February 8, 2009 ©Homer
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Commentary — From the Margins
God’s War on Terror—The Premise Itself is Flawed
Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”(John 18:33–38)
Pilate’s question, What is truth, illustrates the importance of what the Apostle Paul wrote to the saints at Rome: “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot” (8:6–7). Pilate’s mind was set on the flesh. He knew Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing, but he became an accomplice to murder even though he washed his hands of the crucifixion. He had the power to stop the murder, but not the will … it wasn’t because he knew that Jesus had to die to pay the death penalty for the sins of Israel that he allowed the crucifixion to proceed; it was because he could not hear truth, could not hear Jesus’ voice even when Jesus was standing before him. His ability to do what was right wasn’t restricted by law or by a want of authority, but by a failing of character. He was unable to submit to God’s law, or to even entertain that idea that Jesus could be the long awaited Christ. Oh, he could hear the voice of his wife (Matt 27:19), and he might have believed what she said. But he could not hear words that would have given him life, nor could he have believed those words; nor can anyone else hear Jesus’ voice or His words unless the person has been born of spirit—
Jesus said that “‘whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life’” (John 5:24); thus, the person who hears and believes Jesus has the truth and has eternal life, for having the truth gives to the person knowledge of the Father and the Son (John 17:3).
The truth isn’t knowledge of this world or from this world, but knowledge that has come from the Father as Peter knowing that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, was knowledge that had come from the Father (Matt 16:17) … endtime disciples are also given knowledge from that Father that only He previously knew, thereby creating the same sort of scriptural tension as existed in the 1st-Century before the epistles of Paul were canonized. In Paul’s long-running battle with the Circumcision Faction, Paul contended that his gospel had come via revelation (Gal 1:12), whereas the Circumcision Faction actually had then-canonized Scripture on its side—the Circumcision Faction’s implied argument was that ever since the Great Assembly beginning with Ezra had accepted the books written in Babylon and the books of then-contemporary prophets into the canon, Scripture was a closed codex.
Theological tension existed throughout Paul’s ministry, for by revelation, Paul taught that the only circumcision of importance in the era was that of the heart (Rom 2:28–29); yet the prophet Ezekiel had written, “‘Thus says the Lord God [YHWH]: No foreigner, uncircumcised in heart and flesh, of all the foreigners who are among the people of Israel, shall enter my sanctuary’” (44:9). If Paul’s revelations were of God, then additional understanding had to be given that the sect of the Nazarenes had previously lacked. This understanding was that what Ezekiel records in his latter chapters occurs after Christ Jesus returns as the Messiah, that until the fullness of the Gentiles comes to God, a different situation exists than will exist after the fullness has come in. And central to this changed situation is the Holy Spirit being poured out on all flesh (cf. Joel 2:28; Matt 3:11), thereby giving to all of humankind indwelling eternal life and the mind (and nature) of Christ Jesus. For outward circumcision makes a man naked before God, he is covered only by his own obedience; outward circumcision negates grace, the mantle or garment of Christ Jesus’ righteousness. But following the liberation of Israel from indwelling sin and death, the Son of Man will be revealed or disrobed: grace will end. Grace will not be available to anyone in the Millennium, for Jesus will no longer bear the sins of Israel. It is, therefore, logical that outward circumcision returns as animal sacrifices return. However, the knowledge contained in the previous few sentences has been revealed by Christ Jesus as knowledge was revealed to Paul—whether the means by which revelation has come is the same cannot presently be known, but probably is not. Nevertheless revelation has been given that is consistent with Moses’ writings, with the prophets, the gospels, and the writings of Paul, Peter, and John. Hence, tension will exist between those disciples who teach that a second Passover liberation of Israel will occur and will be the event that actually begins the seven endtime years of tribulation and between those disciples who are as the Circumcision Faction were, reading Scripture without understanding.
