable us to worship (respect, love, obey, be in awe of, live for) God in spirit and in truth. With the Truth none other than Messiah Jesus who said he is, “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6). And with that truth comes the very source of redemption and everlasting life because of Messiah’s death on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

That is true spirituality.

Apart from Jesus and the Holy Spirit, the world cannot understand these things. They think the Gospel (Christ crucified, buried, and resurrected for their sins) is foolishness. Concerning what is truly wise and utterly foolish, Scripture says:

“The message of the cross is foolish to those who are headed for destruction! But we who are being saved know it is the very power of God” (I Corinthians 1:18).

Followed by: “So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world’s brilliant debaters? God has made the wisdom of this world look foolish. Since God in his wisdom saw to it that the world would never know him through human wisdom, he has used our foolish (in the eyes of the world) preaching to save those who believe … So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense” (I Corinthians 1:20-23, parenthesis mine).

Then, “But it was to us that God revealed things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets … And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us” (I Corinthians 2:10-12, parenthesis in the text).

Sorry, George Lucas. Whatever “force” and “spirituality” you think may be out there pales in comparison to God’s absolute spiritual truth and eternal wisdom made known by the Holy Spirit to those who have placed their trust in Messiah Jesus, the Son of the True and Living God.

The Holy Spirit is a Person

Volumes of books have been written, numerous articles published, and countless sermons preached about the Holy Spirit. By and large most Christians have ascertained, appreciated, and agreed who the Holy Spirit is and what he does on behalf of both unbelievers and believers.

Yet I see one thing that many Christians including scholars and teachers—especially students of Bible prophecy—have misunderstood, misapplied, and (putting it a little more bluntly, but still with a spirit of love for my brothers and sisters in Christ) simply got wrong. At one time, I, too, was in the camp of those who contend that the Holy Spirit is the “restrainer” who would hold back the lawlessness and the lawless one (Antichrist) from being revealed until the appointed time. More specifically—when all believers in Jesus are taken to heaven at the Rapture—the misconception that the Holy Spirit also will be removed from the earth; in turn, allowing the Antichrist to appear on the scene.

Thus, before going any further in this article, please consider this premise that is not in keeping with the mainstream, contemporary view.

The Premise: The Restrainer (II Thessalonians 2) is NOT the Holy Spirit.

Why not? Because the Holy Spirit is a Person. Moreover, the Apostle Paul in describing the restraint that holds back the appearing of the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) refers to “what” would hold him back. As you know, what is a very impersonal pronoun.

Returning to the verses quoted earlier in John 14:16-17, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit as “he” or “him” no less than six times. Not once did Jesus, or John, or Paul, or Peter, or any writer of the New Testament ever refer to the Holy Spirit as, what, it, or that. When the Holy Spirit is represented by a pronoun, it is ALWAYS a masculine personal pronoun.

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Referring to the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John states: “…greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world (I John 4:4, NASB).

The Holy Spirit’s Work/Function in the World for Unbelievers & Believers

Once again quoting Jesus and his description of what the Holy Spirit would do once the Lord sent Him to save unbelievers and reside in believers:

“And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged” (John 16:8-11).

Then for the disciples (all born-again believers), Jesus says this about the Holy Spirit:

“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me” (John 16:13-15).

In these verses just quoted, Jesus refers to the Holy Spirit by name (Spirit of truth or The Spirit) twice, and by the personal pronouns he or his a total of eight times, two more than in John Chapter 14, cited earlier!

Other works of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer are: sealing the believer’s salvation for all eternity (once saved always saved); indwelling the believer to help us grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; filling us to be more like our Savior. The Holy Spirit is also our Comforter, Counselor (Advocate), and Corrector (when we’re wrong or do wrong things). And, as already indicated, teacher of Christ’s (God’s) truth and foreteller of the future throughout Scripture, culminating with the final revelation of Jesus Christ in the book of Revelation.

If anyone thinks that the Holy Spirit is some impersonal force that exists somewhere “out there” or is not an actual Person of the Godhead, then I would challenge them to show me anywhere in the Bible where the Holy Spirit is not specifically referred to and understood as a Person. Although they won’t find such a reference, it would still be good if they read the Bible, perhaps beginning with the Gospel of John!

Which is why it’s perplexing that so many students of Scripture think that the restrainer of II Thessalonians Chapter 2 is the Holy Spirit; when, in fact, Paul refers to that which is holding back the Antichrist as “what.”

Before we examine up-close and personal the intriguing passage of II Thessalonians 2, let’s do a quick review of the other component parts (Bible passages) concerning the phenomenal disclosure the Lord graciously gave to me in November, 2008. From which my second book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666 was written. Then several of the 189 Eye of Prophecy articles written to date (published every Saturday since late July, 2013) pertaining to the subject of Antichrist; most of which provide additional or expanded evidence that he was and will be again (upon his return/revival from the Abyss) the Roman Emperor Nero.

A Brief Review

Each item in this review is just a thumbnail sketch, as they (and other passages) have been dealt with extensively in Out of the Abyss and some Eye of Prophecy articles (in the category of Antichrist).

The Beast/King of Revelation

The disclosure of the Antichrist given to John in Revelation is of staggering significance. Bible scholars (including me until 2008) have missed the monumental meaning of the mystery revealed to John. Which is: “The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t (alive any longer) now…” (Revelation 17:8, parenthesis mine).

In no uncertain terms, the angel is telling John that the man he just saw (in the image of a beast) had already lived and died BEFORE John saw the beast rising from the sea (Revelation 13:1) and out of the abyss (Revelation 17:8). This stunning illumination is what led to my intensive study of ALL passages on the Antichrist as correlated to first century history—primarily of the Roman Emperors. The convincing conclusion is that the Antichrist (called the little horn/ruler of Daniel and man of lawlessness by Paul, and labeled the beast-king of Revelation by John) was the fifth Roman Caesar, Nero … who died in 68 A.D. not long before Revelation was written.

The Little Horn and Ruler of Daniel

“…and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26).

In 66 A.D. Nero ordered his generals Vespasian and Titus to march on Israel with several Roman legions to crush the Jewish uprising against Rome. Nero died two years before Jerusalem was finally sacked and the Temple destroyed in 70 A.D. This gives added meaning and prophetic fulfillment to Daniel’s prophecy that it would actually be the armies of the ruler who destroyed the Temple. In great detail I have explained that this ruler could not possibly be a modern (now a 21st century) man completely detached from the Roman legions of the first century.

The Number of the Beast

Another key component (they must all be understood together) of identifying the Antichrist is the number six hundred, sixty-six. Although there is much evidence in Out of the Abyss and some Eye of Prophecy articles, suffice to say that Nero’s name in Greek (language of the New Testament) matches Hebrew gematria—counting by letters which is what was done in the Hebrew language. And that Nero Caesar equals the number six hundred and sixty-six!

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(Not everyone will chose 666. Some will choose the name of the beast in their hand or forehead)

Kings versus Kingdoms in Revelation

“This calls for a mind with understanding. The seven heads of the beast represent the seven hills where the woman rules. They also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen, the sixth now reigns, and the seventh is yet to come, but his reign will be brief. The scarlet beast that was, but is no longer, is the eighth king. He is like (the Greek word is ek which means one of, out of, from) the other seven…” (Revelation 17:9-11, parenthesis mine).

For two main reasons (explained in Out of the Abyss) Bible scholars substituted the Greek word for kings with kingdoms in these verses; when, in fact, a separate Greek word for kingdoms is later used in this chapter—describing the ten kings who will yield their “kingdoms” to the Antichrist upon his reappearance from the Abyss. Grammatically, contextually, and historically we simply cannot make this substitution. The Greek words are as distinct one from the other as much as the English word king is different from kingdom. Thus, the seven kings were Roman Emperors of the first century when Revelation was written, and the eighth king (Antichrist Nero) is the one (of/from the seven) who will return during the Tribulation.

The Lawlessness, Man of Lawlessness and the Restraint of Both

This leads us to one of the three focal points of today’s article: the Antichrist is not a modern-day born man. Instead he is the historical man of lawlessness who was being restrained from an unlawful ascension to the Roman throne during the very time that Paul wrote both letters to the Thessalonica Church.

Let’s examine the text to confirm this premise.

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

Most of the following commentary will be quoted from my book Out of the Abyss, as I believe it was said as well then as I could say it again now.

Paul says that the revealing (disclosure clues to believers regarding his identity) is directly connected to the rebellion that this degenerate dictator would lead against God. For the last 3 ½ years of Nero’s reign (parallel to his 3 ½ year reign when he returns from the Abyss) he persecuted Christians like no emperor before him or after. He erected a god-like statue of himself in his palace gardens, and burned thousands of Christians on crosses after smearing them with pitch and igniting it. Mocking the Christians suffering such a horrible death, he then uttered the depraved and despicable words, “Now you are truly the light of the world.”

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(Depiction of Nero’s Palace Garden and Christians Used As Torches)

Now let’s read part of the above quoted passage from the New American Standard Version: “And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed” (II Thessalonians 2:6). Then in verse seven, “…only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.”

Paul uses the impersonal pronoun “what” (restrains him) but then switches to a personal pronoun “he” (who now restrains). You’ll see who the “he” is later on, but the fact remains that the restrainer(s)—there are actually two sources of restriction —is first referred to as “what.” Which could not possibly be the Holy Spirit for reasons already provided: the Holy Spirit is ALWAYS referred to by the personal pronoun … He, Him, or His.

Regarding the above quoted passage, here is the first excerpt from Out of the Abyss (all excerpts will be in italics):

A torrent of crucial words floods these verses. Let’s begin with the present tense words that clearly convey and confirm the premise that all this was taking place before and when Paul wrote his letter.

According to Paul, the restrainer “is” (at that time) holding the lawless one back. This present tense application is augmented by the fact that what restrains is holding “him now.” Not later, not in some distant future, but right then and there while Paul informed the believers. Paul obviously is not referring to a man who hadn’t even been born yet…

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

Newsflash: Nero became emperor in 54 AD, but Claudius Caesar and his wife, Agrippina, were already touting Nero as successor when Paul wrote I & II Thessalonians. Furthermore, all of Rome knew that Nero would not be a lawful successor to the crown… (Page 191).

*Note: Agrippina was Nero’s mother. Emperor Claudius was Nero’s step-father and also the biological father of a son, Britannicus, who should have been the lawful heir to the throne.

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(Sculptures of Nero and Agrippina)

Paul also reminded the Thessalonians that this lawlessness was already at work secretly.

What Precisely Was the Lawlessness Taking Place in Paul’s Time?

Another excerpt from my book:

Most Bible teachers and scholars generally classify this lawlessness as the whole gamut of underlying forces originated by Satan from which all sin, evil, and therefore, disorder springs … This view is coupled with and placed in the context of the restrainer stepping out of the way, thereby, allowing an uninhibited explosion of evil (during the Tribulation). But is that the lawlessness Paul addresses in the immediate present tense context of this passage? (Page 192).

I then go on to explain the difference between the specific lawlessness referred to by Paul in contrast to evil in general by explaining the Greek word used for lawlessness juxtaposed to the Greek word in the New Testament for evil (in general). The Greek word for lawlessness is anomia (used only 15 times in the New Testament): which means contempt or violation of law—Biblical, moral and civil laws. And it conveys a much more specific concept than universal evil or wickedness.

Whereas, the Greek words for evil (panero and kakos) are used a combined total of 126 times, with meanings of: bad, wicked, base, pernicious, depraved, and sin in general. Both sin and evil relate to and express something that is inherent in or the nature of. However, anomia (lawlessness) is a more explicit expression of the sin nature, via lawless acts. Such as (in our case) Agrippina plotting to murder Claudius in order to accelerate Nero’s unlawful ascension as Roman Emperor over the rightful successor, Britannicus.

From Out of the Abyss:

As we’ve seen, Paul states that, “this lawlessness is already at work…” The modifier “already” strongly suggests that this lawlessness had begun sometime in the recent past before Paul wrote his letter. He also says that it is already at work “secretly.” There’s been nothing secret about sin and evil or the horrible consequences of this spiritual disease of man from the time Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and Cain killed his brother, Abel.

…Not only was the man of lawlessness on the scene, the (secret) lawlessness had already begun that would coalesce in all its ugliness with the lawless one after certain restraints were removed (pages 193-194).

Concerning the role of the Holy Spirit (with the prevailing presumption that he is taken from the earth with all believers at the Rapture), I go on to say:

For sure the body of Christ will be snatched away or caught up (Rapture), but Scripture neither states nor implies anywhere that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth after the Rapture. Thus, not only is the matching of the Holy Spirit to the restrainer a giant deductive leap, so is the ensuing assumption that the Holy Spirit will no longer indwell the Tribulation saints or otherwise be present on the earth…

Another factor to consider is that neither the Church nor, by association and implication, the Holy Spirit was holding back lawlessness of any kind, general or specific. Please don’t get offended; because I make this claim with the utmost respect and love for the Holy Spirit and fellow believers in Christ…

Let me ask a question: Was there any evidence before or after Paul wrote II Thessalonians that the evil of the Roman Empire or any other part of the world had been kept … in check? Of course, the true Church and the Holy Spirit has given the world a wonderful everlasting alternative solution to the problem of sin and death. This remedy comes from salvation offered through God’s gift of his Son to the unrestrained sin nature and expression of that nature. But salvation is a supernatural change of the natural man, not a restraint.

Wouldn’t it be entirely logical to expect a reduction of lawlessness, corruption, injustice, cruelty, and evil in general after the Holy Spirit began to indwell believers at Pentecost? If the Holy Spirit is the restrainer, then wickedness should have gradually subsided pretty much in direct proportion to the number of believers and increasing influence of Christianity. Does history demonstrate that anything like this has occurred since the first century?

I believe that any impartial evaluation of historical events since the first century would lead to the inescapable conclusion that, if anything, there has been less restraint of the forces of evil. At the very minimum, generic lawlessness is as prevalent as it was before the personal earthly presence of the Holy Spirit in all believers…

For that matter, can restraint be defined by degrees or levels? If so, then please tell me on what level of depravity the Holocaust in Germany belongs, or the unimaginable horror of what Nero did to the Christians in Rome, or the unthinkable brutality of the Spanish Inquisition against the Jews” (Pages 197-198).

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So, Then, “What” Is (Was in Paul’s Time) Holding Back (the man of) Lawlessness?

“And you know what is holding him back… (II Thessalonians 2:6).

Continuing with Out of the Abyss:

If, in fact, the Holy Spirit held back these things, then why didn’t Paul come right out and say so? Why did Paul need to be so secretive about the Holy Spirit? Why would Paul surreptitiously disguise the holder or restrainer… Paul frequently referred to the Holy Spirit by name … He even mentions the Holy Spirit in verse 13 of II Thessalonians Chapter 2, which is the very next verse after the man of lawlessness passage ends.

Neither the Roman Emperor at that time (Claudius) or the one to come (Nero) or the secular populace itself would have any notion what Paul was referring to. Or if they did have a clue, they couldn’t have cared less about “a holy spirit” that Christians claimed as part of their triune God.

Some have postured that the Holy Spirit could be referred to as what, a neuter pronoun, because the Holy Spirit includes the Greek word pneuma (spirit or breath), also a neutral expression. With all due respect, I would have to say: “Please give me a break on this one.” As already alluded, there’s no reason for the Holy Spirit, via inspiration to Paul, not to have stated his own name. And I seriously don’t think the Holy Spirit would refer to himself as “what.” Is the Holy Spirit any less than God the Father or God the Son as part of the magnificent Trinity? Has God or Jesus (Messiah) ever been referred to as “it” or “what” in Scripture? I think not” (page 199).

Alas, so much more to say, but time/space in today’s article is running out. Once again, please consider reading Out of the Abyss for an abundance of evidence on the Antichrist, including his identity.

Now for the grand finale in today’s article. Once again from Out of the Abyss:

The “what” in this verse (II Thessalonians 2:6) is holding back “him” and his “revealing”, i.e. disclosure as the man of lawlessness. Given all the evidence presented thus far, I would propose that (the) what is the Roman government including the Senate that represented the people, and to a lesser extent the Roman legions. All of these entities were already philosophically and experientially attuned to law and order. The lawlessness Paul referred to was the political intrigue, secretive maneuvers, and precursor to what would be a basically lawless ascension of a Roman citizen to the most powerful position in the Roman Empire.

But then the clandestine, hush-hush, lawless machinations would lose out when “…he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way (II Thessalonians 2:7). Now Paul has switched from “what” (impersonal pronoun) to “he,” a very personal pronoun. “He” is not the Holy Spirit or Paul would have said so… When he is taken or removed, the lawlessness will no longer be secret; it will visibly rear its ugly head. So let’s get personal. Who do you think might be the man to whom Paul is secretly referring?

Who was it that Nero’s mother, Agrippina, poisoned because she did her fast-food impression of the first century? Good answer: Claudius. She couldn’t enjoy a well prepared, slow-cooked political meal and wait for her husband, Claudius, to succumb to a natural death. Perish the thought … that could take years…

Yes, the “he” of II Thessalonians was the Emperor Claudius. He was the one individual that could keep Nero seated on the horse of lawlessness in the starting gate!

Obviously Claudius wanted Nero to succeed him, but certainly not as a result of Claudius being toppled from power by anyone, let alone his wife, Agrippina. Thus, Claudius was part of the scheme that would bypass his natural son’s right to the throne in favor of his step-son Nero. Little did Claudius realize that this plot would thicken with Agrippina’s lawless sub-plot to prematurely take him out of the picture; to remove him from power by revealing her true intention—that of Nero’s immediate unlawful ascension to the throne. (Pages 200-201).

Things to Ponder

In all of Scripture there are only two statements, challenges as such, which call for (a pretty large dose of) understanding in order to grasp what the passage is telling us. Both are in the book of Revelation and both relate directly to identifying the beast-king (Antichrist). As said in Out of the Abyss and some Eye of Prophecy articles, neither the apostle Paul nor John of Revelation could or would actually name Nero (or Claudius or Agrippina or the Roman Senate); to do so would have created even more intense persecution against Christians.

Though bold in their witness for Messiah Jesus and with love for each other and compassion for the unsaved, 1st century believers were nonetheless walking on eggshells with regard to Roman hostility toward them. There was no reason to further antagonize the Roman Empire by publicly naming the man of lawlessness (Nero before he came to power); then later the beast of Revelation (after Nero died, but would reappear from the Abyss any day—because they fully expected Jesus to return any moment). And certainly not by broadcasting the names of the conspirators who would unseat Claudius in order for Nero to lawlessly assume the throne.

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Thus, Paul refers to “what” was holding back the lawlessness and secrecy thereof, and who would have to be removed in order for this man of lawlessness to be revealed.

Likewise, in order for the reader of Revelation to fully understand (by also comparing all of Biblical passages on the Antichrist), the angel told John: “Wisdom is needed here. Let the one with understanding solve the meaning of the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666” (Revelation 13:18).

