Posted in daniel, prophecy, revelation, scroll, seal

Seal up the book…Do not seal up the book: Prophecy in Daniel and Revelation

But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)

Then he told me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this scroll, because the time is near. (Revelation 22:10)

Seal up…do not seal up. What can it mean?

Many have gone over the prophecy in Daniel 12 and many have admitted there is difficulty in interpreting the words.

Does seal up in Daniel mean hide the words? No, because the words are included in the canon and have been available for any person to read since the beginning.

The words seal up are also used in Revelation referring to the Seven Thunders. In that case, seal up meant do not write the words down. The words themselves have been sealed up within the confines of the Holy Heavenly Temple, and we do not even know what was said at all.

And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down.”
(Revelation 10:4)

Therefore in Daniel’s case, since he was told to write the words down and those words were subsequently preserved, it seems that seal up meant write, but that God would conceal the understanding of the words from us until an appointed time.

Now, in the 4th verse the prophet goes on to speak about the final part of the book. He says, “But it’s for you Daniel. Conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time, many will go back and forth and knowledge will increase.” What an interesting text this is. He says seal up the book and what does that mean? Does that mean preserve it, when we seal something, we often seal it to preserve it. Well it probably does not mean that, notice the 9th verse, go your way Daniel for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. So, probably this is seal up in the sense of conceal, so as for you Daniel conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time, many will go back in forth and knowledge will increase, and so what he seems to be saying is, Daniel, this book is to be an enigma until the end of time. 

And do you know that is exactly what the Book of Daniel has been? It has been largely an enigma until modern times. With the revival of the study of the prophetic word in the 19th Century, the Book of Daniel has begun to come into its own, and the book now as a result of the revival of prophetic understanding of Scripture has become a very significant book and the prophecy has it would seem to me at least been partially fulfilled. S. Lewis Johnson, Tribulation, Resurrection, Testimony in Daniel’s Conclusion

We compare the command to seal up the prophetic words to Daniel with the words to John NOT to seal up the prophetic words.

And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. (Revelation 22:10)

John MacArthur on what it means to not seal up the book: Believer’s Immediate Response to Christ’s Imminent Return

That reminds me again that we’re not looking into this book for some kind of secretive meanings hidden behind what is obvious. If the truth is not in the words, then this command is nonsense. But the truth is in the words and we are not to seal up these words, we are to make them known. Way back in chapter 1 verse 11, John was told to write in a book what you see and send it to the churches. Spread it, spread this word, Jesus is coming and with Him comes blessing for His own and with Him comes horrifying judgment on the ungodly. To fail to preach revelation, to fail to proclaim revelation is not only foolish, because back in chapter 1 verse 3 it says, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy and heed the things written in it for the time is near.” Not only will you forfeit that blessing, it is not just foolish but it is sinful. 

If ever there was a day to proclaim its truths, it is now. And tomorrow will be a more important day and the day after that a more important day, and next month, more important, and next year, more important as the coming of Christ becomes even nearer. Any Christian who fails to learn the truths of this book and to understand the words of this book which are not at all incomprehensible, as we have learned, is forfeiting blessing and any preacher who fails to preach this book of the glorious realities to come in the return of Jesus Christ is sinfully unfaithful to his mandate. 

And yet it is common, I suppose it is even normal in the church today to have this book completely ignored. As wonderful as the gospel record is, which tells us the story of the first coming of Christ, as marvelous as the epistles are which gives us the theology that comes out of His work, this is the book that exalts Him most. Not to preach the book of Revelation is to fall short of exalting the Lord Jesus Christ with that exaltation due to Him. It is not just a failure to teach the whole counsel of God and to give His people the love of His appearing, it is outright disobedience. The time is near. It is imminent. It is soon. This must be preached, don’t seal it up.

The true prophetic words of the Revelation of Jesus Christ and Daniel apply to us today, and they should spur us to fervency and love and witness and holy living. The words have been released to speak for understanding. God is gracious and all prophecy progresses in an orderly fashion, in His timing.

Posted in book of life, daniel, judgment, prophecy

"and the books were opened…"

Even in these casual, pagan, secular days, there are still a few places which engender a gravitas and causes proper behavior to be displayed and proper clothing to be worn: funerals, and court.

The somber scene where the anticipation of the gallery, the nerves of the plaintiff and defendant, the busyness of the defense and prosecuting lawyers as they bustle to their seats and open attache cased and extract papers and files…then the bailiff comes and says ALL RISE! and the gravity of the scene deepens as the Judge enters. You stand before the judge, you don’t lounge, sit, squirm, or are in any way inattentive. He commands the courtroom! Then He opens his file and the proceedings begin. It is a somber and serious scene.