Pilate asked, What is truth, not to believe the words of Jesus but to illustrate the impossibility of discerning truth in the babble of this world, where it seems reasonable to believe that God fights a war on terror by using men like Pilate to punish bad conduct (Rom 13:3) … again, this same Pilate washed his hands of what he knew was right in order to avoid a riot (Matt 27:24–26). He did what seemed reasonable from the perspective of a politician who placed the short-term welfare of the state ahead of good conduct. After all peace was worth the life of one man; a riot would benefit no one and certainly not a political career. So the Roman governing authority, apparently appointed by God (Rom 13:2), became a terror to good conduct when that conduct placed the interests of God before the interests of the State. To Pilate, apparently nothing was more important than the State’s interests; for what was good for the State would necessarily be good for the citizens of the State. Thus, convenience trumped justice. So it was before Pilate and so it has been ever since.
As the agent of the Roman Empire responsible for Judea, Pilate’s primary concern was to protect the Empire … the State protects the State and only secondarily protects individuals, a reality that gives to the State the human-like quality of self-preservation. The State does those things that are in its interests, especially when attacked from without or within. The United States, the bastion of human rights, suspended habeas corpus during its Civil War so that suspected Confederates could be held without charges and without being released. Since 9/11, the United States has held suspected Islamic terrorists as “enemy combatants” without charges and without release, a practice newly elected President Obama has promised to end but a practice in keeping with protectionist self-interests of the nation-state.
An empire (a collective of states under a single nation-state) will protect itself and in the process will seem to possess “humanity.” If graphed or illustrated, the empire would appear as a person possessing the characteristics of the head (or dominant nation-state), with an under-defined body (or commonwealth of states); an empire will appear as a human caricature of itself. But an empire as a living organization only possesses the life each individual person within the empire has, making a person within an empire analogous to a cell within a human body. Rebellion within a empire can, now, be likened to a cancerous cell within a human body … the body’s immune system attacks cancerous cells, but occasionally is unable to destroy a cluster of cells that grows too rapidly to be stopped. The cluster becomes a tumor that eventually ends the life of the person. Likewise, ideas within an empire occasionally take root and grow so rapidly that an idea such as self-governance will cripple and kill the empire.
Self-governance is a democratic ideal, a “Greek” ideal that has retained its Athenian origins … ideas have substance in the heavenly realm in a manner analogous to flesh having substance in this earthly realm.
A State “lives” because individuals within the State have physical life. An empire lives because individuals within the empire have physical life. And the kingdom of heaven lives because individuals within this kingdom have spiritual life or life in a dimension other than the four un-furled dimensions.
A rock or a tree only has a “say” in the affairs of the State when a citizen of the State speaks for the rock or tree, asking that certain geographical regions be mined or not mined, logged or not logged … a human being is to the kingdom of heaven as a non-living rock or a vegetative tree is to a human empire; thus, a human being has no saying in the kingdom of heaven unless someone such as an environmental activist or a developer speaks for the human being. And an example of a spirit being “speaking” for a human being is seen in Daniel 11:1 (“And as for me, in the first year of Darius the Mede, I stood up to confirm and strengthen him”). The angel who brought Daniel knowledge of what was written in the Book of Truth didn’t stand up for Darius in this world, but in the timeless inter-dimensional realm.
The essence of the Gospels is that the glorified Christ Jesus “speaks” for disciples, who are scripturally as trees and vegetative plants (wheat & barley), in the kingdom of heaven … the Apostle Paul wrote,
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Rom 1:18–23 emphasis added)
A nation-state in which human beings dwell is a “thing” that has been made (Rom 13:1) to reveal the invisible things of God. Likewise, empires are things that have been made by God to reveal spiritual governance and rebellion within the kingdom of heaven—and the idea that destroys empires here on earth (i.e., self-governance) lies at the heart of the rebellion that occurred in the heavenly realm. Thus, democratic principles and ideals, while promoting some good for individuals here on earth, are contrary to the precepts of God. And within whatever time the Obama administration has, whether a full term of four years, less or more, the world will see the failings of democracy. The arrogance of President Obama coupled with single party control of the House and the Senate will not bring Change You Can Believe In, but will bring Change You Do Not Want. Nevertheless, President Obama will serve the Father and the Son’s purpose of demonstrating the failings of democracy; so it isn’t that President Obama will govern contrary to what God intends, but that by following his “natural” tendencies, he will accomplish God’s purpose of showing that democracy is rebellion against the “head.” In the case of the kingdom of heaven, democracy is rebellion against the Father.
