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To Hell With Annihilationism: Part IV

Final judgment for the unsaved is the Lake of Fire– what the Bible calls the “second death.” It is a place of torment, not annihilation.

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:14-15

Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever [not annihilated]. ~ Revelation 20:7-10

This “lake of fire and brimstone” burns its victims without decomposing them. There is a difference between pain and injury. Pain is discomfort. Injury is damage. The lake of fire and brimstone brings discomfort without damage. It burns without decomposing that which it burns upon. God gave us a preview of this with the burning bush.

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian. And he led the flock to the back of the desert, and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed. Then Moses said, “I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn.” ~ Exodus 3:1-3

 The lake of fire and brimstone brings pain, not injury.  Its victims live on.

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,”If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone [not "annihilated with fire and brimstone"] in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment [not "the smoke of their annihilation"] ascends forever and ever [not "ascends until they are annihilated"]; and they have no rest day or night [not "they have no rest until they are annihilated"], who worship the beast and his image , and whoever receives the mark of his name.” ~ Revelation 14:9-11

In Part III, I showed that the temporary holding facility for unsaved souls is a place of torment, not annihilation. In Part IV, I have shown that the permanent holding facility for unsaved souls is also a place of torment, not annihilation. The wages of sin is indeed death.

  • 1st Death: For the unsaved, the first death occurs when the body dies. This death results in the soul being delivered to a place of torment (hell).
  • 2nd Death: For the unsaved, the second death occurs at the White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. In this second death, the resurrected body is sentenced and transferred to its place of eternal torment (the Lake of Fire).

For the unsaved, the first death results in soul torment, and the second death results in bodily torment. Neither at the first death, nor at the second death, do we see annihilation. As I pointed out in Part II, the fear of this horrible fate has led many a sinner to repentance. I am convinced that Satan removes this fear by removing the possibility of torment from peoples’ minds. This (in my opinion) is how the poison of Annihilationism got injected into the body of Christ (the church).

The Bible repeatedly warns us to fear God, but instant annihilation evokes no fear at all. It is no deterrent to fallen man, and God knows it. Even if annihilation took days, weeks, months, or years in the Lake of Fire to complete, who cares? Our prisons are full of people willing to do time for crimes that satisfy their urges for money, pleasure, and power. How much more so from an eternal perspective? It is eternal torment, not annihilation, that scares the hell out of people.

But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” ~ Revelation 21:8

Who among us does not fit into at least one category in this verse? For fallen man to care about his actions, there must be consequences that get his attention. Death must have a sting. Eternal torment is that sting, and Annihilationism takes that sting away. Taking the sting out of death takes away the need for the One who actually took the sting out of death, Yeshua Ha’Mashiach (Jesus Christ):

  • The Son of YHVH
  • The Messiah of the physical Jewish people living in the physical land of Israel that YHVH gave them as an eternal possession (a fact that drives the world demonically insane, and a fact opposed by many “Christians” who openly advocate to divide the land of Israel and create a Palestinian state).

This is why we find such a preponderance of Annihilationists among “Christians” advocating to divide God’s land and create a Palestinian state. As I stated in Part II, if I were advocating a Satanic political position that puts me directly in the Bible in God’s crosshairs (Joel 3:2), I would be pretty motivated to convince myself and others that eternal torment were not an option. However, self-delusion does not change reality. The unsaved will be tormented for all eternity, not annihilated.

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. ~ Matthew 25:46

Finally, the idea that God would resurrect the unsaved dead at the White Throne Judgment only to put them right back to sleep by annihilating them is not only unbiblical, it is nonsensical. To demonstrate this point, I end this post with a classic Three Stooges bit in which Moe slaps Larry out of a sound sleep and tells him, “wake up and go to sleep.”

The Bible tells us the seriousness of eternal torment. The Three Stooges tell us the silliness of Annihilationism.

Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck.

To Hell With Annihilationism: Part III

Sheol, Hades, Hell, Gehenna– whatever name you give the jail for unsaved souls before the White Throne Judgment, it is a place of torment, not annihilation.

This post (Part III) addresses the “holding cell” in which unsaved souls wait before their sentencing in what is popularly called the “White Throne Judgment” of Revelation 20:11-15. In the White Throne Judgment, the dead are resurrected, sentenced, and transferred to the place they will serve out their eternal sentences– the Lake of Fire.

  • The sorrows of Sheol surrounded me… ~ 2 Samuel 22:6

If bodily death means lights out for the unsaved soul, why does Sheol exist? And why is it a place of sorrows? How can a soul that is annihilated feel sorrows? 

  • Will they go down to the gates of Sheol? ~ Job 17:16

Why does Sheol have gates if unsaved souls are simply annihilated, rather than tormented? Are the gates to keep in annihilated souls that are now annihilated and no longer exist?

