Christ’s Supremacy over Angels, Authorities and Powers
An eTPL Position Paper No. 28
Harold E. Lafferty
The Apostle Peter wrote only a small portion of the New Testament, but his words enlighten his brethren immensely. One might wonder as to the authority and role of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who now sits at the right hand of His Father.
Peter so enlightens his brethren, informing us that He has … gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him. 1Peter 3:22.
This great privilege has been given the Lord for the enormous sacrifice of His whole being, which He made on our behalf while here among men.
In so living and sacrificing Himself, He put forth an example for us who would follow; if we pursue His ways, we shall also gain the prize of which He was the first recipient:
Rom 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
In this distinct manner, our Lord is constructing His “house (hold)” and our “mansions” (places of habitation in that household of the future) –through the ages, preparing the qualified future inhabitants for His kingdom – the administrators, kings, and priests for that age.
However, His Authority was recognized during the days of His flesh as well.
Beginning in Matthew 5 there is an extensive account of Jesus’ seekers having found him sitting alone on a lovely hillside which gently sloped down to the Sea of Galilee, and along with the disciples, gathered to hear what He taught.
He began with the blessings we now know as “The Beatitudes,” and continued with several inscrutable parables which were given parabolically to the people.
His dissertation ended with the parable of the man who built his house upon the sand as compared with another, wiser man who built his house upon a rock, relating the subsequent effects upon both houses of a great storm, which symbolized the trials and testing of their lives.
The people were astonished at His demeanor, and at His superb understanding of God’s word, at His command of the language and the logic of His teachings … Matthew 7:28: And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
Jesus’ executive demeanor showed itself even earlier when, at the age of twelve years He overwhelmed the doctors of the Law in His discussions with them about the weightier matters of the Almighty’s plan with His people. Luke 2: 42-47, qv.
As our Forerunner and Savior, He has now been given supreme authority over the world and its peoples – not personally (i.e., not yet being physically present among the people), but spiritually; we are to understand that all things are now in His hands, perfectly subservient to the will of His Father.
Yet, while He was yet among men, this great Personage took upon Himself the form of a Servant. One example is that recorded in John 13:3: Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went (should go) to God; 4 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5 After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.
This was the most menial service that one could perform for his friends of that day – for folk whose feet, although sandaled, were in intimate contact with the earth, becoming soiled with the dust of the rough pathways which they trod.
It was an act of utter humility and subservience to His brethren – just as was the sanctified life which He was living perfectly in His Father’s service on their behalf, a life which ended in the enigmatic death of a criminal at the hands of Rome – but at the same moment, gaining a body of benefits and features which could not even have been suspected by Rome – and were also sadly ignored by those whom He had come to enlighten, His brethren of the day!
In so doing He exhibited the sanctified character which was required of Him Who was to become High Priest of His people, and their King and Judge in the coming age.
2Timothy 4:1: I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ … (that He) shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom.
Christ has now risen to the right hand of His Father for the expressed purpose of preparing for us a place – a kingdom – the elements and administration of which He shall bring with Him and establish when He returns … that where I am, ye may be also with Me, His exact words being recorded in John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
He had already informed the disciples that they could not follow Him into the heavens. That privilege was not part of the Gospel of Salvation, but was His privilege alone as the Firstfruit of the dead.
But the promise that He should return to them and bring His kingdom to them was His foundational teaching.
Future citizens of that Commonwealth were to be developed by Him from among men during that time; they should become integral parts of His enlargement of that “place” or kingdom which He shall bring with Him at His return.
That truth is supported firmly by two references in the Prophet Isaiah:
Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
Isaiah 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
As part of those functions, it has also been necessary for Him silently to influence the formative figures of history (the kings, leaders, and presidents of this present evil world) to bring about the conditions which invite and even require His Second Coming.
These duties involve the faithful service of the angels of God, over whom He has complete mastery; these do His bidding, led in the present age, we believe, by Michael, the Archangel of Daniel 12:1, who is described as that great prince who standeth for the children of thy people (Daniel’s people, the Jews and Israel).
Jude 1:9 attests to Michael’s credentials as Archangel – evidently as leader of a group of lesser angels – all of whom are dedicated to carrying out the expressed will of Jesus Christ. It is a function which is repudiated by the unbelievers – an impossibly fantastic (to them) view of the out-workings of history.
This function of angelic oversight is seen in the drastic effects imposed upon mighty Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who was thoroughly, decisively instructed in this principle. The record is found in Daniel 4:17: This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones (the prophets): to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
This is the nearest statement available to us pertaining to the principle of “the divine right of kings,” as believed and enforced by many of the authorities of the ages since that time. Indeed, it is rebellion against this principle that is expressed by Jesus Himself, in Revelation 16:13, where He refers to … three unclean spirits like frogs (which came) out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
These “spirits” (principles insisted upon by opponents) are in direct opposition to the inherent right of the Almighty to set up and to throw down kings and rulers.
Thusly He exercises His innate authority over men, carefully and progressively developing the final composition of His kingdom and its elements among men of each era, steadily and patiently forming His New Creation of Revelation 3:14, where He proclaims that He is … the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
His role as the Firstfruit of the dead – the first and only man so far, Who has been raised to immortality, admits that He has been privileged to become the first of His Order of earthborns who follow Him and have sincerely attempted to obeyed His words of instruction.
His further description of Himself becomes extremely enlightening in this context: Revelation 1:5: And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Every devoted brother and sister of Christ knows that these features of His work are provisional – depending, and bearing completely – upon their faithfulness and adherence to His Work – that they are the expressed rewards of FAITHFUL service to Him and to His Father during their probationary lives of service.
