Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Understanding End time Prophecy (How the accepted scenario went off the track) Part 1 of 5

There’s an enormous amount of material out there concerning the apocalypse, Armageddon, end of the world, the book of Revelation and the Antichrist, almost all the scenarios I’ve looked at are virtually the same. I intend to make a case for the error of these interpretations.
Prophecy can be a tedious subject, and I won’t be able to entirely avoid this, so I’ll chop this treatise up into smaller bites so that perhaps no one will be discouraged from reading it. My conclusions are my own, although I just recently learned that someone else came to similar conclusions, and likely before I did. But I arrived here on my own. The fact others came to similar conclusions, by studying the bible for themselves, only serves to confirm to me that I have gone where the evidence naturally leads.
From my perspective, the key to understanding bible prophecy is recognizing that its focus narrows in concentric rings, where the outer rings are things not directly concerning Israel followed by Israel itself (Both Northern and Southern kingdoms), then Judah, Jerusalem, the temple mount, the altar, which all lead us to the center of the target, and the true Lamb of God, which is the Lord of Lords, Jesus the Christ. In the early 90’s I decided to throw off my previous ideas about prophecy, and read the bible for what it would say to me using the above written observation about the nature of the Hebrew Scriptures as a guide. The results didn’t jive with the standard view.
Most writers on the subject of biblical prophecy seem to see prophecy in the same way in that most expect a resurrected Roman empire, which is controlled by the anti-Christ that sets up a world ruling government. Usually there is an expectation of a seven year peace treaty with Israel that permits a temple to be built on the original site, a renewal of animal sacrifices which is forcibly stopped in the middle of the seven years, followed by the “great tribulation”. So many “experts” pontificate on the subject as if they weren’t at least to some degree speculating, but clearly there are various ways of interpreting prophetic symbology. If prophecy is true, its value is that it is a warning of things that might otherwise blindside us, so being aware of all potential meanings seems prudent. I have a view that I’d like to explore. I submit it not as truth but as another speculative possibility. Some of what I present here I take as a possibility, some of it I believe to be true at this point, and I’ll speak of it as if it is. This should not be mistaken for an attempt to make anyone believe these perspectives; I have nothing to gain by anyone believing anything I have to say.
The book of Daniel’s prophecy, in the second chapter, concerning the great statue, is generally recognized as the Rosetta stone by which other predictions are interpreted since it provides a clear core of what occurs in the holy land from the time of the giving of the prophecy until the return of the Lord. As I see it, this is where the standard interpretation begins straying.
The prophecy in Dan 2:31-45, composed of two parts; the first is symbolism and the second, its explanation which describe a statue of a man consisting of a head of gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet of iron and partly of clay, each representing successive kingdoms. Five sections are represented, but only four sections are recognized: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The anonymous fifth section (usually referred to as the ‘resurrected Roman Empire) is in power when the rock (clearly Jesus) comes and destroys it and establishes his kingdom.
The interpretation of the last part of this prophecy is written as follows in the literal translation:Dan 2:41-43And as that you saw the feet and the toes partly clay of potter and partly of ironkingdom divided shall be but of the strength of the iron there shall be in it because you saw the iron mixed with clay of the clay and the toes of the feet partly of iron and partly of clay partly thekingdom shall be strong and partly shall be fragile and as you saw the iron mixed with clay of the clay they shall be mixed with the seed of men but not they shall adhere one to another even as the iron not does mix with the clay.”
When you read the entire prophecy Dan 2:31-44 you may notice each section of the statue is discussed as a separate kingdom; the pattern in these descriptions do not suggest that this last one is not a fifth kingdom, except that it lacks the word fifth. An explanation for this might be that this is the only one composed of parts of the previous empires (as we shall see later), not being taken captive by an external military force, so nothing is actually added; it is however clearly referred to as a kingdom. The NIV uses the words “finallyv40 in reference to the fourth kingdom, but that was added at the discretion of the translators. I choose to accept the pattern, and will refer to the fifth section as a fifth kingdom although it is comprised of parts of the previous four as we will see in Dan 7:24.
Incidentally, Part of the pattern is that the first four kingdoms, usually referred to as world ruling empires were never anything of the kind. I’m sure the Chinese would agree. The Mongols under the brilliant leadership of Genghis Khan and his heirs in fact subdued more of the earth. Why then do theologians insist that the fifth (so called resurrected Roman Empire) is to be a world ruling empire?
· This will be point one: the Empires predicted in Daniel were not, and are not to be world ruling Empires.
                                                                The Pattern
In the bible the word often translated “world” (earth) Dan 2:39 (H772 ‘ara’ corresponding to H776) means land in particular or in general. It can mean world, but it clearly means primarily land in the book of Daniel since it involved Empires of the Middle East. You can be sure that this land is the land of which the bible is primarily concerned, presuming a wider context is not consistent with the normal pattern. Bible lecturers have continually used prophecies where this word is used and applied it to the entire earth.
The prophesy in Daniel V7 is also in two parts and tells the same basic story. The first section verses 1-22 is in prophetic symbology, the second in verses 22-28 explain the symbols. The first section describes a series of beasts, using the imagery of a winged lion; a bear with the three ribs in its mouth; a leopard with four wings; and a ten horned beast with iron teeth. Most English translations of verse 17 appear to speak of the rising of the kingdoms as future events, “four kingdoms that will rise from the earth (land)”, although at this point (the time the prophecies were given) it’s almost time for the second beast to overtake the first; the events are already underway. This observation may have some pertinence later in Daniel 12.