  • “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven… I will be like the Most High.’ Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man ["man" = Antichrist, a human man possessed by Satan] who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ ~ Isaiah 14:12-17

After Satan is thrown into Sheol, people already there will be amazed at his newly appointed humble state among them. The man who shook kingdoms will be just another prisoner in hell. History gives us a remarkable example of such a humbling– that of Al Capone in Alcatraz. Although Capone was powerful on the street, killing at will, in Alcatraz he was just another inmate.

From Alcatrazhistory.com:  

In 1934, Attorney General Homer Cummings along with Sanford Bates, the head of the Federal Prisons, made arrangements to send Capone to a facility where he would be unable to leverage the system… In August of 1934, without any formal notice, Capone was placed on a secure prison railroad car, on a journey along with 52 other inmates to America’s Devil Island ["Devil" Island, interesting nickname when considering the Antichrist context of this analogy...].

From the first moment of his arrival, Capone worked to manipulate the system. Warden Johnston had a custom of meeting the new “fish” when they first arrived at Alcatraz, and usually participated in their brief orientation. Johnston wrote in a later memoir that he had little trouble recognizing Capone while he stood in the lineup. Capone was grinning, and making quiet smug comments from the side of his mouth to other inmates. When it became his turn to approach Warden Johnston, it appeared that he wanted to show off to the other inmates by asking questions on their behalf in a leader-type role. Johnston quickly provided him his prison AZ number, and made him get back in line with the other convicts.

During Capone’s time on Alcatraz, he made several attempts to con Johnston into allowing him special privileges, but all were denied. Johnston maintained that Capone would not be given any special rights and would have to follow the rules as would any other inmate. Capone eventually conceded and one day made the comment to Johnston, “It looks like Alcatraz has got me licked.” ~ Alcatrazhistory.com

Capone Sheol Alcatraz

by alwaysproventrue.com

Like Capone, the Antichrist will not be annihilated. He will be sent to Sheol where other unannihilated prisoners will be unimpressed by him. 

  • “Hell from beneath is excited about you, To meet you at your coming; It stirs up the dead for you, All the chief ones of the earth; It has raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations. They all shall speak and say to you: ‘Have you also become as weak as we? Have you become like us?’” ~ Isaiah 14:9-10

When the Antichrist gets to hell, rulers who went to hell before him will be surprised at his lowly status. He will be just like them, weak and powerless– just like Capone in Alcatraz.

  • For You will not leave my soul in Sheol… ~ Psalm 16:10

How can an annihilated soul (which no longer exists) be left in Sheol (a place that should not exist if souls are simply annihilated)? How can you leave something somewhere if neither the something you left nor the place you left it in exists? 

  • For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ ~ Acts 2:25-28

This verse specifically references, of course, the Messianic prophecy in Psalms that Messiah’s body would not decompose and his soul would not be left in Hades– which brings up a great question. How can an annihilated soul be “left” anywhere? How can you leave a non-existent something somewhere?

  • And the pangs of Sheol laid hold of me… ~ Psalm 116:3

What pangs? If unsaved souls are simply annihilated, how in the world can Sheol have any “pangs”? 

  • Therefore Sheol has enlarged itself And opened its mouth beyond measure; Their glory and their multitude and their pomp, And he who is jubilant, shall descend into it. People shall be brought down, Each man shall be humbled… ~ Isaiah 5:14-15

Each man shall be humbled, not annihilated. This fits exactly the experience of the rich man in the account of Lazarus and the rich man. It also perfectly fits the Antichrist’s experience of going from extreme power in the world, to extreme powerlessness (humility) in Hell. The rich man and the Antichrist were humbled, not annihilated.

In my next post, I will continue annihilating Annihilationism by showing that the 2nd death (the Lake of Fire) does not annihilate any more than the first death (Sheol, Hades, Hell, Gehenna).

To Hell With Annihilationism: Part I

Annihilationism is the belief that hell does not exist, and that unsaved souls are simply annihilated upon the death of the body.

Annihilationists do not believe in eternal torment. As proof texts, annihilationists cite verses such as:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 6:23

The logic goes like this: The Bible says the wages of sin is death, not eternal torment. I must say, that is a very good point. My interest was stirred up enough to read the writings of some annihilationists, and thus was raised red flag number one. That is, I noticed that a plethora of writers espousing annihilationism were not even Christians. They deceptively cloaked their writing in Christianese language to gain credibility with Christians, but these writers were clearly not Christians. How do I know? Well, the Bible excludes all roads to God except one, faith in the Lord Jesus Christ– the Son of God, the Messiah, who was bloodied mercilessly and killed as a substitutionary atonement for my sins, and then rose from the dead. Yet, I was hard pressed to find such confessions from the writers who were most zealously advocating Annihilationism. This was a huge red flag.

