Report From The Tower
INTRODUCTION: WHY I DON’T’ BELIEVE IN “LEFT BEHIND”
The passing of a year has brought new issues before us. As I have pondered and prayed about new things, I have been led to reconsider other angles, arguments and viewpoints that I need to deal with in such an exhaustive article as this one. Hence, there is a need for a second edition.
I was recently ministering in Medellin, Colombia for forty days. During that time, I preached ten times at a wonderful Church there. In my last session of preaching, I was teaching on the last things, and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.
When I finished preaching, the Pastora of the Church there disagreed with what I had taught, and said what she believed about these things. I sat, listening intently, as she was expressing her agreement with pre-tribulation rapture teaching and the whole scenario that is set forth in the movie “Left Behind”.
I resolved, after a few minutes of polite discourse with the Pastora, to set to writing my beliefs with respect to these things. I try never to argue with people about these things, and she is a precious servant of the Lord. Such an explanatory work as this needs to be short, to the point, and clear. So much of what is written today is not. Many extrapolations, and leaps of interpretation are made when people teach about the return of Christ.
PROLOGUE: IT IS NOT A TRAGEDY TO SAY WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND-SOME THINGS ARE NOT MEANT TO BE UNDERSTOOD
Daniel was a man who was told several times by angels that he was a man highly favored and highly esteemed of the Lord. More than any other man in scripture, Daniel was shown things and plainly admitted that he did not understand them. He kept crying out to God for understanding, and finally was told, “Go thy way, Daniel”. Those things he sought were sealed up, until the time of the end. In short, no one was to know them until it was time for them to be known. Today, we see many who know it all. Many have their charts and their books, with everything sorted into a neat little order. Every scripture has its’ place and is understood. The only problem is that there are at least nine different ways that men have interpreted all of this, and it is obvious that a minimum of eight of their methods must be wrong, and perhaps all are wrong. It is much better to echo Daniel, and say, “Lord, I do not understand.” I will do so where I do not have a clear understanding of what is to come.
1: ANTICHRIST CONFUSION
In my seventeen years, I have seen many possible identities for this “future antichrist”: supposedly PROVED FROM SCRIPTURE. You should not assume that you have been taught correctly. Have you been taught, or has it been more like programming? Will there be "an antichrist"? This is what we have all been taught. What does the scripture say?
I read one book where it was convincingly PROVEN FROM THE SCRIPTURE that the antichrist would be a resurrected Adolph Hitler. Those who have read Robert Van Kampen’s “The Sign”…….you know I’m not joking or making this up.
I have seen it proven, supposedly FROM SCRIPTURE, that the “future antichrist” will be a Jew.
I have heard it presented, PROVEN FROM SCRIPTURE, that Bill Clinton, as head of a powerful United Nations, will be the “future antichrist”. After all, his name adds up to 666 in Hebrew and in Greek.
I recall, from a book I read in the late 1990’s, written by a long time messianic missionary, that he was quite certain that Yasser Arafat was the antichrist. Well, his death, on November 11, 2004, has disqualified him from the position, if it exists.
I have heard prophecy that he, the “future antichrist” will be a future American president. I have also read a book that identified the former Russian President Gorbachev as the one.
I have read it and heard it many times that this “future antichrist” will be a charismatic political leader of a revived Holy Roman Empire.
I read another one where it was proven that the “future antichrist” had to be Prince Charles of Wales, or from his line.
I have even read an argument that our antichrist will be an Arab terrorist like Osama Bin Laden….maybe even Bin Laden himself.
This is getting more and more difficult. Now, Jon Van Koevering is telling me on his television program to look for an Arab. Whew! Saddam Hussein is out of power, but, alas, not proven dead yet! I am remembering that Van Koevering is not the first to come up with this Arab leader scenario. I remember something about this, foretold by that famous necromancer Nostradamus, who saw an Arab leader of the future, who would cause a great war, wearing a many colored robe.
Finally, my pastor says he will come out of Rome. Are not the pastors and teachers of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ being made to look exceedingly foolish and reckless by this continual crystal ball gazing? Might the flock be getting just a little bit confused?
2: WHAT IS SATAN'S OBJECTIVE IN ALL OF THIS CONFUSION AND PROMISES OF EASE AND COMFORT FOR THE CHRISTIAN? THE STORY OF CORRIE TEN BOOM.
We can already look to places on the Earth where pre- tribulation rapture doctrine has been taught, and see what the results were when trouble and tribulation reached there.
This letter was written by Ms. Corrie Ten Boom, a Nazi Concentration Camp survivor, and lifelong missionary, to many countries, in 1974. I have included excerpts from it:
"My sister, Betsy, and I were in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruck because we committed the crime of loving Jews. Seven hundred of us from Holland, France, Russia, Poland and Belgium were herded into a room built for two hundred. As far as I knew, Betsy and I were the only two representatives of Heaven in that room. We may have been the Lord's only representatives in that place of hatred, yet because of our presence there, things changed. Jesus said, "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." We too, are to be overcomers – bringing the light of Jesus into a world filled with darkness and hate."
"Sometimes I get frightened as I read the Bible, and as I look in this world and see all of the tribulation and persecution promised by the Bible coming true."
"Betsy and I, in the concentration camp, prayed that God would heal Betsy who was so weak and sick. "Yes, the Lord will heal me,", Betsy said with confidence. She died the next day and I could not understand it. They laid her thin body on the concrete floor along with all the other corpses of the women who died that day."
