The Shout Heard Around the World

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The Shot Heard Round the World

What is the shot heard round the world? If your answer is the first rifle shot of the American Revolutionary War, you would be right … sort of! Because, in part, it was a trick question. Tricky? Yes, there have been several shots that have found their mark in history.

According to Wikipedia: “The Shot heard round the world continues to be a stock phrase in the 21st century, widely used to refer to extraordinary events in general.” Then Wikipedia notes that the phrase has been, “applied to several dramatic moments in sports history.”

Some examples are given such as New York Giants outfielder Bobby Thompson’s game-winning walk-off home run against the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the National League pennant in 1951. Or Gene Sarazen’s memorial golf shot on the 15th hole of the Masters Tournament in 1935, a double eagle (a score of 2 on a Par 5) which propelled him to a play-off win. Although not listed in Wikipedia, I would add my favorite golfer, Tom Watson’s incredible final round chip-in on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach to guarantee a win over Jack Nicklaus in the 1982 U.S. Open.

In terms of historical precedent and prominence, the most famous “Shot Heard Round the World,” took place at the battle of Concord where the first British soldiers were killed at the outset of the American Revolutionary War. It was this first real battle of our War of Independence that inspired Ralph Waldo Emerson’s opening stanza of Concord Hymn written in 1837 that produced this iconic phrase.

(The Minute Man statue at the North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts)

The second most recognized shot heard round the world is attributed to the (two) shots fired in 1914 by a Serbian, Gavrilo Princip, when he killed the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, Archduke Franz Ferdinand. This assassination was considered to be the main catalyst of World War I. The first shot actually hit Ferdinand’s wife, the second struck the Archduke himself.

Until the advent of modern-day sports, “shots” obviously came from guns and artillery. Well, maybe a shot of whiskey! In addition to golf and baseball, we now have a shot on goal (hockey and soccer), a shot in basketball, a shot in tennis, and I’m sure others that I can’t think of right now.

For what it’s worth, I thought the “Shot(s) Heard Round the World” would be a good lead-in to this week’s Eye of Prophecy article, if for no other reason that a play on the word shot exchanging it for “Shout.” And for a little titillating piece of history, with emphasis on little for those who have minimal interest in things historical. Contrasted to some of us (like me) who can’t get enough of history for an abundance of reasons. I suppose that’s one of those: to each his own.

Whichever Shot Heard Round the World is the most well-known or however many others are worthy of such iconic reminiscence or how many more may come along in the future, there is one thing for certain: The “Shout” Heard Around the World will be part and parcel of the greatest event since the birth, life, death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus, himself.

This stupendous shout combined with a series of titanic trumpet blasts will electrify the world and abruptly launch Planet Earth into the end-times Day of the Lord. Although the magnitude of the shout and trumpet calls will be like none ever heard before or after, there are Old Testament Biblical precedents of shouts and trumpets that portray and pattern integral features of the Rapture. Followed by more shouts and trumpets during the terrible seven-year Tribulation, culminating with the triumphant return of Jesus to this earth to usher in the Millennium.

I initially wrote about this sequence of events in the fifth article ever posted on Eye of Prophecy website, How the Rapture? Posted 8-24-13. And did so through a meticulous examination and comparison of the two main Biblical passages about the Rapture—I Thessalonians Chapter 4 and I Corinthians Chapter 15. I would encourage you to read that article; and, if time permits, the first four articles on the Rapture, posted in July and August, 2013.

How Will the Rapture Actually Take Place

Let’s begin with a premise supported heavily by Scriptural evidence as well as common sense application to unfolding of the Rapture itself.

Premise: Contrary to the prevailing notion even among well-known students of prophecy, this shout and series of trumpet calls will be heard by the entire world, not just believers taken to heaven in the Rapture. And, all of the sights and sounds of the entire sequence of the Rapture will last for several minutes. Only the transfiguration of the bodies of both the dead in Christ and believers alive at the Rapture will take place in “the blink of an eye.”

Here is the Apostle Paul’s first introduction to the astounding event we call the Rapture:

“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 (harpazo) in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever” (I Thessalonians 4:16-17, parenthesis mine; harpazo is the Greek world for “caught up” from which we get the Latin term Rapture).

Next is Paul’s second (chronological) explanation of the Rapture, which provides additional information to I Thessalonians 4:

“But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed” (I Corinthians 15:51-52).

Here is an excerpt from Eye of Prophecy article, How the Rapture? (in italics):

For the past several decades, every commentary, sermon, book, or article that deals with this passage–at least everything I’ve heard and read–consolidates, by default, the dynamics of this passage on the Rapture with the other main passage found in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. With a resulting conclusion that the entire scope or sequential events of the Rapture will transpire at warp speed … blink of an eye. For sure, the two passages are intricately related; but there is also a specific variance found in I Corinthians 15 that is profoundly distinct from the companion passage in I Thessalonians Chapter 4.

In I Corinthians 15, what is it precisely that takes place in the nanosecond blink of an eye? A little hint: To one thing only, which (blink of an eye) doesn’t apply to the rest of the Rapture events described in I Thessalonians 4, in terms of those events also taking place in a split-second.

Another excerpt from How the Rapture? Pertaining to I Corinthians 15:

Here is where we students of the Bible (I’m including myself) overlooked or took for granted one little (impersonal) pronoun. Because we skimmed over this two-letter word, we missed or dismissed the important textual relationship of this pronoun to the antecedent that immediately precedes it….

First defining “antecedent.” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines antecedent as: “One that goes before … a substantive word, phrase, or clause referred to by a pronoun …a word or group of words replaced and referred to by a substitute…”

The substitute is almost always a pronoun found immediately after the “substantive word or phrase”, which is the case in I Corinthians 15: 51-52. So let’s break it down.

First, the phrase in this passage: “…but we will all be transformed!”

Second, the pronoun, “It“, which begins the very next verse, “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye….” Can you make the connection? What specifically is “it” referencing or taking the place of in the text? You got it: It is referring to and the same thing as what Paul just said would occur which is, “…but we will all be transformed.”

The Apostle Paul further explains “it” (meaning the actual transformation itself, which is the astonishing change of our earthly body to that of our brand new heavenly body) by explaining how “it” (the transfiguration) will take place. “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye.”

When will it happen?

Answer: “…when the last trumpet is blown.”

Continuing with another excerpt:

In the New American Standard translation, we read, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet….” (I Corinthians 15: 51-52). Notice, that the pronoun (it) is not found in this translation. Why? Because the connection between the action of “changed” (transformed) and the how of the change (twinkling of an eye) is inseparable, irrefutable, and exclusive. Both passages contain essentially the same composition; with the New Living Translation and other translations (such as the Jewish Bible) accurately and emphatically reinforcing the translation from Greek to English, by use of a pronoun that substitutes for the mystery of the transformation itself.

I hope you see this as much more than just a boring exercise in grammar and syntax. It is exceptionally significant that we understand what is going on in this passage. Saying it another way: The only thing that will happen in a moment or blink of an eye (at the instant the last trumpet is blown) is the actual physical transfiguration of our earthly bodies. The “it” does not apply to anything else in this passage; nor can “the transformation” specifically apply to the events so majestically portrayed in I Thessalonians Chapter 4. In fact, I Thessalonians 4 doesn’t say anything about the blink of an eye transformation at all. But we’ve inadvertently extended or expanded the instantaneous change found in I Corinthians 15 to include the entire sequence of events described in I Thessalonians 4.

Coordinating I Thessalonians 4 with I Corinthians 15

Now let’s interconnect the events from both of the above Rapture passages. This will enable us to understand clearly that the entire episode of the Rapture is progressive and will take place in real-time and space. Only the actual transformation of believer’s bodies, both dead and living, will occur in the blink of an eye; yet even that is a measure of time. As you will see, the only speculation that I will engage in is the approximate (if not actual) length of time (minutes) over which the Rapture will unfold. However, that “speculation” has a Biblical precedent. We’ll get to that later. For now, think Walls of Jericho!

We’ll begin again with I Thessalonians Chapter 4 which, as indicated earlier, is the first systematic revelation of the Rapture which immediately precedes the beginning of the seven-year Tribulation. In the subsequent disclosure of the Rapture to the Corinthian believers, the Apostle Paul provides two additional features for a comprehensive grasp of everything taking place. Those two aspects not found in I Thessalonians: (1) the Last Trumpet call which obviously implies there will be more than one (a series of trumpet blasts); (2) The split-second (blink of an eye) transfiguration of our dead or dying earthly bodies to our eternal spiritual bodies.

Then we’ll weave in I Corinthians 15 with I Thessalonians 4 to complete the prophetic tapestry of the monumental Rapture event that will liftoff what Scripture often refers to as the Day of the Lord (Rapture, Tribulation, and Millennium).

“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” (I Thessalonians 4:16).

STOP.

The trumpet call of God and Christians who have died will rise from their graves, requires us to now switch over to I Corinthians for amplification.

“…We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! It (the transformation) will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet (last trumpet as Paul has already stated, with clear inference that there are several trumpet blasts) sounds, 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).

Paul begins the Corinthians’ passage with: “We will not all die…” Which is a direct reference and connection to I Thessalonians 4, thus, we’ll resume with I Thessalonians: “Then, together with them (those who have been resurrected from the grave), we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” I Thessalonians 4:17).

Stay with me, and you’ll see how this works.

The Syntax Sequence:

Once again, here is the wording succession in I Thessalonians 4: “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…” (Verse 16).

These three particulars (shout, voice, trumpet call) of the Rapture have obviously been quoted in the sentence sequence order in which they are presented in I Thessalonians 4. However, with one significant observation (commentary): The Lord’s commanding shout, accompanied by the voice of an archangel are linked to the “trumpet call” by the connective word and; rather than “then” or “when” which are terms used to demonstrate sequence, i.e. first this, then that.

And is defined in Webster’s Dictionary: “used as a function word to indicate connection or addition of items within the same class or type; used to join sentence elements of the same grammatical rank or function…”

In other words, the main purpose and use of “and” is to connect the elements (separate parts) of a single sentence together in/with equal “rank or function.” As opposed to stating or even suggesting that there is a progression in which the events will or should unfold.

What I’m saying is that the Lord’s shout, the angel’s voice, and the trumpet call(s) are all component parts of the beginning phase of the Rapture … the means that will get the attention of the entire world, both believers and unbelievers. Followed by the reason/purpose for this majestic introduction and attention grabber, which is the transformation of the dead to resurrected bodies. Then the transfiguration of living believers, resulting in our joint ascension to meet the Lord in the air/clouds.

Which, in turn means that the trumpet calls could (and I believe will) actually be the first thing people will hear, followed by or alongside the archangel’s voice, then the Lord’s commanding shout to “Come up here.” Which is in reverse order of the sentence structure, but with recognition that the connective word “and” isn’t demanding or even suggesting that they are progressively or sequentially in that order. Only that each one of these features combined together will commence the catching up (Rapture) of believers, both dead and living, “when the Lord himself will come down from heaven…”

The Actual Sequence

(1) A Series of Trumpet Blasts: Again deferring to Paul’s elaboration (clarification) in I Corinthians 15, the actual transformation of believers—spectacular resurrection of dead Christians immediately followed by an astonishing change of the bodies of living believers—will take place when the last trumpet is blown. “Last trumpet” implies unmistakably that there will be a series of trumpet blasts preceding the final trumpet call. This is precisely the pattern of trumpet blasts throughout Scripture, a sequence that took several minutes to conclude.

(2) Resurrection of Believers from Their Graves, With New Instantaneously Transformed Spiritual Bodies: The blink of an eye change in I Corinthians 15 logically must precede the “rise from their graves” as recorded in I Thessalonians 4. There must first be the transformation of dead believers to a brand new spiritual body before they can escape the confines of their graves or from wherever they were entombed (such as the ocean or even scattered ashes).