Red Warning Flag

Red warning flag (Image source: abcnews4.com)

Here is another red flag. I noticed that annihilationists tend to be universalists. In other words, they tend to believe that all human beings receive Christ’s salvation, even people who explicitly refuse it. So, with the Annihilationist/Universalist combination, we have a paradigm in which all human beings are saved by Christ’s salvation– AND, if it turns out by some twist of fate that all humans are not saved by Christ’s salvation, it won’t really matter, because the worst that can happen is a “lights out” ending upon death. With this paradigm, one can choose evil their entire life, and there will be no negative consequences in eternity. Now THAT is one convenient paradigm!

I will address universalism in another post. For now, let’s stick with Annihilationism.

To clarify the issue of Annihilationism, I used the same method that I advocate over and over on this website to clear up any question about the Bible– letting the Bible interpret the Bible. As such, let’s look at whether Jesus Christ himself asserts a quick “lights out” ending to those who reject him:

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 13:49-50

Here we have Jesus Christ himself telling us that the wicked will be thrown into the “fiery furnace,” and that they will remain alive inside this fire to weep and gnash teeth. Contrast this with another account of a fiery furnace from the Bible.

Then Nebuchadnezzar…commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace… Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. ~ Daniel 3:19-23

Smelting

Smelting furnace and worker in protective suit (Image source: New York Times)

Let’s think about this for a moment. A man-made fire got so hot that it killed strong soldiers who merely got close to it, but the God-made fire has people alive inside of it, weeping and gnashing teeth.  Is God incapable of making a fire as lethal as Nebuchadnezzar’s fire, or can God’s fire be one that burns but does not consume? For the answer, just ask the burning bush:

There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush . Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight — why the bush does not burn up.” ~ Exodus 3:2-3

A Burning Bush

A burning bush (Image source: wikipedia.com)

If the wages of sin are merely “death” (that is, the “death” we understand from this fallen world, a lights out ending), then why does God’s fire not kill the wicked quickly, just as Nebuchadnezzar’s fire killed the soldiers quickly? The eternal “death” the Bible prescribes for the wicked is not a lights out ending. It is eternal torment. This is a very unpleasant thought, especially for those slated to experience it because of their refusal to confess Jesus Christ as Lord (like some of those annihilationists whose works I’ve read). So, these annihilationists simply ignore God as righteous judge, and acknowledge God only as graceful and loving diety.

Then, they craft the argument that a graceful and loving God would never torment the wicked. Instead, he merely snuffs them out. One can live any way they want, sin abundantly without repentance, spit in God’s face, divide God’s land, deny God’s Son, and worship Satan, and the only consequence they would ever face is a quick lights out ending. What a bargain! I hate to be a killjoy, but the Bible says differently:

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice,”If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” ~ Revelation 14:9-11

Here is another proof text that annihilationists cite:

For we will surely die and become like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. ~ 2 Samuel 14:14

This is a faulty argument for lights-out death. Once water is spilled on the ground (especially the dusty, rocky, dirty ground of Biblical settings), it is irretrievable. It cannot be gathered up again. Annihilationists argue that human life is the same way. That is, the soul of someone not granted eternal life by God merely ceases to exist upon death. Like water spilled on the ground, it is gone for good. But wait a minute. Water spilled on the ground does not simply cease to exist. There are three options for it:

  1. It can remain as a liquid
  2. It can evaporate
  3. It can freeze

The fourth option of “It can disappear into nothingness” does not exist. Matter cannot be created or destroyed (except by God). Therefore, even if this spilled water quickly evaporates in the middle east sun, it does not simply cease to exist. It becomes water vapor, which has exactly the same molecular composition as liquid water: two hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom– H2O. Similarly, if this spilled water froze, it would have the same molecular composition as liquid water and water vapor: two hydrogen atoms, and one oxygen atom– H2O.

  • The H2O molecules of frozen water hold each others’ hands tightly.
  • The H2O molecules of liquid water hold each others’ hands loosely.
  • The H2O molecules of water vapor let go of each others’ hands.

But at the end of the day, we still have the foundational unit of water, the H2O molecule. It does not cease to exist. Likewise, the foundational unit of human life (the soul) does not cease to exist upon the death of the body. If anything, the spilled water of 2 Samuel 14:14 argues for the longevity of the soul, more so than against it. It must not remain in one form to exist. H2O must not remain a liquid to exist, and the human soul must not remain in a body to exist.

To go even further, God states that he will actually rebuild the bodies of the dead to stand at the judgment seat.

And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. ~ Revelation 20:12-15

Now we see that just as matter can neither be created nor destroyed (except by God), deceased life cannot be “gathered up again” (except by God). Trillions of atoms, long-since disconnected from each other as the human bodies they formed decomposed in the sea and in the ground, will be instantly reconfigured to stand before God at his judgment seat. When viewed through the lens of the Bible, 2 Samuel 14:14 is seen to be a view of life from the fallen human perspective, not the perspective of the all-powerful Creator God. God can easily gather up water spilled on the ground, just as he can easily gather up the decomposed bodies of the dead.

