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A big disappointment occurred earlier this year. It was the report that the U.S economy suffered a huge negative setback in the first quarter of 2014.
We come to the last edition of this 3-part series. In the first part, we briefly highlighted the concepts of assets and wealth on the earth today.

We concluded that mankind has come a long way in magnifying worldly riches and setting up sophisticated, global systems of money and wealth. In the second part, we briefly explored the rarified world of big money and the super-wealthy. The extreme stratification of wealth seen worldwide today, we concluded, is in alignment with conditions prophesied by the Bible.

At this point in human history, we identify a massive, hyper-intensive system of commercialism … perhaps at the very apex of perversion, materialism, humanism and idolatry. The entire globe is subsumed and captured by a net of financialization and monetary systems—in other words, globalism and globalization. And from within this late-stage state, a small group of ultra-rich people has emerged. Seen worldwide, wealth distribution today (taken in all of its forms and guises) may be the most uneven and extreme ever in history.

There have been various responses to this emergent state of affairs in recent decades. For one, anti-Semitism has soared. Crucially, this has been a global phenomenon as never before. For example, the world’s financial ailments (globalization and uneven wealth distribution) are alleged to be the result of the schemings of the Jews.

money trap2One other reaction of many to the global commercial colossus, however, must be acknowledged. Christianity itself and countless Christians are being lured and deceived by its earthly perspectives and have become trapped. Many churches have become quite comfortable in the cozy embrace of worldly wealth and affluence; and some even believe that the world’s wealth will be given for the church’s disposal, so to take over the economic structure of the world.

Just what will happen to the world’s pumped-up edifice of paper wealth? What does the Bible foretell for its elites? Who will be the beneficiary of the “wealth of the wicked” (Proverbs 13:22)? The Bible provides the answers and gives us specific information about these outcomes.

Worldwide Wealth Collapse
What happens to the fabricated façade of the world’s wealth? A portion of it will collapse and disappear. However, we must note that the Bible speaks of different kinds of wealth. Some of it will survive and is mentioned to play a role in the Millennial period (as we will show). Another type will completely disappear, never to reappear again.

Anyone surveying the course of the world’s debt-based financial systems today, will no doubt conclude that a massive collapse of the world’s financial system is inevitable at some point. No one can know exactly when this will happen. Mankind’s greed and selfish indiscipline alone assures that this will occur.

According to the Bible, we learn that a colossal destruction of the world’s economic systems will take place, likely in the latter half of the 7-year tribulation period.

Scripture clearly states that a time of wrath will come where God says that He will bring down the pride of mankind. However, as part of this unfolding, there are possibly as many as six different judgments involving collapses or wealth overturns, all of them yet to occur in the future.

Isaiah sheds light on some of the different manifestations of the “day of the Lord” (referring to the Tribulation period, or possibly just the second half of this period). “The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled), for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty, and all the oaks of Bashan, for all the towering mountains and all the high hills, for every lofty tower and every fortified wall, for every trading ship and every stately vessel. The arrogance of man will be brought low and the pride of men humbled; the LORD alone will be exalted in that day, and the idols will totally disappear” (Isaiah 2:12-18).

Here we see that economies will be brought low (symbolized by trees … cedars and oaks), trading systems (ships) as well as individual nation states greater or lesser (mountains and hills). A number of collapses are yet to take place inside this “day of the Lord.” Here, in no particular order, are these separate judgments (or wealth turnovers) that all lie ahead for Israel and the world. We count at least five of these that are pre-millennial, and one that takes place thereafter.

1. Wrath upon Israel/Jerusalem. Jerusalem is overcome while the remnant escapes into the wilderness. While Israel may be a rather tranquil area of the world (in a relative sense) in the first half of the Tribulation, following a covenant with the Antichrist, anyone hoping to remain unscathed and safe from loss in the second half will be disappointed. When the Antichrist breaks the terms of his covenant with Israel (this to occur in the middle of the 7-year tribulation period, according to a number of scholars), Jerusalem faces destruction and Israel flees.

2. Wrath upon All Mankind. This category includes judgments on individual nations, as well as globalism itself. Ultimately, this is completed at Armageddon and in a short period of time thereafter. Not only does God “consume the whole earth” (Zephaniah 3:8), but Israel also plays a role in exacting judgment upon the nations and peoples that have persecuted her (Micah 4:13; Jeremiah 30:11).

3. Wrath upon the Great Whore. Revelation 17 reveals that Mystery Babylon, the Mother of Prostitutes, will be burned by fire. Whatever wealth this religious entity represented, as part of the grand ecumenical movement of religion and money, she will come to naught. “They [the 10 kings] will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16).

4 & 5. Wrath and Judgment upon Mammon/ Commercialism. It is not generally well understood that the judgments upon commercialism and the manmade pride that derives from these “Babel-like” systems, take more than one form. Firstly, consider that there may be several stages in the collapse of Babylon the Great.
Also, Ezekiel mentions that a re-emergence of Tyre (or a type of Tyre) will occur at some point. Tyre was the center of a global trade system in the ancient world (600 to 500 BC), and can be seen to foreshadow a globalized trade system (globalization) of the last days. It was ultimately destroyed by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.

Ezekiel says that Tyre “[…] will return to her lucrative prostitution and will ply her trade with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth” (Isaiah 23:17). How this fate connects with the judgments of Babylon the Great is not entirely clear. There seem to be different judgments upon Mammon/Commercialism.

For example, in the case of Babylon the Great, its wealth is “[…] never to be found again” (Revelation 18:21); while that of revived Tyre is only never to be hoarded again, but is to “go to those who live before the LORD” (Isaiah 23:18). The Psalmist also refers to this event, “The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor” (Psalm 45:12). These are different results, and therefore must refer to more than one judgment.

It appears to be separated into at least three judgments or events. We note that “death, mourning and famine” will overtake her in one day (Revelation 18:8). This is mentioned only once. Yet, sudden collapses and destruction of wealth are said to occur in “one hour” three separate times. Each of these involve three different groups of people (Revelation 18:10, 17, 19). While all of these three depictions could very well refer to the same event, the fact remains that these takes place in one hour, while the overall process of destruction of Babylon the Great takes place over a day. This suggests that the downfall cannot be reconciled in one event, but rather multiple events—perhaps as many as three.

At the end of all these wealth overturns mentioned to this point, there is one more great and final wealth overturn that occurs at the start of the Millennium period and thereafter. It is the great wealth transfer to Israel. While Israel and Jerusalem are raided and sacked in the Tribulation period, in the end all and much more is returned to her.

Much of the world’s riches that are not destroyed in the Tribulation period flow to Zion. Even here there are at least two types of flows: 1. That which apparently is seized as part of the “threshing” of the nations that rise against Israel. These are “ill-gotten gains” of the nations (Micah 4:13, translated as “illicit” profits) that go before the Lord. 2. Other flows to Israel are more a type of tribute, resulting from Israel’s dealings with the rest of the world. For example, “Then you will look and be radiant, your heart will throb and swell with joy; the wealth on the seas will be brought to you, to you the riches of the nations will come” (Isaiah 60:5). (See also Isaiah 60:11; 61:6; 66:12; Zechariah 14:14.)

What Happens to the Elites?
A popular pastime in some circles is to document the transgressions of the world’s rich people and to condemn them. There seems to be a countless number of bloggers and newsletter writers that track the activities of the rich and their supposedly evil schemes. According to some of these observers, rich elites (whether organized or individual, Jew or Gentile) are conspiring to take over the world. They are seen to be diabolically evil—a brotherhood of demon-inspired conspirators who have sold their souls to the devil.

Perhaps some people fit the description. However, our view of conspiracy theories is that they are mostly a waste of time for the Christian. Yes, there is a group that calls itself the Bilderbergers, and there may be an Illuminati; there definitely are conspiracies of many types. Then, what should be the response of the Christian? Condemnation … taking upon us the assignment of tracking their every move; reporting publically their every sin; organizing political activism against such purported people?

Every human being has the same potential to sin. We are all sinners; all of us naturally give priority to our own interests (rather than loving our neighbors as ourselves); have the same vulnerability to lusts and idols; and all have the same inventiveness in justifying our actions. Rich people are no different as humans. They will face the judgment seat as everyone else. All sins are sin. Then why single out only one particular caricature of a sinner? Why not all other sinners? The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The so-called “elites” of the last-day world, have no special privileges seen from the perspective of eternity. Long ago, long before the vast commercialization of mankind, this was already observed by the Psalmist: “Do not be overawed when others grow rich, when the splendor of their houses increases; for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendor will not descend with them” (Psalm 49:16-17).

When the judgments of the Tribulation period come and wealth hoards are destroyed, elites are not omitted from this outcome. “They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out” (Revelation 18:19). Inhospitable conditions apply to everyone. There is no exception for the elites. “Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains” (Revelation 6:15). And when the False Prophet arrives on the scene and puts in place controls on “buying and selling,” it applies to everyone. The beast […] forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads” (Revelation 13:16). The elites of the world are just as deceived and deluded as anyone else. As the Bible lays out, the challenges of wealth have existed from time immemorial, and the basic human underpinnings of conspiracies in essence are no different today. What is different is that in our time we face globalized dimensions of these conditions.

Church Poor and Rich
The Bible has a strange interpretation of who is truly rich and who is not. At least, that would be the opinion of most people living in our presently humanistic age, whether Christian or not. Christ pointed to the importance of true riches for His followers and the Church, saying: “So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:11-12).

judah2Yet, a large swathe of churches today stage the attractiveness of Christianity in terms of the pursuit of prosperity. In this view, practical Christianity must produce earthly rewards and worldly affluence. The problem with this view is that it is not Biblical. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any hint of this principle. Not one of the disciples ended up a wealthy man, with the possible exception of Judas. His fate is well known.

Instead, the New Testament shows Christians to be persecuted. Here is just one substantiation: “For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession” (Hebrews 10:34).

However, it would not be a surprise that Christianity would be attracted by the great worldly wealth explosion of the last days. Its lures are powerful. Apostle John reveals that the last of the seven churches mention in Revelation is the one that is lukewarm, and fixated with wealth: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

Nonetheless, some movements believe that the wealth of the world—the “wealth of the wicked,” as it is sometime identified—will be transferred to the Church. It is claimed that there will yet be a last-day global harvest before the Lord returns, and that the Church will need great wealth to fund this objective as well as eradicating poverty in the world.