Imagine, then, the exponentially deeper gravity of that scene when the JUDGE comes to hear the cases of each and every person who ever lived.

“He told me all I ever did!” (John 4:39).

Jesus will judge each person and the proceedings will be the most serious, the most grave that were ever conducted anywhere ever. Here is from Daniel 7:9-10. Please read it slowly and ask the Spirit to impress the scene upon your heart. There is little attention paid to prophecy, judgment and accountability these days. This scene will happen for the hundreds of millions of people who do not know Christ. Is your colleague, friend, loved one going to be among them?

Is the name of your friend, loved one or colleague’s name in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Or is their name in the Books that recount all they ever did, which was sin against our Holy God unto everlasting judgment. Share the Gospel and the reason for the season today. Jesus our Savior, Hallelujah, the Lamb has come!

“As I looked,
thrones were placed,
and the Ancient of Days took his seat;
his clothing was white as snow,
and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames;
its wheels were burning fire.
10A stream of fire issued
and came out from before him;
a thousand thousands served him,
and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him;
the court sat in judgment,
and the books were opened…
Daniel 7:9-10

EPrata photo


Further Reading

The Holy Spirit: God’s Prosecutor

Posted in daniel, encouragement, prophecy

The UN tries to solve the world’s unsolvable problems

I read an interesting article last week. It concerns the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. The UN website states the purpose of the General Assembly:

The General Assembly (GA) is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN. Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority. Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.

Every year in September, the world gathers at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Secretary-General of the UN gives his “State of the World” speech. This year’s speech (the 69th) was much darker, with much less hope than previous years. Here are some excerpts from this year’s speech by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.

“This year, the horizon of hope is darkened. Our hearts are made heavy by unspeakable acts and the deaths of innocents,” he told the assembled leaders from 193 nations. “Not since the end of the Second World War have there been so many refugees, displaced people and asylum seekers. Never before has the United Nations been asked to reach so many people with emergency food assistance and other life-saving supplies,” he said.

“It may seem as if the world is falling apart, as crises pile up and disease spreads. But leadership is precisely about finding the seeds of hope and nurturing them into something bigger. That is our duty. That is my call to you today.”

Another article about the UN Opening Day session reports a bleak world picture as well. It was published this morning before the Secretary-General gave his speech.
Here are some excerpts from this article.

World leaders meet with multiple crises on agenda

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Facing a world in turmoil from multiple crises ranging from wars in the Mideast and Africa to the deadly scourge of Ebola and growing Islamic radicalism, leaders from more than 140 countries open their annual meeting at the United Nations on Wednesday with few solutions.

Looking at the array of complex challenges, Norway’s Foreign Minister Borge Brende told The Associated Press: “It’s unprecedented in decades, that’s for sure.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will deliver his state of the world report at Wednesday’s opening of the General Assembly ministerial session, gave a bleak preview to reporters last week: The world is facing “multiple crises,” with all featuring attacks on civilians and having dangerous sectarian, ethnic or tribal dimensions.

World problems have always been difficult. The world after WWII when the UN was formed was very different than the world that had existed before the war began. Two atomic bombs had been dropped, ushering in the atomic age, and then the space age came in. Every generation has had to deal with complex problems and policy makers at this highest level have always gone into the UN General Sessions knowing that.

However, every generation has had to deal with problems that have been incrementally more difficult than the generation before. It was only a matter of time until the problems outpaced man’s ability to solve them. I think we are reaching that tipping point.

It is a restless, sinful world, nation against nation.
Isaiah 17:12, Isaiah 57:20, Matthew 24:7.

These world problems will only grow more seemingly unsolvable. The unsolvable problems will grow so large and wearisome to the people that they will stagger under the weight of tension from the world coming apart at the seams, not only as Ban Ki Moon said, but also as US Vice President Joe Biden said this week:

“The international order that we painstakingly built after World War II and defended over the past several decades is literally fraying at the seams right now.”  ~Joe Biden

He’s right, the world IS coming apart at the seams. Not uncontrollably, but under the sovereign and perfect eye of God. The world will continue to stagger under threat of global pandemic, tribal uprisings, civil uprisings, moral decay, government enforced cultural perversity, famine, drought, …until one king comes along and he’s got the answers-

And at the latter end of their kingdom, when the transgressors have reached their limit, a king of bold face, one who understands riddles, shall arise. (Daniel 8:23).

