28) The Fourth Empire

Key Precept: Biblical prophecy is not hard to understand when we believe Gods says what he means and means what he says

“there is a God in heaven that…maketh known…what shall be in the latter days…

    1. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory…Thou art this head of gold.
    2. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee
    3. and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
    4. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron…they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men…
    5. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” (Daniel 2:28-45)

We can track the continued existence, not only of the fourth kingdom, but of all four kingdoms through the Adversary’s mystery religions and political cabals by comparing his claims with biblical prophecy. Which have come to pass in history? Biblical prophecy, providing us with confidence that the last episode will also come about.

And one of the Adversary’s claims, accepted by many ostensibly Bible-believing fundamentalist Christians, is that the “revived” Roman Empire of New Testament times will signal the End Times.

In the prophetic eyes of God, the Roman Empire…fell from world dominion buta confederacy or union of leadership will arise out of a revival of the remains of the Roman Empire to step into the prophecy role that leads to fulfillment of the Last Days prophecies.  

The European Union has risen up from the remains of the Roman Empire so to lead the world into the Great Tribulation

The truth, expressed in simple sentences by Daniel, is not that there is a “revived Roman Empire”, but that the end of time occurs “in the days of these kings”. The fourth kingdom isn’t a sole proprietor. All four kingdoms remain in existence and active, from their beginning to the present time until the last day, as each successive kingdom absorbs the previous kingdoms into an ever expanding territorial reach coinciding with an expanding world population.

  • 605 BC    Nebuchadnezzar becomes king of Babylon

a790dd1af726e42854f521bc1397327b-statistics-biographies

  • 539 BC    Cyrus, king of Persia, incorporates Babylon into Persia

1200px-achaemenid_empire_at_its_greatest_extent_according_to_oxford_atlas_of_world_history_2002-1

  • 331 BC    Alexander the Great incorporates Babylon and Persia into Greece

alexanders-empire2

  • 146 BC   The Greek peninsula fell to the Roman Republic
  • 64 BC      Pompey incorporates Greek Syria, expanding Roman frontier to the Euphrates
  • 33 BC      Mark Antony occupies Persian territory
  • 166 AD   Trajan incorporates Babylon into the Roman Empire

roman_empire_map

A Brief History of World Wars

As we add the narrative into the timeline of world empires, we discover that that these are not isolated biblical entities of interest only to students of eschatology. These are the governments that created the world as we know it today. And they all trace back to Babylon.

Babylon – Iraq

The land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers is called the Cradle of Civilization because it is the birthplace of the oldest civilization in the world. The Sumerian, which can be credibly traced back to the pre-flood world-wide civilization, became the Mother of All Civilizations, giving birth to the first true world empire in the 1800’s BC. The Mother of All Empires pushed forth Nimrod’s objective at the Tower of Babel – to bring all humanity together under the rule of the gods.

  • 500’s BC absorbed into the Persian Empire led by Cyrus the Great.
  • 330’s BC absorbed into Greek Empire by Alexander the Great who rules from Babylon
  • 166 AD absorbed into the Roman empire
  • 600’s BC absorbed into the Arabic Islamic Empire
  • 1500’s AD absorbed into the Turkish Ottoman Empire
  • World War I aftermath absorbed by British Empire
  • 1932 became an independent country called Iraq
  • 2003 taken under control by the United States

Persia – Iran

  • 550 BC Achaemenid dynasty founded by Cyrus the Great.
  • 330’s BC conquest of Alexander the Great from Greece, ruled by Parthian dynasty, then the Sassanian dynasty.
  •  33 AD occupied by Roman Empire
  • 661 AD Arabs conquer and bring Islam
  • 1500’s local dynasties fend off Ottoman Empire
  • 1901 British Empire assumes control through exclusive oil concession of Anglo-Persian Oil Company
  • 1946 The United States assumes control from war-impoverished Great Britain

Frenemies: Iran and America since 1900

  • 1941 – Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin ally to depose Reza Shah, replacing him with their puppet, his 20-year-old son Mohammed Reza Pahlavi who allows their two nations to occupy Iran and protect oil essential for the war effort for the duration of World War II.
  • 1946 – President Truman ousts the Soviet Union by threatening nuclear attacks
  • 1949 – The American CIA funds hundreds of mercenaries who overthrow democratically elected Iranian Parlimentary leader Mossedegh and props up and increasingly autocratic Shah when the democratically elected Iranian parliament nationalizes the petroleum industry after calls for the same 50-50 profits split arranged with Venezuela and Saudi Arabia were refused by the British.
  • 1954 –  Three U.S. petroleum giants are included in a new international oil consortium established by the Shah.
  • 1955 – The United States places electronic surveillance posts along Iran’s northern border with Russia.
  • 1957 – The CIA helps the Shah set up the SAVAK (a Farsi acronym for State Information and Security Organization), systematically silencing all opposition to his autocracy by imprisoning and torturing thousands of anti-Pahlavi activists.
  • 1964 – Ruhollah Khomeini, a 61-year-old ayatollah is exiled by the Shah when he ridicules the Shah as a U.S. puppet.
  • 1972 – 1977 – The U.S. sells $13 billion worth of military weapons to the Shah as America’s partner in the Persian Gulf.
  • 1978 – 1979 – After Iranian troops injure thousands and kill hundreds of Iranian citizens gathered in the streets protesting wasteful military spending and demanding democratic reforms, the US accepts his unavoidable exile, and Ayatollah Khomeini returns to Iran vowing to cleanse the country of all remaining influences of “the Great Satan”. That’s the United States, not the Shah. When the Shah arrives in New York City, suspecting another CIA-backed conspiracy as had happened with Mossesdegh, Iranian students storm the U.S. embassy and take 53 American diplomats hostage for 444 days.
  • 1980 – 1988 – U.S. provides Saddam Hussein with aircraft and satellite reconnaissance of battlefields in the Iran-Iraq War which claims half a million lives, two-thirds of them Iranian.
  • 2003 – American-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad faces opposition from Iranian intelligence working closely with Shi’a militants in Iraq waging a guerrilla war against American presence and control
  • 2005 – America becomes the target of a jihad by newly elected hard-line Islamist who vows to make Iran a nuclear power as soon as possible.
  • Currently – The governments of America and Iran continue to view each other with fear and suspicion well into the second decade of the new millennium. If history repeats itself, Iran, like Iraq, will be brought under American control by war, not diplomacy.

Greece – Europe

Concurrent with the timeline for Mesopotamia, excavations show ancient settlements in Greece dating  prior to 3,000 BC, i.e. before the Flood, with rapid resettlement after the Flood by identifiably unique cultures called the Minoans (2600-1500 BC), the Mycenaeans (1500-1150 BC) and the Cycladics.

  • ~1300 BC – Trojan War between city states of Troy in Asia Minor and Sparta in mainland Greece.
  • 400’s BC – the foundations of western civilization were created [emphasis added] in Athens with all domains of culture, including philosophy, music, drama, rhetoric and even a new regime called democracy. It is not exaggerating to say that this period changed the history of the world…
  • 400’s BC – Herodotus, Father of History, compiles first extensive history from oral traditions, reflects Greece’s world-wide trading extent, focuses on Greek-Persian wars.
  • 300’s BC – Alexander the Great conquers the Persian Empire, rules from Babylon, spread Greek culture throughout Mesopotamia.
  • 100’s BC – Greece absorbed into the Roman Empire
  • 66 AD – The Roman Emperor Nero visited Greece and performed at the Ancient Olympic Games, despite the rules against non-Greek participation, and was honored with a victory in every contest, returning the favor by proclaiming the freedom of the Greeks, which changed their status from conquered peoples to citizens with rightsThe Pax Romana was the longest period of peace in Greek history, and
  • 100’s AD – The apostle Paul of Tarsus (a Greek city-state in Asia Minor) preached in Philippi, Corinth and Athens, and Greece soon became one of the most highly Christianized areas of the empire.
  • 300’s AD – Constantinople relocates the primary seat of Roman government to Greece.

