Saturday, January 10, 2009
What are the Palestinian people doing, knowing that Israel's self-defense was inevitable, to stop the rockets being fired from homes with children in them, from schools, and so on? It's a deplorable tactic when you think about it. Hide artilery and use civilian facilities as launching pads so that when [reluctant] Israel takes action against these, they are villified for kiling children, and so on. Surely, Hamas and the landowners who lend use of their homes to Hamas (perhaps the childrens' own parents) are responsible for holding their children in front of them while they are being shot at. It's a ridiculous notion to hold Israel responsible for brutality when it is obviously the fault of the heartless others.
Why are Palestinians not separating themselves from Hamas? Why aren't Palestinians rising up against Hamas perpetrators to stop the Israeli defense campaign? Why do rockets continue to fly into Israel from Gaza, even while a ground force has gone in? Why aren't they getting as far away as possible from store houses and launching pads? Why are parents putting their children in harm's way, even sacrificing them?
With all the rallies happening around the world today, I doubt many people are looking at this conflict realistically. What should Israel do to defend itself against rocket attacks short of a ground invasion?
Friday, January 09, 2009
This post follows: Part 1, Part 2
If we can guess at the beginning of the thousand year reign, corresponding with the rise of Charlegmagne, who "is regarded not only as the founding father of both French and German monarchies, but also as the father of Europe: his empire united most of Western Europe for the first time since the Romans, and the Carolingian renaissance encouraged the formation of a common European identity"*, then it is quite alarming that a man of equal historical importance rose to power a thousand years later.
Napoleon was a "French military and political leader who is considered one of the most influential figures in European history". Both are paramount historical figures, and one undoes what the other did. It's quite something to think about.
Having crowned himself Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire and considering himself a successor to Caesar and Charlemagne, this fellow Napoleon is widely believed to have been a prophesied figure in Daniel 11:40. The verses surrounding tell the story of his conquest remarkably. And did you know that Napoleon actually issused the proclamation of a Jewish state in Palestine in 1799? Thought it did not come to much fruition, this is thought to have planted the seed for a modern Israeli state. Additionally, in 1798, Napoleon overthrew the papacy and exiled the pope, riding on the wave of 'freedom from religion' adamant of the French Revolution. Napoleon is undoubtedly a significant, if not prophetic, player in the end-time drama.
Just prior to Napoleon's conquest, America was born (1776). Considered by many to be a Christian nation, it is also considered by many to be a nation founded on occultic and masonic principles (and agendas). One need look no further than the Statue of Liberty (shining light to every nation...), and the Great Seal on the back of the dollar bill (the occultic pyramid with the shining eye at the top), to see that perhaps this had something to do with the release of the "light-bearing one" from his prison cell. One may take into consideration that, if this was his release, his foremost agenda is deception, and it is widely accepted that the US is a Christian nation (can there be a Christian nation? is this seen to be the "kingdom" Christ is building?)
Jumping ahead to the 20th Century, and the earth is engulfed in the most horrific span of 50 years in its history. World War I, fought from 1914 to 1918, "was unprecedented in scale and intensity, with more men fighting and more casualties in action than any war before. Over 60 million soldiers took part. The war claimed over 40 million casualties, including approximately 20 million civilian and military dead." Unprecedented war and carnage. Unprecedented use of military technology and machinery.
Still in the healing stage, Europe was thrust into an even worse world war which was brought about by the Hitler agenda. Here we have a historical and evil figure of utmost importance seeming to fall short of mention in prophecy. He, of course, famous for the concentration camps which snuffed out 6 million Jewish lives, not to mention the others he had everyone hating. Unprophesied? Is this not the worst experience in Israel's existence?
Towards the end of the war, US President Truman called fire down from the heavens (see Revelation 13:13) onto Japan in the devastating and regrettable attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The first use of atomic weaponry amounted to 220,000 human vaporizations and a dangerous precedent.
World War II "involved the mobilisation of over 100 million military personnel, making it the most widespread war in history... Over 70 million people, the majority of them civilians, were killed, making it the deadliest conflict in human history."
Wait, there's more! After WWI, the League of Nations was set up as a sort of med$iator and court of nations. After WWII, the United Nations took its place in an effort to "facilitate cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights and achieving world peace". It would be seen by many as a form of world government with power growing over time.
