Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Two Sabbaths of Matthew 28

"A vital text proving that there were two Sabbaths in that week has been obscured by almost every translation into English."
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.13

I think HWA had a fine little thing going with the "two Sabbaths" argument. It was quite convincing. One of his premier arguments! It certainly convinced me for a number of years. But can it hold up to our intense scrutiny here at ABD?

What Herbert Armstrong did was to make a huge deal about the Greek word “sabbaton” that is improperly translated as "Sabbath" in Matthew 28: 1 [KJV]. He assigned an unconventional explanation to the verse, and with that wedge he attempted to split apart almost 2,000 years of Christian tradition. Before we start, I need to fill in a small background detail regarding how HWA viewed the timing of the death and resurrection of our Lord:
"Jesus was crucified on a Wednesday, the middle day of the week. He died shortly after 3 p.m. that afternoon; was buried before sunset Wednesday evening. Now count three days and three nights. His body was Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights in the grave - three nights. It also was there through the daylight part of Thursday, Friday and Saturday - three days. He rose Saturday - the Sabbath - late afternoon, shortly before sunset, at the same time of day that He was buried!"
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.12
Anyone who has spent any time in Adventism knows this depiction. But there becomes an issue between understanding how time is counted by the modern American mind, and the ancient Hebrew mind. Some people treat the Bible as if it was originally written in English. Also, there is an issue regarding Sabbaths. The Gospel accounts only mention one Sabbath, but then we come to Matthew 28: 1. It is clear that the word "Sabbath" in this one verse can be plural under the right circumstances. 
At any rate, what Herbert Armstrong concluded was this:
"There is only one possible explanation: After the annual high-day Sabbath, the feast day of the days of Unleavened Bread - which was Thursday - these women purchased and prepared spices on Friday, and then they rested on the weekly Sabbath, Saturday, according to the commandment (Ex. 20:8-11)."
-Herbert W Armstrong, "The Resurrection Was Not on Sunday", 1972, p.13
HWA said "There is only one possible explanation," and with that I take exception!
It is not the only explanation.

SABBATON

The word "Sabbath" is translated from the Greek word "sabbaton." What can we see about this word?
According to the New Testament Greek Lexicon, the second definition of this word is thus:
"2. seven days, a week"
-New Testament Greek Lexicon, Copyright © 2001-2010, Heartlight, Inc.
Seven days? A week? What is that supposed to mean?
Turns out it means the word translated as "Sabbath" can represent all 7 days of the week, as well as just the seventh day, depending on context. This is much the same thing as calling your car your “wheels.” Wheels are only part of a car, but they represent the whole thing.
This from a Wikipedia article on the Sabbath:
"By synecdoche (naming a part for the whole), the term "Sabbath" also came to mean simply a seven-day week in Jewish sources by the time of the Septuagint, namely, the interval between two Sabbaths. Jesus's parable of the Pharisee and the Publican describes the Pharisee as fasting "twice a week" (Greek dis tou sabbatou, literally, "twice of the Sabbath")."
-"Sabbath". WikiPedia. 3-20-2010 at 12:35 PM. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabbath
Now that you understand what we’re dealing with here, can we be confident that it affects Matthew 28: 1? The answer to that is, yes! Adam Clarke’s Commentary can help us here.
"In the end of the Sabbath - Οψε δε σαββατων. After the end of the week: this is the translation given by several eminent critics; and in this way the word οψε is used by the most eminent Greek writers."
-Adam Clarke, Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible, chapter XXVIII, Commentary on Matthew 28
So, “Sabbath” in Matthew 28: 1 is plural, not because it represents two Sabbaths [Thursday and Saturday], but it is plural because it represents the week [Saturday to Saturday].

Still, I would feel much better if I had some contextual support for this. Do we have any insight into the context? Yes!
The entire point of this verse is to tell us when these things happened.

(MAT. 28: 1) Now after the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn...
(MAR. 16: 1) Now when the Sabbath was past...
(MAR. 16: 2) Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week...
(LUK. 24: 1) Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning...
(JOH. 20: 1) Now the first day of the week... 
*All of these are from the NKJV.

All of these verses tell us about Sunday morning hours right before sunrise - the timing of the resurrection. Timing is key! All of these verses are telling us about the time Jesus was resurrected. The weekly Sabbath came and went, and now, early on Sunday morning we focus. That is the context. Matthew is focusing on this time. This timing is key! Because the context is "when did we first know Jesus had risen?"

And in that context, what Matthew is telling us, in his peculiarly Hebrew way, is "at the end of the previous week, as the first day of the next week began to dawn..." Matthew is saying nothing at all that the other Gospel writers did not also say. He simply says the same thing in a different, and very Hebrew, fashion.

I want you to know that there are some Armstrongists who claim that Matthew 28: 1 supports a Saturday resurrection. This is simply not possible. The phrase "in the end" literally means "after" not "during". I have read people who assert "began to dawn" is a forgery added later. Based on what scholarly evidence? None. In their minds, if the Bible does not support their belief, then the Bible is wrong. But for us who take a less ideologically fundamentalist approach to the pursuit of truth, Matthew 28: 1 precludes a Saturday resurrection. As do all of the other Gospels.

We get no mention whatsoever from the other Gospel writers about there being two Sabbaths at the end of that week. (Just because it doesn't say anything, doesn't mean it didn't happen. But we have learned to require more than HWA's word.) But given this information that you now know, doesn’t this silence speak volumes? The other Gospels aren't saying anything about timing that Matthew didn't say, and Matthew isn't saying anything about timing that they didn't say. We don’t need to invent elaborate scenarios if we simply stick to the simple and well known explanation.

Want more evidence? OK! I'd love to!

A SECOND SABBATON

Let's look at the beginning of Matthew 28: 1 in Greek: "Opse de sabbaton, ho epiphosko eis heis sabbaton..."
Notice anything odd in there? That's right! "Sabbaton" appears twice! What this means is astoundingly bad for HWA. 

Look at the very same phrase once again, this time we'll put the Greek into the NKJV English:
"Now after the Sabbath [sabbaton], as the first day of the week [sabbaton] began to dawn..."

So, sabbaton can be "week" after all, and it is… in this very verse

This is entirely consistent with the Strong's Concordance definition of the word. It can be singular or plural, one Sabbath or … a whole week.
4521 Sabbaton: the Sabbath (that is, Shabbath), or day of weekly repose from secular avocations (also the observance or institution itself); by extension a se'nnight, that is, the interval between two Sabbaths; likewise the plural in all the above applications: - sabbath (day), week.
If one instance can be translated “week,” why on earth not both instances? In fact, wouldn’t uniformity in translation make far more sense?

LOST IN MISTRANSLATION

Keep in mind that we have one word here - sabbaton. The proper translations, depending on context, can be Sabbath, Sabbaths, and week.

Let us now transliterate this into HWA's thinking in order to illustrate something:
"Now after the Sabbaths [sabbaton], as the first day of the weeks [sabbaton] began..."

That is how HWA sees things. And he didn’t just redefine the first instance, he redefined them both! He knew and accepted that the second sabbaton was best translated "week." So he simply redefined what week means. The first sabbaton becomes "Sabbaths" (meaning one annual Holy Day and one weekly Sabbath), the second sabbaton becomes "weeks" (plural).

The main problem? Neither of those are valid translations.

How can he explain why the first sabbaton means "a Holy Day and a Sabbath", but the next appearance of sabbaton means "the first of several weeks of Sabbaths" - especially when the day we’re talking about was a Sunday? Sunday isn't the Sabbath!

The answer is simple and straightforward: he just assigned a meaning to it that isn't there. Our ignorance of the Greek takes care of the rest.

Here's what he did --
After redefining the first appearance of sabbaton, he now had to explain the second. He said the second appearance of sabbaton refers to the seven-Sabbath count to Pentecost. See that? Week became weeks, plural, and then weeks became the seven week count to Pentecost. Now, it all makes sense, right? 
Wrong! Why? Timing!

TIMING IS KEY

According to LEV. 23: 9-16, Deuteronomy 16: 9, and Armstrong’s own understanding, the seven-Sabbath count to Pentecost is initiated by the Wave Sheaf offering - which, by the way Jesus is the fulfillment of. It is plain that the first of the seven Sabbaths in the count to Pentecost is the first Sabbath after the Wave Sheaf offering. After! That Sunday morning, the morning of Jesus' appearance, the same morning Matthew and the other Gospels are referring to here, was the morning of the Wave Sheaf offering. That was the marker that designated the following Sabbath, not the prior, to be the first of the seven-Sabbath count to Sukkot/Pentecost.

Did I lose you? To simplify - the second sabbaton can't be referring to the first Sabbath in the count to Pentecost because that day was a week later.

A Thursday holy day can't be the first Sabbath in the count.
The Saturday prior to the resurrection can't be the first Sabbath in the count.
The day of the resurrection cannot be the first Sabbath in the count because Sunday isn't the Sabbath.

What this proves is that it cannot be translated, "first of the Sabbaths" as Herbert Armstrong said. The second sabbaton cannot be translated "seven Sabbaths" or "weeks"; it has to be "week." Sadly, in order to make this change, HWA is forced to improperly pluralize the already plural sabbaton to become "weeks" as in "first of the weeks." Therefore it cannot mean what Herbert Armstrong says it means.