There are many problems with the concept of last-day wealth transfer applying to the Church. Again, there is not one verse we can find in the New Testament that even indirectly refers to a great endtime wealth transfer to the Church. Even the book of Revelation is silent on this topic, though it refers to the destruction of the wealth of Babylon the Great, which will “never be recovered” (Revelation 18:14).

Assuredly, if such wealth were to be transferred to the Church, support for this concept would have been found in the New Testament. Instead, there we only find admonishments about the deceitfulness of wealth and how the faith of many will grow cold due to the cares of this life.

The final great wealth transfer is to Israel, not the Church.

Thoughts to Ponder
The merging of God and Mammon—figured as religion and materialism, faith and globalization in bed together—is the final capstone of mankind’s deception, which is reflected in the religious and commercial Babylons shown to rise in illicit cahoots in Revelation 17 and 18. It is the final, global-spanning religion.

The Bible does prophesy a major endtime wealth transfer. It is not to a particular church or “righteous” group as some religious movements like to claim, but rather to Israel and to the righteous of the Millennial Kingdom.

One wonders why it is the rich Laodicean church that is being reprimanded by Christ. In fact, the apostate church and its many daughters, shown as Mystery Babylon the Whore in Revelation 17, are well on their way to a full union with commercial Babylon of Revelation 18. The grand, last-day ecumenical lie of serving both God and Mammon is far advanced. Since this is an impossibility—“You cannot serve both God and Money” (Matthew 6:24)—it is really a movement in which Mammon has robed itself in the garb of religion and apparent “Christian godliness.”

The true Church of the last days, if anything, is more of a remnant than it is resplendent with wealth. Revelation 3:8 says that the church of the “open door” is weak and feeble; far from being imbued with worldly power and wealth. It is this little Philadelphian band of believers, to which is promised, “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth” (Revelation 3:10).

Where should we look for wealth and power? “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12). 

Midnight Call - 08/2014

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In the first part to this series, we briefly highlighted the concepts of assets and wealth on the earth today. We concluded that mankind has come a long way in magnifying worldly riches.

The most unimaginable things in the earth’s sphere are now owned by humans. The “lust of the eyes” in this late era of world history, has been built up into a highly sophisticated, debt-based system of ownership and capital valuation, giving rise to massive wealth, riches and splendor. Seen in the aggregate, this great big measurable pile of wealth, though much of it indeed is false wealth, serves as a perfect anchor for
the materialist and humanist agendas mounted against God in the latter days.

In this second of our 3-part series, we take a brief excursion into the rarified world of big money and wealth. Just who is experiencing its splendor? Just what does the Bible have to say about wealth in general and its prophetic role? As it turns out, quite a bit.

No Shortage of Hoards
Many commentators and economists today point to the widening chasm between the wealthy—namely the “super wealthy,” and the general populace. Wealth distribution today may be as uneven as perhaps ever before (whether in North America or the entire world). Lately, economist authors such as Thomas Piketty (celebrated author of Capital in the 21st Century) and others such as Emmanuel Saez, have gained a following due to their attempts to explain the reasons for this wealth stratification. An accepted conclusion by most commentators is that this condition generally causes slower economic growth. Nevertheless, Piketty has already been branded a Marxist by the factions that believe that wealth accretion is a divine right. And so, the debates continue.

Interestingly, the Bible provided a view on these matters long before anyone invented the terms “capitalism,” “Marxism” or anything else. Jesus said: “[…] From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Whether legislated or not, those with much have greater responsibility.

The Levitical financial system that the Hebrews were commanded to practice kept a check and balance on wealth distortions. To recall, God said through Moses, “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts” (Deuteronomy 15:1). As such, we see that a seven-year debt cycle was instituted. We can conclude that there should be no such thing as perpetual debt: Every Sabbath Year, debts had to be laid flat. Anyone who could not pay back their debts by that time was forgiven this amount.

We can imagine just how different our economies would be today were this same convention applied. There would be no massive accumulations of debt as we see today.

But, back to the present-day reality. Without a doubt, wealth has been stratifying in recent decades to sharp extremes. That said, comparisons to ancient history are difficult to make. It could well be that the world’s wealth skew today is even more extreme than the late ancient Roman era.

What we do know for sure is that wealth based on its modern definition—this including everything from hard assets to highly-derived financial instruments—is at its highest in the entirety of mankind’s history. Despite the interruption of the Global Financial Crisis (beginning in 2008), total modern asset wealth has continue to soar in value. We have hazarded the estimate that this value has been rising an average of 10% plus a year since the early 1970s. Of course, this is much, much faster than total world population growth (which is only inching along at an annual pace of 1.1% of late).

As we will see, all of this provides the facility for some gargantuan wealth hoards to be accumulated by both individuals and various entities, such as corporations or sovereign wealth funds.

Is this mere happenstance? No, we think not. It is largely a function of rampant materialism and greed expressed through globalization and financialization (the “lust of the eyes,” 1 John 2:16). All of these are coincident developments that are outlined in Bible prophecy. Moreover, James expressly mentions that this condition of hoarding will exist in the last days:

“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. […] You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you” (James 5:1, 3-6).

What is observed here is that hoarding and love of wealth have taken on a priority over economic fairness and a deteriorating geopolitical outlook. Somewhat imaginatively interpreted, it is an era where the elite rich try to enclave themselves and to find safety in their brutal strategies to preserve and build more wealth.

Beyond Riches?
A recent study, The Wealth Report 2014,1 by Knight Frank states that the world had 1,682 billionaires at the end of 2013, up from only 934 in 2003. Moreover, they forecast that their number will increase by 80% to 2,315 by 2023.

billionair2A billion dollars is a lot of money. It is hardly possible to imagine. And, the world may have its first trillionaire before long (amounting to one million times one million). According to the estimates in Credit Suisse’s annual Global Wealth Report, “Two generations ahead, future extrapolation of current wealth growth rates yields almost a billion millionaires […] likely to be a few trillionaires too—eleven according to our best estimate.”

In America and many other countries, more and more wealth and income is held or received by a smaller group of people. For example, according to Bloomberg, the world’s top 16,000 families possess $6 trillion in assets, equivalent to the total wealth of the bottom two-thirds of American families.

In the Service of the Monied Rich
The service of managing money has been a growth business. Why? The value of real and financial assets has been climbing over time; and secondly as mentioned, it has been piling up in fewer hands. There are a number of asset management firms with over a trillion in client assets. Some firms (we will not mention names) have been shown in the past to have been only too willing to deal with anyone with money … no matter the source of the wealth.

Despots, dictators and others who may have pillaged their countries—perhaps stolen the proceeds of resource exports or misdirected foreign aid for tens of billions—have found willing complicitors. In the past, they have had little difficulty in hiding their assets abroad with the professional help of “highbrow” financial service companies, the names of which would be well recognized. Thankfully, there are some organizations such as Global Financial Integrity, that are seeking to expose such corruption. The scale of global kleptocracy that this organization has unearthed is not to be believed.

Despite the supposed crackdowns on tax havens and offshore financial centers, the mega-rich (and many of the world’s multinational corporations) use covert companies and bank accounts and complex offshore structures to own mansions, yachts, art masterpieces and other assets of all types. Highly paid accountants and middlemen help to hide identities and business interests, establishing shelter for assets as well as securing tax advantages not available to the average person.

Perhaps surprising to many, experts consider the United States to be the biggest haven of all.

In short, the wealthy have been accruing wealth in leaps and bounds in recent years. Evidence of their rising stature and consumption patterns are everywhere. We will cite some examples. In doing so, we must be careful not to claim these short-term, one-off anecdotes as proof of Bible prophecy. Nevertheless, taken in aggregate, it would still be correct to sense the developments in the present era as part of a prophetic timeline.

Lives of the Rich and Famous
The news agency Reuters recently reported that a new record had occurred in London’s (England) red-hot property market. A single apartment was sold for 140 million pounds (about $235 million USD). Why? It turns out that London is a favored location for the wealth of Russian oligarchs, Chinese tycoons, Arab sheikhs and other mega-wealthy. These elites travel in global circles, many in their own private jets. Costing $65 million each, the latest Gulfstream G650 private jet has some 160 buyers in line, willing to wait as long as 3 years for delivery.

Recently, the precious art market has again turned into a veritable mania of excess. Prices have been soaring in many categories. The global auction house sales value of art amounted to $66 billion in 2013, recovering the previous high (just before the Global Financial Crisis). In late 2013, a 1969 painting by Francis Bacon set a world record for most expensive modern artwork ever sold at auction, selling for $142.4 million.

Just why would people pay such astronomical prices for oil paintings? For the extremely wealthy, precious art is seen as a preserve of wealth … namely, transportable wealth. Some observers suggest that the precious art market is one of the last vehicles to launder illicit money.

The Economist magazine tracks the prices of an assortment of collectibles and precious items. Its “Valuables Index” includes such things as precious art, violins, stamps, rare coins, and exotic automobiles among other categories. Interestingly, the index for 50 of the most valuable Ferraris, Porsches and other rare cars increased 53% over two years (to July 2013). In 2013, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO sold for $52 million, an all-time high price for an automobile by far.

treasure2To no surprise, ccollectibles have outperformed stock markets over the past decade. Those who are in this “player” bracket, can attempt to satiate their passions and wants without restraint.

With the boom in the mega-wealthy, freeports are a thriving business with new facilities opening up in Asia and elsewhere. Just what is a freeport, and why are they so attractive? Originally, these were storehouses for products being shipped between countries. Goods stored in these, while en route to their destination, were considered to be in a “free” port, meaning free from taxes.

As the world’s rich are increasingly investing in expensive stuff, “freeports” are becoming their repositories of choice. Although there is no way of knowing for sure, there are likely hundreds of billions worth of treasures stored in these freeports. In a way, the attractions are similar to those of tax havens and offshore financial centers.

Powerful World of the Elites
Without a doubt, the world’s wealth is stratifying. A very small group of people, by whatever means, control immense wealth. Consider that the richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion taken together (this being half of the world’s population).

According to a recent report by Wealth-X/UBS, the average total wealth of a billionaire’s social circle (of only the top three connections) is estimated to be $15 billion. Factoring in all the connections between the world’s billionaires, would represent a social circle worth a combined $33 trillion. Suffice it to say that the ultra-rich travel in rarified circles.

We earlier quoted an estimate of the number of billionaires in the world—1,682. We see here that a very small band of people control a very large portion of world wealth. Such wealth affords great influence and power, in a time where money and economics are highly esteemed by the world.

As James prophesied, in the last days we are to expect a great heaping up of wealth. It is also reasonable to infer from Scripture, that the endtime world would be greatly transfixed with the love of money and greed (see 2 Timothy 3). Many people stand to be trapped economically, being carried away with the cares and anxieties of this world (see Matthew 13:22; Luke 21:34). But, does Bible prophecy tell us anything specifically about the roles of the rich and elites in the last days?

Prophetic Connections to Wealth Trends
Where are the elites mentioned in the Bible? The Scripture refers to various “movers and shakers” in the endtime world. However, we cannot be certain as to their identity nor at what point their influence and impact should be expected.

The prophet Daniel tells of a group of people that will be in league with the Antichrist. He “[…] will greatly honor those who acknowledge him. He will make them rulers over many people and will distribute the land at a price” (Daniel 11:39). Who are they? We cannot know for sure. Could they be mega-rich individuals, leaders of large multinational companies, heads of large sovereign wealth funds or influential heads of NGOs (non-governmental organizations), politicians … or others? We simply cannot yet know with any certainty, though this topic may make for interesting speculation.

Apostle John prophesies about the rich merchants that appear to play an influential role in the world at that future time. These “merchants of the earth grew rich from her [the whore’s] excessive luxuries” (Revelation 18:3). Those that “gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment” (verse 15).

These merchants clearly are wealthy people. And, indeed, merchants today are the most venerated people on earth. We live in a materialist culture that worships wealth and affluence. Economic growth and ever-soaring financial markets are the very objectives of a successful mankind and its political economics.

Yet, we can draw no direct references to a specific, elite group of people being described in the last days before the Tribulation period—with the possible exception of the wealthy mentioned in James 5:1-6 and the rule of the 10 kings mention by both Daniel and Apostle John.

greedy3Nevertheless, we can identify the bestial and greedy character of the Antichrist and the many that come in the “spirit of the antichrist” over time (1 John 4:3; 2 John 1:7).  The prophet Habakkuk refers to these characteristics of the antichrist(s), in this writer’s opinion.

“The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them with his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and he enjoys the choicest food” (Habakkuk 1:15-16).

Moreover, “He is puffed up; his desires are not upright […] indeed wine betrays him; he is arrogant and never at rest.  Because he is greedy as the grave and like death is never satisfied, he gathers to himself all the nations and takes captive all the peoples” (Habakkuk 2:4-6).

We can conclude that money and greed definitely define the “antichrist” streams and impulses in our world. Satan most certainly uses these as lures to gain willing accomplices to his endtime scheme. Also, we can agree that most of the events concerning the elites mentioned in the Bible will unfold throughout the Tribulation period (though James’ prophecy and those concerning the 10 kings could occur earlier).

Nonetheless, it is only reasonable to expect that the trends that give rise to these conditions will be observable well in advance … for example, such as we are observing in this very article. One other thing we do certainly know from Scripture, and that concerns the final outcome for the elites. We will come back to this point in our conclusions presented in Part III.

Thoughts to Ponder
Of course, not everyone is rich or well-off, seen from a materialistic perspective. Nor can we say that all rich people are evil or taken up with the love of money.

To an extent, wealth is a relative concept. Today, even billionaires are feeling poor and disadvantaged in their circle of relationships. Why? Because they see themselves as not having enough relative to someone richer than they.

Generally, the demands and temptations of great wealth test the strongest and most ethical of people. Very, very few are able to live free of its lures and without being singed by its hot fires. Jesus warned about this, saying: “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24).

As it turns out, despite the fact that some of the patriarchs and major personalities that the Lord used in his salvation plan for the world were rich, the Bible generally does not have much good to say about the “rich.” Some of the Bible’s authors directly equated the rich with bad people (see James 2:6).

Most of us can be thankful that we are not super-rich. It could be threatening to one’s eternity. The Proverbs writer recognized the problems of wealth, saying: “Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:8-9).

Yet, all those who are saved are rich, the Bible tells us. “[…] Godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). But, sadly, still some have “been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (verse 10) due to the love of money.

The world, in its frenzied preoccupation with temporal money, overlooks the greatest investment deal of all time … a proposition that pays eternal rewards.  We are given the opportunity to convert filthy worldly money into eternal riches in heaven.

Paul points this out. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life” (1 Timothy 6:17-19).

We can actually lay up wealth in heaven, where thieves cannot steal and moths cannot destroy.

Luke 16:8-9 records Jesus validating this investment offer. “For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”

In the final Part III of this series, we will address the fate of the elites and just what will happen to the world’s wealth distribution. Bible prophecy provides the answer for these interesting questions.

ENDNOTE
1    http://www.thewealthreport.net/

Midnight Call - 07/2014

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The times that our world today is experiencing are unprecedented and unparalleled in human history. Collective humanity believes itself to be highly advanced, its humanistic views the peak of enlightenment. The coming endpoints … a series of them … couldn’t contrast more sharply with the beginnings.

In that light, we begin a short 3-part series. The intent is simply to update you as to the state of a number of “late, great, planet earth” conditions (to borrow a phrase from Hal Lindsey). Just how far has mankind traveled down a road of godlessness and complicity with the Evil One?

What will be the extent of the pathos of Christ, when He returns to earth and witnesses its faithless condition? Christ knew that he would find mankind wholly succumbed to his three primordial weaknesses. These are the “[…] the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). It is these very same worldly temptations that Satan targeted when he tested Christ during his 40-day fast in the wilderness. While Jesus withstood Satan’s entreaties for our sake, mankind (seen collectively or individually) would sell Him out on these same proposals.

Christ questioned the disciples: “When I return, will I find any faith in the world?” While he said this in the form of a question, it should really be read as an endtime prophecy. There will be very little “faith” found upon earth when He returns. And, that could be very, very soon. Then, mankind and its leadership will be shown to have staked their faith in their lusts like Sodom, “overfed and unconcerned” (Ezekiel 16:49); worshiping manmade idols of wood and stone (greater economic growth, wealth and ownership); and lastly, charting their own destiny and goodness outside of God.

In this “Woolly Mammon” series, we propose to mainly focus on the 2nd and 3rd of the three lusts—that “of the eyes” (“the desire for possession” ISV) and the “pride of life” (“worldly arrogance” ISV). We will cover three separate but related topics: 1. Earth Repossessed; 2. Pomp, Circumstance and Splendor; and 3. Ruling Elites and the Great Wealth Transfer.

Ownership of the Creation
earth in box2Who owns the earth? This is a question that will attract many different answers today. Some will argue that the earth belongs to itself. Human life is therefore no more valuable than any animal life, and must be sacrificed to save the future of earth. Geopolitical strategists will argue differently. Their craft of possessing “space and time” is in the hands of nations and its leaders. Then there are the merchants and economists. They will be inclined to see ownership more as a matter of law and title.

Christians believe the Bible will have the answer to this question. However, in consulting Scripture, we encounter some seemingly confusing perspectives.

Firstly, we read this: “To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14). We learn here that everything is the Lord’s. Also, the Lord says that “[…] the whole earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5) and that “[…] the cattle on a thousand hills” are His (Psalm 50:10-11).

Yet, the Psalmist also says something on this subject which, at first glance, appears contradictory. He says, “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind” (Psalm 115:16). Here it clearly says that “earth He has given to mankind.” How can the earth be the Lord’s (i.e. … Deuteronomy 10:14), but also be given to mankind? We are not scholars of the Greek language. However, a brief study of Psalm 50 suggests the view that earth is being assigned to mankind more as a domain and conservatorship for a time.

This aligns with the command found in Genesis. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground’” (Genesis 1:28). The world is not possessed by mankind, but rather the earth is put under his dominion.

The Earth Up for Grabs
At the very beginning, after God created the earth and the heavens and He saw that it was good, there were only two people on the entire earth. There were yet no landowner frictions. They were fully provided for in the Garden of Eden and were not subjected to hard labor.

But something happened down through the past millennia after the Fall. The concept of human ownership intervened, and with that the manifestations of the lust of the eyes. Over time, a globalized, commercially-dominated world would emerge where the concepts of possession, ownership, wealth and consumption were to become the very essence of the meaning of life and existence.

Ownership Then and Now
There are two key aspects of ownership as it exists today that are instructive to review. First, most all the valuable parts of creation are now under the legal ownership of man. Second, ownership of all these domains is held by relatively few individuals and entities. If not by government or kings and queens, then by individuals … some of these very rich. Today, mankind has created conventions that convey ownership rights to literally everything that God created.

International organizations exist to help mediate on these issues in almost every domain. It is amazing what can be owned today. We next provide a short anecdotal illustration of the state of ownership of the world today.

Human Labor. Most people think of world financial markets and underlying economic systems as representing wealth. Yes and no. Firstly, we would say financial markets play a greater role in the distribution of wealth, rather than its creation. They are not its source. All wealth comes from God, either in the form of His creation or His life-giving capacity. In the human realm, that translates into the fruits of labor.

All the wealth of the world today (as we humans would recognize it) cannot exist apart from humans and their labor. It is a simple fact that is too rarely recognized. Human labor—past, present, and future—comprises the bulk of what is wealth today. Its ownership may be highly skewed, as it surely is in our time (Please see Part II of this series for further documentation). The use of debt allows a very small group of people to own a disproportionately large output of human labor. How much is world wealth? There are many estimates, all of them flawed. Credit Suisse in its last World Wealth Report 2012 estimated total world wealth at $222.7 trillion. Other surveys predict this value will grow 60% or more by 2020.

Resources and Mineral Rights. It is no accident that resource-rich nations are often run by despots and client states. Minerals and resources are valuable, provided that they can be mined or excavated. Many people will have discovered that though they owned a piece of land, they may in fact not own the minerals that lie underneath. Prospectors may be given exploration rights and development rights, sometimes to the great inconvenience of the owner. The Bible says, “Him […] who created […] the earth and all that is in it” (Revelation 10:6). The ownership of these deposits, whether gold or copper, has built many massive fortunes.

Land and Real Estate—Kings and Churches. Large swathes of the earth’s land masses are owned by someone. According to legal definition, the largest five individual landowners on earth are Queen Elizabeth II (6,600 million acres); King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (553 million acres); King Bhumibol of Thailand (126 million acres); King Mohammed IV of Morocco (113 million acres); and Sultan Quaboos of Oman (76 million acres). An incredible 21 percent of this land is owned by a short list of landowners, according to The New Statesman.

An enormous amount of land is held by the Australian Colonian Agricultural (owned by the Kidman family). Their land mass is larger than 90 of the world’s smaller states. Colonial Agricultural is bigger than the world’s smallest 43 countries combined.

At one time, between 20 and 30 percent of Europe and the same proportion of South America was owned by the Roman Catholic Church. Most of those lands have since been lost, but the Pope is understood to own all the land of the Catholic Church’s institutions, religious orders and dioceses as monarch, on much the same basis as the Queen owns her acres. The estimated total of land held by the Pope is around 177 million acres. Approximately a decade ago, an association of 8 major denominations (which included the Catholic Church) made the claim that they collectively owned “7% of the inhabitable real estate on earth.”

Genomes: With the advent of the Human Genome Project, the notion of patenting human genes arose. There are now patents associated with around a quarter of the genes in the human genome.1 Imagine, that today, even the gene sequences of human life have ownership rights in the form of patents. In effect, simply having knowledge of “how wondrously made” (Psalm 139:14) is something that has become an item with monetary worth and therefore cannot be used by another party. Some medical research cannot be performed without the prior permission of the patent holder.

red tomato2Biological Molecules, Genetically Modified. Today, pharmaceutical and seed companies will stake ownership rights upon life forms (seeds) and biological molecules. They may alter these biological materials (GMOs or genetically modified organisms) and thereby stake their claims. This has been an extremely lucrative business.

Color Spectrum: In our materialistically-mad society, believe it or not, there are legal disputes over colors. How could that be? Isn’t color a function of the natural spectrum and the created human capacity to see them? Nevertheless, various ownership battles are raging. Here is just one example: Pantone (owned by Lawrence Herbert and family) has developed a color category spectrum which is intellectual property and can only be used if licensed.2

Life Savers, a well-known candy company, has used a multi-colored striped background on the wrapper for its multi-flavored hard candies. Later, Curtiss Candy Co. introduced their brand of hard candies in a multi-colored striped background wrapper. Life Savers sued. Do they have the right to get a permanent injunction against Curtiss to stop their use of a multi-colored striped label? While in this case the issue concerns several colors and its basic striped design, it is illustrative none-the-less, involving the matter of trademarks.

apple logos2Brand Values: Companies today can be worth many times what is indicated by their financial balance sheets through “brand value.” For example, the brand value (not the company itself, only its brand name identity) of Apple (the electronic consumer good company, best known for the i-Phone), is estimated to be worth $104.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine’s most recent World’s Most Valuable Brands survey.

Intellectual Property Rights: All the inventions, intellectual concepts, writings, compositions and creations of mankind are eligible for patents. Patents do eventually expire for the most part. Nevertheless, these can have great value. Therefore, it is not surprising to see that some patent rights are being extended very significantly.

Air Waves: Radio frequencies are viewed as ownable space even though they are invisible. Though the spectrum range is large, there are only a finite number of frequencies. Auctions of frequencies for cell phone use over the recent decade, provide some indication of just how valuable is this space. For example, a 2008 auction in Canada of just one spectrum (a spot on the dial, in old-fashioned radio terms) raised $4.25 billion. The spectrum auctions of the German government back in 2010 raised a staggering $98.8 billion.

As we have partly illustrated, there are many more parts and portions of this earth that have been carved up into separate ownership rights. We have only touched upon a few.

Points to Ponder
The most unimaginable things in the earth’s sphere are now owned by humans. Even planets and stars can be owned (unofficially, of course). Humorously, according to one website, for $5, you can have a star named after you. Actually, a legitimate organization does exist, the International Astronomical Union,3 which assigns names to heavenly entities such as stars and comets. These names are for scientific documentation purposes, and are not for sale.

In all seriousness, we realize that the “lust of the eyes” at this “late, great state” in the world has been built up into a highly sophisticated ownership system, giving rise to massive and measurable wealth, riches and splendor. Property rights and their protection are indeed important. Seen in the aggregate, this huge, measurable pile of wealth, though much of it indeed is false wealth, serves as a great anchor for the materialists and humanists. Progress is defined as wealth continuing to increase. More is better. Its pursuit is the essence of the meaning of life. It is the value system of Mammon.

The world may think that everything is up for grabs for personal or corporate ownership, and that this will mark the advancement of mankind in the future, but one thing can never be owned by humans. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19). We do not own ourselves, whether we are Christians or not.

We are not our own. This brings great comfort to those that live unto the Lord. “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Can the world boast of the ownership that the Bible tells of here in this verse: “Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).

One day, the ownership structure of the world will change completely. We will continue to review the late, great state of “lust of the eyes” and “the pride of life” in the world today in Part II.

ENDNOTES
1    National Human Genome Research Institute. Intellectual Property Accessed: October 27, 2007. http://www.genome.gov/19016590
2    Color Matters. http://www.colormatters.com/ color_trademark.html
3    International Astronomical Union (IAU). Among other objectives, the IAU also serves as the internationally recognized authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and any surface features on them. http://www.iau.org/

Midnight Call - 06/2014

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Believers will accept that the Scriptures are infallible. The Psalmist said that “[…] the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times” (Psalm 12:6). We can indeed confidently rely upon it as truth and prophecy. Yet, do we not all encounter texts that we think are unfortunate?

“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should change His mind” (Numbers 23:19). The Scriptures, therefore, have no message that is subject to change in any era, modern or ancient. Whether written in old English or new, its proclamations are current and relevant.

Yes, but there are unfortunate verses nevertheless, we think.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness […]” (2 Timothy 3:16), pronounced Apostle Paul. And referring to its prophetic accuracy, Christ confirmed this, stating that “[…] Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:18). The Scriptures were authored and inspired over the centuries and millennia by the same Spirit. They are Truth.

Knowing all that, can’t we still ask and puzzle? Why are some things included in the Bible; why are some things not in the Bible?

With so many prophets having been chosen and Jesus Christ Himself, the Son of God, born in the flesh … walking this earth … communicating with his disciples … why could the Bible not have answered more of our questions? Why were there not more revelations in the Bible; and more of our questions answered? Why could not more proofs have been given, that would have ended some of the unproductive theological debates that have festered for centuries, or settled the modern debates over Creationism, for instance?

These questions collectively comprise our “theology thicket.” Just what texts in the Bible, were they not so unfortunate in this respect, could have led to more answers to our questions or settled the doubts of some unbelievers?

We here attempt to identify a series of just six such “unfortunate texts.”

Unfortunate Text #1: Jesus Christ, the Son of God—under whose feet everything was placed (Ephesians 1:22; Matthew 22:44); to whom had been given “all authority in heaven and on earth”—walked this earth in the flesh (Matthew 28:18). He had available to Him all knowledge. Had the disciples asked more penetrating questions, we could have benefited from more answers. After all, “The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law” (Mark 1:22). 
Anyone could have asked him for further clarifications.

And yet, incredulously, we read this unfortunate text: “And no one dared to ask him any more questions” (Luke 20:40). What a lamentable text. Think of this incident: The Sadducees and spies, who had been sent from the teachers of the law and the priests, had asked Jesus some tough and tricky questions. He answered them with great insight and truth on such matters as the resurrection and what things will be like in heaven. They were awed. In response, they “dared not” ask Him more questions.

How tragic! With their familiarity of the Scriptures and various theological debates, they could have all asked some pivotal questions about many things. They did not. Their pride and disinterest is our loss.

solomon sheba2Unfortunate Text #2: “When the Queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. “[…] she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind” (1 Kings 10:1-2).

The Bible tells us that “God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight, and a breadth of understanding as measureless as the sand on the seashore” (1 Kings 4:29). Incredible! Imagine how many civil law and governance issues that Solomon could solve for our world today. With his great “breadth of understanding,” he could also offer great insight into the topics of science and creation.

Alas, we encounter another unfortunate text: Solomon answered all her [Queen of Sheba] questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her” (1 Kings 10:3).

Isn’t it unfortunate that the Queen of Sheba was not able to exhaust Solomon’s wisdom? None of her questions were too hard for him. Her list of questions ran out and she went back home. You the reader will most assuredly think of some questions that the Queen of Sheba did not think of. How tragic that our remaining questions could not have been on her list.

Unfortunate Text #3: A most interesting encounter is described in the book of Matthew. It is also reported by Mark and Luke. “[…] Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah’” (Matthew 17:1-4).

Mount of transfiguration2Here we see a classic human error. Peter, seeing Moses, Elijah and the transfiguring of Christ, immediately wanted to build commemorative shrines. The King James renders his motive in this “unfortunate text” more accurately, we think: “Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.”

What did Jesus talk about with Moses and Elijah? Matthew 17:3 expressly says that they were “talking with Jesus.” Luke tells us that one of the topics discussed concerned Jesus’ departure. We would certainly be interested to know more of what was discussed. But we cannot know. Why? Instead of listening, the disciples were more intent upon creating buildings and works that could be worshiped and institutionalized. As it turned out, the disciples became sleepy (Luke 9:32) and missed much more of the conversation.

Peter and John both wrote epistles that are in the Bible. In none of them do they reveal what Moses, Elijah and Jesus talked about. Another tragedy for us. They were not listening! They were sleeping.

Unfortunate Text #4: The Lord said something amazing to his servant Jeremiah: “[…] he who made the earth, the Lord who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know’” (Jeremiah 33:2-3). That is truly a great offer. Surely, there must have been a lot of “unsearchable things” that Jeremiah did not know. This text, too, is another unfortunate one in this series. Why?

If we were to judge solely from what was written in the book of Jeremiah, we must conclude that Jeremiah did not take advantage of this great offer of knowledge from the Lord. The only questions that Jeremiah poses to the Lord all concern himself and his own insecurities. For example: “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable?” (Jeremiah 15:18). Also: “Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:18). These questions earned him the nickname “The Weeping Prophet.” However, we have no record of him asking the Lord about any “unsearchable things.” Another tragedy! Another opportunity again wasted.

Unfortunate Text #5: Today, the Bible is spurned as being in opposition to science. This, of course, is not true. Why then did the Holy Spirit not give us more information about the workings of his wonders and Creation?

It is one thing to discover that not one word in the Bible shows itself in contravention to the natural order of things that we know today. (We are careful here to differentiate between what are unproven scientific theories and what is fact.) For example, long before it was commonly known that the earth was round, the Scriptures acknowledged this. Said Isaiah, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22).

However, couldn’t there have been more such statements made through the prophets … perhaps about nuclear atomic structure or the source of matter, for instance? Information such as this might have influenced the “scientific” views of evolution and the “big bang” theory. After all, even secular scientists are looking for the “god particle.”

God says that He was there at the beginning. Therefore, couldn’t He have provided us with more statements that would have aided us in our debates with the anti-Creationists?

starry2The Bible only gives us seemingly symbolic perspectives such as these: “Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who has perfect knowledge?” (Job 37:16); “My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshaled their starry hosts” (Isaiah 45:12); “[…] He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in” (Isaiah 40:22).

Couldn’t these all be similarly seen as “unfortunate texts” to the modern scientific mind? Looking for scientific explanations of the creation, they read as what seems to be only figurative language.

We must stop here and negate this perspective right away. Why? God says, “Do you not know? Have you not heard? […] his understanding no one can fathom” (Isaiah 40:28). Therefore, were He to have given us technical, scientific answers in the Scriptures, no one today would be able to fathom it in any case. Science is presumptuous to think that it could understand what and how God has created. “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands” (Psalm 102:25).

Unfortunate Text #6: We now come to the last in our “series of unfortunate texts.” To this point we have pondered Scriptures that pointed out lost opportunities for more revelation, and truths to have been made available to the saints. What we also discover is that God actually allowed a surfeit of information … in fact, bad misinformation. He “sends them” delusions so that lies will be believed.  That’s what Apostle Paul said: “[…] They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12).

Admittedly, this is difficult to understand. Now we have more information being made available, but it serves as corroboration to what people want to hear. The verse quoted is a statement that is consistent with our review of “unfortunate texts,” all of which deal with the matters of information, truth and knowledge.

We begin to understand that an over-abundance of truths, proofs and revelations are alone not enough to ensure that we do not go astray. The world’s popular beliefs today are not necessarily based on facts. We discover that they are in contradiction of the facts. A rebellious people will not let facts get in the way. As Albert Einstein was to have quipped: “If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.” The same denial of facts is shown in the Bible with respect to miracles. We are told “Jews demand signs” (1 Corinthians 1:22). However, these signs and miracles were repeatedly forgotten and the people went astray.

Thoughts to Ponder

We indeed may lament this “series of unfortunate texts” we have reviewed. Our quest for more knowledge, Biblical and scientific insight may therefore be unquenched. But did the Holy Spirit make a mistake? Were there more revelations and knowledge that we should have known? Would more revelation and knowledge have made it easier to become a Christian? Would mankind be more obedient to Christ today were that the case?

Likely not.

The fact is that more knowledge is available to everyone today than ever before. Scriptures can be studied more easily today than ever possible before, with so many free and powerful study aids being available online. Yet, what do we see? A rapidly shrinking population that holds a true Biblical worldview … and massive shifts in beliefs toward untruths, fables and the doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). Surveys reveal that Christians themselves are becoming less familiar with Scriptures.

We must conclude that more knowledge than the Bible already imparts to us is not necessary. All has been imparted that we need. Moreover, the Bible expressly acknowledges that information has been deliberately held back from us.

Apostle Paul knew a man (speaking of himself in the third person) who “was caught up to the third heaven” (2 Corinthians 12:2) … who “was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things” (verse 4) and “surpassingly great revelations” (verse 7). But, these were “things that no one is permitted to tell” (verse 4).

The prophet Daniel asked the “man clothed in linen” how long it would be before these astonishing things would be fulfilled (Daniel 12:6). Daniel heard his answer but still did not understand. So he asked again: “My lord, what will the outcome of all this be?” (verse 8). Then the man clothed in linen replied, “Go your way, Daniel, because the words are rolled up and sealed until the time of the end” (verse 9).

Here we are shown two instances where more information was expressly denied. Despite our curiosities, we can conclude that the Holy Spirit made sure that we would be informed of all the essentials to our faith and have knowledge of the Lord’s plans. On faith, therefore, we will lay our “theology thicket” to rest.

And that brings us to our final texts in this series.

These, however, speak to very fortunate events … not unfortunate ones. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (2 Peter 1:3). All will be revealed to us some day, though it may well take an eternity for us to absorb it. Says Paul, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12, KJV).
Maranatha!

Midnight Call - 05/2014

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In this two-part series, we reproduce some of the questions and comments we have received on the kings of Revelation 17. These kings are shown as “heads” and as “horns on heads.” As this is a challenging topic requiring much Bible study, quite a few viewpoints exist that frankly are “wrong-headed.” It is a topic relevant to our time. Why? Because, very likely, a change of regime is at the doorstep. This is the final part of the series in our attempt to get our heads straight.

READER: In response to “Great Greek Tragedy of the Revived Roman Empire” (Feb. 2012 EVR; also appeared in MCM Jan. 2012), I would like to suggest one of the “other possible outcomes” that you leave room for in your discussion of an end-time coalition of ten nations led by the “Antichrist.” First of all, there is really never any mention of ten nations in the Bible, only ten horns and ten kings. Revelation 17:12 and Daniel 7:24 both say that the ten horns are the ten kings—they are people, i.e. leaders, not nations. Both verses also clearly identify the ten kings as being linked to a single kingdom, not ten individual kingdoms. Also, note that Revelation 13, 17 and Daniel 7 speak of a single beast, which is the fourth kingdom (Daniel 7:23). There is no talk of ten beasts or ten mini-beast nations that make up a big beast. The allusion is consistently singular—one unified superpower nation, from which there will emerge ten kings (Daniel 7:24). To say that the ten horns and the ten kings are ten nations is not a Biblical matter of fact; it is a leap into thin air.

Secondly, the end-time leader that will rise from the beast, the fourth kingdom, will come to power after the ten kings have first received the kingdom (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 17:12, 17). That is to say that the ten kings are successive predecessors, as Daniel 7:24 indicates. (Kings of the same kingdom would not rule concurrently.) One after another, these consecutive kings will have prepared and built up the superpower nation to become the beast. Their cumulative effort will then be handed down to the end-time leader, who at this point is also referred to as the beast (Revelation 13; 17:12).

In Biblical parlance, the distinction between beast and leader becomes somewhat blurred. One represents and is enabled by the other, and vice versa. The language, especially in Revelation, has more to do with imagery than clean-cut definition. Beast/leader is leader/beast—and by the way, it is scripturally incorrect to call this leader the “Antichrist,” for as you know, the term “Antichrist” does not appear anywhere in Daniel or Revelation. Antichrist is a general term John uses to describe a spiritual mindset—a belief that Christ has not come in the flesh (1 Jn 4:3). Antichrist is not a single person or individual; there are many who are “Antichrist” in spirit (1 Jn 2:18; 2 Jn 1:7). The careless use of this term causes rational, thinking people to roll their eyes, as well they should. With these clarifications in mind, it seems to me that there is only one current example that fits the prophetic picture of the fourth kingdom—and that is the United States. – M.M.A.

EVR: From your letter [only a portion of which we have reproduced], we can tell that you have an avid interest in these topics and have spent considerable effort in formulating your viewpoints and interpretations. We appreciate these types of communications. They test our views. That said, we must disagree with many of your points, and can support our corrections from Scripture. We here only make minor comments for each of 7 major corrections that are required:

smallcrown21. What is a king? Respectfully, it would not be a “leap into thin air” to check a dictionary as to the meaning of this word. Any dictionary will do. It is a male sovereign leader. Taking a historical grammatical interpretation, a “king” in today’s terms equates to a sovereign leader. There is no such thing as a king without a kingdom. A deposed king could only be an ex-king. Similarly, if there is no nation, there can be no leader. As well, kings and leaders do not act independently of their country in matters of state, sovereignty, or geopolitics. They have no authority independent of their state or kingdom. Because of this dependency, you will discover that the Bible treats “king” and “kingdom” interchangeably. For example, please read Daniel chapter 2, verses 39, 40, 41, and 44. The successive kingdoms mentioned are then named “kings” in verse 44.

2. The 10 kings come on the scene contemporaneously and not sequentially. They all exist at the same time. As such, there is no serial authority given to the Antichrist by the 10 kings, as you claim. Besides being refuted by Scripture, this interpretation would not make common sense in any case. If only one king had enough power to give to the Antichrist that would be sufficient to stamp upon and subdue the entire earth, wouldn’t he then qualify to be the Antichrist … perhaps a leader of a world superpower? John the Revelator tells us that the 7th head (this the head with the 10 horns) comes for only a “little while,” and also that the 10 kings have a role only for “one hour.” It wouldn’t make sense then that there would be 10 kings ruling sequentially in a short space of time.

3. Yes, Daniel 7 does show a separate role for “10 kings.” Daniel 7:7 mentions that the 4th beast has 10 horns. Daniel 7:24 clearly says that the “ten horns are ten kings.”

4. One must be careful not to confuse the identity of the beast. The word “beast” has at least two meanings, and always only applies to an entity that is possessed by Satan (also called the “dragon”). Firstly, the satanically-driven “political economy” of 7 hegemonic kingdoms of human history that oppose God is called a beast (jointly or separately); secondly, the personified Satan in the human body called the Antichrist is called “the beast.”

5. We disagree that symbols used in the Bible do not have specific, literal meanings. Indeed, people’s interpretations may not be “clean-cut,” but all meanings and fulfillments of prophecy in the Bible are meant to be “clean-cut,” though perhaps depicted through images and symbols.

antichrist26. No, the Antichrist is not “a spiritual mindset.” There certainly is a “spirit” of the Antichrist that has been working down through history, using many people (these being types of Antichrists), as the Bible specifically states will be the case (1 John 4:3). The Bible clearly and literally indicates that there will be a literal person that fulfills the role of Antichrist (though being given many different names). We must take literal statements at face value. What is scandalous for Christianity is the constant attempt to identify and name the Antichrist.

7. The U.S. is not the fourth beast. We are sorry if we are harsh, but this is a preposterous interpretation. Please do not disseminate this view anywhere, as it is starkly out of tune with Scripture and can only bring ridicule to the precious gift of Bible prophecy.

READER: Thanks for your article on the Philadelphians and the lost 10 tribes (“Europe and Germany in Prophecy,” Dec. 2011 EVR), and the article on Babylon. I see the Antichrist as the little horn of Daniel 7, the little horn of Daniel 8, and the king of the north of Daniel 11. So the Antichrist will come out of an area that once was the Roman Empire, and once was the Grecian Empire, and more specifically was once the kingdom of one of Alexander’s four generals—modern day Iraq or Iran. I believe that Babylon the Great is the USA, the superpower of the end time, which has to be neutralized before the Beast can tread Jerusalem underfoot and scatter the power of the holy people, and impose his mark on the world with the help of the 10 horns, the future manifestation of the European Union. – M.D.

EVR: Many hold a similar view to yours with respect to the general area out of which the Antichrist may arise. We do not hold a firm view on this matter; at the same time, we also do not note any Scriptures that would disprove this theory. However, this is not the same as discounting all other possibilities. With respect to your view that the United States is the Babylon the Great of Revelation 17 and 18, we would definitely disagree. We have provided our reasons for this position several times in past articles. One verse alone nullifies America’s candidacy for this role: “In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the earth” (Revelation 18:24). America has simply not been around long enough to have slaughtered “all” on earth. As for the European Union becoming the final manifestation of the 10 kings (depicted as 10 horns on the beast shown in Revelation 17), this may very well be the case. However, it is much too early to be doctrinaire about this position. There are still other possible fulfillments of this image.

READER: Every article coming out of the EU describes them as “divided”; one article from International Spiegel Online declared them as “hopelessly divided.” I find it amazing to watch them fulfilling Bible prophecy. All the kingdoms of Daniel chapter 2 have boundaries, including Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and now the “Divided Kingdom” of the EU, and perhaps the EU-Mediterranean Union. They are described as “partly-strong and partly-weak,” which is what the 27 nation “empire” is: partly-strong and partly-weak (Daniel 2:41-43). This is why I believe the 10 Kings will come out of this “Kingdom” in some form. Again, they have to come out of a “Kingdom,” which means this Kingdom has to have boundaries. The idea that the world will be divided into 10 divisions, as some think, does not fit with the description in Daniel chapter 2. These are some of my teachers: Dr. Dwight Pentecost, Dr. Renald Showers, Dr. Ed Hindson and Dr. John Walvoord. Of course, we have others, but I just wanted you to understand where I am coming from. I am also grateful for Dr. David Jeremiah and his series, “What in the World Is Going On?” God Bless you. – M.K.

EVR: Thank you for your earnest perspectives. The interpretations that you recount may very well prove correct. In fact, they may even be probable. We certainly have great respect for the prophecy scholars you cite, and have read them all. We have no reason to dispute any of the literal characteristics of the final “kingdom” that are mentioned in the Bible. There is only one point of difference in our perspective; only one. It is this: If an interpretation with respect to a future fulfillment of prophecy cannot be proven to be 100% defensible, then humility and honesty would require us to disclose that it is a theory … and not a doctrine.

The one verse in Scripture that leaves the EU-centric view vulnerable is Daniel 9:26b: “[…] 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.” It clearly refers to the “people” of the ruler, and not the geographic area or country of the ruler. Just what might this mean? Just who are these people, then? Where are these same people today? There are a number of theories, but none can be proven to the exclusion of all others. People can move; they both emigrate and immigrate. If so, could it be possible that some nations from the non-EU world today are offshoots from these earlier people? Clearly, the answer is yes. The entire New World (North and South America, Australia …etc.) are offshoots from Roman peoples. As such, we must leave open the possibility that some of these “Roman” countries might be included in the 10.

eu flag2Viewing world trends today, we would say that it is still too early to be doctrinaire and closed in our interpretations of just which nations will represent the final 10 kings. Speculative viewpoints with respect to Bible prophecy have done inordinate harm to this unique gift to Christianity. As it was, overzealous pronouncements on European developments over the past five decades have been unfortunate. To the inclusion of your views, we would simply state that we all must remain open to other possibilities that are supported (or at least not discounted) by the Bible.

READER: Re: Germany: “Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee” (Ezekiel 38:6). Could this be Germany, as they are on the verge of financially backing the new system that is formulating in Europe? Could her bands be the nations of the EU assisting because of their ties of being indebted to Germany? – C.H.

EVR: There are quite a few speculative theories on the end-time role of Germany. As is the case with the United States, we do not see the nation of Germany specifically mentioned in Bible prophecy. Please see the recent article on this subject [in MCM April 2012], “Is Germany Mentioned in Bible Prophecy?”

READER: [This question is excerpted from a lengthy letter received in German. It is translated here in abbreviated form.] May I make the following observation: The puzzle of Daniel 7:24 will be more easily solved if one does not try to relate the beast of Daniel 7 with the one shown in Revelation 13. While they both have 10 horns, they are not related.

EVR: We have not found Daniel 7:24 a puzzle, but rather to the contrary, an important key. In any case, your question is both important and foundational. Indeed, how can we determine that the 5 separate visions of a 10-fold union of nations (kings) that we find in the Bible, are all pointing to the same future prophetic occurrence? Or are they in fact different? We find these visions in Daniel 2, 7 and Revelation 12, 13, and 17. In each of these visions, there is the common element of 10 kingdoms or kings. In Daniel 2 they are shown as 10 toes; in the four other visions all have 10 horns. Each vision provides both common and unique information about this prophesied future power structure that will dominate the earth. If all 5 visions are treated as envisioning the same future 10 kings, then the collective information provided is very instructive. Revealed are clues and details that allow us to conclude that the 10 horns are on the 7th head of the alternately portrayed 7-headed beast seen in Revelation 12, 13, and 17, and that these final 10 kings will come out of the “Roman peoples” (Daniel 9:26).

The question here then turns on the elements that are common, therefore supporting the case that these 5 visions are indeed related. You choose to conclude that the beast shown in Daniel 7 is different than the beast shown in Revelation 12, 13, and 17. Indeed, it is different. Each of the three visions of the 10-headed beast shown in Revelation, is also different in the sense that unique features are being portrayed. Each vision is intended to show a different emphasis or role of the same beast, these representing the heinous, Satan-led, dominating civil power structures of mankind down through Bible history. The germane question, however, centers on the identity of the components of each of the visions. In Daniel 7, the four beasts seen by Daniel only represent the last five heads, not all seven as described in the beasts shown in Revelation. Why? The Holy Spirit only showed Daniel what is to come … not what had been (see Daniel 7:17; 10:14). In contrast, John the Revelator was charged to “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter” (Revelation 1:19). Therefore, Daniel only sees the kingdoms from his time forward, not including the two that had already passed. John the Revelator, on the other hand, is shown the entire history of the world-dominating Gentile nations that played a role in oppressing the Hebrews and their progeny down through history.

We will lay out five reasons why the beasts of Daniel 7 are related to the beasts shown in Revelation 12, 13 and 17. Firstly, there are many commons elements … in fact, so many that we must not conclude that these visions are unrelated. Secondly, the Bible is a consistent document as it is inspired by the same Spirit. It may be transmitted through different writers and beholders of visions, yet the basic symbolism employed remains consistent. The symbols found in Revelation can almost all be found elsewhere in the Old Testament. As such, when Daniel speaks of 10 horns that represent 10 kings (Daniel 7:24), why should we not be alerted to connect this statement with “the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings” mentioned in Revelation 17:12 (and symbolically also in chapters 12 and 13)?

Thirdly, further illustrating that we are here dealing with a consistent Bible, all instances of 10 horns appearing in the Bible are shown to be a future, prophetic event. Why then, especially in view of many other commonalities, would one conclude that Daniel’s visions are unrelated to those of the beasts in Revelation? That brings us to the fourth point: The book of the Bible that has the strongest parallels (though not the only one with parallels) to the book of Daniel—and this in many respects—is indeed the book of Revelation. This being the case, it would not be surprising that the 5 visions we are here critiquing (2 from Daniel, 3 from Revelation) would in fact be related.

Finally, to the 5th point: Critically, all of the facts and characteristics of the beasts and 10 horns presented in each of the 5 visions do not contradict each other. To the direct contrary: Just as in a jigsaw puzzle, once the correct arrangement has been determined, we discover that all the pieces fit in a remarkable order. This is also the case with these five visions. Returning to our first point, comparing all the commonalities of the beast and its 10 horns shown in Daniel 7, with the pictures of the beasts found in Revelation, I count at least 13 connections and similarities. Coincidence? No. In my view, the vision of Daniel 7 certainly connects with the 3 beast visions of Revelation.

Conclusion. The Bible’s prophecies are true and reliable. Revealed here is the last-days account of world geopolitics. As we can conclude, much turmoil still lies ahead. But the time is short.  The rule of the 10 kings emerges very quickly … and is only for a “short time” before the Tribulation and the revealing of the Antichrist. Maranatha, the Lord come soon.

Midnight Call - 04/2014

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Over the past several years, we have received a large amount of correspondence on the topic of the last-day 10 kings, as well as the seven kings and eighth king (that are heads) mentioned in Revelation 17.

Ten kings are shown as “horns” or heads. To help keep these many kings sorted out, we call the 7 historical kings that are heads the Ruler Kings (RK), and the 10 contemporaneous kings, shown as horns, as the 10K. A 4-part series on this very topic was produced here (July to October 2012), as well as other articles over past years.

Readers will likely already know that, inclining to a “literal interpretation” of Scripture, we believe that the rule of the 10 kings—short as it may be—still lies ahead. For a brief time, ten nations will emerge as a confederacy. We have dubbed this group the Endtime Global Power Coalition. They then will give their authority to the Antichrist, who takes power as a world-ruling autocrat. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, the next phase of world rulership will take the form of these “10 kings,” not the Antichrist. It is a post-globalism era, followed by the autocracy of the Antichrist.

In this two-part series, we reproduce some of the questions and comments we have received on the kings of Revelation 17. As this is a challenging topic requiring much Bible study, quite a few viewpoints exist that frankly are “wrong-headed.” It is a subject relevant to our time. Why? Because very likely, a change of regime is at the doorstep. [Note: “EVR” stands for Eternal Value Review.]

READER: I watched a video on YouTube that claimed that the 7 kings were the [Roman Catholic] popes from 1929 until today. The reason the inception point of 1929 is chosen is because that was when the pope was first called a king. The 8th king is interpreted as a resurrected pope, John Paul, who would be possessed by Satan. There are so many theories around today. – B.P.

EVR: There are [indeed] countless speculations about the identity of the 7 ruler kings (RKs), as well as the 10 kings (10K) shown as 10 horns. The vast majority of these interpretations appear to willfully ignore Scripture. The terms and times of the reigns of the 7 RKs and the 10K are commonly misinterpreted. The 7 Ruler Kings (also representing kingdoms) have their dominant hegemonic reign sequentially (one after the other). On the other hand, the 10 Kings are in power all at the same time. How do we know this? Accepting that the prophecies of Revelation and Daniel are aligned, both referring to the 10K and RKs, we see in Daniel that the RKs follow one after the other. The beasts in Daniel 7 are specifically stated to appear in order. Greece is clearly shown to follow Persia, then comes the 4th beast. Also in Daniel 2, the RK kingdoms are said to follow sequentially. None of the RKs are world hegemons at the same time. On the other hand, the 10 kings shown as 10 horns […] do reign at the same time. They are a group that collectively will have much power, though not necessarily on an individual level. If that were not the case, they likely would not be shown as a horn on one of the heads, but rather as a head. We can easily deduce that they exist contemporaneously from the literal statements of Scripture. Here are just five of the passages that support this conclusion:

1. Daniel 7:8 states: “While I was thinking about the horns, there before me was another horn, a little one, which came up among them.” This “little one” can only emerge “among them” if they are all in existence at the same time.

2. Also, Daniel says that 3 kings fell to the “little horn” (Daniel 7:20). If 3 of the “10 horn” kings are to fall by the hands of the Antichrist, then it is reasonable to presume that they must be reigning in the same era.

3. Revelation 17:12 says that the 10 kings “[…] for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.” Does it make sense that these 10 kings would take their turns doing so over such a short period of time? A literal, common-sense reading would indicate that the 10 kings collectively will receive authority.

4. Moreover, verse 13 states, “They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.” What point would there be for these minor 10Ks to individually and sequentially give their power to the beast? If this were the case, it would not be possible that the 7th stage of the world-ruling beast could be powerful enough to reign over the world. Daniel clearly states that the final beast and its following 10 kings and little horn “[…] crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left” (Daniel 7:19). It “[…] will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it” (verse 23).

5. Revelation 17:16 says, “The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” The beast mentioned here is the Antichrist. (Every reference to “beast” from Revelation 17:8 onward refers to the Antichrist.) In any case, it does not make sense for the Beast and the 10 kings “to burn” the whore sequentially rather than together.

In conclusion, the 10 kings come on the scene contemporaneously and not sequentially. They all exist at the same time. As such, there is no serial authority given to the Antichrist by the 10 kings as is sometimes claimed. Besides being refuted by Scripture, this interpretation would not make common sense in any case. If only one king had enough power to give to the Antichrist that would be sufficient to stamp upon and subdue the entire earth, wouldn’t he then qualify to be the Antichrist?”

READER:  [Only a small portion of this letter has been excerpted.] Thank you for your series on prophecy in Midnight Call, laying down your formulation proofs for your understanding of Revelation 17. Thank you for your love of the Lord, for your love of His Word and His truth, for your diligence and care with reference to the literalness and detail of His work, and for all the time and energy you’ve invested in your study. I was very blessed by an uncle, a graduate mechanical engineer with the same love. He’s now with the Lord. I love him for teaching me how to study God’s Word myself, as I would not accept his views as binding, but would continue to grow in God’s Word and truth myself. All that to say that he and I agree completely on the first six historic kings and kingdoms, with the 6th being Rome in John’s day. Circa 1700, Sir Isaac Newton listed the “10 kingdoms” of the 10 kings: 1. Vandals and Alans; 2. Suevians in Spain; 3. Visigoths; 4. Alans in Gallia; 5. Burgundians; 6. Franks; 7. Britons; 8. Huns; 9. Lombards; 10. Ravenna. – A.Z.

issacnewton2EVR: Thank you for your very dear letter. As you yourself suggest, we should not simply accept anyone else’s view without the validation of our own study. Of course, we all must be open to change our views if we are wrong. All Christians today are indebted to Isaac Newton for the example that he set. He was one of the greatest scientists of all time and a devout Christian. He is said to have written over one million words on Bible prophecy. Even though we may all strive to diligently study the Word, different opinions on certain matters do prevail. With respect to the interpretations of the identities of the 10 kings (those shown as horns in both Revelation and Daniel) that you quote, we must state that there are innumerable versions listing different peoples and nations, and in different orders. These theories have continued to change down through the centuries. All have two basic flaws. Firstly, they are speculative interpretations that the Bible does not validate. Not one of these 10-horn kings is identified (either deductively or by name) in the Bible. Were we to list 10 candidates today (which we cannot), it would be sheer speculation.

On the other hand, it is possible to deduce from the Bible alone, the identities of the 7 heads (RKs). These kings (kingdoms) are indeed sequential. Secondly, many of the 10-king theories have the fatal flaw that they assume the 10 horns represent sequential kings or nations. This is a clear error. We have shown that the 10 kings exist contemporaneously, not successively. Moreover, it can be conclusively shown that these 10 horns must be on the 7th head shown in the image of Revelation 12, 13 and 17. It may very well be possible that some of the nations that will be part of the last 10-member global power coalition are already on the scene today. Their joint era, in which they give their authorities to the Antichrist, still lies ahead.

READER: [Re: Daniel, Revelation, and endtime theory] Hi, I would like to say the harlot of Revelation 17:18 is America. The five kings in Daniel (4th vision) would start with Ronald Reagan as the goat with one horn. Oman has taken out two kings and needs to take down one more before November 20th. He is the liar and will fade away. Bush 1 and Bush 2 would count as the same. Romney is the divider and will bring in tribulation, six and seven kings. So I have no idea. It is just to give you guys something to think about. I have no proof of any of this. The white horse will ride out from Middle America, because both coast lines will be gone when the Church is taken. There will be massive chaos in this event. Anyway, [I’m] still trying to put the pieces together myself and just wanted you to consider these thoughts and look at it from this angle. You’re right about the 10 kings not being formed yet. God needs to judge America first, which will form Rome back together. Anyway, I hope this points you in a direction you are not considering. This is just a brief outline, and there are other things to consider. Shoot me an email if you are interested after your research. – B.

EVR:  As you yourself say, you have no idea and you have no Biblical proof for any of your views whatsoever. Never should we go beyond what Scripture actually says. The intended meaning of Scripture must be observed; a courtesy we would extend to words of anyone that we have discourse with. “Now, brothers and sisters, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, ‘Do not go beyond what is written’” (1 Corinthians 4:6). To do so, and to represent the Bible in such a dishonest way, only serves to discredit the Word and makes a mockery of the entire reason that God moved upon prophets and apostles through His Spirit to write down “words.” In that sense, your speculations are unfortunate, because they are harmful.

READER: [Re: Prophecy: Right- or Wrong-  Headed?] […] Can having preconceived ideas hinder us from seeing clearly that which stands before us? Being the world’s greatest superpower, to what nation will America buckle under? When the Church is gone, will America be awakened or be bloodthirsty in light of the fact that we as a nation have two unbelieving presidential contenders? Couldn’t the apostle John have said Babylon if he had meant Iraq? Why the need for “Mystery”? If I say, this will happen in Mystery Damascus, wouldn’t you be inclined to search for another Damascus? These are some of my arguments toward America being that “Mystery.” The following are additional components. [For the sake of limited space, we do not here reproduce the supplied list of claimed parallels and proofs.]– J. K.

EVR: Your views are not rare. There are many who do and have claimed that America is Mystery Babylon the Great. However, the arguments in each case are speculative and dependent upon ignoring some Scriptures while twisting others. There have been countless books written on this and related topics over the centuries. As Dave Hunt used to say, “America may be the new Sodom; but Mystery Babylon it is not.” Yes, it is clearly possible to draw parallels to America, and for that matter, to other countries. It would not be surprising if there were close parallels. Why? Because the whole world has gone astray. In this sense, there are bound to be similarities between many nations down through the centuries, and therefore, there will be similar parallels to conditions mentioned in Bible prophecy. As such, every age has been able to produce its candidates for the earth america magnifying2Antichrist and Mystery Babylon. But, a few parallels alone do not produce an air-tight case for prophetic fulfillment that is backed by Scripture word for word…namely, the whole of Scripture down to the iota. All the points you make are either not conclusive or contradict both the balance and specifics of Scripture. One single verse alone is sufficient to invalidate all claims that America is Mystery Babylon (this also applying to the Roman Catholic Church, for that matter). “In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of ALL [our emphasis] who have been slaughtered on the earth” (Revelation 18:24). America is a relatively young nation. It could not have been responsible for “ALL who have been slaughtered on earth.” Every translation of this verse that we have reviewed uses the word “ALL.”

READER: I read your article, “Europe & Germany in Prophecy: Are the Armstrongites Right?” Where are Assyria and Egypt mentioned in Rev. 17:10? One should always examine the Scriptures for oneself to test all views, whether from the Philadelphia Church of God Trumpet, or EVR or any other publication. This is true. Anyone can guess at what some verses mean. Their theory, your theory, or my theory may all be wrong, but they cannot all be right. I have been taught all my life that the Bible is talking about Rome. But about 20 years ago, I finally read the Book from start to finish. I did not find one verse that says Rome is the bad guy of the end time. It seems to me that you are doing just the same thing as the Armstrong group has done. If one takes Daniel 2 and reads it carefully, you may come to see that Rome is not mentioned and that the fourth empire is not named. – R.R.

EVR: We accept your challenge for the proofs behind our opinions. That said, kudos to you if you were able to “finally read the Book from start to finish” and so easily draw such emphatic conclusions as you state on such complicated matters. The Book of Revelation was never meant to open up so effortlessly, nor for that matter Daniel 2 and a substantial amount of other prophecy in the Bible. In fact, we are told by Daniel, that when the Jews finally come into the “knowledge” of Jehovah’s plan and their Messiah at the end, it would require a lot of “running to and fro” searching the Scriptures anxiously. The fact is that the Bible, though it is a compilation of 66 separate books, is one cohesive, interconnected document. It does not give up all of its deeper-hidden pearls capriciously, choosing instead to reward those that diligently seek.

Some things in the Bible are deductive. Though things may not be specifically identified by name, this does not mean that they do not exist, whether named or not. For example, the Trinity is never mentioned as a term. Does that invalidate this concept? Some Bible prophecy certainly falls into this same category. Of the hundred and more prophecies about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, not one mentions His civil name in advance other than His being called Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14). Yet, He did come and fulfilled many of these prophecies (others yet in the future).

You claim that no names of the kings are mentioned in Revelation. Neither are four of the five “kings/kingdoms” depicted in Daniel 2 identified in name. Only if you connect OT and NT prophecy could you conclude that Nebuchadnezzar is specifically named as being the founder of the 3rd kingdom of the seven heads shown in Revelation 17. Additional sleuthing would also show that the kingdoms of Medo-Persia and Greece are directly named and can be conclusively identified as the 4th and 5th heads on this same image. With a little more deduction, it can be proven that the Roman Empire is the 6th. As for the 10 kings (10 horns), they are mentioned or depicted 10 times in the Bible. Is this coincidental? We definitely do see them corroborated and connected in Daniel 2 and 7 and Revelation 12, 13, and 17.

As for all the 7 heads shown together on the beast in the Book of Revelation (nowhere else in the Bible are they shown in this manner), the Bible calls them all “kings.” This word “king,” both in Greek (basileau) and Hebrew/Aramaic (melek), is used more than 2800 times in the Bible. Virtually in each and every case it refers to a human being … a male sovereign … a person who has a role in the flesh. According to Revelation 17, a total of 17 kings [18 kingdoms] are mentioned—real, literal, in-the-flesh men—that play a prophetic and geopolitical role. Who could they be? For the seven kings [kingdoms] shown as heads, the Bible provides a conclusive identification if you read it consistently and follow all of its clues. No speculation is required, just some deduction and humility.

Midnight Call - 03/2014

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We continue with our 2-part article series, in part, providing an update on Endtime Money. To this point, we have concluded that global financial systems are already far advanced and have become increasingly centralized. We already live in a world where it is virtually impossible to survive economically without a bank account. However, more steps yet remain if Bible prophecy in this respect is to be fulfilled.

However, as we will now be dealing with the question of future trends and of when specific verses in Bible prophecy will be fulfilled, we must first comment on two issues—that of forecasting the future and the question of prophetic fulfillment.

Fulfillment of Money Prophecies: Futurist or Historical?

At the outset, we must say emphatically that it is not possible to present definitive proof for the exact timing of any trend or sign in the future. There are a number of reasons why this is the case. Firstly, mankind does not have the ability to reliably see into the future … much less so to predict short-term developments. Secondly, there is no way of determining just how extreme mankind’s idolatries and delusions may yet become in the future. It is impossible to forecast delusion and irrationality. That would be a contradiction in terms.

Moreover, looking back, searching for benchmarks and patterns that might be projected into the future, we discover that not much information is available. Whatever there might be found is quite recent in the human time-line. We discover that the endtime processes have accelerated only in recent centuries … lurching forward on many fronts with little uniformity. Finally, we must acknowledge that our sovereign Lord is in control. He can choose to tarry … or to act suddenly. In short, any conclusions with respect to future developments will be highly unreliable.

We do believe that it is correct to identify the trends that we point to in the global financial and economic realm as being prophetically significant … as representing endtime processes that must be seen as necessary preconditions to the fulfillment of specific endtime prophecies. Any sudden world trends, changes or developments that have taken place after 1948 (that being the fulfillment of the prophesied re-founding of Israel; some argue that the 1880s are pivotal, as this is when the Zionist movement began) are candidates for prophetic significance. In saying this, we are careful not to endorse a historicist perspective.

doves2Rather, we are pointing to developmental trends that either must or will serve as the necessary preparations or stepping stones to future literal prophetic fulfillment. Isaiah 60:8-9 provides a useful illustration of this point. “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows? Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far […].”

Just who are these that fly as a cloud or as doves? This is a specific prophecy that refers to the return of Jews to Palestine from the five continents of the world. The prophet Isaiah sees them using either boats or planes. What other alternative form of cross-ocean transport is there today between continents for the most part? There are only two. Could we not then conclude that the Bible envisions the invention of human flight?

If so, then the discovery of manned flight (only as recently as 1903 by the Wright brothers) must be prophetically significant. The prophecy of Isaiah 60 could not otherwise be fulfilled. But at what point does Bible prophecy see Israelites using planes to return to their ancient homeland—in the Millennium, during the Tribulation, or perhaps even as early as the late 19th century when Zionism was birthed?

The Bible says that the returning Jews will arrive by “ships of Tarshish first.” Why not first by plane? Could it be because the plane was invented only later after the Aliyah had already begun? It was only in the early 1930s that transcontinental commercial flight was in operation, but then only by airships such as Zeppelins (could these be the clouds that the Prophet Isaiah saw?). Transatlantic flights by planes (these perhaps looking like doves to the prophet) began in the later 1940s (as did the Israeli airline El Al). However, the first transcontinental passenger flights landing in Israel did not take place until the early 1950s, when “El Al airlifted over 160,000 immigrants to Israel from India, Iran, Iraq and Yemen as part of Operation Magic Carpet and Operation Ezra and Nehemiah” (Source: Wikipedia).

biblelooking2Nevertheless, for Isaiah’s prophecy to be fulfilled at all would require the prior invention of manned flight. Therefore, we could legitimately say that the technology of flight is a prophetic development (an enabler) and in that sense, is a valid sign of the last days. Nevertheless, it may still be true that the Bible only provides prophetic pictures of this technology at work in the early millennial age.

In the same way, the trends we may refer to as financial signs of the endtimes must be seen as precursors—prophetic enablers—to the actual times and events specifically prophesied in the Bible. In that sense, they are prophetically significant and can be legitimately seen as “signs.”

Money Hysteria a Step Too Far

Just because the Bible indicates that there will be an all-controlling financial system during the last days, does not necessary prove that certain other developments must occur—some of these popularly taught by Bible teachers. Some examples follow:

• That a single world currency must yet emerge. This is not necessary, neither is this specifically mentioned in Scripture. One should note that the world’s financial industry is so interconnected with the sophisticated use of currency derivatives and other means, that it already is a de-facto one-world financial system. Though it could occur, a one-world currency (in name) is not necessary.

• That one can live outside of the Beast’s system. Quite a few people think that they can make preparations to live through the Tribulation period. There are not a small number of businesses selling survival supplies that thrive based on this connection. According to Scripture, there will be no possibility of living outside of the financial system at that time. This is already the case for the most part today.

• That you can outsmart the world’s financial system and find sure safety for your wealth in the here and now. This is impossible. People seem to have little conception of just how corrupt and primordial are the forces to be engaged in this endeavor, especially so in the very last of the last days, a time prophesied to be ultra-deceptive. We would venture even to say that if wealth preservation is a prime fixation of anyone’s life (as is often the case with people who are wealthy), then one is also risking one’s soul and eternal reward.

• That banking services such as debit cards and other payment means are evil. We would say not. It is what will be done with these types of systems in the future that will be evil. You can use these services and enjoy their conveniences. That said, every new convenience also will open us up to a greater vulnerability to financial controls.

• That gold is a sure investment or an alternate money form. It may have been once upon a time. Gold, as attractive as it may appear during these times of massive global monetary malfeasance, is nevertheless dependent upon the whims of political economy. It is very plausible that gold will become a regulated asset at some point in the future. One should not place his hope upon gold.

• That the great money trap is due to diabolical international bankers and evil people in pin-striped suits. There definitely are conspiracies underway, big and small … and some may even involve us as individuals. The Bible confirms that mankind schemes and plots. “Woe to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At morning’s light they carry it out because it is in their power to do it” (Micah 2:1). We are all humans born as sinners who need prayer and redemption. Do not be distracted with all the hyper-shrill conspiracy theories being promoted today. We must remember that the Bible says that “all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave” (Revelation 13:16), including all these supposed conspirators, will be caught by the money trap. The elites get caught, too.

All or some of the above may be possible deductions, but they are not specifically mentioned in the Bible. As such, they are speculations. Yet, in some circles these viewpoints are held as though they were supported by Scripture itself.

Thoughts to Ponder

Consider that many observers lament that the Global Financial Crisis did not cause more financial reform, certainly so in the U.S. They point to the fact that the very financial institutions that needed to be bailed out or helped in America (over 700 of them at the time) are now more concentrated and bigger than ever before. The financial institutions that were thought “Too Big to Fail” (TBF) back in 2008-9 are now much bigger and therefore potentially even more dangerous.

Moreover, many of the reforms (i.e. such as the Dodd-Frank bill currently proposed) that were thought necessary, have been effectively defanged by the henchman lobbyist troops of these financial institutions. Many executives that should have been charged for their criminal activities have been left to count their money. The net of it is that the U.S. financial system is as bought-off and compromised as ever. The same is true to lesser or greater degrees in other nations.

Suffice it to be said, that for all the above-mentioned reasons, and the steps that are still needed to facilitate the fulfillment of Revelation 13:7, at least one or more major global financial crises—necessarily, a much bigger doozie than the GFC—must yet be expected.

We conclude and aver that many financial signs of the endtimes can be seen today. Moreover, we identify many of these trends as being prophetically significant. Without these occurring first, specific future prophecies such as Revelation 13:7 could not be fulfilled.

One or more bigger global financial crises yet lie ahead. When will this (these) occur? According to our understanding of Scripture, the final one of these crises will occur in the second half of the Tribulation. Could that be the very next one? Maranatha. The Lord come.

“How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. In the shelter of your presence you hide them from all human intrigues; you keep them safe in your dwelling from accusing tongues” (Psalm 31:19-20).

Midnight Call - 02/2014

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