Jesus tells us that the wicked will be weeping and gnashing their teeth in a fiery furnace. The Apostle John tells us that anyone who worships the beast or receives his mark shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, “and the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.” I do not split hairs in this post on the differences among Hell, Hades, Gehenna, the Lake of Fire, Abraham’s Bossom, etc. These are worthwhile studies, but for the purposes of this post, I want to shore up only one foundational truth– the truth that eternity for those who reject the God of Israel, and the Messiah he sent, is not pleasant, and never ends.

The Bible is always proven true.

(To my brother in the Lord who introduced me to Annihilationism,

You presented your argument for Annihilationism intelligently, and with class (as always). I thought this issue interesting enough, and important enough, to turn my findings into this post. This was a fascinating study to me, and I learned much from it– as I always do in our discussions. I am well aware of your love for the God of Israel and his Messiah, Yeshua. I in no way lump you in with the Annihilationist authors I mentioned in this post, those who make no confession of Yeshua as Lord.

Although I disagree with your conclusion, please see this post as a credit to your diligent study and boldness. Without your boldness for the Lord, and eagerness to discuss him, I would probably still never have heard of this topic. As for the title of this post, “To Hell With Annihilationism,” it was such a good pun, I couldn’t resist. ;)

God bless you, my friend.)

My Big, Fat, Greek Revived Empire: Part IV

He [the Antichrist] will pitch his royal tents between the seas [the Mediterranean Sea and the Dead Sea] at the beautiful holy mountain [Jerusalem]. ~ Daniel 11:45

Is there a religious and political system today that plans to make Jerusalem the capital of its empire? Of course, and it is the same religious and political system that matches every single other Biblical criteria for the Antichrist’s empire.

Jerusalem will be capital of caliphate

Tayseer Al-Tamimi, Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, asserts that Jerusalem will be the capital of the caliphate. (Image source: Memri-TV)

United States of Arabs Jerusalem Capital Caliphate

Speaker at Egyptian presidential campaign rally asserts that Jersusalem will be the capital of the Caliphate. (Image source: Memri-TV)

Caliphatethe political-religious state comprising the Muslim community and the lands and peoples under its dominion in the centuries following the death (ad 632) of the Prophet Muḥammad. ~ Encyclopedia Brittanica

Caliphate: (from the Arabic خلافة or khilāfa) is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious as well as political leader known as a caliph (meaning literally a successor, i.e., a successor to Islamic prophet Muhammad) and all the Prophets of Islam. ~ Wikipedia

Right in front of our eyes, the one-world religion and one-world government is forcefully taking shape. Yet, we ignore it because it does not fit our Protestant tradition. This tradition teaches that Rome will be the empire of the Antichrist– despite the fact that Rome matches not one Biblical criteria for the Antichrist’s empire. Rome does not behead people (Revelation 20:4). Rome does not deny that God has a son (1 John 2:22). Rome does not treat women worse than animals (Genesis 3:15, Daniel 11:37). Rome’s leaders do not go on TV and declare that Jerusalem will be the capital of the Roman religious and political system (Daniel 11:45). I could go on and on and on. Rome matches none of it.

God inspired Daniel’s pen to thoroughly, painstakingly, and copiously document the prophetic details of the Greek Empire, while scarcely even mentioning the Roman Empire. We have ignored this fact for far too long. In Daniel, God is loudly directing our end-times attention to the land Daniel calls “Grecia,” (Greece). Each use of the word “Grecia” (Greece) in the Book of Daniel traces back to the Hebrew word “Yavan” which is the land of Ionia in modern-day Turkey. The Turkish Ottoman Empire was the seat of the Islamic Caliphate until both the empire and Caliphate were abolished in the early 20th century. The Caliphate died– it seems to have suffered a fatal wound, but it is reviving before our eyes every night on the evening news.