Recreating their bodies will be absolutely no problem for God. He is, after all, the Creator of all living things. He has ultimate power over life and death. However, the implication is crystal clear here. There will be another lapse of time (perhaps a minute or two) when all dead saints will “arise from their graves” after the blink of an eye transformation of their bodies—which will take place when the last trumpet is blown.

(3) Followed By Transfiguration of Believers Who Are Alive: I’m convinced that there will be a few minutes for living believers as well as unbelievers the world over to see some of those raised from the dead before believers who are alive will be transformed.

There is a precedent to this:

“…The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead. They left the cemetery after Jesus’s resurrection, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people” (Matthew 27:52-53).

This was a special preview—privilege granted by God to some believers when Christ died and arose to conquer death itself—of the Rapture resurrection of the dead in Christ. The “many people” that saw them would have been composed of both believers and unbelievers.

(4) A Commanding Shout from Messiah Jesus: The Shout Heard Around the World.

As stated in a couple of prior Eye of Prophecy articles, I firmly believe this shout will either be the exact words or something similar to what Jesus said to John of Revelation which began the series of Tribulation revelations to John. It was a microcosm representation of the Rapture itself, when John was taken to heaven to watch and record, but not actually experience all of the Tribulation events.

“Then as I looked, I saw a door standing open in heaven, and the same voice I had heard before (referring to Jesus speaking to John as found in Revelation 1:10 in a “loud voice like a trumpet blast”) spoke to me like a trumpet blast. The voice said, ‘Come up here’…” (Revelation 4:1, italics for emphasis, parenthesis mine).

Once again, I Thessalonians:

“…with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel…” (I Thessalonians 4:16). Here it is not clear whether Jesus’s shout will be in or with or like the voice of the archangel (there are several instances of angels shouting before some of the Tribulation judgments are unleashed), or if the archangel (possibly Michael) will shout along with Jesus. However, the way the word “with” is used in this passage strongly suggests that an archangel will also shout in addition to and before the initial command from Jesus for believers to, “Come up here.” That Jesus won’t be shouting like or in the same manner or with the same voice as an angel (would shout).

(5) The Final Phase of the Rapture: “Then (after everything already described in both passages takes place), together with them (the resurrected dead in Christ) we who are alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air…” (I Thessalonians 4:17, parenthesis mine).

Which means after the living believers have had the awesome privilege of watching the dead in Christ rise from their graves (perhaps even departed family or friends or acquaintances), those same resurrected believers will observe the sudden transformation of the living! That’s why Paul emphasizes in both passages that the dead in Christ will arise first. But they can’t arise from their graves until/unless they are first transfigured—in the blink of an eye. THEN living believers will “also be transformed” and “together with them … will be caught up in the clouds…”

For unbelievers these sights and sounds will be a source of shock and awe. For believers, a scene of pure joy and ecstasy (which is part of the meaning of the world Rapture).

It simply doesn’t get any better than that!

The Use of the Shofar and Trumpets in Scripture

Throughout the Old Testament we find many examples of patterns or types of people, places, and things that foreshadow New Testament and end-times fulfillment or completion.

Such as: Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac, only for God to provide a substitute (ram), just as God provided the ultimate once for all substitute (for sin) through the sacrificial atonement of His Son, Messiah Jesus; much of the life and achievements of Joseph representing Jesus’ life; the Levitical Sacrificial System as a model of redemption through the shedding of innocent animal blood—to be set aside in favor of the New Covenant of Grace; the seven Jewish Festivals foreshadowing the first and second advent of Messiah Jesus; Enoch suddenly taken from the earth alive to spare him from the Great Flood, depicting the Rapture of believers—sparing us from the Great Tribulation. There are many others.

For purpose of today’s article, it is the use of trumpets in the Old Testament to announce important events such as the Jewish Festivals or warnings to the Jews of impending danger or attack. Or in the case of our specific example: the blowing of the shofar/trumpets that signaled God’s direct intervention in Israel’s first victory over her enemies after entering the Promised Land.

The Walls of Jericho

“Joshua got up early the next morning, and the priests again carried the Ark of the Lord. The seven priests with the rams’ horns (shofar) marched in front of the Ark of the Lord, blowing their horns. Again the armed men marched both in front of the priests with the horns and behind the Ark of the Lord … They followed this pattern for six days.

“On the seventh day the Israelites got up at dawn and marched around the town as they had done before. But this time they went around the town seven times. The seventh time around, as the priests sounded the long blast on their horns, Joshua commanded the people, ‘Shout!’ For the Lord has given you the town!” (Joshua 6:12-16).

You know what happened next:

“When the people heard the sound of the rams’ horns, they shouted as loud as they could. Suddenly the walls of Jericho collapsed, and the Israelites charged straight into the town and captured it” (Verse 20).

The capture of the city was an anticlimactic foregone conclusion. The victory had already been won; it was just a matter of following God’s battle plan. March around the city, blow the shofar, shout like never before, and watch God supernaturally open Jericho by bringing down the walls.

In like manner, Christ has already won the ultimate battle by conquering death itself. Because he is the “resurrection and the life” he was the first to arise from the dead with a glorified body. Messiah Jesus will open the tombs of those who have been redeemed by believing and receiving him as their personal Savior. It’s just a matter of (a short) time before our actual physical victory over death (those already departed) and decaying bodies (those believers still alive) will be finally achieved.

God ushered his people into the Promised Land of Israel through a supernatural victory over their enemies by breaching the walls of Jericho. How was this done? With trumpets and a loud shout. Likewise, Messiah Jesus will breach the graves of fallen believers and along with living believers usher them into a Land of Promise … Heaven! And what will precede this final victory over our archenemy death? Easy answer: Trumpets and the Shout Heard Around the World!

“Then, when our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?’ For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:54-57).

The Whole World Will See and Hear the Sights and Sounds of the Rapture

Here is another excerpt from How the Rapture? (In italics):

Normally, the blowing of the shofar wasn’t a simple quick, one-time burst of sound. Rather, it entailed a series of blasts lasting several minutes, with each part of the series different from the others, and sometimes each component part repeated again.

Nowhere in Scripture do we find that only God’s people heard trumpet calls or the blasts from a shofar. All within earshot, including their enemies, heard the shofar sound. In the Bible, we also see events in which God’s prophets and sometimes the people saw and heard angels or the pre-incarnate Christ, but so did unbelievers. Remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the book of Daniel. Those three were thrown into the hotter-than-hot furnace, but how many men did Nebuchadnezzar see when he peered into the furnace? That’s right: Four. And the fourth was none other than the pre-incarnate Messiah.

Was it only Saul who heard the voice of Jesus on the road to Damascus? No, his accomplices also heard the sound of the voice that spoke to Saul. They didn’t actually see Jesus, but then neither did Saul; he only saw the blinding light that caused him three days of blindness. My point and premise: I’m wondering how we ever arrived at the notion that those left behind at the Rapture won’t hear the trumpet calls, and not see perhaps a flash of light or afterglow or radiance or some tangible evidence at the precise spot where a believer miraculously changed in front of them when the final trumpet call was sounded. Why would God close the ears or the eyes of the unsaved? Seeing and hearing is often times believing.

With the Biblical precedents and parallels to support the premise that the entire world will hear the trumpets and, conversely, the lack of reference in Scripture to say otherwise, why wouldn’t God want the world to see and hear the Rapture? I’m convinced that many will immediately fall down on their knees and call upon the name of the Lord to save them. This applies not only to the trumpets, but also to the Lord’s shout and the voice of the archangel. Why wouldn’t they be heard the world over?

This literal lapse of time needed for a literal series of visual and audio events to occur will NOT take place in a blink of the eye.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more inclined I am to propose that those left behind may even witness our newly resurrected (the dead) and transformed (the living) bodies ascend to heaven. Why not? Isn’t that part of the whole sequence? We’ve mistakenly (meaning without any direct support or evidence from Scripture), assumed that the microsecond change of our bodies’ means that those bodies instantly vanish or disappear from sight. Since the blink of an eye phenomenon relates only to the actual transfiguration itself, why do we also equate that with a split second disappearance?

I Thessalonians 4 tells us that we will be “caught up” in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Why would caught up necessarily equate to an instant vanishing? Remember how Jesus ascended to heaven as described in Acts 1: 9-11? All who were with him saw him rising into heaven, until they could no longer see him. One of the two angels who showed up even said, “Why are you standing here staring into heaven?” There was no vanishing going on. Picture watching a hot-air balloon ascending. Why wouldn’t our meeting Jesus in the clouds be just like His ascension to heaven? Our transformed bodies will be like his … why not our rising to meet him be similar or identical?

How Long Will This Take?

Many people, even unbelievers have heard of know about the divine significance of the number seven in Scripture as related to the completion of God’s plan for the human race. The Bible is replete with the number seven, especially in the book of Revelation. Realizing that we can’t know for sure how long the Rapture sequence of events will last, I would, nonetheless, propose (beyond mere speculation) that it will last for seven minutes.

When something as incredibly dramatic as the Rapture begins to unfold, seven minutes will seem like … well, a lot longer than seven minutes.

Just imagine a seven-minute grand finale of a 4th of July fireworks display. It seems like it takes much longer, because of the continuous exploding action (pun intended) going on around and above us.

Not only the number seven in general throughout Scripture, but especially because of the striking parallel between the victory over Jericho for the Lord’s physically chosen people (national Israel) and the ultimate victory over death and the grave by God’s spiritually chosen people (individual Jews and Gentiles) at the Rapture resurrection and transformation of believers.

How many days did the people trek around Jericho with shofar blaring?

Answer: Seven.

How many priests marched in front of the Ark of the Covenant each of the seven days?

Answer: Seven.

How many times on the seventh day did the armies of Israel march around the city?

Answer: Seven.

How many Seal, Bowl and Trumpet Judgments in Revelation? Seven of each set of judgments.

And, for the purpose of this week’s article, I found there are fourteen loud shouts (described as a shout, great shout, mighty voice, a loud voice, a voice like thunder, or what sounded like a trumpet blast) in Revelation, from either Jesus or an angel or one of the four living beings—cherubim who are a higher rank of angels!

They are: Revelation 1:10; 4:1; 6:1; 10:3; 11:12; 12:10; 14:7; 14:8; 14:9, 16:1; 16:17; 18:2; 18:21, and 21:3.

Excluded is an eagle “crying loudly,” the shouts of the hosts/crowds of heaven, and one angel shouting to other angels. We’re looking at just those shouts from the Lord or angels directed to the tribulation saints or to unbelievers left behind on earth. Of special note is Revelation 11:12, where the same phrase that Jesus uttered to John is repeated to resurrect the two mighty witnesses (Elijah and Moses) from the dead.

“Then a loud voice from heaven called to the two prophets. ‘Come up here!’ And they rose to heaven in a cloud as their enemies watched.”

Amazing!

Fourteen shouts … seven twice over to reinforce the number of completeness, wholeness, and finality of the Lord’s ultimate triumph over Satan, Antichrist, the False Prophet, and all those who follow and even worship this evil trio.

Two sets of seven to validate the Shout Heard around the World. Which will begin the Day of the Lord culminating in the Millennial Reign of the King of all kings, our Lord and Savior Messiah Jesus.

Things to Ponder

Whether the entire Rapture sequence takes seven minutes or fourteen or somewhere in between, I’ll close with one last excerpt from the previously identified Eye of Prophecy article:

This will allow time for such things as: pulling cars over to the side of the road; awaking in the middle of the night from a deep sleep; turning off the T.V or loud music; stop the yelling at someone; hugging your un-believing spouse or friend good-bye; the short, but most intense praise and worship ever experienced by Christians on this earth; and, hopefully, a few minutes for some foxhole conversions all over the world.