The benediction of the writer of Hebrews enlarges upon this gracious provision of the Almighty: Hebrews 13:20: Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, 21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
<HEL 10N> ~1800 words. An eTPL Position Paper No. 28.
Restoration of Moab and Ammon (and Others)
Prophesied for the End Time
an eTPL Position Paper # 27
Harold E. Lafferty
We read in Isaiah 11 a prophecy of the End Time which mentions several nations which do not presently exist – nations of antiquity with which the Almighty has had conflict, and which have fought against His people Israel, in their earlier history.
The prophecy begins with the restoration of God’s people from several of these places.
The prophet stresses that this regathering is the SECOND recovery of His people – of the remnants which recently existed in these countries. In this process both branches of Israel – Judah and Israel – are referenced as returning to the Land, and that there shall be no enmity between the two as previously.
But the narrative indicates their recovery from certain named areas which do not exist today, namely Assyria, Pathros, Cush, Elam, and from Shinar and from Hamath. And after the Israelites’ return to their Land, in verse 14, a victorious conflict is indicated as being specifically between His people and the Philistines, Moab, Ammon, and Edom ... four additional entities which have not survived until today, as named.
And still later, unity between Assyria, Egypt and Israel is concluded as a highway is built connecting the three then-to-be friendly, cooperative countries to be then dedicated to the LORD.
These verses are:
Isa 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Isa 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations (the nations being Israel and Judah), and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isa 11:13 The envy also of Ephraim shall depart, and the adversaries of Judah shall be cut off: Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. [This is to affirm that the Israelis are united in the end time, and without internecine rivalry.]
Isa 11:14 But they shall fly upon the shoulders of the Philistines toward the west; they shall spoil them of the east together: they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab; and the children of Ammon shall obey them.
Isa 11:15 And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make men go over dryshod.
Isa 11:16 And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.
What do all these prophecies mean?
When we examine the records of scripture we discover that all these ancient enemies of Israel were condemned to being conquered, and removed from being designated or named countries – all except Egypt – and their lands vacated and ravaged throughout the following ages.
But their involvement with Israel does not end.
All these are said to be restored (their captivity returned) in the end time and to become a thorn in the side of Israel; they are then to be destroyed by Israel.
We review the brief history of each to show that this is the case.
The first portion of Jeremiah 49 is the almighty’s curse on Ammon. Its utter end might seem certain from this narrative – as it was desolated for centuries – but the last verse proves that it shall be re-gathered to its place in the End Time. Jeremiah 9:6 - And afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the LORD.
The name “Ammon” survives today as “Amman,” the capital city of Jordan. Ammon therefore is northern Jordan of today. That nation will suffer the judgment of the LORD and be utterly destroyed by the Christ of the Second Advent and those with Him.
That certainty is given in Zephaniah 2:9: Therefore as I live, saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Surely Moab shall be as Sodom, and the children of Ammon as Gomorrah, even the breeding of nettles, and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation: the residue of my people (Israel of today) shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.
Isaiah 16:14 tells of the initial overthrow of Moab by Assyria. But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
Its continuing desolation is foretold in Jeremiah 48:4 - Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard …. 9 Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Jeremiah 48:47 reveals, Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Those words indicate that there is significantly more in store for Moab; in the End Time Moab shall be restored … which is to say that her ravaged territory of ancient time would be re-populated and have a viable economy.
The historical territory of Moab is today the central portion of Jordan, and has a prosperous economy due to the potash mines in the area. A few of its settled areas contain thousands of citizens of Jordan.
Edom (Esau, or Mt. Seir) was a perpetual enemy of Israel throughout its early history. For her aggression, Jeremiah was instructed to prophesy Edom’s doom, which occurred when Assyria conquered Samaria. Her land sank into desolation, her people were taken away, and her land abandoned for centuries.
Jeremiah 49:17 Also Edom shall be a desolation: every one that goeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all the plagues thereof.
Ezekiel 25:12 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because that Edom hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, and hath greatly offended, and revenged himself upon them; 13 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also stretch out mine hand upon Edom, and will cut off man and beast from it; and I will make it desolate from Teman; and they of Dedan shall fall by the sword. 14 And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to mine anger and according to my fury; and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord GOD.
When should they know His vengeance? Only in the end time, when people again inhabited the southern portion of both Jordan and Israel – the ancient lands of Edom, its (former) capital at Bozrah. The words of Jeremiah 49:22: Behold, he (Israel) shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
This verse speaks to the fate of those restored peoples of Edom in the latter days; its availability for the conflict of Isaiah 63, specifically in the area indicated there as being violently conquered by the Messiah of Israel – at Bozrah. This region is the southern portion of Jordan of today, and extends into the Negev of Israel, where the Edomites are identified as the PLO.
Even though Egypt was never taken away from being a nation it was desolated for centuries, ruled by foreigners, and of little account. But Egypt was destined to become prominent again in the affairs of the Middle East. Ezekiel prophesied …
Ezekiel 29:14 And I will bring again the captivity of Egypt, and will cause them to return into the land of Pathros, into the land of their habitation; and they shall be there a base kingdom.
In the end, Egypt shall become converted to the way of the LORD, and worship Him acceptably, as foretold in Isaiah 19.
Isa 19:19 In that day shall there be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof to the LORD. 20 And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
The ultimate outcome for Egypt, along with Assyria (discussed in the next section) is a happy and righteous association with Israel after the Lord had delivered them: this is prophesied in the words of Isaiah 19:23: In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
ELAM (IRAQ) and SYRIA = ASSYRIA
Elam: Elam, the Elymais of the Greeks and Romans, was properly a province of the Persian empire, between Media and Susiana; but sometimes the name Elam is used in a larger sense, including Susiana and other provinces (see Daniel 8:2 - Shushan), all of which were subdued by Nebuchadnezzar of BABYLON , and afterwards restored and raised to dignity by Cyrus.