Rome – Straddling East and West

  • ~1300 A spin-off from the legendary accounts of the Trojan War is that Aeneas, a prince of Troy, second only to Hector in heroism, was the son of Aphrodite. After the destruction of Troy, the Aeneas traveled to the frontier of civilization where he founded the settlement that became Rome.
  • 700’s BC – Homer’s epic poems are written down and circulated among Greek colonies on the Italian peninsula, appropriated in later years by Latins to buff up their image as hayseed latecomers to culture.
  • 753 BC – Rhea, daughter of a rustic king, was confined to the pagan equivalent of a nunnery by her uncle after he had deposed her father / his older brother, the king, to prevent the birth of a rival claimant to the throne. Nevertheless, the god Mars impregnated her, and she gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus. Despite attempts to drown them in the Tiber, they miraculously washed ashore and were suckled by a she-wolf until found and raised by a shepherd family. They became leaders of a band of warriors, killed the usurper and restored the throne to their grandfather. After killing his brother, Romulus founded his own settlement, naming it Rome after himself. Like his counterpart King David of Israel, fugitives, outlaws and exiles were his initial subjects. In what was apparently a common practice at that time, he ensured the continuity of his tribe by the Rape, AKA Abduction, of the Sabine Women. This, like the similar incident triggering the Trojan War, led to a series of wars between neighboring city states.
  • 509 BCoverthrow of the kings and the early Roman Republic (509–264 BCE
  • 450’s BC – The Decem-viri, Latin for “ten men” primarily but not uniquely designating the landmark commission that resolved the  the two-hundred-year civil conflict between the patricians – the land holding wealthy aristocracy who had developed into the upper class by monopolising the priesthoods, which played an important part in the politics- and the plebeians – the commoners, increasing numbers of whom had become enslaved, often for life, through the practice of imposing slavery to the landowners as a penalty for indebtedness to the landowners. The Decemviri prepared 10 tables of law based on the laws of Athens, which established the foundation for all subsequent Roman law. (One possible interpretation, not to the exclusion of others, of the ten toes of the Statue of Empires.) However, no real power was transferred to the plebs under an increasingly powerful aristocracy.
  • Unlike their Greek counterparts, Rome was able to subjugate her rival city-states and united them under the single banner of the city of Rome…transforming Rome into a sophisticated and powerful fighting force….the Roman military machine which was able to conquer and subjugate…to expand to…the largest empire of the ancient world.
  • 168 BC and onwards, the Romans absorbs Greek city-states and culture. The Greek language served as a lingua franca in the Roman Empire. The Romans read the classical philosophers and base their religion on the Olympian gods. Greece is a major crossroads of maritime trade between Mediterranean Rome and the eastern half of the empire. 
  • 27 BC – the establishment of the Roman Empire. Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar claimed descent from the demi-god Aeneas.
  •  33 AD Persia occupied by Roman Empire
  • 166 AD Babylon absorbed into the Roman empire

So what about that two-legged feature?

Legs of iron: Rome and Constantinople

Feet and toes: first view of revived Rome

Actually, no.

The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire were coined in modern times… contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two separate empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two separate imperial courts as an administrative expediency.

285 – First division into administrative jurisdictions under one Emperor

diocletianthetetrarchy285-305-e1506880088711.jpgRome’s federation was instituted first as the Tetrarchy, or Four Rulers, in AD 285 by Diocletian, the notorious persecutor of Christians, in response to the Crisis of the 3rd century. This was a fifty year period during which the Empire nearly collapsed from invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression. You know the Christians were expecting Christ’s return at any moment back then. And didn’t Constantine show up and save the day.

324 – Constantine the Great

roman-empire-300-adDuring the Crisis, a child was born, a son was given: and the government was put upon his shoulder: and his name was called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Prince of Peace, The Everlasting, Undeviating, Constant-ine. By the way, these are all characteristics of Apollo.

Constantine’s father raised himself to the rank of Augustus / god-endowed senior emperor. After his death, Constantine emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against rival Emperors to become sole ruler of the Empire by 324 AD. This began a New World Order under the Roman Empire as Constantine

  • established dynastic succession,
  • strengthened the empire with many administrative, financial, social, and military reforms,
  • controlled inflation with a new gold coin which became the standard European currency for more than a thousand years,
  • chose to rule from Byzantium, which became known as the New Rome.

476 -The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated

When the barbarian Odoacer deposed the sitting Western Emperor Romulus Augustus Zeno he wiselybyzantine-empire-under-justinians-reign-690x460  restrained his ambitions to being crowned King of one state in the Empire, like Herod had been King of Judea. “the Senate in Rome sent an embassy to the Eastern Emperor and bestowed upon him the Western imperial insignia. The message was clear: the West no longer required a separate Emperor, for “one monarch sufficed [to rule] the world”. In response, Zeno accepted his submission…  conferred upon Odoacer the title of Patrician and granted him legal authority to govern Italy in the name of Rome.” Odoacer settled so many Germanic tribes into Roman territories, granting them Roman citizenship, that he and his successors were henceforth called  the “King of the Germans.” Now there’s a clue. juliusnepos2002

(Odoacer’s coins struck in the name of Emperor  Zeno, testifying to the formal submission of Odoacer to Zeno.)

1044-004-9dca643d

From 527-565 Emperor Justinian in Constantinople devoted his reign to restoring Roman rule to all its old expanse, much of which had been seized by Germanic tribes fleeing the Hun invasion of their northern European homelands.  Justinian’s general, Belisarius, considered an equal with such military genii as Alexander, Julius Caesar and Napoleon, took northern Africa from the Vandals, reclaimed Italy from the Goths, and fought the Persians. The Code of Justinian systematized the confused accumulation of Roman laws and remained in force for a thousand years, becoming the foundation of all modern European and Neo-European (American, Canadian, Australian) legal systems. Believing that religious unity was indispensable to political unity, Justinian incorporated his version of Christianity into the Code, punishing heresy by death.

600 – Roman Empire Splits Into Legs – Christian West and Islamic East

Muhammad c. 570 CE – 8 June 632 CE), the founder of Islam, claimed to be God’s Messenger, the final prophet of God sent to restore orthodox monotheism previously preached by Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Maybe Muhammad was a true believer, a Hebrew. We don’t know because, like Jesus, he didn’t leave any of his own writings behind. We can believe that his successors, like corrupt Christian leaders, distorted any true message while writing the Koran to suit their power grabs. Certainly the immediate split into Shi’ite and Sunni sects support this logic.

It is easy enough to see Antichrist in Pseudo-Christian rulers like Constantine who reshaped our Judeo-Christian heritage. We also need to recognize Antichrist in the monotheistic Muslim rulers who recognize but overrule the authority of the Bible.

Islam’s jihad, or holy war, is not about religious orthodoxy. It is about becoming the god of this world’s overlords of the Fourth Empire. This is easy to see when we overlaying a map of the classical Roman Empire with the same territory during the Middle Ages. From the 600s onward, the “Eastern”, i.e. Islamic, Roman Empire stretched from the Black Sea to the Atlantic and waxed and waned from its home base of Asia Minor, Greece and Eastern Europe over Germany, France, Italy and Spain

eu19_125

Middle Ages – Conquering and to conquer

Invasions and mass migrations during the Middle Ages caused massive redistribution of power, reflected in the rise and fall of claimants for legal succession of pieces of the Roman Empire. Don’t be misled by some of the labels on the maps. “‘Byzantine Empire’ is a term created after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to themselves as Romans and to their empire as the Roman Empire or Romania, which means “citizens of Rome.”

The Emperor ruling from Constantinople was still the highest power in an intact though disorganized Roman Empire when in 800 the current King of the Germans, Charlemagne, did aspire to resume equal status. Of course the Eastern Emperor did not authorize the elevation of this upstart, so Charlemagne had himself crowned Roman Emperor by the Pope on Christmas Day 800. (Remember, that’s the day for celebrating the birth of the sun god.)  In so doing, he and his heirs were not denying the title to the ruler in Constantinople, they sought in many ways to make themselves accepted by the Easterners as their co-regents and peers.

In 962 Otto I was crowned, in German, “Römisch-Deutscher Kaiser” of this western section of the Roman Empire. Within a century, following the religious East-West Schism of 1054, this was considered by the Roman Catholic Church to be the only legal successor of the Roman Empire, and so the realm was merely referred to as the Roman Empire.

