App

Download the FREE Prophecy Watchers mobile app and get early access to our programs on your iPhone, iPad, or Tablet! Get the app!

"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"
-Titus 2:13
Your Roadmap to Eternity
with Gary Stearman & Billy Crone

Author Archives: Prophecy Watchers

  1. Unseen Realm- Divine Council

    Comments Off on Unseen Realm- Divine Council

    Unseen Realm- Understanding our Future Glory as God’s Vice-Regents and our role in the Divine Council

    • Session 1- Introduction- Principles for Interpreting the Bible  NOTES
    • Session 2- Introduction to Divine Council Part 1   NOTES
    • Session 3- Divine Council Part 2- NOTES    Ancient versions of Exodus 21-22
    • Session 4- Divine Council Part 3- NOTES    Unseen Realm Meta-narrative Timeline
    • Session 5 – The Nature, Function, and Status of OT Elohim- Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 6- The Nature, Function, and Status of OT Elohim- Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 7- The Nature, Function, and Status of OT Elohim- Part 3  NOTES
    • Session 8- The Nature, Function, and Status of OT Elohim- Part 4  NOTES
    • Session 9- The Nature, Function, and Status of NT Elohim- Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 10- The Nature, Function, and Status of NT Elohim- Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 11- The Nature, Function, and Status of NT Elohim- Part 3  NOTES
    • Session 12- Understanding the Image of God and Garden of Eden  NOTES
    • Session 13- The First Rebellions (Satan and Adam and Eve)  NOTES
    • Session 14- The Curses of Genesis 3; Genesis 6 Nephilim Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 15- The Rebellion of Genesis 6 Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 16- The Tower of Babel Rebellion Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 17- The Tower of Babel Rebellion Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 18- Questions and Answers About Unseen Realm
    • Session 19- Abraham’s Seed as God’s New Nation and God’s War  NOTES
    • Session 20- God’s War Against the Elohim of Egypt  NOTES  10 PLAGUES CHART
    • Session 21- Questions and Answers #2 about Unseen Realm
    • Session 22- God’s “Ban” Against Elohim Rebel Offspring (Genocide?)  NOTES
    • Session 23- The Theological Messaging in the OT   NOTES
    • Session 24- God’s Concealing of His Redemption Plan from Elohim  NOTES
    • Session 25- The Son of Man as God’s Senior Human Vice-Regent Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 26- The Son of Man as God’s Senior Human Vice-Regent Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 27- The WORD and the NAME Visibly Personified Part 1   NOTES
    • Session 28- The WORD and the NAME Visibly Personified Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 29- The Angel of Yahweh  NOTES
    • Session 30- Jesus as our Older Brother in the Divine Council Part 1  NOTES
    • Session 31- Jesus as our Older Brother in the Divine Council Part 2  NOTES
    • Session 32- Jesus’ Battles as Son of God in the NT  NOTES
    • Session 33- Jesus’ Recruitment of the Human sons of God NOTES
    • Session 34- Jesus’ Provocation of the Unseen Realm at Ground Zero  NOTES
    • Session 35- Final Wrap Up; NT Finale NOTES
  2. How did the Nephilim Return after the Flood?

    Comments Off on How did the Nephilim Return after the Flood?

    A Brief Survey of the Pre-flood and Post-flood Origins of the Nephilim
    By Mondo Gonzales

    (to read a more orderly formatted edition in PDF format, click HERE)

    There has been much written over the past few decades concerning the identity of the
    “sons of God” and the Nephilim as found in the Bible. Additionally, there have been some
    speculations as to the exact process of the recurrence of the Nephilim as found in Numbers
    13:32-33 which is long after the flood. I would like to share in this article some of the answers
    that I think might have been overlooked concerning these questions. As we go along, I want to
    provide a few opportunities for the reader to delve further through several well written essays or
    commentaries on this topic.

    The first topic to be addressed in this survey is the identity of the “sons of God” (Hebrew
    beney ha’elohim). Literally this just means “sons of (the) God” and brings with it a variety of
    interpretations. Generally, there are four main views which fall under the two categories of
    having a supernatural or non-supernatural perspective. Consulting most any substantial
    commentary on Genesis provides a presentation of the various views.

    Here they are:
    1) The sons of God are godly descendants of Seth(from genealogy of Gen 5:6-32) who
    marry wicked daughters of Cain (from genealogy of Gen 4:17-24). This marriage produces
    offspring which receive the fallen and wicked nature from their mother’s (and Cain’s) ancestry.
    Those who hold this view emphasize that right after the genealogy of “wicked” Cain, Genesis
    4:26 introduces Seth and in his generation, men began to call upon the name of the Lord. This is
    followed immediately by the genealogy of Seth. Additionally, according to Matthew 22:30
    angels can’t marry and thus the “sons of God” cannot be angels.

    The response against this view is summarized by Michael Heiser in his book Unseen Realm (pp. 94-95).
    1) The text does not say that the only people which called on God were Sethites. It simply says men;
    2) The assertion that spiritually saved men and wicked women produce unnatural or inevitably wicked offspring (Nephilim- 6:4) is untenable biblically and theologically;
    3) Genesis 6:2 does not call the “wicked women” daughters of Cain, but daughters of humanity; were only the wicked daughters of Cain beautiful?
    4) Any prohibitions of specific types of marriage are not mentioned until
    much later in the Pentateuch;
    5) Nowhere in the text is the idea that authentic spirituality comes
    through genealogy or family lines. This is true throughout the entire Bible;
    6) The contrast between the two groups is between a species of God (non-human) and species of mankind;
    7) Jesus’ comments in Matthew 22:30 speak explicitly about the angels who are in heaven and
    are in reference to the righteous at the end of the age. It is not giving a full theology of potential
    angelic rebellion and capabilities of angels in ancient times or any times at all.
    Most of the criticisms above to the non-supernatural view entailing mixed unspiritual or
    incompatible human marriages apply to numbers 2 and 3 below also.

    2) The sons of God are human rulers or judges who take and marry women outside their
    social status. The fallen offspring are simply the normal wicked sinful children of this unequally
    yoked marriage. The Nephilim offspring continue the sins of their fathers and seek to create their
    own legacies and become men of renown in their lust for power and prestige.

    3) The sons of God are human dynastic kings who either claim for themselves deified
    status (“sons of the Gods”) or are given this epithet by their followers. These kings are tyrants
    and seek unbridled power and polygamy. Their children also follow in their wicked fathers’
    footsteps and the line of Cain through urbanization and industry.

    4) The sons of God are actually fallen angelic beings who rebel and lust after human
    women in order to create descendants of their own which God had not allowed them to do. They
    take on the form of human men and marry human women producing the Nephilim who are
    hybrid beings of part human and other part angelic. The Nephilim, because of their fallen, but
    super human strength and height (Num 13:32-33) become famous individuals. They existed in
    ancient times before the flood and also afterward (Gen 6:4).

    It’s not possible here to give a full critique of these various interpretations, but for a full review
    and assessment of all these viewpoints see Willem Van Gemeren’s article, “The Sons of God in Genesis 6:1–4.” Another helpful essay by Robert Newman surveys all the various ancient interpretations
    of Genesis 6:1-4 from 300 BC to 300 AD. In this article, Newman notes that the Septuagint
    translation into Greek from the OT Hebrew (approximately 270 BC) translates sons of God as
    “angels of God” in some manuscripts and in other manuscripts as “sons of God.” Further, it
    translates the word Nephilim with the root Greek word “gigas.” This word is used in ancient
    Greek as a reference to superhuman offspring of the goddess Gaia which is known from Greek
    mythology. The Greek translators used this word to translate several other Biblical Hebrew
    words in addition to Nephilim (Rephaim, Anakim, Gibborim). The Greek word itself doesn’t
    necessarily reference men of large stature (especially in Classical Greek), but the Bible makes it
    quite clear that the Nephilim were known for their large or tall size (Num 13:32-33; Deut 1:28;
    2:10; 9:2; Amos 2:9; 2 Sam 21:20).

    In addition to the ancient Septuagint version translators seeing the sons of God as
    heavenly angelic beings, so do other Jewish Second Temple period (intertestamental) texts. One
    of the most famous is the 3rd century BC book of 1 Enoch (chapters 6-20). Another document in
    this group of literature is the 2nd century BC book of Jubilees which understands the sons of God
    as angelic (4:15, 22). Newman goes on to list several other ancient texts including many from the
    Dead Sea scrolls showing that ancient Jewish exegetes saw fallen angels as the perpetrators of
    the sins involved in Genesis 6:1-4 and primeval history.

    To be thorough, it should be noted that those scholars who hold to a supernatural view
    demonstrate convincingly that the context of both 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 give increased
    understanding to the sin of the angels in Genesis 6. These were heavenly beings who left their
    “domain” (Jude 6). The Greek arche has as one of its nuances the idea of rule or jurisdiction.
    Additionally, these angels abandoned their “proper abode.” The Greek oiketerion only appears
    one other place in the NT in 2 Corinthians 5:2 in reference to an innate type of dwelling. Another
    way to describe this would be a dimension. The context of 2 Corinthians 5:2 would be that of an
    earthly dimension in contrast to a heavenly dimension. The angels who sinned in Jude 6 not only
    left their jurisdiction (domain), but also their proper abode (dimension) to sin with women
    sexually in a way that is similar to those in Sodom and Gomorrah (illicit sexual actions; Jude 7).

    The first century Jewish historian Josephus wrote often concerning his contemporary
    understanding that the Genesis 6 episode was a reference to angels who sinned with women and
    produced a race of large hybrid men. He writes of the pre-flood incursion (Antiquities 1:73) as
    well as the offspring existing again after the flood (Ant. 1:174; 3:305; 5:125; 7:71, 299, 301,
    304). Other Jewish scribes of the Hebrew Bible translated the OT text into Aramaic (known as
    the Targums). Newman notes that the various Targum translations range from the 1st century AD
    to many centuries later. Only some of these Targum translations take a supernatural angelic view
    of Genesis 6. It wasn’t until later Rabbinic theology that the Jewish view became solidified into a
    non-supernatural view following number two above (i.e., human judges or rulers).

    It is well known that many of the early Church Fathers took a supernatural view and it
    wasn’t until the 3rd and 4th centuries that the non-supernatural view took hold. The largest
    influencers in this regard were Julius Africanus and Augustine in his book, City of God. The nonsupernatural view is the consensus view of scholars today (but certainly not all scholars). In
    summary, the most ancient understanding of the Genesis 6 narrative is that it involved rebellious
    heavenly beings taking human women as wives and producing hybrid offspring.
    From a linguistic perspective, the phrase “sons of (the) God” is a collocation that should
    not be separated into its constituent parts. A collocation is a grouping of words that are used
    together in a single phrase that take on a unified meaning. For example, if I said I am
    diametrically ____________ to going skiing, you would know which word almost always
    follows in our modern usage.

    In the classic Hebrew grammar by Friedrich Gesenius (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), § 131. Apposition), he makes mention of various kinds of collocations in the Old Testament. One of the classifications he notes is that in relation to the syntax of two nouns, they often stand in apposition to one another forming the collocation of genus and species. Collocations should be viewed as units and do influence the understanding of semantic range. This exact collocation (sons of the God) appears in only five places in the entire OT (Genesis 6:2, 4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). It is universally accepted that the collocation “sons
    of (the) God” in the book of Job is in reference to angelic beings. If that is the case there, why
    does the modern scholar, who believes in the supernatural in other parts of the Bible, refuse to
    recognize the linguistic evidence in Genesis 6:2, 4?

    In this situation, the collocation of genus and species are specified. These are sons (offspring children in a non-physical sense) of the Elohim (God) because they are direct creations as are all other heavenly beings. The contrast being made here is between the non-human angelic “sons of God” and the human “daughters of mankind.”

    It is often asserted that the phrase “sons of God” and other similar phrases are clearly a
    reference to those who are authentic believers in God (whether OT or NT). However, most of the
    evidence used to show this is from the NT (e.g., Matt 5:9; Luke 20:36; Rom 8:14, 19; Gal 3:26).
    It is not good hermeneutics to read NT theology written in Greek back into OT theological
    understanding written in Hebrew. Opponents of seeing the sons of God in Genesis 6:2, 4 as
    angelic beings will often quote instances when either Israel as a whole or others are labeled as
    sons or when God is called a Father (Deut 14:1; 32:5-6; Ps 73:15; Mal 1:6). There is no
    disagreement that God calls Israel His firstborn (Ex 4:22) or that in one instance believers in the
    OT were called “sons of the living God” (this occurring only in Hosea 1:10; further, the modifier
    “living” is a different construction than the collocation in Genesis).

    However, none of these Hebrew constructions match grammatically that which appears in Genesis 6:2, 4. Interestingly, one of the nearest formations is “sons of God” (Hebrew beney elim) which appears in Ps 29:1 and 89:6-8. This construction is the closest to Genesis 6:2, 4 and clearly is a reference to angelic
    beings.

    In Genesis 6:4, we might ask what is the specific connection between Moses writing that
    there were Nephilim before and after the flood (Genesis 6:4; cf. Numbers 13:33)? How is this
    possible? Didn’t the flood wipe out all living and breathing creatures? How did the Nephilim
    reappear after the flood? Are the Nephilim tribes found in Moses’ day from the same original
    antediluvian tribes?

    There are generally five proposals given to answer these questions with varying degrees
    of plausibility:

    1) It was a local flood and all life was not destroyed. Therefore, many of the Nephilim
    survived and spread throughout the land. When Moses returns after the wilderness wandering, he
    and the younger generation encounter the descendants of the original Nephilim. However, the
    text does not say that the sons of Anak were from the original Nephilim. It simply says that they
    were connected to the Nephilim (Num 13:33- Hebrew preposition min is connected to the word
    Nephilim here and has a wide range of use). Additionally, the universal language of Genesis 6-8
    is hard to overcome in positing a local flood. One just has to read the text to see the extensive use
    of superlative language (“all flesh,” “every living thing under heaven,” etc.; e.g., Gen 6:13, 17;
    7:4, 21; the Hebrew word kol meaning “all” or “every” appears almost 50 times in chapters 6-8
    alone). If the flood was local, why would God have Noah bring such a large amount of land
    animals and birds on the ark? They easily could have naturally migrated to higher and non-local
    elevations.

    2) The Nephilim did not die in the universal flood because they were good swimmers or
    held on to the outside of Noah’s ark. The flood lasted for around a year (Gen 7:11; 8:14) and the
    idea that any breathing animals or persons survived besides Noah and his family contradicts the
    text (Gen 7:21-22).

    3) The Nephilim went underground to come out later after the yearlong flood was over.
    This cannot be proven wrong, but there is no textual evidence for this. It is pure conjecture.

    4) The Nephilim genetics were passed on through one of the wives of Noah’s sons. This
    view has gained influence and popularity recently, but again, there is nothing in the text which
    explicitly teaches this viewpoint. Much of the argumentation is based on inference, conjecture,
    and eisegesis.

    5) The angelic sons of God left their domain and abode by coming down to mate with
    women before the flood and received a severe punishment of chains and darkness (2 Peter 2:4;
    Jude 6). Boldly and audaciously, another separate group of sons of God (angelic beings) came
    down some time after the flood and once again took human women and produced more Nephilim
    offspring which are found dispersed throughout the land. These Nephilim (and various other
    tribal names such as Anakim, Zamzumim, Rephaim, etc.) are the enemies that Moses and Joshua
    encounter as they head towards and into the Promised Land. The typical argument against this
    viewpoint is the assertion that a second incursion cannot be demonstrated from the text. It is
    alleged that this second incursion proposal is an argument from silence and/or inference because
    nowhere in the later books of the Pentateuch or Joshua is a second incursion explicitly
    mentioned.

    One of the goals of this article is to show that the Biblical text conclusively and assuredly
    demonstrates that number 5 is the correct viewpoint. Most current approaches to Biblical
    hermeneutics revolve around three primary foundations of a historical, literary and theological
    context.

    If we examine Genesis 6:1-4 through a proper understanding of its full context, it will
    become evident that the best understanding of this passage substantiates number 5.

    Historical Context– One of the major questions concerning the evidence of Nephilim
    offspring being on the earth is that the text says it was “in those days and afterward” (6:4).
    Moses is writing the book of Genesis most likely during the 40-year wilderness wandering. He is
    writing the historical and theological content of Genesis to a generation that has been steeped in
    Mesopotamian, Canaanite, and Egyptian religious mythology for generations. Each of those Near
    Eastern cultures had flood myths as well as stories of heavenly beings mixing with human
    women producing hybrid super human beings. Contextually, Moses is giving to his audience the
    true version of the flood events as well as the incursion of supernatural beings into the human
    population. Not everyone agrees that the phrase “sons of God” is out of place in Genesis 6:2, but
    the most plausible reason the phrase “sons of God” seems to appear with no explanation in the
    early chapters of Genesis is that his audience didn’t need any explanation. Understanding the
    historical and cultural context of the book of Genesis provides an insightful framework in
    understanding all the foundational doctrines of Genesis 1-11. These include comparative Near
    Eastern literature that reference flood myths, sons of God, Tower of Babel, spreading of
    humanity, diversity of languages, etc.

    According to the Biblical text, Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt approximately 827-
    1707 years after the flood. This means that at least a millennium of human history and culture
    had developed and dispersed over the known world. We know that Abraham’s family were
    Mesopotamian idol worshipers (Josh 24:2). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and his sons lived in
    Canaanite territory for over 200 years followed by a sojourn in Egypt of at least 230 years. This
    is a lot of exposure to the various religious beliefs in their surrounding culture. When Moses
    brings them out of Egypt, they were saturated with all kinds of various beliefs. We must
    remember that the writing of Genesis 6:1-4 specifically is given as a rendering of the true
    primeval history (including the antediluvian period). The comparative literature shows
    conclusively that these cultures contained stories of angelic type beings coming down
    impregnating human women and producing hybrid beings of supernatural strength and
    accomplishments. This is exactly what Moses is seeking to expose when he writes the true
    version to the Israelites.

    When Moses and the Israelites first approached the Promised Land, it was filled with
    Nephilim who were large and intimidating (Num 13:32-33). He taught the Israelites the true
    history of the stories they heard concerning the mingling of angelic beings and mankind
    producing hybrid offspring (Nephilim). In Genesis 6:2-4 he is reminding them that this
    intermingling happened before the flood and also afterward. As they were spying out the land
    and observed these Nephilim offspring, they were looking at proof that what occurred before the
    flood had occurred again.

    Literary Context- There is much debate to how Genesis 6:1-4 bridges chapters 4-5 with
    the communication to Noah that God was going to flood the earth because of the wickedness and
    violence which was occurring on the earth. One interpretation highlights the numerous
    repetitions of the Hebrew adamah (meaning ground) in chapters 1-5 to help show the continuity
    of the episode of the sons of God which occurs immediately after. Chapter and verses were not
    introduced into the Bible until the middle ages, so we need to ignore the artificial chapter break
    between 5 and 6 of Genesis. The inclusion of adamah in 5:29 and 6:1 provide a connection from
    the emphasis on the birth of sons and daughters in 5:1-32 and then again in 6:1. Here is Genesis
    6:1-3 from the NASB.

    1 Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters
    were born to them, 2 that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they
    took wives for themselves, whomever they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not
    strive with man forever, because he also is flesh; nevertheless, his days shall be one hundred and
    twenty years.”

