All posts by StevenHawk

Proper Preterism shows God kept His promises to Israel and helps us understand Scripture

(The Sign of the Second Coming Parousia of Christ)

Note, this was originally a letter to an in-law and due to unfair dialogue, this may appear to be a little hard-ball, using the Titus 1:13 principle “… reprove them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” in the nicest possible manner. Part 1 of 2 (Part 2 has the rebuttal to this letter) …

I think you’re a smart woman and I appreciate your input, and if I’m wrong I will reconsider my finds. First, I’d like to say I am not asking you to believe me. Be a noble Berean (Acts 17:11) and check the sources below, and if you see this, I will tell you that I was just as surprised (after many years of studying) as you will be.

Now, when you said “you have your truth, and I have mine,” I’m sure you know there is no such thing as “contradictory truth” and God’s word is not opinion – He is not the author of confusion, mankind is. Logically, we can both be wrong, or one of us can be right, but we can’t both be right on the topic discussed at the hotel, which YOU asked about or I would not had brought it up in the first place. I only wanted help with marketing.

Now that this has been brought up, I should defend this position that I think is truth, and that is “Christ’s presence or arrival on His heavenly throne (Greek PAROUSIA [defined later]), not coming as usually translated (He never said He was coming back to reign on planet Earth — that is what the churches teach), but a heavenly reign (1Pe 1:4; Col 1:5; 2Tim 4:18 et al) OCCURRED IN THE FIRST CENTURY, AS HE SAID IT WOULD (Mat 16:28, 24:34 et al) AND WE ARE NOT LIVING IN THE BIBLICAL LAST DAYS” as your Mother insisted.

THE LAST DAYS [of the old Jewish system – that’s what it means] WERE FROM THE BIRTH OF CHRIST (circa 1BC, see Heb 1:2; Acts 2:16, 17) TO THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM, (ca. 70AD). THE BIBLICAL LAST DAYS ONLY LASTED ABOUT 70 YEARS. After that is when everything BEGAN for Christianity (i.e. Him and His saint’s reign from heaven). There are “plausible” scriptural reasons we live in an evil world until God becomes “all in all” (1Co 15:28).

Allow me to explain….

Most Christians would strongly affirm that the gospel message of Christ is an essential. I ask, how essential to the Gospel is the event commonly referred to as the “second coming,” then? The churches do not always realize the second coming of Christ is an essential and make it a side category (for prophecy)–hopefully you will see how wrong that is.

Heb 9:28  (ASV)  so Christ also, having been once offered to bear the sins of many, shall appear A SECOND TIME, apart from sin, to them that wait for him, UNTO SALVATION

Based on the verse quoted above, there can be NO SALVATION apart from, (i.e. without) the commonly called “second coming!” See the vital importance? When that verse was written, they did not yet have the salvation they were promised, because it was a process. “Second coming” brings with it salvation here too: Joh 14:3; Rev 22:12. Then Paul describes how a believer receives immortality in the PAROUSIA (Greek word for PRESENCE, wrongly translated coming) of Jesus in 1Cor 15:23c and 15:45, 50-54.

NOTE: In Heb 9:28 (we just read) salvation does not occur at His cross and resurrection as most assume, because there is a process to our redemption. HIS RETURN HAS TO BE INCLUDED, as I tried to explain at the hotel (the Levitical [see Lev 16] priestly protocol, where the priest had to re-appear to the people showing God’s approval of the sacrifice – Christ is our high priest).  It’s the process of redemption and that process ended with the destruction of the old system ca. 70AD, then redemption/salvation began. They were sealed with the spirit (30-70AD), which was the EARNEST DOWN PAYMENT Eph 1:13-14; 2Cor 1:22, but did NOT have salvation at the cross and resurrection of Christ, and neither do we if we deny His parousia (usually called return or second coming) occurred.

The following time statements are taken from Book 1“Imminent Time Statements that have been Ignored & Distorted please consider them carefully. They demonstrate how the churches have not considered “audience relevance!

1Jn 2:18 Little children, it IS (not might be!) the last hour: and as ye heard that antichrist cometh, even NOW (at the time this was written!) have there arisen (past tense) MANY antichrists; whereby we KNOW that it IS the last hour. (I could not tell my children those words, and have it mean anything significant, if it were 2,000 years into the future!)

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for NOW is our salvation NEARER than when we believed. (Carefully consider this verse with Heb 9:28 above to see they did not have it yet, until His return.)

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; AND THEN SHALL THE END COME.” (Mat 24:14)

The “world” there is the Greek word oikoumene referring to the known world at that time – the world of the Roman Empire.

Compare in blue:

“if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, WHICH WAS (past tense) PREACHED IN ALL CREATION UNDER HEAVEN; whereof I Paul was made a minister.” (Col 1:23 cf. Romans 1:8)

The “kingdom” that they were to preach was the  “heavenly kingdom” of Jesus Christ (2Tim 4:18) which can only be entered through resurrection – upon physical death “unto an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, RESERVED IN HEAVEN FOR YOU,” (1Pe 1:4; Col 1:5 et al)

2 Pet 3:8 that your Mother brought up “a day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day with the Lord” has nothing to do with indicating when Christ would return, but does have relationship to the fact that the Day of the Lord will not last for 24 hours (e.g. my DAY will come – see “Day of the Lord” Book 1). Peter is assuring them God alloted that time for old covenant Israel that was scattered abroad to be reached with the gospel and the House of Judah (Jews) to repent, but was ensuring them that day was not being prolonged despite what the mockers and deniers were saying (2Pe 3:3, 4). Likewise, Peter is discussing how the covenantal heavens and earth have been kept in store for a long period of time, but no big deal to God because time affects Him different than us. That verse does not and CANNOT contradict, negate and nullify ALL time statements God was conveying to His poor, persecuted first century people when He told them to hang in there because the time was short! To say so, is to cling to our false traditions and would be dishonest. Point in tact…..

—————————————————————

  • Dan 8:26 And the vision of the evenings and mornings which hath been told is true: but SHUT YOU UP THE VISION; FOR IT BELONGS TO MANY DAYS TO COME (ABOUT 500 YEARS UNTIL THE 1ST CENTURY LAST DAYS BEGAN WITH THE BIRTH OF CHRIST). Dan 10:14  Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days; for the vision is yet for many days: Dan 12:9  And he said, GO THY WAY, DANIELFOR THE WORDS ARE SHUT UP AND SEALED TILL THE TIME OF THE END.

VERSUS:

  • Rev 1:1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show unto his servants, even the things which must shortly come to pass: and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John; Rev 1:3 Blessed is he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein: for the time is at hand. Rev 22:10 And he saith unto me, SEAL NOT UP THE WORDS OF THE PROPHECY OF THIS BOOK; FOR THE TIME IS AT HAND. (SECOND COMING OR GREEK PAROUSIA, CA. 70)

You should see by the vast contrast of the above two passages [with various verses] that God DOES know how to convey time to His people in a manner they would understand.

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How can we say we are “in Christ” if we deny what he plainly taught (these verses are not “last days sidenotes,” but once we are told, say if we deny WHAT HE SAYS, we will be denied John 12:48, 14:23-24; Mat 10:33), because we desire to cling to false traditions of men that make void the word of God (Mat 15:6), and want false teachers that tell us it doesn’t matter anyway? How can we have salvation if we deny what is clearly and plainly stated in the New Testament? It’s apparent to me God is opening the blind eyes and deaf ears of those willing to see and hear. Thus we should no longer be among the blind and non-hearing once we are given this light.

The truth of the matter is, the destruction of Jerusalem was only the visible and dramatic manifestation (“SIGN” Mat 24:2, 3) to them (and to us) that HE DID ascend to the throne of His glory in heaven as King of kings and Lord of lords (second coming) around the time of God’s judgment upon Jerusalem, as he said he would (ca. 70AD see Luk 21:28; Mat 21:43 when the kingdom was taken from the Jews); and since His accession to that throne was not visible to them (Luk 17:20), Christ gave them the sign they asked for before they even asked for it (i.e “not one stone will be left upon another”! Mat 24:2)

“Every Eye Shall See”, and We Shall See Him “AS HE IS”

Luk 17:20 And having been questioned by the Pharisees, when the reign of God doth come, he answered them, and said,
`The reign of God doth not come with observation (CANNOT SEE);

-VS.-
Mat 16:28 Verily I say to you, there are certain of those standing here who shall not taste of death till they may see (THEY CAN SEE) the Son of Man coming in his reign.’

Though it may appear so, there is no contradiction there; it’s only a matter of perspective:

REVELATION 1:7. Behold, HE COMETH WITH CLOUDS; and EVERY EYE SHALL SEE HIM, ….

There is a parallel here with … Exodus 24:10a “And THEY SAW THE GOD OF ISRAEL…”
-VS.-
But Christ said…. Joh 1:18a “NO MAN HATH SEEN GOD AT ANY TIME…”

A person can see with their understanding (perceive) and or see with their eyes. It can be “seen” for certain that everything that Christ described was seen by the folks of that day in His coming judgment on Jerusalem, but do they perceive that was him? The heretics say no that was not Christ’s second coming (2Pe 2:1). So what Christ said is true every eye saw him, but the world does not see him… With the eye, they and others still today can see everything Christ described to have taken place, but some do not “keep” (believe, understand, perceive) his words, as such they do not see him nor shall they ever.

The saints are sitting on that Great White Throne and they will judge these deniers along with the rest of the world. (2Pe 2:1; Luk 12:9; 2Ti 3:5) Mat 24:48  “But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord DELAYS…” The church has developed a delay theory, and needs to come out of it!

“… to all them that love his appearing” (you cannot love what you deny 2Ti 4:8).

The saints are the body of Christ so they will see Christ, at least in that manner of speaking, but they will not see what they are expecting. If someone came and said I am coming to your town to destroy it and every eye will see it, who in their right mind would claim that every person who ever lived or will live, will see it? Even words like “all” and “everyone” have something called context that defines any limitations to scope.

1) While in the flesh they/we could/can only “see” him in the words and understanding of those words that came to pass (i.e. fulfilled prophecy we perceive, this is how He is manifested to us and not the world,) or

2) After the physical death of the body we/they were looking to see him “as he is” because we shall have new spiritual bodies and “be like Him,” (1Jo 3:2) because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom (reign); and in that day they will see him “face to face.”

3) And every man that hath THIS HOPE in him purified himself, even as he is pure…… Folks who deny the second coming of Christ at the end of the war of AD70 (AS HE SAID: Historically, the events prophetically described by Jesus as recorded in Luke 21:8-27 occurred in the years of ca. 36-70 AD. Jesus clearly instructed His listeners that “when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is NEAR!”) based on a physical bodily resurrection don’t have this hope and as such are not pure. [Titus 1:15-16] They are hoping for a physical bodily resurrection as such deny the faith and hope of true Christians. This is the whole point to Christ’s own statements about his second coming and what folks would see.

You might be thinking that all today do not “serve Him” (Dan 7:14, 27). But, it should be looked at as a long process (since 70AD) of subduing His enemies (1Co 15:25; Psa 110:1). “The police have dominion, but they do not have complete compliance.” Someday, and it may be soon, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, then we’ll have more compliance, too.

The ascension or coming of Christ to the Father to receive His Kingdom, was right after the destruction of the Judean (that’s why they would mourn) Kingdom exhibited in this verse:

Mat 24:30 and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. There were also heavenly signs  (read Josephus, The Wars Of The Jews), Josephus was a first century Jewish historian.

CONCLUSION

With this light now available to us, we can conclude: if that fulfillment and scripturally undeniable sign (i.e. Christ’s prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem) did not coincide with his 1st century return to get first-fruits of his bride (those waiting in the grave Mat 24:31; 1Th 4:15b then – after that – each Christian alive upon physical death,) that makes him a false prophet.  Christ predicted it in THEIR generation (Mat 24:34), when he would be seated in the throne of His glory in heaven (Mat 19:28).

If you want to know what Christ and His saints do after 70AD (i.e. during the thousands [Greek plural] years reign and beyond) get Book 1 – The Last Days Edition. Everything is progressively and systematically spelled out for you – you’re satisfaction is guaranteed!

The above researched and verified argument – beyond any reasonable doubt – jives with all other scripture and refutes what the churches are teaching, and proves they promote a diluted and distorted (denying He did what He said He’d do), which some might call a false gospel (Gal 1:8-9)! Rest assured there are sufficient, biblical answers to ALL the objections to this; all you need to do is present the objections. Let me know if I can be of any other assistance.  Steve

GET BOOK 1 ~ THE LAST DAYS EDITION

(available in 3 formats)

Read a response to this letter in Pt. 2 titled ‘Is “Interpretation” Keeping People from Christ?’

A Critique of Don Preston’s (Full Preterist) Thousand Years

The Timing of the Millennium and Millennial Martyrs

By Lloyd Dale February 2015

For years I have been studying Preston’s writings on the subject of the Millennium which he erroneous believes to be the forty year period from the resurrection of Jesus Christ up to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. Although Preston regularly asserts his forty year view, as far as I can tell, he has not presented a cogent explanation of why and how he initially arrived at that view.

This article is being written to interact with Don Preston’s erroneous 40 year Millennium view in general and more specifically with his article entitled “The Millennial Martyrs” in his Objection Overruled! Column in the winter, 2014 Vol. 9, issue 4, of “Fulfilled! Magazine.” The title of this article is very misleading as the Scriptures do not give us any examples of anyone being martyred in the millennium. This concept of persons being martyred in the Millennium appears only in the erroneous paradigm of the “forty year Millennialists” who claim that the Millennium occurred during the forty years from ca. 30 – 70 AD. While Preston accuses Jordan of holding to an erroneous “foundational presupposition,” Jordan was/is certainly correct to assert that the “Millennium began in AD 70.” Contrary to Preston’s assertion, that his article “falsifies the idea that the Millennium began in AD70” – it did nothing of the kind.

Preston is very fond of laying out what he thinks to be the “flawed presuppositions underlying” the works of others, such as James B. Jordan, whom he debated in 2004. In this article, we will identify the “flawed presuppositions underlying” Preston’s erroneous forty year millennial view.

Because of the aforementioned article, I think that I have now found the initial “flawed presupposition underlying” his basis for his erroneous forty year Millennial position. In the article referenced above Preston wrote, “Amillennialists and postmillennialists generally say the Millennium began in the ministry of Jesus…” As a COC Amillennialist, Don entered preterism with the erroneous

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“presupposition” that the Millennium began “in the ministry of Jesus” and ostensibly he simply never ‘looked back and/ or questioned’ that presupposition. Thus, based on that erroneous presupposition, he erroneously assumed that everything that happened during the time period of ca. 30-70 AD were events that were to take place during the Millennium and based all of his arguments on that “underlying flawed presupposition.”

While it may be true (or not true), that Jordan’s position was that “Revelation 20 is exclusively about the vindication of the martyrs persecuted by the Beast, i.e. Nero…” that is most certainly not our position. In this, we agree with Preston that, “all of the blood, of all of the righteous, all the way back to Creation, would be vindicated in the AD 70 judgment of Jerusalem. So, AD 70 was the vindication of all the martyrs from Abel onward, no just from Nero onward!”

We also assert that “the full measure of the martyrs had been reached at the initiation of the Millennium by resurrection of the martyred of the ages in AD 70.

On page 12 (first page of Preston’s article) at the bottom of this page Preston writes, “…the fact that the martyrs were enthroned to rule – and to wait—for a thousand years belies that…” Preston continues, “What were they waiting for during the Millennium? They were waiting for the measure of the martyrs to be filled up.”

Now, in our opinion, this is where Preston completely ‘jumped the track’ and headed down the wrong road. It appears to us that Preston’s claim that the martyrs were “to wait — for a thousand years… ” is a complete fabrication on his part. Were does the text in question, Revelation 20:4, state, or for that matter even imply, that they were “to wait” for anything – let alone a thousand years?

Let’s examine that text very carefully:

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their

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foreheads or their hands. They came to life again and began the reign with Christ for a thousand years.” (Re 20:4)

Now let me ask the reader, do you see the word “wait” anywhere in that text? Of course not, because it simply is not in that text. Second question, do you see anything in that text that even implies a “wait”? Of course you do not because there is simply nothing in that text that implies a “wait”—to say nothing of waiting for a thousand years. Where does Preston get the entirely erroneous notion that anyone in this verse is “waiting – for a thousand years”? Nothing in the text makes such a statement, nor even implies such an idea.

In this text, John simply describes what and who he saw. The text simply states that John “saw thrones” and he “saw those that were seated on the thrones,” then John adds the information that the ones who were seated on those thrones which he saw were “those to whom the authority to judge was committed.”

At this point, Preston and everyone else who studies this verse should have stopped and asked a question: “Who are the ones to whom Jesus gave the promise that they would “sit on thrones and judge…?” Try as I might, I have found no place in Preston’s writings where he has even asked this question, let alone actually answered this question. So, let’s answer this question for him.

To find the actual Biblical answer to this question, let us turn to Matthew 19:28:

“And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you which have followed me

(“in my earthly ministry”), when the regeneration occurs and the Son of

man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye (the twelve disciples) also shall

sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Mt 19:28, emphasis added, see also Luke 22:29-30, Matthew 25:31, and Revelation 3:21)

It should now be obvious and clear to everyone reading this article that John’s statement about “the thrones and those sitting on those thrones” is a ‘rifle shot’ straight back to the promise he heard Jesus make John and to His other disciples on that fateful day there in Judaea. It should also be apparent to all who read this article that NO ONE; not Jesus, not the twelve disciples to whom He made that great promise, not those who had been killed “for the witness of Jesus”, not those “which had not worshipped the beast… NO ONE was waiting; for they all, every

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last one of them, “…came to life (i.e. were regenerated in the “first” resurrection) and began the reign with Christ…” Contrary to Preston’s erroneous position, “judging” and living is not “waiting” it is actively functioning in His heavenly kingdom (2Tim 4:18)!

It gets even worse, because Preston continues, “…they were awaiting the Resurrection and the New Creation. This is critical.” Don is certainly right about something here, “it is critical!” In spite of the fact that Revelation 20:4 specifically states that “those sitting on the thrones,” those who had been killed “for the witness of Jesus,” those “which had not worshipped the beast” “came to life and began the reign with Christ.” Stated in plain English so that NO ONE should be able to miss it – Revelation 20:4, especially when compared with Matthew 19:28, 25:31; Luke 22:29-30; 1Corinthians 15:23c; and Revelation 3:21; specifically states that all of the individuals involved in this verse were regenerated to new life in the Resurrection in the Parousia of Jesus Christ. In that verse it is plainly stated that all of those people had just been regenerated to new life in the Resurrection and that they all, each and every one of them, were at that very moment in the New Creation, in His heavenly kingdom – Paradise — living “with Christ”!!!!!

In the light of that very clear and salient fact, how can Preston claim that “they were waiting for the Resurrection and the New Creation”??