After the four beasts, a boastful little horn arises in Dan7:8. Nothing is said about this horn rising out of the beast’s head; it doesn’t need to rise out of Roman territory. The little horn is a fifth element, but ordinarily not credited with the possibility of representing the fifth kingdom represented by the statues feet of iron and clay. Yet it’s this horn that makes war against the saint and is destroyed by Christ as you can see in Dan 7:21-22As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them v22 until the Ancient of Days came.” This is the same time period as the feet since the rock comes and destroys the statue at this point, and then fills the entire world (with his kingdom as this rock is Jesus). The prophecies represented in the statue and beasts are providing duplicate information. If the boastful horn does not represent the same thing as the statues feet, then the pattern is broken. To break the pattern strikes me as sloppy, something God is not. I don’t believe that the fifth kingdom is a resurrection of the fourth, and we will look at the evidence as we go along.
A very similar description of the above is written in Rev 13:5The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months. V6 He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. V7 He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” Notice the similarity of this description to the following description in Daniel.
Dan 7:20I also wanted to know about the ten horns on its head and about the other horn that came up, before which three of them fell--the horn that looked more imposing than the others and that had eyes and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” This little horn grew up and acts against the fourth beast (Rome) and uproots three of its horns, which Dan 7:24 tell us are kings that are subdued: V24 “The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom. After them another king will arise, different from the earlier ones; he will subdue three kings. V25 He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time. Dan 7:26 'But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Dan 7:27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom.” The 42 months of Rev 13:5 and the Time Times and half a time are the same time period, which in days is 1260, a number of significance. The beast of Rev 13:5 and the king represented by the little horn both make war/oppress the saints over the same time span, another similarity.
If the little horn grew out of the beast’s head, it would be attacking itself. Dan 7:8 says the little horn came up among the other horns which represent Roman territories. It would be a presumption to conclude that the little horn is Roman rather than a vassal territory, this king is described as different. This new king conquers three of the Roman territories and becomes a new entity formed from part of what was the Roman Empire, but it is not the Roman Empire. It is the final beast and may exist for many hundreds of years, but it lasts until Jesus return. This boastful little horn’s description is much like that of the King of the North in Dan 11:36The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods. He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place.”
The empires, that were predicted, were to rise from the land surrounding Israel; are the subject of much of the Old Testament, these empires are discussed because they are pertinent to Israel who was given the land that bears its name. These Empires dominate Israel, therefore are tools of punishment which explains why they are described as being ‘beasts’.
Here is another parallel description Rev 13:2The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority.”
This beast has characteristics of the first three beasts in Daniel 7 (the lion, bear, and leopard), but not the iron teeth of the fourth beast which represented Rome. This then indicates that the beast is made up of the kingdoms of the Middle East before Rome ruled over Israel as Dan chapters 8 and 11 describe. I’m inclined to believe that this Rev 13:2 beast, the little horn ofDan 7:20 and the King of the North of Dan 11:36 are synonymous.
Ten horns are possessed by this beast of Rev 13,as did the 4th beast of Dan7:23 Rome, but this does not make them the same beast. This 5th beast also has seven heads which coincidently is the number of Empires that have punished Israel/Judah; Egypt, Syria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and now this final one. Two of these heads pre existed the Statue/beasts prophecy. Each head had its moment of time serially making the last head a single beast.
This beast does seem to have a resurrection of sorts (Rev 13:1-3) as it appears to be killed, but another beast (number 6) having the authority of the first (V11-12), resumes the work of the wounded one (v14) and directs adoration to the first as perhaps reminiscent of a glorious past of the people who as described in v13:4 made up an unstoppable military force;”Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” Undoubtedly the 5th kingdom of Daniel and the beast ofRev 13:7 are one in the same.
I should make a note at this point that this 6th beast is not mentioned in Daniel, it is introduced here, and after what appears to be the death of the 5th, or shall we say, collapse of empire, it is this 6th beast that joins with and probably helps to heal the 5th. As we are talking about nations here, a nation that has sympathy for another would naturally provide aid. This 6thbeast forces the mark of the beast to be received; Rev 13:16. Here is a fascinating theory on what John saw that he interpreted as 666: End Time Beast And his Mark
A large proportion of bible prophecy covers the fall of Israel (and Judah in particular) from grace; the consequences of this fall, and the duration. The Prophecies in Daniel cover this precise timeline, and within this timeline salvation comes to those not of Israel. The apostle Paul said inRom11:11 (NIV); “Again I ask: Did they (the Jews) stumble so as to fall beyond recovery? Not at all! Rather, because of their transgression, salvation has come to the Gentiles to make Israel envious.”
· It is the centrality of Judah that is the first observation of the succession of kingdoms (the beasts). All the kingdoms control, or did control the holy land.
· Secondly; the kingdoms absorbed the previous kingdom or parts thereof of the preceding kingdom.
· Thirdly; there is no gap between kingdoms taking control of Judah.
This is the pattern. The statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream did not have its feet cut off, with an air gap inserted between them and the legs to which they should have been attached. For this reason, the idea of the Roman empire (fourth beast, and legs of iron) being resurrected as the last entity (the 5th empire,the feet) of this succession seems discredited. The question that needs to be asked is “who took control of the middle East, and the holy land, in particular, after the Romans?” Rev 13 has actually already told us it consists of those territorial and ethnic entities comprising the beasts prior to Rome.
· This will be point two: There is no resurrected Roman Empire. This would break the pattern.


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




xHWA said...

You've got some srsly interesting ideas here, Luc.
I think this line of posts from you is going to be good!

xHWA said...

My apologies to everyone about thrashing Luc's post here at about noon on 3-18-10. I was trying to update the Categories page with a link to this post and somehow I managed to update this post.

All better now.

...I think.