THE REAL BABYLON OF THE LAST DAYS
An Exchange with RM in North Carolina
Just thought I would pass this on for those interested. Jack Van Impe had a question put to him that I watched last night regarding Jeremiah chapter 50 and 51. His response to the question was another awakening for me. Jack
Van Impe responded to the question with the statement that the United States
was the nation God was addressing. Setting aside the history of Jack's
statements and erroneous results to both see and hear his response caught my
attention. If you haven't read Jeremiah 50 & 51 I suggest you do so.
For those of you who have read these chapters I am sure you are aware of God's message through Jeremiah the prophet. I simply had to share this with you because we are on a course that no man will change. God's government has never changed. He has given us His word that we might know our God. The cup of His wrath is filled and it is a matter of time before we see the cup poured out. Exactly when we will experience the fulfillment of Jeremiah 50 & 51 I can not say; however, I know in my own life the warning of that which is prophesied is increasing in intensity like the contractions of a woman in labor. Personally, I can not express the ramifications of disobedience. If you are not taking your personal walk seriously at this time I suggest you do so without hesitation.
I suggest you seek Him with all diligence and ask Him what He is requiring of you. The days of straddling the fence are rapidly coming to a close. As Moses asked of the rebellious in the wilderness: Who is on the Lord's side. And, the cause of the division in the encampment of Israel? Rebellion.
For those of you interested in Van Impe’s latest book on this subject—it has not yet hit his website. The title, which sounds familiar, is: "America's Future.” I do not know whether Jack is aware of the magnitude of his response or simply tickling the ear. I am not going to touch that topic. Now is the season to give earnest attention to the one who surrendered His life as a holy sacrifice to God for our redemption. What do we possess here that will captivate us that has a greater value?
Brother RM -
Yes, after I read your e-mail I decided to reread Jeremiah 50 and 51, as you suggested. Robert Gundry (currently, Resident Scholar at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California) calls the language used in these chapters "adumbrative” – i.e., language which alludes to a yet future “prophetic reality.” This is especially true of Jeremiah 51. Here, it most definitely suggests a Babylon yet future—frankly, that Babylon that arose on the Plains of Shinar during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar has now developed into the full expression of Western Civilization with its apex (the USA) now ruling the earth through its military, economic and cultural hegemony—and each day tightens its grip.
A fundamental awareness of just what the Image seen in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar portrays is essential; to wit: The PROGRESSION OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION through Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian and ultimately, Roman leadership—with the final “MANIFESTATION” of that IMAGE seen in the (10 toes/10-end-times’ “kingdoms” or “horns”) that in these “last days” have WALKED the face of the whole earth and whose kingdoms have given birth to the ELEVENTH HORN (i.e., the Antichrists or final “King of Babylon” arises from the 10 Kingdoms, some weak (clay), some strong (iron) of Europe).
Revelation 17:4, 14:8, etc., and Jeremiah 51:7-8 refer to Babylon "was a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunk . . . the nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged . . . Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed . . . wail for her!" – the language of both texts parallels each other!
Therefore, the adumbrative language used in Jeremiah 51 refers to a "Babylon future"--for the Babylon of John's time, though still present, was a fading flower of its former glory under the ancient Gentile World leaders from Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the Great, etc.
In Jeremiah 51:13 we read: "O you who dwell by many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your covetousness . . . .” And . . . . . “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain (i.e., Antichrist), who destroys all the earth . . . and I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain . . . but you shall be desolate forever" (Jeremiah 51:25-26).
Interwoven into the immediate destruction of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon are the prophetical pictures of a yet future persistence of this that would make "all the earth drunk" and of the "destroying mountain" who awaits the brightness of His coming wherein that desolator will become a "burnt mountain!" (i.e., judged).
Today's ancient Babylon is occupied by the US Military and is an amusing attraction whose immediate environs cannot even draw jackals and most certainly, after its pillage, cannot draw prophetical buffs and their inane tours to the new capitol of the King of Babylon as envisioned in Saddam Hussein! The real Babylon now occupies the site and has imprisoned the most recent counterfeit of the King of Babylon: Saddam Hussein—now awaiting trial under Babylon’s surrogate and future oligarchs--notwithstanding the alleged "sovereignty" given to the that pathetic shadow of its ancient self. America’s entrenched policy of DEMOCRATIC GLOBALISM advocates pre-emptive war of national interest, without Senator John Kerry’s GLOBAL TEST to wage them! President George Bush is simple, and to the point: THE USA WILL NOT HAVE THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD DICTATE AMERICA’S SECURITY. If you think for one minute that the pinnacle of Western Civilization, the USA, has any intention of subscribing to the world’s most corrupt body, the United Nations, in seeking its permission to wage war, or the World Court, or pay any attention to the French or the Germans when it comes to its world military priorities—let me utterly disabuse you of that possibility: SHE DOES NOT!
