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TRUTH ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD
Christianity Oasis Ministry has provided you with this Truth About the End of the World book with Truth About the End of the World lesson. This Truth About the End of the World study and
Truth About the End of the World story with Truth About the End of the World lesson looks at the Truth About the End of the World message and asks what does Truth About the End of the World mean, what is the Truth About the End of the World, why is the Truth About the End of the World important, what is the Truth About the End of the World message and how does the Truth About the End of the World affect you. The Truth About the End of the World is essential in the Christian walk. Understanding the Truth About the End of the World message is very important and learning about the Truth About the End of the World can help you to overcome the worldly whirlwinds. Let us delve into this Truth About the End of the World lesson with Truth About the End of the World message in this Truth About the End of the World book, shall we?



 

CHRISTIANITY OASIS

PRESENTS

PURITY PUBLICATIONS


TRUTHS ABOUT:

THE END OF THE WORLD

A THOROUGH EXAMINATION

By: Kenneth B. Alexander, BSL, J.D., Ministry
 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION

THE COMING NEW KINGDOM AGE

REVELATION: BEASTS, SERPENT, SEALS, BOWLS, VIALS AND FALSE PROPHETS

EPILOG

THE NEW AGE IS A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM ON THE EARTH

FUTILITY: THE STATE OF OUR FALLEN WORLD

THE RAPTURE THEORY

JESUS FOCUS ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD

THE JEWS AND THE TEMPLE IN THE NEW KINGDOM AGE

TIME AND THE NEW KINGDOM AGE: THE TIME IS NOW

BE A CITIZEN OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD

OTHER PREDICTIONS: THE END OF THE WORLD

Nostradamus

Mayan 2012

American Indians

Sibylline Prophecies & Ancient Oracles

Iching and Timewave Theory

Buddhist Eschatology

Islam

Hindu

Zoroastrian

Jewish Eschatology

Computer and Other Theories

Mainline Christian Eschatology

Christian Kingdom Eschatology

RESURRECTION LIFE

TRUE PROPHETS

CONCLUSION: AUTHOR’S OBSERVATIONS

 

PREFACE

The author thanks the following for help in providing the inspiration for compiling this work. Pastor John Robert Stevens, deceased; Pastors Gary and Marilyn Hargrave; The Living Word, a fellowship of Churches (thelivingword.org); many true believers I have been associated with over the years; and The Libronix Bible Study System.  

 

Author: Kenneth B. Alexander, BSL, JD, Ministry

enoch1122@yahoo.com

Biblical Quotations from the New American Standard, 1995 update Bible version unless otherwise noted

 

TRUTHS ABOUT THE END OF THE WORLD

INTRODUCTION

The so called “End of the World” is on everyone’s minds today. On the internet, television and the airwaves we are bombarded with graphic visions of the total destruction of the earth as we know it. Prophets and ancient civilization’s writings and hieroglyphs are used to foretell visions of destruction and annihilation of everything we hold dear. So-called prophets such as Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and other self-proclaimed prognosticators (even Isaac Newton) are quoted widely as predictors of the end. Civilizations, such as the Mayans, the Hopi Indians, the Egyptians, the Sumerians, the Jews, the Christians and countless others have their own interpretations of the end of days. Some go so far as to predict the exact day and hour of the end (Mayan 2012). So far each prior prediction has been proven wrong, and probably will be proven wrong in the future. Only God knows the day and hour.

Although these writings will use the Holy Bible as the source of most of its observations that does not mean this writing is simply more Christian dogma. Most Christian denominations and churches today do not know any more about the end of days than what is cryptically written in the Bible. This work is not about religion although it is about God, or a higher power, that actually does exist and exerts the only viable influence on matters pertaining to the earth, His creation. It is in finding this God that we find our salvation, and our protection in the coming days. This work, after extensive studies of many world religions, will choose to use the Bible as the most complete and accurate picture of this God with whom we have to deal.

Jesus Christ said: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Matthew 25:13, ISV). “Jesus said that no man knows the day or the hour of His coming” (Matthew 24:36), but He urges us to be ready for it. The greatest mistake we could make would be to state dogmatically that we know exactly how everything will fall into place as many, especially Christian believers do. Just before the outpouring of the Spirit recorded in Acts 2, the disciples asked the Lord if He would at that time restore the Kingdom to Israel. He answered by saying that it was “not for them to know the times or seasons which the Father had placed in His own hand” (Acts 1:6–7). Jesus could have known anything, but evidently there were some things that the Father willed Him not to know. Jesus did not know the hour of His return. Even the angels do not know. Then how can men dogmatic about predicting the hour or the way of the future. ? Let our only concern be that we are ready, that we walk on with God. This is the will of God: that our whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of the Lord. Let God sanctify us wholly and completely” (I Thessalonians 5:23) (quote Stevens, John Robert: This Week, Volume XI (1980). North Hollywood, CA. : Living Word Publications, 2007).

The Bible, a combination of Jewish and Christian writings, is the bestselling Book in the world and the most reliable when it pertains to spiritual matters. It contains keys on how to be prepared for the coming change which will come upon the earth. The Koran also incorporates some of these same predictions. Across humanity the majority of people accept the Bible as the most accurate Book as it pertains to the things of God. There are thousands of other literary works which bear on the same subject-there are thousands of theories of everything from alien interventions (UFO’s), cosmic collisions, solar flares, pole shifts and other events of epic proportions and speculations of every sort imaginable. Yet none of these are anything but theories originating from the mind of man and not from the ultimate source the Spirit of God. It makes sense that the creator would hide the truth about the time and manner of these events even from His Son Jesus because the truth is that there is no set time. God has left it to His prophets and men of God and mankind itself to create the will of God in the earth. We determine the outcome.

The ways of God (or His timetables if you wish) are past finding out. “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor” (Romans 11:33-34). God’s thoughts and ways are higher than our ways. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Mankind, in all his perceived wisdom cannot know God, how He thinks or what He is going to do. “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God” ((1 Corinthians 1:20-21).

The “wisdom” of this present age is foolishness to God. The Apostle Paul said: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God!” (Corinthians 3:18-19).

Let us examine the wisdom of man for a minute. Man has concocted many theories about how life appeared and progressed on this planet. Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of the Species” is accepted human scientific theory in such matters. Darwin may explain how life evolved yet cannot explain how life appeared on earth in the first place. Where did this first living organism come from? Man, despite billions of dollars and millions of hours in research cannot even answer this basic question. Despite similar efforts he cannot create a living thing in any test tube in any laboratory on the earth. And yet he considers himself wise in all matters of what he calls “nature” not realizing, or willing to admit, that all life came and comes from God.

The same is true in his pursuit of knowledge of the universe and the origin thereof. The commonly accepted theory is that the universe erupted from an immeasurably small piece of matter and energy. However he has no idea, save speculation, where this piece of matter and energy came from in the first place. Recently an imminent cosmologist Stephen Hawking flatly stated that science had finally proved the non-existence of God (Science Channel, August 7, 2011). He reasoned that since there would have been no discernable time in the infinitesimal speck that began the universe that God would not have had the time to create the universe. Hawking chooses to ignore, or not understand, that God lives in eternity where there is no time at all. This is one more classic example of the fallibility of Human wisdom which God calls foolishness.

Yet the Bible clearly states in its very first verse: “In the beginning [of space and time] God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1). It may have begun as scientists theorize, with a speck of matter and energy, but as to the origin of that speck they have no idea scientifically, refusing to accept that a superior being put it there. Science refuses to accept that God created the universe from nothing visible and will accept any theory that ignores this point. God has clearly said: “we understand that the worlds [ages] were prepared  by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3). Science is pursuing every avenue it can to avoid having to face the fact that God “did” create something out of nothing”.

Man prides himself as being on in the golden age of discovery in scientific realms. Yet it has been discovered that the majority (90-95%) of the universe is composed of matter and energy we can neither see nor measure accurately. Science has dubbed this “dark matter” and “dark energy” and has no idea what it is or how it works. Yet without it galaxies, stars, planets or life would never have formed as we know them.

Science is recently excitedly discovering that there may be more dimensions in creation than the three we can see and are used to. They spend untold billions of dollars on particle colliders to discover these extra dimensions and exotic particles of mass. Yet they ignore the dimension of the spirit realm where God lives and is not only an extra dimension it is “the” dimension” from which all matters of life on this lower plain originate. The Bible clearly spells out that “God is Spirit” (John 4:24). Why isn’t man concerned with finding out about this realm?

Man in all his wisdom has done nothing but brought the earth to a point where even common sense dictates that the civilization cannot continue in its present state. Every country in the world is on the brink of economic collapse. The problems of the current day are un-solvable by application of man’s wisdom. We stand on the brink of losing everything we have built because the earth can no longer contain us in this state.

The truth is that all matters pertaining to the subject at hand, i.e. the “end of the world” will come upon us and we won’t see it coming because man is not only blind to the cause and effect of his actions but is unwilling to open his eyes to the spirit realm, the “fourth dimension” and the forces resident there which trump anything man can do here to make things right. Most of religions today are equally blind to the real spiritual truth of God. Actually our only “true “answers” lie in knowledge of the realm of the spirit.

It is the purpose of this collection of writing to point towards this truth to all who are open to receive it. As Jesus said, for the whole world: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). This compilation of writings is unfortunately directed to the “few” because destruction will be great on the many.

However with those with eyes to see will be part of a coming New Age which is beyond anything we can now imagine. The result of the destruction and tribulation, if any, will be paradise beyond description. And it will happen here on earth when the physical and spiritual worlds become one and the same. When asked how we were to pray, Jesus said only one thing: Pray thus: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). That is where all of this is leading to. A Kingdom of God on the earth, just like the one that exists in the Heavens (the Spirit realm).

This work will show as best we can, with God’s wisdom, how this will all unfold. The choice is on each of us whether we will see it and be open to it. It is available to everyone. But how many will actually see it? The choice remains ours.

 

THE COMING NEW KINGDOM AGE

Much has been written and discussed about the coming of a new age upon the earth and the tribulations preceding it. Most of these discussions focus more on the tribulations than the end result. In order to understand the difficulties which will come upon the earth in the period preceding the New Age one must understand the purpose of the tribulations. The purpose of the judgments and tribulations, which have been predicted by seers and nations are to remove every element in the earth that is evil. The New Age will be perfect. The Book of Revelation in the Bible spends a great deal of time discussing all of the events which will take place on the earth until the New Age is completely manifest (Revelation Chapters 5-11, 13, 16). However, following this description John the writer of Revelation describes the New Age that will follow. He describes a state of perfection which will exist on the earth after all offending elements are removed.

     He says: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away…And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of [presence of] God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and  there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He…said, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev. 21:1-5). In this New Kingdom Age all of the curses imposed by God since the beginning will be done away with. There shall no longer be any crying, mourning, sickness or pain. Even death will be abolished.

He goes on: “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His  name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. And He said to me, “These words are faithful and true”; (Revelation 22:1-6).

Prognosticators of doom, which there are many (see the chapter in this book entitled: Other Predictions: The End of the World) leave out this important description of the New Kingdom Age prophesied by John in the Book of Revelation. The end result is just as set in stone as are the dire predictions of doom and gloom. The earth will go through a period of great change in the next few years but the end is not extinction, as some propose, but positive change.

There can be no doubt that the change will be significant but the result will be eternal life in God’s Kingdom which will manifest on the earth. There can be no argument that there is an evil force in the world set on a complete annihilation of humankind. Jesus said: “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect [chosen ones] those days will be cut short” (Matthew 24:21-22).

So let us put things into perspective. The change will come. The question is whether you will be one of the chosen ones for whom the days will be cut short and you will enter into an age which you cannot now imagine. Scripture says: “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love HIM” (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4; Isaiah 65:17).

Do not let the words “chosen ones” put fear into your heart. Anyone can be a chosen one. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”. This is not religious dogma that you have heard before and ignored because you are tired of religious denominations trying to force you into being converted into something you are not and into what you do not want to be. You have free entrance into this Kingdom age and you don’t have to do anything to obtain it except believe. You don’t have to try to become a good person; you don’t have to follow a set of religious rules and regulations. You need only accept God’s free gift which was made possible by grace, defined as “unmerited favor”. If you accept this gift, which has no strings attached, you will be a part of the new age; you will be preserved blameless. Paul the Apostle said: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in  the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him” (Ephesians 1:3-4).

Jesus Christ is not a religion. Man has turned Him into a religion through their ignorance and misunderstanding. Christ came to set man free, not to perpetuate bondage into a religion(s) that does not know God. A relationship with God is a personal thing, between you and Him, not this church or that. It is good that believers gather together to strengthen one another’s faith but all still boils down to your personal relationship with God. If you know God, entrance to His New Age will be abundantly provided to you and you will not perish with those who refuse to accept His gift.

Once you know God you will want to do His will whatever that may be. You cannot do enough good works to gain entrance to His Kingdom. Christ said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart from Me you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23). There are many who come in the name of the Lord and do great works, even miracles, who are not doing what God would have them to do. Many are those with large churches, who broadcast on television, with enticing words of wisdom designed for purposes not related to the real will of God. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before them” (Matthew 21:31).

So rather than focusing on the negative, the birth pangs which will come upon all creation before the great day of the Kingdom let us look at the end result which will exclude no one who has a right heart before the Lord.

These words of John in Revelation, although symbolic in some instances, are clear to those with understanding. The “river of the water of life” is the Word of God. These are the living waters Jesus spoke of while He was on the earth: “Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’ ” (John 7:37-38). The Greek word for water is “hydor” and living water is symbolic of the presence of, the comfort of and the Word of God (Harpers Bible Dictionary, p.229, p.873, p.402). The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself described as a “fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13; John 4:10-15). In other words all who are alive in this New Age will constantly be fed spiritually, comforted by and completely sustained by this river of God. The river also waters the “tree of life” which existed in the Garden of Eden but whose access to has been barred until the coming of the New Age.

Bodily sickness has run rampant in this current age. In the New Age sickness and healing will be abundantly supplied John says by the leaves of the trees which line the river of life. The healing power of plants and trees has long been known. Man has tried to duplicate the power the healing power of vegetation by synthetic drugs, garnering huge profits in the process. However in the New Age the healing power will be permanent, not temporary, as were the synthetic drugs. The healing will be for the nations, not restricted only to those with money or means. All known disease will thus be eradicated.

One of the first things God created was light, even before He created the Sun and the Moon. In Genesis 1:3 “God said let there be light and there was light”. This is the divine light referred to in Revelation which will not require the Sun, Moon or stars. Those participating will be bathed in this divine light forever, there no longer being any death.

John ends with a final description of the New Age and a hint at what happens to those who are not deemed worthy to partake thereof. “Let the one who does wrong, still do wrong; and the one who is filthy, still be filthy; and let the one who is righteous, still practice righteousness; and the one who is holy, still keep himself holy.” “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done…Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city [Kingdom of God, New Jerusalem]. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying” (Rev. 22:11-12, 14-15). The fact that the immoral are “outside” the new city denotes that they are separated forever from God and His kingdom (New Age) forever. Matthew 8:12 says: “I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven; but [the others] will be cast out into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. This denotes the place which is known as hell (Hades in Greek or gheenea) and refers to a place of an eternal fiery abyss of punishment where body and soul are judged (Matthew 5:22, 29-30; Mark 9:43; Luke 12:5). The reason for this is because the New Age cannot be contaminated by the filth of the unrighteousness, which makes necessary a place of separation for them.

The Chapters in this Book will go on to describe the New Age (called the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven) more fully. We will see that the primary reason for Christ’s appearance on earth was to open this Kingdom to all willing to accept it. They will also expose the necessity of the judgments in the earth to accomplish this goal. Christ said: “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (Matthew 24:6-8). The coming of the New Age is likened to birth pangs. There is great pain and consternation during the birthing process but once the baby is born there is indescribable joy. So it is with the coming of the New Age. There must be the discomfort of the birthing process before the joy of the New Age wipes away all the pain in joy for the new birth.

Luke 21:25-28 puts it this way: “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken…” “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because  your redemption is drawing near.” In other word for those who have knowledge and understanding the tribulations which will come upon the earth are but a sign of the beginning of the New Age and those chosen will not fear but will realize that their redemption draws near. The chosen are those who choose to be chosen. The Kingdom is big enough for everybody.

 

REVELATION: BEASTS, SERPENT, SEALS, BOWLS, VIALS AND FALSE PROPHETS

There has been much emphasis placed on the Bible Book of Revelation as it relates to eschatology or events surrounding “the end of the world”. The purpose of this chapter is to take a close look at the Book and hopefully shed some divine light on it, using other scriptures in the Bible to clarify some points. This chapter will cover chapters 4-20 of the Book of Revelation, being the chapters that deal with our topic of God’s final judgments on the earth. The first three chapters are messages to the seven churches John was overseeing at the time. Although rich in Christian insight, our emphasis is on the events which will, and have, taken place with respect to God’s final judgments on the earth. An analysis of Chapters 1-3 are beyond the scope of this work at this time.

Understanding Revelation is difficult because John was speaking of spiritual things in vision form. He was in the spirit realm, the realm where God resides, when visions were unfolded to him received and recorded in this Book. Before we embark on attempting to understand this Book, which has perplexed scholars and theologians alike for centuries, let us be clear about one thing. The Kingdom of God is to manifest itself on the earth. Every prophecy in the Bible relating to the future envisioned this Kingdom where earth and the spirit realm (heaven if you will) will merge together so that there is no distinction between the spirit realm and the universe for that matter. Jesus prayer, recorded in Matthew 6:10, states His wish that: “[The Father’s] Kingdom come, His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”. The Book of Revelation and many other Books in the Bible address this one prayer, showing us how this great miracle will take place.

Many Christians have been taught and believe that all that is necessary for them to do the will of God is to lead good Christian lives so that when they die they can go to heaven and be with the Lord in a blissful paradise. Unfortunately that is not what God wants. He wants to eliminate death and combine heaven and earth together, where His will is done in both places. Death does not mean automatic perfection. It actually is a limbo where the dead in Christ wait eagerly for their fulfillment on earth. Hebrews 11 is a chapter devoted exclusively to those who have died in Christ. However by dying they did not obtain what was promised to them in full measure. Hebrews 11:39-40 makes this abundantly clear: “And all these [those who died in faith, martyrs], having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, [by dying] because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”. It is incumbent on us, who remain on the earth, to become perfect first so that those who have gone on before us can have their fulfillment.

When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden they had an existence where earth reflected the paradise of the spiritual realm. When they were removed from the Garden they were separated from God and since that time mankind has led an existence separate from His creator (see Genesis 2-3). His will is to restore and enhance that original creation where everything was “good” once again as it had been when He created it (Genesis 1).

Unfortunately things are no longer “good” as man, using his own will instead of Gods, has polluted creation to the point that it can no longer continue as it is.

John begins Revelation by revealing his positioning when he wrote the Book. “I was in the Spirit on  the Lord’s day” (Rev 1:10). Further he said he wrote pursuant to a spiritual revelation of Jesus Christ, spoken through His angels. Rev 1:1-2 says: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him [John] to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John, who testified to the word of God and to  the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw”.

The visions he saw do not necessarily apply to human events as we humans see them but are a recitation of events taking place in the spirit realm, then manifesting on the earth. What is important to God may not be as important to man and vice versa. Visions and dreams are also distinct in that they appear to man as highly symbolic and allegorical. God is attempting to communicate spiritual truth to a human spirit and mind. The difficulty is explained in the following scripture: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are  your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts” (55:8-9). This has the result that the visions and dreams usually cannot be interpreted literally in things such as numbers, identities and times of events. For instance God resides in eternity and time has no meaning to Him except where it applies to us.

We have seen this in other examples in the scriptures. Daniel and Joseph were able to interpret dreams by God’s spirit while others were not able. Jesus Himself spoke many times in parables that were many times not understood by the hearer. The visions recounted in Revelation are hidden messages that can be deciphered only by revelation from God and knowledge of God’s word. The messages may have different applications depending when they are read. Neither is the Book written chronologically because with God time does not exist as we know it. So He does not think or communicate entirely in what we would call a logical progression of events.

In the case of Revelation God is communicating as best He can an understandable account of His overall plan of redeeming his Sons, bringing defeat to the devil and ending futility on the earth. On a purely natural level the book was written to encourage the seven churches under John’s charge that were undergoing great persecution at the time, primarily by the Roman Empire. Many of the references in the Book, contrary to modern interpretation, concerned the Roman Empire. John wanted to encourage his churches and to tell them that through all the persecution that the Kingdom would eventually prevail and for them to be steadfast in their faith. John himself was in a prison facility on Patmos Island for preaching the gospel in Roman occupied territory.

John’s first recorded encounter with the spirit realm in Revelation was in a vision that took place while he was at the throne of God. He saw, in vision form, the beings who were attending God on the throne (Revelation 4). The first scene involves a scroll with seven seals. The only one worthy to open the seals was the Lamb, the same lamb who had been slain from the foundation of the world (Jesus Christ). In other words, Christ’s work had already been done before he ever appeared on earth. He had already been slain as the sacrificial lamb before the world was formed and before he ever came to earth to manifest Himself.

In Chapter 4, God said He was giving John an overview of the tribulations that “will happen hereafter” (Revelation 4:1) to the earth and its inhabitants. There are no time limits as to when these tribulations will occur, only the designation “hereafter” which word is also applied to eternity itself.

What is revealed by the unveiling of the seven seals is the overall plan of God for Christ to regain His Kingdom that He lost at the fall of man. Thus, the seven seals represent all power given to the Lamb; the seven trumpets that follow reflect the shaking of the world kingdoms and the overthrowing of them and the Lamb’s Kingdom ushered in; and the seven vials, by which Satan’s kingdom is destroyed.

The events which are described in Revelation are sometimes referred to as “tribulations”. The point to be made here is that “tribulations” in the world have been taking place on the earth for a long time, at least in the last 2000 years. They are not limited to a seven year period as many have advocated. The earth has already suffered many of the judgments prophesied by John 2000 years ago.

The great plague killed as many as 50% of Europe’s population. We have already seen World Wars that killed millions including the worst instance of genocide the world has ever witnessed. There have been conquerors and conquering tribes all over the known world. not to mention the conquerors of the middle ages who decimated entire areas of the known world. The depression of the 1920-30 caused worldwide economic collapse. The rulers of the Middle Ages primarily Rome and the Catholic Church brutally killed millions and suppressed entire populations.

We have seen massive famines, drought, natural disasters such as climate change and conquering nations which have destroyed entire civilizations including the Mayans, Incas, Aztecs, Nasca and others. It is therefore spurious to lump the events prophesied in Revelation into one seven year period (the Bible never mentions a seven year tribulation period anyway). So as we examine the events prophesied by the seals, trumpets and vials we must realize that many have already been fulfilled as we have been in the “tribulation” period for at the last 2000 years.

The first seal opened by the Lamb released the white horse, the conquering horse (Rev. 6:2). We see fulfillment of the destructive deeds of this horse in that conquerors have gone out into the world before and after the birth of Christ. Among them include Hannibal, Alexander the Great, the Romans, the Mongols, Ghangis Kahn, the English and French conquerors, Napoleon, Mohammed, Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and assorted more. Thus the vision of the white horse has already been and still is being fulfilled. Today terrorism is a threat to every nation on the earth. Conquering continues to exist today as nations and their leaders fight wars over property, resources, ideology and religion. You could say that much damage has already been inflicted on mankind by the conquering horse as many conquerors have come and gone and the loss of life from their campaigns has been in the many millions. This horse is not something that just magically appears in the end time; he’s been around for a while!

From the second seal emerged the red horse, the war horse (Rev. 6:3-4). Historians cannot argue that mankind has been at war with itself for nearly its entire existence. Nations in the world continue to be at war with each other today. The war’s effects have increased in the last few centuries due to the number of people alive at this time. Millions upon millions were killed in the last two great world wars. If you add all the wars that have occurred just in the last 2000 years the death toll must be in the hundreds of millions conservatively. And we stand today on the verge of global destruction if the technologically advanced weapons at our disposal are released at one time.

The third seal released the black horse (Rev. 6:5-6) who affected the economics of the nations. Today we stand on the verge of the greatest economic collapse ever seen in the world to this point. In the past, nation after nation, including the Roman Empire, have failed partly due to economic collapse. Many nations now and in the past have not been able to feed their people. Famine sweeps and has swept the globe. It has been estimated today that one-third of the world’s population lives in famine and starvation. Throughout the last 2000 years most of Europe was alternatively involved in famine of one sort of another. Hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives as the result of famine. The black horse was effective in creating a perennial lower class that was always at the mercy of the elements, serfdom, subsisting from day to day with meager resources. We see and have seen the wild fluctuations of world economies and the world’s money supplies over an extended period of time. We have seen recessions, depressions and complete financial ruin in some nations.

The fourth seal released the Ashen horse (Rev. 6:7-8) who was given the power to kill by sword, famine, pestilence and wild beasts. The black plague in Europe wiped out more than 50% of the population, setting progress back in that region for hundreds of years. Other plagues killed thousands, even in the Roman Empire, and other conquering nations experienced plague at one time or another. Pestilence continues to plague us today as new strains of resistant bacterial and viral infections appear periodically and kill millions. A resistant strain of sickness released in the world today could equal or surpass effects from plagues that have gone before.

The fifth seal involved the martyrs who had been slain because they spoke the word of the Lord. They cried out from under the altar “how long oh Lord…will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 6:9-11). They had good reason to cry. They did the will of God in their generation but died without experiencing the fulfillment due them. As The Book of Hebrews says, their vindication depends on us. “And these [martyrs] all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided  some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40). This puts to rest the theory that we go to heaven and receive the entire fulfillment when we die. The martyrs and the great men killed or died were not made perfect automatically by dying and “going to heaven”. Their perfection depends on us who remain.

The sixth seal (Rev. 6:12-17) represents the terror of great natural disasters which have occurred and will continue to occur in the form of volcanoes, great earthquakes which rearrange land masses and other terrible events we have seen in the last 2000 years and before. Great tsunamis have killed hundreds of thousands, earthquakes have killed as many and great storms, hurricane and tornados have done untold damage to person and property. These natural disasters have been occurring for thousands of years. However, the frequency of these disasters seems to be increasing just in the last few years and their effect felt more due to the increased population in the world. Just recently we have seen earthquakes and attending tsunamis as in Japan, Malaysia and Chile. We have seen flooding on a vast scale and ravaging tornados in various places. We have been and are experiencing wild swings in the weather. These are likely to increase as we approach the day the Lord takes the Kingdom.

Next in Revelation, but not in any order, we see the 144,000 who were sealed by God (v.7:4-8). The 144,000 is not a literal number but represents 12x12, a number of perfection. In addition to the 144,000 who were numbered and sealed by God, we also see a multitude standing before them that cannot be counted, clothed in white robes. The 144,000 are the only people who are recorded as being “sealed” which literally is a means a designation of ownership. The multitudes surrounding the 144,000 were not numbered and they had not been sealed. This picture creates a clear distinction between the 144,000 who were counted and sealed and the multitude surrounding them who were not.

Thus there are two groups who initially comprise the Kingdom of God. The 144,000 are the saints, the very elect, the remnant, as referred to by the Lord (Matthew 24:22, 24). “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short… “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect [chosen ones]. Mark emphasizes it is impossible to deceive the very elect. “for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, IF POSSIBLE, the elect” (Mark 13:22).

The remaining multitudes, not part of the 144,000 are those who have been saved by their confession of Jesus. In verse 10 the multitude is crying “Salvation to our God”. They are those who have confessed the Lord as their Savior and have been saved by their belief and confession. “…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Romans 10:9-10. That does not necessarily mean they have been saved to the uttermost and become perfect as have the Saints (Hebrews 7:25).

This difference between the two groups is borne out by Paul as he describes the day of the Lord: He recounts the day "when He [Jesus] comes to be glorified in the persons of His saints [holy ones] on that day [the very elect] and to be marveled at [or admired by] all who have believed” (2 Thessalonians 1:10). He is describing two separate groups. In the first group the Lord comes “in the person” of the saints, that is His nature is fully formed within them. As John says in 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is”.