    In chapter 5 it is repeated with each generation that both sons and daughters were born.
    However, the emphasis shifts in 6:1 to focus on the daughters of mankind, not just Seth or Enosh
    or Jared or any specific family line. In fact, 5:1 says that this is the genealogy of Adam through
    Seth through Enosh all the way down to Noah. There is absolutely no singling out of any one
    generation. The point is that many sons and daughters were born culminating in the generation of
    Noah which immediately precedes the flood. In 6:2, it describes how the sons of God took
    human wives (or women) from those whom they chose. It does not provide any other
    information about offspring or Nephilim at this juncture. We are then told in 6:3 that God’s
    Spirit will not strive with men and gives mankind a 120-year time frame which God illuminates
    will end with a flood that destroys all life (6:7, 12-13).

    We must remember that the generation that was receiving this text was the same
    generation who had already been introduced to the Nephilim as they spied out the land. Now,
    Moses begins to explain to them the connection between the Nephilim they saw in the land and
    the Nephilim that existed before the flood which they also would have known about through the
    various cultural and religious histories. Hence, the succinct language of 6:4. Because this specific
    verse is the crux of much debate, I have translated the Hebrew and block diagrammed the verse
    into English in order for us to visualize the grammatical flow and syntactical elements which
    often are missed. Words in italics are not in the Hebrew, but are implied from the context and
    help the English flow in a much smoother way.

    The questions answered are: 1) Who are the Nephilim? 2) How did they come about?

    1) The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, (Main clause with main verb “were”)
    2)         and also, afterward, (Complex preposition creates adverbial subordinate clause)
    3)                 when (whenever) (Relative particle introducing subordinate clause)
    4)                 the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, (subordinate clause)
    5)                 and they bore children to them. (subordinate clause)
    6) Those (were) the mighty ones (2nd main clause which is verbless)
    7)                who (Relative particle introducing subordinate clause)
    8)               (were) of old, persons of renown. (subordinate clause)

    Notice that there are two main clauses which both focus on the Nephilim (lines 1-2 and 6).
    The first main clause describes the timing of their existence and includes lines one and two.
    The second main clause includes line six and introduces the description of their person and
    accomplishments.

    Most scholars recognize that the demonstrative “those” in line 1 along with the complex
    preposition “also afterward” is a reference to the days before the flood and to the days after the
    flood. The days after the flood would include all the way up to the time when Moses and the
    spies see the post flood Nephilim in the Promised Land.

    The reason why this verse is often misunderstood is because important elements of the Hebrew
    syntax are missed. One of the most recognized works related to Hebrew syntax states that in this
    verse (6:4), the complex Hebrew prepositional construction (acharey-chen) translated
    “afterward” in line 2, creates an adverbial clause. Some people might not remember the
    grammar of adverbs or adverbial clauses. Adverbs are words that give a greater description to the
    verb it modifies. In English they end in “ly” such as “hastily” or “blindly.” For example, “he
    hastily went into the store.” The adverb hastily modifies and elaborates on how he “went” into
    the store.

    Adverbial clauses (which must include their own subject, verb, and subordinating conjunction)
    provide increased understanding of the main verb of the main clause. It answers the questions of
    “how,” “where,” “when” and most importantly for this verse, the “manner” of how something
    happens. Line 2 above includes the complex preposition (“afterward”) operating as an adverb
    and is followed in line 3 by the relative particle (Hebrew asher) functioning as a subordinating
    conjunction introducing the dependent clauses of line 4 and 5.

    Let’s summarize what the syntax is showing so far. The main clause states that the Nephilim
    were on the earth before and after (the flood). What is not explained so far in the first 3 lines is
    how they came to be on the earth before and afterwards. However, line 3 is the transition to
    explain the “how” or the “manner” in which the Nephilim came to be on the earth in both
    periods. In English, it would be helpful in to translate this “whenever” based on the linguistic
    relationships.

    Line 4 specifically reveals and connects the “how” in that it occurred both before and afterwards
    when the sons of God (angelic beings) came down and intermingled with the daughters of
    mankind. This must not be missed. Line 4 is telling us exactly the manner in which this
    happened and elaborates on the main verb of line 1. The reason the Nephilim were existing on
    the earth in both time periods is because the sons of God “came into” the daughters of mankind.
    Additionally, the verb “came into” is in the imperfect tense and Hebrew scholars recognize that
    the form of this verb is being used with “frequentative force” which means that it was happening
    repeatedly, frequently, or habitually. It was not a one-time event.

    The fact that this adverbial subordinate clause is elaborating on how the Nephilim were on the earth both before and after the flood reveals that the sons of God were conclusively “coming into” human women. This decisively describes the “how” of them existing on the earth in “those days and afterward.”

    Line 5 contains the continuing subordinate clause and another verb (“bore”) with the sons of God
    as the objects of the preposition. This line describes the daughters of men which “bore” children
    to the angelic sons of God. The verb “bore” is known as a perfect consecutive in Hebrew
    grammar. Gesenius writes that it’s connection to the imperfect verb “coming into” demonstrates
    that the verb “bore” also is functioning in a frequentative use.

    This makes sense in that as the sons of God were repeatedly coming into the daughters of mankind, they were repeatedly bearing children to them. Again, this intermingling and birthing explains how the Nephilim were existing on the earth both before and after the flood. The spies and the conquest generation were observing the Nephilim in the Promised Land. Moses was providing them with how the
    Nephilim were in the land even though the flood had destroyed the pre-flood Nephilim.
    Line 6 often provides confusion for some readers.

    The “those” of line 6 is often erroneously associated with the sons of God in line 4. This creates misunderstanding with many interpreting that the “mighty ones” and “men of renown” are in reference to the sons of God. This cannot be the case grammatically. The adverbial subordinate clause of lines 4 and 5 has its own subject and verbs. However, lines 6-8 do not have any verbs in them in the Hebrew. Therefore, it is preferred to read the “those” of line 6 (the 2nd main clause) as further elaboration on the subject of the 1st main clause, specifically the Nephilim.

    I have bolded “Nephilim” of line 1 and “those” in line 6 to show this visually. The “were” in line
    6 and the “were” in line 8 are added by translators so that the English will flow more easily.

    These two words are not there in the Hebrew.
    Line 7 contains the relative particle “who” (Hebrew asher) which is introducing the subordinate
    clause of line 8 giving more explanation on the “these” of line 6. Literally, the Hebrew reads,
    “These, the mighty ones, who from ancient times, persons of name.” The Nephilim (offspring of
    sons of God and human women), who were on the earth before and after the flood were mighty
    ones. They were from ancient times, people of name (reputation). Based on later descriptions of
    the Nephilim in Moses’ day, it is understandable how they received their reputation. They were
    large in stature and extremely intimidating to the spies who saw them in the land.

    Block diagramming 6:4 helps show the various Hebrew grammar and syntactical elements. Here
    is a made-up English verse which follows the same pattern as Genesis 6:4 and should illustrate
    what is happening in the Biblical verse.

    1) There were fires all over the land in those days
    2)            and also, afterward,
    3)                 WHEN (whenever)
    4)                 the lightning storms were striking the grass and fires were ignited from them.
    5) These were the big ones that were well known, conflagrations of reputation.

    Notice that the “these” of line 5 fits very well with line 1 in connection with the subject “fires.”
    The subject of “fires” reappears with the demonstrative (“these”) of line 5 and adds further
    elaboration of the main subject of line 1 (“fires”).

    We also see that the adverbial clause of line 4 explains the manner (the “how”) of the fires’
    coming into existence in the land (line 1). The verb “striking” and “ignited” in line 4 are
    functioning in a frequentative sense and follows the complex adverbial preposition of line 2.

    Theological Context- Biblical theology most often deals with seeking to discover the
    purpose and authorial intention of a particular Scriptural book. In this case, it is possible to
    sketch Moses’ theological motive in the whole Pentateuch as it relates specifically to the
    Nephilim and sons of God episode of Genesis 6:1-4. It is not known exactly when the Pentateuch
    was written by Moses, but it was obviously finished prior to his death in Deuteronomy 34. The
    historical context shows that the narrative of the book of Deuteronomy occurs after the 40-year
    wandering and immediately prior to entrance into the Promised Land by Joshua, Caleb and the
    younger generation. Moses had originally given them much of the Law back in Exodus 19-24,
    but now recounts the Law again to the surviving generation as they are about to cross the Jordan
    river. In addition, Deuteronomy recounts their progression from their final wanderings in the
    desert towards the land of promise.

    We have observed the specifics of the literary context of Genesis 6:1-4 as it relates to
    primeval history, but another aspect that is beneficial is tracing the ways in which Moses writes
    concerning the Nephilim and the various tribes that are often used synonymously. The main
    Nephilim tribe is connected specifically with the Anakim and the Rephaim (cf. Deut 2:11; Num
    13:32-33). As we have noted, the first mention of the Nephilim and related tribes occurs in
    Genesis 6:4, but the text describes all of them being killed in the flood (Gen 7:21-22). However,
    Moses reintroduces the Rephaim tribes in Genesis 14:5 as living east of the Jordan river during
    the time of Abraham. Some believe that Moses is introducing the Rephaim tribes out of nowhere,
    but based on our examination of Genesis 6:4, we understand that Moses has already explained
    how the Nephilim (and Rephaim, et al.) tribes came to exist on the earth before and after the
    flood.

    The theological emphasis of Moses in the Pentateuch gives insight not only into the sins
    and rebellions of mankind (Gen 3:1-16; 6:5; 8:21; 11:1-9), but also provides background
    information to the rebellious actions of the fallen angelic sons of God in 6:1-4. They attempted to
    thwart God’s salvation historical plan by corrupting mankind before and after the flood. Moses
    wrote that God promised Abraham he would receive the land of promise (Gen 12:1-18) and so
    the fallen angelic sons of God sought to frustrate this plan by taking human women as wives
    again after the flood and filled the land with Nephilim hybrid offspring. Moses informs the
    Israelites of his day that the Rephaim were back in the land not long after the promise to
    Abraham was given (Gen 14:5).

    Additionally, Moses writes that God explains to Abraham that even though the land is
    full of the various tribes, his descendants would still inherit the land after four generations (Gen
    15:13-21). God was going to judge and remove all these tribes from the land, but their iniquity
    was not yet complete (15:16). What we know from the rest of the Pentateuch is that God had
    planned to use His new nation of Israel to be the instrument of eradicating not only the wicked
    human tribes, but also the evil supernatural hybrids from the land.

    The nation Israel chose fear instead of faith after the spies returned and reported seeing
    the large Nephilim tribes in the land (Num 13:32-33). Their lack of faith resulted in judgment
    and wandering the desert until that faithless generation died off. When the time came for them to
    inherit the land, Moses narrates their journey into the land from the south and east, then going
    north into the land of Bashan (Deuteronomy 2-3). As they journeyed, they systematically
    destroyed any of the Nephilim (Amorite) tribes that they encountered (Num 21:21-26). Moses
    writes that some of these tribes had already been destroyed by God in previous times (Deut 2:9-
    12). As they reached Bashan, they encountered the giant king Og who was of large stature (Deut
    3:1-11) and is labeled as the last remaining king of the Rephaim in that area.

    In summary, it can be seen that the theology of the Pentateuch is consistent throughout as
    it details the origin of the pre- and post-flood occurrences of the Nephilim and the related tribes.
    When studying Genesis 6:1-4, the historical, literary, and theological context provide the needed
    background into understanding the unified material presented by Moses. It’s not surprising that
    this theology is evidenced also in the book of Joshua. One of the goals and standards of success
    in the conquest of the land is specifically tied to the extermination of the offspring of the fallen
    angelic sons of God known as the Nephilim/Rephaim tribes both before and after the flood
    (Joshua 11:21-23; 14:12, 15; 17:15).

    “Then Joshua came at that time and cut off the Anakim from the hill country, from
    Hebron, from Debir, from Anab and from all the hill country of Judah and from all the
    hill country of Israel. Joshua utterly destroyed them with their cities. 22 There were no
    Anakim left in the land of the sons of Israel; only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod some
    remained” (Josh 11:21-22).

    The writer reveals that Joshua “utterly destroyed” the Anakim and their cities except for a few
    that were left in the coastal cities.

    The Biblical theological evidence shows that Nephilim/Rephaim/Anakim tribes still
    remained to be fully exterminated. They reappear in the text of Scripture centuries later in the
    time of David. Goliath was from Gath, one of the cities mentioned in Joshua 11:22 where some
    Anakim remained. The Bible gives the final summary that David and his servants eliminated the
    rest of Nephilim/Anakim tribes (1 Samuel 17:4, 7; 2 Samuel 21:16-22; 1 Chronicles 20:4-8).

    The fallen angelic sons of God sough to disrupt God’s salvation historical plans, but they
    failed to plan that God will not allow His glory to be tarnished. He will redeem mankind despite
    His enemies’ plans and machinations.

    Exodus 15:3 The LORD is a warrior; Yahweh is his name!

    Isaiah 24:21 At that time the LORD will punish the heavenly forces in the heavens and
    the earthly kings on the earth.

  3. Mondo conference- Olivet Discourse PPT

    Comments Off on Mondo conference- Olivet Discourse PPT

    Below you will find Mondo’s Power Point from the Colorado Springs Homeward Bound 2022 conference. If you want to read a more detailed version of the information, see Mondo’s article here:
    https://prophecywatchers.com/rapture-evidence/

    The PDF of the Power Point can be found HERE











  4. Bloodline of the Antichrist

    Comments Off on Bloodline of the Antichrist

    Bloodline of the Antichrist

    By Gary Stearman

    A new look at an old riddle …

    –Who is he?

    –Where does he come from?

    –What is his nationality?

    Among various groups of scoffers, it has become fashionable to make sport of prophetic expositors who attempt to ­– in their words – “pin the tail on the antichrist.” Yet the Bible, itself, gives tantalizing clues to his identity.  As we shall see, it even suggests that his genealogical line may, in time, be fully traceable. As of now, we can only get close. But perhaps the full story of his lineage will become available in the near future.

    Along with other passages, Daniel Chapter 7 associates him with the concluding world empire, pictured as the “fourth beast.” His close tie with this final power structure gives him a Gentile background, yet we know that latter-day citizens of the House of David will accept him as messiah. As Jesus said, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (Jn. 5:43) Is he Jew, Gentile or (as seems the case) both? Someone, sometime, somewhere will finally put the clues together and identify this man’s dual identity.

    Second Thessalonians 2:3 calls him the “man of sin,” and suggests that he will hold sway over the world, with great power, both of oratory and dark force. He will enthrone himself in the rebuilt Temple. Finally, he will even pose as deity, apparently with enough false power to pull off the charade – at least for a while. It seems likely that he will have to convince the leaders of Israel that he is an Israelite.

    But it is in Revelation 13 that his power over the people is seen in some detail. His persona features the ability to perform miracles as he makes fire fall from heaven and gives life to an image of the beast. He even has the power to control world economics, which he accomplishes by mandating universal identity markers for every man, woman and child on earth. He, himself, has a number – the infamous 666 – usually viewed as a clue to his name. From the days of Nero to the present, many believers have attempted to link that number with a contemporary name. Usually, such names are Gentile. So far, all have failed. But that doesn’t mean we should quit trying, particularly in view of the fact that the Bible says, “Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast.” (Rev. 13:17).

    Daniel 11 and the Seleucid Dynasty

    Perhaps the most telling evidence of the antichrist’s identity is to be found in the complex history given in Daniel 11. A full exegesis of this chapter would fill a large book, since it covers the legacy of Alexander the Great – king of Macedon [Greece] from 336 B.C. to 323 B.C. – and his successors. During his brief 13-year rule, he conquered the peoples of the north, going as far as the Danube River. He also cut though Asia Minor, Phoenicia, Egypt, Syria and the great Persian empire of Darius to the east. Upon his untimely death at age 33, his conquered territories were divided among four of his generals. The original idea was that each of them would establish a ruling dynasty.

    Two of them – Seleucus and Ptolemy – are of particular interest, since it is their dynasties that are detailed in Daniel 11. Since it gives such an expanded view of these fourth and third-century dynasties, many skeptics have reasoned that Daniel must have written later, in the second or third-centuries B.C. But it is virtually indisputable that Daniel wrote in the sixth century B.C. The Holy Spirit gave him a documentary foreview of the rise to power of the man who is considered as the model of the antichrist. This fact alone gives it extreme importance.

    In this chapter, verses 3 through 20 give a compact but detailed account of the critical interactions between the houses of the Ptolemaic [Egyptian] and Seleucid [Syrian] rule. Most important to this study is the Seleucid dynasty, which begins in Daniel 11:5, with a reference to Seleucus I Nicator. Called “conqueror,” he gained control of Syria and Cilicia. Although he was an eastern potentate, his philosophy was basically western. He tried to reunify Greece, but was killed by Ptolemy II before he could complete his plan.

    Seleucus II Callinus was called, “glorious victor”. In 247 B.C., he came to power, as foretold in Daniel 11:6-9. Seleucus III Soter [savior] reigned for only two years. He is mentioned in Daniel 11:10. Finally, Seleucus IV Philopater came to rule as described in Daniel 11:20. He was the son of Antiochus the Great and brother of the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes. In the latter years of his rule, he attempted to loot the Temple treasury.

    It is important to remember that both the Ptolemies and the Seleucids were Greeks, who had descended through the royal houses of the Grecian empire.

    From the Seleucids Came Antiochus

    The son of Seleucus I was Antiochus I Soter. The title “Antiochus” means “opposer” or “withstander,” and was a favorite name of the Seleucid kings of Syria from 280 B.C. onward. With the death of Seleucus I in 281 B.C., Antiochus I became sole ruler of Coele-Syria. Antiochus II was his son, and he reigned from 261 B.C. to 246 B.C.

    Antiochus III was called “The Great.” He was the second son of Seleucus II. His exploits are predicted by Daniel in chapter 11, verses 15 through 18.

    His third son, Antiochus IV, succeeded his brother Seleucus IV Philopater [See Daniel 11:20,21] as king in 175 B.C. As a worshipper of Zeus, he imagined himself to be a manifestation of this “father of the gods.” He took to himself the title, “theos epiphanes,” meaning “the manifest god.” Daniel 11:21-35 characterizes him as “a vile person,” and one who held complete contempt for the nation of Israel.

    Since he considered himself to be Zeus incarnate, he ordered that all people should worship him as such. He sent 22,000 soldiers into Jerusalem on a Sabbath, plundering and burning the city. He sacked the Holy Temple and there, set up altars for Zeus commanding Jews to offer unclean sacrifices and to eat swine’s flesh. Disobedience brought death. He set himself up as a deity, and ordered that his birthday be honored as a high holy day. His infamous order was given on the 24th of Kislev, 167 B.C. Three years later, to the day, on the 24th of Kislev 164 B.C., the Jews cleansed and rededicated their Temple. They restored worship, giving birth to the festival of dedication, called Chanukkah.

    Antiochus IV Epiphanes was truly an evil man, driven by dark forces. He became the greatest historical archetype of the antichrist, a man who stood up in the Temple and declared that he was a god. The final antichrist will simply repeat what he did, except on a much grander scale.

    From Antiochus to the

    Royal House of Rome

    The eleventh chapter of Daniel closes with the prophecy of the willful king, in verses 36 through 45. Clearly, he portrays the antichrist of the latter days, still future to us. But if one simply reads this chapter to its end, its clear intention is that there is hardly a break between Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the latter-day “king who shall do according to his will” (v. 36).

    In other words, Daniel seems to be telling us that the Seleucid dynasty will continue on into the latter days! If this is true then the bloodline of the antichrist can possibly be traced. A bit later, we’ll speculate on where the full record of his genetic heritage might be found.

    After the horrific reign of Antiochus IV, the Seleucid line continued under the same title, with Antiochus V, VI, VII, and VIII, IX, X and XIII, all continuing the reign of their fathers. In 69 B.C, following his defeat of Tigranes of Armenia, Lucullus of Rome awarded Antiochus XIII the rule over Syria. In 63 B.C., Pompey came to Syria and commanded that from that time forward, it would be a Roman province. This date effectively marks the end of the Seleucid dynasty and the beginning of Roman rule.