AMERICAN EVANGELICAL EURO-CENTRIC PROPHETICAL BUFFS
My beloved sister visited with me shortly after I had returned from our visit with you--she was excited about Charles Dyer's (professor at Moody Bible Institute) latest book entitled: The Rise of Babylon--is Iraq at the Center of the Final Drama? She had just given a complete Bible study to her class in Central Georgia regarding the "truths" expounded by Dyer. Not to burst her prophetic bubble, however, I was astounded that just prior to her visit with me here on the West Coast, I too had read Dyer's text. In fairness to Dyer, a fellow Premillenarian (the Millennial Kingdom is yet to come on the earth), many of his comments are excellent . . .
For example: P. 136-7 - "Isaiah gives Babylon special emphasis. He lists it first, he lists it twice, and he spends more time writing about Babylon's judgment than any other nation's. Most events prophesied in the book of Isaiah came true during the prophet's lifetime. His second set of prophecies about Babylon (Isaiah 21:1-10) were fulfilled around 700 B.C. But the events concerning Babylon described in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Isaiah were not fulfilled in Isaiah's lifetime. They have never been fulfilled.
"Jeremiah also made predictions about the Gentile nations surrounding Judah (Jeremiah 46:1-51:64). His "hit list" began with Egypt, the nation that had enticed Judah to rebel against Babylon and then backed out of a promise to support the Jews. Jeremiah then announced God's judgment upon Judah's neighbors: the Philistines, Moab, Ammon, Edom, and Damascus (Syria). Finally Jeremiah announced judgment on three groups of nations to the distant east: Kedar and Hazor in the Arabian Peninsula, Elam in modern-day Iran, and Babylon. Jeremiah did not place Babylon last on his list by accident. Instead, he built to a climax, listing Babylon last to emphasize the city's punishment."
THE "DAY OF THE LORD" -
It is in this respect that I agree wholeheartedly with Dyer--that "Prophetic Babylon's" demise will take place during the "day of the Lord."
"Wail, for the day of the Lord is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty . . . See, the day of the Lord is coming--a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger--to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it" (Isaiah 13:6, 9).
This "day of the Lord," as Dyer brings out, is not only "any time God entered history to settle accounts with humankind" (p. 137) but as the concept of the "Day of the Lord developed in the Bible, it came to refer to that unique period of judgment coming on all the world but especially the nation of Israel. Daniel described it as 'a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then' . . .
Dyer continues his (for the most part) brilliant exegesis . . .
"In Isaiah 13 the prophet predicts that Babylon will exist and will be destroyed in the 'day of the Lord.' God will unleash supernatural judgments in the heavens and on the earth. 'The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light . . . Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger' (Isaiah 13:10, 13). . . . The book of Revelation describes further supernatural judgments that will be poured out on the earth during this coming period of divine judgment on Babylon: Earthquakes and cosmic disturbances, thunder and lightning, pollution, hailstorms (Rev. 6:12-14; 8:5, 10, 12; 11:13, 19; 16:18-21) . . . Isaiah provides one additional clue that lets us know he is talking about the final annihilation of Babylon in the last days, not some temporary razing. God declares that He will destroy Babylon when He 'will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins' (Isaiah 13:11). From shortly after the time of the Flood, Babylon has symbolized humanity's rebellion against God. When God destroys Babylon, He will destroy all the evil in the world." (p. 138).
Now, after this brilliant exegesis, Dyer makes a horrendous and quantum leap into eschatological irrelevance. He completely disregards the development of that Image which arose on the banks of the Tigris--which Image ultimately has a mixture of iron and clay for its feet (some strong, some weak nations--10 of them). Coming from an 18th and 19th Century "Eurocentric" understanding of the Babylon of the Last Days, Dyer commits a fundamental error in the march of Western Civilization: He fully stops at Europe and disregards the "younger/little" horn of Daniel 7:8: "I was considering the horns (i.e., the ten horns of Dan. 7:7), and there was another horn, a little (as in "little" or "younger" boy or girl), coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out* by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words." (*Note: Brian Peltz of Seattle suspects that England, France and Spain were the three horns initially “uprooted” by this “younger horn” or “youthful Kingdom” as it “erupted” in North America.)
Thus, Daniel's "younger horn" is both, like the other horns, a Kingdom, as well as its Leadership! John in the Revelation alerts us to these same 10 horns, but the "younger horn" is not mentioned—however, the Beast from the Abyss himself “wears” the 10 horns: "Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name . . . now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion . . . the dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority" (Revelation 13:1-2; please note the description of this Beast is a composition of the “creatures/beasts” of Daniel Chapter 7 or the ultimate PROGRESSION OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION).
Again, the "composition" of this end-times’ Beast is the full development of the most dominant Gentile World Power of the ages. It culminates in the Last Days and matches the "beasts" given in Daniel (Daniel 7:1-8--the lion, bear, leopard, and, finally, the beast comprised of them---"dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong with iron teeth and "it had ten horns" but out of these 10 horns came this "little/younger horn" and ripped out three others on "the way out."