And I saw a beast [the Caliphate] coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads [In Revelation 17:9-11, John explains that these seven heads are seven hills (or "mountains," which along with "beasts" are Biblical references to empires) on which this end-times beast will sit. In other words, the Antichrist's end-times beast empire will occupy land held by each of these seven empires. These empires are: Egyptian, 2. Assyrian, 3. Babylonian, 4. Medo-Persian, 5. Greek, 6. Roman, 7. Ottoman. The seven heads are also seven kings.], with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  [Next, John will describe the Antichrist's end-times beast empire using the imagery Daniel gave us in Daniel 7. This imagery consists of the three empires that were particularly relevant to the Babylonian Empire, in which Daniel was a captive servant. This imagery does not include the Roman Empire, contrary to the popular teaching in today's Protestant American churches.] The beast I saw resembled a leopard [Leopard = Greek Empire. This is modern-day Turkey which is an Islamist nation.], but had feet like those of a bear [Bear = Medo-Persian Empire. This is the modern-day Kurds (Medes), and Iran (Persia). Daniel 7:5 notes that in the end times this bear will lift up on one side. This has been fulfilled perfectly as today's Iran is a powerful nation while the Kurds fight for their existence.] and a mouth like that of a lion [Lion = Babylonian Empire. This is today's Iraq. Saddam Hussein kept the Islamists under control for decades. He jailed them, and he killed them. Now that the U.S. has removed Saddam, Islamists rapidly fill the power vacuum. Iraq will soon be a completely Islamicized nation, if it isn't already]. The dragon [Satan] gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound [the death of the Caliphate], but the fatal wound had been healed [As you can see from the screen shots in this post, a zealous effort is underway to restore the Caliphate, and to make Jerusalem its headquarters. I do not doubt that this prophecy will also be fulfilled in the form of a person (the Antichrist) who suffers a head wound that seems to be fatal, but is not. However, we concentrate far too much on only the human manifestation of this prophecy, and we totally neglect the empire manifestation of this prophecy. Again, in Revelation 17, John tells us that these 7 heads are 7 kings and 7 empires.]. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast. Men worshiped the dragon [Satan] because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast [Just look at how the media and politicians revere Islam.] and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?” [For the answer to who can make war against the beast, see Part III of this series.]~ Revelation 13:1-4

The Bible is always proven true.

My Big, Fat, Greek Revived Empire: Part III

The Antichrist will rise from the ashes of the Greek Empire, not the Roman Empire. And don’t believe the rumor that America is not in the Bible.

While reading the Bible six years ago, something in the Book of Daniel floored me. 

Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him [the Antichrist], and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. ~ Daniel 11:30 (NIV)

I had always been taught that the Antichrist would take over the whole world, and I had never been taught that anyone would actually fight back. But right there in Daniel, it says that “ships of the western coastlands will oppose him.” Wow. It was at this time that I believe God planted the seed in my mind to wonder if America actually was in the Bible, in direct contradiction to Protestant tradition which states that America is not in the Bible.

Old Habits Die Hard

Soon after reading that verse and being stunned by it, I was at a Bible study I regularly attended. This particular night, a speaker taught on current events and Bible prophecy. In the question and answer session after the lecture, someone asked the speaker: “Since America is not in the Bible, what do you think will happen to America?” Stop right there.

Since entering the Protestant Evangelical world several years ago, I have heard it stated countless times that “America is not in the Bible.” This statement is accepted as fact by seemingly everyone. The problem is that as a relative novice to the Bible, God illuminated Daniel 11:30 to me, which in the NIV Bible states that at least one nation west of the Middle East will have a navy powerful enough to confront the mighty Antichrist, and that this nation will have political DNA befitting such bold confrontation.

Anchors Aweigh

It doesn’t take a PhD in political science or history to see that the USA is west of the Middle East, has the most powerful navy on earth, and has been sending it into action around the world for two centuries, including many incursions into the Muslim lands of the Middle East. In fact the U.S. Marine Corps (which is part of the U.S Navy) has in its anthem the words “to the shores of Tripoli.”

U.S. Marines Hymn

Official song of the U.S. Marine Corps (Image source: U.S. Library of Congress. Red highlight added by alwaysproventrue.com)

Semper Fi

This refers to the Marine Corps’ 1805 incursion into what is today Tripoli, Libya– a Muslim nation then and now, which was then under the control of Ottoman Turkey. Now back to the Bible study I attended.

Serenity Now!

To the best of his ability, the speaker at the Bible study answered the question about America not being in the Bible. I then raised my hand and brought up the fact that Daniel clearly writes that ships from the west will oppose the Antichrist. I made the case that this is likely the USA, and stated that I believe we may be wrong about America not being in the Bible. Maybe we actually are in the Bible. Do you know that the VERY next question to the speaker began like this: “Since America is not in the Bible…” I don’t remember what the rest of the question was because I (figuratively) threw up my hands in frustration after those first seven words and (figuratively) yelled, “serenity now!” (thank you George Costanza). Immediately after hearing a Bible verse giving America some hope, the crowd went back to its Protestant tradition of believing that America is not in the Bible.

Catholic Splinters, Protestant Planks

This is one of many reasons I have had a recurring theme to my writing of late. That theme is that Protestants have non-Biblical traditions they hold on to just as jealously as Catholics hold on to theirs. Yet, when I turn the mirror around and ask my Protestant brothers and sisters to scrutinize their beliefs against what the Bible actually says, I get any number of cop-outs, excuses, and refusals. I am speaking the truth in love. We Protestants are so accustomed to believing that only Catholics have splinters of tradition in their eyes, that we miss the planks of tradition in our own eyes.