"It was hard for me to understand, to believe that God had a purpose for all that. Yet because of Betsy's death, today I am traveling all over the world telling people about Jesus."
"There are some among us teaching there will be no tribulation, that the Christians will be able to escape all this. These are the false teachers that Jesus was warning us to expect in the latter days. Most of them have little knowledge of what is already going on across the world. I have been in countries where the saints are already suffering terrible persecution. In China, the Christians were told, "Don't worry, before the tribulation comes you will be translated – raptured." Then came a terrible persecution. Millions of Christians (20 million estimated martyrs) were tortured to death. Later I heard a Bishop from China say, sadly, "We have failed. We should have made the people strong for persecution rather than telling them Jesus would come first. Tell the people how to be strong in times of persecution, how to stand when the tribulation comes – to stand and not faint."
"I feel I have a divine mandate to go and tell the people of this world that it is possible to be strong in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are in training for the tribulation, but more than sixty percent of the Body of Christ across the world has already entered into the tribulation. There is no way to escape it. We are next."
"Since I have already gone through prison for Jesus' sake, and since I met the Bishop in China, now every time I read a good Bible text I think, "Hey, I can use that in the time of tribulation." Then I write it down and learn it by heart."
"When I was in the concentration camp, a camp where only twenty percent of the women came out alive, we tried to cheer each other up by saying, "Nothing could be any worse than today." But we would find the next day was even worse. During this time a Bible verse that I had committed to memory gave me great hope and joy. "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you; on their part evil is spoken of, but on your part He is glorified." (I Peter 3:14) I found myself saying, "Hallelujah! Because I am suffering, Jesus is glorified!"
"In America, the churches sing, "Let the congregation escape tribulation", but in China and Africa the tribulation has already arrived. This last year alone more than two hundred thousand Christians were martyred in Africa. Now things like that never get into the newspapers because they cause bad political relations. But I know. I have been there. We need to think about that when we sit down in our nice houses with our nice clothes to eat our steak dinners. Many, many members of the Body of Christ are being tortured to death at this very moment, yet we continue right on as though we are all going to escape the tribulation."
"Several years ago I was in Africa in a nation where a new government had come into power. The first night I was there some of the Christians were commanded to come to the police station to register. When they arrived they were arrested and that same night they were executed. The next day the same thing happened with other Christians. The third day it was the same. All the Christians in the district were being systematically murdered."
"The fourth day I was to speak in a little church. The people came, but they were filled with fear and tension. All during the service they were looking at each other, their eyes asking, "Will this one I am sitting beside be the next one killed? Will I be the next one?"
"When I was a little girl, " I said, "I went to my father and said, "Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ." "Tell me," said Father, "When you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?" "No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train." "That is right," my father said, "and so it is with God's strength. Our Father in Heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need – just in time…"
My African friends were nodding and smiling. Suddenly a spirit of joy descended upon that church and the people began singing, " In the sweet, by and by, we shall meet on that beautiful shore." Later that week, half the congregation of that church was executed. I heard later that the other half was killed some months ago."
"But I must tell you something. I was so happy that the Lord used me to encourage these people, for unlike many of their leaders, I had the word of God. I had been to the Bible and discovered that Jesus said He had not only overcome the world, but to all those who remained faithful to the end, He would give a crown of life."
"How can we get ready for the persecution? First we need to feed on the word of God, digest it, make it a part of our being. This will mean disciplined Bible study each day as we not only memorize long passages of scripture, but put the principles to work in our lives."
"Next we need to develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Not just the Jesus of yesterday, the Jesus of History, but the life-changing Jesus of today who is still alive and sitting at the right hand of God."
"We must be filled with the Holy Spirit. This is no optional command of the Bible, it is absolutely necessary. Those earthly disciples could never have stood up under the persecution of the Jews and Romans had they not waited for Pentecost. Each of us needs our own personal Pentecost, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We will never be able to stand in the tribulation without it."
"In the coming persecution we must be ready to help each other and encourage each other. But we must not wait until the tribulation comes before starting. The fruit of the Spirit should be the dominant force of every Christian's life."
"Many are fearful of the coming tribulation, they want to run. I, too, am a little bit afraid when I think that after all my eighty years, including the horrible nazi concentration camp, that I might have to go through the tribulation also. But then I read the Bible and I am glad."
"When I am weak, then I shall be strong, the Bible says. Betsy and I were prisoners for the Lord, we were so weak, but we got power because the Holy Spirit was on us. That mighty inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit helped us through. No, you will not be strong in yourself when the tribulation comes. Rather, you will be strong in the power of Him who will not forsake you. For seventy-six years I have known the Lord Jesus and not once has He ever left me, or let me down. Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him, for I know that to all who overcome, He shall give the crown of life. Hallelujah!"
-Corrie Ten Boom-1974
Liberty To The Captives Home Page got this letter from the "Not Deceived Message Board". This is an excellent site that is well worth visiting.
Nate Krupp, who runs Preparing the Way Publishers, in Salem, Oregon, relates that in 1976, Corrie ten Boom personally shared with him that the Chinese Christians had been taught a pre-tribulation rapture. When the Communist take-over came in 1949-50, many believers fell away.
The Christian leaders of China later confessed to Corrie ten Boom that they had taught their Congregations wrongly, and repented of their teaching.
This testimony is an indication that the pre-tribulation teaching has been evaluated in one of the world's largest harvest-fields, where there are and have been more Christians than there are in all the other nations of the world aggregated as one.
The doctrine has been found lacking. It does not witness to reality during times of persecution, and becomes a stumbling stone to the saints who believe it. It does not prepare them for certain trouble.