Elam is therefore representative of Iraq, the present occupant of this territory.
(Jer 49:39) But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the LORD.
Elam seems therefore, in its expanded role, to be a figure of both Iraq and Syria – the latter of which has continued to exist through the centuries – both together comprehending Assyria of other prophecies, such as Micah 5.
All these areas are sentenced to final extinction by the psalmist and prophet Asaph, in Psalm 83, where Ashur of verse 8 nominates Assyria as being among the nations listed here as conquered by the forces of the LORD.
ISRAEL AND JUDAH
The only other nations specifically said to have their “captivity” returned, are Judah and Israel. The references to this restoration are extensive. But the most direct and straightforward is that of Jeremiah, in 30: 3 - For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
Even the restoration of the ancient Hebrew language seems clearly to be prophesied in Jeremiah 31:23 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, and mountain of holiness.
Another overall statement as to their fortune is Jeremiah 33:7: And I will cause the captivity of Judah and the captivity of Israel to return, and will build them, as at the first.
We must understand that the “captivity” spoken of here is that of God’s people in all nations (not those in Babylon) which returns only in the end time. And that it ultimately includes Judah and Israel, only the first of which was in the first restoration from Babylon.
There is confirmation of this time frame in the language of Joel 3:1 For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem … which is surely the end time.
We can determine exactly what means the phrase, “will bring again the captivity” of (so and so) by this verse, as already referenced: Jeremiah 30:3: For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
The exactly similar phraseology applied to Israel therefore indicates a return of all the above peoples to the territory of their original habitation.
Except for the people of Israel, however, they are merely people who now live in those designated areas. But many (most?) of the modern people are descended from the ancient peoples, and are inclined to react to the restored nation of Israel in the same way as their ancient counterparts, and therefore, in the finality, shall suffer the deserved fate of the earlier peoples.
All this resistance of the “cousins” stems from the small valuation that Esau placed upon his rightful inheritance as the elder of the twins, Esau and Jacob, when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a paltry bowl of stew. Immediately Esau hated Jacob for his cunning. That animosity has never relented throughout the millennia which have since elapsed. The hatred has dwelt actively and voraciously with the descendants of Esau until this day.
But a more ominous reality – a far weightier matter – is that the Almighty “hates” Esau in favour of Jacob. Discussing God’s inherent principle of election (favor, preference), Paul states unequivocally in Romans 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
Our appreciation of these subtle operations of the God of Israel adds immensely to our faith in His prescience – His omniscience – as to future events, and the perfection of His Plan for the ages!
<HEL code 2N> ~2,300 words. A GPL Bulletin; an eTPL Position Paper #27
Israel's Increased Tension with the U.S. and Iran
An eTPL Position Paper #26
H. E. Lafferty
The events of this first week of March, 2014, have seemed to have intensified the rift between the U.S. and Israeli leaders. President Obama is pursuing conciliation with Iran; but Israel is convinced that it will bear no fruits, and that Iran will continue to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
The extreme tension between Israel and Iran, hinging completely upon Iran's repeated denunciation of Israel and its right to exist, is reaching the breaking point – or is it?
Our conviction is that the prophetic scriptures say nothing about an Israeli attack upon Iran prior to the Gogian affair of Ezekiel 38 and 39.
However, it is difficult to argue from a position of negative or absent comments.
An attack would seem imminent at this time, but one must continue to observe current events in order to come to some reasonable conclusion.
Just because such an attack is not mentioned does not mean it will not occur.
The only surety one can insist upon is that the forces of Persia (Iran) are slated for total destruction in the Gogian affair of Ezekiel's prophecy.
Having said that, we note that Prime Minister Netanyahu has now re-stated Israel's purposely formed decision that, from the Israeli viewpoint, Iran "shall not acquire nuclear weapons."
As late as March 4th, the prime minister again asserted that to allow that to come about would subject the Jewish State to indescribable danger of nuclear assault from the east.
In a sense, this is a curious affair – this current enmity of Iran toward Israel. Iran and Israel do not share a common boundary. No Iranian has ever killed an Israeli in active combat that we know of – and no Israeli has killed an Iranian in active combat between the two nations, for there has been no such action.
Yet, Iran's Ayatollah Khameini (the "Supreme Leader" of Iraq – assuming authority even above the president) – continues to vilify and denigrate the Jewish people in Iranian media of all sorts. His hate speech toward God’s people is surely equivalent to that of Adolph Eichmann and Hermann Goering of Nazi Germany.
Some thinkers believe this has come about because Iran realizes that YHVH's true People ARE the Israelis – the Chosen People of God – and that the arrogant Iranian is driven to prove YHVH wrong, and inferior to "Allah," his manufactured "god."
The Islamic terrorist’s universal cry of "Allahu Akbar" means that "G(g)od is greater."
Greater than whom?
Greater than YHVH.
But Iran has no inkling of the power of Him against Whom it is fighting!
YHVH has vowed that His re-settled People shall NEVER again be displaced once they return to their homeland the second time (cf. Isaiah 11:11; Amos 9:15).
Our opinion is that Israel probably would have attacked Iran before now – in order to retard her nuclear progress – but Israel's defensive missile shield is not quite mature at this time.
We read of its advanced testing of Arrow 3 – an anti-missile missile which will be able to destroy enemy missiles shortly after liftoff from their launch pads, and cause the explosive payload to fall upon the enemy itself.