    But descendants of the Seleucids continued in positions of importance long after Syria became a Roman province. For example, following the death of Nero in A.D. 68, Rome entered into a time of chaos. The year 69 A.D. was known as “the year of four emperors,” as various contenders fought for control.  Two of the contenders, each of whom spent a few months as emperor, were Otho and Vitellius.

    In “The Histories” of Tacitus, there is an interesting note during the description of a battle: This delay gave the Vitellians a chance to retreat to a vineyard where a complex network of trellised vines impeded movement. There was a small wood close by, too. From this they ventured to stage a counter-attack, and in so doing managed to kill the most eager of the pretorian troopers. Among the wounded was Prince Epiphanes, who was eagerly leading his men into battle on Otho’s side.”

    Here, we find a “Prince Epiphanes” in the first battle of Cremona in northern Italy. He was none other that the son of Antiochus IV, King of Commagene, located on the West Bank of the Upper Euphrates. His official title was Antiochus Epiphanes, in honor of the originator of that name—the man who had desecrated the Temple in 167 B.C., about 237 years before! And he was a loyalist in the army of Otho! Young Epiphanes had, for a time, been engaged to marry Drusilla, the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I. But because he refused to embrace Judaism, it was never consummated.

    This tells us that by the time of Christ, the Seleucids had become intertwined with both the Herodians and the royal houses of Rome. Elsewhere, Tacitus describes the accession to power of Vespasian, following the death of Vitellius:

    “By 15 July [A.D. 69], the whole of Syria had taken the oath of allegiance to Vespasian. He had also gained the adhesion of Sohaemus and his kingdom, whose resources were not to be despised and that of Antiochus, who had great inherited wealth and was the richest client-king of all. Then Agrippa [Herod Agrippa II] arrived after a swift voyage from Rome, where secret emissaries from his people had brought him news which recalled him home while Vitellius was still in the dark. Equal enthusiasm marked the support given to the cause by Queen Berenice. She was in her best years and at the height of her beauty, while even the elderly Vespasian appreciated her generosity.”

    It is a historical fact that the sons and daughters of the Seleucids merged into the royal families of Rome, as did the Herodians. Josephus, [in Antiquities xiii, 5.8,] mentions a letter from the Roman senate, which reads in part, “As to ourselves, although we have had wars that have compassed us around, by reason of the covetousness of our neighbors, yet did not we determine to be troublesome either to you or to others that were related to us; but since we have now overcome our enemies, and have occasion to send Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Antipater, the son of Jason, who are both honourable men belonging to our senate, to the Romans, we gave them this epistle to you also, that they might renew that friendship which is between us.”

    This “Numenius” is of the Seleucid dynasty, who preceded Antiochus IV, king of Commagene. But he is also a member of the Roman Senate, once again demonstrating the closeness between the offspring of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Roman royalty.

    This should not come as a surprise. Daniel 9:26 mentions the antichrist as coming from the royal Roman bloodline. We should recall that the Romans destroyed both city and sanctuary.

    “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”

    In this passage, the “coming prince” is the antichrist. His “people” could well be the emperor Vespasian and his son Titus – in other words, what we think of as the royalty of Rome. They ordered the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. It is made quite clear that “the prince that shall come,” is of Roman descent, by way of the Seleucid dynasty.

    This appears to be the intention of the verse, and it is augmented by the Seleucid history in Daniel 11.

    The Pages of History

    This begs the question: What became of the Seleucid offspring? Very simply, the sons and daughters of Rome’s Seleucid client kings disappeared into the family trees of the Romans. As mentioned at the beginning of this discussion, some of their genealogies may be lying in dusty libraries to this day. The Vatican records are both voluminous and very ancient.

    It has been pointed out that the so-called Merovingian dynasty – which occupied the years from A.D. 447 to A.D. 458 – was an early (and evil) European bloodline that claimed descent from the days of Jesus. Many members of this evil dynasty even claimed descent from Christ, Himself! Of course, this cannot be true, but it is interesting that the belief is held at all!

    This ruling dynasty comes down to us in the present day in certain European ruling dynasties. What is missing, is the genealogical connection between Antiochus IV, King of Commagene, and the dynasty of king Merovee. This time period runs roughly from the reign of Vespasian, beginning in A.D. 69 to the reign of Merovee, beginning in A.D. 447.

    Within this 378-year period, it is quite possible that documents exist somewhere that will validate on a secular level, that which is implied in Daniel 11. Will the antichrist one day be able to produce credentials – perhaps even a genealogy – that give him unquestioned credibility? It appears so. But at present, that information lies just beyond our reach.

  5. Answering Objections to the Shroud of Turin

    Comments Off on Answering Objections to the Shroud of Turin

    The Shroud of Turin- Digging Deeper
    by Mondo Gonzales

    One of the reasons I love the world of biblical archaeology is the ways in which artifacts which have often been in storage for centuries still have the potential to speak volumes as modern technology advances. This was true with the lead tablet that I reported on last month. This lead tablet had been excavated in the 1980s, but sat undiscovered for 40 years as it sat in a rubbish pile. Even if it had been discovered back then, the technology to read it was not available. Now that we have sophisticated imaging techniques, we can actually read what’s inside an unrolled tablet!

    The same is true of the Shroud of Turin. This article doesn’t contain enough room to share all the amazing unique attributes of the Shroud. Those can be found at www.whocanhebe.com or shrouduniversity.com or shroudencounter.com.  However, in this article I wanted to share some updates that have happened in the recent weeks.

    Before we get into these updates, I want to share that I approach the Shroud as I would any other archaeological artifact. Biblical artifacts can never be proven 100% as being connected with any narrative or event in the Bible. Archaeology does not work this way. Archaeologists think in terms of probability like any other scientific discipline. Artifacts are analyzed, tested, measured, and examined in context and in situ if possible. If they are not found in situ (original location), their provenance (origin) is investigated as best as possible to establish a chain of custody. There are dozens of authentic finds that are put on the black antiquities market each year. These often have no provenance, but archaeologists still spend the time to analyze them as best as possible for any contribution to understanding the Bible that they can give. Secondly, biblical artifacts (even if demonstrated to have a higher probability of authenticity) should never be worshipped. We know from church history that some (hopefully well intentioned) people have sought to worship alleged biblical artifacts (relics). This has left a bad taste in some people’s minds for having anything to do with biblical artifacts. The phrase, “throwing the baby out with the bath water” applies here. This shouldn’t be so. We should always investigate any claimed artifact, but never with the intention of worshipping it. At the end of the day, we believe the Bible by faith, but it is exciting when God provides archaeological artifacts to help contribute to the historical reliability of His Word.

    Most people today who have had any cursory interactions with the existence of the Shroud often point back to a Carbon-14 test which was done in 1988. The British Museum tested pieces of the Shroud with results asserting that the Shroud was only 700 years old. For many, this ended the discussion and the Shroud, therefore, could not be the actual burial cloth of Jesus. For them, it was fabricated in the 14th century and that was that. However, many people challenged the testing methodology of the British Museum noting that proper and normal procedures were not followed. There are at least six peer-reviewed scientific articles challenging the 14th century AD Carbon 14 date as being flawed in its testing. On a side note, recent tests by Italian scientists using Wide Angle X-ray Scattering (WAXS) on pieces from the Shroud returned a date of approximately 55-74 AD which certainly would be consistent with the general time frame of the resurrection of Jesus. This latest research challenges those who claim that the Shroud was fabricated in the 14th century.

    This has led David Rolfe, a film-maker who has a documentary and the website (www.whocanhebe.com), to issue a $1 million challenge to the British Museum to produce a similar type burial cloth that matches several of the characteristics of the Shroud of Turin. He asserts that it is impossible to reproduce the Shroud. This would give evidence to its authenticity.
    Here are the requirements that the British Museum must satisfy within a 6-month period if they accept the challenge.

    1. Depth of color penetration equal to 0.2 micrometer, which corresponds to the thickness of the primary cell wall of the linen fiber. The cellulose of the medulla is colorless.
    2. Half tone effect, where the shading of the image is due to the areal density of the fibers that each have the same color, i.e., the same RGB value.
    3. The fibers are uniformly colored round their cylindrical surface.
    4. The front and back images of the body show almost the same color intensity, i.e., we cannot appreciate which image is more contrasted, front or back.
    5. The images must be permanent on the linen for a period of at least one year.
    6. Only known medieval techniques and substances can be used.

    Recently I had the opportunity to film a 2-hour DVD with Russ Breault where we covered, “Objections to the Authenticity of the Shroud.” That DVD will be out soon and should help address those with logical questions and objections to seeing the Shroud as most likely authentic. Scientific investigation shouldn’t turn a blind eye to legitimate concerns that investigators have.

    I wanted to address a couple of these objections from a biblical exegetical perspective as it seems that these objections could easily be avoided if we take a closer look at the biblical text. One of the major objections is “that the clearly crucified man on the Shroud could not be Jesus because the person has a beard. Does not the Bible say that Jesus would have His beard torn out because of Isaiah 50:6 which reads in English, ‘I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting’”?

    The most general answer to this objection by Shroud proponents is that text does not say that all of Jesus’s beard would be torn out, but just a reference to part of it. The man on the Shroud definitely has a beard, but the quality of the image could show that portions of the beard were plucked out. This is one solution, but I want to present another based on the original languages and textual history. It is semi-technical, but hang in there as I think going through the details is worth it.

    There are three main ancient texts that scholars use to assess any of the Old Testament texts. The first is the Hebrew Masoretic text tradition (primarily based off the Leningrad Codex which is dated to 1000 AD). This text could also be called the Jewish Rabbinic Hebrew text. Most English Bible versions use this 1000 AD Hebrew text as their main source in their translation of the Old Testament into English. The other ancient textual tradition is the Dead Sea Scrolls dated before 70 AD, a full 1000 years more ancient than the Rabbinic Hebrew text. The third text is the Greek translation of the Hebrew (the “Septuagint,” often abbreviated as LXX) which began in the 3rd century BC and with the oldest extant texts going back to the 2nd century BC.

    Interestingly, neither the word “beard” nor “hair” appears in Isaiah 50:6 in the Hebrew or Greek texts. Here is a literal translation of the Hebrew Masoretic text from 1000 AD in the Hebrew word order, “My back, I gave to (those) smiting, and my cheeks to plucking out, my face not I hid from insults and spitting.” The Hebrew word for “plucking out” (marat) appears in Ezra 9:3 and Nehemiah 13:25 in connection with hair being removed. This is why most English translations translate Isaiah 50:6 as referencing the beard being plucked out even though there is no reference in this passage specifically to hair or beard.

    What does the older Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) text show? There is only one complete scroll of Isaiah found in Cave 1 near Qumran. In this scroll (1QIsaa), the Hebrew reads, “My back, I gave to (those) smiting and my cheeks to those (striking with) a metal rod, my face not I turned away from insults and spitting.” Notice that in this older Hebrew text it says nothing about plucking out of a beard, but instead that the cheeks would be hit with a weapon.

    There are two major English translations of the Greek Septuagint. The 1851 Brenton translation which reads, “I gave my back to scourges, and my cheeks to blows; and I turned not away my face from the shame of spitting:” The 2007 NETS translation renders it, “I have given my back to scourges and my cheeks to blows, but I did not turn away my face from the shame of spittings.” Here again, the ancient Greek translation says nothing about beards being plucked out, but instead that the Servant’s cheeks would be hit with blows. The Greek word “blows” is parisma and is used specifically in the gospels in reference to Jesus being spit on and being hit in the face as the Isaiah 50:6 passage teaches. Notice, “And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows” (Mark 14:65; the Greek word parisma for “blows” also appears in John 18:22; 19:3).

    Remember that the DSS text described Jesus being struck with a metal weapon. The Greek word in the NT for “reed” (kalamos) is a word that can also be used as a metal rod as found in Revelation 21:15 (a rod made of gold metal). We are told twice in the NT that Jesus was struck in the head with a “kalamos” (reed; Matt 27:30; Mark 15:19).

    Okay. What we do we have? There is strong linguistic agreement that the ancient DSS Hebrew text, the ancient Greek Septuagint and Gospels all agree against the Rabbinic Masoretic Hebrew text. They all make reference to Jesus being struck in in the face with blows of a weapon. Nowhere in the NT does it say that Jesus’s beard was plucked out. The best linguistic evidence would argue against Jesus having His beard ripped out. This is important because there are those that argue against the authenticity of the Shroud saying that the figure on the cloth has a beard and therefore could not be Jesus. Based on the linguistic evidence this is a false objection and should be discarded. This line of argument from Isaiah 50:6 has no bearing on the authenticity of the Shroud.

    The second objection I would like to address from a linguistic perspective has to do with Isaiah 52:14 which reads in English, “As many were astonished at you– his appearance (Hebrew mareh) was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form (Hebrew toar) beyond that of the children of mankind.” This objection goes something like this, “the man on the Shroud cannot be Jesus because the Bible says that Jesus would be unrecognizable as a human and the guy on the Shroud looks recognizable.” The general response by Shroud defenders from a reasonable and logical perspective is that Jesus was not beat up more than any other human that has ever existed. Think of war and other atrocities. The writer is simply describing that the Servant spoken of in this passage would be significantly bruised physically in His faithfulness to God.

    Again, I think once we examine the linguistic evidence as well as the context, there is no need to answer this criticism because the objection itself is on a false foundation.

    Let me address the contextual contribution which will show the objection as false. We often forget when interpreting the Bible that chapter and verse divisions were not part of the original text. They were added at different times between 1227-1555 AD. Bible teachers recognize that the Servant passage (called a pericope) goes from Isaiah 52:13 all the way to 53:12 (a total of 15 verses). This is one singular and contextual passage referring to the mission of the Servant whom we believe was Jesus of Nazareth. Here is the immediate context of 52:14:

    Behold, my servant shall act wisely; he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. 14 As many were astonished at you—So, his appearance (Hebrew mareh) was marred, beyond human semblance, and his form (Hebrew toar) beyond that of the children of mankind– 15 so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has not been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.” (52:13-15 ESV)

    Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form (Hebrew toar) or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty (Hebrew mareh) that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (53:1-3 ESV).

    Most critics see the words “was marred” and use this as the basis for saying that Jesus was so marred (disfigured) from being beat up that this shows the Shroud as fake. However, more detailed examination presents a different perspective.

    The first six verses (52:13-53:3) make no specific reference to His death nor the crucifixion. The first place any reference is made to a physical description of suffering is in 53:4 using the words “stricken” or “smitten.” Then in 53:5 it says specifically that the Servant would be “pierced” which we know happened in the crucifixion. Unfortunately, some Bible teachers take the later verses (53:4-12) and force them back on the first part of the passage.

    The two Hebrew words for “form” and “appearance” only appear together in Isaiah (52:14, 53:2) and Genesis (29:17; 39:6). Notice the Genesis passages:

    Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance” (Gen 29:17).

    So, he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge, and because of him he had no concern about anything but the food he ate. Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance” (Gen 39:6).

    Just from a lexical connection, these two words when used together always refer to whether someone is deemed beautiful or attractive to the human eye. This clearly is the usage in Genesis 29:17; 39:6 and Isaiah 53:2. In fact, Isaiah 53:2 says that there would be nothing beautiful or attractive about the messianic Servant that humanity would have any desire for Him. Compare this with the way in which mankind determines the value of people as seen in, “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Sam 16:7).

    When we examine the context of Isaiah 52-53 we learn that the messianic Servant would not be considered beautiful or attractive in form or appearance (53:2). If we look at the DSS, there is one minor difference surrounding the word “he was marred” and scholars are baffled at the variation. In English, when we read, “his appearance was so marred” it is hard not to read into this our own bias from the NT crucifixion scene. The Hebrew noun mishchat only appears here in the entire Bible and it is extremely difficult to understand what this word really means. Most translations simply say “marred” (disfigured). However, some lexicons see this connected to a similar root in Leviticus 22:25, moshchat meaning “ceremonial defect.” This has interesting overtones as no doubt the Servant would take on the Mosaic law curse for God’s people (Gal 3:10).

    What does help is looking at the ancient Greek Septuagint text. It reads,

    Just as many shall be astonished at you– so shall your appearance be without glory from men, and your glory be absent from the men” (Isaiah 52:14 NETS version).

    Once again, the Septuagint, which was the favorite of the NT writers (over 2/3 of OT quotes are from the LXX), provides a clear understanding of the Isaiah text. This makes great sense especially as it comes to understanding the nature of Jesus. We learn in Philippians 2:3-11 that Jesus came as a lowly servant without glory who died a humiliating death. He wasn’t born in a palace nor was raised wealthy. He came in a very lowly and humbled state. Yet because of His obedience, Jesus was exalted to the highest name just as the previous verse stated (Isaiah 52:13). Jesus had the glory of a servant/slave while doing His earthly ministry, but was exalted to His previous glory that He had shared with the Father after His resurrection (John 17:4; Rev 1). We also got a glimpse of the hiddenness of Jesus’s glory, just as the LXX reads, when He allowed Himself to be transfigured and His true glory was revealed (Matt 17:1-13).

    If we take the linguistic and contextual evidence of Isaiah 52:14, we learn that this Servant was not predicted to be “beat up” beyond human comparison, but instead the Servant was predicted to be unattractive, non-glorious, unappealing, and undesirable among humanity. There was nothing appealing about Him physically (or from a human perspective) that He would be desirable (Isa 53:2).

    If we understand the true interpretation of Isaiah 52:14, then the objection to the man on the Shroud potentially being Jesus of Nazareth disappears. This is another reason that we should continue to evaluate the Shroud as the possible genuine burial cloth of Jesus.

    I will close with this. Researching the Shroud is extremely rewarding. One of the comments that Russ Breault mentioned in our interview was that he thinks the Shroud is God’s receipt for the transaction of Jesus paying for our sins and God accepting the payment. The Bible does use transaction language (redeem, purchase, bought, ransom) and some of Jesus’s last words on the cross were “It is finished” (tetelestai in the Greek). That is certainly transaction language which was well known ancient times to be used as a phrase to show that a person’s debt was “paid in full.”

    A recent article on the Shroud writes, “Only in very recent times have scientists found a way to discolor linen strands as they are found in the Shroud of Turin, discolorations penetrating only to a tiny fraction of the width of a human hair. It was done with microbursts from high energy lasers. A burst of high energy! This carries suggestions of its own about the man of the Shroud, because if it is Jesus, he is proclaimed to be raised from the dead. Is the Shroud a “snapshot of the resurrection?

    If the Shroud is genuine, not only is it a receipt of the past in Jesus’s resurrection, but it points to our future resurrection. Paul said that Jesus was the first fruits and that we would follow in His footsteps (1 Cor 15:23)!

    I am reminded of the Bible’s description of when the saints are resurrected in that our new bodies will actually shine with luminescence like Jesus’s body (Phil 3:21). Amen!

    Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear” (Matt. 13:43).

    And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2).

  6. Who Are the Twenty Four Elders in Revelation?

    Comments Off on Who Are the Twenty Four Elders in Revelation?

    This topic is one that can often be overlooked, but is very important for a variety of reasons. First, this group of twenty-four (24) seemingly comes out of nowhere in comparison with other throne room scenes found in the Bible. Second, if we can understand the identity of this group, it should provide some information which would influence our grasp of the timing of the rapture. Third, personally for the Christian, the uniqueness of this group has the potential to provide tremendous encouragement and comfort. While we must remember that the text does not give an explicit identity for these 24 elders, the book of Revelation gives many descriptions of this select group. Therefore, if we examine the various ways in which John writes concerning this group, the answer will become evident.