John Mathew Thekkel M.A.,Ph.D. (Dr .Sunny Ezhumattoor) writes:
"Today 100% of Pentecostals, 98% of Plymouth Brethren, and 95% of Southern Baptists accept the doctrine of pre-tribulation rapture."
Are you one of the millions being deceived?
3: WE CAN UNDERSTAND THE PAST MUCH BETTER THAN THE FUTURE
The pre-tribulation rapture theory is the necessary outgrowth of the futurist interpretation of all bible prophecy. The assumption is made that bible prophecy all is future, and has not yet been fulfilled, and many writers have written book upon book to that effect.
Ah, but there is not much money to be made in understanding the past. Books written about it don’t sell very well. And so, a trip to any bible bookstore, and a visit to the prophecy section will yield the discovery that many authors have written a great many things about what they believe is about to happen on Planet Earth. Are any correct?
The bible does not show forth many examples where men have attempted to take prophecy, study it, and make sense out of it. There are really only a few. Daniel saw that his country was nearing the point of Jeremiah’s 70 year prophecy. What was Daniel’s response? Did he study and write a book? No, he prayed, and had visions, and was visited by angels. Still, he lacked understanding about the future events he was being shown.
There are many examples where New Testament writers quoted an old testament prophetic passage and noted that it was now fulfilled with what they were seeing in their day, or had just seen in the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.
Still, anointed men and women of God tell me that I should not study history. Everywhere I look, I find that all Christian people are ignorant of their history: the history of their church, the martyrs, antichrists and the biblical empires and kingdoms that must be understood before the bible may be understood.
4: THE ERROR OF PRESUMPTION THAT ALL IS FUTURE
Yes, there is an error today, and it springs from a root of pride. It believes that everything written in prophecy is for us, and refers to our near future. This is so arrogant: as if God wrote nothing to believers in the last 1,900 years, and only cared to speak to us about the future we would live in our lives.
More than 1900 years have passed since John, the last new testament author, laid down his quill. Much history has happened in those years, but modern authors ignore it. Modern pastors don’t want to hear about it.
SECTION 2: PERVERTING THE SCRIPTURE TO THE DESTRUCTION OF MANY
5: WHERE DID THIS IDEA OF EVERYTHING FUTURE COME FROM?
Most people know of the Scofield Reference Bible, published in 1917. This study bible, published in America, probably did the most to popularize the “futurist method” of interpreting bible prophecy. This study bible popularized the pre-tribulation rapture teaching.
Most people do not know who the first was to advance this proposition. His name was Francisco Ribera. He advanced it in 1583. Origin Of Rapture Doctrine He was a Jesuit Priest: A Roman Catholic. He had a very obvious motive for advancing his proposition.
Martin Luther and the other reformers had made great headway against Roman Catholicism with their own proposition: that the Pope in any age was antichrist, and the Roman Catholic Church was the fulfillment of what the bible called Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17.
6: ADDING TO THE WORD OF GOD
There is a chilling postscript to the writing of the Revelation, or the Apocalypse. This book contains the vision of John, and the details of his visit from Jesus.
We are warned in Revelation 22 as follows:
22:18 For I testify to every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
To those who believe in “Left Behind” as scriptural, I issue this challenge:
Show me where a “seven year tribulation period” is found in “the prophecy of this book”. Take your pick of books. Look in the book of Revelation, or in the whole book. You will not find it. It has been added to prophecy, extrapolated from some wording in Daniel 9 that refers to actions of one who will “confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
The action of confirming, or strengthening means that a covenant already exists, and this person is confirming it. It does not, and cannot refer to the execution of a new treaty, and it cannot be stretched to imply the existence of a seven year tribulation period in scripture. The Hebrew phrase for "to cut a covenant" was not used.
Biblical support for this "seven year tribulation" rests upon this one scripture alone. A custom of a "seven day marriage feast" is also used to buttress the argument, in that the groom rejoices with his bride for seven days. Since this custom is not biblical, even if it is true, it's weight in the determination of any prophesied length of time should be light to nothing at all. It may signify what it actually portends: seven days rather than seven years.
Arguments for extending the 70 weeks of years past 70 AD, as spoken of by the prophet Daniel, are very weak. No other biblically prophesied period is treated in a manner that would split up times of fulfillment and leave large gaps in the time of fulfillment.
The so called "seventieth week", as spoken of in Daniel 9:27, is said by some to refer to "the prince who will come", and by others to refer to "the Messiah Jesus". Jesus caused sacrifice and oblation to come to an end in terms of it's approval by God as a sacrificial system. The sacrifice of the animals continued until Titus came to Jerusalem and destroyed it in 70 AD. Whichever stoppage of sacrifice and offering is regarded as the fulfillment of this passage, it does not continue beyond 74 AD.
Advocates of the pre-tribulational theory conveniently ignore these events, and the cessation of sacrifice that already occurred in history, and look forward to a mythical future temple with a mythical restarted animal sacrifice system.
We do find references to a period of 1260 days in the Revelation, or 42 months, or 3 1/2 years. Should we believe, as the Jesuits taught, that it refers to some future 1260 day great tribulation period? Or do we agree with the Protestant reformers, who taught that it spoke of 1260 years of temporal and political rule by the Roman Catholic Church? I choose to believe the greater evidence that supports the latter conclusion.
So, reason number one why I do not believe in “Left Behind” is that pre-tribulational rapture doctrine adds a seven year tribulation to the bible that is not in the bible. It is an extrapolation, and not a very convincing one at that.