And, “This calls for a mind with understanding: The seven heads of the beast … also represent seven kings. Five kings have already fallen…” (Revelation 17:9-10).

Believers in the first few centuries knew that Nero was the Antichrist. They eagerly anticipated the imminent glorious return of Christ Jesus, even though their going home to heaven would lead directly to the repulsive reappearance of the beast (Nero) from the Abyss, for those left behind.

This was such common-place knowledge that a term was coined for it: Nero Redivivus Legend.

Among other Eye of Prophecy articles on the Antichrist, see, The Legendary Return of Nero (Posted 4-4-15).

End of the World Events … In Chronological Order!

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How Concerned Are You about Your Eternal Destiny?

How much do you know or care about the end of the world? How much do you want to know? To what extent should you care? What is your degree of awareness for such things as: Return of Jews to their Promised Land, The Rapture, Antichrist (perhaps even his identity), The Great Tribulation, The Second Coming of Christ, Resurrection of the Dead, and Eternity (where will you be).

On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your level of interest? One, Three, Seven, or Ten? An immediate reaction would be that most Christians would fall into the upper half of this Interest Scale … with unbelievers on the lower half. Not necessarily so. Despite the fact that nearly one-third of the Bible is prophecy, even some Christians are not all that concerned with what Scripture has to say about the future—often referred to as the Day of the Lord, last days, or end times.

Conversely, many unbelievers are deeply disturbed over what the future holds for them, as well they should be. It’s just that believers (whatever their level of interest in prophecy) look to what the true and living God has to say about their destiny as recorded in the Bible. Whereas, unbelievers turn to astrology, psychics, fortune tellers, self-proclaimed prophets, man-made gods and religions, charismatic leaders—both religious and irreligious—or to themselves.

As said on several occasions in prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there are two things that separate the Bible and the Triune God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) from the gods or leaders of man-made religions and cults. (1) Hundreds of fulfilled prophecies, such as those accomplished by Jesus of Nazareth. (2) Mighty miracles performed by God the Father and Messiah Jesus the Son, while he was on this earth. The greatest of which was his resurrection from the dead.

If so many prophecies given by the God of the Bible have come to pass and if He and His Son have performed so many astounding miracles, then might it not be reasonable, logical, and prudent to heed what the Lord has to say about things yet to come?

Concerning the topic of today’s article, even those well-versed in Biblical prophecy are sometimes confused over the sequence of end-times events. So, let’s itemize the prophetic events of the last days, and also place them in chronological order in which they will be fulfilled; toward the hopeful goal of continuity, clarification, and even correction of misunderstandings or misconceptions.

First, let’s take a brief, but panoramic look at what God as already done, also in chronological order.

What Has Already Taken Place in God’s Sweeping Plan for the Human Race

God Created the Universe

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

Then the Lord spoke light into existence; separated the waters that covered the earth into dry land and water; created all living things (plant and animal); began the recording of time itself; and formed man and woman in his image (Genesis Chapter 1).

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“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us…’” (Genesis 1:26).

It’s our soul, spirit, mind, and language that distinguishes us from animals. Not to be God, but to be like him in the sense that we can know him, fellowship with him, and comprehend his plan for our eternal destiny.

Adam and Eve’s Sin against God

God gave man and woman free will, the right to choose (everlasting) life or physical then spiritual death—separation from God for all eternity. With the capacity to choose focused on one thing: agreeing with (obeying) or disagreeing with (disobeying) God’s very simple instructions.

“The Lord placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die’” (Genesis 2:15-16).

Adam and Eve chose wrongly. Their original sin has infected mankind ever since. “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

God’s Plan of Redemption … To Restore People Back to God through Messiah

Speaking to Satan (as the serpent), God foretold the coming Messiah:

“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15).

Speaking of Messiah (Jesus, whose birth, life, death, and resurrection meticulously fulfilled ALL Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah), Isaiah says:

“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).

Scripture clearly shows us that God is omniscient, knowing the end from the beginning. Thus even before the creation of the world, the Lord conceived his marvelous design of redemption for mankind. This plan was in two distinct parts and phases, and it is vitally important to distinguish between these two blueprints. Down through the years, even well-meaning Christians have tragically failed to see the distinction between the two. Among other things this has resulted in the insidious insinuation that the Church has replaced Israel, with God’s providential plan for the Jews no longer in effect. That is as wrong as anything can be. There are several passages in Scripture to refute such an idea, not the least of which is Romans Chapters 9-11.

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Plan A (A for Awesome)

After repopulation of the earth following the Great Flood, God selected one man to become the progenitor of a race of people to whom God would reveal himself and through whom Messiah would bring redemption to the whole world.

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. 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 12:1-3).

Because God’s chosen people, the Jews, couldn’t and wouldn’t faithfully obey God and keep the Mosaic Covenant, they were exiled (twice) to Gentile nations. Yet the Old Testament prophets predicted that the Jews would one day return to Israel and reclaim the land God promised to them as a perpetual inheritance.

In our generation we have seen that amazing promise come to pass. Which is the bedrock foundational beginning of all end-times prophecies as we shall soon examine in chronological sequence.

Plan B (B for Beautiful … But Also Awesome!)

The ultimate blessing promised to Abraham through his son Isaac was/is Messiah Jesus and so great a salvation he purchased with his blood shed as a ransom for all who would believe in him.

Through the prophets Isaiah and especially Jeremiah, God announced a New Covenant to replace the Mosaic Covenant, including the Levitical Sacrificial System (See Jeremiah 31:31-34).

This would be accomplished by Messiah Jesus, with both Jew and Gentile being made one in Christ. But this is a spiritual union, not a physical one. The physical return to and perpetual possession of the Promised Land of Israel is for the Jews alone (Plan A) although there will be some Gentiles living in Israel in the end times.

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3).

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

Thus, Plan B is the Church, defined by the Greek word “ecclesia” as individuals (not an organization or clerical hierarchy) called out from the world to be part of the spiritual building and body of Christ … Jew and Gentile alike.

Which brings us to where we are right now in a world longing for something much higher than all past and current governments and someone much better than all previous and present-day leaders, to bring us peace. Scripture calls him the Prince of Peace … none other than Messiah Jesus, the Son of God.

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The End of This Age Is Upon Us

We are so very near to the completion of God’s prophetic promises. Plan A will soon be fully realized with the complete physical and spiritual restoration of God’s chosen people the Jews and with Israel as their permanent inheritance on this earth.

Plan B will imminently come to fruition, beginning with transportation of believers in Messiah to heaven through the resurrection of the dead in Christ and transformation of living believers to our new bodies at the Rapture.

So let’s pick it up at the Rapture (the beginning of the end) which will take place at any moment of any day in what will be the very near future. The Rapture will be the next astounding occurrence that will be the catalyst of earth-shaking, eternal destiny altering chain of events never before experienced in the annals of mankind.

The twenty-one major events are listed in the order that they will take place. The significance of that number (seven times three—Divine numbers in Scripture) shouldn’t escape our attention. In like manner, there are twenty-one Tribulation judgments … seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls. Although there are a few other events depicted in the Biblical last day’s scenario, they are part of one or more of these twenty-one major prophetic events not yet fulfilled.

  1. Rapture of the Church … Born Again Believers in Messiah Jesus

Although quoted several times in prior Eye of Prophecy articles, for purpose of today’s article I’ll only provide the source of the two primary Biblical passages on the Rapture: I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15.

With, however, this observation: As explained in detail in one of the first five articles published in Eye of Prophecy on the Rapture (How the Rapture? posted 8-24-13), the entire episode will not transpire in the twinkling of an eye. Only the transfiguration of believer’s bodies will occur in the blink of an eye. From the beginning of the Rapture sequence (descent of Christ Jesus from heaven with a loud shout) to the grand finale of the dead and living in Christ transformation to our new bodies, will take several minutes.

Nonetheless, it is the Rapture that will signal the beginning of what Scripture often calls the Day of the Lord. For believers in Messiah Jesus it will be a glorious day; for unbelievers and their man of lawlessness (Antichrist) it will be a terrifying time of great torment.

  1. Reappearance of the Antichrist Beast from the Abyss

The sudden reappearance of the Antichrist from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) will trigger the cataclysmic carnage of the Tribulation. Beginning with many of those left behind giving him their total allegiance, because he will have returned to this earth nearly 2,000 years after he died. (See Revelation 13:3-4).

Most of an entire book I wrote (Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666) contains in-depth documentation from all Bible passages on the Antichrist as well as first century history to demonstrate that the identity of the Antichrist can and should be understood and was known by at least the 1st through 4th century Christians. He is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. Likewise, virtually all Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist provide additional evidence to support this conclusion.

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Although Scripture doesn’t tell us how much time elapses between the Rapture and Nero’s astonishing reappearance, it’s clear that it will be a fairly short time, as believers in Christ are not meant to go through the Tribulation. In the very next chapter after Paul’s remarkable revelation concerning details of the Rapture, he declares:

“For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us” (I Thessalonians 5:9).

The entire purpose and timing of the Rapture is to complete (resurrected bodies) so great a salvation given to us when we believed and received Messiah Jesus as Savior, and also to spare us from God’s anger which will be poured out on a wicked corrupt world.

In a parallel confirmation, as soon as John, the author of Revelation, is summoned and transported to heaven with what I believe are the same words that Jesus will shout at the Rapture (“Come up here” Revelation 4:1), the apocalyptic progression of the Tribulation begins to unfold.

  1. Nero’s Seven-Year Treaty with Israel, To Include Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple

Daniel prophesied that the armies of the ruler to come would destroy the Jewish Temple, which took place in 70 AD (Daniel 9:26). Those armies were Roman legions led by Titus who (along with his father, Vespasian) had been given direct orders by Nero in 66 AD to crush the uprising in Israel. Then Daniel says this about that same ruler (fast forwarding to the return of the ruler-Antichrist as vividly depicted in Revelation 17:7-8):

“The ruler will make a treaty with the people for a period of one set of seven…” (Daniel 9:27, “one set of seven” is seven years). From this verse we derive and express the end-time’s term of a Seven Year Tribulation.

  1. Gog/Magog Invasion

Many Bible Scholars place this massive attack on Israel just before the Rapture or near the end of the Tribulation. As I’ve written in several Eye of Prophecy articles on the Gog/Magog assault against Israel, I’m convinced (with reasons given) that this will occur within the first half of the Tribulation, most likely in the first 12-18 months. Time/space in today’s article permits only the following:

God, through Ezekiel, is speaking to Gog and telling Ezekiel when Gog will lead the Magog campaign:

“…When my people are living in peace in their land, then you will rouse yourself. You will come from your homeland in the distant north … and you will attack my people Israel…” (Ezekiel 38:14-15).

In today’s world the incessant but unsuccessful (thus far) attempts at peace unfolding in the Middle East reinforce what this passage is telling us. The time of the Gog/Magog campaign is (fairly) soon after Israel appears to be at total peace with her enemies—which could only happen after the treaty orchestrated by Antichrist Nero. Thus, Gog/Magog will not take place prior to the Rapture, as there will be no semblance of peace in the Middle East until this treaty. Nor will it occur near or at the end of the Tribulation. Scripture is abundantly clear: that will be the time when Antichrist and his ten-nation coalition (not the Gog/Magog alliance) will attack Israel (see Daniel 11).

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  1. Antichrist Nero’s Forced Cessation of Jewish Offerings and Sacrifices

Referring again to Daniel 9:27: “…but after half this time, he will put an end to the sacrifices and offerings…” The very fact that the Levitical Sacrificial system had begun reinforces the existence of the Third Jewish Temple.

Half this time is 3 ½ years after the treaty is enacted and the Temple is rebuilt.

  1. Beginning of the 2nd (Worst) Half of the Seven-Year Tribulation (referred to as the Great Tribulation) in Which Nero’s Evil Influence in the World Will Begin To Peak

“Then the beast was allowed 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).

  1. Trumpet/Bowl Judgments Poured Out On Antichrist and His Followers

This is one facet of the end-times sequence of events that I think few Christians fully comprehend. Although most understand that the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments are successive—if for no other reason than all seven of each of the three sets of judgments are numbered and are revealed to us in sequence.

Note: There are a couple of passages in Revelation that are not chronological (Chapters 12, 13, 17). Instead, they are what we call parenthetical to include description of Antichrist’s return and what he, his coalition, and the False Prophet will do from beginning to the end of the Tribulation. To also describe events that took place before the visions were given to John, such as the life and death of the Antichrist beast even before John saw him as he reappeared from the abyss.

Specifically, I’m referring to when the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments will take place throughout the entire Tribulation period of seven years. Which is: All seven seals will be broken (unleashed) during the early part of the Tribulation, the first four of which are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Followed by the first four Trumpet judgments that will not only be world-wide but will also result in the death of Tribulation saints who have embraced Messiah Jesus over Anti-Messiah Nero. In fact, the sixth and seventh seal judgments are strikingly similar to (and I believe the same as) the language in Ezekiel 38 & 39 regarding what God will do to the Gog/Magog invaders and to those nations (to include “friendly casualties”) that stand by and watch Gog attempt to invade Israel.

However, beginning with the fifth Trumpet judgment, we see a dramatic distinctive shift in the target of God’s wrath, which is now directed to unbelievers who (by that time) have staked their destiny on and with Antichrist Nero. Scripture is telling us that the fifth and sixth trumpet judgments and all seven bowl judgments will be administered against unbelievers and their evil leaders during the last half of the Tribulation, because that is when Nero is granted full power and authority.

Immediately after the fourth Trumpet judgment we read:

“Then I looked, and I heard a single eagle crying loudly as it flew through the air, ‘Terror, terror, terror to all who belong to this world because of what will happen when the last three angels blow their trumpets’” (Revelation 8:13, italics for emphasis).

Later the bowl judgments also are pointed at unbelievers, those who by now are cursing God knowing full well his power and why he is judging them. Beginning with the first bowl poured out on a wicked world:

“So the first angel left the Temple and poured out his bowl on the earth, and horrible, malignant sores broke out on everyone who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped his statue” (Revelation 16:2)

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  1. Triumphant Second Coming of Christ to Rescue Israel, Conquer Antichrist & His Coalition Which Now Includes the Kings of the East Who Join Together to Fight against Messiah

I believe the evidence in Scripture is strong enough to show that the return of Jesus Christ to the earth will be in two stages. (I’m not talking about the Rapture, which has already occurred and in which Jesus does not actually come to the earth at that time).

His first reappearance on earth is described in Zechariah:

“Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart…” (Zechariah 14:3-4).

The premise that this will be our Lord’s initial return to earth is supported by another well-known passage on Messiah Jesus’s ascension to heaven 40 days after his resurrection:

“After saying this, he was taken up into a cloud while they were watching … As they strained to see him rising into heave, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee … Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!” (Acts 1:9-11).

Nearly all Bible scholars/teachers (including me) agree that his return is back to the Mount of Olives, exactly like Zechariah, then the angels predicted.

The second and final phase of Messiah’s second coming will take place about 30 days after he sets foot on the Mount of Olives, from where he begins to lead, protect, rescue, and fight for and alongside the Jews in Israel. This is further explained in Zechariah Chapter 12.

His second appearance is described in Revelation 19:11-16, beginning with, “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” (Verse 11). This passage is obviously referring to Messiah Jesus, but this time he’s on a white horse, and this time he completely vanquishes the armies of the earth. Moreover, this time all raptured believers will be with him as found in Revelation 17:14.

  1. Nero’s Desecration of the Rebuilt Temple

Most Bible scholars assume that Antichrist’s defilement of the Temple takes place when he stops the Jewish sacrifices (half way through the Tribulation). But Scripture doesn’t support that view. Rather, this desecration will take place at the end of the tribulation, most likely a very short time after Jesus sets foot on the Mount of Olives. Which, as indicated, will be approximately 30 days before Christ returns with believers to end the reign of Nero and the authority of Satan in the final battle of Armageddon.

Here’s why. Returning again to Daniel 9, we read what will happen after Antichrist (Nero) stops the Jewish sacrifices: “…And as a climax (meaning at the conclusion or end) 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, parenthesis mine).

Then Daniel is even more specific: “From the time the daily sacrifice is stopped and the sacrilegious object that causes desecration is set up to be worshipped, there will be 1,290 days” (Daniel 12:11).

The span of 1,290 days represents the time between cessation of the sacrifices to setting up the object of worship that defiles the Temple. The connecting word, “and” does not mean in addition to; rather (by virtue of the length of the specified time) it means until (later on) or between.

I believe the main reason Nero will erect this object (probably another statue of himself as God) is in direct defiance of Messiah Jesus’s return to Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives which is a short distance from Temple Mount.

Why 1,290 days when 3 ½ years is 1,260 days? This extra 30 days is the time that Jesus will begin to rescue the Jews from the nations aligned against Israel, culminating in his triumphant return with the host of heaven 30 days later.

  1. The Beast and False Prophet Thrown Into the Lake of Fire

Finally, Satan’s man of lawlessness—the one who would dare be anti-Christ—and his false prophet will reach their depraved destination. Because of the incomparable power and authority of Messiah Jesus—the Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man—Armageddon will be abruptly anti-climactic. Read with me:

“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 the false prophet were thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. Their entire army was killed by the sharp sword that came from the mouth of the one riding the white horse…” (Revelation 19:20-21).

  1. Sheep and Goat Judgment

“But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left” (Matthew 25:31-33).

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In the rest of Matthew 25, Jesus explains the reason for this separation … which is the way that nations treated his “brothers and sisters.” I agree with those students of the Bible who say that the goats are nations (people still alive representing those nations) who mistreated and harmed Israel before and during the Great Tribulation. That’s why the word nations is first used in this passage; then later the people (of those nations). This is not the same as the final Great White Throne Judgment, which we’ll get to in a moment.

The result of this separation: “And they (the goats) will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous (Gentiles) will go into eternal life” (Matthew 25:46, parenthesis mine).

However, Scripture does not tell us precisely when the goat’s eternal punishment begins. Is it immediately? Probably not. Most likely the meaning is after the goats eventually die (without acknowledging Christ as Lord and Savior), which tracks with the righteous going into eternal life.

  1. Satan Banished to the Abyss for 1,000 Years

Not quite the end of Satan, but a good start!

“Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven with the key to the bottomless pit and a heavy chain in his hand. He seized the dragon—that old serpent, who is the devil, Satan—and bound him in chains for a thousand years. The angel threw him into the bottomless pit, which he then shut and locked so Satan could not deceive the nations anymore until the thousand years were finished. Afterward he must be released for a little while” (Revelation 20:1-3).

As I wrote in Out of the Abyss, with more elaboration in some Eye of Prophecy articles, there is nothing symbolic going on in this passage except the image of a dragon. An embodied Satan is literally bound with a “heavy” chain (a symbolic chain does not need to be described as heavy) and just as literally locked up in the Abyss.