Babylon's ultimate manifestation is the "culmination" of all that was birthed on the Plains of Shinar--the Image! Thence, the "three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots" for the initial "burst" of this younger horn (or ultimate power) are undoubtedly connected with the original 10 horns but were immediately impacted in "obstructing" the "birth" of this final 11th horn (i.e., "they were in its way--however, they were finally subdued, and were uprooted by the younger horn). Naturally, Rome, in this "ancient sense" subdued Babylon, the Medo-Persian and the Grecian Empires (these three)--but we are talking about the 10 Horns and the three associated with them! Therefore, these 10 horns are matched with the 10 toes of Daniel's Image—these TEN and the ELEVENTH are “scheduled” or prophesied to occur during the conclusion of this current, if you would, dispensation.
Listen to how the Spirit Filled Life Bible interprets this from a "dispensational" exegesis:
"The interpretation (Dan. 7:7) of the fourth beast depends on one's interpretation of the previous three. If the third beast represents Persia, this is Greece; if it represents Greece, this is Rome. Ten horns symbolize an unspecified and yet complete number of kings within the fourth kingdom. Dan. 7:8--God's sovereignty over kings is seen in His plucking out three of the first horns. Dispensational interpretation sees the fourth kingdom as Rome with another horn generally being regarded as its Caesars . . . this "little one" (i.e., "younger horn") clearly embodies the antichrist spirit and becomes an archetype of the Antichrist of the Book of Revelation (see w. 21-27)" (p. 1244, The Spirit Filled Life Bible).
What I think the above overlooks is the fact that associated with the 11th Horn is not only its identity as a leader (i.e., Antichrist) but its identity as a "horn" - i.e., a power, a kingdom, a final manifestation of "jurisdictional power." A King must rule over a Kingdom! It's that simple. The emphasis is not only upon the Antichrist, but also upon his final Kingdom. The three Kingdoms--getting back to Peltz--which were ripped out and from whence came the 11th Horn--are the European "Kings/Kingdoms" of England, France and Spain--whose colonial presence most impacted both the "birth" as well as frustrated the "eruption" of the 11th Horn!
PRE-TRIBULATIONAL PREMILLENARIANS – CONFUSED FRIENDS – THE ANTI-CHRIST IS NOT JEWISH!
It very well may be that Jack Van Impe sees in the USA such a Babylon of the Last Days, however, in many of his writings he, like Dyer, is convinced that America will undergo, either through a Secret Rapture of the Church, or a horrific and cataclysmic event, an American dissension into total economic, military and political mediocrity. Consequently, Antichrist will then ascend from a "Revived Roman Empire" (a 10-nation confederacy).
Worse yet--and time does not permit a full documentation of this—most of these Pre-tribulational/Premillenarians are utterly convinced that the future Antichrist/Beast, including the False Prophet are Jewish! Their writings (e.g., F. W. Grant, Harry Ironside, Ray Stedman, etc.) boldly declare the “Jewishness” of the future Antichrist coming out of the Middle East—taking obscure passages from both Testaments to confirm the worst suspicions of the modern Jewish community: Evangelicals are ostensibly anti-Semitic!
An example of these prolific convictions in print is taken from the beloved Harry A. Ironside’s Lectures on the Revelation, P. 249:
“First: The Antichrist must be a Jew, otherwise he would not be owned by Israel as their Messiah.
“Second: He is to rise up in the land of Palestine, not in Italy; in Jerusalem, not in Rome.
“Third: He is to be subject to, and in league with, the civil power; not dominating it, as the papacy did for centuries.
“Fourth: He is to be acknowledged by the mass of the Jews as their king and religious leader, and it is well-known that the Jews have never owed the pretensions of the popes.
“Fifth: He is to be the patron of Israel, whereas the Romish Church has ever been their persecutor.”
Indeed, Ironside embarrassingly appears anti-Semitic when he states on p. 244 of the same text:
“He (i.e., the False Prophet/Second Beast) is, you see, the viceregent of the first Beast; and this first Beast, whom the world recognizes as a god (in the sense, of course, in which it recognized the Caesars of old as gods), is the master whom he enriches with Jewish wealth.” (Emphasis DWK)
IF ANTICHRIST IS NOT JEWISH—THAN WHAT IS HE?
These same Premillenarian brethren completely overlook the Gentile-Roman character of Antichrist, seen in the proto-type of Antiochus Epiphanes (Daniel 7). They see no connection between the “younger” – Roman “horn” of Daniel 7:20 (which arose from the 10 horns) -- and the Greco character of that “younger horn” seen in Daniel 8:9-14 (“And out of one of them (the four horns of Alexander the Great’s Empire) came a “little horn” which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land,” etc.) and that horn’s connection to “the prince who is to come” of Daniel 9:26.
