Zechariah Chapter 3

Following is a quote from the Matthew Henry Commentary regarding Zechariah chapter 3.

[If] God will build Jerusalem for the people and their comfort they must inhabit it for him and his glory. The promises and privileges with which God’s people are blessed, should engage us to join them, whatever it costs us. When Zion is enlarged to make room for all God’s Israel, it is the greatest madness for any of them to stay in Babylon. The captivity of a sinful state is by no means to be continued in, though a man may be easy in worldly matters. [Matthew Henry Commentary]

One must first inhabit; promises and privileges; Zion enlarged; insane to remain in a Babylonian state of mind; a captivity of a sinful state? All of this, plus, is addressed in our Zechariah studies or elsewhere in ahabiblemoments.com

50,000+ Judean Israelis returned from Babylon upon being released by Cyrus I. Hundreds of thousands if not  over a million remained there. Amazingly one who did not return was Daniel himself. We can identify four groups of Israelites (Judeans from the Tribe of Judah) who did or did not return to their Promised lands of Jerusalem, Judah.

  1. Those who returned under the guidance of Zerubbabel (538 B.C.), Ezra, then Nehemiah
  2. Those who opted to migrate to other lands, mostly barren or minimally populated
  3. Those who remained in the Mesopotamia Valley eventually losing their Israeli identities.
  4. Those who remained faithful to God but remained until death in Babylon after the Medo-Persians conquered this land.
    1. We know there were large numbers still in Babylon by following the history of Queen Esther and Mordechai. [Book of Esther]

JIV aha historical timeline of historical events in and around this land of Israel: Israeli’s take the Canaanite lands as their Promised Land – Israel ruled by judges then by kings Saul, David, and Solomon – Israeli as a nation splits into two kingdoms; Judah and Northern Kingdom of Israel – 10 northern Tribes of Israel conquered and totally dispersed by the Assyrians – Assyrians conquered by Babylonians – Judah falls to the Babylonians – 70 year captivity of Judeans and those stranglers from other tribes of Israel – small group of Babylonian captives return to Jerusalem – Temple rebuilt – Greek Alexander the Great conquers the known and occupied world of that time – Alexander’s huge empire is divided by his generals after Alexander’s untimely youthful death – the Ptolemy’s of Egypt and the Seleucids of Syria and Asia Minor battle over possession of Judah, Jerusalem -Romans defeat the Macedonian Greeks in the Battle of Pydna – Judah, still  ruled by the Greek Seleucid dynasty get – a brief 50 to 70 year reprieve from Seleucid oppression by the rebelling Jewish Maccabees – Greek remains the primary spoken and business language – Rome becomes the primary military power of the known world – New Testament Jerusalem falls under Roman rule but governed by the Herod Dynasty of four different but related Herod kings – Rome totally destroys the Jewish State (70 A>D.) – Rome diminished in power and divides into two parts (Rome and Byzantine Rome) – Muslims conquer much of the Mediterranean Sea areas – enter the Christian Crusades and the power of the Popes in Rome – Ottoman Empire (Muslims) – Dark ages of the Middle East – Current era.

One can ask what has the above to do with Zechariah 3; specifically the High Priest Joshua? Zechariah 3 explains the glory of Jerusalem upon God’s initiation of the Millennial Reign of Jesus. It also might clarify the role of the church prior to the return of Jesus Christ. That is, the church being the individual members who are on the right path of righteousness as a group of believers.

Zechariah 3 explains this with the example of Joshua the high priest exemplifying the Israelites and possible hints of the modern day role of the Church.

Using the YLT [Young’s Literal Translation] bible we read in verse 1 “he sheweth me Joshua the high priest standing before the messenger of Jehovah, and the Adversary standing at his right hand, to be an adversary to him.”  Two things to note: Joshua (not the Joshua of the return out of Egypt and Moses’ replacement as leader) stands before two others; an angelic messenger of God AND angel called Satan, the adversary. This allows us insight into a specific and identifiable scenario. There is a good guy and the bad guy confronting Joshua. This is as it even is today. Satan is alive accusing God’s followers of wrong doings. Revelation 12:10 has yet to happen; “who [Satan] has accused[believers] before God both day and night [finally] has been cast down [KJV; emphasis mine]. Joshua embodies this Zechariah scenario.

This is a vision Zechariah sees, not yet an actual occurrence. Zechariah 3 expounds on the previous chapter in Zechariah; i.e. Zechariah 2:12 [ASV] “…and Jehovah shall inherit Judah…and choose Jerusalem.” Is it any wonder that the historical and current fight over Jerusalem covering three thousand years still exists to this very day? It is a profound actuality. Satan still remains here on earth. Historically this area was the basis of each Christian Crusade, but in actuality the Roman Catholic Pope ordained and sanctioned the Crusades of 1,000 years ago. Everyone wants to occupy it…Christians, Catholic Church, Muslims, Palestinians, etc. This includes back in the 700’s C.E. when Mohammed captured Jerusalem which in turn brought on the Crusades 400 years later.

Zechariah 3:2 “…a brand plucked out of the fire.” This statement has great meaning. We should know about the Lake of Fire following the Great White Throne Judgment. It is identified today as HELL. The word “brand” is similar to a fire poker; something that is used to stir-up or pull items from the fire. The implication should be obvious. Jehovah pulls from the fire (Joshua in this example) those who are to be cleansed and robed in pure white. Keep mindful that in this passage we have Satan the accuser, angel of the Lord (possibly Old Testament Jesus), and symbolic Joshua. Some will be pulled from the fire but not all.

OUR GOOD DEEDS ARE AS FILTHY RAGS…..(iSAIAH 64:6)

Now this High Priest is clothed in dirty rags; an example of us as believers. Our good deeds are as filthy rags [Isaiah 64:6]. What about the priesthood of this example in Zechariah 3? 1 Peter 2:5 identifies every believer as a priest of God. Zechariah combines all believers into the example of the High Priest Joshua; filthy dirty but destined to be cleansed and clothed in white robes.

Zechariah 3:5 depending on the translation one is using, has a word many do not grasp its meaning. S/he reads right through it. The KJV and ASV identify this word as a mitre; the ESV identifies it as a turban; the YLT [Young’s Literal Translation] says “diadem.” Essentially, they all mean a type of crown…crowns of righteousness [II Timothy 4:7-11].

Zechariah 3:6 uses the term ‘protested.’ “…and the angel of the Lord PROTESTED onto Joshua.” Being mindful that Joshua exemplifies those who follow God/Jesus as believers (Jew and Gentile), the word protested is ‛ûd [Strong’s H5947]. It means to exhort, encourage, challenge, to be a witness. Protest in this sense is not a negative or something against us, but an identified challenge as it is explained in the closing verses of chapter 3.

Verse 8 brings up the topic of a ‘branch’ of the Lord of Hosts. This is an Old Testament reference to the coming messiah; a branch of Judah in the line of King David, Jesus himself. This ‘branch’ will remove the iniquity of the land (Jerusalem and the world) “… removed in a single day.” This does not give universal carte’ blanche forgiveness. It means the sins of the world will be upon this branch at the cross of Calvary. One must still call upon the name of the Lord to be rescued/redeemed. Like one stuck in muck might call for a branch to grasp to be pulled out, but it is conditional. First a branch must be sought. Second, the one in the muck must have faith in it by grasping it to be pulled out. No longer will there be a need for animal sacrifice. This practice of Old Testament Israel did not forgive sin but was symbolic of the need and plea for forgiveness. THE BRANCH (Jesus) is a once for all sacrifice. It rescues those who believe AND grasp onto it.

Verse 10 simply states that in that day of the calling there will be true peace and plenty in the land. Satan is bound, evil spirits are no longer free to roam, and Christ is in Jerusalem. Chapter 14 give greater detail but that is several articles away. Be patient and continue following this chapter by chapter commentary of Zechariah.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

The Bait

riverbankWhen I was growing up we didn’t do a lot of fishing.  Once in a while my dad would take us down to the river bank. I love the thought of catching fish but I hated the thoughts of killing a worm or even touching them. My dad would bait my hook.. I wasn’t a natural fisher-kid. I think I was only about eight or nine, and everywhere I threw my line  I got snagged. I lost the sinkers, hook and the bait. One time I almost lost the whole pole

My dad was getting frustrated with me. He told me if I lost another sinker or if I got’ my line caught in weeds again, it was over. Seems my fishing days were on the line, literally. This made me sad. I was just beginning. Even at a young age I was not a quitter.