To work around this crippling problem, HWA points to Deuteronomy 16: 9 and proclaims this seven-week count to Pentecost itself as a whole, and not any specific Sabbath, must be what Matthew is talking about. But that does not solve the problem.

This is grasping at straws, as neither the direct words of Matthew nor the context gives us any indication at all that the count to Pentecost is what is being referred to. Nor is there any tradition, at that time or any other, of referring to the count to Pentecost as sabbaton.

I remind you again, astute reader, sabbaton literally means "Sabbaths" (plural), and can mean "Sabbath" (singular) or figuratively "week" (singular), not "weeks" (plural). "Weeks" is not an option.  "The count to Pentecost" is not an option. What HWA did to work around his dilemma is wholly improper! Therefore it absolutely, positively cannot mean what he says it means. His explanation cannot stand.

BY ANY OTHER NAME

I remind you, valued reader, that translating languages is not a grab-bag. Sabbaton does not refer to the count to Pentecost. Sabbaton does not refer to a combination of different types of Sabbaths, like a Holy Day and a weekly Sabbath. Sabbaton is never translated 'holy day'.

In Colossians 2: 16, Paul separates "Sabbath day" (sabbaton) from "holyday" (heorte) in the same sentence. They are separate. The only annual high day in the entire Septuagint (the Old Testament that the Apostles used) that is ever called sabbaton is the Day of Atonement (LEV. 23: 32). The Greek sabbaton is never used in reference to the first day of Unleavened Bread in the Septuagint. In the New Testament no annual high day is ever referred to as sabbaton. No, not one. Rather sabbaton is always translated "Sabbath" "Sabbaths" or "week".

Add to that the testimony of Mark who says "Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath" (MAR. 15: 42). The entire phrase "the day before the Sabbath" is from one Greek word: 'prosabbaton'. Mark went out of his way to ensure we understand the preparation day mentioned was the day before the weekly Sabbath.

What you will never completely glean from the Bible, but can glean from other ancient sources, is that the Jews referred to every day by a number according to its relation to the weekly Sabbath. Sunday was the first day. But more specifically, Sunday was the first day after the Sabbath. Monday was the second day from the Sabbath. And so forth.

What we were told in Armstrongism is that only the seventh day had a name - Sabbath. But that's not entirely true. In time Friday also received a name. Friday was called "prosabbaton" and it was called "paraskeue." Both of these words mean preparation day. We can know from other documents that paraskeue and prosabbaton refer to Friday, not the least of which is a decree from Caesar Augustus declaring that no Jew could be compelled to go to court past the 9th hour on Friday (paraskeue). When Mark uses the phrase prosabbaton, that is the name for the sixth day of the week - Friday. Herbert Armstrong said we can just take "preparation day" and just move it all around; put it in front of a holy day. We have seen that you cannot translate sabbaton as holy day in the first place. We have seen how prosabbaton and paraskeue refer to Friday. How can he take Friday and put it in front of any holy day? He cannot.

Since this is how the Bible including Matthew, as well as external documents, consistently treat the language, we would be remiss to insist otherwise. Again and again we see that Armstrong wasn't getting his doctrine from the Bible, he was trying to force his doctrine into the Bible.

If we pay incredibly close attention to the Greek, the Hebrew use, the context, and the related Bible evidence, we come to the conclusion that this second appearance of sabbaton means, "[at the beginning of the] week," or "Sunday."
This is in all ways similar to the first appearance of sabbaton, which means “[at the end of the] week,” or “Saturday.”

The first phrase means "Saturday" and the second phrase means "Sunday."
All of this complexity for something so simple!

So, what is a good translation of Matthew 28: 1?

(MAT. 28: 1)[MKJV] But late in the week, at the dawning into the first day of the week

MKJV gives you a good feel for what the Greek means. I would object that the first part should not be “late in the week” because the Greek and the context both indicate the week had ended. How can it be “late in the week” if the week is over? It cannot. But anywho….

If you really are interested in getting down and gritty with the Greek, see this article by Jerry Griffin entitled "The Idiomatic Use of Sabbaton for Week" which is hosted on the Toledo COG7 website. Be prepared for your head to hurt, however. And don’t say we didn’t warn you ahead of time.

WRAPPING UP

If HWA is right, what we can do any time is just think up a nice theory and assign our own private interpretation into Matthew 28: 1, making a word mean one thing here, and another thing there, regardless of context or proper use of the language. And so we turn a simple word meaning “week” into “a holy day and a Saturday in one week.” Again we turn the same word into "weeks" plural and then into "the count to Pentecost."

Yet, if this is what Matthew meant, there should be some other evidence for it somewhere else in the Bible. There is none. Silence. There is a butchered translation of Matthew 28: 1 and nothing besides.
However if I am right, and it does mean “week” singular, then there should be some kind of evidence somewhere. Other than the fact that the three other Gospels are silent on HWA's interpretation, which works in my favor, and other than the fact that history is silent on HWA's interpretation, which again works in my favor, and other than the fact that I have already shown you from the Wikipedia article mentioned above precisely what I've described also happening in Luke 18: 12, and aside from the fact that respected commentaries align against Armstrong, which should be evidence enough, and aside from paraskeue and prosabbaton specifically referring to Friday, I can present additional supporting evidence from the earliest Christian writings:
"We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead" 
-Barnabas, Epistle of Barnabas, 15: 9
"But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration."
-Justin Martyr, First Apology, chapter LXVII [67] (130-165 A.D.)
"On the day of the preparation, then, at the third hour, He received the sentence from Pilate, the Father permitting that to happen; at the sixth hour He was crucified; at the ninth hour He gave up the ghost; and before sunset He was buried. During the Sabbath He continued under the earth in the tomb in which Joseph of Arimathæa had laid Him. At the dawning of the Lord’s day He arose from the dead, according to what was spoken by Himself, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly, so shall the Son of man also be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” The day of the preparation, then, comprises the passion; the Sabbath embraces the burial; the Lord’s Day contains the resurrection."
-Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Trallians (98-117 A.D.)
With this latest quote from Ignatius, keep in mind that Ignatius was the Apostle John's student. John was an eye-witness; he knew the timing. If indeed John taught Ignatius anything at all regarding the timing, certainly Ignatius would have no reason to distort it so grossly, especially with the timing of his Epistle not being 85 years from the actual occurrence. Yet we have here what Ignatius said, and claimed he received from John, and we have others who agree with Ignatius, and still yet we have no recorded dissenters.

There are many people who will be quite upset that these are quotes from “Catholic” writers. It is their opinion that all Catholic writers are deceitful. They couldn’t possibly be more incorrect. But I contend these men were not members of the Catholic Church as we know it today. They were members of the Body of Christ. That is how they saw themselves. There were no denominational squabbles in their minds. So to label them solely Roman Catholic is not entirely appropriate. Plus, if one insists, then one admits the Catholic Church is as old as it claims to be, and includes in its members the disciples of the Apostles. I have a hunch that isn't what the people making these kinds of claims had in mind.
(We know and have proven that Alexander Hyslop’s swill regarding the ancient origin of the Catholic Church is wholly inaccurate and entirely unreliable garbage.)

CONCLUSION

So, what do we have here? In a word: exegesis! We have the proper translation, we have the proper context, we have corroborating evidence from the other Gospels, and we have corroborating evidence from history. We have the Bible and history and we are going to force our ideas to agree with them.

What does Herbert Armstrong have? In a word: eisegesis. He has completely improper translation, distortion of context and Biblical narrative, no support from the other Gospels, and outright condemnation of historical evidence. He has an idea and he's going to force the Bible and history to agree with him.

Therefore, we conclude, dear reader, that there are not two Sabbath days, one on a Thursday and one on Saturday, hidden in Matthew 28: 1. We conclude that there is not a seven week count to Pentecost hidden in Matthew 28: 1. We conclude HWA's greatest and “final proof” is no proof whatsoever other than proof that he is dead, dead wrong. And we also conclude that Herbert Armstrong’s accusations against history and a billion+ Christians are baseless. We are certain that you, our esteemed and intelligent reader, are already beginning to see the implications of what we have shown you here. Far-reaching implications that, unfortunately, exceed the scope of this post. Pursue them!

Now, we may strenuously disagree with HWA, but we are not here to judge and condemn, so rather than make crass comments - returning his condemnation upon us for some of our own upon him - we ask you to pray with us for all of those bound and imprisoned in Armstrongism, that they might see the light of Christ’s glorious mercy, and ask Him for release, and step boldly and permanently into the New Covenant.

May your remembrance of His death and resurrection be blessed and Spirit-filled!



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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.
Acts 17:11
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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Understanding End time Prophecy (How the accepted scenario went off the track) Part 5 of 5

Revelation 12 (The woman is not the church)

I want to make it clear that the order of events written in the book of Revelation provides no reason to lump every tribulation (thlipsis) into a single ‘Great Tribulation’ that’s coming. Revelation 12 demonstrates the non-chronologic nature of the book as chapter 11 has already reached the apex of events in that (Rev 11:15) “the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and his Christ” is the end of the story. Revelation 12:1 goes back in time and symbolically describes Judah as a woman who is pregnant, v5 with one who will rule all nations, clearly Jesus (It should be noted that Judah gives birth to Jesus). This gives one a solid event in time (the birth of Jesus), which is described after describing the seventh trumpet, a future event in chapter 11.