In 1157 under Frederick I Barbarossa the word “Holy” was added to reflect Frederick’s ambition to dominate Italy and the Papacy.  In 1512 the name was officially changed to Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.

eu19_122

Age of Empires

In 1453  Mehmet II “the Conqueror”, took Constantinople, the gateway to Europe, and Islam surged into Christendom.

042812_1108_38

Like conquerors before him, Mehmet II claimed the European title Kayser-i Rûm, i.e. Caesar of Rome, and emperor. All subsequent Sultans of the Ottoman Empire kept Kayser-i Rum as one of their many titles.

The Ottoman Empire was an absolute monarchy during much of its existence. By the second half of the fifteenth century, the sultan sat at the apex of a hierarchical system and acted in political, military, judicial, social, and religious capacities under a variety of titles. He was theoretically responsible only to God and God’s law (the Islamic شریعت‎ şeriat, known in Arabic as شريعة sharia), of which he was the chief executor. His heavenly mandate was reflected in Islamic titles such as “shadow of God on Earth”.

The Islamic ruler was absolutely the equivalent of the Christian ruler.

ottomanempire1800

The First World War was a disaster for the Ottoman Empire which was utterly dismantled. The last Ottoman Kayser-i Rum was Mehmed VI who was deposed in 1922 by the newly formed government of Turkey.

The continuation, succession and revival of the Roman Empire is a running theme of the history of Europe… 

Several polities have claimed immediate continuity with the Roman Empire…The most enduring and significant claimants of continuation of the Roman Empire have been, in the East, the Byzantine Empire followed after 1453 by the Ottoman Empire; and in the West, the Holy Roman Empire from 800 to 1806. The abolition of the Ottoman sultanate in 1922 may thus be viewed as the moment when the Roman Empire ceased to continuously exist.

But there are alternative views to the continued existence of the Roman Empire.

Around 900 Simeon I of Bulgaria  fought his way to official Byzantine recognition as Emperor / Tsar of the Bulgarians. This title was used by Bulgarian heads of state until the monarchy was abolished in 1946.

After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the heir to the Byzantine throne, Andreas Palaiologos, found refuge in the West where his title and claim to be rightful Emperor of Rome was recognized of course by the Christian Western powers. Desperate for living expenses, like Esau he sold his inheritance, including his title and imperial rights, to the French kings, where they gathered dust, then bequeathed them at his death to their greatest rivals for power, the Spaniards.

This officially elevated iberian_union_empires.pngKing Ferdinand, married to Queen Isabella/Jezebel, into a legitimate Emperor of Rome.

In 1492 the Catholic Monarchs conquered the Kingdom of Granada in southern Spain, the last Muslim territory in the Iberian peninsula. The unification of Spain is marked from this date…Following the Spanish explorations and settlement in the Caribbean, Spanish conquest of Mexico and the Spanish conquest of Peru, the crown established high courts…and viceroyalties…with the viceroy (vice-king) and the Audiencias the effective administrators of royal policy.

These are the rulers who had just expanded their empire into the New World. (Map shows Spanish Empire in red and Portuguese in blue during union of their empires 1581-1640.)

In the early 1700’s the Spanish monarchy passed to the House of Habsburg under King Charles I – who just happened to be also the Holy Roman Emperor as Charles V, thereby uniting the eastern and western sections of the entire Roman empire.

The Germanic Holy Roman Empire was dissolved on paper in 1806napoleoniceurope when its territories were taken over by Napoleon Bonaparte, shown in the map in blue with green allies. He also forced Charles IV and his son Ferdinand VII to abdicate, and placed his older brother Joseph Bonaparte on the throne of Spain. This consolidated both East and West branches of the Roman Empire under Napoleon.

While modestly calling himself Emperor of France, Napoleon identified himself as Emperor of Rome by having himself crowned with both a replica of Charlemagne’s Roman Emperor crown and a Roman laurel wreath. He also conferred on his son the title King of Rome, which is, like the official designation of the heir to the throne of England ,”Prince of Wales,” the official designation of the heir to the Roman Empire.

The Third Rome

Separately from claims of continuation…various attempts to revive it or appropriate its legacy…have used the vocabulary of a “Third Rome” (the “First Rome” and “Second Rome” being, respectively, Rome in modern Italy and Constantinople in the Byzantine Empire) to convey their assertions of legitimate succession…

In 1547, acknowledging the long-term loss of Constantinople and surrounds to the Ottoman Turks, and in defiance of the European rulers’ claim, the Russian ruler assumed the title of Caesar / Tsar and, supported by the Orthodox Christian Church, transferred the seat of the eastern government of the Roman Empire from Constantinople to Moscow as the Third Rome.

Lenin’s Russian Revolution of 1917 put an end to the Roman-ov dynasty (yes, that means son or family of the Roman) and title of Tzar in Russia, but not to the role of an Imperator driven to conquer the world.

Beginning in 1923, early-twentieth century German nationalists and Nazi propaganda would identify the Holy Roman Empire as the First Reich (Reich meaning empire), with the German Empire as the Second Reich and Nazi Germany as the Third Reich.

This brings us up to the middle of the 20th Century. Since the Bible states categorically that this fourth kingdom endures to the end of human rulers, there must be a trail yet to be discovered. If the continuation of the fourth empire of Daniel’s prophecy to the end of ungodly human government can be believed – and it is certainly credible given the track record at least up until at least through WWII – we must recognize the essential features of the Roman Empire. We can recognize its core continued existence regardless of reduction and expansion of territories, incorporation of different cultures, even name changes.

the fourth [last] kingdom upon earth

    • shall be diverse from all kingdoms
    • shall devour the whole earth
    • shall tread it down
    • and break it in pieces

But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion…And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.(Daniel 7:19-27)

  • The key feature of the fourth empire is that it gobbles up territory and stomps down whatever it can’t incorporate. The exceedingly dreadful, warmongering beast at any point in time in the last 2,000 years is whichever part of the roiling Roman Empire controls the greatest amount of the world at that time. 
  • Its diversity from the previous three empires is that it legitimizes its rule, not through dynastic descent, but by the institutions inherited from the Roman Republic, Even in the guise of democratic voting, the ultimate source of power is Might makes Right.
  • The capital of Roman Empire was not always the city of Rome. Byzantium surpassed Rome as the center of government in the early 300’s and in 402 Ravenna replaced Rome in Italy for a time.
  • The Christianization of the Roman Empire redefined the religious authority of the Emperor, who still remained the protector of the new state religion.

Identifying the Fourth Empire in the 20th Century

While never conquering Spain, England did eventually overpower her, becoming by far the largest empire in history and the foremost global power for over a century.

By World War I the British Empire controlled 23% of the world’s population and covered 24% of the Earth’s total land area. 

ngbbs4d4bd6a0b26e1

After Napoleon was frozen out of his bid to incorporate the eastern (Russian) section of the empire, losing the western to the British at the Battle of Waterloo, the Germans reclaimed control of Europe. They bolstered their historical dynastic right by retrospectively calling Charlemagne’s first German-centered empire “The First” Reich and the renewed German Empire “The Second” Reich.  When this was dissolved in World War I by the abdication of Kaiser Wilhelm, it was replaced by Hitler’s “Third” Reich.  “It is well known that the economic crisis in Germany following World War I led directly to the rise of the Nazi Party whose platform was to rekindle World War.” And that he fully intended to take over the eastern territories as well.

Although Hitler did not call himself Kaiser, the identification of his empire with the two previous empires certainly identified him with the previous emperors / Kaisers. Just as Caesar left republican Rome’s Senate intact, just powerless, likewise Hitler left the Weimar Republic’s Reichstag intact, just gutted.

map-of-wwii-allies-and-axis-4

That leaves only the post-War era to account for.

Who took over the greatest expanse of world power?

One country that is ruled out as a contender by “Bible believing Christians” is the United States.

America is not mentioned in the prophecies because the Rapture will have taken place…hundreds of millions of Christians will have vanished – causing enormous consternation among those who remain…

perhaps the United States may not be mentioned in Scripture because it might be devastated by a nuclear war…“The possibilities of it have never been greater,” says Laurie…

“I personally believe that the reason the U.S. is not mentioned in end time prophecy,” says Reagan, “is because we will suddenly cease to be a world power and will therefore play no significant role in end time events.”