Christ will appear on the earth (His second coming) and there are those who will possess His very nature and be just like Him when He does. Hebrews says: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings” (Hebrews 2:10). God’s purpose is to create and then adopt many Sons like Christ who, like Him, have been perfected. The second group that marvels at the manifested Christ is the other believers who have been saved and also receive eternal life, just not on the level of Sons who have become like Him. As Paul says:”He  predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,” (Ephesians 1:3-6). 

There has been much discussion as to whether the 144,000, who are identified in 12,000 increments according to the twelve tribes of ancient Israel, are actually going to be of Jewish lineage. The physical Jewish nation was the favored nation of God until Christ came, initiated the new Covenant (Hebrews 8:7, 9:15, 12:24; Jeremiah 31:27) and opened His promises to all people, Jews and Gentiles alike. The Israel referred to in the New Testament is the spiritual Israel who has accepted the fullness of Christ and became like Him by being born again into the spirit. One only need read Romans chapters 9-11 to realize the position of the Jewish nation after the coming of Christ. They were put on equal footing with all other nations and lost their favored status (see Chapter in this Book “The Jews and the Temple in the New Age”). Thus the 144,000, that are purported to be the nation of Israel are not all Israelites. The number is symbolic as is the references to the twelve tribes; Saints of God overcome by their faith not their nationality.

In Chapter 14 we see the 144,000 sealed of God again (Rev. 14:1-5). There the criterion for their selection is spelled out more clearly. They are defined as: “Those who follow the Lamb (Christ) wherever He goes” (Rev. 14:4). As Paul said in Romans 8:14: “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God”. They were purchased by God from among men as His first fruits (v. 4). Contrary to Satan, the father of lies, no lie was found in their mouths and they were chaste by the blood of the lamb (Christ).

The seven trumpets follow the opening of the seventh seal in Revelation Chapters 8-11. The seventh seal notes a completion of the assertion of Christ’s authority and heralds the beginning of the seven trumpets. The angels prepare to sound the trumpets: “And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth; and there followed peals of thunder and sounds and flashes of lightning and an earthquake” (Rev. 8:2-5). Thus, the seven trumpets are introduced by an offering (from a censor) which are the prayers of the saints to aid the effectiveness of the trumpets as they sound forth. Trumpet is symbolic of the word of God (Isaiah 58:1-5) which brings about the results recorded in the nest chapters.

The sounding of the seven trumpets results in destruction of an unbelieving humanity and prepared the way for the return of the Lord. At this point the saints had been sealed and the saved recognized. The destruction wrought by the trumpets was for the inhabitants of the earth who had not and would not repent. It is reminiscent of the Pharaoh who hardened his heart even in the midst of devastation. In those times man will not even be able to die even though he cries for it (v. 9:6). In God’s eyes it is just retribution for a humanity that was unwilling, despite evidence to the contrary, to acknowledge God as the ultimate Lord, King and creator of everything.

It is perhaps expressed best by Isaiah the prophet 2800 years ago: “For when the earth experiences Your judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. Though the wicked is shown favor, He does not learn righteousness; He deals unjustly in the land of uprightness, And does not perceive the majesty of the Lord. O Lord, Your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it. They see Your zeal for the people and are put to shame; Indeed, fire will devour Your enemies” (Isaiah 26:9-11).

And: “Come, my people, enter into your rooms And close your doors behind you; Hide for a little while Until indignation runs its course. For behold, the Lord is about to come out from His place To  punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; And the earth will reveal her bloodshed And will no longer cover her slain” (Is 26:20-21). We must remember that the judgments and tribulations are for the unrighteous of the earth. In the coming Kingdom there can be no unrighteousness so it is eliminated from the earth in these verses.

The bottomless pit is opened by the angel and he receives the keys to it, although no one is put in the pit at this time (v. 9:1-2). But the filth from the bottomless pit spread over the earth and did uncountable damage. And there was a terrible war with millions involved that killed millions of mankind. This is reminiscent of the wars we have seen in our time-the First and Second world wars which killed millions and reaped irreparable damage on the nations. Whether or not there will be a 3rd war remains to be seen but the world wars were so destructive they could easily be fulfillment of this prophesy.

Chapter 10 begins with the strong angel with the little book, and the little book was opened. The angel was terribly powerful in that he cried out with seven peals of thunder (the voice of God). The symbolism in this chapter is very great as the angel turns out to be a compilation of past events involving God. He was clothed with a cloud, as the Lord will return on a cloud as he left; or representing the cloud in the wilderness that led the Israelites. The rainbow is evidence of God’s promise to Noah. His feet like pillars, likened to the pillars of fire that followed the Israelis in the wilderness. His great size is emphasized as he straddled the land and the sea and raised his hand and swore an oath- “and swore by Him who lives forever and ever,  who created heaven and the things in it, and the earth and the things in it, and the sea and the things in it, that there will be delay no longer,” (v.10:5-6). John heard and understood the seven peals of thunder but was told to seal up that knowledge until the time. The fact that the angel said “there will be delay no longer” answers the cry of the martyrs under the altar who cried “how long O Lord” (Revelation 6:10). The answer was “it is now, no more delay”.

John reluctantly took the book from the angel but instead of reading it he ate it. It was sweet to the taste but bitter in the stomach. These is similar to the supper of the Lord as we eat His body and drink His blood and thereby become like Him and take on His nature. Although the communion is sweet going down, the rigors of discipleship follow which can be a bitter experience at times. When John ate the book it was not something he acquired intellectually but something that became a part of his being enabling him to go on to the conclusion of the revelation and beyond.

In Chapter 11 John is given a rod with which to measure the temple. This is the heavenly temple prophesied by Ezekiel in his book Chapters 40-48. Ezekiel was also given a rod to measure the heavenly temple in those chapters. John was told not to measure the outer court (there are three courts in the temple) but to leave the outer court to the Gentiles (the ungodly) to be trampled underfoot. The physical temple in ancient Israel had been trodden underfoot many times by Gentile nations in the past. This time it happens to the spiritual temple of God. This represents the satanic battle against the people of God as the spiritual temple is constructed (for more insight into the temple see Chapter “The Jews and the temple in the New Age” in this book). This temple is unique in that it does not contain a veil between the Holy of Holies (God’s seat) as that secret place is now open for all humanity to experience. When Christ died the veil of this veil was “rent, torn in two” (Mark 15:38).

In Chapter 11 the two witnesses are granted authority to prophecy. Revelation 11:3 says: “And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.” Again this passage has no chronological significance neither indicates a reference to the time of their prophecy; only the duration. The time of their prophesying, or bearing their testimony for Christ, is 3 ½ years or a thousand two hundred and threescore days. Taking that figure and converting it symbolically to the number of prophetic days, taking a day for a year, would give us 1260 years as the length of their prophecy (Matthew Henry Commentary, Rev. 11:3, II).         

“These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth” (Rev 11:4). This scripture is reminiscent of a scripture in Zachariah 4:2-3: “He said to me, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold with its bowl on the top of it, and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it; also two olive trees by it, one on the right side of the bowl and the other on its left side” (Zachariah 4:2-3).

Revelation continues: “And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them,  he must be killed in this way. These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during  the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire” (Rev 11:5-6). The identity of the two witnesses seems clear from the scriptures as Elijah stopped the rain for 3 ½ years in ancient Israel and Moses turned the Nile waters to blood and struck Egypt with 10 plagues. With regards the two witnesses we must realize that John’s vision is not specific as to time. It is just a vision he is seeing while “in the spirit” (Revelation 1:10). It is the spirit of Elijah and Moses who appear at this time regardless of whether they appear in human form or not. These are the same witnesses who were present at Christ’s transfiguration (Matthew 17:2-3). Malachi prophesied that the Lord would send the spirit of Elijah before the appearing of the Lord (Malachi 4:4). Elijah came in the form of John the Baptist as fulfillment of this prophecy. Thus these two spirits are closely identified with Christ.

The term “witnesses” is not used in the context of witnesses as though they saw something and thus were witnesses of it such as witnessing (seeing) an event. It is used here as though they were the conformation of something. As an example Paul said: “Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (2 Corinthians 13:1; Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15). The two witnesses here were referred to as if they were confirmation of Christ’s ministry and moved in that confirmation according to their individual earthly ministries. In fact the entire Old Testament is a “witness of” or confirmation of the Messiah to come. Christ told the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;” (John 5:39).

The next scriptures exemplify just how close to Christ they were. “When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them”. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified. Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them. And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the  God of heaven” (Rev 11:7-13).

The exact meaning of this set of scriptures is unclear but one cannot ignore the similarities to Christ and His death. For those who can bear it, the appearance of the two witnesses is actually the appearance of companies of people who will collectively manifest the spirits of the witnesses. They will move through the great “body of Christ” that will come forth preceding Christ’s coming (Ephesians 4:12; Romans 7:4); 1 Corinthians 10:16). They were apparently overcome at one point but not for long. Daniel says: “I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and  judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom” (Daniel 7:21-22). The two witnesses are also symbolic of Satan’s attempt to defeat Christ (so he thought) by killing Him but Jesus was resurrected by God. He was taken to heaven in a cloud.

The seventh trumpet sounds and the Kingdom of the Lord is ushered in. The world kingdoms are shaken and overthrown, and the Lamb’s kingdom appears. There remains only the defeat of Satan. The heavenly elders cry: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of  His Christ; [Messiah] and He will reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). With the appearance of the Son of Man, God opened the temple and the Ark of the Covenant appeared in the temple symbolic of the presence of the Lord.

In verse 12, out of chronological order, we meet the woman who is Israel, clothed with the sun, the moon under her feet, and a crown of 12 stars. She is pregnant with the man child (Christ) and in labor. The dragon (Satan) stood before her ready to devour the man-child as it came to birth. This is reminiscent of King Herod’s so called “slaughter of the innocents” wherein he killed all first born sons in Bethlehem, hoping to kill the one who would become King and threaten Herod’s kingdom. At this time, since the Kingdom is firmly established in heaven and Satan is cast out, he took 1/3 of the angels with him to make war against the man-child and his descendents on earth. But the woman gave birth and the man-child (Christ) was immediately caught up out of Satan’s grasp and the woman, who now symbolizes the church of believers in Christ, was given shelter and nourished. This is also reminiscent of the child being taken to safety in Egypt hiding from the dragon who possessed Herod.

It was Christ’s ascension and authority that threw down the devil from heaven, after a great war with the arch angels. By this time the sons had overcome by the blood of the lamb and were sealed and Satan was thrown to earth. Satan persecuted the woman, symbolic of the church, which is evidenced by the great persecution suffered by the early Christians at the hands of the satanically controlled Romans. The converts were forced to hide from their persecutors and gather in secret, sometimes in caves. The devil poured a river of persecution at the woman and the converts, seeking to sweep them away. This was prophesied by Isaiah: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19). But the converts who remained were saved and the church carried on. When he couldn’t destroy the early church he went after the other converts whom the church had spawned through their evangelistic efforts.

At some point, again not necessarily chronological, Satan came into the open and showed himself for what he was. With the dragon (Satan) standing on the shore came first as a beast coming up out of the sea of humanity (see Psalm 2:1) with horns, heads and diadems which represent the nations of the world and their crowned headed leaders who had warred against physical Israel (Babylonians, Assyrians, Romans, Syrians or Scythians). “And then I saw a  beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were  blasphemous names. And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion”. Symbolically these faces represent great nations: Greece (a leopard, Dan. 7:6), Mede-Persia (a bear, Dan. 7:5), and Babylon (a lion, Dan. 7:4). And the dragon [Satan] gave him his power and his  throne and great authority” (Rev 13:1-2).

John goes on: “I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; they worshiped the  dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?” (Rev 13:3-4). The beast of nations was given power by the serpent Satan who stood apart from the nations on the sea shore (Rev. 13:1). The head that was slain and the fatal wound healed was the Roman Empire that was defeated by the barbarians but rose again in another form, the Catholic Church. Rome was sacked in the 600s C.E. and from then on the church ruled Rome and lands in the east for hundreds of years. The church collectively gained great power over the people to such an extent that the people’s voice was not heard and they worshipped (bowed down to) the church under penalty of death for disobedience. (Rev. 13:3). The church and ruling nations became increasingly anti God as Satan continued to exercise his power and authority (Rev. 13:5-8). Verse 13:9-10 states: “If anyone has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance [steadfastness] and the faith of the saints [holy ones] (see Rev. 3:7-13 as to the perseverance of the church at Philadelphia). The church became as corrupt and murderous as the Roman Empire through the “dark ages” seating one perverse Pope after another.

The next beast to appear from the earth is the beast of religion. It had two harmless looking white horns like a lowly lamb but it spoke as the dragon Satan. Satan is above all else a religious spirit, perverting the truth of Christ into a religion. Paul said, speaking of Satan’s influence that crept into the early church, as follows: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

This beast of religion exercises the same power as the first beast showing that religion, as evidenced by the Church in the middle ages, was as powerful as the nations as they intermingled together to exercise power over the peoples. Satan’s angelic name is “Lucifer” which means “light bearer”. While in heaven he emitted great light, which was perverted as he fell to earth. He was also known as “the bright morning star”. Isaiah 14:12 says: “How you have fallen from heaven, O  star of the morning [shining one], son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations!” Perverted light is religion. We will see more of this intermingling and the authority of religion as we examine the judgment of Babylon below.

Any who did not worship this two horned beast were killed. The Catholic Church of the middle ages killed thousands during inquisitions and witch hunts. When someone did not confess their allegiance to the Church they were tortured, banished or killed. (Rev. 13:14-15).

The mark of the beast (Rev. 13:16-18) is evidence of the power held by the two beasts in their control, this time of the economic realm. The mark is numbered six hundred sixty six (666). “And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand or on their forehead, and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or  the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred and sixty-six” (Rev 13:16-18). Many interpret 666 to be, according to Hebrew numerology, to equate to the man Nero, Emperor of Rome, who persecuted Christians mercilessly. However Nero died long before John wrote Revelation although there were rumors of his resurrection which disconcerted Christians. It may have been Nero who banished John to Patmos but this is doubtful.

Actually the number 666 is related more to the man Satan. In Isaiah, when the dust settles and He is defeated, Satan is revealed as just a man. “Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities,” (Isaiah 14:15-17). The more probable meaning of the mark, for those who have eyes to see, is that six is the mythical number of man, below seven the number of God. Scripture explains that man has been made a little lower than the angels for now. “Thou made him [man] a little lower than the angels” (Hebrews 2:7; Psalm 85:5).

Thus 666 is the unholy trinity of the man Satan comprised of the two beasts and the false prophet (Satan, the antichrist) as they strangle the earth by controlling all buying and selling. The trinity of 666 is similar to the trinity of God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and the makeup of man (spirit, soul and body). Three or a trinity is the mystical number of completeness. Satan, like God, moves through men. A triad, a linking of three entities, is a powerful combination. Scripture says: “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). This threefold cord was Satan’s last, best chance of victory, as he combines his forces into an evil triad against the coming of Christ and His Kingdom.

Verses 14:9-13 begins the judgments of Satan and Babylon. “Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships [bows down to] the beast and his  image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who  worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Here is the perseverance of the saints who keep the commandments of God and  their faith in Jesus”

The six bowls of wrath are poured out on the earth as a judgment against Satan and all who are allied with him (Rev. 16:1-12). Verses 16:13-16 describe the false prophet (Satan) making ready his forces for battle against the righteous. John symbolically describes the battleground as a place called Armageddon which actually references a mountain in Israel called Har Megiddo (Mt. Megiddo) near where many battles have been fought over the centuries. Although many believe that a literal battle will be fought there, John is speaking about a spiritual battle that will take place and is using the valley around Har Megiddo as a representation of a battleground for opposing forces to battle. In fact, for those with eyes to see, the real Armageddon is fought within ourselves as we defeat Satan in our inner beings making way for Christ to come forth in our hearts.

John is using symbolism to identify a place for battle when in fact it will be a spiritual battle. Paul made this clear in his epistles: “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete” (2 Corinthians 10:3-6). In the Old Testament physical battles were fought. In the New Testament the battles became spiritual as spiritual rulers, principalities and powers were destroyed. Too many people’s disappointment there will be no “Armageddon” that will take place on a physical level, at that physical location. But there will be a battle and God and His Sons will prevail and Satan (a spirit) will be relegated to his proper place in hell.

The nest two chapters deal with the judgment of Babylon which God emphasizes almost more than any of the other judgments He releases (Ch. 17-18). Why God is so concerned about Babylon? In fact what is collectively called Babylon is the root of the religious systems of the world which God hates. The roots of Babylon go back to the days of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8) the mighty soul hunter, and the beginning of a perverse religious that continues today. The tenth chapter of Genesis records the origin of Babel and how the great Nimrod founded it and spread it to other wicked cities in the region. “Now Cush (son of Ham, son of Noah) became the father of Nimrod; he became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod a mighty hunter before the Lord.”The beginning of his kingdom was Babel [Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar (another Hebrew name for Babylon). From that land he went forth into Assyria, and built Nineveh [and other great cities] (Genesis 10:8-12). These cities were the origins of the Canaanites who were defeated by Joshua centuries later as Israel took the Promised Land.        

Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord, but it does not mean that he went out to hunt elephants and wild game. Nimrod was a hunter of the souls of men. He was one of the first ones in a religious sense to prey upon other people. Genesis tells us that the people sought to make a name for themselves and they began to build the tower of Babel, brick by brick, that they might reach up unto heaven. Nimrod built a city, a tower and a kingdom requiring untold wealth.

The fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is one of the most revealing chapters that you can find in the Old Testament indicating the fall of Babylon. The Jewish people came to have an abhorrence of Babylon, because it was the place of their exile around 680 B.C., but “that” Babylon was only a symbol of something else that had existed previously and was to come. Isaiah 14:4–11 speaks of this Babylon and that all its kings that had gone to “Sheol,” the Old Testament word for the grave, translated in King James, “hell”. “Thy pomp is brought down to Sheol, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and worms cover thee:” This showed the noble end that was prophesied for Babylon, and like all prophecy, there was the fall of Babel in Genesis 11 with the confusion of languages.

What was behind Babylon? Again we have reference to Satan who controlled the Kings of Babylon, quoted above. Satan was the motivating force behind the King of Babylon. When Isaiah brings discourse against the King of Babylon in the above verses he is talking about Satan, who is so closely aligned to Babylon as to be one entity. Isaiah says this about Satan: “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, [shining one] son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:12-14). Satan’s sole aim was to become like God, a position he could never attain.      

God is saying that Satan was the motivating force behind Babylon. History tells us that when Babylon was taken by the Medes and the Persians, the Babylonian hierarchy fled to Pergamum in Asia Minor. In his messages to the churches by John, Pergamum is called “Satan’s seat” (Rev. 2:12-13). The last king of Pergamum, called the “Supreme Pontiff” of the Babylonian order, bequeathed by law all of his dominion and power to the Babylonian hierarchy of Rome, because the Roman empire was coming up strong, with all of their rites, ceremonies, authorities and dignitaries. Thus, the Roman Caesars became and were called: “Pontifix Maximus,” “Sovereign,” “Pontiff,” “Supreme Pontiff.” They had these names that were transferred from the old order of the religion of Babylon and they continued to bear these names, even after they became nominally Christian in the 4th century C.E. under Constantine. These were in essence names of gods as the Caesars of Rome came to be regarded so by the people. Julius Caesar was first made the Pontiff (Emperor) of the Babylonian order in 74 B.C.—he became the Supreme Pontiff of Babylon in 63 B.C. and this meant that the old Babylonian religion was tied in with the government which often they worshiped. Nero even tried to continue this, proclaiming himself God, and that he should be worshiped, and he was doing this only because he had the inheritance by the Babylonian religion that he should stand as God to the people.

In 376 A.D., the emperor Gratian said it was wrong for a Christian emperor to be the Supreme Pontiff; and to be a Christian, he couldn’t be the head of devil worshipers at the same time, so he renounced the title. Then, there was no tribunal before whom the pagans could be tried who followed the Babylonian religion, so confusion began. The authority of Babylon was then bestowed upon the Bishop of Rome, Demasus, in the year 378 A.D. The “Supreme Pontiff” or the “Pontifix Maximus,” was then the title of the Bishop of Rome. The papal power then actually comes from the devil worship of Babylon. Only three years later, 381 A.D., the church decreed the worship of Mary. By 519 A.D., they decreed the observance of Easter and Lent, which were Babylonian, idolatrous holidays. Following the sacking of Rome in 500-600 C.R. the Roman Catholic Church became the actual rulers of Rome for hundreds of years. Many of the Popes engaged in the same perverse manner as did the Roman Emperors.

The sign of the cross came from the T of the tower of Babylon, which had been used by the Chaldeans, the Egyptians and in the Babylonian mysteries for two or three thousand years, before Christianity began using the sign of a cross. The rosary, tonsure, celibacy, monks, nuns, formerly the vestal virgins of Rome, all came from Babylonian idolatry. Guides of present day Rome will say, “This used to be a temple where they worshiped Venus,” etc., from which idolatrous statues were not removed, but given the names of saints.

Back in history to the time of Nimrod, Semiramis, or Ashteroth, whose husband Nimrod was killed, became the sole queen over Babylon and began one of the most sadistic reigns in the history of the world. In her widowhood, beyond being satisfied, her favorite pattern was to find a male, force intercourse, castrate and murder him. She was the “black widow” of ancient history. She claimed to have brought forth, as a virgin, a son miraculously, that is, without a human father, and called him Tammuz. The worship of Tammuz is emphasized in the Bible, especially in Ezekiel 8:14. Tammuz was killed by a wild boar while hunting. There were forty days of fasting and weeping, which we now call Lent; followed by Easter, which was originally a feast of Ishtar (Ishtar was a prominent female goddess throughout early history with origins in Acadian civilization). Tammuz was supposedly resurrected, and the chicken, the egg and the bunny, his favorite pets, became symbols of his resurrection. Cakes were baked and there was a great feast. This was all the result of Semiramis, or Ashteroth, the “queen of heaven.” “Queen of heaven” is the exact title later conferred by the Roman Catholics on Mary. The virgin queen that was worshiped in Isaiah 47 is identical with Mary worship that came later. Christmas was the birthday of the sun god. The favorite tree of Tammuz was the evergreen. Jeremiah 10 tells how they cut the tree from the forest and decked it. This is the origin of the present day “Christmas tree.”

In other words Babylon, and its roots and branches, set about to corrupt Judaism and Christianity from the start and that is who God spends two chapters in Revelation condemning. Satan is the power of this mystical Babylon. There is the cry to “come out of her my people” and come into Zion and the true church.

This is the prophecy in Revelation 18:1–5 concerning Babylon: “After these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird. For by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen; and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come forth, my people, out of her, that ye have no fellowship with her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues: for her sins have reached even unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities”. You will notice that the complete destruction of the nation of Babylon, who defeated Israel and took its people into exile, was not completely destroyed when conquered by the Persians. The destruction of real mystery Babylon is reserved for this time of judgment portrayed in Revelation.

“Render unto her even as she rendered, and double unto her the double according to her works” (Revelation 18:6a). There is a double portion prophesied in the Old Testament. “Instead of your shame ye shall have double;” (Isaiah 61:7a). God will give a double portion to those of Zion that return, and God also says that He will give a double portion of judgment to Babylon. God will double up the judgment on the Babylonian system and bring it down. How long will it take?… in the cup which she mingled, mingle unto her double. How much so ever she glorified herself, and waxed wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall in no wise see mourning. Therefore in one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning and famine; In one day, and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judged her. Revelation 18:7–8.

And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived wantonly with her, shall weep and wail over her, when they look upon the smoke of her burning, standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:9–10). So it is with the political forces. Organized Christianity has been a great political force, whether it was in the middle ages or in some refined form now. The religious systems and political powers work closely together.

In the commercial enterprises, the merchants weep and mourn over her judgment (Rev. 18:11-13). One hour and it is ended. What would happen to businesses if organized religion was brought to an end? They would begin to mourn. If it were not for Easter and Christmas sales and the system of gifts, the margin of profit in many businesses would be completely gone.

Revelation 18:20 it says: “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God hath judged your judgment on her. This means that when the fall of Babylon comes, it will be the apostles and prophets, the saints of God and all of the heavenly hosts joining in that will bring forth the judgment upon Babylon, and God will bring it down in one hour. God hath brought forth; “God hath judged your judgment upon her”.

We’ll not fail to know that the system is the deadly enemy, because it is Satan inspired, called THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS in Revelation 17:5. All denominational systems have followed what the Bible calls the harlot system—committing fornication with the kings of the earth to get security, so they’ll not be persecuted—an exchange that goes on back and forth.

What about the true church? Rejoice and be glad for in the 19th chapter of Revelation it says, After these things I heard as it were a great voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, Hallelujah; Salvation, and glory, and power, belong to our God: for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great harlot, her that corrupted the earth with her fornication, and he hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand. Revelation 19:1–2. Then, what is the great cry? Let us rejoice and be exceeding glad, and let us give the glory unto him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. There are two women in Revelation, the false church is called the harlot, and the true church is called the bride of Jesus Christ, and she is clothed with fine linen, clean and white. And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen are the righteous acts of the saints. Verses 7, 8.). God looks upon commercial and political religion as nothing more than spiritual harlotry.

The woman clothed in scarlet, riding upon the beast of the nations, could not be a clearer representation than the Babylonian system in league with the nations, so intermingled so that the woman is called “the mother of harlots” (verse 17:5). God views the intermingling as whoredom where one feeds and survives on the other. Finally her end is completed: “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” Then a  strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. “And  the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:20-24).

After the judgments are completed (verse 19:1-4) the coming of the Christ begins to manifest. The marriage of the Lamb takes place where Christ and God marry those who have remained faithful (v.7-8). The second coming of Christ occurs (Rev. 19:11-16). “And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, [the Word] so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule [shepherd] them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” He came the first time as a lamb led to slaughter but He comes the second time as a conqueror.

Finally the beasts and the false prophet Satan are seized and bound. “And I saw  the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. And the beast was seized, and with him the  false prophet who  performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, [again the Word] and all the birds were filled with their flesh” (Rev. 19:19-21).

A word about the antichrist. Contrary to accepted Christian doctrine the antichrist is not one man who magically appears in the end time to deceive the nations. Antichrist is not mentioned in Revelation. The antichrist is a spirit, the spirit of Satan the false prophet. John clearly identifies this in his epistles. “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now [2000 years ago] many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18). Also: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God:  every spirit that confesses that  Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God;  and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:1-3). The antichrist spirit is simply a spirit that does not confess Jesus as Lord. It has been around since the time of John 2000 years ago. The scope of this spirit is broad. Most of the world’s religions do not confess Christ as Lord and to that extent they are antichrist. “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist” (2 John 7).

Then Satan himself is bound. “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the  abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time” (Rev. 20:1-3).

Then those who had been sealed by God partook of the first resurrection. “Then I saw  thrones, and they sat on them, [the 144,000] and  judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the  second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years” (Rev. 20:4-6).

The thousand years may mean any length of time, not necessarily a millennium. We must understand what time really is, that is, what time means to God who lives in eternity. The Bible says this about time from God’s standpoint: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9). Also Psalm 90:4 states: “For a thousand years in Your sight Are like yesterday when it passes by, Or as a watch in the night”. This scripture indicates a thousand years are like a watch in the night which man sleeps through with no passage of time noted.

When the devil is released, at whatever point, the great white throne judgment takes place (Rev. 20:11-15). Although it is not specified who these people are, or what their relationship to God is or was, they are judged by their works good or bad in God’s eyes. The Lord warns of this time. “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:18-23). Therefore even those who profess Christ, and do mighty works in His name, will be rejected.