Do you see what difference it would make and how it could enhance and expand our view of and increase even more our enthusiasm for the Rapture, if the order of events in the Rapture took place over several minutes? It would be far more than just a “poof” one second here, next second gone type of experience. Next to the triumphant resurrection of Jesus Christ, it will be the greatest celebration of joy ever experienced by believers in Christ. And in real-time and space no less; no special effects, no suspension of time, no virtual reality … just the real thing. None of which (except for the transfiguration of our bodies) can or will take place in the twinkling of an eye.

Now that’s something to shout about!

 

Israel Is Here To Stay … Forever!

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Passover, Then and Now … Life or Death!

Earlier this week, from sundown on Monday to sundown on Tuesday, Israel and Jews the world over celebrated Passover which is considered the greatest of all the Jewish Festivals. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, a seven-day extension of Pesach (Passover), will end this coming Tuesday. Passover was not only the first God-ordained Festival, it also heralded the renewal of God’s national destiny for Israel and Abraham’s descendants.

Passover is Israel and Israel is Passover. The two are inseparable. Before Passover, the Jews were a people but not a nation. They had lost their identity; they had no land of their own and little hope for a future. When God spared his people from judgment on the entire land of Egypt and by mighty miracles delivered them from 400 years of slavery, the nation of Israel was born. That was nearly 3,500 years ago. Two thousand years ago, a Passover of even greater (eternal) significance took place. A Passover that most of Israel missed because they could not see who Messiah would be and what he came to do.

(80,000 at the Western Wall To Receive Priestly Blessing During Passover This Week)

Despite the people’s disobedience which caused a 40-year delay and the passing of an entire generation, the Lord brought their descendants to the land promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Just before Moses died and Joshua led the Hebrews into the Promised Land that would be called Israel (after Jacob whose name God changed to Israel), God through Moses told the people:

“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy.

“But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy.

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the Lord, you will live long in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” (Deuteronomy 30:15-20).

God knew that his people would not listen to and faithfully follow him. In the very next chapter we read:

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘…After you are gone, these people will begin to worship foreign gods, the gods of the land where they are going. They will abandon me and break my covenant that I have made with them. Then my anger will blaze forth against them. I will abandon them…’” (Deuteronomy 31:16-17).

Just a few decades after Moses, then Joshua died, that’s exactly what the Jews began to do. Yet God was patient with them. Off and on for some three hundred years the Lord delivered them (through judges) from surrounding enemies that God had allowed to defeat the Jews when they rebelled against him.

Then for a period of 120 years (1050 BC – 930 BC) during the reign of Israel’s first three kings—Saul, David, and Solomon, each of whom ruled for 40 years—Israel prospered like never before or since, especially during the 80 years of King David and King Solomon. In those glory days, Jerusalem was established as the eternal capital of Israel. That fact will never change … God will see to it.

Israel’s downfall began when Solomon, during the latter part of his reign, allowed his wives to set up and worship pagan gods. Upon his death, Israel split into two kingdoms and she was never the same after that. Slowly, surely, and sadly not only the people but the kings and even the priests of Israel and Judah began to abandon the Lord their God. The ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel fell in 722 BC to Assyria. Because there were a few kings of Judah (the southern kingdom) who restored worship of and devotion to the Lord, they were spared the same fate of the northern kingdom for another 136 years.

Just prior to the Babylonian captivity, Jeremiah was the primary prophet. He issued warning after warning for the people to turn back to the Lord; including the inevitable fall of Judah, destruction of the Temple, and exile to Babylon if they didn’t heed these warnings. Still, the Lord was merciful and set the length of their captivity at 70 years. Once again God was absolutely true to his Word. The prophetic promise of the people’s deliverance came to pass when some of the Jews began to return to Israel and the 2nd Temple was built 70 years after Judah was crushed by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

A New Covenant

It was also through Jeremiah that another stunning prophecy came to Israel. One that was incomprehensible to the Jews, particularly after the temple and the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt and the Levitical sacrificial system reinstated in Israel. God had punished them severely for their idolatry and disobedience, but he had graciously returned them to their beloved land. Thus, they were incredulous that the Lord would even consider, let alone declare, a New Covenant to replace the Covenant of Law given through Moses. To confront their denial that such a covenant was necessary, the last prophet Malachi presented God’s reasons why something as drastically different as announced by Jeremiah (also Isaiah and Ezekiel) would be the basis for a new relationship between God and his people.

Listen to the Lord’s astoundingly strong statement to his people:

“How I wish one of you would shut the Temple doors so that these worthless sacrifices could not be offered! I am not pleased with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, and I will not accept your offerings” (Malachi 1:10).

Wow! That would have crushed me. At least I hope it would have (gotten my attention).

Instead, the people argued with God and disputed the validity of his indictments against them.

There is no indication, whatsoever, that God ever again accepted their rote, heartless offerings. In fact, until John the Baptist came to prepare the way for Messiah (Jesus), God did not speak at all to his people for another 400 years.

To this day Jews are still in denial that the Covenant of the Law could be, has been (which it has), or will be replaced with a New Covenant. This despite the utter destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple in 70 AD, cessation of the sacrificial system, and dispersion of the Jews to the four corners of the earth where they would remain until the 20th century.

(I would encourage you to read a trilogy of Eye of Prophecy articles, entitled: Where is the Temple? I, II, III. Posted 11-29, 12-6 & 12-13-14).

Under the Mosaic Law and the Levitical Sacrificial System, sacrifices for individual sins were offered daily and for the sins of the nation, annually (Yom Kippur). But no more. Not with the New Covenant. Not only would their sins be forgiven forever, the Lord would remember them no more. Unheard of! Inconceivable! Impossible!

Through what Scripture says and clearly infers, the people’s response was then and is to this very day: A better way? Maybe? Really? Not really. No way! Why would God do such a thing … to alter and actually annul the very foundation of the traditions given to us by God in the first place?

Here’s why. Read with me the amazing announcement of the New Covenant and the reason God would initiate this ground-breaking and life-changing agreement with his people; one that was unconditional … unlike the conditional Mosaic covenant that the people would not and could not keep.

“The day is coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah. This covenant will not be like the one I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and brought them out of the Land of Egypt. They broke that covenant, though I loved them as a husband loves his wife, says the Lord.

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord. I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people … And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins” (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Now listen to the words of Jesus of Nazareth spoken just a short time before he was crucified on a cruel cross: “…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).

Three days later Jesus arose from the dead to eternally seal this covenant, to prove he was who he said he was (Messiah, Son of God), and to forever forgive and even forget the sins of Jew and Gentile alike, who would:

“…confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved … Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord who gives generously to all who call on him. For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’” (Romans 10:9-13, last sentence quotes Joel 2:32).

The Old Covenant had been written on tablets of stone, commandments which could not save the people because they could not and would not keep them.

The New Covenant would be written on the hearts of all who believe and receive Jesus as Savior.

The New Covenant of Grace does not abolish the moral foundation of the Law (represented by the Ten Commandments). Rather it sets straight the bent notion that the Law could redeem (make right with God) anyone who at least tried to keep it; or even that the sacrificed blood of innocent animals could take away their sin and guilt permanently.

Concerning the limitations of the sacrificial component of the Mosaic Law, we read:

“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” (Hebrews 10:1-2).

And, “Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest (Jesus) offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time…” (Hebrews 10:11-12, parenthesis mine).

This new relationship with God requires a new (spiritual) birth, which is what generates eternal life from spiritual death (see John Chapter 3). This is what will make possible the national salvation of Israel which began with individual Jews in the first century, and with the physical restoration of Israel that began 70 years ago next month (May) when Israel was reborn as a sovereign nation. And fifty years ago this coming June when Israel reclaimed Jerusalem in the Six-Day War as the eternal capital of Israel.

(If you want to learn more about the potentially stunning significance of this year, 2017, please read Eye of Prophecy article, The Omega Generation, posted 2-15-14. Also, Jubilee and Messiah … They Go Together! Posted 1-23-16).

In the first century A.D., thousands throughout Israel believed Jesus was the Messiah. Tragically, most of the religious leaders and many people did not—despite the dozens of miracles they witnessed or heard of first hand. Even after Jesus arose from the dead, most did not believe in him. Then, just as Jesus predicted, Jerusalem and the Temple were destroyed by the Romans less than 40 years after he ascended back to heaven. This happened because God’s own people rejected Messiah, just as Jesus said would happen with these poignant words:

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate. For I tell you this, you will never see me again until you say, ‘Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’” (Matthew 23:37-39).

A New Beginning … A New Israel

God withdrew his protection of Israel. He would leave them to their own fate until the appointed time when the Lord would unilaterally initiate the completion (fulfillment) of his covenant with Abraham. Which was the sovereign possession of the Promised Land forever by the Jews.

That appointed time has come.

Despite 1,900 years of exile and persecution at the hands of many nations and peoples (even by Christians … with the vast majority Christian in name only, not true born-again believers), culminating in the unimaginable Holocaust perpetrated by a perverse man and his equally sadistic Third Reich, Israel is alive and well. According to the sure word of Biblical prophecy, the Jews will never again be uprooted from their Promised Land. They will never again be decimated, dominated, or defeated by Gentile nations.

I repeat with Biblical authority for emphasis: NEVER AGAIN.

Persecuted, yes. Attacked, also yes—by the Gog/Magog coalition in the first half and by the ten-nation confederation of Antichrist Nero in the second half of the Great Tribulation. But not destroyed.

Only those who oppose Israel will be soundly defeated and destroyed. That should be a cause for pause for peoples or nations that would seek to harm the pupil of God’s eye.

Presently, there are tens of thousands of Jews all over the world who have placed their trust and eternal destiny in Messiah Jesus (called Messianic Jews), and thank the Lord for them. But it won’t be until Jesus returns near the end of the Great Tribulation that the vast majority of Jews will reach out to him and say, Baruch haba beshem Adonai (blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord).

Despite our many individual and national faults, I love the United States of America. And I love Israel and the Jews. They are God’s special possession, chosen to give the world God’s awesome Word, including the Living Word of God, Messiah Jesus. With the Apostle Paul (once named Saul, once a devout Pharisee and defender of the Mosaic Law who was changed forever by a direct encounter with Jesus), I also say:

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

Easter Sunday

Yesterday, Christians all over the world remembered the ultimate Passover (Good Friday).

Tomorrow we will celebrate Resurrection Day.

We’ll express our gratitude for so great a salvation purchased by the supreme sacrifice of our Passover Lamb, God’s own Son. We’ll rejoice that our sins are forgiven, and God will pass over (spare) us during the time of His final judgment of this earth. A judgment on those who have passively ignored or cultishly twisted the redemption that God has freely offered to them. And God’s final punishment for those who will aggressively make a final attempt (as has been done down through the ages) to disrupt, distort, despise, and defeat God’s two magnificent plans for the human race: (1) the perpetual physical possession of Israel by the descendants of Abraham. (2) The Kingdom of God on earth composed of both Jew and Gentile who have been redeemed spiritually by belief in the Jewish Messiah, Jesus.

The treacherous idea of Replacement Theology is once again rearing its ugly head, sadly, even in some Evangelical circles. They are those who believe that the Jews and Israel are irrelevant to God’s plan for the fast approaching last days, because they (erroneously but also arrogantly) think that the Church, not Israel, is the beneficiary of God’s promises to Israel.

