Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 4

Getting back to Matthew 24, in verse 37 it gives us more information to allow us to understand that the end is near. We have studied Genesis, now we see why knowing the Bible right from the first book is important.

As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be on the Day Christ returns. Before the flood people were living their lives with no thought to imminent destruction. They were eating and drinking, marrying and carrying on as usual right up to the day Noah entered the ark. All of his preaching was completely ignored and they were totally oblivious to what was about to overtake them. They didn’t realize anything was amiss until the flood came and killed them all. So it will be on the day the Lord returns. There may be things happening (the Day of the Lord signs are pretty dramatic), there may be people having warned them, but they are deaf and blind to the signs and the warnings that they have received, just as the people in Noah’s day were.

Possibly more things, that are similar to Noah’s day and are not so readily apparent, can be extrapolated from knowing the story in Genesis In Noah’s day wickedness was at an all time high. Violence filled the earth. We have that today. Children kill children. Parents abuse and kill children. People kill for the most trivial of reasons. People lie, steal, and cheat. Immorality is a way of life for the majority of people. People call evil good, and good evil. (Is. 5:20) In these ways we are like Noah’s day. And there is more. Fallen angels were openly interacting with, in fact cohabitating with humans. I believe we are paralleling Noah’s day in this way too. While fallen angels and their offspring nephilim do not pose as gods in the same way they did back then (this is where some of the myths of the Roman and Greek gods and the stories of the offspring of the gods like Hercules (men of renown) came from - stories of the nephilim were no doubt handed down by Noah’s sons having been remembered from before the flood, as well as the stories of the nephilim who lived after the flood), they are interacting with us on another level. Today fallen angels, nephilim, and demons pose as aliens and spirit guides for people to channel. They use whatever is the prevalent thing of the moment, and today it is belief in evolution and life in outer space as well as belief in evolved beings who guide us. Mythology and/or Babylonian (occult) history also says that Atlantis (the land that was sunk under the sea - or the antediluvian world) was highly technologically advanced. This is not totally reliable information, but quite probably true given that angels would have knowledge well beyond man. This would explain some of the archaeological paradoxes- the gigantic stone monuments and cities, the incredible building techniques. These massive stone ruins may have survived the flood. Why are there ruins of a port city high up in the mountains in South America nowhere near a sea? Egyptian and Mayan ruins show drawings of flying ships and even small toy models of them have been found in the ruins. It is not impossible to believe that if we have them today, that they, with their demonic help had them back then. It is believed that some of our technology today is in fact coming from demons, who are showing people things through channeling, dreams, and visions, at least that is how people are saying they are getting these ideas. People were probably much smarter back then too. We have deteriorated, not improved. That’s the curse at work. So, when it says as it was in the days of Noah, there is more to it than just eating and drinking and being oblivious to God’s judgment being about to fall. They were probably highly technologically evolved. They may have had a space program just as we do. Ancient drawings show supposed “astronauts”. If we can go to the moon, and our technology can't begin to figure out theirs, why couldn’t they? Although only myths survive to give us the speculation (and remember it is speculation) that these things may be true, it is logical to believe that people who were probably much smarter than we are, and openly had demonic help, had a space program too. In fact, since we know that either fallen angels or nephilim came back to cohabit after the flood, maybe it explains why God was so angry about the tower to take them to the stars that Nimrod was building at Babel. We assume it was just a building of religious worship, and that is the usual interpretation, but we have skyscrapers today that God allows us to have. And plenty of people believe in astrology. Why was it so imperative to make them be unable to communicate and continue the project? Could it be that they were building a launching pad to literally take them to the stars, not just a tower of worship? If Satan could get us off this planet colonizing other planets or moons, God could not fulfill the prophecies in the Bible. His return wouldn’t be for everyone, and all of mankind couldn’t be punished. So Satan would really want us out there in space literally, not just spiritually worshiping the heavenly bodies, in order to make God a liar. God has to keep us on this planet. Granted this is tremendous (although I find it interesting) speculation, but it would explain far better why God would say that anything that they could even imagine, they could do, much better than just believing they were building a tall building. But I digress. As it was in the days of Noah, so it is today. Wickedness will abound and they will be oblivious to what is about to hit them.

Going back to the next verses in Matthew, two people can be side by side and one will be taken and the other won’t. Some people try to make this mean that the one taken will be thrown in the fire and the other is left behind safe, but this is not what Christ just said. Even though he has just referenced Noah, he was making that comparison for the effect of the wicked not expecting judgment. In speaking of the two side by side, He says that when the Son of Man comes two will be side by side and one will be taken and the other left. We have to reference back to where He spoke of His coming and gathering His elect. He takes the elect, not the wicked. This time he is not taking away the wicked and leaving the righteous, he is taking away the righteous and leaving the wicked to endure the flames. To make it mean anything other than what He said is to twist His words around to suit a pre-conceived theory. We need to stay true to what the scriptures say, not make them fit a created theory. We have to always compare ideas or interpretations to scripture. Scripture interprets scripture. Christ said that the elect are taken. Here people are taken away. Therefore it is the elect of whom he speaks.

The warning comes to watch for you know not what hour your Lord will return. Notice the word your, meaning we are the ones being warned, not the unbeliever. This is aimed directly at us, not unbelieving Jews. Christ is not their Lord at the moment. He is ours. This is speaking of the 2nd coming, where he comes for us, as that is what the previous passage was describing. It only reinforces that this is exactly how that passage must be interpreted, as the 2nd coming where Christ gathers the elect (us). We are warned to watch for His coming, His visible 2nd coming, as that is what is being spoken about. How can we watch for something if we aren’t going to be here? We can’t. Therefore He expected His people (those who haven’t been killed by antichrist) to still be here when He returns and to be watching so that they may be gathered. This cannot be made to mean the unbelieving Jews. It simply won't work. It cannot be believing Jews after a pre-trib rapture, as the scriptures clearly teach that they will believe when they see Him whom they have pierced, at His 2nd very visible coming. If a pre-trib rapture is secret, they have no reason to believe that Jesus is the Christ, their Messiah. They would not see Him. It's totally illogical. It cannot be believing Gentiles who have come to Christ after a pre-trib rapture, as we are told that those who have refused the truth will be deluded and won't believe the truth. Nothing works here except for the gathering of us when Christ visibly returns.

Now the warning is made more clear for us through parables. If the Goodman of the house had known what hour the thief was coming, he would have watched and his house would not have been broken up. So we are to be ready in the same way, as in an hour that we don’t think He will come (some will have given up hope), He will finally make His appearance. And many will be unprepared for it (having given up hope and starting to live as the world does, figuring it was all a lie). We are talking Christians here, not unbelievers. If the Christian has some idea of when the thief (the Lord) is coming, he will be watching and his house (he himself) will not be lost. Some Christians will have given up when He doesn’t make His appearance to rapture them when they think He should. This will destroy their faith. Only by intense study of scripture can we see what the signs are and what to expect before He comes, so that the thief can’t break into our house.

The wise and faithful servant is that one whom the Lord finds doing what he is supposed to be doing when He returns. Again, this is speaking of His 2nd coming. That is the context. For those who think the Lord isn’t coming after all (have given up because of a false belief perhaps) and don’t care anymore and start to live as the world lives; he won’t be expecting the Lord anymore and when the Lord does come that servant (Christian - servant, not unbeliever) will find his place is with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (let’s just say it isn’t heaven).

Now Christ gives the parable of the ten virgins. All of the virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All of them are virgins, i.e. all of them are Christians. All of them go out to meet him. Five are wise, and five are foolish. Those that were foolish took their lamps, but no oil. The wise took oil along with their lamps. Christians who think that just accepting the Lord and leaving it at that point is fine, are sadly mistaken. We must keep oil in our lamps. We need to be walking with the Lord and studying his word. Salvation is not a final thing until we have passed from this life. The bridegroom (Christ) tarries. He didn’t come back in time for the disciples. He didn’t come back for two millennia, and He still hasn’t come back. The virgins all fall asleep. When the bridegroom suddenly makes his appearance, the virgins with oil are prepared, but those without aren’t. They don’t have time to get oil as time has run out. When they try to get oil and catch up, it is too late. They get shut out of the marriage. When they are asked to be let in, Christ says he doesn’t know them. These are people who believe they are Christians, who don’t make it to the marriage. It isn’t enough to say that these are just people who go by the name Christian, but have never known the Lord for real. These are virgins. This implies Christians. They did know the Lord, but they weren’t prepared. Then we are given another warning to watch. This is speaking of the 2nd coming. It cannot be used to speak of a pre-trib rapture simply because pre-trib says that the rapture is not here. That it is a mystery. Again, I believe the scriptures say it is here, because I put it where Christ put it, at the 2nd coming.

Then there is the parable of the talent. The servant, [yes he is a servant (Christian)] doesn’t use his talents for the Lord. What is the outcome? He is cast into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is not being left for the tribulation or Day of the Lord. Outer darkness and weeping and gnashing of teeth is associated with eternal damnation in the scriptures. Again, this is a servant (a Christian) that ends up in the very wrong place, because he is not doing the works he was given to do, investing in a heavenly reward.

In the last parable we are told that when the Son of Man comes with His angels, He will sit upon the throne and gather all the nations for judgment. He will separate them as sheep and goats. The normal way of interpreting this passage is that the sheep are the ones who haven’t taken the mark of the beast, (we’ll learn about that in Rev.) and while not being Christians may have been good to Christians under persecution. (Remember how in Daniel it said that when the saints fell they would be helped, but not by people who are doing it out of a sincere belief?). The ones who have taken the mark and have persecuted Christians (the goats) will be thrown into the everlasting fire which was prepared for Satan and his demons. Lately I have begun to wonder if that is what this is really saying. The other parables are about Christians, not Christians and unbelievers. In the temple sacrifices, both sheep and goat kids were interchangeable for sacrifice. Is this another parable about Christians? If it is, then Christians had better beware, as a Christian who has not been doing the good works he was supposed to be doing is in serious trouble.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 3

Nobody knows the day or hour except the Father. This verse is clearly speaking about the 2nd coming, which Christ has just described in some detail, yet people use it to speak of a rapture that precedes the 70th week. This is incongruous. If, as they say, the rapture is secret and not mentioned here in Matthew, then this verse cannot be speaking about the rapture. And yet, this verse is used to defend a secret rapture. It is clearly speaking of the 2nd coming, and that needs to be kept in mind, as there are associations that go with this phrase that do point to it being the rapture, but a rapture that is at the time of Christ’s 2nd coming.