As we shall see, Preston makes that claim based upon some flawed interpretive irregularities.” Preston continues, “Notice now the relationship between Revelation 6:9-11 and Revelation 20 (Although Preston does not identify the specific verse in Rev 20 which is his reference, that verse is 4.):”

“Revelation 6:9-11 – Past martyrdom, (royal) robes given, indicating an initial vindication, a “short) time of waiting (the Millennium) for the filling up of the measure of the martyrs, the promise of full vindication at the Great Day of the Lord”

“Revelation 20 – Past Martyrdom, the seating on the thrones, indicating at least initial vindication, a time of waiting (the Millennium) for the filling up of the measure of martyrs, the promise of full vindication at the Great Day of the Lord, the resurrection and the New Creation.(My emphasis)

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Now reader, please go back and re-read the above very carefully and you should see how Preston attempts “exegetical slight of hand” in an attempt to establish his erroneous position of a forty year Millennium. Notice how Don inserted the “(Millennium)” in Revelation 6:9-11, when in fact, there is nothing about the Millennium in that passage and it is clearly not intended in that passage. The “short time” that the martyrs were instructed to wait had nothing what-so-ever to do with the Millennium, i.e. the thousands years of Revelation 20:4-7. To actually demonstrate that fact, let us take a good look at Revelation 6:9-11:

“When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the land?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” (Re 6:9- 11, emphasis mine)

Reader, where does Preston find anything about “the Millennium” in the verses shown above? It simply is not there except in his erroneous paradigm. Also where does Preston find anything about “initial vindication” in these verses? The entire tenor of these verses is that these martyrs have not yet been vindicated and they are crying out “how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the land!” The simple fact is that there is no evidence “indicating at least initial vindication.”

It is true that these verses do indicate “a time of waiting for the filling up of the measure of martyrs” for it was said unto them “rest a little longer until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” It should also be noted that there is no stated “promise of full vindication at the Great Day of the Lord” in these verses; however, it is implied in the statement “rest a little longer.” Finally, these verses in Revelation 6:9-11 simply do not mention “the resurrection,” and “the New Creation”.

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Every alert and astute student of the Bible should recognize that this statement in Rev. 6:9-11 is a clear and certain refrain from a passage in Genesis:

“Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know; am I my brother’s keeper?” And the LORD said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.” (Ge 4:9-11 ESV)

It should be noted here that the “ground” of Genesis 4:10-11 is the “altar” of Revelation 6:9 and the “cry of the blood” is the same, i.e. a cry for vengeance to avenge the blood of the slain martyrs. This clear relationship between Revelation 6:9-11 and Genesis 4:9-11is a clear indicator for the perceptive reader that the words of Jesus, “so that upon you (the apostate Jews of first century) may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.” (Mt 23:35, emphasis added) are being acknowledged as being fulfilled within these verses in Rev. 6:9-11. Thus, we see that the martyrs “under the altar” as including every martyr from Abel forward until ca. 64 AD, the beginning of the Neronian persecution. Those that are to be martyred later during the Neronian persecution are described here “the number of their fellow servants and their brothers… who were to be killed as they themselves had been” killed.

Now let’s take another look at Revelation 6:11:

Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.” (Re 6:9-11 ESV, emphasis added)

Obviously, the words “rest a little longer” in verse 11 above had nothing what-so- ever to do with the Millennium of Revelation 20:4-7. Those under the altar were dead. They “had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne” to Jesus during their life time. Thus, these martyrs must include everyone from Abel forward and specifically included those that had been slain by Jews

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(such as Saul) during the years of the Jewish persecutions of the early Christians, ca. 30-64 AD.

These martyrs were told to “to rest (“sleep” i.e. remain dead, see John 11:11-13) a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been” killed. This resting in sleep is the only case of ‘waiting’ in these sections of Scripture. But it is not the “waiting” that Preston incorrectly sets forth.

These martyrs described in Rev 6:9-11 are seen again in Rev 20:4 were they are included with others “who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God” who by that time had been killed because they “had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands.” Thus, the number “to be killed” was now “complete” as explained in 6:9-11.

In his zeal to promote and establish his erroneous forty year millennium error, Preston has failed to do proper exegesis of Revelation 6:9-11 and Revelation 20:4. Because of this error in exegesis, Preston erroneously conflates 6:9-11 and 20:4 into one package instead of seeing them as sequential events, where 20:4 provides us with the “completion” of the promise given to the martyrs in 6:9-11. When the full number of martyrs had been completed; vengeance was taken, their blood was avenged “on those who dwell on the land” and the Resurrection of 20:4d occurred. The full measure of suffering had been fulfilled and the blood of the martyrs was vindicated by the destruction of those who dwell on the land and the dead belonging to Christ were regenerated and resurrected out of the dead as is stated in Rev 20:4d (see also 1Cor 15:23c and 1Thess 4:13-17).

Now let us take a specific look at Revelation 20:4:

“Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and who had

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not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life again and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” (Re 20:4 ESV)

Looking again at Preston’s analysis of this verse:

“Revelation 20 – Past Martyrdom, the seating on the thrones, indicating at least initial vindication, a time of waiting (the Millennium) for the filling up of the measure of martyrs, the promise of full vindication at the Great Day of the Lord, the resurrection and the New Creation.(My emphasis)

Why does Preston see “Past Martyrdom, the seating on the thrones,” as “indicating at least initial vindication?” If there had been any “vindication,” it would have been fully accomplished. There is nothing stated in this verse about any “vindication,” past, present or future.

Where does Preston see anything about “waiting” in this verse?” Simply put, there is not the slightest suggestion of “a time of waiting” in this verse.

Preston continues his erroneous ways as he writes:

“…if Revelation 20:1-4 describes the AD 70 judgment, it demands that the full measure of martyrs had been reached in those verses. But, that would mean that the millennial time of waiting had nothing to do with Revelation 6:9-11 and the filling up of the measure of suffering and martyrdom.”(Emphasis added)

Again, I ask the reader – were does the Bible teach a “millennial time of waiting” as stated by Preston here? The simple answer is – it does not teach such a notion, nor does it even imply that the Millennium is a “time of waiting.” Because of his zeal for an erroneous forty year millennium, he has confused the time “…to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete…” of Revelation 6:9-11 with the “thousands years” (millennium) of Revelation 20:4-7 where no such confusion is permitted by the text.

The fact is that the “time of waiting” of Revelation 6: 9-11describes the early martyrs from Abel through the early martyrs of the first century and Revelation

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20:4, describes the later martyrs of the first century. Revelation 6:9-11 is the beginning stages of the filling up of the measure of the martyrs and Rev 20:4 describes the “completion” of the fullness of the suffering of the martyrs and their regeneration in the resurrection. According to Revelation 20:4d the “thousands years” does not occur until after Resurrection of 20:4d; therefore it most certainly is not in view in Revelation 6:9-11. The time of ‘resting in sleep’ provided in Revelation 6:9-11 has nothing to do with the thousands years of Rev 20 as that ‘resting in sleep’ which Preston refers to as a “time of waiting” is ended by the acknowledgement of the completion of the suffering of the martyrs and their resurrection of Revelation 20:4d!

Thus, in response to Don Preston, we have demonstrated that Preston’s “millennial period” was not a time parallel “to the waiting time” of Revelation 6:9-11. Rather, Preston’s “waiting time” of Revelation 6:9-11 was a time completely finished by the resurrection of Revelation 20:4d

We have also demonstrated that the resurrection of Revelation 20:4d was sequential to Preston’s “the waiting time” of Revelation 6:9-11 not parallel to it as Preston erroneously asserts.

And we have also demonstrated that Preston’s “millennial period” was not a ‘forty year period between ca. 30 – 70AD but that it would be a much longer period which actually began with the resurrection of the martyrs of the ages including the first century saints and their entrance into His heavenly kingdom (paradise) in AD 70.

Of the results of that resurrection into His heavenly kingdom Jesus stated: (Emphasis mine)

“And I say unto you, many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt 8:11)

So Jesus said to them, “Certainly I say to you that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have

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followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

“But I say unto you, from this day forward until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine,.” (Mt 26:29)

Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. (Mr 14:25)

28 Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations 29 and I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:28-30)

“To the overcoming one, I will be granting sitting with Me on My throne, as I also overcoming and sitting down with My Father on His throne.” (Re 3:21)

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Stand with Israel? Who is the biblical Israel?

Standing With Israel: how bad theology duped us into supporting terrorism and oppression

August 16, 2013 by Benjamin L. Corey 114 Comments

Stand w Israel

Not many days go by without seeing some sort of “Stand with Israel” image pop up into my Facebook news feed. And, each time it does, my heart grieves over the fact that so many of my fellow Christians have been taken in by this new and dangerous theology, and in so duped into supporting terrorism and oppression… all in the name of God.

I grew up believing that Israel was God’s favorite country (also commonly expressed as “the Jews are God’s chosen people”), and the center of all God’s activity in humanity. Not only were they considered God’s “chosen” people, but we were taught that failing to support the nation of Israel would result in being cursed by God, whether you were an individual or an entire nation. This has caused much of American Evangelicalism to develop a blind love affair with the modern nation of Israel, who they see as the center of God’s past and future activity in the world.

I believe that this theology of the “Church and Israel Distinction” is actually one of the most dangerous and destructive theologies in the world today. It is unlike many of the other “secondary” theologies that are privately held beliefs which do not impact others one way or another. Conversely, this theology is causing a great many Evangelical Christians to embrace violence, condone oppression, support torture, and is actually creating terrorism. Ironically, this theology leads one to support not Godly behavior, but instead embrace behavior that is anything but Jesus-like.

The purpose of this post is to explain why this “pro-Israel” theology is ridiculously unbiblical, and how “standing with Israel” ironically causes one to stand opposed to God. I will give a brief overview of the basic tenants of this theology, the history of how it became popular within American Evangelicalism, why this theology is blatantly opposed to scripture, and why it is a major cause of terrorism in the world today.

Overview & History of Pro-Israel Theology (the Church and Israel distinction)

This theology is premised upon the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 12, when God said “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

israel apple of gods eye

From this verse, and other passages from the OT, this theology states that there are two covenants in the world today, one with the ethnic descendants of Abraham and one with everyone else. Essentially, it claims that God has two plans, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. As a result, this theology necessitates that all of the promises God made to Israel in the OT must only be fulfilled via the ethnic descendents of Abraham. This theology, at the core, differentiates God’s plan for humanity based upon race.

Beholders to this theology see the modern political state of Israel as the recipient of the promise God made to Abraham, and as a result, believe that we must unwaveringly support them lest we experience the wrath of God. Such attitudes have become deeply ingrained into Evangelical culture; I recall recently reading a Facebook post of a minister who said he was going to vote for the candidate that was the most “pro-Israel”, and “Stand with Israel” type rallies are quite common in Evangelical churches. Oftentimes in such culture, your level of support for Israel can be used as a litmus test as to how “Christian” you are.

History

For those who grow up in churches that preach the Church and Israel distinction, this theology seems as if it is a normal part of orthodox Christianity, and never gets questioned. However, the truth is that this theology is a new theology and is not part of orthodox Christianity.

This theology was popularized by denounced heretic John Nelson Darby in the 1800′s. Darby is considered the father of dispensationalism, which is a dwindling subset of American Fundamentalism. Dispensationalism is a collection of extra-biblical beliefs (such as the “rapture”) which is typically known by a preoccupation on the end of the world, and a pessimistic worldview. Among Darby’s heresies included this new idea that God had two, simultaneous covenants, one for Jews and one for Gentiles. Sadly, much of Darby’s teachings caught hold in the UK and eventually America, and turned much of American Evangelicalism from an optimistic, social justice focused movement into a pessimistic, end-times movement.

However, Darby’s theology on Israel didn’t really take radical root in American culture until after the political state of Israel was born in 1948. Even then, the theology wasn’t all that popular until end-times writers created an entire new genre of literature in the 60′s and beyond, such as Hal Lindsay and Tim Lahaye. Once their books became popular, this new theology spread with such fervor that many now simply assume it has always been a central part of orthodox Christianity.

But, it hasn’t.

It’s a new theology, and besides being an extremely racist theology, it is a very dangerous and destructive theology as well.

Why It’s Biblically and Theologically Flawed

Yes, it is true that in the Old Testament, Israel was the group of people God set apart and through whom he fulfilled his promise to bless the world. However:

  1. The “seed of Abraham” or the descendants of Abraham, have always included those outside ethnic Jews (i.e., converted Gentiles)

The pro-Israel theology is based upon the premise that the group referred to as “Israel” or the “seed of Abraham” was a racially pure group, but this was never true. Beholders of this theology read the OT through an extremely racist lens, even if they are unable to realize such a lens exists. Just a few examples of how Israel was a racially diverse group:

Ex. 12:38 says it included a “mixed multitude” and that Israel included those who were not ethnically of Abraham but who had converted.

The faithful spies in Numbers 32. Only two were faithful, and Caleb was an Edomite.

Othniel, the first judge, was not an ethnic Jew.

Moses was in an interracial marriage with a Cushite.

Rahab was a Canaanite

Ruth was a Moabite

Esther 8:17 describes the inclusion of many other nationalities

Zechariah chapter 2 prophesies that Israel will include even more nationalities in the future.

Simply put, the Old Testament never makes “Israel” an issue of race, as most Evangelicals do, but instead describes a group of people who have decided to follow God. Any person, of any race who decided to follow God, was included in Israel. It was never a race, but a religious community.

  1. The New Testament affirms and teaches that the people of Israel are not those Jewish by blood but those who have decided to follow Jesus.

Romans 9:6 “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel… In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.”

Romans 2:29 tells us that the true Israelis are not so ethnically, but spiritually:  “A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.”

However, the “stand with Israel” movement rejects what is plain in scripture, instead insisting that God has a very specific, chosen race of people for which he has a special plan. Instead of the God who is not a “respecter of persons”, this theology creates a god who is severely racist- receiving people not on the basis of their hearts, but on the genetic origins of their DNA.

  1. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus created a new humanity.

As Paul says in Gal 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

This passage is perhaps as clear as it gets, that there is no longer a distinction or separation between Jews and Gentiles; the previous barrier has been removed.

Furthermore, Paul ever so clearly states in Ephesians:

“Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15 by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.” (emphasis mine)

In this we see, that it was God’s intention to completely remove any separation which once existed between the categories of “Jew” and “Gentile” and that as far as God is concerned, there is a new humanity where all are included together.

However, the Stand with Israel movement rejects these passages, instead insisting that a barrier still exists, where God has one distinct plan for ethnic Jews and a separate plan (covenant) for Gentiles. I can think of no other more racist position that stands opposed to the truth of scripture.

  1. Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament, including God’s promise to Abraham.

In fact, even Abraham himself knew this– in John, Jesus tells the religious leaders that Abraham “rejoiced to see my day”. The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was a blessing to the world more than any other event in all of human history– and this was the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the whole world through Abraham.

However, this theology argues that the promises to Abraham have not been fulfilled, and that they will only be fulfilled in the future, via his own bloodline. Such a position completely reduces the purpose and work of Christ, as if it wasn’t enough to fulfill the promises made to Abraham.

While there are many additional theological arguments against this position, it is important to understand that:

(a) This is a very new theology, and is not part of historic, orthodox Christianity.

(b) This is a theology based upon race, even though Israel in the OT was not a pure race.

(c) This is a theology which in many respects, argues that there are two paths to God- one path for the Jews, another for Gentiles.

(d) This is a theology which requires one to completely dismiss countless New Testament teachings which, very clearly state, there is no longer a separation between Jews and Gentiles.

lion of judahIf this were all there was to it, you wouldn’t hear a complaint from me because it would be a relatively harmless theology. However, this is actually a damaging theology that is making the world more dangerous, violent, and oppressive.

Why “Stand with Israel” theology is literally destructive

1.By saying that you “Stand with Israel” you are, by definition, saying that you “stand against” the Palestinian people. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, not to stand against them.

  1. By supporting Israel as she has continually taken land away from the Palestinian people, we have contributed to a massive crisis of refugees without a home. This has led us to stand with the oppressor, not the oppressed, as scripture commands us.
  2. By supporting settlement expansions in Israel, we are supporting the Israelis breaking the law. We cannot say that undocumented immigrants in our country need to “respect the law” while supporting Israel’s daily refusal to obey international laws. That is ridiculously hypocritical.
  3. This theology requires you to reject the role of “peacemaker” as Christ commanded. Almost every time the US has attempted to broker a peace deal in the middle east, I’ve seen the pro-Israel folks take to the internet to condemn western leaders for making any compromises or dividing any land. I’ve heard preachers say that to obey the Bible (citing Joel) means that we are forbidden from sharing the land with outsiders. In fact, many churches in America actually donate money to help fund these illegal and oppressive settlements. These attitudes do not reflect the love of Jesus, the role of peacemaker, and are not “Christian” attitudes.
  4. This theology requires us to oppress other Christians. There are more Christians living in Palestine than in Israel, and when we support violence and oppression against the Palestinians, we are supporting the oppression of our own brothers and sisters.
  5. This theology is making the job of missionaries throughout the middle east and Muslim world, more difficult. Because Christians consistently and blindly support Israel, regardless of how oppressive they are towards the Muslim community, we have damaged our witness within the Muslim community. As if missions to Muslims were not difficult enough already, our support of their oppression only adds to the level of mistrust and resentment– making the job of our missionary brothers and sisters all the more difficult.
  6. By supporting Israel, we are supporting a nation that is consistently guilty of torturing children and other human rights abuses. According to a recentUN report, over a period of 10 years, thousands of Palestinian children have been kidnapped, tortured, used as human shields, and killed by the Israelis.  In addition, they have also been found to have forcibly sterilized Ethiopian immigrants which has reduced the Ethiopian community in Israel. If these sorts of human rights abuses were happening in any other country, the United States would be pursuing sanctions, or war. However, the fact that this theology has been forced into national discourse as a litmus test for many politicians, we continue to support this abusive nation.
  7. This theology is one of the root causes of the world’s terrorism problem. Why do “terrorists” hate us? Well, it’s not because of “freedom” as many politicians will tell you– it’s actually because of the US foreign policy towards Israel. Israel has become a bully in the middle east, killing and oppressing Muslims without even a hint of accountability from the west. The Muslim world has watched us support a bully, all in the name of our “God”, and it has grown to hate us as a result. This theology is actually creating and fueling terrorism- the same terrorism that caused 911. It has played such a significant role, that I hold preachers likeJohn Hagee as responsible for terrorism as the terrorist themselves.

Really, you ask? Yes. The very powerful evangelical voter block, which largely has been infiltrated by this bad theology, insists that the candidates they support be unwavering supporters of Israel. As a result, US foreign policy towards Israel has been built on bad theology instead of sound reasoning.

Want to curb terrorism? We have to stop blindly supporting Israel and start caring about the rest of the middle east. We have to get people like John Hagee off the air before he incites World War III over bad theology, and little more.

  1. Stand with Israel theology is causing church’s in America to funnel money to illegal terrorist activities (expanding Israeli settlements) instead of using that money to help the poor and oppressed. We have been duped into sinning by misusing our money and neglecting the needy among us. In the year 2010 alone, American Christians gave over $100 Million to charities in Israel- funding terrorism and oppression instead of tending to the poor and needy in our own communities.

 

In summary, maybe you or someone you know is caught up into this “pro-Israel” theology. If that’s the case, I would challenge you to consider that such a position is incredibly racist, and if true, makes God a racist too.

You must be willing to consider, that simply because you have been taught this theology your whole life, does not make it true.

God does not have two-plans, one for a specific race of people, and one for everyone else. He has one plan, and his name is Jesus.

While some “secondary” theologies are harmless, this one is not. This theology is a new, and dangerous theology which has created, and is directly responsible for, a great deal of terrorism in our world today.

Embracing this theology, means that one must embrace things that are not of God- violence, oppression, theft, torture…

and we must reject those things.

We must reject this theology.

Should we “stand with Israel”?

Yes…

But ONLY if that also means we stand with Palestinians, Iraqis, Syrians, and everyone else in the world.

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What Was the Sin of Sodom and Gomorrah?

brimstone sulfur ball

Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Was the most extensive judgment found anywhere in the Bible outside of the book of Revelation actually for the sin of inhospitality, not homosexuality?