Then in Rev 12:3-4 Satan is described as a dragon who sweeps a third of the stars (angels) out of heaven, which might be really out of sequence as this may allude to his original rebellion sometime in the distant past; some however believe it to be a future event which still makes it out of sequence. In Rev12:5 we come back to the women (Judah) ready to give birth to the Lord and note that the serpent (Satan) is waiting to destroy him (the man child aka Jesus),but he is snatched up to heaven.

I was always taught that the woman is the church, but the church didn’t give birth to Jesus, Jesus brought the church into the world. In verse 6 we see the women having fled into the desert to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1260 days, which is also known as a time a times and half a time. This period commences at some undefined point after the ascension of Jesus, but since it ends in 1948, all we have to do is count backwards in years. These 1260 days is frequently referred to as the tribulation period, but 3.5 years is too little to be a past event and the Jews can’t flee to the wilderness now because they are home, never to be displaced again. The Jews were, however, largely driven out of Judea by the forces of Islam for 1260 years.

The story of the women picks up again in v14 when she is metaphorically given the wings of an eagle to fly into that place in the desert (the world outside the holy land) where she’ll be taken care of for a time a times and half a time, or 1260 days .Perhaps for emphasis, this fact is repeated.

Judah is left in the desert and the Devil tries to destroy her but fails (history is witness that this happened), so he vents his rage on her offspring the ones having the testimony of Jesus; and, of course, this is clearly meaning churches. The churches were largely driven out of the epicenter and surrounding countries.

Chapter 12 makes the point that Revelation is not chronological so the order provides no reason to believe that the numberless multitude are assembled after the seventh seal, but most likely throughout the centuries as Rev 6:9 covering the fifth seal implies: “I saw under the alter the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained.” This exactly describes the fate of the Christians thrown to the lions in the arenas of first century Rome. This is unequivocally a great tribulation. Rev 6:10 goes on to say “They called out in a loud voice, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" 11Then each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was completed. Again I’ll point out that this began in the first century and has continued to this day. There is nothing here to indicate that this is talking about some separate group of martyrs.

It is interesting that the Holy days God gave Israel recognized two harvests. The holy days and temple rituals were all prophetic in nature, so this tells me that there are two harvests of God’s saints; one from the Old Covenant (The small spring harvest), and one from the New Covenant, the much larger fall harvest. This corresponds nicely to the 144,000 and the numberless multitude fulfilling Isa 54:1 “More are the children of the desolate women than she who has a husband, says the Lord;” The desolate women being the gentiles, and she with a husband being Judah, (Jer31:32) “I was a husband to them,” husband: (H1166) to be master, hence(as denominative from H1167) to marry. Note that in Matt 27:52, that holy people were raised to life, they appeared to many people but disappeared. I don’t think that God had them die all over again. I’m convinced that there were 144,000 of them including the prophets and patriarchs of old,

Judah has returned to the holy land, so the time out side in the desert is now over. The Diaspora occurred over centuries, not 3.5 years; in fact the last 1260 years is only the last half of a time of increasing dispersion of the Jews and by a time characterized by the holy land being ruled by a religious/political system that was and is anti Jew and anti Christian. This religious/political system, which is Islam, completely denied Jewish access to the holy site, and did and is denying a large percentage of the world’s people access to the door to salvation which is Jesus the Christ.

Revelation 13

Revelation chapter 13 seems to cover some of the same time span as chapter 12, an overlay of sorts, going back in time to a representation of all the Empires that have controlled the holy land: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and that which became the Ottoman Empire in its various forms. This seven headed beast (Rev 13:3) has the lion, bear and leopard characteristics of the pre Roman beasts of Daniel 7:4-6 lacking any characteristic of the 4th beast except for having ten horns which must arise partly out of the three ex Roman provinces. In Dan 7:8 only three of the 4th beast’s horns are subdued by the boast full little horn (Dan 7:24), so the ten horns in Rev 13:1 are not likely the same entities as the Dan 7 beast, just similar in number. To be clear, the 4th and the 5th beast, each have ten horns. Incidentally, another proof that the little horn’s portion of what was the Roman Empire, is not European (i.e. Germany, Italy) is that in the interlinear, both Dan 7:8 and 7:24 actually say three Eastern horns out of the ten are subdued. The point of reference from the bibles perspective is Jerusalem, so the three horns are in Muslim territory.

Some have suggested that the horns of Rev 13:1 are a breakdown of the modern nations that were part of the first three beasts of Daniel, and of course are ruled by Islamic governments; these may be: Syria, Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Sudan, Libya, Iran (Persia), Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Egypt and Iraq may not be included, since this list is derived from Ezek 38, from the modernization of the biblical names of those who come against Israel when the Lord steps in to defend it.

Most of the modernizations of the biblical names are identified by Josephus; here’s a quote from THE COMING WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST

“Persia includes modern Iran (97% Moslem), and possibly Iraq (96% Moslem) and Afghanistan (99% Moslem). The land called Put is essentially Libya (96% Moslem), and ancient Ethiopia includes today's Ethiopia (45% Moslem) and Sudan (70% Moslem). In Ezekiel's day Gomer was identified with Asia Minor (Turkey – 97% Moslem). Beth-togarmah (i. e., the house of the son of Gomer) would include eastern Turkey, the republic of Armenia and the Moslem republic of Azerbaijan. Other peoples may also be included in the attack that Ezek 38:7-8 say the above participate in. Since the Bible says, "you will go up . . . you and all your troops, and many peoples with you (v. 9). What a great confederacy of attackers this will be!”    

There is no absolute proof that this list is totally correct, but the Ezek 38 list and this statement in Zech 12 make it quite probable, and make it clear that those who attack Israel are not European: Zech12:2 “I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. V3 On that day (general time period), when all the nations of the earth (H776 erets earth in whole or in particular, land, in the bible the target metaphor applies) are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.” Does this mean remove it? The Muslims have tried a number of times, and ended up injuring themselves.

The nations that surround Israel make up the seven headed beast. To be clear, I’ll point out again that when the bible says land, it’s virtually always referring to the holy land and there after surrounding countries. These nations who were agents of punnishment will be the ones who attack Israel: Obadiah 1:15 “For the day of Jehovah is near on all the nations; as you have done (to the Jewish people), it shall be done to you. Your reward shall return upon your head.” Obadiah 1:16 For as you have drunk upon My holy mountain (who did this?), so all the nations shall drink forever. Yes, they shall drink, and they shall swallow, and they shall be as though they had not been. V17 But upon Mount Zion shall be those who escaped; and it shall be holy. And the house of Jacob shall possess their own possessions. V 1:18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame. And the house of Esau shall be for stubble. And they shall kindle in them and burn them up. And no survivor shall be to the house of Esau; for Jehovah has spoken it.”

The people who drove the Jews from their land will again come to fight: Joel 3:2 “I will gather all nations and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat. There I will enter into judgment against them concerning my inheritance, my people Israel, for they scattered my people among the nations and divided up my land.” The Palestinian Israeli conflict is the result of ownership of the land being usurped by the surrounding nations.

The Saudis and other Arabs claim to be descended from Ishmael which Gen 37:25-28 call Midianites and are recorded in scripture to have been a military power, and nomadic as the story of Joseph being sold into slavery points out. The line of Esah is recorded to have mixed with Ishmael, Gen 28:9 “Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.” If some of the Arabs are of Ishmael, then Oba 1:18 applies to them. I’ve previously alluded to this, but I think it’s time to state it as a point.

· This will be point six: it is not Europe that is prophesied to attacks Jerusalem before Jesus returns.

The beasts are a regional political power over a population, so in Rev 13:3 when one of the heads receives what appears to be a fatal wound, this is not a single personality, but the political entity the beast represents. The last entity to control the holy land was the Ottoman Empire, discounting the British who were a transitional authority with no designs on annexation.

The Ottoman Empire was a form of the last beast, and they, like pharaoh, were forced to let his people go. The unity of the Ottoman Empire was destroyed after WW1, which may account for the fatal wound, but the various parts that made up the empire don’t need a single national government. The people of the land (Middle East) will follow the political and religious directives of the only thing that unites them as a single unit: Islam; they belong to the Ummah which is the Muslim community that recognizes no borders, but sees all Muslims as being rightfully under the single representative of Allah. Their divisions and sects would disappear if a leader should be recognized as this single representative.

The Shiite Muslims are currently waiting for their counterfeit for Messiah, the one they call the perfect human being aka. The ‘twelfth imam’, who is to appear and establish a worldwide khilafah. The religious sect that controls Iran believes that the destruction of Israel in an apocalyptic event, will make this happen; and if they or their entire population dies, they will become glorified martyrs in heaven. All this easily fits in with what Rev V13:3-4 describes: “the whole world (G1093 ge:land, from the bible perspective, the Middle East) was astonished and followed the beast.” As they see it, with Allah on their side, no one can make war against them, and they will be as they were when Mohammed’s armies were an unstoppable juggernaut.