Actually while some people have said that it can’t be known when Christ will come, that it could be at any minute, that is not accurate. We need to look at Scripture more carefully and see what He was really saying. First of all, we have already seen that the tribulation, and Day of the Lord signs have to happen first. So we know it can’t be at any minute. As to more than that, once those signs have occurred, is there any way to know when He will come? Yes, there is. First we need to acknowledge that we have been told that we should have an idea as to when He will come.

Luke 21:34 “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” In other words, only by being totally living an indulgent life with no attention to God’s Word, would this take you unaware. So we are to be aware that it is upon us.

1 Thess.5:2-6. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” We are not to be overtaken as the rest of the world. The only way that is possible is for us to know when it is about to happen.

Matt. 24:36-44. We have been told we will not know the day nor the hour. The day and the hour. Vs.43 indicates though that we should know the watch. In those days, there were four watches a day, each six hours long. To know the watch, we should know the “time of day” or the relative time it is coming. We have studied the festivals and know that the fall festivals are all about the 2nd coming, therefore we know that the Lord‘s return will be in conjunction with the fall festivals of Rosh ha Shanah and Yom Kippur. We know the watch. It will be in the fall.

So we know from what we have previously learned that Christ cannot return until the temple is built, the abomination of desolation occurs, the tribulation comes to an end, and the signs of the Day of the Lord occur. We know that these events occur in the second half of the 70th week, so there are only a few years in which this could happen. Now on top of that, we know that it must happen at the time of the fall festivals, so we will know the season (fall) or watch in which Christ will return. Is there a way we can know which year it will be? Actually when we get into Revelation, we will see that God has even given us enough information to pinpoint that. It is said we will not know the specific day nor specific hour. There are reasons why this will be so, partly because we don’t follow the Jewish calendar, so we don’t know when these festivals will occur. Plus there are reasons to believe that the rotation of the earth around the sun (orbit) will be changed, which will change the calendar (probably back to a 360 day year). All of this, plus the fact that the Jewish month is begun based on the new moon (which will no longer give its light) will make it impossible to know exactly what day it is in the Jewish calendar. However, there is still more to understanding this scripture verse. And it is the following that reinforces the fact that the gathering of the elect when Christ returns is indeed the rapture.

The marriage ritual of the Jews at the time of Christ gives us a picture of what Christ was trying to get across when he said that nobody but the Father would know the day or hour. It seems impossible, given that the Father and Son are one, that Christ wouldn’t know the hour. The marriage ritual explains why this is so. And the disciples would have immediately referenced this tradition when Christ used the phrase “nobody knows the day or the hour” as it was a commonly used phrase of the day in conjunction with the marriage ceremony.

Many marriages were arranged by the parents from the time the children were infants. Others were arranged in one of the following ways. The young man might want a particular girl, or his parents may choose her for him. The arrangements could be arranged in one of the following ways: the father would make the arrangements for his son, an agent would arrange it on behalf of the father, or an agent could arrange it on behalf of the son. Using the last example, this is how the ritual of Christ’s time took place. The young man went to the home of his potential bride-to-be. He carried three things with him, a large sum of money to pay the bride price, a betrothal contract, and a skin of wine. After approaching the father and possibly the brothers, the contract was put forth and the bridal price discussed. Then a glass of wine was poured. If the father approved, the girl was called in. If she approved, she would drink the wine. That would commit her to the man and the contract was now signed and binding. They were called husband and wife, however it was called a betrothal instead of a marriage. Some research I came across (Jewish in origin) said that another way she could accept the contract was to have sexual relations with him, as they were considered husband and wife once the contract was signed. That is why scholars always say that a betrothal was much more than an engagement and required a divorce to end it. This would mean Mary being pregnant before she was considered married to (living with) Joseph would not have been a problem as far as the community was concerned. It was only a problem for Joseph, who knew he had not slept with her. If this information about the custom is accurate, and I have no reason to suppose it isn’t, it was not a shameful thing for her to be pregnant before the ceremony actually took place, so she would not have been shunned or considered a sinner and no shame would come upon her for having a baby less than nine months after the wedding ceremony. To dissolve the contract required a divorce. Back to the marriage. After the contract was secure, the young man would state that he would go to his father’s house and prepare a place for her. This place was known as the chadar (chamber) and the chupah (honeymoon bed). From the time the contract was ratified, the young woman was consecrated or set apart for her husband. She was bought with a price. She was then to spend her time preparing herself to be his wife and a mother. She spent her days in waiting, learning how to please her husband. In the meanwhile, the man returned to his father’s home to start constructing the chamber and bed. They would retire here after the wedding ceremony. When asked when that ceremony would be, he was to reply “no man knows (the day or hour) except my father.” In Israel the father had to be satisfied that all was ready before he would give his son permission to go and get his bride. However one look at the young man’s work would show how close he was to being done and how soon the girl could be expecting him to come. There were “signs” of his being about to come and get her. But the young man could not actually leave until the father gave permission.

All of Christ’s listeners were Jewish and very familiar with this ritual. In saying what he did, Christ was indicating that he was the groom of those who would follow him. This was not made as a statement to make us think that there was no way at all that we could ever even suspect that Christ’s coming was near. We are told that we should know the watch. We are told the signs. It is simply that the particular day and hour are up to God to give His permission for Christ to come get us. So even Christ, who knows the mind of God, can’t say when the day or hour is, as he has to actually wait for the Father to verbalize the command for Him to go. Christ was letting them know that the same ritual that they used was basically what was going to happen when He returned. It wasn’t that there were no indications. The construction being done by the groom and the signs that it was near its completion were easy to see. In the same way, Christ gave many signs that were to herald His return. What was required was the permission of the father to go forth and claim his bride (at which time the ceremony and wedding feast would take place). This is how the disciples would have interpreted what Jesus said. Especially when added to the other statements Christ made. In John 14:2-3 “In my father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also.” This is the bridal chadar and chupah. In 1 Cor. 6:20, “For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” 1 Cor. 7:23, “Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men.” The bride is bought with a price and set apart to prepare herself for her husband. We were bought with a price and set aside for our groom, Christ. He said He was returning to His Father’s house to prepare a place for His bride, (us) and then He would return and get us. When the groom, who doesn’t know the day or the hour that his father will actually say, “Okay, go get her,” even though all is ready, returns to get his bride, there is a wedding ceremony and feast. This is what we are told will happen when Christ returns for us - a wedding feast. THE “Feast” the Feast of the Lord. (Feast of Sukkoth) All of this helps us to understand better the Second Coming of the Lord. Our job is the job of the bride to be preparing herself to please her groom. And look how we fail. Seeing how the marriage ceremony developed to pattern what Christ will do with His bride, does it seem logical that the groom would leave and secretly run off with his bride? That wasn’t the way the ritual was done, and I don’t think elopement is what God had in mind for us. The getting of the bride will follow the marriage traditions. Since the phrase nobody knows the day or hour clearly refers to the Second Coming (if you don't believe a rapture is spoken of in Matthew, you have no choice but to accept this), and if the phrase nobody knows the day or hour clearly refers to the son being released by his father to go get his bride, then you have to acknowledge that this is speaking of Christ getting his bride at the time of his return, which nobody knows the day or the hour. It is simple deductive reasoning.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 2

Continuing from where we left off last time (Matthew 24:23) , we were going through the list of events that Christ said would occur before His 2nd coming.

2nd warning: don’t be deceived by false christs. Why should we worry about being deceived if we aren't going to be here? We are, that's why we are told to not be deceived.

False christs and prophets showing great signs and wonders (again we will see this in Rev.).

If possible they shall deceive the elect. First of all, how can they deceive the elect if the elect aren‘t here? So Christians are still here. If Christians are still here, the Holy Spirit is still here. Is it possible to deceive them? I believe there will be some who will be deceived. I think it may be possible for some who are unaware of what is going on because they have listened to false teachers, false doctrines, who have let their itching ears determine what they want to hear or what is comfortable to hear, and/or are living lives that resembles the world‘s to be deceived. The delusion will be great. Those who will not acknowledge the truth, [and that includes more than acknowledging Jesus Christ is who He is, it includes acknowledging that antichrist is who he is and that the tribulation has begun] will choose to believe the lie as it will be easier, plus it says that God will make those who have refused to accept the truth, believe the lie. Those who don’t accept the lie (believers) will have to suffer horribly. And some people will not have been prepared for that. I know many an American Christian who think they could never be asked to die for Christ. They simply aren’t prepared to do it, as other Christians around the world are. Just as a question to those who would say that we won’t have to suffer this, is it not arrogance of the highest order to believe that we in this generation and in this country especially, are too good for suffering? We know that this is the apostate generation. We have been told that. Look at the rest of the world. Christians are being persecuted, tortured, and martyred for Christ’s sake. What do they think of Christians living a life of luxury and worldliness in America who so self-righteously and arrogantly say, “We will be gone. We will not suffer. God doesn’t want (and I quote someone on this) a battered and bruised bride.”? He doesn’t? Tell that to the thousands and millions of Christians who have been martyred since the time of Christ. Christ wants a pure bride and that is going to take some refinement of the Christians in this country. That may sound hard, but it is the truth.

3rd warning: Again Christ has told us beforehand to not be deceived. Again I have to ask, how on earth can we be deceived if we don't have to worry about being here?

As lightning shines from the east to the west, so shall the coming of Christ be. (Even the west can see the lightning flashing in the east. Christ’s coming will be seen by everyone as it will light up the sky like a lightning flash. There will be no missing it. No secret here. And it will be sudden.)