Christ warned further of that day: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

The Lord references true Israel in the scriptures over 80 times as a “remnant”. A remnant is defined as “the portion left over after a part has been removed”. In Biblical thought, the remnant has been or will be saved and redeemed by God. This concept is frequently mentioned in prophetic writings since it is the obverse of the idea that God will punish the sinning people with near total destruction” (Harpers Bible Dictionary). A remnant can also be defined as a “trace” of what was, making a remnant a very small portion (Webster’s Dictionary 11th Ed.).

Paul, quoting Isaiah, spoke of the remnant of physical Israel that would remain and accept Christ. The same is true of the Gentiles who accept Christ. Whatever the number it will always be a remnant, a small piece of what was once whole. Paul said “Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved;” (Romans 9:27; Isaiah 10:22). And: “For thus says the Lord, “Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob, And shout among the chief of the nations; Proclaim, give praise and say, ‘O Lord,  save Your people, The remnant of Israel.’ (Jeremiah 31:7). Further: “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).

In any event those not mentioned in the Book of Life (symbolic of a recount of a lifetime) will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Rev. 20:15). However the Lord does give some indication of how severe the punishment will be. In Luke 12:47-48 Jesus said, in the parable of the faithful servant (Luke 41-53) “that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more”.

Chapters 21-22 speak about the new heavens, the new earth and the New Jerusalem which we have covered in a previous chapter. . The way John describes it is voiced in almost the same way by Isaiah hundreds of years before. Isaiah said: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind. “But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem for rejoicing And her people for gladness. “I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; And there will no longer be heard in her The voice of  weeping and the sound of crying” (Isaiah 65:17-19). And: “For just as the new heavens and the new earth Which I make will endure before Me,” declares the Lord, “So your offspring and your name will endure. “And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to  bow down before Me,” says the Lord. “Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me". For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:22-24).

Those who think this fulfillment will take place in physical Israel are mistaken. The dwelling place of God will not be in a rebuilt temple-it will be among His people. Revelation 21:3-4 says: “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them  and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

The true tabernacle is not one made with hands but one made, and dwelt in, in the spirit realm. The writer of Hebrews explains that the first tabernacle, made with hands, was but a mere copy of the spiritual tabernacle to come. He said: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but  through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:11-12).

The true tabernacle of Christ is in His many membered body of believers. Paul said: “Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27). Ephesians chapter 4 explains how this body is formed: “He [Christ] who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things. And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:10-16).

Then there is the church invisible which consists of the whole number of the elect (a remnant) that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ, the head thereof. This is a pure society, the church in which Christ dwells, the Kingdom of God. It is the body of Christ. It is called “invisible” because the greater part of those who constitute it are already in the spirit realm and also because its members still on earth cannot certainly be distinguished. The qualifications of membership in it are internal and are hidden. It is unseen except by Him who “searches the heart.” “The Lord knows them that are his” (2 Tim. 2:19).

However many of those receiving Christ will not die before they see the Kingdom coming in the earth. “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2). And Paul said: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, [die] but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and  the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Here Paul distinguishes between those alive and the dead. All will be made imperishable. Some will live to greet the Lord upon His return. “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory (Isaiah 25:8).“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:53-55; Hosea 13:14).

Then comes the description of this heavenly temple filed with the Saints of God with God dwelling among them, the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-27). The eternal river of the word of God, the Christ, appears along with the lost tree of life. The curse God imposed on creation in Genesis is lifted. The nations are healed by the leaves of that tree. The sun no longer shines because the light of the Lord lights all things. All of the nations will walk by that light, including their kings.

John says in the face of this glorious vision “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying. “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The  Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost” (Rev 22:14-17).

And in all of this remember that the Kingdom is coming on the earth so that earth will be identical to heaven, and they will be one. Jesus said: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

The Book of Genesis is a book of beginnings; the Book of Revelation is a book of endings. In the Book of Genesis the first two chapters are without sin; and then in the third chapter sin is introduced. In the nineteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation, the third to the last chapter, you find the Lord of lords taking over and abolishing sin. In the last two chapters, there is no sin again, just as in the first two chapters of Genesis. “The grace of the Lord be with you all. Amen” (Rev. 22:21).

 

EPILOG

So what about all the destruction discussed in the Book of Revelation which features so prominently in church sermons today. There will be AND HAVE BEEN severe judgments in the earth which are the birth pangs of a new age. Those judgments have been with us for a long time. Much of those judgments have already been fulfilled. There are undoubtedly more to come. Hopefully a review of the Book of Revelation has provided sufficient justification for God to initiate the tribulation and judgments to be administered by God throughout history and especially in the end time.

If you are a believer you have nothing to fear from the judgments because they come to enforce your salvation. As David said: “A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent” (Psalm 91:7-10). However woe to the one who does not believe because that one will get the full effect of God’s rage, as has already happened in history.

With the foregoing in mind, Christ said this about the end of days: “See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.  “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.  “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved” (Mt 24:4-13).

“For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will." Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect [chosen ones] those days will be cut short” (Mt 24:21-22). But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. “And  He will send forth His angels with  a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect [chosen ones] from  the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

“For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? “Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. “Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.  “But if that evil slave says in his heart, ‘My master is not coming for a long time,’ and begins to beat his fellow slaves and eat and drink with drunkards;  the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour which he does not know,   and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites; in that place there will be  weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt 24:24-51).

Therefore we who believe shall govern ourselves accordingly!

 

THE NEW AGE IS A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM ON THE EARTH

The New Age spiritual Kingdom of God can be described simply as the convergence of the spiritual Kingdom of God with all the kingdoms of the earth so that the two become one. Although this may be difficult to conceptualize at first consider what most Christians already understand. Jesus Christ, who came into the earth 2000 years ago, is going to return to earth to set up His Kingdom here (commonly called the Second Coming or Second Advent). As was said in Acts 1:11: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? [heavens] This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven”.

Jesus, in his famous “Sermon on the Mount” instructed His listeners, and us, how to pray. This instruction on prayer is something like Lincoln’s Gettysburg address in that it is very short but covers the subject entirely. It is remarkable in what it does not say about to pray. He doesn’t say we need to be alone or in a group. It doesn’t say we should be on our knees or on a prayer rug. He doesn’t specify that we should pray specifically for this or that but tells how to focus our prayers if we are going to pray at all. He even condemns, in the same sermon, prayers which use too many words, are no more than vain and repetitious phrases and are prayers whose purpose is to be noticed by men.

Jesus said to pray as follows: “‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). He is saying that the Kingdom of God the Father is to be manifest on the earth, just as it is already manifest in heaven, the spiritual realm where God lives. In other words the Kingdom of God is not something you see after you die. The Kingdom is a place manifested here on earth.

In Revelation 20:4 John said: “Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their  testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years”. They came to life and reigned with Christ on the earth.

Jesus said: “A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and  you will see Me”… “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you” (John 16:16, 22).

The Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom. When Christ died and was resurrected he entered into the Kingdom of God in heaven the spiritual realm, where He was seated at the right hand of the Father. Everything in creation was turned over to Him. Jesus said to Pilate before He was crucified: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36). He did not say His Kingdom was not of this “earth”, only that it was not of the "world” or the realm that existed in the world. In essence he was telling Pilate that He was no threat to the Roman Empire since His Kingdom was not of the world. He had no plans of an insurgence against Rome. In a broader meaning He was saying that His Kingdom was not to be established as part of the futile that presently existed.

When we pray that the Father’s Kingdom come “on earth” as it is in heaven, He was saying that His spiritual Kingdom would come on the earth so that there would no longer be a division between the heavenly spiritual realm and the earth. The two would merge to become one. In the Old Testament temple a veil was hung separating the Holy of Holies (the presence of God) and the rest of the temple. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “On the first day of the first month you shall set up the tabernacle of the tent of meeting. “You shall place the ark of the testimony there, and you shall screen the ark with the veil” (Exodus 40:1-3). No one but the priests could go beyond the veil and then only on special occasions. The presence of God was veiled from the people and any communication to God had to be accomplished through the priests.

However when Christ died on the cross that veil was “rent”, torn or removed as Christ’s death opened the presence of God to everyone. “And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last. And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” (Mark 15:37-38; Luke 23:45; Matthew 27:51). The effect of this tearing of the veil was to release the presence of God upon the entire earth. In effect the spiritual Kingdom of God, the abiding presence of the Lord which had previously been housed in the Ark of the Covenant, had come on the earth. Suddenly the earth, instead of being dominated by futility, had become entirely spiritual just as heaven was. The Kingdom of God became available to everyone. It became a spiritual reality in the earth to all who accepted it. Although for whatever reason that provision has not been fully appropriated in the last 2000 years, it became a reality capable of being experienced at the moment of Christ’s death, and that reality still exists to be experienced.

We have said all this to point out that the New Age (or Kingdom of God) is a spiritual Kingdom that will be a reality on the earth as it is in heaven. Going to Heaven is not something that happens only when we die. One day death itself will be abolished. “For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be abolished is death” (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). When death is abolished completely, we will be left with a spiritual Kingdom pervading all things heaven and earth. We must remember: “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). That is why Jesus instructed us to pray to the Father: “Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in [spiritual] heaven”.

So we know that the Kingdom of God is a spiritual Kingdom that is to come down out of heaven and pervade the entire earth. John said in Revelation: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:1-2). So we pray, not for many different things, but for this New Age Kingdom to be manifested on the earth so there no longer is a barrier or veil separating the two realms any longer.

Many Christians adhere to a doctrine that essentially says that after we have been saved we go to heaven and become perfect. This belief is not according to the scriptures. Hebrews 11:4-38 goes reviews what is commonly called “The Roll Call of Faith”. Many of the acts of the great men of faith are mentioned including Abel, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Enoch, Gideon, Rahab and many more men and women of whom the world was not worthy. But the writer says: “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,” (v. 39). These men, great as they were did not receive their total fulfillment just by dying. This is because what they were believing for was the day of resurrection when they could walk the earth, where the real fulfillment occurs. Hebrews 11:40 says they did not receive the total promise: “because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”. Without us who remain, who bring forth the perfect Kingdom on the earth, they will not receive what God had promised them, which is the Kingdom of God coming on the earth.

That is why Christ said: “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first” (Mark 10:31; Matthew 19:30). All those who have gone before us in faith were the first, before us, to see the full vision of God’s promise. But it will be the last who will be first because without the last (us) becoming perfect, the first will not find their total fulfillment.

Christ Himself is not returning to the earth, to set up His Kingdom, until all His enemies are defeated. He also is waiting to see His total fulfillment! “He [Christ], having offered one sacrifice  for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward  until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Hebrews 10:12-13). Who are the ones who will defeat Christ’s enemies and make them a footstool for His feet? It is we, who remain, the Body of Christ, the Army of the Lord, that will defeat Christ’s enemies so he can return and rule and reign in His Kingdom. That is the result of our warfare. As Paul said: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

We who are on the earth are in the process of defeating Christ’s enemies, the spiritual forces of wickedness and darkness, so that they are defeated and the earth becomes Christ’s comfortable footstool free of Satan and his dark powers. Hebrews says of us: “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (v. 12:2). Jesus was able to endure the cross and the shame for the joy that was set before Him. That joy set before Him was the establishment of the Kingdom of God being established on the earth. He is at the right hand of the Father forever waiting for the defeat of His enemies and the fullness of His joy as He sees His Sons bring forth heaven on this earth. Jesus’ final words at the last supper ring today: “that they [His many Sons] may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).

 

FUTILITY: THE STATE OF OUR FALLEN WORLD

In order to understand why the world must go through the trials and tribulations that are anticipated from many sources including the Book of Revelation we must understand the state of our current world. The world in which we live is a world that has been subjected to a state of futility, cursed by God for a good reason (Genesis 2-3). As we will see below, despite His curse of futility on creation, God has a plan to restore mankind to its rightful place in the New Age.

God Himself and through His prophets and Apostles has identified the fact that we live in a world dominated by futility. The Apostle Paul recognized this and wrote about it in Romans Chapter 8: “For the creation was subjected to futility” (Epistle to the Romans Chapter 8:20).

In Genesis 3:17-19 God was very clear that creation (through the sin of Adam and Eve) was to be removed from Paradise and placed in another world separated from God and subject to futility. To Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you;” This curse was the curse of futility. Curse is defined as: 1. a prayer or invocation for harm or injury to come upon one. 2. Something that is cursed or accursed 3. Evil or misfortune that comes as if in response to imprecation or as retribution 4. A cause of great harm or misfortune or torment (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, 11th Ed.). Thus the curse by God produced many unpleasant results directed at mankind that were not present in Paradise.

God goes on: “In toil [sorrow] you will eat of it All the days of your life. “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you will eat the plants of the field;” Here God is indicating that there will be the difficulty of even feeding oneself. Whereas in the Garden food was provided and plentiful, such would not be so in the world under the curse. The ground would yield “thorns and thistles”. In sorrow shall you toil (live) all the days of your life. Instead of the eternal blessings of the Garden life shall be lived in toil and sorrow. Christ uses the analogy of thorns and thistles in His parable of the sower of the seed, as having the ability to destroy the ability of God’s word to produce fruit (Luke 8:14).      

“By the sweat of your face [brow] You will eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.” Again God indicates the difficulty of life under His curse of futility. Only by hard work will you succeed in anything but the end result of your labor will be that you will die and return to the ground. By this passage God introduces the concept of death that robs one of the lasting fruits of his labors. Before the curse man did not have to struggle and toil, he ate the fruits of the trees provided and there was no sorrow or death.

A state of futility is essentially a state of hopelessness. Futility is defined in the American Heritage Dictionary as a condition of: “vanity, having no useful result, barren, fruitless, useless”. Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus compares futility to: “vain, unavailing, unprevailing, fruitless, abortive, unproductive, useless, ineffective, feckless and waste”.

It may be difficult for someone living in this present age to perceive the state of futility that we are currently subjected to because we have nothing to compare it too. However one only need look at the state of the world to see the futility that abounds. There is no permanence in any endeavor that is undertaken. Entire empires rise and fall. There are and have been countless wars that have cost the lives of billions over many times pointless causes. Sickness and disease are the normal course of life. Disasters occur and lives are lost for no apparent reason. A man can work his/her entire life and see his life’s work cut short by unexpected and pointless disease or death. Everything engineered by man is subject to decay and ruin. Dreams are not realized. The lack of love, compassion and caring are prevalent. Joy is fleeting; unhappiness prevails whether we like to admit it or not.

Probably the fullest definition of futility was written by Solomon, King of Israel, considered to be the wisest man of his time. He said of the earth, even in his time:

“Futility of futilities…, “Vanity of vanities! All is futility” (Ecclesiastes1:2). He goes on: “What advantage does man have in all his work Which he does under the sun? A generation goes and a generation comes, But the earth remains forever… All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun… There is no remembrance of earlier things; And also of the later things which will occur, There will be for them no remembrance Among those who will come later still” (Ecclesiastes 1:3-11).

Solomon goes on to show that all the accomplishments of man, even the acquiring of great wisdom and even riches, (Solomon was known as the wisest man who ever lived) was futility, vanity and worthlessness. He said: “And I set my mind [heart] to seek and explore by wisdom concerning all that has been done under heaven. It is a grievous task which God has given to the sons of men to be afflicted with. I have seen all the works which have been done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity [futility] and striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted. I said to myself, “Behold, I have magnified and increased wisdom more than all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind [heart] has observed an abundance of wisdom and knowledge.” And I set my mind to know wisdom and to know madness and folly; I realized that this also is striving after wind. Because in much wisdom there is much grief, and increasing knowledge results in increasing pain” (Ecclesiastes 1:13-18).

Isaiah the prophet came to the same conclusion about the state of the world under futility:

No one cares about being fair and honest.

The people’s lawsuits are based on lies.

They conceive evil deeds

and then give birth to sin...

Their feet run to do evil,

and they rush to commit murder.

They think only about sinning.

Misery and destruction always follow them.

They don’t know where to find peace

or what it means to be just and good...

We look for light but find only darkness.

We look for bright skies but walk in gloom.

We grope like the blind along a wall,

feeling our way like people without eyes.

Even at brightest noontime,

we stumble as though it were dark.

Among the living,

we are like the dead...

For our sins are piled up before God

Yes, truth is gone,

and anyone who renounces evil is attacked.

The Lord looked and was displeased

to find there was no justice” (Isaiah 59:4-16, NLT).

So mankind remains in this hopeless futile state like a bird in a cage with seemingly no way out. He justifies his existence by believing he is living “life on life’s terms” and accepts futility as the status quo. That is the world that must be delivered before anything new can come forth. God is justified in His judgments. This has been God’s plan from the beginning.

Why is the world in such a state of futility? When God created the heavens, the earth, the vegetation, the living beings and finally man He stood back and regarded His creation as “good”. “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). There was no futility present in the world He created; there was no death, disease, conflicts or wars. Even the animal kingdom was at peace with one another. He created man and women and placed them in an eternal paradise, with no orders except to tend the earth and the Garden He had placed them in. However they were not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil as He knew their knowledge of evil would corrupt them, creation and all that came after.

However His order was disobeyed, due to the deception of Satan (the serpent), and evil entered into Paradise. With His human children now armed with this secret knowledge, God had to do something. If He did not, the humans and subsequent generations would live eternally armed with, and carry out the will of, sin and evil. He had to put a stop to this condition to protect His creation from utterly falling into an eternal ruin of His creation. “The Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, [Father, Son, Holy Spirit] knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”—therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3:22-24). So he banished the humans from Paradise and placed them in a world dominated by futility. At least in futility they would do less damage, now armed with the knowledge of evil and sin; there would be limits placed on the damage they could do, through the imposition of the limiting factors of futility and death.

However, by placing mankind in such a world He did not intend for futility to be a permanent condition. He did so in hope that the situation could be turned around and end in a Paradise He envisioned from the beginning. The Apostle Paul recognized this plan and wrote about it in Romans chapter 8: “For the creation  was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, IN HOPE that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now” (Rom 8:20-22). God had a plan. He had subjected creation to this useless futile condition in hope that the futile creation would be set free by the Son(s) of God. Jesus, the first Son, accomplished this by living a life under futility and being resurrected into a life in Paradise with the Father. He defeated Satan and futility with one act of sacrifice on the cross. In doing so He opened the way for many Sons to follow in His footsteps and they themselves break the curse that devoured the earth.

The hope is reflected in Genesis 3:14-15, as the Lord spoke to the serpent Satan: “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle,…And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel”. God’s plan is for the serpent (Satan) to ultimately be bruised on the head by the seed of the woman [Jesus Christ] crushing him. So the curse upon the serpent is that he will be crushed as judgment for his part in the banishing of man from Paradise.

There will be many Sons like Christ who will accomplish this. Hebrews 2:10 makes this clear: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the  author of their salvation [Jesus] through sufferings”. Many Sons like Jesus will be brought forth not only to free creation from futility but to complete Christ’s sufferings in the earth. “For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:22-23). There are to be those who will be “adopted” as Sons like Christ in every respect. In the meantime we groan, as does all creation, as we suffer the birth pangs of the new Age, when Paradise (The Kingdom of God) is restored to the earth without futility.

Thus the cure for futility is the manifestation of the Sons of God who will release creation from its cursed state. God had this in mind when He subjected creation in the first place. In His loving mercy, He foresaw the Coming of Christ and the Sons to set right creation to its true, condition—the Kingdom of God. The whole creation possesses this travail of bringing to birth the New Age:—the plants and trees, the animals, the weather, the elemental spirits and the travail is deep within the spirit of man. Life is travail, a groaning too deep for words for the coming of the New Age.

The words “release creation” denote the end of futility and judgments upon spirits of the evil one, Satan, the god of this world. The Apostle Paul said: …”the god of  this world [age of futility] has blinded the minds of the unbelieving” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). This false god must be wrenched away from his hold and influence on this world and this age. Then the truth which he has so successfully blocked will become apparent and a New Age will dawn.

The entire basis for this futility is spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. In the Old Testament of the Bible men fought physical wars, man against man. But now our struggle is against spirits that we cannot see with our natural eye. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). In order for this victory to be won the powers of the heavens and earth must be shaken, to shake out this evil element. God’s judgments are not a negative thing. They are a positive prelude to the better thing ahead.

So we conclude that the “end of the world”, terrifying as it sounds, is not something inflicted on the Earth indiscriminately by God in His anger. Actually this chapter answers the age old question of “How can a loving God allow such bad things to happen such as disease wars and untimely death?” These things are the result of futility, a divinely imposed condition with a solution. In order to restore creation to its rightful place Christ said; “these things must take place” (Luke 21:19). The evil released into the earth from that original sin was removed by Christ. For those aligned with that evil it will be their judgment. For those aligned with God it will be eternal life in a Paradise beyond our imaginations. For those of us with knowledge, it is a sign of the old way of futility giving way to the New. God said through Paul and Isaiah the Prophet: “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4).

 

THE RAPTURE THEORY

As a part of their end of this age and the beginning of the New Age dispensational theory some Christians have developed a doctrine known as The Rapture”. The Rapture theory postulates that good Christians will actually be taken out of the world, and taken to heaven, in order for them to avoid the destructive events which will take place on the earth as the New Kingdom age and attending tribulation manifests. This theory is widely accepted by many Christian denominations today not only those known as dispensationalists.

Proponents of this theory use various scriptures upon which they base their theory. The main scriptural justifications for the theory are discussed here. The history of this theory is disputed but it is undisputed that it appeared within the last 200 years. The question is: will there be a rapture of Christians, out of this world, for them to avoid the events that will take place on the earth during the end times? The rapture, this centerpiece of dispensational Christianity, was first promulgated in the early 1800’s as a counter-doctrine to Catholicism. The 7-year tribulation period was added. As Catholicism promised security to their people, so the rapture theory was acceptable as an alternative since it too offered more security to the point the believer could actually avoid any suffering or tribulation. This theory was designed to give believers a sense of security as everyone thrives on feeling secure and serene. The Catholic Church has preached the security doctrine that if you are a Catholic you will go to heaven no questions asked. If you subscribe to the rapture theory, if you live a good Christian life, you will not have to participate in the violent birth pangs of the New Age as described by the Book of Revelation and as foretold by Jesus.

One story of the origin of the theory is that in 1830 a 15 year old Scottish Girl named Margaret McDonald claimed to have had some visions. One of them was of a Secret Rapture of believers before the appearance of the Antichrist. She was already familiar with a prior teaching of a 7-year tribulation period (which by the way is nowhere to be found in the Bible). Her Presbyterian pastor Edward Irving (1792-1834), who was a forerunner of the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements, spoke at prophecy conferences in Dublin Ireland at Powerscourt Castle and promoted the doctrine of the Secret Rapture as per her vision. John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), a minister of the Church of Ireland and who later became a member of the Plymouth Brethren, also promoted the Secret Rapture doctrine, after attending the same Powerscourt Bible Prophecy meeting in 1830, where he learned of Margaret McDonald’s vision. Darby altered Margaret’s views and then taught them as his own. He developed “futurism” into a system of prophetic teachings called “dispensationalism” which had the Secret Christian Rapture at its centre. He visited Margaret McDonald at her home in Scotland and then later went to America several times in the 1850s and 1860s, where this Secret Christian Rapture theology had started gaining a large acceptance. He went on to publish his own Bible with the rapture as its centerpiece. Cyrus Ingerson Scofield (1843-1921) was greatly influenced by the teachings of Darby and incorporated this doctrine into the notes of his Scofield Reference Bible, published by Oxford University Press in 1909. One million copies had been printed by 1930, firmly establishing this Futurist theory into different denominations and Bible schools in the 20th Century.

The rapture theory is based primarily on two Biblical scriptures (although there are many more which rapture proponents say confirms the theory). 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 says: “But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself  will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord”.

It is difficult to interpret this scripture to mean a rapture. Actually the primary purpose of this scripture written by Paul was to comfort those who were alive in the knowledge that those who died in Christ would be returned to earth with Christ at His coming. An accurate reading of the scripture obviously means that Christ will bring with Him those who have DIED in Christ to meet the saints who remain on earth. Since Christ does not come until the conclusion of the “tribulations” the scripture means that those who remain on earth have gone through the difficulties and have not been raptured. The scripture actually anticipates that joyous occasion when the living will be united with those who have gone on and they will meet together “in the air” correctly interpreted the spiritual realm.

Rapture theorists would purpose two second comings of Christ-one to gather His righteous out of the earth, then again to fight the battle of Armageddon against the evil powers. As that battle is the culmination of the tribulation period the raptured were taken to avoid, who would there be to fight the battle if the righteous were somewhere else when it occurred. If they were to be raptured to avoid conflict and tribulation then the purpose of the rapture is defeated if they return to fight the greatest battle in history. It is the righteous who are alive and remain who shall meet Christ on His return, not the “left behind” unrighteous. As Jesus said: “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many” (Matthew 24:11). This theory is false teaching by false prophets with little understanding of the scriptures or God’s purposes in the earth.

Christ does not return at all until all His enemies on earth have been made a footstool for His feet. “but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Hebrews 10:12-13; Psalm 110:1). How are His enemies to be made His footstool if all the real Christians are raptured away? It is those on the earth who defeat Christ’s enemies clearing the way for His return. They don’t run from the battle; they embrace it as part of Christ’s sufferings.

Hebrews 11 also provides a key. After recounting all the great men of faith who were martyred in the name of God (Hebrews 11:1-38) the end of the chapter says the following: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground”. Certainly these men of God were not raptured away to avoid these persecutions and tribulations.

Hebrews 11 goes on: “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” (Heb 11:37-40). In other words, the martyrs who have gone before are not made perfect without those on earth becoming perfect first.

Paul describes our spiritual battle that must be won before Jesus can return: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:10-13). It is the Saints on earth who fight this battle of the ages and prevail. It is not those who are seeking a way out of the battle by being whisked to “heaven” before it is completed.

Over the millennia there have been many men of God who were tortured and killed in dastardly ways for their beliefs (see Hebrews 11). Where was the rapture when they needed it? Romans fed Christians to wild animals and killed them in many gruesome ways. Religious groups such as the Cathars were wiped out completely for serving God. Paul was persecuted at every turn as he spread the gospel. He said: “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Where was his rapture? Instead of a rapture he was the one making it happen, spreading the gospel with all of his heart despite the hardships. Is God now going to spare his best servants by removing them from suffering? Christ Himself suffered, even to the point of death on the cross. We who are alive today are to participate in those sufferings, not be spared them.

Secondly, rapture theorists use the following scripture to show that some will be taken and others left “And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. “I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left. “There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left. “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other will be left.” (Luke 17:26-27, 34-37). That verse clearly states that the end of times will be like those in the days of Noah. However in the days of Noah “the righteous (Noah and his family) were left while the wicked were taken away in judgment”. Rapture theorists would have it the other way around. They believe that the righteous will be taken and the wicked left. That didn’t happen in Noah’s time.

Nowhere in the Bible is there a reference to a rapture of believers either before or after “the tribulation” (see http://www.christian-rapture.com/ for further details of the rapture theory).

The righteous are left on the earth to continue the great battle of faith until the Lord comes. They are actually the ones who are precipitating the return of the Lord by their faith and perseverance. The Lord will not return until this battle is won and His enemies have been made a footstool for His feet. Hebrews says: “but He, [Christ] having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool FOR HIS FEET” (Hebrews 10:12-13; Psalm 110:1). The Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4) are those on earth who continue the work of the Lord Come hell or high-water. They would be ashamed to be removed from the earth, to a place of safety, just when they are needed most. The doctrine of the rapture is not only false doctrine it is an affront to those of us who are on earth until the final trumpet sounds and the Lord returns with a shout.

Although the pretribulation rapture theory is very popular today, given arguments that are offered in support of this doctrine we must declare Pretribulationalism to be contrary to the clear teachings of Scripture. Simply put, there is not one shred of evidence that can be found in the Bible to support the pretribulation rapture. The typical Pretribulational arguments offered reveal a pattern: of imposing one’s presuppositions onto a text without any exegetical justification whatsoever; of finding subtle meaning between words and/or phrases that were never intended by the author; of spiritualizing or ignoring passages that contradict the Pretribulational paradigm; and, of imposing Pretribulationalism upon passages that actually teach the unity of the eschatological complex (i.e., the rapture, second coming, general resurrection, and general judgment all occur on the same day—the day of the Lord). It is our hope and prayer that professing Christians would cast off this escapist fantasy and return to the task of personal sanctification and godly dominion”
(Is the Pretribulation Rapture Biblical et al. by: Brian M. Schwertley).