The beasts, a recap and additional observations

The Statue and beasts in Daniel are the agents of the punishment of Israel starting with Babylon, and this over the duration of seven days of years where every day represents a year for a total of 2520 days as can be seen by the equation 605 + 1948 -33= 2520 (33 being the lifetime of Jesus). The Beasts remain intact until Israel's punishment period is over after which time the last one receives a fatal wound. This last beast, described in both Daniel and Revelation is different in that it can be an empire or a coalition; the parts don’t stick together as the clay does not stick to the iron. Dan 2:41-43 makes this reference in the original language about the iron being mixed with the clay: “and they (the people being represented) shall be mixed with the seed of men.” A contrast is draw between ‘they’ and the ‘seed of men’; they are not the same entities perhaps predicting the immigration of people from the territorial and ethnic confines of the nation or nations comprising this final beast, thus taking their counterfeit religion with them to all the world.

There may be various nations making up the last beast, primarily from the ethnic descent, and historic territory of Daniel 11’s King of the North and King of the south, but they are held together by a common creed and mission, to destroy Judah.

In Rev 12:14 the women (Judah) is taken into the desert to be taken care of for 1260 years, which is the last half of her punishment time. In chapter 13:5 we see the final beast that inflicts that punishment given authority to blaspheme God and v7 given authority to make war against the saints and to conquer them. Both the Jews and Christians are called saints; the Jewish people are referred as such in Dan 8:12 in its discussion of this same last beast. This authority is given for the exact same time linking Rev 13:5, Rev 12:14 and Dan 7:25 together as a common point in time. The idea that Satan would wait until the last few years to create a counter religion to fight against the gospel message Jesus left to his followers is not believable. A counter religion would also be called an anti Christian religion, or shall we just say Antichrist. Rev 5:3 predicts that this beast wars against the saints, and prevails. This has indeed happened as the forces of Islam did conquer and virtually drove the Christian church out of the land of its birth.

The events in Revelation are not chronological as Rev13:5 (the beast was given authority) precedes verse 4, which is clearly after receiving power and a time when the beast is worshipped as a military juggernaut, which the Muslim armies were for centuries until something happened described in verse 3 as one of the heads receiving what seems to be a fatal wound (although the wound may have taken a century or more to be inflicted). Illustrating this is the fact that no greater enemy existed for the West then those Muslim forces until the rise of the communist Soviet Union; and no more prevalent exhortation was heard in European churches for all those centuries then the beseeching of God to “save us from the armies of Islam.” The relatively short time the tables have been turned has resulted in a largely bitter population that vilifies the West as a personification of Satan, but the scale is far from balanced, that would also take many centuries.

This doesn’t excuse exploitation or colonialism, but the hate filled accusations against the West smacks of the pot calling the kettle black. No, the scales are far from balanced, but unlike in Islam, a Christian has no right to seek vengeance: Rom 12:19, Heb 10:30 “vengeance is mine says the Lord, I will repay;” so balancing scales is none of our concern that will be Jesus’ prerogative.

After many centuries of having the authority and prevailing against the saints, internal corruption and WW1 drained the life out of the Muslim rulers, then in the form of the Ottoman Empire. The weakened condition of the Muslim Ummah (during the time of the apparent fatal wound) has allowed God’s sure prediction of the return of his chosen people to the holy land as a fulfillment of his purposes and a sign to all who might believe his word is truth. The window of opportunity was small however, and no sooner had the fledgling Jewish state been established when the parts of the wounded beast began to congeal into a coalition to destroy their former vassal.

All but one of the heads of the beast in Rev 13 are past empires, at this point in the narration, only one head is active, and it seems to be all but dead, but it revives; verse 11 refers to another beast, but Daniel makes it clear that the fifth beast is the last one, or the seventh when including the two empires preceding Babylon, Egypt and Assyria, that were of the same geography, but were tools of punishment for Israel prior to the final seven day sentence (2520 yrs), and before the prophetic statue of Daniel.

By the pattern thus far established, a ‘beast’ is a people. This Beast in Rev13:11 is not one of the beasts represented in the statue in Daniel 2, or the beasts of Daniel 7, it doesn’t have the identifying feature of controlling the land Aretz Israel. It comes on the scene after Israel's punishment is over. It could be composed of a past fragment of a former beast having broken off the larger entity. Iran was part of the Medo-Persian Empire, but it was not the King of the North (Seleucid Empire), which is the continuing manifestation of the Beast as Dan 11 points out. Persia was ruled by the Seleucid Empire but breaking free formed its own empire in 248 BC which remained until 641 AD when the Muslims came.

This beast in Rev 13:11 appears holy like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon. This fragment of the former beast never annexed the holy land. Annexing Judah is a required characteristic of the sections of the statue and the beasts of Daniel. It was the Medo-Persian Empire that once controlled Judah of which the Persia (Iran) of today is only an off shoot. So far, I think Iran qualifies for the Rev 13:11 roll.

Rev13:12 states that the beast exercises the same authority of the previous beast, and makes the people of the earth (the land i.e. Middle Eastern nations) worship that previous beast. This nation (beast) doesn’t control Judah, but perhaps lends its power to the cause and purpose of the one who was the last to do so. From the way things are shaping up, Iran would fulfill this role. It was part of or occupied by the earlier beasts but was not the King of the North or South. Its president drips words of love for mankind while condemning Israel, and calling for its annihilation, conforming to the description: Rev 13:11“appears like a lamb, but speaks like a dragon.” Iran has become the champion of Islam’s mission of destroying the people of God (the Jews), and the gospel of Jesus. Iran is making treaties with its Muslim neighbors to stand together militarily if any one of them is attacked, particularly by Israel. Iran is the champion of Muslim unity and points to the glorious past, in effect promoting a worship of the former Ummah’s glory i.e. worship of the former beast.

The Muslims lost their political cohesion after the Ottoman Empire disintegrated, which occurred largely during the 19th century up to WW1.The decline of Islamic national prestige has left a population whose pride is for what is past more than for what is present. The more liberal Ottoman Empire that relaxed Jewish oppression is an object of pride, but of course not the larger object of nostalgia, that is reserved for the earlier golden age of Islamic society where sharia (Islamic) law prevailed.

Having lost the glory of the past, Islamic fundamentalist revival has swept the Muslim nations, and has been laying the foundations of the fulfillment of Ezek 38-39 (Which names the attackers of Judah that when modernized are primarily the Muslim nations surrounding Israel)and Zech 12 (Jesus comes and fights for Israel personally when the surrounding nations attack). Here is an excerpt from The Rise and Decline of the Ummah (Imam Zaid Shakir  2004):

In order to elaborate this general view, we will first present a chronological sketch of the rise and decline of the Muslim Ummah. In fact, an understanding of our present situation demands that the past glory and grandeur of the Muslim Ummah should he realized by young Muslims. They should know that there was a time when the armies of the Arabs starting from Gibraltar had reached north-east into the heart of France. At another time the Turkish armies, after trampling all of Eastern Europe, were knocking at the gates of Vienna. Perhaps in this way we can recreate in the hearts of our young men a desire to revive the past majesty and glory of the Muslim civilization.”

There you have it from a Muslim. It’s interesting how bible prophecy can stray when one forgets that the perspective of the bible is Jerusalem centered; everyone needs to keep their eyes on the land that the bible concerns itself with; the Middle East. If we’re focused on Europe, we might miss the fulfillment of bible prophecy occurring right before our eyes. We know where the target is, that’s where our attention needs to be. I don’t see anything that really hasn’t been fulfilled in between where we are now and the coming of Jesus to fight for Israel.

Luke21:28When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Back to part 1

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Understanding End time Prophecy (How the accepted scenario went off the track) Part 4 of 5

The great tribulation is coming?

“It will be 3.5 years of hell on earth” says the fire breathing evangelists and virtually all proponents of biblical prophecy, but I disagree, I say it’s been here. I’ll not imply that the last half of Jesus seven year ministry, to confirm the covenant, will be gentle since the first part was that of the lamb and the second is that of the lion, but this is not the tribulation that Jesus was talking about in Matt 24. I’ll start my argument with the words of Jesus.

The events of Matt 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 are usually crammed forward into the last 7 years before the Lords coming; half of which is supposed to be relatively peaceful under the rulership of the Antichrist; The remaining 3.5 years are supposed to be the fulfillment of all things labeled ‘tribulation’.

The Lords words contained here are in answer to two questions. The disciples had been drawing Jesus attention to the magnificent buildings of the temple and Jesus told them they would all be destroyed, so they asked him (question 1) when (would the temple be destroyed) and also (2) what would be the signs of his return. Jesus does a quick rundown of what to expect from their current time until his return, which is focusing on question two between Matt v4 and 14. He speaks of the wars that must transpire over time as the phrase in v6 indicates: “such things must happen, but the end is not yet.” He predicted famines and earthquakes and calls them beginnings of birth pangs. I want to emphasize that what Jesus spoke of in Matt 24 covered a span of time between the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple to the time of his return, not just the few years prior to his return.