Wherever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. I have heard that this was a common saying of Christ's day. I don't know whether that is true or not. This verse is a puzzle to many. Some say it should say vultures instead of eagles as eagles are not carrion birds, but according to my Greek translation, the word is eagles and I believe God has kept the meaning intact when it was translated into English (KJV). The second thing is, when we get to Luke’s parallel passage, it will be seen that the word used there is body, not carcase. Now therein lies a dilemma, for the Greek word for carcase does mean dead body, but the Greek word for body means a sound body. In other words a healthy body. This changes the meaning of the saying. So we must reconcile the two. How could there be a dead body, but a living healthy body? And what or who are the eagles? I have heard of two interpretations for this verse. The first is one with which I found I had already come to, based on scripture, and was grateful to see someone else had come up with that thought too. In Isa.40:31 it says “they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” We are compared to eagles in this verse. Christ died, yet lives. He is the body to which the eagles would flock. It says that Christ will return to Zion (Zech. 14:4 “and his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”) and as we studied the signs of the Day of the Lord we see that he gathers his elect and deliverance comes for them in Zion. This is where Christ (the body) will return and this is where the eagles (we) would go to await His return. The other interpretation that I have heard uses the word vultures and dead body to say that it means that people who are vultures will flock after the false preachers and prophets (comparable to the Pharisees who were white sepulchers - repositories for dead bodies.) I have no other interpretation for this verse, and I don’t say categorically that either of the ones I presented is the absolute right one, so if anyone has another feel free to add it in the comments.

Immediately after the tribulation the following heavenly signs occur:

The sun will be darkened.
The moon doesn’t give its light.
The stars fall.

The powers of the heavens will be shaken. The word powers means miraculous powers - possibly this is referring to the demonic powers that live in the heavens. Christ’s coming would certainly shake them up. And the heavenly bodies will be shaken and moved. These signs should now look familiar having gone over them numerous times while studying the Day of the Lord. These are the signs heralding the Day of the Lord. Take note that these signs come after the tribulation. Many teach that the 70th week, the tribulation, and the Day of the Lord are all the same thing, and it is because of the interchanging of these phrases that they have come up with the theory that they teach. It is dangerous, and in this case erroneous, to build a belief upon false interpretations. It only leads to further false interpretations and beliefs. The Day of the Lord is not the tribulation, which has now been stopped or cut short. It is not the 70th week, which began before the abomination of desolation. This (the Day of the Lord) begins after the tribulation according to what we have studied in the O.T. and Christ‘s teachings here. Remember Christ would have expected the disciples to immediately recognize these signs as the Day of the Lord, as they would have studied the scriptures too. They would have immediately made the connection that Christ was speaking about the Day of the Lord and that was His intent, which is why He tells them these particular, specific, unmistakable signs that would only occur once. This is the way we need to understand it also. I often think God must shake His head when we take what He meant to be so easily understood and twist it all out of whack to come up with ideas that He never intended. He meant it to be easily understood. We can’t listen to the approach that so many since the early church have taken, that only the scholars have enough intelligence to understand God’s Word. He meant it to be easy enough that anyone could, with the help of the Holy Spirit, understand what was being said. People tend to complicate it in ways God never intended.

[This is why the Hebrews were chastised for still needing milk, when they should have been on the meat (the O.T. scriptures are where a lot of this information is - remember, the N.T. wasn‘t compiled for them as it was for us, and Revelation hadn‘t been written until the end of John‘s life so he is speaking of the O.T. as the meat). This is why it is so important to study the O.T. So that you can correctly divide the Word of Truth by comparison. God says that His people are destroyed for their lack of knowledge. Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” This is a frightening condemnation, yet Christians blithely go their way not studying God’s Word which just might save them in the Day of Trouble. (Pr.22:3, 27:12).]

So the order according to Christ and Daniel is: the 70th week begins, the abomination of desolation occurs, the tribulation begins, the tribulation is cut short of the 3 ½ years, (we shall see how in Rev.) and the Day of the Lord begins (and will finish out the 3 ½ years), after which the Lord returns, which is in the next few verses.

Now at some point after the Day of the Lord signs, the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven. As Christ will be bringing New Jerusalem with him and that will be lit by the Shekinah glory of God, it might look like another sun in the sky. (See Rev. 21, esp. vs. 23-24) Possibly this is the sign of His appearance - a new “sun” (New Jerusalem).

The tribes of the earth will mourn. (this is the Jewish tribes - Zech. 12:10, Rev. 1:7)

The Son of Man will be seen coming in the clouds with power and glory. The 2nd coming will involve several identifying features. The first is clouds.

There will be a trumpet blast. This is a second identifying feature.

Christ will send the angels to gather his elect. These are the third and fourth identifying features. There are angels with him, and they gather His elect. They are not gathering people to throw into the winepress of God’s wrath, although the wicked will be thrown into the winepress afterward. This clearly says they are gathering His elect. They are gathering up Christians. (We have already given scriptures to show that Christians are the elect). So the 2nd coming involves Christ coming with 1) clouds, 2) a trumpet blast, 3) angels in attendance 4) who gather His elect to Him. Now, just as God gave us specific signs to identify the Day of the Lord, we are given specific signs to identify His coming and gathering us up. Anytime He speaks of our gathering, we should find some if not all of these mentioned signs. God wants us to understand and He is trying to make it easy.

Parable of the fig tree. When we see all of these things, we are to know it is at the door. This generation will not pass before these things are all fulfilled. Many interpret this as saying that the signs began when Israel became a nation as the fig tree is a symbol by which God called Israel. (Joel 1:7) and that its putting out leaves was when it started to gain back its land, especially Jerusalem in 1967. This is a possibility as Israel is now 61 years old (at the time of my writing this) and a generation is 70 years. From 1967 when it began to put out “leaves” would be 42 years, a generation by reckoning of the 40 year’s wandering in the wilderness. So two types of generations would end about the same time. It is easy to believe that things are about to begin, so it could easily be done before the generation that was born and saw Israel become a nation passes away. Another way to read this is that when we see the events occur that Christ tells us are the start of the end (vs. 15), it will be accomplished before another generation passes away. Given that in Luke it is not just the fig tree, but when the leaves of all the trees are put forth, the generation will not pass. As the fig tree is not the only tree, it now becomes irrelevant to Israel and just means that when you see the start of this, know that summer (Christ's coming) is near.

answer to comment

 The comment was sent to me:

"At the time of the Olivet discourse the church was a mystery. ...It is a mistake to read anything of the Gentile church in [it].....Jesus was Jews about Jews. "

I made no mention of the church. I have simply been going over what Christ taught. You have superimposed that idea onto what I have said. I have mentioned the rapture only in the context of saying that some say it is a secret and is not here in Matthew, when in fact it is. Jesus is speaking to His followers about His return for them, (not as Jews but as His followers. We call them Christians today (His followers that is) and know it more commonly as the church in our terminology and era, which was an unknown term to the disciples (they had no idea how big Christendom would become), but that doesn't change the fact that the targeted audience of his discourse were followers of Christ not unbelieving Jews. It is this sort of twisting of simple interpretation that leads to errors. Gentiles may be the greater number of believers, but there has always been a remnant of believing Jews. At the time of this discourse, there were both believing Jews and Gentiles. So Christ's discourse, although only addressing the disciples at that moment, would have been taught by the disciples (in the gospels and in person) to the other followers (who read the gospels) and that (their teachings) applied (and still applies) to all of His followers including Gentiles. This is just plain common sense understanding and straightforward exegesis. Saying that He was addressing Jews about Jews (meaning unbelieving Jews, for this is how you have interpreted this) is simply inaccurate. Their Jewishness is a moot point in this case as there is no Jew or Greek in Christ. He does not make that distinction in His followers, and He is addressing His followers, which includes all of us.

As to the church being a mystery, it wasn't to Christ. He knew whom He was addressing. He was addressing believers in Him, (whom He knew would be reading His Word for centuries to come) not unbelieving Jews (who never read the N.T.). While the disciples may not have yet quite understood the full implication of who He was and what was yet to happen at that time, they still believed He was the Son of God, their Messiah. And while the Holy Spirit may not have been poured out yet, they still were followers of Christ, which is the definition of a Christian. When Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote these gospels, they hoped unbelievers (both Jew and Greek) would read them and be saved, but they were written from the standpoint of believers telling other believers what the truth was. This discourse was not aimed at unbelieving Jews, no matter how much someone may want that to be the case. Christ is not returning in glory just for the unbelieving Jews to have a nation. He is returning to gather us to Himself. It is when they see (when they look upon Him whom they have pierced) His wondrous return that the unbelieving Jews will finally accept Him, after they see His return in glory and splendor (at the 2nd visible coming). Christ was addressing His followers here in the Olivet discourse, and if you are a follower that includes you. I realize that flies in the face of what you want to believe, as that is what you were taught. Believe it or not, so was I, but the discrepancy in what was being taught compared to the scriptures started to really bother me, and I started to study with the Lord's guidance instead of man's and realized that I had to throw away all pre-conceived ideas and start fresh. To find truth you have to let go of all pre-conceived ideas and doctrines and pray to learn truth. The problem is, the truth is extremely hard to take, so many cannot accept it. I Cor. 3:2. God cannot reveal truth to those who are unable to bear it, and it is very hard to bear.

Second comment:

"Please note that it was not Paul's trouble. No, it was trouble related to the Jews."

First, Christ does not label it Jacob's trouble. He does not specify that it will only apply to the Jews. He calls it the great tribulation for a reason. It was to apply to all of us. It will be a time of trouble related to the Jews, yes, but it will also be a time of great tribulation for the entire world including us. Antichrist is not a nice guy. Again, if the believers of Christ's day were told to expect to suffer through THE tribulation (and the disciples were), why on earth should we expect that it would no longer apply to us? Why should we get a free pass? Judgment begins with the house of the Lord. That is us and judging from the state of apostasy of Christendom, we deserve exactly that, don't we? God says He will purge and refine us to make us acceptable. Christians are not acceptable to God these days. He has said that Himself. Sorry if that is insulting, but it is the truth. I include myself here. It is a hard thing to walk righteously in this country and in this day and age, and we all struggle to maintain that walk. If someone is not struggling, then I would have some doubts, because even Paul struggled.

