Monday, June 29, 2020

Revelation Day 28


Isn’t the millennium exactly 1,000 years because when “years” is used with a number in the New Testament, it always meant literal years?

Day 28

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 29, 2020

This oft-used argument falls short when used of other words elsewhere in the New Testament. If one word’s meaning as strictly used in the New Testament is grounds for interpreting it in the book of Revelation, a highly metaphorical book, then the “beast” in Revelation must be an animal, as “beast” in all other places in the New Testament was a literal animal! Such interpretations can lead to absurdity.     

Next, the rest of the New Testament isn’t written in the style of a prophetic work like many Old Testament books are. So Old Testament uses of 1,000 and how it is used, especially in metaphorical language, should not be neglected (or off-limits). Instances where a thousand is not meant to be a literal number but a great and vast amount in the Old Testament are: Deuteronomy 1:9-11; Deuteronomy 7:9; Job 9:1-3; Psalm 50:10, 68:17, 84:10, 91:7, and 105:8. A 1,000 meant a lot!

Even in modern times, people have used 1,000 for a long, indefinite period of time. Adolf Hitler and the Nazi’s in the A.D. 1930s, whose atheistic and evolutionary ideas spawned WWII, often purported that their Third Reich would last a “thousand years”, which they clearly believed it would last far longer than that literal number. Of course, World War II with Allied forces of the UK, Soviet Union, United States, and many others lead to their downfall much quicker than they anticipated.

Read Revelation 20:1-10 twice and meditate on it.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Revelation Day 27


But aren’t we still waiting for the promise of Abraham’s descendants to be as the stars, dust of the ground, and sand on the seashore—a future eschatological event?

Day 27

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 28, 2020

Abraham was given a beautiful promise to which he never lived to see fulfilled. In Genesis 13:16, 15:5, and 22:17, he was told that his descendants would be as numerous as the “dust of the earth”, “sand on the seashore”, or as the “stars in heaven” if he could count them. This was reiterated to Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, in Genesis 26:4, 28:14, and 32:12. 

Yet so few realized that this was fulfilled quickly as God gave the increase (Deuteronomy 1:10, 10:22, Joshua 11:4, 1 Samuel 13:5, 1 Kings 4:20, Psalm 139:18Isaiah 10:22, and Hebrews 11:12).

In Deuteronomy 28:62, it was prophesied through Moses that though they would reach this metaphorical number, they would be reduced to a remnant (Isaiah 48:18-19 with Romans 9:27).

And all of this came true. God is the one responsible for multiplying Abraham’s descendants and this exceeding increase came to Israel. And the Egyptians recognized this and wanted to do something about this population explosion occurring with the Israelites—hence enslaving them and trying to kill their baby boys in an effort to control them!

But the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, multiplied and grew exceedingly mighty; and the land was filled with them. (Exodus 1:7)

But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And they were in dread of the children of Israel. (Exodus 1:12)

Therefore God dealt well with the midwives, and the people multiplied and grew very mighty. (Exodus 1:20)

Now is this increase a problem? No. It is not a problem for an all-powerful God to make the promise and keep it. There is no problem for God to make the Israelites as numerous as He promised. It would only be a problem if God hadn’t kept his promise, but that did not occur.  

This would only be a problem if we allege that God had no part and that the increase of Israelites could only be done by human means. That is, by naturalistic means. But this population growth is no problem whatsoever for God as the promise was fulfilled. After the Exodus, the Lord comments (see also Numbers 23:10 and Hosea 1:10): 

The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you are today, as the stars of heaven in multitude (Deuteronomy 1:10). 

The book of Hebrews relates:

Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude — innumerable as the sand, which is by the seashore. (Hebrews 11:12)

God’s promises to the house of Israel came to pass and were fulfilled (Joshua 21:44-45). Abraham’s spiritual descendants continue to grow as well (Galatians 3:29). As it is, Abraham is to be the heir of the world (Romans 4:13).


Friday, June 26, 2020

Revelation Day 26


What are the 7 seals, 7 trumpets and 7 angels with the 7 plagues and 7 bowls of wrath?