Prophecy Is Pattern

At this point we must remember that Daniel 11:30 prophetically addresses at least two periods of time. The first fulfillment of this verse happened around 168 – 167 B.C., the details of which you are about to read in the paragraphs below. However, the ultimate fulfillment of this verse will be in the end times. In the Bible and in recorded history, God gives us templates, patterns, and examples for upcoming prophetic events. He does not want us to miss them, or to be confused about what we see. That is why we often see more than one fulfillment of the same prophecy over time. It is like God dropping a trail of bread crumbs for us to follow. It is like God giving us sketches of perpetrators for whom we are to be aware.

Now, the ships of Daniel 11:30 are particularly relevant to this series on a revived Greek Empire because of where these ships came from in one particular fulfillment of this prophecy, and who they opposed. Here is the verse in the King James Bible:

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant: so shall he do; he shall even return, and have intelligence with them that forsake the holy covenant. ~ Daniel 11:30 (KJV)

This begs the question: Where is “Chittim”? Well, let’s look at history to see which event actually fulfilled this prophecy. If God says something will happen, it will happen.

“…my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” ~ The God of Israel, Isaiah 55:11

As They Say, “It’s All Greek To Me”

Here’s what happened. The Seleucid Empire of Syria attacked the Ptolemaic Empire of Egypt. Daniel documents all of this prophetically (that is, before it even happened). This is what separates the Bible from every other book on earth– 100% prophetic accuracy. Now, the Seleucid Empire and the Ptolemaic Empire were two of the four offshoots of Alexander the Great’s Greek Empire. God inspires Daniel’s pen to prophetically document, in lengthy and painstaking detail, the narrative of the Greek Empire, not the Roman Empire. It is to the ashes of the Greek Empire that God is loudly directing our end-times attention. Now, once the Seleucids attacked Ptolemaic Egypt, we see one of the very few mentions Daniel makes of the Romans.

Recorded history tells us that the Roman Senate was angry at the Seleucid attack on Egypt. The Bible tells us prophetically what they would do about it. They would send ships to oppose the Seleucids. Roman ships would indeed be the “ships of Chittim” that fulfilled the prophecy of Daniel 11:30. The leader of the Seleucids was Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a man commonly referred to as a prototype of the end-times Antichrist– that is, a preview of the Antichrist, a blueprint of the Antichrist’s behavior and identity. Antiochus was confronted in Egypt by Mr. Gaius Popillius Laenas, a Roman commander sent by the Roman Senate to stop Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Popillius ordered Antiochus to stop his attack on Egypt. Antiochus said he needed some time to discuss it with his friends. Popillius is said to have drawn a circle in the dirt around Antiochus, and to have told him not to leave that circle until he made a decision. Wow!

Antiochus got the message and retreated out of Egypt. Popillius’ fleet then went to Cyprus and kicked the Seleucids out of there too! When Antiochus was kicked out of Egypt, he was furious. Daniel prophetically tells us what happened next.

For the ships of Chittim shall come against him: therefore he shall be grieved, and return, and have indignation against the holy covenant [The Chosen People, the Chosen Land, the Scriptures, and all things Jewish]: so shall he do [wage war on these things]; he shall even return [to Jerusalem], and have intelligence with them [Israeli traitors] that forsake the holy covenant. ~ Daniel 11:30

You can read what Antiochus did next in a post I wrote several months back entitled Josephus Previews Antichrist and Great Tribulation. But for the purpose of my current post, suffice it to say that Antiochus fulfilled Daniel 11:30 perfectly, and earned himself the reputation of little Antichrist.

Although the exploits of Antiochus IV Epiphanes provided one fulfillment of Daniel 11:30, and served up crucial hints as to which region will spawn the Antichrist, the ultimate fulfillment of Daniel 11:30 will be fulfilled by the exploits of the Antichrist himself. This brings me back to the way the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible translates “Chittim” in Daniel 11:30. I showed it at the top of this post, and here it is again.

Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him [the Antichrist], and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. ~ Daniel 11:30 (NIV)

NIV calls “Chittim” the “western coastlands,” meaning lands that are overseas from Israel, to the west. This is accurate because the word “Chittim” came to mean western lands in general.

…all islands [lands overseas from Israel], and the greatest part of the sea-coasts [lands overseas from Israel], are named Cethim [Chittim] by the Hebrews… ~ Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews

“the W[est] in general, but esp[ecially] the seafaring W[est]” ~ The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Volume 2, 1975.

The Rockets’ Red Glare

This leads perfectly to what will happen in the end times. That is, although it is entirely possible that the Italian Navy will join the fight against the Middle Eastern Antichrist in the end times (just as it fought the Middle Eastern Mini-Antichrist named Antiochus IV Ephiphanes), the largest portion of this Naval force will come from the western nation that I believe God ultimately created for the very purpose of fighting and killing the Antichrist. It’s the western nation that Protestants constantly say is not in the Bible. It’s the western nation whose Marine Corps has a tantalizing line in its anthem, a line hinting that this nation (apart from most other nations on earth) will ultimately not succumb to fear of Islamic domination, but will actually fight back, and will take the fight to the Middle Eastern safe haven of the enemy. It is the nation that the Islamic world hates the most– labeling it the Great Satan (a tremendous honor). It is the United States of America.