Third comment:

"Paul was the ONLY apostle that received revelation knowledge about the rapture."

Only if you deliberately choose to ignore the clear teachings of Christ, so that you can accommodate your belief system. The mystery about which Paul spoke was the fact that the gathering of those still alive is not an O.T. concept. Remember that the O.T. was really all these people had to study. So it was a "mystery" or a newly revealed secret in the sense that it had only been taught by Christ, not in the O.T. But it is clearly taught in the gospels. One will be taken, one left. After telling them that the angels would gather His elect, Christ told the disciples that people who were alive side by side would see one taken away. Gathered up to Christ. That is the rapture. Clear and simple. Unless you believe there is more than one rapture.

Fourth comment:

"God in His great mercy showed John the great crowd in heaven, too large to number, just before the 70th week is to begin, exactly when Paul tells us the rapture would take place.'

We haven't gotten to Revelation yet, and I don't like jumping ahead to address issues that would confuse people, but simple exegesis from all that we have gone over will show that the 70th week takes place a while before the multitude in heaven is shown. Actually Paul said that our gathering (the rapture) comes after the 2nd coming, which he then goes on to say will happen sometime after antichrist is revealed at the abomination of desolation. You need to reread that passage and keep it in the order given. Paul laid out an order of events which you will see, if you will be patient to wait until they are addressed, will fit perfectly with all other scriptures.

Fifth comment:

"This is no mystery, but it takes rightly dividing the word of God."

As to rightly dividing the Word of Truth. I agree, it is important to do so. And I believe I am, as I am not trying to superimpose a belief system onto the scriptures, but instead take my belief from the scriptures in the most literal, simple reading.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Second Coming of Christ Pt. 1

We will now be studying the scriptures that concern the Second Coming. We have already seen one in Thessalonians, and there is a Psalm which speaks about God coming in His glory. We will examine that first and then we will go to the gospels to see exactly what Christ has to say about His return. Again, it is necessary to have your Bible in hand and to read the passages before reading the comments.

In Psalm 18 David is crying out to the Lord for deliverance from his enemies. The Lord’s coming in this passage deserves close examination as it is quite similar to what we have already studied. The pertinent verses are 7-15.

When God comes the following events occur:

The earth trembles and quakes.
The foundations of the world are moved (not only earthquakes, but this parallels the Day of the Lord verse where the earth is moved out of its place in the heavens).
He is angry
There is smoke and fire.
The heavens are bowed (moved out of the way or parted - rolled back like a scroll).
There is darkness under Him.
He is attended by cherubs.
There are dark waters and clouds about him .
His presence is brightness.
He thunders in the heavens.
There are hailstones and coals of fire (burning hailstones) and lightning.
The channels of water and foundations of the world are discovered (implies that something happens to the seas and lands of the earth.

Notice how these events correspond to the Day of the Lord signs. There are some here which will also correspond to events in Revelation.

Matthew 24 & 25

In this crucial discourse, the disciples ask Jesus “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” When they asked Him, it was with the understanding that they were asking Him when He was going to come back to remain and reign. They wanted to know what the signs were that they could look for to signal them that the end of the age had come and that His return was about to take place. It is important to realize what their expectation was and what Christ told them so that we don’t read things into what He says that aren’t there. They did not conceive of a separate coming for believers apart from His Coming as King of Kings to punish the world and reign. This is very important to understand so that you understand these scriptures in context. Christ in His answer never indicates a separate event from His coming. He does not indicate in His answer that they are in any way wrong in their understanding of just one appearance. He instead gives them a list of signs to tell them what will lead up to His coming, and then He tells them what will happen when He does make His appearance. He will gather His elect. Some say the rapture is secret. Secret from whom? The disciples? Why would it need to be secret in the first place? Once He has come, it is too late for the rest of the world anyhow, so why would it need to be secret? It makes no sense. And would it be secret if a lot of people suddenly disappeared? Everybody has heard about this rapture theory. It is no secret. Why would He not tell the disciples about the rapture if it were separate from His coming? It’s illogical to think that he wouldn’t, and in fact He does tell them about the rapture. It is just that people refuse to accept that He is speaking about the rapture when He says He will gather His elect. If one stops and thinks, this is exactly how the disciples would have understood it. In the simplest possible way. Just exactly the way Christ says it, without interpreting it to mean anything other that what it says. The disciples would have understood that when Christ says He will gather His elect, He is speaking about them (or Christians). They would not have understood it in any other way, and neither must we. We have to understand it the way Christ intended them to understand it. And if one understands it in this way, it will be seen that it goes along with every other scripture on this subject without having to manipulate them.

These signs are given in a chronological order and must be kept in that order.

1st warning: Do not be deceived.

False christs will arise. There are numerous false christs in our generation alone.

Wars and rumors of wars. There are always wars going on somewhere.

This is not the end yet. In other words, we aren’t in the 70th week yet.

Nations (the word ethnos means nations and ethnic groups) and kingdoms will rise against each other. We certainly see that happening on an ongoing basis around the world.

Famine. We have seen terrible famines in places around the world.

Pestilences. Right now there is a panic about Swine Flu.

Earthquakes. They keep happening more often and are more severe all the time.

All of the above are called the beginning of sorrows. They are NOT the Day of the Lord, nor are they the time of Jacob’s trouble (tribulation such as the world has never seen).

Martyrdom of Christians. This has been happening since Christ died.

People will betray each other. This has been going on for a long time also.

False prophets will arise and deceive. Again, nothing new here.

The love of people (for each other) will grow cold. This is increasing as wickedness increases.

He who endures to the end will be saved. Notice that Christ says that the Christian will have to endure to the end to be saved. The very end is when Christ returns. Endurance (spiritual as well as physical ) is required as the times will be so horrific. The kind of endurance Christ is speaking about isn‘t just our living our selfish little lives in America in the lap of luxury while we escape any sort of trials and tribulation. 1 Pet. 4:17-18 “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" We are warned that at the end judgment will begin with us. So what makes people think they will escape this purging and refining fire in which Christians will scarcely be saved. This does not speak well of Christians.

The gospel is preached in the entire world. Today with television and the internet there are few places on the earth where it hasn’t been, however apparently this is not complete yet as the next step which hasn’t occurred yet (at least to the best of my knowledge) is……

THEN the end will come. This is where Christ is telling us the 70th week will begin. So what follows is within the 70th week.

The abomination of desolation, spoken of in Daniel, stands in the holy place. We now know from Daniel exactly what and when that is. An image of antichrist is set up in the temple and he proclaims himself God. Notice that Christ never mentions a seven year peace agreement. Why would He not mention this if it were to be so public and so identifiable? Chances are, it might not be. The first sign that He indicates will be within the 70th week is the abomination of desolation. So indeed the rebuilding of the temple might be the first sign we see, as was speculated when we studied Daniel.

Those in Judea need to flee. Jews will flee for protection from antichrist, we will see this again in Revelation.

There will be great tribulation such as has never been since the beginning of the world to that time, nor shall there ever be again. Here is Jacob’s trouble. Take note that by Christ’s definition, the Tribulation begins after the abomination of desolation, the same as we found in Daniel. Therefore the Tribulation does not run seven years. It is not the same thing as the 70th week of Daniel. It is within the 70th week. Specifically it begins at the midpoint of the 70th week. This is according to definition by the scriptures themselves, not by my say so. So to call the 70th week the Tribulation period is an inaccurate use of the word. This inaccuracy leads to confusion and misinterpretation.

The days of the tribulation will be shortened. (won’t last for the entire 3 ½ years) for the sake of the elect. Christians are the elect. Rom. 8:33, Col. 3:12, Titus 1:1, 1 Pet. 5:13, 1 Thess. 1:4, 2 Pet. 1:10. We will see how and why the days are shortened in Revelation. This means that Christians should expect to be around during the tribulation. The disciples would have had no other understanding than this, that they were to expect that they might have to go through the tribulation or Jacob’s trouble if they survived that long. This is not because they are Jews. They are Christians, just like us. In realizing that the disciples would have accepted that they might have to go through the tribulation, we must accept that this understanding also applies to us. It doesn’t wash to say that it was a secret that wasn’t revealed to them. Paul’s understanding would have been the same as theirs. And what he writes goes along with this belief if one will approach the scriptures with a logical and straightforward exegesis.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Day of the Lord Pt. 4

Now that we have gone over all the scriptures, we need to make a list of signs that we can study so that we can be familiar with them and recognize them when we come across them. The following is a summary of the signs from Day of the Lord scriptures.

Heavenly signs and environmental destruction that precede or are a part of the Day of the Lord.

There are wonders in the heavens.
The sun is darkened.
The moon turns to blood and is darkened.
The stars are darkened and fall, stars dissolved.
The sky is rolled back like a scroll.
The heavens tremble and pass away with a roar.
There are clouds.
There is darkness and gloom.
There is blood, fire, and smoke.
The earth shakes and trembles (earthquakes)
The earth is moved out of its orbit.
The land is desolated (laid waste).
The streams are turned to pitch, rivers dry up.
The ground is turned to burning asphalt.
A burning fire devours the land.
The earth is burned up.
The elements are destroyed by heat

The sinner’s reaction to the events of the Day of the Lord and his punishment upon them.

Man’s rebellion precedes all events.
The arrogant are humbled.
Men flee to the caves and hide in the rocks and holes.
People faint and their hearts will melt (with fear).
Men will throw away their idols of silver and gold.
Mankind will be in terror, pain, and anguish.
Sinners will be destroyed.
Feasts turned to mourning, songs to lamentations.
Wicked are trampled.
Children killed before their parents eyes.
Men kill indiscriminately.
Incredible slaughter of mankind.
Men will tremble (with fear).
Mankind will be taken by surprise at this sudden and unexpected destruction.
There will be a sudden end to all people.
Men’s blood will be poured out and their flesh rotted.
Heads become bald.
Famine of God’s word.
People seek God’s word and can’t find it.
As the wicked has done to God’s people, it comes back on them.
They will gather themselves against Jerusalem.
Two thirds of Israel will die.
The nations will ransack Jerusalem killing and raping and taking prisoners.
Will be destroyed in horrible flesh melting way when coming against Jerusalem.