“The destruction of American power is most likely to occur in two stages,” writes Reagan. “The first could be an economic catastrophe that will result from our out-of-control debt situation. Our god is the dollar and the Lord is going to destroy that god when the weight of our debt collapses our economy.” In such a scenario, writes Graff, “America will have suffered a financial collapse by the time of the last days, and would still exist, but not be a superpower. That is exactly what many political and financial analysts are saying about our current course. The United States will not be gone in the last days. We will just not be worth mentioning.”

The problem with the above consideration is that it is nothing but speculation. It discredits itself by relying on geography while ignoring the intrinsic fluidity of an empire’s geography. Expansion is definitive of empire.

  • ignoring that the other modern nations are not mentioned by name either,
  • contradictorily attributing modern European nations’ historical roots to their current identities while not attributing America’s European historical roots to her current identity.

Let’s continue reviewing history to see if it jives with biblical prophecy.

The Civil War left an enormous imprint on the American consciousness in much the same way as World War I did on the European mindset...

During the Civil War almost the entire population of those who were of military age in both the South and North [bore arms].

The scales of the armies were enormous…in a single battle there might be 100,000 men on each side, and casualty rates ran as high as 20 to 25 percent. Cities were razed. Thousands of prisoners of war starved to death. And many were simply shot and left to die on the roadside…

The Cause of All Nations: an International History of the American Civil War…takes us through the trajectory of the intellectual and diplomatic international debate that continually evolved as each stage of the Civil War progressed…into a grander narrative about universal human freedom —and progressive enlightenment values—in a global context during the 19th century.

the public debate that was happening in Europe by prominent intellectuals of the daysaw the Civil War as far more than just internal strife between the Confederacy and the Union. They viewed it instead as an epic showdown between democracy and aristocracy. [Exactly like the founding of the Roman Republic.] It was a matter of free versus slave labour, where the winners would decide how the capitalist world would progress in tandem with modernity.

Before 1860 the United States had offered aspiring republicans around the globe a template for how a free, self-governing nation might live in peace and prosperity. And America…thus automatically became, in many European minds, a model country to aspire to when thinking about progressive ideas such as liberty, equality, and self-rule. And with the Civil War, the U.S. seemed to offer to the rest of the world a literal battle between those values and rights.

There is a direct parallel between writing amendments to the Constitutions that strengthened, through centralization, the power of the existing Republican governments in both Washington and Rome during

  • the American Civil War resulting from the wealthy plantation owners claiming to right to own slaves
  • and the Roman Conflict of the Orders resulting from the wealthy Roman aristocratic landowners claiming the right to enslave indebted plebeians.

A central theme of all recorded history has been the use or abuse of power — how it lurks in the shadows behind the professed idealism of politicians and the compelling reasons they expound when they bring their nations to war. Such words often cloak those who wield political power and redistribute it among themselves as a consequence of success or failure on the battlefield.

It is important in this discussion to emphasize the contrast between “rights” and “powers.” Ironically, many strong reservations about “powers” came from the Northern states during the [Constitutional] ratification debates. The Massachusetts legislature expressed a fear that the Constitution might be interpreted so as to extend the powers of Congress, and Rhode Island proposed a remarkable statement of states’ rights similar in sentiment to that used by Southern secessionists two generations later. Even New England politicians resorted to their rights and threatened secession if their demands were not met. Among the Southern states, the people of Virginia required that the powers granted the national government under the Constitution “be resumed by the states, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression.” Both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison believed that the states were “not united on the principle of unlimited submission to their general government” but reserved “each State to itself, the . . . right to their own self-government…”

  • However, the Union victory virtually eviscerated the 10th Amendment [there’s that 10 again] leaving the Federal (national) government with perhaps too much power. The idea of limited federal power was much older than the slavery debates of the nineteenth century and was recognized as an unresolved issue at the time. Would the united states, melted down into one nation, be practicable or consistent with freedom? Is it consistent with freedom today?

The phrase public diplomacy may not have become an official term in the popular press until World War I. But it was during the Civil War that deliberate, state-sponsored programs began attempting to influence the public mind abroad about American foreign policy.

Could these state-sponsored programs to influence the public mind be duplicitous and deceptive? Stay with me as we consider how the Emancipation Proclamation was a whitewash, simply trading one form of slavery for a publicly accepted form.

Although anti-slavery was a prominent reform movement of the period, other causes, such as temperance, women’s rights, religious revival, public education, concerns for the poor, and prison reform, were as zealously pursued by activists. Of these only slavery and disunion became politically charged issues in the antebellum period;

The growth of [Northern] factories forced factory workers to move from the countryside and cluster into housing constructed so rapidly that little consideration was given to public health. Outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid were common…factory laborers suffered under horrendous working conditions…Factories were damp, filthy, noisy, poorly ventilated and poorly lit. Men, women and children worked extremely long hours for very little pay… under slavery-like conditions…until the 20th century.

The American Civil War resulted in “the complete transformation of the United States into a capitalist power…opening the doors to European immigration by the millions…pushed the United States into first place among industrial powers by 1900 [one generation] outstripping Great Britain.” The bloodshed and number of lives sacrificed – and I use that term intentionally – to make this happen is staggering. “Approximately 625,000 men died in the Civil War, more Americans than in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined...Two percent of the population died, the equivalent of 6 million men today.

And the United States continued to outstrip Great Britain through state sponsored programs, culminating in the Lend-Lease Act, a “milestone in the history of US foreign relations.” brought into play when the British Empire managed a desperate lonely stand-off against a Nazi takeover of the world while President Roosevelt kept America out of direct involvement. Instead, President Roosevelt arranged to trade to war-impoverished England and other allies, too war-impoverished to buy, desperately needed military and domestic supplies. What America got in exchange was:

  1. Access to Britain’s global network of military bases.
  2. Underwriting of America’s transformation into a military-industrial complex, with, as President Eisenhower warned, “the disastrous rise of misplaced power.”
  3. Defeat of the Nazi Third Reich with limited loss of American soldiers’ lives, thereby defeating the powerful isolationist politicians at home and winning the majority of Americans to his conviction that Americans can, and must, save the world for democracy.
  4. Entrance into the war, swooping in at the last minute to claim as spoils of war Germany’s top secret, highly advanced weapons technology.
  5. The creation of a new international economic order in the postwar world.”

This strategy resulted in America becoming a militarized nation with highly popular support from its citizens, and taking over not just Britain’s economic might but Germany’s scientific and military power, in particular, Nazi rocket science to launch the Space Age,

us-military-bases-worldwide-1-

global-power-2016

While obviously highly successful, senate opposition to the Lend-Lease Act correctly foresaw that the bill would “...give the president power to carry on a kind of undeclared war all over the world.”

us-military-bases-worldwide-1-

Going beyond extensive territory, a nominally republican government, and a Roman legacy of culture – language, calendar, architecture – we must recognize the role of the ruler of the Roman Empire as the protector of the State religion.

The most powerful Roman religious leaders for a thousand years were the Pope at Rome, and the Sultan in Constantinople, with the heads of Protestant breakaway countries assuming this role, exemplified, but certainly not exclusively, by Henry VIII of England.

Defender of the Faith was a Roman Catholic title conferred on Henry VIII by Pope Leo X in 1521, later withdrawn but restored by Parliament and used ever since by English sovereigns.

And don’t overlook the non-royal rulers, like Hitler’s Positive Christianity. “Christians in Germany — Protestants even more than Catholics — not only cooperated with the Third Reich, a large percentage even celebrated it.

What about in America where there is separation of Church and State? Compare the world map of American forces defending democracy with the world map of Christian missionaries. Hello? The American Commander in Chief is the Defender of the Christian Faith.

christian_distribution.png

today the United States sends more Christian missionaries abroad than any other country, experts say.

The United State sent out 127,000 of the world’s estimated 400,000 missionaries abroad in 2010, according to Todd Johnson, director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.

In distant second place is Brazil, which sent 34,000 missionaries abroad in 2010…

The role of missionaries has changed dramatically…and missionaries today tend to work independently or through organizations not affiliated with churches that traditionally ran missionary agencies. And their work may be focused on providing humanitarian aid rather than founding churches and winning converts…

After World War II, many newly independent countries declared moratoriums on western missionaries, and independent missionaries became more prevalent, said Dana Robert, author of “Christian Mission: How Christianity Became a World Religion.”

And frankly, separation of Church and State is applied when it’s in the State’s interest, and doesn’t when it isn’t.

The Fellowship, also known as The Family and the International Foundation, is a U.S.-based religious and political organizationfounded in 1935 by Abraham Vereide. The stated purpose of The Fellowship is to provide a fellowship forum for decision makers to share in Bible studies, prayer meetings, worship of God, and to experience spiritual affirmation and support.

The Fellowship has been described as one of the most politically well-connected and most secretly-funded ministries in the United States. They shun publicity and its members share a vow of secrecy. The Fellowship’s former leader, the late Douglas Coe, and others have explained the organization’s desire for secrecy by…insisting they would not be able to tackle diplomatically sensitive missions if they drew public attention…

Fellowship member and Watergate conspirator Charles Colson described the group as a “veritable underground of Christ’s men all through the U.S. government…” “The Fellowship’s reach into governments around the world is almost impossible to overstate or even grasp,” says David Kuo, a former special assistant in George W. Bush’s [administration].

And how do we miss the religious legacy of Roman culture in Christianity?

The Pantheon, which means “temple of every god”, has been in continuous use throughout its history. Built during the reign of Augustus Caesar, it was converted to a Christian church in the 7th century. To this day, English and American Christian church buildings around the world are modeled after classic Greco-Roman temples.

What is this telling us?

53302447-pantheonfromhotel

temple_baptist_church2c_ruston2c_la_img_3754

It is indisputable that the classic pagan religion of the Roman, empire that has moved over the two millennia from Rome, to Constantinople, to European capitals, is now settled in… Washington.

1200px-apotheosis_of_george_washington

The Apotheosis of Washington – literally, the deification (or god-making) of Washington. The fresco depicts Washington as Zeus on a throne in heaven surrounded by various gods and goddesses from classical mythology. Painted on the ceiling of the dome of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. during the Civil War by Vatican artist Constantino Brumidi.

The similarities between pagan idols and monuments to our national leaders cannot be coincidental. Do you really think Satan is just sitting out history on the sidelines? Wouldn’t we expect him to be wherever the greatest power is concentrated?

washington-zeus-700x437

lincoln2band2bzeusBoth statues of Washington and Lincoln were deliberately modeled after Zeus, with Washington’s entitled “Enthroned Washington” and Lincoln’s placed in a monument expressly modeled after one of Zeus’ temples and defined as a temple on the plaque above Lincoln’s head. The timing and association of these images of Zeus is no accident of history.

And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write…I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is...where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” (Revelation 2:12-14)

Asklepion is an ancient healing complex located at the base of the Pergamon acropolis in Turkey built in honour of Asklepios, god of healing…The site…was founded in the 4 th Century BC around a sacred spring that still flows…it became one of the best-known healing centres of the ancient world, second in importance only to Epidaurus in Greece and was also the world’s first psychiatric hospital…

According to ancient myth, the god Asklepios had the power to raise people from the dead and he himself was restored to life by Zeus: for this reason he was thought to also have a snake form.  Tame snakes were kept in his temples…

Treatments included psychotherapy, massage, herbal remedies, mud and bathing treatments, surgeries and the drinking of water, which were prescribed according to what dreams the patient had experienced – it was believed that dreams recounted a visit by the god Asklepios, who held the key to curing all illness.

Following the political transfer of power, the religious seat of Satan’s dynasty moved West from Babylon to Pergamon at the Roman Altar of Zeus.

The greatest example of Hellenistic Greek sculpture, the colossal Altar of Zeus at Pergamonis a monumental work built…about 166 to 156 BCE. The altar is adorned with a 370-foot long marble frieze which depicts the Gigantomachy from Greek mythology. Like the Parthenon in Athens – another icon of classical antiquity – the Zeus Altar was constructed on a terrace of the acropolis overlooking the ancient city of Pergamon…in Asia Minor. However, unlike the Parthenon, it was not a temple but merely an altar…achieving excitement, wild movement and strong feeling…9-foot high frieze is alive with huge figures of gods and giants locked in mortal combat…carved in such high relief that they were almost detached from the background…portray the mythical victory of Zeus and the Gods over the Giants…All that remains of this extraordinary work of art – arguably the greatest narrative relief in the history of sculpture – is part of the Berlin Collection of Classical Antiquities, and can be seen at the Pergamon Museum, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.

the-pergamon-altar-altar-of-zeus-2nd-century-bc-2335

hqdefault1

It provided the model for Hitler’s Zeppelin tribune, the megalithic grandstand for Nazi political rallies raising to power the man who took the reigns of power from the Kaiser.

03-4_3320zeppelintribune

I assume we don’t have a problem following a trail that leads from Zeus’ seat at Pergamon to Berlin and connects Satan to Hitler. Are we willing to keep following the trail even if it leads to an admired political leader…or a city in our own country? If “Bible believers” really believe that Daniel’s fourth world empire, the Roman, stays in power until the Rock returns and destroys it, we should be able to see it even when it is hiding in plain sight.

a6d74_1326834883_mile_high_stadium_crowd_denver_obama

Paul’s revelation of that the elected official of an ostensibly Republican form of government was in reality an undercover tyrant who held the title of Commander-in-Chief, controlled the Senate and Assembly through alliances with elected representatives and veto power, controlled the decisions of the Judicial branch of the government, and allied with the most powerful religious faction of the nation should be a flashing red siren to current readers.

The federal government grew enormously in power and prestige, particularly the office of the President. Abraham Lincoln’s assertion of the “war powers” of the President has been used (abused) consistently by his successors to spread American “democracy”. And which red-blooded American can argue against that most noble of objectives?

Our presidents don’t have constitutional authority to start a war, so they just don’t declare war. They just wage it. There are only five times Congress declared war:

  • War of 1812
  • Mexican-American War 1846
  • Spanish-American War 1898
  • The War to End All Wars 1914
  • World War II beginning 1939 with America entering in 1941

Does that come as a surprise, given America’s lead role in the permanent state of world conflict since World War II? Naming just the significant officially undeclared but officially named wars, American has been involved in the

  • Mexican Revolution of 1914
  • Russian Civil War of 1918
  • Korean War 1950 – 1953 among the most destructive conflicts of the modern era, with approximately 3 million war fatalities, a larger proportional civilian death toll than World War II or the Vietnam War, thousands of massacres by both sides, the destruction of virtually all of Korea’s major cities as one of the most heavily bombed countries in history.
  • Vietnam War 1964-1973
  • Persian Gulf War 1991
  • War in Afghanistan 2001-ongoing
  • Iraq War 2003-2011, with emergence of ISIS as a direct result.

87a8bd7623f5c92b1f92cf56e3322905185573f273da0d53a93580c37c73db99.jpg

It appears that the President of the United States is the greatest change agent the world has yet known, bringing about the new world order.

cs20wealth204

I realize that accusing the US President of being antichrist is only acceptable when he leads the opposition party. Let’s put party preferences aside. There is only one true savior, but there are many antichrists.  Both presidential candidates can be deceiving us. Prophecy provides the ID badges for both Christ and Antichrist.  Any leader who promises to solve problems by changing circumstances and defeating an external enemy is a false savior. We’ve had the abysmally failed War on Poverty, the War on Drugs, The War on Terror, none of which puts responsibility on the individual. The true savior and his representatives preach that the problem is sinful human nature and the real solution is the transformation by individuals to a holy nature empowering changed behavior.

31) The Mark of the Beast

Key Precept: With any counterfeit you have to know the true in order to recognize the fake.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:16-18)

As this blog-book approaches its end, it is staying true to the thesis posited in the beginning: The Bible is not so much a guidebook to a lifestyle as it is to life itself. As with any other subject matter, only those who develop wisdom and understanding from studying the text recognize and know how to respond with life sustaining power when confronted by death-dealing forces.

The Bible reveals the final mystery of iniquity with the last installment of the series. As with any mystery, we must have begun at the beginning of the story if we are to have any chance of understanding the ending.

the-endless-ending-explained

The Endless” is proof…this is a movie that plays with our perceptions of time, space, and reality, and sketches the outlines of unimaginable [endless] terror… 

Things become unmoored from scientifically verifiable truth…There are so many strange moments and images, most of them tossed-off…effectiveness comes from comparing what we’re told would happen against what actually does happen. 

Keep this in mind as we begin an in-depth investigation into the final world ruler overthrown by the LORD’s anointed.

Starting with the infamous 666. What does it mean? 

Continue reading “31) The Mark of the Beast”

30) The Day of the LORD

Key Precept: The End begins with judgment.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible…I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger. I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity.” (Isaiah 1393-13)

The end of the world is called “The Day of the LORD” because this is when YHVH the Creator seizes control back from the god of this world.

“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head…But upon mount Zion shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.” (Obadiah 1:15-17) 

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness…For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another,” (I Thessalonians 5:1-11)

The disciples certainly had judgment in mind when they asked for signs of Jesus’ coming from heaven to end the existing world order.

And Judgment Begins at the House of God

“For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity…Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem…and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee…And the LORD shall be king over all the earth.” (Zechariah 14:1-10)

Peter relates this exactly.

“the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer…For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (I Peter 4:7-18)

The disciples obviously wanted to be prepared for the expected battle to take control away from the current wicked rulers in Jerusalem when they asked Jesus “what is the sign?”

When the clock strikes twelve? When you hoist your battle flag? When you blow the trumpet? There were only twelve of them, but they had every reason to believe that the hordes of people who surrounded Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem just the day before would join them, and they would overwhelm the Roman army’s defenses.

“And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to…the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples…Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me….All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass…And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way. And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matthew 21:1-9)

Peter, bless him, had his sword at the ready.

fight-back-the-odds-dont-matter-anymore-fight-back-2553840

But! YHVH’s Savior, true to his name, is merciful, and longsuffering. As the unalterable time of his sacrifice at Passover draws inexorably closer, he spends his time giving his enemies a chance to repent.

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna / Save we pray! to the son of David / Our rightful King!”

Did they praise God and accept Jesus as the Messiah? No.

they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? This is a revolt against Rome!” (Matthew 21:12)

Clearly Jesus supported the multitude’s public embrace of him as their true king. The current rulers, some of whom enjoyed Rome’s political backing, and some of whom chaffed at submission to the heathen overlords, were therefore forced into taking sides.

And sure enough, the next day it is crystal clear that Jesus has thrown down the gauntlet. Read the post Pick a Side if you think anyone who encounters the Christ gets to remain neutral. There is a war going on, and anyone found in no-man’s land gets caught in the crossfire.

“Take heed, and beware…for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth…Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment….your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves…a treasure in the heavens that faileth not…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also…Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching [not for his coming, but watching over his business]

  • Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?…
  • But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day…and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
  • And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
  • But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.

For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?” (Luke 12)

Jesus didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. The religious rulers of his day experienced judgment before anyone else.

“when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying,

  1. If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
  2. But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.

And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them [in outright rebellion to their authority] Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things” (Matthew 21:23-27)

In the timeless strategy of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend,” a political alliance forms against this dire threat to their authority, composed of disparate groups who normally would be at odds with each other.

“Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders [respected authorities] of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.” (Matthew 26:3-4)

The disciples’ Q&A in Matthew 24 flows directly from the multitudes’ joyous acceptance of Jesus as their rightful king and the religious leader’s rejection of him followed by Jesus’ curse on Jerusalem documented in chapters 21-23. In that context, there can be no doubt that the disciples expected the destruction of the temple at the hands of Jesus himself in the next few days.

herods-temple

After all, the disciples knew their history.

“the LORD appeared to Solomon…I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually…

But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them; Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house…which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss…Because they forsook the LORD  their God…” (I Kings 9:2-9)

The thing is, God chose Israel as a nation to represent him to the rest of the nations of the world, and unlike parents who cave in to temper tantrums of strong-willed children, he’s not losing control. Prophecy after prophecy states that he is going to do whatever it takes to gain Israel’s cooperation as his chosen rulers.

“But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine…

I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved  thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.

Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD / I AM Self-Existent Eternal One; and beside me there is no saviour. I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, that I am God. Yea, before the day / time was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?…This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

But thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob; but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel…thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities…Put me in remembrance: let us plead together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified. Thy first father hath sinned, and thy teachers have transgressed against me. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.” (Isaiah 43)

True to this warning, Solomon’s temple was destroyed and the Israelites were taken into captivity in ~586 BC.

“Manasseh…did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, [made political / religious / marriage alliances with his neighbors] after the abominations of the heathen

  1. For he….worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them…And he set a graven image…in the house
  2. Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another…” (II Kings 21)

“The word that came to Jeremiah…the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkenedTherefore…I will send…Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant…And this whole land shall be a desolation andye shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.” (Jeremiah 25)

But Jesus did not immediately bring down judgment on Jerusalem. He told the religious leaders that judgment would fall on “this generation”.

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!…ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?…Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (Matthew 23:29-36)

Jesus then reinforced this time frame for the disciples who hadn’t heard, or hadn’t immediately clued in to, what he had told the religious leaders.

“THIS generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.” (Matthew 24:34)

Punishing only one generation, like limiting a beating to 40 strokes, was established within the Mosaic code as a mercy.

“The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)

And punishing Israel by cutting them out of the land when they forsook the LORD their God who gave them was also established within the Mosaic code.

Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them…The Lord our God spake unto us in Horeb, saying…I have set the land before you: go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give unto them and to their seed after them… Notwithstanding ye would not go up, but rebelled against the commandment of the LORD your God…And the LORD heard the voice of your words, and was wroth, and sware, saying, Surely there shall not one of these men of this evil generation see that good land…walking through this great wilderness: these forty years…until all the generation of the men of war were wasted out from among the host.” (Deuteronomy 1-2)

This first occasion of punishment on “a generation” sets the precedent for the length of the sentence. It is forty years, the average remainder of the lifespan of the responsible parties, the mature adults, from age 20 and upwards, who live, on average, until seventy years of age.

And fulfilled it was, 40 years after the beginning of YHVH’s Savior’s ministry with the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD.

Knowing the backstory of Jesus’ statement, the disciples were surely filled with frustration. Not again!! Like the Jews in the exile, they would be asking when is this war going to end?!

“And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD, and sat before me.” (Ezekiel 20)

The exact date is given for a reason so let’s pull it into context. Years cycle around so let’s check out the month and day, like December 25th, or February 14th.

in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire. And brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about. Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away. But…left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.” (II Kings 25:8-12)

Aha! Naturally the Jews memorialized the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem.

By referencing the “seventh year” rather than the “26th year of King Nebuchadnezzar”, the Jews are obviously maintaining Jewish time-keeping. This would be the seventh year from the destruction of Jerusalem. Why is this significant?

People who don’t read the Old Testament don’t realize that not only did sabbaths occur every seventh day, but also every seventh year and after every 7 x 7 years, i.e. every 50th year.

“And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the Lord: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land…

The sabbath is far more significant than the day of the week used for worship services – Friday for Moslems, Saturday for Jews, and Sunday for Christians. By ceasing all work to focus on the LORD God, this is an act of faith in God’s promise to provide for all our needs, a public show of the value of relying on one’s relationship with the LORD God rather than one’s own works, and, like a date night, constant strengthening of one’s relationship not only with him but with his people.

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every [indentured servant] man unto his family. A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed. For it is the jubilee; it shall be holy unto you:” (Leviticus 25)

Oh wow. Talk about redistribution of wealth and environmentalism. This is about as leftist as they come. Had it happened? Maybe among some weird hippy types living out in some desolate rural area. Like the poor of the land left to bring back a desolate wilderness laid barren by years of war and poor farming practices before that. 68d13deca50493647afbbd6fceca0a3d

But not the materialistic urban folk who only pay lip service to God’s word while exploiting their parishioners for their personal power and wealth.

“all the chief of the priests, and the people, transgressed very much after all the abominations of the heathen; and polluted the house of the LORD which he had hallowed in Jerusalem. And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place: But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD  arose against his people, till there was no remedy. Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees…To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths [of years]: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.” (II Chronicles 36)

So we can deduce that in this sabbath year the elders were asking for a blessing, probably a jubilee with its forgiveness of debt and return of possessions to every man back in Jerusalem.

1r6x9wNow that we have the background to the elders inquiry, notice God’s reaction.

“Are you KIDDING me!!”

“Then came the word of the LORD unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the LORD God;

Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live…I will not be enquired of by you!

Wilt thou judge them, son of man, wilt thou judge them? cause them to know the abominations of their fathers

I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the LORD that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wildernessI lifted up my hand unto them in the wilderness, that I would not bring them into the land which I had given themNevertheless mine eye spared them from destroying them, neither did I make an end of them in the wilderness.

But I said unto their children in the wilderness, Walk ye not in the statutes of your fathers, neither observe their judgments, nor defile yourselves with their idols: I am the LORD your God; walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; And hallow my sabbaths; and they shall be a sign between me and you, that ye may know that / be united with “I am” / the LORD your God.  Notwithstanding the children rebelled against me:

Wherefore say unto the house of Israel…Like as I pleaded with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so will I plead with you, saith the LORD God. And I will cause you to pass under the rodAnd I will purge out from among you the rebels, and them that transgress against me…and they shall not enter into the land of Israel: and ye shall know that I am the LORDand ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed [repent]…

Then said I, Ah Lord God! they say of me, [What are you talking about?] Doth he not speak parables?” (Ezekiel 20)

The next generation of religious leaders who went into exile still didn’t get it. Even after Ezekiel’s many, many warnings had come true in the exile. Notice that the sentence has been extended from the original forty years of one generation in the wilderness to seventy years in exile. The punishment fits the crime

“The word of the LORD also came unto me, saying, Son of man, thou dwellest in the midst of a rebellious house, which have eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear, and hear not: for they are a rebellious house / dynasty of rulers. Therefore, thou son of man, prepare thee stuff for removing, and remove by day in their sight; and thou shalt remove from thy place to another place in their sight: it may be they will consider, though they be a rebellious house…And I did so as I was commanded: I brought forth my stuff by day, as stuff for captivity, and in the even I digged through the wall with mine hand; I brought it forth in the twilight, and I bare it upon my shoulder in their sight…Say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God; This burden concerneth the prince in Jerusalem, and all the house of Israel that are among them. Say, I am your sign: like as I have done, so shall it be done unto them: they shall remove and go into captivity. And the prince that is among them…I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there. And I will scatter toward every wind all that are about him to help him, and all his bands; and I will draw out the sword after them. And they shall know that I am the LORD.” (Ezekiel 12)

Clearly the current generation of rulers was not repenting and turning to the LORD. Under the circumstances, the 70 years’ exile covered not only 70 missed sabbatical years, it also allows time for the next generation to come to maturity in the additional 30 years beyond the basic 40 years, for them to choose to serve the LORD God instead of their lusts.

Being highly placed in government, Daniel was certainly aware of the cultural shift in the next generation. His worry over their lack of repentance comes through in his prayer on their behalf.

“In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face unto the LORD God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…at this day…all Israel, that are near, and that are far off…have trespassed against theewe do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.(Daniel 9:1-19)

But despite the Exile itself being ended as promised after 70 years, Daniel was dismayed to learn that this was not to be the end of chastening. Punishment of “the house of God” was being extended exponentially – 70 x 7, or 490 years.

the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning…informed me…Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city,” (Daniel 9:24)

Why? For the same reason as punishment had been extended from 40 years in the Exodus to 70 years in the Exile. The transgression, the sins, the iniquity had increased. This was not a news flash, people. This was forewarned by Moses at the very beginning of YHVH’s covenant with his people. Exponentially increased judgment.

“if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments…that ye break my covenant…

  1. I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague…ye shall be slain before your enemies: they that hate you shall reign over you
  2. And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
  3. And if ye walk contrary unto me, and will not hearken unto me; I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins.
  4. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things…I will punish you yet seven times for your sins.
  5. And if ye will not for all this hearken unto me...I will chastise you seven times for your sins.

If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me…if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.” (Leviticus 26)

Therefore, more time was needed:

  • to finish the transgression,
  • to make an end of sins,
  • to make reconciliation for iniquity,
  • to bring in everlasting righteousness,
  • and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” (Daniel 9)

As detailed in the posts Forgiveness of Sin and Redemption and Restoration, when anyone sins, i.e. does something un-right-eous, there is a disruption in the “right-ness” of that person’s relationship / connection not only to God, but to other people and the world system, which spreads and contaminates every dimension, not just moral.

Can we not recognize how un-right behavior is destroying our world, and that to fix it we can’t just bemoan what others are doing but we must change our ways? If we dispose of trash in the oceans and it washes back up to our beaches and we clean it up only to dispose of it back in the ocean, what have we accomplished?

garbage_barge

juhu23-50

The equivalent situation occurs in relationships. Think of the effects of a married couple divorcing. There is exponential damage over time on not just on them but on their children and grandchildren and society as a whole due to the divorce limiting the parents’ ability to put time and attention and effort into not only child-rearing but positive activities in society as a whole like recycling and volunteerism. This spreads like a disease and takes exponential effort over the passing of time to restore to rightness.

Following the pattern provided by the LORD’s explanation to Ezekiel, what had come to pass by the end of the initial 70 years’ exile was that the children of the exiles, or at least a critical mass number of them, hadn’t repented and chosen to serve him. And as anyone who has experienced a broken relationship knows, a relationship can’t be restored single-handedly. Until both parties want the relationship, it won’t happen.

Not many Jews answered the call to return to the Promised Land when they were freed from the Exile, only about about 15% of the total number taken into captivity. This would have been a much smaller percentage of the total population explosion during the post-war captivity.

As regards the number of Jews deported by Nebuchadnezzar...12,000 men, or in all 36,000 to 48,000 souls…about one-fourth of the population…was led captive into Babylonia…The actual return of the exiles was consummated by Ezra, who assembled at the river Ahava all those desirous of returning. These consisted of about 1,800 men, or 5,500 to 6,000 souls…Ezra and Nehemiah succeeded, after great difficulties, in establishing the post-exilic Jewish community…

The generation of Israelites born during the Exile can be understood in comparison to America’s Baby Boomer Generation, They would have far out-numbered their wartime parent generation. In the midst of peace and plenty they had even less motivation to feel a need for repentance. We can deduce from the extended length of chastening that there was exponential rebellion against the righteous lifestyle demanded by YHVH, not just from increased number,s but also from increased exposure to the influences of the heathen culture in the Exile. By the end of the original 70 year judgment there was more damage that needed reparations and more bondage that needed redemption from their chosen masters.

And even for the people who returned to re-establish YHVH’s temple and worship, once they got back home, they didn’t change their cross-cultural ways.

“the princes came to me [Ezra], saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands: yea, the hand of the princes and rulers hath been chief in this trespass…I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God, And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens. Since the days of our fathers have we been in a great trespass unto this day; and for our iniquities have we, our kings, and our priests, been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to a spoil, and to confusion of face, as it is this day. And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage. For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments…behold, we are before thee in our trespasses: for we cannot stand before thee because of this.” (Ezra 10)

The exile brought about a number of significant changes to the way Judaism was practiced

When the Babylonians expelled the Jews from Judea, they destroyed the Temple completely. Jewish law stipulated that certain important aspects of Jewish religious life — most notably animal sacrifice — could only be performed at the Temple in Jerusalem…

This new focus gave rise to a new class of professional clergy within Judaism, the rabbi…a spiritual leader tasked with explaining God’s expectations to the common people. Early rabbis compiled the Talmud, a series of writings that further explain the Torah…

During the period of captivity, Jews continued to…develop their religious traditions, many of which became distinct from their origins, due to the influences of the local culture…

the deportees…personal fortunes were undoubtedly better than those who remained behind…

Many of the exiles, finding themselves in comfortable circumstances, assimilated into Babylonian society in ways that concerned the pious among them. Ezekiel denounced such men as “a rebellious house,” and parts of the Book of Isaiah written during exilic times likewise expressed concern over the adoption of Babylonian traditions.