But Americans especially don’t want to be told that democracy is of the Adversary; that the first Eve practiced democracy in the garden when she determined for herself that to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was a desirable thing. Nor do Americans want to hear that the Christianity of this world which pushed ex-President George W. Bush into actively engaging his perceived “axis of evil” is not of God, but of the prince of this world as war is presently waged in the inter-dimensional portion of the heavenly realm between the spiritual silver princes of Persia and the golden-colored bronze king of Greece for control of the single kingdom of this world. And yes, it was the Christianity of this world that provoked the Islamic fundamentalists’ attack of September 11, 2001. To God, the United States doesn’t look like a beacon of nobility and goodness, but rather, looks like a provocative agent of the Adversary: sex is used to sell everything from hamburgers to automobiles. Homosexuals parade in streets. The hog market devours how many swine a year? Christians mock the Father and the Son by attempting to enter God’s rest on Sunday; the Sabbath is the busiest shopping day of the week. Christmas is the biggest selling season of the year, and a Valentine pajama-gram is guaranteed to get women out of their clothes or so the commercial claims … the 1st-Century Jesus movement was identified as the sect of the Nazarenes, a new sect of Judaism that outwardly looked like other sects of Judaism. How much of Christendom today looks like a sect of Judaism? What tiny fractional percentage? And if Christendom does not today look outwardly like a sect of Judaism, is Christendom really of God? Or is it of the Adversary? Is not the fundamentalist attack of September 11th a case of one of the Adversary’s subordinated kings attacking a major subordinate king?
Skeptics have asked the hypothetical question, Why did God let little Tommy die, as a shorthand form of asking why does God permit evil to occur in this world … the answer is that it’s not today God’s world, but is the spiritual kingdom of Babylon, ruled by the king of Babylon (Isa 14:4). God has delivered humankind to the Adversary for the destruction of the flesh because of Adam’s lawlessness, because of Israel’s lawlessness, and because of the Church’s lawlessness. And the Adversary uses little Tommy to slander the Father and the Son.
The kingdom of this world (see Rev 11:15) is an expression for the single empire or kingdom representing the collective mental topography of human beings wherever they dwell. The kingdom of this world is not, though, governed by human beings, just as rocks and trees do not govern the United States. It is, instead, the kingdom that gives to wolves, bears, and lions their predatory natures; the kingdom that gives to human beings their human nature, steeped in rebellion and disobedience. For when this kingdom is given to the Son of Man, the cow and the bear shall graze, and “their young shall lie down together; / and the lion shall eat straw like the ox” (Isa 11:7). The kingdom of this world is presently ruled by the prince of this world, the prince of the power of the air who was still on his throne two decades after Jesus was crucified (Eph 2:2–3). So what Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision was the Adversary’s governing hierarchy of spirit beings that still reigns over this single kingdom of the world, and will continue to reign until the court of the Ancient of Days sits in judgment. This hierarchy was portrayed as a human figure just as a nation-state of this world can be portrayed as a human caricature, such as the figure of “Uncle Sam” representing the United States.
King Nebuchadnezzar saw a humanoid image with a head of gold, arms and chest of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs and feet of iron: Daniel tells the king that he, Nebuchadnezzar, represents the head. But Nebuchadnezzar is not the spiritual king of Babylon about whom the Lord [YHWH] tells Israel to take up a taunt when the Lord gives Israel peace (Isa 14:3–4). Thus, Nebuchadnezzar as a human king of Babylon can only be a shadow and a type of the Adversary, the spiritual king of Babylon.
Truly understanding that the things of this world, including Scripture itself, form shadows and types of the spiritual things of God requires a human being to have been born anew, thereby having a second breath of life within the person; requires the person to have been born from above as a son of God. And unless a human being has been born again, the person will not submit to God’s law and indeed, cannot submit:
· Submission to God’s law is the primary test to determine whether a person has been born of spirit, for the person born of God cannot continue in sin.
· The Apostle John adds having love for one’s brother to practicing righteousness (i.e., keeping the law) as the determiner of who has been born as a son of God.