The believer’s actions and reward.

The righteous are released and rise with healing (resurrection/rapture)
They are kept to the end by Christ.
They are pure and blameless before Christ.
Their spirit is saved.
They finish the course they have to run.
God’s work in them is complete.
They are not taken by surprise, are expecting it.
Are hidden in the Day of the Lord.
The remnant will find deliverance in Zion.
They are gathered up to Christ.
They look forward to a new heaven and a new earth.
Will have prophecies, dreams, and visions.
The feeble will become strong.
The Jews will mourn for not having realized Christ was their Messiah.
One third of Israel will be brought through the trial to be purged. They will accept Christ.
The remnant will flee through the valley created by Christ when the Mount of Olives splits.

God’s attitude and deeds in that day.

Wrath, cruelty and anger towards the unbelieving world
Silence before him before that day.
He will punish the world
He will pour out His spirit.
He will send Elijah before that day to warn people
He saves the righteous.
He is exalted.
He blows a trumpet.
He removes the restrainer to allow antichrist to reign.
Sends a delusion to those who refuse to believe the truth (even Christians today refuse to
believe truth and have substituted doctrines to scratch their itching ears)
His voice thunders.
He destroys the nations.
Is a day of battle.
Will have a sacrifice to which He bids guests.
Stirs the Medes (Iran?) up to destroy man in judgment.
Slaughters those in Bozrah and Idumea.
Is a day of His vengeance, a year of vengeance.
Makes man scarce (few left).
Consumes everything from the land.
Sends a famine.
Brings the nations into the valley for judgment.
Throws the wicked into his winepress.
He will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling and burdensome stone.
All that seek to have Jerusalem He will cut to pieces.
God will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
He will pour out his spirit of grace and supplication.
He will get rid of the idols, false prophets and unclean spirits.
Will send a pestilence on the nations battling Jerusalem that will melt their flesh off.

Antichrist’s deeds preceding the Day of the Lord

He is unrestrained
He is revealed.
He desecrates the temple and stops the sacrifices.
He sets himself up as god.
He displays counterfeit signs and wonders.
He deceives those who are perishing.

Babylon’s and the nations’ punishment

Babylon, the greatest of all kingdoms is overthrown.
Babylon will never be inhabited by humans again.
Babylon will be inhabited by wild animals and demons.
Edom’s streams and land will become pitch.
Edom will lie waste and not be inhabited.
Edom will be overgrown with thorns and brambles.
Moab & Ammon will be like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Moab & Ammon will be perpetually desolate.
Moab’s & Ammon’s spoils will be given to God’s people
Ethiopia will be slain and Assyria be destroyed.
Animals will dwell in the cities.
The city that dwells carelessly and thinks she is better than everyone else and impervious to anyone will be destroyed and hissed at.

A threatening army

A huge group of powerful persons will arise.
Fire goes before and follows after them.
They leave the land desolate.
Their appearance is similar to horses.
They leap from mountains.
They are dressed in battle array.
They run and don’t break ranks.
They are unable to be hurt.
They can go anywhere they want - in the streets, in houses.
They cause people to quake in fear.

This is just a portion of what will actually be going on before and during the Day of the Lord. We will see many of these signs again in the gospels and Revelation when we get there. God has given them to us so many times to ensure that we won’t miss them when they come up, not only in the scriptures we have yet to study, but He wants to be sure we don’t miss them in real life. He wants to make sure that when we see these signs we understand that it refers to the Day of the Lord, as many people do not seem to realize that these signs were given so that we would be able to discern the times (and timeline of events). That was what the Thessalonians had missed. They hadn’t seen the signs and should have known that they weren’t in the Day of the Lord, which is why Paul was a little frustrated with them. He probably felt that they hadn’t been listening to him.

God was trying to make it simple for us to understand, but some people love to complicate matters and spiritualize things to the point that they become meaningless, or they simply ignore the obvious looking for “deeper” meanings or “proof” for a theory that they want to believe, regardless of what the scriptures say. Both Christ and John refer to some of these signs quite specifically, and it was expected that those listening (in the early church) would know exactly about what they were referring, as they would have studied the O.T. scriptures and been familiar with all that we have just covered, and more. Unfortunately many people today think the O.T. is irrelevant and don’t study it to understand the references when they are given in the N.T. This is how they get off into bizarre and erroneous conclusions.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Day of the Lord Pt. 3

The New Testament references to the Day of the Lord and the Day of Christ are as follows.

Acts 2:17-20. The Spirit is poured out (vs. 17, 18); there will be visions, dreams, and prophecies (vs. 17); there will be wonders in heaven (vs. 19); There will be signs on the earth (vs. 19); there will be blood, fire, and smoke (vs. 19); the sun will turn dark (vs. 20); the moon will turn to blood (vs. 20).

1 Cor. 1:8. This speaks about the Christian’s state on the Day of Jesus Christ. We will be kept to the end, and we will be blameless on that day.

1 Cor. 5:5. This speaks to the state of a sinning Christian on the Day of the Lord. He is turned over to Satan (or in the case of the tribulation - antichrist) to the point of death, so that his spirit may be saved on that day. [Notice that this is speaking of a Christian who is not walking with the Lord will be turned over to Satan to be killed, so that he can be saved at the time of the end. Clearly if people were saved after a pre-tribulation rapture, they would not be carnal Christians as if they weren't willing to die, they wouldn't bother accepting the Lord to begin with. Therefore this indicates that careless Christians will unsuspectingly find themselves in the tribulation where they will be refined and purged, so that their spirits may be saved.]

Phil. 1:6, 10. God will not have completed His good work in the Christian until the Day of Christ. We will not be completed until then. (vs. 6); It is hoped we may be sincere and not guilty of offenses until that day arrives (vs. 10).

Phil. 2:16. We will not be able to boast of our success in having run the course and finished the race until that day.

1 Thess. 5:2-4, 9 . That day comes unexpectedly like a thief in the night to the unbelieving world when they think they are safe and secure. (vs. 2-3); believers are not to be surprised by that day’s arrival (vs. 4); it is a time of sudden destruction (vs. 3). God has not appointed us to wrath. (vs. 9). [This says God has not appointed us to His wrath (on the nations), not that He hasn't told us that we will suffer tribulation. In fact we have been told to expect exactly that. 1 Pet. 1:6-7, 4:12-13, Acts 14:22, Rom. 8:17, Rom. 8:35 - this says we will suffer tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, and the sword. These are all things associated with the end times. 2 Tim. 2:12, 2 Tim. 3:12.

2 Thess. 2:1-12. The Day of the Lord is associated with “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ AND our being gathered to him.” (vs. 1-2)[notice the order given - the 2nd coming and then the rapture]; The Day of the Lord cannot come until a falling away occurs (vs. 3); the Day of the Lord cannot come until antichrist is revealed (vs. 3); antichrist cannot be revealed until the person who restrains Satan and or his minions is removed from fighting them - or told to stop fighting them (vs. 6, 7); antichrist is revealed when he sets himself up in the temple as God (vs. 4); antichrist comes with signs and wonders (vs. 9); God sends a delusion to those who have refused to believe the truth, so they believe the lie and are condemned (vs. 11-12)

This particular passage is one that some end times theories tend to completely disregard in order to maintain their position. The theory that the entire 70th week of Daniel is the Day of the Lord is clearly refuted in this passage. It say that the Day of the Lord cannot begin until the following events occur:

1) a falling away (apostasia - the Greek definition here means defecting from or forsaking religion, or, as this refers to departing from what Paul taught, defecting from the truth). Some people, to align this scripture with the belief they espouse, erroneously think or say that the phrase falling away or apostasia means to depart from the earth. That allows them to put the rapture here. That is not what the Greek means at all in this instance. Here it means a deliberate departure, forsaking, defecting, or turning from religion or as I said in this case, Paul's teachings which were truth. Not a departure from a location. Think of how we use the word apostate. It doesn't mean someone who has left the building. It means someone who has left the teachings of the church. Any use of the word in the sense of departing a location is not found until five centuries later in classical literature, which is the furthest source from the Bible as sources for this word go. Christendom and Christians will deliberately turn their itching ears to false doctrines, as the truth is a very hard thing to take. We have other scriptures that tell us that this is the way to interpret this, even without the Greek definition. Check 2 Tim. 4:3-4. The rule is, scripture interprets scripture. So before the Day of the Lord begins, Christians will be turning away from God's word and the truth to accept false beliefs and doctrines.

2) After apostasy takes over the churches (which it already has) the next event is antichrist revealing himself. How does he do this? When he opposes God, and exalts himself above God demanding worship as God when he sits in the temple (again here is the abomination of desolation) pretending to be God. Paul seems a little frustrated, I think, by the fact that he had taught them this, but they hadn’t remembered it. Perhaps they weren’t paying attention like many today. So he goes over it again. Apparently because persecution was great, people thought they were in the Day of the Lord, but Paul needed to remind them that there were signs for which they should be looking. In other words, he had taught them that they should be looking for antichrist to proclaim himself God. They should be looking for a rebuilt temple in which antichrist would be able to proclaim himself God. That they should expect people to be falling away from the faith and running after doctrines of demons. That they didn't have to worry that they were in the Day of the Lord yet, which clearly they expected to have to experience, as they already thought they were in it. They were alarmed and panicked, (just as Christians will be when they find themselves undergoing antichrist's persecution) because it was (and will be) so horrific. No matter how great your faith, nobody, including Christ himself (remenber the garden scene?) looked or looks forward to being tortured and martyred. Of course they would be in a panic if they thought that day had arrived. And clearly they thought it had based on the persecution Christians were suffering, (plus it appears someone had told them that Paul and some of the other apostles were saying it had arrived). They had forgotten the signs. Just as the pharisees "forgot" the signs when Jesus came the first time. A big point is made of signs in the Old and New Testament for a reason. We are to watch for them so that we will know what is going on and what to expect. God wants us to understand. We are to study (to rightly divide the word of truth, 2 Tim. 2:15) and use our wisdom and understanding (get wisom, get understanding, Prov. 4:5, 7) to comprehend all that He has told us so that we will not be deceived. That is His biggest concern. We will see how many times we are warned to not be deceived. Already this group was being deceived by someone who was saying that Paul and the others were saying the Day of the Lord had come. God allowed them to be deceived for the purpose of letting Paul tell us a second time (after Christ first did in the gospels) that the Day of the Lord (God's wrath) does not come until after antichrist is revealed at the abomination of desolation. Apparently God thought (correctly) that people would choose to misinterpret what Christ had told them in the gospels, so he says it here in another place to reinforce what Christ said about the signs for which we are supposed to be looking.. (We will be studying the gospels next).