People find what they want in the Bible. If one looks hard enough, he can find “biblical” support for reincarnation, Eastern religions, Jesus as a guru, divorce for any reason, and flying saucers. Every cult of Christianity uses the Bible to validate its claims and so does some of the occult.

It’s not surprising, then, that a recent trend in biblical scholarship holds that a careful reading of Genesis in its historical context offers no solid basis to conclude that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had anything to do with homosexuality.

This view may seem far-fetched to biblical conservatives, but it is taken very seriously in academic circles. It represents a significant challenge to the rank-and-file Christian who finds in the Genesis account a straight-forward condemnation of homosexual behavior.

My goal is to answer that challenge. I have no interest to malign, name-call, offend, attack, bash, belittle, or in any way demean a group of people. I want to determine one thing only: Why did God destroy these two cities? Did it have anything to do with homosexuality itself? In short, what was the sin—or sins—of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Genesis 18:16-19:29

Though the context of the account in question begins in Genesis 18:16 during God’s conversation with Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre, the details of the encounter at Sodom itself are found in Genesis 19:4-13:

Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. And they struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway. Then the men said to Lot, “Whom else have you here? A son-in-law, and your sons, and your daughters, and whomever you have in the city, bring them out of the place; for we are about to destroy this place, because their outcry has become so great before the Lord that the Lord has sent us to destroy it.”

What was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Why did God destroy the two cities? The traditional view is that homosexuality was the principle offense (“Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly”).

Yale historian John Boswell offers four possible reasons for the destruction of Sodom:

(1) The Sodomites were destroyed for the general wickedness which had prompted the Lord to send angels to the city to investigate in the first place; (2) the city was destroyed because the people of Sodom had tried to rape the angels; (3) the city was destroyed because the men of Sodom had tried to engage in homosexual intercourse with the angels…; (4) the city was destroyed for inhospitable treatment of visitors sent from the Lord.[1]

John Boswell thinks that explanation (2) “is the most obvious of the four,” though it’s been “largely ignored by biblical scholars.”[2] Boswell expands on explanation (4), the one he seems to favor as most consistent with “modern scholarship” since 1955:

Lot was violating the custom of Sodom…by entertaining unknown guests within the city walls at night without obtaining the permission of the elders of the city. When the men of Sodom gathered around to demand that the strangers be brought out to them, “that they might know them,” they meant no more than to “know” who they were, and the city was consequently destroyed not for sexual immorality, but for the sin of inhospitality to strangers.[3]

Englishman D. Sherwin Bailey also argues this way in Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (1955). The men of Sodom wanted to interrogate Lot’s guests to see if they were spies. The sin of gang rape was also in view, not homosexuality. In a broader sense, the men of Sodom were inhospitable to Lot’s guests.

Apparently, it did not occur to Boswell that possibilities (2) and (4) seem to be at odds. If “to know” the angels means merely to interrogate them, then there is no attempted rape, only an attempted interrogation. If, on the other hand, the men meant to have sexual relations with the visitors (the traditional view) and are guilty of attempted rape, then the interrogation explanation must be abandoned (rendering Boswell’s above summary of the views of modern scholarship somewhat incoherent).

Some of these explanations, however, are not mutually exclusive and may have been factors in their own way. For example, the general wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah (1) could have included rape (2) and/or inhospitality (4).

My principle concern here is to determine if the biblical record indicates that (4) homosexuality factored in at all.

Clues from the Text

Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? We can find clues not just from the Genesis account, but also from the Prophets and the New Testament books 2 Peter and Jude. These give a sense of how ancient Jewish thinkers steeped in Jewish culture understood these texts.

First, Sodom and Gomorrah were judged because of grave sin. Genesis 18:20 says, “And the Lord said, ‘The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.'” Indeed, not even ten righteous people could be found in the city.

Second, it seems the judgment of these cities was to serve as a lesson to Abraham and to others that wickedness would be punished. In 2 Peter 2:6 we learn that God condemned and destroyed the cities as “an example to those who would live ungodly thereafter.”

Third, peculiar qualities of the sin are described by Jude and Peter. Jude 7 depicts the activity as “gross immorality” and going after “strange flesh.”[4] Peter wrote that Lot was “oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men,” and “by what he saw and heard…felt his righteous soul tormented day after day with their lawless deeds.” These people were “those who indulged the flesh in its corrupt desires and despised authority” (2 Peter 2:7-10).

Fourth, there are 27 references outside of Genesis where Sodom is mentioned. It is emblematic of gross immorality, deepest depravity, and ultimate judgment.

Piecing together the biblical evidence gives us a picture of Sodom’s offense. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was some kind of activity—a grave, ongoing, lawless, sensuous activity—that Lot saw and heard and that tormented him as he witnessed it day after day. It was an activity in which the inhabitants indulged the flesh in corrupt desires by going after strange flesh, ultimately bringing upon them the most extensive judgment anywhere in the Bible outside of the book of Revelation.

What do we know about the conduct of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah that fits this description?

Just a Couple of Questions

Was the city destroyed because the men of Sodom tried to rape the angels (option (2) above)? The answer is obviously no. God’s judgment could not have been for the rapacious attempt itself because His decision to destroy the cities was made days before the encounter (see Genesis 18:20). Further, Peter makes it clear that the wicked activity was ongoing (“day after day”), not a one-time incident. The outcry had already been going up to God for some time.[5]

Was this a mere interrogation? Though the Hebrew word yada (“to know”)[6] has a variety of nuances, it is properly translated in the NASB as “have [sexual] relations with.”[7] Though the word does not always have sexual connotations, it frequently does, and this translation is most consistent with the context of Genesis 9:5. There is no evidence that what the townsmen had in mind was a harmless interview. Lot’s response—“Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly”—makes it clear they had other intentions.

In addition, the same verb is used in the immediate context to describe the daughters who had not “known” a man and who were offered to the mob instead. Are we to understand Lot to be saying, “Please don’t question my guests. Here, talk to my daughters, instead. They’ve never been interviewed”?

Did God judge Sodom and Gomorrah for inhospitality? Is it true that God’s judgment was not for homosexuality per se, but because the people of the town were discourteous to the visitors, violating sacred sanctuary customs by attempting to rape them? A couple of observations raise serious doubt.

First, the suggestion itself is an odd one. To say that the men of Sodom were inhospitable because of the attempted rape is much like saying a husband who’s just beaten his wife is an insensitive spouse. It may be true, but it’s hardly a meaningful observation given the greater crime.

Second—and more to the textual evidence—it doesn’t fit the collective biblical description of the conduct that earned God’s wrath: a corrupt, lawless, sensuous activity that Lot saw and heard day after day, in which the men went after strange flesh.

Third, are we to believe that God annihilated two whole cities because they had bad manners, even granting that such manners were much more important then than now? There’s no textual evidence that inhospitality was a capital crime. However, homosexuality was punishable by death in Israel (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13). Does God ignore the capital crime, yet level two entire cities for a wrong that is not listed anywhere as a serious offense?

The Only One That Fits

The prevailing modern view of the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is that the attempted rape of Lot’s visitors violated the Mid-East’s high code of hospitality (19:9). This inhospitality, however, is an inference, not a specific point made in the text itself.

Further, the inhospitality charge is dependent upon—and eclipsed by—the greater crime of rape, yet neither could be the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah because God planned to judge the cities long before either had been committed. What possibility is left? Only one.

We know the men of Sodom and Gomorrah were homosexual, “both young and old, all the people from every quarter” (19:4), to the point of disregarding available women (19:5-8). After they were struck sightless they still persisted (19:11). These men were totally given over to an overwhelming passion that did not abate even when they were supernaturally blinded by angels.

Homosexuality fits the biblical details. It was the sin that epitomized the gross wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah—the “grave,” “ungodly,” “lawless,” “sensual conduct of unprincipled men” that tormented Lot as he “saw and heard” it “day after day,” the “corrupt desire” of those that went after “strange flesh.”

In their defense, some will cite Ezekiel 16:49-50: “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food, and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me.[8] Therefore I removed them when I saw it.” No mention of homosexuality here.

Clearly, the general wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah was great. That’s not in question. Our concern here is whether homosexuality was part of that wickedness. Our analysis of Genesis shows that homosexuality was the principle behavior at issue in that passage. Ezekiel simply enumerates additional sins. The prophet doesn’t contradict Moses, but rather gives more detail.

Stinginess and arrogance alone did not draw God’s wrath. Ezekiel anchored the list of crimes with the word “abominations.” This word takes us right back to homosexuality. The conduct Moses refers to in Genesis 18 he later describes in Leviticus as an “abomination” in God’s eyes.

Leviticus

The Mosaic Law has two explicit citations on homosexuality. Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female.[9] It is an abomination [toebah][10] .” Leviticus 20:13 says, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act [toebah]. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them.”

John Boswell offers the standard rebuttal to what appears to be an obvious biblical prohibition of homosexuality:

The Hebrew word “toebah,” here translated “abomination,” does not usually signify something intrinsically evil, like rape or theft…, but something which is ritually unclean for Jews, like eating pork or engaging in intercourse during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.[11]

Leviticus, the suggestion goes, is not where we generally go for moral instruction. The sections quoted deal with the cult of worship: sacrifice, priesthood, ritual bathing, etc. These directives have to do with ritual purity, not moral purity. An observant Jew could not worship after ritual contamination until he had been ritually cleansed.

Others have added that many details of the Mosaic Law are archaic. Who concerns themselves with mixing wool and linen together (Deuteronomy 22:11)? The death penalty itself doesn’t mark homosexuality as particularly heinous. Disobedience to parents was also a capital crime, as was picking up sticks on the Sabbath, yet no one suggests these should be punishable offenses today.[12]

This rejoinder is filled with inconsistencies. First, even if this prohibition was restricted only to ritual purity and the cult of worship, then minimally it applies to Jewish clerics. Yet many who use this approach see no problem with homosexual rabbis and instead champion such “diversity” as a religious virtue. On the other hand, if the Torah’s proscriptions no longer apply at all, then any distinction between the cultic and moral aspects of the Mosaic Law is moot; none of it pertains anyway.

Second, it’s a serious error in thinking to conclude that if some of the Torah no longer applies, then none of it applies. Jewish thinker Dennis Prager observed, “It is one thing not to put a Torah punishment into practice and quite another to declare that a Torah sin is no longer a sin.”[13] [emphasis in the original]

Third, it’s true that much of the Law seems to deal with religious activity rather than universal morality. That observation in itself, however, is not enough to summarily dismiss the Torah as a source of binding moral instruction. Ritual purity and moral purity are not always distinct.

Context is king here. Note the positioning of the verses. The toebahof homosexuality is sandwiched between adultery (18:20), child sacrifice (18:21) and bestiality (18:23). Was Moses saying merely that if a priest committed adultery, had sex with an animal, or burned his child on Molech’s altar he should be sure to wash up before he came to temple?

More to the point, these sections were not addressed to the priests, but to all the “sons of Israel” (18:2, 20:2). In addition to the prohibitions on adultery, child sacrifice, and bestiality just mentioned, Moses also prohibits spiritism (20:6) and incest (20:12).

The conclusion of Leviticus 18 contains these words:

But as for you [the “sons of Israel” (v. 2)], you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled. (18:26-27)

Moses spoke as clearly here as he did in Genesis. The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of many things, but foremost among them was the sin of homosexuality. In this section of Leviticus, God gives directives not just for ritual purity, but commands to be observed by every Jew, and even by every visitor.

Homosexuality was wrong for the Jews. It was wrong for gentiles who visited the Jews (“aliens”). It was even an abomination that defiled the land when practiced by pagans who inhabited Canaan long before the Jews came.

Homosexuality is a defiling sin, regardless who practices it. It has no place before God among any people, in any age, then or now.


[1] John Boswell, Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 93.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Some have suggested the sin was seeking sexual union with angels (“strange flesh”). Though this is a possible interpretation, there’s no indication the men knew Lot’s visitors were angels. Jude’s point is that the Sodomites, like the angels, “did not keep to their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode” (v. 6). “Strange flesh”—the improper domain—wasn’t angelic flesh, but homosexual flesh.

[5] The rejoinder that homosexual rape could still qualify as the ongoing activity fails to convince. Who would be the ongoing victims? Not the townspeople. Because of their sexual proclivity they would not likely resist homosexual advances. Visitors would have to be the target. But if newcomers were molested “day after day,” I’m sure this would put a crimp in the tourist trade. The steady supply of sexual candidates would dwindle rapidly once word got around, with most making a wide berth around the area.

[6] Strong’s #3045.

[7] “Know a person carnally, of sexual intercourse…man subj. and obj. (of sodomy) Gn 19:5).” Brown, Driver and Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody ME: 1996), 394. See also Judges 19:22 ff.

[8] Curiously, this last sentence was overlooked in Boswell’s citation of the text.

[9] “Lie” is the Hebrew word shakab meaning “lie down” (Strong’s #7901). In this case, it refers to having sexual relations as in Genesis 19:32: “Come, let us make our father drink wine, and let us lie with him, that we may preserve our family through our father” (Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1012).

[10] Strong’s #8441.

[11] Boswell, 100.

[12] It’s curious that some choose to conclude homosexuality was a minor crime because it was no more offensive to God than picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Both were capital offenses. If you want to know how God really felt, look at the punishment He requires.

[13] Dennis Prager, “Homosexuality, Judaism and Gay Rabbis,” The Prager Perspective, 3/1/97.

The Abyss (the real 1948 in prophecy)

 

T H E  A B Y S S

“BOTTOMLESS PIT”

By Lloyd Dale

 

Thousands, perhaps even millions, of Bible students have read and pondered over the
ominous words “THE  BOTTOMLESS PIT” in the several passages shown below:
(emphasis and comments added by author)

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given  the key of the BOTTOMLESS PIT. 2  And he opened the BOTTOMLESS PIT; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.   9:11 And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the BOTTOMLESS
PIT, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his
name Apollyon.
(Revelation 9:1)

    

And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the BOTTOMLESS PIT shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. (Revelation 11:7)

    

The beast that you saw was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the BOTTOMLESS PIT, and go into perdition:and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. (Revelation 17:8)

    

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the BOTTOMLESS PIT and a great chain in his hand. (Revelation 20:1)  And cast him into the BOTTOMLESS PIT, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. (Revelation 20:3)

 

What is this BOTTOMLESS PIT (abyss or abussos in Greek.)?  Where is it located?
Does it have another, possibly more common, name?  If so what is that name?

Perhaps many different ideas have been offered to explain this term.  We think that there is only one Biblical definition of  “the BOTTOMLESS PIT“, and that the Bible itself must supply us with that definition and Yahweh’s Holy Spirit enables us to understand what the apostle John was writing about in Revelation 9, 11, 17 & 20.

The English words “BOTTOMLESS PIT
are the KJV translations of the Greek words:

 

abussos
{ab’-us-sos} Strong’s #12 from 1 (as a
negative particle) and a variation of 1037;

TDNT – 1:9,2;

          AV
– bottomless pit (5)

                 – deep (2)

                 – bottomless (2) [9]

                 1) the abyss, bottomless pit

                 2) bottomless, unfathomed: boundless, enormous

                 3) The rabbinic translation of the Hebrew word t@howm (teh-home’) in the Septuagint.

And:

phrear {freh’-ar} Strong’s
5421 of uncertain  derivation;  n

          AV
– pit (5)

 – well (2) [7]

                 1) a well, the pit or shaft of the abyss

       

The Hebrew word which is translated abyss, great deep (bottomless) is:

  t@howm {teh-home’} or t@hom {teh-home’}
Strong’s 8415 (usually feminine) from  1949; TWOT – 2495a;           n
f/m

             1) deep, depths, deep places, abyss, the deep, sea

             1a) deep (of subterranean waters)

             1b) deep, sea, abysses (of sea)

             1c) primeval ocean, deep

             1d) deep, depth (of river)

             2) When the rabbis translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) they translated the Hebrew word t@howm (teh-home)

                into the Greek word abussos.

And a Hebrew word translated pit is:


pachath
{pakh’-ath}  Strong’s # 06354 probably from an unused root apparently    meaning to dig; TWOT  1761a; n m

AV – pit 8, hole 1, snare 1; 10

             1) pit, hole

 

The words and definitions provided above demonstrate that the Hebrew word t@howm is the equivalent of the Greek word variously translated as bottomless or abyss in English.  We believe that the word abyss is essentially the English equivalent of the Hebrew t@howm and the Greek abussos.

 

The Hebrew word t@howm is used many times in the Old Testament.
The most pertinent for our purpose of understanding John’s use of its
Greek equivalent in Revelation is Psalm 36:6:

     O Yahweh…thy judgments are an abyss
<08415>: O  Yahweh,…

The psalmist, prophet, king David here instructs us that Yahweh’s judgment (justice) is an
abyss.  From this we see that the Hebrew prophets used the word t@howm to indicate a place where Yahweh’s judgment (justice) was being applied.

The above words and definitions also establish that the Greek word phrear {freh’-ar} is an equivalent to the Hebrew word pachath {pakh’-ath}.  The Hebrew prophets use this word to define the place that Yahweh’s judgment (justice) is being applied. Examples of this can be found in Isaiah 24:17-18; Jeremiah 48:28, & 43-44; and Lamentations 3:47.

Fear, and the pit <06354>, and the snare, are upon
thee (Tyre), O inhabitant of the earth. And it shall come to pass, that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit
<06354>;
and he that cometh up out of the midst of the pit
<06354>
shall be taken in the snare: for the windows from on high are open, and the
foundations of the earth do shake.
Isaiah 24:17-18 

 

Fear, and the pit <06354>, and the snare, shall be
upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.   He that fleeth from the
fear shall fall into the pit
<06354>; and he that getteth up out of the pit <06354> shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD. Jeremiah 48:43-44

 

Fear and a snare <06354> is come upon us,
desolation and destruction.
Lamentations 3:47

 

 John, the Revelator, was also a Hebrew prophet as was Jesus Christ who gave John the Revelation, from this we should understand that John’s use of the words abyss (Gk. abussos) and pit (Gk. phrear {freh’-ar}) would be in the same tradition as other Hebrew prophets.

 

The Abyss Defined:

By its usage in the New Testament and selected
passages from the Old Testament.

 

First of all, technically speaking, “abussos, abyssos, abyss” is not an OT term, however, the concept (bottomless) of the Greek word “abussos” exists in the Hebrew word “tehome or tehom.” 

 

The English word abyss is a transliteration of the Greek word “abussos or abyssos” which literally means “without bottom” hence the KJV translation “bottomless” in certain parts of Revelation.  In the Greek documents which we call the New Testament, the Greek word or lexeme “abussos” is only used 9 times – 7 times in Revelation and once each in Luke and Romans.  To make it easy for everyone, literal translations of these verses are transcribed below: 

Luke 8:31 and he (devil) was calling on him (Jesus), that he (Jesus) may not command them to go away to the abyss,

Romans 10:7 or, ‘Who shall go down to the abyss[1]
[of the earth]
?’ (that is, to bring Christ out of the dead to bring up
[from the grave].

Revelation 9:1 and the fifth messenger did sound, and I saw a star out of the heaven having fallen o the earth, and there was given to it the key of the pit of the abyss,

Revelation 9:2 and he did open the pit of the abyss, and there came up a smoke out of the pit as smoke of a great furnace, and darkened was the sun and the air, from the smoke of the pit.

Revelation 9:11 and they have over them a king—the messenger of the abyss—a name to him in Hebrew, Abaddon, and in the Greek he has a name, Apollyon.