Now either Jesus simply didn’t answer the first question about the destruction of the temple, or he did in Matt 24:15-21. Writers on this subject seem to completely ignore the question about the temple as if the subject is signs of Jesus return only; verse16 says the subject is ‘those in Judea’, and who else besides the Jews would need to pray that their fleeing should not be on the Sabbath. Verse 24:21(KJV) “for then there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

The subject here is what happens in Judea, and the contemporary of this account in Luke21:20-24 makes it clear that this is speaking of Jerusalem’s destruction (including the temple), and the time of the punishment of the Jews predicted often by the prophets in fulfillment of Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28:15 through 31:17; (Luke 21:21) “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. V22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written” (Remember that in this perspective, this is the last half of 2,520 years, a 1,260 year period of final fulfillment, the great tribulation of the Jewish people). “V23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people(the Jews). V24They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations (the Diaspora). Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (1260 years in which no Jew, without converting to Islam, could set foot on the holy site, the epicenter; this happened between 688 and 1948.)

From the starting point of the destruction of Jerusalem (which wasn’t complete until 135 AD) until the time of the coming of the Lord (which is described in Zech 14 as the time he comes to defend Jerusalem), is covered in these remaining verses speaking of that time: Lu21:25 “there will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.V26 Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. V27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”

This tribulation spoken of here in Matt24, Mark13 and Luke 21 starts with Jerusalem’s destruction by the Romans, and if you’ve ever read Josephus, there is no question that this event was the worst event ever to come to the city, but God promises that after the Jewish people are gathered again to the holy land and the destruction of Jerusalem is again imminent, he will defend it himself. Zech14:2 says the city will be invaded again, but not be destroyed: V2 “I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.” This will be a horrific time for Israel but v3 says the Lord will go out and fight against the nations that attack her.

The time of its total destruction however was a onetime event (though you can say it was a multi decade event) as shown by Ezek5:8 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself am against you, Jerusalem, and I will inflict punishment on you in the sight of the nations. Ezek 5:9 Because of all your detestable idols, I will do to you what I have never done before and will never do again. The Lord also makes such statements in Isa 51:22-23”from the goblet of my wrath you will never drink again”. To whom is this statement addressed? Isa 51:17 says he’s talking to Jerusalem.

Here are some details of God’s wrath.

Ezek 5:10 “Therefore in your midst fathers will eat their children, and children will eat their fathers. I will inflict punishment on you and will scatter all your survivors to the winds.

V11 Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because you have defiled my sanctuary with all your vile images and detestable practices, I myself will withdraw my favor; I will not look on you with pity or spare you.

V12 A third of your people will die of the plague or perish by famine inside you; a third will fall by the sword outside your walls; and a third I will scatter to the winds and pursue with drawn sword.

V13 Then my anger will cease and my wrath against them will subside, and I will be avenged. And when I have spent my wrath upon them, they will know that I the LORD have spoken in my zeal.

V15 I will make you a ruin and a reproach among the nations around you, in the sight of all who pass by.”

In 70 AD the Romans trapped the Jews within Jerusalem until they starved to death (Josephus wars of the Jews 5.12.3): “Then did the famine widen its progress, and devour the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also and the young men wandering like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead wherever their misery seized them.

In 5.11.1 Josephus notes that at least 500 Jewish rebels were caught, whipped and crucified per day during the siege of Jerusalem to a total of an estimated 10,000 persons, and as many as 200,000 Jews were crucified throughout Palestine. This and the direct slaughter of the people and destruction of the city are unprecedented. Since that time the list of atrocities the Jewish people have suffered at the hand of the populations of the countries in which they were driven seems endless. The Jews have suffered this great tribulation for many hundreds of years, and it was certainly capped off by the Nazi inflicted holocaust which so literally reflects the imagery of Ezekiel’s prophecy in (Ezek 5) as he lay on the temple steps burning the hair representing what would happen to Jerusalem’s people. God adds, in Ezek 5:4 that this fire would spread to the whole house of Israel. What a graphic and horrible fulfillment in Hitler’s final solution.

Temple to be rebuilt

Since the subject of the temple has been touched on again, I’m reminded that I failed to mention that the Temple spoken of in Ezekiel chapters 40-47 is supposed to be rebuilt by the Jews before Jesus can return according to some pastors such as one I listened to quite recently.

Just looking at some of the description of this temple and it’s clear that the Jews don’t build this temple without some heavenly assistance: Ezek 47:1 “The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side;” Skipping to verse 5 “He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross;” Skipping again to verse 12 “Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing." This is clearly after Jesus’ return.

People who think that the temple needs to be rebuilt before Jesus comes may have a surprise waiting for them. I am of the opinion that the temple the LORD will return to is the temple that is his church, and I thought this long before a would-be prophet made the same statement.

The temple will be needed because the law will be kept: Zech 14:16 “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.” Those who attack Jerusalem, i.e. the rebellious practitioners of iniquity will be required to keep the law that was required of another group of the same definition: the children of Israel; Deut 31:26 "Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God. There it will remain as a witness against you (Israel). 27 For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are.” Gal 3:19 “What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions” 1Tim 1:9 We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers.

People will either keep the Old Covenant law or the New Covenant Law, they will be controlled by the spirit of God, or by an external law; there will be no vacuum in law. God will have use for a temple after he (Jesus) comes, not before.

The trouble of the disciples

Jesus spoke of the trouble the Jews would suffer, but in covering the time between the destruction of the temple until his return he certainly didn’t forget his own disciples tribulation, as in Matt 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and be put to death.”

The word translated ‘tribulation’ in the New Testament is (G2347 Thlipsis), and the apostle Paul told the followers of Jesus that they would certainly have their share. And he said nothing about this being held off until the last few years before Jesus return. Here are some examples, from the KJV, of this word, and some variations, translated as tribulation, trouble or affliction, depending on the version.

  • Rom 5:3 “but we glory in tribulation (thlipsis) also knowing that tribulation worketh patience.”
  • 1 Thes 3:4 “For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation (thlibo); even as it came to pass.”
  • 2 Cor 7:4 “Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation (thlipsis).”
  • John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation (thlipsin): but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
  • Rev 1:9 “I John who also am your brother and companion in tribulation (thlipsis) and in the kingdom….”
  •  Rev 2:9 “I know thy works and tribulations (thlipsin) and poverty……”
  •  Rev 2:10 “Fear none of the things which thou shalt suffer: behold the devil shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried and ye shall have tribulation (thlipsis) ten days: be you faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life”. (Note the reference to ‘ten days’ and that it clearly isn’t ten 24 hour days as we know from history.)
  • Rev 2:22 “Behold I will cast her (Jezebel) into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation (thlipsis) except they repent of their deeds.”

This last example was written to the church at Thyatira number 4 on the list; and Rev 2:9 and 10 were written to the church at Smyrna which is number 2 on the list of seven churches. If one prescribes to the (however unsupportable) theory of church eras, the time frame of these thlipsis were long before now, and it’s clear that the Lord was talking to people during their own time, however applicable some of it was and is to those coming later.

With all the references to the fact that the people of those times, and later, would suffer tribulation; why do people jump to the conclusion that the numberless multitude that comes out of tribulation, come out of that tribulation (The wrath of God is also a tribulation) that takes place in the last three and a half years before Jesus comes? (Rev 7:9) “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”The following verse identifies who these people are, and nothing is said about a time frame for the trouble they came out of; it’s simply a presumption that the word ‘tribulation’ (thlipsis) refers to that time directly preceding Christ’s return: Rev7:13 “And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? Rev7:14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation (thlipsis), and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” This has been going on for nearly two thousand years.

The conclusion to this matter seems to be that the tribulation referred to in the bible is usually what the chosen people, believers and people in general during the last two millennia, have and do live through, not punishment on the world during the last plagues of Revelation. The wrath of God and the tribulation should not be mixed up.

· This will be point four: the tribulation has been here since the first churches were planted; also, the wrath of God and the tribulation are two separate issues, but are usually run together as if they were synonymous.

The Four Horsemen and the Martyrs

I have heard preachers trying to treat Revelation like a linear story. The fact is, the book of Revelation jumps around in time, and there is often nothing to indicate an exact time frame; it’s simply presumptuous to believe that the events of Revelation 7 (sealing of the 144,000) follow those of revelation 6 (the opening of the seals), or that the thing contained in the first 5 seals of Rev 6 are not dispersed throughout the last two millennia before the second coming of Christ. There is nothing to justify pushing the seals foreword to the few years preceding Jesus’ return.

Rev 12 demonstrates that the book is not chronological, but before I get to that I’d like to look at a few verses that might indicate that the end days are the last two 1000 year days as Peter describes: (2Peter 3:8) “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” If the end days have been here since the Lord was crucified, then so have the four horsemen’s plagues (the first 4 seals).

In the following, Peter is responding to bystanders misunderstanding a manifestation of the Holy Spirit to be drunkenness: (Act 2:15) “These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning! V16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: V17 ”In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” Here Peter speaks of their present time as ‘the last days’.

The apostle Paul made a similar allusion: Heb 9:26 “Then Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Paul calls the time of Jesus’ crucifixion as included in the ‘end of the ages’.

John also seemed to be of the same opinion : 1John 2:18 “ Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” The apostles may not have realized the enormous amount of time that was between their present time and the coming of Jesus, but that doesn’t make them wrong. Here I’ll repeat, Jesus defined a start point and an end point for the last days in Matt 24 starting with the destruction of the temple until his return.