    The Options for the Identity of the 24 Elders

    This special group of 24 elders appears in a handful of places in the book of Revelation (4:4, 10; 5:5, 6, 8, 11, 14; 7:11, 13; 11:16; 14:3; 19:4). As you can imagine, there are a variety of interpretations as to their identity. Here are some of the possibilities as given by G.K. Beale in his NIGTC book on Revelation: (1) stars (from an astrological background), (2) angels, (3) OT saints, (4) angelic, heavenly representatives of all saints, (5) patriarchs and apostles representing the OT and NT saints together, and (6) representatives of the prophetic revelation of the twenty-four books of the Old Testament. One perspective that Beale left out was that the 24 elders represent the dispensational view of the church which is defined as believers specifically labeled throughout the NT as those “in Christ.” This would include those that became believers from Acts 2 up until the rapture. The resurrection and the rapture of the church (those “in Christ”) is noted quite clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:18-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17. I do not necessarily recommend Beale’s commentary as he chooses not to hold to a consistent futurist approach, but it gives a good snapshot at what the typical viewpoints are. Let’s examine the various descriptions found primarily in the book of Revelation.

    Descriptions

    1. Jesus gives an outline of the book of Revelation. Therefore, write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things” (1:19). Bible teachers note that this outline is very organized and involves the three relative particles (“which”) that provide a clear outline. It is divided into a past (chapter 1), a present (chapters 2-3) and a future (“after these things”- chapters 4-22). There is no reason to be confused as the phrase “after these things” (meta tauta in Greek) appears quite clearly in 4:1. This reveals that what occurs in chapters 4-5 is a future period after the “church age” as found in chapters 2-3. Therefore, we see in chapters 4-5, a throne room scene with four different “groups” mentioned. The first mention is of God seated on the throne followed immediately by the introduction of the mysterious 24 elders and then finally the four living creatures. In chapter 5, the Lion/Lamb is introduced. No doubt, the 24 elders are given a place of prominence in 4:2-4 as being mentioned before the four living creatures. As the first mention of the throne room scene, to have the 24 elders mentioned prior to the well-known living creatures from the OT is no accident. We see them being mentioned before the four living creatures also in 7:11 and 19:4. There are other instances where the four living creatures are mentioned prior to the 24 elders (5:6, 8, 11, 14; 14:3), but the first mention context should not be ignored in chapter 4.

    2. When we compare the throne room scenes in the OT, we notice that apart from Exodus 24, the existence of a specific group labeled as elders is absent (Exodus 24:9-18; 1 Kings 22:19-22; Jeremiah 23:16-22; Isaiah 6:1-3; Ezekiel 1, 10; Daniel 7:9-10). Even so, the Exodus 24 throne room scene was not in heaven and included 70 elders of Israel. So there certainly are distinctions. The question for us here is where did this NEW group of 24 elders come from in Revelation? For example, we see the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1 and 10. We observe an unidentified number of Seraphim (comparable to “living creature”) standing before the throne in Isaiah 6:1-3. In the Daniel 7:9-10 scene, it is the Ancient of Days seated on his throne. There are other thrones and myriads of other angelic beings, but it gives no specifics names or designation of any other group “seated” on those thrones. Again, there is no observance either of any specific group of 24 elders in that scene.

      Now if we fast forward to the throne room scene of the book of Revelation, we see God Himself on His throne mentioned first. Following, are the 24 elders and then the living creatures and countless angels (Rev 5:11). This introduction of a new 24-member group as compared to other throne room scenes as found in the OT or Second Temple period writings has not gone unnoticed. If you can, I recommend the article, “Revelation 4-5 in the Light of Jewish Apocalyptic Analogies” by Larry Hurtado. It can be found in the Journal of the Study of the New Testament 25 (1985). He does an excellent job showing that what we find in Revelation 4-5 cannot simply be a continuation of Jewish writings. This is clearly something new and Christian. As we read Revelation 2-3 and the various promises made to the churches by Jesus Christ, it does not strain credulity to see that John was describing this new group as being the church.

    3. If we compare Revelation 4-5 with the theology of Paul concerning the church, we can make a connection. Paul writes in Ephesians 2:11-22 that the church is made of up of Jews and Gentiles who are put into one new body of believers (especially 2:15). This is not a continuation of OT theocratic Israel limited to the land of Israel (cf. John 4:21-26), but a new unified group of people made up of all nations, tribes, peoples (Rev 5:9). Secondly, this group of unified people, who are called the church, was not revealed in the OT, but was revealed as a mystery in its full theological significance to Paul the apostle (Eph 3:1-10). Therefore, it would be no surprise that because the church was not born until after Jesus ascended, as a group they would not be evident in any OT throne room scene. When John writes his vision of what he saw “after these things” (a.k.a. the church age, “things which are”), this new 24-member group of Elders makes great sense to be the recently raptured church.

    4. Some Bible teachers see the 24 elders as angels, but upon closer examination, this cannot be the case. It is fascinating to see the consistency of the Bible. In the OT, there were no chairs either in the tabernacle or the temple. The reason why is that the priests were to serve continually. This is a major theological point in the book of Hebrews as, after Jesus performed His high priestly duties, He sat down at the right hand of God (Heb 1:3; 10:11-12). In the book of Revelation, we do not read of any angels sitting. In fact, we see angels standing (7:9, 11) and even one as mighty and majestic as Gabriel declares himself to be standing in the presence of God (Luke 1:19). Additionally, the angels are specifically labeled as distinct from the 24 elders (5:11; especially 7:11). We also observe the tribulation saints (“great multitude”), who are martyred in the great tribulation, as standing before the throne and the lamb (Rev 7:9). Another group of martyred individuals who had victory over the beast were standing near the throne (Rev 15:2).

      What is amazing is that there is only one group (other than God and the Lamb) who are specifically labeled as sitting. The 24 elders are shown to be sitting on thrones. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads” (Rev 4:4). This was promised to the church by Jesus in Revelation 3:21, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.” This is a very unique privilege as the original seven churches could read chapters 2-3 and then see that the promise of Jesus was fulfilled in Revelation 4:4. It would give them encouragement and hope that they could be part of the group who also were promised to be kept from the hour of trial that was coming upon the whole earth (Rev 3:10). Further, their position is extremely intimate and full of honor to be located so close to the throne. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a clear parallel to any angelic being described explicitly as being seated on a throne.

      After the tribulation is over, there is a resurrection of the OT saints as well as the believers who died during the tribulation. This resurrection is described in Revelation 20:4-6 and they also get to sit on thrones during the millennium on earth. However, it is important to note that for them, there is no reference of them sitting on thrones in heaven near God’s throne. This particular promise was only made to the church (Rev 3:21), and fulfilled by the church (Rev 4:4). So, we have the 24 elders not only sitting down, but on thrones which demonstrates rulership alongside the Lord Jesus (Rev 2:26-27; 2 Tim 2:12; Rom 8:17; 1 Cor 6:2-3).

    5. Another descriptor mentioned is the number 24. In the 404 verses in the book of Revelation, scholars have noted that there are over 500 allusions or direct references to the OT (see a list of these in appendix XI in Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s The Footsteps of the Messiah, page 793). That being the case, the number 24 is a relatively unique number that occurs in 1 Chronicles 24-25. In chapter 24 of 1 Chronicles, David and Zadok divided the priesthood into 24 different orders (see Luke 1:5, 8, 9 as an example). In chapter 25, David divided the worship leaders into 24 different groups. What this reveals to us is a pattern that the number 24 is representative of the whole group. When the 24 chief priests of the 24 different orders stood before David, they represented the entire priesthood. The same would be true for the worship leaders. In our case, the 24 elders sitting on thrones would represent the entire church seated on thrones in fulfillment of Jesus’s promise in Revelation 3:21. Additionally, they are seated in heaven and exempt from the period of the tribulation beginning in 6:1 as Jesus promised in Revelation 3:10. Interestingly, the book of Revelation is directly written to the seven churches even though it has a blessing for anyone who keeps its words. Even those during the tribulation period who read it can learn and be blessed from it.

      John writes to the churches, “To the one who loves us and has set us free from our sins at the cost of his own blood and has appointed us as a kingdom, as priests serving his God and Father– to him be the glory and the power for ever and ever! Amen” (Rev 1:5-6 NET). The concept of the number 24 was connected in 1 Chronicles to priesthood and worship. This fits well with roles we see of the 24 elders in the book of Revelation. They have been invited to have front row seats and indirect participation on Jesus’s throne (Rev 3:21) as well as offering up incense which is the prayers of the saints (Rev 5:9). The offering of incense is clearly reminiscent of the priestly duties as found in Leviticus. Jesus has invited the 24 elders to sit in His immediate presence as He opens the seals and fulfills His kingly role as redeeming the earth back to righteousness. Further, numerous times they are highlighted as participating and initiating worship in the presence of the throne and the angelic host. The connection between priesthood (1:5-6) and worship (Rev 5:9; 4:11) and the number 24 in 1 Chronicles 24 and 25 should not be missed.

    6. Another description which helps bring understanding to the identity of the 24 elders has to do with the description of the Lamb’s spatial position. I understand that John was seeing a vision, but words are often used to send a theological message. In this case, John introduces Jesus (one like the Son of Man) as standing in the midst (mesos) of the seven lampstands (Rev 1:13). The Greek preposition mesos appears 7 times in the whole book. We are not left guessing as to the symbolic meaning of the seven lampstands, because Jesus gives us the interpretation in Rev 1:20, “… and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.” In Revelation 2:1, Jesus reveals Himself to the Ephesian church as the “One who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands.” This is the second reference that Jesus is in the midst of the churches. When we get to chapter 5:6, the vision reveals that the Lamb was in the midst of the throne and the 24 elders. Within the book itself, John directs us to understand the connections between Jesus being in the midst of the churches and the 24 elders. This connective interpretation is compelling.

    7. The 24 elders are described in Rev 4:4 as having crowns of gold. These are stephanos crowns which are often used in the context of overcoming and gaining victory over adversity; similar to an athlete (1 Cor 9:25). The other type of crown is a diadem crown typically used as a reference to those who are royalty. Jesus wears this crown in Revelation 19:12 whereas the dragon and beast have this crown as they seek to imitate the inherent royalty of Jesus (12:3; 13:1). Revisiting the description of 24 elders having “crowns of gold,” the only other person in the book described with a crown of gold is the son of man figure in Revelation 14:14 who most Bible teachers interpret as Jesus. This crown of gold in this passage is also a victor (stephanos) crown. We should not be confused with Revelation 9:7 where the demon horde which arises out of the bottomless are described having on their heads what appears to be “as crowns like gold.” John adds specific words to denote comparison and not equivalence. The 24 elders having crowns of gold like their Lord in Rev 4:4 shows the intimacy of their connection as being co-heirs with Jesus (Rom 8:17-21).

      The NT teaches that there are five different crowns which are symbolic descriptions of the rewards for faithful service (1 Cor 9:25; 1 Thess 2:19; James 1:12; Rev 2:10; 1 Peter 5:4; 2 Tim 4:8). Both Revelation 2:10 and 3:11 speaks of crowns which are involved in Jesus’s promise to the church for being overcomers. When we arrive in Revelation 4:4, it is not surprising that these 24 elders would have crowns showing that they have already received their rewards. We know that after the rapture, the church will stand before the son of Man at the bema seat judgment to receive their rewards for their Christian service from Christ Himself (2 Cor 5:10; Rom 14:10; 1 Cor 3:1-15; Luke 21:36). Angelic beings do not have crowns. In closing this section, it is revealed that the 24 elders cast their crowns at the foot of the throne of God recognizing that their crowns and place of privilege is purely through the grace of God. This is reminiscent of Jesus’s words, “Apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Clearly, the 24 elders have a proper and humble attitude recognizing that even their crowns are an act of God’s grace.

    8. In Jesus’s letter to the seven churches, He speaks positively about the promise of those in the church who overcome as receiving “white garments” (Rev 3:4, 5, 18). The 24 elders are said to be clothed in “white garments” which clearly is using the same language as Jesus’s promise to the churches (Rev 4:4). There are other groups in Revelation that are given “white robes,” but this a different designation (Rev 6:11; 7:9, 13) and Greek words.

    9. Another very obvious description is the fact that they are called elders. We know from the OT that the elders were human leaders/chiefs beginning in Exodus up through the gospels. Additionally, this term was used as an official designation in the church (Acts 20:17; 1 Tim 5:17, 19; Titus 1:5; James 5:14; 1 Peter 5:1). Nowhere in the Bible are angels referred to as elders. Some Bible teachers see Isaiah 24:23 as a reference to angelic elders, but the context leans towards them being human elders. This passage is consistent with Jesus’s desire to reveal His personal glory to His church (John 17:24; 14:1-3; 1 Thess 4:17) and to share it with them (Rom 8:17; Rev 3:21; cf. Luke 22:29-30).

    10. There are some who like to argue that the 24 elders disassociate themselves with other believers based on Revelation 11:16-18. It reads, “And the twenty-four elders who sit on their thrones before God fell on their faces and worshiped God, 17 saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign. 18 The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged, and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth.” However, this is primarily because they assume these are angels. If we see the 24 elders as being the pre-tribulational raptured church being given a privileged position near the throne before the tribulation begins in Revelation 6:1, then their words in 11:16-18 make great sense. They are watching the tribulation saints get martyred and the saints overcome during this 7-year period (Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-14; 13:7). There are elect/saints/servants in the program of God other than the church which began in Acts 2 and ended at the pre-tribulational rapture. There are the elect tribulation saints as well as the elect of Israel who survive the 7-year tribulation period.

    11. The final description is to note in general the various speeches of the elders. They speak and worship God for His creative acts (4:11), their intimate knowledge of the fact of the Lion of Judah being worthy (5:5), the lamb being slain which redeemed people from every tribe to be a kingdom of priests who will reign (5:8-10, 12), detailed knowledge of those coming out of the tribulation and being made white by the blood of the lamb (7:14). Their knowledge, intimate proximity to the throne and Lamb, participation in worship and informing John in the vision is indicative of their status as friends of Jesus (John 15:15). Some Bible teachers try to argue that Revelation 5:8-10 shows a disassociation between the 24 elders and those that are redeemed because the elders speak of the redeemed in the third person. This is not decisive. John is very familiar with the OT and brings up the new song of Moses in Revelation 15:1-4. This should remind us of the original song of Moses in Exodus 15:1-19. In this song by Moses and the Israelites, they sing of the redemption of Israel in the third person (especially 15:16-19). Therefore, it would not be unprecedented for the 24 elders to sing of their own redemption in the third person (5:8-10).

    Conclusion

    The evidence is significant pointing to the verdict that the 24 elders are representative of the pre-tribulational raptured church. Additionally, it signals that the church will enjoy a heavenly throne room scene after the rapture, but prior to the opening of the seals by the Lamb who alone is worthy. We will get to experience our Lord and Savior begin to judge the earth and reclaim that which He rightfully purchased at the cross. You and I will be privileged to see the Lord in His full glory and to participate intimately in His glory being revealed throughout all the prophecies found in Revelation. Paul’s words to the Ephesian church take on a new grandeur of fulfillment as the 24 elders actually take their seats on thrones in the very heavens of God Himself.

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

    But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:4-6).

  7. Ancient Lead Tablet Found from Mt. Ebal Excavation Rubble

    Comments Off on Ancient Lead Tablet Found from Mt. Ebal Excavation Rubble

    (This article is from the April 2022 Prophecy Watchers magazine).

    Most Christians are familiar with the Mount of Olives, Mount Moriah or even the name Mount of Transfiguration. However, less believers know the name or history of the twin mountain peaks of Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim in the central mountains of Israel (known as Samaria). We have read the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) and sometimes don’t connect the rich history of this area to the earlier portions of biblical history. We know about Jesus’s discussion with the woman at the well, but do we remember where this took place (John 4:1-42)?

    An ancient city was situated in the valley between Mt. Ebal to the north and Mt. Gerizim to the south. This city was called Shechem (modern day Nablus). It first appears as a city of the pagan Canaanites which Abram visited after God called him to leave his homeland (Genesis 12:6). Not only did Abram built an altar to God at Shechem, but so did Jacob (Gen 33:20). This also is the place where Jacob dug a well which was visited later by Jesus and included His discussion with the Samaritan woman. The location of this city along with the two mountains rising up around is ground zero for many of God’s interactions with the patriarchs of Israel and their return to the land under Joshua.

    As the people of Israel were preparing to cross the Jordan river and enter the Promised Land, God instructed them to perform a ceremony on the two mountains to declare their loyalty to Yahweh. Deuteronomy 11:29 reads, “And when the LORD your God brings you into the land that you are entering to take possession of it, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal.” We see more instructions on this by Moses later in the book (Deut 27:11-13) and fulfilled by Joshua after the conquest was completed in which he also built an altar (Josh 8:30-35).

    Professor Adam Zertal did investigations at Mt. Ebal in the 1980s and was convinced that he discovered the remains of Joshua’s altar. These excavations led to the discovery of a rectangular altar which was dated to the 13th century BC (late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age). However, underneath this rectangular altar was a round altar thought to be from the earlier period of Joshua (ca. 1400 BC).

    As they were unearthing the area back in the 80s, they took the fill dirt and piled it in mounds which they hoped come back at a subsequent time to do more analysis. Recent political considerations initiated the archaeological team to relocate the dirt mounds to a separate place for investigation. This later analysis began in December 2019 under the direction of Dr. Scott Stripling until December 2020. They call it the Mt. Ebal Dump Salvage project and is a well-known archaeological procedure in which they go back and pour the dirt through screens (dry-sifting) in order to capture any heretofore undiscovered artifacts. If you want to be even more thorough you will do this with water. They call this wet-sifting and it often produces great results. It is time consuming and messy, but is definitely worth it if you have the time and volunteers. As they were wet-sifting the rubble, they found an lead tablet.

    The following material is taken from a report in the Jerusalem Post entitled, “40-year-old odyssey uncovers original ‘Home of God’ at Mount Ebal” and was posted on January 26, 2022.

    “This tiny amulet was made of lead, only 2×2 centimeters (approximately one-inch square). Nothing was visible on the surface to the naked eye, but the amulet was sealed like an oyster shell, suggesting that it contained something inside. The leading expert at the Antiquities Authority tried to open it but gave up after it began to crumble at the edges.

    Stripling was eager to explore more possibilities for unlocking the amulet’s secrets. He indicated that some lead amulets from later periods were known as “curse amulets,” and this lead amulet was found on the biblical “mountain of the curse” – Mount Ebal. Food for thought… And since this amulet is made of lead, most current methods for seeing inside it would not be effective.

    Stripling had to go back to Texas, and entrusted me with the task of researching where this work could get done. Thus began a year-long saga of researching something that might not even exist, and doing so in a world where people were frequently not available for months on end because of corona. But I finally found a lab in Prague, headed by Dr. Daniel Vavrik of the Czech National Academy of Sciences, who had developed a technology for seeing inside unopened objects including those made of lead.

    After many exchanges between Prague and Texas and Jerusalem, I ended up in Vavrik’s lab in Prague with the amulet. And he finally sent us his results at the end of December. They consist of a sophisticated 3-D model enabling the best possible viewing of the inside and the outside of the amulet. We could discern many indentations that would be expected in a soft metal buried underground for thousands of years. But it is extremely challenging to distinguish between signs of damage and deliberate man-made markings. One of the indentations looks like a bull’s head, which is an “aleph,” the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Another marking looks similar to a lotus flower – an important image in ancient Egypt.

    Unfortunately, neither the “bull’s head” nor the “flower” was adequate to make a definitive identification of deliberate markings. But research into the amulet is not over. The process of inspecting the 3-D model is ongoing. Furthermore, we have located another technology that may bear more definitive results.