It was getting dark and my dad said I had to reel  my line in. I was petrified. I thought for sure my line was snagged.. My fishing line was going back and forth in the current. Strange I thought. I did not mention this to my dad as I felt like a failure already.  Now, the time of facing the music had come because we were going home.

caught oneMy dad came over to watch me reel in my line. To my great surprise there was a fish on the end of my line! To me that was a miracle! What I thought was a snag on a branch was actually this fish swimming around trying to figure out how to get unhooked. My dad came to my rescue as I never caught a fish before; I also never even took one off the hook. I felt bad for this fish. He was blinking his big eyes at me while hanging by the huge embedded hook tn his jaw. My dad said the fish was not big enough to keep so he got the hook out and released the Sucker (fish) back in the river. I hope it lived a long and happy life. Somehow the type of fish, a Sucker, is how we are to get sucked in by Satan’s hand-crafted and sharp hooks.

Sometimes I do the same stupid “mistakes” over and over again They are not really mistakes. A mistake sounds so much nicer than — sin. Regardless of what the sin is, it seems to pull me down the river and I can’t stop because of the hook in my jaw.

We all have weaknesses and I know full well what mine are. As foolish as it is sometimes I go fishing for them. Satan uses many things to bait us back into sin . He knows our weaknesses and how to lure us with his baited hook Once we take the bait we have “pleasure for a short time.” The really bad news is the bait he uses covers the hidden sharp hook. That hook will embed deeply into our jaw. We could easily die with the hook of Satan embedded in our jaw.

This is wisdom from the Old Testament even though it is not addressing hooks in the jaw….it could be applied to any sin in our past that tempts us.

Genesis 19:17 (NASB)

17 When they had brought them outside,  one said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away.”

Thankfully, our fish story doesn’t end there. Our Father will come to rescue us, when we repent and ask for help; He will gently get the hook of Satan out of our mouth. We have a loving Father in Heaven and Jesus our Savior died to save us from the sins that easily beset us. GOD LOVES US ALWAYS!

Galatians 1:3-5…3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil page, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen.

These days I don’t fish. I still don’t like worms. However, I still get tempted by things in the world. Regretfully at times I take the bait. Then I am hooked again, needing to be rescued. God is graceful and compassionate. I get so tired of falling for the same old line yet the pull of the current seems too strong to resist. I know it is not too strong though as the LORD will make us a way of escape It is a choice to take the bait of Satan.

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has over taken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

May we never forget God loves us and gave His ALL for us The question that is in my heart of hearts is will I give Him my all, always. May we ignore the bait meant to take us down and hold on to JESUS who wants only the best for us. Our Prevailing Hope to overcome temptation is asking the LORD for strength. We can prevail over and walk away from whatever the most enticing bait. With God all things are possible. It is our choice to prevail over the besetting sin or take the bait and pay the consequences.

choice-

Brenda McKee

www.prevailinghope.com

 

 

 

 

The Unpardonable Sin

 

  • Unpardonable sin…

    This means once committed it is not pardonable! Not now; not later; not ever. Satan are you listening?

    One of the most often asked questions is what is the unpardonable sin? What is blasphemy? Let’s take a look at what scripture tells us per these questions. However, it must be emphasized that if one is busy following Jesus and worshiping God, there is no chance of committing the unpardonable sin. Here are three synoptic gospel verses to consider.

    Jesus is the one making these statements:

    Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come (Matthew 12:31-32).

    Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation—because they said, “He has an unclean spirit” (Mark 3:28-30).

    And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven (Luke 12:10).

    Now let’s also include from our website Revelation Study the same word… “blasphemy.” Revelation 17:3 states, in part “…and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names…” Wikipedia defines it as Blasphemy is the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence to a deity…” It is a deliberate act on one’s part.

    Insulting; showing contempt; a lack of reverence? There goes the excuse of the one who says s/he is neutral per believing in a saving God and committing to Jesus. The blasphemy is found in the words, “lack of reverence.” Insulting and/or showing contempt are overt and obvious acts. But included in this definition is the simple act of not showing reverence; i.e. trying to be neutral, open minded or politically correct no matter what is the truth.

    Example: One knows that stealing is a crime. When one does not violate the law or simply does not get caught, they are not issued a penalty for their actions. When it comes to God, there is no such thing as “not getting caught” so that one does not fit in this situation. However, stealing is punishable. This is true even if up to this point it is the very first time one steals; i.e. a deliberate act on or one’s part or showing a lack of reverence for the law.

    Including the word “CONTEMPT” per the above definition adds to problem. It means getting caught and still showing contempt for the justice system and the law. A personal choice has been made. God is gracious in telling us in the above scriptures that such is forgivable if done against the son of God, Jesus. However, no such contempt against the Holy Spirit is forgivable. Just as in stealing, one made a choice and did the deed. The same is true of God the Holy Spirit. To reject him or turn ones back on him in a deliberate act is unforgivable. This is precisely why Satan does not have a choice to seek forgiveness and make everything alright between him and God. He showed contempt and there is no turning back or forgiveness.

    I recall a bible study where the instructor asked the question, “If Satan sought forgiveness, would God’s love be extended to him and forgive him.” There was great silence in the room as no one wanted to risk the fact that they believe God Is (only) Love. That statement alone, “God is Love,” is very misleading just as declaring the bible is full of stories. Stories may be true, but also may be just stories. It is very misleading to identify the Bible content as anything but history. Two books I have read include a History of the Civil War in America and “StoriesFrom the Civil War. The latter was qualified as unverified but still interesting as a read.  The author of this second book stated: “inside every story is often found a thread of truth.” A thread of truth????? What about Bible stories???? This is a gross misuse of Bible history when one relegates it to a book full of stories.

    Now back to the unpardonable sin focus of this article. None of the verses in our opening quotes from Matthew, Mark and Luke have a qualification. Satan has already done it. The Harlot (institution) will do it. The world has received the gospel of salvation but to reject it by NOT accepting God’s Provided Salvation (spiritual GPS) is akin to rejecting the civil statute of stealing. Once committed it is a done deal. There is and will be a price to pay.

    Nothing is said per who does the blasphemy or contempt. It remains a very loving and assuring statement to realize we can blaspheme Jesus or the Father God and it will be forgiven us. But rejecting, a deliberate act or not or no longer accepting HIM as holy is blasphemy. Notice in Matthew 12 that Jesus has just declared that a kingdom divided against itself (casting out demons in the name of Beelzebub) cannot stand. Without going into the detail of this history found in Matthew 12, anyone at any time can commit the one unforgivable sin. The only qualifier is one’s vocalization or demonstration of contempt for and/or claiming the Holy Spirit to be an unclean or non-existent spirit.

    So, can one lose his salvation? No! Can one surrender his salvation? Yes!

    Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” [NIV]

    Deuteronomy 31: 6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    However, three passages in the New Testament say, blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. Satan is already condemned but was once an angel of light in heaven. God will not forsake us, but we can at any time forsake His Spirit.

    Truth Text Red Black BurstFor the purpose of the series thinker, Let me add an after-thought. John 4:23, 24 states, “…a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” [NIV].

    miniJimJstark
    November 1, 2016

 

Revelation – Chapter 20

There is plenty to discuss in this short chapter but as usual, we will take the approach of Dr. jStarkidentifying or defining the significant and major points made by the Apostle John. Revelation 20, 21, and 22 could easily fall in sub captions of 1) the fall of the dragon (Satan), 2) The new Heaven, and 3) The New Earth; a closing well deserving our attention.

A Revelation 20 outline subhead form looks like this:

  1. Millennial or statement per the thousand years,
  2. Satan’s final judgment,
  3. The Great White Throne judgment of those resurrected to face their eternal decision on earth while alive.

We could add the Battle of Gog and Magog along with the Lake of Fire but these will fall into our discussion of the above outline of a, b, & c.  In chapter 19 many theologians and commentators would identify as Armageddon and chapter 20 as the Battle of Gog/Magog. Either way, keep in mind that both battles follow the 7-year Tribulation. Yes, there will be wars and rumors of wars [Matthew 24:6] but these lead us up to and into the Great Tribulation. Satan is alive and well and can cause such destruction that Jesus has to return to the earth less there are no humans left alive [Matthew 24:22].