  1. Resurrection of the Tribulation Saints

“…And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony about Jesus and for proclaiming the word of God. They had not worshipped the beast or his statue, nor accepted his mark on their forehead or their hands. They all came to life again, and they reigned with Christ for a thousand years” (Revelation 20:4).

  1. Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus on Earth Along With All Believers

Immediately after the Tribulation saints coming back to life, we read:

“This is the first resurrection (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years had ended.) Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. For them the second death holds no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:5-6, parenthesis in the text).

This also includes all believers taken (both the dead and living in Christ) at the Rapture. Together with the Tribulation Saints this is the “First Resurrection.” We know that the two groups must be combined because of other Bible passages which clearly state that all believers will share in Christ’s inheritance; which, among other glorious promises, includes reigning with him on the earth during the Millennium.

  1. Release of Satan from the Abyss

“When the thousand years come to an end, Satan will be let out of his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations … He will gather them together for battle—a mighty army, as numberless as sand along the seashore” (Revelation 20:7-8).

  1. Final Battle of All Time

This is yet another anti-climactic battle to end warfare forever.

“…But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them” (Revelation 20:9).

An unfair fight wouldn’t you say? But rightfully so. For God’s judgements are always, “true and just” (Revelation 16:7).

  1. Satan Thrown Into the Lake of Fire

“Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:10).

And that will be all there is to that!

  1. Great White Throne Judgment

This is when all the dead from the very beginning of the human race, who were not part of the First Resurrection, will stand before God Almighty.

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“And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it … I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne … And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books … And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:11-15).

From the very beginning, the greatest obstacle, by far, preventing people from trusting in God’s promise of the coming Messiah, then actually believing and receiving Messiah after he first came to earth as our only source of salvation is: SELF-RIGHEOUSNESS.

In this final judgment God will base his decision on “their deeds.” This is not a matter of bad deeds outweighing good deeds (or vice versa). God plainly says in Scripture that, apart from his righteousness, there is no one who is righteous; that the only remedy is the substitutionary sacrifice of his Son to make us right with God. Thus, God will grant their wish by judging them according to their deeds, because that was the reason (and will be their excuse at the white throne judgement) for rejecting God’s way of redemptive righteousness while they lived on the earth.

Every person being judged will attempt to defend themselves in some fashion by boasting about the “good things” they did on this earth. Therefore, God should realize that and accept them into heaven. What they refused to accept when they were alive is that trust in God instead of their own self-righteousness would save them. That he did for them (all of us) what we could not possibly do for ourselves through good deeds. Hence, God’s final sentence is ultimately based on their rejection of His Son, Messiah Jesus—both the promise of his coming and especially after he arrived on the earth.

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  1. God’s Creation of a New Heaven and Earth

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone” (Revelation 21:1)

Because of other passages in Scripture, not the least of which is the eternal existence of the earthly Jerusalem, the “new earth” will be an extreme makeover of our planet, to the extent that the current earth for all practical purposes will “disappear.” Believers will have the wonderful privilege to watch our great Triune God recreate the heavens and earth. We will see this miraculous transformation take place. Amazing!

  1. The New Jerusalem

The New Jerusalem will be stunning it its beauty and size, and will be the eternal dwelling place for believers in Christ. It will hover above the new earth and be a splendid part of the new heavens. See Revelation 21 for the magnificent details.

  1. Eternity

It begins with the arrival of the New Jerusalem. Among all the spectacular things we will see and experience, and our reunion of loved ones in Christ, and an endless amount of time to talk to the Bible characters we’ve grown to know and love, the most wonderful of all will be:

“…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. 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 21:3-5a).

Things to Ponder

Only one thing remains before the other twenty last day’s events begin to unfold in kaleidoscope intensity and in rapid-fire time.

Jesus himself said it … we call it the Rapture.

“Yes, I am coming soon!” (Revelation 22:20).

Let all those redeemed by the Lord say:

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

Trump, Cyrus, and the Jewish Temple

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As Donald Trump Goes, So Goes Israel?

How ironic that people from all over the world seem to be more excited and less divided over the election of Donald Trump as United States President, than Americans are … what with some folks in the United States yelling, “Trump is not my President.”

Hardly any election in American history has polarized Americans more than Donald Trump’s defeat of Hilary Clinton this past November. Normally America comes together in some optimistic fashion to give a new president the (benefit of the doubt) opportunity to see what he can/will do. But not this time, beginning with the President’s controversial decision to (temporarily) ban immigrants from seven nations hostile toward the United States; seven countries that spawn terrorists or subsidize terrorism, with a permanent ban (until further notice) on refugees from Syria.

By and large, the citizens and leaders of one nation in particular have expressed their enthusiasm for Donald Trump’s presidency … Israel. Certainly there are more than just a few Jews in the United States and some in Israel that are dismayed over the election. Yet, through numerous articles from Israeli journalists reporting on the reaction of Israeli citizens and their leaders, it’s clear that there is an atmosphere of cheerfulness and confidence unparalleled since President Harry Truman was the first national leader to congratulate Israel on her rebirth as a sovereign nation in 1948.

This heart-felt hopefulness harbored by many Israelis of better times ahead in Israel—contingent on stronger relations between Israel and the United States (in glaring contrast to former President Obama’s contentious conduct and divisive demeanor toward Israel)—is, for the most part, connected to four passionate but seemingly unattainable dreams near and dear to most Israelis, both religious and secular.

They will be listed in order of the most likely to the least likely for implementation. The realization of these individual and national Jewish dreams appear to be directly proportionate to President Trump’s promises or, at least, preferences that he had already expressed before and then after his election. The first three will be examined in cursory fashion, with our main focus in today’s article on the fourth passionate pursuit of Israelis, especially the observant (religious) among them. It is, by far, the most difficult goal to achieve. It is one that could lead to a savage Palestinian intifada against Israelis, even to all-out war between some Muslim nations and Israel that globally would generate political, social, and military repercussions.

It is: A Rebuilt Jewish Temple.

Each of the four is an awkward juxtaposition of irritating issues to the world at large, alongside of ardent aspirations for Israelis.

First Issue/Aspiration: Additional Jewish Settlements in the West Bank

Emboldened by President Trump’s election, the Jewish parliamentary government (Knesset) passed the Judea and Samaria Settlement Regulation Law on February 6th. In some prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I’ve written fairly extensively on the alleged “Jewish occupation and Israeli settlements” in so-called “Palestinian territories.” For example, Israeli Occupation … Fact or Myth? (Published 5-16-15).

Time/space in today’s article does not permit elaboration on this Settlement Regulation Law. Suffice to say: Whether the legislative enactment to build more dwellings for Jewish families in the designated region of Judea/Samaria (what is commonly called the West Bank) can or will be implemented depends upon two factors. In order of importance: (1) An Israeli Supreme Court’s decision to endorse the law or to nullify it. (2) The United States, primarily through President Trump’s leadership, agreement not to contest or even criticize existing settlements or more construction, as the former U.S. Executive Staff (Obama’s two terms) had so strenuously objected.

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(Shows How Much Land Judea/Samaria–Now Called the West Bank–Takes Up of Israel Proper)

Already there have been mixed signals from the Trump administration, bordering on ambivalence. Not that long ago, a White House spokesperson voicing President Trump’s stance on the matter, said, “we don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”

Yet in a recent interview President Trump gave to Israeli journalist Boaz Bismuth who writes for the online Israeli news source, Israel Hayom, President Trump appeared to take a step backwards, at least in terms of overt support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Before quoting a portion of this interview as posted in Boaz Bismuth’s article of February 12, 2017, I need to bring up an intriguing fact as subsequently published in Bismuth’s article of the very next day, February 13th.

Boaz Bismuth wrote: “After my interview with Trump last week (results of which weren’t published until the February 12th article), one of his senior advisors told me: ‘You see! Our president is a man of his word.’ She was referring to the promise Trump made to me during an interview on the campaign trail. During that interview, on the night of the third presidential debate, I asked to have the honor of being the first Israeli journalist to interview him as president. ‘I promise,’ Trump said.”

Here is one question to and answer from President Trump as contained in Bismuth’s article of February 12th:

“Q. We heard from Washington this week that settlements are not an impediment to the peace process. I guess this is an issue you and Prime Minister Netanyahu are going to discuss?” (Referring to their meeting which has now taken place … this past Wednesday)

“A. They (settlements) don’t help the process. I can say that. There is so much land left. And every time you take land for settlements, there is less land left. But we are looking at that, and we are looking at some other options we’ll see. But no, I am not somebody that believes that going forward with these settlements is a good thing for peace.”

*Note: On the subject of peace, President Trump used that word an astonishing 14 times in this fairly short interview with journalist Boaz Bismuth, and did so in the context of several questions (subjects).

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(Writer, Boaz Bismuth)

Bismuth’s final question was: “Finally, Mr. President, do you have anything to say to the Israelis?”

President Trump’s answer: “I have great respect for the Israelis, great respect for Israel. We’d love to see peace. We think it would be very, very good for the Israeli people, and we want a peace that would be everlasting—not just a peace that is going to be good for three months and then the fighting starts again…”

Which I also find intriguing, in light of last week’s Eye of Prophecy article, Peace on Earth … Is It Really Possible? (Posted 2-11-17, the day before Boaz’s interview article of 2-12). Here is an excerpt (in italics) from that Eye of Prophecy article that seems to track with what President Trump said, in terms of his ardent desire to do his and America’s part to bring some measure of peace on earth. Now, if he would just look to the Prince of Peace as the only person who can truly bring harmony to this wicked war-weary world we live in!

A True Peace That Divides

It is belief in and acceptance of the truth of the gospel (Jesus substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross) that sets us free from the penalty of sin and gives us eternal life in heaven, when we will be forever free from the very presence of sin, grief, pain, remorse, hostility, and death itself.

But this truth divides. It separates good from evil; light from darkness; right from wrong; honesty from lies; God’s righteousness given to us from self-righteous efforts of good works that vainly try to gain God’s favor; and true everlasting peace with God from man-made peace that produces only a temporary false sense of security and serenity. A semblance of safety that all too quickly disappears with the next war just around the corner.

In summary of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, it does appear that President Trump is having second thoughts on whether they are an obstacle to peace. If that’s his position and becomes official White House policy, then there will be no difference between his view and that of the misguided notion of our former president as well as many international leaders. I’m referring to the grossly oversimplified impression and outright erroneous thinking that Jewish settlements in the West Bank is the ONLY reason why Palestinians hate the Jews and refuse to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis.

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(Actual Jewish Settlements Constitute Less Than 5% of the West Bank)

Second Issue/Aspiration: Moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Until the recent Settlement Regulation Law passed by the Israeli Knesset, the potential move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem was the hottest topic on the tips of the tongues of national leaders and the media all over the world. As expected, many European leaders voiced their objection for the same reasons of the self-fulfilling predictions by Muslim nations and by Palestinians: moving the U.S. Embassy would immediately produce even more hostility toward Israel and intensify violence against Israelis.

The recent Eye of Prophecy article entitled, Is President Trump Wavering on the “Waiver? (Posted 2-4-17), covered this issue at some length. In the context of today’s article, the following excerpt from that article is provided (in italics):

Just last weekend, however, he made a concession that the plan or procedure to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, “is not easy … has two sides to it … there’s certainly a chance of it, absolutely … I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I’ll tell you that.”

He pledged to, “studying it very long and hard.” And, “I hate to do that because that’s not usually me. Usually, I do what’s right.” (Meaning postponing what he intimated would be a quick executive decision soon after being elected).

He concluded with the promise that he would, “…have a decision in the not-too-distant future.”

I take this to mean that President Trump is unwavering with regard to doing something about his unexpected and out-of-character wavering over “The Waiver.”

*Note: As a reminder, the “Waiver” referred to the clause in the Jerusalem Embassy Act passed in 1995 by a huge margin in both the House and Senate that mandated moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, with a contingency clause that allowed the sitting U.S. President to sign a waiver every six months, which would postpone implementation of the law.

The article, Is President Trump Wavering on the Waiver? concluded with:

To relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem is much more than symbolic. It is a decisive move that could preclude God’s harsh judgment of the United States of America before the Day of the Lord’s return. A return that begins with the remarkable Rapture of believers and ends with Messiah Jesus’s second coming to earth seven years later in power and great glory to fight for Israel and rescue her from imminent destruction.

If President Trump wants to make America great again, the first place (no better place) to begin is with the transfer of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. For in doing so, he is agreeing with God that Jerusalem, as the City that the Lord loves above all cities, is indeed the eternal heart and soul (capital) of Israel.

Third Issue/Aspiration: Creation of a Palestinian State (So-Called Two State Solution)

First, a clarification that the creation of a Palestinian State within the existing borders of Israel (those national boundaries that separate Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt) is NOT by any stretch of the imagination something that most Jews want. However, many Israelis—including their Presidential Staff, Department Ministers, Members of Knesset (MKs) and geopolitical experts—realize that a Palestinian State may very well come into existence. If for no other reason than constant international pressure.

If a Palestinian State becomes a reality, what Israelis earnestly hope for is that such a state will not jeopardize Jewish security because of virtually indefensible borders. Nonetheless, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (almost exclusively from pressure exerted by former US President Obama in 2009) had conceded that any peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians could conceivably include a Palestinian State. To counter the inherent danger that a Palestinian State would pose to the Jews, Prime Minister Netanyahu emphatically believes such an Arab state must be demilitarized. To monitor that, would mean freedom of the Israeli Defense Force to move throughout the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, as both regions are vital to Israeli security.

The following (in italics) are excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Peace or a Palestinian State … Which Will It Be? (Posted 2-27-16).

What the Palestinians want most of all is simply for the international community to take sides against Israel. This would give more credibility to their underlying objective of a Palestinian State not just within certain borders of Israel, but a state replacing all of Israel. Because to the Arab and most non-Arab Muslims, there is no such thing as Israel. All one needs to do is talk to any Palestinian on the street, or listen to their prolific propaganda, or read their school curriculum, or examine their maps of Palestine. For example, some Palestinian officials have recently demanded that all Jews in Palestine should be required to return to the country from which they immigrated (to Israel).

Another huge hurdle would be the actual territorial boundaries of such a Palestinian State. Which is why Israel must agree to such borders for purpose of their national security and national heritage and identity. That means that Israel would not surrender the Golan Heights, nor ever accept an official partition of West and East Jerusalem. Certainly, not to allow the Palestinian capital to be East Jerusalem, which includes Temple Mount. So, if France recognizes a Palestinian State, will they arbitrarily define these borders? Will they demand that the Jews vacate all settlements within the West Bank, including East Jerusalem? Would they unilaterally declare East Jerusalem as the Palestinian State Capital? Will they insist that Israel return the Golan Heights back to Syria? And, if Israel did, who or what in Syria would control the Golan Heights … given the fighting and anarchy already taking place in that war-torn country.

But the biggest obstacle of all: For years and years neither Hamas nor the Palestinian Authority has agreed to just two basic conditions requested by the Israeli government in order for the Jews to consider approval and acceptance of a Palestinian State: (1) Recognition of Israel itself as a sovereign Jewish State. (2) No Palestinian capital in (East) Jerusalem. It’s that simple. Israel is saying that a Palestinian State is feasible if the Palestinians would merely acknowledge the sovereign State of Israel, and agree to put a Palestinian capital anywhere in such a state except Jerusalem. Without these two concessions, all other negotiable issues are irrelevant.

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In another Israel Hayom article published on February 12 (three days before Netanyahu was to meet with Trump), journalist Nadav Shragai wrote:

“Will Israel stick to the paradigm of a Palestinian state? Has Netanyahu been using that idea just so he could make it through the administration of former U.S. President Barack Obama, buy himself some time, and then go back to his old stance against a Palestinian state that will endanger regional security and the State of Israel? Or has he fallen in love with the idea? And if he has, was it with the idea itself or as an instrument of diplomacy?

“This question is both relevant and fateful, because all the signs indicate that this time, unlike previous meetings between American presidents and Israeli prime ministers, Trump is open to hearing, and even wants to understand, what Israel’s position is before he decides on policy. Is Israel for or against a Palestinian state? For or against annexation? To what extent? And where? Where in the settlements does it intend to build—in the large blocs? Outside them?

“If Trump’s campaign remarks are any indication, Israel has quite a bit of room to maneuver. Even Trump’s statements in his exclusive Israel Hayom interview  that he does not believe that moving ahead with the settlements will benefit the peace process but does not intend to condemn Israel, still leave Israel considerable leeway.”

(Note: he is referring to the interview given by President Trump to Boaz Bismuth, part of which was quoted earlier in today’s article)

Because this week’s Eye of Prophecy began and was mostly completed prior to this past Thursday’s publication of Wednesday’s meeting between President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu (and because of time/space in today’s article), I’ll quote only a couple of their comments concerning the subject of a Palestinian State. President Trump’s remarks were somewhat unexpected, but not entirely.

Said President Trump: “I’m looking at two-state and one-state … I’m very happy with the one that both parties like. I can live with either one. I thought for a while the two-state looked like it may be the easier of the two. But honestly, if Bibi (Netanyahu) and if the Palestinians, if Israel and the Palestinians, are happy, I’m happy with the one they like the best.”

He went on to say: “…That includes working toward a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The United States will encourage a peace and, really, a great peace deal. We’ll be working on it very, very diligently. Very important to me also—something we want to do. But it is the parties themselves who must directly negotiate such an agreement … As with any successful negotiations, both sides will have to make compromises. You know that, right?”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks were what I expected him to say, as already alluded to in today’s article written mostly before his historic meeting with President Trump on 2-15-17.

Among other things, he said, “the two prerequisites of peace, recognition of the Jewish state and Israel’s security needs west of the Jordan, they remain permanent … we must make sure we’re not under threat of a Palestinian terror state in our heartland.”

In Netanyahu’s mention of “security needs west of the Jordan,” he is referring to the “West Bank” which derives its name from the western side (bank) of the Jordan River. Of course that includes (all of) Jerusalem, which is the core of the second Israeli prerequisite … an undivided Jerusalem as the Jewish capital of Israel.

He also said: “I don’t want to annex two million Palestinians to Israel and I’ve no interest in them being our subjects. But we must make sure we’re not under threat of a Palestinian terror state in our heartland.”

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Fourth Issue/Aspiration: A Rebuilt Jewish Temple on Temple Mount

This is the most controversial and combative issue of all, even among Israelis and Jews the world over. For the most part, it is observant (particularly the Orthodox) Jews who desperately want to rebuild the third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. The restoration of the Jewish Temple would be a climatic achievement to the rebirth of Israel as a sovereign nation in 1948 and the recapture of their holy city of Jerusalem in 1967. Yet, if construction of the Temple would begin anytime in the near future, it undoubtedly would ignite a massive Palestinian intifada as well as Muslim nations attacking Israel from all sides. Moreover, there would be international condemnation of Israel from virtually every nation—with the possible exception of the United States and Great Britain.