I don’t see any reason to believe that the seals of Revelation 6 were not opened long ago save the seventh. The fifth seal (Rev 6:9-11) implies a long passage of time when in answer to the question: “how long oh lord until our blood is avenged?” they were told to: “wait a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants who were to be killed had been completed.” Servants of the Lord started dying at the time of Stephen as recorded in Acts 7:54-58 and haven’t stopped since. People have been dying for the Lord for the last two 1000 year days, and I think these people fit the description: Rev 7:14"These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

The wars, famine, pestilence and disease the human race has suffered over the last 2000 years are so horrible that it defies comprehension; and, of course, we can’t leave out religious war. The four horsemen of Rev 6 have indeed been riding. Everyone knows that a third or more of Europe fell to the Black Death during the middle ages; India and China have regularly lost large percentages of their population; in 1344-45 a famine was so extreme that royalty were among those starving, this was repeated in 1629, 1685-88 and1789; in 1887-79 shaanxi province in China suffered a famine which was responsible for the loss of a third of it’s population, and again in 1897-1910 out of a population of 8.5 million, over 2 million more died (The great warming Brian Fagan); some 60 million died in World War 2; 10 to 20 million died of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919, and these are just the more noted cases.

The accumulated tribulation (thlipsis) of the world over twenty centuries could barely be compared to whatever one could condense into 3.5 years in terms of human suffering. The slow attrition bore through a lifetime of helplessness and despair, living under the boots of tyrants, as has been a common condition of the average citizen of the world, is a horror worthy of the name “Great Tribulation.” I should like to again point out that the tribulation that’s come on the believers, along with the general population, and the wrath of God on those who attack Judah are not the same subject.

· Point five will be The last two millenniums have been the last days

Part 5

 

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Understanding End time Prophecy (How the accepted scenario went off the track) Pt3 of 5

                                                 The punishment Time Line
After Daniel 11:31, after an abomination of desolation is clearly set up, the time appears to pass while some that God is cleansing live through troubles (tribulation). Verse 33 through 35 covers the time from Antiochus 4 to the end, after which, that time is covered again itemizing some of the major events between the king of the North and the king of the South.
The entity called the king of the North (Dan 11:36) will be successful until the time of wrath is complete which from a Judeo-centric perspective of the prophecies means after the fulfillment of the punishment upon Judah often predicted. I have no doubt that this is indicating that the ‘King of the North’ is the primary punishing agent of Judah and the nemesis of Judah until Messiah returns, which means the entity the king represents is active now.

Judah is the tool through which God works out his plan. The beasts have been the means of implementing the punishment predicted to come upon Judah, and through this God fulfills his purpose. Jesus speaks in Matt 24 of the time between the destruction of the temple and his return telling of terrible ‘tribulation’, and Luke 21:21-22 adds the additional information, during this same discussion by Jesus, that: “this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written;” and Judah’s punishment in fulfillment of prophecy is proof that Gods word is true so that the people of the world might believe, (Ezek 36:23 NIV) “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD, declares the Sovereign LORD, when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.

The king of the North, not Rome, is the principle facilitator of the wrath and punishment of Judah, which was already in progress at the time of Antiochus 4. Rome did take temporary control of Israel’s land, and certainly destroyed Jerusalem, but afterwards the pre-Roman entities continued to be a plague to the holy land and the Jewish people, vying for control of the holy land with the king of the South, which being separate at times, was also part of the first three beasts. This punishment mentioned in Luke 21:22 can only be that of Leviticus 26:14-38. The duration of this sentence on Israel is debatable.

Let’s consider the possibility that the statements in Lev26:18-28 “I will punish you seven times over” was inferring a sentence of x years. The word ‘times’ is actually added, all the original text says is “I will punish you seven” (H7651 sheba). This is rather cryptic, so all we can do is look for a possible pattern and test it.

The statement: (Direct Translation) “and if after this you do not listen to me I will add to you discipline of you seven”, is stated four times; indicating an increase in severity and or time in four steps. Here’s a pattern that appears to work. This is an old idea that I had rejected because of its origins with William Miller of Millerite fame, but his start point was the fall of Israel, and its conclusion was around 1844, a date of little significance (Miller also considered the end of this period to be the return of Jesus instead of the more obvious end of Israel’s Diaspora). I tried the idea from a different start point and it took me to a date of significance. If someone brings up a pertinent fact, the fact doesn’t cease to be a fact even if it’s presented with a clutter of bogus notions or the source is a cult where the fact is imbedded in a framework of lies.

Let’s say that each increase, of punishment, is in the sequence: days (ones), to weeks (sevens), to months (thirties), to years (three hundred and sixties). The increase would be: 7 punishment years (P.Y.) times a day (one), then increase to 7 P.Y. times a week (7), then 7 P.Y. times a year (360). Multiplied out the totals would be: 7 punishment years, increased to 49 P.Y., increased to 219 P.Y., increased to a final value of 2,520 punishment years. Note that a Jewish month is always 30 days, and a year is 360 days in a 12 month year, and 390 days in a 13 month year which would occur every seven years (Sabbath year). The only number we can actually test is the final number if the sentences ran concurrently, or were simply replaced by the higher value.

At the time of the giving of the prophecy in Dan 12:11, Babylon had already stopped the temple operations, because of this it seems that nobody has considered using this as a start point from which to affix the time of the pertinent cessation of sacrifices. This is the most logical point to start calculating the duration of Judah’s punishment as well. Remember what I pointed out about Dan 7:17 “four kingdoms that will rise from the earth”, and the fact that Daniel was living in one of those kingdoms that the wording of this prophecy seemed to say was a future event. It gives us permission to go backward in time for our start point. This is where that precedent is useful. Also, since biblical Hebrew does not have verb tenses a verb can be either past or future depending on the context Hebrew verb tenses.   Now we’ll test the

numbers.                                                          

The logical start of the 2520 year punishment would be the first attack by Babylon. The first attack of three (2 Kings 24:1-2, 25:10, 25:1) by Babylon occurred in 605 BC. Between 605 BC and 1948, there is 2,553 years. This number is larger than it should be by 33. When it first occurred to me, in the early 90’s, to test the 2,520 years to see if it would fit between Babylon’s first attack on Judah and the rebirth of Israel in 1948 (when the punishment clearly ended), the 33 year disparity made it look like it wasn’t going to work. That is until the apostle John provided a solution: Now the “light of the world” (John 1:4) came for (according to best estimates) 33 years which can’t be included in punishment time. How can the time when the ‘light of the world’ is in Judah be punishment time .So, subtracting 33 leaves 2,520. This number is right on the money. To restate it: 1948(Israel’s rebirth)+605bc(Israel is attacked)=2,553 total-33(presence of Jesus)= 2520 years which comes from 7x360.

The first attack might be a logical point to start the punishment clock, but not necessarily when the sacrifices were fully stopped, which might explain the 3 year discrepancy when the number from Dan12:11 (1290) is added to 605 BC; that is half of the 2,520 plus 30. Moving forward 1,290 years brings us to 685 AD, and we need to ask the question, what is set up in the holy place that ought not? And there is nothing. That is until three years later in 688 AD when the building of the dome of the rock began; but this is close enough to convince me that it is the abomination that causes desolation. After all, if something is causing trouble for Israel, as the word desolation implies (H8074 shamen: to stun, i.e. devastate or fig. stupefy); if anything sitting on the holy site meets this criteria, it’s the edifice that is used to deny the Jewish people access, which is also the icon of anti Christ as illustrated by all its inscriptions specifically in denial of the Lord Jesus as son of God and messiah.

Now to find some confirmation that this is not just a fluke, add the second half of the 2,520 that is 1,260 years to 688 and the answer is 1948 when Israel is reborn as a nation. The dome of the rock was built in the exact center of the punishment week, not counting the lifetime of Jesus. I should note at this point that the 42 months that the beast is given authority mentioned in Rev 13:5 is also equivalent to 1260 days.

Islamic rule began in Syria in AD 636. Damascus became the capital of the Omayyad Caliphate and ruled from India throughout North Africa, from ocean to ocean for over a hundred years before the capital moved to Bagdad which ruled with only a few brief interruptions until 1516 AD when the Islamic Ottoman Empire (former parts of the Persian Empire) took control. Incidentally, this removed the Jews burden of being locked into being third class citizens, and allowed them to buy and sell, which was not previously possible without their conversion to Islam.

I need to take a moment to examine some issues with Dan 12:11. Most versions of this verse actually don’t make any sense. The NIV version is as follows: “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days.” Do you see anything wrong with that sentence? The ‘and’ makes two events sound simultaneous. This translation is like saying, “From the time I get up in the morning and go to work is an hour and a half.” It doesn’t make sense. This sentence defines a start point for a time interval with no end point. Now if I say, “From the time I get up in the morning until I go to work is an hour and a half,” this makes sense now that there is a start point and an end point.

The Concordant Literal Version translates Dan 12:11: “From the era when the continuous ritual is taken away, and the setting of the abomination of desolations, is a thousand two hundred and ninety days.” The word translated ‘and’ which seems to connect the two events of Dan12:11 is H5414 ‘nathan’, which usually means ‘to give’, but is used with the greatest latitude of application with a host of translated meanings, one of which is ‘cause’. It’s reasonable to say that the end of the temple rituals, at or near the time of the first attack, cause or lead to the eventual presence of something unholy on the holy site, which implies some passage of time between the two points. Daniel 11’s description of the ‘abomination that desolates’ leaves no possible time gap between the end of sacrifice and the abomination being set up, unlike the description in chapter 12, giving evidence that there is more than one.