Another esoteric Israeli weapon is Iron Beam – a laser weapon now just being completed by Israel - which can send a concentrated, intensely hot, laser beam to intercept a missile, a rocket, or even an artillery shell, and destroy it in mid-flight, and thus protect Israeli territory and forces. Whereas Arrow 3 costs in the millions for each anti-missile launched, Iron Beam uses only electrical energy, and therefore boasts an unlimited magazine! One can easily see the logic and economy behind this incredible weapon!
We wonder whether Israel is presently planning an air strike – or several of them – on Iran, but is waiting on the perfection and installation of these two key defensive weapons, both of which could intercept missiles incoming from Iran or elsewhere, and destroy them in mid-flight, which is the expected response to an Israeli or U.S. attack on the Islamic Republic.
These anti-missile weapons will be extremely beneficial in case the incoming missile is an electromagnetic pulse weapon (EMP).
What is an EMP?
An EMP is a "dirty bomb" of the nuclear variety which is designed to explode in the stratosphere above its target. The bomb produces gamma radiation which showers down upon the earth impacting everything below its blast.
These rays do not kill people and animals, and cause no physical destruction of buildings or other structures.
But gamma rays are extremely destructive to all unshielded electromagnetic devices – military systems, radars, all computers, telephones, industrial operating systems run by computers, water plants and supplies, electricity grids, and all automobiles and busses – including military tanks, aircraft, and missile systems.
It is important that Isaiah 31 addresses the current state of affairs relative to Israel and its enemies ("Egypt" is the metaphor here). The prophet is inspired to advise against any dependence of His People on "Egypt" in the end time. That includes the foreign assistance of the U.S. and NATO allies, or any others; the Almighty is their defensive shield and will not give His glory to any other.
In that sense, one can expect the withdrawal of the commitment of the U.S. and any other powers to Israeli security as the end times come to a close.
The defense of Israel is a godly affair – not a geo-political one (i.e., not dependent upon international alliances, such as a defense treaty assured by the U.S.).
The prophet's narrative seems to address the current threat to Israel in this very day. Note his pin-pointed comments in this context...
Isaiah 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey (eg., Iran of today, and other Islamic neighbors,“roaring” upon Israel), when a multitude of shepherds (the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, even Iraq) is called forth against him (Israel), he will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.
We are not left to supposition as to His meaning – for the word is from the LORD. He utilizes the metaphor of a defensive bird setting itself against a predator's threat to its nest in these powerful promises...
Isa 31:5 As birds flying, so will the LORD of hosts defend Jerusalem; defending also he will deliver it; and passing over he will preserve it.
In these three highly positive pronouncements of defending, delivering and preserving them, the God of Israel PROMISES His returned people – now concentrated in the Land and able through His divine provision, to defend itself – that HE SHALL PROTECT AND DEFEND HIS PEOPLE.
It might seem that Israel is defending itself, protecting and preserving its heritage, but this passage assures us that it is the unseen hand of the Almighty that has provided these benefits!! (cf. Daniel 12:1)
His next words portend Israel's conversion to His way – which today is not yet a fact – and that they shall place their entire trust in HIM.
Isa 31:6 Turn ye unto him (God) from whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted.
Isa 31:7 For in that day every man shall cast away his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which your own hands have made unto you for a sin.
In our opinion, these “idols” are a metaphor for the military instruments in which Israel presently trusts – its mighty army, its formidable air force, its credible naval forces, and its ability to deploy overwhelming cyber aggression upon its enemies.
So, at that time a wondrous miracle occurs within Israel. Even the tangible means of their deliverance from their enemies of this present time shall be eradicated. Zechariah 9:10 - And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
All these named instruments of warfare are carnal, physical, and undependable. But they shall then possess a “weapon” that is completely reliable…
This radical departure from the “norm” comes about because the enormously powerful King of Israel, having then returned to His People and Land, possesses powers unknown to mortal man.
Carnal weapons are displaced by the righteous and irresistible WORD of God which He utters. The words, He shall speak peace unto the heathen, we suspect, is a couched reference to the powerful Sword of His Mouth, with which He challenges His enemies to relinquish their hatred for His people, repent, and accept His blessings. That acceptance could indeed bring peace to them.
But “peace” with these intransigent foes shall come only by conquest!
Of course, they shall refuse His offer of conciliation. In their arrogance – and supremely exquisite ignorance of His way – they shall refuse His commands, and be destroyed out of hand.
When can one expect this to come about?
Zechariah 9, q.v., tells of the preliminaries. Verse 9 - Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee:
It shall be accomplished immediately upon the descent of Messiah to Israel – the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – which will result in a dramatic shift in the status and standing of Israel among its neighbors.
Zechariah 8:23 illustrates the tidal shift in the world’s opinion of Israel as a people! We refer to the “ten men” who shall take hold of the garment of “him that is a Jew” and confess that God is with him, and voice their desperate plea to “go with you.”
Isaiah 31:8 Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean (average) man (but the sword of the LORD), shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited. 9 And he shall pass over to his strong hold for fear, and his princes shall be afraid of the ensign (Hebrew, Nec, a banner or flag, standing for a nation - in this case Israel), saith the LORD, whose fire (of judgment) is in Zion, and his furnace (of affliction is) in Jerusalem.
The Prophet Amos indicates a similar destiny for God's People and their opponents.
Almost the entirety of Amos' writings are condemnatory of Israel's prior faithlessness, and its appointed punishments for this denial of God's sovereignty. Only in the last verses of his revelation does he indicate that Israel's distress is to be alleviated. He writes of a blessed, future day...