This man understands riddles, he is cunning, comes out of nowhere, he will seem greater than his companions (Daniel 11:21, Daniel 7:8, Daniel 7:20).

He will be energized by satan, and remember, satan is described in Ezekiel 28 as an angel “full of wisdom”. Satan is an angel ascribed the term ‘wisdom’ many times in that chapter- but his wisdom was corrupted by his pride and arrogance. This same wisdom, though corrupt and evil now, is still endowed to satan. He hasn’t lost it. He gives it to the antichrist, who appears on the world scene like a god. After a while the antichrist will believe his own propaganda, that is actually IS a god, and force all to worship him. (Daniel 8:25)

The world will accept him. Weary of problems, they just want some relief. This man promises it.

I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. (John 5:43, Revelation 13:3)

What a heartbreaking moment. An ignorant world rejected Jesus, the precious Creator and Savior, but will accept the one called The Beast and Man of Sin.

But our Savior did not leave us without hope. He will rapture us when He is ready to get His bride, and He will render the due judgment on the unholy world that it deserves. All we have to do is persevere. Persevering is the sign that we are saved, it is the assurance of the seal of hope we have within us. It is the signal the the power of the Spirit is working in us to help us be His light in this present darkness. (Ephesians 6:12.)

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. (1 John 2:19)

If they go out from us, they never were of us. Therefore, staying in Him proves we are of Him. Persevere! 2 Timothy 2:12, Galatians 6:9, Revelation 3:11. It all has a very happy ending!

Posted in daniel, Oliver B. Greene, pre-tribulation rapture, prophecy, rapture

Oliver B. Greene on Pre-trib rapture

Oliver B. Greene published a wonderful verse-by-verse exposition of Daniel in 1964. I’ve enjoyed reading it, because the book of Daniel is so hard for me to interpret. I was struck by Mr Green’s certainty and fervency regarding the pre-tribulation rapture.

A Pre-Trib rapture is biblically correct. The rapture itself has been in the bible all along, notwithstanding assertions that it was a made-up doctrine from the 1800s. And the rapture’s timing happening prior to the Tribulation has always been biblically evident too. It was only lately that man began to shy away from the clear teaching of this and muddy the waters to the extent that people now are hesitant to be dogmatic about it- so much so that they think they are being pious to show uncertainty. Look at Mr Greene’s statement on the subject (I kept his exact emphases):

The Great Tribulation has nothing to do with the church; the Church will not enter or go through any part of that terrible time. Any preacher or teacher who suggests that the bride of Christ will be subjected to any part of the reign of the Antichrist is definitely wrongly dividing the Word of Truth. God pity the preacher who will accuse Jesus of allowing the Antichrist to reign over His bride-and the Church IS the bride of Christ!

We have the blessed promise, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth.” (Revelation 3:10).

In the writings of Paul we are promised. “For God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:9). The Great Tribulation has to do with the nation of Israel, not with the Church.

If the Church were to enter or go through any part of the tribulation, believers would be commanded to watch for Antichrist, not for THE CHRIST. We would be commanded to watch for the great tribulation, not to wait for God’s Son from heaven. (1 Thess. 1:10).

Posted in daniel, end time, many shall run to and fro, prophecy

"From buggy to outer space": Many shall rush to and fro, prophecy and hope

When our pastor and the congregation parted ways, he left behind a study full of books. In order to get ready for the new pastor, the deacons cleaned out the room and put the books in the hallway. Any and all members were encouraged to look through and choose any books they wanted. This was one of the happiest days for me, a bibliophile’s, life.

Our other two pastors picked up many of the commentaries and expositions, but there were still plenty left over. I picked up several, along with atlases, reference books, and biographies. One book I happily got is Oliver B. Greene’s verse by verse exposition of Daniel (pub. 1964). Please allow me a brief diversion from my upcoming point about the Daniel prophecy where “many shall run to and fro”, to introduce you to a worthy man of the faith. Wikipedia:

Oliver Boyce Greene (February 14, 1915 – July 26, 1976) was a Independent Fundamental Baptist evangelist and author. He converted in 1935 at the age of 20. Over 200,000 confessions of faith were recorded as a result of his ministry. He attended North Greenville Baptist College briefly before entering full-time ministry, conducting revival meetings in tents and in churches across the eastern United States for 35 years. Greene wrote over 100 books and brief booklets about the Bible.