Thusly, the Antichrist in Daniel 7 is ROMAN and in Daniel 8 he is clearly GRECO—the leader of GRECO-ROMAN CIVILIZATION—or WESTERN CIVILIZATION.
THE PRINCE WHO IS TO COME—IS NOT TITUS OF ROME!
It was “the people of the prince” who destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. under the Roman General Titus; however, though Titus (WHO WAS NOT JEWISH) prefigured “the prince who is to come” – Titus was NOT that “prince.” The PEOPLE of the prince who is to come destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. The “prince” referred to in Daniel 9:26-27 is the prince who confirms (or enforces) “a covenant” (not THE Covenant (i.e., the “New Covenant”)—there is no “definite article ‘the’ in the Hebrew in front of “covenant”) with Israel at the commencement of the 70th Week of Daniel’s prophecy.
This is the “prince” (i.e., the Antichrist/Beast) who shall “break his covenant with Israel” in the middle of the week (this covenant is NOT the “everlasting covenant” for it is broken in such a brief time frame—the New Covenant has NO BREAKAGE—Israel of the flesh (those “blinded in part” according to Romans 11:7) rejected the initial presentation of the New Covenant but Christ’s offer stands firm!). Furthermore, all Jews and Gentiles who embrace Christ as Messiah and Savior today partake of the spiritual blessings of the New Covenant now! Israel’s future NATIONAL SALVATION (Zechariah 12:10; 14:8-9), initiates for National Israel her salvation and the affirmations of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and its spiritual blessings.
Furthermore, the “Gentile-Greco-Roman” character of Antichrist is substantiated in Daniel 11:40-45:
“At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him (Antichrist); and the king of the North shall come against him (Antichrist) like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he (Antichrist) shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. He (Antichrist) shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown . . . he (Antichrist) shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. He (Antichrist) shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. But news from the east and the north shall trouble him (Antichrist); therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. And he (Antichrist) shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him” (Note: This refers to Antichrist’s final defeat at the Second Advent).
All this to say that the passages in reference to Antichrist found in Daniel 7, Daniel 8, Daniel 9 and spoken of in Daniel chapters 10 through 12 (especially in reference to the Gog-Magog War quoted above) do not in any way, shape or form, depict this horrid creature of the end of days having anything whatsoever to do with being a Jew! However, Antichrist in every way, shape and form has everything to do with being a Gentile, the leader of the Western World—the Greco-Roman World of Western Civilization—the final manifestation, the YOUNGER HORN—which arose from the ten horns of both Daniel 7 and Revelation 13.
CHARLES DYER OF MOODY BIBLE INSTITUTE IS WRONG! THE USA WILL NOT FOLD ITS TENT AND STILL AWAY INTO OBLIVION!
Listen to Dyer's departure from brilliance and his outlandish attempts to circumvent Babylon on the Hudson:
"If Babylon (i.e., Dyer’s modern Iraq) will be destroyed in the end times, who will destroy it? The United States? Will Americans wipe out Iraq? (Note: His book was written in 1991 and revised in 2003.) Unfortunately, Isaiah does not give us any information specifically about the United States. But the United States is a major world power--how could it not play a major role in the last days?" (p. 139).
Dyer continues into geopolitical irrelevance . . .
"The Bible predicts a seven-year period of prophetic history before the second coming of Jesus Christ to the earth. God's prophetic clock will begin ticking when a world ruler, called in various places the prince, the Antichrist, or the Beast, makes a seven-year treaty with the nation of Israel (Daniel 9:27). In some way this treaty will seem to guarantee Israel's peace and safety and will provide an apparent solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict in the Middle East . . . this leader will arise from the remnants of the Roman Empire, probably Europe or the area of the Mediterranean basin (Note: The good 'ole USofA is somehow no longer found on Dyer's prophetical radar! Instead, Antichrist may come from Syria and, although Dyer does NOT state this concept, many other Pretribulational/Premillenarians clearly state that this Antichrist who hails from the Mediterranean basin (e.g., Syria) is Jewish.). He will control an empire of ten nations and will dominate the world through military power. But the peace with Israel will be shattered midway through the seven years. The leader will arrive in Israel, enter the temple (which will have been rebuilt by the Jews), and declare himself to be God. A statue of this man will be erected in the temple, and everyone will be ordered to bow down to the image" (p. 139).
But, ALAS! - Dyer discovers whatever happened to the ELEPHANT (i.e., the USA)!
"So where does the United States fit into the picture? It is clear from Scripture that the dominant political and military power will center around the Mediterranean and Europe--not the United States. By the end times, the United States will no longer be a major influence in the world. But how can this be, especially since we are playing such a major role in the Middle East today? First, it is possible that the United States is not mentioned in prophecy because we will become a second-class international power overnight (my emphasis) when God removes Christians from the earth (i.e., the Pre-Trib. Rapture), an event scheduled to occur just before the beginning of the seven-year period. True believers who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ will be taken to heaven before the Antichrist is revealed . . . today as many as half of all Americans claim to be 'born again,' or believers in Jesus Christ. If only one-fourth of that number have genuinely made a personal commitment to Christ, then over 28 million Americans will suddenly 'disappear' when God removes His church from the earth!" (p. 140-141).
