Sunday, February 10, 2008

Extended Coffee Break

It’s official. My desire to focus on the study of end things is dwindling, and I think it’s time a take a break until I have true motivation that drives me to write out of correct motives rather than feeling motivated to write out of duty to keep my readers happy. It’s been fun to back here for the past year after a year break due to the same reasons, but while my desire for God’s word is never simply focused on end times, it is cyclical, meaning there are times when I have drive to focus on certain aspects of truth more than others.

I would never say that the study of prophecy is all about timing, maps and the rapture, and that it has nothing to do with knowing God. In fact, I try to make sure that truth about God, Himself, is included within this blog and that prophecy is shown to be an aspect of God’s character, and that understanding prophetic truth is most definitely applicable in the here and now and is actually a part of communion with Him.

But I feel like I’m being led to put it on the shelf for the time being and to simply spend quality time knowing Him and seeking scripture more deeply to apply to my daily life and to those around me without spending so much time pondering the future and things to write about concerning it.

Some feel an urgency to continue to write about news events and prophetic topics because of their belief that the WEU is the beast empire, that a certain individual is the Antichrist and that the final week of Daniel has begun. While I would never say that this scenario is untrue, I will say that at this point in time it is only speculation, one should not be dogmatic about it and we can’t know for sure until clear, undeniable signs take place. If these signs take place, believe me, I will be back with a vengeance.

This break of mine may last a month, or it may last a year. I don’t know, and only time will tell, but I think that there’s enough content here for new readers to ponder as they accidentally drop by or are directed here by you, my regular reader. I hope I haven’t disappointed too many of you, and I hope I’m articulating this so that you understand my perspective.

Thanks for all of your great comments, questions and thoughts over the last year! And thanks even to those of you that disagree with me. Life would be boring without disagreements or issues to wrestle with. And feel free to continue to make comments or to ask questions because I’m certain that I will still keep up that portion of the Tribune during my little sabbatical.


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Pre-wrath Novel

Robert Van Kampen's daughter, Kristen Wisen, has written an end-times novel. I have not read it, so I can't tell you if it's good, but I'm willing to bet that it is. You may read a little about Kristen and her book here.

Matthew 24 Isn't Literal?

I am confident that Matthew 24 is a black and white, meat and potatoes passage that is unlike other prophetic passages given to us by old and new testament prophets. Those that have been influenced by Amillennialism and Postmillennialism have told us repeatedly that apocalyptic imagery isn’t fulfilled in any sort of literal fashion due to the nature of it, but I say that this is missing a very important fact.

Matthew 24 is not apocalyptic imagery! Other prophecies have been given to us by a prophet that either had a dream or a vision, or they were moved by the Spirit within them. These prophets didn’t understand much of what they were seeing and had to do their best to describe these events to us. I’m sure that this was especially difficult when we consider that they were not only seeing symbolic dreams and visions (leopard beasts, etc), but some, such as John, were seeing things that involved futuristic qualities that they couldn’t begin to fathom.

But Jesus was not speaking from a dream or a vision when He spoke to His disciples on the Mount of Olives. He was not interpreting what He didn’t understand, and He was not trying to communicate something to His followers that was given to Him in symbolic form. He simply told them a story of what was going to happen because He knew the story firsthand from His Father. He had the inside scoop.

I think we can put our minds at ease and know that Matthew 24 is a simple story that displays real events that will literally take place in the future. We don’t need to be dogmatic about how every detail will take place, but I think it’s safe to say that there will be an abomination of desolation, we will be persecuted and He will come to rescue us after the signs in the sun, moon and stars indicate that He is on His way to deal out retribution to His enemies.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Beast Empire—More "Was" and "Is" Dilemmas: Part 8

Continuing from the last post, but remaining within the same subject, we must face another dilemma. It's very clear that the king of Rome was a contemporary of John’s and that this king was the king that the angel described to John as the king that “is.” But if we say that the beast that “was, and is not and will come” is also spoken of from the perspective of John we have the future beast, or Antichrist, as one that lived before John and was dead during John’s life. This king would then be alive once again sometime in the future during the 70th Week.

Many teach this and conclude that Antiochus Epiphanes from the second century BC (167-164), who caused great terror to the Jews only to come to his ruin during the Maccabean revolt, is the beast that will come. I cannot say that this is impossible, or that some other historical figure couldn't be a possible candidate, but I think that it's unlikely.