Hosea the prophet clearly tells us that the latter days are a specific time when the Tribes of Israel will return to the State of Israel. They are dispersed throughout the world; the four corners of the earth. [Isaiah 11:12]. However, Israel today is mostly those descended from the Tribe of Judah. They are the New Testament Jews who crucified Jesus. “Jews” descended from those who were exiled for 70 years in Babylon. Only a very small remnant returned. There has yet to be a massive return of Israelites from the other 11 tribes. We mistakenly try to identify the Jew as all-inclusive of Israelites. In the first five books of the Bible [written by Moses] he never Identifies Israelis as Jews. The word Jew is the Anglo-Saxon/Greek version of Judah or from the country or territory of Judah; the predominant people in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus Christ on earth. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jew_(word)]

The sequence so far is: Church Rapture – 3 ½ Tribulation plus 3 ½ years of Great Tribulation – The return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives – the earth shudders, shakes and divides along natural fault lines (including the one geologists say goes right through the center of the Mount of Olives – Armageddon – the beast and false prophet captured, judged, and thrown into the Lake of Fire – birds of the wild feast on the dead the dead 200 million man combined army in Har Megiddo 55 miles north of Jerusalem who try to attack Jerusalem – THEN CHAPTER 20: the beginning of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ on the Throne of David in Jerusalem.

This is the point at which one can get distracted by or caught up in the theological positions of a-millennialism [no millennium], postmillennialism [all after the fact including Christ’s return; the power of the church binds Satan not the angel from heaven], and premillennialism [the position of this website since it makes most sense without drawing at straws or spiritualizing factual scripture throughout the Bible]. We are deliberately side-stepping the minor disagreements between the classical and the dispensational premillennialists; both for the sake of the reader of this blog and its authorJ.

A lengthy but good discussion on Revelation 20 can be found at: http://www.centralbaptist1873.org/downloads/revelation/Outline%20for%20Revelation%2020.pdf.  Not yet studied by us, website blog appears to be solid.

We won’t get into the theories of what the key or chain may represent in verse one. The bottom line: this angel has the power to grab, hold, restrain, and bind Satan in such a manner as his personal powers are useless to either escape or to any longer influence the peoples and nations of this world. Powerless until the thousand year millennium is over. One might ask as we addressed in the previous blog, “why must Satan be released even if it is but for a short time after the millennial reign of Jesus and God?”

Good question. The answer is hidden in plain sight. If Satan is able to assemble a huge army after the thousand years of “iron scepter” (Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9; Revelation 12:5) rule of Jesus, it is obvious there are still those who do not Love or Accept Jesus as his or her Savior or King. Satan’s last stand (phrase borrowed from Custer’s Last Stand) will be judged. Satan first, then the books (plural) are opened and each person is judged according to his or her deeds; i.e. different levels of eternity in Hell (?).

Taking a slight step backward, be mindful that Jerusalem is the bride of God (O.T.) just as the church is the bride of Jesus Christ (N.T.). Let me borrow a quote from:  http://tedmontgomery.com/bblovrvw/emails/thewoman.html

The Church did not “replace” Israel; rather, it was grafted into Israel. At a future time, Israel (Zion) will receive all of the blessings promised to her millennia ago by God (Isaiah 45:17, 51:2,3,16; Jeremiah 50:4,5; Ezekiel 36:1–37:28). Also, the “woman” does not represent only Jews, who are descendants of Judah, since they are only one of the twelve tribes of Israel. (Read Revelation 11 once again or revisit the blogs in this website of Revelation 11, 12, 13, and 14)

Verse 4 of C20 is significant:revelation-20

(paraphrased) The souls (not bodies) of those beheaded, who had not worshiped the beast, his image, or taken the mark of the beast. These must be the Christians martyred DURING the tribulation and probably the voices of those “souls” heard under the Throne (Revelation 6:9) asking for justice (Revelation 6:10).

This, as hinted to in Revelation 6:11 and as previously discussed in this series of Revelation blogs, could be one of the two 144,000 mentioned in Revelation 7:4 and again Revelation 14:1-5. It matters little as to if separate or different groups of 144,000 per Revelation 20:4. Those who die, for their witness of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation, will “Live and reign with Messiah (Christ) a thousand years.” (Also read Isaiah 51:11)

However, verse 6 should not be overlooked per a resurrection. This can get to be sticky theological detail here but here is the quick kick of it all. Being that if there is a pretribulation rapture, those who are the bride or church of Jesus Christ are already gone; i.e. Rapture. Those who die for their witness during the Tribulation are resurrected in verse 4.

Easy answer to the obvious question… who is left on earth before this resurrection? Answer: those who rejected God (O.T.) or reject Jesus (N.T.). This is how we get the first and the second resurrection. The dead in God/Christ are resurrected for the Millennial Reign. Recall from previous blogs in this study that millions have died by now via Satan’s effort to destroy mankind. Millions have also died at Armageddon; Tribulation ended. We calculate that between 1/3 and ½ of the world’s population have died within a short period of time. Then Gog and Magog deaths. No problem with overcrowding on earth.

The second resurrection is those who died without God or Christ. This is the Great White Throne judgment and capacity is no problem since “the heavens [sky] and earth flee the presents of God.” We see this verse in Revelation 20:11. But first let’s not skip some important discussion beginning in verse 7; i.e. Satan’s final judgment.

If unbelievers are wrong and chapter 20 is right, they have a serious and eternal problem of resurrection, judgment, and Hell. If I am wrong as a believer, then I will simply die like the rest of the world’s population; past and present. You decide but there are only two options. Reject Christ and possibly be wrong and the judgment correct, or accept Christ and be safe regardless of end time. Being a believer is not a safety net; it is a life style!

As already mentioned, Satan is bound a thousand years. When released, he raises an army the sized or “like the sand on the seashore; [then] march the breadth of the earth, surround Jerusalem [V9c], but never get to fight. They are devoured by fire from heaven… only to be raised in judgment in the second resurrection shortly thereafter. They see a second death; one of eternal punishment. I have been asked many times; what might Hell be likened to? My best guess is like the fire or burning of a deep-rooted hate, or lust for something one cannot get or get over. This feeling will be stamped into one’s mind to the power of ten, never to leave or be replaced by another thought while camping out at the lake of fire.

In verse 10 we are reminded that the beast (anti-Christ) and his false prophet are already in the Lake of Sulfur waiting for their cherished and loving Satan (pun intended) with very warm and open arms of welcome. Thanks for joining us you devil!!!!!! The beast and false prophet have already been there a 1,000 years. That is plenty of time to develop a very warm welcome for their master deceiver… Satan.

Finally, chapter 20 closes on the subject of the Great White Throne Judgment. We previously discussed some of this but allow us to point to or remind the reader-student the exposé of a few additional facts.

  1. The earth and sky flee from the presents of “him who is seated on the throne.”
  2. The dead resurrected, small and great, stand before the Great White Throne.
  3. The BOOKS are opened; books that have recorded his and her life and deeds while on earth. This opens up the possibilities of greater or lesser punishments but does not eliminate the fact of a judgment.
  4. Another book (singular) is opened and those whose names are written in the [Lamb’s] Book of Life are given life with God (trinity). These are possibly those who are still alive on earth but repent of their sin before the judgment day of reckoning. (emphasis mine)
  5. V13c: (NIV) “…and each person was judged according to what s/he had done (while on earth). (emphasis mine – see #3)
  6. “If anyone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, s/he is thrown (accordingly) into their Lake of fire for eternity.” (emphasis mine)

Revelation 19

There is significant and justifiable debate over part of this chapter. That is the part that has to do with the Battle of Gog and Magog? Since there is a 200,000,000 man army miniJimgathered in Har Megeddo just prior to the 2nd Advent of Christ; i.e. the end of the Tribulation and the beginning of HIS Millennial Reign, there is a battle. However, Satan is afterwards chained [Revelation 20], and uninfluential to those who live during the Millennial Reign.  Then he is released for a “short period of time” [Revelation 20] once again to draw the nations against the King of Kings whose throne is in Jerusalem. This too is a major battle fought for the same reason; to remove the King of kings from ruling what Satan wishes to claim as his domain… the earth.

am123 in a blog, a Steve Quayle… http://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2015/04/steve-quayle-the-battle-of-gog-and-magog-has-begun-2468618.html] …he writes: The Gog and Magog prophecies in the Bible are not something that plays out in the dispensation [period] we now find ourselves in. It plays out after the Millennial Reign. (emphasis mine)

http://www.discoverrevelation.com/5.html points out that this war is upon the return to earth of Jesus and his heavenly host after the Great Tribulation but before the Millennial Kingdom. (emphasis mine)

Which blogger is correct? Both pre and post Millennial Reign battles are Satan against Christ with *Satan using mankind to do and die for his dirty work. Actually, the bible gives little evidence as to the timing of the Battle of Gog and Magog or the Battle of Armageddon. Since enemies of God and armies of all nations gather in Har Megiddo to wage war against Jerusalem and the self-proclaiming King of kings, this is the Battle of Armageddon.  Goh and Magog are only mentioned in conjunction with Satan’s release after his 1,000 years in the pit of abyss.

heavenorhellTo cut to the quick before discussing chapter 19 of Revelation in this website, the real question is not the timing or duration of these wars against Christ, but our eternity options. There are only two; Heaven or Hell. There is no third option! I write, you decide per your own eternal destiny. Personally I would rather be wrong about this eternity thing and live a life on the side of Christ with Him as the Savior then take the chance by denying Him as Lord and Savior while still alive.

*It is amazing that Christ and Satan are so different in that Satan wants mankind to die for his dirty work and Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin. Both offer an eternity though. Which one is your destiny? Remember that staying neutral is not one of the options per eternity. The short of it, staying neutral means NOT ACCEPTING eternity with Jesus and Heaven. This means the other destiny is one’s choice by default.

Author’s note: I do suggest one re-read the blog in this website on chapter 18. These two chapters flow together. Both C18 and C19 begin with the same words… “and after this…”; they are sequential. Chapter 14 through to the end of chapter 22 and the end of Revelation, other than chapters 18 and 19 are given events in John’s visions due to the word, Then…” [ESV]. We might conclude from this that these events in their playing out follow the same pattern or happen concurrently.

For a good spoken message from David Guzik on chapter 19 go to: http://blb.sc/002lBA. What you will read from this blog is a much shorter summary of C19 as is the usual practice in ahabiblemoments.wordpress.com. This website may or may not represent every opinion of David Guzik. However, you read this blog, listen to him, than decide for yourself.

First and foremost is the excitement in heaven per the return of Jesus Christ to his created earth. Four different times we find Hallelujah (Alleluia; borrowed from the Hebrew in some translations); 19:1, 19:3, 19:4b, and 19:6b. Such proclamation and rejoicing is unparalleled in scripture. One might argue the same is true of the angels announcing the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem, but this resounding support from within heaven per the end of the time with Satan “roaming to and fro” on earth and at the controls is beyond compelling [1 Peter 5:8]. It is worth repeating four times in the first 6 verses of Revelation 19. The redeemed join in this chorus of voices at this time. Such wording is exclusive to this chapter.

Recall from chapter 18 that God has already judged the harlot; John’s reminder is in C19:2. It is probable that C19:2c, “he has avenged on her the blood of his servants” is in reference to the plea of voices crying out from under the Throne of God back in Revelation 6:10.

This is an extra thought per avenging the blood of God’s servants.  I have occasionally  been asked about God’s policy or thoughts on capital punishment. God is only a loving God, so says the Pope, right and many pulpit dwellers? Read Genesis 9:6, than decide for yourself.

Some ask if born again believers are in heaven or in a holding tank of sorts prior to and during the Tribulation. Before the Tribulation we have the rapture of the church. In Verse 1 per many translations it reads “a great multitude.” In the Young’s Literal Translation, an almost word-for-word translation of the Greek, it reads “multitude.” In the King James Version it reads “people.” Some translations say “voices.” We leave this to your own discernment. It matters not since the sound comes from heaven from a large number of (different) voices indicating there is a probable mix of voices: angels, redeemed, other angelic hosts, the 24 elders, four beast guarding the Throne of God, martyred saints, etc. This is the point in created time that all creation has awaited.

We deduce this all-inclusiveness of unison shouting “Praise the Lord” and upon reading the Greek word used here for “heaven;” ouranos, it is inclusive of what we see in the starry skies, the universe itself, all other universes, and from the streets of Heaven itself.

19:3 says the “The smoke from her (the harlot) goes up forever and ever.” Some misunderstand the meaning of this passage. When sin is done, it is cast into the eternal hell never to be again. This verse is analogous. Sin is gone forever never to be dealt with again. Hell is eternal as is the punishment of the great harlot who represents unpardonable sin.

In Revelation 19 5 we read at the end of the verse, “Praise God all ye his servants…. ‘both small and great.’ The late Reverend Charles Stark once stated that there is room in this verse to understand the small could include childhood deaths, aborted babies, and those who never reached the age of personal responsibility. One of the points in his reasoning is the word “great”; i.e. megas. Thayer includes in his dictionary, and as Strong leaves open to the same conclusion, that megas includes a very broad interpretation of its meaning and inclusiveness. Thayer flat out states it includes the variation in ages from the smallest (mikroteros) unborn to those who reach a ripe old age.

Charles Spurgeon once stated, “We must NOT worship God in a half-hearted way. Mechanical worship is easy, but worthless.” We at this website believe far too many express a greater joy at a dull ball game than s/he does in church during the time of worship or Bible study. Bill Gaither wrote a praise song that has a phrase in it: “Let’s just lift our HANDS toward heaven.” Far too many churches and praise teams change the word “hands” to “hearts”. Why the fear of praising God by lifting one’s hand(s) demonstrating thankfulness and praise????? 19:7 is very specific. It reads,Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory…” Exult??? Hmmmm? This overt expression, however, does not replace true bible study and worship. God is Spirit and we must worship Him in Spirit, says Jesus in John 4:24.

Verse 6-9 is the wedding feast. This has so many articles written on it we need not stay here long. In Old Testament practices and for a time in the New Testament, at the wedding time, the groom would first come to his future wife’s home, than they together would go to his home. Think of it this way. Jesus, the bride-groom comes to our current home (earth first) then after a stay, in this case, of a thousand years, he takes his bride, the church, and believers to his house; the New Heaven and the New Earth. This becomes our home for eternity.

The White Horse!

Beginning in verse 11 through the end of this chapter we have the truth of what it means when the Bible tells us that God is a JUST God. Loving, yes, but also judicious. A BIG difference between the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, the first rider being on a white horse and wearing a crown “given to him”, followed by the red, black, and green horses, is that the rider in verse 19:11 is wearing multiple crowns (diadems in some translations) that are his; not loaned or given to him.

Verse 13 says “…his name is the Word of God.” Where have we seen this before? How about John 1:1; “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was (is) God.” Note that the riders who accompany him on white horses do not have any (mentioned) weapons. There is only one weapon needed at this time and it is the very word of God via the tongue of the lead horseman, Jesus, “with which he will strike down the nations” (NIV). God already declared “It is Done” in Revelation 16:17 and again in 21:6.

The condition of rule most often ignored or glossed over in many messages and found in 19:15b reads, “He will rule them (the nations) with an IRON SCEPTOR. What does this sound like he, King Jesus Christ, is doing during his rule? There is right and wrong… no gray or white lies, false worship, deception accepted. The earth is not yet perfect and neither will be man. We will be judged per the intent of our hearts during the His reign on earth.

This time during the Millennial Reign [Revelation 19:19] the sheep and goats, as mentioned in the book of Matthew 25, will be separated by their hearts’ intent and true desire. It is also why Satan will be able to raise a mighty army after his 1,000 years of being chained then *released for a season. There will be those who are probably born during the Millennial Reign that will want to rebel against this “iron scepter” rule of Jesus while on earth. This is Matthew 25:32; the Great White Throne Judgment at the end of the Millennial Reign. If there is not going to be any deviation from worshiping the King of kings for a thousand years, why is there even a need for any scepter of rule, yet alone one made of “iron”? Man’s heart will still have “CHOICE.” Satan is chained, but mankind is still not a robot. This means a Godly rule of absolute consistency.

*Another often asked question is why is Satan released by God from his solitude confinement in the bottomless pit? There are two probable reasons. One is so that his eternal and final judgment can be handed down and the other is to expose those whose hearts have not really and only mechanically worshiped the true Messiah Jesus during the Millennial Reign. By the way, the word Christ is not a name. It means Messiah; i.e. Jesus the Messiah (Christ).

In conclusion of this week’s blog, here is a short sequence and conclusion of our discussion per chapter 19 with the events and reasons for such halleluiah shouts in the heavens above (all creation). The harlot is dealt with; Babylon is utterly destroyed; the evil one is no longer hiding or in disguise; those still alive question their evil leadership; the voices from under the Throne of the slain saints is heard and avenged; the rider on the white horse wearing multiple crowns leads a massive army to earth; the armies of the (evil) are destroyed; the angel announces that “our Lord God Almighty [now] reigns; the *beast and *false prophet (v20) are captured, judged and thrown into the eternal lake of fire.

*This does not include Satan himself. His judgment is a 1,000 years away.

Too often we hear from pulpits and the religious and politically correct that God is Love; i.e. that alone defines him. This is as false as the false prophet of Revelation. God according to this chapter in Revelation is General, Judge, Love and absolutely just. His love does NOT NEGATE His judgment of wrong and denial of Him; i.e. those who have never accepted the God of the heavens or his son Jesus as Lord of his or her life seeking forgiveness.

Blogger Note: I was born an American citizen. This required nothing on my behalf to find membership once born into this country. There are many things I can do that may seem or are wrong according to our laws and customs of this country. Yet, I remain a citizen. However, I can renounce my citizenship and turn my back on the American way. I say this only to help those who think once saved there is nothing that can renounce our citizenship in heaven. God won’t but we can. There is the unpardonable sin. Turning our back on and devaluing the Holy Spirit, openly rejecting or in a sense, petitioning to “get out” or renounce (blaspheme) means one’s citizenship is no longer recognized. (Matthew 12:31-32)

In this light, read a couple of the following passages using the above comparison to better understand what the Bible tells us about security in Christ.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (but we must follow)
Hebrews 13:5 (a conditional promise)
John 3:16 (whosoever believes, but if one ceases to believe, then…)
John 1:12 (but… only to those who have and continue to receive Him)
John 14:6 (none come to God but through Jesus. If we decide at any time to reject Jesus, then Jesus doesn’t leave us, we leave Him…)
Romans 10:9 (If we confess with our mouths… but what happens if we cease?

Revelation Study – Chapter 18

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsBefore we get into chapter 18, let’s understand something. The Harlot or whore of Revelation is not a person; she is an institution; a great city according to 17:18. She confides, shares, and connives with government leaders to milk the public of wealth and uses great deceit. It is led by a religious organization located within this city; i.e. the Harlot. The false prophet is the leader of this religious deceptiveness; i.e. the false church and the false prophet.

Babylon is the reference only location from where this “governing association” with this false church organization functions or operates [17:18]. If one is to make an educated guess, this is probably Rome. It is all under the influence of Satan until he takes over directly during the second half of the Tribulation; either through the resurrected false prophet or through the beast. At that time Satan himself will call the shots. Recall in chapter 17 this Babylon falls out of grace with its associates and God destroys it in “in one hour.” Those who make great wealth from her existence mourn her loss as do many others who have made fortunes from her existence and their alliance with her will wail from a distance [Rev. 18:9]

The great John Walvoord wrote: “…two separate parts or stages of the fall, answering to the two aspects in which Babylon is contemplated, referring first to Babylon in mystery, as a system or spirit of false worship, and second to Babylon as a city, in which this system or spirit is finally embodied

burning cityThe burning of the “the woman whore” by the beast with ten horns in chapter 17 is probably the city itself (Rome?). Consider this. The false institution and religion during the first half of the Tribulation is only incited and encouraged by Satan. During the second 3 ½ years of the Tribulation, called “the Great Tribulation,” Satan steps in as the guy, the man, the one to fear and worship. The false prophet of the first three and one-half years in the Tribulation may still be around. Some theologians believe that he dies during this great scourge of “Babylon/Rome” and is resurrected but now possessed by Satan or one of his demons.

A wise person would also keep in mind that Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Ezekiel 16:1–43; and Ezekiel 23, do refer to Jerusalem as a harlot. However, Jerusalem does not fit as cleanly as does Rome for this end time prophecy. Their partial destruction is coming but at the hands of Satan himself.

Chapter 18:

This chapter begins with an angel of great power and Illumination upon the earth… meaning those alive at this time will bear witness to this proclamation of:

Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.

3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
Oddly, this does little to draw in more believers and followers of Jesus Christ at this time in end history yet to happen. However, verse 4 of Revelation 18 is the basis of how some believe to be the timing of the Church Rapture. “Come out of her, my people…” This may or may not be true of the church such as what is called The Rapture. There will still be those who are “God’s people” at this time. We also know some are still on earth at the end of the 7 year Tribulation. This may be the church (v4) or it may simply be those believers who are on location and are told to evacuate to avoid the judgment coming down from heaven upon her. To come out of her tells us that it is a location; probably Rome or perhaps Jerusalem but this website supports the likeliness that it is Rome. It is the great wealth and the fact that it is the false prophet and a place of great luxury that puts the hat of demise on Rome, not Jerusalem at this time. But, Jerusalem (Jews and other members of the 12 Tribes) still hangs in the balance and will suffer greatly for rejecting the Messiah of the gospels.

Revelation 17:15 – 19 describe how these merchants and great masses of wealth attributed to the whore lament over her demise. Verse 20 however tells us that there are “people of God” still on earth [and in heaven?]. They are told to REJOICE over her judgment.

Verse 21 is often misunderstood. It reads: “Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again” [NIV translation]. The second half of this verse says… “with such or similar violence.” It is a comparison, not a method of her destruction for it is quick. A human example would be like kicking a stool leg at night in your bare feet. It is sudden and without remorse. It is totaled! We see this in the remained of chapter 18; no more life in this city; no more business transacted; no more music or trade; no more weddings; no more… (You name it, and it will be forever gone). Actually with a literal view of this passage, there simply is no more Rome (city).

This is, in part, fulfillment of Revelation 6:10 and Revelation 14:10. One is the promised vengeance of those believers who are slain by the evil of this time and the other a warning by example of pending destruction. Both are found in the same ending verse of Revelation 18.

In our next chapter blog, C19, we get a better idea per the celebration of God’s destruction of the Revelation Babylon. It is all part of what God is recorded to say, “It is done;” Revelation 16:17 and again in 21:6.

Note:

Her judgment, Babylon, comes in one day. This reminds me of Daniel 5 where Belshazzar is destroyed within a day of Daniel telling him he is doomed.

 

The rich fool lost his possessions in one day according to Luke 12:16-20. This is the same for Babylon of Revelation.

miniJimRev. Dr. Jstark
August, 2016

Revelation Chapter 13 – (Part 2)

What we find in 13:11-18miniJim

  1. A second beast from the earth or abyss, not the sea of people. He is a false prophet declaring the glory of the 1st beast and the Dragon. Just like the prophets of scripture but deceivers and false.
  2. The above also hints of a comparison to Christ descending; the begotten of God as his son; the one to be worshiped and through whom one reaches the Father.
  3. We now have a beast from the sea and a beast from the earth/abyss.
    1. The second beast gets his power from the Dragon (Satan)
    2. Given power over the first and perhaps second layer of heavens, earth, mankind, and authority.
  4. We get a talking idol/image of the 1st beast but order to be made by the 2nd
  5. The mark is given to all who worship the dragon and the 1st beast
  6. The mark of Christ is also given; everyone living on earth at this time receives a mark; one of Satan or one of God/Christ.

Rev 13:11 sounds a bit like one being in the image of the dragon (Satan). He rises from the Abyss not the sea. The first beast being raised from the sea of people is similar to Jesus being raised amongst men and from a sea of people. This furthermore is a reflection or parallel to Jesus being given power from God as is this second beast is given its power from the Dragon. Jesus was given authority over heaven and earth by the Father God. In Jesus’ 40 day wilderness trip, Satan tried to bribe him with the “kingdoms of the world.” There are additional parallels but not for this blog. Length is not the goal.

One might reasonably ask or even be expected to ask at this point, where is the Holy Spirit duplication in Satan’s trinity? This is the false prophet or 2nd beast who does not seek worship in or of himself. He directs this worship toward the 2nd beast and his authoritarian “father”… the dragon/Satan. Just as the dragon is symbolically an anti-God and the first beast is anti-Christ, the second beast and false prophet will be anti-Spirit. Remember here that the word “anti” in the Greek can also mean “an alternative to” or instead of. In Revelation 13:11-18 it is not a free will choice but a forced choice by the anti-Christ.

V13:11… “he has two horns like a lamb but speaks like a dragon.” Is this an indication the 2nd beast is the false prophet (perhaps from the Vatican) is the spokesperson and enforcer of the Dragon and the 1st beast? Good possibility.

Here is what we get from the second half of Revelation 13:

  • One seemingly in the image of Satan but from the earth, not the sea of people
  • The first beast has the wound
  • The 2nd beast requires the world to worship the first beast AND the dragon via the image.
  • V12 and 14 indicate its only miraculous signs are while in the presence of the 1st beast
  • It commands an image be made to the 1st beast (the wounded guy)
  • He appears to give the image that men are ordered to make, life. What a BIG deception. Man makes an idol and one finally comes to life. How much more deception will be needed?
  • The image “causes” (hin’-ah) people to worship the beast or die. (intent does not mean total success) Humans will accept this command as didn’t they make the image themselves?
  • The image orders the mark of the beast on all mankind; their death if not done.
  • The sign or seal of Satan is the dictatorship of commerce, religion, and everyday activity.
  • There are two signs; one of Christ and one of Satan. Both exclusive; one eternally deadly.
    • The 666 is not reversible and sets the destination of those individuals…HELL!

https://pixabay.com/get/e836b10c21f1073ed1534705fb0938c9bd22ffd41db712449cf9c178ae/idol-1303956_1920.jpgIt is the 2nd beast that tells mankind to build an image to the first (wounded) beast. He commands humans to worship the first beast and the dragon; similar to Christians worshiping Jesus the Son of god and praying to God the Father. The Mark of the beast is an economic mark; the power to buy, sell, trade and do business. It is also a mark of worship and acceptance of the evil one as a [false] god. It is the image that speaks (v15) and startles those remaining on earth.

Christ was also wounded for our transgressions and sin [Isaiah 53:5]. However, accepting him is not forced. It is a choice. Satan again tries to replicate what God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit has already done; it is Satan’s deception at its greatest point. It is his attempt to parallel God’s plan. When any person does not worship this image and beast it is death when caught. Just like in Islam… accept or die. In Christianity we have a choice UNTIL death. Only then is it judgement day.

One might take note that this 2nd beast or false prophet only performs these miraculous signs when “in the presence of the 1st beast.”  What do we have so far:

  1. Satan acting like a god the father – B) 1st beast as the son of Satan; i.e. anti-Christ – C) The 2nd beast acting as a prompting spirit not commanding worship of himself but directing worship to the image, 1st beast and the dragon – D) Image as a spokesperson (V15).

But God has his plan and it will not be altered by even Satan himself. This leads into chapter 14 of Revelation. We will explain the number 666 in a separate blog as will be the 144,000 discussion from chapter 14.

Rev. Dr. James W. Stark
May 2016

Revelation 13:1-10 (­­­­Part One)

The name or word antichrist can mean either the opposite of Christ OR instead of miniJimChrist. In our study it is probably both; the “opposite” as in opposing AND “instead of” such as a Satanic substitute. This would include the ancient worship of idols or a future “false christ” performing miracles as a form of persuasion that HE is the Christ; not the one from the New Testament. Jesus specifically warns about this. When Jesus Christ  returns to earth it is not to demonstrate anything, but to take possession of his earth and out of the hands and influence of Satan. He will appear in the eastern skies, put foot on the Mount of Olives and claim his kingship as King of kings. He will NOT be some political figure. His appearance is at the very end of the 7 year Tribulation and after the last 7 plagues.mountofolives

The rider on the white horse in the apocalypse comes to make peace; a false sense of security for Israel AND the rest of the turbulent waters or nations of this world. The word antichrist never appears in Revelation. It only appears in 1 John (3 times; twice in one verse) and once in 2 John. Of course this is the same John who writes Revelation but never uses the word anti-Christ in this final book in the bible.

The bible gives the antichrist many titles:

– The little horn of Daniel 7:8

– The king of fierce countenance of Daniel 8:23

The Prince that shall come of Daniel 9:26

– The willful king of Daniel 11:36-45

– *The one who comes in his own name of John 5:43, whom Israel will receive as a messiah

The son of perdition, the man of sin, the lawless one of 2 Thessalonians 2:3

*This in and of itself suggests it could be of the Tribe of Judah or Levi who is the real antichrist. This may also suggest that this is why the nation of Israel accepts the peace treaty offered by this leader. He is a Jew!?

In Revelation 12 John presents this beast as the extension of the fourth beast of Daniel 7, connecting his empire with the characteristics of the great empires of the past. This final world empire will have the catlike vigilance of a leopard, the lumbering but crushing power of a bear, the authority and ferociousness and stalking power of a lion. In chapter 13 he describes the “beast” as a combined creature of Daniel’s dream; resembling a leopard; feet of a bear; mouth like a lion but a singular beast. In the Book of Daniel these world powers had yet to come. In Revelation, it is the combined power represented by these animals that force the world into a singular governed economy. These animals are popularly recognized as Babylon, Mede-Persian, Greek, then, Rome.

It is a fascinating discussion per 13:2b:

The dragon will give this critter His power; His throne; great authority. Certainly Satan has in the past and continues to make earth HIS DOMAIN and possession. He gives it all to this critter from the Sea. This is very similar to Matthew 28:18. Christ makes this claim of power and authority as from God his biological the Father.

Verse 3 tells of the deadly wound at which the whole world must be aware. However, there is no indication as to who is the one striking this deadly blow to him; It SEEMED (hōs) to have a deadly blow to one of its heads.  This same Greek word is translated as something that appears to be so, but is not definitive. “…and all the world wondered after the beast.” This [first] beast is not an institution, nationality, or organization as many denominations and theological theorists suggest, but a person. This is Satan’s effort to once again parallel anything and everything God created or did, including the sacrifice and resurrection of one of his own if not a direct bodily possession of a man who is dead but possessed of Satan and then appears to be alive. Scary thought!

What we have so far in Revelation 13:1-10:

  1. Satan
  2. Dragon
  3. Beast from the Sea
  4. A dragon who gives this beast from the sea his powers, throne, and authority.
  5. A wounded head among the multi-headed beast that “appears” to be fatal.
  6. A step back, but Daniel 7 is the parallel scripture to Revelation 13

NOTE: It is good to recall or learn that the 4th beast of Daniel 7 is NOT IDENTIFIED as a creature he recognizes. Daniel 7:19… “the fourth best is diverse from all the others.” This is probably so as the other three beasts can be identified to kingdoms in the past. The fourth beast is described but of unknown quantities, symbolisms, and prophetic clarity. This is also true of Revelation 13:1 & 11.

Another fascinating note is the language used in Daniel 7:26; i.e. the word “THEY.” “…and THEY shall take away his dominion to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” It is the court according to scripture, but who is the court? This is worth researching on one’s own in order to take ownership of the results.

At verse 4 of chapter 13 we see that mankind will be deceived but accepting to the worship of this 1st beast AND the Dragon father. The warning comes in chapter 14 that if anyone who worships this beast and/or its image, they have committed the eternal sin for which there is no longer any forgiveness.

There are some, however, who believe this to fit the passage that reads, “he was, then is not, but then is again” [Revelation 17:11]. This might be the rise, death then resurrection of the old Roman Empire through the Vatican; i.e. the Pope’s:

1 global power until the 1700’s when Napoleon stripped him of it,

2 noninvolvement in secular world affairs for several hundred years after Napoleon,

3 revived involvement in politics and environmental discussions as we see it today.

Verses 4 & 5 suggest the same thing that God did for his son Jesus while he was on earth and right after his resurrection; he gave all power/authority in heaven and earth to Jesus his son – Matthew 28:18.  This was right after his resurrection (read Ephesians 1:20-23). This again is a parallel to and a false deception propagated by Satan himself when he simulates this with his false trinity. There is often discussion of the meaning or purpose or function of the “little horn” in Daniel 7:8. One might suggest this is the “Son of Satan” just as Jesus is the Son of God. Martin Luther and John Calvin believed this little horn to be Islam. He is the one who rises up as the little horn and plucks three rebelling horns out of his circle or power.

Stay tuned while considering the following:

Question: Do these passages suggest that predestination is established for certain pre-identified individuals or for those who use his/her free will to follow Christ? [Blue Letter Bible]

– The work of Jesus was ordained before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20)

– God chose His redeemed before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4)

– *Names are written in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Revelation 17:8)

– The kingdom of heaven was prepared for the redeemed before the foundation of the world (Matthew 25:34)

Answer: No! These passages mean that God preordained his chosen people Israel to be a light unto the rest of the world even though they have failed so to do, and, FROM the point of creation of the earth, man, and its inhabitants. *This passage is misquoted from Revelation 17:8. 17:8 does not say the names are written before the creation of the world, but since or from the point of creation forward “names are written into the book of life.”  The Ephesian passage is written out of context. God has chosen us (to be) in him before the foundation of the world. This is what he hoped for Adam and Eve. They failed him.

GODsoloveMankind has a free will of choice. Once we accept Christ as Lord and Savior, we fall into the predestination of becoming a child of God; brother to Jesus. It is predestined that those who accept Jesus and follow him will have salvation. Those who chose to follow and worship him are predestined to be called children of God. It is discussing the who but the process of HOW it happens.
 

Revelation 12 (Part 1 of 2)

Author’s Note: Rather than do a verse-by-verse discussion of chapter 12, as can be found in so many commentaries and web sites, we will discuss the implications and try to clarify some of the misunderstandings adding to our reader’s knowledge of the truth.

The last book of the Bible - RevelationsDoes this chapter belong in the Book of Revelation? At first glance or even with additional reads it doesn’t seem to fit. Revelation is written mostly in a sequential or chronological order, but reminders and additional prophecy is added to enhance one’s understanding. Chapter 12 seems out of place when read in the vein of Revelation content. However, there is a very good reason or two this chapter belongs right where it is found. Later in another post, we will explain why chapters 12, 13, and 14 are one basic thought.

Setting: We have a woman, new born child and dragon. They are signs to John appearing in heaven. This means they are signs outside the realm of simple earthly issues. Therefore we need to look beyond the earth and events here on earth, at the same time assess their application to things of End Time; in actuality, the beginning of a NEW time. This is the Book of Revelation. Let’s first look at a few passages of scripture as backdrop to this rather odd or seemingly out of place chapter.

Deuteronomy 7:6 (The New Living Translation)

“For you are a holy people, who belong to the LORD your God. Of all the people on earth, the LORD your God has chosen you to be his own special treasure.”

We might add to this that such a designation as HIS PEOPLE out of all the people on earth is why anti-Semitism has been around since Israelis have been around. Their troubles began in Egypt when the “Shepherd Kings” took the *Pharaoh ship of (lower) **Egypt. These foreign Pharaohs are those who “did not know Joseph”

Exodus 1:8]. “Now a new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.” (NASB)

*To paraphrase Wikipedia… some time before 1650 BCE the arrival of the *Hyksos led to the end of the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt. *Shepherd Kings.

**It was not unusual for there to be two Egyptian Pharaohs in power at the same time; one in the north [lower Egypt] and one in the south [upper Egypt]; i.e. two kingdoms; the upper and the lower. Since Egypt is south of the equator, Lower Egypt borders the Mediterranean Sea nearest the Equator; Upper Egypt is closer to the Sudan, perhaps best identified as Thebes. This is sometimes difficult to understand for those of us who live north of the equator.

Valley of MegiddoThe Bible tells us that in End Time armed forces gather at Har Megiddo (Armageddon; i.e. the Valley of Jezreel sometimes call Esdraelon). The actual fighting will be 55 miles south of this area in Jerusalem; i.e. the Valley of Jehoshaphat. As of the last week in February, 2016, it is reported out of Israel that there is a possible joint effort between Israel and Russia to drill for what might be a world class oil field in the Har Megeddo area. I report… you conclude. A future article in this website will address the possibilities and their fit with the Bible and End Time. Perhaps I won’t need to report as the news channels will cover it for us. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/3346302/posts

Back to our discussion topic: At times it can be a bit difficult to grasp the combined meanings of Revelation 12 and Daniel 7 but here is an attempt. To the Point:

In Daniel we find four beasts rising from the sea (of people) but in Revelation we find but one beast with multiple heads, 10 horns and crowns. To see that there is a direct connection one must go to Revelation 13:1-2 where John visualizes Daniel’s beasts, now as ONE creature; part leopard, feet of a bear, mouth of a lion together with 10 horns… (ESV) And to it [singular] the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.”

Leopard? Bear? Lion? That is only three. What happened to the fourth beast of Daniel? Look back at Daniel 7. We see that the fourth beast is not given an animal identity; only that it differs (Daniel 7:7d) from the other three and is more powerful. A few verses later in Daniel we read that Christ arrives to claim his throne. The fourth beast, unlike the other beasts, is probably Satan himself.

Revelation 20:2 tells us that eventually Satan is bound for a 1,000 years and his power stripped. This leaves the other kings/crowns of the other three creatures without power. Daniel 7:12 says… “As for the other three beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives are prolonged for a season and a time” [ESV]. Why Jesus gives these three enemies of his additional time is an enigma. Any opinion at this point is just that… an opinion.

*Revelation 12:9… and the great dragon is cast out (of heaven), that old serpent, called the Devil and Satan, which deceives the whole world; he is cast out [of heaven] into the earth… (v12) beware or woe to the inhabitants of the earth…” [emphasis mine].

PS: there are at least four times where the bible records that Satan is defeated by God.

  1. When he rebelled against God in Heaven but still has access to the Throne of God to complain about the faults, flaws and sins of Christians. Revelation 12:10
  2. When he is hurled down from heaven and can no longer approach the Throne of God. Revelation 12:10b
  3. When Christ returns to the Mt of Olives and establishes His kingdom rule over all of the nations. Revelation 20:1-3; Zechariah 14:4
  4. When Satan is defeated at the end of the 1,000 reign of God’s Kingdom on earth and he is judged then cast into the Lake of Fire that has been reserved for him, the beast, and the false prophet. Revelation 20:10

In verse 13 of chapter 12, we finally get back to the woman who brought forth the man child, the dragon, and the persecution. What eliminates the possibility that it is now the church itself being persecuted? The church has been persecuted since its origination under Roman rule following the crucifixion of Jesus almost 2,000 years ago. This is nothing new to John, the author of Revelation. What he sees is something new, not ancient or status quo.

Revelation says: for the woman was given two wings of a great eagle that she may fly into Egypt, right? NO! Mary, Joseph and Jesus fled to Egypt right after Jesus was born and only for about two years; not the wilderness. Revelation says “that she may flee to the Wilderness where her every need will be provided.” This also occurred when the children of Israel fled Egypt (Book of Exodus), the rule of the Hyksos Pharaohs in Lower Egypt, and after their 400 year captivity and slavery. The church is not even mentioned yet suggested. This is about Jerusalem, Christ on his throne in Jerusalem, and Israel. This is about Israel (the woman) where she is nourished for a time, times and half a time (3 ½ years); the second half of Daniel’s 70th week [Daniel 9]. This is about God’s chosen people… Israel.

A recent thought per Armageddon… the recently discovered [2016] and significant oil rights in Har Megiddo… Israel, along with Russia’s assistance at drilling gives Russia a vested interest and reason to control or prevent a clash between the King of the North and the King of the South in this area. The problem is that this section of Golan Heights is still recognized as “in Syria.” Israel has never annexed it since taking back control of it in 1973; 40 plus years ago.

Let me quote something that Don Koenig wrote per part of his discussion on Revelation 12:

Genesis 37:9,10… Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me. But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?”

Jacob (Israel) probably rebuked Joseph because Joseph was arrogant and he misunderstood. The dream was not just prophetic about what would happen in his life. Jacob and Rachel never bowed in worship to Joseph. Rachel died long before Joseph became a ruler in Egypt. The dream was a similitude of Joseph representing the Messiah that would come.

http://www.thepropheticyears.com/The%20book%20of%20Revelation/Revelation%20Chapter%2012.htm

This closely reflects or has a parallel to what John witnessed on the Island of Patmos while writing Revelation 12. The sun, moon and stars in obeisance. In Revelation we have the stars in a crown on the head of a woman. Some theologians and commentaries identify the stars as the Tribes of Israel, some the Disciples of Christ, others really stretch imagination to its limits making their ignorance or denominational patriotism known per their opinions on chapter 12. The differences are also obvious. The woman flees from a great dragon, she is in hiding protected by God for 1,230 days; 3 ½ years, and she is in the wilderness, not Egypt.

What also stands out is the specific mention of 3 ½ years. The Children of Israel wandered for almost *39 years in the Wilderness. However, they were protected, they had provisions of manna and quail, and there were enemies all around them who sought their demise.

*Before being condemned by their God to wander in the Wilderness, Israel had already spent 1 year trying to get into the Promised Land. 40 – 1 = 39 years

The application is not clear but Revelation 4:1 and 11:19 have similarities. 4:1 states “After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven!…” Revelation 11:19 states “Then God’s temple in heaven was opened,…” [ESV]. Both regard heaven being open and the Temple in heaven being open.

The Stars being swept from heaven by the dragon’s tail [1/3 of them] are the angels of rebellion who sided with Lucifer/Satan. There may also be a tie between their fall from heaven and the meteorite shower of the heavens collapsing onto earth as read in Revelation 6:13, Joel 2:10 and Mark 13:25. It is obvious to even Satan that when he is finally denied access to heaven after his second war with Michael and the other 2/3s of the heavenly angels he is defeated. Now he reverts to trying to deny the remaining humans on earth a chance to confess Christ. He does this by causing great slaughters of mankind; wars and rumors of wars; man killing off mankind. As the Bible states in verse 12b of Revelation 12… “…for he knows his time is short.”

Author’s Note: The quote from Revelation 12:12 about Satan knowing his time is short, is amazingly underscored by Daniel 12:12… “Blessed is the one who waits and reaches the end of the 1,335 days” (1,260 plus 75 days) This 1,335 will be explained in a later article. However, the fact that both of these assurances, one of Satan being very angry (disparate) and the other of the hope to hold on are found in a chapter 12 and a verse 12; both end of time books. Hmmm?

By the way, the sea to which Revelation 12:12 refers is “the sea of people” remaining on earth. There is little justification for it to be anything else. Just like the waters in the “flood of water” from the mouth of Satan attempting to destroy “the woman” (Israel) found in Revelation 12:15 is an army of very significant size.

Revelation 12 (Part 2) coming soon.miniJim

Revelation 4 and 5

Revelation

These two chapters in the Book of Revelation are like a corner on the same block in a city. We go from a description of heaven to eventualities; i.e. from what is to what will be. The significance of what is in the throne room of “the one who sits on that throne” (Revelation 4:2b & 3) is a given conclusion if we also read 5:13b… “To him who sits on the throne AND to the Lamb”. This is a plural statement and we know the Lamb of God is Jesus (John 1:29). This means the only other remaining being of throne-worthiness is God the Father. We do not have to speculate much as to what and who John initially describes in verse 3. The real significance is that John is in the presence of the greatest.

What each of the described beings or objects in and around the throne room is subject to someone’s interpretation. The caution? Be careful about assigning a perception to a given or a doctrinal plank. What might be perceived as correct is sometimes taken to extremes or speculation. We see these extremes that may be mentioned but once or twice in scripture becoming dogmatic practices is supposedly Christ-centered churches. The above is my disclaimer for chapter 4 and 5 with full knowledge of Col 2:8.  “Be sure you are not led away by the teaching of those who have nothing worth saying and only plan to deceive you. That teaching is not from Christ. It is only human tradition and comes from the powers that influence this world.” (ERV)Tribulation graph

Chapter 4 begins with John receiving an open invitation to witness what is in the throne room of heaven. Whether this is what we as the redeemed will witness when we get to heaven is speculative. I say this because John does not indicate there is a presence of others who have been redeemed or of seeing any of the Old Testament saints. Significant to John and our studies, it includes an offer to also “see what will be” via the scroll and Seven Seals. We detail this when we get to chapter 6 of Revelation.

To many it is difficult to keep the Seals, Trumpets and Vials (bowls) straight. Dale Carnegie teaches that the best way to commit something to memory is by association. I keep the order straight by connecting these three events to the alphabet; Seals (S), Trumpets (T), then Vials (V); S comes before T and T comes before V. I will repeat this in a later article, but it is the 7th Trumpet that opens the delivery of the Vial (bowls) contents.

The opening verses in chapter 4 set the stage for John’s anticipation or excitement of something he knows is exclusive. A poor but perhaps helpful analogyTeen girl with planet earth. would be like anyone anticipating a long dreamed of trip or vacation (keep this thought in mind as 5:4 refers back to this anticipation). We sent many of our dreams on this trip, just as did John when he was told to “come up here” in 4:1.

The next few verses in chapter 4 are symbolic and great discussion points. However, any dogmatic conclusion would be speculative. 24 elders and who they are or represent; the white clothing and individual crowns; lightning and thunder; the *7 lamps – even though we are told these represent the 7 spirits of God (but what are they?); the rainbow; the crystal sea; **the four living creatures and their being covered with eyes; the representation or reason for the six wings on each creature. The true underlying message in this passage is their continual praising; “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,” who was, and is, and is to come (NIV). This triggers a response by the 24 elders (V9-11). It also defines the eternal existence of the God-head; was, and is, and is to come. It also parallels what will happen to creation upon the 2nd advent of Jesus Christ (“Every eye will see” (NIV; Revelation 1:7).

*The “seven spirits of God” are mentioned in Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 4:5; and 5:6. The seven spirits of God are not specifically identified. It is therefore impossible to be dogmatic. Revelation 1:4 mentions that the seven spirits are before God’s throne. Revelation 3:1 indicates that Jesus Christ “holds” the seven spirits of God. Revelation 4:5 links the seven spirits of God with seven burning lamps that are before God’s throne. Revelation 5:6 identifies the seven spirits with the “seven eyes” of the Lamb and states that they are “sent out into all the earth.”

** The four living creatures: Here we find something that “looks like” a Lion, an ox sometimes described as a calf, a face like a man, a flying eagle. Without speculating too much, go back to the Tribes of Israel and their wandering encampments around the Tabernacle Tent (Numbers 2:2). They had exited Egypt but had not yet entered the Promised lands. As Chuck Missler (khouse.org ) puts it, “…the lion, the man, the ox, and the eagle–are the same as the four faces of the living creatures” found in Revelation 4:6b-7. Each time we encounter a view of the throne of God, we notice these strange living creatures, somehow associated with the protection of His throne, His holiness, etc.

It would seem that the camp of Israel–with the tabernacle in the middle–is a model of the throne of God: His presence in the center, represented by the tabernacle, encircled by the four faces, all surrounded by His (authority).”

Chapter 5 is our turn at and in the corner-of-events as John records them; i.e. the Scroll and seven Seals. The scroll must be extensive as john makes sure to note that it is “with writing on both sides” (5:1; NIV); “inside and outside” as the King James Bible puts it. Each one of the seven seals on the scroll represents an event which unfolds beginning in chapter 6. We get to this discussion in our next article.

The question asked in 5:2b, “who is worthy to break the seals and open he scroll” is straight forward. What follows is sometimes missed in commentaries. It says in 5:3 that John saw that “no one” could open the scroll or even peak inside it yet. The KJV identifies this “no one” as no man, but the ERV, ESV and other translation put it, no one can open it. The verse then explains what is so often missed. “…(no one) in heaven, on earth, or under the earth…” Limiting this statement to man or mankind does not reflect well the Greek word oudeis. Thayer defines and translates oudeis as “NOTHING” can open it. This means angels fallen or still in heaven, Satan himself, man-made devices like computers or super chips, or molten lava under the earth. This is the power in this verse. The only option left standing is identified in v6 & 7; the Lamb (of God).

Why does the Bible identify Jesus as the Lamb of God? It is the sacrificial lamb God gave up (John 3:16) to pay the price of our sin. It isn’t a name as much as it is an action that happened at Calvary. God gave up his son as the sacrifice. Only one “thing” (the antithesis to NO-THING) can take on this role of opening the scroll; one seal at a time. He is the only one who paid the price of redemption; Jesus Christ.

calvary jesus, man bleeding, representation of passion

The Lamb of GOD

Look closely at verse 8; once Jesus (the he/Lamb of v6) took the scroll, the elders AND the four creatures fell (shachah) to the ground in worship of him. In short, everything and anything (see v13) recognized him who took the scroll from the right hand of him who sat on the heavenly throne. For those who desire a deeper education on this one word, Yochanan Zaqantov notes: “the word translated as Worship in the Tanakh is transliterated as shachah (shah-ghah) which is Shin-Chet-Hey.”

V4; chapter 5: One may wonder why John “.” Go back to my analogy of a highly anticipated vacation (paragraph 5). What a great disappointment it had to be to John to “get there” after being called only to find out that what he anticipated was not going to be revealed. His heart ached for it, but now….?

We too often discuss being politically correct today. Politically correct does not always mean “something is correct.” Well, read v9 and 10. Can we think of anyone left out? Yes! Only those who are purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ will reign. Those who reject this offer of eternal salvation will have eternity but at a different ranch.

Then, much to the relief of John (5:5) his anticipation is reassured by one of the 24 elders. What happens in v11 is nothing short of astounding. John “looked and heard” thousands and thousands of angels as they encircled the throne and gave out praise. It is almost like they now realized the time of the ‘end of time’ as we now know it is at the brink of past tense. They are total encouragement for the “Lamb” to take the scroll and release its contents.

Then it gets even better in v13; everything (ktisma)… “and I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” This means all H: KOL/G: PAS (3605 and 3956 in Strong’s dictionary); of creation; anything that was created. By this time Satan certainly knows it is all over but the reading of the credentials; i.e. God’s, not his. In human terms, it is a moment in Satan’s life that will be similar to that nanosecond one recognizes an eminent-imminent danger; the shock of being one step short of stepping into or onto “it” and leaning forward. This is why and when (my speculation; you decide) Satan now makes his bold moves. He realizes it is over so he attempts to destroy what remains of God’s creation; first by dominance, then by elimination.

V14: “The four living creatures said ‘Amen’.” Speculation on my part… they put their blessing on the seal of Satan, his minion(s), and his influence over earth and its occupants. So be it!

jStark3Drj; August, 2015