Dyer (like all other Pre-Trib Rapturists) then goes on to justify his "rapture" through these unbelievable scenarios:
"The economic turmoil that followed the horrific attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon will pale in comparison to the political and economic collapse that will occur when our society suddenly loses individuals who were its 'salt and light.' America could not support an army in the Middle East because the military would be needed at home to control the chaos!" (p. 141) . . . and, he continues . . . "
"Second, it is possible that America could become a second-class society before the church is taken from the earth. Our country is now undergoing a time of unprecedented secularization. In the past, God has blessed America because it provided the ideal soil for His Word to take root and flourish. Our founding principles included freedom of religion, and religious revivals swept through the country during the nineteenth century. Missionaries from the United States took the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ into the remotest parts of the world, and with that good news came advances in agriculture, medicine, government, and morality, etc., etc. . . ."
Then Dyer gives two more possible reasons for America's demise:
"A third possible explanation of why the United States is not pictured in the end times is more sinister. If terrorists ever find a way to unleash chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons in our cities, the resulting chaos could force us into a period of decline. Before September 11, 2001, such a thought seemed highly unlikely. But now it is much easier to imagine how our nation could be frightened into abdicating our leading role on the state of world events. Fourth, perhaps we will suffer a military defeat or simply weaken in our national resolve. Financial crises at home could increase our isolationist tendencies . . . but anything less than victory in the current struggle against the twin threats of terrorism and Saddam Hussein will further weaken America's resolve and could force us to abdicate our role as a world leader" (pp. 142-143).
These fanciful scenarios of America's demise and the ascension of Eurocentric Dominance are so farfetched that the world must view them as "evangelical prophetic comic!" He is utterly, so it appears (and he is by no means alone in these ludicrous prognostications), totally ignorant of America's entrenched, economic hegemony throughout the earth. He neither understands the strength and resolve of American military power, nor the extension of Democratic Globalism to virtually every corner of the planet: SHE SITS ON SEVEN MOUNTAINS!
Babylon the Great is the final end-times’ Economic, Religious and Political Power--the greatest the earth has ever known. We sneeze and the world catches pneumonia. Our 15+ Aircraft Carriers (the USS George Bush Sr. is now under construction) take as much as ten years to build and billions of $'s to construct. The entire planet doesn't even have one of these floating fortresses! All Seven Continents are dominated by this colossus but Dyer, Van Impe, LaHaye, Lindsey--the lot of them--are tragically leading us away from the "testimony of Jesus" in the Last Days to an "escapism" that completely leaves the believing Church ill-prepared at best, and utterly deceived at worst!
GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TIME!
Dyer concludes his "masterpiece" (and, again, a lot of what he says is "right on" but man, when it's off, it's out of the park . . . and I quote him because he does express the fundamental conviction of scores of these well-meaning brethren who are allied with us in the Premillenarian struggle):
"Because Babylon will suffer a bloody defeat, Jeremiah calls on anyone who wishes to save his or her life to escape from Babylon: 'Flee from Babylon! Run for your lives!' (Jeremiah 51:6). The prophet Daniel lived in Babylon on the very night the city fell to Cyrus, and he was studying Jeremiah's prophecies (Daniel 9:1-2). Since Daniel did not flee that night, it seems likely that he understood this was not the night of Babylon's total and blood eradication. But when that time does come, all who can read and understand God's Word should flee from Babylon and Iraq as quickly as possible." (p. 151) (my emphasis).
In other words--if you're in Iraq (Dyer's "prophetic Babylon" of the last days) - you better get out fast--she's comin' down! If I or you were to "understand God's Word" in this manner--we could thank our lucky stars that there's at least enough sand in Iraq for every ostrich to stick its head!
THE "TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY"
After Babylon's full demise (Revelation 17 and 18) - the first "Hallelujahs" (i.e., "Alleluias") uttered in the New Testament are recorded (Revelation 19:1-6). Few know that the New Testament doesn't have one "Hallelujah" in it until Babylon is destroyed! Interesting? I think so--so the next time you shout out a "Hallelujah" think about Babylon's destruction! But that's not what I'm about to expound upon . . . it's the "testimony of Jesus" that concerns.
Revelation 19:10 - "And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony* (this "*" points to John 19:35 in the Spirit Filled Life Bible and references a "word study" of the Greek word for "testimony") of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."