This Antiochus Epiphanes idea brings us back to square one, and is similar to the problem I have with thinking that the world will be amazed at an empire being reborn. This once again causes me to wonder how the whole world will be amazed at someone coming back from the dead that has been dead for over 2000 years. How on God’s green earth would one be able to convince the world that he used to be Antiochus Epiphanes or any other former dead person?! He would be a laughing stock. At the very least he would be considered a quack and a possible date for Shirley McClain! There’s no way that I can see that the beast could be able to pull this off in a way that could convince the world to follow and worship him. Even if we view the beast as strictly the beast that comes from the abyss in a spirit form, and not the man/Antichrist, how could it be conveyed to the masses that he “was” at one time, ie. was dead or locked in the abyss and is once again alive and free from the abyss? Who would believe it enough to be amazed, and who would care besides a few nutty conspiracy-minded folks that are likely to get sucked into any crazy cult that wanders their way?

If the Beast is Viewed From the Perspective of Those Alive During the 70th Week

If we view the beast that "was, is not and will come" from the perspective, or time period, of those that are alive in the 70th week there are once again problems if we also conclude that the beast is not only a king, but an empire, as well. If the beast that "was" is viewed from the perspective of those living in the 70th Week, and is viewed as an empire, and that empire was Rome, then we have a seventh, unnamed, head in the beast system.

It's clear that the beast that "was, is not and will come" is the eighth and one of the seven. If it's one of the seven, and is Rome, it must be the sixth and eighth empire. So who is the seventh, then? Muhammed’s empire? Hitler’s empire? And why would the scripture be so kind to answer itself by giving us all of the names of the beast empires of those previous six empires so that we can know who each head is (Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo/Persian, Grecian, Roman) but briefly pass by the seventh and give absolutely no indication as to who it is. This just doesn't seem plausible or complete to me when I consider the great details that have been provided for us. Plus, it gives leeway for just about anything to be possible.


But if a man (not an empire) during the 70th Week was killed and revived before the eyes of the world, well, that would be amazing and would cause true beast worship! I know, some of you are rolling your eyes, and some of you are wondering why I’m being inconsistent in my interpretation. How can I say that the king that “was, is not and will come” is not viewed from John’s perspective and lifetime period when only a few verses away the king of Rome was viewed from John’s perspective? It sounds like very inconsistent hermeneutics.

But I think that this post, and the last post, has become long and laborious enough for the average reader. I have to wonder if any of you were even able to make it to this point without placing a gun to your head to put a stop to my miserable, mind numbing confusion! So I will once again have to continue this at another time. Baby steps, my detailed prophecy friend, baby steps. Stay tuned.

The Beast Empire—Was the Beast “Was” or “Is?”: Part 7

As I was halfway through writing this piece I became bothered by the realization that unless you are very familiar with this topic this entry (and the next one) may be getting a bit hard to follow as I chase the prophetic rabbit down many different trails, thus I thought the ridiculous title of this entry was appropriate. I try to keep this blog fairly simple so that those new to prophetic study can learn the basics without feeling bogged down, but at times I just need to veer from the path of simplicity. I’ve done my best to write this Beast Empire study in a simple manner so that all can follow, but I understand if you’re starting to see blurry. Hang in there, and feel free to ask questions. It seems that it’s usually only the very studied individuals that leave comments or questions, but don’t let that intimidate you. If you don’t understand something, just ask.

Are the Heads Empires Also?

Revelation 17:8
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.

Some will claim that the beast that “was, is not, and will come” is an empire that fell and will be revived. First, this hardly seems like something that would cause all the people to “wonder” as it says in verse eight. What is so amazing about a former empire regaining its strength? Who would care? We saw the Soviet Union fall, and as we seem to see Russia growing in strength to the point that there is a great possibility that it will regain its oppressive nature. If this happens will the whole world say, “Who is like the Soviet Union? Who can make war with it? I will worship the Soviet Union because it was not and now is! (Rev. 13)” This seem more than an unlikely stretch to me.