It is likely that my friend, the Pastora in Colombia, would have no pre-tribulation rapture doctrine in her mind were it not for American teachers and pastors who willfully spread the Jesuit inspired doctrine.
Last year, the Lord spoke a frightening word to me. He said that he had added a seven year tribulation period to America, because American believers have added this to his word. There will be no rapture from this period of great tribulation that will come upon America.
7: THE FIRST RESURRECTION-ONE GATHERING NOT TWO
Pre-tribulation rapture doctrine asserts that the rapture is a secret event, that is not pre-announced by any signs. It is then followed by seven years of tribulation. At the end of that period, Christ returns on the clouds, with his holy ones. At that time, those who were “left behind” at the time of the rapture of Christ are gathered to the Lord.
That speaks of two gatherings of believers. One gathering early, followed in seven years by another gathering later. In both gatherings, these believers receive glorified bodies. That clearly constitutes two resurrections according to Pre-tribulational theory.
This is not in agreement with the bible.
Revelation Chapter 20 reads as follows:
4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus, and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
This clearly describes those who refuse to take the mark of the beast, and who are beheaded for the testimony of Jesus. Clearly these missed the “Pre-Tribulation” rapture. Yet, they have been gathered to the Lord at this point. Their gathering to him is called THE FIRST RESURRECTION.
How can there be any gathering to him prior to this first resurrection? How can a rapture happen prior to this point and be scriptural?
8: JESUS DOES NOT AGREE WITH “LEFT BEHIND” EITHER
It is incredible to report it, but the very clear and orderly words of Jesus in Matthew 24 do not say anything about a secret unannounced rapture. Look at these verses carefully:
29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days, shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31 And he will send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
First, there is a tribulation that we must come to the end of. Then, Jesus says that AFTER THE TRIBULATION, a celestial show begins.
Then, the Lord is seen, on the clouds.
This is the testimony of Jesus Christ, and nowhere does he insert a discussion about another, secret coming to take away the church, prior to tribulation. The gathering of the elect, as Jesus describes it, comes “after the tribulation of those days.”
This is simple and quite clear.
And look at John chapter 6. FOUR times Jesus says he will raise us up AT the LAST day. The LAST day is defined in John 12:48. Look at 1 Thessalonians 1:6-9 where Paul says that WE WILL GET RELIEF – not tribulation saints – but we, the church (if 1 Thess 5:9 applies, so does 2 Thess 1:6-9) and he says THIS WILL HAPPEN WHEN – Jesus is revealed from Heaven visibly and to punish unbelievers – and those who do not obey the gospel.
SECTION 3: QUESTIONS ABOUT THE COMING OF OUR LORD
9: WHEN IS THIS COMING? AT THE SOUNDING OF THE LAST TRUMPET
Then, the Lord will send his angels to gather his elect. It is done at the sound of a great trumpet. 1 Corinthians 15 tells what trump it is:
51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
So, it happens at the last trumpet. The simplest place to find a last trumpet is in the book of Revelation, where seven trumpets are referred to. Let us see what is said there about the seventh trumpet. In Revelation 11, we find:
15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he will reign for ever and ever. 16 And the four and twenty elders, who sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshiped God, 17 Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. 18 And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward to thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them who destroy the earth. 19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Now, it is clear here that the wrath of God begins at the point of the sounding of the seventh trump. That is clearly testified to in verse 18. God’s wrath is not spoken of prior to this point, and scripture requires that the church must leave prior to the outpouring of God’s wrath.
1 Thess 5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, it is clear that here, at the sounding of this seventh, last trump, is where the rapture of the church and the gathering together with our Lord appears.
Following this, the vials are poured out. These are found in Revelation 15.
1 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues; for in them is filled up the wrath of God.
This is the wrath we are spared from. It occurs at the right time, just following the sounding of the last trumpet. This is when Jesus said it would happen.
Another possibility is that the vials and the trumpets coincide. The trumpets are 1/3’s..... the vials are total. But look at the vials carefully. Not one of them will hurt a believer (Rev 16:2 – only those who have the mark; 16:9 – God has total control; 16:10 – beast’s kingdom plunged into darkness; 16:18 – 7th vial is like 11:19 – the 7th trumpet). This protection does not necessarily require the removal of the believer from Earth.
10: SOME ARGUE THAT THE LAST TRUMPET OF 1 CORINTHIANS 15 IS NOT THE LAST TRUMPET OF REVELATION 11:
The argument is advanced that since Revelation 11 was written about 40 years after 1 Corinthians 11, that Paul could not have been referring to Revelation 11 with his phrase "last trumpet" because that scripture had not been written yet. The conclusion is therefore reached that it must refer to a trumpet referred to earlier, which they use to buttress their arguments for the application of this scripture to the trumpets that are blown during the Feast of Trumpets. There are three sets of nine trumpet blasts each during that feast.
I do not believe this is a convincing argument. I believe it is permissable for Paul to refer to a last trumpet, and for that reference to be explained in further detail, forty years later, by the Revelation to John. He is hearing the Lord talking about it. The truth of the Book of Revelation was already known to the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit of God has done this in other places. Daniel saw the ancient of days, coming on the clouds, and reported it in Chapter 7, verse 13-14. This receives further explanation in Revelation 1:7, where it is explained by Jesus, speaking to John, that also those who pierced him will see him, and the kindreds of the Earth will wail because of him.
It is common for later passages of the bible to amplify an earlier passage.
11: BUT THE SCRIPTURE SAYS THE CHURCH WILL BE KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF TESTING?