“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. … No one who abides in him [Christ] keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. …Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he [Jesus] is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil …. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil” (1 John 3:4–10).
Pilate was neither of Israel nor born of spirit. President Obama is neither of Israel nor born of spirit. Pilate could not submit to God’s law, nor did he want to submit. President Obama does not submit to God’s law, nor does he want to submit. And most of Christendom is as Pilate was and as President Obama is, neither born of Israel nor born of spirit, for only rarely will a Christian submit to God’s law. … Inevitably, discussions of God making war on terror begin when Christians who will not submit to God’s law seek to justify military retaliation against “terrorist” attacks by Islamic fundamentalists. Unfortunately, one person’s terrorist is another person’s patriot—and “Christian” America does, from the perspective of the law, look a lot like a great Satan, the naming of which results in the pot describing the kettle without seeing itself in the mirror of the law.
A terrorist attack or the use of terrorism is never of God, never justified before God, and is always simply murder coupled to hate, thereby showing that the terrorist does not have the works of the law written on his or her heart. Terrorists without the law will perish utterly without the law, whereas the terrorist who has the law will be judged and condemned by the law(Rom 2:12).
Neither Islam nor visible Christendom is of God … no one who practices lawlessness—Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Atheist, the identifier doesn’t matter—is born of spirit. And if not born of spirit, the person does not hear Jesus’ voice or His words, and therefore doesn’t know the Father and the Son and has no indwelling life eternal. Hence, arguments made herewithin will, most likely, not be understood by Christians unable to entertain the possibility they don’t represent God, but again, Christendom in the 1st-Century was a sect of Judaism. If it is not today a sect of Judaism, it isn’t of the Father and the Son. And identifying who is and who isn’t of God is just this simple: the person who has been born of God does not practice sinning, does not make a practice of transgressing the commandments. Does this mean that the person born of God does not sin? No, it means that the person doesn’t continue in sin, but repents and strives to walk uprightly before God.
The evolution of Christendom from being a sect of Judaism to being a world-dominating religion was the hijacking of the Jesus Movement by the Adversary.
Or did I commit a sin in humbling myself so that you might be exalted, because I preached God's gospel to you free of charge? … And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way. … And what I do I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
According to the Apostle Paul, Satan has ministers who have disguised themselves as servants of righteousness. They are false apostles, deceitful workmen who claim to work on the same terms as Paul worked, but in doing so they burden those whom they teach by asking for tithes and offerings from disciples … just as the determiner for who has been born of spirit is submission to the law (i.e., keeping the precepts of the law by faith — Rom 2:26), the determiner for who is a minister of God working as Paul worked versus for who is a servant of Satan, disguised as a minister of righteousness, is whether the person burdens those whom he or she teaches. If the minister asks for tithes and offerings, he or she is false and has not been sent by God, who faithfully supplies the needs for those whom He has called to do a work for Him. This does not mean that the minister cannot receive tithes and offerings; it means that he or she will not ask, will not beg, for it is the responsibility of those being taught to cover the needs of the one teaching them the oracles of God. If the minister does not ask for support and if the ones being taught do not voluntarily support their teacher, then the Father will use other means to supply the needs of His servant for the Father is faithful whereas men are not.
Ministers, pastors, prophets who have been called by the Father and the Son to do a work for them—called as Paul was called—are God’s “employees” and have no need to ask for support from other men. God is faithful to supply their needs as any good employer will pay his or her employees the wages owed to the employees. It is only ministers who have not been called by the Father and the Son that have to ask other men to support their ministries. Thus, the one who asks for tithes and offerings is either a minister of Satan, or greedy, wanting more than what the Father and the Son provides. Either way, the Christian should shun this person, getting as far away from the person as possible.
Neither prosperity nor poverty is a sign that the Father and the Son work through the person. The Apostle Paul was, at times, in need: hungry, beaten, imprisoned, with nowhere to sleep, nowhere to warm himself. But the Father was faithful to sustain him, even to returning to him life when stoned … life was returned to Andreas Fischer when he was hung (ca 1528 CE); life was returned to Eutychus when he fell from an upstairs window (Acts 20:9–10). So providing the needs of the minister who has truly been called by the Father and the Son is a reasonable expectation of the one called.