Consequently, nearly all secular Jews and also more than a few non-Orthodox observant Jews (Reformed, Conservative) are opposed or at least reluctant to unilaterally move forward with a rebuilt Temple absent bilateral concessions on Israel’s part. In fact, the Palestinians and Muslims worldwide are adamantly, even violently, opposed to a rebuilt Jewish Temple on Temple Mount. They wouldn’t remotely agree to such a thing unless Israel met ALL Palestinian demands which, at one time or another, have been proclaimed as preconditions to negotiations for peace.

I’m referring to Arab demands that include but are not limited to: A Palestinian State with boundaries that include all of the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the capital of that state, encompassing the Western Wall and Temple Mount itself under Palestinian control. Meaning, of course, that the Palestinians would impose strict regulations (as they currently do) on who and how often the Jews could actually ascend Temple Mount or set foot in a rebuilt Temple. Also return of all so-called refuges from neighboring nations including 2nd and 3rd generation children of those refugees, which now total more nearly six million. And, Israeli eviction from the Golan Heights, which would be disastrous in terms of Israel’s security.

But since the majority of those demands would not be accepted unconditionally by Israel, we’re back to terrorism and war as the preferred strategy and probable action of Muslims in reaction to even an announcement that the Temple would be rebuilt, let alone actual construction.

From the Eye of Prophecy article, A Third Jewish Temple? (Published 4-26-14), I wrote:

For readers of this article that may not be fully aware of the importance of the Temple Mount to both religious and secular Jews, let me paraphrase what has been stated in a couple of previous Eye of Prophecy articles: Jerusalem is the very heart and soul of Israel, and the Temple Mount is the heart and soul of Jerusalem. It is none other than Mount Moriah, where Abraham nearly sacrificed his only son, Isaac; and later the site where Solomon’s Temple and the 2nd Temple were built. Unfortunately, it is also the location of the Muslim Dome of the Rock, built some 1600 years after Solomon’s Temple and 1150 years after Ezra and Nehemiah’s Temple. The Muslims knew full well what they were doing when they erected the Dome of the Rock: deliberately replacing the most holy site of the Jews with a mosque that would usurp all Jewish religious and historical rights to Mount Moriah and to Jerusalem itself. Today, Islamists are rewriting history by teaching Arabs (and all others who will listen) that the Jewish Temples never existed in the first place.

How important is the Temple Mount to the Jews and to Israel? I’ll tell you how priceless and precious it is. Although President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority has imposed several conditions on the Israelis before he will even sit down at the negotiating table, Prime Minister Netanyahu has imposed only one condition: Recognition of Israel as a Jewish State. And, incorporated in that stipulation is the implied and default component that Jerusalem is Israel’s undivided capital. Virtually all other issues are negotiable to the Israelis. But Jerusalem will not be divided between east and west, and the Temple Mount must not be (permanently) annexed by a people who aren’t even citizens of Israel.

Even though I understand why, it’s nevertheless completely amazing to me that Israel relinquished a single square foot of Jerusalem to Jordanian or Palestinian control after re-capturing the holy city in the Six-Day War of 1967 at the highest price possible—the blood and lives of their soldiers and civilians. Why did they give back part of what they won in battle? Sad, but easy answer: To maintain a semblance of peace through appeasement of the Arabs but mostly as a concession to global pressure, including the United States.

Then later in that article:

…I firmly believe the primary reason for this resurgent passion toward Israel’s revered and venerated holy site has much more to do with the crescendo of enthusiasm over the coming of Messiah. An integral part of this desire for His appearance is the eagerness to rebuild the Temple. There are several organizations in Israel whose members are devoted to this 2000-year old dream, none more so than The Temple Institute.

In the introductory pages of their website, The Temple Institute states, “THE SCHOLARS OF THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE have dedicated their lives to raising public awareness of the importance of the Holy Temple in the life of all mankind, both Israel and the nations of the world. The Institute seeks to disseminate this knowledge, rekindle the desire and yearning for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, and help to prepare as much as possible for the actual rebuilding.”

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(Depiction of Jewish Temple Superimposed Next to Dome of the Rock on Temple Mount)

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(Depicts Model of Temple in Place of the Dome of the Rock)

A New U.S. President, An Ancient Persian King, and the Next Jewish Temple

Although the desire to build the third Jewish Temple has been increasing in intensity since the Six-Day War of 1967, right now it appears to be stronger than ever before. Moreover, this titanic surge of interest is directly connected to the election of Donald Trump as the United States President. That Trump—with his resolve to get things done which benefit America’s people as well as Jews in Israel and his inner fortitude to speak his mind, to move and shake things otherwise considered unmovable and unshakable—might empower Benjamin Netanyahu and his coalition government in Israel to boldly call for construction of the Jewish Temple.

So much so that Rabbi Yehudah Glick (now a member of the Knesset)—a Temple Mount activist on behalf of Israeli rights to not just visit Temple Mount at will, but also an ardent advocate for a rebuilt Temple—has extended an invitation for President Trump to visit the Temple Mount. A few days later, the Jewish Sanhedrin sent a letter to Trump and also to Russian President Putin, asking them to, “fulfill the Cyrus mandate of enabling the rebuilding of the Temple.”

The above quote was from an article written by Enoch Lavendar, posted in the online source Prophecy News Watch on February 13, 2017.

The article began with, “The Jewish Temple Mount movement are excited over the recent election of Donald Trump. They know very well that rebuilding the Jewish temple in today’s world would be a dangerous and politically incorrect task. In their view, if there is any modern political leader with the guts and determination to stand behind such a project, it could be Donald Trump.”

Lavendar went on to report:

“A number of Christian leaders have been comparing Trump to the Biblical King Cyrus. They point out that King Cyrus was a leader called and appointed by God. If President Trump really has a similar calling to King Cyrus, could it be that God would use this real estate developer turned President to facilitate the greatest property development of modern time—the rebuilding of the Temple?”

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(“I will raise up Cyrus to fulfill my righteous purpose, and I will guide his actions. He will restore my city and free my captive people–without seeking a reward! I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies have spoken! (Isaiah 45:13). This prophecy was made some 150 years before Cyrus was even born!)

*Note: Time and space in today’s Eye of Prophecy article does not permit elaboration on this comparison of Trump to King Cyrus, except to say it’s a big stretch. My main purpose for introducing quotes from Enoch Lavendar on the Third Temple (plus the other three issues that are captivating the undivided attention of Israelis, indeed, the entire world), is to demonstrate that end times prophecies are coming together at a phenomenal providential pace like never before.

As I’ve written several times in prior articles, I believe Scripture contains compelling evidence that it will be Antichrist (Nero) who will orchestrate the rebuilding of a third Jewish Temple through his seven-year treaty with and between Israel and other nations (Daniel 9:27). The remarkable reappearance of an ancient Roman Emperor will utterly amaze a world already stunned by the disappearance of hundreds of millions at the Rapture. Among those left behind, the Jews (particularly the Orthodox) will be the most skeptical that Nero is really Nero, returned from the grave. That is, until Nero achieves the impossible (to the Jews)—none other than a rebuilt Jewish Temple. At that point, some Jews (secular, liberal) will acknowledge him as Messiah. The more observant Jews will hail Nero (as some now do with Trump) as a messiah-type; until he stops the resumed Temple sacrifices half way through the Tribulation.

Although Jewish religious leaders have been careful to say that Donald Trump is not nor will be their Messiah, they believe he will help prepare the way for Messiah.

It’s quite evident why the Sanhedrin sent their invitational letter to President Trump. Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the Sanhedrin, said in regard to Trump’s remarkable rise to the most powerful position in the world; Trump has, “…made the eternal Jewish dream a very real possibility … We are poised to rebuild the Temple. The political conditions today, in which the two most important national leaders in the world support the Jewish right to Jerusalem as their spiritual inheritance, is historically unprecedented.”

But, seriously … also send the letter to President Putin of Russia! Why?

Because, allegedly, President Putin had personally prayed for the rebuilding of the Temple during his visit to the Western Wall in 2012. I’ve also written fairly extensively in a few Eye of Prophecy articles about Vladimir Putin and the ulterior motives behind his professed affinity toward Israel. (For example, Beware of the Bear! Posted 3-22-14; Gog, Magog and Leviathan, Posted 1-3-15; The Russians Are Coming! 11-14-15). Because Russia will lead the Gog/Magog invasion against Israel, any ostensible gestures of good will that Putin offers to Israelis will be to accomplish Russia’s true agenda of conquering Israel.

In a final quote from Enoch Lavendar’s article, he mentions the calculations completed by well-known writer Michael Snyder:

“…Trump was born 700 days before Israel became a nation, won an election on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s 7th year, 7th month and 7th day in office, and served his first full day in the White House at the age of 70 years, 7 months and 7 days old.”

Things to Ponder

All four of these ardent Israeli aspirations are connected components of end-times prophecy as found in numerous Biblical passages. In summary they are: (1) Jewish settlements in the Judea/Samaria (West Bank) which is an integral part of the Promised Land; (2) Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital, symbolized by nations placing their embassies in the Holy City of the Holy Land; (3) Although there will be Gentiles living in Israel before, during, and after the return of Messiah Jesus, all of Israel within the borders designated by God himself must not be divided into separate states or even territories; (4) A rebuilt Jewish Temple.

These perplexing issues and the Biblical promises of God to resolve them can be succinctly summed up by the following passage.

“…And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:17).

Then the prophet describes in geographical detail where God’s people the Jews will live; which is virtually all of Israel given to them by God as previously delineated by Moses in Numbers 34:1-15 and Deuteronomy 1:7-8. And in the book of Joshua, Chapters 15-19. One day soon, these ancient God-given boundaries, which were much larger than today’s Israel, will be inhabited once again by the Jews.

Read with me:

“Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom (part of Saudi Arabia). Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains (Gaza strip) and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria (West Bank). And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead (Jordan). The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath (Lebanon). The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the Lord himself will be king!” (Obadiah 1:19-21, parenthesis mine).

In addition to Israel’s boundaries identified by Obadiah, the Promised Land also extended to the Euphrates River (Deuteronomy 1), through modern-day Syria and Iraq!

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(Original Land Promised to Abraham and His Descendants the Jews)

Borrowing from and rephrasing the well-known poem penned by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow of our late great American patriot Paul Revere:

Listen my children and you shall hear, the trumpet call of God so imminently near!

“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 4:16-18).

Hallelujah to the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

Long live Israel’s King … Messiah Jesus, King of all kings!

Peace on Earth … Is It Really Possible?

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The Incomparable Names and Titles of Messiah Jesus

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

This is one of my favorite passages in all of Scripture, one that I’ve quoted in several Eye of Prophecy articles when it fit the theme of that article. One other article (The Wonder of It All, posted 12-21-13) also began with this passage. The article, The Child of Promise Part II (published 8-30-14) examined each part of the passage in detail.

In whatever context this verse was quoted, invariably it was to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah foretold by Isaiah and many other prophets. Moreover, the Messiah would not only be sent by God as a man, he would be (is) Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, and Everlasting Father!

In addition to the appellations found in Isaiah Chapter 9, Jesus (Yeshua) is known by several other titles. Some of which he ascribed to himself; other names given to him by the Holy Spirit inspired writers of Scripture.

Such as: The Son of God, Son of David, Son of Man, The Good Shepherd, The Bread of Life, Light of the World, Lamb of God, Lion from the Tribe of Judah, Redeemer, The Living Word of God, The Bright Morning Star, The Creator, King of Israel, King of all kings, Lord of all lords, Cornerstone Foundation (of the Church), The Mediator (between God and man), The Way, The Truth, The Resurrection and the Life, Lord of the Sabbath, The Gate, The Vine, The Branch, Alpha and Omega, Emmanuel (God with us), The Messiah, and I AM! (Yahweh).

If I have omitted one of your favorite titles, then add it to the list!

These names express not only who Jesus is, but also what he has done and will do upon his glorious return to the earth. They convey his origin (from the distant past, Micah 5:2) and eternal existence (The Beginning and the End, First and Last). He is from Everlasting to Everlasting.

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Today we want to focus on the title that has been quoted as often or more than any other, especially during these last day’s eager expectation for Messiah’s appearance to bring peace to a woeful, war-torn world filled with apathy, anger, anguish, and apocalyptic anxiety.

Which is: PRINCE OF PEACE

Is Messiah Jesus the Prince of Peace? (Sar Shalom, in Hebrew)

The answer is emphatically expressed in Scripture. Yes he is … but not yet.

Why would I say such a thing? What do I mean by not yet or not now?

To adequately answer these questions, we need to define peace. Then we need to grasp the Biblical evidence that peace comes in two kinds and stages. One is internal and the other external. One is individual, the other is universal; one must come before the other. Before there can be peace between people, there first must be harmony between God and man.

A Ruler from the Distant Past

Let’s begin with another well-known verse of Scripture. One of many that announced the coming of Messiah.

“But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past” (Micah 5:2, italics for emphasis).

The italicized words in this verse clearly convey that this prophesied ruler of Israel would be of divine origin, and who but God is Divine. Yet as the prophet Micah tells us: he would come from Bethlehem. And as Isaiah says, he would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

Then a short while later, Micah writes: “…Then at last his fellow countrymen will return from exile to their own land. And he will stand to lead his flock with the Lord’s strength, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. Then his people will live there undisturbed, for he will be highly honored around the world. And he will be the source of peace” (Verses 3-5, italics for emphasis).

Thus, the context of the passage specifically links Messiah’s birth to deliverance of Israel (at last, signaling a lengthy passage of time) and ushering in peace throughout the world.

The primary point in this passage as related to today’s topic is that Messiah (Jesus) would bring peace to the world but not at the time when he first arrived on the earth as a baby born of a virgin in Bethlehem. As explicitly expressed in Isaiah 53, the Messiah must first suffer and die for the sins of his people (the Jews), but also for the sins of the whole world … Gentiles.

In so doing, he would bring peace, but not between peoples. Not then, not during his first visit to the earth. That would come later, upon his royal return.

Then the prophet Zechariah records the words of Messiah who speaks of the last days, of coming to dwell permanently with his people (the Jews), to include the Gentiles:

“The Lord says, ‘Shout and rejoice O beautiful Jerusalem, for I am coming to live among you. Many nations will join themselves to the Lord on that day, and they, too, will be my people. I will live among you, and you will know that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies sent me to you. The land of Judah will be the Lord’s special possession in the holy land, and he will once again choose Jerusalem to be his own city. Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for he is springing into action from his holy dwelling’” (Zechariah 2:10-13, italics for emphasis).

How do we know it is Messiah speaking in this passage (italicized)? Because he speaks in the first person, and says that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies (God the Father) sent him.

Prince of Peace (Shalom)

Isaiah Chapter 9 tells us that Messiah is the Prince of Peace, but notice that this designation is the last of three other majestic titles—Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father.

By ascribing these names to the Messiah, Scripture is reinforcing other Biblical passages that reveal the attributes of the mighty Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. For example, without using the word Trinity which is a theological term used to describe the Great Three in One God, we see that in the very beginning God declared, “Let us create man in our image” (Genesis 1:26).

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The context of Isaiah Chapter 9—the only Bible passage that assigns the Messianic title of Prince of Peace—is unquestionably speaking of and attached to, “His government and its peace (that) will never end” (Isaiah 9:7). In other words, the end-time (second) coming of Messiah to finally establish the Kingdom of God on earth.

Shalom … The Hebrew Word for Peace

There are other Hebrew words for peace or the idea of peace, but the word Shalom is used most often in the Old Testament … 238 times in the New American Standard Bible. It is the word used in Isaiah Chapter 9 and Micah Chapter 5 that we just read.

According to Thayer’s Bible Dictionary (a great resource to define Greek and Hebrew words), Shalom means: “Completeness, soundness, welfare, health, prosperity, tranquility, and safety” especially as applied to human relationships. For millennia and still today it is the standard salutation of Israelis and Jews all over the world, for both greetings and farewells.

Innately imbedded in the concept of Shalom (peace) is, of course, absence of war and cessation of interpersonal conflicts between ethnic groups and societies.

Although the Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God can be used, in a general sense, interchangeably as found in Scripture (specifically the New Testament), each concept also contains a unique connotation and specific reference point. Jesus came to earth to establish the Kingdom of God. Tragically, his own people refused to accept him as Messiah—despite the numerous miracles he performed and the unparalleled teaching and wisdom he imparted. Even after his resurrection from the dead, they still would not believe. Please see Eye of Prophecy article, Lazarus and Lazarus & The Sign of Jonah (Posted 1-14-17).

Yet this was all prophesied in Scripture, most notably in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. It was all part of God’s splendid plan for mankind—redemption through the perfect, once for all sacrifice of God’s very Son. It was the greatest sacrifice ever made by the highest price ever paid.

Therefore, Jesus established the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of all who would believe and receive him as personal Savior. Which is how and why the angel announced the glorious news of Jesus’s birth, the arrival of the Messiah who would offer salvation to all people.

“…I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! … Suddenly the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased’” (Luke 2:10-14, italics for emphasis).

Greek Word for Peace … Eirene (pronounced i-rah’nay)

This Greek word for peace contains the same intrinsic meaning as the Hebrew word Shalom. Like the Hebrew word, its definition stands alone; however, both words are further defined and understood by the context of the passage. Yet with the Greek word as used in the New Testament, we find an expanded application (meaning).

Such as found in another verse that nearly all born-again believers have heard or read; one that many have memorized.

“Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us” (Romans 5:1).

This is the peace that we have in our hearts and minds, a peace absent the enmity and division caused by sin; indeed, by the very sin nature we were born with, that separates every human being from God. It is peace with God, a prerequisite to “peace on earth” good will toward men.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead (death means separation … here separation from God) because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)” (Ephesians 2:4-5, first parenthesis mine, second parenthesis found in the text).

Thayer’s Dictionary defines the Greek word (Eirene) for peace as: “Christian tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ … no fear of God’s condemnation.”

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

The Kingdom of Heaven was and is still being established in the hearts and minds of all who believe and receive Messiah Jesus as their personal Savior. This heavenly kingdom on earth came through Messiah Jesus when he was crucified, buried, and when he arose from the dead.

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(“Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a fishing net that was thrown into the water and caught fish of every kind” Matthew 13:47).

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

So great a salvation truly gives believers in Messiah Jesus peace of mind and assurance of the heart.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7, NASB).

This is the peace that only the Holy Spirit can produce (as spiritual fruit) in the lives of believers in Messiah Jesus, to whom the Holy Spirit is given and in whom he dwells. “…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jesus promised this peace to his disciples (all believers):

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27, NASB).

The Lord promised believers that we can have protective peace of heart and mind that comes from a right standing with God (God and His Son’s righteousness imputed to us that pardons all our sins). Jesus also contrasted his peace to the (a) peace that the world thinks it can attain without acknowledgment of God in the affairs of people.