Amos 9:11 - In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name (Jacob is meant here), saith the LORD that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
Of all men and women, His Covenanted sons and daughters are most fortunate to live in these forecasted times of verses 11-15, and to see these developments among His People, Israel, now being recalled in part, but distinctively progressively, to their core Inheritance, having already made it hyper-productive and comfortably wealthy, having become a net exporter of produce of all kinds to the rest of the world (whereas in time past it was wasted, destitute and unproductive), and potentially a supplier of energy resources (natural gas and crude oil) to much of Europe and the Middle East.
The prophet's effusive words concerning Israel's productivity after returning from "the captivity," indicates precisely the conditions that we see there today.
Not only is Israel abundantly fruitful of the agrarian produce of the land, its technological prowess is unmatched in the world. Its discoveries of oil and gas will make the nation extremely wealthy, much to the chagrin of its poverty-stricken neighboring peoples.
But unknown to them, their lands are also blessed with much wealth which has yet to be discovered, and abundant additonal wealth that shall soon accrue to the nation of Israel due to its conquest of its neighbors round about.
Meanwhile, God's people are planted upon their land, and shall no more be pulled up out of their land which (God) has given them .... Amos 9:15. So every Believer of God's word must readily admit that Israel is "here to stay," and that the Almighty One shall take all measures to defeat and utterly destroy their enemies of the end time. <HEL 3N> ~2,300 words. Position Paper #26
“I Will Overturn, Overturn, Overturn it …”
The Three Captivities of Judah in Babylon
An eTPL Position Paper #25
For many years we have puzzled over the precise interpretation of the sentence of the Almighty on the Kingdom of Judah found in Ezekiel 21:25, 26.
Ezekiel 21:26 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. 27 I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.
The latter verse appears to speak of a threefold overturning of the Kingdom of Judah.
Were these words repeated three times just for emphasis? Or did the prophet really indicate that the Kingdom would be overthrown three discrete times – i.e., given three “chances” to improve – but then would be completely forsaken until He come Whose right it is; and I will give it Him?
That latter probability is made more sure by our consideration of the specific and clearly stated words of Micah 5:2,3, which address the coming King and Messiah Who shall arrive on the scene only after the Almighty had “given them (Judah) up” for a long time. Other translations of this verse use the term “He will abandon them ….”
That condition of God’s having abandoned Israel has been in effect for a long time, as Judah and Israel had been abandoned in their Diaspora for many centuries. Thankfully, the final era of their dispersion has now come to an end with the re-establishment of Israel in 1948.
Difficulties of Interpretation
It has been difficult to determine the meaning of these words of Ezekiel 21:27. We can only freely observe that the Kingdom is not now in effect; that there is no king on Judah’s throne; that the Throne of David remains in oblivion. All of which mean that the “overturnings” have taken effect in prior time.
Were there indeed to be three separate overturnings of Judah – i.e., three oppotunities given for obedience of God’s laws by the Jewish kings?
If so, when did the three “overturnings” occur?
Can we determine more details about these?
What was their nature and effect?
In past time we have speculated that the first overthrow of Judah was by Nebuchadnezzar beginning in 604 BC. Could the second one have been the overthrow of Judaea by Rome, in 70 AD? And could the third have been the more exhaustive ruination wrought by Rome at the Bar Kockba Revolution of 135 AD?
This might seem to be a reasonable explanation except for one important feature – or two, really: there was no “kingdom” to overthrow in 70 AD or in 135 AD. Judah has not existed as a valid “kingdom” since the Babylonian captivity. In those last two instances there was no crown to remove, and no diadem to set aside.
So just what could be the explanation, if three distinct upheavals are indicated by Ezekiel?
Determining the Solution
I believe we can determine the answer – or at least, a seemingly acceptable answer – by referring to Bible research that has been done by credible investigators in past time. Although we do not agree with some of the basic points of doctrine held by most of these researchers, that fact does not detract from the validity of their research if a particular set of their findings does not contravene the foundational Truths of God.
Indeed, we are insensitive to others’ intelligence if we willfully disregard such work.
The extreme scale of such is nearly impossible for an insignificant community such as ours, in which there is no support by an hierarchy’s or a synod’s sponsorship. We haven’t been allowed the luxury of financial support, giving us the freedom to do such research, except in rare instances in which brethren may be independently wealthy and able to forsake daily labor and devote themselves exclusively to such research.
We are thinking of generally excellent scholars such as Adam Clarke, for example, who wrote exhaustively upon his scriptural investigations in several volumes in the 19th century. We think of John Thomas’ references to prominent writers of his own time such as he referenced in his works. We are also cognizant of volumes of work published by Sir Francis Bacon and his peers. And of the magnificent work of E. W. Bullinger, portions of which are contained in his A.V. edition of the Companion Bible (c. 1870?).
A Logical Explanation (in Our Minds)
It is in the latter work that we believe we discern the answer to the conundrum of the three overthrows of Judah. It occurs in a footnote on 2Chronicles 36:21 – which refers to Jeremiah 25:9-12; 29:10 – in which Judah’s 70 year Captivity in Babylon was stated by the prophet as a literal time of exile for His people.
At the bottom of that page  is further commentary on the Seventy Years. Applying his aptitude at structural analysis, Bullinger has these profitable and extremely useful comments.
Since our practice is to give every expositor his just credit, we believe it best to quote his brief but concise remarks verbatim … his words in BOLD and in quotaton marks:
“Special Note on 2 Chronicles 36:21”
The “Servitude,” the “Captivity,” and the “Desolations.”
“Three periods of seventy years are assigned to these three respectively; and it is necessary that they should be differentiated.”
[If you should read this reference for yourself, you will note that we have not utilized the dates given by Bullinger, whose chronology, although accurate, uses his own determined dates, which are not those stated, which we know to be widely accepted and also believe to be more accurate.]