Day 26

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 26, 2020

Revelation, which is written with a high prophetic style of literature with images and metaphors, uses the number 7 extensively. Hopefully, this “Chart of Sevens” with biblical references helps clarify the meaning behind some of this imagery.


What?
Clarifying comments
Reference
1
7 Churches
Churches to whom Revelation is written
2
7 Lampstands
The 7 Churches
3
7 Stars
Messengers/Angels of the 7 Churches (Ministers of the Gospel)

4
7 Spirits of God
The Holy Spirit [Representative of the 7 characteristics attributed to the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 11:2—Spirit of the Lord (1), wisdom (2), understanding (3), counsel (4), might (5), knowledge (6), and fear of the Lord (7)]
5
7 Flames in the Lampstands
7 Spirits of God
6
7 Seals
Revealing of information that John could see and hear
Revelation 5:1, 5:5[1]; see also the individual seals as they were opened: 6:1-17, 8:1-2
7
7 Horns
7 Spirits of God
8
7 Eyes
7 Spirits of God
9
7 Angels
Angels who are to enact the judgment of plagues and wrath
10
7 Trumpets
Trumpets often were sounded before battle/judgment
11
7 Thunders
7 voices of an angel that were sealed up and not for us know
12
7 Heads
The beast of 7 Hills/Mountains that the Harlot controls by the power of the Dragon/Satan
13
7 Diadems
7 Crowns/Kings of the Beast that the Dragon/Satan controls
14
7 Last Plagues
The last of the plagues on the Harlot that finally yielded smoke from God in the Temple and was in preparation of the bowls of wrath
15
7 Golden Bowls
Different forms of wrath against the Harlot and her land
Revelation 15:7, 16:1, 17:1, 21:9 see also the individual bowls: Revelation 16:2-17
16
7 Kings
7 Caesars of Rome—the beast—where 5 have already died and the 6th was currently in power (Nero), and a 7th will come only for a short time

Read Revelation 8:6-19:3 with these clarifiers in mind.  



[1] The seals are being broken, thus we are revealed what is behind the seals. In some cases, things were sealed up as in Daniel 8:26, 12:4, and Revelation 10:4 and the seal means it was not to be opened or revealed to us. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Revelation Day 25


Who is the lawless one/Man of Lawlessness (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9) and antichrist(s) (1 John 2:18-22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John 1:7)?

Day 25

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 18, 2020

Many equate the lawless one with “The Antichrist” (and even the beast of Revelation). Though, this is not without warrant as the man of lawlessness would be an antichrist by definition.

Antichrists

It was John that mentioned antichrist(s) exclusively (1 John 2:18-22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7). An antichrist is anyone who denies that Jesus is the Christ or that Christ has not come in the flesh; in their denial of the Son, they also deny the Father (1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3). According to John, the spirit of the antichrist was already in the world (1 John 4:3) in his day.

Many had reported to John that the antichrist was coming and John pointed out that it was the last hour and many antichrists had already come/appeared. Perhaps they had missed or overlooked them. So what we can learn is that there are many antichrists and perhaps one specific one is in mind in this passage. So, the man of sin was an antichrist with little doubt.

Man of Lawlessness/Man of Sin

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, Paul points out that the “man of sin” or “lawless one” was being restrained, would be revealed, would fall away, and be destroyed.  It was clearly a man living at the time of Paul’s writing (vs. 6-7) and the coming of the Lord (in judgment which happened in A.D. 70)[1] would not occur until these things Paul penned had come to pass. This limits the man of lawlessness to a timeframe prior to A.D. 70.

But let’s consider the very basis of the name: “lawless” one. Who was the only person in the known world at the time of Paul’s writing to the Thessalonians who was not bound to any law? It was the emperor of Rome (i.e., the beast of Revelation). Such a ruler was the law, or more appropriately, above the law and acted as such. Of course, this is inherently a rebellion against God and His Law (1 Timothy 1:9-11). But this makes the emperor a man of sin, since he opposed the law of God.