The "Kingdom Dynamic" notes in the Spirit Filled Life Bible (Editor: Jack W. Hayford of Church on the Way in Los Angeles) has an excellent footnote here:
"(Revelation) 19:10: The Holy Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy, PROPHECY. The entire Bible is a product of the Holy Spirit, who is, not only 'the Spirit of truth' (John 16:13), but 'the spirit of prophesy' (derived from Greek preposition pro and verb phemi) means 'to speak forth before.' The preposition 'before' in this use may mean 1) 'in advance' and/or 2) 'in front of.' Thus, 'to prophesy' is a proper term to describe the proclamation of God's Word as it forecasts events. It may also describe the declaration of God's Word forthrightly, boldly, or confrontingly before a group or individual--telling forth God's truth and will. So, in both respects, the Bible is prophetic: a Book that reveals God's will through His Word and His works, as well as a Book that reveals God's plans and predictions . . . this text defines the witness or testimony of Jesus Himself as being synonymous with, or at the heart of, the spirit of prophecy. These words not only define Scripture; they also confine all utterances that claim to be true prophecy: Jesus Christ will be at the center of it all, as He is in the whole Bible. 1) The OT exists to reveal Christ (Luke 24:27; John 5:39; I Pet. 1:10-12); and 2) the NT is inspired by the Holy Spirit for the same purpose (John 14:26; 16:13-15)." (The Spirit Filled Life Bible, pp. 1987-88).
So from these notes by Jack Hayford, we are persuaded of the very essence of prophecy: Jesus Christ will be the center of it all!
Now--let's examine Jack's word study of the essence of the "testimony" given of Jesus Christ:
John 19:35: "And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe." (Note: This is the New King James Version, the original King James Version of the Bible translates the word as "record" instead of "testified" and translates the word "testimony" as "record" as well; to wit: "And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true . . . . ")
The Spirit Filled Life Bible's WORD WEALTH goes into the word "testimony" which John uses both in the Revelation as well as here in John 19:35:
"(Revelation) 19:35 testimony, marturia (mar-too-ree-ah): Strong's #3141: Compare 'martyr' Witness, historical attestation, evidence, judicial or general certification. The word describes a testimony based on what one has seen, heard, or knows. The English word 'martyr' comes from the Greek root, with the implication that a witness is willing to die for his belief" (p. 1612).
Now, for the "record"--I hasten to add--that the use of the intense word "martyr" or "record" is used by John in the Gospel as follows: John 1:19, 32, 34; 8:13 (twice); 8:14 (twice); 12:17; 19:35 (twice) - he uses it again in his First Epistle: I John 5:7, 10, 11 and in his Third Epistle: III John 12 (twice) and again in Revelation 1:2 (in all cases the KJV translate these two Greek words by taking the “stem” from the word "martyr" as "record."
The word is translated in the KJV as "testified," "testifieth," "testify," and "testimony" in the follow: John 4:39; 4:44; 13:21; I John 5:9; III John 3; John 3:32; John 21:24; Revelation 22:20; John 2:25; 3:11; 5:39; 7:7; 15:26; I John 4:14; Revelation 22:16; and 22:18; and finally, the word "testimony" is used in John 3:32, 33, 34; 8:17; 21:24; Revelation 1:2, 9; 6:9; 11:7; 12:11; 12:17; and 19:10 (twice).
I go into detail here, and although Paul and others use this Greek word, its use by John is most extensive. Now, what I'm leading up to is the "general thrust" of why the Holy Spirit uses this word throughout John's Revelation. The commencement of the Revelation of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:2 KJV) states: "Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw." Immediately, we are alerted to the intensity of the "testimony of Jesus Christ" and what this Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ is all about.
Again, John declares in Revelation 1:9: "I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ" (KJV).
Here, the association of "tribulation" and "testimony" is clearly made. John had suffered, was in "tribulation" because of the "testimony of Jesus Christ." Now, the association of such "tribulation" and "testimony" becomes much clearer as we read through the Revelation:
Revelation 6:9: "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held." Who are these "souls?" As one reads the remainder of Revelation 6 it is altogether apparent that they are the initial martyrs who have preceded the "tribulation saints" - to wit: "And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellow servants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled" (Revelation 6:11).
Again, the stress upon this "to die for" testimony is directly associated with such martyrdom and suffering of God's people--i.e., "fellow servants" and "their brethren, that should be killed as they were." It is utterly inescapable that the "testimony of Jesus" can be separated from such an utter sacrifice and witness given by God's people during the Seventieth Week of Daniel and, for that matter, the entire history of the Church--THAT'S THE KIND OF TESTIMONY to which John alludes.
ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH IN THE TRIBULATION—CORPORATE WITNESS
As you know, in our new release, UNSEALING THE END OF DAYS, we expound upon the "corporate witness" of both Israel (the "Two Olive Trees") and the Church (the "Two Lampstands") of Revelation 11. Listen to the use of the martyrs' corporate call:
"And when they (i.e., the Two Prophets, the Two Witnesses, the Two Olive Trees/Lampstands-Rev. 11:4) have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, shall overcome them and kill them . . . and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city . . . “ (Revelation 11:7-8a).