No Roads Lead To Rome

The popular teaching in today’s Protestant American churches is that Rome will be the empire of the Antichrist. However, Daniel foretells (and history verifies) that Rome was not only not the nation of the prototype Antichrist, but that Rome actually opposed the prototype Antichrist! So, if the template God laid out for us in the Bible and in history tells us that Rome opposed the prototype Antichrist, then why in the world are we being taught that Rome will produce the ultimate Antichrist? I respectfully say that it makes no sense. We are sledgehammering the Bible into the shape of our Protestant tradition.

This series will continue in my next post.

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Update: 1/25/14

When I saw this article in USA Today, I couldn’t help but think how nicely it complements the post above, in which the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps (which is part of the U.S. Navy) play prominent roles in the end times.

Logo_usa_today

Plans are on for quick reaction force in Middle East

The idea is to place Marines closer to a region in near constant turmoil, including a civil war in Syria, a revolt in Egypt and a violent upsurge in Iraq.

[Here is how the article begins:]

WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps is developing plans to establish a contingency force that will be based in the Middle East and be capable of responding to crises throughout the troubled region…

[The following two sentences nicely sum up the article:]

“The U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf is shifting from land to sea,” [scroll up to the post above and read how "ships from the western coastlands" will oppose the Antichrist] said Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute. “That means greater reliance on the Marines for carrying out any missions on shore…”

Read entire article at usatoday.com.

My Big, Fat, Greek Revived Empire: Part II

The Roman Empire is nowhere on the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel Chapter 2.

Throughout the Book of Daniel, God directs our attention to the Middle East, not Europe, as ground zero for the end times. A revived Roman Empire (in the form of the European Union) will not be the end-times beast empire, despite the popular teaching in Protestant American churches. Rather, God tells us via Daniel’s pen that the Antichrist’s empire will rise from the ashes of the Greek Empire, not the Roman Empire. We now pick up where we left off at the end of Part I.

The People Of The Prince

As I pointed out in Part I, Daniel gives much ink to the prophetic details of the Greek Empire. He writes about it copiously, paragraph after paragraph. In stark contrast, Daniel gives little ink to the prophetic details of the Roman Empire. Let’s look at one of these few mentions.

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah [Jesus] be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come [the Antichrist] shall destroy the city and the sanctuary… ~ Daniel 9:26

Daniel 9:26 is understood to mean that the Antichrist (“the prince that shall come”) will be in some way related to the people who destroy Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple (“the city and the sanctuary”). Now, in 70 A.D., soldiers and auxiliaries of the Roman Empire destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. Therefore, popular Western teaching asserts that it will be the Roman Empire that will revive in the end times to produce the Antichrist. This is why the legs and feet on Nebuchadnezzar’s statue are assigned by Protestants to Rome. But wait a minute.

The rate at which the Roman Empire conquered new lands outgrew its ability to occupy those lands with Roman soldiers. There were not enough men in Rome to stock the wildly successful Roman Army. Therefore, the empire’s provinces were increasingly tended to by Roman Army units (legions) ethnically comprised of “provincials,” or people local to the provinces. In other words, a soldier of the Roman Empire stationed in Syria would be an ethnic Arab from Syria, not an ethnic Italian from Rome. In Psalm 22:12 (1,000 years before the crucifixion) Messiah himself gives us stunning confirmation of this as he foretells that his killers will be from Bashan (Syria), not Rome. Read more about this in my post, Strong Bulls of Bashan.

Less than forty years after Messiah’s Crucifixion, these same Roman Legions, stationed in Syria and comprised of Arab provincials, destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple (“the city and the sanctuary” of Daniel 9:26). Have you ever been taught in church that Arabs (not Italians) destroyed the Temple? I sure have not. I was always taught that Europeans destroyed the Temple, and that the Antichrist would therefore be European. And that’s bad enough, but it gets worse. Not only did Arabs provide the labor to destroy the Temple, they disobeyed direct orders from the Italian commander to stop destroying the Temple.

A few years ago, a friend gave me a book called Josephus: The Complete Works. It is a masterpiece of recorded Jewish history.

Josephus the Complete Works

Josephus is possibly the greatest historian of all time, and I have written two other posts based on the priceless Biblical corroboration in this book. These posts were Chariots of Fire, and Josephus Previews Antichrist and Great Tribulation. The excerpts you are about to read are from this book. First, let’s look at the Italian commanders gather their Arab armies to attack Jerusalem.