Revelation 11:7
‘And when they may finish their testimony, the beast that is coming (ascending) up out of the abyss shall make war with them, and overcome them, and kill them,

Revelation 17:8
‘The beast that thou didst see: it was, and it is not; and it is about to come
up out of the abyss, and to go away to destruction, and wonder shall
those dwelling upon the earth, whose names have not been written upon the
scroll of the life from the foundation of the world, beholding the beast that
was, and is not, although it is present.

Revelation 20:1 And I saw a messenger coming down out of the heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a great chain over his hand,

Revelation 20:3 and he cast him to the abyss, and did shut him up, and put a seal upon him, that he may not lead astray the nations any more, till the thousand years may be finished; and after these it behooves him to be loosed a little time.

 Now let’s take at each of these.
In context Luke 8, records a conversation that Jesus had with a “devil.”  According to verse 29 Jesus commanded the devil to come out a man of Gadarene, then according to verse 28 the devil, apparently speaking through the man, asked of Jesus, “what have I to do with you, torment me not.

Why would the devil think that Jesus might torment him?  Could it possibly be that this devil understood that torment was a product or result of the judgment of God?  In this context it is clear that the devil is talking about living torment.

Verse 31 records that the devils requested that Jesus “not command them to
go out into the “abyss.”  Now in the full context of this passage the “abyss” equates to the torment of judgment (v28); it is used here as a metaphor for judgment and punishment/torment.

In Romans 10:7, Paul uses the word “abyss” as a metaphor for the grave.  Paul got this metaphor from Psalm 71:20:

O God, who is like unto thee – who has shown me great and sore troubles – [who] shall quicken me again, and shall bring me up again from the abyss (tehome, S’s #08415 depths) of the earth. (Psalms 71:20)

 

Thus, Paul used “abyss” as “a metaphor for the grave.”  We know this for certain because Paul knew, as we should know, that the body of Jesus was not to see decay (corruption, Psa.16:10 cf. Acts 2:22-32).  Death and the grave are the products of God’s judgment upon man as a result of Adam’s sin in the garden.

Before we proceed to examine the 7 places in Revelation where “abyss” is used let us take a look at the Old Testament. In the Hebrew Old Testament, the Hebrew word “tehome” is the equivalent of the Greek word “abussos.”  We know this, in part, because the Hebrew rabbis usually translated the Hebrew “tehome” into the Greek “abussos” when they translated the Hebrew Scriptures into the Greek text (Septuagint, LXX.).

This Hebrew word “tehome” is used 36 times in the OT.  In the vast majority (33) of those “tehome” is translated “great deep, depths etc. and these are in reference to deep water (oceans, seas, rivers, wells, etc.) as in the following examples:

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep <tehome, 08415>.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (Genesis 1:2) 
In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep <tehome, 08415> broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

Psalms 104:6 [Yahweh] covered [the foundations of the earth] with the abyss (great deep) <tehome, 08415> as with clothing…

Of these 36 occurrences of tehome (abyss) none of these are a “metaphor for
decay and death.”

The two notable exceptions to this are Psalm 71:20, which is quoted and
applied above, and Psalm 36:6:

Thy (Yahweh’s) righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are an abyss (great deep, tehome <08415>): O LORD, you preserve man and beast. (Psalms 36:6) In this Psalm of David to the chief musician, David sets forth the vices of the wicked and extols the virtues of Yahweh.  In verse 6 David compares the righteousness and judgments of Yahweh using two metaphors:

Yahweh’s righteousness is like the great mountains (i.e. expansive and
wondrous) and His judgments are like an abyss (i.e. deep, bottomless, powerful,
etc.)

As Paul went to the Psalms for his metaphor for the grave in Romans 10:7; John, in a similar manner, went to the Psalms for his metaphor for the judgment of God in Revelation 9, 11, 17, and 20.

Now let’s consider those passages.  In Revelation 9 John used the lexeme “abussos” 3 times, once each in verses 1, 2 and 11.  Chapter 9 is a rendition of the “trumpet”
judgments on the land of Judaea, homeland of the Jews (Judahites).  In verse 7 John
wrote, “The first angel sounded [the first trumpet], and there followed hail
and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the land [of Judaea]: and the third part of trees was burned up, and all green grass was burned up.”  Then in
verse 13 John wrote, “And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst
of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhibitors of the
land [of Judaea] by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three
angels, which are yet to sound!

Continuing with these trumpet judgments upon the land of Judaea, John wrote, “And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the land [of Judaea]:
and to him was given the key of the shaft (pit) of the abyss.”(Rev.9:1)  This “star falling from heaven to the land” of Judaea and the presentation of “the key” to this “star” are of very special importance for the people of the land as well as for John’s primary audience of
readers in the seven churches of Asia.

 John marks this special occasion by switching his terminology from “land” to “abyss” right in the middle of this verse. However, John not only changes his language, he adds a very important new element, “the shaft (pit) of the.”  It should be apparent to most readers that the lexeme “land” in verse 1a parallels the term “abyss” in 1b, but what is this “shaft (pit) of the abyss?”

In verse 2 John tells his intended readers that the “star;” identified as “him,” in 1b, used the key and “opened the shaft (pit) of the abyss.” Did you notice that, “the star” opened the shaft (pit) to the abyss; he did not open the abyss.  What is this shaft to the abyss?

 Moving on to 1:11, John wrote, “And they (the “locusts” of verse 3ff) have a commander (king) over them, the messenger of the abyss, whose name is Abaddon (Hebrew) -Apollyon (Greek) – Destroyer (English).  In this verse, as in other apocalyptic Scriptures (cf. Joel 2:25) the “locusts” are the soldiers of invading armies and their commander is the messenger of destruction (judgment) to the abyss (land of Judaea, v1).  Therefore, John is using “abyss” as a “metaphor for the land of Judaea in chapter 9.

The next reference to “abyss” by John is in Revelation 11:7: “the beast that comes (ascends) out of the abyss.”  Who is this beast that is going to come (ascend) out of the abyss?  The answer, of course, is found in Revelation 17:8, which is the next reference to
the “abyss,” where John explicitly states that the, “beast is about to come
(ascend) out of the abyss” and finish the work of destruction that is his destiny.  Without going into detail here, this is a living, breathing beast doing the work of destruction.  In verse 11 of this same chapter (17) John tells us exactly who this beast is; he is “an eighth king” of the Roman Empire.  Thus John uses the lexeme “abyss” as a symbol of the land of Judaea here as well.  It is the apocalyptic symbol for the judgment and destruction of Judaea by the armies of the beast and the ten kings
(17:12-18:24; and 19:15-21).

I have shown you the true meaning of the lexeme abyss in the New Testament and I can only pray and hope that you have “ears to listen” (Deut.29:4; Matt.11:15; Mark 4:9; Luke
8:8; et al.) and a “mind which has wisdom” (Rev.17:9).

If our reasoning is correct thus far (it is), we now need to look into the New Testament to find out were Yahweh’s (Yahshua’s) justice was to be carried out in the first century and we have the identity (name and location) of John’s abyss.

Our authority for the identity (name and location) of John’s abyss is none other than Jesus Christ:

 

And when He was come near, he beheld the city (Jerusalem in the land of Judaea),
and wept over it,  42   Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things [which belong] unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  43  For the days (of  justice) shall come upon thee, that thine enemies (the Roman soldiers) shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, 44  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation (the day of wrath).
(Luke  19:41, comments and emphasis added)

    

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel  unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36  Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not! 38  Behold, your house (of Judah) is left unto you desolate. Matthew  23:35

 

In the passages quoted above and many others Jesus clearly stated that the just
wrath of Yahweh
(Yahshua, Jn.5:22,27,; 8:16 et al.)would be poured out upon the apostate house of Judah in that first century generation.  And surely it was, when the
Roman army “stoned” and “burned” the land of Judaea and its capital city Jerusalem in the 3 1/2 year period between 66 and 70 AD.

The apostle Paul concurs with this understanding for he wrote to the first century
Christians:

 

19  Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves (upon the synagogue of satan, Rev.2:9; 3:9), but [rather] give place unto (Yahshua’s, Jn.5:22, 27 et al.) wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  13:3  For (Roman) rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil (crucifixion of Christ, rejection of His message and persecution of His followers)…:  4  For he (the Roman king, general) is the
minister of God… But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth
not the sword (of wrath) in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to
execute (Yahshua’s) wrath upon him that doeth evil.  5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 
(Rom. 11:19, & 13:3-5,
comments and emphasis added)

 

As did the apostle Peter:

1…there shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable
heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.  2  And many shall follow their pernicious ways;…3…whose judgment, which has been slumbering for a long time lingers no more and their damnation sleeps no more.  9 The Lord knows how…to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10. But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government.Presumptuous [are they], selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11  Whereas messengers, which
are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12  But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;  13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, [as] they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots [they are] and blemishes, sporting
themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14  Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16  But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb
ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17  These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18  For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19  While they promise them  liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20  For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21  For it had been better for them not to have known the way of  righteousness, than, after they have known [it], to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.  22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. (
2Peter 2:1-3, & 9-22, emphasis added)

 

 

War in the Abyss

   

Therefore, we now understand that John’s abyss of the first century was the land
of Judaea!  Now read the following Scripture with the word Judaea inserted in place of John’s cryptic abussos, and we will learn much more about the book of Revelation.

And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the land: and to him was given the key of the Judean pit.  2  And he opened the Judean pit; and there arose a smoke  (product of Rome’s war with the Jews) out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace (the war with the Jews); and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.  3  And there came out of the smoke locusts (men of the war) upon the land: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions (Jewish Zealots) of  the land have power.  4  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the land, neither any green thing, neither any tree [Ez.17:22-24] (Christians); but only those men (apostate Jews) which have not the seal of God in their foreheads (if they had the seal they would have been Christians). 5  And to them (locusts) it was given that they should not kill them (the Jews), but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion (i.e. by the zealots), when he striketh a man. 6  And in those days shall menseek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. (read Josephus, The Wars Of The Jews)  7  And
the  shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men (hyperbolic description of the participants in the war).  8  And they had hair as the hair of women (wigs, see Josephus, WOTJ, book IV, ch.IX, Sec.10) and their teeth (swords) were as the teeth of lions.  9  And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.  10   And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.  11  And they had a king over them, [which is] the [angel] messenger of the Judean pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon (destroyer), but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon (destroyer, otherwise known as Vespasian-Titus, king (Caesar) of Rome).
(Revelation 9:1-11, comments and emphasis added)

 

In the above passage of Revelation (9:1-11), The “star (that fell) from heaven”
was Vespasian the Roman general that was dispatched from Rome
(“heaven”) by the ruler of Rome, Nero.  “The key,” of course was the
authorization to make war against the Jews in Judaea (the “bottomless pit”).  When Vespasian “opened” the war against the Jews, the destruction and burning of the cities of Judaea caused a great “smoke out of the pit” or smoke rising up above the land of Judaea. The “locusts (that come) out of the smoke” are the participants of the
war – the soldiers of the Roman army, and the Jewish soldiers;  while the “scorpions of the land” are the Jewish Zealots, particularly the tyrant, John Levi of Gischala, and his Zealot army.  These latter individuals fought against the Roman army and against their own people, the Jews!

The locusts were commanded by Yahweh to “not hurt the grass of the land, neither
any green thing, neither any tree.”  In other words, Yahweh prohibited the Roman Army from hurting any Christians in the land.  However, they were permitted
to harm “those men… which (did) not have the seal of Yahweh in their foreheads, but not kill them for five months. The Christians had the seal of God in their forehead, and thus were protected.

 

While the Romans were not prosecuting the war (five months), the Zealots were
wreaking havoc within the land of Judaea, and the city of Jerusalem.
This was the sting of the “scorpion of the land.”

 

There is one last item that we would like to mention before moving on to the next
“bottomless pit” passage.  Please note that in revelation 9:11 the
king over the soldiers is identified “as the messenger of the bottomless pit.”

 

Thus, with this new knowledge Revelation 17:3-11 would read as follows:    

 

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman
(Jerusalem, the harlot Jer.3:8 et al.) sit upon a scarlet coloured beast (the
Roman empire), full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads (the seven
Caesars) and ten horns (Roman provinces). 17:7  And the angel said unto me,
Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman (Jerusalem, the harlot Ez.23:11 et al.), and of the beast (Roman empire) that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads (seven Caesars) and ten horns (Roman provinces).  8   the beast (Vespasian) that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the Judaean pit, and go unto (the) destruction (of the Harlot, Judaea, Jerusalem, and the temple): and they (the apostate Jews) that   dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation (beginning) of the world (Mosaic marriage covenant, Ex.17), when they behold the beast (Vespasian) that was (in Judaea), and is not (in Judaea but in Rome to be made emperor), and yet is (emperor, with his army in Judaea). 9  And here [is] the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains (kingdoms,  of the seven kings {Caesars}), on which the woman sitteth.  10  And there are seven kings (the seven
Caesars): five are fallen, and one is (Nero, the 6th Caesar), the other (Galba,
the seventh) is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short
space (7 months).  11  And the beast (Vespasian) that was, and is not, even he is an eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth unto destruction (sends his son Titus back to Judaea to complete the destruction of Jerusalem).
(Revelation  17:3-11, comments and emphasis added)

    

The last passage in Revelation about the “bottomless pit is Revelation 20:1-10

 

And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the Judean pit and a
great chain (the war power) in his hand.2  And he laid hold on the  dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3  And cast him into the Judean pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.  20:7  And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 8  And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog (paganism, secular humanism), to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.  9  And they (the adversary’s army) went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved  City (Christianity): and fire came down from God out of heaven (the next great event), and devoured them.  10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
(Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10, comments and emphasis added)

 

“The angel that comes down from heaven, having the key of the Bottomless pit” is
Caesar Titus (the title by which Josephus identified the Roman general Titus).  In chapter 9 we saw that Vespasian was given the key to the bottomless pit by Yahweh through Nero.  Also in Revelation 9:11 Vespasian is identified as “the messenger of
the bottomless pit.”  Thus this key was simply transferred to Titus when the new Caesar, Vespasian established Titus as the general or the Roman legions in Judaea,
and ordered his son Titus to prosecute the war with the Jews to the bitter end.

 

If we are right so far, the “dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and
Satan” which is “bound…a thousand years,” by the angel (messenger of war) of
the bottomless pit (Judaea) is the totally delusional, apostate Zionist Judaism
which is bound (killed, captured and scattered) as the end product of the
war.  There in Judaea, this bitter adversary (satan) was “shut up and sealed so that he (satan-the adversary) would “deceive (as national Judaism) the nations no more, until the thousand years are fulfilled:”

 

The “thousand years” is a symbolic identification for an indefinite period of time (we
think that this is the same period of time which Paul referred to as the time
of “the fulness of the Gentiles, Romans 11:25) that would eventually
be “fulfilled” in the future (from 70 AD). Sometime “after that, he (the adversary [satan]) must be loosed a little season (short time [Gk. chronos], as compared to the indefinite time span of a “thousand years”), and when the thousand years (long time as compared to the “short time”) are expired, satan shall be loosed (released) out of his prison,
and shall go out to deceive the nations…” again. 

 

All the above is verified by the fact that in Revelation 18:23 the Harlot, Jerusalem, is identified as the one that “by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.”  In Revelation 12:10c, “the accuser (national Judaism, in the NT Jews are identified as accusers more than 30 times) of our brothers (Christians) is cast down…”
Note that in 20:3 satan (the adversary of Christianity, “synagogue of
satan” Rev.2:9, 3:9) is bound specifically that “he  should deceive the nations no more.”  And then in verse 8 he ( the Zionist Jew, the great harlot, the deceiver of the nations) is released to “go out and deceive the nations” again!

 

As the binding aspect of the above did not take place until 70 AD it is totally
impossible that the “thousand years” could be referring to the 40 year period
which began in c. 30 AD and ended in 70 AD, as some insist.  The above correlates very well with Romans 16:20 were Paul writes to the Christians at Rome that “Yahweh of peace shall bruise Satan under (their) feet shortly.”  What other adversary (satan)
was “bruised” and “bound” shortly after Paul wrote those  words?

 

Ostensibly the “thousand years” ended in 1948 or soon after, when Zionistic Judaism was again established (released) in the land of Judaea.  Current world events certainly confirm that the nations are being deceived by something; as it certainly appears that they are being “gather(ed)…together for battle against Christianity (the beloved
city) in general, and the Christian west (the camp of the saints) in
particular. It is extremely interesting that the scenario which John describes
in Revelation 20:7-9a appears to be taking place in the very “world” in which
we are currently living, and Jerusalem, for whatever reason, is right in the
middle.  It appears that we may be in for some very “interesting” times as these events continue to play out.  It is certainly true that Zionistic Judaism
and Dispensational eschatology have worked “hand in glove” to deceive the
nations during the past 100 years with their false claims that are amazingly
similar given the ostensible diversity of their origins and identities.

 

In Revelation 20:8-10, John describes a great Gog and Magog army “as numerous as
the sand of the sea” gathered together for war against the “camp of the saints
and the beloved city.”  The “beloved city” is an obvious reference to the “new Jerusalem” of Revelation 3:12 & 21-22:5.  All understanding Christian Bible students
know that the new Jerusalem is worldwide Christianity.  It is our considered opinion that “the camp of the saints” is the Christian west or the United
States of America as between the years of 1620 and 1900
most Christians from the British isles, Europe, and around the world came to
“camp” and establish new homes in American, the “new” land of Christian
freedom.

 

The “Gog and Magog” army ostensibly could be a reference to all the Islamic nations
and their allies that seem to be gathering for their great “Jihad” (holy war)
against Christians.  The Zionist Jews in Palestine and Zionists
Christians (oxymoron) are certainly vigorously stirring this pot.

 

Although the authors of  “the Berean Call” would
vigorously reject the conclusions of this writer as presented herein, they have
unwittingly given complete endorsement to our understanding of these things. In
response to a question from a reader, the February 2002 “Berean Call” gave the
following information:

 

    A reformation of Islam to bring it back to the uncompromising teachings of the Qur’an and to follow faithfully the example of Muhammad…intensifies the oppression that Islam has always exerted over non-Muslims through forced conversions and over Muslims through threat of death for converting to another faith.    In fact, an Islamic “reformation” has been in

process for many years.  It grew out of the defeat of the Arab
armies that attacked Israel when it declared
its independence in
1948, and accelerated with the humiliating defeats of 1967 and 1973. 
It was decided that Allah had not blessed the Muslim armies as he had at the beginning of Islam because Muslims had strayed so far from orthodox Islam.
Defeat would turn to victory if the Muslim world would return to the
teaching of the Qur’an and of Muhammad in the hadith and…spread Islam through conquest by the sword…

    The Islamic “reformation…” (produces) an
Islam that is stronger and absolutely uncompromising.  It involves a revived commitment to the teaching that Muslims must conquer the world and impose their religion and way of life upon all mankind to the glory of Allah…A return to true Islam as taught in the Qur’an demands perpetual jihad with the sword… 
(emphasis added)

Another futurist, Zola Levitt; who would also vigorously reject the positions stated
herein nevertheless recognized the international importance of Islamic
terrorism as follows:

 

The cataclysmic increase in (Islamic) terrorist acts last year
(2001) was a turning point in history one that will… eventually (affect) the
entire world
.
(Zola Levitt letter February, 2002, emphasis added)

 

When the time for these events reach their fullness, John writes that, “fire came
down from heaven and devoured them (the Gog and Magog army).  And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone…”
In other words this devil, Zionism, is caught right in the middle of
this “holy war” and is destroyed along with all the other enemies of Christianity.