 

JESUS FOCUS ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The purpose of this book is to address issues related to the coming of a new Age which Jesus called the Kingdom of God or Kingdom of Heaven. Many have the idea that Jesus Christ came to the earth exclusively to forgive sins. It is true He came to forgive the sins but in reality the forgiveness of sins was just a means to an end for Jesus. His primary purpose was to preach the coming of the Kingdom of God, the New Age and how mankind could participate therein. Prior to Jesus appearing it was impossible to enter the Kingdom since the way to the Kingdom was blocked due to man’s sin. Since the Kingdom is a place completely free of sin, the problem that man was sinful had to be dealt with. In the Old Testament sins were forgiven by animal sacrifice but the forgiveness was only temporary and had to be repeated over and over as new sins surfaced (Hebrews 10). Christ’s forgiveness was permanent and eternal and was available to all who came to Him. With Christ’s sacrifice which removed sin from man, man was now free to enter blameless into the Kingdom Age.

In Jesus’ four Gospels the words “Kingdom of God” is mentioned 27 times. “Kingdom of Heaven” is mentioned 15 times. The terms Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are not speaking of two different things. The Kingdom of Heaven and Kingdom of God are used interchangeably; one gospel will say Kingdom of Heaven and another will say Kingdom of God when referring to the same account or the same parable. When the Word speaks of the Kingdom of Heaven or God it is talking about its manifestation on earth.

In His Gospels Jesus does not necessarily describe what the Kingdom of God is like. That would be impossible since it is a spiritual Kingdom with spiritual ways and words incomprehensible to humans living on a natural plane. The Apostle Paul was caught up to the 3rd heavens and his report of the incident was: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4). Paul was of course speaking of himself. What he saw was indescribable.

But Jesus does tell us what we have to do, or what our attitude must be to enter this spiritual Kingdom. We will examine and explain Jesus references to both the Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven to ascertain how he thought about the coming New Age and how we who want to enter should relate to it. Jesus Himself said that His purpose in coming to earth was to preach the Kingdom of God: “When day came, Jesus left and went to a secluded place; and the crowds were searching for Him, and came to Him and tried to keep Him from going away from them. But He said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose” (Luke 4:42-43).

Jesus said: “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John; since that time the gospel of the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it” (Luke 16:16). Jesus came with a new and different teaching that the Kingdom of God, which had formerly been unavailable to man, was at hand. “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). He taught the immediacy of the coming of the Kingdom. “And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power” (Mt 16:28; Mark 9:1; Luke 9:27). Although we will examine this promise in more detail in another chapter suffice it to say a man does not have to die a physical death to see the Kingdom of God.

The beatitudes, spoken during the Sermon on the Mount, state the qualifications necessary for one to enter the Kingdom: “Blessed [fortunate, prosperous] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  “Blessed are  the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for  they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people  insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for  in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Mt 5:3-12).

Matthew 13 is commonly called the chapter of the parables of the Kingdom. Although there are many more parables of the Kingdom, this chapter is a good place to start. Jesus often spoke in parables. A parable is “a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson and a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like” (Dictionary.com). His first parable in Matthew 13 is as follows:

“Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road, and the birds came and ate them up. “Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. “But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. “Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns came up and choked them out. “And others fell on the good soil and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty. “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:2-9).

“And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while  seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand” (Matthew 13:10-13).

Then He went on to explain what the parable meant. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty” (Matthew 3:19-23). Jesus was speaking of the condition of the heart that receives the Word of God. He is saying that the Word must be received with an open and prepared heart so that no distractions or other interests that will eventually come up to choke the word and make it ineffective. Those without the fertile hearts or those with wavering hearts will not obtain the Kingdom or be a part of the New Age.

When Jesus spoke of the Word He was speaking of the living Word of God which comes with the power to create that Word in the hearer. Hebrews 4:12 explains the creative power of a Word from God: “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged  sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”. This verse is one of the most significant in the entire Bible. God’s word, when spoken, pierces our entire being and even separates what is spirit and what is soul in our lives. The example of the separation of bones and marrow is used to illustrate this penetration. Joints (bone) and marrow are so tightly connected that separating them from each other is difficult (today medicine can separate the two as in bone marrow extraction transplants but it is a delicate and dangerous procedure.      

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. “But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went away. “But when the wheat sprouted and bore grain, then the tares became evident also. “The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ “And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ “But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but  gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt 13:24-30).

His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. “So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (hell). “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Mt. 13:36-43). The enemy is bent on preventing the New Age from manifesting. If you ever wonder why walking with God is difficult at times it is because God is allowing the tares (the sons of the evil one) to continue to grow next to you. The separation does not take place until the end of the age when the righteous, those with eyes to see, are separated from the evil force and thrust into the Kingdom.

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches” (Matt 13:31-32). Sometimes many think they must have great faith to enter into the Kingdom Age but if you have faith as little as that of a tiny mustard seed your faith, if nurtured properly, will grow into the Kingdom of God.

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (Matthew 13:33). The word of God that leads to the Kingdom has the capacity to multiply all by itself. If you are that person who is leavened with the knowledge of the word of the Kingdom that word will automatically multiply and even fill the ends of the earth. Soon the whole world will be leavened and God’s word will be fulfilled and His Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Mt. 13:34). The man treasured what he had found in the field beyond all else. He treated it with utmost care. He re-hid the treasure then sold all he had to buy the entire field to ensure that he would never lose the treasure. If he had dug it up and taken it home it could have been stolen or lost. But by buying the field he insured he would never lose the treasure. So if we are fortunate to find the way into the New Age we should protect that knowledge at all costs. This parable shows to what great lengths we must go to inherit God’s provision, even to the extent of selling everything else in our lives for the one great prize.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Mt. 13:5-46). This man was a merchant in pearls and likely had many great pearls in his possession. Yet when he saw this one pearl (representing the Kingdom of God) he sold all he had, pearls included, to have this one treasure. There is no treasure more valuable than a place in God’s glorious Kingdom.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 13:47-40). If you are so naïve to believe there is no hell, a place set aside for the wicked, reread these parables and rethink your position. Jesus came to preach the coming of the Kingdom which has as one of its consequences a place for the evil and unbelieving.

Now having been questioned by the Pharisees [the Jewish religious order] as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst” (Luke 17:20-21). In this case Jesus was the manifestation of the Kingdom standing in their midst and they didn’t see Him. When Jesus died and was crucified the Kingdom of God was spread over the entire earth. From that time He said: “For where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). We must seek the Lord for eyes to see and ears to hear of His presence with us or we may miss Him when He returns as did the Jews when He came the first time.

Having addressed the issue of signs of His coming in the previous parable He went on to say: “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah” (Mt. 16:4). The sign of Jonah was the fact of Jesus resurrection. “for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. “The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because  they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here” (Mt. 12:40-41). It is believed that the 3 days between Jesus crucifixion and His resurrection he was in the bowels of the earth (Sheol) releasing those men of God who had died before Him. Ephesians 4:8-10 says: “Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:8-10).

“And Jesus said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. “Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24-25). The eye of a needle of which He is speaking was an entry through the walls around Jerusalem into the city. The entrance was so low that if you wished to enter the city with a camel loaded with goods, one had to completely unload the camel so only the camel itself could enter. This is symbolic of a rich man who is often carrying many burdens that have to be unloaded before He can enter the kingdom. A wealthy man is typically more concerned about his riches than entering the Kingdom of God.

Jesus proved this point in the case of the rich young ruler who came to Him. “And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?” Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have  treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property” (Mt 19:16-22). Although the young ruler was a good person (i.e. he kept the commandments) he lacked what it took to be “complete” because he could not let go of his possessions.

Jesus was uncompromising in having people follow Him and Him alone in order to be included in His Kingdom. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth [or mammon defined as wealth which is an object of worship]. (Matthew 6:24). Whether or not you are wealthy is not the issue. There were many wealthy men mentioned in the Bible. It is your attitude to your wealth which is the issue; whether or not you put your wealth ahead of God.

Jesus was concerned with only one thing. He had come to preach the way into eternal life in His Kingdom. As an example Jesus asked someone to follow Him. But the man replied: “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.”  But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead” (Mt 8:21-22). This may sound harsh but the Lord would not allow Himself and His message to take a back seat to any other interest, not riches or obligations to natural family.

Jesus said one must be born completely of the spirit or one cannot enter the Kingdom of God. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus [a Pharisee seeking Jesus in secret at night] said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [the word] and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:1-8).

The literal translation of “born again” is “born from above”. Christians sometimes use the phrase “born again” to indicate they have been saved and are going to heaven. Jesus is saying something completely different here. He is saying that your entire being needs to be reborn into a spirit being in order to participate in the Kingdom of God. Just as being saved doesn’t mean you have received the Holy Spirit, so accepting Christ as your Savior doesn’t mean you have been born again. You have to be reborn “from above”, from the spirit realm where God lives.

The Kingdom requires that you multiply what you are given, with disastrous consequences if you don’t. Jesus told a parable: “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. “And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten minas [money] and said to them, ‘Do business with this until I come back.’ “But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ “When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. “The first appeared, saying, Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ “The second came, saying, ‘Your mina, master, has made five minas.’ “And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ “Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ “He said to him, ‘By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ “Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’  “And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ “I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away”. (Luke 19:12-26). This parable speaks for itself. If one is given a gift from the Lord He requires that you use the gift and multiply it. The man who buried His gift did not “know the Lord” and had a misconception of who He was (a harsh, exacting an). Knowing the Lord is essential to the Kingdom.

Jesus said to [the Pharisees, religious leaders of the day] “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. “For John [the Baptist] came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him” (Mt 21:31-32). The religious leaders were arrogant and believed they had all the answers. The lowly prostitutes and tax collectors believed they knew or had nothing and so they readily received the Word.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt 18:1-6). This is reminiscent of David’s Psalm: The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). We who come into the Kingdom will always be “children of God”. Why? Because a child can be taught and God has so much to teach us.

Jesus taught the disciples what was essential to enter into the Kingdom-revelation from the Father. “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, [the Messiah] the Son of the living God.”And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. “I also say to you that you are Peter, [a stone] and upon this rock [large rock, bedrock] I will build My church; and the gates of  Hades will not overpower it. “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven” (Mt 16:13-19).

This is one of the most misunderstood scriptures in the Bible due to a sloppy interpretation of the Greek language. Many believe the scripture says that upon Peter, the man, Jesus would build His church. This is where the Catholics get the idea that Peter was the first Pope and that the Catholic Church was built up around him. That is not what the scripture says.

Jesus said “you are Peter” in the Greek meaning “petros” which in that language means a “small rock”. When Christ says “upon this rock I will build my church” the word rock is “petra” meaning a “large rock or bedrock”. The scripture is speaking of Peter’s revelation from the Father, revealing Christ to be the Son of God. What Jesus is really saying is that He will build His church [Kingdom] on the bedrock of revelation of the Father not on the little stone of Peter. Jesus commends Peter for receiving revelation from the Father revealing His Son. None of us can claim a walk with Jesus unless we have this revelation from the Father.

Revelation is defined as: “the act of revealing or disclosing; disclosure; something revealed or disclosed, especially a striking disclosure, as of something not before realized. In a theological sense, God's disclosure of Himself and His will to His creatures” (Dictionary.com). Paul’s entire ministry was based on a revelation of Christ from the Father. “For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ” (Galatians 1:11-12). He also prays to the Ephesian church: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Ep 1:17). Nor can we forget the words of John the Revelator as he begins the Book of Revelation: “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him [John] to show to His bond-servants, the things which must soon take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond-servant John,” (Rev 1:1). The entire Book of Revelation was a revelation of Jesus Christ! For clarification purposes, the Father is the source of all revelation, whether it be about His son or for some other purpose. There is no other spiritual revelation except by the Father. And Jesus made it clear how you come to the Father: “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6).

One of the most telling parables of the Kingdom, and one of the most direct and disconcerting, is the parable of the 10 Virgins, 5 who were wise and 5 who were foolish: “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. “Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. “For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. “Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. “But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. “The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. “Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ “But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:1-13).

This parable tells us many things. First, all ten women were virgins which means they were spiritually undefiled and pure, which is the way one enters the Kingdom. They were all invited to the wedding feast, symbolic of the Kingdom of God, the great wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7). They were all special as few are invited to the feast. They knew the bridegroom was coming to commence the Feast. They all had lamps to light the way into the wedding hall or to herald the coming of the Bridegroom. Apparently the Bridegroom had set a time for his arrival and all brought their lamps and enough oil for that time. But the Bridegroom unexpectedly delayed his coming. The five foolish virgins, expecting the Bridegroom to arrive at the hour set, brought only sufficient oil for that time. The wise virgins brought extra oil just in case he was late (men are often late to important occasions). All the virgins grew tired of waiting and fell asleep (after all it was nearing midnight). But when the bridegroom finally showed up all the virgins arose and lit their lamps. But the foolish realized they had not prepared for the contingency of him being late and didn’t have enough oil. The wise wouldn’t give them any of theirs so they had to go out in the streets at midnight, when the shops were probably closed, to obtain more oil. The five wise virgins went through the door to the feast and the door was shut. When the foolish finally returned it was too late; the door was shut. Although they pleaded to be let in they were told from inside “Go away, I don’t know you”. What an insult to the fine virgins who had just made an innocent miscalculation and now were denied something they had been expecting all their lives. All their preparation was for naught and they were shut out.

The Lord issues a stern warning at the end of the parable. Be on guard and remain prepared because you don’t know the day and hour of His coming. Many false prophets over the ages have predicted the day and hour of His coming and they have all been wrong. The current craze is that He is coming (or the world will end) on December 21, 2012, supposedly predicted by the long extinct Mayan civilization. Others such as the Hopi Indians have set dates and times for the end of the world. Most recently the end of the world was predicted to occur on May 16, 2011. The truth is not even Jesus Himself knows the day and hour of His return or the end of this present age. “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mt 24:34-36). We’re not saying the end of the world could not possibly be in 2012. We’re saying not to bet your life on it. If even Jesus didn’t know the day or hour it seems unwise to accept that a pagan nation, who performed human sacrifices and who became extinct as a civilization, would know more than God’s own Son. The ultimate lesson to be learned is to be ready when it does come so that you are not shut out like the 5 foolish virgins.

The Lord said further about the end of days: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be  just like the days of Noah [Genesis chapter 7] “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left (24:37-41). Just as in the days of Noah one will be taken in judgment and one will be left (Noah and his family). Before the flood the people were not ready as life went on in the customary way-marrying, eating, drinking. It is so important that we be ready because we do not know the answer to when the end of this age comes upon us.

Jesus said: “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (Mt 24:42-44). Paul confirmed this by saying: “Now as to the  times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord [the Kingdom] will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-4). And: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Mt. 24:23-24, KJV). The very elect are not deceived because they spend their lives looking for and waiting for their Lord.

“Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. “And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. “Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.” “But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. “But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. “Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. ‘Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there [the homeless], invite to the wedding feast.’ “Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Mt 22:1-14).

This parable was primarily directed at the Jews for who, as the chosen people of God at that time, were invited to accept Jesus as the Messiah and did not. However it is instructive for Christians as well. Even being a friend of God is not enough. Jesus pointed this out in the following parable: “Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence [shamelessness] he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:5-8). Just because you consider the Lord to be your friend, or that you have some special relationship with Him that accords you certain privileges, only your “persistence” will get you what you need. Note that the word “persistence” is also translated “shamelessness” which indicates that your persistence must be of such intensity that you are even willing to appear foolish in seeking what you want.

The Lord is always willing to give you what you ask for; that is your faith. “So I say to you, ask, [and keep asking] and it will be given to you; seek, [and keep seeking] and you will find; knock, [and keep knocking] and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. “Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? “Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:9-13). If you don’t get an answer the first time keep trying because He is always willing.

 Jesus then points out that you can do many good works and still not make it into the Kingdom: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’”And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you;  depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’ (Mt. 7:21-23). This parable is one of the most important as it applies to the Kingdom of God. There are many who are preaching the “word of Jesus, some from large churches or over the communications media. Some are casting out demons, healing people and performing great miracles. That in itself does not mean they will enter into the Kingdom of God. It is all a matter of heart, not mighty works. The Lord’s response of “I never knew you” is indicative of the fact that these men were doing their own thing, not God’s. To that extent they were practicing lawlessness. Jesus wants His Kingdom Sons to know Him and know and do His will.

The prophet Hosea says it beautifully: “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth” (Hosea 6:3). Not knowing the Lord has been a hallmark since the Old Testament times. “All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). The Lord wants us to love him which we cannot do unless we know Him. God wants us to understand His will (Eph. 5:17), not just know what it is. David said in Psalm 103:7 this about God: “He made known His ways unto Moses, His acts unto the children of Israel”. Israel knew what God was doing, but Moses knew why and how He was doing it! It is important that we understand God’s will for our lives and see the purposes He is fulfilling. Moses knew the Lord and anyone entering His Kingdom must also know Him.

There are many more parables of the Kingdom which we will omit here in the interests of brevity. However one can review Luke Chapters 14-17 for many more parables of the Kingdom. One does stand out however and we will reproduce it here. “Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day. “And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores, and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man’s table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. “In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. ‘And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ “And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ “But Abraham said, ‘They have  Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ “But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ “But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead’ ” (Luke 16:19-31).

This parable brings to mind something most do not like to consider that is the place of eternal punishment for which will become a reality for many. Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Jesus says “many” will travel the road to destruction and “few” will find the Kingdom of God. It is a sobering thought. If you think there is no such place of eternal torment Jesus sure dead. In the New Testament “Hell” is mentioned 13 times, “Gehenna” (Greek for hell) is mentioned 12 times and “Hades” (also Greek) is mentioned 10 times. “Sheol” is mentioned 71 times in the Old Testament. All of these places represent a complete separation from God. In the parable above Abraham makes it clear “between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.’ Just as the Kingdom of God is a place of eternal life the other place is eternal also; eternal death.

Finally at the last supper Jesus barred His heart to His disciples and said: “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes. And when He had taken some bread and  given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Luke 22:15-19). Fulfillment in the Kingdom meant that, as Jesus has prayed in John 17, that we would all be partakers of His blood and Body and all be one in Him. This was the object of His ministry on earth-that we all be one. The barrier of separation that had plagued mankind almost from the beginning would be broken. We all would become one as He and the Father were one fulfilling the promise of the Father’s Kingdom. Armed with the foregoing knowledge of all He said about the Kingdom this is the crowning glory.

 

THE JEWS AND THE TEMPLE IN THE NEW KINGDOM AGE

One theory of the end time involves the restored physical nation of Israelis. Jewish eschatologists believe that a physical third temple must be rebuilt in Israel before the Messiah comes. This theory has been adopted by Christians who, although not necessarily Jewish, believe that Israel is still God’s chosen nation and that the rebuilding of the temple is central to end-time events. This theory is based on Old Testament scripture that a temple must be built that would exceed the glory that was attendant to the temple built by King Solomon 1500 years ago.

The history of Israel and its temple can be summarized as follows. In or around the years of 1000 B.C.E. King David was given the plans for a great temple to be built in Jerusalem for worship and to hold the “Ark of the Covenant”, a gold box containing the stone tablets of the 10 commandments obtained by Moses on Mt. Sinai. David was unable to build the temple but his son Solomon constructed a great temple according to the exact specifications of God. When the temple was dedicated the glory of the Lord was so great in the temple that priests were unable even to stand and minister under the weight of glory present. “It happened that when the priests came from the holy place, the cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord” (1 Kings 8:10-11).

In 670 B.C.E. Babylon sacked Jerusalem and destroyed the temple, burning it to the ground. The Jews were taken into exile by the Babylonians. When Persia conquered Babylon 70 years later the Jews were allowed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple, which they did (see Books of Ezra and Nehemiah). A prophet Haggai had prophesied the following: “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts,” (Haggai 2:9). But when the temple was rebuilt, and celebrations were finally held there, there was a mixed reaction among those present. Many in attendance had seen and experienced Solomon’s temple years before. The scriptures record their reaction: “Yet many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, while many shouted aloud for joy. They wept because the glory of the Lord that was present in the first temple was inferior to the glory present in this second temple. They were anticipating the glory of this house to exceed the former as Haggai had prophesied” (Ezra 3:12-13). In other words the temple Solomon built had a much greater glory than this temple rebuilt by the former exiles. So Haggai’s prophecy was not fulfilled at that time, but fulfillment was apparently left for another day.

King Herod, a Jewish ruler of Israel in 1 B.C.E. under the authority of the Romans, built another temple. However that temple did not fulfill Haggai’s prophecy either. In 70 C.E. the Romans destroyed all of Israel including the temple. Again Haggai’s prophecy of a third temple with greater glory was left unfulfilled as it remains to this day. Israel did not become a nation again until 1948 but by that time a Muslim Mosque occupied the site of Solomon’s temple.

Haggai’s prophecy clearly points to the end times when the Lord will shake the heavens and the earth and the wealth of all nations will fill the temple. His entire prophecy is as follows: “‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? ‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. ‘I will shake  all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the Lord of hosts” (Haggai 2:3-9)

Haggai can only be speaking of the new spiritual temple that will stand in the spiritual Kingdom of God. The “Dome of the Rock” Muslim temple stands where Solomon’s temple stood and there is no sign they will be vacating anytime soon. Yet it is Orthodox Jewish belief that the third temple must be built before or completed by the time of the coming of the Messiah. Some Christians also believe that the building of the third temple must precede the second coming of their Messiah Jesus Christ. Unfortunately the rebuilding of a third physical temple in Israel as a prerequisite to any end-time event is not supported in the scriptures.

John, the writer of Revelation, describes a New Jerusalem coming down from heaven (the spiritual realm) and finds only a spiritual temple as described in Rev. 21:10-21. He said this about the New Jerusalem: “I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple” (Rev. 21:22). The temple was comprised of the Lord and the Lamb both spiritual figures the Lamb symbolizing Christ.

John was not describing a temple constructed by human hands on the earth; he was describing a spiritual temple comprised of the Father and the Lamb (Christ). There are currently no realistic plans to rebuild a temple in Israel. Those waiting for the construction of such an earthly temple to herald the New Age will be sorely disappointed because it is not going to happen. Waiting for the rebuilding of a physical temple in Israel as a sign of the coming of the Messiah is not scriptural and will not happen.

Would you like to know who will constitute the New Temple? The temple will be constructed of Christ and the Saints of God. St. Peter said, speaking to his churches scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia: “And [we the Saints] coming to Him as to a living stone which has been  rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:4-6). The individuals constituting the churches were to be the building blocks of the new spiritual temple.

Paul confirmed this in a letter to the Corinthian church: “FOR WE are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will  dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people” ( 2 Corinthians 6:16). And Paul said further: “Do you not know that YOU are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). Each of the Saints of God are living stones with which the New Temple will be constructed. This temple, comprised only of God and His Saints, will have an eternal glory which will exceed anything previously built on the earth because it will be a spiritual temple. These statements are not symbolic inferences. The reality is that the New Temple will consist of God and His Saints. This is clearly stated in the scriptures referenced above.

Many still retain the idea that only the Jews, as the favored nation of God, will constitute the Kingdom of God or at least they will hold a special position in the New Age. This concept is based on a gross misreading of the scriptures written after the death of Christ. Proponents base this belief on many things including the fact that the Jews were the favored nation of God (as recorded in the Old Testament) and that favored status continues to exist today. The "Kingdom of the LORD" is referred to in the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible (1Chronicles 29:10-12; Daniel 4:3). It is tied to Jewish understanding that God will restore the nation of Israel to the nation Israel was during the glory days of David and Solomon. And those proponents of the favored Israel in the New Age point to the fact that the Kingdom of God was expressly promised to King David, because he was a man "after God's own heart”. And when speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai, God tells Moses that the Israelites "will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." However these are only symbolic references to the Spiritual Israel that will exist in the New Age and do not refer to the physical nation of Israel (see below).

Most of what was written in the Old Testament was but a type and shadow or copy of what was to come in the new spiritual age. Hebrews says: “Now the main point in what has been said is this: we have such a high priest, [Jesus] who has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of the  Majesty in the heavens, a minister in the sanctuary and in the true tabernacle, which the Lord  pitched, not man” (v.8:1-2). And: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the  good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation;” (v. 9:11). “For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;” (Heb. 9:24). Therefore, since it is Christ’s wish that His Father’s Kingdom “come on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10) it is evident that the third or latter temple is constructed of Spirit, not a physical temple made with human hands.

Probably the most prolific example proponents cling to in order to justify their belief that Israel will occupy a prominent place in the New Age is a scripture in The Book of Revelation which mentions the 144,000 standing before the Lord, 12,000 from each Jewish tribe (Rev. 7:4-8). However this is only a symbolic reference to the Saints of God and not a literal reference to the Jewish people.

Throughout the Old Testament the Nation of Israel were referred to as the chosen race of God. And they were during that time. However their continual disobedience to God (see 1 & 2 Samuel; 1&2 Kings) cost them this favored status. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms (Judah) were eventually overrun by other nations (the Assyrians in the north and Babylon in Judah). When Christ came He opened up salvation to all peoples, Jews and all other peoples alike. The Jews are not rejected; they were just placed on equal footing with all other peoples on the face of the earth. The chosen of God in the Kingdom are those who accept Christ and walk with Him, becoming in a sense a “spiritual Israel”. Their status is not based on lineage.

Jesus Himself said that the Kingdom would be taken away from the Jews and given to those who did the will of God. “Jesus said to them [the Jewish leaders], “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone;… “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it (Matthew 21:42-44). What Jesus is saying is that the stone which the builders rejected was Christ, whom the Jews rejected at His coming. However that rejected stone (Jesus) would become the chief cornerstone of the coming Kingdom. The Kingdom would be given to those who do the will of God and recognize Christ as Messiah.

Jesus also said weeping: “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!”  (Matthew 23:37, KJV)

The 144,000 referred to in Revelation are clearly linked to those who “follow the Lamb” (Christ) wherever He goes” and are linked with Israel in symbolic reference only. John the Revelator said: “Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb [Christ] was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads…. And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth… These are the ones who follow the Lamb [Christ] wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev. 14:1, 3-4). The nation of Israel did not follow the Lamb, they rejected Him. Therefore the 144,000 mentioned are not referencing the physical nation of Israel.

The Apostle Paul was born a Jew. He called himself a Pharisee of Pharisees. He was a persecutor of Christians before being converted. He discusses the fate of the Jews extensively in his Epistle to the Romans Chapters 9-11. He is grieved over the fate of the Israelites, formerly God’s chosen people, and who were the holders of the ancient covenants given by God to them. He grieves over those “who are  Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ [the Messiah] according to the flesh” (Christ was born a Jew) (Romans 9:4-5).

But he recognizes that things changed when the Jews rejected Christ and salvation was opened to all peoples of the world in Christ. He says: “But it is not as though the word of God has failed (in removing the Jews from their favored position). For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, …That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise [to Abraham] are regarded as descendants” (Rom 9:6-8). By this he clearly states that, under Christ, status as Jew by birth or lineage does not make one exclusively chosen by God any more. It is the children of promise who will inherit.

The children of promise are the spiritual off spring of the promise God gave to Abraham, far back when there was no Israel. God promised: “Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old,  the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him,I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be  blameless. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you, And I will  multiply you exceedingly.”Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying, “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And you will be the father of a multitude of nations. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, [which means exalted Father] But  your name shall be Abraham; [a Father of multitudes] For  I will make you the father of a multitude of nations. “I have made you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and  kings will come forth from you. “I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you” (Genesis 17:1-7). Here God clearly states that all the nations of the earth shall be blessed through Abraham’s seed, not only the nation of Israel. 