1. “The ‘Servitude’ began in the fourth year of Jehoiakim, and the first of Nebuchadnezzar, when his (Jehoiakim’s) ‘kingdom’ passed under Chaldean rule for seventy years (Jeremiah 25:1). This period closed with the capture of Babylon by Darius the Median (Astyages), and the ‘decree’ of Cyrus to rebuild the Temple. It [the ‘Servitude’] lasted from 604 BC to 534 BC.
2. The ‘Captivity’ commenced, and is dated by Ezekiel from the carrying away to Babylon of Jechoniah in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 24:8-16). This was in 597 BC. Consequently, when the ‘Servitude’ ended in 534 BC, the ‘Captivity’ had lasted for sixty three (9 x 7) years.
Seven years later Cyrus died in 527 BC. That year is further notable for:
a. The appointment of Nehemiah as governor of Jerusalem by Cambyses (Nehemiah 5:14).
b. The completion of ‘the wall (of Jerusalem)’ in fifty two days (Nehemiah 6:15), and
c. The fact that it marks the end of the fifth of the ‘seven sevens’ of Daniel 9:25 ….
The ‘Captivity, then, lasted from 597 BC to 527 BC.
3. The ‘Desolations’ commenced with the third and last siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC and cover a period of ‘seventy years’ ending in the second year of Darius Hystaspis, i.e., in 516 BC.
This ‘threescore and ten years’ which is referred to here (2 Chronicles 36:21) is the fulfillment of Leviticus 26:32-35, and has reference to ‘the Land.’
It is this period of which Daniel says he understood ‘by books’ as being the number of the years by which YHVH would ‘accomplish in the DESOLATIONS of Jerusalem (Daniel 9:7).
The ‘Darius’ here (Daniel 9:1) is evidently Cyrus the son of Astyages … and as the first year of his reign was 533 BC it follows that seventeen years had, then, yet to run before the ‘Desolations’ of the Land were ended in 516 BC.
Hence, Daniel’s prayer that follows resulted in the giving to him of the famous prophecy of the ‘seventy sevens’ of years contained in Daniel 9:20-27.” [end]
Is This a Valid Explanation of the Three Overturnings?
It is my personal conviction that Bullinger’s detailed commentary on the Seventy Years’ Captivity staggered, as he presents it, into three periods with various historical starting points and three verifiable ending points, all of a 70-year duration, seems to satisfy the prophecy quite accurately and satisfactorily.
Another Hidden Correlation
The entire matter of the discontinuation of the Kingdom of Judah and the dethronement of its king being triply verified in the above discussion, is closely connected with the expectation of the appearance on earth of the last King in the royal line of David, the Messiah of Israel, the Lord, Jesus Christ, at His Second Advent.
But prior to that Second Coming of Christ, much tribulation should befall Judah, beginning with its exile into Babylon – and the downfall of the Kingdom of God on the earth at that time.
The small prophet Obadiah makes pinpointed references to this time in his short revelation concerning the LORD’s dealing with the house of Esau, or Edom – the subject of Obadiah’s entire effort.
From his work we can discern another certain but extremely subtle correlation of Dr. Bullinger’s discussion as presented above.
During the time of the Babylonian exile, Israel’s neighbor to the south and east was actively assisting the Babylonians, as proven by Obadiah 1:12!
It is extremely interesting that Obadiah should have castigated Edom for three specific transgressions that are directly related to this Babylonian exile that was enforced upon Judah, noted by the words, thou shouldest not have … in Obadiah 1:12: But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day that he became a stranger; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; neither shouldest thou have spoken proudly in the day of distress.
Please note carefully that these three descriptive terms for these three specific occasions are “looked on … rejoiced … spoken proudly” on three different events described in context as …
· “LOOKED ON … the day that he became a stranger …
· “REJOICED over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction …
· “SPOKEN PROUDLY in the day of (his) distress.”
A reasonable summary of these three separate transgressions can easily and logically be correlated with the three “overturnings” of the Babylonian overthrow of Judah.
The “Servitude,” the “Captivity,” and the “Desolations” appear directly similar to “the day that (Judah) became a stranger … the day of their destruction … the day of his distress.”
In the day that Judah became a stranger – was exiled, in part – many educated Jews such as Daniel and his three companions, many intellectuals, the king and the royal family, were exiled to Babylon (i.e., the king was de-throned).
In the day of (Judah’s) destruction many more prominent families were taken away and the king exiled; but more importantly the Temple was destroyed and burned, and great wreckage of Jerusalem resulted.
In the day when Esau spoke proudly against Judah, the last king, Zedekiah, was deported to Babylon, and still more of the lay people were taken to Babylon, Esau was rejoicing greatly, for Judah was thus largely displaced to the east and its land made essentially vacant of most folk of social gravity.
In previous studies of Obadiah, we had never even considered the possibility that these three responses by Esau would be three separate transgressions against God’s people. But they certainly seem to relate perfectly to the three serial removals of the kings of Judah and at least a fractional portion of the peoples’ restoration, and the destruction of the Temple and City, each after precisely seventy years – a tri-fold fulfillment that the thing was brought about by Providence and not by chance.
Such well-concealed and non-obvious records are another reason for our diligent, consistent, dogged pursuit of our own, personal exegesis of God’s precious word.
Such draughts of the fresh, cold water from His wells of salvation superbly support and verify our deeply-held faith in our Father’s benevolent offer of salvation from death and suffering shared by His people.
<HEL 2N> 2,050 words. An eTPL Position Paper #25.
Notes: Cf. Bullinger Companion Bible, p. 615, for a useful summary. Also see Bill Salus, Psalm 83, The Missing Prophecy Revealed; p. 193, for structure, and with more accurate dates.