Once again the use of this Greek word carries forth John's emphasis during this most critical period of human history; and, again, it is their "testimony" which leads to the Beast's "war against the saints" and their "open persecution" for 42 months (Rev. 11:2b; 13:5-7) or for 3 1/2 days (i.e., "three-and-one-half years" - the 2nd half of the 70th Week of Daniel's prophecy - Revelation 11:8-12) (Note: The Greek word for “bodies” (Strong’s 4430) is the same word for “corpse” and designates the “corporate” nature of the testimony of the Two Witnesses.)
In Revelation 12:11-12, verses often quoted by "deeper life" brethren: "And they overcame him (i.e. ""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") . . . by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death . . . therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."
It is impossible here to disassociate this type of "testimony" from martyrdom and tribulation and of the one who shall make "war upon them" (Revelation 11:7). Indeed, it is the very essence of such a "testimony" which is again and again stressed by the Apostle John!
JOHN IS A TYPE OF EVERY BELIEVER WHO MUST PROPHESY – ISRAEL AND THE CHURCH—THEIR CORPORATE WITNESS IN THE TRIBULATION
It is here that I wish to stress a most significant discovery. Prior to John's writing down of the revelations encapsulated within the SEVEN THUNDERS of Revelation 10 and prior to the final judgments which shall descend upon that Great City and the inhabitants of the earth, we read a most remarkable account.
In Revelation 10:8-11 John is told to take the "little book" in the hand of the Mighty Angel and to eat it, not to write down what the Seven Thunders have uttered, but to "eat the little book/scroll." This is amazing--then he is told: "And he said unto me, Thou must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings" (Rev. 10:11). God's final pronouncements of judgments will be committed to personal (Revelation 10) and corporate (Revelation 11) prophetic utterance--if you would: TESTIMONY! Immediately following John's "personal" prophetic commitment--the "corporate commitment" and ultimately recognized "testimony" of the Two Witnesses is given in Revelation 11. The unmistakable connectivity between the prophecy in Revelation 10 and the one given in Revelation 11 is solid! The plan and purpose of the Almighty is for John (personal testimony) and the Two Prophets (corporate testimony) to be given!
Next, in Revelation 12:17 it is abundantly clear that the Dragon is incensed, and:
"The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."
Notwithstanding the Seventh-Day Adventists who claim this verse refers to them--it is, once again, connected with the Two Witnesses (Israel and the Church) for it clearly alludes to those who "keep the commandments of God" and "have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17b). Yes, the same ones referred to in Revelation 14:12: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” They are the same ones referred to in Revelation 15:2-3; to wit: "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they ‘sing the song of Moses’ the servant of God, and ‘the song of the Lamb’ . . . " Again: Israel and the Church!
Unfortunately, our Pretribulational brethren do NOT see the Church between Revelation 4 through 18 (she, having been raptured to the heaven and, consequently, the USA, having more Christians in it, is relegated to geo-political irrelevance through that “pre-mature ascension”); consequently, the most significant participation of the Body of Christ, wherein she is called upon by the Head of the Church to give the TESTIMONY OF JESUS through sacrificial witness and prophetic utterance (i.e., “prophesy”), is utterly obscured and replaced by Israel’s purification and singular witness!
The CORPORATE WITNESS has been given--the price has been paid. Those mentioned in Revelation 15:2-5 are the OVERCOMERS OF THE BEAST and his system and all his deception! These are the ones who have OVERCOME by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their TESTIMONY and who did not love their soul-lives unto the death! (Revelation 12:11).
Finally in Revelation 19:10 it is blatantly clear that those who have so overcome, and have paid such an horrible price to give such a testimony are those who are counted worthy to participate in the "Marriage Supper of the Lamb." I am not saying that only those martyred for Christ shall participate in such a "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" (for John the Beloved met his Lord through natural causes) but he, John, held to such a "testimony" and if it meant the ultimate sacrifice--he was ready to extend himself for his Lord and Savior!
COME OUT OF HER MY PEOPLE THAT YE BE NOT PARTAKER OF HER PLAGUES AND SINS - Rev. 18:4—IS NOT ESCAPISM!
Thus, from commencement (Rev. 1:2) to conclusion (Rev. 19:10) the "testimony of Jesus" takes preeminence! The overarching emphasis to the churches of Asia and to the Church and Prophetic Israel is straightforward: PROPHESY, TESTIFY, WITNESS, BEAR RECORD, SPEAK FORTH THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS!
I hasten to add that the Two Witnesses suffered in the "street of the Great City" which is called "Sodom and Egypt" where our Lord was crucified. It was NOT in Jerusalem--no matter how apostate she became, she was NEVER called "Sodom and Egypt." The Great City is most definitely such a place! And, it is that "Great City" "spiritually called 'Sodom and Egypt' which confronts the Holy City that shall be trodden underfoot for 42 months! And, if you will carefully note: THE TYPE OF TESTIMONY COMMITTED TO THE CHURCH AND TO ISRAEL IS NOT ONE OF FEAR AND ESCAPISM OF ANY SORT!