In 1956, he founded The Gospel Hour, Inc. as a Christian outreach ministry. It included a radio program of his preaching called The Gospel Hour, which began on one station in Georgia and gradually became syndicated until the point it spanned the nation. The Gospel Hour was heard on 150 stations at the time of his death. The cause of death was a cardiac aneurysm. The broadcast is currently on over 80 stations, including international stations and the Internet. Taped copies of the program are still aired today on the Fundamental Broadcasting Network and other Christian radio stations.

Greene hoped that the radio program would continue hopefully until the Lord came back. May it be so. You can read his and many other short biographies of the great men of faith here at The Sword of the Lord

Here is part of the prophecy the angel delivered to Daniel and subsequently interpreted. The title of chapter 12 in the ESV is “The Time of the End”. In Daniel 12:2, the angel said to Daniel that the prophecy was for his people and will happen during a time of trouble no man has ever seen nor shall see again (cf. Matthew 24:21). The angel was speaking of the Israelites (Jews) and the Tribulation. The angel reassured Daniel that his people will be delivered in the end, and then the judgment will come. (Daniel 12:1-3). However, the angel said then, “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4)

Since the ascension of Jesus it has been the time of the end. It has been the Messianic Age, the time of Christ as prophesied. The Last Days means the time when Messiah comes. Yes, the past 2000 years have been the latter days. The Jews and early Christians did not know that there would be a 2000 year interval. The rapture could have happened at any time during this last two millennia. Paul certainly thought it would happen in his lifetime.

The Jewish last days began 2,000 years ago, did you now that? That’s right. The Jewish last days began 2,000 years ago with the arrival of Messiah. They will be completed when the setting of the kingdom takes place. It just so happens that the last days has stretched at least in the 2,000 years. You say why so? Because God graciously is calling a people from the Gentiles. And secondly, because God in chastisement is punishing Israel for unbelief.

And when God gets through calling together the fullness of the Gentiles and gets through gathering and regathering Israel to the land, then the last days will be consummated. Now Paul writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1 and 2 Timothy 3:1, talks about the last days there, but he’s talking about the last days of the church. That the interval of 2,000 years that we’ve been living in, I believe we’re living in the last days of that. Do you believe that? Do you believe Jesus is coming soon? Do you believe the rapture is soon? Then we’re not only in the last days of Israel and have been for 2,000 years, but we’re in the last days of the church. John MacArthur “Explaining Pentecost

The last of the last days will begin when the rapture happens and Jesus pours out His wrath upon the world, and then consummates all His plan by judging, setting up the Millennium Kingdom, and then after that, close the age to begin eternity. The Millennium Kingdom (so called because it will last 1000 years) is what the Jews are looking forward to, but first, they must be punished for their rebellion. That’s what the angel is explaining to Daniel in chapter 12.

So at the time of the end, people will rush to and fro. I was reading the news headlines like I always do, with more often than not one eye closed lately because of the headlines’ increasingly heinous nature. I saw several headlines that reported passenger airliner near collisions over metropolitan airports. Here are the news pieces:

Boeing 767 Aborts Landing To Avoid Crashing Into Another Plane

The news article comes with stunning video showing just how close the crash nearly was. Below is a still from the video showing the second the airborne plane sees throttles up, points his nose up and aborts the landing. He really kicked it into high gear. The video goes on to show the airliner circling around and making a 2nd attempt to land, this time successfully with no planes in the way.

These two planes were in Houston TX and came within 200 vertical feet of one another in early July – but an aware traffic controller noticed the danger and gave timely instructions to avert the collision. The article ends by noting that the FAA was investigating another near miss at that airport from May.

Last month, there was an actual crash of two passenger planes on the tarmac. Thankfully there were no injuries. One of the plane’s wings was crushed and the incident forced three hour delays of all traffic at Stansted Airport north of London.

In the US a ground crash between two passenger planes occurred at Boston’s Logan Airport, causing damage but thankfully again, no injuries.

In Ottawa Canada, A quick-thinking air traffic controller saved an ORNGE air ambulance helicopter from taxiing into the path of a cargo jet at Ottawa airport

All these examples are from the last few days to last few weeks. Increasingly, we read of these crashes and near misses as our world’s airports and other transportation hubs as they have become overloaded with travelers.

I found Mr Oliver B. Greene’s explanation about the people rushing to and fro in the prophecy very interesting. I quoted his bio above, he was born in 1915 and died in 1976, an interesting time span. I’ve often wondered about my grandmother’s life, emigrating from Britain as a young woman, having been born in 1900 and living through to the early 1980s. What a century the 1900s was!