The time lapse between the end of sacrifices to some abomination on the holy place, between the temples destruction in 70 AD and 135 AD when Aelia Capitolina was built, is not much more than 65 years (some time after which the temple to Jupiter was built on the temple mount), This is way too short a time period therefore disqualifying the Romans as being the fulfillers of Dan 12:11’s 1,290 day prophecy counted in days.

To restate the reason for the 1,290 days: one possibility for the extra 30 days here is the Sabbath year I mentioned earlier. The Jewish calendar lost roughly 5 days a year, so every seventh year had 13 months. The punishment period appears to be a week (7) of years (360), divided into two halves of 1260 in years. The extra month added to one of the halves would account for the 1290. This makes the time from the beginning of Judah’s punishment until its end, a total of 2,550 instead of 2,520 years, but the life time of Jesus being subtracted from total punishment time, leaves a 3 years deficit difficult to account for.
                            

Another time line, 2,300 evenings and mornings

There’s another timetable overlapping that of Dan 12 in Dan 8, the prophecy of the ram (Medo-Persia), and the he goat (Alexander the Great’s Greece). Daniel 8:9 again speaks of this little horn from Dan 7:8, but this time it’s shown as coming out of one of the four fragments of Alexander’s kingdom, and again this little horn grows massive and (Dan 8:11) sets itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host” (who can only be the Messiah). It took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary (Jerusalem) was brought low. v12 “Because of rebellion, the host of the saints (note that Jews are called ‘saints’) and the daily sacrifice was given over to it. In verse 13 the question is asked: “How long will it take for the vision to be fulfilled –the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, the rebellion that causes desolation, and the surrender of the sanctuary and the host that will be trampled underfoot? V14 He said to me, “It will take 2,300 evenings and mornings; and the sanctuary will be reconsecrated.

The word (H6944 qodesh) translated ‘sanctuary’ is just as easily translated ‘holy place’ or as ‘holiness’ period, which is the majority translation. The word translated ‘reconsecrated’ is from the word (H6663 tsadaq) and means ‘to be right’. The translators most likely make their choice based on the context. Here is how the Young’s Literal Version translates v14 “ And he saith unto me, Till evening--morning two thousand and three hundred, then is the holy place declared right.” The point here is that v14 may not be referring to the temple being reconsecrated,” but rather some kind of ‘making right’ of the holy site, or Jerusalem. In other words, this does not necessarily predict the restart of temple activities, or rebuilding of the temple at the end of this period.

There is all kind of speculation about what ‘mornings and evenings’ mean; it’s often said to mean the daily sacrifices. Moses was on the mountain with the Lord 40 days and 40 nights (Ex34:28) meaning 40 twenty four hour days. Since every day has a morning and evening, I’m inclined to try a day as the meaning, and following the pattern of symbolism, and take it as meaning a year period; 2300 mornings and evenings would represent 2,300 years. This is how I’m going to view the meaning of v14 for the following experiment.

To find a start point from which to count from in chapter 8, I’ll start from a point at the end of the domination of Persia (the ram) since the demise of Persia’s dominion is really the start of this story, and since Persia aided the Jews in rebuilding the temple, why would they “bring it low” as V11 indicates? This start point is the transition from the ram to the goat (Greece under Alexander). Greece took control of Jerusalem in 333BC. Coming forward from that point 2300 years takes us to 1967. What happened in 1967? Israel gained control of the entire holy city. This number is right on the money, coincidence? I don’t think so. And might we say that something is made right in the holy place?

The numbers are convincing, the dome of the rock is that abomination; and this time it’s the central figure in a threat to all mankind. The prophesied little horn, in the person of Mohammed and his heirs, came subjugating the Jews; they came creating a counter religion in opposition to that of Jesus Christ making war against his church, and driving them out of its birth place; every place the disciples planted them, fulfilling Rev13:5-7 and Dan8:11 by elevating Mohamed above Jesus (“it set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the hosts”).

On a personal note; after my belief system came unraveled, during that period in the early 90”s, I wasn’t sure that the bible was true at all. I read religious and non religious material searching for what was; then I found that the numbers from the book of Daniel aligned with history and were clearly no coincidence; they couldn’t be anything other than a sign from God, along with the prophecies concerning the Jews and Jerusalem that were predicted so many hundreds and even thousands of years earlier. This was my turning point. The things God said were to come, did come to pass. God had left a sign advertising the truth of his word in his chosen people.

The chosen people did not fail to do what God had chosen them for, and this includes being our witness for today that he exists, his promises are true, and we can be certain that our salvation in Jesus is real and sure. The predisposition to push so many prophecies foreword to the last few years before Jesus returns, denying that so many of them have been fulfilled, neutralizes them as this proof.

Part 4
                                                              

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11
                                                             

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Understanding End time Prophecy (How the accepted scenario went off the track) Part 2 of 5

                                               Who is the ruler who will come?

What confirms the belief in the resurrection of the Roman Empire (to those of that persuasion) is the idea that the second ruler mentioned in Daniel 9:24-27 is Roman since the Romans did destroy Jerusalem, therefore it’s presumed that the one who confirms a covenant and the one who causes desolation are also Roman. They believe these prophecies to be about the time before Jesus’ second coming. This provides their identification of the fifth entity (feet of clay), which they never call a fifth kingdom; but Dan 2:42 clearly does. One should ask the question: does Daniel 9:26 really say that the ‘ruler who will come’ is Roman? and does this say a Roman will be the Antichrist?

Daniel 9:24-27 (NIV)  24 "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy. v25 "Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. v26 After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. v27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven’. In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. "

There are a few theologians that have believed that the ‘Anointed One, the ruler who comes’ in Dan 9:25 and the ‘ruler who will come’ in verse v26 are the same. I don’t see this as so improbable. Dan 9:25 makes an unambiguous introduction of the ‘Anointed one, the ruler’ as being the Messiah, why would there be no introduction of the ‘ruler who will come’ as being someone else. This entire passage has one subject: Messiah.

There are many prophesies where God calls the agent sent to punish or destroy a nation, “my servants”; Ezekiel 14:22 speaks of “every disaster I (God) have brought upon Jerusalem.” If the anointed one (Jesus) is God, then the people who come to destroy the city may be called his servants in which case the ruler (who will come) in verse 26 is not disqualified from being Jesus. The rules of personal pronouns dictate that the “he” that confirms a covenant refers back to the ruler (who will come) who is more likely to be Jesus, and Jesus, as the final sacrifice would be “he” who puts an end to the need for animal sacrifices (Those not knowing this kept on sacrificing of course). The seven would be the ministry of Christ to establish the New covenant divided into 3.5 years as the lamb ending in his crucifixion (which is the middle of the seven), and another 3.5 years as the lion ending in the establishment of his kingdom. One might say, Jesus spent 3.5 years to establish the New Covenant by invitation to those who are willing, and has another 3.5 years reserved to bring in others to his Covenant who require a little rougher approach.

In Luke 4:18-19 Jesus quotes Isa 61:1-2, a messianic prophecy, but he only reads the first part that speaks of soft subjects of good news and freeing of captives stopping short of the sentence “and the day of vengeance.” He went on to say that the part he quoted was fulfilled in their hearing; the vengeance part is yet to come. The two divisions of messianic prophecy do not clearly indicate the time laps between the two events; this provides a precedent for an unspecified time lapse between two divisions of the seven of Dan 9:27. The agenda for the prophecy in Dan 9 includes “to put an end to sin,” and “to bring in everlasting righteousness;” the final end of sin is after the return of Christ. The atonement part was finished at Calvary; this is a clue (sets a precedence) that the seven is divided, and corresponds nicely with the two parts in Isa 61 that Jesus quoted.

If the prophecy of the seventy sevens is about the messiah, the “one who sets up the abomination” is then a new actor that comes on the scene, nothing says he’s Roman. The entire passage is chronological until “the end will come like a flood,” after which two events, ‘the end of sacrifice’ and ‘the placing of abominations’, are added out of order for additional information. This interpretation would stick closer to the general theme of the bible as illustrated by the metaphor of the target, which alludes to the plan of salvation through the tool of the Jewish people, specifically Jesus. For the purposes of this hypothetical scenario, I’ll take this as correct.

· This will be point three: Jesus is the ruler that comes, puts an end to sacrifice and confirms a covenant over the duration of seven years. He is the ruler who sends an army to destroy Judah.

Jesus is the only ruler who actually came to Jerusalem. Titus, the general that destroyed the city was not a ruler. If Jesus is ‘the ruler that comes’, this, of course means that the Anti Christ doesn’t make a seven year peace pact with Israel as is usually taught. Notice also that Dan 9:27 says confirms (H1396 gabar gaw-bar' a primitive root; to be strong; by implication, to prevail, act insolently:--exceed, confirm, be great, be mighty, prevail, put to more (strength), strengthen, be stronger, be valiant.,) not make or originate a covenant. Jesus made the covenant, that can be done in a moment, but here he takes seven years to makes it strong, or as we used to say, “make it a heavy issue” by the extreme payment he made, and by the things he taught, and will teach. This is more believable because behind everything in the Old Testament is the real purpose of salvation.