When coupling submission to the law (i.e., keeping the commandments) to not asking for financial support even when the person has the lawful right to receive such support — when these two determiners of who works for God as Paul worked for God are linked, finding a genuine minister is extremely difficult. For none will be found easily. The Christianity of this world becomes nothing more than a flash-in-the-pan when the struck frizzen pitches forward in fire and brimstone.
The Apostle Paul introduced a problem into Christendom that remains unresolved: Paul wrote, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Rom 13:1). Yet Jesus said His kingdom is not of this world nor from this world … if Jesus’ kingdom is not of this world nor from this world, where is it? Is Jesus’ kingdom separate from the kingdoms of this world which have been instituted by God? And what does John the Revelator mean when he records, “Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev 11:15)?
If the kingdom of this world is not today the kingdom of the Most High God and His Christ—this is what John the Revelator records—then whose kingdom is it? Who has instituted governing authorities?
The prophet Daniel records,
As I looked, / thrones were placed, / and the Ancient of Days took his seat; / his clothing was white as snow, / and the hair of his head like pure wool; / his throne was fiery flames; / its wheels were burning fire. / A stream of fire issued / and came out from before him; / a thousand thousands served him, / and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him; / the court sat in judgment, / and the books were opened.
I looked then because of the sound of the great words that the horn was speaking. And as I looked, the beast was killed, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time.
I saw in the night visions, / and behold, with the clouds of heaven / there came one like a son of man, / and he came to the Ancient of Days / and was presented before him. / And to him was given dominion / and glory and a kingdom, / that all peoples, nations, and languages / should serve him; / his dominion is an everlasting dominion, / which shall not pass away, / and his kingdom one / that shall not be destroyed.
As for me, Daniel, my spirit within me was anxious, and the visions of my head alarmed me. I approached one of those who stood there and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of the things. ‘These four great beasts are four kings who shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’ (7:9–18)
The court of the Ancient of Days took away the dominion or authority of the four kings to rule the same kingdom as the Son of Man receives.
There are not many kingdoms of this world, but one kingdom of this world—one kingdom that includes all nations and all peoples of this world. And when this single kingdom of this world is taken from the four kings, not just the fourth king for it was to the third king that dominion was given (Dan 7:6), this single kingdom “‘shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High’” (v. 27) … if this single kingdom of the world has not yet been given to the saints of the Most High, then dominion over this single kingdom has not yet been given to the Son of Man even though Jesus qualified to receive this dominion or authority to reign as King of kings and Lord of lords nearly two millennia ago. And if the kingdom of this world has not been given to the Son of Man, then what government within the kingdom of this world is of God? What human government is not under the dominion of the four kings, if these four beasts have already emerged from the sea of humanity and are not still under the rule of the first king of the king of Greece?
Which human government is today of God? Is the congressional bickering between Republicans and Democrats of the United States’ House of Representatives of God? Which politician in Congress submits to the laws of God? Certainly most do not.
The four beasts are the four horns that sprout from around the stump of the broken first king of the king of Greece, and this first king has not yet finished trampling the silver ram; has not yet been broken because he is first. Therefore, the entirety of the reign of the four beasts is still to come, and actually won’t begin until after the second Passover liberation of Israel; for working towards the present from when dominion over the kingdom of this world is taken from the four beasts, there shall be a time, times, and half a time (Dan 7:25), the expression used for 1260 days when viewed from God’s perspective, when the saints are delivered into the hand of the lawless one, something that has not yet happened.
A tendency exists among self-identified Christians to believe that the kingdom of God is now on earth. Certainly this is taught by the Roman Church; it is the primary tenet of realized eschatology. But the predatory natures of lions, bears, and wolves have not changed. No lamb can lie down with a lion and not be eaten. So the kingdom of heaven is not here on earth today, for even the Body of Christ is dead as Jesus’ physical body lay dead in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The Body of Christ will not be returned to life until after the third day of the spiritual creation account.