Mr Greene wrote of Daniel 12:4. I think it is interesting so please bear with me as I post his long exposition of the verse.

A fleet-footed horse was probably the fastest mode of transportation in Daniel’s day. The kings had horses and chariots which were very fast in that day, but compared to the speed of today they were slower than a tortoise.

Notice that “MANY” – not just a few, but multitudes – shall run to and fro. My father lived to be seventy years of age. He left his home state only once during those years, and the only reason he traveled so far from home was because my brother, out of state at an army camp,  was preparing to go overseas. Had it not been for the fact that my brother was going to war, I doubt that my dad would have left his home state during his lifetime.

I’ll pause here to insert that I have met many people here in Georgia, older folks who farm or have animals. Many of them have never left the state of Georgia, or a few have ventured to nearby South Carolina (40 miles away) to visit nearby family or go to the lake that borders our two states. This was amazing to me when I moved here, having grown up in the northeast and having traveled the world by the time I was 40. But the north tends to be transient not just in travel but in simply moving to and fro and here to there. The south has farmers who are tied to the land, and whose families also tend to stay put. It is not uncommon for family reunions in the south to have 50 or more attendees, all of whom are still living in the same county.

Continuing with Mr Greene,

Fifty years ago, [in 1914, working back from 1964 when the book was published] very few people traveled very far; but today almost everyone travels. Millions travel even across the seas, and a trip around the world is nothing today. Regardless of where you go on this earth, many are running to and fro. I visited the jungles of Africa, and in Leopoldville we purchased a ticket for that native train that rain 100 miles back into the jungle. I supposed there would be an ambulance of room, but the next morning when we went down to the station to board the train we found people standing, hanging out the windows, and riding everywhere they could find a place to stand or sit. Wherever you go today, people are on the move, traveling, going, and coming.

In the early days of our country, people traveled from east to west, but as a rule they traveled only one way  –  most of them never returned. But Daniel was instructed to write that many would go “to and fro”: they will go, but they will return.

Another pause here to put before you several translations of the verse.

NLT: “But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.”

KJV: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

ESV: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”

The word for run or rush is to roam about, rush back and forth, rove. It indicates movement, and restless movement at that. Mr Greene says of the rushing part of the verse, and I replicate his emphasis:

Notice that “many will RUN to and fro”. When I was a boy, I walked 5 miles to school. Today the average child who goes as far as two city blocks to school either rides in the family automobile, or has his own bike or motor scooter. There is a minimum of walking.

Wherever you go, people are in a hurry- and for what? Most of them could not tell you. They are hurrying to get – where? Most of them do not know, but they are always in a hurry. The only way to stay alive today is to run, even in the supermarket. If you are not careful, someone will run a grocery cart right into you if you stop moving!

LOL, you notice our pattern of speech, As I grew up I always heard my mother say “I’ve got to run to he grocery store.” Or if she was leaving a person’s home or concluding a telephone call, she said, “I’ve gotta run.” In my lifetime we’ve gone from saying “I will go” to I’ll run”. Of course the statement I just made isn’t absolute nor does it apply to everyone, but in general, I’ve noticed an ever further speeding up than did Mr Green in his day of 1964. To continue:

This is the age of speed. As I dictate these lines, the President of the United States has just announced that we have a jet fighter that flies more than 2,000 miles per hour… think of it! It makes one dizzy to think of such speed. It has just been announced that France is building a transport that will carry 200 people across the Atlantic ocean in just one hour and twenty-five minutes.

Mr Green was speaking of the Concorde, which came online in 1969 and ran in service from 1976 to 2003. It did indeed run an hour and a half. Donald Fagen’s song I.G.Y. (What A beautiful World) mentioned it,

On that train all graphite and glitter 
Undersea by rail  
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris 
Well by seventy-six we’ll be A.O.K.  
What a beautiful world this will be 
What a glorious time to be free

‘The undersea by rail’ may indeed refer to the Channel Tunnel, AKA the Chunnel, “a high-speed undersea transport from France to the UK. The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, the Eurotunnel Shuttle for automobiles and other road vehicles—the largest such transport in the world—and international rail freight trains. It has the longest undersea portion of rail in the world.” (Wikipedia)

Amazing! None of this was even conceived of or possible before my generation. Mr Greene remarks about Daniel,

If Daniel could have read a statement such as I have just made, he could not have understood the words he read. Thus the Lord God instructed him to seal up the book and close up the words until the time of the end. WE can understand because we have seen these things come to pass. We are living in the days of fulfillment of this prophecy.

