The paper, A Short Course on the Book of Revelation, was intentionally brief, and no where close to being a scholarly dissertation. I am just a lay person, like many of you, but I am of the belief that Revelation does not have to be that difficult, especially when you break it down into segments.
The segments consist of:
- Identification and understanding of who the book is about – Jesus, the Jews, the nations, and the saints.
- The church age.
- The time of wrath.
- The thousand years of peace under the reign of Jesus and the resurrected saints.
- The grand finale where after Satan is released for a brief time he deceives the nations, again, they rise up in war against God and his people, God destroys them and throws Satan permanently into the lake of fire. All the non-believing dead will be raised for judgment, and surprisingly many are shown mercy.
I printed The Short Course on the Book of Revelation and took it to the bible study group I meet with. One man in particular shows an interest in such things and so I handed it to him. The “leader” of the group began to look at it, he is attempting to create a long, detailed, explanatory thesis on Revelation, and so the man I gave that copy to immediately lost his copy. I had a backup and gave it to the man. This next time I saw the leader he had critiqued it.
I do not agree with his beliefs on end times events and their timing, but he claims he is interested in learning. One of the things that might make his learning a little skewed would be his lack of interest in reading the old testament. I find Jesus the Messiah in every book. You must understand that this bible of ours is a very Jewish book, and that the old testament is the foundation of almost everything in the new testament, especially the Revelation. The books of Daniel, Ezekiel, as well as others not only painted the picture that we see in the Revelation, but the terminology was repeated with precision, and in many cases much more defined by several of the prophets of the old testament.
In his critique the leader dissagreed with several points, one of which he kept going back to the same theme over and over. As I do not crank these papers out in an evening, I will attempt to answer his questions and perhaps yours over the next few weeks.
"The rise of Islam. Technically we are dealing with a resurrected Ottoman empire.
This word resurrected takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the ‘beast’ whose head was wounded. (Check this out at your leisure in Revelation 13); "
This is an attempt at responding to the first of your challenges.
As I included my original statement above, it should be easy to recognize that I used terminology that allows for logical thought instead of merely stating, “this is what John was saying here.”, for I stated, "This word resurrected takes on a whole new meaning when applied to the beast". The reader is welcome to assimilate this information in any manner they wish.
I referenced Revelation 13, but this particular challenge, and I quote, “*beast - “rising up” #1, “coming out of” #2 not resurrected....” initially made no sense to me. Apparently you were referring to verse 1 of chapter 13. The problem with this is that the passages here are chronological and you have jumped backward in time.
I do not have an issue with the terminology “rising up” as used in verse 1 for it can also be stated proceeds from. Verse one of chapter 13 is in a sense the birth of the beast, but even that is not a correct assumption for that which empowers it is a spirit and has shown it’s ugly head through several representatives throughout the ages.
1 John 2:18 KJV Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
Seeing as the term antichristos denotes anyone that is against, opposes, or is instead of Christ, therefore we can include those who assume the guise of Christ.
He, the beast, is not coming out of a body of water like some sea serpent, he merely comes out of the masses of people upon the earth. And yet we can learn with reasonable certainty where he comes from, and it is NOT Rome.
Resurrection – is from the Greek word anastasis and means: a standing up again, that is, (literally) a resurrection from death (individual, general or by implication (its author)),Strong’s concordance
We are rather free in the usage of this type of terminology for we even apply it to baseball teams, when after multiple strings of losses they begin to win with vigor.
I would like to point out that we are not necessarily looking for a man here, although that is possible, but when you apply the concept of resurrection to a religious ideology that was shut down by world domination and has seemingly made such an overwhelming come back, then it makes more sense.
A brief historical look at the Ottoman Empire
With Constantinople as its capital and vast control of lands around the Mediterranean basin, the Ottoman empire was at the center of interactions between the Eastern and Western worlds for over six centuries.
After the international recognition of the new Turkish parliament (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) headquartered in Ankara, by means of the Treaty of Lausanne signed on 24 July 1923, the Turkish parliament proclaimed on 29 October 1923 the establishment of the Republic of Turkey as the new Turkish State that succeeded and formally ended the defunct Ottoman Empire, in line with the treaty. The Ottoman Caliphate was abolished on 3 March 1924; the Caliphate's authority and properties were transferred to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph ('successor')" (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfa, Turkish: Hilafet), refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the leader's unity of the Muslim Ummah (community)" Wikipedia
To my understanding the Caliph, operated strictly under Sharia law, is a Totalitarian state. Non-compliance is not tolerated except under the laws of Dhimini, which demand that the non-believer pay extortion money to exist there, and it does not exclude you from further demands, torture or death.
It is no coincidence that the Ottoman empire covered much of the same territories as the rulers in Nebuchadnezzar’s statue (Daniel 2:29-35), and the 4 beasts that Daniel saw. (Daniel 7:7-8; cf. Revelation 13:3; 17:3, 17:7. In Revelation 13:1-18 and Revelation 17:1-18 the beast is the world ruler, whereas in Daniel n7:1-28 the little horn on the beast was the world ruler. Bible Knowledge Commentary)
The feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue, the last beast, the leopard with bear paws, and a lion's mouth are all one in the same. These are the beast described in Revelation 13.