Just as Israel’s miraculous regathering at the close of this age bears witness to the covenantal promises of the Almighty, and ipso facto, to Israel’s physicality, even so, the Church’s “in-the-street-of-the-Great-City Testimony” gives prophetic testimony to the physicality of her testimony to Christ! STAND AND DELIVER is the clarion call of the Angel to John: "THOU MUST PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES, AND KINGS."
The above is not some obscure "parenthetical" happening on John's part. They who conveniently ascribe huge portions of the mid-sections of the Revelation to such "parenthetical" disposition because it does not fit into their eschatological schemes or does not "advance the chronological record," simply do not see or refuse to contemplate the essence of the type of TESTIMONY that the Church is challenged to give in its most critical hour!
We simply cannot interpret Revelation 18:4 as a call for believers to escape such a TESTIMONY - Babylon's demise and destruction is something orchestrated by the Wrath of Lamb and God has NOT appointed us to such wrath but to salvation. The Hebrew deliverance from Egypt was "divinely wrought" - not humanly contrived and orchestrated.
Likewise, with all Daniel's insights into Jeremiah and Isaiah and Ezekiel—he, nevertheless, when the first remnant returned to Jerusalem (the Jerusalem he turned to three times daily and prayed)--DID NOT RETURN! Instead at 85 years of age he wrote Daniel 10, 11 and 12! It was this final vision wherein he saw the demise of the Gentile World Powers, the Vision of the Glorious Man, the Son of Man, the Ancient of Days, the Throne Room of God, the allusions to the Gog Magog War of the Last Days, the demise of Antichrist, and Time of Jacob's Trouble, as well as the ultimate victory of the "saints" over all the forces of darkness! In other words: Daniel—STOOD AND DELIVERED!
Oddly or significantly enough, Daniel's final vision took place some 35 miles north of ancient Babylon which would place him at 85 years of age near Baghdad (i.e., Hiddekel, in Heb.)! Interesting, isn't it?
PRETERIST – HANK HANEGRAAFF AFFIRMS PROPHECY ENDED IN 70 A.D.
Finally, Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man of no uncertain fame (originally born in Denmark) has finally come out of the closet and proclaimed himself (de facto) a Euroreformist-Preterist Eschatology—affirming that virtually all Bible prophecy concluded in the year 70 A.D.
Hanegraaff is not alone in his Euro-Reformist mindset. A Preterist (i.e., an eschatology which affirms that Bible prophecy ended in 70 A.D.), by the name of Richard Abanes (Abanes has written a highly critical book against pre-millennialism (End-Time Visions: The Road to Armageddon? - Nashville; Broadman and Holman), who says that some people who he terms as "historic pre-millennialists" differ only slightly from pre-tribulationists who believe that Christians will be rescued from the 70th Week of Daniel's prophecy. Instead, these "post-tribulationists" have led some people, according to Abanes, "to form survivalist sects and retreat to isolated regions of America with large quantities of food and weapons." Abanes and others go on to identify these "tribulationists" as part of "identity." (p. 83).
Abanes, and many like him, believe that the King is Now (and so is His Kingdom), and are, in the main, seriously involved in an eschatology which disinherits Israel (i.e., "Replacement Theology") and affirms the "Reformist, Covenantal, Christian Reconstructionism, Theocratic State" position. You'd be surprised who is involved in these forms of “Triumphal Christianity”--including the likes of James D. Kennedy and R. C. Sprowl.
Abanes rightly observes that "certain Christians" who adhere to post-tribulationalism, but who do not understand nor wish to confront the Gentile World Powers as the "testimony of Jesus" strongly affirms--have confirmed Abanes worst suspicions and have "left Babylon's immediate environs" to, at best, "live to fight another day," or at worst, "flagrantly resist" the emphasis upon "testimony" in the book of Revelation and the other writings of John--i.e., they do great injustice to the "testimony of Jesus" which is the "spirit of prophecy" (i.e., a "mind to suffer" on His behalf), and they do great disservice to myriads of brethren suffering for the cause of Christ throughout the world, as they escape to their remote hideouts under the guise of “strategy”—these post-tribulationists claim they have left Babylon and thereby have embraced the Testimony of Jesus; if so, I do not know what “Jesus” they follow!
SURVIVALISM IS NOT TESTIMONY
"Survivalism" is not "testimony" - no more than Abanes' Kingdom Now, is the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ! The Church, as Israel's current physicality attests, cannot run, nor can she hide from the Beast from the Abyss, no more than moving to Ft. St. John, British Columbia, Canada can protect me and my family from Babylon the Great. Can moving from Cleveland to Ruby Ridge protect me from the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the earth or from Babylon on the Hudson?
God abundantly bless you and your family as you seek to be "well pleasing in His sight!" We're together in this final conflict of the ages--and our calling is sure, for the TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.