Secondly, while Daniel’s vision clearly indicated that the four beasts and the individual statue parts could be viewed as either empires or as individual leaders of those empires, Revelation doesn’t seem to give this leeway. In verse ten of chapter seventeen the interpretation of the seven heads is said to be seven kings, and I think there's a reason why only kings are specified rather than kings and empires.

If the Beast is Viewed From the Perspective of John

An observant individual commented on one of my previous posts that it seemed confusing that John saw one of the heads as Rome and that he saw it as the head that “was,” meaning that it was in existence during the life of John. But now we have John claiming that he saw a beast that “is not!” Here is his question:

“He [the beast] was, and is not and will come. Seemingly ‘is not’ means not present or here (from John's perspective). Did John not say that ‘one is’? Was not ROME the sixth beast empire? Is not the Roman empire to revive as the seventh? What does "and is not" mean from John's time-frame?”

This is one of the reasons why, three paragraphs previous to this, I mentioned that John does not seem to indicate that the beast heads are kings and empires as Daniel did in his visions. John very clearly wrote that the heads were kings, and I can find nothing in his text that indicates that the heads can flip flop back and forth in their meaning from kings to empires as they did in the book of Daniel. And the only reason that I can see for people concluding this in their interpretation is because they simply assume it is the case because the vision in Daniel worked in this fashion.

Now, because I see John's vision is specifically focusing in on the individual kings, and not the empires, John wrote that the king of Rome was in existence in his (John's) lifetime. He did not say that Rome was in existence during his period. Therefore there is no contradiction in saying that the king (of Rome) “is,” as John’s contemporary, and that the king of the future (revived Rome) “is not” during John’s lifetime. The contradiction is only valid if we interpret the heads as empires because Rome could not be present and not present at the same time of John’s existence if the beast is viewed from John’s perspective, and from his point in time. But then again, there might be other problems if we view this "was, is and will come" beast from John's time perspective! Could I be more difficult?

In the next post I will address more "was" and "is" dilemmas, and hopefully I will at least begin to write my final conclusions about this beast and explain what I believe is the best interpretation of the topic in question.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

God is Finished With Israel?

Many people try to claim that God is through with the literal nation of Israel. They claim that followers of Christ have replaced them. I believe there are many serious problems with this idea. I recently had a friendly conversation with a preterist that lets me hunt his land. He made a few bold claims, and then lumped everyone that believed that Israel had a future with God into a dispensational pre-tribber category. I just had to ask him a few questions! Below is a fairly simple solution that can be used if you run into the same situation.

Jer. 31:37
Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done.

I brought this passage up to my preterist friend, and of course he quickly reminded me that we are the descendants of Israel, and that the passage is saying that God will never reject us.

But to apply Christians to this passage is simply torturing the text due to presuppositions. Yes, I understand that we are Abraham's descendants by faith, but, the last portion of this passage says, "because of all they have done."

The "they" is clearly the literal and physical nation Israel because that is who is being spoken to and about in the passage. Because of this it seems impossible to claim that the descendants being spoken of could be us. If it were, the verse would be saying this:

"Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the CHRISTIANS because of all that the JEWS have done."

Why would He reject any Christian for what Jews have done? This makes absolutely no sense! Problem solved, my preterist friend.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Beast Empire—A Visual of the Beast That Will Come

Continuing in my thoughts from part six of The Beast Empire Study, it seems that the beast in Revelation 17:8-13 must be an individual, and not the entire beast system that has seven heads and ten horns as seen in verse seven. I explained my thoughts on this previously, but click the picture to the left to enlarge it for a visual example of what I believe.

Click here to go to part seven of the Beast Empire study. And if you're new here, click here to begin at the beginning of this study.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Pre-wrath Book

If you're not aware of the new pre-wrath book by Charles Cooper that has just been released, click here for all the details.

Monday, January 07, 2008

The Beast Empire—The Mystery Beast That Will Come: Part 6

Thus far I’ve covered the basics for my beliefs of the six heads, the ten horns and some related issues with the future beast empire. Some of my conclusions have been based on facts that I have no doubts about, but a few things were certainly debatable and are open-ended due to the difficulty factor of some of the passages within question.

I’m the type that likes facts, and I don’t always enjoy issues within verses that I believe are too vague to be dogmatic about. But still, these verse and issues need to be evaluated. I bring this up because of the topic I’m writing of now, and will continue to write of for at least one or two more posts—the beast that was, is not and will come, and the seventh and eighth kings of Revelation 17. There are so many conclusions concerning these kings and this mystery beast that will come, and I admit that I am not completely satisfied with all of my conclusions, but no matter what position I try to consider it seems that I always end up concluding that my belief seems like the most viable one (don’t we all?). I refuse to speak dogmatically about this topic, but I will do my best to present my case the best I know how to as I hold the opinion that we will just have to wait and see to know for sure.

And for the record, if anyone desires to come forward claiming that they have the contents of Revelation 17 nailed down to factual conclusions with no “ifs,” “ands” or “buts,” I would like to stress that I believe that anyone that speaks dogmatically about every detail in chapter 17 is at the very least, foolish, and quite possibly even stupid beyond recovery! That being said, blogs and web sites are a perfect place for every kind of individual under the sun to express their every opinion, and it is certainly your right to be dogmatic if you desire, but I think wisdom advises against it.

Revelation 17:7-8
And the angel said to me, "Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction and those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come."

It seems quite obvious, at first, that the beast that “was and is not and will come” must be the same beast spoken of in the previous verse that carried the woman. At first glance it flows perfectly. After all, the angel in verse seven said that he was going to tell John the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, and then continues in verse eight by saying, “The beast that you saw.” But it also, for more than one reason, seems to me that something else is going on here.

The beast spoken of in verse seven is a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns (Rev. 17:3). As I’ve attempted to show in previous posts this beast’s heads represent beast empires, or the kings of those empires, while the ten horns represent kings that will be present when the future eighth king reigns. How can this beast that is a combination, or a collage, of all of these entities, be the beast that “was, and is not?” This scarlet beast is not an individual king, an individual empire, spirit, or even the individual himself (Satan). How can a beast that is made up of seven kings of seven empires, and of ten more kings (including the final, and eighth) be spoken of as something that “was, and is not, and is about to come?” It no longer flows smoothly as it first seems to as it’s simply read from verse seven to verse eight.

Furthermore, we know that Rome is in existence at the time of this vision, and considering the fact that Rome is one of the heads of this scarlet beast it seems unlikely that it could also be included in an entire scarlet beast that “was, and is not.” Rome is (or the king of Rome “is” v. 10) , while the beast of verse eight “is not,” therefore, again, it seems that the entirety of the scarlet beast is not in view here.

I believe the vision makes a beast shift in verse eight and begins speaking of an individual beast. Some will say that this interpretation is very awkward, and I understand this, but as I’ve considered this for many years I do not think that it is awkward.

What if, instead of simply continuing to speak of the entirety of the scarlet beast, the angel begins explaining the scarlet beast by speaking of one aspect of the entire beast system by focusing in on only one of it’s many beastish parts? After all, the explanation to John continues in this manner by explaining one aspect at a time. The angel explains what the seven heads are, what the ten horns are, that there is an eighth king and that the ten kings will be in cahoots with the eighth. All of these revelations are small aspects of the entire scarlet beast that, when combined, make up the scarlet beast in all its “glory.”

Therefore, in verse seven, when the angel says, “I will tell you the mystery…of the beast,” and then continues in verse eight by speaking of “the beast you saw,” it no longer has to be the same entire scarlet beast he just mentioned because the focus shifts to begin speaking of individual parts of the scarlet beast so that John would gain the full picture once the explanation was complete. I will come back to this textual beast shift later.

I think that the “beast that you [John] saw (v. 8)” is referring to the beast that John previously saw in his vision that we have recorded for us in chapter thirteen. The beast. The Antichrist. He will wage war against the saints and will overcome them and he will demand worship from the world (Rev. 13:7-8) until his inevitable destruction by the Son, our redeemer.

Click here to continue to the next part of this study.

And if you are just showing up here and would like to begin at the beginning of this Beast Empire study, click here for part one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Beast Empire — Six Headed Chart

Click chart to enlarge.

If you're anything like me you like things simplified. I try my best to write in a simple form that makes it easy for all to follow, and sometimes a picture is all it takes to make a teaching come to life. This chart is a continuation of what I have been writing of in the previous six posts related to the Beast Empire, and gives a visual of my conclusions laid out in part five. Click HERE to go to part six.