Which leads us to the common conclusion of most people on this planet: peace is between people, with no or little regard for the horse before the cart Biblical principle that we must first have peace with God.

To further emphasize that peace on earth between peoples and nations can only be achieved when there is individual peace with God, here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, Messiah and the Jewish Festivals … An Extraordinary Connection! (Published 9-24-16):

To be sure, the Messiah would one day deliver Israel from all Gentile domination, but not until he first freed the people from themselves. Until the human heart is supernaturally changed by the righteousness that only God can give (as opposed to sin induced self-righteousness that only enslaves people), a kingdom (nation) cannot be changed from one of darkness to one of light.

A Stunning Statement by Messiah Jesus

As additional reinforcement to the Biblical premise that there are two different kinds of peace and that Jesus came to earth the first time to mediate peace with God by making us right with God, let’s look at a profound but perplexing statement by Jesus that contains the same Greek word eirene (peace). Perplexing, however, only if we fail to see that the Lord’s astonishing announcement is not a nullification of the peace that he gives to the hearts and minds of believers. Rather, his reference is to the transitory type of peace that the world wants and thinks it can achieve without any need to change the human heart from the inside out. A global peace that will one day be realized—but only through the return of Messiah Jesus to save the world from annihilation that comes from the pretense of making peace they really didn’t understand in the first place.

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The Apostle Paul warned us of this deceptive peacetime that will result in destruction.

“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’ then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape” (I Thessalonians 5:2-3).

Before we read the stunning statement of Jesus, let’s look at Webster’s Dictionary primary definitions of peace, most of which reflect the second kind of peace … peace on earth among nations.

“1. A state of tranquility or quiet: as a: freedom from civil disturbance, b: a state of security or order within a community provided by law or custom. 2: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. 3: harmony in personal relations. 4: a: a state or period of mutual concord between governments, b: a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity…”

That is kind of peace Jesus addressed when he said:

“I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other. From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son…” (Luke 12:49-53a).

Amazing! At face value it seems that Jesus is negating all that he wants his followers to possess and present to others, including love, joy, peace, and unity.

The Lord says he would divide “people against each other,” yet this division begins within the family, which is the foundational fabric of communities, societies, and nations.

But there is no contradiction. When Jesus said he came to “set the world on fire,” he was referring to the fire of redemptive purification that ONLY the truth of Biblical salvation can ignite. Which is Jesus, himself, who declared that he is the Way, Truth, and Life. Jesus was referring to the “truth that sets us free” (John 8:32) from the bondage of incessant, incapacitating sin that produces all of the ills of human kind … exhibited rampantly and continuously in today’s wicked world. Such as those listed in the same passage in Galatians preceding the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

“When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

*Note: Paul is not talking about perfection or that Christians don’t commit one or more of these wrong things. He is talking about unbelievers whose entire lifestyle is consumed with such things, because they are following the desires of their sinful nature. Christians still sin, but as we grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we sin less, because that is not who or what we are any longer. We are a new creation in Christ with a burning desire to follow Messiah Jesus. We are not sinless, but by the grace of God, we do sin less.

“…At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 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 5:16-17).

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A True Peace That Divides

It is belief in and acceptance of the truth of the gospel (Jesus substitutionary sacrificial death on the cross) that sets us free from the penalty of sin and gives us eternal life in heaven, when we will be forever free from the very presence of sin, grief, pain, remorse, hostility, and death itself.

But this truth divides. It separates good from evil; light from darkness; right from wrong; honesty from lies; God’s righteousness given to us from self-righteous efforts of good works that vainly try to gain God’s favor; and true everlasting peace with God from man-made peace that produces only a temporary false sense of security and serenity. A semblance of safety that all too quickly disappears with the next war just around the corner.

That is why Jesus said he did not come (the first time) to bring peace to the earth. “Peace on earth” announced by the angel at Messiah’s birth is connected to and generously given to those, “with whom God is pleased” … meaning all who place their faith in God’s Son as Savior.

As the Son of God and God the Son, Jesus knew all too well that he must first die (which is why he was under such “a heavy burden” when he spoke these words) to redeem Jew and Gentile alike; before Jew and Gentile and before Gentile and Gentile could have peace with one another by being joined with Christ.

*Note: The Greek noun eirene stems from the verb eiro which means “to join.” For you ladies out there, the Greek noun (for peace) is a feminine noun. Not only grammatically, but rightfully so! For the most part, women much more than men long for peace between peoples (starting with their husband!) that provide them with a lasting sense of security, tranquility, and contentment.

However, before there can be peace and harmony between people, God’s truth needs to be embedded in our hearts and minds. This leads to real peace with God, with our self, and with others.

So, once again I’ll ask the question, which is just as rhetorical as when asked earlier in this article; but with, I hope, a better understanding of the answer.

Is Jesus the Prince of Peace?

Yes, but not yet.

When?

Soon, when he returns to judge the world’s final rebellion against the Most High God, and to establish the Kingdom of God on earth with truth, justice, and Shalom.

During the Great Tribulation there will be incredible wickedness on this earth, perpetrated by Satan through his man of sin, Antichrist Nero, and the false prophet; and with appalling approval of billions of people who have shaken their fist at Almighty God. As King David proclaimed long ago:

“The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one (Messiah Jesus). ‘Let us break their chains,’ they cry, ‘and free ourselves from slavery to God’” (Psalm 2:2-3, parenthesis mine).

Here is God’s reaction, as continued in this passage, which contains an indisputable reference to Messiah as God’s Son (also found in Psalm 110 … please see Eye of Prophecy articles, Does God Really Have a Son?, Part I and II, posted 10-31 & 11-7-15):

“But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury. For the Lord declares, ‘I have placed my chosen king on the throne in Jerusalem, on my holy mountain.’

“The king proclaims the Lord’s decree: ‘The Lord said to me, You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession’” (Psalms 2:4-8).

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Then, near the end of the Great Tribulation—the end of this epoch age of human history as we know it, we hear:

“And I heard a voice from the altar, saying, ‘Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, your judgments are true and just’” (Revelation 16:7).

For thousands of years, God has patiently allowed the human race to prove that it can achieve true peace (not only absence of war but total tranquility in societies) with God and among themselves. You don’t have to know all that much history to realize how miserably we have failed in accomplishing this otherwise noble endeavor. Would-be messiahs down through the ages have tried without success. In fact, most rulers misused their power and abused their people to establish their own kind of “peace” through subjugation of freedom itself.

Scripture is crystal clear: There is only one Man who can bring peace to the human race. First, he enabled those who believed and received him as personal Savior to have peace with God by returning and reuniting them back to God.

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone…” (I Timothy 2:5-6). Without this freedom from enslavement to sin and the repulsive repercussions of the wrong things we do, there can be no peace in us or around us.

Messiah Jesus is the author and finisher of the New Covenant between God and his chosen people, the Jews; a marvelous New Way to God that also includes the Gentiles.

“But now Jesus, our High Priest, has been given a ministry that is far superior to the old priesthood, for he is the one who mediates for us a far better covenant with God, based on better promises. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it” (Hebrews 8:6-7).

One glorious result of the New Covenant of Grace will be perfect peace during the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus on this earth as foretold by the prophet Isaiah:

“…For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between nations and will settle international disputes. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore” (Isaiah 2:3b-4).

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Is Peace on Earth really possible? Will it actually happen?

Absolutely! Messiah Jesus will return as the Prince of Peace to see to it. When that happens,

“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).

Things to Ponder

It is said, “Be careful what you wish for.”

Those who want nothing to do with God, who don’t believe that God’s unequivocal truth is found in His Word, the Bible; who reject the very idea of absolute truth to show us what is universally right and wrong, good and evil, life and death, then they’ll get what they want.

They will be free from “slavery to God.”

But, oh, what a tormented non-peaceful “freedom” that will be.

They will also seal their destiny. If they believe the lie that acceptance of God’s plan of salvation means “slavery to God” instead of freedom from slavery to sin and selfishness, then the Lord will give them the “peace” and “freedom” to join many others in the Lake of Fire. Ever so sadly, they will be eternally separated from the God who loved them enough to sacrifice his only Son; who wanted to save them from themselves and the lies that Satan, through false religions, vain philosophies, and false messiahs (culminating with The Anti-Messiah), foisted on them.

“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they 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 2:9-12).

In closing, let’s listen to the words of Jesus quoted earlier, this time from the New Living Translation and with the promise of his return:

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

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

 

Is President Trump Wavering On “The Waiver”?

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To Waive or Not To Waive?

Unlike most Eye of Prophecy articles or any online post or newspaper article, today’s title is in the form of a sentence. It has a noun subject (President Trump), and a verb (wavering)—albeit what is called an intransitive verb, meaning one that normally doesn’t have or need a direct object. But in this instance, we do have an object … the Waiver.

It would be fun to dig into the grammatical nuances of intransitive versus transitive verbs, indirect objects in contrast to direct objects, and how prepositions (On) combine with nouns and pronouns to modify or enhance some other word; but the fun would be all mine, not yours.

Therefore, I’ll “waive” the fun, and spare you from any “wavering” whether to continue reading this article or not!

Seriously, though, setting aside the helping verb (Is), the preposition (On) and the definite article (The), leaves us with:

President Trump: who practically everyone in today’s smart phone, tweeter tuned, and Facebook linked world has heard of.

Wavering: the definition of which most people have at least some familiarity. “To vacillate irresolutely between choices: fluctuate in opinion, allegiance, or direction” (Webster’s Dictionary). Synonyms: Swing, hesitate.

Waiver: “The act of intentionally relinquishing or abandoning a known right, claim, or privilege” (Webster’s Dictionary). The verb form of waiver is, of course, “waive.” Which, also according to Webster’s, is: “to relinquish voluntarily (as a legal right) … to refrain from pressing or enforcing (as a claim or a rule) … to put off from immediate consideration … postpone.”

So, you know that Donald Trump was recently elected President of the United States and, whether you voted for him or not, you’re aware (perhaps more so than any presidential candidate or president before him) of what he is like … sort of. Which, if nothing else, is unpredictable; spawned by his boisterous behavior and from spontaneous statements that can generate extreme pendulum-like reactions in even the most neutral of people. Yet, what set him apart from those we label as bureaucratic politicians and what many perceive to be too much federal government power and control was his resolve to fix a broken America and a large part of the world while he’s at it.

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(One of many quotes made by Donald Trump)

Here is an excerpt from last week’s Eye of Prophecy article entitled, The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah. In italics:

From all the post-primaries, pre-election, and post-election results, I believe the evidence is clear: The greater majority of those who voted for Trump believe that he embodies the soul and spirit of America like no president since Ronald Reagan. Some say not since Abraham Lincoln—the true voice and representative of what America should be and did become as much as a nation can be. Which was for the most part: a government that, after the Civil War, endowed (in principle and more slowly in practice) all its citizens with “inalienable rights” of the US Constitution by abolishing slavery.

Many see Donald Trump in that same light, a President who strongly supports and will sincerely try to restore a nation governed by and for the people.

Most likely you knew the meaning of wavering before reading its definition. For even better understanding, picture a wave on the ocean—from which the word wavering is constructed both in form (the word itself) and substance. A wave that is tossed, rolling, undulating on waters that are constantly in motion … never seeming to be definitive or fixed or stable.

And I’m sure you had or now have a handle on what a waiver is. So, let’s talk about:

THE Waiver

Beginning with a tough question: Do you know which Waiver the title of this article refers to, which is “The Waiver” on which President Trump appears to be wavering?

Here’s a (vague) clue: It’s been in the news recently and frequently.

Don’t know yet? Okay, a stronger clue in the form of two more questions:

Will the United States Embassy in Israel be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem? The answer to that question depends entirely on President Donald Trump.

Second question: Should the US Embassy be relocated to Jerusalem?

Let’s get right to the answer.

YES, it should be moved. Says who? Says the American people!

Really, when did we say that?

We said that through our legislators in the House of Representatives and Senate when they passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995, calling for relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In fact, the voting margin was overwhelmingly in favor: Senate 93-5; House of Representatives, 374-37. That’s as large a margin as you’ll ever see in Congress.

According to this Act, the move of our embassy to Jerusalem should have taken place no later than May 31, 1999. However, in deference to the authority of a United States President to recognize foreign sovereignty over territories, Section 7 of the Act allowed the sitting President to “waive” enforcement of the Act if the President felt that such a move might pose a risk to the security of the United States. With the stipulation, however, that such a waiver must be reviewed every six months, so as not to ignore this Congressional Law indefinitely. Since then, Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama have done just that … signed the waiver. As a result, the US Embassy is still in Tel Aviv. Hence, it was a binding, but floating piece of legislation.

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Donald Trump made several prominent promises before and after his election, one of which was to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Soon after he became President, he was asked on more than occasion if he still intended to follow through on this commitment.

His response, “I always keep my promises.”

Just last weekend, however, he made a concession that the plan or procedure to move the US embassy to Jerusalem, “is not easy … has two sides to it … there’s certainly a chance of it, absolutely … I’ve always liked the concept of doing it, I’ll tell you that.”

He pledged to, “studying it very long and hard.” And, “I hate to do that because that’s not usually me. Usually, I do what’s right.” (Meaning postponing what he intimated would be a quick executive decision soon after being elected).

He concluded with the promise that he would, “…have a decision in the not-too-distant future.”

I take this to mean that President Trump is unwavering with regard to doing something about his unexpected and out-of-character wavering over “The Waiver.”

Congress Finally Got It Right

It’s vital to grasp the Biblical and historical preeminence that the Holy Land of Israel and the Holy City Jerusalem of the Holy Land bears in God’s providential plan for the Jews (and also Gentiles during the Millennial Reign of Messiah Jesus).

Prophetically, it’s of paramount importance to comprehend (as presented in Eye of Prophecy articles such as, Seven Times Seven to the 4th Power I, II, III, and The Omega Generation, posted 1-25-14 through 2-15-14 respectively) that God’s discipline of his chosen people ended in 1967; when Israel recaptured and (temporarily) reunified Jerusalem.

Consequently, as clearly conveyed in Scripture, the Lord once again began to protect Israel and his chosen people the Jews from Gentile domination. All of the prophetic warnings to nations and peoples that seek to harm the Jews and who are bent on divesting the Jews from their own land would be enforced by God, himself, especially after their return to the Promised Land. Not the least of which is Genesis 12:3: “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt.”

God’s eternal promise to give Israel to the descendants of Abraham and to bring his people in great numbers back to Israel is now being fulfilled, an unmistakable sign that we are in the last days of the end times.

Peoples of the earth must realize that the success of their nation depends dramatically on their treatment of Israel and their recognition that, “…the people of Israel belong to the Lord; Jacob is his special possession. He found them in desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as he would guard his own eyes” (Deuteronomy 32: 9-10).

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For the most part, the United States Senate and House as elected representatives of the American people have favored Israel since her rebirth as a sovereign nation. But not until the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 did they do something legislatively about what was up to that time more of a wavering support.

I think it’s important enough to demonstrate our lawmaker’s acknowledgment of the historical prerogative of nations to select their own capital and Israel’s right to name Jerusalem as her capital, in particular, by listing the seventeen points (reasons) why the Senate and House passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act of October, 1995.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995.”

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

The Congress makes the following findings:

(1)Each sovereign nation, under international law and custom, may designate its own capital.

(2)Since 1950, the city of Jerusalem has been the capital of the State of Israel.

(3)The city of Jerusalem is the seat of Israel’s President, Parliament, and Supreme Court, and the site of numerous government ministries and social and cultural institutions.

(4)The city of Jerusalem is the spiritual center of Judaism, and is also considered a holy city by the members of other religious faiths.

(5)From 1948-1967, Jerusalem was a divided city and Israeli citizens of all faiths as well as Jewish citizens of all states were denied access to holy sites in the area controlled by Jordan.

(6)In 1967, the city of Jerusalem was reunited during the conflict known as the Six Day War.

(7)Since 1967, Jerusalem has been a united city administered by Israel, and persons of all religious faiths have been guaranteed full access to holy sites within the city.

(8)This year marks the 28th consecutive year that Jerusalem has been administered as a unified city in which the rights of all faiths have been respected and protected.

(9)In 1990, the Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that the Congress “strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected”.

(10)In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113 of the One Hundred Second Congress to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city.

(11)The September 13, 1993, Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements lays out a timetable for the resolution of “final status” issues, including Jerusalem.

(12)The Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area was signed May 4, 1994, beginning the five-year transitional period laid out in the Declaration of Principles.

(13)In March of 1995, 93 members of the United States Senate signed a letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher encouraging “planning to begin now” for relocation of the United States Embassy to the city of Jerusalem.

(14)In June of 1993, 257 members of the United States House of Representatives signed a letter to the Secretary of State Warren Christopher stating that the relocation of the United States Embassy to Jerusalem “should take place no later than….1999”.

(15)The United States maintains its embassy in the functioning capital of every country except the case of our democratic friend and strategic ally, the State of Israel.

(16)The United States conducts official meetings and other business in the city of Jerusalem in de facto recognition of its status as the capital of Israel.

(17)In 1996, the State of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry.

As indicated, this Act was to be implemented no later than May 31, 1999, except if the President decided to waive enforcement due to possible breach of the security interest of the United States.

But we need to ask ourselves what is tantamount to a rhetorical question: How could relocation of the US Embassy in Israel jeopardize our security? The obvious answer is that it can’t; it won’t. If that was the case, then why did Islamic terrorists strike us on September 11, 2001? Or the recent Muslim terrorist mass killings in Florida and California?

Even if some answered, “Possibly” (a threat to security), should we be intimidated by such a possibility, remote or otherwise?

In reverse, another probing question could be asked: a “what if” scenario that might suggest a cause and effect correlation. If the US Embassy had been moved to Jerusalem by the deadline of May 31, 1999, would 9/11 have taken place? Hint: The answer weighs heavily on blessing or cursing Israel and God’s primary means of “cursing” nations that despise or mistreat Israel, which is withdrawal of his protection. No different than when the Lord twice in history ceased to protect Israel, herself, because the Jews abandoned, then rejected the Lord, their God (Exile to Babylon for 70 years, then exile to the four corners of the earth for nearly 2,000 years).

The real reason for waiving enactment of the law is because Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Obama yielded to Arab oil pressure. Even more so: appeasement of Palestinians and the misguided, uninformed notion that a Palestinian State will solve all Middle East problems including animosity toward Israel and the Jews.

As I have written in some Eye of Prophecy articles, such as A Palestinian State … No Say Many Arabs (posted 1-11-14), it’s not a state alongside of Israel that Palestinian want … it’s all of Israel. It’s a nation without one single Jew. Not only did the Arabs reject a two-state solution from the outset (the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and the United Nations Resolution of 1947), they also rejected an amazingly magnanimous offer from two former Israeli Prime Ministers for some 98% of the West Bank.