Within its first few years of operation, the United Nations would vote to bring into being the modern State of Israel (May 14, 1948). It seems so logical to connect the outcomes of such unprecedented and horrific atrocities of the World Wars to the prophetic outcomes they produced: the formation of supranational power, and the proclamation of a modern Israeli state. These are the most important events we look for in Bible prophecy to preceed the Lord's coming! Yet nothing in Revelation or Daniel or anywhere else for that matter foretold it?
Either we totally missed it in Scripture, our eyes are closed to it supernaturally, or we are in the Luciferian-spree age after the 1,000-year reign and most of the events in Revelation took place prior to Charlegmagne. A graver option, the events in Revelation are yet to come but dwarf the events we've seen so far.
Can we know?
Thursday, January 08, 2009
Prior to the fulfillment of prophecy, thousands of theories swirl about. I have seen people prove that many people in history and in the present are the antichrist, and they make good cases as to why. Indeed, on this side of fulfillment, our best is guesses, but some are better than others of course, and some are plain illogical.
I admit that post-millennialism has a tough time navigating Revelation and other prophetic books, but I'm only stating my points insomuch as they make sense, and pointing out where contrary beliefs don't make sense.
It is difficult to know whether we are to read Revelation from a Gentile perspective, a Jewish perspective, or to see no difference in perspectives. For instance, perhaps the establishment of the State of Israel (1948) could be the beginning of the Kingdom of Heaven being set up on earth. In fact, most pre-milleniallists believe this is true. However, a Jewish perspective would say that many "woes" have passed in order to get to that point, and more "woes" would come to bring about Armageddon and the coming of Messiah. They may see the Holocaust and the horrific World Wars in Revelation (if they accepted it as a prophetic book, and many do). When you think about it, how could the greatest single genocide in Jewish history be completely un-foretold? How could Hitler not be an antichrist figure? How could two monumental, all-encompassing wars not make the cut? And how could the wealthiest and most powerful nation to ever exist also go un-prophesied (USA)? We have to consider that some of these must be in the Book.
Perhaps some woes have passed. From the Jewish perspective, perhaps the "Harvest of the Earth" was the Holocaust. Indeed, the murder of 6 million Jews was instrumental in bringing about the establishment of the modern State of Israel, and the capture of Jerusalem, from which Messiah will rule the world.
Maybe the things of Revelation that don't seem to have happened yet will take place over a longer time period than we think, like from the time of the release of Lucifer (if we suppose he was released to decieve the nations as the Holy Roman Empire came to a close around 1800). Or perhaps from the beginning of the 20th century when Zionism took form and world wars began occurring.
One of the other points I'd like to make concerns the logic that pre-millennialism projects into the future. If we suppose Christ returns to earth in body form, and in his coming, all of his enemies are destroyed, then we are to presume the 1,000 years on earth will be a continuation of the faithful on the earth, whether dying and procreating, we don't know. 1,000 years of Christ in person, a glorious, perfect reign without an enemy in sight. Virtually heaven on earth.
Then Satan is released and is allowed to attempt to deceive those who live on the earth. Revelation doesn't say that Jesus leaves earth, and it doesn't say that Satan manifests visibly. So how is this deception supposed to happen? If both are present physically, Jesus could not be countered without the ability to tell the Truth. If both are present spiritually, we have a bit of a probability! In fact, deception takes place in the realm of "belief".
Satan must be given quite some time to do his deceptive work, because he marches against Jerusalem for the battle of Gog with an army of millions. This would not be possible, I imagine, with Christ present physically on earth. And if Christ were to leave for this deception to take place, would he not take his perfected saints with him? And who would be left for him to deceive? And moreover, who would be left for Satan and his hoarde to fight against? It just doesn't make sense.
Pre-millennialists need not expect a mass-resurrection nor a mass-judgment at this return of Christ, if they are correct. Both of these occur after the 1,000 year reign and permanent defeat of Satan. The New Jerusalem also comes down then. To them, we are nowhere near these events, but their chatter would make you think otherwise.
The idea of patron saints comes up when you consider that Christ possibly reigned over the earth vicariously through the papacy (obedient popes or not...) in the HRE. Revelation 20 says that those who had died in the name of Jesus and had not partaken in the kingdom of the Beast were with Christ to reign and judge the earth for a thousand years. In other places, Jesus would speak of this person being given charge over ten cities (and so on), and we can begin to see that perhaps the unbelievable acquisition of power over all the earth by the office of the popes had some bearing in the parellel spirit world. Christians known for miracles and who had other fruits of being close with the King were canonized by the papacy and named as spiritual rulers of cities. Indeed, as it was when Satan ruled, prior to the victory of Christ (see Daniel 10:13), so it was with Christ where powers and principalities were acquired and new, good rulers were put in the place of the evil predecessors.