    An extremely exciting sub-project of the final report is a careful examination of the plaster slabs discovered inside the altar. Plaster, during this time period, was used only in cultic sites. It would be fascinating to examine the slabs with technologies that were not yet available to us at the time of the excavations, such as sophisticated infra-red devices, which might reveal the writing. That is particularly interesting because writing on plaster in Mt. Ebal is mentioned in Deuteronomy 27.” (end of Jpost article)

    After I interviewed Aaron Lipkin in late February, he was able to reveal that there has been a second letter discovered through the advanced technological analysis. The potential for what this writing means will be groundbreaking once it comes out publicly. Exciting times to enjoy archaeological discovery! Stay tuned!

  8. Project Jehovah

    Comments Off on Project Jehovah

    I FIRST WROTE ON THIS TOPIC almost two decades ago, but following the events of the last few months, it seems time once again, to air one of the most amazing stories of the Christian Era.

    Lately, U. S. television audiences have been shown well-validated UFO videos from the gun cameras of Navy jets, and tetrahedron-shaped, blue-glowing objects hovering over U.S. aircraft carrier decks. These ships far exceed our military capabilities, and are openly flaunting their presence. No less an authority than Luis Elizondo, former head of the Pentagon’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, has been interviewed on major television outlets. He has asserted that these unknown flying ships are adversarial foreign technology,” tracked for decades, as they rapidly accelerated from hovering to four thousand miles per hour in seconds. Or they plunged into the ocean at speeds exceeding a thousand miles per hour and more. Foreign, indeed! Now called Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs, instead of the traditional UFOs), they are declared real. Often, they zoom past our military vehicles, both aloft and at ground level. They are untouchable.

    But they are apparently convinced that in the modern history of the world, this is their time to expose their existence to all humanity. Students of Scripture are not surprised. For as long as they’ve studied the Bible, they’ve read about the angels, demons, principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness flying in heavenly places, who are the servants of the “Prince of the Power of the Air,” himself, namely Satan.

    All of these creatures are countered by God’s forces – the angels, cherubim, and other keepers of God’s throne. They must be kept from human view, but the closer we come to the end of this, the Church Age, they are popping into view with increasing frequency. All of these powers are kept from direct contact with human beings, except under extreme circumstances, which are outlined many times in Scripture.

    Their “technology,” if one can call it that, is foreign, indeed. It is beyond human, raising many questions about their origins. But ordinary citizens occasionally catch visual glimpses of them, and when they do, quickly identify them as being from other parts of the visible galactic system. In other words, they are “space travelers” from galaxies far, far, away. There is nothing new about this view. Just after World War II, American intelligence analysts began systematically categorizing what they believed were space travelers from star systems that are light-years away. But they weren’t. In fact, they are denizens of a dimension just adjacent to ours.

    The Bible speaks of the role they play here: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).

    You see? This is the Bible’s way of describing dimensions parallel to our own.

    NON-HUMAN BEINGS IN THE BIBLE

    Following a general trend that has been visible in the last few decades, students of Bible prophecy have lately become vocal about what constitutes “permissible discussion” within the limits of traditional biblical interpretation. Subjects that involve the contemporary interactions of Satan, fallen angels (Nephilim), spiritual phenomena, and the connection between the powers of heaven and Earth have often been declared “off limits.”

    This article attempts to show that we are now living in the times called the “last days,” or “latter days,” by the prophets and Apostles. That being the case, it can be expected that certain concealed phenomena will become increasingly visible in the times that immediately precede the seven-year period when the Lord judges the world. The discussion of formerly taboo biblical subjects must, therefore, be widened.

    The prophet Joel writes of frightening heavenly phenomena and earthly disorder “before” the Day of the Lord arrives. It seems that we are living in that period of time. Malachi says that the prophet Elijah will be sent to the spiritual leaders of Israel during this same transitional period. Upheavals will occur, including pestilence, earthquakes and numerous wars. Many believe that since Israel’s 1948 statehood, there has been a “quickening” – the increasing appearance of dark spiritual phenomena, as sinister powers in the heavens realize that the time of their earthly rule during the days of the Antichrist draws near.

    The Bible makes it very clear that dark forces exert a strong influence over world affairs. The Apostle Paul often made reference to these rulers of darkness in heavenly places. He believed that they were the real power behind the despotic governments that constitute the world system. But for the most part, Christians of the contemporary era tend to relegate these spiritual powers to an otherworldly background role. Though most Biblebelieving Christians will admit the existence of angels – either in God’s service or in Satan’s – they stop there. In the ancient world, angels were readily recognized as interacting with human beings on a daily level. Modern man places them closer to the level of superstition. That is, the possibility of an angelic presence is acknowledged, but the actuality of it is denied.

    In fact, the dark spiritual forces of this world play a major role in the development and direction of human governments. Since 1947/48, marking the birth of modern Israel, their influence has been characterized by increasing openness. Many will be surprised to discover that they have literally forced their way into the halls of government. In the United States, their presence has formed a hidden – and unconstitutional – establishment. It is variously known as “Majestic-12,” “Majic,” or just a secret branch of the National Security Agency. For decades, this group has headed what President Dwight D. Eisenhower called, “the militaryindustrial complex.”

    In his parting speech as president, he sounded a warning that this secret group was growing dangerously powerful. At the time, no one could have known what he meant. Today, however, important information has been brought to light. The truly evil outcomes implicit in his warning are now becoming quite clear. Almost unbelievably, they can be traced back to an operation called, “PROJECT JEHOVAH!”

    To be given the Lord’s Old Testament name in the years following World War II, this secret government operation must have been regarded as supreme…even transcendental. Eisenhower, himself was a devout Christian, and knew the importance of that name. Without a doubt, this operation was regarded by government leaders as preternatural. In fact, it was that, and more. Dark and powerful forces had intruded into the inner workings of our constitutional republic.

    BATTLING ANGELS

    Before we look further into this amazing event, let us recall the ancient days of the Old Testament. There, the presence of angels is treated as a normal phenomenon.

    First, we see that the Lord’s angels fight on behalf of the faithful. This is beautifully illustrated in the account of Elisha and his servant. It was about 800 B.C., and the king of Syria made war against Israel. Through the prophet Elisha, the Lord gave instructions that directed the defense of Israel’s kingdom.

    When the Syrian king heard of this phenomenon, he naturally wanted to rid himself of the pesky prophet. Upon learning that Elisha and his servant had gone to the city of Dothan, the foreign king’s troops followed him. During the night, they surrounded the city. Their goal was to capture and kill the prophet early the next morning. At this point the biblical narrative takes up the story:

    “15 And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, a host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! How shall we do? 16 And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (II Kings 6:15-17).

    This historical account illustrates that angels do, indeed, assert themselves into the affairs of men. Perhaps it is not stretching matters to say that they direct the events of history.

    The Syrian army, with its horses and chariots, had besieged the little city of Dothan. In human terms, Elisha and his servant were trapped…doomed. The Lord had used them to tip the balance in favor of Israel. When the servant saw the army, he naturally interpreted events from the human perspective. In his eyes, the prophet was as good as dead.

    Then Elisha entreated the Lord on behalf of his servant. In answer to his prayer, the dimensional barrier that lies between humanity and the spirit world was momentarily lifted. The servant then saw the actuality of the situation. Horses and chariots of fire were waiting to fight on behalf of Israel.

    Two facts emerge here. One, angels can physically intercede in human battles. And two, they can take on the form that suits the culture and situation of the moment. Chariots of fire have been seen for millennia. They are regularly seen today. However, no one today sees them being pulled by horses. In the present cultural medium, such fiery chariots would be interpreted by twenty-first century eyes as “high-tech.” Perhaps they would look like rockets or saucers ringed by fire.

    But the angels were there for one purpose, to make sure that Elisha was protected, and that Israel went undefeated. In this incident, they made sure that Israel survived, according to the will of God. In another well-known biblical example of this sort, the angel of the Lord came to Daniel the prophet, in response to his three weeks of fasting and prayer. By the time the angel came, Daniel was in a weakened state. But the angel told him that his trip had taken three weeks, because he had been resisted by a dark, angelic opposition force:

    “12 Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days” (Daniel 10:12-14).

    Here, the dark angel has a title: the “Prince of Persia.” No doubt, his function at the time was to act on behalf of the despotic human regimes that controlled Persia. How this evil being interacted with his human counterparts is unknown. But the angel who spoke with Daniel brought a prophetic message. And as he departed, he mentioned yet another dark power:

    “20 Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? And now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come. 21 But I will show thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince” (Daniel 10:20, 21).

    Here, Michael, the archangel is mentioned as an opponent of two dark angelic forces, the princes of Persia and Greece. In Daniel’s day, Persia was at its apex of prominence. After that, Greece came to power. Still later, Rome rose to its era of world dominance. Today, the influence of Rome is still felt, as the Western Alliance carries the historical weight of the Holy Roman Empire into the twenty-first century.

    Daniel’s prophecy states that Rome, as the fourth world power, will experience a reawakening in the latter days. At that time, humanity will be weakened by the terrible corruption of the race. Before the flood, the dark forces physically manifested themselves to the human race, taking wives and producing an unclean race of sinful half-humans. In the last days, the Bible predicts that the same, identical phenomenon will once again manifest itself. Rome, the iron empire, will degenerate into iron and clay: “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” (Daniel 2:43).

    Here, as we have noted in other studies, “they” are outsiders…alien intruders. As they did before the Flood, they will attempt to corrupt the human race, producing hybrids to do their bidding. Furthermore, their leader, Satan, knows that if humanity could be successfully infiltrated by an alien genome, the Lord’s redemptive process could be short-circuited. But as the prophecy clearly states, their efforts will not succeed. All such activities are moving toward a state of open warfare in heaven. Today, Satan and his followers have access to heaven. They are free to intercede in our affairs, hatching their evil plans and conspiracies. They operate in semi-secrecy, masking themselves in forms that will be readily acceptable to the culture of the moment. Today, they appear as aliens coming from one star system or another. Actually, they are able to appear for a time, then retreat behind the cover of the heavenly dimension.

    As counterfeit “space aliens,” they appear to bring peace and the solutions to man’s problems. In fact, they often pretend to be here to save man from himself, as he pollutes his environment, and threatens to annihilate himself with the nuclear poison of a world war. In the future, their cover will be removed.

    As given in the book of Revelation, Michael will defeat the dark powers, once and for all banishing them from the kingdom of heaven. “7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, 8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. 9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Revelation 12:7-9).

    This event will mark a great change in the affairs of the world. No longer will fallen angels and demons be able to circulate behind the scenes in the world’s chambers of power. They will be cast to earth, and judged. In the parlance of the spymasters, their cover will be blown. But what a horrendous phenomenon for humans who are alive in that day!

    The point is this: Today, the dark powers of this world are free to wield their influence in a torrent of lies and deceptions. They actually exist, and they really have the power to shape and control human governments. They are as visible and as palpable as human beings, but have the momentary advantage of being able to disappear, when it is in their favor to do so. On this point, Paul’s well-known command is the clearest statement in the Bible: “11 Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11, 12).

    The phenomena of the occult stretch across a broad spectrum of observable events. These “principalities” (archons) are directly answerable to Satan. They are the evil equivalent of archangels. Their “powers,” (delegated authorities) are the lesser angels – demons and the like – who rule the darkness. They operate at night and in the darkness, but their spiritual wickedness penetrates into the “high places” – the vaults of power, both in the heavens and on Earth.

    One has only to think of Hitler’s well-known vision of the “superman,” to fully understand this phenomenon. He told the story that once, while alone in his office, he was visited by the spirit of the ideal man. Its power was such that he both respected and feared it. But he saw it as the ultimate reason for the Third Reich, which would, he thought, bring a utopian kingdom to planet Earth. Actually, he was guided by demons. The occult power behind his throne was called “The Society of the Golden Dawn.” Hitler and his followers felt that they were being led into a new science and technology by divine theosophical powers.

    Here, it must be noted that the Nazis’ power rose upon the ashes of Israel’s Twelve Tribes. In a moment of history, the throne of Hitler was raised up against the throne of David.

    That moment came to a dramatic conclusion in the year 1947/48, with the birth of Israel. It can be argued that this moment was the central event of the twentieth century. Everything changed when Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948.

    SHAPING THE U.S. GOVERNMENT

    Hitler was gone, but the satanic conspiracy behind it was alive and well. The United States had defeated Germany in two wars. Some had called Hitler the Antichrist. Certainly, he was a type of the evil man. But the real Antichrist would be poured from the crucible of a demonic conspiracy yet to come. In this country, the roots of that plot go back to the critical year 1947.

    In that year, the events of Roswell, New Mexico, and the UFO crashes there, changed the shape of our government. From the biblical perspective, it must be remembered that the central work of the fallen angels is to mold human governments into the form that is most useful to them. Taking a retrospective view of this change, one must ask about the approach that would be taken by Satan, if he wished to infiltrate a representative democracy such as ours. Though corrupt in many ways, America was (and is) a nation pervaded and strongly influenced by the Christian ethos. How then would the dark powers take control of a government of, by, and for the people?

    SCIENCE AS RELIGION

    In simple terms, they would create a crisis. Then they would create a branch of government not directly answerable to the people. And this, they did, taking advantage of man’s current belief system. Since the industrial revolution, the Achilles’ heel of the Western powers has been its belief in science and technology. Before that, religion and a host of superstitions controlled society’s perceptions.

    For example, in the Middle Ages, the physical, chemical and biological sciences all fell under forms of spiritual interpretation, either secular or sacred. In the former case, alchemists and conjurers were the authorities; in the latter, religious powers decided the course of a matter. In either case, religious or pseudo-religious philosophy made up the mind of society. Angels were angels and demons were demons.

    By the mid-19th century, “science” began to reign, progressively replacing religious authority as a guide to popular belief. Steam, gasoline, electricity, gunpowder and dynamite shaped the accelerating growth of Western society. Then came modern chemistry and physics, with the mathematics of relativity and nuclear power. Men in white lab coats became the modern priesthood. Angels and demons were now thought to be quaint anachronisms. Under the thinking of this new “modernism,” any creatures who popped in from elsewhere were explained in the light of science, not the spirit. Thus, in the great “airship flap” of 1897, the many sightings of strange ships and odd creatures were either attributed to human scientific experimentation or visits from citizens of the moon or Mars. In the former ages, they would have instantly been branded as demons. By the way, 1897 was the year of the first World Zionist Congress. The next great wave of sightings came fifty years later, in 1947, as events were shaping modern Israel.

    Among those who document the historical occurrences of unidentified aerial phenomena, a curious relationship has been observed. Crucial events in the life of Israel seem somehow tied to the public appearance of “extraterrestrial phenomena.” Having investigated this premise on several levels, there is a great deal of evidence for its veracity.

    Israel’s wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, were all accompanied by mass appearances of unidentified aerial events; that is, “flying saucers.” From the modern “scientific” perspective, this makes no sense at all. But when we take the biblical, spiritual view of a war in the heavens, there is a perfect fit.

    The war between Michael and his angels, as they battle the great dragon and his angels, seems somehow to “bleed over” into this dimension during critical moments. When earthly battles reach fever pitch on the surface of this planet, they seem to be accompanied by similar crests of activity on the heavenly plane.

     But more importantly, for the purposes of this discussion, these occasional physical intrusions into our world are intentionally used to produce an illusion that will play into the human lust for power.

    PROJECT JEHOVAH

    Such was the case in 1947. Bit by bit, the truth about Roswell and its “crashed saucers” is emerging. Over the past fifty-five years, the tight ring of secrecy around the matter has gradually broken down. Military men on their deathbeds have confessed to their families that almost unbelievable things really did happen. Hundreds of secret documents have been leaked. More than one crash site was reported.

    There were strange craft and “alien bodies” that were taken to secret sites around the country. Studies were undertaken to understand how humanity would be affected, should the secret ever be revealed. Many of the intelligentsia decided that society couldn’t take the news without suffering some sort of collapse. At the highest levels of government, the decision was made to classify any and every event that pertained to the “extraterrestrial” question. And thus it remains to this day. Documents from the 1950s reveal that officials regarded these secrets as more delicate than the famed “Manhattan Project,” that had developed the atomic bomb. At that moment, a major death knell was sounded for representative government as it had been known in America since the days of the founding fathers. The top-secret National Security Agency and its many branches were given carte blanche authorization to function autonomously. At first, they reported to the executive branch; directly to President Harry S. Truman. Later, during the Eisenhower administration, their duties were “farmed out” and compartmentalized, so that only the extreme “need to know” would enable one to gain access to their ongoing research.

    The result was a government whose leadership became ensnared in a scheme that would lead them progressively into a pit of spiritual darkness. Byzantine secrecy would soon characterize the inner circles of U.S. military and industrial planning. During the last decade, many researchers have documented these developments. Leading the way is an aerospace engineer, named Dr. Robert Wood. He has painstakingly cataloged, documented and published many of the documents of the era. They are called the “Majestic-12 Documents.”

    This, of course, refers to the above-top-secret group assigned to deal with the apparent crash of extraterrestrial vehicles. Among them one finds a July 16, 1947, letter signed by U.S. Army/Air Force Headquarters, Commanding General Nathan Twining. It refers to an “Incident Report on Flying Discs,” and mentions “Proving Grounds in New Mexico.” This date follows the famous Roswell crash date of July 3, 1947, by only 13 days.

    Another, carries the evocative title:

    “Code Word White Pebble Majcomsec Intelligence Eyes Only.” Beneath these words, on a line by itself, we see the title, “Project “JEHOVAH.” Following that, are words that, if true, are truly epoch-making in their importance:

    Subject: National Security Agency code breaking of alien codex and historical research of the Central Intelligence Agency’s MJEBEN program and Department of Defense U.F.O. identification and detection ‘Project Firestone.’

    Prepared by: MJ-12 Group Technical Advisory Panel (MTAP-12).

    For Use By: Emergency Combat Communications (ECOMCOM)

    Completed On: October 2, 1962.

    Approved By: Executive Committee (EXCOM) on October 24, 1962, 10:00 A.M., Meeting No. 3.

    This all sounds like so much science fiction. But there is great evidence that they are quite true. Imagine that an elite group decides that it is in the military’s favor to know and understand how to decode alien UFO communications. All the while, through various media outlets, they are vehemently scoffing at the reality of flying saucers, labeling them as “swamp gas” and optical illusions. Then imagine that these brilliant men have given this task the very name of God in the Old Testament. Jehovah is the highest name of the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and the prophets! It is as though these men believe that they are dealing with God, either personally, or through His representatives. This is blasphemy of the first order. To assign the name of God to the work of devils is the highest form of delusion. It leads to corruption, greed and lying on a mass scale.

    Project Jehovah was already a long-standing undertaking by 1962. One of the documents referenced by Dr. Wood is a two-page letter written by Dwight D. Eisenhower. It is dated November 4, 1953. It recognizes the MJ-12 documents:

    I cannot overemphasize the need for the utmost discretion and understanding in exercising the authority set forth in these documents. Accordingly, I would like you to find some way to brief the various Authorizing Commanders on the subject to ensure that all are of one mind as to the letter and spirit of these instructions. Preferably, I would like to see this done in a closed meeting to be arranged through the Director of the National Security Agency, yourself, and representatives of the MJ-12/Special Studies Project. I specifically want Project JEHOVAH director Professor Albert Einstein and Doctor Robert Oppenheimer to inject any useful comments to the briefing as they are most informed on the physics related to the subject. Perhaps the annual Quantico conference could provide an opportunity to do this without the publicity which would call attention to a special meeting.

    Sincerely, Dwight D. Eisenhower

    It is astonishing to realize that while publicly ridiculing the idea of extraterrestrial contact, our leaders were secretly devoting huge amounts of money and brain power to the problem. Ostensibly, they were trying to “protect” the citizenry from the shock of learning that we are not alone.