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(Current US Embassy in Tel Aviv)

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(Part of the Jerusalem Embassy Act Involved Multimillion Dollar Funding Approval. All That Is Needed is a Change in Signs And Some Touch Up Paint to the US Consulate Building in Jerusalem, Pictured Above)

The United States Supreme Court Has Denied Jerusalem As Israel’s Capital

Here, I’d like to refresh your memory or inform you if you aren’t aware of another flash point incident that also relates to the ongoing dispute of Jerusalem as the rightful capital of Israel. I’m referring to the United States Supreme Court decision in June, 2015, declaring that passports of United States citizens born in Jerusalem must be stamped “Jerusalem,” not Jerusalem, Israel or just Israel.

Here are some excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country? (Posted 6-13-15) In italics (*Note: words or phrases not in italics were italicized in that article).

Jerusalem … A Capital without a Country?

Or is it: Israel … A Country without a Capital? It’s a shame that either of these two concepts should even be in the form of a question. But they are, and they must be faced head-on and answered. Any response depends entirely on whether a sovereign nation possesses the inherent right to choose its own capital; which is a reasonable presumption, or it should be. So we’ll begin with both barrels blazing and boldly assert: Of course, a sovereign state has that right! For Israeli Jews, the answer is as obvious as it would be to an American citizen who would never question whether Washington D.C. is the Capital of the United States of America … Jerusalem is the (eternal) capital of Israel.

Yet, the United States and virtually every nation on earth does NOT recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Instead, they have placed embassies in Tel Aviv; thereby, telling Israel that Tel Aviv is its seat of government, not Jerusalem. So drop the capital and the issue actually becomes: Jerusalem, a City without a Country? That is precisely how the US President and his staff, as well as most governments, classify Jerusalem—which reduces it to the same status as the Vatican … a city-state inside a country but without a country.

I wrote about this in an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled, Jerusalem … City of Peace? Published 12-27-14. That article originated from a November, 2014 agreement by the United States Supreme Court to review and rule on a decade old (lower) court struggle of whether the passport of a 12-year old Jewish boy, Menachem Zivotofsky, born in Jerusalem—whose parents (Ari and Naomi Zivotofsky) are American Citizens—could list Israel as his place of birth, rather than just Jerusalem. As indicated in that prior article, the crux of this conflict has far-reaching repercussions beyond one passport of one Jewish boy, although the issue was of vital personal importance to the Zivotofsky family.

Just this past Monday (June 8th), the Supreme Court reached its final decision, one that took longer than any other Supreme Court decision from its initial review to its final ruling (about seven months). Here are some of the headlines the day after, June 9th, 2015:

USA Today: Supreme Court sides with Obama in Israeli dispute

Note: I quoted other headlines in that article, but the gist of the issue was that the Supreme Court’s decision was much more about Israel’s sovereign right to make and maintain Jerusalem as its capital than a decision whether or not the Executive Branch or Congress possessed the ultimate right to formally acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Contrary to U.S. Ambassador Don Shapiro’s explanation that the Supreme Court’s ruling was exclusively about the separation of executive and congressional authority, I commented (continuing with that article):

I beg to differ. The Supreme Court decision had everything to do with Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Shapiro was merely (barely) technically correct by saying the Supreme Court’s review was to determine whether the U.S. Congress or whether the Executive Staff has the (legal) authority to recognize foreign governments and their capitals. But that was only a derivative academic offshoot of the original case, which was the issue of the passport that was directly connected to the dispute of whether Jerusalem is Israel’s capital; or whether it is an international city that is not part of any country. There’s no getting around it. To say that the Court’s decision was “solely” about the separation of powers (Executive Branch versus Congress) is a deflection, distortion, and denial of the real controversy.

I went on to say in that article:

The Supreme Court ruled (6-3) in favor of the Executive Branch, despite a law passed by Congress in 2002 that required the State Department to recognize “Jerusalem, Israel” or just Israel as the birthplace on passports … for Americans born in Jerusalem (of which there have been approximately 50,000 since Israel became a State). In so doing, that Congressional act effectively recognized Jerusalem not only as an Israeli city, but also its capital.

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(Example Of A Passport for American Citizen Born in Jerusalem)

Any American citizen, who knows just a little about the functions of our three branches of government, understands that the Congress makes laws, the Executive branch enforces those laws, and the Supreme Court interprets those laws if there is a dispute over the constitutionally of an existing law.

Americans who respect the basic rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and support our republic representative government with the proper balance of power would/should agree with the statement of the Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch recently appointed by President Trump.

In USA Today’s article of February 1, 2017, we read: “Gorsuch, 49 … is a Scalia acolyte (referring to deceased Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia who died nearly a year ago) who says judges should interpret laws as they are written and enforce the Constitution as the nation’s framers intended.”

Quoting Neil Gorsuch: “Mr. President, I am honored, and I am humbled. In our legal order, it is for the Congress, and not judges, to write laws.”

Here are some additional excerpts from Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country? They confirm the real reason for the Supreme Court’s decision that dual citizens of the United States and Israel (those born in Jerusalem) must have passports that show Jerusalem, not Israel as their place of birth … because Jerusalem is not recognized as Israel’s capital or even a city exclusively in/of Israel.

The following is a quote from my previous article (Note: here I’m referring to Eye of Prophecy article, Jerusalem, A City of Peace posted 6-13-15 when the Supreme Court agreed to accept the “passport” case) in which I refer to Justice Elena Kagen, one of the liberal members of the Supreme Court. In light of the ruling, it’s quite evident that five other members shared her sentiments to some extent or another … as shown in the recent 6-3 decision. As noted, this observation of Ms. Kagen reveals the (hidden) agenda that most members of the Supreme Court had when they ruled in favor of President Obama’s viewpoint and effectively against Israel and tens of thousands of American Jews born in Jerusalem. With the ultimate consequence of once again denying Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Said Justice Kagen several months ago soon after the Supreme Court agreed to review the case:

“Right now, Jerusalem is a tinderbox. History suggests that everything is a big deal with respect to the status of Jerusalem.”

Her rationale reverberated and regurgitated what the State Department had said in that same brief to the Supreme Court, “…a simple passport alteration could provoke uproar throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”

God forbid that the Arab Muslim world should be provoked like that!

She made it clear that her vote (it’s obvious now, but even then, that she had already made up her mind) would be conditioned on the politically correct need to elude any further strife in the Middle East; which, in essence, would trump the real issue of whether Israel had the right as a sovereign state to declare Jerusalem as its capital. Thus, a vote to support the Congressional Act in 2002 would be tantamount to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which would only make things worse in the Middle East.

The politically correct world view of six Supreme Court justices and their ensuing decision hinged on one perceived urgency: Whatever it takes, don’t increase the tensions in the Middle East that already exist.

Here is an excerpt of my response to her observations:

That part, she got right … mostly. Jerusalem is a big deal, unlike any other city in the world. But when in our time was Jerusalem not a tinderbox? I can tell you with a great deal of historically factual evidence to back me up: NEVER has Jerusalem since Israel’s rebirth in 1948 not been a powder keg ready to explode.

If anyone carefully examines the wars that Israel has fought since her national birth, the incidents of intifada terror that has killed and maimed thousands of Israelis, or just the daily stream of hate-filled verbiage from the mouths of Muslim leaders and much of the Palestinian people, they would realize that the level of tension really can’t get any higher. Meaning that when Muslim armies, terror groups, and lone wolf assassins decide it’s time to strike, that’s exactly what they do. They may cite a particular incident or problem, but it’s always just an excuse to do what they were going to do anyway. The balloon is always full of enough air to burst. The string is always tight enough to break.

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Then the following summary excerpts from Jerusalem … A City of Peace, which were quoted in Jerusalem … A Capital Without a Country?

Why is Jerusalem disputed as part of Israel … as Israel’s Capital? More specifically, who or what entitles the United States State Department or the Supreme Court or any other country or even global institutions like the United Nations to determine whether any city of any country qualifies as its Capital? Isn’t that the inherent sovereign right of a nation … to choose its capital?

…Jerusalem was the headquarters (Capital) of the ancient kings of Israel, and the self-governing land (State) of Israel was given to the Jews by God, himself. That is reason enough.

But there’s also a modern-day affirmation when the United Nations voted in November, 1947 to grant statehood rights to Israel; then later recognized the sovereign State of Israel after her declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948. Even though east Jerusalem and the so-called West Bank was under Jordanian jurisdiction in 1948, all of Jerusalem was captured in the remarkable Six-Day War victory of Israel over the same nations that tried to annihilate Israel and the Jews in the brutal attack on Israel on May 15, 1948—the day after Israel became a nation.

What if all the nations on earth (or just one of those countries) refused to recognize Washington D.C. as America’s Capital? Choosing, for example, New York City because the United Nations is headquartered there. What do you think our President and the State Department would do about that? Or Congress, or the Supreme Court?

Again, I must ask: Since when does the world family of nations (most practically represented by the United Nations) dictate to individual countries which city will be its Capital? Isn’t that the exclusive right of the nation itself? What if the United States decided that it would no longer recognize London as Great Britain’s Capital, but chooses Manchester instead? Or Marseille instead of Paris? St Petersburg instead of Moscow? Barcelona over Madrid? Most likely, those nations would immediately sever diplomatic relations with America.

But that’s exactly what our Executive Branch through the State Department has done with Jerusalem. They have refused to acknowledge Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital; choosing instead by official state policy to consider Jerusalem as a city unto itself. A city that, for all practical purposes, belongs to the world; or at least to the world’s three main religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. A city that is still up for grabs (literally), with its destiny to be determined by … by who knows what. By another failed peace plan, by another war, by unilateral declaration from the Palestinians that Jerusalem belongs to them, by Israel’s (rightful) annexation of the Temple Mount and all of East Jerusalem?

Then a final analogy from that article:

Following the American Civil War, can you imagine that, after winning the war, the United States (northern states) agreed to cede the southern half of Washington D.C. to the Confederacy as the Confederate capital? For that matter, to even allow the Confederate States to exist as isolated states in a separate Union? Or for the first United States Congress or Executive Staff to do the same with Great Britain after their hard-fought victory in the Revolutionary War? Would the word, absurd, come to mind?

But that is exactly what the United States expects of Israel. I repeat for emphasis: Exactly.

What about Israel’s rights?! Or the right of any foreign nation to name its capital? That’s the decisive and divisive issue in front of us.

But since the Supreme Court has sided with the Presidency, then what about the fact that no sitting U.S. President has ever recognized a foreign country as a sovereign nation, without (default) acceptance of that nation’s capital. For that reason alone, Jerusalem is unprecedented in the annals of U.S. foreign policy; thus, the Supreme Court shouldn’t have been involved in such a decision. Particularly, when the United States Congress passed a law that granted Israeli citizenship and passport rights to Americans born in Jerusalem. By constitutional mandate, the US President is obligated to enforce this law (any law) passed by the Congress which represents the people of the United States of America.

In fact, that’s pretty much what Chief Justice John Roberts, one of the three dissenting votes, said. I quote: “Today’s decision is a first. Never before has this court accepted a president’s direct defiance of an act of Congress in the field of foreign affairs.”

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(Judge Thomas Was One of the Six Judges Voting Against the Passport Measure, But He Still Submitted a Written Dissent)

Am I Suggesting That President Donald Trump Has Reneged On His Promise?

Not at all. With, however, the underlying clarification that, despite the (justifiable) rationale to postpone his decision, I can only hope and pray that he doesn’t relegate this dynamic issue to a White House back burner. That he will not waver on his previous promise to move the embassy. That he will waive the Waiver!

In fact, President Trump hit the ground running. His first 10 days of office resulted in an astonishing number of Executive Decisions; twenty to be exact (broken down into four main categories including Executive Orders) two more than Barack Obama in his first ten days of office. As you well know, Trump’s most controversial order was a temporary restriction of immigrants from seven countries deemed a security risk to the United States. They are: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Somalia.

Whatever your opinion on that ban, each of those nations directly or indirectly, in fact, do pose a legitimate threat to our security. Completely unlike the alleged security risk that our past three Presidents have only used as a pretext not to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. With the real reason dealt with at some length in today’s article.

Things to Ponder

Contrary to God’s explicit and eternal plan to restore the Jews to ALL of Israel, with the God-given borders of the Promised Land identified in Scripture, Israel is already divided and nearly cut in half by the existence of the West Bank and Gaza Strip designated as “Palestinian Territory.”

To deny that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel or, worse, to split Jerusalem into two capitals is to cut Israel in half again. More than that: It is tantamount to cutting out Israel’s heart and soul from her people.

Still worse: It is a direct defiance of God Almighty. It is a blatant disregard of the true and living God’s solemn warning of what will happen to peoples and nations who seek to harm the Jews and divide the Promised Land of Israel, particularly after their return from a 2,000 year exile.

To divide Jerusalem and especially to make what is now (erroneous and unbiblical) called East Jerusalem a separate capital for a Palestinian State would be a disaster of … well, Biblical proportions. For you see, the following prophecies are dangerously close to being fulfilled through both deliberate denial and unwitting ignorance of God’s Word:

“In the times 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).

Hundreds of Biblical prophecies have come to pass. More than anything else, it is fulfilled prophecy and mighty miracles that distinguish the God of the Bible from any other (man-made) gods and religions. More prophecies like the one just quoted and the following will surely come to pass:

“The day is near when I, the Lord, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance” (Obadiah 1:15-17).

To relocate the US Embassy to Jerusalem is much more than symbolic. It is a decisive move that could preclude God’s harsh judgment of the United States of America before the Day of the Lord’s return. A return that begins with the remarkable Rapture of believers and ends with Messiah Jesus’s second coming to earth seven years later in power and great glory to fight for Israel and rescue her from imminent destruction.

If President Trump wants to make America great again, the first place (no better place) to begin is with the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. For in doing so, he is agreeing with God that Jerusalem, as the City that the Lord loves above all cities, is indeed the eternal heart and soul (capital) of Israel.

Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. May they prosper who love you” (Psalm 122:6, NASB).

The World Wants a Messiah … But It Needs (The) Messiah

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An (Old) New World Order

In a penetrating and perceptive statement bordering on the prophetic, on January 15th Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized the recent Paris Conference attended by some 70 nations as a “futile” effort to hold onto a past relic of a period that was about to end.

The Paris Conference was deliberately scheduled on the heels of UN Resolution 2334 that audaciously assigned Palestinian Muslim occupancy rights to all of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Temple Mount to even include the Western Wall, revered by Jews and also by Christians. Simultaneously, in the face of indisputable historical and Biblical evidence, claiming that Israeli Jews had no claim whatsoever to any of these “territories” formerly under the control of Jordan and Egypt before the Six-Day War of 1967. No matter that these two nations had no legal or sovereign right of governing these territories in the first place.

Moreover, the prime mover and “silent” partner (by virtue of the US abstaining) of the Resolution 2334 vote to divest Israel of land that rightfully belongs to the Jews was our own lame-duck president who wanted to deliver one last parting shot at Israel in general and Prime Minister Netanyahu in particular. Likewise, the Paris Conference was orchestrated and hosted by French lame-duck President Francois Hollande (former head of the French Socialist Party) who harbors the same hostile agenda against Israel.

The timing of the Paris Conference was also designed to precede President-elect Trump’s inauguration of January 20th, in the hopes that these countries would agree to submit another more binding resolution to the United Nations, which would sink even more teeth into the effort to dispel the Jews from all pre-Six Day War territories, including the Golan Heights.

As it turned out, the conference merely regurgitated the historical lies and absurd claims foisted on Israel by Resolution 2334, without making additional demands that the Jews relinquish land that is rightfully theirs for many reasons. Three of which are: (1) all of modern-day Israel (and more, as the Biblical parameters of Israel were much greater than today’s boundaries) was given to them by the true and living God. (2) The Jews were in Israel for some 2,500 years before the Arabs. (3) Israel is a Sovereign State recognized by the United Nations in 1948 when the UN was in its infancy, and when it bore some resemblance of impartiality and concern for the security and suffering of peoples directly affected by World War II. And no one suffered innocently more than the Jews, with six million them of slaughtered during the hellish Holocaust.

It’s fairly evident that the reason this conference was “futile” and feeble is because the European contingency of the seventy nations had a last minute (temporary) dose of reality. That brief jolt of common sense was a direct result of Donald Trump’s (against all odds) amazing election win, as a benchmark (American) example of the rapidly rising populist and nationalistic movement also taking place in Europe.

The writing on the wall was as clear as anything could be.

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Benjamin Netanyahu went on to say: “This conference is among the last spasms of yesterday’s world. Tomorrow will look different. And tomorrow is very close” (referring primarily to President-elect Trump’s inauguration).

The flash point of what appears to be President Trump’s recognition of Israel as the only true democracy in the Middle East is his promise to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel.

The people (populist … populism) of the United States, France, Italy, Germany, Great Britain (already expressed with the Brexit from the EU), Holland, Hungary, and other Eastern European countries have grown weary of the oppressive elitist political correctness, and have become increasingly alarmed over open borders that fuel the fires of massive Muslim immigration—both legal and illegal. But most of all with coalition governments and NGOs that seek to impose international authority over individual states and nations and the people of those countries.

This remarkable movement is a revival (nationalism) of the dream so eloquently penned and passionately spoken by President Abraham Lincoln for the United States… a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

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It is a long overdue reaction to the left and especially far-left supremacy of those who think that only they have the socio-economic and political know-how to tell the “masses” what’s best for them. That only they have the intellectual capacity to formulate strategic plans and sophisticated programs to propel the world into a utopia of their design and choice.

In that regard and also in the context of God’s sovereignty that will ultimately accomplish his purpose and plan for the human race, here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss (in italics):

Yet, by our decisions and actions, by our good choices, bad choices or indifferent choices, we can change things that otherwise would or would not have occurred. We can also be changed by the decisions and behavior of others, by events beyond our control.

How then, does God still achieve his plan? How can he make all things work together for good (Romans 8:28) to those who love him and who are called according to his purpose? Okay, I’ll give you a hint: Because he is God!

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

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

Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF)

In a January 24th, 2017 article written by Soeren Kern originally posted in the online news source Gatestone Institute, and reprinted in Prophecy News Watch under the heading of, Trump Fires Up Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement, we read:

“Inspired by the inauguration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, the leaders of Europe’s main anti-establishment parties have held a pan-European rally aimed at coordinating a political strategy to mobilize potentially millions of disillusioned voters in upcoming elections in Germany, the Netherlands and France.

“Appearing together in public for the first time, Marine Le Pen, leader of the French National Front, Frauke Petry, leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom (PVV), Matteo Salvini, leader of Italy’s Northern League and Harald Vilimsky of Austria’s Freedom Party gathered on January 21 at a rally in Koblenz, Germany, where they called on European voters to participate in a ‘patriotic spring’ to topple the European Union, reassert national sovereignty and secure national borders.

“The two-hour rally was held under the banner of the Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF), a group established in June 2015 by Members of the European Parliament from nine countries to oppose European federalism and the transfer of political power from voters to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union.”