3) Paul reminds them of what he had told them, starting with why antichrist is able to be revealed. Before he can be revealed, something else has to happen. First the restrainer that battles him is removed. Paul says that they should know what is holding him back from doing this until the proper time has come. That the evil is already at work, but he that letteth will let until he is taken out of the way. This word let and letteth (actually the same Greek word) is an odd word in the English as it must have been used differently in King James day. It literally means to hold down, or hold back, or seize among other synonyms. So this is saying that antichrist won’t be revealed until the proper time when the one who is holding him back (restraining Satan from inhabiting or controlling this person) is taken out of the way. Remember how back in Daniel we saw that Michael fights Satan and that he was told to stand still at the time of Jacob’s trouble (abomination of desolation). Well, here we have a restrainer of Satan (and antichrist) being told to stand back and let Satan have full reign at the abomination of desolation. These two verses work hand in hand. I realize that most teachers say this is the Holy Spirit, but I have found no verses in the Bible that says it is the job of the Holy Spirit to do battle with Satan. The Holy Spirit’s job is to be our comforter, teacher, guide, etc. The only battles that the Holy Spirit fights with Satan are those that he fights through us when we fight against Satan’s influence and temptation in our lives. Also when this particular interpretation is used, (the Holy Spirit) part of this doctrine then says that multitudes of people will come to the Lord after this happens. Well, the problem then is that the Holy Spirit hasn’t been removed. Every believer is given the Holy Spirit. Nowhere in scripture is the Holy Spirit denied to a believer when he accepts Christ. You can’t have it both ways, that he is removed, and that he is still here. There is absolutely no scripture that would imply that this person who is holding back Satan is the Holy Spirit, but you do have scriptures that imply it is Michael. When the one who holds Satan back is told to stand aside, then the antichrist is revealed. He will be consumed by the Lord with the spirit of his mouth and the brightness of His 2nd coming.

4) Antichrist opposes God and exalts himself above God demanding worship as God when he sits in the temple, again a literal real temple ( here is the abomination of desolation spoken of in Daniel) pretending to be God. So the Day of the Lord can't come until after the abomination of desolation. We will later see that this is in agreement with Matt. 24 and the corresponding passages in Mark and Luke.

5) Antichrist, who is coming working for Satan, uses powers and signs and lying deceitful wonders to deceive the unrighteous, and they will perish because they would not love the truth that would save them. This all happens after the abomination of desolation.

6) Because of their refusal to accept the truth, God sends the world a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie that antichrist spins. Only those who know the truth (Christians who have studied this subject and are prepared. Christians who have not studied the truth or have itching ears are open to being deceived.) will not be deluded. We can speculate on what this delusion might be later on. In the meanwhile, those who believe the lie will be damned.

From this passage we see that it associates the coming of the Lord, the gathering to him, and the Day of the Lord as one event under the heading of the Day of the Lord. Many people with different theories will agree to part of that concept, (the Day of the Lord and gathering being at the same time) but they don't accept where that occurs according to this passage. If we accept this passage as truth, we are told that the Day of the Lord won't happen until after the abomination of desolation at the very earliest. So the order would seem to be the beginning of the 70th week, the abomination of desolation, the 2nd coming, the gathering unto him (rapture/resurrection) and then the Day of the Lord with the last three being closely on top of each other. What puzzles me is how people can take this verse, turn it around and say that the coming of the Lord is the last thing. That is clearly twisting scripture to fit your interpretation, not taking your interpretation from scripture.

2 Pet. 3:10-13. The Day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night (unexpectedly and suddenly) (vs. 10); the heavens pass away with a roar (vs. 10, 12); the elements are destroyed with intense heat (vs. 10, 12); the earth and its works are burned up (vs. 10); we are to look forward to a new heaven and new earth (vs. 13).

So we have a list of events that tell us what constitutes the Day of the Lord/Day of Christ so that we can pinpoint it in other scriptures when we see it. Next up will be a listing of those events, hopefully in a fairly chronological order.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Day of the Lord Pt. 2

Joel 1:15-20. It is a day of destruction from the Almighty (vs. 15); there is famine (vs. 17-18); fire has devoured all the pastures and trees (vs. 19); the rivers are dried up (vs. 20).

Joel 2: 1-11, 28-32. A trumpet is blown (vs.1); men tremble (vs.1); a day of darkness and gloominess (vs. 2); a day of clouds and thick darkness (vs.2); a huge group of powerful people, the like of which the world has never seen, arises (vs. 2); fire goes before them and follows after them. The land before they pass through is beautiful, but after they pass through is completely devastated and nobody will escape their destruction (vs. 3); the appearance of this “people” is similar to horses, but they run as if they were driven by charioteers (vs. 4); [this particular description shows up again in Revelation as we will see]; they create a great noise as many chariots or a roaring fire and leap as if from mountain tops (vs.5); they are in battle array (vs. 5); they will cause much pain to people (vs. 6); they will run like mighty men overcoming obstacles not breaking ranks as they do (vs. 7); they will not get in each other’s way, but will keep to their own path and are unable to be hurt. (vs. 8); they will have free run of the cities, will climb walls, will climb up on top of houses, and will enter them through the windows like a thief (vs.9); the earth will quake before these “people” (vs. 10); the heavens tremble (vs. 10); the sun is darkened (vs. 10, 31); the moon is darkened (vs. 10); the stars are darkened (vs. 10); the Lord thunders before the army He has sent (vs. 11); it is a dreadful day (vs. 11, 31); God’s spirit is poured out (vs. 28, 29); a day of prophecies, dreams, and visions (vs. 28); there will be wonders in the heavens and on the earth (vs. 30); there will be blood, fire, and pillars of smoke (vs. 30); the sun will be darkened (vs. 31); the moon will be turned to blood (vs. 31); these heavenly signs precede (or herald the arrival of) the Day of the Lord. (vs. 31); in Mount Zion in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance for the remnant that the Lord calls (to go there).

Joel 3:1-16. The nations will be brought down into the valley of Jehoshaphat where God will render judgment on them for what they have done to Israel. (vs. 1-12); God will reap the harvest and throw it in the press for pressing because their wickedness is great. (vs. 13) [We will run across this picture again in Revelation] Multitudes are in the “valley of decision” where God will judge the nations (vs. 14). The sun is darkened (vs. 15); the moon is darkened (vs. 15); the stars are darkened (vs. 15); the Lord will roar his voice (vs. 16); the heavens and earth shake (vs. 16);

Amos 5:18,20: It is a day of darkness and not light.

Amos 8:9-13. The sun will go down at noon, (this could indicate that it doesn’t merely go dark, but that the earth’s orbit has been altered) the earth will be darkened. (vs. 9), feasts will turn to mourning, songs into lamentations, people will wear sackcloth (a sign of mourning) and heads will become bald. (vs. 10), there will be a famine of God’s word. People will seek it but it won’t be found. They will faint for not being able to hear the truth. (vs. 11-13) (God’s word is outlawed in many countries, and in the end, may be outlawed in the entire world)

Obadiah 15 - 17. As the heathen have done to God’s people, it will be done to them. (vs. 15-16). Upon Mount Zion will be deliverance for God’s people. (vs. 17).

Zephaniah 1:1-18. God will consume all things from off the land - man and beast, birds, fish, and man. (vs. 1-6); There is silence before the Day of the Lord. (vs. 7); it is the day of the Lord’s sacrifice and He has bid guests come (the wedding feast in Revelation) (vs. 7); in that day of sacrifice, God will punish the people (vs. 8-11); God will search Jerusalem and punish those who live there who don’t believe (vs. 12-13); it is a day of wrath, trouble and distress (vs. 15); a day of darkness and gloominess, clouds and thick darkness (vs. 15); a day of trumpet and battle cry (vs. 16); a day of distress for men who will be as if blind, because of their sins, their blood will be poured out and flesh will become like dung (vs. 17); silver and gold can’t deliver people from God’s wrath (vs. 18); the whole land is consumed (vs. 18); a sudden end to all (or most) of the people on earth (vs. 18)

Zephaniah 2: 1-15. The Lord’s anger will come upon nations (vs. 2); those who seek the Lord‘s righteousness may be hidden in the day of the Lord‘s wrath (vs. 3); the Lord will destroy the sea coasts and shall give it to the remnant of the house of Judah. (vs. 4-7); Moab and Ammon will be as Sodom and Gomorrah, a perpetual desolation and the spoils shall be given to the remnant of God’s people and they will possess the people because of their pride and thinking they were better than God’s people (vs. 9-10); the Lord will create a famine for the gods of the heathen as all people will worship Him (vs. 11); He will slay the Ethiopians and will destroy Assyria. (vs. 12-13); animals will take over and dwell there (vs. 14); these previous verses refer to these nations, but there is a further reference that has a more spiritual application. The city that dwells carelessly thinking she is above everybody else and there is no other like her will become a desolation, a place for beasts to roam and live in. Everyone that passes by her will hiss at her and shake their head at her destruction. (vs. 15). Note the similarity between the descriptions regarding Babylon, Edom, Moab, Ammon, and Syria. It will be seen as we go through these prophecies that there are certain prophecies regarding a city, country, or sometimes it refers to a woman or whore, which are repeated over and over. In the short term prophecies it applies to the different countries mentioned, but as in so many prophecies there is a long term application, we will see that in the long term it applies to one place in particular, the Babylon of Revelation, which we shall learn about in time. While there are more verses describing her, we are presently just studying the verses that directly mention the Day of the Lord, so will leave the passages about Babylon for a later study.