That scripture, Revelation 3:10, was written to one of seven churches: Philadelphia. Additionally, it was written to that church, referring to things that were presently occurring, and soon to occur in that church. Jesus told John in Revelation 1:19 that he was to "write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter."
We must first consider that this speaks about the way things were in Philadelphia. If there are principles that may be broadly applied, we may do so. To say that all future believers will be kept from testing is not true or accurate. To also imply that any protection that will accrue to believers must involve their removal by rapture from the Earth is not true or accurate either. God is able to protect us, as he protected Noah in the Ark and the Israelites in Goshen.
Following this, seven existing churches are addressed. I take this to be things present are being talked about. Then, in Revelation 4:1, after the seven churches discourse is finished, John is told, "Come up hither, and I will show thee things which must be hereafter."
One thing is clear: Revelation must have some "things which are" in the book, because that is what Jesus told John in 1:19. Those things after 4:1 are called "things which must be hereafter".
12: DOESN'T LUKE 17 SPEAK ABOUT THE PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE?
This passage from Luke 17 is thought by many to refer to the rapture of the entire Christian church. Is this so?
26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot’s wife.
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.
34 I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
35 Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
36 Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
37 And they answered and said unto him, Where, Lord? And he said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither will the eagles be gathered together.
I have the following observations:
Eight persons escaped in the ARK, to a place, on the Earth. They were not whisked away to heaven. The probable populaton of Earth at that time was probably in the multiple millions. EIGHT is a very small number. Noah was closed into the ARK by the Lord.
Four persons escaped from Sodom. Lot's wife looked back, and was salted. So that left three who were saved. Once again, they were not whisked way to heaven, but they were escorted to a place on the Earth, with guidance by angels.
I believe it is possible that this allegory may be fulfilled when Revelation 12 is fulfilled, and the woman, with the man-child, is hidden in the wilderness. It is possible that a small segment of the church may be prepared for valiant service, and may be hidden for a time, and then released to do great exploits.
I do not see how this two part allegory of Noah and Lot can have anything to do with a pre-tribulation rapture of the whole church. I do see how it could possibly refer to the sheltering of a remnant, by God, in the wilderness.
SECTION 4: QUESTIONS ABOUT THE TEMPLE, ANTICHRIST, THE ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE AND THE MARRIAGE SUPPER
13: WILL A TEMPLE BE BUILT?
“Pre-Tribulational” theory has advanced this notion. New Testament theology declares that the human body, filled with the Holy Spirit of God, is now the temple of God.
1 Cor 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defileth the temple of God, him will God destroy: for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
There is one other body, and it is a many membered one:
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
And so, it seems reasonable to me to conclude that the many membered body of Christ is also a temple of the Lord in our time.
The Book of Hebrews clearly lays out a convincing case in confirming the new covenant in the blood of Christ Jesus, and in demonstrating its’ superiority over the old covenant, that was implemented with the shedding of the blood of bulls and goats.
Construction of such a temple again, on the temple mount, will not be a holy place in my estimation, but an abomination. Jerusalem was already desolated once in 70 AD for missing the time of their visitation, and continuing on with the system of animal sacrifice and temple worship.
14: WILL THERE BE AN ANTICHRIST?
There have always been antichrists. The book of 1 John , Chapter 2, says it this way:
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.
This epistle, written around the year 90, is quite clear. There had already been antichrists at that time, and there will be more. Furthermore, John tells us that he was living in the last time. Clearly then, the last 1900 years must have also been “the last time”.
15: BUT WON’T AN ANTICHRIST SIT IN THE TEMPLE?
2 Thessalonians, chapter 2 says it this way:
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Many writers have interpreted this section of scripture in many different ways. Again, I echo Daniel. It is perfectly permissible to say that we do not know for sure.
I have doubts that an actual temple will be built, because this scripture calls for a “temple of God” where a man will sit. Any temple, built on the temple mount in Jerusalem, will not be a temple of God, but will conduct restarted animal sacrifices, which will be an abomination in the sight of the Lord. God’s glory will not dwell in it. A man sitting in something that is already an abomination would not increase or change the transgression, and would not fulfill this scripture, as I see it.
Looking backwards in history, I am convinced that this scripture has been fulfilled once, partially, by Popes who began giving orders to Kings in the year 606 that led to the slaughter of 50 million Christians. This continued for 42 months of years…1260 years, until 1866. It certainly was a great tribulation for those who endured it.
I leave the door of uncertainty open with respect verse 9 of 2 Thessalonians 2. Perhaps there will be a great one, a very deceptive type of antichrist, performing lying signs and wonders, who will appear, still in the future. Certainly, the Catholic Priest Dominic is credited with raising a man from the dead in the year 1221. That may qualify, or we may wait for one still future.
Those who argue from the historicist perspective always say this scripture is totally fulfilled, and that “the one who letteth” that is referred to in verse seven is the Pagan Roman empire. Again, I believe the Popes have totally fulfilled this scripture once, but that does not rule out a secondary, echo fulfillment of it at the time of the return of Christ.
I for one, am not sure about it, and I, like Daniel, am not ashamed to say so.
16: BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION?
Jesus is speaking in Matthew 24:15-20:
15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. 17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
Jesus is also speaking in the comparable passage in Mark 13:
14 But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains: 15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of his house: 16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to take up his garment. 17 But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 18 And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.
Finally, we reprint the words of Jesus, from Luke 21:
20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. 22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.