There are so many Scriptural facts and principles to easily refute this fallacy; I’ll mention only one: Since when was the Church exiled to the four corners of the earth directly from Israel? Such an easy answer to this rhetorical question. Therefore, how can the Church be brought back to Israel? There is absolutely no way under God’s heaven that the Lord would simply ignore or forget or replace (with the Church) this promise that was made directly to Abraham and his descendants. Remember, we’re talking about the physical return of the Jews and the physical restoration of Israel, not about God’s 2nd plan for mankind which is the New Covenant wherein Jew and Gentile alike are spiritually one in Christ.

I’m going to get a little blunt here: Frankly, these people, Christian or not, have little or no understanding of the hundreds of Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel, prophecies that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Church. In fact, it’s the true Church (body of Christ currently consisting of far more Gentiles than Jews—but that will change) that will benefit greatly from the final restoration of Israel and the ultimate salvation of the Jews. Not the other way around. If some may have taken offense at my suggestion that they are basically ignorant of Old Testament prophecy then let’s switch to the New Testament and see what they might say about the following passage.

Listen to the Apostle Paul’s dramatic description of what actually happened and why:

“Did God’s people stumble and fall beyond recovery! Of course not! They were disobedient, so God made salvation available to the Gentiles. But he wanted his own people to become jealous and claim it for themselves. Now if the Gentiles were enriched because the people of Israel turned down God’s offer of salvation, think how much greater a blessing the world will share when they finally accept it. I am saying all this especially for you Gentiles…” (Romans 11:11-13a).

Paul goes on: “For since their rejection meant that God offered salvation to the rest of the world, their acceptance will be even more wonderful. It will be life for those who were dead! … For if the roots of the tree are holy, the branches will be, too.

“But some of these branches from Abraham’s tree—some of the people of Israel—have been broken off. And you Gentiles, who were branches from a wild olive tree, have been grafted in. So now you also receive the blessing God has promised Abraham and his children, sharing in the rich nourishment from the root of God’s special olive tree. But you must not brag about being grafted in to replace the branches that were broken off. You are just a branch, not the root.

‘Well,’ you many say, ‘those branches were broken off to make room for me.’ Yes, but remember—those branches were broken off because they didn’t believe in Christ, and you are there because you do believe. So don’t think highly of yourself, but fear what could happen. For if God did not spare the original branches, he won’t spare you either…

“You, by nature, were a branch cut from a wild olive tree. So if God was willing to do something contrary to nature by grafting you into his cultivated tree, he will be far more eager to graft the original branches back into the tree where they belong” (Romans 11:15-21).

Paul then concludes by saying:

“I want you to understand this mystery … so that you will not feel proud about yourselves. Some of the people of Israel have hard hearts, but this will last only until the full number of Gentiles comes to Christ. And so all Israel will be saved. As the Scriptures say, ‘The one who rescues will come from Jerusalem, and he will turn Israel away from ungodliness. And this is my covenant with them, that I will take away their sins’” (Romans 11:25-27, quoting Jeremiah 31, which as noted earlier in this article is the announcement of the New Covenant).

God’s Two Majestic Plans: (A) Abrahamic Covenant; (B) Mosaic Covenant Yielding To the New Covenant of Grace

The New Covenant of Grace has replaced the Covenant of the Law, but only that Covenant.

God’s Covenant with Abraham is independent of the Mosaic Covenant. Like the unconditional Covenant of Grace, the Lord’s covenant with the Jews giving them the land of Israel forever is totally unconditional, meaning that one day it would be fulfilled no matter what the Jews did or didn’t do.

“Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith” (Romans 4:13).

Paul further explains: “This is what I’m trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise. Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised… (Galatians 3:17-19).

When the Apostle Paul uses Abraham and God’s covenant with him as a prototype example of faith as the only means of apprehending God’s salvation (given by God’s grace), the illustration is the principle of faith—in the once for all sacrificial atonement of Messiah Jesus—versus keeping the law as the way of salvation. Paul is NOT equating or attaching the essence or object of the Abrahamic Covenant itself (which is the ultimate inheritance of the Promised Land to Abraham’s physical descendants, the Jews) to or with the benefit of becoming a spiritual descendant of Abraham by one and only one means: Faith in, “…the coming of the child who was promised…” Galatians 3:19).

Do you see the difference? That is why there are hundreds of Old Testament prophecies that exclusively apply to the physical restoration of Israel, through return of Jews from all over the world to Israel. I have quoted dozens of these passages in prior Eye of Prophecy articles. It is from Jerusalem, Israel that the (our) Jewish Messiah Jesus will rule and reign forever.

Whereas, the spiritual descendants of Abraham are both Jew and Gentile who, like Abraham, have been counted as righteous because of our faith in the Promised Child. For Abraham, the first child of promise would be his son, Isaac; who would then be the progenitor of the final Child of Promise, Jesus of Nazareth.

But the spiritual inheritance that both Jew and Gentile will receive when Messiah returns is not Israel itself. Rather it is the awesome privilege of being sons and daughters in the family of God, join-heirs with Messiah Jesus in the Kingdom of God on earth and in the New Jerusalem for all eternity. With the earthly Jerusalem and the land of Israel home to succeeding generations of Jews forever.

Repeating for emphasis: The New Covenant of Grace replaced the Mosaic Covenant of the Law, not the Abrahamic Covenant. God’s covenant with his people through Moses was completely conditional, contingent on whether the people continued to keep that covenant. Not so with God’s unilateral covenant with Abraham. Thus, those of us who have been saved by the grace of God (both Jew and Gentile for there is only one salvation for all peoples) through simply accepting it as a free gift (God doing for us what we could not do for ourselves), have been given eternal life and will live with our Lord and the host of heaven forever.

The spiritual restoration of Israel began when thousands of Jews in the first century believed and received Jesus as their Messiah and Savior, both before and after he was crucified. However, because the vast majority including the religious and political leaders who represented the nation of Israel refused to acknowledge that Jesus was Messiah, God once again abandoned them by withdrawing his protection. The result: Roman conquest of Israel and Jerusalem, destruction of the Temple, mass dispersion of the Jews throughout the world, and finally the incomprehensible evil of the Holocaust.

But that is all behind God’s chosen people. In our lifetime, many have witnessed the miraculous rebirth of Israel as a nation (1948) and the return of millions of Jews to Israel. From less than 700,000 Jews in Israel in 1948 there are nearly 6.5 million Jews (75 % of the total population of Israel) in Israel today.

(Aliyah, Ingathering of Jews to Israel … Photo Shows Some of the First Jews to Return to Israel)

We have witnessed the extraordinary agricultural, economic, scientific, cultural, medical, and military growth of the only democracy in the Middle East. Along with that we have seen world-wide attention focused on Israel and surrounding countries like never before in history. This is far beyond mere coincidence. This, folks is the end-times unfolding of Biblical prophecies given thousands of years ago. This is what Scripture both states and implies. Which is:

AS ISRAEL GOES SO GOES THE WORLD

As God declared to Moses long ago, a promise that was delayed for thousands of years because God’s own people turned away from him; a promise, nevertheless, that the Lord would keep and fulfill unilaterally through his grace and mercy:

One day, “…the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom” (Deuteronomy 28:13).

This would happen…

“Even though you are banished to the ends of the earth, the Lord your God will gather you from there and bring you back again. The Lord your God will return you to the land that belonged to your ancestors, and you will possess that land again. Then he will make you even more prosperous and numerous than your ancestors! The Lord your God will change your heart and the hearts of all your descendants, so that you will love him with all your heart and soul and so you may live!” (Deuteronomy 30:4-6).

As already seen, this individual change of heart began with the New Covenant and will continue progressively until all of Israel is saved (changed forever).

Israel is alive and well!

God will fulfill his promise to Abraham. Not only to give the Promised Land in perpetuity to the Jews, but to also richly bless the Gentile nations from the land where Messiah himself will one day (soon) live and rule. We would do well as individuals and as a nation to support and defend Israel, both in word and deed. At least don’t harm her as do those who recklessly promote Replacement Theology. They do so by boycotting Israeli goods, supporting UN Resolutions against Israel, siding with her sworn enemies including Palestinians at the expense of Israel, falsely (with little or no real understanding of either ancient or modern history) claim that the Jews are illegally “occupying” Judea and Samaria (West Bank), and any number of other activities that are in direct contradiction of the Scriptures and history.

Here is an excerpt from an article written by Dr. Haim Shine (an observant Jew wounded while serving in the IDF) posted in Israel Hayom this past Monday on the eve of Passover Seder:

“One of the most chilling poems I have ever heard is the last Seder in the Warsaw Ghetto about a Jewish boy, one of the last who survived in the Ghetto, who sings his version of Ma Nishtana? (A four-question Passover poem recited around the Seder dinner table) and asks his father, ‘why is this night so long and more terrible than any nights before? And will there be any Jewish children left to ask the Ma Nishtana?’

“Tonight, on the 74th anniversary of that bleak Seder in the Ghetto, my mother, who as a young girl stood humiliated and degraded at the Auschwitz-Birkenau train platform, will get to hear her great grandchildren sing Ma Nishtana? loud and clear in the independent State of Israel. No more dark nights, but rather a bright light of redemption and victory.

“Indeed, the fate of the Jews has changed beyond recognition. The State of Israel, which had risen like a phoenix from the ashes, is now a global military power, recognized and respected by many countries worldwide. Finally, after thousands of years, we are no longer slaves to the Pharaohs. We are now the masters of our own destiny.”

*Note: As I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, I also pray that many Jews like Dr. Shine will recognize that the true master of their destiny is none other than Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah).

A final excerpt from his article:

“The sense of freedom that has animated our souls since the Biblical exodus from Egypt is still alive and there isn’t a force in this world that could ever crush the spirit of our people. Against all odds, we are still alive and kicking, our heads held high, while great, tremendous empires have faded away…

“And here we are singing in Jerusalem. We lived to see our dreams become a reality…”

SONY DSC

(There’s Also Dancing in Jerusalem!)

Things to Ponder

Against impossible odds, the Jews have returned to Israel; Hebrew has been resurrected from a dead language; Israel is once again a sovereign nation among the family of nations on this earth. This has never happened to any other people or nation. There is one and only one reason for it: The sovereignty of the one and true living God. What the Lord says he will do, he does. What he says will happen, happens.

Recording and reviewing history without including the God of the Bible—a timeless book, past, present, future—is like pretending that a watch doesn’t have a watchmaker. Or that the watch was not created to measure and tell time. None of us looks constantly at our watch. We do so periodically, which is what the Bible does. It is not only the measure of universal divine truth, it is also a historical timeline of timely events integral to God’s prophetic plan.

True history is His Story … the Jewish Messiah Jesus, who is the very essence of prophecy (Revelation 19:10).

One day soon many more Jews, including Orthodox Rabbis, will embrace Jesus of Nazareth as their Messiah, when he returns in great glory and power to rescue Israel for the last time. First they will look on him whom they have pierced, and they will mourn. Then they will say, Baruch haba beshem Adonai. Blessed is He (Messiah Jesus) who comes in the name of the Lord (God the Father).

And they will rejoice.

Says Almighty God to Israel:

“Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations. Powerful kings and mighty nations will satisfy your every need, as though you were a child nursing at the breast of a queen. You will know at last that I, the LORD, am your Savior and your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Israel … Violence will disappear from your land; the desolation and destruction of war will end. Salvation will surround you like city walls, and praise will be on the lips of all who enter there” (Isaiah 60:15-16 & 18).

Yes, Israel is alive and well. Through her nations have been blessed and these blessings will be multiplied exponentially during the Millennium and throughout all eternity.

Long live Israel!

Long live her great and glorious King!

What Is The Unpardonable Sin?

A Sin That Cannot Be Forgiven?