Isn’t he good?! I have enjoyed his commentary and exposition. In addition, he wrote a half-page pre-tribulation stance that is just tremendous. I’ll be posting that later in another post.

Not only do I agree with what he wrote but see how far it’s gone even in the last 50 years since Mr Greene published his exposition of Daniel’s prophecy of traveling to and fro. The Chunnel, the Concorde, space ships, the Space Shuttle, regular commuting distances of hundreds of miles, travel at the drop of a hat, so much so that now airports are SO crowded that planes crashing in to one another even on the ground is a regular threat and a frequent occurrence.

Our crowded, rushing, to and fro world is certainly an amazing one. When the angel said to Daniel to shut up the prophecy for the time of the end, the time of the end came in 33AD, but until this past 75 years, it still would not have been understood. Has the prophecy been opened? I believe it has. As Mr Greene said, we understand it because we have seen these things come to pass.

And may it soon come to pass that Jesus calls His bride home, and the time of the very end will come in which He will blessedly rectify all the blasphemous injustices that have been performed against Him.

Enjoy the thoughts from Mr Greene, and above all, slow down!

Posted in daniel, ISIS, jeremiah, middle east, middle east unrest, prophecy

Do the events of today in Iraq have prophetic import? Introduction to ISIS and prophecy

Part 1 here
Part 2 here

The suddenness with which the ISIS coalition has burst into the world stage is certainly startling. The swiftness with which the ISIS organization has made sweeping gains in Iraq is also startling. Any time there is dramatic movement in the Middle East, God’s prophetic lands, it is wise to keep watch and also refer to prophecy.

Here are some resources for you to learn more about ancient Iraq. The resources are biblical and historical. Please stay away from conspiracy theorists and prophecy theorists who incorrectly meld blood moon theories and personal dreams and visions with bible prophecy that they rip from context and incorrectly interpret. It brings disrepute onto prophecy as a study topic to tweet, ‘like,’ blog, video, and otherwise promote such incorrect and unbiblical information.

Please also have a heart for the people there. The refugee situation from Syria is terrible, millions have been displaced. I read today that there are more Syrian children in Lebanon than there are Lebanese children. And more millions are fleeing Iraq- where will they go? Where can they be absorbed? Turkey and Jordan are filled to the brim with Syrians already. Most importantly, remember that these fleeing Iraqis don’t know Jesus.

In 1903 W. Eugene Sallee gave a talk about the importance of missions to the Chinese. He demonstrated the need:

In his hand he held his watch. Looking at it constantly for one minute, and then looking at the audience, he said, “A million a month in China go down to their Christless graves, and every time the minute hand makes its circuit around the face of your watch, one thousand, three hundred and eighty-eight souls in China have gone into Eternity.”

How many Iraqis go to a Christless eternity every minute in the war-torn path of the rabid ISIS soldiers?

Here is a map of the lands in the news today. They are ALL in bible prophecy in the end times.

Babylon was 50 miles south of current day Baghdad, on the map above between and ‘a’ in Baghdad and the ‘a’ in Euphrates, at the bend in the river.

Ancient names for Iraq are Babylon, Shinar, Chaldea, and Mesopotamia. Smith’s bible dictionary entry for Shinar states:

Shinar- (country of two rivers), the ancient name of the great alluvial tract through which the Tigris and Euphrates pass before reaching the sea –the tract known in later times as Chaldaea or Babylonia. It was a plain country, where brick had to be used for stone and slime for mortar. (Genesis 11:3) Among the cities were Babel (Babylon), Erech or Orech (Orchoe), Calneh or Calno (probably Niffer), and Accad, the site of which is unknown. It may be suspected that Shinar was the name by which the Hebrews originally knew the lower Mesopotamian country where they so long dwelt, and which Abraham brought with him from “Ur of the Chaldees.”

Here is a short study of the Biblical History of the Land of Shinar from Keyway Bible Study.

Joel C. Rosenberg is a political Middle East expert AND a bible prophecy expert. He has written numerous fiction and non-fiction books about the various countries in the prophetic lands, which he calls ‘the epicenter’ because “current rumblings in the Middle East will change your future.”

When the Syrian War broke out Rosenberg put together study notes from Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49 because he had been asked so many times whether the civil war in and around Damascus was potentially part of prophecy coming to fulfillment. While he cautions that we can’t know for sure when the prophecies in the Old Testament relating to the end of the end times will come to pass, (including Isaiah 17, Isaiah 19, Jeremiah 49, 50, 51, Ezekiel 38-39, Psalm 83, etc) he explains what these prophecies are in an easy-to-read, bullet point set of study notes that he graciously put online. The link below opens in .pdf. It is helpful to read it, very helpful.