I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels; Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, saith the LORD, which have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom…ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain…” (Isaiah 65)

So it would have been a grave disappointment to the disciples, but not a shock, to learn that the extension of 70 years punishment to 70 x 7 years punishment was extended yet again. This time, indefinitely – waiting for the religious leaders to call on YHVH for salvation.

The interconnectedness of the biosphere expands the consequences of humanity’s fallen nature to the earth itself.

The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word…The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are desolate: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left. The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” (Isa 24:3-6, 19-20)

And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven [don’t forget this means angels as well as lights in the sky] fell unto the earth…and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man...said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? [It’s at this point that Antichrist offers himself as an alternative to kneeling before Messiah/Christ.] (Rev 6:12-13) 

“Give Trump credit…He…became the twenty-first-century master of divisive rhetoric…The Nazis did not overthrow the Weimar Republic. It fell into their hands as the fruit of Hitler’s satanic ability to mesmerize enough Germans to trade their birthright for a pottage of scapegoating, short-term economic gain, xenophobia, and racism. It could happen here…”

20 serious points of comparison between the early Hitler and Trump:

Neither was elected by a majority.

Both found direct communication channels to their base…—the Nazi Party gave out radios with only one channel, tuned to Hitler’s voice, bypassing Germany’s news media. Trump has an online equivalent… tweets…

Both blame others and divide on racial lines…Again and again, Trump uses “racially tinged messages calculated to divide whites from people of color.”

Both relentlessly demonize opponents.

 They unceasingly attack objective truth. “Both Trump and Hitler maintained a relentless assault on the very idea of objective truth,”

They relentlessly attack mainstream media.

Their attacks on truth include science.

 Their lies blur reality—and supporters spread them.

Both orchestrated mass rallies to show status.

They embrace extreme nationalism.

Sounds like a black hole.

Heavy stuff.  This is where most people choose to reject the Bible on the basis of “A good God wouldn’t send anyone to hell.”  Admittedly, the idea of burning for eternity is absolutely horrible. That doesn’t mean it’s not true. The easiest way we can understand God is to put ourselves in his place. Do you have children?migrants-449857 We’re not talking about damnation over breaking some arbitrary rules against feeling good. Can you imagine watching your beloved children suffer at the hands of evil people? What punishment is appropriate for someone who deceived most of your children into hating you and running away from you in order to betray and trap them into a lifetime of misery and eternity separated from you, while torturing and murdering as many of your faithful children as he can?  The attached clip from Game of Thrones shows scenes of horrific cruelty. I don’t recommend you watch it, but if you do, you can always click off.  Unlike the millions of real life victims of persecution.

The God of the Bible is not a wuss.  His war banner reads “Vengeance is mine, I will repay!” His fight is with Satan and his angels, but he will take down anyone who joins them.

And he rewards those in his service.

“Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.  

  • This goes back to: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth…Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” (Rev 3:11-12) The concept of being “kept” goes back to Yeshua’s prayer for his disciples on the night he was betrayed.  They all suffered tribulation and most were martyred, so this can’t mean “raptured out of the Great Tribulation” as is often taught.”In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer;  I have overcome the world …And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, [Why?  So they don’t suffer?  No! The Father had to abandon his son to suffering, and Yeshua had to suffer torture and death.  Being “kept” means being guarded from giving up faith in God in the face of personal suffering.] that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. (Joh 16:33, 17:11-12)

“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep / inactivated, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (I Thessalonians 4:13-17)

And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spiritThe first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we [those of us who have joined identity with YHWH’s Promised Savior Jesus Christ] shall also bear the image of the heavenly…flesh and blood cannot the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep / die physically, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (I Corinthians 15:40-52)

And when he had opened the seventh seal...I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpetsand there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake…

  • The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.
  • And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea:
    • and the third part of the sea became blood;
    • And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died;
    • and the third part of the ships were destroyed.
  • And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.
  • And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.

And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

  • And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pitAnd there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth…And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their  was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.
  • And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, [i.e. a specific appointment time] for to slay the third part of men. (Revelation 8-9)
  • And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever…And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: (Revelation 11:16-19)

And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man, having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And he that sat on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped.

And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs. And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.

And I saw…them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his nameAnd they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying…all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:” (Matt 25:41)

Notice the categories of beings listed in John’s vision of heaven described in Revelation chapters 4-5,7,20-21.

  • Almighty God: a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. 
  • Human elders who rule with The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ: And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold…And they sung a new song, saying…thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. 
  • Humans from every nation who remain faithful despite persecution: …an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel [this works out to be about 1% of the current world’s population of Jews, or about 50% of the current world’s population of Messianic Jewsand…a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
  • Sons of God: He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. 
  • Spirits: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
  • Holy Beasts, i.e. living beings who don’t fall into a known (by humans) category of creature, identified by features “like” and “as” known beings: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind…And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him…and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
    • And the first beast was like a lion,
    • and the second beast like a calf,
    • and the third beast had a face as a man,
    • and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
  • Messiah, the sacrifical Lamb, the star of this event: in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain…the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb
  • Heavenly angels: And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. 
  • Dead individuals from the sea and hell: And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works… 
  • The unholy beast (describing another one of those unknown creatures), always paired with the human false prophet: And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
  • The devil: And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
  • The unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death
  • And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. 

So who goes to hell?  The short list includes the devil, for sure, also the enigmatic “beast”, the false prophet, the abominable, and, to sum it up, “whosoever was not found written in the book of life.”  How do we make sure we are written in the book of life? What is this book of life?

According to the following psalm describing the development of a human embryo, God keeps a register, a log book of all human beings ever conceived.  An aside note – if we take our convictions from the Bible, then this establishes that life begins at conception.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psa 139:14-16)

From Moses we learn that that God will blot out, from this book, the names of people who have sinned grievously against him. This would account for individuals who are “not found written in the book of life.”

“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the Lord said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.” (Ex 32:31-33)

Centuries later, in the letters written to the congregations that were under great pressure to forsake Messianic Judaism (or nascent Christianity depending on your viewpoint), we find the same potential to be blotted out of the book of life.

“And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write…I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art deadHe that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” (Rev 3:1,5)

The threat of being blotted out of the book of life gives us to understand that the members of the Sardis congregation were in the same set of circumstances as the members of Moses’ congregation. Both groups had not yet overcome the obstacles to resisting the lures of lies in order to believe the hard truth spoken by Lord Yeshua Messiah. Both groups had yet to decide whether to

  1. surrender to an easier life in alliance with, i.e. in slavery to, the gods of this world, or
  2. take up the fight for reclaiming our territory.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Messiah/Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end…And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Heb 3:12-19)

The apostle Paul relates his willingness, like Moses, to be accursed – sacrifice his eternal destiny which would involved being blotted out of the book of life – to save his beloved people.

“I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Messiah/Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites…(Ro 9:2-4)

However, neither one of those men, nor any regular human, can trade places with another. There is only one, the man Yahweh’s Chosen Savior/Messiah Yeshua/Christ Jesus. In the following passage referencing the book of life, notice the lack of boundaries between two authors – David as a sinful human and the sinless Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ, confirmed as such in later references.  This is a poetic means of demonstrating David’s merged identity with Messiah, made possible because Messiah took on David’s human identity.

Save me, O God…I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow meThey that hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of mine head: they that would destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty: then I restored that which I took not away. O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my sins are not hid from thee. Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s childrenBut as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation…And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. Draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it: Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drinkPour out thine indignation upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents…Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness. Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous. But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high.” (Psa 69:1-29)

Here we find that there is not only the book of the living in which are written the names of all humans born into this physical dimension and from which the names can be blotted out, there is also a second book in which are written the names of the righteous who are born again into the spiritual dimension. In context, the righteous are those who acknowledge their need for a savior/Yeshua/Jesus and put their trust in The Consecrated One/Messiah/Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sin.

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Ro 4:3)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (Joh 3:16)

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:4-9)

The general life book lists those individuals who came to life physically, die a physical death, and are resurrected to face an accounting for their actions while alive.  Interestingly, the Egyptian Book of the Dead describes this same fate.

Does this include hybrid human/angels? I don’t know, but a bigger problem is that no-one can face God and claim to be righteous on the basis of their own works.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Ro 3:10-14)