God had said to Abraham, after God saw Abraham was willing to sacrifice his own son Isaac: “By Myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son, indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as  the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. “In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice” (Genesis 22:16-18). God expanded His covenant to apply to all the nations of the earth, not just the nation of Israel.

And God said: “Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out  to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 28:14). And God said: “And He took him [Abraham] outside and said, “Now look toward the heavens, and count the stars, if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” Then he [Abraham] believed in the Lord; and He [the Lord] reckoned it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:5-6).

God made these eternal covenants with Abraham which were all based on faith. Abraham did not do anything to deserve these promises except to believe God. These covenants reflected the ministry of Christ in that all one has to do to participate in the covenants of Abraham was believe on Christ. The Jews defended themselves to Christ saying that they had Abraham as their father. Yet they were missing the point. The Jews were still seeking righteousness by the Law of Moses but Abraham was the Father of faith, not works. The covenant with Abraham extended far past the nation of Israel, being an eternal covenant that encompassed eternity, into the New Age and beyond.

The Jews were pursuing righteousness by works of the flesh, attempting in themselves to perform God’s laws. The religious leaders of the time were not spiritual men but enforcers of the Law of Moses. “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone” (the stone which was Christ who guaranteed righteousness not by works but by faith in Him) (Rom. 9:30-32). “For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to  everyone who believes. For Moses writes that the man who practices the righteousness which is based on law shall live by that righteousness” (Rom. 10:3-5). In other words, if you live by the law of works leading to righteousness you must keep all of the law which Israel was never able to do. This proved to God that Christ was necessary to Himself fulfill the law for everyone, making the basis of salvation faith in Him, who had fulfilled the Law for everyone else.

Righteousness in Christ is by faith, just as was the covenant to Abraham. Paul said: “But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”—that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:8-10).

However, Paul stresses that God has not rejected the Jews but has shown them that if they want salvation they must obtain it by faith in Christ, not by works of the Law. They are now on equal footing with all the peoples on the earth in that regard. He also emphasizes that God has forgiven them for their rejection of Christ. “But I am speaking to you who are Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle of Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if somehow I might move to jealousy my fellow countrymen and save some of them. For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?” (Rom 11:13-15). As long as they turn and receive the Jesus the true Messiah as their salvation they will be saved, just as everyone else who does so.

We have said all this to show that the Jewish nation no longer enjoys the favored status they once enjoyed with God, but they have the same opportunity as everyone else for salvation once they accept the Messiah. Now it is the children of faith, not lineage, who are the true Israel. In the New Age there is no nationality distinction. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to  promise” Galatians 3:28-29).

Therefore the Jews themselves play no exclusive part in end-time events or in the Establishing of Christ’s Kingdom on the earth. The Kingdom to come is spiritual not natural. Any temple that is rebuilt will be a spiritual temple not a natural one. It will be composed of the saints of God which will include even the Jews who believe. Some point to the temple described by the prophet Ezekiel (vs. 40-47) as describing a physical temple to be rebuilt by the Jews. Ezekiel describes a spiritual temple. One will notice that this temple has to veil between the most holy place and the rest of the temple since in Christ there is no longer any separation between God and man. John describes the New Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation:

“And  he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. The one who spoke with me had a gold measuring rod to measure the city, and its  gates and its wall. The city is laid out as a square, and its length is as great as the width; and he measured the city with the rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. And he measured its wall, seventy-two yards, according to human measurements, which are also angelic measurements. The material of the wall was jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear  glass. The foundation stones of the city wall were adorned with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation stone was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;  the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprase; the eleventh, jacinth; the twelfth, amethyst. And the twelve  gates were twelve pearls; each one of the gates was a single pearl. And the street of the city was  pure gold, like transparent glass. I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the  Lamb are its temple” (Revelation 21:10-22).

Haggai had prophesied so long ago: “The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’. So the Word of the Lord was fulfilled in this house-New Jerusalem.

     

TIME AND THE NEW KINGDOM AGE: THE TIME IS NOW

So many in the mainstream Christian world, and others, are concerned as to when the 2nd coming of Christ will occur. Many turn to the Book of Revelation, Daniel and other prophetic writings to try and figure when He will come and set-up His Kingdom to the earth. Many have drafted actual timelines showing a chronological approach of the events that must happen before he will return. Many, over the years, have designated specific days when the event will take place, coupled with predictions of the end of the world. Many are waiting for rapture when Christians will be taken to heaven prior to the so called “end time” events. Others are passively waiting for His return which they believe will occur someday, they know not when. Still others count up the times written in the Book of Daniel believing that the day is somehow encoded in his prophecies.

The real answer to this humanly perplexing problem is not what many think it is. The early disciples were also very much concerned with this question. After Jesus had been resurrected He sat down with the disciples. Scripture records the conversation: “So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” Acts 1:6). The disciples were looking for Jesus to assume the throne of David, banish the Roman oppressors and restore Israel to its former glory. Jesus answered them: “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;” (Acts 1:7).      

This question had been asked before. In Matthew 24:36 it is recorded: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone”. And in Mark 13:32: “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. “Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come”.

The way God moved, as recorded in the Old Testament, was a little different than now. With respect to physical Israel God did move in blocks of time which he often revealed to His prophets. For instance when Israel was conquered by Babylon God clearly told Jeremiah the prophet that the exile would last only 70 years. “This whole land [Judah] will be a desolation and a horror, and these nations will serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ‘Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation,’ declares the Lord, ‘for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation” (Jeremiah 25:11-13; 2 Chronicles 36:20-21). When the Israelites were in the wilderness, after having escaped Egypt, God told Moses they would be there until all of the adult escapees had died off because of their unbelief being 40 years (see Numbers 14). God revealed many things to the prophet Daniel as well which concerned times and epochs (Ch. 2-5, 7-12).

However when Christ appeared, that all changed. He told his disciples they no longer had to be concerned with times and epochs. Why? Because when Christ came, His death and resurrection in and of itself was the fulfillment of all things. The times and epochs became the sole responsibility of the Father and it would be at His discretion when events would be fulfilled. The Father did not even tell His Son when events would come to pass. And since fulfillment is in the discretion of the Father it falls on His Saints (Sons) on earth to initiate the action of the Father in bringing His will to pass.

Paul puts it this way: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. “Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, [a minor] he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things [rudimentary teachings] of the world. But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God (Galatians 3:29-4:1-7).

What Paul is saying is that for a while we were like underage minors who were actually heirs but were not able to receive the full promise. However, when the fullness of time came, God sent His Son to remove us from the immature state and give us everything. In other words there is no more need to count times or epochs, trying to figure out when it is going to happen because when Christ came it all became available. It happened! Now we simply need to claim what is ours from the Father.

Paul elaborates in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2: “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night”. As mature Sons, having grown out of the child phase, we need not be concerned with dates and times as when this or that will happen. This is entirely within the discretion of the Father. We are no longer waiting for anything because everything has already happened, since Christ died on the cross and was resurrected. Christ did it all for us. We need only appropriate or make reality what is there waiting for us. There is no more delay! (Revelation 10:5-6).

You may ask then why has it taken 2000 years for us to reach the point where we can finally appropriate the fullness Christ provided for us two centuries ago? You need not concern yourself with that because now is the time you can reach into the fullness, just as it was in the 1st Century Church. Christ’s sacrifice was the fulfillment and nothing more need happen except for God’s Sons to make Christ’s provision a reality on the earth. As Christ said: Pray this way “Your [the Father’s] Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). Pull it down and make it real.

Paul said in the Book of Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as  He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him In love. He  predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself,  according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6). Notice the lack of the future tense in Paul’s writings. He doesn’t say “God will do this or that”. He said God has already done it even from before the world was formed. God has predestined us to be Sons of God just like Jesus Christ the first Son. We are adopted by God to be His Sons!

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He  made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things  after the counsel of His will, to the end that we who were the first to hope in Christ would be to the praise of His glory” (Ep. 1:7-12). The point is that we, who are no longer children, have now been given all the fullness of God the Father, just as Christ was when the Father gave Him authority over all things both in heaven and on the earth.

All we have to do is open our eyes and see it and then claim it as out inheritance. Paul does on: “I PRAY THAT THE EYES OF YOUR HEART MAY BE ENLIGHTENED, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, [Holy ones] and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in  this age but also in the one to come. And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all” (Ep 1:18-23).

Paul is not speaking of all these good things which happen when we die and “go to heaven”. He is speaking of things we can have NOW right here on earth, which is where the Kingdom of God is to be manifest. It has already been manifest in heaven. We need to bring it down to earth. All of this glory is to be manifested on earth. It already exists in heaven. God doesn’t want you to die and go to heaven. He wants you to stay here and bring forth the Kingdom on earth where it is needed most.

How do we claim what is ours? It is not that God is going to give us our inheritance easily, even though it has been made available since Christ’s death and resurrection. He wants us to fight for it. Whatever He has released remains a potential until it is manifested on this earth. The way you can obtain it from God is clearly spelled out in the scriptures. Anyone hoping to receive anything from God must pursue Him with all their heart.

The Lord illustrates this in a parable. “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence [shamelessness] he will get up and give him as much as he needs” (Luke 11:5-8). Just because the man was his friend (which denotes a close relationship) he still would not get out of bed to give His friend what he needed. Likewise, without persistence neither will the Lord give you what you want, even though you may be entitled to it. The persistence, as the scripture indicates, must be done in a shameless manner, not caring what those around you think.

The Lord goes on: “So I say to you, ask [and keep on asking], and it will be given to you; seek, [keep seeking] and you will find; knock, [and keep on knocking] and it will be opened to you. “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened....If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:9-10, 13).

A perfect example of shameless persistence is recorded in the gospel of Luke: “And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace” (Luke 8:43-48; Mark 5:25-34; Matthew 9:20-23, KJV). This woman would not be denied her healing, having to press through the crowds to get to Jesus just to touch His garment. It is this type of faith that initiates God’s moving on our behalf.

In order to receive from God we must love Him beyond all else. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38).

 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deut 4:29).

“One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ (Mark 12:28-30).

‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

The Lord must be our first love, excluding all other persons and things. Revelation says: “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: The One who holds the seven stars in His right hand, the One who walks among the seven golden lampstands, says this: ‘I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. ‘Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your  lampstand out of its place—unless you repent” (Rev 2:1-5). Here is a church that seems to have done everything right. However the Lord accuses them of leaving their first love. As well as they had done the fact that they left their first love left them in jeopardy of having their golden lampstand removed from around the throne.

The first love is comparable to the love we felt for Christ when we first met the Lord. We were aware of nothing but His overwhelming love. But as time goes on and the circumstances and the battles complicate our lives that first love experience sometimes fades. Yet to God nothing is more important than out love for Him first and foremost. When we have that first love alive in our hearts He will give us what He has promised.

The Lord is telling us to seek Him with all of our heart and He is making Himself available to us through that route. There is no need to wonder about times and epochs, when this is and that going to happen, how long do we need to wait etc. The answer is that everything we seek is right here, right now waiting only for the whole hearted Christian to claim it.

Therefore there is no set time for any event to happen. When events happen is largely up to us. Remember time is meaningless to God as He lives in eternity where there is no time. To Him everything can be right now, even today. Delay is our enemy. Putting fulfillment off into the future “in the sweet bye and bye” or trying to nail it down to a specific date is defeating our purpose and God’s. As He has said: “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

 

BE A CITIZEN OF THE NEW AGE: THE KINGDOM OF GOD

The Kingdom of God is or should be the ultimate sought after reality by all the peoples and religions in the earth. The Kingdom is not just a starting over for mankind but an entirely new creation. The Kingdom of God is not just another religion. It will bring to the earth things that have not been seen before. “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4, 65:17). With this comes a life devoid of worries, grief, sickness and even death. Unhappiness will be replaced by joy. It is more than a return to a previous Garden of Eden which we call Paradise. It is the introduction into the earth of an entirely new reality. The Kingdom of God is not a heaven mankind enters automatically upon physical death but is a reality that is to come on this earth and in this time.

It is important that the coming New Age is not viewed as just another fad or religion. Although the Bible is used to illuminate the principles that apply to this New Age that is because the Bible has to be viewed in an entirely new light in order to understand what God is trying to convey to us. If you are satisfied with this current world, and hold out optimism that things will get better, then you don’t need what is being conveyed in this chapter. Unfortunately even the most unspiritual among us is able to see that the current scheme of things cannot continue forever. At some point it must be replaced by something better. That something better is closer than you think. This chapter attempts to explain this “something better” and to convey that it is available to anyone and everyone on the earth. It is not an exclusive club, a secret society or a cult. In the message of the gospel Jesus call is addressed to all men, to Jews and to every nation and people on the earth (Matt. 28:19; Mark 16:15; Rom. 9:24, 25).

Jesus Christ made this very clear in His pronouncement to mankind on how to pray. He says, as recorded in the so called “Lord’s prayer”, the following: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN (Matthew 6:9-10). The Kingdom in its most simplistic form is “heaven on earth”.

Many see Christ as a Messiah (Savior) who came to earth in order to forgive men of their sins. They also see Him as a great teacher, philosopher and leader whose professed wisdom showed men how to live better lives on this earth. These observations may be accurate on one level but this was not Christ’s ultimate purpose. Christ came to usher in a Kingdom of God that originates in heaven, the spirit world inhabited by God, and becomes a reality on earth. The spiritual and the physical become one and the same.

John the author of the Book of Revelation made this fact abundantly clear in his apocryphal writings. He foresaw the coming age as something entirely new and different. In Revelation 21:1-5 he records the following:

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for  the first heaven and the first earth passed away and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them [be their God] and He will  wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am  making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

He goes on to describe this coming kingdom:  “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear [bright] as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of  its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His  name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need  of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever.”

We first must understand that this is not a myth or a religion. To those with eyes to see (and anyone can acquire eyes to see) the coming Kingdom transcends religion and brings into play God Himself as the Father and creator of this Kingdom. Just as God created the earth and the universe out of nothing (Genesis 1:1) so He creates the Kingdom with entirely new elements. His main ingredient is an uncompromising love for mankind, which will pervade all of creation in the Kingdom. The Kingdom is not a fix for what’s wrong in the earth. It’s an entirely new creation for the whole of humanity and tailored specially to each individual.

You don’t have to become religious to enter the Kingdom. There is no litany of rules to follow; you don’t have to suddenly become a church goer or start trying to be a better person. God accepts you for what you are. All you have to do is have faith in something you cannot see right now and begin to ask God for eyes to see. The Kingdom is something you receive from God by faith. You cannot perform enough good works to justify what He is willing to give you. You can’t give enough money to obtain it. To God these deeds are called “dead works” and they don’t avail you anything in the world of the Spirit. The Kingdom is a gift, plain and simple. In Luke 12:32 Jesus said: “Do not be afraid,  for  your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom”. It is ours for the taking. John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life”.

The coming of the Kingdom of God on earth is not just a fanciful whim or a luxury. It is an absolute necessity. The earth teeters on the brink of disaster and destruction especially now as one unsolvable problem after another becomes apparent. We now have technological weapons that, if used, could destroy the earth many times over. There are severe economic problems as nation after nation, after irresponsible fiscal management, no longer can afford to meet its basic obligations. People are out of work, losing their houses and seeing their wages shrink, all the result of government irresponsibility. Self interest defeats possible solutions. Environmental disasters are increasing, affecting more people as the population continues to explode. Famine, drought and starvation affect 1/3 of the peoples on the earth at the present time. There is simply not enough food to go around as population increase continues. There are expensive and catastrophic wars that take the lives of millions, fought over ideologies, resources and religion. Every past civilization that ever existed on the earth no longer exists today and became extinct due to the same issues our nations face today. Left to their own devices will it be any different with the nations that exist today? These and other problems have no real solutions as nations and governments institute short term solutions which only delay the inevitable.

Nearly 3000 years ago the prophet Isaiah said the following about the state of his world, prophetically declaring the state of our world today, “No one cares about being fair and honest.

The people’s lawsuits are based on lies. They conceive evil deeds and then give birth to sin...Their feet run to do evil, and they rush to commit murder. They think only about sinning. Misery and destruction always follow them. They don’t know where to find peace or what it means to be just and good...We look for light but find only darkness. We look for bright skies but walk in gloom. We grope like the blind along a wall, feeling our way like people without eyes.

Even at brightest noontime, we stumble as though it were dark. Among the living, we are like the dead...For our sins are piled up before God Yes, truth is gone, and anyone who renounces evil is attacked. The Lord looked and was displeased to find there was no justice” (Isaiah 59:4-16).

The culprit is man with a lot of help from the evil one. Man was never meant to rule the earth according to his own understanding. Without God’s wisdom, in any given situation, the result has always been disaster and extinction. To see how this situation reached its past and current state one must consult God’s Word as far back as the Book of Genesis to the fall of mankind (see Genesis Chapter 3). God had placed Adam and Eve in a Paradise called the Garden of Eden. There they had need of nothing; food and abundant life was freely provided to them. They were eternal beings. They were allowed complete freedom except when it came to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They were warned that if they ate from this tree that they would surely die. However, Satan, in the form of a serpent, deceived Eve and then Adam and they ate fruit from the forbidden tree. As a result of their disobedience God cursed the earth with futility (Romans 8:20-22) and banished mankind from the eternal paradise He had created for them. He also denied mankind from access to the tree of (eternal) life thereby ensuring the reality of death.

“Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life (Genesis 3:23-24). With the reality of evil loosed into Paradise, God had to act. Otherwise man would remain in an eternal state with the knowledge he could do good or evil, and the entire creation would be ruined due to man’s propensity to choose evil over good.

It was because of their sin that God had to banish them from paradise and from access to life. By partaking of the tree of knowledge the pair had introduced evil into the world. If they were to be allowed to live eternally in their sinful state, the evil produced over the coming generations would be so compounded throughout eternity that is would be uncontrollable. Evil would reign eternally in creation. So God banished them into a world of futility where the evil could be at least controlled. Mankind’s existence would then be eked out by the sweat of his brow and where there would be death.

It was not God’s intention to deny forever the first humans knowledge of good and evil but He planned to reveal it to them when they were ready to use the knowledge the way He intended. In their immature states they were not ready to handle such knowledge. Man continues to live to this day in this futile world where he was banished so long ago. And, as is apparent throughout history, evil has reigned supreme in this world of futility until now but with the hope that someday he would be released from futility and inherit the Paradise he had lost.

In order to understand the Kingdom of God we must understand the cursed world of futility in which we now reside in this physical realm. Futility (or vanity in the KJV of the Bible) is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as a condition of: “having no useful result, barren, fruitless, useless”. Webster’s Dictionary adds: “trifling, unimportant and silly and unimportant ideas”. One must only look around his environment and history to see that those are accurate definitions of our current state (see chapter in this Book “Futility: The State of Our Fallen World”).

However God did not subject creation to this futility without hope of redemption in the future. The Apostle Paul said: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body” (Romans 8:18-23).

Thus, although God subjected creation to futility, He did so in hope that the coming Sons of God (Christ was the first) would appear and release creation from this divinely imposed condition. He points out that all of creation groans and travails, as in a birth process, waiting anxiously for this liberation to occur. This liberation is the coming of the Kingdom of God. Christ told us to pray for the Kingdom to come on earth in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:10). As John said above, in the coming Kingdom access to the tree of life would be restored. All the sorrow, grief, pain, sickness and death will be banished forever. And the sufferings experienced by man during this birth process would not be worthy to be compared to the glory of the Kingdom that is to be revealed.

Christ Himself was the first-fruits of this coming Kingdom. His entire ministry speaks of the coming Kingdom and of He himself as the manifestation of this Kingdom of God on earth. Looking at what is recorded in the Gospels as Christ’s “requirements” to live a Godly life are obviously impossible to fulfill living in this earth in its current state. Mankind’s nature is futile and unable to be righteous despite his best efforts. The nation of Israel proved this throughout its existence as recorded in the Old Testament.

Many think the famed “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 4-7) is speaking of how we are to live in this age. In fact Christ is speaking of life in the age to come. Who among us can measure up to the vision set forth by Christ during that “sermon?”. Who among us can be truly merciful, loving, forgiving or righteous according to the standards He set forth. Who can indeed control his thoughts, thoughts of adultery for instance, as Christ requires? Who among us can be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect? The Words of Christ are not fulfilled in this futile cursed earth-they are fulfilled only in the Kingdom of God which we receive as it comes down from heaven. We do not fulfill the Kingdom in ourselves; we receive it from God by grace.

Many try to fulfill God’s righteousness by doing good works in order to gain God’s favor and thereby entrance to the Kingdom. However Christ says that those who profess righteousness but do not do righteousness are not righteous themselves but are hypocrites. Hypocrite is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as: “a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion”. Any act that we do in the human nature which tries to emulate true spirituality is hypocrisy. Jesus condemned the Pharisees, scribes and religious leaders of the day as hypocrites i.e. those who professed to follow the law of God but were not truly righteous inside.

Those religious leaders of the day constantly condemned Christ for not following the Mosaic Law. Christ responded as follows: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. “For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke (jot or tittle”) shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps [does] and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. “For I say to you that unless your  righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20).

Therefore, Christ Himself was the fulfillment of the Law of God. He was not a facsimile of the Law as portrayed by the religious leaders of the day. Since He was able to fulfill the Law entirely, so too can we by appropriating His grace and righteousness in our lives. Christ was the Kingdom of God made flesh in the earth. As He said if a man violates just one law of God he has violated them all. So none are righteous, not one. Only He is Holy. And He has made provision for all mankind to participate in His Holiness. Our own human works, trying to be righteous in ourselves, are abhorrent to God As Isaiah the prophet said: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah64:6).

The Apostle Paul was well aware of the inability of man to do the Law of God in his human flesh. In Romans 7:18-19, 24 he mourns: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want”  Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from  the body of this death? He then answers his own question.

Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do,  weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (Romans 7:25-8:4).

The Kingdom of God is thus fulfilled by the New Covenant of spirit instituted by Christ upon His coming, death and resurrection. No longer would mankind be required to adhere to a set of rules or laws in order to be righteous. Under the Old Covenant the physical nation of Israel was required to be obedient to the old Mosaic Law recorded in the Jewish Torah, the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The history of ancient Israel, as recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible, proved that man could not, in his present condition, ever obey those Laws. Israel, God’s chosen nation, failed time and time again, necessitating God’s severe judgments against them.

For those of us now living under the New Covenant, the old Law became our tutor, showing us our need for the permanent sacrifice of Christ, who fulfilled the Law. As confirmed in Galatians 3:23-25: “But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.  But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor”.

Therefore those who are a part of this Kingdom, as Christ was part thereof, have become ambassadors of the gospel, proclaiming the Kingdom of God in the earth by living it (Ephesians 6:19-20). We thus became citizens, not of any country currently in the earth, but citizens of a new country called the Kingdom of God. As Paul stated in Philippians 3:20-21: “ For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself”.

Jesus ministry on the earth was primarily to proclaim this coming Kingdom. Most of His parables described the Kingdom of God, what it is like and how we are to be able to enter. Jesus said: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). We who have this citizenship in the Kingdom of God are like the piece of leaven described by Christ as He said: “To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? “It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened” (Luke 13:20-210. In other words those who are citizens of the Kingdom may be small in number but that small amount will spread to the entire earth until all know God from the least to the greatest. Remember it all began with the smallest piece of leaven there could be-one man Jesus Christ.

Along those lines, Jesus recognized there was also evil leaven that attempts to spoil the entire lump. “And Jesus said to them, “Watch out and beware of the leaven [yeast] of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” (Matthew 16:6; also Luke 12:1). That evil leaven put great burdens on the backs of men, requiring them to be righteous by obeying a law that was meant for their benefit rather than being their taskmaster. Even today most religions require adherence to doctrines and laws as a prerequisite to righteousness and ability to enter into what they call “heaven” when you die.

Paul was also aware of this evil leaven which could pervert the entire church Kingdom. He says: “Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened (1 Corinthians 5:6-7 also Galatians 5:9).

Christ’s many parables also describe those who are and are not citizens of this Kingdom. In Luke 13:24-28 he states: “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. “Once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock on the door, saying, ‘Lord, open up to us!’ then He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ “Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets’; and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; depart from Me, all you evildoers.’ “In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, but yourselves being thrown out. Also: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23).

Therefore it is not enough to do mighty works, even in His name to become a citizen of the Kingdom. Even if some see Him as Lord, and cry Lord, Lord, many will not enter despite their cries to a God they had not come to know. Only those who do the will of the Lord will enter. No matter how many demons you cast out, or prophecies you make, or the fact that you taught in His streets Christ warns that you will not enter unless you did HIS will. Many famous religious leaders of today do many mighty works, perform miracles in His name and cast out many demons but the question ultimately to them in that day will still be “Did you do the will of God or their own will”?

The citizens of the kingdom must be ready at all times. Jesus said: “Be dressed in  readiness, and keep your lamps lit. “Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. “Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find  on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40).

Similarly, a citizen of the Kingdom of God makes wise use of what God gives him as the Lord requires that we increase what talents or gifts we are given. In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30) all recipients increased the number of talents they were given except one who buried his talent for safekeeping so He thought he could just return it back to the Lord when He returned. The Lord condemned this man in the harshest of terms. The others had received more talents than this man who only had one, not five or ten. The Lord does not distinguish between how much or little we are given only what we do with it.

The citizen of the Kingdom must be ready and aware at all times. Jesus said: “Now learn the parable from the fig tree:”when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. (Matthew 24:32-33). Also:  “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,  and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.  “Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left” (Matthew 24:37-31).

Unfortunately many interpret this scripture to indicate some kind of a rapture of the righteous where the righteous will be taken to heaven and the wicked left behind (anybody read the “Left Behind” series?). This is not the way it was in the days of Noah. The wicked were taken in judgment and the righteous (Noah and his family) were left behind. This false theory of a rapture is the deadliest of deceptions. It is like the man who was given one talent and buried it in the sand. The rapture theory, now so prevalent in mainstream Christianity today, teaches the believer to hold tight to what he has until the rapture comes when the believer will be whisked out of trouble. Citizens of the Kingdom do not flee the danger or any tribulation; they flourish in it. Did Christ flee His sufferings?

The Apostle Paul was very well aware of his duty to participate in the sufferings of Jesus in order to inherit the Kingdom of God. He said: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are  children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us (Romans 8:16-18 see also 2 Timothy 2:12). A citizen of the kingdom suffers with Christ and at the same time reigns with Him. We actually fill up what is remaining of Christ’s sufferings not avoid them. Paul said: “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of  His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Colossians 1:24). Paul himself was beheaded for his beliefs, not raptured. The same is true of nearly all the prophets and disciples in the Bible who walked with God. They were killed, some in horrible ways, just as Jesus Christ was horribly crucified, just for being the first citizens of the Kingdom of God on this earth.

As we can see, walking with God as we enter into this age of the Kingdom of God is not a walk with a sweet Jesus of the bye and bye and/or a rapture out of harm’s way. The prophet Jeremiah attested to this, as he recounts his walk with God during the age that saw Israel being conquered by the Babylonians. His accounts were actually a prophesy of the suffering Christ who was to come. He says: “I am the man who has seen affliction Because of the rod of His wrath. He has driven me and made me walk In darkness and not in light. Surely against me He has turned His hand Repeatedly all the day. He has caused my flesh and my skin to waste away, He has broken my bones. He has besieged and encompassed me with bitterness and hardship. (Lamentations 3:1-5 and see Lamentations 3:1-18). Yet through and probably because of these sufferings at the hand of God (and/or His servant Satan) Jeremiah is aware of the glory to come as recounted in Lamentations 3:19-23: “Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness. Surely my soul remembers And is bowed down within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new  every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.

Likewise Moses actually chose to participate in the sufferings of his people than to avoid them.  “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of  Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; (Hebrews 11:24-12). The other men of God discussed in Hebrews 11 likewise lived and died for the vision of the Kingdom of God that was to come (see Hebrews 11). By so enduring they also, like us, became citizens of the Kingdom of God and comprise the great cloud of witnesses which surrounds us now, still actively participating in bring forth their vision (Hebrews 12:1).