Zech. 12:2-3. God will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people around .(vs. 2) It will be a burdensome stone for all the people. Everyone that seeks to have it will be cut in pieces. All the people of the earth will be gathered against it. (vs. 3)

Zech. 12:8-10. The Lord will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Those that are feeble will be as David, and the house of David like God with the angel of the Lord before them. (vs. 8). The Lord will destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. (vs. 9). God will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem the spirit of grace and supplication. They will look upon Christ whom they pierced and will mourn as they recognize who he is. They will be bitter about their error. (vs. 10).

Zech. 13:1-3 . There will be a fountain to cleanse the sins of the Jews in Jerusalem. (vs. 1). The Lord will cut off the idols and get rid of the prophets and unclean spirits in the land (vs. 2). False prophets will be killed by their own parents. (vs. 3)

Zech. 13:8-9. Two thirds of the inhabitants in the land(of Israel) will die. (vs. 8). One third of the people will be brought through the tribulation and Day of the Lord to be refined. Then they will call on the Lord, accept Christ and will be God’s people again. (vs. 9)

Zech. 14:1-9. God will gather all nations against Jerusalem for battle (vs.2) the city will be taken, the houses ransacked, the women raped, and half of the city become prisoners of war. The rest will remain. (vs.2) The Lord will fight the nations (vs.3) The Lord will stand on the Mount of Olives and it will split in two from east to west creating a great valley or divide between the northern and southern part of the mountain.(vs.4) And the remnant will flee through this valley while the Lord comes with the saints (this will be at Armeggedon at the very end as we will see in Revelation) (vs.5) It will be a day unlike any other for it won’t be either day or night, but at evening it will be light. (vs. 6-7). (We will see how this strange day might appear later) In that day, living waters will flow out from Jerusalem. Half toward the sea and half toward the hinder sea (presumably the Mediterranean and Dead Seas). It will flow all year. (vs.8) The Lord will be king and Lord over all the earth. (vs.9).

Zech. 14:12. The plague that the Lord will use to smite all the enemies that have come against Jerusalem is: their flesh will be consumed (melted away) from their bodies while they are still standing. They eyes will melt away in their eye sockets and their tongues in their mouths also. While I don’t believe this is one, this is a description of something of the magnitude of a nuclear bomb. I believe this is the Lord doing this, but it has the same effect as a bomb of that sort would. The description reminds me of the first Indiana Jones movie when they open the Ark of the Covenant. Perhaps this is where they got the idea for that scene.

Malachi 4:1-6. It is a day of burning (vs. 1); the arrogant are burned with fire (vs. 1); the righteous are released and rise (resurrection/rapture) with healing (vs. 2); the wicked are trampled (vs. 3); the prophet Elijah comes before the Day of the Lord (vs.5)

These are the main verses that specifically refer to the Day of the Lord in the Old Testament. There are numerous more that refer to this period of time, but not specifically by this particular name. I believe there is enough information in these and the New Testament scriptures that will help us to positively put this event in the correct place and order in the gospels and Revelation.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Day of the Lord Pt. 1

Now we are going to study some concepts, rather than a particular book. The first will be the Day of the Lord. The second will be the Second Coming of Christ. The third will be the resurrection/rapture.

The Day of the Lord is a phrase that is repeated over and over throughout the scriptures. In every case, it refers to the day of judgment of the world by God. It has another name in the New Testament. There it is sometimes referred to as the Day of Christ. When speaking of the Day of Christ, it is from the standpoint of the Christian’s life and how we will be kept to that day, saved on that day, etc. It is the same event, but seen from two perspectives, the unbeliever’s and the Christian’s.

We will start with the Old Testament scriptures about The Day of the Lord. When one goes through all of the prophets, it can be seen that there are other names that refer to this day. One is simply “That Day”. Others are “the day of vengeance, the day of temptation, the day of wrath, the day of evil, the day of battle, the day of adversity, the day of calamity, and the day of visitation”. Because trying to cover all of these references would take a very long time (basically we are talking entire books of the prophets in some cases), and I really want to get a synopsis of the events that are constantly repeated, we will only catch the verses that refer to the Day of the Lord in particular, and possibly some that refer to “that day”. As needed we will go back and catch others that help us to understand the scriptures in Revelation and elsewhere, but for now, I will restrict them to the following. Rather than type in the verses themselves, I will give the references for you to look up and then will outline the events associated with that day. Through this, we will get a clear picture of what events herald or constitute the Day of the Lord and the ordering of them, which will help us to put together a time line that will tell us what is to be expected of that day.

The following are the Old Testament scriptures. After covering all of the scriptures, they will be assembled in an orderly outline. It will be seen that the verses speak of the same events over and over. It would be best to read the passage before reading the listing of events.

Is. 2:10-22. The events listed in these verses are: arrogant men humbled (vs. 11, 12, 17); the Lord is exalted (vs. 11, 17) men hide in holes in the rocks and caves of the earth (vs.10, 19, 21); silver and gold idols are thrown away (vs. 18, 20); and the earth shakes (vs. 19, 21)

Is. 13:6-22. Destruction from the Almighty (vs. 6); people will faint and hearts melt from terror (vs. 7); men are seized by terror, pain, and anguish (vs. 8); it is a day of wrath, cruelty, and anger (vs. 9, 13); the land is made desolate (vs. 9); sinners are destroyed (vs. 9); the stars are darkened (vs. 10); the sun is darkened (vs. 10); the moon is darkened (vs. 10); the world is punished (vs. 11); the arrogant man is humbled (vs. 11); man will become scarce, so many will die (vs. 12); the heavens tremble (vs. 13); the earth will be moved out of its place (the world‘s orbit will be changed) (vs. 13); people will run and flee, but they will be killed. (vs. 14-15); their children will be killed before them. (vs. 16); the Medes will be stirred up to destroy mankind (vs. 17); they don’t regard silver or gold (vs. 17); they will kill indiscriminately with no regard for women, children or even babies (vs. 18); Babylon the greatest of all the kingdoms will be overthrown in the same manner as Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited again except by animals and desert demons. (vs. 19-21)

Is. 34:1-17. A day of anger and wrath on all nations (vs. 2); it is the destruction of nations (vs. 2); there is incredible slaughter (vs. 3); the stars of heaven are dissolved (vs. 4); the sky is rolled up like a scroll (vs. 4); and the stars fall (vs. 4). It is a day of judgment (vs. 5); the Lord will slaughter those in Bozrah (a place in Edom) as a sacrifice, and there will be a great slaughter in Idumea (Edom) (vs. 6); it is the day of the Lord’s vengeance, and a year of recompenses for what has happened in Zion (Jerusalem) (vs. 8); the streams will be turned to pitch (asphalt) (vs. 9); the ground into burning asphalt which shall not be quenched night or day with the smoke going up forever (vs. 9-10); it will lie waste and nobody shall go there again forever (vs. 10); only animals will live there and its former nobles will not be found (vs. 11-12); thorns and brambles will take over the buildings (vs. 13); it will be a place only for animals and desert demons (vs. 14).

Jeremiah 46:10. It is a day of vengeance. the Lord has a sacrifice in the north country by the Euphrates.

Ez. 7:19. People cast their silver and gold in the streets. It won't save them.

Ez. 13:5. It is a day of battle.

Ez. 30:3. It is a day of clouds, it is time of the heathen.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Daniel 12

In chapter 12 we start with a scene in heaven. Michael stands up. This would sound as though he is sitting down doing nothing and stands up to do something, but this is not what this is saying. The definition would indicate that he stands still or ceases to do what he has been doing. In other words, he has been moving around doing something and is told to stand up or stand still, as you would say to a person whom you want to stop moving around. We know from previous Scriptures that Michael fights on behalf of Israel. He is their prince, and that is reiterated here also. It says he is the great prince who stands (represents and fights) for Israel. He was the one who was called to fight the prince of Persia (this could be Satan due to this being the throne of his reign on earth at this time, or it is one of his highly placed minions whose area of authority is Persia). We know that he fought Satan for the body of Moses in Jude 9. He seems to be Satan’s counterpart and the one who contends with him, as Satan is not the counterpart of Christ, as some seem to believe. Christ is God’s Son. Satan is merely a created being who was the top angel. Now Michael is the archangel. Since Israel has always been the main target (now along with Christians) of Satan, it is Michael with whom Satan constantly battles.

When Michael ceases to fight against Satan, he will no longer have anyone restraining him from doing what he wants to do to Israel and the saints, and there will be a time of trouble such as has never been since the nation of Israel was born. Notice that it is when Michael stands still or up and ceases to fight, as he has been doing for millennia, that this time of great trouble starts. That time is known in Scripture as the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jer. 30:7). In Jeremiah it is referring to a time that comes sometime after the return of Israel to the land and its becoming a nation. There follows a time of great trouble such as never has been the like before. Both of these events (here in Daniel and in Jeremiah) are the same event, so it is commonly referred to as the time of Jacob’s trouble. At that time the Jews will be delivered, (we will find this again in Revelation) at least those whose names are found written in the book (presumably the Book of Life) and who will accept Christ as their Messiah when he returns. Then those who sleep in the dust (are dead) will awake (are resurrected). Some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting shame and contempt. We will find when we study Revelation that there is 1000 years between these two resurrections. Notice that the time of Jacob’s trouble, (which in other verses will be labeled the tribulation) is mentioned before the resurrection (which includes the rapture) occurs. We will also find out more about what goes on at this time between Michael and Satan when we get to Revelation.