Why would or should the Son of God be born into this world for the specific purpose of dying for the human race? But he was and he did. This astounding historical fact is movingly expressed in the words of the song: “Amazing love how can it be, that thou my God should die for me.”

Christians reading this article would undoubtedly think or say, well, of course that’s why our Lord came to earth, to die for my sins, for the entire human race. That is as basic as it gets. And they would be right. The very foundation of the Christian faith is built on the death, burial, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus, as the Son of God and also the Son of Man. Scripture is replete with passages such as: “…Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

And, “He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins” (Ephesians 1:7).

The coming of Messiah through a Virgin Birth, where he would be born, and what he would do for Israel but also for the Gentiles was prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem.

“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).

There are dozens of passages in the Bible where the word sin, sins, sinned, sinning, sinner, or sinful is found. Dozens more that clearly show there is a solution for the sin problem. We must acknowledge we are sinners, believe that the sinless Son of God Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins, then simply receive him as Personal Savior. Then, ALL of our sins are forgiven and we immediately have eternal life. Our bodies will be literally raised from the dead at the Rapture, with immediate transformation of the earthly bodies of those still alive at the Rapture.

Concerning the title of this week’s article: What Is the Unpardonable Sin? I could have changed the question to, “Is There an Unpardonable Sin?” That question could have been posed or juxtaposed in the Biblical context which clearly assures believers in Messiah Jesus that all of their sins have been forgiven, forever. That when Christians sin, their fellowship with the Lord is broken (interrupted) until the sin is confessed, but their salvation remains secure.

But I chose to go directly to the heart of the matter and, therefore, on the authority of Scripture provide clear-cut evidence as to what this unpardonable sin is. We’ll get to that by articles’ end. However, most unbelievers and even some Christians would challenge this answer with the rebuttal, “If the Bible clearly claims God’s grace can and will forgive all of our sins the moment we place our trust in Messiah’s redemptive death, burial, and resurrection, then how can there be a sin that the Lord won’t forgive.”

What Is Sin?

It’s abundantly clear throughout the Bible that sin is breaking God’s universal moral and spiritual laws. That when we transgress God’s immutable laws, we sin first and foremost against God.

King David fully grasped this truth. When he committed adultery with Bathsheba and ordered her husband Uriah killed to get him out of the way so David could have Bathsheba as his own, David knew that he had inflicted great harm to both Bathsheba and her husband. But he understood that his sin was ultimately against God. So he pleads with the Lord:

“Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:2-5).

The Apostle Paul then tells us (the whole world): “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

This verse makes two powerful statements: (1) Every single person who has ever lived (save one … Messiah Jesus) has sinned against God; (2) Sin, what some theologians call “missing the mark,” is falling short of God’s rightful (He is the Creator, we are his creation) expectations when he gave mankind (Adam and Eve) the capacity to choose right from wrong. To love and obey the Lord willingly, not through coercion; or to disobey him because they chose not to believe, obey, love, and serve him.

Paul quotes King David (Psalm 53) “No one is righteous—not even one. No one is truly wise; no one is seeking God … no one does good, not a single one” (Romans 3:10-12).

Then Paul explains the purpose of the Mosaic Law; that it was not the source of salvation—for no one could keep the Law in its entirety.

“Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God. For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.

“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned…” (Romans 3:19-23).

Thus, we see that everyone from Adam and Eve to the 21st century (and beyond) have sinned against God. Although it only takes one sin, nearly all people have sinned many times … some of us in one day’s time alone! We sin because we were born sinners.

The chicken and the egg question (which came first) is indisputably answered in Scripture both in terms of creation and the fall of man from the perfectly moral and spiritual condition in which Adam and Eve were created. The chicken came first. The created existence of the chicken led to eggs produced by the chicken. Likewise, our sin nature produces many wrongs things that we think, say, and do. We all have laid a chicken coop full of sinful rotten eggs!

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

We all look forward to receiving compensation for the hard work we do. But physical death (and eternal death—if we die in our sins without Christ as Savior) is one paycheck none of us wants. According to the Bible, however, we have earned the wages of sin and we will get paid for it. Unless, that is, we receive “the free gift of God … through Christ Jesus…” This is our Creator’s solution to the sin problem, a free gift that cancels our sin debt. But like all gifts, we must receive it (by simple faith).

Not only was Messiah Jesus’s death on the cross the supreme once for all redemptive sacrifice, his atonement applies to ALL of our sins, even those we commit after we have accepted him as Personal Savior. If that were not true, then Christ would need to die again and again for all the wrong things that Christians do after being born again; in fact, for all those born after Christ arose from the dead in the 1st Century.

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God…” (I Peter 3:18)

If, then, all sins can be forgiven and have been forgiven for those who have placed their personal trust in the redemptive sacrifice of the Son of God, why does the Bible say there is one thing that cannot be pardoned?

Before we look at the answer to that perplexing question that troubles both believers and unbelievers alike, let’s look at how unbelievers (remember that true born-again believers in Jesus were once unbelievers) view sin and redemption.

Prevalent World-Views on Sin

Those Who Don’t Believe Sin Is Really (Ultimately) a Transgression against God, or in a Divine Penalty for Sin

As Scripture says, “Only fools say in their hearts, ‘There is no God…’” (Psalm 53:1).

Then in the New Testament:

“And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). The first and greatest reward is redemption and all of God’s marvelous promises that go with Biblical salvation.

When the Bible refers to God, with an upper case “G” or The LORD, it, of course, is always identifying God, himself. Even more obvious: the God of the Old Covenant and New Covenant Scriptures has revealed himself generally through nature and specifically through the Bible as the ONLY God. All of the names that God has given us to describe himself (like El Elyon, Most High God, or the sacred name of God, YHWH, translated in capital letters LORD throughout Scripture) are also the ONLY names of God. Right up front that excludes all other unnamed gods or those named, such as Allah. Hence, those whom God calls “fools” are many more than just atheists.

(Another Name of God in Scripture)

Down through the ages right up to the present time, most people on Planet Earth have believed in to the point of worship many (man-made) gods, many of which are deified parts of nature, e.g. stars, sun, moon, mountains, rivers, seas and the like. But also so-called gods of fertility, harvest, life, prosperity, and even death. And in our post-modern times: gods of pleasure, power, prestige, and money.

This includes most world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Shintoism. Other than the Judeo-Christian faith, Islam is the only other monotheistic religion; however the Muslim god was selected by Muhammad from the pantheon of gods worshipped by Arabs before he decided that the moon-god Allah would be the god of Islam. This was done deliberately to copy, counterfeit, rival, and replace the God of the Bible. Whereas, the God of Scripture dogmatically declares that He is the only true and living God, and backs up this assertion with powerful prophecies that come to pass (all of them) and mighty miracles that no other god or religion can do or boast of. The greatest of which is the prophesied and fulfilled birth, life, death, and resurrection of Messiah Jesus.

Still others through cultic deviation from and twisting of Scripture (such as Mormonism or Catholicism), have distorted, falsified and replaced the Christian faith and true salvation with ecclesiastical creeds that directly contradict Biblical Christianity.

Virtually none of these religions or cults believe people sin because they were born sinners, i.e. their very nature. On the contrary, they think that all but the most evil of people (with even the concept of “evil” placed on a sliding scale) are inherently and innately “good.” That when people do something “wrong” it’s because they make a “mistake” in choice or judgment. Which is true. But according to God’s view as so very evident in Scripture, the wrong things we do is still sin directly against the Lord, no matter how we rationalize or what we call them.

Even those who profess that the wrong things they do is actual sin (against God), one way or another believe that God will overlook most if not all their sins by merely balancing the “good” things they do against the “bad.”

In short they do not believe the Bible when it says, for example:

To a man or woman, if you ask a Mormon or a Catholic (and other similar religions including some Protestant denominations) they will tell you there’s no way to know for sure if they’ll make it to heaven. The reason for this: so many people believe that they must do something to earn salvation. Yet, they never know if what they’ve done or think they’ve earned is enough for God to overlook their faults and allow them entrance into heaven. At the very best this is wishful thinking.

Personally, I refuse to risk or stake my eternal destiny on this kind of uncertainty. Especially, when the true and living God says he loves me enough to have sent his Son to die for my sins, and will pardon me forever if I simply believe and receive his Son. He also tells me that I can trust him beyond any doubt whatsoever that I will live forever with him in heaven.

Therefore, for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ, there is no such thing as an unpardonable sin!

(Stay with me, because this is not a contradiction to what was said earlier: yes, there is an unpardonable sin. We’ll soon see why and for whom).

Those Who Think Their Sins Are Too Many or Too Great for Even God to Forgive

Sadly, many hundreds of millions of unbelievers are living under a heavy conscience that the sheer number of their sins or perhaps one or two really horrible sins are too much for God to forgive. To them, these sins are unpardonable.

Let me repeat on the authority of Scripture: There is no sin—past, present, or future—that cannot be pardoned when we accept Messiah Jesus as Personal Savior, with two mighty but sometimes misunderstood Biblical truths: (1) For born-again believers that includes the unpardonable sin, because there is no such sin for those who have placed their trust in Christ Jesus before they die.

(2) For the unbeliever, the unpardonable sin is the one and only offense that will ultimately seal one’s eternal destiny in the Lake of Fire.

God’s Laws and Commandments

Through their world-view or belief system or through their conscience, hundreds of millions accept at least the morality of God’s Law through, for example, the Ten Commandments.

Unfortunately many reduce or equate violation of God’s laws to breach of civil laws of the city, state, or country in which they live. Most don’t think about or even care that the vast majority of laws originated directly or indirectly from God, himself, as first given to Moses and the Israelites.

Nations enforce laws by punishing those who break those laws. Such as: assault, theft, perjury, extortion, or fraud. There are literally hundreds of these laws all the way from murder to traffic tickets. Many of us rank these crimes on a sliding scale of severity, which we should but only in the context of Biblical principles that the punishment must fit the crime. Yet billions of people make the mistake of thinking that God also grades on a curve when it comes to sin. God does not view sin that way; when we break one of his laws, we break them all.

Thus, many people equate sinfulness to commission of crimes, both felonies and misdemeanors. Not just a few believe that if they don’t break the law, or if they do and it’s just a small infraction (like cheating on taxes), then they have an excellent chance of getting to heaven, for that reason alone.

Let’s look at the Ten Commandments. By and large, in the last generation or two, there are only three of these commandments that the world (even those in Judeo-Christian civilizations such as America, most of Europe, Canada, Australia, and a few other counties) actually consider to be sin. And mostly because they are “against the law.”

They are: “You must not murder” (Exodus 20:13). “You must not steal” (Verse 15). “You must not testify falsely against your neighbor” (Verse 16 … this refers primarily to lying under oath).

The other seven commandments are not considered by most unbelievers to be sin at all. Or if they do think infringement of these (and other commandments in Scripture not part of the Ten) as wrong, it’s only when they get caught.

The other commandments found in Exodus Chapter 20 are:

No other gods but the Lord God himself. (That means you, too, Allah).

No idols or images of “anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea … you must not worship them…” (Verses 4-5).

Using the name of God vainly, i.e. in a profane or even irreverent way.

Routinely failing to worship and honor and remember God on the Sabbath (whether Saturday or Sunday, does not matter in the Age of Grace).

Not honoring your father and mother, and all that entails.

“You must not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14). If there are still laws in some countries against adultery, they are weakly enforced or not at all. Certainly not in the United States. So does that make adultery okay? Is it no longer a sin against God? Does it no longer have devastating consequences?

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house … wife … or anything else that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17). That, too, is no longer considered as sin by the majority of people on this planet. We can lust after anything we want; even brag about it when the opportunity arises, and we do what we desire or get what we want by living out our fantasies. Coveting is greed, pure and simple. According to Scripture, greed is idolatry because we’re consumed with someone or something that will not only take the place of God, but cause us to do many other wrong things in the process.