As we citizens of the Kingdom of God press on to make His kingdom a reality on this earth we realize the scope of our responsibility, not just for ourselves, but for those who have gone before us. Hebrews 11:39-40 clearly states: “And all these [the martyrs], having  gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect” For those who think a man/woman is made perfect by dying and going to heaven should be aware that even the great men of God of the Bible who have gone on before us, were not automatically made perfect by just dying. They are waiting for us.

Christ made it clear that: “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” (Mark 10:31; Matthew 19:30; Luke 13:30). Those who have gone on before us will be the last to receive the promise since they will not inherit the promise until we who remain do so first. Their receiving the total promise they died for is dependent on us becoming perfect first. That thought should sober us as to the gravity of what we as Christians are called to do in this age and in the age to come. As ambassadors of the Kingdom of God it is our responsibility to assure that the kingdoms of this world become the Kingdom of our God.

This is not accomplished by the passing out of literature or having altar calls which purport to save someone. This occurs by the speaking of the Word of God at every opportunity with all its inherent power and authority. It is the word itself that creates. Christ was the Word of God made flesh. “And the Word [Christ] became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). He healed the sick and performed miracles primarily by speaking the Word. Creation was created by the speaking of God’s Word i.e. “let there be” and there was (Genesis 1). Hebrews makes it perfectly clear that the ages were created out of nothing and that they were framed by the Word.

“Now faith is the  assurance [substance] of things hoped for [expected], the conviction [evidence] of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that the worlds [ages] were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3). The citizens of the Kingdom have a daunting task before them. Since the Kingdom is, at this time invisible, the ambassador must create a visible Kingdom out of what we cannot yet see. The Gospel of John lays out this task before us by using the example of Jesus Christ as the Word. He said:

“In the beginning was the Word [Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word [Christ] was God. He [Christ] was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend [or overpower] it (John 1:1-5).

The citizens of the Kingdom must realize that it is their calling to become Sons of God like Christ with His nature fully formed within them. Hebrews 2:10 says: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS TO GLORY, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. Christ was the first Son but it is God’s will that many more Sons come to glory who are like Christ. John goes on to confirm this in 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He  appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is”. In other words when Christ appears we will see Him as He is since we will already be like Him-just like Him! Then we will not see Him through a glass darkly. “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12.

It is important to realize that this does not happen only when we die and go to Heaven. Christ was the Word of God manifest on the earth, the Son of God in the flesh. Likewise we also become Christ on the earth. We in a sense create His appearing on the earth by framing the Kingdom of God, His Kingdom, by faith and by His Word. We are creating the atmosphere which will house Him when He does return. It does not automatically happen-we cause it to happen, by our faith, words and our works!

A citizen of the Kingdom and a Son of God also realizes another important part of Christ’s ministry, that of destroying the works of the devil or Satan. “Little children, make sure no one  deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God  appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:7-8). The devil was defeated at Calvary but his full defeat is to be made manifest by God’s many Sons. This is our spiritual warfare.

Paul said: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:10-12). Therefore we do not carry out a physical jihad against the physical enemies of the Kingdom. We fight a spiritual battle to enforce Christ’s victory over the devil and his cohorts. We fight this battle using the true Word of God that Satan is already a defeated foe. We use the authority of Christ to dislodge him wherever he may still be in power.

What is salvation and does salvation itself allow you to become a full citizen of the Kingdom of God? We first must realize that there is a difference between just being saved and experiencing the full salvation of the Lord. As to basic salvation Paul says this: “that  if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Romans 10:9). However this initial act is just the beginning of the salvation God has in mind for the citizens of the Kingdom. Many believe that if a man has had an initial salvation experience such as Paul describes here, that such an experience is all that is needed to fulfill the complete will of God in an individual’s life. For instance a man will say he was saved 20 years ago and as such no more is necessary for him to “go to heaven” when he dies. However, full and complete salvation is much more than that and salvation is actually an ongoing and continually expanding experience.

In Hebrews 7:25 this distinction is made clear. The writer says: Wherefore also he is able to save TO THE UTTERMOST them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them”. There is a difference between being saved and being saved to the uttermost. Salvation is defined in the Webster’s Dictionary as: “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”. It is true that when we are saved by our initial salvation experience and that the potential deliverance from the power and effects of sin are available to us. However we do not experience, at that point, the full effect of the total salvation that God wants us to ultimately possess. Following an initial salvation experience, a citizen of the Kingdom experiences a day to day unfolding of the salvation until he becomes mature in Christ and actually becomes one of the many Sons of God who will be like Christ.

Thus the ultimate goal of the church should not be just to get people to come to the altar and receive Christ in their lives. There should be follow up on that initial experience wherein an atmosphere is created allowing that initial experience to continually expand. Ephesians 4:11-13 explains the function of the church in bringing new believers into the fullness of what Christ intends us to have. “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ”. The true purpose of the church, the Body of Christ, is to mature the believer until he/she becomes the fullness of Christ, to a mature person. That process is salvation; salvation to the uttermost.

What Christ did on the cross as a sacrifice for us is actually a two-step process leading to complete perfection. The first prong is the part of salvation that forgives sin. 1 John 2:1-2 says: “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [intercessor] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world”. Therefore under the first part of salvation if we can commit sin, even inadvertently, God will forgive us through Christ. (Note correctly the true fact He has already forgiven us for all the sins we have committed and will commit in the future if we remain with Christ and continual repentance is not required for forgiveness. Better we recognize that the act was done once and for all and receive it once and for all).

However, there is a second part of salvation which goes beyond this initial salvation experience. Christ also removed the sin from us permanently so that we become incapable of sinning. Christ’s purpose was described in John 1:28-29, speaking of a statement made by John the Baptist: “These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John [the Baptist] was baptizing. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”! Jesus not only died to forgive our sins; He died to completely remove the sin from us. All of the sin of the world was actually laid upon (transferred to) Christ on the cross. Thus sin was totally removed from the world by that one act. As Isaiah says (53:6): All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Thus Christ not only forgave our sin, he removed it completely from us giving us, giving us the opportunity to have a nature which is utterly incapable of sin.

In order to fully understand the two step process of forgiveness and removal of sin we must look to the Old Testament as an example. On the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16) two goats were brought before the High Priest. The first goat was slain/sacrificed for the defilement of the temple by Israel. This represents the first part of Christ’s sacrifice for us. The first goat was slain and sacrificed as forgiveness for the sins of Israel. That was the first step.

The second goat remained alive. It was brought before the Lord where the priest became the vehicle of God to transfer all of the sin of Israel for the previous year to that goat. This was an actual occurrence. The actual sin of the people was taken by the priest and transferred to this second goat. The goat was then led outside the camp and disposed of in some way. This is a type and shadow of what Christ did on the cross. While on the cross God (the Father) transferred all of the sins of mankind onto Christ. By the actual sin being transferred onto Christ it was in reality removed from mankind. Once and for all. If sin is removed we are no longer capable of committing it.

However, in our current existence, we ask why if the sin was removed does sin continue to torment us as if it were still here. The answer has to do with the ruler of this world called Satan. Satan is also aware of the principle of transference God used to transfer mankind’s sin to Christ. When the sin of the world was removed, Satan was not removed. He was condemned. Although he was defeated on the cross he remained on the earth and retained all the evil and sin which had been transferred to Christ. Knowing that His time for his inevitable destruction was near, he set about to delay this from occurring. He did this by trying to transfer his own sin, condemnation and evil back to man and try to convince man he was still sinful. This is perhaps his most successful scheme in delaying the manifestation of the Kingdom of God. If man, although already made sinless by Christ, accepts Satan’s evil as his own, he is identifying and bonding with the devil and is at risk of experiencing Satan’s own eternal condemnation. Therefore mankind must realize that they have been made totally clean and sinless by Christ and realize that thinking we are still sinful beings, or have sin, is a lie of the enemy accomplished by the transference principle. The sin we think we still have is not actually us but is a lie of the enemy.

The Apostle Paul realized this and expressed it in the Book of Romans. Paul states: “For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold  into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me”. Romans 7:14-20.

To break down what Paul is saying is that in his own fleshy nature he is unable to do the Law (the commandments of God) or please God. He knows the law is spiritual since Christ said He did not come to abrogate the Law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-18). So Paul finds this duality in himself in that he desires to be righteous but still finds himself constantly warring within himself between the two natures. However he finally realizes that the sin that he struggles with on a daily basis is not his own sin he but comes from an exterior source and is not his own.

Paul goes on to say: “I find then the principle [law] that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh  the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25). Paul ultimately sees that the sin with which he struggles is not his own sin but sin which has been transferred to him from the outside, from the accuser, and does not belong to him at all.

Knowing this, the spiritual man walks with God in the spirit. Romans 8:1-4 says: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. All of the condemnation now belongs to Satan, not to those who are in Christ. “For the law of the Spirit of life in  Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do,  weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit”.

Hebrews bears this out. “Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living [spiritual] way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us  draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; (Hebrews 10:19-23). Our very conscience is defiled by our acceptance of sin that does not belong to us. The new and living way is the spiritual way.

Paul said: “For those who are [live] according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are  in the flesh cannot please God”. (Romans 8:5-8) If we accept the sin which does not belong to us and live in it, and think according to its dictates, we will perish because the “wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Paul continues: “ However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are  putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:9-13).

The Sons of God, the citizens of the Kingdom, walk with God in the Spirit and are led by that same spirit. “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). God is a spirit and the only way we can know Him is by relating to Him where He lives, in the spirit.

The Gospel of John says: “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24). We cannot know Him through our minds or even through our souls. We can only know Him in the spirit. Citizens of the Kingdom are born of this spirit and relate to God from being born again in the spirit. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again [born from above] he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3).

Christians today use the phrase “born again” to represent simple salvation. However one is not necessarily “born again” simply by receiving Christ in initial salvation. There are many Christians who are saved but have not experienced being completely born again spiritually. John goes on: “Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?”  Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [symbolic of the Word of God] and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again [from above].’ “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:4-8).

Many say this talk about being spiritual is just so much nonsense. Paul had an answer for them. “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural [unspiritual] man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.  But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one”. (2 Corinthians 2:12-15). The foolish man dismisses the things of the spirit because he does not understand them or in other words he does not have a revelation of them from God.

“For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” ( 1 Corinthians 1:18-21). Those who are citizens of the Kingdom are reborn into a world of Spirit where Christ now sits at the right hand of the Father forever. It is there that we of the Kingdom join Him as the Kingdom is manifested on the earth just as it is in heaven.

In conclusion, no amount of good works or attempts to be righteous in ourselves produces Christ’s goal of a Spiritual kingdom on this earth. The Kingdom of God is not from earth. It does not spring up from the ashes of futility. It is an entirely new world-a new country-a new government. It represents the convergence of the realms of the spiritual and the physical just as Christ was the kingdom of God appearing in flesh in this world. Christ will come, and bring the martyred Saints with Him, but He will come to a world where His other Sons have prepared a place for Him. It is those who remain who will manifest the defeat of Satan and make him a footstool for the feet of the Lord when He comes. Then we will all rule and reign with Him. As Sons of God and citizens of the Kingdom it is our job to create this spiritual Kingdom on the earth. Then, in the earth, all will know Him from the least to the greatest (Isaiah 11:9).

 

OTHER PREDICTIONS:  THE END OF THE WORLD

Nostradamus, Mayan 2012, American Indians, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhism, Computers, Visionaries, Timewave, Christian

There are an ever increasing number of theories circulating through literature, media and the internet about the end of the world. Since this book attempts to address this subject, it would be good to examine some of them and consider them in comparison to the Bible, which is the main literary source used here. Nearly all of these theories as to the time and nature of the end of the world come from sources that could be collectively defined as divination, astrology, witchcraft, alchemy, computer programs, visionary, the stars or some other non-mainline science. Many originate from cultures of monotheism, pagan or other such religions. Many can be classified as pure speculation. Before we embark on a brief consideration of these “predictions” let us examine what the Bible has to say about sources which do not originate from Biblical sources.

Before we begin we will note what the Bible, the most used and considered reliable source for prophecies and predictions, has to say about extra Biblical sources used order to gain insight into future events. When the Israelites entered the Promised Land they conquered and then were surrounded by nations that were polytheistic (worshipped many gods) and used divination, witchcraft, astrology and the like to predict the future. The Lord forbade the Israelites to use these methods of future determination for several reasons. The truth is that the many gods served by the pagan nations were real. The bulk of them were referred to as elemental spirits. They were spirits of evil who ruled certain areas of everyday life important to the societies such as crops, fertility, pleasure, war and continuity of the culture. Pleasing these pagan gods were important to those nations as these so called “deities” did have a certain amount of authority over the realms they ruled. The Apostle Paul describes this network of spirits, which were the spirits opposed to the true God, and were bent on destruction of the one true monotheistic order God was setting up in His people. He said: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). So these forces existed and were and are very real enemies of God and His Kingdom.

When Satan fell from heaven he brought with him multitudes of spirits which he then set up in a satanic hierarchy on the earth to oppose anything God was attempting to bring forth in the earth. Revelation says: “Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven [angels] and threw them to the earth” (Rev. 12:3). It was these demon spirits, and their networks, which has plagued mankind throughout history. The sources of divination, witchcraft, sorcery, astrology etc. were these demon spirits which had fallen to earth with Satan. That is why God was so vehemently opposed to the worship of or consulting of these spirits as, since they had been separated from God, they no longer knew the truth and could do nothing with their input but deceive and mislead.

That is why God forbad the Israelites from using, worshipping or consulting these sources. As He said: “When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations [the nations the Israelites disposed]. “There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. “For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you…“For those nations, which you shall dispossess, listen to those who  practice witchcraft and to diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so. “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Dt 18:9-15). Prohibitions against such practices are noted in at least 50 occasions in the Bible.

God wanted His people to use Him as their only source of insight or information. In His view, sources other than Him directly, were or could, be inaccurate or portray what may be true on one level but be presented with a wrong emphasis. As an example, most apocalyptic theories are presented in a negative light, promulgating more fear than faith. You may say that God’s own apocalyptic book “Revelation” is a book that could be considered as engendering fear in the reader. However, if the Book is read carefully, using the Spirit of God as a guide, the Book actually presents a positive picture of the vanquishing of evil from the earth and ushering in a new age of the Kingdom of God.

As should be obvious, this book advocates the beginning of a spiritual Kingdom on the earth, just as it is already in Heaven where God dwells. The spiritual realm is an entirely different place than what we see now on the earth. None of the sources we will present here acknowledge the emergence of a spiritual Kingdom. They all deal with the earth itself and predictions of doom and gloom. Christ said that when you see all these things (doom, gloom and tribulation) coming to pass on the earth the believer with insight is to “look up” and realize that the believer’s salvation is at hand. This book is written for believers or those who wish to be instructed on this viewpoint. For the wicked and unbelieving what is going to come upon the world will be doom, gloom and disaster. Already we are seeing indications in the earth of negative repercussions in the economies of the world, wars, starvation and famine, evil forces bent on death and destruction (terrorists), disasters of nature and a general confusion among the nations and their rulers as they face seemingly unsolvable problems. These conditions will continue to disintegrate.

The door is open for all peoples to learn the truth and to participate in it in order to avoid the ultimate negative consequences which mankind has largely brought upon itself. Despite what doomsday seers are predicting there is a solution to what we have gotten ourselves into. There really is a God who is concerned for our welfare and our well being. The spiritual realm is very real and one day (soon) it will dominate. Recently a renowned scientist (Stephen Hawking) has come forth with a proposition that science has finally proved the non existence of God. If you believe that then, for you, there is no God and separation from God is what hell is all about. If anything else, this book urges you to strengthen you faith in the real God, who exists just beyond your human understanding, and to rely on Him as these difficulties take place.

The Apostle Paul said: “But natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one” (1 Corinthians 2:14-15). And: “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God” (1 Corinthians 3:19). We see, and will see more, that the wisdom of man will never solve mankind’s problems. And the purported wisdom of man includes the realm of the occult which is not a spiritual realm but a realm of the psychic, a realm lower than the true spirit.

 

NOSTRADAMUS

The most famous doomsday prophet is Nostradamus. He is best known for his book Les Propheties in which are 10 sections (called Centuries) each containing 100 prophecies (quatrains). Many claim that these cryptic references explain either events which occurred in the past or are pointing to future events. Many of his prophecies deal with disaster such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods and the coming of three antichrists. The science of unraveling his prophecies is a life’s work for some scholars and an in depth study of the meanings of all his cryptic sayings is far beyond the scope of this book. Suffice it to say his “prophecies” do not paint a pretty picture and indicate a predestination to destruction of the earth without the corresponding hope that the destruction will bring forth a new age and order. Nostradamus was primarily an astrologer (see below) but he used other occult pseudo-sciences to arrive at his predictions including divination, remote viewing, alchemy and witchcraft.

Most interpreters of his work do so in an “after the fact” matter, believing Nostradamus has prophesied something after it has happened. None has attempted specific interpretation of specific events before they occur. For instance, after the 9-11 event, there was a torrent of public response that the “prophet” had predicted the event. No one came forth on 9-10 and said that the event was going to happen, so that it could have been prevented. The same is true of his so called prophecies regarding Napoleon, Hitler, the world wars, assassinations of politicians etc. The point is that his prophecies are so vague that they can mean anything, especially when applied to events which have already occurred. Some examples of his future and past predictions, and how they have been explained by some, are as follows:

FUTURE:

The sloping park, great calamity,
Through “the Lands of the West and Lombardy
The fire in the ship, plague and captivity;
Mercury in Sagitarius, Saturn fading

(Los Angeles earthquake)

The year 1999 seven month,
From the sky will come a great King of terror:
To bring back to life the great King of Angolmois, (the Mongols),
Before after Mars to reign by good luck

(9/11 and terrorists)

One who the infernal gods of Hannibal
Will cause to be reborn, terror of mankind
Never more horror nor worse of days
In the past than will come to the Romans through Babel
.

(terrorist attacks)

One year before the Italian conflict,
Germans, Gauls, Spaniards for the fort:
The republican schoolhouse will fall,
There, except for a few, they will be choked dead.

(destruction of U.S. referred to as the “Republican Schoolhouse”)

Muslims, wars, the Day of the Lord, the Harlot, the Lioness Beast
The reign of the Church from the sea shall be succumbed
Toward Iran one shall see nearly one million troops
Turkey, Egypt, evils shall invade

(WW III)

Past Predictions:

Earthshaking fire from the center of the Earth
Will cause tremors around the New City.
Two great rocks will war for a long time,
Then Arethusa will redden a new river.
(this has been interpreted to mean the 9/11 disaster)

The two greatest ones of Asia and of Africa,
From the Rhine and Lower Danube they will be said to have come,
Cries, tears at Malta and the Ligurian side.

Also:

From the depths of the West of Europe,
A young child will be born of poor people,
He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop;
His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.

(Hitler and WW III)

Near the gates and within two cities
There will be scourges the like of which was never seen,
Famine within plague, people put out by steel,
Crying to the great immortal 
God for relief.

(the Atomic bomb)

The great man will be struck down in the day by a thunderbolt,
An evil deed foretold by the bearer of a petition.
According to the prediction, another falls at night time.
Conflict at Reims, London and a pestilence in Tuscany.

(assassination of Kennedys)

The cities of Tours, Orleans, Blois, Angers, Reims and Nantes
Are troubled by 
sudden change.
Tents will be pitched by (people) of foreign tongues;
Rivers, darts at Rennes, shaking of land and sea.

(Katrina)

The penultimate of the surname of Prophet
Will take Diana [Thursday] for his day and rest:
He will wander because of a frantic head,
And delivering a great people from subjection.
(death of Princess Diana)

"From the enslaved populace, songs, 
Chants and demands
While princes and lords are held captive in prisons.
These will in the future by headless idiots
Be received as divine prayers"

(the French Revolution)

Beasts ferocious from hunger will swim across rivers:

The greater part of the region will be against the Hister,

The great one will cause it to be dragged in an iron cage,

When the German child will observe nothing.

(Hitler)

From the very depths of the West of Europe,

A young child will be born of poor people,

He who by his tongue will seduce a great troop:

His fame will increase towards the realm of the East.

(again Hitler)

Through the Suevi and neighboring places,

They will be at war over the clouds:

Swarm of marine locusts and gnats,

The faults of Geneva will be laid quite bare.

(D-Day)

As shown above many read into his “prophecies” predictions of world events that have caught the public’s attention such as Napoleon, Hitler (both called antichrists), Mabus (the 3rd antichrist), the assassinations of the Kennedy brothers, 9/11, war in the middle east, and just about any well publicized world event. However what may catch our attention as important may not be as important to God as Isaiah said in v. 40:7: “All the nations are as nothing before Him, They are regarded by Him as less than nothing and meaningless”.

Unfortunately his future predictions are as vague as the remainder of his prophecies and are read many ways by many people. One striking failure of his future predictions was the predicted assassination of George Bush, who was also named as the 3rd antichrist.

Mabus then will soon die, there will come
Of people and beasts a horrible rout:
Then suddenly one will see vengeance,
Hundred, hand, thirst, hunger when the comet will run.

(Some scholars of Nostradamus interpret Mabus to mean George Bush as the antichrist and assassinated in office)

Nostradamus was primarily an astrologer, as he emphasized in the preface to his book Les Propheties: “Events of human origin are uncertain, but all is regulated and governed by the incalculable power of God, inspiring us not through drunken fury, nor by frantic movement, but through the influences of the stars. Only those divinely inspired can predict particular things in a prophetic spirit… However, now or in the future there may be persons to whom God the Creator, through fanciful impressions, wishes to reveal some secrets of the future, integrated with judicial astrology, in much the same manner that in the past a certain power and voluntary faculty came over them like a flame, causing them to judge human and divine inspirations alike. For of the divine works, those which are absolute God completes; those which are medial, the angels; and the third kind, the evil spirits… However, judicial astrology is exempted from this judgment. For it is by this, together with divine inspiration and revelation, and continual nightly watches and calculations, that we have reduced our prophecies to writing”. He is essentially saying that only the very enlightened (himself) can use astrology as a predictor of events as he is well aware of God’s prohibition of the use of astrology. The year 2012 is not found in any of his quatrains and his predictions end in the year 3797. There are many who practice astrology today and come up with some outlandish predictions, most of which do not come true. While there may be some truth in astrology most predictions are similar to those of Nostradamus i.e. vague and uncertain and capable of many interpretations.

The Bible says this about astrologers: “You are wearied with your many counsels; Let now the astrologers, Those who prophesy by the stars, Those who predict by the new moons, Stand up and save you from what will come upon you” (Isaiah 47:12-13). In other words astrologers like Nostradamus cannot predict a specific future so that some action could be taken to prevent the disaster. This is exactly how Nostradamus operated. He predicts doom and gloom but offers no real solutions as God does. “Then the magicians, the conjurers, the Chaldeans [who were master astrologers] and the diviners came in and I related the dream to them, but they could not make its interpretation known to me” (Daniel 4:7). Astrology may be some method of predicting events but if the result of consulting the stars results in “prophecies” as vague as those put forward by Nostradamus, then the pseudoscience can’t have much value as an accurate or reliable indicator of events.

 

MAYAN 2012

The end of days or apocalypse is predicted to occur in the year 2012, the end of the Mayan long count calendar. The Mayans were a civilization which flourished in Central America and Mexico from 250-900 C.E. They are attributed to have had great scientific knowledge, including mathematics and astronomy/astrology. They were a polytheistic society worshipping many gods and even practicing human sacrifice at times. Their society ended suddenly, probably due to overuse of natural resources which left them vulnerable to climate change, drought, disease and/or famine. Because the Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012 many are predicting that the world will end on that day. No other source predicts this day as the as “the end”. The prevailing theory is that according to Mayan culture that date relates to the end of one cycle of humanity and the beginning of another. Prognosticators theorize that the end of the Mayan cycle must mean the end of the world as we know it and thus the harbinger of great catastrophic events, such as those described in most doomsday scenarios.

The Mayan civilization has a history of "world ages". According to Mayan history, we are living in the fourth world. Supposedly the gods first created three failed worlds, followed by a successful fourth world in which humanity was placed. In the Maya Long Count calendar, the previous world ended roughly 5,125 years ago. The Long Count's "zero date" was set at a point in the past marking the end of the third world and the beginning of the current one to correspond to 11 August 3114 BC in the Gregorian calendarThis means that the fourth world will also have reached the end of the Mayan date 13.0.0.0.0, on December 21, 2012. In 1957, Mayanist and astronomer Maud Worcester Makemson wrote that "the completion of a Great Period would have been of the utmost significance to the Maya".

There is an astronomical phenomenon which does take place somewhere near 2012 although some say the date was 1999. Around that time the earth and Sun line up with the center of the Milky Way Galaxy, thought to be a massive black hole. This alignment happens every 25,800 years. For astrologers this is a significant event they equate with disasters of all kinds including the shifting of the earth’s poles, earthquakes, super volcanoes like Yellowstone, large solar flares and all other matter of disruption. The problem with pinning this date to those disasters alone is that this event has been waxing for hundreds of years and we have already felt its effects, if there were any. In astrological events the effects of an aspect, such as the conjunction we have here, would be felt long before the exact day which means we have been in the “orb” of this event for centuries.

In 1966, Michael D. Coe wrote in The Maya that "there is a suggestion ... that Armageddon would overtake the degenerate peoples of the world and all creation on the final day of the calendar. Thus ... our present universe [would] be annihilated in December 2012 when the Great Cycle of the Long Count reaches completion." However, "There is nothing in the Maya or Aztec or ancient Mesoamerican prophecy to suggest that they prophesied a sudden or major change of any sort in 2012," said Mayanist scholar Mark Van Stone. "The notion of a "Great Cycle" coming to an end is completely a modern invention.”

 In 1990, Mayanist scholars Linda Schele and David Freidel argued that the Maya "did not conceive this to be the end of creation, as many have suggested."  Susan Milbrath, curator of Latin American Art and Archaeology at the Florida Museum of Natural History, stated that "We have no record or knowledge that the Maya would think the “world would come to an end" in 2012. For the ancient Maya, it was a huge celebration to make it to the end of a whole cycle," said Sandra Noble, executive director of the Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies said “The 2012 phenomenon is a complete fabrication and a chance for a lot of people to cash in." "There will be another cycle," said E. Wyllys Andrews V, director of the Tulane University Middle American Research Institute. "We know the Maya thought there was one before this, and that implies they were comfortable with the idea of another one after this." (Wikipedia.org, 2012 phenomenon).

One must immediately become suspicious of any theory which espouses an exact time for the “end of days” simply because the Bible says, when speaking of the day and hour when the end time events would take place: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:36). Also: “But he answered, Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (Mt 25:1-13). Further: “Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2).

Humanity and Christianity itself, it seems, is always looking for the day and the hour, despite what the Bible says. 46 failed end-of-the-world predictions were to have occurred between 30 & 1920 CE, but didn't (religioustolerance.org). Most recently a date of May 16, 2011 passed without event. Jesus accused the people of His time of always looking for a sign. He said:  “The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ “And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’  Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times? “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah.” And He left them and went away” (Matthew 16:1-4).

Jesus said: “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. “For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. “Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. “Two women will be grinding at the  mill; one will be taken and one will be left. “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:37-42). Contrary to the rapture theory, Noah and his family were “left behind” and the rest were taken away in judgment.

 

HOPI INDIANS

The Hopi Indian tribe chimes in with prophecies of the end of their 4th world and the beginning of the fifth. The Hopi first world was destroyed by huge amounts of volcanism, which has happened in various forms many times in the geological past. The Hopi second world ended as a result of a pole shift when the Earth was covered with ice and at least one deep freeze has occurred in the past with glacial moraine deposits found in Namibia, which was on the equator at the time. The Hopi third world was destroyed by flooding, which is consistent with other civilizations’ stories such as Judaism, Christianity, Sumeria (Gilgamish): i.e. the Great Flood of Noah. The Hopi and others who were saved from the Great Flood made a sacred covenant with the Great Spirit never to turn away from him. He made a set of sacred stone tablets, called Tiponi, into which he breathed his teachings, prophecies, and warnings.