The Merchants of the Earth and Rome
An eTPL Position Paper #24
H E Lafferty
The Revelation which Jesus Christ sent to John (Revelation 1:1) was “signified” (revealed in symbols) to him and set down for our investigation and understanding. It is positively necessary to realize that the revelation is NOT LITERAL. Each utterance has a metaphorical application which the saints of God are tasked to unravel upon scriptural principles and the record of history.
The revelation was specifically to show to His servants, and consisted of events which were shortly to begin to come to pass, as in verse 1.
Our consideration here is mostly limited to the relationship of the Beast, the Harlot, and the False Prophet to the merchants of the earth – the commercial powers which consorted with the Harlot in the spiritual figure of fornication with her.
This term is the Almighty’s phraseology, not ours – and objectively shows Rome and its Church in its glaringly obscene light.
For context, most of the references to these entities from the latter chapters of the Revelation are included below, with interspersed comments by the Editor. [A.V. text as downloaded from E-Sword.]
Rev 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Here is the first symbolic reference: Babylon equals Rome (its Church) in this context, as recognized by scores of expositors for hundreds of years, many of them Roman Catholic scholars!
The Beast is pagan Rome; his Image (also called the Beast) is Catholic Rome, exhibited to history initially as the Holy Roman Empire, consisting of ten kingdoms.
The Beast of our time is the metamorphosis of pagan Rome, founded upon the same principles, utilizing parallel terminology, appropriating similar dress, and having a philosophy matching its panoply of pagan gods as manifesting in the “saints” of the mysterious Church.
Its ancient-day queen of heaven equates to Mary, the “mother of God” and “Queen of Heaven” of Catholic dogma. As such it is an exact replica of Babylon of old in every way.
Rev 14:9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
Here is one of the key identifiers; it is a system of worship – of “religion,’ so-called.
The Beast (Catholic Rome) establishes an identifying “mark” which is not difficult to misunderstand. It is embodied in the number 666, and represents several titles of the pope in the numerology of Latin. Its visible sign is that of the “cross” of Christ: pursed fingers inscribing over the chest right to left, then vertically, to “draw” a cross upon the participants torso.
The organization’s fate is sealed in these words …
Rev 14:10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
We do not understand this figure of fire- and brimstone-destruction to be literal; like the bulk of the Revelation’s imagery, it is symbolically indicative of their final end. In no case would the Lamb and his Sheep of that day stoke and maintain an eternal, fire-based destructive furnace maintained for the transgressors who are turned away from Him.
The stark realization of being turned away from the Judge of all the earth shall be the paramount disappointment of the age for the multitudes which are pictured here as being rejected by Him.
In this sense, their stinging defeat is the victory of death and the grave over them.
But, mercifully, their only actual suffering from it is their anticipation of it – their solemn realization of their own impending obliteration – that they shall realize just after their sentence to condemnation: depart from me … as spoken by Jesus Himself: Luke 13:27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.
In what sense does their torment ascend up for ever and ever? In the sense that once accomplished, it is forever in effect upon its recipients. There is no portal of escape from this sentence of the second death; oblivion impends upon them and they become as though they had not been brought into the world, as prophesied by Jesus Himself, referring to Judas Iscariot (certainly one of those transgressors) in Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
The result for Judas is that he is already barred eternally from his Master. He has been prematurely sentenced to the second death to be imposed at his resurrectional appearance before the Judge of all the earth. His entire being is relegated to temporal irrelevance, and to perpetual darkness in Sheol, the grave.
Rev 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
This tranquility in the earth comes after the victory over the Harlot and the Beast. The glassy sea is a symbol of tranquility and peace on the earth as accomplished by the victory of the Lamb over the Beast and the Harlot, and the now passive demeanor of the constituents of its now disciplined and transformed citizens.
Christ and the Saints now control everything; the nations of the earth are coming under His sway.
Revelation 16 is a prophecy of the Vials of wrath poured upon the early Church.
Rev 16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. The first vial shows unequivocally that the corrupt “religion” was in existence from a very early date, even as Paul had attested in Ephesians 2:2: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience; (meaning that they followed the dictates of the flesh – of diabolos as manifested in the propensity for sin of the Adamic race. This phraseology never means a “prince” in the sense of a “fallen angel” which has rejected God’s laws and rebelled – a complete impossibility for such a divinely created being; this is part of the mythology of Babylon and is sheer paganism)
Rev 16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
Rev 16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy (i.e., worthy of this judgment, and condemnation).
Rev 16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
The judgment of the great Whore is eminent. It is detailed in the next chapter …
Rev 17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
Rev 17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
The kings of the earth and the merchants of the earth make up the two opulent factions of society in general; their consort has generated great wealth and prosperity. A stark reflection of this can be seen in nearly every poverty-stricken village of France or Quebec: there is always a splendid cathedral set on a high place around which is huddled an humble village of peasants whose resources are largely dedicated by the Church to its own purposes. The Roman Church is reputed to be among the wealthiest corporations on earth, surpassing the total wealth of most of the nations of the world!
Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Now follows a vivid description of the War of Armageddon (Revelation 16: 16) wherein the Lamb of God confront and utterly defeat the forces of Mammon, as embodied in the Merchants of the Earth and the Church of Rome.
Their carnal warfare – their stringent resistance – against the King of Israel which ensues, is a vivid consequence and continuation of their spiritual transgressions of the prior ages, in which the Gospel of Christ has been corrupted and changed into a form (a lie – Romans 1:25, again) which is only rejected by Him, and His followers who know His Truth – those who have come out of her, My people (Revelation 18:4).