13:2 This Antichrist seems like a combination of the four beasts that Daniel had seen centuries earlier in a vision (Dan_7:4-8), combining the characteristics of a leopard, a bear, and a lion. In Daniel’s vision, the lion with eagle’s wings represented Babylon with her swift conquests (statues of winged lions have been recovered from Babylon’s ruins).. Life Application New Testament Commentary
Take it upon yourself to compare maps. Look at the territories that Alexander’s empire covered, then look at the Roman empire. The Ottoman empire was the last in this region and covered much, if not more of the same regions. This is where your beast will come from.
Let’s look at the passage that I started with.
Revelation 13:2-8 NIV The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. (3) One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was filled with wonder and followed the beast. (4) People worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can wage war against it?" (5) The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. (6) It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. (7) It was given power to wage war against God's holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. (8) All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.
If I, like the Apostle John, use the terminology “seemed” you have to assume that I am relating how the scene appeared me. Why would I say fatal unless it appeared that it was dead? One does not bring someone or something back from the dead without people noticing, therefore the world was filled with wonder, but this is what makes the Revelation such a mystery. Either we have looked for the wrong thing, or we have been duped into looking for something that is 180 degrees in opposition to the truth. Like a magician, deception causes us to look at something else while the reality happens right under our noses.
If we are talking about a man then where is this guy. It is certainly not our former President Kennedy, for he is still dead. Does this eliminate a man in the future? No, but with all the ramifications this would have to be quite an event, especially since all the world follows this beast.
(The phrase “all the world” is not to be taken literally. If he is alive today I for one am not following him, as I am sure that would seal my fate as a worshiper of the beast. Although the influence will be wide-spread, to say all the world is an over generalization. Look at a CIA map and you will be able to see all the nations that are Islamic controlled and those that have a high percentage of Islamic influence. There are really only a few left that have not fallen under such control. Those nations that are Islamic controlled are operated under strict sharia laws, and those that are majority Islam generally have a free reign to brutalize Christians with no repercussions. Even here in America we are already experiencing Muslim men performing brutal “honor killings’ and attempting to get the courts to uphold their religious right to do so. England has Sharia run courts and such cases are tried in those, giving sadistic murderers the freedom to operate in accordance with the teaching of Islam, regardless of civility.)
Now place this same characterization upon a religious ideology, especially one that was declared abolished, and considered dead. Give it the name Islam with it’s goal of a global caliphate, and then take note of how vast it’s influence has become and the pieces of the puzzle begin to fit together rapidly.
If we consider the image that Daniel saw.
Daniel 2:32-33 KJV This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, (33) His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
Head – breast and arms – belly and thighs – legs of iron.
Three are clearly defined by history. They are kings in the earth and this was explained by the angel in Daniel chapter 7. What did not seem so clear are the legs of iron and then the feet.
The head of gold represented the Babylonian empire, of which Nebuchadnezzar reigned. Daniel spelled that out for us, so there is no question. We really should have no questions as to where to begin in our understanding of end times events. If there had been an unexplained crown of platinum then maybe.
The following is from: The Bible Knowledge Commentary;
The second portion of the statue, the chest and arms of silver, represented the rise of the Medes and Persians (cf. Dan_5:28; Dan_6:8; also cf. Dan_5:31). The Medo-Persians conquered the Babylonians in 539 b.c. Though that kingdom lasted over 200 years (539-330 b.c.), the Medo-Persian Empire was inferior to it, as silver compared with gold.
The belly and thighs of bronze represented the third kingdom to arise. This was the Grecian Empire (cf. Dan_8:20-21). Alexander the Great conquered the Medo-Persians between 334 and 330 b.c. and assumed authority over its peoples and territory. By Alexander’s conquests he extended the Greek Empire as far east as the northwestern portion of India ― an extensive empire that seemingly was over the whole earth.”
At this point we have covered the three known empires when you include the Babylonian empire. To some degree these all encompassed similar and yet growing territories. All these nations are representative of Ishmael and Esau. And they are now representative of Islam. The range of nations was from the Baltic region south and along the coast of northern Africa.
Look at all those nations today and you will find the demographic to be the same, Islamic.
Many would attribute the fourth empire to the Romans but there is an aspect that few pay attention to. By 69 AD conscript troops outnumbered those of Roman origin by a ratio of 5:1. Josephus tells us that there were as many as 6 legions in Jerusalem by 69AD with levels rising to approximately 60,000 by 70AD when the temple was destroyed. These conscripts were pulled from Arabia and Syria according to Josephus, and had no lack of hatred for the Jews.
Because the tradition is to use Daniel 9:26 as the basis for attributing the antichrist’s rise out of Rome, we have ignored a real and growing possibility – The beast is a middle easterner and a Muslim.