The Hopi fourth world is the world we live in and the Hopi Indians predict that our world will be destroyed by fire. The Hopi Indian prophesy talks about a gourd full of ashes being invented, that if dropped from the sky can burn the land and decimate life as we know it. The final stage of the Hopi Indian prophesy of the fourth world is called the Great Purification. There is also mention of some things to note at the time immediately preceding this Great Purification, including metal roads and iron horses, metal ropes hanging in the air, return of pieces of the Moon to Earth unleashing disaster on human kind, as well as cobwebs spun back and forth in the sky through which people will walk (interpreted by some to mean the internet).

An ancient Hopi Indian prophecy states, "When the Blue Star Kachina makes its appearance in the heavens, the Fifth World will emerge". This will be the Day of Purification. The Hopi name for the star Sirius (which is a real star) is the Blue Star Kachina. It will come when the Saquasohuh (Blue Star) Kachina (Hopi doll) dances in the plaza and removes his mask. World War III will be started by those peoples who first revealed the light (the divine wisdom or intelligence) in the other old countries (India, China, Islamic Nations, Africa.)

They also assert that the The United States will be destroyed, land and people, by atomic bombs and radioactivity. Only the Hopis and their homeland will be preserved as an oasis to which refugees will flee. "It is only materialistic people who seek to make shelters. Those who are at peace in their hearts already are in the great shelter of life. There is no shelter for evil. Those who take no part in the making of world division by ideology are ready to resume life in another world, be they Black, White, Red, or Yellow race. They are all one, brothers." The war will be "a spiritual conflict with material matters”. Material matters will be destroyed by spiritual beings who will remain to create one world and one nation under one power, that of the Creator."

In general, many of the American Indian prophesies, including the Hopi Indian prophesies tend to play to American Indian culture and way of life, in that the Hopis lived off and in harmony with the land, something which the Western so called “civilized” world has forgotten as we make a bit of a mess of it. There are no specific times mentioned for the occurrence of this transition into the 5th world but the prophecies indicate it will be soon. The prophecies do seem to indicate it will be the Indians and other indigenous peoples who will be spared and enter into the 5th world. The prophecies may be a spillover of the Native American’s hatred of the white man who destroyed their way of life and they may see the end-time events to be payback to them.

 

SIBYLLINE PROPHECIES & ANCIENT ORACLES

Another source of end-time prophecies comes from a Roman period (200 B.C.E. to 200 A.D. (C.E.). They were the prophecies of an oracle named Cybil and are known as the “Sibylline Prophecies”. They were highly regarded by the Romans as a premier religious book, housed in the temple of Jupiter. Supposedly the oracle went into a trance and wrote her prophecies on oak leaves which often were scattered by the wind, and not reassembled, rendering them chaotic and sometimes rambling. The original writings have been lost to history but attempts have been made to reassemble them and they appear in pseudo Jewish writings and can be found in pseudepigraphical literature collections (being books written by an unknown author under another’s name). A collection can be found in “The Old Testament Pseudepigraphia” Volume 1, Ed. By James H. Charlesworth, pages 317-472. She divided the history of the world into 10 periods of 800 years each, with the 10th period being the last. The 10th period corresponds to about 2000 C.E.

In Book 4, pertaining to the 10th period, she writes: “Fire shall come flashing forth in the broad heaven, And many cities burn and men destroy, And much black ashes shall fill the great sky, And small drops like red earth shall fall from heaven, Then know the anger of the God of heaven”. Some considered Sibylline prophecies to be reliable since she supposedly predicted Hannibal and his failed attempt to conquer Rome before it happened. She also predicted the Roman emperor Constantine by name hundreds of years before he appeared. Her most influential prophecy was of the birth of a child who would bring on a new age in the world. Christians interpreted this to mean Jesus and thus legitimized her prophecies where they were concerned. Her prophecies include such things as a tour of the seven heavens, prophecies of destruction such as are found in the Book of Revelation, angelic events and names of angels and other religious based stories and prophecies. She predicts the end of the world and a coming New Age but attaches no dates to her writings.

There was also the famous oracle at Delphi in Greece where prophecies were made by priestesses to whom the God Apollo spoke directly. She also spoke from a trance in mostly vague statements which could be interpreted many ways. Most of her prophecies were in reply to direct questions and pertained to that current time period (see list of oracular statements from Delphi, Wikipedia.org, for some of her most famous prophecies). The oracle, which was not one woman but many, is not generally known to have commented on the end of the world.

There are other rather unique oracles that appeared during the Middle Ages, notably Merlin (Myrddin) and Mother Shipton. Merlin (not the wizard Merlin of Arthurian fame) was a person or several persons who, known as “mad prophet of the woods”, prophesied end time events. Very little is known of the man (or men with this title) as the most definitive work on his life and sayings (poems) was written by the author of the “King Arthur” Sagas, Geoffrey of Monmouth. He supposedly developed the wizard in the King Arthur tales from this prophet who actually lived in Wales in about the 6th century C.E. Myrddin’s works, translated by Monmouth, are a long, unorganized, epic poem where he touches on the destruction of the world in some verses. With the principle translator being the inventor of Merlin the wizard in the Arthurian books it is difficult to separate fact from fiction and Myrddin’s works, if any, are lost to time.

As to Mother Shipton she reputedly was born Ursula Sontheil in 1488 in Norfolk, England, and died in 1561. She exhibited prophetic and psychic abilities from an early age. At 24 married to Toby Shipton, she eventually became known as Mother Shipton. Many of her visions came true within her own lifetime and in subsequent centuries. Her verses seem to have prophetic indications for our times, but, of course, are open to interpretation. As with others they convey doom and gloom and fear to the readers. Some of her prophecies were published by writer Richard Head in his work “The life and death of Mother Shiptonin 1677. Most of what he published were prophecies of events which had already occurred, post event predictions. As a sampling of her “prophecies” consider the following:

In nineteen hundred and twenty-six
build houses light of straw and sticks.
For then shall mighty wars be planned
and fire and swords shall sweep the land.

When pictures seem alive with movements free,
when boats like fishes swim beneath the sea.
When men like birds shall scour the sky.
Then half the world, deep drenched in blood shall die.

For storms will rage and oceans roar
when Gabriel stands on sea and shore,
and as he blows his wondrous horn
old worlds die and new be born.


A fiery dragon will cross the sky
six times before the earth shall die.
Mankind will tremble and frightened be
for the six heralds in this prophecy.

For seven days and seven nights
man will watch this awesome sight.
The tides will rise beyond their ken.
To bite away the shores and then
the mountains will begin to roar
and earthquakes split the plain to shore.

And flooding waters rushing in,
will flood the lands with such a din
that mankind cowers in muddy fen
and snarls about his fellow men.

He bares his teeth and fights and kills
and secrets food in secret hill
and ugly in his fear, he lies
to kill marauders, thieves and spies.

Man flees in terror from the floods
and kills, and rapes and lies in blood
and spilling blood by mankind's hand
will stain and bitter many lands.

And when the dragon's tail is gone
man forgets and smiles and carries on.
To apply himself - too late, too late
for mankind has earned deserved fate.

His masked smile, his false grandeur,
will serve the gods their anger stir
and they will send the dragon back
to light the sky - his tail will crack.
Upon the earth and rend the earth
and man shall flee, king, lord and serf.

But slowly they are routed out
to seek diminishing water spout
and men will die of thirst before
the oceans rise to mount to the shore.
And lands will crack and rend anew
do you think it strange, it will come true.

And in some far - off distant land
some men - oh such a tiny band
will have to leave their solid mount
and span the earth, those few to count.

Who survives this (unreadable) and then
begin the human race again.
But not on land already there,
but on ocean beds, stark, dry and bare.

Not every soul on earth will die,
as the dragon's tail goes sweeping by,
not every land on earth will sink,
but these will wallow in stench and stink,
of rotting bodies of beast and man,
of vegetation crisped on land.

But the land that rises from the sea
will be dry and clean and soft and free.
Of mankind’s dirt and therefore be,
the source of man's new dynasty.
and those that live will ever fear
the dragon's tail for many year
but time erases memory
You think it strange. but it will be.

And before the race is built anew,
a silver serpent comes to view
and spew out men of like unknown
to mingle with the earth now grown
cold from its heat and these men can
enlighten the minds of future man
to intermingle and show them how
to live and love and thus endow.
the children with the second sight.
a natural thing so that they might
grow graceful, humble and when they do
the golden age will start anew.

The dragon's tail is but a sign
for mankind's fall and man's decline.
and before this prophecy is done
I shall be burned at the stake, at l
My body cinged and my soul set free
You think I utter blasphemy
your wrong. These things have come to me
this prophecy will come to be.

It is interesting that her prophecies coincide with certain passages in the Bible as to the utter destruction of wicked man. She relies on the serpent’s tail which belongs to Satan (Revelation 12:3-4). She also prophecies of a new day but with gloomy implications. However, as with other so called seers, her predictions deal with “doom and gloom” with little hope for the future except a “few survivors”.

 

ICHING AND TIMEWAVE THEORY

Iching or “Book of Changes” is an ancient Chinese fortune telling method where three coins are Tossed and the heads or tails results are recorded. The text of the I Ching is a set of oracular statements represented by 64 sets of six lines each called hexagrams ( guà). Each hexagram is a figure composed of six stacked horizontal lines ( yáo), each line is either Yang (an unbroken, or solid line), or Yin (broken, an open line with a gap in the

center). With six such lines stacked from bottom to top there are 64 possible combinations, and thus 64 hexagrams represented in the Book. The “Book of Changes” contains separate interpretations for each of the 64 variations. Traditional “iching” is not known to have commented on the end of the world but was more of a fortune telling device.

However an author, Terence McKenna, used the Book of Changes (the 64 possible results from the throwing of the coins) to develop what he called “Timewave zero", a mathematical formula that purports to calculate the ebb and flow of "novelty". This is defined as increase over time in the universe's interconnectedness, or organized complexity. According to McKenna the universe has a teleological attractor at the end of time that increases interconnectedness, eventually reaching a singularity of infinite complexity in 2012, at which point anything and everything imaginable will occur simultaneously. He conceived this idea over several years in the early to mid-1970s while using psilocybin mushrooms and DMT a psychedelic drug from the jungles of Columbia.

McKenna expressed "novelty" in a computer program which purportedly produces a waveform known as "timewave zero" or the "timewave". Based on McKenna's interpretation of the I Ching,

the graph appears to show great periods of novelty corresponding with major shifts in humanity's biological and sociocultural evolution. He believed that the events of any given time are recursively related to the events of other times, and chose the atomic bombing of Hiroshima as the starting point for his basis for calculating an end date of November 2012. When he later discovered this date's proximity to the predictions of the Maya calendar, he revised his hypothesis so that the two dates matched.

The first edition of his book The Invisible Landscape refers to 2012 (but no specific day during the year) only twice. It was only in 1983, with the publication of Sharer's revised table of date correlations in the 4th edition of Morley's The Ancient Maya, that each became convinced that December 21, 2012 had significant meaning. McKenna subsequently included this specific date throughout the second edition of The Invisible Landscape, published in 1993.

 

BUDDHIST ESCHATOLOGY

Besides the prophecies of the foregoing peoples and nations each important world religion has eschalogical (end-time) doctrines. Buddhist eschatology, as subscribed by some Buddhist schools, derives from purported Gautama Buddha's prediction that his teachings would disappear after 5,000 years. According to the Sutta Pitaka, the "ten moral courses of conduct" will disappear and people will follow the ten amoral concepts of theft, violence, murder, lying, evil speaking, adultery, abusive and idle talk, covetousness and ill will, wanton greed, and perverted lust resulting in skyrocketing poverty and the end of the worldly laws of true dharma. During the final stage, the memory of the Buddha himself would be forgotten, and the last of his relics would be gathered together and cremated. Some time following this development a new  Buddha named Maitreya will arise to renew the teachings of Buddhism and rediscover the path to Nirvana. Maitreya is believed to currently reside in the Tuṣita heaven, where he is awaiting his final rebirth in the world. Remember the Buddhist religion does not believe in a supreme being, only that man must strive within himself to reach the coveted state of Nirvana. Reincarnation is central to their beliefs.

We are reminded here of the Apostle John’s definition of the antichrist which will apply to many religions: “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world” (1 John 4:2-3). Few religions believe that Jesus Christ came as the Son of God, actually none except Christianity.

ISLAM

Islam is concerned with the al-Qiyāmah or "Last Judgement". Their eschatology relates to one of the six or seven articles of faith (aqīdah) of Islam, according to the Sunni traditions. Like the other Abrahamic religions,(Christianity, Judiasm) Islam teaches the bodily resurrection of the dead, the fulfillment of a divine plan for creation, and the judgment of the soul; the righteous are rewarded with the pleasures of Jannah"Heaven" while the unrighteous are punished in Jahannam "Hell". A significant portion (about one third) of the Qur'an deals with these beliefs, with many portions elaborating on the themes and details. It also emphasizes the inevitability of resurrection, judgment, and the eternal division of the righteous and the wicked. Islamic apocalyptic literature describing the Armageddon is often known asfitna "a test" or malahim (or ghayba to the Shī‘a).

Islam does not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. According to Islamic view, Isa (Jesus) son of Mary, was a prophet and messenger of God. It is believed that Jesus was not crucified; instead he was raised bodily like Mohammed. According to many he will return to Earth at the time appointed by God. Jesus will physically return to this world and aid the Mahdi, the Islamic equivalent of Jesus. According to some sects of Shia Islam, the Mahdi also descends. He will break the cross, kill the swine, slaughter the Dajjal and end all wars, ushering in an era of peace. The messianic era comes after Jesus kills ad-Dajjal, the false messiah antichrist figure in Islam, and defeats his followers.

A fundamental tenet of Islam is belief in the day of resurrection, Qiyamah. The trials and tribulations of Qiyamah are explained in both the Qur'an and the Hadith, as well as in the commentaries of Islamic scholars such as al-GhazaliIbn Kathir, and Muhammad al-Bukhari.

Muslims believe that God will hold every human, Muslim and non-Muslim, accountable for his or her deeds at a preordained time unknown to man. The archangel Israfil will sound a horn sending out a "blast of truth". Traditions say Muhammad will be the first to be brought back to life. Muslims also believe in "the punishment of the grave," which supposedly takes place between death and the resurrection. The punishments in hell includes adhab, "pain or torment inflicted by way of chastisement; punishment", a very painful punishment including "shame, disgrace, ignominy" The descriptions in the Qur'an of hell are very descriptive (see [Qur'an 4:56], [Qur'an 47:15] etc.). The punishments in the Qur'an are contrasted not with release but with mercy ([Qur'an 29:21], [Qur'an 2:284], [Qur'an 3:129], etc.). Islam views paradise as a place of joy and bliss.

Islam differs significantly from Christianity in that Abraham’s child of promise in Islam is Ishmael, born of the Hagar, the Egyptian servant of Abraham’s wife Sarah. The Christian’s believe the child of promise was Isaac, born of Abraham’s wife Sarah in her old age. Islam holds that Abraham took Ishmael to Mecca and founded that Holy site (not in the Jewish/Christian Bible). This is significant in that Jews/Christians trace the ancestral line from Isaac to Jacob to King David and eventually to Christ. The line of Ishmael goes in a completely different direction and does not involve David or Christ. Islam became a conquering race as indicated by God’s prophecy in the Bible to Ishmael’s mother Hagar: “The angel of the Lord said to her [Hagar] further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, [God hears] Because the Lord has given heed to your affliction. “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers” (Genesis 16:11-12).

The line of Ishmael can be traced to the Arabian nations which were to follow, some of which even became enemies of Joshua as he conquered the land of Canaan centuries later. Christians and Jews have been at odds with Islam for millennia. In the middle ages Muslims captured Jerusalem resulting in not fewer than five Christian crusades to remove them. To this day the “Dome of the Rock”, a Muslim mosque, sits over the site which once was Solomon’s Jewish temple. As unlikely as it seems, the current Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine originated from the days of Abraham when he banished his son Ishmael.

 

HINDU

For the Hindus there is no end of time as time goes on in different forms forever; and at the end starts over again. A Divya Yuga comprises four yuga's and lasts for 4.3 billion years (close approximation to earth's age of 4.54 billion years). One cycle of these four yugas complete the existence of the universe and the universe starts to contract backwards in time followed by a new beginning of a big bang. Yuga Dharma is a new self-realization in each yuga. KRUTHA YUGA (SATYA YUGA) lasts 1.632 billion years. (Human beings as heavenly bodies). TRETA YUGA silver age lasts 1.3 billion years. DWAPARA YUGA Bronze Age lasts 884 million years. KALI YUGA Iron Age of hypocrisy and quarrel lasts approximately 448 million years. (Lord Krishna's Avatar - KALKI). According to the Hindus we are currently at the end of one cycle but no doomsday predictions accompany this fact except that the end of a cycle is a degeneration of what came at the beginning of the cycle.

When one cycle (Divya) of yugas gets completed, the universe starts to contract to an incredible size (say the dust in a finger nail) after which a big bang is followed and that leads to formation of universe matters. In each yugas the life span of the humans gets reduced starting from a few thousand years in the krutha yuga and in the Kali yuga the human's age is about to be 20 years and the food is supposed only to be the animal meat.

 

ZOROASTRIAN 

Frashokereti (frašō.kərəti) is the Avestan language term, corresponding to Middle Persian for the Zoroastrian doctrine of a final renovation of the universe, when evil will be destroyed, and everything else will be then in perfect unity with God (Ahura Mazda). Avestan is a collection of sacred Zoroastrian writings, including the Gathas. The time of perfect unity probably means "making wonderful, excellent". The doctrinal premises of the Zoroastrian religion are (1) good will eventually prevail over evil; (2) creation was initially perfectly good, but was subsequently corrupted by evil; (3) the world will ultimately be restored to the perfection it had at the time of creation; (4) the "salvation” for the individual depends on the sum of that person's thoughts, words and deeds, and there could be no intervention, whether compassionate or capricious, by any divine being to alter this." Thus, each human bears the responsibility for the fate of his own soul, and simultaneously shares in the responsibility for the fate of the world.

The eschatological ideas are only alluded to in the surviving texts of the Avesta, and are known of in detail only from the texts of Zoroastrian tradition, in particular the 9th century C.E.  Bundahishn. The accompanying story, as it appears in the Bundahishn (GBd 30.1ff), runs as follows: At the end of the "third time" (the first being the age of creation, the second of mixture, and the third of separation), there will be a great battle between the forces of good (the yazatas) and those of evil (the daevas) in which the good will triumph. On earth, the Saoshyant will bring about a resurrection of the dead in the bodies they had before they died. This is followed by a last judgment through ordeal.

The yazataAiryaman and Atar will melt the metal in the hills and mountains, and the molten metal will then flow across the earth like a river. All mankind  – both the living and the resurrected dead – will be required to wade through that river, but for the righteous (ashavan) it will seem to be a river of warm milk, while the wicked will be burned. The river will then flow down to hell, where it will annihilate Angra Mainyu and the last vestiges of wickedness in the universe.

Zoroastrianism is a legalistic religion that is governed by immutable laws, and humans are judged by their deeds alone, with no suggestion of grace, salvation or forgiveness. This differs sharply with Christianity where every bad deed is subject to be forgiven by the act of sacrifice by Jesus Christ. Only when that provision is rejected is the person subject to a “hell”, punishment for having willfully separated himself from God’s gift of grace and forgiveness.

 

JEWISH ESCHATOLOGY

Jewish eschatology is based around the coming of a Messiah who will initiate a Kingdom on earth, in Israel, and an eternal time of peace for all Jewish peoples. To the Jew, Israel is still God’s chosen nation and all other races and nations are collectively Gentiles. Orthodox Judaism does not believe that Jesus Christ, who appeared in Israel in the 1st century C.E., was the Messiah. In fact Jewish leaders conspired to have Him crucified by the Romans. The Jewish people are therefore still waiting for the Messiah promised them in the Old Testament, in prophecy after prophecy. The Jewish messiah refers to a human leader, physically descended from the Davidic line (King David), who will rule and unite the people of Israel and will usher in the Messianic Age of global and universal peace. In sharp fundamental contrast to Christian belief, the Jewish messiah is not considered to be divine nor is he considered to be like Jesus. In Biblical times the title mashiach was awarded for somebody in a high position of nobility and greatness, literally meaning "the anointed King". This messiah title is referred to the human Jewish leader and king who will redeem Israel in the End of Days and who will usher in a messianic era of peace and prosperity for both the living and the deceased.

According to the Talmud, the Midrash, (both rabbinical interpretations of the Jewish Bible) and Kabala (mystical Judaism) works in the Zohar, the 'deadline' by which the Messiah must appear is 6000 years from the date of creation. A majority of Orthodox and Hasidic Jews believe that the Hebrew calendar dates back to the time of creation. According to the Hebrew calendar 6000 years from creation falls in the year 2009-2010 of our calendar and corresponds to the Hebrew year 5770. There is a kabbalistic tradition that maintains that the seven days of creation in Genesis 1 correspond to seven millennia of the existence of natural creation. The tradition teaches that the seventh day of the week, Shabbat, Sabbath or the day of rest, corresponds to the seventh millennium (Hebrew years 6000 - 7000), the age of universal 'rest' - the Messianic Era.

The Jews believe the following with respect to the time of the coming of their Messiah. They believe these predictions from their Bible are applicable only to them and not to humanity as a whole. Whereas Christianity contemplates a spiritual fulfillment on earth of some of these same prophecies, Judaism seems to expect only a physical manifestation.

§ The Sanhedrin (ruling Jewish priesthood) will be re-established (Isaiah 1:26)

§ Once he is King, leaders of other nations will look to him for guidance (Isaiah 2:4)

§ The whole world will worship the One God of Israel (Isaiah 2:17)

§ He will be descended from King David (Isaiah 11:1) via King Solomon (1 Chron. 22:8–10)

§ The Moshiach will be a man of this world, an observant Jew with "fear of God" (Isaiah 11:2)

§ Evil and tyranny will not be able to stand before his leadership (Isaiah 11:4)

§ Knowledge of God will fill the world (Isaiah 11:9)

§ He will include and attract people from all cultures and nations (Isaiah 11:10)

§ All Israelites will be returned to their homeland (Isaiah 11:12)

§ Death will be swallowed up forever (Isaiah 25:8)

§ There will be no more hunger or illness, and death will cease (Isaiah 25:8)

§ All of the dead will rise again (Isaiah 26:19)

§ The Jewish people will experience eternal joy and gladness (Isaiah 51:11)

§ He will be a messenger of peace (Isaiah 53:7)

§ Nations will recognize the wrongs they did Israel (Isaiah 52:13–53:5)

§ The peoples of the world will turn to the Jews for spiritual guidance (Zechariah 8:23)

§ The ruined cities of Israel will be restored (Ezekiel 16:55)

§ Weapons of war will be destroyed (Ezekiel 39:9)

§ The Temple will be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40) resuming many of the suspended mitzvot

§ He will then perfect the entire world to serve God together (Zephaniah 3:9)

§ He will take the barren land and make it abundant and fruitful (Isaiah 51:3, Amos 9:13–15, Ezekiel 36:29–30, Isaiah 11:6–9)

This view contrasts with that of Christianity in that in the Christian view the Messiah already came in the person of Jesus Christ and that the promises of God (some named above) are already spiritually available not only for the Jewish but for all who believe on Jesus Christ. By Christ’s coming, death and resurrection the Jews are relegated to equal standing with the Gentiles as to their salvation (see Paul’s Epistle to the Romans Chapters 9-11). The Jews are forgiven for rejecting Christ and can still accept Him when He appears in His Second Coming (see a detailed discussion in this book, chapter entitled “The Jews and the Temple in the New Kingdom Age”).

 

COMPUTER AND OTHER THEORIES

Other minor doomsday theories include those of  William the Conqueror, who initiated a census of his conquered land, the "Domesday Book", as it was called, and was interpreted by many of the English as being the "Book of Life" written of in Revelation. The belief was that when the book was completed, the end of the world would come.

Isaac Newton proposed that the world would not end until the year 2060, based largely on his own study and deciphering of Bible codes.

The Millerites were the followers of the teachings of William Miller who, in 1833, first shared publicly his belief in the coming Second Advent of Jesus Christ in roughly the year 1843. The ideological descendants of the Millerites are the Seventh-day Adventists, who are distinguished among Christian denominations for their emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ.

UFO religions sometimes feature an anticipated end-time in which extraterrestrial beings will bring about a radical change on Earth or lift believers to a higher plane of existence. Other more radical such groups believe that humans were “planted” by aliens eons ago and that they will return to harvest their “planting” in the end days. One such religious group's failed expectations of such an event served as the basis for the classic social psychology study When Prophecy Fails.

There was recently a 2011 end time prediction made by American Christian radio host Harold Camping stating that the Rapture and Judgment Day would take place on May 21, 2011, and that the end of the world would take place five months later on October 21, 2011. Of course there was also the Heaven’s Gate group who committed suicide in belief a star ship would carry them to Paradise.

Most recently computer programs have been created which purport to predict human events and the end-time. One of these is called “Web-Bot”. Internet bots monitor news articles, blogs, forums, and other forms of Internet chatter. Words in the lexicon are assigned numeric values for emotional quantifiers such as duration, impact, immediacy, intensity, and others. The lexicon is dynamic, and changes according to shifts in emotional tension, and how humans communicate those changes using the Internet. As of 2008, there were about 300,000 keywords in the lexicon, along with emotional context indicators which are fed into a computer-generated modelspace. They then use a technique called Asymmetric Language Trend Analysis (ALTA) developed by Clif High to generate a predictive report from a fully-populated modelspace. These predictive reports are known as ALTA or Web Bot reports. The program, which started as a stock market indicator program has morphed into a predictor of end-time events in 2011-2013 (for more see Web-Bot from Wikipedia.org. and other related websites for specific predictions). They do predict a catastrophic event will occur in 2012.

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita, a political scientist, has developed a computer program using a mathematical algorithm to predict future events. He uses mathematical components dependent on many years of research in political science and making use of “game theory” to predict long range political developments. In mathematics, game theory models strategic situations, or games, in which an individual's success in making choices depends on the choices of others (Myerson, 1991). It is used in the social sciences (most notably in economics, management, operations research, political science, and social psychology) as well as in other formal sciences (logic, computer science, and statistics) and biology (particularly evolutionary biology and ecology). Some of Mesiquita’s predictions have proved accurate and has earned him the title “The Next Nostradamus”. His predictions are variable in that they are dependent on world leaders making the right or wrong decisions. He sees the world on the brink of an all out nuclear war if certain foreign policy decisions are made or not made. Unfortunately, although his “prophecies” can have different outcomes if certain policies are followed and the correct result is often based on world leaders acting in the best interest of society rather than in the predictable self interest. Again his predictions are dire if the wrong courses (according to him) are not followed. Certainly God is left completely out of his evaluation who, arguably, has the best chance of making things turn out right. He does very astutely observe that world leaders with “wisdom” are at a premium at this time (if they exist at all) and his predictions seem predicated on the exercise of common sense (wisdom) and the ability to see repercussions of acts today on future results.
 

MAINLINE CHRISTIAN ESCHATOLOGY

Christian eschatology differs wildly from denomination to denomination. This book uses the Bible as its basis for revealing the truth about the end of the world. However, for the most part, what is expressed here in this book is not in accordance with what is expressed by most of the current Christian world. Many in the Christian world rely only on being saved and going to heaven when they die. As for an end of days scenario, Christians generally rely mainly on the Book of Revelation, Daniel and other handpicked scriptures for their end-time scenarios. . Actually the entire Bible speaks truths which speak of the progression of events which lead to an end. Jesus said to the religious leaders of his day: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is  these that testify about Me;” (John 5:39). In other words the entire Old Testament were speaking of the coming Messiah and He was the Messiah the words were speaking of but they rejected Him.