The identity of the man of lawlessness would be another name for that of Nero Caesar (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus) who reigned from A.D. 54-68 to be precise, whose actions were actually quite favorable to Christians initially. Paul even appealed to Caesar in Rome, to which, he was acquitted (beginning in Acts 25:11) by Nero. Even Christians were in Nero’s own household (Philippians 4:22).

There was a change in Nero, where his rage turned against Christians in A.D. 64. He blamed them for burning Rome, though it was likely set by Nero himself, as attested to by several including Tacitus, a senator and historian of Rome. Keep in mind that the mind of an unbeliever is blinded and not able to discern a proper understanding of biblical things (e.g., John 12:40, Romans 1:18-28, Romans 11:7-25, 2 Corinthians 3:7-16, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 4:17-19, Titus 1:15-16, 2 Timothy 2:23-26).

Paul was again imprisoned and ultimately killed by Nero in A.D. 68 by being beheaded as afforded from testimony such as early Christian historian Eusebius.[2] After killing Peter and Paul and many other Christians in violent and unspeakable ways, this set the stage for both Roman persecution of the church and unleashed the Jewish persecution to be unrestrained by Rome as well. He was permitted to do this for 42 months (Revelation 13:5). Nero committed suicide later in A.D. 68 (after Paul was killed) after three and half years (interestingly, this is 42 months) of intense blasphemies and persecution; and so he was destroyed.

Nero was in the world at the time, being restrained, revealed, fell away, and was destroyed. Nero’s comparison with the description of the man of lawlessness is striking.



[1] Note the recipients of the letter knew that the coming of the Lord was not the end of the world/last day for they were already distressed that the coming had already taken place! And clearly, the world hadn’t ended. It is in the context of judgment as many other “comings” of the Lord. 
[2] Eusebius, Hist, Eccles. lib. ii. cap. 25

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Revelation Day 24


What about the mark on the forehead or right hand (Revelation 14:9)?

Day 24

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 17, 2020

There were a number of places where marks and signs appear on the forehead/frontlets and/or the hand in Scripture. Please see Exodus 13:9-16, Deuteronomy 6:6-8, and Ezekiel 9:4-6. Deuteronomy 11:18 says,

"Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.(NKJV)

Marks were to distinguish someone as either a believer or a non-believer by their actions. For example in 1 John 3:12, discussing Cain, it says he belonged to the wicked or evil one and his actions reveal murder (John 8:44) and Cain was given a mark in Genesis 4:15.

Whereas in Deuteronomy and Exodus, the sign was for those who were godly. Perhaps the mark was significant, in that it represented both thoughts (forehead) and actions (hand) as in Job 10:12-14 where Job would receive a mark if his actions were sinful toward the Lord. For the thoughts and actions (i.e., the fruit they produce) of someone reveal to whom they belong (Matthew 7:20).

Bear in mind that some of these marks were not physical marks. Instead, it was like taking a mental note. As a practical example, if someone in your congregation is sinning and refuses to be corrected, then believers often make a mental note of that person and avoid them (e.g., Romans 16:17, 2 Thessalonians 3:14, etc.). In other words, this person was "marked". Of course there are those who are "marked" and noted in a good sense too (e.g., Romans 16:7)

With this in mind now read Revelation 17:5 coupled with Jeremiah 3:3. The harlot was clearly not after the heart of God. Furthermore, these marks didn’t necessarily mean something physical.  


Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Revelation Day 23


Who is the beast? And whose number is 666? 

Day 23

B. Hodge, Biblical Authority Ministries, June 16, 2020

Read Daniel 7.

The four beasts are empires as Daniel pointed out. As history unfolded, they were:

1.     Babylonian Empire
2.     Media-Persian Empire
3.     Greek Empire
4.     Roman Empire

The first beast was Babylon with which Daniel was currently familiar and living during.Then he point out that the second beast is of Media and Persia (Daniel 8:20). The third beast is Greece and the horn between the eye of that third beast was its first King and then Greece would break into four kingdoms after this king (Daniel 8:21-22). True to the prophecy, Alexander the Great conquered and rose in power to form the Grecian Empire. Due to his early death, the Greek Empire broke into four parts (1) Seleucid Asia, (2) Ptolemaic Egypt, (3) Lysimachus Thrace, and (4) Macedonia-Greece), none with power that Alexander had. 

The fourth beast encompassed them all. The beast during the writing of the book of John is the Roman Empire (the fourth beast of Daniel, Daniel 7:23). Christ lived under this beast and the Jews swore allegiance to the beast over the Kings of Kings, Jesus Christ (John 19:12-15).  The Empire of Rome devoured all these other kingdoms and though we know its provinces, Rome's power extended far beyond by controlling trade to India and China. Even unconquered lands like Scotland and Germany were influenced by Rome to such a degree that the Latin alphabet of Rome still dominates their lands today. Interestingly, even the Romans were familiar with the Americas about 2,000 years ago after a Roman shipwreck in Nova Scotia, Canada was discovered, among other Roman relics being found in pre-colonial archaeological digs.  

So Rome is without a doubt, the beast in question. See also: Revelation 17:7-10; 13:1-7, 13:18. But individually, the head/king of the empire is also the specific beast in charge (Daniel 7:17). At the time, this is Nero, the first major Roman persecutor of the Christians after the resurrection and in vicious ways no less (more on this in a moment). Revelation 17:9-10:

"Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits." There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. (NKJV)

Roman Emperors:

1.     Julius Caesar 48 B.C. – 44 B.C. (murdered by Senators, the name Caesar is the standard name given to subsequent emperors[1])
2.     Augustus 31 B.C. – A.D. 14
3.     Tiberius A.D. 14-37
4.     Caligula Gaius A.D. 37-41
5.     Claudius A.D. 41-54
6.     Nero (arguably led the most viscous persecution/tribulation to the church ever with Peter and Paul even being executed) A.D. 54-68
7.     Galba (short reign of only 6 months) A.D. 68-69
8.     Otho A.D. 69
9.     Vitellius A.D. 69
10.  Vespian A.D. 69-79
11.  Titus A.D. 79-81
12.  Domitian A.D. 81-96

Nero was the sixth emperor (five had fallen before him) and the emperor that came after him reigned only a short time.[2] At the time of the apostles, who would wage a war against Rome (Revelation 13:4)? It would be almost ludicrous. The only one capable of war against Rome is God. And yet, there was severe persecution by Nero (Rome) and the Jews (Israel) on Christians, who are the very "sons of God" (Galatians 3:26).

Revelation 17:7-9 point out that that the beast being ridden by the harlot sits on seven hills/mountains (Remember the Jews of Jerusalem with the High Priest said to Christ Himself that they were aligned with the head of the beast, Caesar—John 19:15). Rome is the only famed city of antiquity that sits on seven hills. The Roman Empire was that beast.

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (NKJV, Revelation 13:18)

In ancient times, it was common that letters were assigned a numerical value. Some people would even go by their number such as Octavius (which means 8th) as their name. Regarding 666, Neron Caesar (Hebrew spelling and popularly attested to in archaeology) is the one specified.  Jastrow’s Lexicon of the Talmud: Nrwn Qsr (Neron Caesar) = 666 (n=50; r=200, w=6, n=50, q=100, s=60, r=200) affirms this addition. 

This is a human number since it pertains to a man, the head of the beast and the persona of the beast at the time. Even money bore his image that you used to buy and sell things.

Nero is the lawless one (no authority over him and he could do what he wanted) and initially was being held back (even Paul appealed to him and Nero set him free the first time, Paul’s allusion to one of his releases is in 2 Timothy 4:14-17; see also Revelation 13:2) and had Christians in his own household (Philippians 4:22) but after some time he turned on Christians even killing Paul and Peter and did unspeakable crimes against Christians when he was no longer held back.  

Rome was that fourth beast and Nero, the head of the beast, is a striking fit—they were persecuting the saints terribly (Daniel 7:21-22, 7:25). But it does call for wisdom to understand. 

Read Revelation 13 



[1] The name Caesar also became the name of kings after this including variation such as Kaisers, Tsar, Cisar, Kesar, etc.)
[2] If someone argues that you can’t begin with Julius Caesar as the first emperor of Rome, the date is still prior to A.D. 7-0 as four emperors reigned in A.D. 69. 

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