The culturally embedded assumption that the United States is an agent of God underpins all of America’s foreign policy, a truism especially visible during ex-President George W. Bush’s administration. It is, therefore, a short step for Christians in the United States to believe that America’s wars are God’s wars, that it is God’s will that all human beings live in democratic societies where men and women are free to pursue excellence, that an attack on the United States is an attack on God Himself, that America’s war against Islamic fundamentalists is God’s war on terror—and nothing could be farther from the truth.
In WWII, German mothers prayed to the same God as American mothers prayed. Mothers in both nations pleaded with God to intercede on their sons’ behalf … were prayers of American mothers heard while the prayers of German mothers ignored? Or better, were the prayers of Yankee mothers heard while the prayers of Confederate mothers ignored during America’s Civil War? On which side did God fight at Gettysburg? The Union side? Or did God not enter the battle on either side, or did God fight for both sides? A person needs to be careful about how he or she answers, for the Lord is a jealous God, jealous of His good name that has been blasphemed by Christians for far too long.
America’s war on terror didn’t begin against Islamic fundamentalists in 2001, but began before the United States was a nation; began against Native Americans who resented occupation of their lands by European colonialists. And if America’s war on terror is God’s war on terror, why did European Americans need to give smallpox-inflected blankets to Native Americans? Could God not win a war on terror with swords and rifles? Did God need to use germ warfare?
In this world, God gets blamed for the acts and abuses of the Adversary, for the Lord does not fight as men fight … in a world of words spun into existence, the Lord fights with unquenchable fire that separates the dimensions. If God were to make war on terror, the terrorist would have his or her mindset and nature changed, or the person would simply perish in fire.
In the chronology of the Book of Revelation, the kingdom of this world is not given to the Son of Man until after the second woe (Rev 11:14). And the first woe doesn’t begin until after the four horsemen of the Apocalypse appear on the world’s stage … the four horsemen are the four horns of the king of Greece that sprout from around the stump of the first horn, broken suddenly because he is first, a firstborn not covered by the blood of the Lamb of God. It will here be asserted that these four horsemen are also the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7, with the first horsemen being the false prophet, the second the king of the bottomless pit, the third Sin (the king of the South), and the fourth Death (the king of the North). The little horn, like Hades that follows Death, emerges from the head of Death, and this little horn is the spirit at work in the lawless one, the man of perdition. And this means the kings of Daniel 7 as the horsemen of the Apocalypse have not yet appeared on the world’s stage. Dominion over the single kingdom of this world remains with the bronze belly and thighs (Dan 2:39) of the humanoid image ancient king Nebuchadnezzar saw in vision, the image called Babylon after its head.
The assertion that the four horsemen are the four beasts is time dependent, with the conveyance of dominion over the single kingdom of this world being a one time happening that is seen in Revelation 11:15–18; in Daniel 7:9–14; and in Daniel 2:44–45. The kingdom of this world is not given to the Son of Man many times, but only one time. Therefore, the above verses overlie each other so that a dateline can be established from when Christ Jesus returns as the Messiah to when the four beasts first appear, and to what occurs immediately preceding the emergence of the four beasts.
Beginning with John the Revelator’s account, the ministry of the two witnesses is for 1260 days (Rev 11:3). The end of these 1260 days will be the end of the second woe, but a third woe is soon to come (v. 14). So from the second woe ending with the conclusion of the ministry of the two witnesses, a disciple knows that the Second Advent will not immediately happen for a third woe remains—the endtime years of tribulation are more than 1260 days long, for the kingdom of this world is not given to the Son of Man until Satan and his angels are cast from heaven (Rev 12:7–10) and dominion is taken from the four beasts (Dan 7:12) … the casting of Satan and his angels from heaven occurs at the same time as dominion is taken from the four beasts; therefore, it is reasonable to surmise that the four beasts are angels of Satan, for they are kings like the king or prince [sar] of Persia who withstood the angel bringing Daniel knowledge for twenty-one days (Dan 10:13). A disciple knows this because the first beast of Revelation chapter 13 is the amalgamated king of Greece, sans dominion over the kingdom of this world, sans the broken first or great king, and sans the burned body of the fourth beast of Daniel 7. The death wound dealt to one of this beast’s heads (Rev 13:3) is delivered in Daniel 7:11. This beast’s seven heads are the head of the lion who has been given the mind of a man, the head of the bear that slays but is unable to devour Christ Jesus and the two witnesses, the four heads of the leopard, and the wounded head of Death, wounded when the two witnesses were publicly resurrected from death. And it is this fourth head that is the beast from whose mouth (along with the mouths of the false prophet and the old dragon) come unclean spirits that are like frogs, amphibians that can live in two worlds, this visible realm and the invisible heavenly realm.