 

SUMMARY

    

    

We think that the information provided above gives us a very realistic look at
some highly symbolic passages of Scripture. It establishes that the “BOTTOMLESS PIT” was the land of Judaea, which included Galilee, Jerusalem,
the apostate Jews and the temple. Yahweh-Yahshua’s judgment-justice or vengeance is being poured out within and upon this abyss by the Roman Army.
This is confirmed by the description of this war written by John in
Revelation17:11-17:

 

11  And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goes unto [the] destruction (of Jerusalem).   12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.   13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.   14 ¶ These, with the Lamb shall make war(against the whore), and the Lamb shall overcome her (the whore, vs.3-6, 16 & 18): for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
15  And he saith unto me, The waters which you saw, where the whore sit, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.   16  And the ten horns which you saw upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire (for the Lamb).   17  For God has put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of Yahweh shall be fulfilled
(i.e. until the whore [Jerusalem] is destroyed).   18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city (Jerusalem), which reigns over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:11-17, Emphasis and comments added)

 

Because of the faulty KJV (and most others) translation of this verse shown below, Christians have generally misunderstood and misapplied this verse:

 

14 ¶ These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14 KJV)

 

Compare the KJV translation with the translation given above.  There is a vast difference.  Based upon the KJV translation, Christians have believed that “the Lamb” made war (as in the NASV) against (with, KJV) the beast’s army and
defeated them (the beast and his army). 

 

However, study the context.  The context is clearly about the war that is to be waged against the whore to destroy her (vs.3-6, 16-18), not about a war against the beast and his army!  That verse as translated by the KJV and most others is completely out of character and context.

 

As shown above, in context, the verse
is properly translated:

 

These, with the Lamb shall make war, and the Lamb shall overcome her (the whore, vs.3-6, 16 & 18): for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

 

According to the full context of these things; the Lamb uses the Roman army to bring His
avenging judgment
(Rom.12:19 & 13:1-4, et al.) upon the whorish city of Jerusalem,
the apostate Jews and the temple that they abominated.

 

The Roman king (Caesar) that is described so cryptically as the one who “was
(with Nero), and is not (on the throne); and shall ascend (to the throne of Rome) out of the BOTTOMLESS PIT (Judaea), and go (continue?) unto (the) destruction (of Jerusalem)
is Vespasian, with his son Titus, who had been dispatched by Nero to Judaea with the Roman army to squelch the Jewish revolt.  They had captured many of the
cities of the land and were about to lay siege to Jerusalem when word reached them that Nero had died by the sword.  They immediately put the war into abeyance until a new Caesar had been established.  After much discussion and persuasion, the army
eventually anointed Vespasian king (Caesar) of Rome, He acquired the support of
Alexander of Egypt and others then he went to Rome to be officially crowned
king (the eighth Caesar of Rev.17:11). Thus John describes him as “an eighth, and is of the seven” because he was not of the family bloodline of the Roman Julius Caesar but he
would be the eighth Caesar and thus “of the seven” (because of his
service with Nero) as the eighth Caesar of the Roman Empire.

 

There is a very interesting comment in Josephus about an “sacred oracle” that
ostensibly applies to this Revelation passage.
Josephus states:

 

But now, what did most elevate them in undertaking this war was an ambiguous oracle (Rev.17:10-11) that was also found in their
sacred writings, how, “about that time, one from their own country (this shows that the Jews understood John’s bottomless pit to be “their own land”) should become governor (Caesar) of the habitable earth (Roman empire).”   The (apostate) Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular; and many wise men were thereby deceived in
their determination.  Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of
Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. 
(WOTJ Book VI,
ch.V, Sec.4, emphasis and comment added)

 

According to Josephus, The Roman army wanted Vespasian to become emperor because of his age, excellent character, experience and military record.  They also considered Vespasian and his son Titus as the “dynamic duo” that would be able to salvage the Roman Empire with Vespasian as king and his son Titus leading the army.  When Vespasian went to Rome to officially begin his reign, Titus returned to Judaea to continue the prosecution of the war against the Jews and was “sent (by Vespasian) to destroy Jerusalem”  which he eventually did. In his writings, Josephus often refers to Titus as “Caesar” even while Vespasian was the ruling monarch. (Wars Of The Jews, Book III, ch. 1, sec.3 p.502 – ch. 10, P.546)

 

Once we understand the proper relationship between Nero, the sixth king and
Vespasian “an eighth”, we are in a position to see more clearly the meaning of
certain parts of Revelation 13:

 

And I saw one of his headsas it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the land wondered after the beast…and they worshipped the beast, saying who is able to make war with him?  …he that
kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. (Rev.13:3, 4b, & 10b, emphasis added)

In Revelation 13, John vividly describes an incredible “beast” which is the Roman Empire.
However he also states that the “beast” has seven heads.  These seven heads are “house of Caesar”
(Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and Galba).  At
the time that the Revelation was first put into circulation five of those
“heads” had died and the sixth one
(Nero) was currently reigning.  John tells his first century readers that the sixth “head” would die by the sword [vs.10b] and that at his death by the “deadly wound” [vs.3] the “beast” (Roman Empire) would be thrown into a great turmoil.  During this turmoil the “seventh head” (Galba) would come to power, but he
would only last a “short time
” (7 months & 7 days, Rev.12:10).  Also, out of the turmoil stemming from Nero’s corrupt and violent reign, and his unexpected death by the sword (Rev.13:10) and the ensuing fight for the control of the Roman Empire (the beast), it would appear that the “beast” (Roman empire) itself was about to self destruct (Rev.13:3).  However,
during this great period of turmoil “an eighth” head would come forth
(“ascend
out of ,” Rev.17:8) from the abyss (Judaea) and restore the fortunes and power of the Roman Empire (“beast”).  “An eighth, and is of the
seven” because while the sixth head
(Nero) reigned, the one who would be “an eighth”  was Nero’s top general carrying out his assignment to squelch the rebellion in Judaea, however, he was not of the “house of Julius Caesar” so he “was  of
the seven” but not from the same family line, therefore, he was an eighth king
(Caesar) of the Roman empire but he was also the first of a new line of Caesars
(Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian) who would reign for the rest of the first century
and beyond.  Therefore, Vespasian “was”
(in Judaea as a representative of the sixth head), and “is not” (Caesar while the Empire was in turmoil after Nero’s death),
but would “ascend out of the abyss”
(go out of Judaea) to become the “head/king”
(Caesar) during the “destruction”
[Rev.17:8] of Jerusalem, the temple, and the apostate house of Judah in 70 AD.

For Additional information on Bible history and prophecy contact:

Lloyd Dale, Founder and CEO
Olive Tree Ministries
19463 US Hwy 12
Lemmon, SD 57638
Phone: 1-605-374-3291

BOOK 1 ~ THE LAST DAYS EDITION
(available in 3 formats)


[1] (translated “deep” in KJV and others)

Sitting In the Throne Of His Glory

By Lloyd Dale
(01-20-08)

Recently I came across a statement in an article which I was reading that really got my attention. The author of the article wrote:

“When Christ ascended to the right hand of the Father, he finally received the Kingdom promised to him (Heb. 1). Ever since that time, Jesus has been reigning over his Kingdom. First Corinthians 15:25 states, “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.” Jesus, our victorious King, is in the process of conquering his enemies on the earth.”

As we can see the author used “Heb 1” as the bases for his conclusion.  Does Hebrews 1 really demonstrate that Jesus Christ received the promised Kingdom at the time He ascended to the right hand of the Father?  This student of Scripture does not think so.
Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that Hebrews does
not teach that Jesus received the promised Kingdom at the time of His ascension
and to demonstrate when Jesus actually did receive the promised Kingdom.

While we may not have the exact date, it appears that Jesus ascended to the Father in ca. 33 AD.  A careful reading of Luke 21:28-32, which most certainly speaks about the events
leading up and about the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, will shed a great deal of light on the timing of Jesus Christ’s reception of the promised Kingdom:

“”Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”  Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. “When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves
that summer is now near.  “So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. (Luke 21:28-32 NKJV)”

Historically, the events prophetically described by Jesus as recorded in Luke 21:8-27 occurred in the years of ca. 36-70 AD.  Jesus clearly instructed His listeners that
“when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near!

“Near” does not mean “here”.

In the above passage, Jesus clearly instructs His listeners that the promised Kingdom had not yet arrived, but that it was very “near.”  Once again, “near” does not mean “here”! If the kingdom had not arrived yet then Jesus most certainly was not ruling.  If he was, He was ruling a non existent kingdom.  How can a non existent kingdom be “ruled”?

Commentator Scott McKnight writes, “I cannot think the, expression “kingdom of God” can ever mean anything other than a set of conditions in which God’s rule (or the rule of God’s Son) is carried out among his people. Kings need people ([to make up] kingdom) and that involves a society where God (or God’s Son) is king and God’s people are God’s (or God’s Son’s) subjects.[1]

However, when we turn to Hebrews chapter one, we will find no mention that Jesus “finally received the Kingdom promised to Him.”  What we do find is a discussion about Jesus in which the author states that Jesus “purges our sins and sits down at the right hand in the Majesty in highplaces”[2] in accordance with His instructions from God the Father in Psalms 110:1:

“…sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your
footstool”

At this point we should note that the phrase “your footstool” is an idiom that should be understood to mean – “place under your authority.”  In other words, in this passage, repeated in Hebrews 1:13, God the Father instructs His Messiah/Christ to come and sit down at my right hand until God places all of Christ’s enemies under His authority, i.e. until God gives Jesus the throne of David – “the throne of His glory” – which occurred in 70 AD.

A careful examination of this passage – compared with the quote above – will demonstrate that the author of the above quoted statement overlooked a very important word in God’s instruction to His Messiah.  This word “until” is often overlooked by Bible students who read this passage and conclude, as the writer above did, that Jesus received His promised kingdom when He ascended to the “right hand of the Father.”  Simply put, that is not
what the Bible teaches.

This confusion about this passage is removed by an additional comment on this subject by the author of the letter to the Hebrews:

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. (Hebrews 10:12-13)”

Here the author of Hebrews clearly instructs us that Jesus did not receive His kingdom when he sat down at the right hand of the father, rather He sat down to wait a specific period of time, then the Father would place all of His enemies under His authority and give Him the kingdom.  We now know that the specific time of the “wait” was ca. 37 years as the Bible does teach that God gave Jesus “the throne of His glory” in ca. 70AD.  This is the
one and only “Parousia” of Jesus Christ and it has nothing to do with a “return
to earth” then or in the future.

The passages from Hebrews referenced above are the NT commentary on Psalm 110, especially verses 1-2:

“<<A Psalm of David.>> YHVH said to my (David’s) Lord (the resurrected Christ), “Sit at My right hand, until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”  The LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!  Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth. (Psalms 110:1-3 NKJV)”

As pointed out in Hebrews10:13, a key word in this passage is “until.”  Keeping this word in mind while we re-read this passage we learn that the passage demonstrates a progression.  1)  At His resurrection the anointed Prince is invited to ascend to heaven and be seated on the right hand of the Father.  In Jesus’ own commentary on this verse, He
states, I sat “down with my Father in His throne.”[3]   2) Jesus is to remain seated with his Father, until His Father gives Him the kingdom by placing all of His enemies under His authority.  This event is the Parousia referenced repeatedly in the NT.  In the Parousia,
Jesus leaves His father’s throne and ascends to the throne of His glory, i.e. the promised and long awaited throne of His father David.  Commenting on this passage, Jesus states that He invites His faithful “overcomers” to ascend to heaven (by resurrection) and
“sit with Me in My throne even as I also overcame and sat with My Father in His throne.”[4]  3) Once He is sitting on the throne of His glory God “sends the rod of (Jesus’) strength out or Zion” and so Jesus reigns “in the midst of His enemies.  Paul, commenting on this passage, states that, “He must reign until…He has put down all rule and all authority and power…when all things shall be subdued unto Him…”[5]

From the above, we learn that the “Parousia” of Jesus Christ has nothing what-so-ever to do with Jesus returning to earth.  His “Parousia” is His enthronement on the throne of David in fulfillment of the prophecies as summed up in Luke 1:32-33.

According to Matt 19:28, 25:31, Rev 3:21 and literally dozens of other passages in the Bible — the “Parousia” of Jesus Christ, i.e., His being seated “in the throne of His Glory” occurred in ca. 70 AD.

There are some who teach that the destruction of Jerusalem was the Parousia of Jesus Christ.  This notion is pure fabrication and is no where taught in the Bible.  A passage, speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, in Matthew 24:30 provides clear evidence that the destruction of Jerusalem is not the Parousia; but is, in fact, the sign that the Parousia is a reality:

“‘”And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven…, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30 NKJV)”

Of this passage, James Jordan writes, “…the Greek is quite clear, what will appear will be a sign that shows that the Son of Man is in heaven” [6] ascending to the throne of David.
Jordan continues,“…the destruction of Jerusalem (was) a dramatic and visible manifestation (“sign”) of the heavenly rule (in the Parousia) of the Son of Man.”  Thus
we should now understand that the destruction of Jerusalem was in fact the proof that He (Jesus) had indeed ascended to heaven and “in His Parousia”[7]  had become the King of
kings and Lord of Lord” upon the throne of His glory, i.e. the throne of His father David.  Jordan continues, “As the passage reads, (the) son of man is already in heaven”[8] thus, the “sign” pertains to His accession to the throne of His glory, i.e. His enthronement in the ca. AD 70 Parousia.

Thus, we see that according to the Bible, Jesus was enthroned in His Parousia ca. AD 70 – not at His ascension in ca AD 30 as so many erroneously claim and vigorously assert.

BOOK 1 ~ THE LAST DAYS EDITION
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[1] McKnight, Scot in “Keys of the Kingdom in Mark 9:47”,
Planet Preterist, January 15, 2008.

[2] Hebrews 1:3c, See Rev 3:21 for the meaning of “sit in the right hand.”  There it is explained as Jesus sitting down in the throne of His Father (God) with His Father.  Jesus is not ruling here.  He is sitting with the ruler waiting the time
when the Father will give Him His throne of Glory (Matt 19:28, 25:31, Rev 3:21)
which occurred in ca. 70 AD.

[3] Revelation 3:21b

[4] Revelation 3:21

[5] 1Cor 15:25, 24, 28; collated

[6] James B. Jordan, The Handwriting on the Wall: a
commentary on the book of Daniel, p 340-342

[7] Here note again the question which the disciples put to
Jesus, “Tell us…what will be the sign of your Parousia?” (Matthew 24:3, cf.
1Cor 15:23c & 25a in which Paul declares that Jesus begins to reign “in His
Parousia” and continues to “reign” in His Parousia, i.e. His accession to the
throne of  His glory – the throne of
David, Luke 1:32-33)

[8] While the quotes from Jordan’s book are direct quotes, the position I am presenting here is not the same as the position which Jordan is presenting.  Because Jordan holds
the same misguided opinion as the author of the quote on page 1, “When Christ
ascended to the right hand of the Father, he finally received the Kingdom
promised to him. Ever since that time, Jesus has been reigning over His
Kingdom.”  Because this erroneous notion blocks his view Jordan has not yet come to the accurate understanding of the view presented in this paper, instead he improvises a rather fanciful, complex; but, nevertheless, erroneous interpretation.

Some Funny Things Happened to the Statue of Daniel 2

 

Some Funny Things Happened to the Statue of Daniel 2

When I took my first serious look at the Book of Daniel almost twenty years ago, I did so without the benefit of familiarity with scholarly opinion.  In general terms, I knew that in mainstream academia, where liberals dominate biblical scholarship, the prevailing view is that Daniel is a pseudepigraphal product of the second century BC whose “prophecies” need to be understood in that light.  I also knew that those scholars who have accepted it for what it claims to be have generally used it to reinforce a futurist and premillennial hermeneutic.  Upon my first careful reading of Daniel, I immediately rejected the opinions of mainstream scholars.  I then flirted for a while with the futurist approach but ultimately rejected it in favor of preterism.

In this article, I focus my skepticism about the scholarly treatment of Daniel upon how mainstream academics and conservative premillennialists have analyzed the great statue of Daniel 2.  We learn in verses 32-33 of this chapter that the statue has a head of pure gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron, and feet of iron and baked clay.  Subsequent verses inform us that the head of gold symbolizes Nebuchadnezzar, that the other three metals symbolize a sequence of three kingdoms that will follow him, that the kingdom of iron will “crush and break all the others” (NIV, v.40), and that the clay in the feet and toes indicates that the fourth kingdom will become a divided kingdom “whose people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay” (NIV, v.43).

When I first read Daniel 2, my natural inclination was to assume that the metals that symbolize the four kingdoms should be expected to show particularly close historical associations with those kingdoms.  After all, I reasoned, prophecies are supposed to relate to the future, and this means that we should expect that each of the four kingdoms symbolized by the metals should have had a particularly close association with the metal used to identify it.  Moreover, I knew that as a matter of historical fact, the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar had placed great emphasis upon gold, that the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great had enjoyed a particularly close association with silver, that Greece had maintained a particularly close association with bronze that extended into the post-Alexander Hellenic Age, and that Rome had improved the technology of iron usage and greatly expanded the use of that metal.  I thought it especially significant that the Romans surpassed the Greeks in their reliance upon iron armor and weaponry.  This evidence is discounted by mainstream scholars, however, who either ignore it or dismiss it as irrelevant.  In their world, it is an article of “faith” that the kingdom of iron cannot be Rome, and all analysis of the four kingdoms must reflect that assumption.

Most mainstream scholars are liberals who regard the “prophecies” of Daniel with great skepticism and are confident that the book was authored in its final form in the second century BC toward the end of the reign of the Seleucid monarch Antiochus IV, who died late in 164 or perhaps in 163.  There are some mainstream scholars who look to the time of Antiochus IV for the primary fulfillments of the “end-time” prophecies in the visions half of Daniel (chapters 8-12) and who deny that that the fourth kingdom can be Rome but who nevertheless incline toward the belief that the Book of Daniel is, in some sense, “inspired.”  For them, even though the fourth kingdom of the statue symbolizes the “Greece” of the post-Alexander Hellenic Age, it may be that Daniel contains some genuine prophecy, particularly if you generously apply the theology of idealism and recycle prophecies through the use of typology.

When I began my study of Daniel, I initially had difficulty in understanding the historical association to be applied to the clay.  I was temporarily thrown off course by reading commentaries by premillennial scholars, who insist on searching for future fulfillments of Daniel’s end-time prophecies and in believing that the fourth kingdom will somehow play a part in man’s apocalyptic windup.  Perhaps, I thought, the clay belongs to our future.  In due course, however, I came to realize that it is foolish to look to the future for the completion of the fourth kingdom’s time on Earth, and that realization brought me to the conclusion that the clay in the feet and toes corresponds historically to the Jews, whose homeland became integrated into the Roman Empire a considerable time after Rome became the dominant power in the Eastern Mediterranean region.  Already present in some predominately Greek-speaking areas of the empire, Jews migrated northward and westward after the incorporation of Judea into the empire and grew in relative numbers through both natural increase and prosyletization.  As I came to embrace the idea of first-century AD fulfillment for Daniel’s end-time prophecies, I had no difficulty in concluding that it was the Jewish people who gave the empire the divided character indicated by the mixture of iron and clay.