Please, take the time to carefully study these three passages above. Note the following:
Luke 21:20 refers to armies, as they compass Jerusalem. This is the sign that desolation is close at hand. This clearly speaks of the desolation of Jerusalem in the year 70. Mark 13:14 speaks of an abomination of desolation, standing where it ought not. Matthew 24:15 speaks of an abomination of desolation, standing in the holy place. We are told in these last two passages to "let the reader understand". That admonition warns us that in order to understand what this speaks of, you will need to be not merely seeing, but perceiving. It is the same explanation that Jesus gave to his disciples concerning the parables he taught them. This knowledge is for those who walk closely with him. As such, the images in parables utilize representative language to symbolize what is actually meant. So, we are warned that this repeat of "Daniel's abomination" will not be literal, but a parable, and with a symbolic fulfillment.
What follows next is the same in all three scriptures. Those in Judea are directed to flee to the mountains.
Prophecy teachers have been telling us that these events are still future, yet Jerusalem was compassed by armies in the year 70, forty years after Jesus spoke these words. Some proof must be offered to us to convince me that these prophecies continue forward from that point.
17: BEING SURE ABOUT THE RETURN OF CHRIST.
Jesus Christ is clearly coming to the Earth, and we know what will happen when he comes. There is a place in scripture where the return of Christ is clearly talked about. It is in Zechariah 14. We are told that once again, in the future, Jerusalem is going to be surrounded by armies. We are also told that the people of Judea will flee.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south. 5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the LORD my God shall come, and all the saints with thee.
Please note that the saints in Jerusalem will flee TO THE VALLEY OF THE MOUNTAINS. The flight in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 is TO THE MOUNTAINS.
My conclusion is that these passages in the gospels refer to the 70 AD desolation of Jerusalem. They are already fulfilled once. Could there be a future abomination also?
18: SO, IN THE FUTURE, WHAT IS THE ABOMINATION, AND WHAT IS DESOLATED?
It seems clear to me that the abomination in the future, that causes the wrath of God to come, is that all the nations of the Earth will surround Jerusalem with their armies. This should be the event we are looking for, and not a rebuilt temple, with someone sitting in it, claiming to be God.
Zechariah 14:1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. 2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Zechariah 12:2 Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. 4 In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.
This passage from Zechariah is still future. It did not occur in the year 70 when Jerusalem was last surrounded by the armies of the world. So, the armies surrounding Jerusalem cause the desolation, and it is those armies, and the world they represent, that will be desolated. Jerusalem will not be desolated at the time of the return of the Lord.
Scripture is quite clear in Zechariah that there will be a remnant in Jerusalem at the time of the return of the Lord that no one will be able to remove.
Zechariah 14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
19: WHAT ABOUT THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB?
Those who teach the pre-tribulational rapture theory as doctrine always bring this up. They point to a Jewish wedding, and contend that it is seven days long, and then, assert that we must be at the wedding feast for seven years. Is this in the bible?
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
We know this event will happen. Scripture places it after the destruction of Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17 and 18. We do not know for certain just how long this supper will be. Perhaps it will be for seven days in length. Certainly, it will fall after the return of Christ We do not know for certain just exactly when it will happen. It is perfectly alright not to know, and to say so.
20: ARE YOU SURE?
We are talking about interpreting prophecies of the future here. With respect to sealed things, only God knows for sure. It appears to me that there is room for the possibility that Revelation 13:11-18 are yet to be fulfilled in the future. That would mean that there could be the coming forth of what that scripture calls a second beast.
SECTION 5: THE TEACHING OF THE REFORMATION FATHERS REGARDING THE ANTICHRIST AND THE LAST THINGS
21: PROVE TO ME FROM THE SCRIPTURE THAT THE POPE IS THE FIRST BEAST OF REVELATION 13:1-10, REVELATION 17 AND DANIEL 7.
First of all, this view was the view of all of the reformers: Luther, Tyndale, Melanchton, Calvin, Isaac Newton, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and others. They were unanimous in this belief. Early opposition came only from Catholic circles, for obvious reasons.
Daniel saw four empires in his visions. The fourth was certainly the Roman Empire. The little horn that came up out of one of the ten horns that Daniel saw on that fourth beast is most certainly the Pope.
The Holy Roman Empire is the most significant religious/political entity of the last 2000 years. It dwarfs in size other empires of that time period and certainly is on a par with any of the other four great empires of antiquity that Daniel saw: Babylon, Media Persia, Greece or Rome. It is folly to suggest that the prophetic canon of the bible simply did not see the Holy Roman Empire and it’s head, the Pope. This is just what is done by modern futurist interpreters of the scripture. They do not see the Pope, or more than 1400 years of Catholic rule, anywhere in the scripture.
An in depth study of this issue involves almost 2000 years of historical record, and is beyond the scope of this article.
For in depth study of this issue, the website, Historicist.com has three of the four volumes of the Horae Apocalypticae, by E.B. Elliot available for review there.
Also, the online bible is available for free, on the internet. The added modules for the 1599 Geneva Study Bible Notes (John Calvin) and the Peoples New Testament Commentary are available for free download as well. Both of these are excellent resources for in depth study of these issues. The download is available at: The Online Bible With this tool, you can study, scripture by scripture, and see where historical events fulfilled the passages. Then, make your own decisions. Do the work of a Berean.
Another excellent, exhaustive work on this subject is “The History of the Papacy”, by J. A. Wylie, which is available in it’s entirety on the internet at: History Of The Papacy
For those of you who receive this article, but who have no ability to connect to the internet, I recommend the book entitled “The Present Reign Of Jesus Christ” by Robert Caringola. ISBN-0-9649189-0-0 It is issued by Abundant Life Ministries Reformed Press, 157 Park Central Square, Springfield, Missouri 65806.
While I cannot give an in depth presentation here, I feel that I must tantalize you with some scriptural highlights.
Daniel, in his first vision, saw a statue. That statue represented four empires. The first empire, represented by the head of gold, was Babylon. Scripture tells us this.
Daniel 2:38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thy hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.
Following the Babylonian Empire, the Empire of Media-Persia arose in 538 BC. Then, in 331 BC, the Empire of Greece arose. Then, in 63 BC, Roman rule began.
Daniel first saw this Roman rule and described it like this:
2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter’s clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with the miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. 44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
So here, Daniel as a young man, saw the Roman empire, with it’s ten heads, or kings. The pope or any sign of him is not in view, except to say that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is set forth clearly here.
Many years later, as an old man, in the year 539, just prior to the fall of Babylon, Daniel received another vision, where he received more information about these empires, and our focus will be on the fourth empire: that of Rome.
Daniel 7:7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. 8 I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. 9 I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. 10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened. 11 I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.
He was then given further information in short order about the coming of Rome:
7:19 Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet; 20 And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. 21 I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; 22 Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. 23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. 24 And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. 25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. 26 But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. 27 And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.
We can see added information in verse 20 about another horn that comes up, and before whom three fell. That is the picture of the Pope. In the year 533, Justinian, the Roman emperor, began warring with three nations: the Vandals, the Ostrogoths and the Lombards. They were rooted up by 752 AD. Exactly as predicted, this great prophecy was fulfilled.
We will note here, that verse 24 clearly tells us that the ten horns are ten kings that shall arise. It is clear to the historian that various Popes have sought to change times, war against and wear out the saints, and commit blasphemy.
John received even more information on this beast empire in Revelation 17 in the year 90 when he was visited by Jesus.
1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
So, we see this ten horned (ten kinged) empire now has seven heads. John is told what these seven heads represent:
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth
John is even told the identity of this harlot woman.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Rome is known as the city built on seven hills from antiquity.
John received more details
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. 8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Yes, this is Daniel’s beast. It murders the saints. It has seven heads and ten horns. We are also told here that it ascends out of the bottomless pit.
This is the same beast we see ascending out of the bottomless pit in Revelation 11:7
7 And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. 8 And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. 9 And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. 10 And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
This is the same beast we see pictured in Revelation 13:1-10, which also has seven heads and ten horns.
1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. 2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. 3 And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? 5 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. 6 And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. 9 If any man have an ear, let him hear. 10 He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
This is clearly the same beast as that seen by Daniel. It is clearly fulfilled by the various Pope’s as head of the "Holy" Roman Catholic empire, especially during their reign of death from the year 606 to 1866, where they killed more than 50 million believers in Jesus Christ.
22: WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE?
I have two questions about which I have no certainty. Will there be a revival in the power of the Holy Roman empire, so as to fulfill these passages a second time, just prior to the return of Christ? I am not certain about that, but I suspect that the fatal wound to the head of the first beast will be fulfilled by just such a restoration of power.
My second question relates to this passage of scripture in Revelation 13:11-18. It may still refer to the future.
11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon. 12 And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. 13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 15 And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. 16 And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
This second beast leads and directs everyone to worship the first beast. Since my conclusion is that the first beast is the Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and the empire that he presides over in any age, a frightening scenario opens up for me as I imagine what the future might hold.
2 Thessalonians 2:4 and Daniel 9:27 says it will happen where a man stands in the Temple. If we don’t get too stumbled on “Temple of God”, we might realize that any church, though full of tares, is called a “house of God” or a “church of God” – seemingly funny and maybe blasphemous but true nonetheless. Also, 2 Thessalonians 2 says he will “exalt himself over everything called God or is worshipped” which can mean Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and even pagan religions – are they not called “God” by their own religions?
Matthew 24:24 seems to talk about him:
24 For false Christs will arise, and false prophets, and will show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect.
Revelation 13 from verse 11 onward also seems to be talking about this man, who could still be in the future:
13 And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, 14 And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
He is described as having horns like a lamb, but he speaks like a dragon. This implies to me that he will look like a Christian, like a lamb.
Rev 13:11 And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
Could we be looking at this scenario? I put this forward as conjecture, and not as prophecy: I am not now speaking about anyone whom I know to be alive.
Could this be speaking about a well known, purportedly Christian evangelist of the future, who begins to do great signs and wonders. He then calls fire down from heaven in the sight of men. Then, this man could give a word, purportedly from the Lord, that all Christians are to unify with the Roman Catholic Church, and worship it’s Pope as God’s infallible vicar and representative on the Earth. As a great sign that this should be done, this supposedly Christian healing evangelist might cause a statue of the Pope to be erected in one of the great Cathedrals. Then, life might come into that statue.
At some point, worship of the Pope and His Statue would become compulsory, if this fantasy were ever to enter the realm of reality. In some fashion, worship of this Pope and Statue might be made the condition for receiving a mark, IN the hand, or IN the forehead, which will be necessary for one to buy or sell anything in that day.
It is possible that events like this are still future. It may, on the other hand, be something radically different.
It is possible that the false prophet, described as a single man, is symbolic for the apostate church that has gathered together in these last days in a movement known as ecumenialism. Since the first beast is described in scripture as a man by use of symbolic, representative language, it is possible, even likely that it is also the case with the false prophet. He is likely to be seen a fulfilled in history as a world system.
And so today, we see prominent evangelicals, charismatics and protestants who are gathering together, forming unions and covenants with the Roman Catholic Church. All that remains to be seen is the healing of the fatal wound to Roman Catholic political power that was suffered from 1789 to 1866.
This is certainly unlike any “Left Behind” movie you or I have ever seen, but it certainly seems much more plausible to me than what we have all been taught.
23: IS THIS PLAUSIBLE?
Today, we have already seen that many Christian leaders have signed their names on the document known as ECT-Evangelicals And Catholics Working Together. Others work with the Catholics in their evangelical crusades. Some are teaching that Catholics are brothers in Christ. Some are teaching that there is salvation in Catholic doctrine, and that it is permissible to take the mass.
How far will this diabolical evolution progress? Only God knows for sure.
I have heard the arguments for this ecumenical unification progress. They are many, and those who defend these actions shift in their manners of defense of these actions.
Perhaps the most slippery argument of them all is that agreements are being made with Catholics, and Christian evangelists are using these agreements to slip into the Catholic Church, win converts and get them saved. And so, it is a case that the end now justifies the means. Those who argue this way advance the proposition that we may rightly do this in order to gain the ability to present a gospel to them. But what gospel is being presented?
Such a gospel is always deficient where these compromises have been made. The gospel that Jesus preached was preceded by a strong message of repentance. Such crusades where Catholics are courted, where Catholic priests are among the counselors of those accepting Christ, lack any hard preaching against Catholic idolatry, praying to Mary, dead saints and dead loved ones. All these things that Catholics must repent of are left unsaid, and the issue of repentance from these things is never mentioned. Then, they are turned over to the Catholic ministers who certainly will not counsel them to repent of these matters.
We are commanded in scripture to be not unequally yoked with unbelievers. We counsel our daughters that they should not marry unbelieving men. Some do marry them, and they do sometimes come to Christ, yet the commandment remains. Do we then justify and direct our believing daughters to marry unbelieving men with the objective being that we will save some of them? God forbid!
Some Catholics undoubtedly come to Christ through this yoking together of Christians with Catholics, but it still violates the commandment, and there will be some future cost and consequence for those who willfully violate the command of God.
Indeed, the gospel, as it is presented today, is extremely light on repentance and just as light on obedience. In an environment that tells people that they can be saved for all time by the utterance of a few words in a stadium, the problem is much bigger than the Catholic church and those who are doing whatever they can and making whatever covenants with death they can make to get access to those people.
It exists wherever people are indoctrinated under a load of religion. It exists where people are taught a lie. It exists where there is no fear of God in the land.
Does this result in salvation?
You decide. I already have. Here I Stand!
I know a great many prophets in the Church. I know very few of them who teach or believe in a pre-tribulation rapture. The prophets are telling the church that trouble is coming. Pastors and Teachers are another matter.
Pastors and Teachers, who are normally very conservative in what they preach often leave this conservatism behind when they teach pre-tribulation rapture doctrine.
They teach their congregations a doctrine that will fall like a house of cards if ONE SCRIPTURE: Daniel 9:27, is not interpreted in such a way that it predicts a future event. If this one scripture is fulfilled already, this whole doctrine is a total sham.
Pastors, why are you engaging in this recklessness. Do you preach baptism for the dead, simply because 1 Corinthians 15:29 talks about it? Is there any other doctrine that you preach that will fall if one scripture is taken out of the way? Please consider this!
Pastors, I encourage you to listen to this prophet, and the other prophetic voices of our age, who are urging you to prepare your congregations for tribulation and trouble that is surely soon to reach your country, if it has not done so already.
Prepare your people for trouble, and please rethink your position with respect to this doctrine. Commit the matter to the Lord in prayer, I beseech you, in the name of our Lord Jesus.
Stephen L. Bening
A prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ
My Africa Wish List Is As Follows:
Project #1-$15,000-The Kittui water well. Received thus far: $7,000
Project #2-$5,000-Two, 250 person event tents-cost $2,500 each. I have already visited the tent manufacturer in Nairobi. We need this tent for holding bigger crusades in Kenya.
Project #3-$7,500-We need to purchase a sound system for use in the Kenya crusades. I am planning on being in Africa, four times per year. We rented the sound system for the three events we just held. We anticipate holding bigger events, and we will need a more powerful system. With the sound system, we need a generator to power it.
Project #4-$5,000-A truck for David Machimbo Walukhu, my missions coordinator, in Kenya. Right now, David has no vehicle, and travels by bus.
Project #5-$2,500-Repair for a large, panel Isuzu truck, that is currently sitting idle at Sowetto Academy, Nairobi. We will use this truck for hauling of tent and equipment.
Project #6-$5,000-Completion of the stone wall that will totally encircle Sowetto Academy. This is really needed to keep people from using walkways right through the middle of the school and orphanage. Right now, the wall is about 25% complete.
Project #7-$20,000-My estimate for the cost that it would take for Chris Ocumu to accomplish a second floor addition to the school building in Sowetto Academy.
So, there it is: $60,000 for the equipment. Add in $10,000 for my airfare and costs for four trips per year, and $10,000 for flyers and posters for the 2005 outreach events and you have $80,000. Jesus says, "you have not because you ask not". I say, Lord Jesus, I Am Asking!
HUNDREDS OF CONFIRMING PROPHETIC VOICES
(For example: Position your mouse cursor over California on the map, and click to see a page of California Earthquake Prophecies)
"Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" Matt 4:4
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