I find it astounding that the papacy came to such power and held it for so long. How could the bishop of Rome be brought to such heights - the heighest earthly height - apart from the conquest of Christ over the powers that reigned previously? And what do we call His reign if not the Thousand Year Reign?
I'm of the opinion that perhaps the millennial reign is behind us, and here are some reasons why:
> Up until Jesus' crucifixion, Satan was the ruler of earth, influencing if not controlling the rulers of the people. Jesus called him the "prince of this world" (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11), and Daniel 10:13 gives us an example of how Satan and his cronies ruled vicariously thru the manifest ruler. After Jesus was raised from the dead, he had this to say: all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me (Matt 28:18). Pre-Millenialists must account for almost 2000 years of quiet from this new ruler of the world, Jesus. Did the resurrection change nothing on earth?
> There was a succession of great empires including Egypt, Assyria, Bablyon, Persia, and Rome, which were the "big ones" as far as wealth and power go. These are the ones God speaks about extensively in prophecy, especially in Daniel. After the Roman lineage of emperors, there hasn't been a [secular] kingdom or nation to rival it (until more modern times).
> It is extraordinary to consider that the church of Christ, the people of faith (or at least the institution of this faith) was set up to be a political powerhouse and the literal ruler of the nations in the middle ages. By this, I am referring to the time leading up to and including the Holy Roman Empire. Isaac Newton (though not a proponent of post-millenialism) referred to the papacy as "being exalted above kings & declared by a council above all humane judicature & the supreme judge of all men, he has reigned ever since with a peculiar soul & a look more stout then the rest of his fellows". Pope Leo III resurrected the Roman Empire on 25 December 800 by crowning Charlegmagne the Imperator Augustus, or Emperor (the early Roman Empire ceased in 476 AD). This set a new course for the papacy, the "vicar of Rome", and would eventually lead to the development of the Holy Roman Empire, which would end under Napoleon in 1806. Yes, about 1,000 years after the crowning of Charlegmagne.Strange eh? I used the title "vicar" intentionally, as I perceive the millennial reign of Christ to be of the same sort as his predecessor, Lucifer, who did not rule in person, but rather by influence and by the allegiance of certain rulers - vicariously. In the case of Christ, the papacy.
> The Napoleonic Wars brought down the HRE in 1806, shortly after the "enlightenment" movement began. Indeed, the conquest of Napoleon (a prophetic fulfillment himself) was something just following the violent French Revolution. In bringing in the "Age of Reason", the age of an sometimes-abusive and corrupt reign of the church (the Pope's had every ability to be drawn away from their Lord, just as the King's of Israel) was brought to an end. As the age of reason has continued and has worked itself out more and more since its conception, the relevence of the Church (especially the RC) has dwindled (especially in Europe).
> The Age of Enlightenment brought to the forefront societal endeavors like science, which has lead to some amazing discoveries and amazing technology, which will no doubt be put into use by the end-time ruler, the Beast (who calls "fire" down from the heavens, and can have a "mark" on all of humanity which is used to buy and sell, and so on). The idea of light representing the age has much affinity with the resurrection of the occult and of a Luciferian agenda (Lucifer is the "light-bearing one" and "son of the morning"). Perhaps more fitting than a resurrection to power would be this verse: When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. Rev 20:7-8. That's right, Gog and Magog. Most pre-millennialists place the famous end-time war of Gog and Magog at the return of Christ to set up his Kingdom. They've got a LOT to say about this war being set up in our time via Russia and Putin.
> Many eschatologists view the events of Revelation to be only happening in the end time, in that none of the events can take place before then, or over a long course of time. However, they commonly take parts of it and place them in the past, and have said they were fulfilled. This is true for the "Woman and the Dragon" in Chapter 12, which is said to represent Israel giving birth to Christ, who was sought by the devil (to kill him). Perhaps the events of Revelation can take place over time, or at different times. This same section speaks of a war that broke out in heaven after Christ went back to heaven, and it ended with Satan being cast down to earth. Hmmm... and "he knows that his time is short" (12:12). Is a third of Biblical time (2000 years) "short"? No. Were his powers over the earth overthrown at some later date? We know from the Bible, Revelation in fact, that he set up a throne on Earth.