Jesus said that there is only one way to God in order for God to pardon the penalty of our sins. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

And it was Jesus who also said there was one sin that God would not forgive.

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit … The Unpardonable Sin

Yet that act is one that is not considered sin by God until either one of two things transpires. (1) For all those who die without Christ as their Savior before and after the Rapture (2) For those who worship the Antichrist (Nero) and/or take the mark of his name during the Great Tribulation, which is soon to come.

“…Anyone who worships the beast and his statue or who accepts his mark on the forehead or on the hand must drink the wine of God’s anger … And they will be tormented with fire and burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and the Lamb … They will have no relief day or night, for they have worshiped the beast and his statue and have accepted the mark of his name” (Revelation 14:9-11).

Said Jesus to the teachers of religious law, “I tell you the truth, all sin and blasphemy can be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven. This is a sin with eternal consequences” (Mark 3:28-29, italics for emphasis).

The italicized words emphatically assures us that ALL sin and blasphemy can be forgiven.

Scripture is equally clear that all of a person’s sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven only when that individual accepts Messiah Jesus as personal Savior. That is possible because God declares us “not guilty” when we place our faith in Jesus who died in our place to remove the penalty and guilt of all the wrong things we’ve done.

(Jesus Said These Words on the Cross Just Before He Died, They Mean “The Debt Has Been Paid … For Our Sins)

“Yet, God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty of our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood…” (Romans 3:24-25).

However, even some Christians have been troubled with Jesus’s words that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit could void their salvation with the eternal consequences … meaning hell instead of heaven. As said earlier in this article, that is not possible.

For two reasons: (1) once a person is saved by believing and receiving Christ as their Redeemer, his/her eternal destiny has been sealed forever. And no less than by the Holy Spirit!

“…and he (the Lord) has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us” (II Corinthians 2:22).

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

And, “Humans can reproduce only human life, but the Holy Spirit gives birth to spiritual life. So don’t be surprised when I say, ‘You must be born again’” (John 3:6-7).

Jesus used the analogy of human birth to illustrate that a person must be reborn spiritually to inherit eternal life. With the parallel truth that a person can no more be unborn spiritually than they can be unborn physically.

(2) For reason number one, the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit can never be committed by a born-again believer in Messiah Jesus. That would be impossible, because anyone who has accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior did so by listening and yielding to the convictions of the Holy Spirit; the Third Person of the Great Triune God, who plants the seed of the Gospel (Jesus saves) in our mind, heart, and spirit that “gives birth to eternal life.”

To better understand what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is, let’s look at its definition. Then we’ll examine exactly what the Holy Spirit does to and for unbelievers.

Blasphemy:

From Webster’s Dictionary: Blaspheme (verb), “to speak of or address with irreverence. Revile. Abuse. To utter blasphemy.”

Blasphemous (adjective): “impiously irreverent. Profane.”

Blasphemy (noun): The act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God. The act of claiming the attributes of deity. Irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”

Thus, all those who trivialize, ignore, demean, disregard or flatly refuse the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the only way to God and salvation, do so because they resist, rebuff, reject, and sometimes even ridicule the promptings of the Holy Spirit at a certain time or times in their lives. That is the blasphemy that Jesus is talking about.

Jesus Teaching about the Holy Spirit

In John Chapters 14 and 16, Jesus introduced the Holy Spirit to his disciples. Including the amazing fact of something that had never occurred before in the history of mankind: The Holy Spirit would be sent to dwell in them (and all believers). Some of his teaching relates to what the Holy Spirit would do for believers in Christ. But the following passages provide some perceptive insight regarding the work of the Holy Spirit to and for unbelievers, with the ultimate goal of saving as many as would believe in Messiah Jesus.

“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 14:17).

Then a short time later Jesus told them what the Holy Spirit will, nonetheless, do for a world that “doesn’t recognize him.”

“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 refused 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).

What the Holy Spirit does first and foremost is to convict the minds and hearts of unbelievers to fully understand that Messiah Jesus is their only hope for salvation. Beginning with realization that God loves them more than they’ll ever know, but that sin is a barrier between them and God, because God is Holy and Righteous and cannot tolerate sin. That it’s God’s righteousness freely given to us when we accept his Son, not self-righteousness (good works, self-virtue) that saves us from the coming judgment day of God.

Notice, however, the startling statement of Jesus concerning sin (singular not plural in this case, meaning one sin in particular). Messiah Jesus said that ultimately the overriding, all-encompassing, ultimate sin is the world’s (which means every individual, just as John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, and whosoever—each person—believes in Jesus shall not perish but have everlasting life) deliberate decision not to believe in him.

That is the Unpardonable Sin!

Earlier Jesus said this to the religious leaders of Israel: “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins’” (John 8:24).

Thus, the unpardonable sin is that anyone would “die in their sins.” The reason: Refusal to believe and receive Jesus as Messiah, Son of God.

But it begins with “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit;” the One who stirs and “speaks to” to the heart and mind of individuals the world over of and through the absolute everlasting truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thus, it’s not technically the many sins that we’ve all committed that will condemn us to eternal separation from God. The (Scriptural) reason I can say that is because the Bible is crystal clear that every person who has ever lived on this planet has sinned, some more than others, but God doesn’t keep a comparative count of how many sins or which ones are worse than others when it comes to salvation. Only when it comes to the sentencing at the final Great White Throne Judgment, which is already too late for those being sentenced, will there be different levels of punishment (as indicated in other parts of Scripture).

If you’ve been tried and convicted for murder and the sentence is death, but the President of the United States offers you a complete pardon with only one condition, wouldn’t you accept the pardon no matter the condition. But especially if the President told you that the condition was this: “Someone else has already taken your place and died for you. All I expect you to do is believe that and gratefully accept the fact that this person’s sacrifice has saved you.”

However, any similar analogy, including this one, doesn’t go far enough to totally explain Messiah Jesus’s redemptive sacrifice. The difference is that Jesus AROSE FROM THE DEAD. So we not only believe that fact; we also believe IN the One who made the sacrifice. He said he was/is God (the Son). He said he was/is Messiah. He said that he is the resurrection and the life. If anyone believes in him, they will live (forever) even when they die.

Thus, when a person rejects Jesus Christ as their only source of redemption, they do so by “blaspheming” the Holy Spirit.

I’m not saying (nor did Jesus) that people go around daily saying irreverent things about the Holy Spirit. In fact, unbelievers (the world) don’t know or even care about someone or something called the Holy Spirit. Nor (until one believes in Christ for salvation) does anyone really understand that the Holy Spirit is the Person of the Triune God that stirs their heart and mind to listen to the truth of the Gospel as found in the Bible. But they know enough to realize that they need to make a decision, one way or another. To believe or not to believe (In Christ): that is the question that everyone must answer in his/her lifetime.

God is so willing to forgive and pardon everyone for their sins … forever. But he cannot and will not issue this pardon to those who ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit by rejecting the redemption offered by Jesus’s sacrifice at Calvary. This (deliberate) decision is unpardonable.

Unpardonable because that is the ultimate (and only) sin by which they have condemned themselves to God’s final judgment and the imposed sentence of eternal separation from God. It is not failure to ask forgiveness of one or more sins throughout a person’s lifetime. Many people ask forgiveness from a person or even from God. Yet, asking for forgiveness does not guarantee a punched ticket to heaven.

Certainly, that’s what happens when someone says, yes, to Jesus and accepts what he did on the cross as the only way to be saved. We are forgiven … forever!

But the repentance that the Bible emphasizes is “changing our mind” (which is what repent means) about Jesus Christ as the Way, Truth, and Life. The Bible is talking about a one-time repentance in accepting the once for all sacrifice of Christ Jesus; the righteous for the unrighteous, the just for the unjust, the Godly for the ungodly.

Things to Ponder

The Bible absolutely assures that all born again believers in Christ have eternal life the moment we accept Jesus as our personal Savior. In many passages, the present-tense verb have (meaning right then and there) or has is used. Such as:

“I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life” (I John 5:13, italics for emphasis).

Not think, or hope, or wish that we will someday qualify for heaven. Rather, we can know beyond all doubt the moment we make that decision. Heaven is the place we one day will spend eternity with our glorious God, but eternal life begins the moment we choose Christ as Savior and Lord.

When believers sin, our confession (remorse) is not to reinstate our salvation, but to restore our fellowship with the Lord. (See I John 1:9)

Not so for unbelievers, as succinctly stated by the Apostle Peter in the very first Gospel message preached after Jesus ascended to heaven. Speaking to a large crowd (3,000 of them accepted Christ that very day), Peter said:

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified. Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brethren, what shall we do?’

“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:36-38, NASB).

The context is crystal clear as to what they were to repent of: that they (we all) repent or change their mind as to who Jesus of Nazareth really was/is. None other than God’s Son who purchased redemption for all who would believe in him. Baptism would then be a physical demonstration of their spiritual union in Christ Jesus … just as a ring is evidence that someone is married.

Then forgiveness of sin (that precludes the unpardonable sin, because the Holy Spirit is given as a gift who would never leave the believer—see John 14:16—and, thereby, could not possibly be blasphemed) is a result of repentance.

How good is that!

NERO & The Remarkable Revival of His Name

What’s In a Name?

In the late 20th century and throughout the 21st century, there has been an unmistakable resurgence of the name of Nero. We see this phenomenon in mainstream media, marketing, and merchandise outlets, also in entertainment and scientific circles. That cannot be said of any other figure in history; certainly not an ancient Roman Emperor who used to be remembered more for his cruelty, especially to Christians, than his popularity with the average Roman citizen.

This is no coincidence. There is a Biblical prophetic reason for this unprecedented revival of Nero’s name in our generation. It fits with many other “signs of the times” most of which are predicted in Scripture and some of which are derivative of and associated with Biblical prophecy.

In this week’s article we’ll examine some surprising but woeful ways in which Nero’s name has been promoted prominently by a variety of sources. Some of these people and organizations have deliberately used Nero’s name and others may have done so inadvertently. Either way, this monstrous man and his notorious name has been contemporarily characterized (even celebrated) in a positive, if not favorable, light. It’s the kind of veneration that should be reserved for honorable rulers and leaders of the past and present. It is word association and name tagging at its worst.

Nero was deposed as Caesar primarily because he fell out of favor with the Roman Senate that had grown seriously tired of his immoral excesses and what they perceived as his political ineptness, both of which exemplified the latter part of his reign. Yet, the average Roman lauded him for the “good” things he had done for them in the early years of his reign, such as lowering taxes. More than anything, it was a treaty that Nero orchestrated between the Roman Empire and Rome’s mortal enemy, Parthia (63 AD), which at that time endeared him to the Roman Senate, the Roman Legions, and the common Roman citizen.

Let’s begin with a brief review of this despicable tyrant’s legend, as presented in Chapters 19 & 20 of my second book, Out of the Abyss; as touched on in a few Eye of Prophecy articles; and as covered exclusively in the Eye of Prophecy article, The Legendary Return of Nero, posted in April, 2015.

(One of Many Coins Showing the Image of Nero. The Term “Legend” Was Originally and Literally Derived From Notable VIPs Stamped on a Coin)

Many in the Roman Empire Believed that Nero Would Return

From the 1st century AD well into the 5th century AD, both Christians and the secular populace of the Roman Empire persistently believed that Nero would return as Caesar after he was killed in June, 68 AD. It was such a prevalent conviction that historians gave it a name: Nero Redivivus Legend.

Redivivus is a Latin term meaning: “revived, restored, living again.”