Joel C. Rosenberg, updated September 2013

[I]t has been estimated that there are 135 prophecies in this first part of Daniel chapter 11 which have come to pass exactly as Daniel wrote them in history. ~S. Lewis Johnson
Daniel 11 may also be a good chapter to read in light of current geo-shifting events in the Middle East.

Here is a link to an exegesis of Daniel 11:1-45 (which is the whole chapter). At the link there is a transcript and another link to the audio of the sermon. I recommend listening while reading along. The sermon is titled “The Willful King“. It is about the fourth and final world kingdom led by the antichrist. From Babylon, Iraq.

In Jeremiah 50:23 God called Babylon “The hammer of the whole earth …” Yet God is the hammer that will finally bring Babylon down – to judgment. Is the beginning of that prophesied end time judgment happening in Iraq today? Time will tell. Sadly, many there need to repent before it comes. Please pray. Meanwhile I agree with what Joel C. Rosenberg said of prophecy:

That said, my goal is to help make people aware of what the Bible says about the future of various countries and cities, help them understand Bible prophecy, answer their questions, and encourage them to seriously consider whether they want to follow Christ or not. And for Christians, I want to encourage them to know the power of God’s Word, and encourage them to obey Jesus when He commanded us to love our neighbors and love our enemiessaid Joel C. Rosenberg

S. Lewis Johnson ended his exposition of Daniel 11 this way:

The prophecy ends on the note of the sovereignty of God and the sovereign victory of God through the second coming of the Messiah who will establishes kingdom at that time. Let me close with a word of prayer.

[Prayer] Father, we are grateful to Thee for these unfoldings of the prophetic word and we pray that Thou will give us enlightenment, enable us Lord also to recognize the trends and signs of the things that are happening in our society today, and Lord we pray that in our own personal life, we may be driven to a closer and deeper walk with Thee and worship of our Lord Jesus Christ whom to know is life eternal.”

Posted in daniel, end time, future shock, many shall run to and fro, prophecy

Space jumping and Daniel’s prophecy

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” (Daniel 12:4).

Does this prophecy, the famous one in Daniel, mean that technology and science and widespread travel are a sign of the end times? Yes and no.

First of all, the end time has been since Jesus ascended and will end when He returns. In that case, the advances of the Romans in installing indoor plumbing, aqueducts, hot and cold running water, as many roads as are equivalent with the United States Interstate system, and the Colosseum are indicators of the end time as much as our current Interstate, the Houston Superdome, and Kohler’s no-touch kitchen faucet are.

As a matter of fact, no one still knows the how the ancients came up with the technology behind the Great Pyramid at Giza, as mathematically, architecturally, and astronomically perfect as it is.

So what does the verse in Daniel mean? Barnes’ Notes proposes one interpretation:

“Many shall run to and fro – Shall pass up and down in the world, or shall go from place to place. The reference is clearly to those who should thus go to impart knowledge; to give information; to call the attention of men to great and important matters. The language is applicable to any methods of imparting important knowledge, and it refers to a time when this would be the characteristic of the age. There is nothing else to which it can be so well applied as to the labors of Christian missionaries, and ministers of the gospel, and others who, in the cause of Christian truth, go about to rouse the attention of men to the great subjects of religion; and the natural application of the language is to refer it to the times when the gospel would be preached to the world at large.”

MacArthur explains it this way:
“At that time, many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased.” Now this is a most interesting phrase, been interpreted many ways. Let me give you what is the basic interpretation, the words, the context that I think makes real sense. It is not talking about the increase of scientific knowledge primarily, although that may be an allusion or an implication that could be drawn. What it is talking about is this, many people in the Tribulation, the time of the end, are going to run to and fro trying to find out answers to what’s going on. And they’re going to find the book of Daniel and at that point, their knowledge will be increased.”

So I don’t think we can be dogmatic that this or that is definitely what the verse means. After all, the Lord said to seal it up until the end. If we are still debating what it means then obviously He hasn’t unsealed the meaning to us yet, though we do have more of a clue today than in Daniel’s day, I believe, because we are so close to the end

Francis Bacon, English philosopher of the 1600s Restoration was influential in insisting that the advances in science currently underway should be for the betterment of man. He urged a more utilitarian approach instead of a contemplative one, and thus, he was a forerunner of the Industrial Revolution. However, just as ominously, Bacon said in his major work, “Novum Organum” (the second part of the Instauration), he stated his view that the restoration of science was part of the “partial returning of mankind to the state it lived before the fall”, restoring its dominion over creation, while religion and faith would partially restore mankind’s original state of innocence and purity.” (source)

In this way, Bacon kicked us into high gear in replacing God with science.