The ensuing conflict is bloody, is judgmental toward the Beast and Harlot, and is “up close and personal” in the truest sense. The one-on-one confrontation is vividly described in the next verse …
Rev 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
The symbolism of Revelation 14: 1-5 describes these events and the glorious appearance of Christ and His immortal Saints of that future day.
Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
What “church” could be described as being nearly equivalent to such except the mighty Roman Curia?
Rev 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
Rev 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Rev 17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
This revealing terminology illustrates the principality of the Roman Church in the affairs of kings. Popes have crowned kings in the past – and deposed some with whom they were enemies. The main political parties of the European nations today are mostly church-affiliated and supported. The Church’s entanglement with the affairs of nations has been extraordinary.
Rev 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
Rev 18:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Rev 18:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Yes! The Vatican has “papal nuncios” (ambassadors) assigned to the capitals of over an hundred countries worldwide, and as official representatives, knows intimate details of governments everywhere. The Church is in this wise an unique institution, being not only a nation (the Vatican) but also a Church (the Roman Catholic Church), both ruled over by one man – the pope. He is therefore ONE OF the kings of the earth as addressed in the next verse…
Rev 18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Rev 18:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Rev 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
The goods in which she traffics are abundant – often the delicacies to which men are addicted but including the necessities of life as well, such as food and apparel – and the mediums of exchange such as gold and silver and precious stones. Note carefully this specific list of her chief commodities of trade …
Rev 18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Rev 18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
This last commodity is most important to her – for such the souls of men has became in the eyes of the Church, i.e., numbers of people, warm bodies, tithe contributors, regardless of their background or beliefs being “baptized” into the Church. These are the supporting infrastructure of the Church.
Each new member becomes at least a minimal source of revenues for the clergy. St. Peter’s basilica is said to have been built by the monies received from the sale of Indulgencies, which were Church licenses in advance to commit sin of the grossest sorts! But these transactions are to be obliterated – done away summarily … forever.
Rev 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Rev 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
For centuries, the greatest amount of commerce was generated by the Church. Statuary and icons, rosaries, vestments, cheeses, wines and oils were produced for her by the merchants of the earth. Her consumption of gold and silver, of lands and estates, of all sorts of physical property, often obtained by thievery from its adherents. The merchants of the earth have often been culpable in these transactions, and have made them possible. It is no wonder that their grief for her demise is so pronounced! Their grief is graphically pictured in the following words …
Rev 18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Rev 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Rev 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
Rev 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Here is the stark admission by the merchants of the earth that they were compliant in the activities of the Mother Harlot.
But the sufferance of her fate is different for the saints of God, whose view of her demise is unlike that of the merchants of the earth. They bewail her not, but rejoice that she has been subdued!
Their vengeance upon her has not been personally wrought by them, but has been righteously rained down upon her by the God of heaven in godly vengeance FOR their suffering and oppression.
Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Her fate is graphically depicted in the poetic justice which is determined for her. She is likened to a great millstone (which is a symbol of grinding and dividing into small edible portions) which is violently thrown into the sea, never to be seen again!
Rev 18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Rev 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Rev 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Rev 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
We read recently an article in which the pope readily admitted that some 20 million people have been killed by Church persecution, the Inquisition included, of course.
We believe that number is vastly understated. It is probable that the Church has slain more people in its history than all those murdered by Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin combined. Many of these unfortunate victims have been intense and dedicated Bible scholars who have arrived at the Truth of God’s word, and foresworn the falsehoods of Church doctrines, thus repudiating the Church’s authority and oversight of their affairs. Many, such as Coverdale, Tyndale, and others were killed for the crime of translating the word of God into common languages so they could be understood by common men.
The Reformation became the death-knell of the Church in a limited sense, drawing millions away from under its influence and control. But unfortunately, many of those pioneers’ reasonings were lost on the masses, and they remained under the yoke of Rome.
In these texts the merchants of the earth are identified and described. Their commerce with Babylon’s Ill-famed woman has been intense, and has brought them much wealth and power. Their relationship has been essentially a romance of sorts – a consort of multiple kings and merchants with an harlot – the carnal definition of which is fornication.
At one time in history the RCC decreed restrictions on buying and selling, and required the approval of the Church for all such transactions. The mark of the Beast would identify cooperative candidates. Those who would not comply with Rome’s diktat were isolated, shunned, and starved to death for want of life’s necessities.
But there is a greater implication. The sign of the cross is made over the infant at Confirmation, and again at “Baptism” – a Catholic rite of pouring water over the head of the victim – er… subject.
Without this approving stamp, it is impossible to “buy and sell” her long list of available merchandise, both spiritual and carnal. There is no forgiveness of sin by the parish priest (who presumes to forgive sin in place of Christ!). Without it there is no Confessional, no intercessory prayers, no partaking of the wafer of “communion,” which is supposed to be trans-substantiated into Christ’s actual flesh as they swallow it – all of which mean, in turn, that the subject does not go “directly to heaven” at death, and may not go there at all (considering the teachings of God’s word, we favor the latter possibility!).
Conclusion: The merchants of the earth are vitally complicit in the Church’s continued existence and its prosperity. Kings and popes consult on state policy and other matters of interest to both. The Church has famously relinquished its doctrines in favor of state friendship and accommodation, such as Paul II on one occasion positing that Christ may not be the ONLY path to paradise in order to blend in more perfectly with the Muslims and the Animists of Africa!
The coming demise of the Church will open the eyes of some followers. Others will hear the words of the everlasting gospel which they have never been made aware of or believed. Other will be forced to comply with the new Administration of the upstart “King of the Jews” in Jerusalem – a vastly different form of enforced international compliance with a foreign power which exerts supremacy over all nations … whether they like His peaceful benefits or not. <HEL 2N> ~ 3600 words. Position Paper #24