The beast, the false prophet, and the old dragon Satan the devil—each either is a demonic spirit, or each can speak and bring forth a demonic spirit (Rev 16:13–14) who goes abroad to the kings of the whole world “to assemble them for battle on the great day of god the Almighty” (v. 14). And it is here where a disciple needs to pause: the kings of the whole world are under the authority of the four beasts of Daniel 7 until dominion is taken from these beasts and given to the Son of Man. These four beasts, minus the body of the fourth beast, appear in Revelation 13:1 without any authority: they appear immediately after dominion is taken from them and given to the Son of Man. Therefore, to this beast the dragon must give his power, throne, and great authority (Rev 13:2). But what great authority does the dragon have after dominion is given to the Son of Man … he only has the authority of a usurper. He comes claiming to be the Messiah; he comes as the true Antichrist. He comes in the silver-colored trappings of the spiritual kings of Persia.
When Satan and his angels are cast from heaven, Satan pursues the woman [Israel] who had given birth to the male child (cf. Rev 12:5, 13) … the Christian Church doesn’t give birth to Christ Jesus, the male child caught up to God and to His throne, but rather is the offspring of the woman (v. 17), natural Israel. Therefore, it isn’t the Church that is given the wings of a great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness for “a time, times, and half a time” (v. 14) generally recognized as 1260 days (v. 6). This time, times, and half a time occurs after Satan is cast from heaven and the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. This period of time will now be the 42 months during which the first beast of Revelation 13 utters haughty and blasphemous words against God.
Thus far disciples see that the 1260 day ministry of the two witnesses precede the kingdom of this world being given to the Son of Man, and the 1260 days during which the woman is nourished in the wilderness follows the giving of the kingdom to the Son of Man … there is no reason why a disciple should not read a “day” as a day. The ministry of the two witnesses will not be for 1260 years, so the day-for-a-year principle doesn’t apply. The time of the end is not 2520 years long, but 2520 days (i.e., seven prophetic years) with 1260 of these days to occur after Satan is cast from heaven and ceases to rule as the prince of the power of the air. And if days are days, then disciples have hard time markers: when the Christ comes, the endtime years of tribulation are over. A second hard marker: the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man 42 months or 1260 days prior to when Christ comes. The third marker: the ministry of the two witnesses begins 1260 days prior when the kingdom of this world is given to the Son of Man. There is still another marker: Jesus said, “‘As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man’” (Matt 24:37) -- and when were the days of Noah? In the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the foundations of the great deep burst forth (Gen 7:11) and the world was baptized into death by water.
In the second month, on the 14th day at even, the second Passover sacraments are eaten (Num 9:10–14). In the second month, on the 16th or 17th day, Israel received manna (Ex 16 chap 16), the physical type and shadow of receiving Christ Jesus as the bread of life. Thus, coupling Isaiah 43:3–4 with other passages pertaining to a second Passover recovery of Israel, the Exodus from Egypt forms the shadow and type of a spiritual exodus from sin, with this second exodus to begin on or before the 17th day of the second month (to begin between the 15th and 17th day of the second month). And with this data a timeline for the seven endtime years of tribulation can be established:
· There will be a second Passover liberation of Israel, now a spiritually circumcised nation, from indwelling sin and death after the shadow and type of natural Israel’s liberation from physical bondage to a human king.
· In this second Passover liberation of Israel, all firstborns not covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb of God will die as the firstborn of men and beasts not covered by the blood of a physical lamb died in Egypt.
· The firstborn of Egypt died at the midnight hour of the 14th of the first month.
· The midnight hour of the long spiritual night that began at Calvary will occur when humankind cannot get farther from God.
· In the second month, on or about the 15th of this month (15th through 17th), of the year when humankind can get no farther from God—when the night cannot get darker—death angels will again pass over the whole land, slaying firstborns not covered by the blood of the Lamb.