Bacon’s motto was “Multi pertransibunt & augebitur scientia” = “many will pass through and knowledge will be the greater”, as seen on the frontspiece of his major work. It is a direct reference to Daniel’s verse.

The title page of Novum Organum depicts a galleon passing between the mythical Pillars of Hercules that stand either side of the Strait of Gibraltar, marking the exit from the well-charted waters of the Mediterranean into the Atlantic Ocean. The Pillars, as the boundary of the Mediterranean, have been smashed through opening a new world to exploration. Men have been unleashed to sail new waters of thought, science, and technology. Bacon hoped that empirical investigation will, similarly, smash the old scientific ideas and lead to greater understanding of the world and heavens. The Latin tag across the bottom is taken from the Book of Daniel 12:4. Bacon is thought of as the father of empiricism.

So each age has been amazed by science and technological advances. However up above I said ‘yes and no’ to the question as to whether technological advances are a sign of the end time. I don’t think it can be related firmly to the Daniel verse but I also think it can be seen as a mirror of man’s status a la Tower of Babel.

As man’s achievements grow, his pride grows too. The prouder man gets of his works the more he says he doesn’t need God. I also believe this generation has seen the most growth in God-dishonoring science and technology than any generation before. “Safe abortions”? What an oxymoron. Safe for whom, exactly?? We go into space to prove God is not there. Though we have heeded Bacon’s plea to create things from science and technology for the betterment of man, we have also gone far away from God with it.

“Future Shock is a book written by the futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970. In the book, Toffler defines the term “future shock” as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. His shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of “too much change in too short a period of time”. Toffler argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change overwhelms people, he believed, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving people disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”—future shocked.” (Wiki)

I believe that we are in a state of future shock now.

Though things did change dramatically between 1950 and 1970 when Toffler observed and prompted him to write of the advances and their impacts in society, that change has accelerated even more dramatically from 1970 to now. This isn’t just a feeling. It is actually related to technological change, and has been observed in Moore’s Law.

Moore’s law is the observation that over the history of computing hardware, the number of transistors on integrated circuits doubles approximately every two years.

“The capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore’s law: processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras. All of these are improving at (roughly) exponential rates as well. This exponential improvement has dramatically enhanced the impact of digital electronics in nearly every segment of the world economy. Moore’s law describes a driving force of technological and social change in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.” (source)

Vernor Vinge popularized his ideas about exponentially accelerating technological change in the SF novel Marooned in Realtime (1986), set in a world of rapidly accelerating progress leading to the emergence of more and more sophisticated technologies separated by shorter and shorter time intervals, until a point beyond human comprehension is reached.

This accelerating trend has continued for more than half a century.

My half a century.

When I was born, man had not gone into space yet. Now a man jumped from space to the earth. I believe this most rapid change in technology and science has been due to the birth of the modern computer age in 1970. The world’s first general microprocessor came out on Nov. 1971 and we have never been the same.

In this bewildering world of advanced quantum technology, iPhones, space jumping, Mars roving pace, please remember that the Lord never changes. He is steady constant, and eternal. His timing is perfect. At just the right moment He will call us home, and our joy will be complete. Personally, I’m looking forward to a world without cell phones 🙂

Posted in daniel, Nebuchadnezzar

A little tidbit for you

I have some things that are really interesting I’m working on, but today’s Sunday School and worship were stupendous but tiring, and tonight’s small faith group went long, so I’m saving them for tomorrow. Meanwhile, here is something short:

A La Andy Rooney, “Didja ever notice…” Nebuchadnezzar’s statue…
Daniel 2:31-33: “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.’ “

The metals represent kingdoms current to Daniel’s time and in the future. The metals go from top to bottom in order of worth. Gold is the most precious metal on earth, then silver, then brass and then iron which is not worth anything on the precious metals market. As time goes on, all the kingdoms decrease in worth and value. Inversely, the metals, though they decrease in value, increase in strength. Gold is the softest metal, iron is pretty strong.

The metals are symbols of kingdoms. Daniel’s interpretation is here: (Dan 2:36-43)