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(Representatives Of Nations Attending the ENF Conference)

In obvious reference and deference to the United Kingdom’s vote to exit the European Union last year (See Eye of Prophecy article, Brexit … What’s It All About, posted in June, 2016) and the stunning unexpected Presidential victory of Donald Trump (representing the underestimated and overlooked conservative voice of America), Le Pen of France commented:

“We are living through the end of one world, and the birth of another. We are experiencing the return of nation-states. 2016 was the year the Anglo-Saxon world woke up. 2017, I am sure, will be the year in which the peoples of the European continent rise up.”

The following are excerpts from a speech by Geert Wilders at the ENF meeting:

“Politicians from almost all of the established parties are promoting our Islamization. Almost the entire Establishment … put our hard-earned liberties at risk. They talk about equality, but incredibly, are incapable of seeing that in Islam, women have fewer rights then men, and infidels have fewer rights than the followers of Islam. They are blind to the truth—but we are not!

“It breaks my heart when I see that people have become strangers in their own land—almost everywhere in Europe. But it is our country, it’s not their country—it’s our country. And it is unacceptable that you fear for the future of your children, that women are afraid, that Jews, ex-Muslims, Christians fear for their safety.

“Our parties give the people an opportunity for good patriots. Patriots who want to make our borders safe again! Patriots who want to stop mass immigration. Patriots who want to restore the sovereignty of our countries, our money, our laws and our future.

“The people are fed up with the political correctness of the elites! Are you fed up, or are you not fed up?

“You may have heard that the Dutch government is trying to silence me. But I say to you, I will never shut up! I am on many death-lists just because they hate me, because I criticize Islam, and because I am a friend of Israel.”

*Note: Wilders, a member of the Dutch Parliament, had been tried and convicted for hate speech and racism by the Dutch government for simply asking people at a rally whether they wanted more Moroccans in the Netherlands or less, even though Moroccans are not a race of people … simply a nationality from Morocco. The Dutch Ministry of Interior had issued a report citing statistics that 40% of Moroccan immigrants, age 12-24 had been arrested for or charged with crimes in the last five years prior to the report. The court sentenced Wilders to probation.

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(Dutch Parliament Member Geert Wilders)

Continuing with Geert Wilders’ comments:

“…There is reason for hope. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Better times will come. The wind started to shift last year … congratulations to Donald Trump, the President of the United States. But not only in America. We also see it here in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, throughout Europe. The patriots are winning. The time for change has come…

“We are fed up with the Europhiles in Brussels, who want to abolish our countries and impose an undemocratic super-state, in which we become a single multicultural society. To this Europe we say no! We stand for a Europe of national states and freedom! We will take our countries back. We will make sure that our countries will stay ours.

“The world is changing. America is changing. Europe is changing … The genie will not go back into the bottle again … The people of the West are awakening. They are throwing off the yoke of political correctness.”

Returning to the article by Soeren Kern, he states:

“Polls indicate that the political sea change engulfing the United States is fueling support for anti-establishment parties in Europe. In addition to anger over eroding sovereignty, a growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.

“In France, a new Ipsos poll for Le Monde shows that Marine Le Pen is now poised to win the first round of the French presidential election set for April 23, 2017 … In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders is now leading polls ahead of the general election scheduled for March 15, 2017. The PVV has the support of between 29% and 33% of the electorate. By contrast, support for the ruling People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) has fallen to between 23% and 27%. In Germany, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has become the third-largest party…

“Europe’s establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis. The German Interior Ministry is now proposing to establish a ‘Defense Center against Disinformation’ to combat ‘fake news.’ Critics have described the proposed center as a ‘censorship monster’ aimed at silencing dissenting opinions.”

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(Marine Le Pen, Highly Touted as France’s Next President)

*Note: To varying degrees in some countries, it is now a criminal offense to criticize Islam in general or Muslims in particular. Conversely, it is a politically correct privilege, or at least an honorable obligation to denigrate Jews and Christians and the Judeo-Christian heritage that has led to the democratic freedom and representative governments of many nations and peoples; in stark contrast to the forced subjugation of Muslims and non-Muslims alike by the twisted theology and tyrannical tactics of Islam.

(Here, I’m referring to true Biblical Christianity, not the Roman Catholic or Anglican organized hierarchy that produced State Churches or Church States that slowly but surely yielded to the world-changing dynamics of the Reformation and Renaissance periods. Which gave rise to nation-states largely governed by republic or parliamentary principles. That’s why the current populism and nationalism is an old new world order in the making).

Messianic Implications of a World in Upheaval

In Eye of Prophecy articles, Look Up, Redemption is Near, Part I & II (Posted 7-11 & 7-18-15) you’ll find twelve major flash point signs (developments) that have occurred or are taking place in the 20th & 21st centuries. One of them is the rise of messiah figures such as Adolph Hitler who plunged the world into a horrendous war that caused massive destruction and catastrophic casualties. And Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill who led freedom loving people to victory over the evil Axis powers.

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One of the more significant features of a messiah-type leader is that of the extreme polarized reaction by the people. There’s very little middle-ground between these extremities. I’m talking about the sharp (left or right) pendulum swing of unequivocal allegiance and loyalty versus disdain and dissent; of total trust contrasted to absolute distrust; of staunch support as opposed to disruptive interference and undermining whenever possible. Above all: either undying love or irrational hate … virtually no emotional balance between the two.

Many in the United States and across the world characterized Barack Obama as a messiah-type. A false messiah who would rob America of its greatness as a leader of the free world, or a true one that would save America and, thereby, the world from the disabling recession that began in 2008. With regard to former president Obama, I have my own opinions; but I’ll leave his legacy to the experts or to anyone who ventures an opinion as to his place in history.

So, too, is Donald Trump a messiah-figure to many … both positive and negative. From all the post-primaries, pre-election, and post-election results, I believe the evidence is clear: The greater majority of those who voted for Trump believe that he embodies the soul and spirit of America like no president since Ronald Reagan. Some say not since Abraham Lincoln—the true voice and representative of what America should be and did become as much as a nation can be. Which was for the most part: a government that, after the Civil War, endowed (in principle and more slowly in practice) all its citizens with “inalienable rights” of the US Constitution by abolishing slavery.

Many see Donald Trump in that same light, a President who strongly supports and will sincerely try to restore a nation governed by and for the people.

However, whether European “patriots” or the “silent majority” of Americans, they also fervently believe that their goals cannot be achieved without a “savior” to speak for them, and lead them toward realization of their hopes and dreams. That is why an inordinate amount of attention has been directed to and an extreme emphasis placed on Donald Trump, the man. He was like no other presidential candidate before him, and not just because he’s never served in government or the military as did all past presidents; thereby, freeing himself of something that most Americans deplore … federal bureaucracy.

It’s a sense that he really can and actually will accomplish most of what he has said he will do. That’s the stuff messiahs are made of.

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(Donald Trump’s Inauguration … “A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.” He closed with: “Together, We Will Make America Strong Again. We Will Make America Wealthy Again. We Will Make America Proud Again. We Will Make America Safe Again. And, Yes, Together, We Will Make America Great Again. Thank you, God Bless You. And God Bless America”)

There have been a few messiah-types down through the ages. Whether their methods and eventual legacy turned out to be benevolent or malevolent, they used the same kind of passionate language that we just read from Geert Wilders of The Netherlands; or like Winston Churchill who motivated the minds and stirred the hearts of England during World War II. Or the opposite evil extreme of Hitler’s diabolical rhetoric that hypnotized millions of Germans. And tyrannical messianic figures like Joseph Stalin, who made grandiose promises that could only be kept through suppression of his own people and subjugation of surrounding peoples.

Although the significance of what Geert Wilders is saying to the people of Europe is ringing true in their hearts, a large number of Europeans also are ardently attracted to the men and women articulating these noble ideals. This attraction is innate in human nature and existence … the essence of the human heart’s desire to look to and be led by someone who can sort through and set aside differences between people. Who can simplify stifling systems and decode complicated algorithms (that’s today’s byword for procedures and processes). Who can show and tell the people how to achieve their dreams of life, liberty, and equality.

By and large, people want and/or need to be told what to do and how to do it; as long as they can trust the one who is leading them to know and accomplish what’s best for them.

It all began with God, who created us to fellowship with him, but also to obey him out of complete trust that he knows beyond all doubt what’s best for individuals and for governments. That to trust and obey him would mean eternal life through a paradise on this earth. Or to wrongly exercise the free will he gave us by choosing to go our own way and do our own thing if that’s what we really wanted. Not the least of which is trying to govern ourselves without God’s absolute standards of truth and the freedom that comes from that truth.

We failed; human governments of all kinds have failed. There simply cannot be peace and security between peoples until we first have peace with God through a change of the human heart and destiny—possible only through believing and receiving God’s solution to the human problem of sin and evil … God’s Son, THE MESSIAH.

The very idea of a (The) Messiah comes from Scripture. Jesus claimed to be that Messiah … God’s Chosen One to bring salvation to the Jews and Gentiles alike. Both the Gospels and Epistles are crystal clear: Jesus’ words, miracles, death, burial, and resurrection polarized people like never before or since.

Jesus, himself, said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me” (Luke 11:23).

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People, especially the religious leaders, either loved and followed him or hated and tried to kill him several times until they succeeded; but only because he willingly laid down his life, then took it up again.

What Is The Optimum Form of Government?

Here is an excerpt from an Eye of Prophecy article, entitled Kingdom of God (posted in January, 2015). In italics:

From the dawn of human existence virtually every kind of government has been in place at one time or another. A country’s government is often a reflection of its people … their race, beliefs (religious or secular), moral values, ethnic upbringing and tribal territory. But sometimes government can be an ill-conceived and unwanted bureaucracy with leaders vying for power and supremacy. All too often, innocent people are victimized by such power struggles, both citizens of the country and residents of neighboring nations that take exception to such Machiavelli type systems.

The common people, representatives of those people, wealthy entrepreneurs, ambitious leaders (good and bad), or all of the above can determine whether a country will become a parliamentary or a democratic representative republic; an absolute (king/queen) or constitutional monarch; an autocratic ruler or state controlled (communism or fascism) dictatorship; an aristocratic or military oligarchy; a cleric-run theocracy or even a true Theocracy. The idea of a theocentric government is, “having God as the central interest and ultimate concern.” (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary).

Moreover, the destiny of nations (both good and bad) has often been determined by the benevolence or malevolence of rulers … the laws they make and enforce, the decrees they issue, decisions they make, benefits they provide, and goals they aspire to. As the leaders go, so go the people. A ruler with integrity, compassion, and wisdom can be, and often is, a moral compass to the entire nation. Conversely, a selfish, deceitful, evil ruler can bring an entire nation down. Even the United States of America, which many contemplate to be the greatest nation of all time (at least the greatest Republic), relies heavily on its President—considered by some as the most powerful position in the world—to lead … economically, socially, militarily, legally, and morally.

The rise and fall of great leaders, noble and ignoble; of great nations, moral and immoral, is the stuff that legends are made of. And many of these individual and national epitaphs can be found in the Bible as well as secular history. For example, the glorious rise and inglorious fall of Babylon.

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Shortly, in the closing Things to Ponder of today’s article, we’ll conclude with a few of many marvelous Biblical prophecies of a Universal Kingdom that will surpass the mightiest of nations that ever existed on this earth, and exceed the greatest of all international coalitions ever assembled. But first some final excerpts from the Kingdom of God article, beginning with the glorious overarching ultimate plan of God for all of mankind throughout eternity.

“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth” (Ephesians 1:9-10).

That plan is none other than: THE KINGDOM OF GOD (on earth). Revealed by Messiah Jesus himself as recorded in the Gospels; and consolidated into the everlasting tenets of the Christian faith by the authors of the epistles and Revelation.

Jesus spoke often of the Kingdom of God; for example, comparing it to a mustard seed … the smallest of seeds that when planted grows into an enormous tree. Which is exactly what has happened to the body of Christ; an exponential growth down through the ages, to now consist of believers from virtually every nation and language on earth. It is the Kingdom of Heaven in the hearts and minds of those who have been redeemed by the shed blood of Christ. Next, will come the final physical Kingdom of God on this earth; at which time all people, all governments, all nations will be brought under the authority of God’s magnificent Son. He will rule the nations with firmness, but fairness.

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.

Summary

Although I and others have some concerns about Donald Trump, not the least of which is his sometimes erratic behavior and off-the-cuff comments, I do hope and pray that he will at least acknowledge the Lord God in his plans and policies … paramount of which is to support Israel against the growing anti-Semitism that has reared its ugly head again in the 21st century. But neither Donald Trump nor any other national president or leader can save their country (internally from ourselves or externally from foreign threats) or make it socially, economically, politically, and internationally great again without Divine providential assistance.

No matter how “successful” (which is in the eye of the beholder) President Trump may be, there’s only so much he or other national leaders like him can do.

Only a nation, whose God is the Lord can or will be truly blessed. With God’s blessings found in Scripture including, but not limited to: liberty, security, unity (agree to disagree) prosperity, protection, and peace.

Tragically, this waiting and watching and increasingly wicked world of ours will embrace one last time a man more devious, deceitful, deplorable, and destructive than they can imagine. They will choose to believe the lie that this final false messiah is Messiah, instead of Christ Jesus—the true Messiah. Though only for seven years, the anguish experienced because untold millions will follow (to the point of worship, including many of the intellectuals of today’s world) the Antichrist will result in death and destruction that will make World War II seem like a small skirmish with only a handful of casualties. (See Eye of Prophecy article, Shocking Statistics of the Great Tribulation, posted 6-6-15).

The Apostle Paul spoke of this man of lawlessness, who is none other than the Roman Emperor Nero. When he reappears shortly after the Rapture, Paul writes:

“This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12).

But then, Jesus of Nazareth will return to make all things right!

Things to Ponder

A Magnificent Two-Part Promise of Messiah … Jesus First and Second Coming:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!” (Isaiah 9:6-7).

Today Messiah Jesus is Our Mediator With God … Soon He Will Mediate Between Nations of the Earth

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone” (I Timothy 2:5-6).

“People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of Jacob’s God. There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.’ For the Lord’s teaching will go out from Zion; his word will go out from Jerusalem. The Lord will mediate between peoples and will settle disputes between strong nations far away. They will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for way anymore. Everyone will live in peace and prosperity…” (Micah 4:2-4).

Immanuel, God’s Messiah With Us:

“My servant David (Messiah) will be their king, and they will have only one shepherd. They will obey my regulations and be careful to keep my decrees. They will live in the land I gave my servant Jacob, the land where their ancestors lived (Israel). They and their children and their grandchildren after them will live there forever, generation after generation. And my servant David will be their prince forever. And I will make a covenant of peace with them, an everlasting covenant. I will give them their land and increase their numbers, and I will put my Temple among them forever. I will make my home among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. And when my Temple is among them forever, the nations will know that I am the Lord, who makes Israel holy” (Ezekiel 37:24-28, parenthesis mine).

Jerusalem … The Eternal Capital of Israel and Her Eternal King:

“In that coming day, says the Lord, I will gather together those who are lame, those who have been exiles, and those whom I have filled with grief. Those who are weak will survive as a remnant, those who were exiles will become a strong nation. Then I, the Lord will rule from Jerusalem as their king forever. As for you, Jerusalem, the citadel of God’s people, your royal might and power will come back to you again. The kingship will be restored to my precious Jerusalem” (Micah 4:6-8).

Messiah Jesus Brought Salvation to the Jew First, Then to the Gentile, and Will Return to Bring Peace to the Nations:

“Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey—riding on a donkey’s colt. I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem. I will destroy all the weapons used in battle, and your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth” (Zechariah 9:9-10).

Messiah Yeshua … The Suffering Servant and the King of all kings:

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

Rulers of the Earth Take Heed:

“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!” (Psalm 2:10-12).

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Sudden Appearance of Antichrist … Why So Different?

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Things That Suddenly Shake Us

There are some words and phrases in all languages that grab attention like no others. In English, one of them is sudden or suddenly, especially when combined with (suddenly) appeared.

A bolt of lightning that instantly splits a tree in front of us; a clap of thunder that deafeningly ruptures the air around us; a massive explosion or earthquake that rocks the ground beneath us; a malevolent monster that seizes an innocent victim in a scary movie; or a beautiful rainbow that radiantly appears from nowhere. We are both terrified and calmed by things that suddenly shake our senses.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the adjective sudden as: “happening or coming unexpectedly … marked by or manifesting abruptness or haste … made or brought about in a short time … prompt.”

In noun form, sudden is: “an unexpected occurrence: Emergency—all of a sudden: sooner than was expected; at once.” Suddenly is the more intense adverb form which almost always modifies an action verb, e.g. appeared.

In Bible Dictionaries and Lexicons such as the King James Dictionary, the Greek and Hebrew words translated sudden or suddenly mean, “in an unexpected manner, without preparation, instantly, swiftly, unforeseen, unaware, surprisingly, or a very short space of time.”

Some people like surprises. Others do not. Many tolerate the unexpected as long as it doesn’t jolt them out of their comfort zone too quickly or at all. Most people, like me, prefer not to be startled.

Surprises are okay, as long as they are not too surprising … like someone sneaking up behind me and saying, “Boo!” There are a few who love to be shocked; they like that rush of adrenaline that moves them out of the routine of every-day life.

Soon to come is a sudden earth-shaking, senses-shattering, life-changing, (eternal) destiny-altering event never before experienced in the annals of human history. Though foretold 2,000 years ago by Scripture, and foreseen by both believers and unbelievers (who are half way interested in such things) alike, it will still in “a very short space of time” stun everyone on planet Earth.

“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 4:16-17).

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As detailed in the Eye of Prophecy article, How the Rapture? (Posted 8-24-13), this phenomenal sequence of events will take several minutes, beginning with the (Lord’s) shout heard around the world, and culminating with the final blast of several trumpets.

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (the actual transformation, not the preliminary events described in I Thessalonians 4) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown … those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52, parenthesis mine).

However, that’s just the beginning of things that will be so very sudden. Soon, if not immediately, after the Rapture, another event will suddenly arrest the attention, seize the senses, and attract the allegiance of billions left behind when Messiah Jesus takes believers from this earth.

Wrote John in Revelation: “…There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that had seven heads and ten horns, and blasphemies against God were written all over it” (Revelation 17:3).

Later, the angel explained what John had just witnessed:

“Why are you so amazed? … I will tell you the mystery of this woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns on which she sits. The beast you saw was once alive but isn’t now. And yet he will soon (abruptly, suddenly) come up out of the bottomless pit … And the people who belong to this world … will be amazed at the reappearance of this beast who had died” (Revelation 17:7-8, parenthesis mine)

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A Dramatic Disclosure

The remarkable discernment given to me by the Lord in November, 2008 began with the above passage in Revelation 17, which led to my book, Out of the Abyss … can the number of the beast be solved? 666, published in February, 2011. And, yes, it was a sudden illumination from this passage (indeed the entire book of Revelation), which I had read numerous times without making the compelling correlation that: The Antichrist (beast) had already lived and died BEFORE John was given a vision of the beast.