· The magnitude of death at the second Passover liberation of Israel is presently unimaginable: approximately 2.3 billion people will die, thereby delivering to the kingdom of this world a blow from which it will not recover.
· This will not be the third of humankind slain in the sixth Trumpet Plague although the many false prophets of Israel will claim that it is. The sixth Trumpet Plague remains to occur near the end of the two witnesses’ ministry.
· Therefore, the endtime years of tribulation will begin in the second month when the second Passover occurs, and the ministry of the two witnesses will begin immediately following the second Passover liberation of Israel.
1. In the first year of the seven years of tribulation, 220 days [2520 minus 2300] after the liberation of Israel, the majority of the Christian Church will rebel against God in the great falling away (2 Thess 2:3) when the man of perdition is revealed. This man of perdition is against Christ, but is not the Antichrist. Rather, he is a human being possessed by the Adversary whereas the Antichrist is Satan himself coming claiming to be Christ Jesus.
2. The great falling away is rebellion against God, and this rebellion will occur near Christmas and probably over the observance of Christmas, a baptized pagan holiday.
3. In the fourth year, 1260 days after the liberation of Israel, the court of the Ancient of Days will sit in judgment and will take dominion away from the four kings and will give this dominion over the kingdom of this world to the Son of Man.
4. Satan and his angels will be cast from heaven and will go after first the woman Israel, then the remnant of her offspring.
5. In the fifth year, 1290 days after the great falling away (during late July of this fifth year), Satan’s claim to be the Messiah will fail to be any longer believed … the period between when Satan is cast from heaven and when the 1290 days expire might be the most difficult period humanity ever encounters.
6. Those who do not take the tattoo of the cross [Χξς], the mark of the beast, and who arrive at the fall feast of this fifth year (1335 days after the great falling away) will be blessed.
All of the above lies in the near future, for today the he-goat that is the first horn of the king of Greece, busily stomps and tramples the ram … the war between western democracies and Muslim fundamentalists isn’t God’s war on terrorism, but the king of Greece’s trampling of the kings of Persia, a war foreshadowed by Alexander’s defeat of Darius over a ten year period. The war is a bi-colored struggle between Babylon’s silver arms and chest and the gold-colored bronze belly and loins. Visible Christendom is supported by the kings of Persia, as are Islam fundamentalists. Both are People of the Book, and it is a “Book” that the spiritual kings of Persia would have human beings worship, not the Most High, and certainly not the greenness of this earth.
The Christian who looks at world’s events, who reads the Jerusalem Post, who participates in the governance of this world, who is anxious about wars and rumors of wars as Iran’s nuclear program goes forward—this Christian does not know either the Father or the Son, and eternal life is to know both (John 17:3). This Christian is anxious about the very things Jesus said not to worry-about. Whether male or female, this Christian remains a son of disobedience, a child of the devil, and an enemy of Islamic fundamentalists. But the Islamic fundamentalist is also a son of disobedience and a child of the devil.
As American marched against American at Gettysburg, Christendom’s war against Islamic terrorism is a civil war within the spiritual kingdom of Babylon. God is not now fighting any war on terrorism. There is no great controversy that has Christ Jesus and Satan wrestling as school boys. Rather, there is an on-going countdown to when the fullness of the Gentiles are called by God, with the visible markers of this countdown seen as movement away from God within formerly Christian nations.
Before the first king of the king of Greece is broken, the Christianity of this world will have fallen on very hard times. Although America’s war on terrorism will proceed under the Obama administration, America’s war on Christianity will also proceed smoothly as the Christian Church is squeezed harder and harder, pushed farther to the margins of the culture, and forced to accept abominable behavior as the normal. But this is as it has to be if the younger generation is to be weaned from the lawlessness of the visible Church.
From God’s perspective, it is not a bad thing that fewer and fewer young adults are attending Christian Churches, that an entire generation (actually two generations) has been tutored in eco-awareness. God is preparing a people to be firstfruits, to worship the Father and the Son, to be Nazarenes, a sect of Judaism. And the idea that God fights but has not been able to win a war against terrorism is blasphemous.
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"Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved."