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January 5, 2007
Wow! I can't wait to read the whole thing. What denomination are you?
Where can I find a church that understands these things.RM
Look for a church, instead, that supports the Gospel.
There is a difference between prophecy and church teaching. That is because prophecy cannot save anyone. No matter how much one "understands" God, the only way into Christ's kingdom is to put His words into practice, a principal Paul called "love". For this reason, the perfect church is is the one that preaches compassion and kindness to one another throughout the community in the name of Christ a church that insists on repentance and confession to one another in His name and support for widows, orphans and the poor. Prophecy can work as a support for faith, but it has no power to save. We can see that simply by looking at the Old Testament, a book bristling with prophecy, but without any power to save souls.
At its best, prophecy is a view dimly seen, as if through a veil. And because so much false prophecy abounds, even in good circles, it is a subject most churches want to deal with at arms length. Especially since salvation, itself, comes from another source.
The meaning of prophecy as far as God is concerned is to act as a proof of Christ to an unbelieving world. God has determined to fulfill every word in the Bible written about Jesus as proof that He truly is the Saviour and Messiah promised by Moses, and that He truly is the Son of God, the King of the new creation in heaven that is to be our refuge from this sinful world, and our future eternal home a home in which we will live with God alive forever.
In fulfilling every word written about Jesus in the Old Testament, God has given proof that He will fulfill every word written about Him in the New Testament as well.
In this proof, scripture has shown, through prophecy, that Jesus will have two appearances in this world. The first at the time He died in our name to take our sins away, and the second in His Return to take all who chose to follow Him to His kingdom by rebuilding themselves in His integrity. Since only the first appearance has occurred, there still exists in scripture a whole body of prophecy yet to be fulfilled. That is what we are seeing unfold now. Proof that He will come again as promised to reward all who have rebuilt themselves in His image.
When we see these words fulfilled, know that He is near!
Daniel wrote that a set time had been allotted to set the seals on vision and prophecy, i.e., for all these things to be revealed (Dn.9:24), and Matthew specified the way in which that prophecy was to be made known to the world (Mat.10:26-27). After that will come the night for a short time a darkness destined to be shattered by the brilliant light of Christ's return.
In terms of prophecy, the "Wow!" is all there is. The salvation comes from repentance, baptism and a life lived in the words of the Gospel Jesus preached.
My sister says that people who talk about the end of the world saying it is about to happen are false prophets and we should avoid them. What is your response to this? J
Jesus said something similar:
"Take care not to be deceived,' he said 'because many will come using my name and saying, "I am he" and, "The time is near at hand". Refuse to join them." (Luke 21:8).
Jesus' statement is in obvious conflict with the popular idea currently embraced by many, promising an imminent pre-tribulation "Rapture" (i.e., two Second Coming's, with the first invisible and 'near at hand'). Various preachers have been proclaiming Christ's invisible return to be close at hand ever since John Nelson Darby first made his 'Rapture' proposal in the 1830's. Some have even assigned specific dates to the End.
Those dates have been proved wrong and all the promises of a day just ahead are wrong, too at least according to this passage from Jesus.
The fact is, before Jesus can return, all the things He prophesied have to take place first. And when He does return his appearance will not be invisible. He will not be in some hiding place. He will come in full view of the world, on the clouds of heaven, seated at the right hand of the Power, and surrounded by all the angels in heaven.
"If, then, they say to you...'Look, he is in the secret chambers', do not believe it: because the coming of the Son of man will be like lightning striking in the east and flashing far into the west." (Mat.24:26-27).
"And when you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened, for this is something that must happen but the end is not so soon.' Then he said to them, 'Nation will fight against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines here and there. There will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven." (Luke 21:9-11).
"But before all this happens, men will seize you and persecute you; they will hand you over to the synagogues and to imprisonment, and bring you before kings and governors because of my name and that will be your opportunity to bear witness. Keep this carefully in mind: you are not to prepare your defense because I myself shall give you an eloquence and a wisdom that none of your opponnets will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relations and friends; and some of you will be put to death. You will be hated by all men on account of my name, but not a hair of your head will be lost. Your endurance will win you your lives." (Luke 21:12-19).
"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, you must realise that she will soon be laid desolate. Then those in Judea must escape to the mountains, those inside the city must leave it, and those in country districts must not take refuge in it. For this is the time of vengeance when all that scripture says must be fulfilled. Alas for those with child, or with babies at the breast when those days come! For great misery will descend on the land and wrath on this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive to every pagan country; and Jeusalem will be trampled down by the pagans until the age of the pagans is completely over." (Luke 21:20-23).
"There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamor of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then you will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near." (Luke 21:24).
When Jesus was asked about the date of the end by His apostles, He spoke the words above and referred them to the Book of Daniel; specifically to Daniel's passage concerning the disastrous abomination in the temple fortress (Mat 24:15; Dan.9:27; 11:31) destined to be placed there by the Madman when he abolishes the Perpetual Sacrifice (the Eucharist).
When we turn to that passage and the other verses Daniel penned concerning this disaster, we discover a lengthy period during which the East comes to power in the form of a 4th kingdom of Persia (Dan.11:2), bringing warfare to the planet in proportions never before seen. Western world dominion is to be toppled by it.
According to Daniel, ten kings are to rise to power with this 4th kingdom, producing a world force so formidable, not just the nations, but even the Church will be brought down by them. All the things Jesus warned about are to occur in association with these events. And then the end will come.
There is still a long way to go, and Jesus will not return until all the prophecies have been completed as written. Those who say differently do so in violation of God and scripture.
Scripture's bottom line always remains the same. When preaching and Jesus disagree, listen to Jesus. You will never go wrong if you do that.
Don't you think it's ironic that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was driven out of his palace and forced to live like a wild animal according to Daniel? Then Saddam Hussein was forced to do the same? It almost seems like they are related. NM
Yes, I do. And I agree that they are related.
Here is a passage from scripture relating to that amazing expulsion:
"King Nebuchadnezzar, these words are for you! Sovereignty is taken from you, you are to be driven from human society, and live with the wild animals; you will feed on grass like oxen, and seven times will pass over you until you have learnt that the Most High rules over the kingship of men, and confers it on whom he pleases." (Dan.4:28-29).
Nebuchadnezzar's hair "grew as long as eagle's feathers, and his nails became like bird's claws." (Dan. 4:30).
Nor does the relationship end there.
Saddam Hussein fancied himself to be a reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar and was in the process of rebuilding the ruins of Babylon, Iraq's ancient capitol city, intending to restore it to its former glory. His warring nature thwarted those plans.
Saddam seems to be carrying the legacy of two kings. When Belshazzar ruled Babylon, a human hand appeared and started writing its fateful message on his palace wall while he watched. Daniel interpreted the handwriting, telling the king he had been found wanting and was going to be handed over to an invading Persian army and put to death that very night (Dan. 5:5+).
"The writing reads: 'Mene, Mene, Tekel and Parsin'. The meaning of the words is this: Mene: God has measured your sovereignty and put an end to it; Tekel: you have been weighed in the balance and found wanting; Parsin: your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and the Persians.'...That same night, the Chaldaean king Belshazzar was murdered, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two." (Dn.5:23-31).
The unkempt Saddam Hussein was pulled out of his hole in the ground and brought back to stand trial for his crimes, his own kingdom suddenly divided as in the prophecy. Found wanting, he, too, was handed over to the people of Persia the Shiite Muslims who had just overthrown his kingdom. They immedately executed him despite his own people, the Sunni's, still fighting in the streets thinking to save him.
Current history seems to have united these circumstances in Saddam Hussein, producing a particularly striking example of the fact that all the works of God go in pairs by opposites.
Saddam's kingdom is bitterly divided, to the utter despair of Washington as it tries to stem the civil war between the Sunni's and the Persians, while the handwriting's chilling message: the toppling of Babylon by Persia seems to have claimed another in the chain of victims it encompasses. As scripture says, God's plan for Babylon is going foreward. And it's going by the Book at its starting line: the Euphrates.
It's almost as if God were saying to the world through Daniel, 'and this, too, will be a sign for you.'
I recently logged on to your web site and was surprised to find someone who thought that the United States would be in Iraq for years, and would only leave when overrun by enemy troops. Where on earth do you find a prophecy like that? VP
The prophecy comes from the Book of Jeremiah. It is a part of Jeremiah's prediction of disaster for the Israeli army leaders who appealed to God for the right to return from their exile in Babylon ahead of time (ahead of the time set for the Diaspora to end) and set up a Jewish nation in Israel.
God granted that request, but only under strict guidelines, the first being that they not make a military treaty with Egypt, and the second that they not leave the boundaries awarded them, and go settle in lands forbidden them by the leadership of Babylon (Jer. 42-45).
We read in prophecy that as soon as the army leaders constructed their new state, they quickly broke both rules. As a consequence, an enormous disaster befell them just as Jeremiah predicted, and all the settlers were killed. Their military treaty with the "Egypt" of this prophecy could not save them from this catastrophe.
Those words seemed to spring into a second reality when the new state of Israel was born in 1947. Their confiscation of other lands and the placement of Jewish settlers there is a matter of great controversy today. A military alliance has been cemented between Israel and the United States, which seems to be the "Egypt" in the prophecy.
According to Jeremiah, this "Egypt" positions its troops against the Parthians at the Euphrates river only to be overrun in a sweeping invasion by an overwhelming eastern force, who proceeds from there at lightning speed all the way into Jerusalem, leaving a great carnage behind them in the path of their assault (Jer. 46:1-10). Daniel describes the same invasion, explaining that the "King of the North" who leads this attack has with him the troops of an eastern confederacy of 10 nations (Dan. 7:7; 11:15-18).
Many of the particulars of this prophecy are well know to students of the Book of Revelation, which we know to concern a future not yet seen (Rev. 13:1-2; 16:12-13; 17:16, etc.). They show that the "Egypt" of the prophecy will not abandon its post at that fateful river until the day this prophecy is to be completed.
If all those biblical passages apply to our time, as their increasing fulfillment seems to show, America is hopelessly entangled in an Iraq it cannot leave until God's purpose for its presence there is achieved. The proof of this prophecy has already been given, but not in the spectacular fashion that seems still to lie ahead (Jer. 44:29-30).
It looks like Nostradamus has pegged another one. This time the man he predicted in the blue turban. Could this be none other than Moqtada al-Sadr of Iraq? When I saw his picture on the cover of Time magazine a few weeks ago all decked out in his blue turban preparing to fight against our American troops it gave me a chill. SP
If Sadr is indeed the fulfillment of Nostradamus' quatrain about the man in the blue turban, it would be a very disturbing revelation with respect to peace in Iraq. Nostradamus' blue-turbined figure is someone no one wants to see, especially now in such an incendiary place in these desperate times. As portents go, that would be big.
Moqtada al-Sadr is seen by the West as a key terror figure in Iraq and if he is matched to the Nostradamus gallery, it would give him the potential of joining others there such as Hitler and Napolean. That means he could grow into one of the dark hawks described in end-time prophecy. If so, it would be in keeping with Nostradamus' other visions many of which seem to have outlined Satan's most powerful end-time warmongers.
Sadr is head of the Shiite Mahdi army whose intent it is to drive the Sunni Muslims out of Baghdad, and likely out of Iraq itself. He champions a classic Shiite versus Sunni (Persian versus Arab) confrontation that is at the heart of the civil war now raging in Iraq and threatening to spill over into the Arab "south".
The word "Mahdi" in "Mahdi Army" stands for "Al-Mahdi", the Muslim "Messiah" whose future coming has been predicted and expected for over a thousand years, since the time of Mohmammed himself. The focus of this army is to cleanse the lands in prepartion for the war of conversion that is to be launched against the rest of the world in advance of his coming. That focus is driving the militant Shiite's and fomenting all the dissension currently raging across Iraq, and inflaming the surrounding Muslim nations.
It is a message increasingly preached in mosque's all over the world.
This confrontation is at the heart of America's problems in its involvement in Iraq. Both Iran and America are backing the same side, the Shiites, which is becoming increasingly bad news to the kings of the Arab south, i.e., to the Sunni Muslims, as Shiite intentions against them become increasingly visible.
Nostradamus came out of the dark. He worked in a small darkened room conjuring visions from the aerial ether. It seems the only spirits willing to talk with him worked for the wrong side as well. He was given no glorious visions of religion. He saw nothing of Christ. He saw nothing of the Christian victory on earth or the glories of heaven's realities. All he saw were visions of death and destruction. Visions of Satan's warmongers. He was a man of this world; he was not a visionary of God.
In mysterious words he wrote about a man named "Hister", visions even Adoph Hitler took to mean himself after the wife of one of his close henchmen alerted him to the quatrains. They outlined his visions and conquests and gave Hitler an added sense of successful destiny. But, as with Napolean before him, those visions led not to a thousand years of glory, but only to catastrophe.
It is the same with the man of the East in the blue turbin, if indeed the quatrain is accurate. Ahead of him lies an inflamed world, a fiery future for all the civilizations across the planet not willing to accept the forced conversion those like Sadr deem necessary to pave the path for the appearance of the Mahdi. Perhaps this is the genesis of a philosophy that will help drive the ten horns (the "Kings of the East"), the Jihadist engine that will power them across the Euphrates when the time comes for their invasion of the West.
As scripture has foretold, when that time arrives, the Muslim world, and indeed, the political eastern and western worlds will be divided, just as Iraq is divided today between those two forces, but the line of division will be the Euphrates river and at that time, America (or at least the "Egypt" in the prophecy) will still be there guarding that line.
We don't leave. Despite all the talk currently suggesting our departure, if the prophecies that have been proving so uncannily accurate up to this point are true, we will still be there, still trying to enforce a peace between those two sides, attempting to stop what Daniel says is coming.
What the man in the blue turbin missed is the same thing that Nostradamus missed the victory of Jesus at the end and the eternal life that is bestowed by God on those who had the vision to listen to Him.
When was the end of the Jewish nation? Who was king? When will Jesus' reign in Heaven begin? LC
The Jewish nation basically ended when Jesus drove the evil tenants out of the temple with His whip. Basically, He changed the tenants at that moment. Just after that He was crucified. At His crucifixion Pontius Pilate, the Roman authority over Judea made Jesus the king of the Jews when he ordered a plaque to that effect nailed to the top of Jesus' cross:
"In my anger I gave you a king and in my wrath I take him away." (Hos. 13:11).
"...and in the storm the king of Israel is going to disappear forever" (Hos. 10:15; 11:1).
Fifty-two days later (52 days after the whip), the Holy Spirit came to earth at Pentecost beginning Christ's reign as king on earth, not only of the Jews, but of all mankind.
"I gazed into the visions of the night. And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence. On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship, and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants." (Dn.7:13-14).
His reign in the newly built kingdom of heaven will begin with His Return which will take place when He comes back to earth with His Father and all the angels of heaven, an event scheduled to occur on an unknown day still in our future. This is the spiritual reality, i.e., God's truth concerning your question.
There is also historical truth.
In that, the Jewish nation ended when Nebuchadnezzar took the Jewish nation out of the land of Israel and imprisoned them in captivity in Babylon near present-day Baghdad. The king of the Jews at that time was Jehoiachin. He reigned for only 3 months before being taken prisoner. He and his mother were exiled to Babylon in 598 B.C. "Say to the king and to the queen mother, "Come down from your thrones, for your glorious crowns will fall from your heads." (Jer 13:18).
Freed from their 70 year exile in Babylon by the prince of Persia, those Jews who wished to, were allowed to return to the land of Israel and set up a new Jewish nation there. It proved a temporary reprieve. In 66 A.D. the nation, now in full rebellion, not only against the Romans but themselves as well were attacked by Rome and defeated. Agrippa was the last king of the Jews. The temple was burned down by Titus who took all the leading figures in Jerusalem who survived the battles to Rome in captivity.
The burning of the temple proves that this is the point that correlates with the captivity of Jehoiachin. But now the king is Christ. It is Jesus who is taken captive to Babylon (Rome) by virtue of the cross and the treaty of peace it represents with an evil world. Just as Joseph was taken captive to Egypt and there fed his brothers, so Jesus was taken to Rome and there fed and continues to feed His brothers as well.
"Writhe, cry out daughter of Zion, for now you have to leave the city and live in the open country. To Babylon you must go and there you will be rescued; There God will ransom you out of the power of your enemies." (Micah 4:10).
In 70 A.D. after the temple was destroyed, Judea was made an imperial province under the rule of the legate of the Xth Roman Legion based in Jerusalem (no more Jewish kings). As such, it was allowed to remain, but in 125 A.D., led by a Jewish zealot named Simon bar Kokeba ("Son of the Star") who proclaimed himself the Messiah of prophecy, the Jews again revolted against the Romans. This time they were destroyed completely, and the exile was made all-encompassing and permanent. Jews were forbidden to set foot in Jerusalem.
That exile remained in effect until the 20th century (is actually still in progress) and has lasted for almost 2000 years. It cannot end until the coming of the "prince of Persia", who will issue a decree terminating the Diaspora.
The end of the Diaspora can only occur in concert with the return of Christ and with Him, the new Jerusalem, the kingdom of heaven with a new name, due to replace the earthly city and nation:
"The bride of Christ is the New Jerusalem-the great city of the kingdom of heaven. And I seemed to hear the voices of a huge crowd answering, 'Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun; let us be glad and joyful and give praise to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb. His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints'." (Rv.19:5-8).
Your idea that we remain in Iraq...political view masked as prophecy??? PO
Prophecy wrote its headlines more than 2000 years ago. Those words cannot be changed now.
Bible prophecy is not a matter of politics or political ideologies. It is simply the headlines in a newspaperwritten in advance. The chips fall and the headlines tell us what, when, and where they fell. The same is true with prophecy. It happens only one way and scripture tells us what way that was, and so will be.
Some unknown day in the future the headlines will read the way the Bible predicts they will read. This has nothing to do with ideology. "Search in the book of the Lord, and read, not one of these is missing; for his mouth has ordained it, and his spirit has brought it all together." We have seen the truth of that written across the face of the past. It will be the same with the future as well.
Actually, America remaining in Iraq is not the center of the prophecies. That line, according to scripture, simply establishes the border between the "North" and the 'South" of the last days. It determines the point of invasion, an invasion so ubiquitously described by so many prophets, that it establishes the pivotal center as Jerusalem, the place Isaiah calls the furnace of the earth. (Is.31:9).
The prophecies that lie ahead are clear on this. Jerusalem is to be overrun by the armies of the East (Dan.11:16; Jer.44:27). That is coming and the only thing to be determined is when, and which nations will be involved when the invasion occurs. Current events strongly suggest that America is one of those nations, but impotent to stop the carnage . The prophecies are couched in metaphore the futile ally of Israel is called "Egypt", or, as Isaiah called it, "Rahab-do-nothing" (Is.30:7), the nation that sits still and does nothing at the time of catastrophe.
This is the same "Egypt" that the prophets tell us will send its troops to the Euphrates to guard the western perimeter there. But to no avail. The posts are to be overrun in the attack and swept away by forces vastly outnumbering those guarding against that assault (Jer.46:3-10).
Everything still points to the fact that the world of our time is standing at the crossroads of scripture's final visions. If so, the invasion of Israel is at the heart of all current events building now in the Middle East. The focus is Jerusalem. The Jewish army leaders were allowed to return to the land of Palestine and set up a nation there ahead of time (ahead of the Prince of Persia's decree) for one purpose only: to reconcile themselves with God (Jer.42).
"For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: Your salvation lay in conversion and tranquility, your strength in complete trust; and you would have none of it." (Is.30:15).
These are the people of the Book. Why have they failed to read it?
"To the seers they say, 'See no visions'; to the prophets, 'Do not prophesy the truth to us, 'tell us flattering things; have illusory visions; turn aside from the way, leave the path, take the Holy One out of our sight'." (Is.30:10-11).
The orders given were these: to stay within the boundaries decreed for them by the king of Babylon and to live at peace with their neighbors (Jer.42). Jeremiah, himself, on the command of God defined these orders. Instead, the army leaders abandoned God. They made no attempt to reconcile themselves to Him with respect to the Diaspora and, in open defiance of scripture, made a military pact with the great king of the west, encouraging their citizens to settle in lands forbidden to them by Jeremiah's decree of return.
They did not go back to try find God, or to search for the reasons surrounding the Diaspora; to try to correct those mistakes. Instead, they built a secular nation obsessed with military matters. Isaiah said of this fixation and the religious vacuum surrounding it:
"Woe to those who go down to Egypt to seek help there, who rely on the number of chariots and on the strengh of mounted men, but never look to the Holy One of Israel nor consult the Lord." (Is.31:1).
"The Egyptian is a man, not a god, his horses are flesh, not spirit; the Lord will stretch out his hand to make the protector stumble; the protected will fall and all will perish together." (Is.31:3).
The focus of scripture surrounding the two wars at the Euphrates is on the disaster about to befall Israel foreign troops standing in the streets of Jerusalem once again, proof that the Diaspora is still in place and that the prophecies of scripture must come to the Persian end decreed before that dispersion can truly to end.
Proof, also, that no nation can stand in open violation of the orders of God and expect to succeed.
A part of Jerusalem is to fall once again. A treaty signed in duress is all that will stand between complete annhiliation and the allowance of a remnant to remain there a remnant that is to be threatened by armies all the way to the end. That is the catastrophe warned about in the pages of Jeremiah, the disaster that stems from Israeli preoccupation with militarism instead of with the business of making amends with God.
Such amends are crucial to the treaty of return.
The people of Israel were called by God to change the circumstances that caused the Diaspora. But no move has been made to repair that relationship. Only military planning and preparations. Only settlements in foreign lands against the dictates of the terms that brought this people back to Jerusalem ahead of time..
While Israel is the focus of scripture and Christianity, American concern lies with the helplessness of Egypt if that is what our nation or the western world is prophetically called in these verses. Why are we impotent? Why do we allow Israel and our own forces to be overrun by the armies of the East with no more than a wimper of protest? What will drive our impotence? Will it be like Katrina?
Isaiah writes that God will stretch out His hand to make "the protector stumble". That implies a collapse of some kind, financial or physical. A divinely induced collapse one that has something to do with the ocean and its roaring waves.
Are we Tyre, the imperial nation founded in God but, owing to its riches fallen into profligacy? In relation to this imperial nation, scripture writes, "The fortresses of Canaan are to be destroyed." God, it says, is going to stretch his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms, this imperial Tyre.
"The harbor is no more. Till the soil, daughter of Tarshish." writes Isaiah (Is.23:10). "He has stretched his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms..." Tarshish stands for Tartessos of Spain the farthest west ends of the earth at the time scripture was written. Today that farthest west is America. Can it be that America is Egypt, is Tarshish, is imperial Tyre, or a part of these designations? Of course. We officially disowned God and Jesus beginning in1963. Should a nation reject God and expect a blessing in return?
Why is the harbor no more? It would take a 30 foot rise in sea level to do the kind of damage envisioned here to completely neutralize a mighty nation. Does the entire ice mass of Greenland suddenly descend into the sea or is there a tidal wave? If so, how large? The only answer is that God intends to stretch out His hand over this "Egypt" and shatter it.
The single act of Jeruslem's invasion and its consequences will bring the world, not just into one prophecy, but into a terrible sequence of prophecies. The heady days of prosperity will never come again to Babylon. The fortress will be destroyed. The towers fall. The seas rage. The harbor vanish. And a militaristic East will topple the western world, replacing it as the dominate imperialism of the world. Leading that fragmentation of all that we know will be the ten kings of the beast, and with them all the forces of the Antichrist.
These are not political statements. They are prophecies from God already given, prophecies of the headlines of the world's future the dark time ahead Jesus spoke of when He said that "night is coming when no one can work". It is twilight now. There is still time to work, but it is vanishing fast. Delay is perilous.
When Jesus offered salvation to the world, a precious cornerstone, a foundation stone making justice the measure and integrity the plumb-line so that the believer not stumble, He did so wielding a destructive whip (Is.28:17-19; John 2:14-16). The world was made only for Christ and the purpose He brought. All who choose to live in His shelter will come to a safe end, but the souls of those who reject Him will be shattered in the chaos ahead:
"My people will live in a peaceful home, in safe houses, in quiet dwellings the forest shall be beaten down and the city laid low." (Is. 32:18-20).
Happy will be all who believe and trust in the Lord.
Can you tell me about the handwriting on the wall? GH
The handwriting on the wall is not only in the Book of Daniel, it IS the Book of Daniel.
It's meaning is that the "night" Jesus spoke of is at hand. This is the night the Prince of Persia is coming to power and is going to overthrow Babylon and kill its king (Jer.44:29). The meaning is no different today than it was when Daniel interpreted the writing and pronounced its sentence 2500 years ago (Dn. 5:5).
The fact that the Book of Daniel, sealed by God since the time of its writing, is being opened in our time indicates we are the profligate age the handwriting addressesthe true "Babylon" of prophecy. Just as in the Babylon of history, Saddam Hussein was put to death and his kingdom divided and given to the Medes and the Persians (Dn.5:28). So it is to be with the Babylon of prophecy.
You present some thoughtful arguments, but I can't get over that most people are good and the times we live in are better than any our ancestors lived in. How can you think the doom and gloom prophecies of scripture are appropriate to us? I think you are off on your years. I hope so anyway. D
Yes, most people are good. Yet scripture tells us that many will be lost because they did not accept Christ's offer of eternal life. The message Jesus preached is not about perceptions of good and bad, it is about salvation. It is about a rescue!
According to scripture we were born onto this earth burdened with a death penalty for sin. This was Satan's doing. Jesus died on the cross to pay our penalty. He died in our place. Unless we are marked in His sacrifice through baptism and repentance, we can have no salvation in us. Only those who accept His gift can be saved.
The shout is given because no one has to die. Eternal life is only a decision away. It can be made in a second. That is the length of time between life and death. Those who procrastinate may lose the only moment they had to be saved because the "good times" you speak of are about to end:
"For this is what the Lord has said to me, 'Go and post the watchman, and let him report what he sees. 'If he sees cavalry, horsemen two by two...let him observe, closely observe." The look-out shouts, 'On a watchtower, Lord, I stand all day; and at my post I keep guard all night'. Look, here come the cavalry, horsemen two by two."
"They spoke to me; they said, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon, and all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground'. You who are threshed, you who are winnowed, what I have learnt from the Lord God, from the God of Israel, I am telling you now." (Is.21:6-10).
"You who pass the night in scrublands, in the wastelands...bring water for the thirsty. You inhabitants of Tema go and meet the fugitive and give him bread; since these are fleeing from the swords, from biting swords, from bent bows, from the stress of battle." (Is.21:13-15).
"Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees, who refuse justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan. What will you do on the day of punishment, when, from far off, destruction comes? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing for it but to crouch with the captives and to fall with the slain. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike." (Is.10:1-4).
Whether from the watchtowers or the pulpit, the ministers of God preach the same message: It is the message of the prophets: Get out of Babylon! A terrible calamity is coming to destroy her. You can escape with your lives if you leave this place now and follow the way Jesus marked out.
It is a holy road. Take it while there is still light to see by, because time is quickly running out. The evening shadows lengthen. The ministers tend to the fugitives, bringing food and drink to those who have understood the message and are on their way out, following the path of the Lord.
In the Old Testament, long before Jesus was born, the word went out:
"Someone shouts to me from Seir, 'Watchman, what time of night? Watchman, what time of night?' The watchman answers, 'Morning is coming, then night again." (Is.21:11-12).
That morning arrived in the "Sonrise" of Jesus at Bethlehem.
The last 2000 years have been a time of Sonshine and harvest: the "Day of God" when millions of people across the face of the earth listened to the call of the Lord and escaped with their lives. Called the "millenium" because of prophecy, the time of the harvest has been almost doubled through the mercy of God. But now the end is close at hand. The "thousand years" have ended and the calamity scripture calls "the Wrath" is upon us. The rage of the 20th century and the madness of world war have plunged civilization into a chaos that is to be the nursery of Armageddon.
Now night is coming again. We are at the end of the age. We know that because, after all these years, Jerusalem has suddenly been rebuilt. At the same time, all the nations have thrown Jesus Christ out of their administrations. These are two seminal events. They are at the heart of all of scripture's warnings.
Those in the watchtowers shout the warning as they see the sun begin to set. 'Watchman, what time of day? The watchman answers, 'night is coming, bitter but short, then will come the morning, an everlasting day. It will never be night again.'
The Bible is clear: at the center of the fury are the Medes and the Persians. Together, they form the nucleus of the ten horns of end-time prophecy that are about to lay Babylon waste. They bring the Wrath that God has authorized.
"The ten horns and the beast will turn against the prostitute (Babylon), and strip off her clothes and leave her naked; then they will eat her flesh and burn the remains in the fire. In fact, God influenced their minds to do what he intended, to agree together to put their royal powers at the beast's disposal until the time when God's words should be fulfilled." (Rev.17:15-17).
"Priests, put on sackcloth and lament. Ministers of the altar, wail. Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God. For the house of our God has been deprived of oblation and libation...the day of the Lord is near, it comes as a devastation from Shaddai." (Joel 1:13-15).
"See how the Lord lays the earth waste, makes it a desert, buckles its surface, scatters its inhabitants...for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant. so a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men are left." Is.24:1-6).
Isaiah and Jeremiah, speaking of the fall of Babylon and the fury surrounding it, compared it to the agony and ecstasy of childbirth:
"Just as whirlwinds sweeping over the Negeb come from the desert, so from a land of horrora harsh vision has been shown methe plunderer plunders, the destroyer destroys. 'Go up, Persia (Elam), lay siege, Media, I am putting an end to groaning.' This is why my loins are wracked with shuddering; I am seized with pains like the pains of a woman in labor; I am too distressed to hear, too afraid to see. My heart flutters, dread makes me tremble, the twilight I longed for has become my horror." (Is. 21:1-4)
"The Lord says this, I have heard a cry of panic, of terror, not of peace. Now ask, consider can men bear children? Then why do I see each man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor? Why has every face changed, turned pale? This is indeed a great day, no other like it: a time of distress for Jacob; but he will be freed from it." (Jer.30:5-7).
Such are to be the labor pains of the new birth when the kingdoms change their master (Mat.24:8). All who follow Jesus will escape this devastation with their lives intact, and live forever in peace in the kingdom God has created anew in the heavens.
"On that dayit is the Lord God who speaksI will break the yoke on their necks, and snap their chains. They will be no longer the servants of aliens, but will serve the Lord their God, and David their king whom I will raise up for them." (Jer. 30:8-9).
"So do not be afraid, my servant Jacobit is the Lord who speaksIsrael, do not be alarmed: look, I will rescue you from distant countries and your descendants from the country (Babylon) where they are captive. Jacob will have quiet again and live at ease, with no one to trouble him. For I am with you to save you: I will make an end of all the nations where I have scattered you; I will not make an end of you, only discipline you in moderation, so as not to let you go entirely unpunished." (Jer.30:10-11).
"Yes God says this...So great is your guilt, so many your sins, that I have done all this to you. But all those who devoured you shall themselves be devoured, all your oppressors go into captivity, those who despoiled you shall be despoiled, and all who preyed on you I will make into prey. For they used to call you 'The Outcast', 'Our booty whom no one cares about!' But I will restore you to health and heal your woundsit is the Lord who speaks. (Jer.30:12-17).
The poor and downtrodden of the earth will be "outcasts" no longer. The peace that God is bringing His people to is not on this earth. It is in another kingdom, far away. That is the meaning of the journey which is our trek through life following the Gospel Jesus preached, the footsteps that can save our lives.
"They have found pardon in the wilderness, those who have survived the sword." (Jer.31:2).
Who has power to change these prophecies and say otherwise?
1) Is Jesus Christ the last prophet who came to earth?
2) Does anywhere in the Old or New Testament mention this?
I am a Christian (my father Catholic & mother Orthodox) who grew up in Greece with the orthodox teachings and i remember that in religious classes we were told the Jesus was the last prophet. How true is this to us as Christians? ? CB
Jesus was certainly the ultimate prophet. He is also the fulfillment of all prophecy. And because He is God (the Trinity), He is the First and the Last (the Alpha and the Omega). Which would indeed make Him the last prophet. But all Christians are prophets. Simply to say that "Jesus is Lord" is to utter prophecy, because that is not proven yet. It will not be proven until the Second Coming. Then all of our prophecies and testimonies about Him will come true.
In chapters 12 through 14, of 1st Corinthians, Paul discusses the spiritual gifts given to Christians. He specified "prophecy" as one of those gifts and discussed the subject extensively. Among his many comments was this:
"And so, my dear brothers, by all means be ambitious to prophesy, do not suppress the gift of tongues, but let everything be done with propriety and in order." (1 Cor. 14:39-40).
The entire book of Revelation is a book of prophecy written by the Apostle John long after Jesus was crucified. The book refers to itself as a book of prophecy (See Rev. 1:3; 22:10, etc.)
One of the most stunning prophecies in modern times is that of Lucia de los Santos of Fatima. She predicted the conversion of Russia. And the entire world was listening when her 3rd prophecy was revealed.
It was from a prophetess in England that Nelson Darby learned of the idea of the "Rapture". There are Christian prophets, and have been since the days of the Apostles. Scripture has ordered there to be prophets all the way to the End. If not, who would there be to carry out this command:
"Does misfortune come to a city if the Lord has not sent it? No more does the Lord Yahweh do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets. The lion roars: who can help feeling afraid? the Lord God speaks: who can refuse to prophesy?" (Amos 3:6-8).
Just remember, the Apostle Peter wrote:
"Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit." (2 Peter 1:20-21).
In Luke 16:19 31 we see the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. In Genesis 17 we see that God promised a child to be born through the free woman, Sarah, and this child would be the one to be the heir. As promised, Sarah conceived and had Isaac. He was the one to receive the inheritance.
According to primogeniture, Ishmael should have been the heir. What was the deciding factor between Ishmael and Isaac?
Ishmael was born of the slave woman, Hagar, and Isaac was born of the free woman, Sarah.
The heir was chosen through the maternal line, not the paternal line.
If Abraham represents God the Father, then who does the free woman Sarah represent?
Hagar and Sarah
Galatians 4:21 - 21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the SLAVE WOMAN and the other by the FREE WOMAN. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.
These things may be taken FIGURATIVELY, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar...Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children...But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Sarah is the free woman. She represents the Jerusalem that is free and she is our spiritual mother. Further confirmation.
Galatians 4:28 - 28Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. 30But what does the Scripture say? "Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman's son." 31Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman.
Apostle Paul understood the importance of the story about Sarah and Hagar.
Now we can understand what secret was hidden in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus.
God's children are chosen through the maternal line. Only those who accept 2nd coming Christ and our spiritual mother can receive the inheritance of God, the Kingdom of Heaven.
There are those like Eliezer, who do not believe in Father or Mother.
There are those like Ishmael who only beleive in Father, but not Mother.
Then there are those like Isaac who beleive in Father and Mother.
Only those like Isaac, the children of promise, will share in the inheritance of God. B
How did you segue from two covenants to focus on mothers and fathers and maternal salvation? There is no such thing as maternal salvation in Christ. Christianity is not a question of believing in Father and Mother, it is a question of believing in Father and Son.
As you point out, Sarah stands for the covenant of Christ. Hagar for the covenant of Moses. But the word "mother" here is allegory, standing for the creation each covenant embodies. It is not the word "mother", but the word "covenant" that is the structural architecture of the parable about Hagar and Sarah. The story does not point to Ishmael or Issac, or even through Lazarus to Eliezer. it points to those who follow either Moses or Jesus.
The belief that saves is faith in the Son, Jesus Christ.
Only the Godhead, the Trinity, is involved in our creation and salvation. That is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. There is no "mother" in this equation. Our salvation comes from the Holy Spirit, the "living water" that emanates from the breast of Christ. It all comes through the Father: through the Godhead: the Word of God.
Jesus proved this when He told His disciples: "My mother and sisters and brother are those who hear the word of God and put it into practice." This means that both mother and her children gain life in exactly the same way, through the same Father, the Word of God, the Gospel Jesus preached.
Living in Moses, we live in the creation that is this world. When we were born into this world, we were born into the covenant of Moses. Jesus has called us to leave this world (and its Mosaic covenant) and follow Him to a new creation (formed by a new covenant). The allegory terms that new creation a new mother.
Our new birth into that new mother (that new creation) comes from the Son through the Father.
The Book of Revelation refers to "the mother of the male child", as the mother of everyone "who obeys God's commandments and bear witness for Jesus" (Rev. 12:13-17). She is our mother, but we are not born of her, we are born into her. There is a big difference. We are born of Christ and because of that new birth, we are to be raised up in the new "mother", which is the new creation in heaven built by God out of "the good deeds of the saints" (Rev. 19:8-9).
It is common for those in this worldly creation to speak of "mother nature". Mother nature is a term that relates only to this world. Our mother in heaven can be viewed like that, because it involves an entirely new creation in another place. This earthly creation (the one we call mother nature) is to pass away and be replaced by the bride of Christ, the new creation in heaven. The new Jerusalem is to be His bride signifying that Jesus is to be the King of that new creation.
We have learned that on earth we are made in two parts, body and soul. On earth our invisible spiritual soul created by God lives in a visible physical body created by "mother nature"(also through God, though many deny that). In heaven we do not know what kind of body our soul will be given, but it will probably exist in the same substance as our soul and be raised up in the substance of the Jerusalem of heaven, i.e., in the substance of the new covenant: the "mother" of the parable.
Both body and soul come from God, but because there are two parts, we can speak of Father and mother, using the same logic that divides body and soul on earth. The body our soul will wear in the new creation will be raised up out of that new creation. Perforce, the motherhood.
The parable you quote reflects the two covenants (the two creations).
In Moses the "mother" is formed by the Old Covenant. In Jesus Christ the "mother" is formed by the New Covenant. While each has its focus in two spiritual cities (one on earth and the other in heaven), they can be understood here only in terms of scripture. The line that divides them runs between the books of Malachi and Matthew, i.e., between Moses and Christ.
The parable relates to the completion of Moses in Christ our passage from the Guardian covenant to the Covenant of the True Father. Those who believe in Christ have come to the freeborn wife, the new covenant. The covenants of God relate to the creations each produce. If there is to be a new covenant, there must be a new creation to accomodate it. Perforce, a new world and a new Jerusalem.
Those who stay with Moses are children of the old covenant. Only in Christ is there eternal life. There is no eternal life in Moses. That is the meaning of the parable.
The issue is Moses versus Jesus. To stay in Moses or to go back to Moses is to refuse or abandon salvation. There is no salvation in the old covenant. Only in Judiasm is there a caveat to this rule because it alone forms a second "house" of Israel.
We can see this relationship exposed in the words of the prophet Jeremiah who explained that God's creation stemming from the Mosaic covenant had abandoned faith in God and played the prostitute. God, instead of destroying the people, sent His Son to die on the cross for His people's sins, giving them a way to return to God by way of a new covenant (Jer.3:1-18; Jer. 31:31-34).
But you have, indeed, uncovered in this parable a "secret" revelation the relationship between the Jerusalem of this world and the Jerusalem of heaven. It shows that Jesus will not return to set up a kingdom in this world, despite the fact that many say so. He will return only to take us to the new creation (our new mother) in heaven. Mother nature will have nothing to do with the formation of our new bodies in Christ. The Jerusalem of this world must pass away as soon as Christ returns.
We can see that "passing away" in the testimony of Peter:
"They are choosing to forget that there were heavens at the beginning, and that the earth was formed by the word of God out of water and between the waters, so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded by water. But by the same word, the present sky and earth are destined for fire, and are only being reserved until Judgement day so that all sinners may be destroyed." (2 Peter 3:5-7).
"The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up. Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and hope for the Day of God to come." (2 Peter 3:10-12).
"Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace". (2 Peter 3:11-14).
We can also see that passing away, as well as God's replacement creation, in the Book of Revelation:
"Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace ·I saw the dead, both great and small, standing in front of his throne, while the book of life was opened, and other books opened which were the record of what they had done in their lives, by which the dead were judged." (Rev. 20:11-12).
The sea gave up all the dead who were in it; ·Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged according to the way in which he had lived. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death; ·and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was thrown into the burning lake." (Rev. 20:13-15).
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first, earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. ·I saw the holy city, and the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, as beautiful as a bride all dressed for her husband. ·Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'You see this city? Here God lives among men. He will make his home among them; they shall be his people, and he will be their God..." (Rev. 21:1-3).
The new covenant creates the "mother". It does not come from her. Jesus alone is the bread of life. He is the "Son" that shines on the new creation, bringing it to life through His life-giving rays of eternal light. The living water of salvation comes to us from the breast of Christ through the Father. There is no other source of life, neither here nor in heaven.
Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ, the Son of God will live forever.
In the prophecy of Jeremiah 3:16 you refrenced a quotation that says the ark of the covenant is to pass away and never be seen or thought of again. How does this square with Rv.11:19? BG
The ark of the covenant was made to house the Testimony, the two stone tablets on which were written the commandments of God which He wrote out in the presence of Moses on Mount Sinai. God told Moses that these were just the beginning of His commandments, that He would descend the mountain in view of all the people and give the rest in person.
As He began to descend, however, the people became terrified at God's approach because the earth shook, the mountain erupted in flame, there were lightning bolts and immense thunder shook the air (Ex.19:16-20). The people begged Moses to go to God and send an intermediary in His place (Ex.20:18-20).
God agreed to this, instituting a temporary Guardian covenant with them until the time came for the Intercessor to appear (Dt.18:15-19). In the meantime, the people carried the ten commandments around in a vessel called the ark of the covenant.
Jeremiah's prophecy (Jer. 3:16) informed the people that when the Intermediary appeared, there would be no need for an ark to carry around God's testimony, because He was going to house those commandments in people's hearts, not in a gold and acacia wood vessel (Jer. 31:33-34). The Intermediary had this kind of authority because He turned out to be God, Himself, made flesh.
The people's need for an ark would never occur again, i.e., the temple of Moses will never be rebuilt.
Rev. 11:19 proves this by showing that the source of God's commandments is not the Jerusalem of this world, or an earthly temple, but in the city of God in heaven.
I keep reading about a historical Jesus. What is the difference? TH
Historical Jesus is a theory that there is a Jesus of history different from the person presented to us in the Gospels. The theory tries to cut between Jesus the ordinary man and the divinely directed and guided figure presented in scripture. The object is the same as those which try to find a scientific or reasoned solution to Jesus walking on water or feeding 5000 people with a few loaves and fishes, etc. an attempt to assuage disbelief.
Perhaps the most powerful god of this world (of Babylon) is not just science, but specifically the current understanding of science. Anything that does not fit into the ever-changing environment of current scientific thought is considered by those of this school as false reason. A divine Jesus, or the fact of a Holy Spirit guiding nature are ideas most in science find repugnant.
Those in the middle try to wed historical and reasoned analysis to Christianity in an attempt to act as a bridge between these two diverse schools of thought. As scientific understanding improves, the structure of these bridges changes, and will continue to change because current understanding of science always changes.
In other words, today's understanding of science is not accurate and will be replaced by tomorrow's understanding (which also will be false, and which, too, will change, on and on into infinity as men continue to probe the vastness of a universe in which there are as many galaxies as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world, and in which each galaxy has as many stars as there are grains of sand on all the beaches of the world).
It is not a small creation Satan has infected. It's sheer size defies comprehesion. Jesus addressed this size and showed that He was master of it all:
"And there are other sheep I have that are not part of this fold, and these I have to lead as well. They too will listen to my voice, and there will be only one flock and one shepherd." (John 10:16).
We can see in the scriptures two Jesus figures. The private Jesus (before Cana) and the public Jesus (the teacher of the Gospels). We can see in Mary's relationship with her Son that the private Jesus was identical to the public figure, but silent as a preacher ("My time has not yet come", He told His mother John 2:4). At that point He knew His whole purpose in life and was capable of performing miracles without hesitation, but obeyed His Father's command to keep his power hidden.
Not only that, but we can see in His mother's response (her command to the servants to "do whatever He tells you" John 2:5) that she also knew of the range of his powers and understood Him. God's command to us that we give to anyone who asks is not a one-way street. God commands us to be like Him. Mary asked Jesus to make water into wine on that level of understanding that He would do what His mother asked of Him.
The only way to understand Jesus is to understand the prophecies that outlined His coming. Jesus told His Apostles over and over that He had to fulfill scripture's prophecies. He understood every prophecy in the Old Testament and, not just those, but everything in the books and traditions (laws) that circulated around it. He talked directly with His Father and with the hidden spiritual figures of heaven every day, always in some hidden or secret place (in the same manner as He told us to pray). The difference is, we almost never see those figures, nor is their communication with us direct.
Jesus knew that He had come to give His earthly body as a sacrifice to take away the world's sin, i.e., the contamination Satan had splashed across our souls. Coupled to that sacrifice was His teaching the road a cleansed vessel (a cleansed soul) must rout their bodies to, and thereby return safely to God, steeped in the understanding and belief that God will then raise them up in a new body in a new creation not of this earth.
Jesus understood this thoroughly. He also knew that the guiding power structuring this return would be the Holy Spirit. Once Jesus had been glorified by His Father in heaven, He endowed the Holy Spirit with his glory and sent Him back to earth to impart it into those who believed in Him.
In Christ, the whole structure of creation lies within the confines of this reality. It is all structured in a war between Satan and God (a war God has already won) and His salvation of the prisoners who have been held captive in Satan's domain.
Jesus knew all this, probably from the time He was a small boy. His comprehension and understanding of scripture, aside from a knowledge of Hebrew reading and writing, was not a momentary event. It did not happen overnight. That understanding can be seen in His discussions at a young age with the elders and teachers in Jerusalem at the Temple.
Prophecy shows us a Jesus of history little different from that of scripture. He knew who He was and He knew where He was going. He also knew where anyone who did not have faith in Him was going as well.
"You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. I have told you already; You will die in your sins. Yes, if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." (John 8:23-24).
He knew His true age:
"I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am". (John 8:58).
He understood that God had given Him everything He had:
"But when the Spirit of truth comes he will lead you to the complete truth, since he will not be speaking as from himself but will say only what he has learnt; and he will tell you of the things to come. He will glorify me, since all he tells you will be taken from what is mine. Everything the Father has is mine; that is why I said: All he tells you will be taken from what is mine." (John 16:12-15).
He also knew that the light He brought to the world would not last forever. The time for salvation had a defined limit that could be easily determined if one knew how to read the signs:
"As long as the day lasts I must carry out the work of the one who sent me; the night will soon be here when no one can work. As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world." (Jn. 8:4-5).
"There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations in agony, bewildered by the clamour of the ocean and its waves; men dying of fear as they await what menaces the world, for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the son of Man coing in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation in near at hand." Luke 21:25-28.
"In the evening you say, 'It will be fair; there is a red sky', but if it is red and overcast in the morning, 'stormy weather today'. You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times." Mat.16:2-3
Those signs are easily seen in the historical world, but, of themselves, have meant little to the those who are witnessing the setting Son or the warning clouds before them. That is why the scriptural Jesus continues to be, even at the end, the salvation of the world:
Now go and inscribe this on a tablet, write it in a book, that it may serve in the time to come as a witness forever." (Is.30:1).
Is there a defining quote in scripture that backs up the Church's claim that Jesus is God in its formula of the Trinity? If so, where might we find it? PL
There are many that allude to it, but perhaps none better than this prophecy in the Book of Isaiah:
"I, I am the Lord, there is no other savior but me. It is I who have spoken, have saved, have made the proclamation, not any strangers among you. You are my witnesses it is the Lord who speaks and I, I am your God, I am he from eternity. No one can deliver from my hand, I act and no one can reverse it. (Is. 43:11-13).
"Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I send an army against Babylon; I will knock down the prison bars and the Chaldaeans will break into laments. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your king." (Is. 43:14-15).
In that quote, the Chaldaens are the citizens of Babylon. The Redeemer of Israel has come to announce the destruction of Babylon and all its pagan dieties.
Isaiah clearly shows in this quotation that the Savior is God. In verses 9:5-7, Isaiah structures the saving Godhead on Jesus Christ:
"For there is child born for us, a son given to us and dominon is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him, 'Wonder-Counsellor', 'Mighty-God', 'Eternal-Father', 'Prince of Peace'."
"Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity. From this time onwards and forever, the jealous love of the Lord God Almighty will do this."
This shows that the 'child born for us' is the one who makes the proclamation. He is no stranger because He was born among us a man. It is Jesus who saves. Therefore, Jesus is our God, from eternity just as prophecy announced, and just as He, Himself, stated:
"I tell you most solemnly, before Abraham ever was, I Am." (John 8:58).
Ted, you write:
"While Israel is the focus of scripture and Christianity, American concern lies with the helplessness of Egypt if that is what our nation or the western world is prophetically called in these verses. Why are we impotent? Why do we allow Israel and our own forces to be overrun by the armies of the East with no more than a wimper of protest? What will drive our impotence? Will it be like Katrina?
Isaiah writes that God will stretch out His hand to make "the protector stumble". That implies a collapse of some kind, financial or physical. A divinely induced collapse; one that has something to do with the ocean and its roaring waves.
Are we Tyre, the imperial nation founded in God but, owing to its riches fallen into profligacy? In relation to this imperial nation, scripture writes, "The fortresses of Canaan are to be destroyed." God, it says, is going to stretch his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms, this imperial Tyre.
"The harbor is no more. Till the soil, daughter of Tarshish." writes Isaiah (Is.23:10). "He has stretched his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms..." Tarshish stands for Tartessos of Spain; the farthest west ends of the earth at the time scripture was written. Today that farthest west is America. Can it be that America is Egypt, is Tarshish, is imperial Tyre, or a part of these designations? Of course. We officially disowned God and Jesus beginning in 1963. Should a nation reject God and expect a blessing in return?
Why is the harbor no more? It would take a 30 foot rise in sea level to do the kind of damage envisioned here; to completely neutralize a mighty nation. Does the entire ice mass of Greenland suddenly descend into the sea or is there a tidal wave? If so, how large? The only answer is that God intends to stretch out His hand over this "Egypt" and shatter it."
I thought you said we were Kittim? The mighty ships that push the antichrist's army back? I'll tell you why we won't stand behind Israel Ted. Because of their manipulation...pushing us toward isolationism. The writing is on the walls. Bush and his folly into Iraq has hurt us beyond belief. Iran looms on the horizon. Do you know how many people I know that have said that if we attack Iran, they will renounce their American citizenship?
That's why Ted. Because you may not read it in the press, or hear it on the news, but the vast majority of Americans are fed up with our one-sided, blind defense of Israel. We are NOT willing to fight for them because they have lied and manipulated to the point that it will backfire.
And YOU of all people should know that in the end times, Israel does NOT mean the literal nation and Babylon is NOT the literal place of a physical nature. It represents the division between worldly and spiritual. -PS
America is the nation that saved the world from totalitarian rule in the 1940's. Yet it was the same nation that almost fractured and disappeared 80 years earlier, in the 1860's, during the period of Civil War which divided the nation and its people into two bitterly opposed halves. Same nation. Two circumstances, vastly different.
America was able to save the world in the 1940's because it survived the catastrophe of the1860's and recovered. The same applies to Kittim. Same nation. Two era's. Two vastly different circumstances. Again, a looming catastrophe from which recovery is essential if the "Man of Perdition" is to be blocked.
My writing which you refer to above points to the crises of faith currently hovering over world society today and its consequences. The rejection of Christ's doctrine has grown over the last 100 years to encompass all the nations of the western world. It will have dynamic repercussions, as discussed. Castastrophic repercussions! Those counteractions will lead the world into the final days.
The people of America are divided between secularism and religiousmostly Christian religious. Yet America today is proof of the Psalm that says "Man in prosperity forfeits wisdom." We are exposed daily to the reckless profligacy spilling out of Hollywood and can see everywhere the hedonism and godlessness that have rampantly converted human culture. Sexual obsession, greed, violence and sin are ubiquitous and universally accepted; so much so that most see all this as normal and acceptable human endeavor. God sees otherwise. Scripture shows Him pulling the plug on this "Babylon" (a world gone morally beserk). The repercussions are absolute. The warnings have already been given. The time appears close.
I sense that the recoil discussed above will be so dramatic that it will move the leadership of America back toward God, shifting the balance of political power away from the precipice of faithlessness. The fact of "Kittim" in prophecy seems proof that this shift will occur, but it will not happen overnight, and it will not happen at all if it is not brought to the people's attention that such a shift is a crucial necessity to the nation's survival. That is why the warning is broadcast.
Israel is today a divided nation as well. Up to one half of its population is militant and the other half (a political minority) is opting for peace. The militants back the settlers, and they are in power. According to scripture, this division will not change until the invasion at the Euphrates, when it will be forcibly brought to a focus.
Yes, scripture's ultimate definition is spiritual, but every spiritual element has a physical component an opposite which works as an example of what cannot be seen. All the works of God go in pairs by these kind of opposites. We can see these physical components (these opposites) in the national events that encompass the last days.
The whole spiritual framework of the last days is based on a national structure focused on the city of Jerusalem in Palestine. All the nations are to be brought to this city per prophecy. A little over a hundred years ago Jerusalem was described by Mark Twain as a sleepy village town, decaying in its ruins. Compare that to the circumstance there today, with all the armies and nations of the world focused on the MIddle East, and Jerusalem a mighty modern world city at the center of all the controversy.
The Book of Esther describes Jerusalem as the world's gallows intended by Haman to be the place of the execution of the Jewish race, but turned by God into Haman's place of execution instead. It is the world's "Valley of Jehoshaphat" where all the world's people are to face the Judgment. The closer that Judgment comes, the larger Jerusalem will loom over world affairs.
The word "Israel" was given to Jacob and applied to the twelve "tribes" that came through him. The Jews were only one of those twelve. That means the term "Israel" encompasses all Christians and Jews, a duality that constitutes the two "houses" of Israel. The Diaspora (exile to Babylon) applies to both.
The spiritual ingathering has been taking place since Pentecost and leads to the Jerusalem of heaven.
The physical (i.e., opposite) side of the spiritual Ingathering from this exile will take place at the End, when all of Israel is allowed to leave its 2000-year captivity in "Babylon". This event (the physical end of the Diaspora) is near, but has not yet occurred because it must await a proclamation by the "Prince of Persia" (2 Chron. 36:19-21). That prince and his proclamation are still to come. In fact, it is quite a distance away at this point, for which we can be thankful, for he is the "Beast". Much will happen before it is issued.
What is happening now is a return authorized by Jeremiah as a codicle to the Diaspora, allowing a group of Jewish army leaders to return in advance of the Persian proclamation (Jer. 42-44). In Jeremiah's return it is the king of Babylon who allows the return (not the prince of Persia). The same is true of the return we see there today it was authorized by an edict issued through a political body called the United Nations (the united kings of Babylon, if you will).
The return authorized by God through Jeremiah was for the purpose of reuniting the Jewish people with God, not for building a military empire. The return was given so that the following question be probed and rectified:
"As for this Temple, now so exalted, all who pass by will be astounded; they will whistle and say, 'Why has the Lord treated this country and this Temple like this? And the answer will be 'Because they forsook the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they adopted other gods and worshipped them and served them; that is why he has brought all these disasters on them." (2 Chron. 7:21-22).
Jeremiah's return involved two warnings. The people were not allowed to form "settlements" outside the boundaries defined for them by the king of Babylon and they were not to make a military pact with "Egypt". Those warnings were blatantly violated, both in the prophecy and in today's fulfillment of that prophecy.
The repercussions of those violations in the prophecy are graphically documented in the Book of Jeremiah (Jer. 44:11-14) and give a disquieting assurance that we can expect the same to be repeated for today's violations in the days ahead, i.e., the invasion across the Euphrates when "God dries up the river bed" that brings the armies of the East on the rampage preordained by scripture.
In that preordained attack, scripture tells us that God will disarm "Egypt's" hand so that it cannot aid Israel, because what is to be must be. The term "Egypt" is symbolism pointing to the United States. It points to Israel's military alliance with the West, and to the nation whose troops guard the Euphrates from the kings of the East. That symbolism points to America, not to Egypt. Today America guards the Euphrates, not Egypt, and Israel's military pact is with the American military establishment, it has nothing to do with Egypt.
America will not come to Israel's aid in time to prevent the invasion from reaching into Jerusalem because God will prevent us from responding so that the prophecy is carried out. It may follow along the course you specify, isolationism, but there is catastrophe associated with it as well (Jer. 45:4-5; Dan.11:3-4). See especially, Is. 23:10 above.
Scripture shows that the East is to be God's mace in the destruction of "Babylon". The western world nations will collapse, but America will be allowed to recover to become Kittim. That will not change the End, but insure that the End will follow the prophecies that have described it. Everything that has been prophesied will occur, irrespective of politics. Every world leader in this sequence is to be a pawn in the hand of God because scripture must follow its predetermined course.
After the invasion, Israel will be forced through a treaty of survival to accept the bride of Palestine. It will be a shotgun wedding designed to destroy Israel, but it will not work to that end (Dan. 11:17). It will be a time, as the Book of Chronicles states, of great violence and chaos:
"Listen to me, Asa, and all you of Judah and of Benjamin. The Lord is with you so long as you are with him. When you seek him, he lets you find him; when you desert him, he deserts you. Many a day Israel will spend without a faithful God, without priest to teach, without law; but in their distress they will return to the Lord, the God of Israel; they will seek him and he will let them find him.
When that time comes no grown man will know peace, for many troubles will afflict all the inhabitants of the country. Nation will be shattered by nation, city shattered by city, since God will afflict them with every kind of distress. But for your part, take courage, do not let your hands weaken, for your deeds will be rewarded." (2 Chron. 15:2-7).
Among the Jews, the militants of Israel will be destroyed (2 Chron. 18:5+). In their place, a people of peace will stand firm behind the Jehoshaphat of the future whom God will raise up for them while they prepare themselves for the Armageddon that looms. Though they are facing vast hordes of troopscombatants beyond number surrounding them, there will be no need to fight that day. The Lord alone will act and the enemy will be no more (2 Chron. 20:16-17).
And then they will see Michael teh Archangel and those with him coming from the Mount of Olives. Filled with joy at the sight of the rconciliation completed, the Jewish leaders will greet him with history's final words:
"Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord" (Mat. 23:39).
Let me ask you another question: Christ said that he could destroy the Temple ad rebuild it in 3 days. What does that mean? PS
The true temple of God is the body of Christ.
After Jesus had overturned the tables of the money changers and driven them out of the Temple with a whip,
"The Jews intervened and said, 'What sign can you show us to justify what you have done?' Jesus answered, 'Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up'.
The Jews replied, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this sanctuary: are you going to raise it up in three days?' " But he was speaking of the sanctuary that was his body, and when Jesus rose from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the scripture and the words he had said." (John 2:18-21).
"Then some of the scribes and Pharisees spoke up. 'Master', they said, 'we should like to see a sign from you.' He replied, 'It is an evil and unfaithful generation that asks for a sign! The only sign it will be given is the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was in the belly of tthe whale for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights." (Mat. 12:38-40).
"I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it." (Rev. 21:22-23).
Ted...on many issues, I have a completely different view than you.
God does not look at nations -- he is not looking at nations with a name and borders and a flag. For goodness sakes Ted, most of the world is rife with sin and corruption and greed! God is not going to single out one nation to destroy or to build up for that matter. Why? Because ask yourself this: is God CAUSING events or is He going to cause events, or, is it more that he is all-knowing and knew the future and it is unfolding NOT by the hand of God, but by the mis-steps of man?
It's from the mistakes we make. God did not lift up the United States or Great Britain for that matter. Why? Because if God knows all and knows the future, why would he lift up nations such as England, which invaded and oppressed others? Why would he lift up the USA, if he knew that we would be a nation obsessed with Hollywood and Las Vegas, etc., etc. He would not. He did not.
Likewise, he will not go about destroying this nation over that nation in the end. What WILL happen is man will either keep on the course we're on (which is probably the case) and the end results is exactly what God forsaw. What God will do is to intercede to save ALL of His people. Trust me Ted!! PS
Your assessment is right on the mark, but it measures only one part of the equation. Yours is the most important part for us as individuals in Christ. I do not write about God building up some nations and destroying others. I write about the destruction of Babylon. It is a one-time occasion. My writing is more complicated, because it must include the language of scripture's prophets. I am required to write from their mouths.
It is they, the prophets of scripture, following God's orders, who have based the prophecies on nations. Their words structure the wrath of God on the rejection of His will by the nations, a plummeting faith in the final days that can, ostensibly, be observed and graphed.
When investors are evaluating companies on the stock market they use graphs to assess the relative value of the companies they invest in. They do this because graphs transfer the confusion of the numbers into a type of picture which allows the investor to see the factors they are most interested in and portray them in patterns that show past, present and likely future trends of those factors in definitive patterns which they can see and understand at a glance.
Those graphs can be shown in daily patterns, or they can be shown in yearly patterns, . The two are different. Even more different are graphs that show those patterns over several years. All are extremely valuable for determining where a corporation is in relation to the other corporations in the same field, or in relation to other industries as well.
Those graphs exist both for individual companies and for all the companies put together, usually composited in key graphs, like Standard and Poor's or Dow Jones, etc.
These graphs measure the financial picture of the corporations in question.
We can measure the moral picture of a nation, or group of nations in the same way. Not financially, but in terms of national morality. No one has ever done it. But it's still there to be done, dependent on the measure used.
Using Jesus Christ as the measure, we can garner a view of the moral nature of the United States in the motion pictures and music popular in previous era's, say the 1940's or 30's or 00's, etc. As we go back in time, we discover that previous ages were increasingly naive in relation to current behavior. They were more innocent measured in group terms. Also they tended to be more Christian. Many argue this, but that simplicity and culture can be seen vividly in the music, art, drugs and national behaviors of previous ages.
Almost all teenagers and many adults left their cars unlocked and the windows down even up to the 1950's. The jackets and items left inside were rarely stolen. It was not uncommon for people to leave their keys in the car when they went into a store. People left unattended baskets in fruit stands asking visitors to pick out what they wanted and put the money in the basket in the 1920's, even up to the1940's. Empty coke bottles were left all night in racks in the service stations, as well as machines filled with soda pop, outide all night. That's all just a few years ago in our own country.
On the other side of the coin, there has always been evil and violence. That, too, has grown far more virulent over the Christian ages leading up to figures like Napolean and Hitler, etc., who have mounted increasingly gruesome attacks on the more placid nations around them.
All this can be graphed.
If we make such a graph relevant only to Christianity on the planet, measuring nations, as we would corporations on the stock market, we would find the same kind of up and down lines relative to national obedience in general to the commandments of the Lord that we would see in corporations relative to money. As the level of disobedience increased, as the degredation into drugs and kinky sex and its public acceptance via printed and electronic media grew and the naivete fell, the line would go down, showing the rate and relative position of that general public fall in morality per Christ's rules.
The graph would not include pagan Rome or pagan Greece or any structure of humanity outside the world of Christian instruction. It would only measure Christ's impact on the world, and its changing nature over time. Just as with the stock market over time, we see companies appear and companies die, so with nations. But just as the market itself continues, so would the history of Christianity on earth and its impact on those nations that accept it, i.e., a sort of Dow Jones-like average in moral terms from Pentecost to now giving us over all that time, presumably, in the long view a sort of bell-shaped curve, with a more or less flattened top.
Jesus said that God's offer of salvation was limited. It has a definitive time, which He said was "short". The prophets were assigned by God to describe that period and its end. They had only one way of doing that, and that was to portray it in terms of nations in terms of their relationship to God.
We can see those Christian nations two ways. One, as the myriad of church's that comprise Christianity on earth, or two, as the Christian nations of the political world.
According to their assessments, when the national Christian response by the nations as a whole has fallen below a certain (but unmarked level), the plug will be pulled. That is how all the prophets in scripture have portrayed the termination (using the term "House of Israel" as the incorporating description of those Christian nations)..
Jesus said that every word in the prophecies had to be fulfilled. So it will be. Both literally and spiritually.
The first nation to accept Christ (as a nation) was Rome at the time of Constantine. Since then, every nation in the western world followed their lead and did likewise. In the 20th century, that acceptance was reversed. Every nation in the western world has rescinded that national acceptance. Even America. Jesus said that it was on these grounds that the sentence would be pronounced (John 3:19).
In other words, on rescinded faith.
In order to understand the timing of scripture and see that timing in the language of prophecy, it is necessary to incorporate it, as has scripture, not just in its underlying spiritual reality, but in its national imagery as well. The spiritual reality exists for each of us as individuals. We live and die in a time framework vastly different from that of the nations. The national reality exists only in terms of the relative state of returning paganism, i.e., the day and moment of the earth itself when God says "Enough!"
Since I write a prophecy page (about the prophets of scripture), specifically to explore that timing, I have to do it in the fog of a non-existant graph, using the prophets of scripture as a guide, and the state of the world today, in relation to the world yesterday as the measure: both plotted in relation to Christ's definition that the time (of Christianity on earth) would be short. This is being done under the backdrop of Christ's statement:
"In the evening you say, 'It will be fair; there is a red sky', but if it is red and overcast in the morning, 'stormy weather today'. You know how to read the face of the sky, but you cannot read the signs of the times." (Mat.16:2-3).
Jerusalem has been rebuilt. That alone shows that the time is near, which means that looking at the world today is giving us a view of a Christian world different from that of the past, i.e., more pagan and more sinful. In America we can see that difference vividly just going back to the 1940's.
God has decreed that those differences be stated in relation to the words of the prophets of scripture. He has set a defined time limit on this instruction: "Seventy weeks are decreed...for setting the seal on vision and on prophecy..." (Daniel 9:24).
"Does the trumpet sound in the city without the populace becoming alarmed? Does misfortune come to a city if God has not sent it? No more does the Lord God do anything without revealing his plans to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:6-7).
The reason why this warning is so essential (the reason why God has decreed it must be stated) is because He wants no one to be lost; He wants everyone to be warned so fully that no one afterward can come to Him and say they didn't know.
Do you think homosexuality is biological? If it is should it that change our view of scripture in any way? LD
Homosexuality is definitely biological. So is the urge to rape. Man is born into the body of a wild animal that must be carefully domesticated. Humans are born with biological urges and drives that would rip civilization apart if left completely unchecked. Society sets rules of order in order to keep man's drives from wreaking havoc across the social spectrum. Without those rules, people would rape and kill whenever the urge struck them. Even with those laws in place, we still have to suffer endless wars, violence and social abberations on a vast scale.
The rules of domestication have been honed over thousands of years of social intercourse by trial and error. In addition, Jesus brought a set of social rules down from heaven which He taught must be kept in order to achieve eternal life. Scripture tells us that books are kept in heaven that detail our every action, both positive and negative in relation to those rules, so important are they to our ultimate fate.
We live in a time when many of the western world's strictures are being newly tested in the wake of society's recent overthrow of Christian morality.
Biological urges notwithstanding, the New Testament teaches that eternal life is achieved only with compliance to Christ and the "narrow road" He detailed. The same is true of society's new morality. It can't change scripture. Nor can it ever offer what it has no intent to offer eternal life.
Jesus is the light of the nations. Through Him God's salvation has reached to the ends of the earth.
I see advertisements running all the time on tv for a book written by a scientist ridiculing Christianity and other faiths saying religion precipitates wars and killing. Is this the kind of attacks on God that prove the end times are near? JP
Written by a scientist, you say? According to the media over the last 70 or 80 years, 9 out of 10 doctors (the most revered professionals in our society) were urging all Americans to smoke Camel cigarettes. Everyone now knows the terrible calamity that befell those who believed what they read or heard and followed the expert's advice. Expect far worse catastrophe from those who urge Americans to embrace godlessness.
You can see in today's world how many politicians have sold out the people that elected them to chase after gold. Scientists, doctors, professors and politicians have a miserable track record lately as far as honesty and character are concerned. The race for riches seems to level them all. It is sad to say, but these days especially, look for the money trail. Is this a sign of the end? Of course it is. See 2 Timothy 3:1-4.
When Adolph Hitler promoted warfare, he didn't need to use religion to do it. All he needed were enough soldiers and war machinery. The same is true of the Japanese in World War II. Those wars were secular. So was the First World War, the Gulf wars, the Vietnam war, the Korean war, the American Civil war, the Chinese war, the Spanish American war, the Alamo and the Texas war, the Revolutionary war and so on throughout history.
There were a few religious wars in the major mix, but they were fought hundreds of years ago. That doesn't mean a major religious war cannot happen again. Perhaps one is brewing now at the Euphrates river between the Shiites and Sunni's because the Quran, like the Old Testament, romanticizes war.
The people who run nations tend to fight just as those in bars do, over anything they perceive as an insult, with the flash point for the violence often being very low. Wars happen because man is born with a gene for violence. Anything can trigger it. Even a flirtatious glance.
Primitive people consider eye-to eye contact an act of war. It is money, greed, jealousy, and power, far more often than religion that fertilizes the soil of mystery writers. The same is true of violence's broader scale.
For these reasons, there will always be wars, but none are promoted by Christ or His Father. Jesus warned that not only will those who initiate wars lose their chance at eternal life, even being angry will gravely endanger it. Peace is the only way to live forever. Compassion, love, humility and kindness are the traits of God, and Jesus promises eternal life to those who embrace them.
Can you explain the meaning of the passage in Isaiah 43:14? God seems to send for all the nobles of Babylon to come down to Israel in ships and they cry out about it. Is this right? Or is it the Chaldeans who cry? Who are the Chaldeans? This passage is very confusing to me. TI
That's a fair translation. The Chaldeans are the citizens of Babylon. They include both the nobles (the kings) and their subjects. The passage sets the stage for the verses that follow it (i.e., Is. 43:15-17): they lead into a stylized maxim on the Exodus God turning the seabed into a road for the redeemed House of Israel to cross, but turning that road at the end into a watery chaos that exterminates Pharaoh and his entire army when they try to chase after the House of Israel's rearguard, to kill them.
Isaiah is prophesying in these verses that this very scene is to happen again in the future, but not with Egypt as the villian. Instead, the pursuing army will be the Babylonians, flush from a crushing destruction of the holy people, and bent on annihilating Jerusalem itself.
Although this vast network of armies, seem to be massing against Israel of their own volition, it is God who has sent for them and brought them there (according to the verse you asked about) to the plain on which they are all to meet their end.
This blast of judgment is one of the great prophecies of scripture. It is the focal point of human existance. It marks the final end of Satan and his "beast". It is called "Armageddon," a war the House of Israel prepares for but never has to fight. The Lord takes the field in their place. The House of Israel does not even have to raise a bow. That is why the prophet Ezekiel said of the vision,
"Son of man, prophesy against Gog. Say to him, 'The Lord God says this: Now I set myself against you, Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you round, lead you on, and bring you from the farthest north to attack the mountains of Israel. I will break the bow in your left hand and dash the arrows out of your right. You will be killed on the mountains of Israel, you and all your hordes, and the nations with you. I shall make you food for carrion and all your hordes, and the nations with you. You will fall in the open countryside. I have spokenit is the Lord God who speaks. I will send fire to Magog and on those living undisturbed on the islands, and they will learn that I am the Lord." (Ez.39:1-6).
"All this is going to happen, all this is going to take place it is the Lord God who speaks. This is the day I predicted." (Ez. 39:8).
Almost immediately after this holocaust of fire and brimstone occurs, Jesus will return.
It will be a time of great distress, unparalleled since nations first came into existence, but all who trust in Christ will be spared, everyone whose name is written in heaven's Book of Life (Dan. 12:1-2).
The vision harkens back to the oldest days in Hebrew literature. It can be found discussed in metaphoric detail in the 2nd Book of Chronicles 20:15-24. More detail on this extraordinary day is included in the Book of Daniel, whose entire vision is wrapped around it (Dan.11:40-45).
Isaiah has even prepared an epigram that must be recited by the House of Israel against this fallen army and its treacherous leader on the day God's extermination of them occurs (Is.14:3-21).
It is in this end that God will fulfill His plan to gather all the nations to Jerusalem for the Judgment.
"Let the nations muster round you in a body, and then return, high over them." (Ps.7:7).
"He bent the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet; he mounted a cherub and flew, and soared on the wings of the wind. Darkness he made a veil to surround him, his tent a watery darkness, dense cloud; before him a flash enkindled hail and fiery embers. God thundered from heaven, the Most High made his voice heard; he let his arrows fly and scattered them, launched the lightnings and routed them." (Ps.18:9-15).
"God is inside the city, she can never fall, at crack of dawn God helps her; to the roaring of nations and tottering of kingdoms, when he shouts, the world disintegrates." (Ps. 46:5-6).
Daniel, in the final moments of his vision heard the angels speaking with the man in dazzling white linen about these wonders. One of the angels asked Him how long it would be before these events would take place. The man in white answered,
"A time two times, and half a time; and all these things are going to happen when he who crushes the power of the holy people meets his end." Daniel listened but did not understand. Then he said, 'My lord, what is to be the outcome?' 'Daniel,' he said 'go away: these words are to remain secret and sealed until the time of the End." (Dan.12:6-10).
I find your Fatima editorial interesting in that while you give the Bishop of Rome the proper credit as the leader of his church on earth. You still try to work it into the protestant misguided teachings of millennialism. The Bishop of Rome has declared that theology heretical (CCC 667). A book by David Currie called Rapture might be of true interest for you to read. SR
Thank you for taking the time to comment on these writings. The concept of "millenium" as it applies to scripture is prophecy, not theology. Those that preach thoughts on the concept as if it were theology apply it incorrectly.
There are basically two primary sources of the "thousand years" in scripture. The first is in the Psalms where the statement that "a day to God is like a thousand years to man" resides. This statement is repeated and re-emphasized in Peter's second letter, a fact that underlines its prophetic nature in Christ (2 Peter 3:8; Ps. 90:4). The second reference is in the Book of Revelation's statement that God sent Michael down to earth to place Satan in chains for "a thousand years" so that God's will could be done on earth, and that, at the end of that time he would be released for a short term. Scripture says he will use that brief freedom to mobilize all the nations of the world for war. Assumedly, global war (Rv.20:1-3; 7-10).
Those two statements are prophecies. Therefore, they exist under the orchestration of the Holy Spirit for whatever purpose He deems relevant. God has decreed that He will make known in advance everything He intends to do before He does it (Amos 3:6-7).
There is an eschatology, so we must assume, according to Amos, that God will raise prophets and prophecies within the framework of that day's approach until the final day arrives. The Protestant millenial prophecies may well be incorrect prophecies as you suggest, but they are well-intentioned and each needs to be seen in that light. More likely, they are dim views of an unfolding truth. They prepare us to understand what others may clarify more accurately in the future as the moment closes in.
The currently popular prophecies with respect to the thousand-year references in scripture fail to see the just-passed 2000-year history of the Christian religion on earth as applicable to the millenial vision because it is almost twice as long as the prophecy stipulates. Yet there is another scriptural reference in the Book of Joshua that mediates that discrepancy in a way that allows the period to be seen in a single day framework (Joshua 10:12-14). In other words, it unites both millenial scriptural references (at today's point in time) to the life of the Church since its conception.
The concept of the millenium, seen in this new and largely unexplored context, while undermining the Protestant (or, more accurately, Baptist) view proposed by Darby and his followers, gives enormous relevance to the concept in terms of our world today and therefore must be seriously considered in terms of a spiritual enlightenment to the Church directed by the Holy Spirit.
What is important for us to know as far as God is concerned revolves soley around Jesus Christ, His message and purpose, and the color of the sky in the morning (Mat.16:2-3), the latter being something to which the concept of millenium is certain to apply, given Revelation's words.
When Jesus returns will He and God both live inside the new Temple together? In spirit or in person? How soon will it be rebuilt? It doesn't seem to have started yet. How long do you see it taking to rebuild it? I ask this because it seems to me that the world cannot end until it is finished. When the rebuilding starts that's when everyone should start getting prepared. What is your take on this? SW
The temple of God has already been rebuilt. It's construction is almost finished.
At one time the ancient Jews believed that God was physically present, not only in the temple, but in its innermost room, atop the Ark itself. They believed so strongly that the Ark of the Covenant represented the throne of God that it was constructed with a place for Him to actually sit upon a structure called the "mercy seat".
This belief was reinforced by verses in scripture that show the Israelites actually observing God take physical possession of Solomon's temple, entering into it hidden inside a visible cloud, soon after Solomon constructed it (1 Kings 8:10-13). The cloud was so thick the priests couldn't see to finish their work.
But after Solomon's temple was destroyed in 587 B.C. by the Chaldaens (Babylon), and with its demise, the permanent disappearance of the Ark of the Covenant, the city of Jerusalem was viewed as the throne of God.
The prophet Ezekiel observed God leaving the temple and Jerusalem and going to be with His people as they were carried off to Babylon. This was seen as proof that God did not need the temple, or the Ark, or even Jerusalem, but would follow His people wherever they went in the absence of all three. This vision actually transcended Nebuchadnezzar's time, foretelling the structure of God's presence on earth during the greater Diaspora to come, i.e., the last 2000 years.
It was through verses like Ezekiel's from the prophets that many began to understand the full impact of God's message to David that he, David, was not the one to build a house for Him, instead, God was going to build a house (dynasty) for David, and that it would be an offspring of David's body that would build the true temple (2 Samuel 7:1-17).
The offspring of David the prophets referred to was not Solomon, it was God's Only Son, the Messiah who was to come, born on earth through David's genealogy.
This understanding crystallized in Jesus who, through the Spirit, taught His disciples that He, Himself was the temple, and that the throne of God resided inside each individual soul, entering into those souls when they turned to Him in baptism. By housing Christ, it was the people themselves that housed God's throne on earth.
Paul said: "Didn't you realize that you were God's temple and that the Spirit of God was living within you? If anybody should destroy the temple of God, God will destroy him, because the temple of God is sacred; and you are that temple." (1 Cor. 3:16-17).
It was in this light that the prophecy of Daniel 9:25-26 which foretold the rebuilding of the ruins of Jerusalem could be seen in its true meaning i.e., in the people themselves as they turned from evil into God's righteousness by rebuilding their lives in the commandments of Christ.
The people of God which Satan has held captive are the ruins of Jerusalem and they are being rebuilt in Jesus. This rebuilding has been going on since Pentecost in 30 A.D., when the Holy Spirit first returned in Christ's name. And now it is almost complete. In other words, the temple of God has already been rebuilt, and there will be no other after it.
The Book of Revelation, explaining why there is no temple building in heavenly Jerusalem, made this quite clear:
"In the spirit, he (the angel) took me to the top of an enormous high mountan and showed me Jerusalem, the holy city, coming down from God out of heaven...I saw that there was no temple in the city since the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb were themselves the temple, and the city did not need the sun or the moon for light, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God and the Lamb was a lighted torch for it." (Rev. 21:10; 20-23)
Jesus is the true temple of God and when He lives inside us, we are God's true temple.
Once Jesus had offered Himself up as the sacrifice for sin, no man-made sacrifice or animal sacrifice could ever match that. The need for sacrifice was eliminated by the perfection of Christ. The same is true of the temple. Once God Himself became the temple, man could build nothing to match Him. The physical temple was eliminated as unworthy competition. It will never be rebuilt. Not in Jerusalem or anywhere else. Not even in heaven.
(Here are) terrorism incidences globally on a map updated continiously
Global terrorism is a violent process sweeping the earth right now, one that is new to history, both in its targeting and international scope. It is perpetrated on the innocent, the weak and the unsuspecting civilian populations during the normal course of human interraction. That such malignant barbarianism would appear on earth in conjunction with the fall of "night" was predicted in scripture more than 2700 years ago:
"At evening all was terror;
before morning comes they are no more.
Such was the lot of our plunderers,
such, the fate of our despoilers." (Is 17:14)
The King James Bible uses the word "trouble" ("...and behold, at eventide, trouble") instead of the word "terror", but NIV, RSV, Greek and most other modern scholars interpret the word in this passage as "terror".
The "night" (or "eventide") referred to is the reappearance of paganism (or secularism) at the end of the "milleniam" (i.e., the end of the age of the "Sonshine" of Christ on earth). Particularly secularism's successful assault on the civic rule of those who follow the principals of Jesus Christ, especially in the western world. As we have noted here many times, one hundred years ago almost all western nations ruled their subjects with one hand on the Bible, just as they and their forbearers had for 1700 years. Today none do.
To most of these new western rulers, the name "Jesus Christ" or that of His Father, "God", is a forbidden utterance in civic affairs or schools.
Concomitant with that dark change of political power has come global war and now global terrorism, early testimony to the consequences of undermining the foundations of Christian morality on the planet. And all this is just the start of the repercussions, because the world has dismantled its shield against disaster.
Yet, Isaiah's quote shows that these new moral barbarians will not survive the night they usher in. "Before the morning comes, they are gone." King James uses the phrase "...he is gone", showing that not only the army of the Antichrist will vanish, but the Antichrist as well. Both of them, even before Jesus reappears in glory.
in response to your last question dated April 3, the reader is very very unfamiliar with what millenialism actually is....His response stating it is NOT condoned by the Catholic Church is true. HOWEVER, his definition, and the church's is different from yours. Your definition is in line with the early church, with Augustine and others....
Millenialism is the idea that Christ comes and rules for 1000 years , literal years AFTER his second coming.the church, Augustine and others teach that the millenium is in fact, the church age.... You elaborate on this by showing how one day became two....The reader is not familiar enough with your writings and neither is he familiar enough with the church's position and thus, he defines millenialism in generic terms, (where the church defines it as a theology)
You say theology and prophecy are not the same, I contest and say they are because anything prophetic is based on all things theological. For the theological is the mind of God, the prophecies themselves are the plan in how God brings all this about. But God cannot bring about a plan that contradicts what is already revealed as truth.... CB
1). Thank you for clarification of the last question pertaining to the protestant belief of millennialism; not all Protestants believe this. For example, taking the thousand year reign literally is not a Lutheran interpretation. Lutherans view the 1,000 year reign as a non-specific duration of time that Christ reigns, which is in the present and started when he ascended into heaven.
Some say the 1,000 years may be understood as 10X10X10 (the number of completeness times itself three times for the Trinity=infinite). Your thoughts on this? JF
The focus of scripture is on the reign of Christ in heaven, not His shorter reign on earth, which Daniel terms "a time of trouble". Infinity relates to the former, not the latter. How short the shorter reign is no one knows. But scripture gives us some clues.
The Bible tells us that a thousand years to man is like a day to God. Using that equation in the calendar chronology of Christ (33 A.D. to 2007 A.D. at this writing), the world is almost at the end of the second "day" (i.e., Christ's "Day of Atonement", stretched into almost two). That is precisely where Joshua's prophecy places the completed term of God's "day" (Josh.10:12-13).
By that computation the evening shadows should be all around us now and we should be seeing the signs of the approaching "night" everywhere.
Jesus, the "Sonlight of God", said that His reign on earth would be short and urged all to repent immediately because night was coming when no one could work. "Work while you still have the day, night is coming when no one can work". (Jn.9:4). This web page is focused on an examination of that approaching darkness, and calls attention to it.
The relationship between God's "day" (His "Day of Atonement" a thousand years) and the time specified by the Book of Revelation for Christ's reign on earth seem to be one and the same (Rev. 20:3). Not only that, the term "millenium" relates strongly to the jailing of Satan in the Book of Revelation, because, in the same passages the thousand year Christian rule is shown to correlate with Satan's imprisonment. His term in prison is shown to cover the same thousand years (Rev.20:1-10).
We can see that Satan was locked up even while the Apostle John was still alive to witness it. So he has been in chains over a thousand years already, proving that there is a certain degree of metaphore in the time frame. Is it related to Joshua's prophecy of one day stretched into almost two? At this point, one would have to say yes.
Another question, just as important, when is he to be released? Or, has it already happened? The answer to those questions will pretty much define the parameters that define Christ's rule on earth. We examine those questions in depth on our web pages.
We read in scripture that upon his release he will deceive the nations and mobilize them all for war. The 20th century seems to have been defined in this prophecy. Not just in its mobilization for global war, but in the fact that all the nations of the western world which had been structured in Christ since the time of Constantine, suddenly cancelled that relationship en masse almost all of them (including the United States) during the last century.
Not a single western nation now includes Christ in their ruling structure. That is a sea change. And it just happened. What greater sign could show the nations universally deceived?
They could not have all turned their backs on Christ virtually simultaneously and abandoned the 2000-year old peace treaty He made with the nations of world on the cross unless they had fallen under the spell of a Satan suddenly free of chains (2 Thes. 2:9-12).
These signs head a battery of flashing red lights that show we are not far removed from the "night" Jesus warned about when no one can work.
2.) Also, I have heard that Armageddon refers to not so much as a specific geographical place that nations will gather for war (e.g. Israel), but accounts for the final war that Satan seeks to attack the world-wide church. Could you reiterate your thoughts of this per Scripture? JF
Both postulates are true.
In the past God has fulfilled scripture both figuratively and literally. All the works of God go in pairs by these kinds of opposites. We will see an Armageddon coming in such a way as well worldwide, but focused on Jerusalem. Already the nations are gathering toward Israel. In 1945 there was no Israel. There was nowhere to gather, and the town of Jerusalem was a small backward village well removed from the nucleus of world affairs. All that has been reversed in the 62 years since.
The United States with its massive armory of nuclear weapons has made a military treaty with Israel. Iran (Persia) is in the process of securing a similar arrangement with Russia. If the night of darkness is close, which all the signs seem to argue, those alignments and the allies that go with them will define future world combat as the 4th Persian kingdom unseats the western world on the throne of world power (Dan.11:2). Warfare will ebb and flow around Jerusalem and the oil-rich Middle East, but the atomic arsenals of the superpowers will moderate the extent of conquest to a certain degree for a time.
No such protections exist for Christianity. There is no defense pact between the major Christian churches and the United States or any other superpower. Certainly, unlike Israel, the Vatican, the only sovereign Christian nation on earth, has no such treaty in place. So, according to Daniel, when the Madman comes to power and secures control of the eastern nations and their western satellites, he will take advantage of this vacuum and focus much of his early fury on this people 'without bars on their doors, living peaceably isolated from all other people since they escaped the sword and were gathered in from various nations' (Dan.11:31-35; Ez. 38:8-9).
"You will say: I will attack this undefended country and march against this peaceful nation living undisturbed. They all live in towns that have no walls or bars or gates. To plunder them for loot, I am going to reach out my hand towards the ruins they live in, against this nation gathered out of other nations...who live at the navel of the earth." (Ez. 38:11-12).
Embolded by his crushing victory over the Church, and filled with godless arrogance, the tyrant's caution will suddenly vanish and he will launch an unexpected worldwide fusilade on all who oppose him (including Kittim) as he prepares to advance on Jerusalem a final time (Dan.11: 44-45). From that point on, everything will be between the tyrant and God. Man will not intervene. In fact, few men will be left to intervene (Is. 24:6). Those who are left will witness the brilliant flash of the return of Christ as promised.
"At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them, to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord forever." (1 Thes.4:16-17).
This sequence follows the chronology prophesied in the Book of Daniel.
Your prophecies about America staying in Iraq are about to be proved wrong. It's a lost cause. Here is my prediction: we will be out of there as soon as the next president is elected. JB
They are not my prophecies, they are scripture's prophecies.
As Americans we are focused on Iraq but the Bible makes no mention of that nation. Prophecy is about the Euphrates river, not Iraq. Jeremiah shows the western world led by a nation carrying the metaphoric name "Egypt" with its troops stationed at the Euphrates river confronting the nations of the East.
The fact that the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel each build a construct of the last days focused on just such a situation, and the fact that America and the western world now find themselves today similarly entangled must give pause to all of faith who see these biblical documents as truths revealed by the Holy Spirit.
Are we the Egypt that Jeremiah has defined?...the Egypt whose "Pharaoah is to be handed over to his enemies as the proof of all the prophecies" concerning the fate of Israel in the last days? (Jer. 44:29-30). Many factors say yes; but the definitive proof continues to elude certainty. It happened, yes (with Sadat), but we cannot say that it has yet happened as a definitive historical statement clear to all.
Meanwhile America finds itself in the midst of a civil war between three Iraqi factions that are likely never to reconcile. Yet the total withdrawal of American and western troops from the region would almost certainly precipitate the widening of the conflict everyone fears, encompassing the entire Middle East, and more than likely, the entire Muslim world. This situation, combined with oil, the vital disappearing commodity seems to have locked a future much like the one the Book of Daniel foresaw, in place.
If Iraq's unified government collapses, a single victor will not emerge. The Muslims themselves will see to that. The western world has too much at stake in that area's oil to simply pack up and leave. Nor will its Muslim allies in the region allow it to. Instead, expect to see a repositioning of troops to areas in the region that best allow a protracted confrontaton with the least bloodshed.
At it's northern boundary, the Euphrates river borders Turkey, and, in fact, disappears into it's mountains.
In the prophecies, we are told of an attack "from the north" (Ez. 38:15; Dan. 11:13) that launches the warfare of the last days, bringing nations of eastern troops pouring over a "dried up" Euphrates (Rev. 16:12). This gives the northern boundary of the Euphrates special significance in terms of the prophecies (Jer. 46:6, 10). As a result, we should expect to see, as the future unfolds, the western troops particularly entrenched in this area of Iraq.
But not gone.
Why would Jesus agree to be baptised by John when He had never sinned? Has anyone ever proposed some other purpose to this? ND
Scripture tells us that John had been anointing the people of Judaea "with a baptism of repentence for the forgiveness of sins".
"All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins...In the course of his preaching he said 'Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit." (Mark 1:4-8).
Jesus' baptism by John was not an incidental moment. It was pivotal to His mission. That baptism launched His ministry. According to the Bible, immediately afterward, Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mat. 3:13-17; 4:1-12). During that time He fasted for forty days and forty nights and endured Satan's temptations. Successfully resisting all the devil's efforts to break His resolve, He returned to Galilee and began the mission which was to be His life's work and our salvation.
When Jesus appeared at the Jordan to receive this anointing, the Bible tells us that John tried hard to dissuade Him, but Jesus insisted that it had to be this way:
"Leave it like this for the time being; it is fitting that we should, in this way, do all that righteousness demands" (Mat. 3:15).
That answer tells us this anointing related to prophecy in scripture. It was structured in the Law (the Torah). In the Hebrew Law the sacrifice for sin revolved around two goats. On the head of one goat, the sins of all the people of Judaea were loaded and it was led out, alive, into the wilderness, the sins going out there with it. The second goat was sacrificed to complete the cleansing as prescribed by the Law.
God fulfilled both roles in Jesus.
The reign of the Church is called the 'Day of God' on earth a day the Israelites called 'Atonement'. In the Hebrew calendar the Day of Atonement was the one day each year fixed in the Law when sins could be atoned for. Sending the Holy Spirit to the earth with the light of His glorification in heaven, Jesus handed this holy 'day' to the entire world. And He lengthened it so that His forgiveness of sin could encompass the entire harvest.
Visible in the divine light from above which Christ brought to earth is the fact that the 'Day of Atonement' specified in Hebrew law and the thousand-year 'Day' which Jesus initiated for our reconciliation with God, define identical concepts. The first prefigured the latter. We are still in the "Sonlight" of that day a day made into almost two by prophecy (Joshua 10:13-14).
In the Old Testament, the Day of Atonement was the highest holy day in the Israelite calendar a day now called by the Jews, 'Yom Kippur'. It was the one day each year when the Jewish high priest could enter the room called the 'Holy of Holies' inside the temple and secure mercy for the people of Israel (Lev.16:5+). As a part of this yearly ceremony, the High Priest would take two perfect unblemished goats one he would kill, offering it up in sacrifice to God, and on the head of the other (which remained alive), he would load all the sins of the people. This 'scapegoat' as it was called would then be led out to the desert and given over to Satan.
"Having thus laid (all the faults of the sons of Israel) on the goat's head, he shall send it out into the desert led by a man waiting ready, and the goat will bear all their faults away with it into a desert place." (Lev. 16:21-22).
Jesus, of course, changed this ritual when He absorbed this ceremony in Himself, taking the sins of the people on His own head as He was led out into the wilderness and handed over to Satan to be tempted and later sacrificed by crucifixion.
Peter (1 Peter 3:21) tells us that John's baptism (the baptism of water) is a pledge made to God from a good conscience (the confession of sins cleanses our conscience). Baptism is our public affirmation that we are sorry for having sinned and pledge to change according to God's will. That pledge is a legal statement. Because we make it publicly, God is able to transfer our sins onto Jesus, who, in turn, took all those sins with Him to the cross to pay the penalty the Law demanded for sin.
That is why Paul could say:
"Through the Law I am dead to the Law, so that now I can live for God. I have been crucified with Christ, and I live now, not with my own life, but with the life of Christ who lives in me." (Gal.2:19).
For as long as communion is offered in the Church, Christ's cross continues to wash our sins away. Not until the one comes who is fated to take communion away with his abomination of desolation will this washing away of sin come to an end (Dan. 11:31). Until then, each time we ask God to forgive our sins, in good conscience, He will honor our request.
Because the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness immediately after John had baptised Him, we must assume that He received our sins in that baptism. The sins of all mankind (of all who accept baptism by water in His name) were loaded on his head at that moment. It was His public acceptance of His mission (which made it legal since everything legal must be made public), and so it began the sacrificial journey which Jesus made in our name to free us from Satan's grasp.
What happened to the Goodnews Christian Ministry website? PL
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Your interpretation of Gog and Magog in Ezekiel is different than the others I have read. Can you explain why you think the way you do on this? JH
We could all be wrong. Daniel shows us there are two powerful figures coming out of the far north, not just one. They mimic the actions of, first, Antiochus the Great and, second, one of his sons, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. It is on the lives of these two horrific figures Daniel's metaphore of the beast is structured.
The first figure powers the East to victory over the western world. He successfully drives his warfare from east to west, over to the "islands of the sea", a designation certain to encompass the western hemisphere. He is defeated by a great general, almost certain to be American, and on our own shores apparently. He goes back to the eastern hemisphere in defeat only to stumble and die.
He is replaced, according to Daniel, by a person who tries to tax (or pillage) the central cathedral of Christianity. He sends an extortioner there for that purpose. The Book of Daniel is stated to be about the end of the world that is why its visions were ordered sealed until the End days arrived so his book revolves around Christianity rather than Judaism. All of Daniel's visions must be seen through God's chosen lens (which is Jesus). The extortioner is not successful in his effort (to abscond with the treasuries of the Church, perhaps?), and soon, he, too, dies.
Arising in his place is the Madman of scripture. Blocked in his political (warmongering) efforts by what Daniel terms to be "the ships of Kittim", he turns his attention to the Christians in all the countries under his control. Mimicing Hitler's actions against the Jews, he proceeds to annihilate as many as he can. He burns down the churches, vanquishes the Vatican and topples its power structure, along with those of all the other churches within his grasp (See Psalm 79).
Driven completely insane by his rage he becomes so utterly possessed with his obsession to invade Jerusalem to exterminate the final remnants of the House of Israel (and facing uprisings (or revolution) in the east and north) he defies the power of Kittim by launching all his missles against the West (and probably against the rebellious quadrants of the north and east as well). All this, as he masses his troops at Armageddon to overrun Jerusalem. Ignoring the fact that there is certain to be a massive counterattack to his onslaught that will effectively burn up much of the earth, he will commit himself and the entire world to this ultimate act of suicide, in which everyone will participate.
At the same time, God will intervene with a fire of His own.
And when all has been made ready by Michael, Christ will return. Again, all of this according to the words of Daniel. The handwritiing on the wall of Babylon IS the Book of Daniel. The fate of Saddam Hussein has already mimicked that of Beltshazzar. His country has been divided by civil war, and he, himself, was handed over to the Persians (the Shiites) to be executed. This has already happened just a few months ago (Dan. 5:24-30). So we are definitely watching a vision in progress in Iraq.
Gog and Magog may be these two kings. In other words, the two names Ezekiel employs (Ez. 38:1-2) may both be people. Perhaps neither is a place name. Their country, "the land of Magog", may mean the land of the first of these two rulers. Magog may be the first king and Gog, the second (i.e. the Beast). Both of these warmongering leaders originate from roughly the same area according to Daniel. And they come pretty much one right after another apparently. See Daniel 11:1-45 & 12:1-4.
Fortunately for us at this moment, these worst things are still quite a ways in the future. Closer are very rocky times indeed, but there is still time to stop chasing the world and accept Christ's offer of salvation and escape what is coming. As you watch these events progress and the others described on these pages, understand that time is quickly running out and we have been told the doorway to escape will suddenly slam shut without notice.
Everyone who hasn't already done so, should turn their lives over to Jesus Christ today, because all these things will most certainly come to pass. Scripture guarantees it.
I had a thought a week or so ago after reading an article on the 40th anniversary of the Israeli 6-day war.
Cyrus issued the decree for the return of the Jews to Babylon in 538 BC and the return from this Diaspora was completed over approximately 20 years. The rebuilding of the Temple was begun in 537 BC but was halted for a time and then restarted and completed in 520-515 BC. Have you explored the parallel events of the physical versus the spiritual rebuilding of the Jewish people? It seems that there is a parallel between the physical reestablishment of Israel in 1948 and the spiritual reunion of the city of Jerusalem in 1967. Without the 6 day war, Israel would not have had access to all of Jerusalem in order to attempt to rebuild the Temple. Note that I am not advocating that the literal rebuilding must take place, but that the spiritual significance to the Jews of a reunified Jerusalem is the object of interest. In both cases, a physical presence was ordained by those in power then, after ~ 20 years, a spiritual presence was complete (even if only symbolically).JF
Yes, I have explored the differences between the physical and spiritual rebuildings of the Jewish house. The parallels I see relate more to similarities in prophecy than to similarities of chronology.
You are right about the similarities in dates, though. And it would have been easy in 1967 to draw a correlation between the Jewish reunification of Jerusalem and view it as a spiritual parallel to the rebuilding of the temple. But in 2007 that clarity no longer exists.
The 6-day war changed the management of Jerusalem, but it did not oust the multi-national quartering of Jerusalem. The Muslims continue to control the temple mount. The old city continues to be divided into four quarters, Jewish, Arab, Christian and Armenian. In this sense it remains a city spiritually spread to the four winds. Not only that, but the spiritual reunification of Jerusalem (from the Jewish point of view now predominately secular) is cultural rather than religious, structured in tradition rather than scripture.
It was as if the 6-day war was a fork in the road a turning point from which Israel could have gone the way you describe it, or it could have taken a second path and gone terribly awry.
Born-again Christians may still view the reunification as you describe it, but to a secularized Israel, the idea of a temple is seen as an anachronism. Just as it is in our own society these days, interest in God in Israel is being severely marginalized by secularism, and with it, Jewish spirituality.
In light of this change, it seems the 6-day war re-focused Israel's purpose from religion to worldliness. It vastly expanded Israeli-occupied territory, territory which can spiritually be said to be "Egypt", i.e., "Arab". The Sinai was returned in a peace agreement, but not Jordan's West Bank or the Golan Heights of Syria.
This "Egyptian" (i.e., Arab) land figures prominently in one of the most powerful prophecies in scripture (a prophecy unknown to almost everyone) that addresses the Jewish return from the "Diaspora". It has been discussed on this web page often. It is Jeremiah's sobering revelation of an early return from Babylon that occurred long before Cyrus issued his decree an early return authorized by God, but one that ended in disaster (Jer. 42-43:1-7). .
It was that disaster that forced the Jews to have to wait the full 70 years for the Persian appearance of Cyrus before they were allowed by God to return from Babylon.
So the first question to be answered concerns the Diaspora itself. Is this return (the 1948 return) one that has been made ahead of time (in keeping with Jeremiah's prophecy) or is it the return described in the Book of Chronicles relating to Cyrus? (2 Chron. 36:20-23). If it is a repeat of the early return, there would be no correlation of dates because it is a different event altogether.
Scripture shows that the early return at the time of Jeremiah was authorized by the king of Babylon while the end of the exile we are familiar with came by way of a proclamation made by the prince of Persia (i.e., Cyrus).
The 1948 return was authorized by the United Nations the united kings of Babylon. It was the combined leadership of the United Nations of the greater world (Babylon, basically) that authorized the Jewish return that we see today. No Persian proclamation was involved, nor has any yet been issued.
Since the return that structured the Israel of 1948 was authorized by the king of Babylon, not Persia, it bears a far greater resemblance to the early return described in the Book of Jeremiah. That is cause for great concern for several reasons. First, it means that the Diaspora has not yet ended. That comes later. Second, it means the Israel now in place in the Holy Land is a powder keg that is about to blow up for reasons similar to those Jeremiah specified.
It shows the 6-day war, not as a spiritual touchstone, but as a critical crossroads from which Israel chose to violate all the precautions Jeremiah warned about. Instead of rebuilding a Jewish "house" in God that addressed the reasons for why the Diaspora happened in the first place, it chose a secular path instead, duplicating all the mistakes made by the "army leaders" in Jeremiah's vision.
According to God's warnings to Jeremiah, Israel's military seizure of Arab lands violated the covenant of return; even more so, by the fact that Jewish houses were later built on those lands. This happened both in Jeremiah's time and in our own. We can definitely see the unauthorized settlements in Arab lands and we can see the military pact with the same "Egypt" whose troops now stand at the Euphrates.
There is a further concern, just as troubling, that involves the spiritual rebuilding of the Jewish house of Israel itself. Today, much of Israel has secularized. Most Jews in Israel are not pursuing even Moses anymore. There has not occurred there a great spiritual awakening or happening. Just the opposite. There is no Israeli thought that addresses the Diaspora or the reasons for why God implemented it in the first place. Until that happens, I can only see there a people in full flight away from God, not toward Him.
The Diaspora occurred because the Jews refused to believe in Jesus as God's promised Messiah. They had a strong religious structure in place, but it was built on Moses. God tore that asunder and scattered the House of Israel to Babylon for reasons of spiritual infidelity (Dt. 18:15). Any remedy would have to be built on the kind of holiness that Jesus preached, the true commandments of God. In other words, it would have to be based on a reunification with God, not a reunification of Jerusalem.
How would the rebuilding of the Temple help? They had a perfectly good temple at the time of Christ. God allowed it to be destroyed and the entire House of Israel sent into exile to Babylon. The why of this is the critical issue that must be addressed before the Jewish house can be spiritually rebuilt. And it can only be addressed through spiritual (holy) means, not by a secular (paganism's modern form) community.
That is because God our God, the world's God, and the God of Israel is a Trinity that includes the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. That is the true God of heaven and earth. Moses is in no way a part of that Godhead, and secularism is an enemy to it. That is why faith in Moses was powerless to stop the Diaspora from occurring. Without Christ, the temple was useless in fact, divisive.
When the Jews got back to Israel, the first thing they did when they got ahold of Jerusaalem (even while the smoke from the 1967 war still hung in the air) was to tear down the Palestinian houses that blocked the "Wailing Wall" and clear out a large square for a return to the worship of Moses. They went back to the waters of the old pool (Is. 22:9-11).
Now even that pool is drying up. The people of Israel are secularizing away from God altogether. Just as we are. Just as the world is. This is the Great Revolt Paul talked about (2 Thes. 2:3). Secularism is the growing residue of that rebellion.
Surely owing to this flight away from God, scripture shows Jerusalem under assault all the way to the End. Jeremiah's army leaders who masterminded the early return were later decimated for "settling" in lands outside those given to them, in violation of God's orders. That fate seems to describe the current Israel's near future far more than a spiritual awakening building out of the physical reunification of Jerusalem.
While Daniel foresees a similar assault on Jerusalem and with it a concomitant annhilation of settlers, he makes it clear that in the assaults still to come, the country itself won't fall. That changes the formula. What we are witnessing now is a new circumstance, not just a repeat of the past. That means elements of the Book of Chronicles return are mysteriously contained in today's Israel. Both returns are there simultaneously.
The rebuilding that took place in Jeremiah's time by the army leaders and their followers led to a massacre that completely eradicated the Jewish presence in Israel (Jer. 44:14). That will not happen this time. The Jewish presence is there to stay to the end, despite the ferocity of the attacks still coming. That indicates that the rebuilding of the Jewish house in the righteousness that Christ brought from heaven is ongoing there (in Jerusalem) even now. But it is a very complex process that in no way follows the pagan world's conversion to Christ, which occurred one by one, and person by person over a span of almost 2000 years.
Everyone was sent into exile to Babylon, not just the Jews (Micah 4:10). The entire House of Israel was mandated there by the treaty Jesus made with Babylon on the cross. Those who turned to Christ have worked their way back to reunification with God over the ensuing years. But the Jewish reunification will be different.
Scripture shows that the Jewish conversion is not a process, but an all-encompassing momentary and singular event. Paul has indicated that the Jewish recognition of Christ will not occur until the very last day. Paul said it is a singular event that means the end of the world (Romans 11:11-32).
When it happens it will coincide with the definitive "Second Coming" of Jesus. At that very moment, Michael will be on his way into Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, leading the surviving remnant of the House of Christ toward the reunification that unites the city of Jerusalem with the city of David (the city of Christ). The Jewish leaders will be there waiting for Michael's arrival, ready to greet him with the words Jesus revealed in advance. Gabriel will be positioned in the clouds with his trumpet, and, when he sounds it, the flash of light that is the Lord returning will explode across the entire earth in the blinding brightness of instant rebirth (1 Thes. 4:16-18).
The time of God's examination of the Christians in accordance with Christ (the last 2000 years) has included the Jews. They were examined with the rest of us, one by one, at the very same time as the Christians and pagans, by God's own light. They are a people made blind by divine decree, so the blindness is not their own fault. They will not be judged for it.
Jesus said that God's judgment is not only based on the righteousness that Christ preached, but on a sliding scale as well. To whom more is given, more is expected by God. To whom less is given, less is expected by God. That statement is open-ended. God can expand or diminish salvation's rules as He pleases and no one can argue His decision. He has already told us that His iron-clad rules are moved by forgiveness. If we forgive others, God will forgive us. That is a rule that applies to everyone, and especially to the two houses of Israel (i.e., to the Christians and the Jews).
There does not seem to be much precedent for matching years in scripture. Matching allegorical years, yes, (such as a day to God is 1000 years to man) but not calendar years. The 3-1/2 years of the Beast (the Madman to come) may be an exception. But trying to find correlation in terms of the calendar for what is happening in Israel today may prove, measured against events still on the way, difficult at best.
We really don't know exactly where we are in order to make those correlations. Remember, the orginal Antiochus Epiphanes came 250 years AFTER Cyrus and his Persian decree. In the future, the two will coincide. The future Antiochus figure and the Cyrus figure will be one and the same. It will not be a proclamation made in kindness.
That is the event (the reappearance of this Antiochus-like individual), when it happens, that will truly polarize Jewish hearts and move a great many of them to the recognition of the possibility that Christ truly is the Messiah whom God had sent to save them (and the world with them) (Zech 12:9-14).
Also, after the assault by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the restructuring of the Temple, the protector of the Jewish state was Rome (even though Rome was the eventual destroyer of Jerusalem). There appears to be another parallel in that the United States is now the protector of the Jewish state and maintains a forceful presence in "Babylon" and "Persia" to keep them at bay much as the Roman garrisons of 2000 years ago. While our structure of government is different, I don't think we are viewed by the world as any different (the President is the "most powerful man in the world" - much like Caesar). Epiphanes - Hitler, Rome - US, the time frames are close, the world-view of the events is similar (surely Epiphanes' people's name for him, "Epimanes" - the madman, applies to Hitler), is the stage almost set? Or am I making too much of "coincidence"? JF
For those of faith, prophecy in scripture is usually measured in circumstances that are best described as 'coincidences by design'. It is hard to make too much of that. History repeats itself, and, when those repeats match prophecy, they become the replications that we look for.
You make a good case, but I think it is still too early to define it.
I agree about the protective character of the United States playing a major role in the prophecies. And it is a paradox because Jeremiah's prophecy specifies the protectorship as one of the reasons for Israel's coming defeat. They were not supposed to make this military pact with the United States ("Egypt" in prophecy). They were supposed to pursue peace and tranquility, not play the military card at all. They were supposed to turn to God and search for Him, letting the all-powerful peace of God itself humble their enemies (Is.30:15).
Certainly the stage is almost set. But the question is, which prophecy is it being set for? There is alot of prophecy ahead that needs to be fulfilled before the Antiochus figure rises to power, and the world ends. There are, according to Daniel, still two world wars ahead and many smaller wars. The tribulation and the Wrath have to all play out. The East has to rise to power and the western world collapse. Daniel seems to show something critical happening to the United States. Jerusalem is to be overrun by foreign troops and the country ravaged.
Which one of these events is about to happen now?
The world today is in the very last stages of the framework of the millenium (the rule of Christ on earth). Although we can now see that spiritual monarchy dissembling before our eyes, the western world is still the world's power. The sound of the fourth Persian kingdom (Dan.11:2) is rumbling, but it has not yet risen out of the earth as a defiinitive presence. It's ten kings are not yet visible.
With so much happening these days that seem to replicate the Bible's visions, it is hard not to imagine that we have come to the last days. The mere fact that Daniel's sealed book has now been opened testifies to that (as does the rebuilding of Jerusalem itself). Since it seems certain that it is happening now, the United States has to be a major force in the events, and therefore well defined in Bible prophecy.
We find many references that could apply in terms of this definition. There is Ezekiel's description of Tyre. There are ample prophecies that refer to the "islands of the sea", to places like "Kittim", and so on. Jeremiah talks of an "Egypt" that stations its troops at the Euphrates in a vain attempt to block the Parthian East from invading the western world. He foresees a rebuilt Israel making a military pact with "Egypt". The United States has fulfilled all of those prophecies.
It would be interesting to know if the different names given to America in prophecy apply to a country of changing character. The United States started life in perfection, formed as a land of religious freedom, and escape from tyranny for downtrodden people. It was built on a blueprint of righteousness. Perhaps this was the USA in its role as Ezekiel's early Tyre. In 1963 the United States renounced Jesus Christ and threw God and His Son out of the nation's political framework, much to the delight of the atheists. This produced a USA in which the "Egypt" prophecies occurred, i.e., taking its troops to the Euphrates, etc.
A predicted catastrophe and restructuring are foreseen in the near future that will further altar the American structure in ways we are really not yet able to imagine. Daniel's prophecies in this regard are intriguing, but mysterious (Dan.8:8; 11:3-4). When it happens, it will change world alignments enormously. What remains of the United States at that point seems to take on the prophetic name of "Kittim". It will defeat the first king of the East on our own shores in battle, and it's ships will block the actions of the Beast for a time (Dan.11:18; 11:30).
The United States rose up in the 20th century as the defender of the world against the tyranny of Hitler and Imperial Japan. It took on the role of world policeman after successfully "saving" the world from political catastrophe, and has battled world tyrants ever since. It is partly in that role that we now find ourselves mired in Iraq. However, we are also there imperialistically as well. President Bush in his 2004 re-election state of the union speech to the nation announced that the United States under his command was determined to push democracy to the farthest corners of the earth "by force if necessary", a statement and political intent completely out of character with the country's original tenents.
Daniel's prophecy predicts a catastrophic and sudden end to this "push of democracy by force". It comes in another replication of history that seems to mimic the death of Alexander the Great in Babylon. The United States in Iraq certainly suffices to fulfill that location. We are there and we are not doing well there. The collapse seems to come associated with the death of Alexander, a death described by Jeremiah as the assassination of the "Pharaoh of Egypt," and which, when it occurs, is said to be the proof of all the prophecies concerning Israel's fate with respect to the early return (Jer. 44:29-30).
In association with that crushing loss, there seems to come against the U.S. a physical disaster as well, one associated with the waters of the ocean rising up to engulf "the harbor", and likely much more (Is.23:10-11). In the aftermath of all this, America's role as Babylon's "wall of protection" will be over. Without U.S. protection, the nations will have to fend for themselves, a circumstance they are now increasingly looking forward to. The world re-alignment of nations in the absence of that protection will restructure itself, dividing the planet politically and spiritually to the four winds.
Where the United States will fit into this new alignment is not known, but Daniel makes clear that it's international focus will concern the protection of Israel a protection probably revolving around America's formidable nuclear arsenal, the strength of which, one would imagine, will enable a successful stand-off of sorts against the East until the arrival of the Madman.
So the replication, if it is there, seems to follow a different pattern. Nor do we see duplications of the timelines. At least not chronologically. Jesus said in the days of the End the time would be compressed (cut short) by God for the sake of salvation. That would be certain to end chronological parallels.
The chronology seems to follow a prophetic pattern, not a repetitive one. We can see that in the three days of Christ (two days of washing and cleaning and on the third day, seeing Christ face to face) in which the days correspond to thousand-year blocks; and in the 6000-year time-frame of the world as measured by the Hebrew calendar, a calendar of similar formula that defines the end of the world as the arrival of the 7th "day". But again, in the case of the latter, a time differing from ultimate reality because it has been cut short.
Also, the circumstances don't exactly repeat. They are different in many ways. For instance, the two Antiochus figures bring the world to an end, they don't precede a future Rome (although the second Antiochus figure seems to take his Persian throne there). Nor does America's success at defending Israel last. It is God alone that defends His people at the end.
Prophecy has presented us with a beast (Satan) that has 7 heads that come one after the other. It is a progression that repeats only once, and then, only at the very end. Hitler was likely the 7th head, i.e., a new figure, not a replicaiton of the past. We know from John that Nero was the 6th head. The Madman at the end will be the 8th, but he is not counted as an 8th head because he comes as a reincarnation of one of the previous seven (the first one to do so). As far as his identity is concerned, there are many from which to pick:
Early Christian prophecy expected Nero. I foresee Haman. Perhaps he is a figure that claims to be Nebuchadnezzar. Even the thought that it might be Adolph Hitler cannot be discounted. There are good arguments for all four, and even for the others as well.
Do you believe in purgatory? What is it, where does it come from and why do all Protestants reject the idea? PL
The idea of purgatory stems in large part from the New Testament doctrine of Paul that shows individuals being turned over to fire due to flaws in their faith: (1 Tim. 1:19-20). "Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence. I mean men like Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to teach them not to be blasphemous."
He explained this mysterious doctrine explicity in his first letter to the Corinthians:
"By the grace God gave me, I succeeded as an architect and laid the foundations, on which someone else is doing the building. Everyone doing the building must work carefully. For the foundation, nobody can lay any other than the one which has already been laid, that is Jesus Christ. On this foundation you can build in gold, silver and jewels, or in wood, grass and straw, but whatever the material, the work of each builder is going to be clearly revealed when the day comes. That day will begin with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If his structure stands up to it, he will get his wages; if it is burnt down, he will be the loser, and though he is saved himself, it will be as one who has gone through fire." (1 Cor. 3:10-15).
Catholic theologians, focusing on the fire, defined its doctrine of Purgatory.
Protestant theologiians, ignoring the fire, concentrated on another idea central to this statement, universal salvation for all who turn to God and are baptised in Jesus.
Both sides recognize the statement's seemingly implicit message, that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved, irrespective of works.
Where do those go that have been turned over to Satan, and what loss of reward is involved? Jesus said they won't get out until they have paid the last penny (Mt. 5:21-26). Get out of what? How is the debt to be paid? Where is it to be paid? Protestant theology doesn't want to know. Everybody who turns to Jesus is saved. To them that is all that counts, and it headlines their theology.
However, the fire Paul spoke of remains. That is certain. Paul made this very clear:
"Brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, the gospel that you received and in which you are firmly established; because the gospel will save you only if you keep believing exactly what I preached to you believing anything else will not lead to anything." (1 Cor. 15:1-2).
We may not know what that non-lethal fire is, or how much latitude is involved in its perimeter (Mt. 7:21-27), but we do know there is a work-around:
Not only does it guard our salvation, forgiveness is the first line of defense for those subject to the fires of Paul's mysterious and controversial purgatory, factually affirmed by the revelation of God through the prophecy of the New Testament. The fact is, if we remember to forgive everyone, it can save us from that fire, and perhaps even from the unknown latitudes of its lethality if such exist.
Forgiving everyone is easier said than done in this highly judgmental age.
There are hundreds of examples of judgmental temptations surrounding us every day. From harsh enemies down to the seemingly innocuous like Paris Hilton (how so many wanted to see her get the full measure of her penalty and clammored for her to be returned to jail). Be terrified of hate or judgement when it crosses your mind. Everything we put out is coming back to us. We live in a judgmental age and we have to be very diligent that we are not dragged down into it, to become a part of it.
Jesus said, as we forgive so shall we be forgiven. So important is this commandment, it stands alone in the Lord's Prayer (Mat. 6:7-15).
"I give you a new commandment: love one another; just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples." (John 13:14-15; Mt. 9:13).
If we are His disciples, we will live forever. We have His sworn word that this is true:
"I tell you most solemnly, whoever listens to my words, and believes in the one who sent me, has eternal life; without being brought to judgment he has passed from death to life.," (John 5:24).
You didn't answer my question. I asked if you believed in purgatory? PL
Yes, I believe all of scripture's prophecies are true, especially those in the New Testament that they will be made true by God because they carry the seal of Christ.
Purgatory is a way of defining and addressing a people who need help the saved people (who otherwise lose everything) that Paul talked about in First Corinthians 3:10-15:
"...the work of each builder is going to be clearly revealed when the day comes. That day will begin with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If his structure stands up to it, he will get his wages; if it is burnt down, he will be the loser, and though he is saved himself, it will be as one who has gone through fire." (1 Cor. 3:14-15).
Jesus said that "Wherever I am, there my servant will be also". A strong chorus of prayers for mercy would be in order for those who are unfortunate enough to encounter the fate Paul described above, especially considering Jesus' statement that they won't get out until the last penny of their debt has been paid (Mat. 5:26). If Paris Hilton and Martha Stewart can have their sentences mercifully shortened in our unjust worldly system, it stands to reason prayers for mercy should help those suffering God's fire far more, whatever that fire is, or place of debt means.
There is a strong need for mercy here and a strong sense of "just in case". By giving that location a name, billions of prayers have been able to be said for them, and perhaps for us, over the ages. This is a reflection of compassion. Remember, no prayers are offered for these people in most Protestant churches. Yet what applies to Catholics and the Orthodox also applies to Protestants (all Christians), so everyone who claims Christ is subject to this predicament.
Paul teaches that the religion of Christ is not a religion of rules (Law). It is a religion of the Spirit: Love versus selfishness (Gal.5:13-26) a religion where God is love and Satan is selfishness. Compassion for others is the essence of God's love (Gal. 5:14).
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