In my initial foray into the study of Daniel, I surmised that since prophecies relate to the future and the four kingdoms symbolized by the metals are sequential, it makes sense to assume that each of the five sections of the statue corresponds to a distinct time period whose duration is roughly proportional to the percentage of the statue’s total length allocated to it.  In calculating that length, I assumed that the statue’s proportions would be those of a normal man, and I added to the length the portion of the feet extending beyond the ankles since I assume that the movement along the feet corresponds to a movement in time.  Also, one can plausibly assume, in calculating the relative time to be allocated to the five sections of the statue, the silver portion should receive a substantial “bonus” at the expense of the other sections to reflect its inclusion of the arms, which would normally hang below the waist.  In any event, I suggest that a very rough but reasonable allocation of the relative time corresponding to each of the five portions of the statue is as follows: head and neck, 15 percent; shoulders, chest, and arms, 26 percent; belly and thighs, 26 percent; legs (knee joints to ankle bones), 20 percent; feet and toes, 13 percent.  As I indicate later in the article, these percentages roughly coincide with the dates that should be given to the historical counterparts of the five portions of the statue.  Obviously, these percentages are affected by where you mark the precise boundaries between different sections.  In assigning these percentages, I assume that the geographical theater for their application was the Holy Land and the immediately adjacent territories.

The idea that the proportions of the five different sections of the statue should roughly match the historical periods that correspond to their symbolism is noticeable in the work of mainstream scholars for its absence.  The reason for this, I am confident, is that in any sequence of four kingdoms where Rome is not the fourth kingdom, the historical correlation between the sections of the statue and their supposed real-world counterparts is unacceptably poor.  Some of these authorities do acknowledge that the fact that the clay shows up only in the feet and toes implies that its arrival occurs in the latter part of the time of dominance of the fourth kingdom, but that is about it as far their effort to correlate the statue’s proportions with history is concerned.

In response to the question of how the four metals of the statue came to be chosen, the answer given by mainstream scholars is that the sequence of gold, silver, bronze, and iron reflects a familiar mythical theme in which a succession of kingdoms symbolized by metals of declining value conformed to the widespread belief among ancient peoples in the existence of a kind of idyllic state in the distant past from which mankind had gradually slipped away.  The Book of Daniel, it must be conceded, does not appear to be the original source of the four metals sequence.  The idea of presenting this sequence in the form of a statue does, however, appear to be original with Daniel, as does the mixing of the iron with clay.  Moreover, while Daniel informs Nebuchadnezzar in verse 39 that the kingdom that follows his will be “inferior” to his, there is no clear indication in Daniel 2 or elsewhere that the succeeding kingdoms are, in fact, inferior.  It seems plausible to believe that in telling the prideful Nebuchadnezzar that the kingdom that would displace his would be inferior to his, Daniel was seeking to soften the blow received by learning that his kingdom was destined to soon disappear, and it may also be that “inferior” here simply means being located below the head of the statue.  In any event, mainstream scholars seem perfectly content with the idea that the four metals sequence was chosen because of its familiarity and was not intended to be historically predictive.

Again I remind the reader that the Book of Daniel purports to be a book of prophecy, and genuine prophecy provides insights into the future.  I think it is therefore appropriate to ask mainstream scholars the following questions: what insights into the future are provided by the choice of the four metals and the order of their appearance, and what insights into the future are provided by the relative proportions of the statue assigned to each of its five sections?  In effect, the answer to the first of these questions that these scholars offer is that there is some sort of qualitative decline in the four kingdoms and the fourth kingdom—that of Antiochus IV—is particularly mean and nasty, which coincides with iron’s ability to crush and break other substances.  As for the second question, mainstream scholars simply do not address it.  To limit the historical significance of the statue’s features in this manner is equivalent to holding that “Daniel” was not much of a prophet, but this is no problem for liberals since they deny that a genuine prophet of that name existed.  For those mainstream scholars who believe that the Book of Daniel may contain genuine prophecy, however, this resolution of the problem should be troubling.

Although both Isaiah (64:8) and Jeremiah (18:6) contain passages that refer to the Jews as potter’s clay, mainstream scholars, including those who entertain the idea that Daniel is, in some sense, “inspired,” strongly embrace the idea that the clay in the feet and toes of the statue refers to marriage(s) between the Seleucids and the Ptolemies.  There are clear references to such marriages in Daniel 11:6 and 17, and it is commonly assumed that the author of Daniel intended them to be understood as referring to 2:43.  It must be conceded that determining just what 2:43 means is a challenge and that to claim that it refers to some kind of intermarriage is defensible.  That it requires both intermarriage and interdynastic marriage, however, is dubious.

In the interest of scholarly objectivity, I must note that although I believe that the NIV’s translation of 2:43, which I presented earlier, captures the intended meaning of this verse, it is arguable that it forces a meaning that the Aramaic of the text does not mandate.  The NIV indicates that the people of the fourth kingdom will become a disunited mixture, but a word-for-word translation of this verse reads more like the NASB: “And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.”  I submit that “they” does not necessarily point to royal families and that the mixing of the “seed of men” does not necessarily require intermarriage between either royal families or distinct social groups.  The passage may simply imply the uneasy coexistence of disparate groups within the same territory.  Joyce Baldwin, a conservative English scholar who wrote a valuable short commentary on Daniel, pointed out that the “seed of men” reference in 2:43a constitutes “an unusual expression, reminiscent of the prohibition to mix seed in the field” that is found in Leviticus 19:19.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[1]<!–[endif]–>  I submit that it is not the mixing of seed in the field that produces hybrids.

A serious problem with identifying the clay with the Ptolemies, as mainstream scholars insist on doing, is that it is not specifically associated with a kingdom.  Indeed, since the four metals are all identified with kingdoms, one is entitled to surmise that the clay does not symbolize a kingdom.  Furthermore, by insisting on identifying the iron with Seleucid Syria, mainstream scholars effectively exclude Ptolemaic Egypt from the fourth kingdom, which contradicts the fact that when they identify the original composition of the fourth kingdom, Ptolemaic Egypt is a part of it.  For mainstream scholars, however, this contradiction is no problem because it can be attributed to the deficiencies of the author of Daniel rather than to the shortcomings of their own hermeneutic.

Conservative scholars; i.e. those who accept Rome as the fourth kingdom, have sought to assign greater historical relevance to the statue’s composition than mainstream scholars have been willing to grant, but most of them have gone badly astray because of a misguided insistence on making Daniel conform to a futurist hermeneutic.  Some of them, particularly among those who have taken large bites from the dispensationalist “apple,” have performed impressive feats of imagination that, unfortunately for them, lack solid support from the text of Daniel 2.  These feats include trying to explain how “Rome” manages to extend from ancient times into our future.  Although Rome fell to barbarians for the last time in 476, some conservatives have argued that it never really fell, at least in a cultural sense, and it is noteworthy that an argument along those lines persisted for a long time after the fall.  The existence of the Catholic Church with its headquarters in Rome contributed greatly to this persistence, and the term “Holy Roman Empire” reflected the fiction that Rome had never really fallen.  Unlike liberals, however, conservatives have tended to assume that the five sections of the statue must have a correlation with historical reality; and with the passage of time, it has become increasingly obvious that if this correlation is to be shown, there is a problem in reconciling that reality with the limitations of human anatomy.  To be specific, if Rome never really fell, then the idea that the statue is a kind of time line would seem to necessitate that it look like a man with incredibly long stilt-like legs and feet that would make those of a circus clown look normal by comparison.

Largely as a response to the stilt-like legs dilemma, some futurists have offered the solution that there must be a gap somewhere in the fourth kingdom’s portion of the statue that corresponds to the gap they find between verses 69 and 70 in the seventy “weeks” prophecy of Daniel 9:24-27.  Gary DeMar suggests that in order to make the supposed gap in Daniel 2 equivalent to the supposed gap in Daniel 9, dispensationalists must insert it between the feet and the toes.  As he also notes, however, nothing in the text of either chapter suggests that such a gap exists.<!–[if !supportFootnotes]–>[2]<!–[endif]–>  Undeterred by this “little” detail, however, many futurists have barged ahead with speculations based on various assumptions about the clay, the two legs, and the ten toes of the statue.  The text of Daniel 2 offers nothing to suggest that the fact that the statue has two legs has eschatological significance, however; and while it refers to the toes without mentioning the feet in verse 42, it does not mention their number.  For that matter, neither does it mention the numbers of the arms and fingers.  I suggest that the special significance of the toes is that they connote the very end of the time allotted to the statue and lie in the zone of impact with the rock that is not cut out by human hands (v.34).

The futurist approach to Daniel 2 has, no doubt, influenced some readers of Daniel toward accepting dispensationalism and other hermeneutical systems that revive the Roman Empire, but it has certainly had the opposite effect on people who are not so affected by “last days madness.”  The implausibility of the futurist hermeneutic has contributed to the fact that the systems that reject Rome as the fourth kingdom have not been subjected to close scrutiny on various points, one of the most obvious examples being their very limited effort to recognize the possible historical symbolism of the statue.  Among the hermeneutical systems that reject Rome as the fourth kingdom, the most prevalent is the one that I like to call the “Greek sequence,” in which the four kingdoms symbolized by the metals are, sequentially, (1) the Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar; (2) the Median Empire represented by the allegedly fictitious ruler Darius the Mede, who is a central character in Daniel 6 and is mentioned as the ruler of Babylon in chapters 5, 9, and 11; (3) the Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great; and (4) the “Greece” of Alexander and the Hellenic kingdoms that succeeded him.  In this Greek sequence, the earliest feasible starting date is 626 BC, which is when Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchadnezzar, succeeded in driving the Assyrians from Babylonia.  Because Daniel 2 gives the date for Nebuchadnezzar’s dream about the great statue as the second year of his reign, however, it seems more appropriate to place a date of around 603 at the top of the statue’s head.  Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylonia upon the death of Nabopolassar, which occurred in 605, shortly after the great battle of Carchemish, in which Nebuchadnezzar vanquished the Egyptians and the remnants of the Assyrians.  The obvious terminal date for the Babylonian kingdom is 539, which is when Babylon fell to the army of Cyrus, though Daniel 5:31 credits Darius the Mede with being the man in charge when Babylon fell.  Notice that if we subtract 539 from 603, we get 64 years as the time of the kingdom of gold, Babylonia.  And since the proponents of the Greek sequence insist that it ends with the death of Antiochus IV, which occurred in 164/163, the statue’s “career” in the Greek sequence lasts for about 440 years.  This means that the gold part of the statue accounts for about 14-15 percent of its total length, which is a very plausible result.

With the selection of Media as the second kingdom in the Greek sequence, however, the feasibility of trying to apply the time line concept to the statue in that sequence comes to a crashing halt.  At most, the reign of Darius the Mede over Babylonia lasts no more than two years in the Book of Daniel, and this cold fact makes it pointless to continue with the time line analysis.  Incidentally, I am one of those who believe that Darius the Mede is none other than Cyrus the Great, and my conviction that the time line concept should apply to the statue is one of a number of reasons for my holding this view.  But this is not the time and place for explaining my position on this particular point.

The Greek sequence has many other problems, and even though it has enjoyed a sheltered existence that has allowed it to enjoy “immunity from prosecution” for a remarkably long time, there seems to be a growing recognition of these problems in mainstream academia.  To date, however, this awareness does not seem to have led to many defections of mainstream scholars to the “Roman sequence” camp, whose appeal has been greatly strengthened by the growth of preterism.  Instead, those mainstream scholars who have come to question the version of the Greek sequence favored by liberals have turned increasingly to idealism and typology, a shift of emphasis that I find somewhat analogous to the rise of postmodernism.  And some mainstream scholars seem to be showing more interest in what I call the “modified Greek sequence” or (more facetiously) “liberal light sequence,” in which the four kingdoms consist of Babylonia, Medo-Persia, the “Greece” of Alexander, and the collection of kingdoms that emerged from the struggles among Alexander’s generals (the diadochi) after his death, which occurred in 323 BC.  Thus, in the liberal light approach, the four Hellenic kingdoms that emerged soon after the death of Alexander are merged into one in Daniel 2.

There are numerous problems with the liberal light approach, but I shall confine myself here to its inability to be reconciled with the time line approach to the statue that I advocate.  Because this approach identifies Medo-Persia as the second kingdom, it overcomes the problem of having the second kingdom be around for only a year or two.  Unfortunately for it, it overcorrects.  If we date the beginning of Medo-Persia’s time as the kingdom of silver in 539 and end it in 332, which is the year in which Alexander established firm control of the Mediterranean coastal area, we arrive at a figure of 207 years for the second kingdom.  Since the total amount of time represented by the statue is the same in the liberal light approach as in the regular Greek sequence, and since I have estimated this quantity at 440 years, this means that in the liberal light approach, the second kingdom accounts for about 47 percent of the total time, a quantity that seems disproportionately large.  The excessive allocation to Medo-Persia is then largely offset by the compression of the third kingdom, that of Alexander the Great, to a time span as short as nine years.  One could add a few years to this by allowing for the time that it took for the diadochi to really get going at it with each other, but there is really no need to go to the trouble—it is obvious that the liberal light or modified Greek sequence is incompatible with the idea that the statue serves as a time line.

Now that I have indicated that neither futurist nor mainstream scholars can present a plausible demonstration that the statue of Daniel 2 serves as a time line, I have to confront the question of whether the version of the Roman sequence that I support does what they fail to do.  In my view, it passes the test with flying colors.  Admittedly, there are problems in setting the precise boundaries of the different portions of the statue and in determining the precise periods in history that correspond to them, but the admittedly rough correlation between the statue and history that can be shown with the preterist version of the Roman sequence is closer by huge margins than what can be claimed by the alternatives.

In my calculations, the Roman sequence runs from 603 BC to AD 30, the latter being the date that I assign to the Resurrection, which I regard as being equivalent to the striking of the statue by the rock in Daniel 2:34.  Allowing for no year zero, this gives a total of 632 years.  Babylonia’s time as the kingdom of gold runs from 603 to 539, a period of 64 years, or 10 percent of the total.  For Medo-Persia, the kingdom of silver, the number of years is 207, or 33 percent of the total.  By comparison, the “ideal” figures that I suggested earlier for the first two kingdoms are 15 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

When we come to Greece, the kingdom of bronze, we encounter the problem of determining just when it lost out to Rome.  There are several plausible choices for the year in which Rome displaced Greece as the dominant power in the area around the Holy Land.  The first is 190 BC, which is when the Romans under Scipio Asiaticus decisively defeated Antiochus III of Seleucid Syria at the Battle of Magnesia in western Asia Minor.  To me, this date is too early because Antiochus III retained much of his power and Greece, Macedonia, and Egypt remained at least nominally independent.  Then there is 168 BC, when the Romans forced Antiochus IV to abandon his effort to subdue Egypt.  My preference, however, is for 146 BC, which is when Rome formally incorporated the Greek heartland into the empire.  Admittedly, the choice of 146 also supports my correlation argument since it lengthens the time of Greece to 186 years; i.e. 332 BC to 146 BC.  That amounts to 29 percent of the 632 years.  Another possible date, incidentally, is 142 BC, which is when Hasmonean Judea finally firmly established its independence from Selucid Syria.

In calculating the time for “clay free” Rome, my preference is to date the appearance of the clay from 37 BC, the year in which Herod the Great ascended to the Judean throne.  Admittedly, Judea was actually incorporated into the Roman Empire in 63 BC, when Pompey occupied Jerusalem, but Rome did not establish firm control over Judea until Herod was installed as king.  If, then, we use 146 BC as the starting point for the pure iron section of the statue and 37 BC as the ending point, this gives us 109 years, or 17 percent of the total.  Finally, if the iron mixed with clay portion of the statue corresponds to the period from 37 BC to AD 30, this gives 66 years, or 10 percent of the total.

Now compare the percentages I have calculated as admittedly rough estimates of the relevant time periods with those that I suggested earlier as rough approximations of the “ideal” percentages.  The “ideal” percentages are, going from the gold to the clay, 15, 26, 26, 20, and 13.  The corresponding historical percentages are 10, 33, 29, 17, and 10, which adds to only 99 percent because of rounding.  I submit that the correlation is remarkably close, though it must be admitted that the percentages can be altered considerably through the rearrangement of dates.  Even so, the preterist version of the Roman sequence offers the only approach that can incorporate the time line concept with arguably plausible results.  This means, of course, that proponents of the alternative approaches will continue to deny the relevance of the historical correspondence criterion for the exegesis of Daniel 2.

I now return to the matter of the association between the metals of the four kingdoms of Daniel 2 and their historical counterparts.  Recall that I asserted early in this article that Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon had a close association with gold, and that Persia, Greece, and Rome had close historical associations with silver, bronze, and iron, respectively.  I shall now elaborate a little on these associations.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon is identified as the kingdom of gold in Daniel 2:38, and it is a fact that this kingdom did indeed stand out among its contemporaries for its splendor, which included the lavish display of pure gold in statuary, altars, furnishings,
drinking utensils, and jewelry, as well as numerous gold-plated decorations on
buildings.  On the other hand, the New Babylonian kingdom
of Nebuchadnezzar failed to develop the use of silver coinage, and it is doubtful that its use of bronze and iron noticeably surpassed that of other nations.

The Persian Empire of Cyrus the Great was, in reality, an extension of the Median Empire that had been assembled by Cyaxares, who was probably a maternal great-grandfather of Cyrus. Historically, therefore, it is correct to view the empire that Cyrus took over as a Medo-Persian empire. In fact, while the Book of Daniel indicates that Darius the Mede briefly ruled in Babylon, it otherwise consistently treats Media and Persia as forming a united kingdom.  In 546, Cyrus conquered the kingdom of Lydia in Asia Minor, thereby gaining possession of that nation’s ores of precious metals and the  technology that had allowed it to develop the world’s first high-quality gold and silver coins.  Cyrus and the rulers who followed him used their ability to mine and coin silver to assemble a force of mercenary warriors of unprecedented size.  Gold was also important to the these rulers (the Achaemenids), but with gold being used to designate Babylonia, it is silver that stands out has having a had a particularly strong association with the what is called the Persian
Empire
.

Although the Bronze Age of archeological fame had been superseded by the Iron Age by the time of the New Babylonian kingdom, the Greeks continued to make conspicuous use of bronze long after iron became the preferred metal for most weapons.  Particularly noteworthy is that Greco-Macedonian soldiers characteristically wore protective armor of bronze, including helmets, shields, greaves (shin guards), and, climate permitting, breastplates. Their bronze armor stood in marked contrast to the tunics that were typically worn by the Medes and Persians.  The Greeks also armored their famed triremes with bronze plates and provided them with a bronze-headed battering ram.  They even used bronze hardware for these naval vessels.  Also of note is the fact that Ezekiel 27 provides a valuable account of the trade between Tyre and various locations in which Greece
(Javan) is identified as a source of slaves and bronze.  Given all this evidence, Greece obviously qualifies as the bronze kingdom when historical association is allowed to be considered. 

And just as Greece qualifies as the kingdom of bronze, Rome stands out as the kingdom of iron.  Rome’s military technology surpassed that of even the Greco-Macedonian forces of Alexander’s day.  While Roman soldiers sometimes wore bronze helmets, their armor, in contrast to that of the Greeks and Macedonians, was overwhelmingly of iron.  Like the Greeks and Macedonians, the Romans had iron swords and iron-tipped pikes and javelins,
but they also had a type of “artillery” consisting of iron-tipped bolts fired by catapults.  Some Roman ships carried bronze battering rams like those used by the Greeks, but the Romans relied more heavily upon iron armor and hardware. Moreover, the Romans developed the use of the corvus, a gangplank with a large iron spike at its far end.
When boarding an enemy ship, the corvus would be flipped over so that it stuck into the deck of the enemy vessel, and Roman soldiers would then scramble over it to attack their foe.