Mainline Christianity of today has turned to a doctrine called dispensationalism in its theory of how end-time events will unfold. Briefly, the prevailing theory is as follows: Christians have chosen a time which they call “the tribulation”. Tribulation is referred to in Jesus writings (Mark 13:19; Matthew 24:9; Revelation 7:14 and others) but no time frame is associated with it. The Christian tribulation is to last seven years after which Jesus will return to the earth and set up His Kingdom. Many denominations believe that preceding the seven year tribulation period that all good Christians will participate in an event called the “rapture”. In the rapture good Christians will be taken out of the earth into heaven to be protected them from the speculated horrors of the tribulation. At some time a war is fought between good and evil on the earth where Christ will return to defeat the forces of evil. The location of the war is called, in some Bibles, Armageddon (actually a place in Israel called “Har Megiddo” or Mt. Megiddo). Those “left behind” i.e. not raptured, will be on earth during the tribulation period, where they will experience unspeakable horrors as described in the Book of Revelation (chapters 6, 8, 9, 11-14, 16, 17-18). During this time most of the earth is tormented beyond measure and most of those remaining or “left behind” die, although opportunity is allowed for them to repent and be included with the “good” Christians and live in “heaven”.

The seven year tribulation period urged by dispensationalism includes the opening of the Book with Seven Seals and the release of the four horseman of the apocalypse (the conquering horse, the red horse of death, the black horse of famine and the ashen horse of plague and pestilence); the sixth seal of terror, darkness and earthquakes; then the seven trumpets will sound each of which releases all manner of evil on the earth, killing many. Then comes the release of the beasts (one from the sea one from land), the dragon and the false prophet, six bowls of wrath which release more horror and death and finally an antichrist figure who will cause the earth to worship him and who will initiate the war of Armageddon. Many believe the Jewish nation will completely reclaim their ancient land and build a temple thereon. All the while the “good” Christians are in heaven with Jesus and miss out on this tribulation period completely.
 

CHRISTIAN KINGDOM ESCHATOLOGY

This book disputes this dispensational theory of the end-time (as set forth in the chapters of this book). The reasons are explained elsewhere in this book. This book proposes the idea that the events of Revelation have for the most part already occurred (conquerors, wars, natural disasters, annihilation of millions of peoples, plagues which have destroyed as many as one-half the population of the world, and economic distress which continues today). The Book of Revelation does not mention the word “antichrist”, which is a center point for dispensational believers. This book advocates the coming of a spiritual Kingdom on earth as Jesus said in Matthew 6: 10: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven” This Book does not deny that there will or may be catastrophic events occur during the time leading up to the establishment of the Kingdom. The severity of these events is unknown as we have already seen catastrophic events in the last 2000 years of Christianity and the dark ages. In fact this author believes there will be an end of this world as we know it but prefers to focus on the positive aspects of that event which will result in a New Age beyond our comprehension. The Apostle Paul said: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). In conclusion, scriptures will be quoted here which pertain to end time events spoken by Jesus, Daniel and John of Revelation. One can read these scriptures and draw their own conclusions. Despite all the prophets, oracles, diviners, astrologers, occultists, extinct civilizations, polytheistic civilizations, religions, prognosticators, time wave theorists and computer programmers the truth is that no one knows how all of this is going to come down in the end. All we can know is to be ready spiritually.

Jesus put it this way: “As He was sitting on  the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying,Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many”. There have been no shortage of diviners, religious leaders, prognosticators and/or false prophets who have come forth and many have followed them.      

“You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes”. We have certainly seen our share of wars, famines, earth quakes and disasters over the centuries. “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs”. The birth pangs attend the beginning of a new age. “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another”. The Roman persecution of the early Christians was severe and there were many martyrs. The Roman Catholic Church took over the rulership of Rome after the fall of the Roman Empire and continued in power in Rome for the next 8 centuries. During that time millions were killed in inquisitions, those who would not accept the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.      

Jesus goes on: “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. “But the one who endures [perseveres] to the end, he will be saved. “This gospel of the kingdom (not just the gospel but the true gospel of the Kingdom of God) shall be preached in the whole  world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come…. “For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. “Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for  the sake of the elect [chosen ones] those days will be cut short. “Then if anyone says to you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ,’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe him. “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. “Behold, I have told you in advance. “So if they say to you, ‘Behold, He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or, ‘Behold, He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe them. “For just as the lightning comes [some versions say dawn] from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the  coming of the Son of Man be. “Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. “But immediately after the tribulation of those days  the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. “And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other” (Matthew 24:1-31; Mark 13).

The prophet Daniel said: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44). “I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. “A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened. “Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn [from one of the beasts] was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away” (Daniel 7:9-12).

“I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a  Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.  “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed” (Daniel 7:13-14). “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1-3).

“As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, “My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?” He said, “Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and  sealed up until the end time. “Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who  have insight will understand” (Daniel 12:8-10). Also: “The deliverers will ascend Mount Zion To judge the mountain of Esau [the disfavored son], And the  kingdom will be the Lord’s” (Obadiah 21).

Revelation, in addition to the words of destruction spoken therein, goes on to describe the Kingdom that results from the tribulation: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev 21:1-4).

The righteous with insight have little to fear from any of this. “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28). “he who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22). And; “Do not be afraid,  little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32).

The difficulties that will be experienced in the earth are only birth pangs preceding a new age. It is a purification and a removal of evil from the earth. The evil (Satan) will battle the coming of the New Age as at its conclusion he will be banished to hell and never see it. A Spiritual Kingdom will ensue on the earth and all who believe in the Son of God, from the least to the greatest, will partake of it in some form or another.

 

RESURRECTION LIFE

The purpose of this article is to discuss the subject of resurrection life as it applies to all who are believers in Christ. Contrary to accepted Christian thinking, believers do not have to physically die to obtain resurrection life. There is no Scriptural foundation for the belief that every man has to die. Hebrews 9:27 says … it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this comes judgment; but in Christ there is the opposite promise: … and whosoever lives and believes on me shall never die. John 11:26. At some time we must enter into the experience known as resurrection—and resurrection is not reanimation only; it is a coming forth in another kind of body, one that is eternal and functions in a different manner. And this can occur while we remain on this earth, not necessarily after we die a physical death.

What is resurrection life? Christ was resurrected from the dead and entered into resurrection life, seated at the right hand of the Father. For centuries Christians have believed that we could only have this spiritual relationship with the Father after we died a physical death and then went to “heaven”. It may surprise some to know that this is not always the truth. As a matter of fact death does not mean automatic fulfillment.

Physical death is not a prerequisite for receiving resurrection life. Christ said so much when he gave us what has come to be called “The Lord’s Prayer”. Matthew 6:9-10 states: “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven”. This means that God wants His eternal Kingdom to be a reality on earth, just as it is in the spiritual realm of God (heaven). The Kingdom on earth will be composed of not only those who have died who Christ will bring with Him at His coming. There will be those who are on the earth who have entered into the resurrection life of Christ without dying, who are waiting and have actually initiated Christ’ second coming.

In Hebrews 11:1-38 the writer records the names of the greatest men of faith that ever lived on the earth and their deeds (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc). Hebrews 11:37-38 states: “They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy),  wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground”. Yet Hebrews 11:39-40 is very clear that none of these men and women received the full measure of what they were promised just by dying. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, DID NOT RECEIVE WHAT WAS PROMISED, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect”.

In other words those who have died in Christ will not receive the full promise of their resurrection life until we have received it first. This is borne out by Christ when He said: “But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” (Mark 10:31; Matthew 19:30). Those who have died first in Christ will be the last to receive their reward because “they without us”, the last, will receive our fulfillment first before them.

Revelation 6:11 states much the same thing as the souls [martyrs] cry out from under the altar asking “How Long O Lord: “When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” In other words dying and being martyrs did not automatically give them the complete fulfillment they were seeking. They are beneath the altar crying out for the day when they can be avenged. It is we, who remain on earth, who provide this final judgment so that they receive the fulfillment they cry for.

Paul described the mystery of resurrection succinctly. “Now I say this, brethren, that  flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; WE WILL NOT ALL SLEEP, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and  the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52).

Paul makes two main points here. First he says “we will not all sleep but we will all be changed”. The Greek verb katheudo is used in the New Testament to mean natural sleep but also metaphorically as death (1 Corinthians 15:20; Matthew 27:52; Acts 13:36; John 11:11, Lazarus). As obvious from the reading of verse 51, Paul uses sleep as a metaphor for death (literal sleep does not fit within the context of what he is saying). Thus what he is pointing out is that not all will die (sleep) as a prerequisite for entering the “change” he speaks of i.e. the perishable putting on the imperishable (resurrection life). Many will put on this imperishable change while not tasting physical death.

Paul also draws a clear distinction between those who are changed while they are yet alive and those who are changed as they return with Christ. He says: “for the trumpet will sound, and  the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed” He identifies two groups who will be changed. 1. The dead will be raised [changed]; 2. And we (Paul is speaking of himself as alive, distinct from the dead) will be changed. It is well known that the early church expected Christ’s return to occur during their lifetimes. Many righteous men had died before him but he was pressing toward the mark of the resurrection he believed would occur during his lifetime.

To make the point even stronger, Christ is not returning to the earth (2nd Advent) until all his enemies are defeated on earth and the earth is made a footstool for His feet. “…but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time forward  until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet” (Hebrews 10:12-13; Psalm 110:1). When Christ was resurrected and sat down at the right hand of the Father he promised to return. This would be the Second Coming of Christ we all await. However, He will not return until all of His enemies on earth have been defeated.

“But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. THE LAST ENEMY THAT WILL BE ABOLISHED IS DEATH” (1 Corinthians 15:20-26).

How are Christ’s enemies on earth defeated? It is obvious they must be defeated before His return (see above). It is the Sons (plural) who remain on the earth and defeat the enemies of Christ, prior to His return. It is without dispute that Christ is bringing many Sons like Himself, to glory. Hebrews 2:10-11 states: “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing MANY SONS TO GLORY, to perfect the author of their salvation [Christ] through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all  from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them [the Sons] brethren”.

It is these Sons who are perfected on earth prior to the coming of the Lord who defeat the enemies of Christ on earth. Who are these enemies? For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). These forces of wickedness in heavenly places prevent His coming. He is coming to rule and reign in places occupied by wickedness. We are fighting the god of this world, Satan, the serpent of old to displace him from his wicked rule.

Satan is the god of this world. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the GOD OF THIS AGE [Satan] has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). When Christ died and was resurrected He defeated Satan. It is up to us to enforce that victory.

Christ intends for us to do greater works than He did, including defeating all His enemies. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and  greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father” (John 14:12).

Paul explained resurrection life but mentions nothing about physical death. He does discuss the fact that we must die to our soul/flesh nature of corruption in order to attain to the heavenly. “that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown  a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a  spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly” (1 Corinthians 15:37-49).

That we are to be like Christ, even while we remain on earth, is without dispute in the scriptures. John said: “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called  children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children [Sons] of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, WE WILL BE LIKE HIM, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:1-2). “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Christ Himself said: “But I say to you truthfully, there are some of those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:27). Likewise we who live are able to be transformed while we are still living. It is true we will have died to the flesh nature and to the world. Paul said: “I die daily”. But there will come a point, and it is not far off, when those on the earth, believers in Christ, will experience resurrection life just as Christ did and just as those who have gone on before us will. Thus the scripture will be fulfilled: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. The veil between us and God will be done away with and we will see Him as He is as we will be like Him, a Son of God in every respect.

 

TRUE PROPHETS

We have examined many who some call prophets in our study about the truths pertaining to what has been referred to as “the end of the world”. We have examined those who have used the occult, divination, astrology, witchcraft, remote viewing, psychedelic drugs, computers and many other methods to divine the future. We have learned that many of these sources have issued vague, general and some unintelligible results in their so called predictions. Few if any have produced prophetic results that gave any advanced warning of events to come; most have been interpreted after the fact as possibly applying to events that have already occurred.

A true prophet is a seer and creator of God’s divine will by the spoken Word. There are three Hebrew words used of the prophet: nāḇî’, rō’eh and ḥōzeh. The first of these is always translated ‘prophet’; the second, which is, in form, an active participle of the verb ‘to see’, is translated ‘seer’; the third, also an active participle of another verb ‘to see’, is unfortunately without distinctive English equivalent and is translated either ‘prophet’ (e.g. Is. 30:10) or ‘seer’ (e.g. 1 Ch. 29:29). In Greek the prophet is προφήτης prophētēs (a forth teller of God’s divine will) which is derived from πρό pro which means before and φημί phēmi which means “to declare”. Therefore, from the ancient languages, a prophet is a seer of the divine will “before” it happens and is thus “declared” into existence by the spoken word.

In the Bible Hebrews 11:3 says: “By faith we understand that the worlds [the ages] were prepared [created] by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible”. We know from Genesis that God created the heavens and the earth, and the surrounding elements of creation by speaking the speaking of a word. “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light” (Gen. 1:3). “Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters” (vs.6). “Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so” (v. 9). “Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so” (v. 11). “Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;” (v. 14). “Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens” (v. 20). “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (v. 26). “Then God said, “Behold,  I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;…God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very  good” (v. 29).

Prophets are men who, like God and inspired by Him, see what God wants and speak it into existence sometimes, from nothing visible. It can be likened to science and its big bang theory. First there was nothing visible and then there was something from which was created everything we are and can see or sense. Whether you believe that something was made by God or by some other unknown process it cannot be argued that the creation appeared when, before that instant, nothing else “visible” was there. [As an aside of course there was something in existence before the big bang. God, who lives in eternity in another dimension the realm of Spirit. So God was present in spirit form before this universe was formed. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain before the earth was even created “All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Revelation 13:8].

There is a difference being a “seer” of what has determined will occur in the future and actually manifesting the result into visible form by prophecy. With a true prophet there is certainty in an anticipated event because the prophet exercises the authority to “create” the result. For an example, when an event is only “seen” that fact alone does not produce the event into concrete existence or physical reality. Something may be potentially predestined to occur but it will not become visible until someone, a catalyst, brings what is seen into physical existence. In Chemistry a catalyst is a substance that causes or accelerates a chemical reaction without itself being affected. In other words all the elements are present but without the catalyst the chemicals remain in an inert potential form. In life, a catalyst may be a person or thing that precipitates an event or change (dictionary.com). A prophet brings the potential into reality by speaking the reaction or result into existence.

There are several examples in the Bible that distinguish between the two. The Old Testament prophet Elijah created a drought in Israel by his word, which was apparently God’s will. “Now Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the settlers of Gilead, said to Ahab [King of Israel], “As the Lord, the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, surely there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word” ( 1 Kings 17:1). Then 3 years later: “Now it happened after many days that the word of the Lord came to Elijah in the third year, saying, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth” (1 Kings 18:1). At this point we could say that Elijah, the “seer”, saw by the Word of God that it was supposed to it rain. If Elijah was a “seer” and nothing else, he either would not have gone to see Ahab or he would have gone to see the King waited for it to rain. However that is not what Elijah did. God wanted it to rain but He used the catalyst Elijah to bring it to pass.

So Elijah went to see Ahab (1 Kings 18:11). After performing a miracle, making fire come down from God to prove a point, the following occurred. “Now Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of the roar of a heavy shower.” Actually there was no sound of a heavy shower as we shall see; maybe Elijah heard it but no one else did. In truth there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. “So Ahab went up to eat and drink. But Elijah went up to the top of  Carmel; and he crouched down on the earth and put his face between his knees”. Elijah wasn’t waiting for the rain he was in the process of making the rain come by prayer. Even though God had spoken it, Elijah knew it wouldn’t happen automatically.

      Fervent anticipation is a form of prophetic prayer. Instead of passively waiting Elijah actively anticipated the rain although the sky was cloudless. “Elijah said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” So he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go back” seven times. It came about at the seventh time, that he said, “Behold, a cloud as small as a man’s hand is coming up from the sea.” And Elijah said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, so that the heavy shower does not stop you”. In a little while the sky grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy shower” (1 Kings 18:41-45). God had spoken there was to be rain but it took the faith and prayer of Elijah to actually make it happen on the earth.

Another example of the same principle involved Ezekiel the prophet. It is described as follows: “The hand of the Lord was upon me, [Ezekiel] and He brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, they were very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ [Ezekiel said] “Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath [spirit] to enter you that you may come to life. ‘I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, [meaning spirit] prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an  exceedingly great army” (Ezekiel 37:1-10).

Whether this incident happened in reality or was a vision is beside the point here. Good wanted something done with these bones. He wanted to bring them to life. Why didn’t He just come down and do it Himself? Because He chose the prophet Ezekiel not only to know His will regarding the bones but to be the vehicle or catalyst through whom He brought it to pass. That is what a true prophet is. He changes things according to the will of God by his word which is the Word of God, the same Word God used in creation.

There are multitudes of examples in the Bible of God using men to create His will. To a prophet it is not enough to see God’s will but he knows he must pull down God’s will from the spirit realm and make it a reality on the earth. As the Lord said: Pray this way: “God’s Kingdome come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). The Kingdom existed in heaven (the spirit realm) but he tells His servants to pray for that Kingdom to come to reality on the earth the same as it already was in heaven. A true prophet takes the potential of God wanting something done and makes it a reality in the earth.

Joshua was a true prophet of the Lord. After Moses died God told Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land. “Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, that the Lord spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses” (Joshua 1:1-3). What God was requiring of Joshua was to go into a hostile land and conquer many nations, each one greater and mightier than his Israelite army. “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven, a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’” (Deuteronomy 9:1-2).

The Anakim, descendants of Anak (Josh. 11:21; Num. 13:33; Deut. 9:2), dwelt in the south of Palestine, in the neighborhood of Hebron (Gen. 23:2; Josh. 15:13). They were probably a remnant of the original inhabitants of Palestine before the Canaanites, a Cushite tribe (Cush was the grandson of Noah) from Babel the original Babylon. Their formidable warlike appearance, as described by the spies sent to search the land, filled the Israelites with terror. When they returned from spying they told Moses: “We went in to the land where you sent us; and it certainly does flow with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. “Nevertheless, the people who live in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large; and moreover, we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Numbers 13:27-29). So terrified of the Anakim were they that they refused to try to conquer the land. Here the potential of Israel conquering the Promised Land was there but the army was unwilling bring that potential into manifestation.      

The Anakim were descendents of the Nephilim, the “giants” of the antediluvian age ((Gen. 6:4; Num. 13:33) Genesis 6:4 describes them: “The Nephilim [sometimes translated giants] were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God [demonic fallen spirits]came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown”. The Nephilim resulted from the union of fallen angels and earth women, resulting in Satanic offspring that caused God to bring the flood to destroy them. The various legends of great men with superhuman powers and strength, such as Hercules and other Greek heroes, may have resulted been some of those offspring. Even mythical stories of the pagan gods of old in subsequent civilizations such as Zeus, Thor, Jupiter and the like may have been real beings of old described here. The Philistine giants whom David encountered (2 Sam. 21:15–22) then living in Gath were descendants of the Anakim.

So Joshua had his job cut out for him. God continued to speak: “Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you” (Deut. 9:3). Here again it was God’s will that these nations be conquered but instead of coming down and doing it Himself He revealed His will to Joshua and required him to be the one to make God’s will real on the earth. Who knows what would have happened if Joshua, who was a seer and saw God’s will, but refused to carry it out.

However God had given him very specific instructions on how to carry our His will that, if deviated from, would have resulted in probable defeat. Again Joshua the man given the mandate to carry our God’s will but in a proscribed manner. “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. “Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go. “This book of the law [the Law of the Lord] shall not depart from your mouth, [a prophet creates by his words] but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:5-9). What God is saying is that you are commanded to do it but it must be My way or it won’t work. If Joshua had acted like the spies, and became terrified of the great nations in the land, God’s vision would never have been fulfilled.

The thing that separates true prophets from those who are false is that true seer prophets have clear direction on which way to go in the future. God leaves nothing to interpretation. “Prophets” we have discussed in this book have left no true direction for mankind. They may be able to divine what could happen in the future and may even have implied that if man changes his ways dire predictions could turn out different. But they have left no clear direction as to how man can change his future to avoid catastrophic events. Thus we are only left with predictions of doom, gloom, disasters and cataclysm. Nostradamus, for example, has left obviously vague predictions that are no guide at all on how man can avoid the doom and gloom he predicts in nearly every quatrain. To the contrary, God leaves very specific direction as to what He requires. Nostradamus may have seen the dire future but he offered no viable solution. Some say such “prophecies” are warnings but warnings with workable solutions only engender fear into the hearts of the hearers.

A prophet from the Bible had this to say: “As Amos the prophet said: “Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). God will always reveal His will to those who are wise and are listening. However He goes one step further and gives the direction and the solution to fulfill what He wants.

Another famous example is the prophet Jonah. “The word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me” (Jonah 1:1-2). Jonah disobeyed God and didn’t go to Nineveh; instead he ended up in the belly of a fish for three days before being vomited out on the shore. Having learned his lesson Jonah proceeded to Nineveh. “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three days’ walk. Then Jonah began to go through the city one day’s walk; and he cried out and said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown” (Jonah 3:3-4). God fully intended to overthrow Nineveh in 40 days and no one can argue that he was able to do it. Yet, despite His anger, God is compassionate, willing that none should perish no matter how evil.

But lo and behold the unlikely scenario occurred as the result of Jonah’s warning. “Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; [Jonah] and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. “But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. “Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.”When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then  God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it” (Jonah 3:5-10). Unless Jonah had turned from his disobedience to God, He would surely have destroyed Nineveh and they would not have had a chance to save themselves. He used Jonah, disobedient as he had been to turn a great and evil city to the Lord.

God will always lead His people in the way they are to go. “To whom would He teach knowledge, And to whom would He interpret the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just taken from the breast? “For He says, Order on order, order on order, Line on line, line on line, A little here, a little there.’ ” “Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue,” (Isaiah 28:9-11). He will provide a highway of holiness: “A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, And the ransomed of the Lord will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away” (Isaiah 35:8-10).

His plans for mankind have been formed since long ago. “O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness” (Isaiah 25:1).

Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you  turn to the right or to the left” (Isaiah 30:31).

 “I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them And  rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will  not leave them undone” (Isaiah 42:15-16).

What does this have to do with the end-time judgments we are speaking about here? God has provided a solution, a way out, for all those with eyes to see and ears to hear. The prophet Daniel said: “Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:1-3).

The answer to who will survive the coming judgments will be as it was in the days of Jonah. God fully intended to completely destroy Nineveh but relented when Nineveh repented of and turned from their evil. Paul put it simply: “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:9-13).

God is raising up the prophets as He does at any time before judgment. Jeremiah and Isaiah were such prophets. Before God sends judgments on the earth He brings the prophets on the scene to say, “Thus saith the Lord.” And that’s what He is doing now. “Your sons and your daughters will prophesy. There will be visions and revelations” (Joel 2:28). The nations will hear it. The great judgments will not come without God giving a warning, and that warning will come from the prophets who know the voice of the Lord. They will prophesy the revelation from God; they will speak the word of the Lord. And that will be the only word that this world will hear before it goes into its bloodbaths!

 

The judgments of God in the earth will come because God will speak to someone as He spoke to Isaiah or to Jeremiah. God said to the prophet, “Go, take up the word of the Lord and prophesy against Babylon”; and the prophet prophesied against Babylon. Or “Go prophesy against Nineveh,” and he did so. Afterwards the people exclaimed, “My, those men surely could foretell the future.” They didn’t foretell the future; they created the future!”

“Through faith we understand that the ages were framed by the word of God, that the things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). Ages were framed by the word of God, not out of any trends or indications that could be seen. When a man comes along and speaks the word of the Lord, the results are astounding.

Therefore, through all the doom and gloom masquerading as true prophecy, we have nothing to fear if we are listening to the Lord and His true prophets. The prophecies in the Bible are not just a collection of old sayings irrelevant to us today. They were written for us. Jesus once said to the Pharisees: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is  these that testify about Me” (John 5:39). All the writings of the Old Testament were speaking of Jesus. Likewise they are speaking to us today. Be comforted. “The Lord knows those who are His,” (2 Timothy 2:19). Do you know you are His?

 

CONCLUSION:  AUTHOR’S OBSERVATIONS

There is a reason I undertook to compile this Book, many reasons for that matter.

I am aware of what is being presented today in the way of the what some call Armageddon or the end of the world. Most of what is being taught in these areas does more to instill fear into the hearts of people than it does encouragement or hope. Doomsday prophets are talking about disasters such as meteor strikes, pole shifts, world ending earthquakes and volcanoes, incurable plagues, nuclear wars and every other conceivable type of destructive mechanism man can imagine or theorize about. I have heard predictions of times and epochs i.e. when these events are set to happen.

 

Take 2012 for example. I cannot say the world will not end in 2012 any more than I can tell you what I will do tomorrow. A world of supposedly wise and educated people are bent on relying rely on the calculations of a civilization that, although intelligent, were not wise enough to save themselves from extinction. The Mayans themselves say nothing about the end of their long count calendar being the end of time. Those who view the end of their calendar as the end of time itself are putting words into the mouths of an extinct civilization. The same is true of Nostradamus. If we take his “predictions” at face value, then we are all goners, destroyed by catastrophe after catastrophe. If he implies that we can change to avoid these calamities he certainly gives no guidelines on how or what we need to change. We hear nothing about the coming Kingdom of God which is prophesied so clearly in the Bible, the most reliable source of prophecy. This is true with all other doomsayers be they visionaries, computer prophets or any of the other sources mentioned in this book.

Relying on the most read and quoted Book in existence the future is clear. There is a New Age in the process of coming into existence called the Kingdom of God. There has already been much suffering as humanity pursues this goal for the last millenniums, let alone the past 2000 years, and there will be likely be more. But the Apostle Paul said: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time  are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).. When you consider the state of this current age in almost every area: war, disease, famine, economic collapse, untimely death, hopelessness, despair and seemingly unsolvable problems it should be apparent that we are due for a complete change. What is coming, through the haze of affliction, is something so completely new that we cannot yet imagine it. And that view is espoused in the Bible and nowhere else in any detail.

God, if you choose to believe Him, promises with specificity an eternal world without tears, grief, sickness, unrealized vision, disillusionment and even death. He promises things which “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,  Nor have entered into the heart of man  The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

And He says: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior… “Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it?” (Isaiah 43:1-3, 18-19). We don’t have to wait for 2012-Now it will spring forth!

If you belong to God no tribulation or difficulty can touch you. You may see it but only with your eyes. The Psalmist David captures it all in his 91st Psalm:

“He who dwells in the  shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My  refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper And from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His pinions, And under His wings you may seek refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark. You will not be afraid of the terror by night, Or of the arrow that flies by day; Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness, Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon. A thousand may fall at your side And ten thousand at your right hand, But it shall not approach you. You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked. For you have made the Lord, my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place. No evil will befall you, Nor will any plague come near your tent. For He will give His angels charge concerning you, To guard you in all your ways…. He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, My God, in whom I trust!” (Psalm 91).

I believe this is how we should all live and not fear what may come in the way of affliction, if any. The happy thing is that God is really real. He cares for all humanity. It is true that: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Anyone can learn to hear His voice. He does not discriminate. He makes Himself available to anyone and everyone. You need not be a “good” person”. You can be a sinner because He has already forgiven your sin. You don’t have to consider yourself unworthy because what He has He gives is by grace, defined as “unmerited favor”. If you need something all you need do is ask. He will lead you.

The Book of James says: “if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him…You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 1:5, 4:2-3). God loves your attention and will readily give. God is the only way you will survive the difficulties that may come upon the earth. You will not only survive but you will inherit an eternal Kingdom. Many will refuse His help for unknown reasons but His hand is always out. When we refer to the “end of the world” we are referring to the beginning of His world, which has already begun to manifest. Jesus said: “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption [or salvation] draws near” (Luke 21:28, NKJV).

     
 

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