Upon the whole he [Roman Emperor Nero] sent this man [Roman Commander Vespasian] to take upon him the command of the armies that were in Syria [and would have consisted of Syrian Arab locals, not Italians]… ~ Josephus, Wars of the Jews

So Vespasian sent his son Titus… to Alexandria [Egypt] to bring back with him from the the fifth and tenth legions [which would have consisted of Egyptian Arab locals, not Italians]… ~ Josephus, Wars of the Jews

…he [Roman Commander Vespasian] himself…came by land into Syria, where he gathered together, the Roman forces [which consisted of Syrian and Egyptian Arab locals, not Italians] with a considerable number of [Arab] auxiliaries from the [Arab] kings in that neighborhood. ~ Josephus, Wars of the Jews

What you are about to read is an eyewitness account– Josephus was there at the 70 A.D. seige of Jerusalem. As you read this, remember that these troops are Arab provincials (not Italians!), and ask yourself if you have ever, EVER, heard this taught from a Protestant pulpit:

At which time one of the [Arab] soldiers, without…orders [without orders from the Italians]…and being hurried on by a certain divine fury [demonic hatred of the Jews], snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house [I have heard it taught for years by Bible teachers who believe in the revived Roman Empire that this arsonist soldier was drunk. However, Josephus does not say the soldier was drunk. He says he was "hurried on by a certain divine fury." This sounds more like demon possession. This is exactly what we see in the Middle East today among the descendants of this soldier (who, by the way, do not drink!). So, an Arab soldier set fire to the Jewish Temple not on a command from the Roman Empire, but on the command of his demonic hatred of the Jewish people, God's chosen people.]

And now a certain person came running to Titus [the Roman commander, an ethnic Italian, not an Arab], and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire [The Italian commander not only does not order the fire to be set, he tries to stop the fire! The Jewish Temple was a crown jewel of the Roman Empire. It was a trophy, and the Romans had no intention of destroying it.]; Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire [The Italian commander verbally and visually commands the Arab troops to STOP the fire], …

And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers [The Italian commander has lost control of the Arab troops], and the fire proceeded on more and more…Titus supposing… that the house [Jewish Temple] itself might yet be saved… came in haste… to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire [Again the Italian commander orders the Arab troops put the fire out]…yet were their passions [hatred of the Jews] too hard for the regards they had for Caesar [their demonic hatred of the Jews outweighed their respect for Caesar], and the dread they had of him who forbade them [their hatred of the Jews outweighed their fear of the consequences of disobeying a direct order from Caesar], as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them [demonic determination to fight the Jews]… And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar’s approbation [So, an eyewitness, who just happens to be possibly the greatest historian of all time, tells us that the Temple was burnt down without Italian permission, and against the frantic orders of the Italian commander. Is this just a tad bit different than what we are led to believe by most Protestant American Bible teachers?]

~ Josephus (who was actually present at this event), Wars of the Jews

Wow, wow, and wow! The Arab ethnicity of the Roman troops, and the Italian commander’s repeated and frantic attempts to stop them is not taught in church because it contradicts the Protestant tradition that Rome will produce the Antichrist. Tradition is often held in higher esteem than truth in the Protestant church, yet we never miss an opportunity to criticize Catholics for their traditions. Arabs (not Romans) comprised the labor force of soldiers and auxiliaries that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, the demonic spirit of uncontrollable anti-Jewish rage that led to this destruction manifested itself not within the Italians, but within the Arabs. Is this any different than what we see today? Absolutely not. The Antichrist will come from the Middle East, not Europe.

But these words from Josephus are the tip of the iceberg. For an outstanding scholarly treatment of this subject, including a plethora of historical citations asserting that the Roman legions and auxiliaries of the Middle East in 70 A.D. consisted of Arab troops, not Italian troops, please see Who Are “The People of the Prince to Come”? by Hope of Israel Ministries.

Crushing All The Others

And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. ~ Daniel 2:39-40

Does this describe the European Union? Absolutely not. Europe allows Muslims to have separate Sharia courts within European nations. This is not a sign of Europe breaking into pieces and shattering all other kingdoms. This is Europe allowing another kingdom within itself, a direct contradiction of Daniel 2:39-40.

uk daily mail logo

Britain has 85 sharia courts: The astonishing spread of the Islamic justice behind closed doors

By STEVE DOUGHTY

UPDATED: 04:25 EST, 29 June 2009

Read entire article at dailymail.co.uk.

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Gatestone Institute Logo

Islamic Sharia Law Court Opens in Belgium

by Soeren Kern

September 15, 2011 at 5:00 am

Read entire article at gatestoneinstitute.org.

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Can you name an Islamist nation that allows Christians to have separate Western-style courts to try cases involving Christians? Of course not. This is because Islam breaks in pieces and shatters all kingdoms it conquers. It crushes all others, exactly as predicted in the prophecy of Daniel 2:39-40.

The Bible is always proven true.

This Big, Fat, Revived Greek Empire series will continue.

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