Now those that are wise (understand God’s word) shall shine brightly (really stand out as God’s people) and those who lead those to the Lord will shine as the stars forever. Daniel is told to shut up the words and seal the book as it is for the time of the end. This book is not to be understood until the time of the end. This would verify that the prophecies, although fulfilled in many ways, are still to be fulfilled. Many will run to and fro, and knowledge will be increased. This can be taken two ways. Literally, many do run to and fro across the world. Our transportation allows this today. And knowledge has increased dramatically from Daniel’s time. Our technology would seem miraculous to them. Another way of looking at this verse is less literal and more spiritual. People will go back and forth in the Scriptures looking for answers, and their knowledge will increase because of it. Either way works.

Daniel then sees two more angels. One of them asks the angel that has been telling all of this to Daniel how long it will be until the end of all that he has been describing. The angel in linen swears by God that it will be for a time, times, and a half. We have already run into this phrase in a previous chapter and know that it means there will be 3 ½ years from the time antichrist has power over the people until it is all finished. Daniel says that he doesn’t understand what is being said and he asks what the end of all of this will be. He is told to just go about his business as usual, that the words are closed (not going to be revealed) until the time of the end (the end times). Many will go through trials to be purified and made white, but the wicked will continue as always and not have a clue as to what is going on. But the wise (people of God who study) will understand what is written in the Bible prophecies. Then he gives Daniel a timeline. From the time that the daily sacrifice is stopped by antichrist and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Those who wait and come to the thousand three hundred and thirty-fifth day will be blessed (we will see what this means later). Then Daniel is told to carry on, for until the end he will “rest” (die in the Lord and wait for the resurrection) and take his place at the end of days.

There are several time references that we really need to remember from this chapter. We have already run into the 3 ½ years, but it is reiterated again that there will be 3 ½ years in which antichrist will have power over the people to persecute and kill them. Now we are given two more lengths of days, 1290 and 1335.

So from Daniel we have learned that there is a literal 7 year period in which God will wrap everything up and then issue in righteousness. That halfway through that time antichrist stops the sacrifice, desecrates the temple and sets up an abomination of desolation. He also at this time sets himself up as God.

At this same time something happens in heaven as Michael is suddenly told to stand back out of the way and Satan is given free reign without restraint. Because of this, there will be a time of trouble (Jacob’s trouble or tribulation) such as the world has never seen before. We know from previous chapters, as well as this one, that the saints will be given over to antichrist’s hand to be persecuted and killed for 3 ½ years and then he will be judged, (so this is talking about the last half of the seven years). We know that after the abomination of desolation that those who are wise shall fall in order to be purged (another reference to the last half of the seven years). Since we know that this time of persecution (time of Jacob’s trouble) appears to start when antichrist stops the sacrifice and declares himself God, it is apparent that whatever happens in heaven when Michael is told to stand still, precipitates this abomination of desolation and the start of the time of Jacob’s trouble. As we get into the New Testament scriptures, we shall see that indeed this is the order of events. Then we have the resurrection occurring.

From the time that the sacrifice is stopped halfway through the seven years, we are told there will be 1290 days to the end. This number is important in helping us to decipher something in Revelation so we need to keep it in mind. Those who make it to the 1335th day are blessed. This is 45 days later. Why would there be a blessing for reaching this day? We shall later see that this day is already a special day for Israel, and it will most certainly be a blessing to those who reach it.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Daniel 11 Pt. 2

Antichrist returns into his land with his booty from his trip south, and his heart is against the holy covenant. Some people interpret this holy covenant as being a peace treaty antichrist has made with Israel, but it says a holy covenant. A sacred covenant. This would be referring to God’s covenant with His people Israel to give them a world reigning nation, not some treaty by antichrist. Satan is very against God fulfilling this promise. He wasn’t able to stop the Messiah from being born, but if he can stop the promise God made to Israel that they would have a kingdom reigned over by the Messiah, Satan will have proved God a liar. Even though Satan lost the big battle when Christ died for our sins, he still wants to win any battle he can (although he can’t). If he could make God a liar, he would win. (but he won‘t). The verse says that he will do “exploits”. In fact there is no word at all in the Hebrew. This word is an insert word to finish the sentence as in the original it simply says he will “do”. In other words, keep busy doing things. Then it says again that he will return to his own land. One by necessity must assume that whatever these things are he has been doing to keep busy have taken him away from his land, since he is returning yet again. Now we are told that the appointed time has come (ostensibly for the end) and he will again make a push at the southern kingdom. But it won’t turn out as it did before. Ships from Chittim (This can mean “islands” or “from the opposite shores”) will come against him, and he will have to return to his land, this time very depressed. He is indignant against the holy covenant and again does things, even having intelligence with the Jews who are not believers in God. The word intelligence here means it in the way we think of military intelligence today. And arms (basically this means forces as in armed forces) do his work for him by polluting the temple. They shall take away the daily sacrifice and they will place an abomination that will desolate (stun and devastate are two of the definitions for desolate) the temple. Stun is a good word as this will stun the world. As we will see later, an image of antichrist (not Zeus this time) will be set up and people forced to worship him. Those that do wickedly against the covenant (against God’s people and the temple) he will corrupt even further by his deceit and flattery. But the people of God will be strong (in the Lord) and be able to do things. Those that understand (those who have studied God’s Word and know what is going on and what to expect), will teach others (those who will listen). But still these will be persecuted in a variety of ways. When they do fall, there will be some who try to help, but not from a sincere belief in what they are teaching. Of those that fall, some fall to try them, to purge them, and to make them clean. They have not been living lives that were quite right with the Lord. And this will continue up to the end.

Next it says that the king (antichrist) will do whatever he wants, and will exalt himself as a god above all other gods, and will speak marvelous (this word marvelous also translates as miraculous and wondrous, or by our standards, unbelievable) things against God. He will continue to reign and prosper until the indignation (this translates as fury of God’s displeasure) is accomplished. God is allowing antichrist to do this to purge the saints and punish the world. This (antichrist’s reigning) is not God’s wrath, (that is yet to come) it is a time of severe tribulation, but He is allowing it for the purposes of purging and punishing. What has been determined (or agreed upon as we will see later) must be done. The antichrist will not regard (understand or give any importance to) the God of his fathers. He will not regard (again to understand or give any importance to) the desire (this also translates as delight) of women, nor will he regard any god - not even the heathen ones, for he makes himself out to be god. Now there is debate as to what the phrase the desire of women means. Some think this means he will be a homosexual, and in this day and age that is not a far-fetched idea. What makes that seem out of place though, is that just before and just after that phrase it is speaking of his regard of God or gods. It seems incongruous to put homosexuality in the middle of those two. Another way to understand the phrase is that Daniel is speaking to a Jewish audience. A Jewish woman’s fervent desire was to be the mother of the Messiah that would save the nation. They knew one was promised, and they all desired to be the one who would bring him into the world. The word in the dictionary seems to be a noun not a verb, so that would seem to indicate the second interpretation. This would then fit within the other two. He would not have any regard for Christ. This would seem then to say that he has no regard for God, Christ or even the pagan gods.

In the place of the real God he will honor the God of forces (defenses, fortresses, or war). This would seem to indicate his “god”, as it were, is military might and war. We know he magnifies himself and sets himself up as a god. He only worships the power that brings him the worship of others. From the word "forces" it would seem that he believes in having military power (bombs, nukes, armies, etc.) that instills fear in others. He will honor a god his fathers didn’t know with treasures. This would seem to indicate, since we know that worship of any god other than the true god is worship of Satan, that his fathers worshiped the true God. This could indicate his lineage is of Jewish or Christian antecedents. While he sets himself up as a god, he is still possessed by a demon, and the demon knows that Satan is his boss and he needs to acknowledge him. He will do all this in the most fortified places by the power of a “strange” (foreign or heathen) god. Ultimately this is speaking of Satan, as we know he will empower antichrist and he is the heathen's god after all. He will acknowledge and give glory to this god of his. Again, we know that he is Satan’s facsimile of a “son”, just as Christ is God’s Son. He will have “them” (we must assume this is his ten cohorts) rule over many people and will divide the land up for what appears to be financial purposes.

[update on October 25, 2010 - New information brings new light to this passage, and a more thorough discussion of it can be found within the Revelation chapter 20 blogs, under "Re-evaluated Scriptures". As will be seen in later blog entries, it appears that the antichrist will be the Muslim Mahdi. As such some of the above now makes new sense. He honors a god that his fathers did not know. A Muslim's ancestor's during Daniel's time would have not known Allah. He was the god that Mohammed declared to be god, and was not known as "the" god by the people of that area until after Mohammed. Also Allah is a god of war, a god of forces or military might. Islam is a religion of jihad. Conversion is accomplished by force if necessary, and death is the option if refusal is the choice. As for not regarding the desire of women, Muslim women in Muslim countries are considered lower than the low when it comes to their desires. He won't care what they might like. Their desires will be irrelevant to him. They will wear clothes that completely cover them, including obscuring their vision, and they will do as told. ]

At the time of the end the king of the south (still an unidentified nation) will push against him, and the king of the north (again unknown quantity) will come against him suddenly with a lot of armed forces. He will push back against both kings and go into their countries and will overpower them. He will enter into Israel and overthrow a bunch of countries. Edom, Moab, and Ammon will be the only ones to escape this. There may be a reason for this as we will see later. He will continue to extend his power base into Egypt and other countries, including Ethiopia, Libya and no doubt others, taking their wealth away from them. News from the east (country unknown) and north (Russia?) will trouble him and anger him. He will be bent on destroying everyone. He will set up his palace or home between the seas (Mediterranean and Dead) in the holy mountain. In other words the temple mount. He will come to an end and nobody will help him to stop that from happening.

This is a long list of military battles. One has to be very on top of the news in the Middle East to keep on top of all of these battles. More important than the battles is the information on the abomination of desolation. It will be this event that we will see Christ referencing when telling the disciples about what to expect at the end of days just before His return. It is because of Christ’s reference to this event that we can start putting together the timeline that begins here in the book of Daniel.