Christian Concession of Nero’s Return

Here’s an excerpt from The Legendary Return of Nero, beginning with a quote from the 5th century Christian apologist and historian, Saint Augustine (in italics):

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

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

Notice two things here: (1) Even though Augustine did not subscribe to the prevailing Christian belief that Nero was the man of lawlessness and would return as the Antichrist beast, he did objectively report that this was still a wide-spread, well-known view held by believers … some three centuries after Nero had died!

(2) Nor is there any indication that Saint Augustine disputed (by virtue of not even commenting on the veracity of it) the clear evidence of Revelation 17:7-8, which unequivocally states the beast (Antichrist) had already lived and died before Revelation was written, and that he would reappear from the Abyss. The only doubt held by Augustine was that all of the prophecies about the Antichrist applied to Nero. Yet, by his own report, it’s crystal clear that many Christians firmly held to that belief. The accuracy of their understanding would have been even more evident to believers when Roman Legions led by Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. They knew that it was Nero who had personally commissioned Vespasian and Titus to crush the Jewish uprising.

This fits perfectly with Daniel’s famous prophecy: “…the Anointed One will be killed … and a ruler will arise whose armies will destroy the city and the Temple…” (Daniel 9:26).

The contextual and grammatical possessive attachment (whose) between the ruler who would arise (after Messiah Jesus was killed) and the ruler’s armies that would destroy the Temple is overwhelmingly clear. The ruler was none other than Nero, and it was his (“whose”) armies that demolished the Temple.

(Depicts Roman Destruction of Jerusalem & The Temple in 70 AD, Which Jesus Predicted Some Forty Years Earlier … Matthew 24:1-2)

The astounding fulfilment of this prophecy was lost to believers sometime during the Dark Ages and subsequently misunderstood by prophecy scholars to this very day. Including the indisputable fact that Antichrist lived and died before the book of Revelation was written, but that he would reappear from the Abyss at the outset of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 17:7-8).

That is why the Lord gave me these disclosures which led to the writing of Out of the Abyss and then to the Eye of Prophecy website. These are certainly not some off-the-wall speculations. However, to determine that for yourself, I would encourage you to read Out of the Abyss, or at least several Eye of Prophecy articles in the category of Antichrist.

As I have said before and will repeat for emphasis: My discernment of Antichrist’s identity was not new; rather it is a rediscovery of what early Christians knew to be true (in their time).

Secular Endorsement of the Nero Redivivus Legend

As indicated, Nero had been wildly popular throughout most of the Roman Empire. The common people passionately adored him for several decades after his death as did some of the nobility including a few Caesars, and also (though lessened by the passage of time) for centuries thereafter.

Here is another except from The Legendary Return of Nero:

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

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

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

Some thirty years later in further honor of Nero, the Emperor Domitian ordered the execution of Nero’s servant, Epaphraditos, who struck the fatal blows with a sword that killed Nero—because Nero was too cowardly to take his own life. During that same thirty-year period of time, three impersonators claimed they were Nero, with one of them taken very seriously by many in the Roman Empire, enough to start an uprising against Rome that was quickly crushed.

There were some who believed that Nero had not died (despite credible evidence to the contrary). Whether they thought he had died or not, many expected him to return and reclaim the Roman throne.

Imagine if 20th century despots like Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin, or (going back a little farther in history) Napoleon were to suddenly return from their graves. Though there are a few “Neo-Nazis” in Germany and the world at large, the greater populace of Germany and all over this Globe would do anything possible to prevent Hitler from returning to power, no matter how amazed they might be at his reappearance. The same with Russians (Stalin) and the French (Napoleon).

Not so had Nero returned in the first few centuries after his death. And not so in today’s world!

“I saw that one of the heads of the beast (Antichrist) seemed wounded beyond recovery—but the fatal wound was healed! The whole world marveled at this miracle and gave allegiance to the beast. They worshiped the dragon (Satan) for giving the beast such power, and they also worshipped the beast. ‘Who is as great as the beast?’ they exclaimed. ‘Who is able to fight against him?’ Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God…” (Revelation 13:3-5, parenthesis mine).

All that is being made possible by the shocking modern-day recovery of Nero and his name.

(“Hail Caesar” Will Be Heard the World Over Upon Nero’s Reappearance)

Another excerpt from The Legendary Return of Nero:

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

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

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

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

A List of Fifteen Contemporary People, Places, and Things with the Name of Nero

The first five articles posted on the Eye of Prophecy website (beginning in July, 2013), were about the Rapture. Shortly thereafter, a series of five articles on the Antichrist, beginning with Modern Day Antichrist (posted 9-7-13) and ending with The Beast And His Name (10-5-13). In preparation and research for that fifth article, I was surprised to find five entities that bore the name of Nero.

In preparation for this week’s article, I was stunned to discover many more than five, some of which have their inception after my 2013 article. In chronological order, including the five mentioned in the 2013 Eye of Prophecy article, The Beast and His Name, let’s take an up close and personal look at fifteen (there are more) of them and their start-up year.

(1) Nero Larp – 1986:

Yes, you read that correctly! Here is the introductory statement of this organization as found on their website in 2013:

“Welcome to NERO LARP! We are the premier Live Action Role Playing (LARP) organization in North America—since 1986. In Live Action Role-playing, you become the character of your fantasies, and, acting out the action, solve the mysteries and defeat adversaries with wit, intelligence, and/or sword & sorcery. At NERO events, you will use skills that your character has earned….”

There have been at least nine editions of their Rule Book.

Astonishing! I have no idea what’s involved in LARP fraternities or what kind of games they play; nor do I really care to know. Obviously, my interest pertains to a “role-playing” group that uses the name of Nero. I’m sure that someone involved in these LARP clubs would ask me what planet I live on, because I know virtually nothing about the 50 plus NERO LARP chapters in the United States, Canada, and South Africa. And, I’m sure I’d get in trouble if I changed the acronym of LARP to Laughing at Role Players. Because it sounds like Larpers play some pretty serious games.

Yet, here we have a fairly large establishment dedicated in some fashion to the arts, to the new age (sorcery), to acting out fantasies (I would hope their rules limit what they can do or say), and to defeating all adversaries with either the sword or sorcery. Undoubtedly, Nero (self-acclaimed artist extraordinaire) would have reveled in such company, although he would have written the rules himself!

(2) N E R O – 1991

Primarily an online retail store based in Australia, specializing in N E R O clocks and N E R O steel watches. Also handbags and accessories, home furniture, and “eco-friendly stationary.”

Here is an excerpt from this company’s (which simply goes by N E R O) Website About page:

“N E R O is an Australian brand inspired by nature with natural textures of Italian leather and canvas combined with classic lines in a modern twist … Our N E R O trademark watches and stationary are renowned for innovative high quality design and have an avid cult following world wide.”

Extracting key words and phrases from this short company profile alone, it’s not at all speculative to see why the founders of this company may have called it, N E R O. Actually, the very fact that they used the name of Nero says volumes.

Notice the mention of “Italian” (leather) and “classic lines” in a “modern twist.” Playing word association, the connection is quite apparent … Nero, the Roman (Italian) Emperor from (classic) antiquity. Add to that the Biblical prophecy that Nero will return with a “modern twist,” meaning a reappearance of this “twisted man.” for equally twisted Satanic purposes (See II Thessalonians 2:9). And did you notice the company profile boasts that their watches and stationary … “have an avid cult following world-wide.” Nero will certainly do and have that upon return.

Am I reading too much into these seemingly innocuous words?

If this or maybe just one other global organization named their company after Nero, then the answer to this question would be, “Probably … yes.”

Let’s continue.

(3) Nero AG1995:

The founders of a computer software business that began in 1995 with the organizational name of Ahead Software inexplicably changed the name of this company to Nero AG or Nero, Inc. in 2005. It grew from a handful of employees to a staff of 500 employees in 2009, and still growing. Product sales number in the hundreds of millions world-wide. Their products include all-in-one burning software to enable electronic writing of audio, video, and data for CDs or DVDs. Although speculation, it’s likely the name of Nero was chosen to represent the main product of the company, i.e. new technology in the burning of CDs and DVDs.

Why? Whatever else people the world over remember about Nero, most recall his main epitaph: “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” Of course, the fiddle wasn’t even invented until hundreds of years after Nero died, but who cares about the facts!

The main purpose of Nero AG’s service and products is to create and manage digital media on any device, with interchangeable flow between such things as smart phones, I pads, and computers. Part of the Nero Quality Statement reads: “Nero wants to help you produce content for your home entertainment….”

Did you pick up on how the author of this promo personalized the name of Nero? Such as, “Nero wants to help you….” Or a spookier phrase found in the promo: “…based on face recognition similar to facial tagging….”

It wouldn’t take much imagination to visualize how Nero, himself, could and probably will use a company like this to manipulate the media. Since his last words reportedly were (paraphrasing), “The world is losing such a great artist,” he very well could manipulate such technology to compose and transmit “content for your home entertainment.” This entertainment could be another play that he might write (he wrote and performed several plays during his reign as Emperor) or images of beheaded Christians, once he resumes the savage vendetta that he initiated against Christians in the first century.

(4) NERO … The Band (Rock music) – 2004:

A British electronic music duo, then trio has risen to fame in the 21st century. Their single, Doomsday, was a big hit and is featured in the trailer for a movie, The World’s End, released in 2013. In 2011, this rock group’s production of Welcome Reality won the award for Best Album. One can only wonder why the two young men who started this band chose the name of Nero. But when was the last time a rock group named their band after a long-dead Roman Emperor … and why Nero?

As indicated earlier, Nero Caesar was a self-proclaimed artist who, during the final years of his reign, was far more interested in flaunting his artistic genius (Nero’s own opinion of himself) throughout the civilized world than in running the Roman Empire. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why he fell out of favor with the Roman Senate and subsequently the Roman Generals. They didn’t like the idea of a “god-like” Roman emperor spending all his time in Greece and making a fool of himself while spouting poetry and playing the lyre in Greek theatres.

History tells us that he desperately wanted to be popular throughout his entire empire; later in his reign he wrote and performed plays (in Greek) to promote this recognition. And what a head start when he returns from the Abyss: a rock-group that already bears his name!

(5) River World – 2004

River World is the title of a science-fiction movie starring Brad Johnson, who was also one of the main actors in the Left Behind movie and the sequel. The main plot of River World involves people who are brought back to life, but with the same age-old struggle of good versus evil. In both movies Brad plays a good guy, but exceptionally intriguing is the identity of the antagonist.

In Left Behind, the arch-enemy is the Antichrist given the name of Nicolae Carpathia, from the novels written by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye. In River World, the adversary who seeks to dominate all those “reborn” in this new world is none other than Nero … played by Jonathan Cake!

It’s highly unlikely that the author or producers of River World had any interest in Biblical end-times prophecies, although most people on Planet Earth have heard or read the term Antichrist. In the movie those who were allowed to return to earth did so by coming up out of the sea (in some sort of cocoon-like tubes). The depiction of this Back to the Future-like return was eerily akin to the soon-to-come reappearance of the Antichrist beast from the Abyssal Sea.

According to Revelation 13:1, the Beast will arise from the Sea. Then Revelation 17:8 states he will come out of the Abyss. In my book Out of the Abyss, I provide compelling Biblical and modern-day geographical documentation and analysis to show that the Abyss is beneath the oceans (seas).

(6) NerO (A Product of FTDI Chip) – 2015

On FTDI’s website, we read:

“FTDI Chip develops innovative silicon solutions that enhance interaction with the latest in global technology.” The major objective from the company is to ‘bridge technologies in order to support engineers with highly sophisticated, feature-rich, robust and simple-to-see product platforms.”