    In fact, they had been duped by creatures that any other age would have been rejected as dark powers… demons who had materialized in our world.

    The name of the operation, “Project Jehovah,” tells us that the brilliant men who struggled to understand the windfall from a New Mexico desert ascribed godlike properties to it. The theoretical mathematics and physics, understood only by men like Einstein and Oppenheimer, were called upon to decipher a new physics. What records that have been gleaned from their operations tell us that they failed to make sense of what they found. Ironically, they were the ones who had unlocked the power of the atom. Now, they struggled in vain to make sense of a strange alien intelligence. The MJ-12 documents show that they studied the wreckage for signs of German or Russian language traces. They found none. They found a compartment on one craft, thought by Dr. Oppenheimer to be an “atomic engine.” They discovered and described flexible glass cables wrapped in a woven sheath, thin sheets imprinted in pure silver, with thousands of microscopic connections. These, we now know to be fiber optics and printed circuits. They saw bladeless turbines, power that seemed to flow endlessly, structures that seemed to be molded, rather than welded, and perfectly formed components without welded joints, fasteners or soldered joints.

    Along with our leading scientists, the Majestic Twelve Project included a wide list of the top men in the Truman administration, including Dr. Vannevar Bush, who chaired a panel that included men like General J. Lawton Collins, Deputy Chief of Staff, United States Army, and General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Vice Chief of Staff, United States Air Force.

    Other scientists were also included. In addition to Einstein and Oppenheimer, the panel featured Jerome C. Hunsaker, MIT, National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Hugh L. Dryden, Director of Aeronautical Research, NACA, and Dr. James H. Doolittle, then associated with Shell Oil Corporation. All these names (and others) appeared on a 1948 report called, “A Review of the President’s Special Panel to Investigate the Capture of Unidentified Planform Space Vehicles by U.S. Armed Forces and Agencies.” It was reported that, in addition to a phenomenal inventory of undecipherable hardware, the government had collected a number of tiny bodies at the crash sites. They were said to be the size of children, with large heads and huge eyes. One of them was even said to have been kept alive for a time. Reports say that it communicated by thoughts, rather than speech. The details of these accounts are perhaps less important than the fact of their sudden appearance in our world.

    Where had they come from? To this day, say the experts, this question remains unanswered. Some say that they are “Pleideians,” or “Zeta Reticulans,” named after star systems visible to our astronomers. More likely (and biblically) they are from right here on planet Earth. They are none other than followers of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Over the millennia, the air, or atmosphere, has witnessed tens of thousands of curious comings and goings. Soldiers of Alexander the Great reported huge “flying shields” over their armies. Servants of the pharaohs reported exactly the same thing. Medieval monks saw flying vehicles, and remembered scriptural accounts of fiery flying chariots. The important thing to remember is that our country has not been visited by benevolent messengers from the stars. They have not come to save our planet from nuclear radiation or air pollution. Rather, they have come to subvert and undermine the spiritual basis of our governmental system. Paul was right.

    In a way, it is as though we (the United States) have made a deal with the devil. In exchange for the wealth that could be gained through advanced technology, our leaders created a so-called “black-ops” system of undercover activity. Some authorities, like Dr. David Jacobs of Temple University, say that our leaders have, in effect, been bribed to look the other way, allowing dimensional interlopers to abduct and experiment upon human subjects.

    Their object is to create a human/alien hybrid… one who can survive in this physical dimension for extended periods of time. Such creatures would be literal spies in the service of the dark world mentioned by the Apostle Paul. Walking undetected among humans, they could confabulate incalculable evil in our society.

    Other experts, like Colonel Philip J. Corso, in his amazing memoir called, “The Day After Roswell,” says that American industry was allowed to reap the benefits of the windfall for pure profit. He maintains that he oversaw the “seeding” of alien technology to the leaders of industry. He provides persuasive evidence that integrated circuit chips (microchips), fiber optics, lasers and super-strength fibers all came as a result of reverse engineering. That is, bits and pieces of the new technology were studied and duplicated. One of the devices that was discovered aboard the downed discs was the laser. It took a while, but scientists found out how it worked, and now, it is a staple of our science and technology. In everything from construction to space travel, it is indispensable. From this device alone, profits in the billions of dollars have been realized.

    Where could our government have gotten the idea that their newly-acquired alien technology came from Jehovah? Could it have been from the first chapter of Ezekiel, in which the prophet saw a whirling fiery chariot that came and landed before him?

    Its wheels within wheels and crystal dome “firmament,” stretching over the head of one who sat on a throne is highly suggestive of technology beyond man’s wildest dreams.

    “26 And above the firmament that was over their heads was the likeness of a throne, as the appearance of a sapphire stone: and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a man above upon it. 27 And then I saw as the color of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about. 28 As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spoke” (Ezekiel 1:26-28).

    The “LORD” mentioned here is none other than Jehovah, Himself! The glorified Man before Ezekiel is none other than the preincarnate Christ.

    Those who would imitate Him ply the airways by night as rulers of the darkness. Increasingly, they are capable of materializing on this plane, where they present themselves as “christs,” avatars, or otherworldly astronauts of various kinds.

    But their real purpose is to capture the hearts, souls and minds of ordinary mortals. Then, they are free to shape the course of governments and human history. Even worse, they inject uncleanness into our society. Inter-species traffic is now more than just a science fiction movie. It is a nightmarish fact. We should never forget one thing. The Lord told us that the genetic corruption that plagued earth in the days of Noah would come once again, just before His return: “And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26).

    The famed military-industrial complex is far more than a financial power group. More accurately, it should be called the, “Military-Industrial-MysticalOccult Complex.” Roswell changed our world. The question is, how many other “Roswells” are there? Reverse engineering has produced many modern miracles, but it was really a Trojan horse. In these days, when science is seeking to penetrate the interdimensional veil, it is becoming openly apparent how those “principalities and powers” really rule our human governments.

  9. Is Ukraine in the Ezekiel 38 Bible Prophecy?

    Comments Off on Is Ukraine in the Ezekiel 38 Bible Prophecy?

    By Bill Salus

                About 2600 years ago, the Hebrew prophet named Ezekiel issued a biblical prophecy that is going to find fulfillment in the “latter days.” The prophet writes:

                “You will come up against My people Israel like a cloud, to cover the land. It will be in    the latter days that I will bring you against My land, so that the nations may know Me, when I am hallowed in you, O Gog, before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 38:16)

                The “you” in this verse is commonly taught to represent whoever the president of Russia is going to be in the biblical “latter days.” Many prophecy experts sincerely believe that these are the “latter days” spoken about by Ezekiel. Some even posit the possibility that Vladimir Putin could be the Russian leader of this prophecy. Wisely, these advocates caveat that this depends on the longevity of Putin’s tenure in relationship to the timing of the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy.

                This thinking is possibly supported by another detail of the prophecy written in the passage below.

                “‘Thus says the Lord God: “On that day it shall come to pass that thoughts will arise in your (Russian President’s) mind, and you will make an evil plan.” (Ezekiel 38:10 emphasis added

                In light of Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, thoughts of “an evil plan” by a Russian President in the biblical latter days has happened. Although the evil plan of this above verse relates to Israel, and not Ukraine, it could provide hints of a similar sinister attack, probably in the near future, that gets plotted against the Jewish state.

                This ancient prophecy foretells that this Russian leader will form a coalition of predominantly Muslim nations to invade Israel from the uttermost parts of the north. According to Ezekiel 38:13 the motives of these belligerents is, “to take booty, to carry away silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods, to take great plunder.”

                The image below identifies the coalescing nations, which many biblical scholars agree upon, that align with Russia. The image includes the ancient territorial names included in the prophecy and alongside is a list of their modern-day equivalents.

                Morocco and Germany are given honorable mentions with question marks, because not all scholars agree that they are part of this confederacy. The question some Bible prophecy pundits are asking lately is, “Does Ukraine join in this Russian coalition?” So, I asked a few of friends, who are among today’s top experts on this prophecy, what they think about this possibility.

                I asked this question on February 8, 2022, and prefaced is as follows:

                “You are among today’s top scholars on the who’s who of the Magog invaders in Ezekiel 38. In light of Russia’s hints of invading Ukraine, I’m getting asked more and more, if Ukraine is among the Magog invaders. Some emailers suggest that the Scythians dwelt    there, at least in the eastern part, and also trailed on into the Russian Steppes.

                I’m personally hesitant to put Ukraine in the menu of the Magog invaders, but I do           acknowledge that the historic connection between the Scythians and modern-day Russia, did trail through Eastern Ukraine as the map below illustrates. This is my opinion, but what say you all?”

                Included below are the comments from this elite group of Bible prophecy authors and teachers.

                Dr. Ron Rhodes, the author of the book entitled, Northern Storm Rising: Russia, Iran, and the Emerging End-Times Military Coalition Against Israel. Dr. Rhodes presented several interesting comments to contemplate in his response.

                “I do not know of any references to Ukraine in the Bible. Thus, I would be hesitant to put Ukraine in the menu of the Ezekiel invaders. After all, Ezekiel 36:1-6 is pretty specific. If Ukraine was to be a part of the invading force, why not mention it?…That said, there are a few qualifications to add:

    • Is it possible that ancient ROSH, (modern-day Russia), had boundaries larger than present day Russia… Biblical Persia, (modern-day Iran), was much larger than modern Iran. This leads me to wonder if biblical Rosh was larger than modern day Russia. Did the boundaries extend east to such a degree that it might include modern Ukraine. Again, I don’t know. I’m just raising the issue.
    • The only passage that “may” provide a clue is Ezekiel 38:9, which speaks about the entire invading force: “You will advance, coming on like a storm. You will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your hordes, AND MANY PEOPLES WITH YOU” (emphasis added)…

    Who are the “many peoples with you.” Are the “many peoples” a collective phrase referring to all the nations mentioned earlier in Ezekiel 38? It’s possible. After all, Ezekiel 38:6 uses the terms “hordes” and “many peoples” specifically of the massive invading forces. So, likewise, verse 9 — which refers to the entire collective invading force — may use the terms “hordes” and “many peoples” of the nations described earlier in Ezekiel 38…

    An alternative view, however, is the possibility that “many peoples” might include other peoples “besides” the specific nations mentioned earlier in Ezekiel 38. Perhaps “many peoples” includes allies of the Ezekiel nations. If this view is correct, Ukraine might be included.

    Of course, all this is highly speculative, and I could be wrong. I suspect some might respond that this is nothing but “newspaper exegesis,” or perhaps eisogesis. Caution is therefore urged.”

                Dr. Rhodes is hesitant, like me, “to put Ukraine in the menu of the Ezekiel invaders.” However, he doesn’t completely rule out the possibility. He keeps the door open that the coalition brings with it “many people” and that might include Ukraine.

                Nathan Jones of Lamb and Lion Ministries and co-host of Christ in Prophecy TV.

                “In my research for a paper/presentation about the Gog-Magog War I put together for one of my doctoral classes, I found nothing to indicated that the Ukraine plays a role in the Gog-Magog war.”

                Like Dr. Rhodes, Nathan Jones doesn’t find anything clear and concise “to indicate that the Ukraine plays a role in the Gog-Magog War.”

                Dr. Andy Woods, the author of the book, The Middle East Meltdown: The Coming Islamic Invasion of Israel.

                “Ukraine is part of the ancient Russian empire, which Putin apparently has ambitions to rebuild. So, if Putin invades Ukraine, Russia then would achieve nearly full stature of her ancient status as an empire, which potentially would set the stage to an even greater extent for the future Gog-Magog invasion.”

                Dr. Woods seems to be open to the possibility that Ukraine might be part of the coalition, if invaded and taken over by Russia.

                Dr. Mark Hitchcock, the author of the book entitled, Showdown with Iran: Nuclear Iran and the Future of Israel, the Middle East, and the United States in Bible Prophecy.

                “I don’t have much to add to what Dr. Andy Woods and Dr. Ron Rhodes have said. Ukraine could also be part of an ancient Magog. What’s happening is additional evidence of Russian aggression and hegemony but is not required as part of Ezekiel 38.”

                Dr. Hitchcock, who had previously read the comments of Dr. Woods and Dr. Rhodes, leaves open the possibility that “Ukraine could also be part of ancient Magog.” Magog, meaning modern-day Russia. Both Rosh and Magog are identified in Ezekiel 38:2 and thought to both represent modern-day Russia.

                Upon analyzing the experts remarks above it seems, that like Morocco and Germany, perhaps Ukraine deserves an honorable mention in the line-up of the Magog invaders. It seems safe to suggest that if Russia conquers Ukraine, that Ukraine could be listed among the Russian coalition. This is why Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, just might have prophetic implications.

                The Ezekiel 38 and 39 prophecy is important to understand because it is the marquee prophetic event in the latter days that God has chosen to put the world on official notice that He is the One True God. The prophet writes:

                “So I will make My holy name known in the midst of My people Israel, and I will not let them profane My holy name anymore. Then the nations shall know that I am the Lord, the Holy One in Israel. Surely it is coming, and it shall be done,” says the Lord God. This is the day of which I have spoken.” (Ezekiel 38:7-8)

                If you want to discover how the LORD supernaturally defeats the Magog invaders, shocks the watching world and explore all the other fascinating details about this prophecy, then I encourage you to pick up a copy of the just released 3-disc DVD entitled,
    Ezekiel 38: When God Defends Israel, the Coming Russian-Iranian Led Invasion of the Promised Land.

    CLICK HERE to watch the DVD trailer.

  10. Watching Israel

    Comments Off on Watching Israel

    Whether you are a long time or recent subscriber, it is important to understand clearly (or to be reminded) why those that follow Biblical end time prophecy focus so much on the nation Israel. I have spent a lot of time in the church environment or other arenas where those that believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, seven-year tribulation, and the soon arrival of the Antichrist are often criticized. These criticisms often involve accusations of sensationalism, too literal of a hermeneutic, or taking things out of context. There is no doubt that anyone can fall victim to these errors, whether you believe that we are living in the end times or not. We should all seek to avoid these mistakes. However, I want to share in this article why it is legitimate to see Israel as ground zero in understanding ancient and end time prophecy.

    Preliminary Thoughts

    The first question for anyone seeking to understand theology of any kind is “how should we interpret the Bible?” The art and science of interpreting the Bible is called hermeneutics. It is generally agreed by all scholars that hermeneutics involves understanding language (and genre), theological intent, and the historical, cultural, and geographical context of any piece of literature. To keep it simple, how do almost all scholars understand the prophecies related to Jesus’ first coming? They recognize and consistently interpret these in a literal straightforward way. There are a few rare occasions that the gospel writers apply an Old Testament passage in a figurative way. One example is Matthew’s quotation of Hosea 11:1 in applying it to Jesus, “Out of Egypt, I have called my Son” (Matthew 2:15). New Testament scholars recognize that Matthew does this in the beginning of his gospel because one of his themes is presenting Jesus as the perfect Israelite and by extension the perfect and righteous personified Israel nation. One instance from Matthew will suffice. Where the Israelites failed in their testing the wilderness, the perfect Israelite (Jesus) succeeded in being tempted in the wilderness (Matthew 4:11). This is why Jesus resisted the devil by quoting three times from Deuteronomy 6 and 8. These chapters in Deuteronomy are those in which Moses’ recounts the Israelites failures in the wilderness. Again, this is a rare instance, but most prophecies related to Jesus’ first coming are taken by the NT writers in a straightforward literal way.

    For example, when Isaiah writes that the Messiah would be born of a virgin (7:14), this is how it happened and was explained by Matthew (1:18-22). When Micah predicts that Jesus will be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), it is not figurative. We know that Jesus was literally born in that location (Matt 2:5-6). Zechariah prophesies that the King would come riding on a donkey (9:9-10). Jesus goes out of His way to fulfill this literally (Matthew 21:1-5). Many more could be demonstrated, but the goal for us is to establish that we should not change the rules in the middle of the game. Just as the prophecies related to Jesus’ first coming should be taken straightforward unless the context or text itself shows otherwise, we would expect prophecies related to His second coming (or the end times) to be understood and interpreted similarly. However, many scholars today either spiritualize the end time prophecies through allegory or they have figuratively transferred many of these “promises” for national Israel to the church. This is a mistake and largely inconsistent on their part. They do not do this in their interpretations of most other prophecies, especially those related to Jesus’ first coming. It seems that those who do not see a future for Israel or other futuristic concepts as found in the Bible, most often only treat end time prophecies as spiritual, symbolic, allegorical or figurative. Why the inconsistency? These same teachers do not spiritualize the atonement or the resurrection. Dr. David L. Cooper (1886-1965) leaves us with what he describes as the golden rule of Biblical interpretation and we would do well to incorporate this into all of our own Bible study: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” Are there times when figurative language is used? For sure, but context generally makes it obvious. When Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:7), we understand He is using metaphor or other linguistic tools to make His point.

    Based on these preliminary thoughts and foundations, I want to share the Biblical data that relate to what God has foretold about the nature and role of Israel throughout all of God’s program of redemption. We will notice that God’s words about Israel have been fulfilled literally in the past and therefore, we look forward to them being accomplished in the future literally as we currently watch in the present.

    Israel Past

    One of the most shocking discourses to read is Moses’ prophetic words to the fledgling nation of Israel as they were about to enter into the promised land. Imagine the scenario. The parents and grandparents who witnessed the miraculous exodus out of Egypt are all dead and buried in the Sinai wilderness. Moses has been told that he is not allowed to go in to the land of Promise because he struck the rock twice in anger. Now, Moses recounts the last 40 years from coming out of Egypt to the destruction of the Nephilim/Rephaim tribes (Deut 2-3). The people are about ready to cross the Jordan from the plans of Moab. He warns them that if they are disobedient, they or any generation that follows will be cast out of the land. In fact, Moses prophesies that they will in fact be cast out of the land and will return in the latter days (Deut 4:30). We learn from an earlier passage that Moses gave a warning and prophetic message that they will be scattered among the nations while the land and cities will be wasted and a desolation (Lev 26:32-33).

    We know from history that the Jews were exiled to Babylon starting around 600 B.C. and lasting for 70 years. This exile was only to one nation and area, Babylon. Later in the Gospel period, because of the Jewish rejection of Jesus as their Messiah in committing the unpardonable sin (Matthew 12:22-31), Jesus pronounced a judgment on that generation (Matt 11:16; 12:39, 41, 42, 45). That generation would be judged severely and they would not see Jesus again (2nd coming) until they called Him blessed (Matt 23:34-39; Luke 11:51). Their judgment would involve the destruction of Jerusalem and they would be scattered and exiled among many nations (Luke 21:20-24). This began in A.D. 70 and was further fulfilled in the Bar Kokhba revolt of A.D. 132-135.

    All of Moses’ and Jesus’ prophecies concerning the people of Israel and Jerusalem were fulfilled literally and straightforwardly. This is important to recognize and acknowledge. The Jews were cast out of the land for centuries until the end of the age arrived and God would begin to implement His plans for the wrapping up of history as we know it.

    Israel Present

    How do we interpret what we see today in 2022 with the people of Israel back in the land with a restored nation? It is relatively easy to offer a Biblical opinion now, but consulting commentaries before 1948 provides some interesting insights. There are those who might object to the ancient prophecies (2400+ years old) as being changed or tampered with. This objection clearly is without justification. The Bible was finished around A.D. 95-96 with the completion of the Book of Revelation. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the 1940’s and 1950’s showed that the Scripture that we read today has been tremendously well-preserved. We know without doubt that the various history and end time prophecies about the nation of Israel were written well in advance of the 1st century A.D. When we examine what God wrote concerning the return of the Jewish people to their homeland in the latter days, it is simply amazing to have front row seats to watch it all unfold.

    Nevertheless, we see from church history that from the third century moving forward there were two main schools of interpretation that came to predominate. The historical and literal approach was centered in Antioch while the allegorical approach flowed out of Alexandria, Egypt. Origen and Augustine were the most influential theologians from Alexandria. Their allegorical methodology of seeing all the Old Testament promises to Israel being transferred to the church became entrenched throughout the rest of the Middle Ages and into modern times. The interpretation of the passages of Scripture referring to a return of Israel from their scattering among the nations was not seen as literal. Therefore, there was often no expectation to see national Israel ever return from the graveyard of nations. These Bible interpreters did not have the benefit of looking back at 1948 as we do. This article is not meant to be exhaustive, but it will be helpful to examine a few Scriptures and how they have been interpreted by various theologians. A sampling of authors and their dates of publication includes John Calvin (1550), Matthew Henry (1710), the Cambridge Commentary (1893), and the International Critical Commentary (1899-1939), ICC.

    • “Then it will happen on that day that the Lord will again recover the second time with His hand the remnant of His people, who will remain, From Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.  12 And He will lift up a standard for the nations and assemble the banished ones of Israel, and will gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.” (Isaiah 11:11-12 NASB)

    Historians know that God gathered His people back into the land from the region of Babylon (ca. 539 B.C.). If we read this straightforward, Isaiah reveals that God will regather His people a second time, but on this occasion, it will be from many nations and the “four corners of the earth.” John Calvin interprets this as spiritually or allegorically applying to the church which makes no sense from the context and disallows him to see any reference to a future regathering of the nation Israel. Matthew Henry approaches it similarly, but believes this second regathering is the Babylonian captivity while the first regathering is the Exodus. The Cambridge and ICC also take this second regathering as from Babylon. They ignore and do not address that the text clearly displays a worldwide regathering from many nations and from the four corners of the earth. The fact and prophecies of their scattering to all parts of the world and many nations is consistent with Moses (Deut 4:27; 28:64; Lev 26:33). This undoubtedly is not a regathering from the singular location of Babylon, but predicts a future gathering of the Jewish people back to their land in a worldwide way.

    • “After many days you will be summoned; in the latter years you will come into the land that is restored from the sword, whose inhabitants have been gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel which had been a continual waste; but its people were brought out from the nations, and they are living securely, all of them.” (Ezekiel 38:8)
      “to capture spoil and to seize plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places which are now inhabited, and against the people who are gathered from the nations, who have acquired cattle and goods, who live at the center of the world.” (Ezekiel 38:12)

    This prophecy is about the Gog and Magog war which happens in the latter years (see also 38:16). The description of the land of Israel in this latter time period designates it as being full of people who have come to a land that is no longer a continual waste. It also depicts these people as being gathered from many nations (3x) and who are now living confidently or securely. We can look to Israel today and see this as being fulfilled as it relates to the people and the land being restored. Calvin did not comment on these chapters in Ezekiel. Matthew Henry writes that these are general encouragements of God’s glory, but gives no specifics about Israel. The Cambridge commentary skips over most of it, but spiritualizes it as a time of universal peace. The ICC simply says these verses are vague and mysterious.

    • “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the LORD lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.” (Jeremiah 16:14-15 NASB)

    Jeremiah is a giving a future prophecy where, once again, the Jewish people would be restored from the land from all the countries where they were banished. It is not the Exodus from Egypt, but neither is it from the singular region of Babylon either. This restoration is prophesied to be a worldwide restoration. Calvin applies this to the Babylonian captivity restoration and in which he does not take into consideration the reference to many countries. The Cambridge Commentary and Matthew Henry also ignore the language and apply it to Babylonian captivity.

    There are many more passages that this exercise could be applied to. Some of them are Ezekiel 11:16-17; 20:33-44; 36:19-25; Jeremiah 23:7-8, but the results are the same. The commentaries either spiritualize the text or skip over giving any appropriate exegetical explanations. We do not want to be smug against these commentators. I actually feel a sense of compassion for them because they were trying to interpret Scripture prior to 1948. One aspect of the errors they made was that they looked at current events and forced Scripture to fit their historical circumstances instead of allowing the Scripture simply to mean what it says. It will be enlightening to share a few comments made by those prior to 1948 concerning the national restoration of Israel to the Land.

    Martin Luther in the early to mid-1500’s wrote, “If the Jews are Abraham’s descendants, then we would expect to see them back in their own land.  We would expect them to have a state of their own.  But what do we see?  We see them living scattered and despised.” He was unable to come to a proper interpretation because he relied on what he observed in his present day concerning the Jewish people.

    Charles Hodge penned in his 1872-1873 Systematic Theology, “The literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies relating to the restoration of Israel and the future kingdom of Christ cannot possibly be carried out” (3:808-809). Hodge lists various reasons which ultimately are unconvincing and from our vantage point of history, shown to be incorrect.

    A 1919 record of the general conference of the Seventh Day Adventists where they discussed prophecy reads, “Consequently all unfilled prophecies which pertain to national Israel are conditional prophecies that can never be fulfilled to them as such. Heeding this will save us from great blunders. Some of the prophecies of the Old Testament seem to convey the idea that Israelites (the Hebrews) are to be restored as a nation, and that in the last days they will be a separate people from the Gentiles, and that the Lord will use them for the salvation of the Gentiles in the last days. These erroneous views are based upon Old Testament prophecies alone. We will never read them a right until we read them in the light of the meaning of the origin of the name Israel, and the later revelations from God” (p. 51-52). What these writers fail to recognize is that the OT prophecies teach that God brings back Israel to the land in the latter days in a state of unbelief and that it is only later at the end of the tribulation that the nation repents and receives Jesus as their Messiah. Further, it is not just Old Testament prophecy, but the New Testament in Luke 21:24, Matthew 24:15-20, 2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4, Rev 11:1-13, and Romans 11:25-26 give evidence of a future for a national Israel in the land prior to the establishment of the Messianic kingdom where the apostles will sit on twelve thrones judging the literal twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28).

    Louis Berkhof in his 1939 Systematic Theology writes, “it is very doubtful, however, whether Scripture warrants the expectation that Israel will finally by re-established as a nation, and will as a nation turn to the Lord” (p. 698-700). Many of these scholars were forced to examine the passages referenced above because there were many other Bible teachers in late 1800’s and early 1900’s who took the Bible literally and published works stating their confidence that the Jewish people would return the land of Israel as a nation once again. Here is a sampling:

    William E. Blackstone wrote in his 1878 book, Jesus is Coming, “Israel shall be restored to Palestine and no more be pulled out of the land” (p. 234). He goes on to spend an entire chapter (XV) sharing an extensive number of Biblical passages that the Jews will indeed be restored as a nation in the land of Israel.

    Ezekiel 37:11-12 reads, “Then He said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I will open your graves and cause you to come up out of your graves, my people; and I will bring you into the land of Israel” (NASB). Sir Robert Anderson, in his 1894 book, The Coming Prince, comments on this passage, “What the passage means is that God is going to bring back His people Israel, who are buried in captivity in the “Graveyard of Nations” and place them again in their own land.” (p. 64).

    James M. Gray, Dean of the Moody Bible Institute, lectured at the Philadelphia Prophetic Conference of May 28-30, 1918. He is recorded to have conveyed to the audience, “Moreover, so far as Israel is concerned, she, too, is suffering the punishment of her unfaithfulness in being scattered among the nations, persecuted, ‘sifted as corn is sifted in a sieve,’ and yet not one grain shall fall to the earth, is the testimony of God. In other words, it is God’s purpose, as all of the prophets’ witness, to bring Israel back to her land, first indeed in unbelief, but afterwards she shall look upon Him who she pierced, and shall mourn because of Him…” (p. 166).

    One of the most well-known proponents of the confidence of Israel returning to the land and forming a nation once again is Clarence Larkin. He wrote in 1918 in his book, Dispensational Truth, “If it were suggested that we discuss the future of any other nation than the Jewish nation, I for one, would not attempt it, for the task would be simply a speculative one, based on probabilities that would be likely to be upset by unforeseen circumstances.  But the Jewish nation has the unique distinction of having for its historian the “Holy Spirit,” who has not simply recorded the past history of that nation, but has outlined its future.  We indulge then in no idle and profitless speculations when we attempt to forecast the future of the Jewish People.  All we have to do is to gather together and place in their logical order what the Holy Spirit through the Prophets, has foretold of their future.  The method is as simple as the result is sure” (pg. 63).

    What is most obvious in this section is recognizing that if you approach the Bible with a tendency to spiritualize or allegorize its message, especially concerning end-time prophecy, you will end up in unfortunate places. Modern scholar and Postmillennialist Loraine Boettner acknowledges this truth when he writes, “This disagreement arises primarily because of the different methods of interpretation. It is generally agreed that if the prophecies are taken literally, they do foretell a restoration of the nation of Israel in the land of Palestine” (1977 article in the IVP book on the Four Views of the Millennium, p. 95).

    Israel Future

    Why focus on Israel? There are 1189 chapters in the entire Bible. There are 929 in the OT and 260 in the NT. You can slice it in different ways, but at least 75% or more of the Bible is about Israel. God wants us to learn about their past, present, and future. We have seen that when taken in a straightforward way, God has given many prophecies that show us that Israel would be exiled (more than once) and return to their land in the last days. Now that Israel became a nation in 1948, we know that we are living in the last days! Israel is ground zero!

    As we look forward, we know that there is going to be a future war with Israel commonly known as the Gog/Magog war. In this conflict, Israel will be attacked by a confederacy of nations in the “latter years” (Ezekiel 38-39; specifically 38:8, 16). We also read that a temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem in the last days (Matt 24:15; 2 Thess 2:3-9; Daniel 9:27; Rev 11:2). God has revealed that a period of unprecedented tribulation is coming upon the world with Israel as its primary focus (Dan 12:1-2; Matt 24:21-23; Jer 30:7). Additionally, we have the hope that Israel will repent and look upon Jesus who they pierced and will mourn over it (Zech 12:10). The two witnesses will be prophesying for 1260 days and be killed in the city of Jerusalem (Rev 11:3-12). Jerusalem will become a point of contention for all the nations in the last days (Zech 12:2-3). There is not room in this article to share many more passages, but this is why we focus and report the news concerning the state of Israel. They are God’s prophetic time clock. All these signs are meant to encourage everyone to be watching and ready for the Lord’s soon return. Jesus said, “what I say to you, I say to all, Be watching! (Mark 13:37). The nation Israel is a good place to start.

    If you want to dig into this topic more in-depth, I encourage you peruse any of the books in our online store from Dr. Randall Price or Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum. You will not be disappointed.

  11. Are the Ten Kings Actually Ten Oligarchs?

    Comments Off on Are the Ten Kings Actually Ten Oligarchs?

    Those who are watching prophecy closely will discuss often that we are looking for the arrival of the antichrist and most believe that he is alive today. This is fruitful, but we must remember that before the antichrist comes on the scene, he is preceded by what the Bible labels as ten kings. Therefore, it is reasonable to speculate and to be on the lookout for these ten figures.

    Gary Stearman wrote an article in the November 2020 monthly magazine where he spent time, not discussing the antichrist figure, but instead asking whether his audience was looking for these ten kings which he called oligarchs. He wrote a paragraph which I think is extremely important to ponder:

    Oligarchs are in a constant competition for world domination, and the old political ties of the twentieth century are being steadily altered to fit a “New World Order.” That’s an old term, but now, it is buttressed by high-level digital technology that was only a dream a decade ago.  (emphasis mine)

    There is quite a diversity of opinion about the role and nature of these ten kings. Here are the main verses that I think are appropriate for this discussion.

    Daniel 7:19 “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates.” (NASB)

    Daniel 7:24 “As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings.” (NASB)

    Revelation 17:12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.” (NASB)

    From these Biblical passages we learn several characteristics of these ten kings:

    1. The first is that the Greek word for king (basileus) in Revelation 17:12 can have a wider nuance that just what we under in the word “king.” One of the best Greek lexicons (BDAG) has the following as its second entry: one who possesses unusual or transcendent power. This meaning seems consistent with Revelation 17:12 where we are told that these 10 figures do not have a kingdom as of yet, but will receive authority to rule as kings for the final “hour” of antichrist’s (beast’s) reign in the seven year tribulation period. We will call them the TEN INFLUENCERS because they do have some valuable level of authority and power that the antichrist would seek to leverage (Rev 17:13). In other words, they exhibit “unusual power” or influence as the BDAG lexicon mentions.
    2. They are not required to be in governmental or ruling positions at the time of their arrangement with the antichrist.
    3. Additionally, when the time comes, they will give their significant influence or power over to the beast and in return are given the ability to rule with him for a short period in his final kingdom (Rev 17:13).
    4. Three of these ten influencers are removed (subdued) by the 11th horn (Daniel 7:20). The 11th horn is said to be a person with a big mouth and utters great boasts and has greater influence than the others. Interestingly, Daniel writes in the vision that the 11th horn was “larger in appearance than his associates.” The Aramaic word for associates is chav’rah and is the root for the modern Hebrew word for friend (chaver). Some versions translate this word as fellows, companions or associates. This Aramaic words only appears here in the entire Old Testament which is mostly Hebrew.
    5. We cannot read too much into this, but the text implies that the 11th horn (antichrist figure) has similar connections and associations to the other 10 horns. This becomes pertinent when taking into consideration possible characteristics of the ten influencers and eventually the antichrist. We also can ponder whether this association demonstrates that the antichrist arises out of a similar industry or sphere of influence

    Getting back to Gary’s article, he comments that these ten oligarchs are buttressed by high level technology. I found this to be provocative and want to direct our attention to looking at our current world landscape and to ask ourselves:

    Which non-governmental figures are gaining authority, power, and influence that could someday be handed over to the coming antichrist in exchange for a share in his autocratic rule of the entire world?

    Financial Oligarchs

    Before discussing technology, it is relevant to note that technological research and development is expensive. We are witnessing in our day the super-rich not often sticking to the one industry which made them wealthy, but instead spreading their wealth into sometimes completely disparate technologies or fields of research. More on this in the technology section.

    Further, it’s not rocket science to recognize that these same people, with staggering amounts of money, are capable of influencing on a worldwide scale. This certainly can include shaping the political landscape through outright bribes or through the political lobby system. This level of indirect, but pervasive and massive impact, doesn’t require them to be the ones in actual power or governmental positions. Instead, they wield their influence through proxies who have been purchased through the greed of politicians to stay in power. Take a look at this chart which gives a summary of the increase in net worth just for the year 2020. You can find the article here. Think of this. These seven companies increased their net worth by $2.433 trillion dollars in one year!

    The article goes on to state, “Despite the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft and Tesla have surged higher as their businesses continue to boom. They have been helped by a shift towards digital services during the pandemic.” Notice that this article says exactly what Gary had mentioned about digital services, but clearly coming from different paradigms.

    Technological Oligarchs (technocrats)

    When discussing the technological influence of these corporate giants, it would be good to give the definition of a technocrat. A technocrat is a proponent of technocracy which is defined as: “a theory and movement, prominent about 1932, advocating control of industrial resources, reform of financial institutions, and reorganization of the social system, based on the findings of technologists and engineers.” Ultimately, these technocrats seek to influence all areas of society and need not be the direct wielders of governmental power.

    The World Economic Forum is dedicated to seeing a complete reset of the way life on planet earth functions. They are unashamed in presenting their vision to be accomplished through technological advancement by the year 2030 (known as Agenda 2030 and the Great Reset). Check it out here. Klaus Schwab wrote his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2015 and he highlights the technological details in the appendix that cover 21 different up and coming technologies. His book can be found online. He writes, “The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software and Society conducted a survey of 800 executives to gauge when business leaders anticipate that these game-changing technologies would break into the public domain to a significant degree, and to understand fully the implications of these shifts to individuals, organizations, government and society.” The following are his list of his game changing technologies found in the appendix:

    1. Implantable Technologies; 2. Our Digital Presence; 3. Vision as the New Interface;
    4. Wearable Internet; 5. Ubiquitous Computing; 6. A Supercomputer in Your Pocket; 7. Storage for All; 8. The Internet of and for Things; 9. The Connected Home; 10. Smart Cities; 11. Big Data for Decisions; 12. Driverless Cars; 13. Artificial Intelligence and Decision-Making; 14. AI and White-Collar Jobs; 15. Robotics and Services; 16. Bitcoin and the Blockchain; 17. The Sharing Economy; 18. Governments and the Blockchain; 19. 3D Printing and Manufacturing; 20. 3D Printing and Human Health; 21. 3D Printing and Consumer Products

    We could add some ancillary technologies which are connected with all the above. These include: nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, the internet of things, the industrial internet of things, decentralized consensus, fifth-generation wireless technologies, satellite internet technology for worldwide distribution.

    It is mind boggling to think of the influence that all of these technologies will have on world society. Additionally, it is easy to recognize that most of the big corporate oligarchs listed above are involved in all the research connected with these “game-changing” technologies. They will undoubtedly influence politics and governments around the world. Much more could be said about each of these, but for the sake of brevity here are just a few:

    Satellites for broadband, low latency internet service globally

    1. Samsung seeks to have 4,600 satellites in orbit.
    2. Amazon (Jeff Bezos) seeks to put up 3200+ by the end of the decade. Called the Kuiper system (or Project Kuiper).
    3. OneWeb sought an initial 650 satellites. Furthermore, OneWeb announced plans to accelerate launches in 2021 to have 650 satellites in orbit by 2022 necessary for global coverage. They spent most of 2020 in bankruptcy court, but were bought out by a 50% partnership of the UK government and an Indian company- Bharti Enterprises. They currently have 110 satellites active in low earth orbit.
    4. By far the greatest success is Starlink (Elon Musk). Total satellites currently in orbit (January 2022): 1900. On schedule to have 4100 by no later than March, 2027. October, 2019- 30,000 additional Starlink satellites requested to supplement the 12,000 Starlink satellites already approved by the FCC. Elon Musk owns SpaceX which allows him unlimited flexibility in launching his own satellites.
    5. Facebook- planning 5G satellite technology. It’s called Project Athena.
    6. China is planning 40,000 of their own satellites in order to accomplish its goals. It claims that it desires more internet coverage across its expansive geography, but critics note that it could also be used for surveillance and control.

      Surveillance
      Facial recognition, camera technology, data acquisition through social media and internet.

      Artificial Intelligence
      You will find that almost all the of the top 10 financial and technological oligarchs are involved in the research and advancement of Artificial Intelligence. The top 100 are listed here. I also highly recommend reading Kai Fu Lee’s book, A.I. Superpowers written in 2018 and subtitled, “China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order.” Concerning the wealth which A.I. will bring, Lee writes, “Instead of dispersion of industry profits across different companies and regions, we will begin to see greater and greater concentration of these astronomical sums in the hands of a few” (p.20). This certainly sounds like financial oligarchs who wield incredible power and influence.

      Quantum Computers

    According to Kai Fu Lee, A.I. algorithms need three things: big data, computing power, and the work of strong A.I. algorithm engineers. Government policies amenable to A.I. being incorporated across all sphere of society are helpful also. To help accomplish the computing power requirement, many of these same technological oligarchs are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in quantum computers which are billions of times faster than modern supercomputers! (read about it here). It’s no surprise that Google, Microsoft, and IBM are some of the leaders in this field. Here is a list of other leaders.

    Biotechnology
    1. Elon Musk is heavily involved in connecting the human brain to technology. It is known as Neuralink and can be read about here and here.
    2. Vaccine technology. Why is multi-billionaire software developer Bill Gates so interested in vaccine technology? This question is pondered by many, but the truth is that he is very active and it is well known. He is not involved just in vaccine technology, but under the skin microchip implant nano vaccine technology (here and here). Moreover, backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation “MIT researchers have now developed a novel way to record a patient’s vaccination history: storing the data in a pattern of dye, invisible to the naked eye, that is delivered under the skin at the same time as the vaccine” (here).
    3. Implantable contraception technology is supported by Gates (here).
    4. Genetically Modified Farming- Oligarch Bill Gates has spread his influence farther than any other. He has now become the largest private landowner of farmland in the United States. Robert Kennedy, Jr. writes, “Gates has been using that newfound cash to expand his power over global populations by buying devalued assets at fire-sale prices and maneuvering for monopoly control over public health, privatizing prisons, online education and global communications while promoting digital currencies, high tech surveillance, data harvesting systems and artificial intelligence.” He provides links to all his assertions here.

    Censorship
    Once again, many of these financial and technological oligarchs are using their social media platforms and data acquisition to surveille, censor, cancel, de-platform, and shame those using its services when they are not deemed “woke enough” or do not follow their own idiosyncratic rules and politically correct narratives. U.S. lawmakers are now accomplices with Big Tech Oligarchs in encouraging them to police (censor) content more aggressively (here and here).

    Innovation Zones
    Nevada governor Steve Sisolak recently proposed giving large corporations who own significant portions of land in Nevada their own status equivalent to “counties.” They would be able to impose taxes, form school districts, courts of law, and provide other “government services” (here). Tesla (Elon Musk) is one of the largest owners of land in Nevada.

    As we look at end time prophetic events coming to pass, it is becoming increasingly obvious that some of the largest movers and shakers, both policy or societal changes, are not found in governments at all. Instead in this world, multi-national financial and technological oligarchs are eager to conform the world to their own technocratic purposes. Could these figures be the Ten Kings (influencers) who give their “authority and power to the beast (antichrist)” and in return “receive authority to rule as kings with the beast for one hour” (Rev 17:12-13)?

    Time will tell, but I think a compelling case can certainly be made that the ever-increasing technological value these Ten Figures have will be very appealing to the antichrist, making it easier for him to enforce his tyrannical rule over the entire earth.

  12. Who Are the Ten Kings?

    Comments Off on Who Are the Ten Kings?

    With a view toward global developments and the growing threat of economic and political instabilities that could lead to an unprecedented world war, we should now be watching for a pattern that the Bible lays out in no uncertain terms. It is the clear-cut pattern of ten kings, who shall arise in the last days, and out of their midst will come the rule of the Antichrist. 

    At this writing, there is a quickening in the already rapid development of prophetic fulfillment. The last few decades have traced a downward spiral in the destabilization of political, social, economic and military matters. Those who study prophecy, no matter what their method of interpretation, have become alarmed at recent developments. They are rightly seeing the rise of a predicted global rule … the system of the Antichrist. It involves the subterfuge of super-rich investors, military organizations, industrialists and a variety of think tanks. Global politics are shifting toward war, or a series of wars. 

    But the next global war will involve now secret and mind-boggling technologies, with super soldiers and super weapons. At present, they are gathering strength. But soon, when their plan is realized, they will spring forth into a series of global conflicts that finally coalesce into a single world dictatorship. Scripture is quite clear about that. 

    Many of us remember that in the decades following Israel’s statehood, biblical authorities engaged in naming several of the then-powerful state leaders as the Antichrist. North and South America, Europe, Russia and the Middle East all provided candidates, some of whom featured very persuasive credentials. But they came … and they went. 

    From the time of Israel’s statehood up to about 1970, prophetic milestones focused upon Israel’s spectacular success against a succession of enemies. Christians began to get excited about the rapture of the Church, which at that point, began to be a hot topic. In response to this, a variety of prophetic interpretations began to compete with classic dispensationalism, in which the Lord is seen to work out His plan for the nations in a series of discrete time periods, each having a unique set of characteristics. It asserts that we are now living in the Age of Grace. 

    The result was a series of eschatological disagreements about the nature and timing of the rapture, the coming prophesied wars in the Middle East, and endless discussion about the Antichrist and the signs that indicated that he was about to appear. 

    During the last fifty years or so, many thought they saw the rise of the Antichrist system in the politics of Europe and the Middle East. They thought that they saw him in a succession of political and military figures around the world. Especially in the ten nations of the proposed European Common Market, several leaders were seen as possibly being the Man of Sin, himself. The ten kings of Daniel 7:24 began to be seen as the ten-nation confederacy in Europe. But then, the Common Market began to break down into its present loose society of competitors, whose motives seem to shift with the wind. The rise of the Antichrist was pushed back into an uncertain future. 

    BECOMING GLOBALIST 

    At present, as we watch the rapid shifting of world powers, we begin to see new battle lines being drawn. In a very short period of time, our vision is more certain than ever before. Computerized global marketing, satellite communications and universal surveillance is being sent around the world. Secret codes are made, then broken. Stolen technology fuels burgeoning weapons systems, so that once-backward nations can now wage terrifying war. Morality and ethics shift like the wind. 

    Oligarchs are in a constant competition for world domination, and the old political ties of the twentieth century are being steadily altered to fit a “New World Order.” That’s an old term, but now, it is buttressed by high-level digital technology that was only a dream a decade ago. 

    Since the end of World War II, the United States has been the world’s stabilizer. Its wealth and global vision were loosely based upon its Christian foundations. Because of that, we set the moral and ethical standard of the world. There was a time when generals and high-level political office-holders prayed for our nation. 

    Lately, however, it has become obvious that we have fallen prey to an internal coup of incredible proportions. The Judeo-Christian ethic that once directed our policies has all but collapsed. A number of dark figures have quietly risen to power, backed by super-technology and incalculable wealth.

    At the moment, they operate in the background, but their names continually pop up. They are the technocrats, innovators of new technologies in transportation, communications, shipping and the daily transfer of coded information in trillions of daily transactions. 

    Information controls the world. It is power. Once, it was common for those who went before us to honor God as all-powerful. Our nation prayed for God’s blessing. He brought us through earthquakes, famine, pestilence and horrific wars. It was recognized that He saves us from spiritual death. But now, technology is seen as the world’s savior. 

    Most egregious of all is the steady decline of sound doctrine in America’s churches. They have gradually departed from the firm and disciplined way of life that is urged throughout the Bible, from cover to cover. God’s words to the Church of Ephesus in Revelation 2:4 have become a visible truth: “… thou has left thy first love.” 

    And to the Laodicean church, He wrote, “16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:16, 17). 

    The Church is meant to uplift and stabilize society. Historically and doctrinally, it has brought mankind through many crises. Scripture is given as the model for government. But time after time, and nation after nation, the Church weakens under the temptation of wealth and political power. In an often-repeated pattern that has been seen throughout the Church Age, it begins to love the world instead of the Lord. 

    And just as the Bible predicts: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (1Tim. 3:1-5). 

    This oft-quoted Scripture clearly enunciates the conditions that will prevail throughout global society during the period called the “last days.” These would be the days that come at the approach of the second millennium since Christ arose and the Church was born. In other words, we’re looking at a prophetic statement that refers to the present period of time!

    OLIGARCHS, TECH GIANTS & DICTATORS

    Looking at the present world, we see two prominent characteristics: First, man has forgotten God. World Wars One and Two, along with a series of Communist revolutions has created a focus upon trade, travel and business, set in an everchanging and warlike series of competitive maneuvers that have brought us to trade wars and the constant theft of ideas. From the marketplace to the military counterfeiting has become an art form. On every level, there are “cold wars” being fought. There is the false hope that this can continue without an explosion into open warfare. We would think of it as World War Three. 

    But the Bible describes it as dwarfing all the wars before it: “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 unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). 

    Second, the diabolical motives of man have created a new world of super-computers and genetic experimentation. The initiate the false hope that these two avenues of discovery will take people to a humanist paradise. 

    Technology is exploding. Experimental genetic development is proceeding in secret at lightning speed. Since the flood, there has never been a period of time when man has worshipped science as he does now. Scripture lays out exactly what is happening: Paul writes to Timothy a description of man’s proclivity to believe that he can save himself: 17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. 20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen. (I Tim. 6:17-21). 

    Paul also describes man as, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 3:7). In other words, science can never save mankind. We now believe that we are at the end of the age of the Church, which we think will mark the termination of this Age and the initiation the New Age, which we refer to as the Millennium. The duty of the latter-day Church is to call out God’s revelation of His coming judgment. Will the Church go through all or part of the Tribulation? 

    We have long held that it will be taken to heaven long before that. As we investigate the nature and timing of the rapture, we look at individual clues that Scripture offers us. One of these provides some most interesting aspects. Here’s the main point: To describe the sequence of events preceding the Tribulation, we must see things through the lens of Twenty-First century developments. We take the view that prophecy features events that are actually going to happen as described in Scripture. Because many are convinced that we live in these days, it is natural to ask the question: Can we see the clear-cut developments of prophecy that point to this fact?

    DANIEL’S MULTIPLIED VISIONS 

    On that basis, it is very appropriate that we return to the prophetic pronouncements of Daniel the Prophet. He clearly spoke of present-day developments in the 6th century B.C. God gave him a clear picture of the Gentile world powers, in the form of a magnificent statue. 

    Anyone who has studied Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream knows about the succession of world powers that were laid out by these prophecies. By solving the riddle of the dream, he foresaw four great world powers that would, in order, rule the Gentile world. 

    This revelation, of course, is the well-known statue with its head of gold and feet of clay. In descending order, the statue was made of gold, silver, brass and iron, but its feet were imperfect, causing the statue to collapse: “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 potters’ 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 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” (Dan. 2:40-44). 

    In Daniel’s vision, the statue is so corrupt in its final manifestation, that it has no structural integrity. Its ten toes are corrupt. As we have written in many other studies, the genetics of humanity (“… the seed of men …”) will be corrupted through manipulations of the human genome. A sinful humanity will in some way be weakened by a mysterious group called, “they,” who successfully tamper with God-created human beings. 

    Even now, such activity is taking place in secret developmental compounds, so the biblical description should come as no surprise. One of these is first seen in the book of Daniel, and is later revisited in Revelation. We are shown a beast kingdom that is prophesied to appear in the latter days – specifically the days of the Tribulation. When and how this beast appears gives us much to think about in the final global gentile government before Christ’s Second Coming. Daniel’s view of this beast empire follows the exposition of three previous global powers. They are wild animals, rapacious and uncivilized. The first – representing Babylon – appears as a lion with eagle’s wings. The second is a bear, holding three ribs in its teeth. It is commanded to eat much flesh. The third was a leopard with four bird’s wings growing out of its back. 

    DANIEL AND REVELATION LINKED 

    The fourth beast is more violent than the three that precede it. It is indescribable, but its appearance suggests unstoppable power. Its iron teeth grind its subjects to powder. In addition to these, we are shown ten horns, representing a consortium of great individual powers. Three of these horns are plucked out by another little horn, which appears after they are established. 

    “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” (Dan. 7:7). “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” (Dan 7:20). “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” (Dan. 7:24). 

    Further information in Revelation shows Daniel’s fourth beast as a dragon. It, too, has ten horns, but we are also given an additional descriptive detail. It has seven heads, each of which is apparently topped by a crown. The beast is red, and he is a dragon. 

    If there is one beast whose identity and description is well known, it is the dragon. Especially in the Orient, it is used to celebrate the calendar, and to bring in good fortune and blessing. Its fire-breathing, forked-tongued, leather-winged persona is well-known throughout the world. Revered in the East, but in the Christian West, it is the picture of rebellion and the enemy of God. 

    And there is another interesting visual detail: His heads are somehow labeled with a name: “blasphemy.” This beast has one mission – to oppose and overthrow the God of heaven: “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads (Rev. 12:3). 

    “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. (Rev 13:1). Later in Revelation we are given yet another look at Daniel’s fourth beast. Upon his back, a woman is seated. The beast is described as scarlet in color. In the Bible, scarlet is linked with that which is ungodly or sinful. 

    The following verses illustrate the connection between the earthly kings and the spiritual power behind them: “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” (Rev. 17:3). “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” (Rev. 17:7). “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (Rev. 17:12).

    “And the ten horns, which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:16). 

    WATCHING FOR THE TEN KINGS 

    If these are the times we think they are, given Israel’s regathering to statehood and the rise of nations that exactly mirror the Bible’s descriptions, then shouldn’t we be looking for a the rise of ten kings? The Bible is quite explicit about their appearance, and that one of them would rise to the role of Antichrist. 

    We have seen how clearly it is illustrated in both Daniel and Revelation, that the Antichrist’s rise to power will initially take place with the backing of horns, which are clearly described as ten kings. Initially (See Revelation 17:2), they are practically unknown; they have no kingdoms. But during a very short period of time, they share their power with the Antichrist. As close as we must be to all these specific details, it is probable that they are alive today. They would be the oligarchs, tech giants, bankers, investors and super-scientists who are totally invested in a godless order of global powers. Some of them might even be the leaders of nations (although that need not be the case). 

    Without referring to any of them by name, just think of the trillionaires of the digital world, who are publically linked to a new order of science, genetic transformation, digitized global politics and any of a variety of technologies. They are now hailed as the ones who will save the world through their new methodologies. 

    It seems apparent that the world is about to be turned upside down, as they assume power. But really, they are only the foundation of the Antichrist’s rise. 

    WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE NUMBER TEN? 

    It should come as no surprise that the new power group waiting in the wings is signified by the number ten. Over the years, we have studied this number as it is used in Scripture. In fact, we’ve written many studies that connect number with meaning. But of all biblical numbers, ten stands with a particularly powerful meaning. It represents the perfection of God’s order. 

    TEN GENERATIONS OF MORAL CORRUPTION 

    Of Earth’s creation, only man has a conscious recognition of God’s existence. His work and behavior form a written history, recorded by the Spirit of God in the pages of Scripture. The Bible is the only dependable record of early man. This document is spiritual, rather than secular, in its emphasis. Names, dates and places are chosen for inclusion on the basis of their significance in the fall and redemption of mankind. It should come as no surprise that it outlines spiritual truth. 

    The importance of the biblical story is shown in its devotion to the redemptive story of Adam’s life, and the lives of his descendants. The first division of our history covers the period from the creation of Adam to the Great Flood of Noah. It begins with the flawless environment of Eden, and the perfect couple who were seduced by the serpent. Their flirtation evil soon resulted in a complete immersion, bringing moral failure. In the culmination of this first historic period, Adam’s children brought about the complete breakdown of society. 

    Genesis 6:5 states the matter succinctly: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” How significant that it took precisely ten generations for this breakdown to completely manifest itself: 1. Adam 2. Seth 3. Enos 4. Cainan 5. Mahalaleel 6. Jared 7. Enoch 8. Methuselah 9. Lamech 10. Noah This is the Bible’s way of demonstrating that man had become irreversibly corrupt. In this case, it documents destruction. 

    TEN GENERATIONS OF PROMISE 

    Fortunately, the line of Adam through Seth (the man appointed to father the Messianic line) remained pure throughout this sordid period. The faithful Noah came through his lineage. In Genesis 6:9, Noah is called, “… a just man and perfect in his generations.” He and his family were brought through the flood to perpetuate the hope for redemption. As Noah descended from the mountains to the fertile valleys below, his descendants brought forth new generations. Though the majority of them squandered their spiritual lives in idolatry, there remained a Godly remnant. 

    Again, we find that the second period of biblical history is measured out in precisely ten generations, beginning with Shem, the son of Noah. 1. Shem 2. Arphaxad 3. Salah 4. Eber 5. Peleg 6. Reu 7. Serug 8. Nahor 9. Terah 10. 

    Abram Abram stood out in stark contrast to the other children of Noah. He was the man of faith who, “… looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). Abram, later given the name Abraham by God, is noted for his willingness to faithfully obey God by traveling to the Promised Land. It was a step into the unknown. His faith was rewarded by a covenant of grace that would extend to all the faithful in the world to come. The history of his personal origins bears the stamp of ordinal perfection in the ten generations that brought mankind from complete moral corruption to the promise of redemption. 

    TEN CONDITIONS OF OPPOSITION 

    On the dark side, there is a good example of ten evil and negative spiritual forces, which is found in First Corinthians: “37 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 38 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38,39). 

    Here, the security of the believer is illustrated in the affirmation that no dark force or physical circumstance is capable of coming between the believer and the love of God. To emphasize this truth, the declaration is made tenfold, as forces arrayed against the Christian are declared to be totally ineffective in the light of our common salvation: 1. Death 2. Life (In This Evil World) 3. Angels (The Fallen Ones) 4. Principalities (Satan’s Chief Agents) 5. Powers (Satan’s Delegated Authorities) 6. Things Present (Life’s Difficulties) 7. Things To Come (Unforeseen Events) 8. Height 9. Depth 10. Any Other Creature (Created Thing) 

    TEN VICES 

    However, the unregenerate are branded by a number of vices that will prevent them from entering into the Kingdom of God. The body of Christ is holy—justified in Christ and washed clean. As if to underscore this fact, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 enumerate a tenfold list of exclusions from God’s presence: “9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”(I Cor. 6:9-11)

    Clearly listed, these ten prohibitive vices, are: 1. Fornicators 2. Idolators 3. Adulterers 4. Effeminate 5. Abusers of themselves with mankind 6. Thieves 7. Covetous 8. Drunkards 9. Revilers 10. Extortioners 

    TEN COMMANDMENTS AND THE LORD’S PRAYER 

    The commandments, given to Israel (Deut. 5), are ten in number for a perfectly complete statement concerning the Lord’s desire for man’s conduct. It is neither too long, nor too short. The Lord’s prayer has ten clauses that speak of God’s perfect order and His power. 

    TEN & THE ANTICHRIST’S WORLD POWER 

    As we continue to examine certain negative occurrences of the number ten, one notorious example stands out above all the others. The ultimate evil of the world system will one day be manifested in a global tyranny, headed by the antichrist. 

    This final kingdom is described in Daniel, beginning in Chapter 2, where Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s mysterious dream. The dream featured a great statue which illustrated the succession of Gentile world powers. Its head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron and feet and toes of mixed iron and clay present a perfect picture of degeneration, from Babylon to the latter days. What began as gold will end in clay that is crushed and blown away as dust. But it is important to understand that, in spite of dissenting forces, the antichrist will attempt to unify the nations of the world. Like the toes of the statue, they will finally be ten in number. 

    In Daniel 7:7, this final empire is depicted as a beast — the fourth and final monster in a succession of such wretched creatures: “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” (Dan. 7:7). Here, and in Revelation 13 (which we repeat here to make the point), the final world government is associated with the number ten, illustrating evil in its full and complete form: “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” (Revelation 13:1). 

    From these negative illustrations, it may be seen that the perfection of divine order includes even the corrupted world system. For good or for evil, God is in control. His principles cut through everything that happens in time and space. Here, as elsewhere, ten illustrates a complete cycle. In other words, the Lord will allow the government of the Antichrist to run to its full extent before His final judgment falls.

    WE’RE WATCHING 

    This short study is given to point out one amazing fact: Although God’s ways are far above man’s ability to discern, we are, nevertheless, given enough information to see how He prefers to bring about his plans. Today, it is almost a certainty that there are ten men who are poised to come together in a global ruling body. 

    What the world will call them is anybody’s guess. God calls them “kings.” At first their number will be ten; then another will be added bringing their number to eleven, the biblical number of disorder. Finally, this last man will destroy three of the group, bringing their number to eight. Will the Church still be on Earth when this happens? The answer is “No,” because these things will emerge during the Tribulation. Still, we watch, as the leading lights in politics, technology and military power begin to assemble themselves into the formation of a global power. You keep watching, too!