"I know where you live—where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—where Satan lives. Revelation 2:13
First, let me say that I don't think the stories of Noah and Lot prove a pre-tribulation rapture, nor was I meaning to say that they do. Simply, there are some seeming prophetic types for a pre-tribulation rapture. Questions to take from that post are: is it a saving from all end-time tribulation, or just the final big bang? is it a complete evacuation of earth by all the faithful, or simply vacating the "area" of tribulation (if some see the final bang as happening in Jerusalem or Rome, or wherever)? Indeed, in both cases the faithful were taken away from the area of disaster; in Noah's case, the area of disaster was the entire planet, and in Lot's an area of cities. Further research into the area of end-time disaster is clearly required.
Anyway, many end-time theorists utilize the words of Jesus about the end being a harvest, particularly in the Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13 (v 39: "the harvest is the end of the age"). The premise is basically that there are weeds sown in among the wheat, and that the Master does not want to uproot the weeds presently for fear of losing some of the good wheat. Instead, he leaves it to the end, and begins then by pulling up the weeds and throwing them into the fire. Then, the remaining wheat is harvested.
This speaks to me about a great persecution more than an escape from persecution actually. The acts of pulling up weeds and using a sickle to remove the wheat from its roots are both violent and involve pain for the plants, if they could feel pain. Is this in reference to some sort of end time delusion or mass-test? Those who will not die for the truth are kept alive on earth to face the final apocalypse, while those who die for Christ (are cut down, as the wheat is) are "harvested" into the arms of their Savior in heaven, and return later with him?
The end time is also prophetically symbolized by the "threshing floor", which is mentioned frequently in conjunction with a winepress in the Old Testament. Literally, sheaves were laid on the circular threshing floor, and were trodden by oxen hitched to a central pivotal point. To me, this process of separating the wheat from the chaff (not speaking of separating weeds from grain) speaks of a negative or persecutory experience for the "grain" or the believer. But the process is not ended there.
The second part of the process of the threshing floor takes into account the wind. The farmer uses a winnowing fork and begins to throw up the trodden mess into the air to be caught by the wind. "The wind would blow the lighter chaff to one side, while the heavier grain would fall into a pile, which could then be gathered." (more info). Now, this seems to be an implication of another "going up", and is very symbolic of some sort of rapture. The question remains whether this is the rapture experienced by a Christian upon death (the normal going to heaven; just so happens to be that all of the Christians are put to death around the same time), or a mass evacuation preceded by a test of some sort to see who is faithful. I would lean towards a large-scale persecution, a mass abandonment of the faith (as predicted in Matthew 24:10-12), and a removal of the faithful by martyrdom - the gathering of the Lord.
"Take your sickle and reap, because the time to reap has come, for the harvest of the earth is ripe." Revelation 14:15
The above verse from Revelation is from a section called "The Harvest of the Earth", and is alongside another "type" of harvest, which is that of grapes in the winepress. Verses 17 to 20 speak of something violent coming against the faithful, for the grapes are being harvested (ie. the grapes represent the sons of the Kingdom), and they are "trampled" in the winepress, and "blood" flows out of the winepress as high as the horses' bridles (not grape juice, but blood). I don't think this one needs much more of an explanation; perhaps it brings more light to the words of Christ in Luke 18:8: "However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?"
Pre-trib rapture theorists are often challenged by the assertion of the "other side" that there is an absense of logic in the fact that end-time Christians are spared persecution and martyrdom while Christians have been dying for their faith in Christ since he left earth. What many on both sides forget is that in this last century alone, more Christians were killed for their faith than in every other century prior COMBINED. Seems the harvest has begun!
My final point about a rapture of spirits out of martyred bodies at the end of days is the events following Revelation's Harvest - the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath (ch. 16). The third bowl is poured out on the water supplies of the earth so they become blood (familiar with the plague of blood by Moses). This angel proclaims the reason for doing so: "they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve" (16:6). This effects the drinking water for the whole earth, not just one country or city, which implicates a. the kingdom of the beast (the first whole-world kingdom), and b. that a proportional judgment has come upon the guilty generation (ie. a fair "repayment" for those who caused the martyrdom), and c. that all who drank from the water before it became blood are guilty of the genocide. A great delusion, indeed.
"God sends them a powerful delusion" (2 Thess 2:11)
I've often wondered about the number of people who would be included in a theoritical disappearing of Christians. I thought that many would be "left behind" who thought they shouldn't be, and this would be the source of great mourning, as I am a believer that the true church is much much smaller than the seen church. The only thing that could really test the faith of someone who fits into the "many are called, few are chosen" category would be a threat against their life. Perhaps a gun to their head. Perhaps a cattle car heading to an extermination camp. We saw how few Christians went to the Nazi camps for not participating in the genocide. A mass delusion then? Most certainly. A mass delusion at the end? More certainly.
"You will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other... he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Matthew 24 portions
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Having been a scoffer of pre-tribulation rapture ideas for quite some time, I've had to bite the bullet a bit and take a look at prophetic types in the ancient texts, because it seems there is some hint at a God-lover exit before the final ka-boom takes place. Jesus said the end will be like the days of Noah and like the days of sodom and Gomorrah (which can refer to more than one aspect), so let's take a look at what these might be "saying" to us in the here/now.
Lots of people think the genetic free-for-all leading up to the ark was the cause for the flood, and it makes a lot of sense when you consider the effect that angels producing offspring with human women could have - an almost irretrievably fallen "race" (literally, in this sense) if it was allowed to continue. It got so bad, and so widespread (the Book of Enoch says there were 180 some odd thousand of these hybrids wreaking havoc on the earth), that God found only Noah to be "perfect" in his generation.
There is much to be said here about genetic toggles in our day, and about the "beast" (which is flesh without spirit) being some sort of human clone who can be indwelled by Lucifer without any opposition by the flesh's owner (being absent). However, Noah prophesies a rapture for the beloved, and those who've chosen Him. Noah and his family were taken into the ark to "escape" (Gen 7:7) the wrath of the flood, were taken up by the waters and sat overtop the soak until it had accomplished all it was sent for. Then they came back down with the receding water, and exited the ark. Noah and his family would, of course, represent the chosen of God (I have to dread the day of "disappearing" if it comes and many who think they're in are in fact "left behind"; I've done a lot of writing in this blog about what it means to be saved, and perhaps what Jesus meant when he said "many are called, but few are chosen", or "narrow is the path... and only a few find it"; I suspect the "rapture" will be the most devastating day in history). It seems this is some sort of prophetic type, which can not be confirmed if it wasn't part of a couple (or some assortment of similar types).
Sodom & Gomorrah
Later in Genesis, we come to a 1-year span absolutely jam-packed with events, starting with a vist by God to Abraham. Here's a quick summary: God visits and tells Abraham, "I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son" (18:10). Sarah laughs (an unbelieving end-times Israel?). God tells Abraham what he's down for, which is to check out S&G, to see if it really deserves punishment, as He has heard. Abraham pleads for S&G. God's two companions arrive at Sodom (seems God went home), and meet Abraham's cousin Lot, who insists they stay with him (knowing the brutality of the town's inhabitants). The townsmen come for them and demand to have sex with the visitors (perhaps they knew angels were in town and wanted to become "men of renown" like the days of Noah when angels slept with humans?). The two angels (perhaps a prophecy of the Two Witnesses in Rev 11) then make their decision and tell Lot and all his family to immediately leave the city to escape the judgment, and they did. And with the rising of the sun (another prophetic type, in 19:23), the burning sulfur began to rain down on the cities and they were completely and utterly destroyed. Later, Lot's 2 daughters sleep with him while he is sleeping (not sure what this could typify), Abraham has another encounter with a King where he pretends his wife is his sister (which happened before), and finally Isaac is born (perhaps a prophecy of the coming of Christ).
There's so much in there, but my main point is on the prophetic parallel to an escape from judgment by the faithful - in the end, a rapture. There has been no contest, really, that there will be one, it's just a matter of when. And by reading Revelation, we can certainly see that the final judgment will only be the culmination of a series of horrible events. The question, then, is if the escape is from the final event or from the series of events?
Interesting to note also that the very bizarre occurences of Genesis in particular, and the bizarre moral choices of the "elect" and "righteous" begin to make some sense when we consider the stories a prophetic type (Example: Lot offered his 2 virgin daughters to the townsmen in place of the 2 strangers who had come to visit. What the...?).
When you take this approach to Genesis, and even the rest of the Pentateuch, you'll actually see the repition of it all, which could lead to further confirmation. An excellent example of this is found in Judges 19-20, which is a heart-breaking, stomach-churning account of a Levite and his concubine. They enter a town as visistor/travellers, and the townsmen surround the house like they did in Sodom, and said: "Bring out the man who came to your house so we can have sex with him" (Jd 19:22). This leads to a civil war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, where they are almost completely wiped out. This is not a story told, but I'd strongly encourage you to read it. It comes shortly after the death of Samson, whose story can prophetically speak of the the time and ministry of the Two Witnesses again (IMO).
Very interesting, this Bible of ours.