Although that’s a mouthful, the terminology is intriguing, especially in the context of their latest product, NerO, which was designed to enhance the operation of circuit boards. Among many other things Antichrist Nero will undoubtedly undertake (The False Prophet will order it done) is the creation of a body chip—already in prototype existence—specifically designed for his diabolical scheme to literally embed his name or number on the forehead or right hand of many people left behind at the Rapture (Revelation 13:16-18).

(7) N.E.R.O. (Nothing Ever Remains Obscure) – 2016

As alluded to earlier, it’s possible that some of the organizations or entities bearing the name of Nero (listed in today’s article and those not listed) may have arrived unintentionally at the appellation of Nero, such as this electronic video game released last year. However, it’s much more likely that the name of Nero was first chosen, with the actual title of the game created to fit his name … in other words not an accidental acronym that just happened to spell NERO.

The developer of this video game is listed as: Storm in a Teacup. The publisher is: SOEDESCO Publishing.

Here is an excerpt from their website synopsis: “It is a wonderful journey in a world of incredible beauty, a story … connected to the characters and their past. The world of N.E.R.O. is magical…”

Two of the Key Features of the game as shown on the website: “N.E.R.O. is a mystery, nothing is as it seems.” And, “N.E.R.O.’s story is complex and cryptic.”

Those left behind at the Rapture will learn very quickly and all too well that the infamous number of the beast (six hundred and sixty-six) is the decoded gematria representation of Nero’s name. And the occult “magic” of the statue erected that literally speaks for Nero will be more than enough for people to worship him and also his statue (see Revelation 13).

(8) Kia Niro – 2016

The rejuvenation of Nero’s name in everyday life is nowhere more globally conspicuous than the automobile Niro, introduced in 2016 by Kia Motor Corporation of South Korea. Never mind that the spelling is one letter different. The connotation and association with Nero is obvious. I’m guessing that the owners of Kia wanted a world-famous figure attached to their new model, but possibly cringed a little at the thought of using the actual spelling of such an infamous name. Whatever their rationale, hundreds of millions of people all over the Globe have heard or will soon hear about the Kia Niro—whether they buy one or not.

Millions more (like me) first found out that there was an automobile named after Mr. Six Hundred and Sixty-Six while watching the now famous Super Bowl commercial just a few weeks ago. Have you seen it? It’s still being aired world-wide. I’m talking about the 60 second commercial featuring well-known comedian Melissa McCarthy. It is flat-out funny, probably one of the best car commercials ever made. In fact, it won the award for best Super Bowl Ad this year. As many people know (even those who don’t normally follow football), the Super Bowl has gained a reputation for some of the best TV commercials anytime, anywhere. For an advertiser to win this award is as big as or bigger for them than victory is for the team who wins the Super Bowl.

Yes, even an automobile has been named after Nero, along with all of the other people, places, and things that bear the disreputable name of this atrocious autocrat. By the time he reappears from the Abyss (which is soon) billions on this planet—in addition to their amazement at his return from the grave—will already be attuned, adjusted, and otherwise acclimated to the current resurrection of his name in byword or buzz word fashion.

(9) Network for Education & Research in Oregon (NERO)

I couldn’t locate a start-up date for this company, which is why I’ve placed it last in line of the dated Nero affiliates and the first in line for other (non-dated) products that bear his name.

It began as a research project in Oregon by an Engineering Graduate School that wanted to develop high-speed internet for education and research. One can only speculate if the founders deliberately chose Nero’s name, then used the acronym to come up with the organization name. However, if they had simply omitted Oregon, then the acronym NERO wouldn’t fit. Thus, it appears that they purposely wanted the abbreviated version of their group to bear the name of Nero. Either way, it’s yet another instance of this evil man’s name rising to pathetic prominence in just the last three-four decades.

*Note: because of the undue length of time to find (even on the internet) the start-up date of the following businesses or products, the date has been omitted. I’m assuming that most or all of them are somewhat recent. Nevertheless, they will be numbered to further demonstrate the startling number of entities bearing Nero’s name.

(10) Nero Tile

Below is a photo taken directly from the website of Home Depot which is just one of many retail outlets for Nero Tile … marble, porcelain, ceramic and glass tiles. *Note: the word nero in Italian means, black. It just so happens that the tile depicted is mostly black. But there are many more colors, shapes, and sizes of Nero tile available. Hence, the dubbing of Nero for this product is clearly linked to his name (the Roman Emperor), not just the color black. Nero’s Grand Palace and other structures he built were replete with expensive and exotic tile.

(11) Nero Tires

Manufactured by the internationally acclaimed company, Pirelli in Milan, Italy.

(12) Nero Restaurants

Not only are such common products like floor coverings, watches, and tires named after Nero, so are food establishments. Such as:

Nero’s Pizza in Jacksonville, FL; Nero’s Tuscan Steakhouse in Atlantic City, N.J.; Nero’s Grill in Livingston, N.J., and Nero’s Steakhouse in Windsor, Ontario (and others).

(13) Nero Bottled Water & Nero Reusable Sports Bottles

That’s right, even bottles and bottled water named after this wicked dictator. The “reusable” feature grabbed my attention, conjuring up images of Nero being reused by Satan to complete what Satan started in the 1st century with Antichrist Nero, and will try to finish when the Lord allows this (recycled) megalomaniac to return from the Abyss.

(14) Nero’s Air Conditioning (A Company Located in the State of Connecticut)

Only comment here is that Nero will need a ton of air conditioning when he ends up for all eternity in the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20).

(15) Other N E R O Acronyms or Abbreviations

There were some twenty of these found on the internet (there are probably more). For sake of space/time, I will list only six, particularly those companies which more likely than not chose the name of Nero, then named their company as an acronym or abbreviation of his name.

This becomes even more apparent when at least one of the component parts of the company name could have easily been substituted for another word. Such as Institute, Company, Establishment, Club, Society, or Association in place of Organization. These have been grouped as the last number in our total list of Nero named entities.

As follows:

New England Role Playing Organization (NERO)

National Emergency Relief Organization (NERO)

Neuro-Evolving Robotic Operatives (NERO)

National Egg Regulatory Officials (NERO) *I’m not making this up! There is such an organization. Yet, even this will fit with what Nero is capable of and may very well do upon his return. Meaning possible reproduction control of certain ethnic or racial groups, or particularly of the Tribulation saints.

Neutron Emission Ratio Observer (NERO) *I didn’t make this one up either!

National Emergency Response Operations (NERO)

Rethinking Nero (An Article)

Although not a product or company or group as such, the above titled article written by Robert Draper was published in the world-famous National Geographic Magazine in 2014. I’ve taken this out of chronological order simply to save it for the last reference in this week’s Eye of Prophecy article regarding the extraordinary exposure and remarkable resurgence of Nero’s name. In general the article was about Nero himself; one that included information about partial restoration of Nero’s Golden Palace (Domus Aurea) subsequently opened to the public, but shut down in 2010 due to partial collapse of its roof. (Note: I have no doubt that this exhibit will be reopened before the Rapture or most likely when Nero reappears … he’ll see to it.

(Artist rendition of Colossus of Nero … Colossus Neronis. *Note: I believe the Statue of Nero During the Tribulation Will Be More Gigantic Than the Original)

Sufficient for purpose of today’s Eye of Prophecy articles are the following excerpts from Draper’s article, beginning with a reference to the historical Colosseum built by Vespasian just a few years after Nero’s death:

“The world-famous amphitheater (Colosseum) … was apparently named for the more than 100-foot-tall bronze statue of Nero depicted as the sun god—the Colossus Neronis—that once loomed over the valley.

“Just to the west of the Colosseum sprawl the lavish imperial ruins on the Palatine Hill. In April 2011 the Special Superintendency for the Archaeological Heritage of Rome opened an exhibit at the Palatine and other locations nearby devoted to the life and works of Nero … The exhibitors knew that any show about the notorious Nero would attract visitors.”

Then Robert Draper quotes a well-known biographer of Nero whom he had interviewed in preparation for his article:

“Well, he’s a good box office,” observes Roberto Gervaso, the bald and hawk-eyed 77-year-old author of the 1978 biographical novel Nerone. ‘They’ve made lots of films about Nero, but they couldn’t resist making a caricature of him. Such picturesque depravity attracts a biographer. I could never write a biography of St. Francis. And I would certainly rather go to dinner with Nero than Hadrian.”

Draper continues to quote Gervaso:

“He (Nero) was a monster. But that’s not all he was. And those who came before and after him were no better. The true monsters, like Hitler and Stalin, lacked (Nero’s) imagination. Even today he would be avant-garde, ahead of his time.”

Then Roberto Gervaso concludes his remarks to the article’s author Robert Draper with these chilling words:

“I wrote my book 35 years ago precisely because I wanted to rehabilitate him (Nero). Maybe you could do more.”

(*Note: I didn’t read this National Geographic article until all of this week’s Eye of Prophecy article had been written up to the point of “Rethinking Nero.” Although I deplore what Roberto Gervaso thinks and says about Nero, I found it interesting that he also referred to Hitler and Stalin by comparison to Nero, as did I earlier in today’s article. However, my comparison was in a different context and for a different reason).

What this biographer said about Nero is absolutely unmistakable, as is the nostalgic way in which he said it. He wants Nero, his name, and his image to be redefined and readjusted to be more (different) than just a “monster.” To be the avant-garde Renaissance type man who Gervaso believes Nero really was. With the obvious inference that the “good” in Nero far outweighed the bad.

That’s exactly what is happening the world over, sometimes subtlety with such things as tires and tiles. But more overtly with such things as cars and video games and people like Roberto Gervaso who want Nero back in the limelight … apparently, you would think, to the point of wishing he would return! Little do they know that they will get their wish. And when they take the mark of the beast they will go down in flames along with their hero.

Things to Ponder

It is truly remarkable in an adversely twisted way that the name of Nero has reappeared in the 20th and 21st centuries and in mainstream media and products at that. That cannot be said of any other ruler, especially one from the ancient 1st century AD. We still hear or read the name of Hitler, but always in a negative way and rightfully so. And we see things named after famous leaders who are characterized as good figures of history. Such as JFK airport in New York. Or the Lincoln Town Car.

But not of sadistically immoral, brutal tyrants such as Nero. Not, that is, until our generation.

I firmly believe that the resurgence of Nero and his name is no mere coincidence. Instead, it is a Satanic driven preparation to the reappearance of this evil man, himself.

Yet, God’s plan and purpose will prevail, as found in the truth of Scripture. Jesus Christ is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last. He came first to the earth as the Son of God and the Son of Man. He was crucified and buried for our sins. He arose from the dead and ascended back to heaven just 3-4 years before Nero was born. Christ was the first … the only true Messiah. Jesus will return to earth after Nero is given 42 months to convince the world that he is their superman savior. Jesus will be the last. He will have the final say, and of his kingdom there will be no end (Daniel 2:44).

As stated in a few Eye of Prophecy articles, the purpose for knowing the identity of Antichrist both now and especially for people left behind at the Rapture is so as not to be amazed at the reappearance of Nero. (Rev. 17:8 and 13:4).

And to choose Jesus as their true Messiah Savior, now. If you are among those left behind, the choice will be so much more agonizingly difficult. Somewhat like the choice of Christians in today’s world upon pain of torture and death at the hands of ISIS and other radical Islamic groups in Africa and the Middle East. But after the Rapture it will be globally multiplied exponentially.

“For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it” (Words of Jesus, Matthew 24:21-23).

Please don’t wait until it’s too late.

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

Tags

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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).

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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.

roman-persecution

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.”

location-of-third-temple

(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?”

tl_688_bc__kingcyrusprophecy-12of12

(“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!

greater_israel

(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!