There is no absolute proof that Jesus’ ministry was three and one half years, but God tends to work in a numerically orderly fashion. Jesus is shown to have been in Jerusalem for three Passovers, John 2:23, John 6:4 and John 13:1, so no less than two years can be accounted for, but three plus is more probable. I’d say half of 7 just fits a pattern of how God uses numbers.

                                           The identity of the fifth kingdom

In Daniel 2’s metaphor of the statue; notice the direct uninterrupted transition from one ruling power to the next over the holy land. So what followed after the dominion of Rome?

The fourth beast, Rome, did destroy the Temple and continued to rule Judah even after it divided into the Northern and Southern Empires. The Northern part eventually disintegrated but the holy land remained part of the Southern Roman Empire, (The Byzantine Empire). The Jews might have been driven from Jerusalem after Hadrian destroyed it in 135 AD; but under Christian rule a great altar was allowed to be built and visited annually according to the 1970 encyclopedia Britannica pg.1009F, last paragraph.

The Muslims took control of Jerusalem in 638 AD. In 688AD Caliph Abdul-al-Malik began the building of the Dome of the Rock, ending any further possibility of a sacrifice being made on the holy site. The people and the territory that came under the rule of Islam were that of the first three beasts. The European part had sloughed off and is no longer part of the picture; it is likely that this Islamic ruler ship is represented by the little horn. Can Islamic ruler ship qualify as the fifth kingdom? The statue of Daniel makes It is clear that the power that annexes Judah after the fourth section is immediately the fifth section (the feet). There is no air gap between sections; there is no other possibility other than this section representing Islamic ruleship.

Islamic rulership has not been a single national entity one might argue. The Muslims will tell you that they are all one Ummah (the greater Muslim community that recognizes no boarders). They may fight among themselves, but if someone else attacks a Muslim nation, then suddenly they are all brothers.

Could it be, perhaps, a singular mind behind a specific philosophical agenda has ruled: Eph 6:12 “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Evil may have a variety of human faces, and perform physical acts, but the spiritual opposition to righteousness is ultimately not human. Ezek 28:12Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: You were the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.13. You were in Eden, the garden of God.” There was a human king of Tyre, but behind that face was an evil spirit, which begs the question, who was the real king? Dan2:44 States that in the days of those kings (represented by the statue), the God of heaven will set up his kingdom. Bearing this in mind, and knowing that more than one king has been  in power during time periods represented by sections of the prophetic statue or beasts, it’s certain that a reference to a king bridges the reign of several or perhaps many human kings, who in the case of the fifth kingdom could come from any one of the territories or ethnic groups that made up the first three Empires.

            Could there be more than one ‘abomination that causes desolation’?

To speak of two or more similar events while not specifying that there is more than the single event is consistent with a riddle. No lie need be told, but a wrong conclusion is drawn just the same. Could this explain what is happening in Daniel concerning the abomination that causes desolation?

The sacrifices at the holy site in Jerusalem have been stopped a number of times, knowing when is useful in fixing time lines of prophetic events. The 4 times mentioned in Daniel 8:11, 9:27, 11:31, 12:11, are usually thought to be speaking of the same event, but I’m not of this opinion for a number of reasons. Num 12:6 "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams.v7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. v8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles.” God sometimes speaks in riddles. Daniel is one book that definitely has its misdirecting statements. Dan 12:9 “He replied, "Go your way, Daniel, because the words are closed up and sealed until the time of the end.”

The abomination that causes desolation is a manifestation that has occurred more than once. The bible gives evidence that it is a single event on a cursory examination, but then conflicts arise. Before getting to that, notice the difference in the passages translated into ‘the abomination that causes desolation from the interlinear: Dan 9:27 “and on wing of abomination one making desolate;” Dan 11:31 “and they give the abomination one making desolate:” Dan 12:11 “and to give of abomination one-desolating.” The phrases are clearly different and none sound like a singularity, but an idiomatic phrase like: “the c**p hit  the fan” (meaning significant trouble begins), uses the word ‘the’ and it’s certainly not a single entity or occurrence.

The prophecy in Daniel 11 is so historically accurate that cynical academics proclaim the book to be a forgery written hundreds of years after Daniels time. It provides an unbroken, unmistakable chain of rulers linked with identifying events from the breakup of the kingdom of Alexander the Great directly to Antiochus 4 Epiphanies. There are some great sites on the internet that compare Daniel 11 with actual history that will make this point if you’re interested.Here is a good one:Bible Prophecy-Verify History

As for the abomination that caused desolation, after the war and destruction that Antiochus 4 was responsible for: after stopping the sacrifices, he set up a statue of Zeus in the temple and sacrificed swine on the altar, blaspheming God. Chapter 11 essentially makes the conclusion unavoidable that this is an abomination of desolation, Dan 11:31 “Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation.”, but Jesus said in Matt 24:15 that the event was still future, so there is a conflict. Some teachers explain this by calling Antiochus a ‘pre-figuring’ of the coming Antichrist. I suppose you could say that, but Dan 11 doesn’t equivocate about the abomination of desolation being set up by him. It doesn’t call it a sort of abomination of desolation. It’s the real thing, not a mere type.

In Matthew 24 and Mark 13, Jesus seems to link the ‘abomination that causes desolation’, or a manifestation of it, to the time of the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem, but Luke’s version in Luke 21:22 says: “for days of vengeance are these, to fulfill all that is written.” It’s the time of the punishment in fulfillment of prophecy e.g. Isa 10:22 “Though your people, O Israel, be like the sand by the sea, only a remnant will return. Destruction has been decreed, overwhelming and righteous. V23 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, will carry out the destruction decreed upon the whole land”. The Jews were not totally driven from the land until long after the temple was destroyed. Incidentally, this is another verse telling us that the Lord is the ruler who sends the people to destroy Jerusalem.

It’s clear, it’s important to note, that the punishment event is not a short incident: Ezek 15:7 “I will set my face against them. Although they have come out of the fire, the fire will yet consume them. And when I set my face against them, you will know that I am the LORD.”

If you read only Matthew 24’s and Mark 13’s account of what my NIV chapter subject header calls: “signs of the end of the age,” and note that the disciples question was about when the temple would be destroyed, you’d expect an abomination in the holy place in 70 AD, but Luke expands the scope of what Jesus was talking about to the time the prophetic word of God is fully implemented, which is an indistinct point in time. The year 135 AD would be high on the list of fulfilling the likes of : Ezek 15:6 “Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: As I have given the wood of the vine among the trees of the forest as fuel for the fire, so will I treat the people living in Jerusalem.” This begins to come to pass by the might of Rome. In 70 AD there was destruction, but after 135AD, there was something unholy upon the holy place.

Because the Romans had plans to build their own city on the ruins of Jerusalem, and to build a heathen temple on the holy site, the Jews revolted in 135 AD, lead by Shimon Bar Kosiba known as Bar Kokhba (son of the star), and widely considered to be the promised Messiah. The Romans under the Emperor Hadrian crushed the uprising and virtually depopulated Judea, after which the Jews were barred from entering Jerusalem, which was renamed Aelia Capitolina, except for once a year according to some sources; but certainly after Constantine (AD 306-37) Jews were allowed access to the remaining remnant of the Temple, the Wailing Wall. The temple of Jupiter was built on the holy mount, and this qualifies as another manifestation of the ‘abomination that causes desolation.’

Daniel 11 depicts two kings, coming from Alexander the Greats Empire, as agents of punishment of Israel until messiah comes: the king of the North and king of the South. The identification of the king of the North and the king of the South are not in doubt. The king of the North is the geopolitical and ethnic region generally represented by Syria (Seleucids), the king of the South is Egypt (Ptolemaic). History and Dan 11 match so perfectly that the identification is undoubtable.

What became Syria was part of the first three beasts, and in Dan11, it is this power (The king of the North) that stops the sacrifices and sets up the abomination that causes desolation, not Rome. This is also stated in Dan 8:8 The goat (Alexander’s kingdom) became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven (Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt). V9 Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. Dan V10 It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. Dan 8:11 It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Dan V12 Because of rebellion, the host of the saints and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

The thread of kings of the North and South and their activities is not lost, from the breakup of Alexander the Greats empire to the following point: Dan 11:31 (interlinear) “and arms shall stand on their part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily (sacrifice), and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate,” so there is a clear contradiction between this unmistakable ID of the perpetrator being non-Roman, and the generally claimed identification of it being the Romans that set up (or are to set up) the abomination gleaned from a mistake in understanding who the ruler is who’s people destroy Jerusalem in Dan 9’s prophecy of the seven sevens. However, if the three references Dan 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11 to the abomination are separate events, then there is nothing to disqualify Rome from being responsible for one of them. Jesus said it would be a future event and Dan 11:31 speaks of its fulfillment by the king of the North before Jesus time. The only solution is that they are in fact separate events.

Part 3

                                                              

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It is important that you understand; Everything on this blog is based on the current understanding of each author. Never take anyone's word for it, always prove it for yourself, it is your responsibility. You cannot ride someone else's coattail into the Kingdom.

Acts 17:11

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