Finally, we need to recall that Daniel 2:40 calls attention to iron’s ability to crush and break other things and specifically relates that ability to the fourth kingdom’s ability to crush
other kingdoms.  I submit that this description applies far more appropriately to Rome than to Seleucid Syria!

Given the evidence presented in this article, I think it is quite clear why biblical scholars who reject the preterist hermeneutic cannot afford to give much weight to the idea that we should look for historical associations that correspond to the four metals and the five sections of the statue of Daniel 2.  To do so would be disastrous for them, and I suspect that they know this to be the case, at least intuitively.  Again, however, I insist
that prophecies give insights into the future, and I am confident that the statue was intended to be prophetic.  In my judgment, you can believe that the Book of Daniel is a pseudepigraphal “pious fraud” or you can believe that it is a work of genuine prophecy.  I opt for the latter.

This article is also posted at planetpreterist.com

Notes

[1]Joyce G. Baldwin, Daniel,
vol. 21, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, ed. D. J. Wiseman (Downers Grove,
Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1978), 93.

[1]Gary
DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church
(Powder Springs, Ga.: American Vision, 1999), 326.

Are America & Europe the INVADED “Camp of the Saints” of Revelation 20:8-9 ?

This is real prophecy for our day, that for whatever reason, is not being taught. Be sure to scroll way down to see the pictures and tell us what you think!

For those of us who don’t see the magnitude of this disaster creeping up on us, maybe because you don’t live in one of our southern states in the U.S. or in Europe, watch these …

VIDEOS:

The Illegal Invasion of Europe

And

The Illegal Invasion of America

 

THE MOUNTAINS OF ISRAEL REVEALED!

by Steven Hawk

 

For years I remember pondering what the phrase “Mountains of Israel” meant, while reading the book of Ezekiel. Thinking, “What did God mean when inspiring Ezekiel to use this uncommon phrase that most assume or overlook… If only one could figure out what it meant, more than half the battle of understanding this prophecy could be solved!”

 

Thē key component to understanding the prophecies of Gog and Magog are dependent upon knowing whose land (and not just assume it is talking about the old land of Israel) and what peoples these hordes invade and encompass. The revelation of that mystic prophetic phrase opens the door to much prophecy for our day. Please stick with the beginning as a basis is built for the interpretation being espoused. Most Christians today automatically look to the Middle East for prophecy since that’s where OT Israel resided and prophecy was fulfilled. However, what if God said that we, in NT times, should be looking elsewhere? After giving the matter much thought, I am convinced that He did just that.

 

Just past the halfway mark of this subtitle, you will get the climatic meaning of this long-concealed phrase and the rest of this article will continue to support that meaning, with a final summary of what was discussed to remind you the reader, of important key points. As a free gift for giving us your thoughts on this article, we will send you a magnificent “Ezekiel and Revelation parallel chart”! Email us with your thoughts and/or comment below!

 

Here are 3 instances in which Ezekiel uses the mysterious phrase Mountains of Israel:

 

Ezekiel 36:1 “And thou, son of man, prophesy unto the ‘mountains of Israel,’ and say, Ye ‘mountains of Israel’, hear the word of Jehovah.”

 

Ezekiel 38:8, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, upon the ‘mountains of Israel,’ which have been a continual waste; but it is brought forth out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them.”

 

Ezekiel 39:4, “Thou shalt fall upon the ‘mountains of Israel’, thou, and all thy hordes, and the peoples that are with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.”

 

Again, it is interesting that we still use this metaphor, e.g. “the mountains of evidence persuaded him.”  Biblically, the lexeme “mountains” may refer to kingdoms, governments of men and nations. There are places in scripture where “mountain” does in fact reference the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, e.g. Micah 4:1 et al. Below, are two verses in Revelation in which John shows the target of these Gog and Magog armies as the “Camp of the Saints and the Beloved City”, the same group of peoples and place of residence Ezekiel calls the “Mountains of Israel.” Note he directly ties them to the Gog and Magog scenario and the invasion (encompassing) that ensues in these verses:

 

Rev 20:8-9 “and shall come forth to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to the war: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up over the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down out of heaven, and devoured them.”

 

Did you notice there’s no other way to correctly interpret this passage than this incursion occurs after the thousand years; also when Gog and Magog begin to transpire, Christ’s millennial reign has ended?

 

The Sometimes Unrealized Relation of Ezekiel 38-39 To Revelation 20

 

Some are promoting that Ezekiel 38, 39 & Revelation 20 are not synonymous events because one is an invasion within, and the other without the camp of the saints. I don’t think there is any biblical basis for that assertion and I would like to point out scripture that counters that. You will see the invasion works hand-in-hand with the coming military attack by weakening the camp of the saints in preparation, i.e. setting them up. These prophecies are confused as separate events because of a commonly misunderstood perception of the millennial reign, but there is only one Gog and Magog invasion prophesied in the Bible (not a Gog and Magog2). After sharing and scrutinizing this interpretation for years without any good counter argument, I see chronologically that the commonly referred to NT “last days” was a 1st century fulfillment (Mat 16:28, 24:34; Heb 10:37 et al), which happened before the millennium (pre-millennial); and is what is often confused with Ezekiel’s “latter or after years” which is after the millennium (post-millennial). The following are reasons why Ezekiel 38, 39 & Revelation 20:7ff correlate to warrant as the same post-millennium event:

 

  • Both books point to a future time in which a great many nations attack the people of God. For Ezekiel, these people are the restored house of Israel. For John, they are the camp of the saints and beloved city (v.9); the followers of Christ. Ezekiel states it’s for “the last days of the latter years” (not to be confused with “the last days of the Mosaic Marriage covenant age” and not in Ezekiel’s time, but a future prophecy, likewise Revelation 20 “when the thousand(s) years is expired,” i.e. latter years of the thousand years.

 

  • We now know most Christians have yet to grasp this point, Armageddon should not be viewed as something that is to occur in the future, but as God’s first-century vengeance upon the Old Covenant Jews for their failure to acknowledge Christ as their promised Messiah. This vengeance culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in AD70. Ezekiel’s latter years are NOT the commonly understood “last days (punishment of Judah) event described in Luke 19:42-44,” but are two very different events. Ezekiel’s “latter years” event is the vengeance of Yahweh God (instead of Christ) and He does just the opposite of the last days event, because in this event new covenant Jerusalem, the camp of the saints in Rev. 20:9, on the mountains of Israel are not destroyed like the 1st century Armageddon event. In complete contrast, Yahweh God destroys their attackers and saves this new Jerusalem! Again, for emphasis: this Gog/Magog battle is when God punishes and destroys the invaders, not the people of the land (like it happened in the past).

 

  • While Ezekiel does not directly mention the millennial reign of Christ like Revelation 20 does, he does in Ezekiel 37:26-28 mention events which lead up to 38 & 39 and places great emphasis on the peaceful situation the mountains of Israel are found in for a long period of time. God in the above Ezekiel 37 passage shows the nations, in a peaceful setting He will place and multiply His people. All this must be attributed to Christ’s heavenly reign over these Christian lands (Revelation 5:10, 20:6) during this “thousand(s) [chilioi] years” (in this case about 2,000 yrs.) having an effect upon the earth up until about the 20th century. Also, in Micah 4:6-8  In that day, saith Jehovah, will I assemble that which is lame, and I will gather that which is driven away, and that which I have afflicted; and I will make that which was lame a remnant, and that which was cast far off a strong nation: and Jehovah will reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth even for ever. And thou, O tower of the flock, the hill of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, yea, the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem. The following verse indicates this long period of time will elapse in Ezekiel 38:8, then, “After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, that is gathered out of many peoples, upon the mountains of Israel, which have been a continual waste; but it is brought forth out of the peoples, and they shall dwell securely, all of them.”

 

  • Incidentally, Zechariah 14:6-11 parallels a portion of time in the millennial kingdom (v.11) and brings up the same situation in which the mountains of Israel find themselves in Ezekiel 28:26, 38:8 “dwelling safely and confidently” using the same Hebrew language and words:

 

Zechariah 14:11 And men shall dwell therein, and there shall be no more curse; but Jerusalem shall “dwell safely“. Zechariah (a full exposition of chapters 12 – 14) for the first time known is explained from a future and Preterist perspective in the book! Sound like a contradiction in terms? See how it is not.

  • Revelation 20 speaks of the nations encompassed, comprising Gog and Magog as coming from the “four corners of the earth” (v.8) while Ezekiel 38, 39 emphasizes that the enemies of “my people Israel” come from “the uttermost parts of the north” (38:6, 15; 39:2). It is a mistake to assume that the difference in the description of the geographical origin of those who attack God’s people means that different sets of events are in view. The four corners of the earth (ehrets Hebrew word means land) in Revelation 20:8 as an ancient metaphor has strong indication as a reference to the cardinal points of the compass: N, S, E, W. Chuck Missler, renowned prophecy teacher, has argued these are different locations spoken of in these passages and therefore are different events. However Ezekiel 38:5-6 speaks of the bands, hordes and other peoples with them, that originally migrated (and are actually still coming) from this biblical “four corners of the land” that correlates well with Revelation 20:8. Ezekiel’s description in 39:2b “And I will bring you up from the recesses of the north, and will bring you on the mountains of Israel.” speaks of the direction they are lured into this land they are invading as opposed to where these hordes originated, so there is no problem with either correlation as Zionist Missler wrongly asserts.

 

  • There’s a progression of events in both books that coincide and have a biblical basis too involved and consistent in history to be coincidence. In our book you will learn how this Satan (better translated as “adversary”) has been let out of his prison for a little season (Rev 20:7-8) and how the events of Gog and Magog biblically had to immediately succeed those biblical prophecies, and according to the succession of recent events are on the world scene today!

 

  • Ezekiel spoke of a time (before this invasion occurs) in which he was to prophesy to this malevolent Gog in Ezekiel 38:14b “Shall you not know in that day when My people Israel dwells securely?” indicating that millennial time (thousand(s) is used as a great expanse and often not literal) of peace for Israel in comparison to times of old. God’s people were in that peaceful state of confidence right before the events of Rev 20:7 broke out!

 

  • John in Revelation 20 did not bring up Gog and Magog by coincidence, nor was he just drawing a comparison using ancient names as some assert, but was talking about that time Ezekiel spoke of when it would be fulfilled and identifies the perpetrators.

 

  • Ezekiel’s “latter years” (one passage in Ezekiel specified as “latter days” 38:16 can be described as “the latter days of the latter years”) which the YLT emphasizes well in Ezekiel 38:8 “After many days thou art appointed, In the latter end of the years..

 

  • If one compares the following 3 verses with what the Bible elsewhere states concerning events during the “Day of the Lord,” (in that day) it becomes clear that this passage describes events during the new covenant, pertaining to a redeemed Israel.

 

Eze_38:10 Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: It shall come to pass in that day, that things shall come into thy mind, and thou shalt devise an evil device:

Eze_38:14 Therefore, son of man, prophesy, and say unto Gog, Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: In that day when my people Israel dwelleth securely, shalt thou not know it?

Ezekiel 39:22 So the house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God from that day and forward. (KJV)

 

A Faulty Premise in Mainstream Biblical Interpretation

 

There is a widespread tendency among readers of the Bible—including many who are considered to be authorities—to presume when Ezekiel refers to “the mountains of Israel” he’s referring to modern day Israel/Palestine today. This presumption may seem feasible to some, but it is mistaken. Given that the events foretold in Ezekiel 38-39 correspond to those of Revelation 20:7-10, the traditional interpretation of these passages of Scripture are incorrect in at least these areas:

 

  1. Christians that go along with these traditional assumptions are ignoring that this event is supposed to be after “the millennial reign of Jesus Christ”.
  2. They misidentify Gog (it is not Russia). It appears here, that we have been fed another Jewish fable to divert our attention.
  3. They misidentify Israel. So it’s not just the “land” and “people groups” many have wrong, but their chronological order as well.

 

If God was referring to “old covenant Israel” when He mentions “Mountains of Israel” in this Ezekiel prophecy, then why does He not just refer to them as just plain “Israel”, “my people Israel”, “children of Israel”, etc. as He did elsewhere in the OT?

 

  1. In similar fashion, if the Apostle Paul was referring to old covenant Israel when naming new believers in the NT “Israel of God” why didn’t he refer to them as just “Israel”?
  2. Only modern day Zionist Jews have returned, not the combined 12 tribes as required: chapters 36 & 37 to fulfill this prophecy, they are only the House of Judah 2 southern tribes i.e. Jews.
  3. Ezekiel 36:33-36 states that “in the day” (not at a later time after they possess the cities) these cities become inhabited their iniquities are cleansed. This cannot mean antichrist Jews, this is talking about a broad place and people with a new heart and God gives them His Spirit Ezk 36:25-28. That He would be their God and them His people, this is NT Christian language.

 

God would have used the usual names and phrases for His people like “my people Israel” for this prophecy to be consistent with the past unless He was speaking of His people during a different time in a different place. God does not just use nebulous phrases to confuse us; He is not the author of confusion. In Gal 6:16 Paul is referring to the “Israel of God” who are of the new covenant, a “new creation (Christians)” who walk by the rule of the Christ and did not follow after the rudiments (elements of the temple, the law, etc. of the old heaven and earth) that were passing away in his (Paul’s) day that consisted only of “vain genealogies (verse below), physical descendants”. He was not speaking of “old covenant Israel” but he was talking about Christianity.

 

Tit 3:9, “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain.”

 

In the same manner as the Bible admonishes “vain and unprofitable genealogies”, Jesus told the Pharisees their lineage would not help them gain salvation. Not because they were Esau’s lineage (still a son of Abraham) instead of Jacob’s either, to those Israel identity groups out there. He meant ANY physical, fleshly lineage did NOT give them special status with God anymore (Luk 3:8), that old covenant God had endured with them for the sake of His son fulfilling His promises, was passing in their day. It is clear that the phrase “Israel of God” Paul used would then be synonymous with the often used NT phrase “Church or assembly of God” which no one would likely argue is not referring to Christians (1Co. 1:2, 10:32, 11:22, 15:9, 2 Cor. 1:1, Gal. 1:13, 1 Ti 3:5, Acts 20:28). Israel was “called out and sanctified” as the ecclesia.

 

Besides in Ezekiel, the Phrase “Mountains of Israel” is absent
in the Bible except in one questionable passage

 

Intriguingly, with few exceptions among translations of the Bible, the phrase “mountains of Israel” is found only in Ezekiel. After a lexicon search for the terms “Mountains of Israel” as a phrase, one will discover that the KJV, LITV and Webster’s are the few out of many translations that do use this particular phrase elsewhere, but in these two verses only:

 

(KJV)Jos 11:16a Thus Joshua took all this land: the mountain country, all the South, all the land of Goshen, the lowland, and the Jordan plain—the mountains of Israel and its lowlands …

Jos 11:21a And at that time came Joshua, and cut off the Anakims from the mountains, from Hebron, from Debir, from Anab, and from all the mountains of Judah, and from all the mountains of Israel:.. (Notice mountains of Israel and Judah are distinct here?)

If the above translations are correct because the Hebrew words seem to be the same (seem to be, because there are instances where the original language has used the wrong Greek or Hebrew word and the YLT – for example – has caught it) could it be because this was one of the few times in history in which God was conquering His enemies for Israel (all 12 tribes) in which He was giving them the promise land and they would finally be living in it in peace (as America)? Keep in mind also, it is Mountains (plural). These things could be, but the contention here is that the YLT has caught another error (in the Hebrew) and corrected it. Where are the original languages wrongly copied you say? Here’s one example:

 

Most will clamor; I thought the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts were inerrant?! Actually only the original manuscripts which we don’t have (except for a few such as the dead sea scrolls) are wholly Holy-inspired. The assertion is the original Greek and Hebrew are more correct than English translations, but apparently man has had some biased corruption that entered even into the original languages.  Notice here the KJV uses all CAPS for the first LORD indicating the Father, but does not correct as the YLT does in the Hebrew translation to English below it:

 

(KJV) Luk 20:42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

 

In these passages Jesus Himself states that the Father is greater than He (John  [more properly the 4th Gospel but for another article] 10:29, 14:28).  Other passages He claims He only does those things instructed by the Father.  In Revelation Jesus calls the Father His God 4 times in 1 verse (Rev 3:12)!  Apparently the Hebrew uses different words (that the Greek does NOT) to make an important distinction.

 

Both words “Lord” here in Luke 20:42 (and in other translations other than the KJV wrongly translates) use the Greek word “Kurios”:

LORD FROM THE GREEK:

G2962kurios: From κῦρος kuros (supremacy); supreme in authority, that is, (as

noun) controller; by implication Mr. (as a respectful title): – God, Lord, master, Sir.

Now the parallel passage quoted from the OT Hebrew.  Note here the YLT gets it right and the KJV does not:

(KJV)Psa 110:1  A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at

my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

(YLT)Psa 110:1  A Psalm of David. The affirmation of Jehovah to my Lord:

`Sit at My right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’

(YLT) distinguishes the difference between the English word “Lord” and

uses “Jehovah” instead, the self existent one:

YEHOVAH IN THE HEBREW:

H3068 yehôvâh

From H1961; (the) self Existent or eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God: – Jehovah, the Lord. Compare H3050, H3069.

ADON (LORD) IN THE HEBREW:

H113 ‘âdôn

From an unused root (meaning to rule); sovereign, that is, controller (human or divine): – lord, master, owner. Compare also names beginning with “Adoni-”.

The KJV in this OT passage uses “Lord” both times, a confusing and wrong  translation because the Hebrew manuscripts reflect the true distinction of those two entirely different words as “Yehovah” H3068 and “Lord” (Adon) H113.

Again if the translations in Joshua 11 are correct, could it be because this was one of the few times in history in which God was conquering His enemies for Israel (all 12 tribes) in which He was giving them the promise land and they would finally be living in it in peace (as America)?  It could be, but the contention here is that the YLT has caught another error (in the Hebrew) and corrected it.

When these two verses in the book of Joshua are examined from many other translations they do not use the phrase “Mountains of Israel”.  These other translations such as YLT, and ASV (some of this writers favorites because of some accurate corrections it makes) state these two verses in the following manner:

 

(ASV) Jos 11:16, 21 So Joshua took all that land, the hill-country….

(YLT) Jos 11:16, 21 And Joshua taketh all this land: the hill-country, and all the south….

 

Notice it’s not there in the ASV or the YLT? Keep in mind that these translations (the ASV and YLT) that do NOT” use the phrase “Mountains of Israel” in the above two verses, “do” use the phrase in the book of Ezekiel. Why is this phrase so absent except for in the book of Ezekiel? Also, after doing an extensive Google search for the “Mountains  of Israel” one will find, after about eight pages and over 100 individual sites, not one article, book or site to match the interpretation that will soon be given here.  Every one of them seemed to parrot mainstream teachings on the “Mountains of Israel” as being a non-metaphoric phrase, contrary to what is being espoused here.

We are getting closer to the meaning of this important prophetic phrase!

If “the Mountains of Israel” are not present day
Palestine/Israel then What and Where are they?

 

In the Bible and in our political and religious world today, the name Israelis often taken for granted by Christians because in the Bible it is used in various manners:

  • “Israel” is usually a people; seldom a ‘land’
  • Jacob was called Israel by God in the OT
  • Israel as 10 northern tribes after Solomon’s death and the 2 southern tribes then identified as the “House of Judah”
  • The 12 tribes scattered abroad (mentioned in James 1:1)
  • Israel of God in the NT has a different meaning than most consider in their paradigm. Israel has an ultimate meaning once we get to the revelation of this peculiar phrase.
  • “Mountains of Israel” may refer to the “nations” where the people of Israel live – wherever that may be (it does not have to be designated to Palestine where OT Israel lived, like most assume).
  • Israel was not rightly called “Israel as a nation” since the days of King David and shortly thereafter when all 12 tribes (before their tribal splits) were together living in peace. Yet the Jews today (only 2-3 tribes) have the audacity to call their alleged nation Israel. This would not be swallowed by so many if Christians had at least a decent working knowledge of OT Bible events.

 

 Has the United States of America Become

“Thē Mountain of Israel”? 

 

Thē with a long sounding “e” for definitive article, because the Christian west, historically where these European Christians came to “camp”, is thē most influential and therefore thē primary Christian nation, but not the only one.  Also, “Mountain” singular in the subtitle instead of the commonly used plural form of the word. America, from this perspective then, is the primary mountain. There are other mountainS (in this dimension of the New Jerusalem), plural, which may also refer to the British Isles or European countries where Christianity is most dominant.

Isaiah 49:6 He (Father) says: (to the Son) “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth… Isaiah 53:5 But he (the Son) was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed… Psalm 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.”

There are other Christian mountains besides America, but they are not the focus of this particular heading, though they are mentioned because they are included in the overall picture.  We’ve pounded the NT Israel of OT prophets cannot be equated to the modern state of Israel, though there seems to be no shortage of people who want to make such a claim—this ideology promotes a counterfeit Zionism that has become prevalent and powerful in the U.S.

The popular understanding of America’s role in the world is quoted from the works of the great American novelist Herman Melville in his 1850 novel, White Jacket, and the World in a Man-of-War: “And we Americans are the peculiar, chosen people–the Israel of our time; we bear the ark of the liberties of the world…. We are the pioneers of the world; the advance-guard, sent on through the wilderness of untried things, to break a new path in the New World that is ours.” (pp. xi-xii).

Is it just coincidence that North America and the western European nations are prosperous nations with often enough leftover, and we do send surplus to aid other nations and that the USA not only possesses these abundant resources and infrastructures, but has the means to maintain and improve them?  God has blessed America is the explanation.  Is it just coincidence that this prosperous land Ezekiel describes, we call the USA is in the “middle (midst, high part) of the land (earth)” as Ezekiel 38:12b purports it would be? That Ezekiel refers to as a “united” people, as in the United States: Ezk 37:22 I’m going to make them a united people in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and I’ll set a single king to rule over them. They’ll never again be two separate people. They’ll never again be divided into two kingdoms. Surrounded by oceans for protection, as Zechariah seems to imply?

These enemies of Christianity [thoroughly explained in Pt.2 of Vol. 2 titled Master of Deception] helped enact the open immigration law of 1965 to make the USA a multicultural nation, warring within its borders and destroying what was the greatest nation of Christianity at that time, and they [the enemies of Christianity] have not let up America beginningssince by their promoting of border insecurity through the Dept. of Justice (Under heading: ARIZONA PUSHING THE FIRST IN OUR TIME ANTI-IMMIGRATION LAW SB1070; Source ~ Brother Nathaniel Kapner).  Why was not their focus south Africa or Western Europe?  There are plenty of Christians that God loves in those nations, as well.  No, they knew America was the threat, since it exemplifies Christianity in the greatest measure, not only through peaceful dwelling, but prosperity and power; and therefore was the target. These Zionists had to try and stop America from surpassing their nation and status as a people and superpower from interfering with their Oligarchy.

The Death of America was enacted in 1965 with the signing of the Open Immigration Law and the results have been clear.  Since the massive third world immigration our country has been deceived into accepting, our culture has become divisive and can no longer practice the freedom it once could.  Mass immigration into a homogeneous country will inevitably produce hatred and strife.  It is a major cause of poverty, disunity, criminality, psychological strife and war. Vladimir Lenin, a Russian Jew and Bolshevik Communist leader, once said the best way to control the opposition is to lead it, and that’s what these Zionist are doing.  To oppose immigration is a right of freedom and existence for all peoples and nations and can prevent these destructive things from happening to a nation and a people.

On about the second page of this last part of the book we are in, we examined the word “surround” as it is used in Rev 20:9. What is really interesting is the “enclaves” America is now being split into; and the similar attributes the word enclave has to the word the Apostle John used in Rev 20:9 regarding these hordes – “surround”…

ENCLAVE

Noun: A portion of territory within or surrounded by a larger territory whose inhabitants are culturally or ethnically distinct. Verb: Surround and isolate; make an enclave of.  Source ~ thefreedictionary.com

The recent attack of our government with its lawsuits against AZ shows not only that the Obama administration is pandering for votes, but also demonstrates the true powers that be are promoting invasion. The settlers’ culture our founding fathers instituted is now just another interest group that must lobby in Washington for its share of the spoils.  We have no precedence over non-Americans, like other nations have for “their own people”, we are called racist for that.

America is called the melting pot for having so many diverse cultures and peoples. E pluribus unum, Latin for “Out of many One” was founded in 1776 as the Seal of the United States. This phrase was never meant to imply that the United States was a melting pot when that phrase was instated. The truth is, the greatest immigration (the fruits of the European immigration cannot be compared to the fruits of illegal immigration which is really an invasion, or any immigration for that matter today) of Caucasian (not all, but mostly) settlers from many areas became one people, inspiredstop invasion secure borders by their Christian faith (and the fruits of their labor proved this); made the world‘s greatest infrastructure in the greatest Christian nation the world would ever see. The late Dr. D. James Kennedy would often remind us that God made America the greatest Christian Nation or she never could have been as such. Before the current immigration invasion, our primarily Caucasian nation (race does not matter, it’s only identification) had dwelt safely or confidently because of the providential victories fought on our homeland in the mid-eighteen hundreds that brought a state of peace as the verses in Ezekiel purport. The reference (Ezekiel 38:8) “the land that is brought back from the sword” may refer to the last civil wars fought on our homeland in the mid-eighteen hundreds.

 

Nonetheless, that’s the way it was in America, before it was invaded by foreigners that do not have America’s best interest at heart. The modern day nation of Israel does not fit this prophetic invasion; America does for many reasons (not just a few) throughout this prophecy.  Many already believe Christian America is being overrun by such an invasion in our day.  Pat Buchanan (as others, but I just happen to have a quote from him) is noted as stating in interviews that America is being invaded by the whole world: “America’s being invaded by millions of illegal immigrants every year, and it threatens Gog Magog photothe future of the country.” He addresses this issue of immigration in his brand new… it’s called “State of Emergency: The Third Word Invasion, The Conquest of America.” Amazingly, many still do not see this invasion and naively believe there is no way our land could ever be invaded.

 

Just a word of caution here, this does not insinuate that law-abiding non-Caucasians contributing to society in a positive manner are any less American. This prophecy is not targeted against individuals; but towards groups or hordes perpetrating unlawful (criminal) acts upon God‘s people in the latter years.

 

Another reason the U.S.A. is poised for this future military (in addition to the current gog 2civilian invasion, in some places already military) attack by all these Magog nations described, is the relationship existing between the USA and modern Israel. U.S. Zionist have always and will continue to support the nation of modern day Israel, despite its many atrocities and deceit, because many wrongly believe these Zionist Jews are God’s chosen people or a good democratic nation. Those with dispensational theology believe God could bless and support deceit and injustice in what they call modern day Israel, just because of dispensationalists’ wrong eschatological beliefs. Christians cannot turn a blind eye to injustices of such proportions. The rest of the world obviously does not see things their way, so these deceptions make the U.S. a sitting duck for such a military attack by these Magog countries.

 

Here is more evidence that these prophecies in Ezekiel and Revelation speak of America as the Mountains of Israel: The identity of the invading hordes upon America, we see, are much of the same people groups of invaders. Ezekiel as Gog and Magog coming from ancient names and lands traced to what is described in this book as being in and closely around “the resistance belt”, which would include Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and southern parts of Russia. The mid and northern parts of Russia do not fit the ancient geographical regions of the tribal areas. If these popular interpretations with Russia escalate, and it appears they will, with the unnecessary commotion being caused by the Zionists, this error about Russia has the potential to create an international misunderstanding that could provoke unwarranted political action. The 10/40 window or resistance belt, covers the region that has the least amount of Christians located between 10° & 40° N of the equator. Most Muslim, Hindu, Communists, Buddhist people reside in this region. Revelation 20 identifies these same foreign Invaders from the same areas described as “the four corners of the land”. Discover in the book how the biblical wording of this invasion fits perfectly with the invasion into America.

 

The Revelation of this Phrase “Mountains of Israel” Exposes Errors in Different Eschatological Paradigms

 

The meaning of this obscure phrase “Mountains of Israel” has some profound implications we need to think about, for some prominent groups in Christianity today. For both dispensational futurists and for those with a Preterist perspective on eschatology like myself (there is a proper form of Preterism that does work and will be demonstrated, the following do not).

 

  • For the pre-millennial Dispensationalist who believes Jesus has some future “second advent or coming” this phrase indicates this Gog and Magog invasion can not be upon the Jews or the House of Judah (in the land of modern day Palestine/Israel today) as they so adamantly insist, because of the description of the route, notwithstanding the fact that today’s Jews are not the House of Israel that the promise went to. A Jew “inwardlyis a Christian (Eph 3:16-17 et al) and not an outward (physical)Jew (Rev 3:9). The “House of Israel” in OT times (the 10 northern tribes after the split, they are confusing with the Jews—the 2 southern tribes) lost the Kingdom permanently since they were kicked out of the covenant with Yahweh God circa 726BC, and would only be promised a Christian kingdom for the future, not a restored old covenant type kingdom. The House of Judah ultimately lost their kingdom when they rejected Christ, culminating with the war that destroyed their city and temple circa AD70 and they would never get it back. Even though the “House of Judah’s (Jews, NOT Israel)” back in the land today it’s not what Christians think. Pre-millennial dispensationalists need to seriously rethink their eschatology. Let that sink in.

 

  • For the “Full Preterist” who holds to “all things were fulfilled in 70AD” this Gog and Magog prophecy either could not have happened yet, or IS happening now. It can’t be a first century fulfillment as they assert because these Magog nations never came against the House of Judah while they still had the kingdom which Preterists well know they did ultimately lose when they rejected Jesus Christ circa AD70. Besides that, they were not the whole 12 tribe House “in the land” as required. Their house of cards falls when they try to place this event between 30-70AD or even before. We will soon see that this has to be of the Christian age phrase and event, when Christians would be “in their own land” as a people and a nation (Ezekiel 36:24, 28, 34-36, 37:21-22, 38:8, 16, 18, 39:26, 28 et al). These passages reveal a certain dwelling place in a land, where those peoples are forgiven, gathered (all twelve tribes – not just the two tribed House of Judah) and have one Prince. That’s “Christians in their own land” (specificity), not old covenant Judah in their own land. This was for a time when the shadow of Christianity would become the reality after the Kingdom of Christ had been established and Satan – better translated adversary – (the unbelieving Jews, adversary of Christianity) had been crushed and bound [not completely destroyed] (Rom. 16:20), post 70AD. Also, to the Preterist who tries to squeeze the millennium between 30-70AD, the term thousand(s) is always used in the Bible as a huge (not a small generational 40 year term) stretch of quantity or time; it is not used otherwise when it is not used as a literal thousand; and in this case it’s a “plural of uncertain affinity, or thousands”. So, full Preterists have to satisfactorily answer these issues or show their paradigm as fatally flawed.

 

  • For the Partial Preterist” who holds to “Jesus has some second advent or coming”, when Ezekiel penned that phrase “Mountains of Israel” he said it would be in the “latter years” not for his time and not within the time frame of the old covenant, as we shall soon see. In Ezekiel’s day, Israel, to whom the promise was given, had already lost their kingdom and status with Yahweh God over a century before, and would not get it back until Messiah, so this has to be a post old covenant fulfillment (Gen 49:10, Hos 1:11, Ezekiel 37:14ff)since it’s for a Christian people in their own land. The “Reign of Christ” had to be established in order for this phrase “Mountains of Israel” to have any significance, since there could not be anyone living that would be antichrist after their (the partial Preterists) idea of a millennium. Their idea of a millennium (much like the Dispensationalist) is basically “paradise restored,” since Christ is reigning on earth according to them. If they say otherwise, that there can be sinful human beings during the millennium as asserted here, then this position works also; Christ does not have to be here physically to reign over the Earth.

 

All of these prominent Christian groups, in light of this prophetic phrase alone, have had their “people groups,” their “chronological sequence of events,” and their “location of events” mixed up and now need to have answers to these dilemmas in their eschatology!

 

“The Mountains of Israel” as a Metaphoric Phrase

 

It sounds ambiguous, but the fact is the Bible does use metaphors; therefore in a sense the naming is sometimes non-literal but the thought conveyed is literal. The Apostle John uses the apt metaphor “Sodom & Egypt” in a similar fashion in the sense that he calls different places by different names to describe the spiritual condition of latter-day Jerusalem (Rev. 11:8, cp. Gal. 4:25). Likewise Ezekiel uses this cryptic phrase “Mountains of Israelto describe a different people and places than most Christians are accustomed to thinking of when they hear the word, Israel.

The Apostle John’s metaphor is to be understood quite literally. If the reader has a decent working knowledge of the OT, the reader understands the similarity of sin between Sodom & Egypt and Jerusalem in the 1st century. That is the context; the context is not identifying names of ancient countries and cities with their historical names. If someone says it is raining cats and dogs, even though the words are allegorical, the concept is to be taken “literally” that there is a torrential downpour outside; this would not mean they are a non-literalist.

In 1 Peter 2:9 these scattered Gentiles of Israelite believers are described as a holy nation.

We are at the door, to the climatic meaning of this important prophetic phrase!

The Ultimate Meaning of Israel

In the following four verses we see the correlation of Gods’ righteousness, the terms Kingdom, Nations and His Holy City (God, His people in their place of dwelling) to the metaphor “Mountains.”

Psa 36:6a “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains;”.. is a great attestation to NT Christians, Christ being our righteousness. In the next 3 verses we see more of the correlation between God’s Holy City, and His righteousness with “Mountains.

Jer 31:23b, “Jehovah bless thee, O habitation of righteousness, O mountain of holiness.”

Dan 9:16a, “O Lord, I pray to You, according to all Your righteousness, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain.” (Jerusalem not a literal mountain) (cf. Psa 48:1-2)

Jesus Christ is not only our righteousness (righteousness a metaphor for “mountains“), but our spiritual life support (the vine, we are the branches). He’s the head and calls the followers/Christians His body. Jesus is “The King Shepherd of Israel.” He said He came not but for the “lost sheep of the house of Israel“. Without Him there is no Israel today because He is the Kinsman Redeemer of Israel. Those lost sheep became gentiles or “people of the nations” from which many again would become God’s people through the Christ – Hosea and other passages.

Now, in Galatians, Paul spoke of the “seed” in a singular fashion not plural as the Pharisees thought when they shouted “we are of Abraham’s seed,” but singular meaning “The Shepherd“:

Gal 3:16, “But the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his Seed (it does not say, And to seeds, as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ which is Christ” [Genesis 3:15; 21:12; 22:18, Rom. 9:6; Heb. 11:18]).

The same emphasis when speaking of Israel is put on the Christ, which also puts the emphasis on Christians, hence using biblical vernacular the “Mountains of Israelbecomes “Kingdom of Christincludes all Christianity! There you have it. I think there can be no reasonable doubt; the same principle is used in that David means Christ—if so then Israel must mean the Christian Church. If not, then David must mean David—which is ludicrous. Christ is the messenger (angel) of the new covenant. Here’s more biblical emphasis on Jesus Christ as the epitome of the fulfillment of Israel, which further clarifies revelation of this phrase:

Isa 49:3, “and said to Me, You are My servant, Israel, You in whom I shall be glorified.”

John 5:39, “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me;” (ASV)

Jesus Christ is indeed the Israel of scripture. Mountains representing Kingdoms brings us to the conclusion that the term “Mountains of Israel”, denotes the “Kingdom of Christ” and/or “Nation of Christendom” in light of 1 Pet 2:9 and other passages. It is a nation converted (not yet perfect) to God—one nation under God upon the Mountains of Israel. As Christians, we cannot honestly ignore the obvious metaphoric manner in which this phrase was deliberately devised by God for us to decipher.

Now that we have unveiled the meaning of this important phrase, let’s again compare Ezekiel to Revelation 20 which speaks of the nations encompassed by the wording Gog and Magog coming from the “four corners of the earth (land of EurAsia)” (v.8) Ezekiel 38,39 emphasize that the enemies of my people Israel (38:14,16) come from the uttermost parts of the north  In other words, peoples that came from the lands of Europe-Asia and surrounding regions as coming from “the four quarters of the earth (land)” which is a way of expressing four extremities of the land. Then migrated to South America, later through Mexico, then upward into America.   This description, by no coincidence in Revelation 20 & Ezekiel 38, 39 all coincide perfectly to the invasion of our homeland USA!

 

More proof from the book of Daniel

 

Dan 2:35 “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were together broken to pieces, and they became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors. And the wind carried them away so that no place was found for them. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The stone that struck this image described in the verse we just read was written to symbolically be the representative of what would become the 5th kingdom. This 5th kingdom was none other than the Kingdom of Christ which began, circa 70AD, when the Kingdom was taken away from the House of Judah. Mat 21:43 Jesus refers to the Jews (NOT the House of Israel dispersed among the nations then) and their city and temple was destroyed signifying that end of the old Jewish covenant with God.

Hence, we have the Kingdom which the God of Heaven set up representing “the Mountains of Israel (Christianity)”. Remember, in Ezekiel’s day Israel had already lost their kingdom and status with Yahweh God for over a century! And it cannot be referring to the “House of Judah (Jews)” since these Magog nations never came against them before God took away their kingdom circa AD70. The only one left after that is “the Kingdom of Christ & Christianity”!

Dan 2:44 “And in the days of these kings, the God of Heaven shall set up a kingdom (not a man-made kingdom)which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” 

 

A CONCLUDING WORD

 

In light of what was just discussed, this mysterious phrase God inspired Ezekiel to write we now know was to be what He had planned or foresaw for a far future prophecy when the shadow of His plan would become the reality (in the latter years Ezekiel 38:8) which was the reality of Christianity. You’ve seen the documented motives of America’s enemies by the open immigration laws imposed upon Americans to destroy what had become the world’s greatest Christian Nation. And we now see why “Mountains of Israel” is a metaphoric phrase, not literal mountains and not the old covenant people or system. We’ve built an argument for America as the proper interpretation as a “Nation of Christendom,” also fitting biblical metaphoric vernacular. We’ve established with this once concealed phrase why Dispensational Futurists and Preterists need to change their views. The phrase “Mountains of Israel” made sense to God then (maybe not to His people, if any of them understood it at the time Ezekiel penned it), and should mean the same thing to us today that God understood it to mean way back then, in the following manner.

Mountains of Israel = Kingdom of Christ = Righteousness of Christianity (mountain is a metaphor for righteousness and Christ is our righteousness) = Reign (Kingdom) of Anointed One(s) (Christ and Christians) = Camp of the Saints and the Beloved City (Rev. 20:9) = Kingdom of Christianity = Nation of Christendom

Any way you slice it, the results of this phrase (from scripture) are clear!

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