Misconceptions and tradition attributed the destruction of the temple in 70AD to Titus, a Roman, but history, through the pen of Josephus, records that a runner was sent to Titus to alert him that a fire had been started in the temple. Titus made all haste, dressed as he was, running to the temple, shouting orders and waving his right hand to indicate to the troops present that they should make all effort to extinguish the fire, for he perceived that it could presently be put out, therefore maintaining order. His commands were quickly weighed by those who hatred for the Jews outweighed the commanders decision to put out the fire, and they provoked the fire even more.
Effectively what we have is not Rome burning the temple, but Syrians and Arabians. If the destroyer that is to come, comes from those that destroyed the temple then he is coming from Syria or Arabia. Did it ever occur you that one of his names is the Assyrian. Even if we cannot pinpoint this man as coming out of these people, we can certainly say that he is coming from this region, and this region of the world is dominated by Islam.
I stated that this was a resurrection of the Ottoman empire, and that this was the head that sustained the wound. Based upon region, ethnic makeup, and religion, we know that it covered the same territories.
I already spelled out the demise of the Ottoman empire and that it operated under an Islamic caliphate. Since that was done away with, how is it that Islam has gained such a tremendous foothold? Clearly it was the head, the small horn, that has risen again.
Islam is not an overnight sensation, it has been a smoldering ember kept alive in tradition and fueled by Satan himself. It’s rebirth seems to have been ignited with Islamic revolution in which the American Embassy was taken hostage.
In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the statue had aspects of the iron in the feet, but the clay made the feet very unstable and breakable. How does this relate to Islam? 1. Islam is run by two rival sects, the Shia and the Sunni’s. Although they both have Mohamed as the central core, many other aspects have driven them to fight viciously against each other. Though no longer making the news because the United States withdrew it’s troops, Iraq was a vivid demonstration of Islam’s internal struggles as they would car and suicide bomb each other. The only thing that I see giving them any stability is their hatred of Christians, people of the book, and Jews. Their primary purposes on this earth is subjugation of those who do not worship Allah and the killing of the Jews and Christians who will not convert.
Again I wish to say that the intent of the paper “A Short Course on the Book of Revelation” was to present a brief overview of the Revelation. There is no way I could present a defense of every aspect without turning it into a 600 page thesis. There are some things in this life that you just have to research.
In my own life I chose at some point to consider possibilities outside of tradition. In all honesty, that requires some stability because at your core, you need to have a strong relationship with Yahveh, or you stand a chance of becoming not so much lost, but a nut case like so many others. I will give you a heads up here: God has demonstrated that he is a God of prosperity, but what does that mean. Abraham, like so many others that we look to, was a shepherd. Prosperity does not mean you drive around in a diamond encrusted car. I suspect it means that you have enough to help others when the time arises. One of the things that comes to mind as I write this was Abraham’s ability to mount an army from his hired hands and rescue his nephew Lot, on one occasion.
Some of those authors that recently opened my eyes are: Joel Rosenberg, Joel Richardson, Brigitte Gabriel, and Jonathon Cahn. I have a bible with commentaries by Finis Jennings Dake which I use all the time. I primarily appreciate that he extensively leads you back to other scripture references, and of course his commentaries (although I do not agree with him wholeheartedly.)
Allow me to recommend a book, “The Mideast Beast”, by Joel Richardson. This book has changed my thinking from the traditional fallacies that religion has taught me. Yes, I have to choose to be open minded, but Joel does a very good job of making his scriptural case. I am reminded that “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses a thing shall be established”. I apply to scripture as well. If someone, or I presents a change from the norm, it behooves me to produce at least two witnesses. I prefer not lean toward grabbing two verses from say Ezekiel, but if I find that God has spoken to various authors along the same theme then I have corroboration, and a foundation for truth.
Even in a paper like this there may be those that read it without understanding. That can all change so quickly for you if you will choose to make the Messiah king, Jesus Christ the risen one, the Lord over your life. Ask him to make himself real to you and he will; he has never refused anyone. The Holy Spirit of God will come into and give you clarity as you choose to understand.
This is not about hatred, nor is it a call to rise up in anger. You can get angry but you need to react appropriately, in prayer. As a believer we have the right and authority to stop the enemy and the avenger. 2Thessalonians 2:6 tells us that something is holding back the enemies full force, and that is the praying believer. Get direct, be specific, call out against those entities that have names; those things that are trying to take control of your life, your families, your community, your nation, and put a stop to it.
There is no doubt in my mind that the rapture is merely months away, but what of those that must survive the onslaught coming once the restrainers are gone. They have a hope as well, they just do not know it yet. God will send to prophets who will stand in the streets of Jerusalem and proclaim not only the good news that you can still come to Jesus Christ and have a life in him, but they will prove the power of God that you have denied all your life. Follow their ways and their words. Turn to God with all that is within you. You will have an overwhelming presence of peace as the world around you gets turned upside down. Use the name of Jesus, the Son of the living God like a tool and he will part waters for you. Be prepared unto the death, but don’t worry, God will raise you up again; I promise.