This stunningly sudden reappearance of Antichrist from the Abyss will mesmerize virtually the entire world after the Rapture to the point of worship for one reason: His return from the grave (actually the Abyss).

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal would was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle (return from the dead after two thousand years) 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?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’” (Revelation 13:3-4, parenthesis mine).

If you haven’t already, I would encourage you to get a copy of Out of the Abyss (Amazon or Barnes and Noble or WestBow Press), which contains definitive documentation of all Bible passages on the Antichrist coupled with 1st century history to support what I believe is unmistakable evidence: The Roman Emperor Nero is the Antichrist of I John 3; the little horn/king of Daniel 7; the ruler whose armies would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple as found in Daniel 9; the king of the north in Daniel 11; the evil shepherd of Zachariah 11; the man of lawlessness in II Thessalonians 2; and the beast/king of Revelation 13 and 17.

In the category of Antichrist, several Eye of Prophecy articles have been written to further elaborate on this crucial last day’s clarification (correction if you will) concerning the origin of Antichrist, including his very identity … which was meant to be known! Otherwise, why would the angel through John challenge believers to ascertain the identity of the beast, not once but twice, as clearly presented in Revelation 13:18 and 17:9?

The Bible paints a composite picture of Antichrist that matches the historical Nero—what he was and did during his ascent to and time as Caesar—and also his return to complete what he started, but on a truly global scale. In today’s article, we will concentrate on just one feature of the painting to demonstrate that all the other Bible passages prove Nero is the Antichrist, by disproving that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man.

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(Bust of Nero)

Our focus: His SUDDEN reappearance from banishment to the Abyss 2,000 years ago, as opposed to the mainstream prophetic view that the Antichrist will be a modern-day man; indeed, one who many believe is now among us. Later in today’s article, we’ll see that this sudden return also explains why he is so “different” than the ten kings (national leaders) who will give him their kingdoms (nations) to rule and reign over.

“Its ten horns are ten kings who will rule that empire. Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them. He will defy the Most High and oppress the holy people of the Most High. He will try to change their sacred festivals and laws, and they will be placed under his control for a time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7: 24-25, italics for emphasis).

For sheer interest and intrigue, let’s first look at some memorial events in Scripture that happened, suddenly! In so doing, I believe we’ll have a significantly better grasp of the “sudden appearance” of Antichrist to show that he is not a modern-day man.

The New Living Translation (which I quote from in my articles, unless noted otherwise, such as the New American Standard Bible) employs the adjective/noun sudden or the often used adverb suddenly … no less than 122 times in the Old and New Testaments. Although this number exceeds other translations, the NLT translators (scholars) have simply chosen the word suddenly more than other English synonyms that could be used to accurately translate the Hebrew and Greek words that mean the same thing. It’s apparently a matter of preference; but also, I believe, an enhanced emphasis to effectively express the Hebrew and Greek text.

There are several Hebrew and Greek words that convey (are synonyms of) the word or concept of sudden, unexpected, unforeseen, abrupt, surprisingly, swiftly (without warning), etc.

Examples/Events in Scripture

As contained in Scripture and as human experience bears testimony, sudden life-changing events can be horrendously horrifying or heartwarmingly happy or sometimes both.

There are dozens of Bible passages that use the term, sudden or suddenly. We’ll examine only eight of these significant episodes, three of which are joyful, four of which are terrifying, and one that is both good and bad. I’m guessing that most of you will immediately recognize or at least be familiar with each spectacular occurrence. Except, perhaps the last passage which will return our attention to how the ominous return of Antichrist takes place and why he (Nero) is so different than the ten kings of the ten kingdoms that will constitute his formidable coalition during the Tribulation.

Each passage contains the word suddenly (which will be italicized) and each passage will reflect one of the meanings of sudden or suddenly that best applies to the event, as noted by the captioned heading of that passage. Certainly, the synonyms could be interchangeable; in fact, you may prefer to match them up differently than I have. No problem with that, as the main purpose is to emphasize how the sudden appearance of someone or something in these passages is strikingly similar and perfectly parallel to the last passage examined … that of the Antichrist’s appearance.

Beginning with one of the joyful events, we will then alternate between the bad (for those involved) and the good incidents, followed by one that is both negative and positive; then conclude with the fourth portentous (bad) event that is the main subject of today’s article.

*Note: In the passages where suddenly modifies the verb appeared or something similar (like came), appeared will also be italicized.

Unforeseen

“That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them … the angel reassured them, ‘Don’t be afraid … I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” (Luke 2:8-11).

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This is undoubtedly the most “suddenly” recognized passage/event of all time, known by millions upon millions of believers and unbelievers alike down through the ages. Although prophesied long before he came, Messiah Jesus’ post-birth was first announced by a completely unforeseen appearance of angels to, of all people, lowly shepherds … not to kings or nobles.

Instantly

“So Moses and Aaron did just as the Lord commanded them. As Pharaoh and all of his officials watched, Aaron raised his staff and struck the water of the Nile. Suddenly, the whole river turned to blood! The fish in the river died, and the water became so foul that the Egyptians couldn’t drink it. There was blood everywhere throughout the land of Egypt” (Exodus 7:20-21).

When Aaron struck the Nile, it instantly turned to blood. This was the first of ten mighty miracles (plagues) that God inflicted on Egypt.

Unexpectantly

“As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as light. Suddenly, Moses and Elijah appeared and began talking with Jesus” (Matthew 17:2-3).

Obviously, Peter, James, and John did not realize what was about to happen to their Lord when he was transfigured into the splendor that he possessed before entering the world as a man—the same glorious essence he would bear upon his return to heaven in his Resurrected body. However, this was the first time that Jesus had taken only these three disciples with him, and I’m sure they anticipated something different or unique would happen. But they would never have expected Moses and Elijah to appear in bodily form.

*See Eye of Prophecy articles, The Two Witnesses, I, II, & III (posted 6-7, 6-14, & 6-21-14) that explain why and how these two mighty prophets appeared to Jesus in their earthly bodies and will do so again during the Tribulation before Christ returns.

Swiftly

“And Moses said, ‘This is how you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these things that I have done—for I have not done them on my own. If these men die a natural death, or if nothing unusual happens, then the Lord has not sent me. But if the Lord does something entirely new and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them and all their belongings, and they go down alive into the grave, then you will know that these men have shown contempt for the Lord.’

“He had hardly finished speaking the words when the ground suddenly split open beneath them. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed the men, along with their households and all their followers … So they went down alive into the grave, along with all their belongings. The earth closed over them, and they all vanished from among the people of Israel” (Numbers 16:28-33).

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Although the majority of the Israelites often doubted or distrusted the Lord to take care of them in the post-Exodus journey through the wilderness, this was one instance in which a few of them actually rebelled against Moses, thereby showing contempt for the Lord. As a result, Moses told them (prophesied) what was about to happen to prove that the Lord had appointed Moses as his go-between leader of the people. As soon as Moses declared what the Lord would do, the judgment swiftly took place when the ground suddenly split open devouring the rebels.

Unaware/Unprepared

“That same day two of Jesus’ followers were walking to the village of Emmaus, seven miles from Jerusalem. As they walked along they were talking about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things, Jesus himself suddenly came and began walking with them” (Luke 24:13-15).

The text of the entire passage is clear: the two men were deeply saddened by Yeshua’s death, and also perplexed over the incredible news they had heard—Jesus might have risen from the grave. While they were trying to process “everything that had happened,” Jesus suddenly came (appeared) out of nowhere … like he would later appear to his disciples in the closed, locked room. They were totally unaware that it was Jesus who was walking and talking with them!

The account continues: “By this time they were nearing Emmaus and the end of their journey. Jesus acted as if he were going on, but they begged him, ‘Stay the night with us, since it is getting late.’ So he went home with them. As they sat down to eat, he took the bread and blessed it. Then he broke it and gave it to them. Suddenly, their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And at that moment he disappeared!” (Luke 24:28-31).

Wow! They were utterly unaware that the man was Jesus until he had been with them for several hours. They were equally unprepared and startled that he would disappear in front of their eyes as quickly as he had appeared with them on the road. To disappear (vanish) is the same as suddenly appearing.

Surprise (Shockingly So)

“Many years later King Belshazzar gave a great feast for 1,000 of his nobles, and he drank wine with them” (Daniel 5:1).

Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him” (Daniel 5:5-6).

As indicated, for these Bible passages in which something suddenly happens, I’ve chosen what I think is the most appropriate synonym for each incident. The surprise experienced by King Belshazzar and his “honored” guests gives an expanded meaning to the word. It was more like shock. In fact, the word surprise is derived from the words surpris and suprendre, which mean: “an attack made without warning; to capture by unexpected attack; to strike with wonder or amazement” (Webster’s Dictionary).

We all know what a “surprise attack” is. And many are familiar with the term “sudden death,” whether it’s someone actually dying or a sporting event.

This is such a well-known account in Scripture that, to this very day, nearly everyone has heard or used the phrase, “The writing on the wall.” The sudden image of a hand writing on the king’s wall terrified him and his guests. It gives a whole new meaning to being “caught off guard.” They were totally surprised (shocked) at not only the writing on the wall but also the immediate fulfillment of its prophecy that Belshazzar would be killed, and Babylon would be destroyed by the Persians … that very night.

The next passage reflects a combination of terror and joy. It is one that contains bad news and good news.

Brought About In A Short Space of Time (Sooner Than Expected), Then Immediately Stopped

“Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, ‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!’

“Jesus responded, ‘Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!’ Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed, ‘Who is this man?’ they asked. ‘Even the winds and waves obey him!’” (Matthew 8:23-27).

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It was bad news for the disciples who, despite several miracles that Jesus had already performed, had little or no faith in the very fact that Jesus was with them. Though they were terrified, they soon realized more than ever before who Jesus was and what incomparable power and authority he possessed.

Bad news: The storms of life all too frequently and suddenly appear and strike heavy blows.

Good news: So what? If you know Messiah Jesus as personal Savior, he is with you. He will either get you through the storm or command it to stop. Some of our Lord’s last words on earth were, “…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).

(One other “suddenly appeared” passage of note is II Kings 2, in which the prophet Elijah is taken to heaven by a chariot of fire that suddenly … appeared).

The Sudden Appearance of the Little Horn of Daniel (Antichrist … Nero)

Now that we have a handle on the idea of sudden or suddenly in the context of Biblical history, let’s look at another prophecy that, when correlated and compared with other Scriptural evidence, will demonstrate that Nero is the Antichrist beast who will return to the amazement of those left behind at the Rapture. It is the optimum passage to validate that it is not a modern-day man who will take on the role of Antichrist.

Read with me Daniel’s dramatic description of the man who would appear directly from the fourth world empire, Rome. We know this to be true because John in Revelation later wrote that this same man had already lived and died, as one of the five kings—Roman Emperors—who had fallen … died before John saw the Antichrist beast. (Revelation 17:10 … see Out of the Abyss for a detailed analysis).

(*Note: The Late Great Roman Empire is long gone. I have said this before: There will not be a “Revived Roman Empire” as so many have postulated. Just look at what’s happening in Europe. The European Union is unraveling at the seams. There is a rising populism and nationalistic movement (as opposed to international globalism) across the world. But as I stated in Out of the Abyss and prior Eye of Prophecy articles, there will be a Revived Roman Emperor (Nero). He will take full advantage of the global allegiance given to him as a result of his “supernatural” return from the grave, by consolidating ten powerful nations to do his bidding. See Eye of Prophecy article, “One Ring to Rule Them All…” published 11-21-15.)

“As I was looking at the horns (the ten horns who are the ten kings that will give their kingdoms to Antichrist during the Great Tribulation), suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly” (Daniel 7:8, parenthesis mine).

Once again, I’ve highlighted appeared. This is to stress that Nero’s introduction to our post-modern world soon after the Rapture will be exactly what this verse says it will be … a very sudden appearance. Actually, a reappearance, which Revelation 17:8 denotes.

This is of vital significance to comprehend. In fact, the implication is staggering once you get a handle on it. Here’s why.

Restating an observation: It’s only natural to assume that the Antichrist will be a man born in the last days who will rise to global power before and especially after the Rapture takes place. That is, under normal circumstances, the obvious way that all past tyrants achieved their pinnacle of power … in varying degrees, a gradual ascension to a position of wide-spread authority.

And, I get that.

With, however, a reminder: Beginning with the stupendous world-shaking event of the Rapture and continuing with miracle after miracle during the Great Tribulation, the last seven years of the earth as we know it will consist of ongoing supernatural happenings.

Notwithstanding the apocalyptic replacement of the natural with the supernatural during the last days, we also have a plethora of exceptional miracles that God and his Son have performed throughout the ages. Thus, why would it be such an incredible conclusion that Nero was revived soon after Christ struck him down (see II Thessalonians 2:8); then banished to the Abyss in his restored earthly body with the same wounds that killed him (see Zechariah 11 & Revelation 13); then given permission to return to this earth by rising from the Abyss (Revelation 17:8) which is beneath a literal sea—most probably the Mediterranean (Revelation 13:1).

To wit: If God could suddenly take Elijah to heaven (without dying) in a chariot of fire; if the Lord could instantly, without warning, snatch Enoch from this earth to spare him the Great Flood; if he could surprisingly split the Red Sea over a short space of time allowing his people to cross on dry land then swiftly return the waters to drown their pursuers; if God could unexpectantly provide food from heaven (manna), then make this food appear (new) every morning to feed his people for forty years in the wilderness … well you get the picture?

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If the Lord can do all these things, not to mention create the entire universe and raise people from the dead; then is anything too hard for the Lord, or too inconceivable to consider, or too natural for God to set aside the laws of nature, as he has done time and time again. Thus, the sequence of events involving Nero, as described above, would be extraordinarily easy for God to do.

How he does what he does is beyond out finite comprehension. For that matter, so is gravity. We know it exists, but have no clue as to “how” it really works.

“Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Go ahead, if you like: Think of something that’s too hard for God. But remember: whatever he does, whenever he speaks and acts, he does so with (his) perfect timing … when he’s ready and the time is right to accomplish his majestic plan for the human race.

Modern-Day Antichrist?

The prevailing view (which is sensible and historically the way of such things) is that the Antichrist will be or currently is in a position of prominence somewhere in the world when the Rapture will take place (any day now). A Prime Minister or President? From the United Nations or European Union? The United States?

That is not, however, the picture prophetically painted by the prophet Daniel. The sudden appearance (abrupt rise to prominence and power) of the little horn (Antichrist) is anything but gradual.

Here is an excerpt from my book, Out of the Abyss, to reinforce what Daniel predicted, and to best illustrate the means by which the Antichrist will dramatically step onto the global stage to the amazement of an unsuspecting, unprepared, unaware, surprisingly shocked left-behind population. In italics:

We also have information in Daniel that is absolutely stunning. It begins with the phrase, “suddenly … appeared” (Daniel 7:8). Did you catch that? Of course you did. I repeat for emphasis: suddenly appeared. In the NAS, we read: “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them…” Though “came up” is less demonstrative that “suddenly appeared” as found in the New Living Translation, the NAS verse begins Daniel’s observation with the word “behold.” The meaning is unmistakable: The little horn (Antichrist) sprang up abruptly. An equivalent modern-day phrase would be, “He came out of nowhere.”

The word suddenly in Daniel 7 dramatically modifies, enhances, and further clarifies the appearing or reappearing of Antichrist as found in the New Testament. And the impact of this is crucial in realizing that the beast suddenly appears from the Abyss, as opposed to a modern-day man already in an influential political or administrative or even a military position. The contemporary view of the Antichrist is that, after the Rapture takes place, he will rise in prominence by asserting his positional influence, be that in or from the United Nations, European Union, or some other notable location.

Do you know of any past tyrant, dictator, or prestigious leader that tersely and unexpectantly arrived on the scene? All of the good and bad historical leaders were fairly well known by the time they came to ultimate power. That’s why the Antichrist depicted in Scripture does not fit the contemporary view. A modern-day leader would not abruptly appear on the scene. He would at least be known and recognized at some mid-level or already high-level political, social, or military position.

But the Antichrist is different. He arrives on the scene suddenly and surprisingly.

In fact, the New American Standard Bible states that this other king arises “after” the ten kings. Not before, not at the same time, but after. According to the view of those who hold to a modern-day Antichrist, he will be a chronological contemporary (born and raised in the same generation) of the ten kings with a simultaneous or near parallel ascent with those kings. This view is not supported by the language in Daniel (Out of the Abyss, pages 183-184).

There’s Different, and Then There’s Different!

In the verse quoted earlier in today’s article from that same passage in Daniel, we read: “…Then another king will arise, different from the other ten, who will subdue three of them” (Daniel 7:24, italics for emphasis).

Just how different is he? Well, we can start with the obvious: He is Nero Caesar, the ancient Roman Emperor who ruled the Roman Empire for fourteen years and persecuted Christians like no one before or after him. He will resume this onslaught against the Tribulation saints and also the Jews.

20120224-Nero torches Siemiradski_Fackeln

(Christians Used as Burning Torches to Light Nero’s Palace Garden)

Once again, please allow me to defer to an excerpt from Out of the Abyss.

The expression different is both intriguing and forceful. Why or how is the Antichrist different than the ten kings who yield their allegiance? Especially as utilized in the context, the word itself is too strong to suggest an intrinsic variation, such as being a more polished, captivating, charismatic, or powerful leader…

Different denotes different, in all that word means and implies. I think this is important enough to refer to Webster’s Dictionary. Different is: “partly or totally unlike in nature, form, or quality.” It is: “dissimilar (could hardly be more).” It is: not the same as.” In addition to dissimilar, other synonyms are: “distinct, unusual, special, diverse, divergent, and disparate.” It is: ‘unlike in kind or character.” The synonym diverse “implies marked contrast…”

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

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

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

Things to Ponder

Do you see the amazing connection between the Biblical examples provided in today’s article (seven of several dozen) and the Antichrist passage in Daniel that employs the term and concept of suddenly, especially with regard to a sudden appearance? This correlation is just one of many to support what I firmly believe is a correct re-fit of the prophetic puzzle regarding Antichrist … who he really is and how he will reappear from the Abyss.

Knowing the identity of the Antichrist will reduce and even eliminate the amazement of so many both now and after the Rapture, that will cause them to believe the lie that this despicable tyrant (Nero) is Messiah. Instead, some will realize that the Bible had predicted this long ago.

There is only one who has truly risen from the dead; the true Messiah, the One who is the only way, truth, and life.

“But very early on Sunday morning, the women went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. So they went in, but they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes …

“Then the men asked,

jesus-empty-tomb

Messiah Jesus has risen, indeed!