Babylon City of Vatican

One of the portions of the book of Revelation whose meaning is hotly debated is the reference to Mystery Babylon in chapter 17. It appears that this will be the location of the Antichrist’s governmental and spiritual headquarters. But, where exactly is Mystery Babylon located? Will it be headquartered in Jerusalem, New York, Mecca, or Rome? Or, will it be ancient Babylon rebuilt?

Dr. David Reagan and I asked these questions on our television program Christ in Prophecy of Bible prophecy expert Bill Salus, the founder and director of Prophecy Depot Ministries based in La Quinta, California. Bill is a prolific writer and conference speaker, best known for his insightful book about Psalm 83 and the war that is depicted in it.

Arguments Against a Rebuilt Babylon

Bill Salus: David and Nathan, it is good to be with you. I want to personally thank you for your May edition of the Lamplighter magazine where I got my new nickname — the Star Trek Eschatologist. Boy, thanks for that!

Dr. Reagan: Well, I called you that because you boldly go where no one else has gone before when it comes to being an Eschatologist.

Bill Salus: Well, that label has created some repercussions everywhere I go, for now people think I’ve become some kind of pest exterminator! They don’t know what an Eschatologist is, so I’ve got to explain the label to them. Eschatos means “last or final” in the Greek, and ology is “study,” so together Eschatology is the “study of the last and final days.”

Nathan Jones: Alright, Captain Salus, are you ready to embark on another journey?

Bill Salus: Let’s boldly go!

Nathan Jones: Yes, let’s boldly address the subject of Mystery Babylon. Let’s go right to the source text, which is Revelation 17:1-6:

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.’

So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.

And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.”

Bill, when it comes to Mystery Babylon there are questions like who, and what, and where. Let’s start with the where. Dr. John Walvoord holds to the most popular view in his Bible Knowledge Commentary believing that this Mystery Babylon, this prophetic Harlot, is actually the future rebuilt city of Babylon. Do you agree?

Bill Salus: I confirm that Dr. Walvoord holds the popular view, also held by other Bible experts such as Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Joel Rosenberg, and quite a number of others. Various Bible prophecy teachers adhere to one of several potential candidate cities being Mystery Babylon.

We are told in Revelation 17-18 that Mystery Babylon will be a great city. I remind people that, according to 2 Peter 1:20, no prophecy is subject to private interpretation. So, we have to look at the details of the prophecy. We’ve got to weed through the various interpretations given for the different candidate cities and narrow the list down to the actual one. There are five main candidate cities, and four of them cannot be the right ones.

I’m not advocating that I know for sure which is the correct one, but I think the body of evidence sways towards the direction of Rome. That will be my argument.

There are three primary reasons why I have concerns with Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon.

Let’s start with reason number one, and let’s focus on “rebuilt.” Unlike the other four candidate cities, Babylon is not a significant city right now. Saddam Hussein tried to rebuild it a little bit. The other candidate cities are already significant cities and so they could easily become that prophesied city, but the bottom line is the Antichrist would have to rebuild Babylon. To this day it’s located in a war-torn area due to schisms between the Shiites and the Sunnis, causing the complete rebuilding of Babylon unlikely. Some of the advocates for a rebuilt Babylon remind us that Dubai was built very rapidly into a city, and so could Babylon, but that seems highly unlikely within the limited Tribulation time-line.

For reason number two, let’s focus on the “Mystery” of Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. By definition, in the Old Testament a mystery was something that was concealed. In the New Testament, it is revealed. An angel reveals this mystery to us in Revelation 17:7-18. He tells us in verse 9 that Mystery Babylon will be “a city that sits on seven hills,” which at the time when John wrote Revelation, was the notorious description of Rome. The Romans even had coinage at the time of the goddess Roma sitting on seven hills.

Verse 15 describes the Harlot’s global reach across many tribes, tongues, peoples and nations. And, most importantly, verse 18 tells something significant. “The woman you saw,” referring to Mystery Babylon in this vision given to John, “is the great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” So, let’s break that down. The woman he saw, past tense, sits on the waters, meaning the multiple tribes, tongues and nations. And, the city reigns over the kings of the earth. There could only be one city that held such power at the time John wrote. He would clearly recognize Rome. The text doesn’t say it will be the city that reigns over the kings, it says it is reigning.

Lastly, for reason number three, I find this to be a very disturbing verse for those others who advocate a city other than Rome as Mystery Babylon, and that is Revelation 18:20. “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her! God has judged her for the way she has treated you.” God was referring to the martyrdom of the holy Apostles. That’s two or more apostles plural had to be judged and executed under the present authorities of what this end times Babylon would eventually become. Peter, Paul, Andrew and Jesus’ brother, James — these apostles were killed by the “Babylon” of their time, IE. Rome.

Look at some of these other candidate cities, particularly a rebuilt Babylon in Iraq. Which of the Apostles were killed in Babylon? Was it John? Was it Matthew? No! Not one of them were killed in Babylon.

Dr. Reagan: One argument against Babylon comes from the book of Isaiah. Isaiah prophesied that when Babylon is destroyed by the Medes it will become as Sodom and Gomorrah, never to be rebuilt again. Advocates of Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon will often claim Babylon wasn’t destroyed in the same way as Sodom. Isaiah doesn’t say that. He said Babylon would become as Sodom and Gomorrah. And, it has become as Sodom and Gomorrah — erased forever.

Nathan Jones: Isaiah 13:20 reads, “It will never be inhabited nor will be settled from generation to generation.” Wouldn’t a rebuilding of Babylon break that prophecy?

Bill Salus: Correct, yes. Isaiah 13 provides another textual argument I have against Mystery Babylon being a rebuilt Babylon.

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Bible Prophecy – NASA’s Attempt to Redirect Mammoth Asteroid Headed for Earth Has End-of-Days Implications

NASA's Attempt to Redirect Mammoth Asteroid Headed for Earth Has End-of-Days Implications

“I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Yakov, and a scepter shall rise out of Yisrael, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth.” Numbers 24:17 (The Israel Bible™)

A colossal asteroid named Apophis is predicted to pass disturbingly close to Earth before 2030, an ominous astral event which Jewish mystical sources describe as having grave implications for the End of Days.

Rabbi Yosef Berger (Courtesy David’s Tomb)

On April 13, 2029, the Apophis asteroid, portentously named for the ancient Egyptian god of darkness and destruction, will pass within 18,600 miles of Earth, uncomfortably close by space distance standards. At 350 meters across, a mass of 20 million metric tons, and travelling 28,000 miles per hour, Apophis poses a formidable risk to the planet.

Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David’s Tomb on Mount Zion, notes that all this concern about celestial activity is described in Jewish sources as accompanying the Messiah.

I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh; there shall step forth a star out of Yakov, and a scepter shall rise out of Yisrael, and shall smite through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Seth. Numbers 24:17

“This Biblical reference to a star that will accompany the Messiah was expanded in Maimonides and the Zohar to include many other astrological phenomenon described in great detail,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News.

Rabbi Berger explained that astrological events pose a specific End-of-Days challenge for all of mankind.

“The Tower of Babel was built as a challenge to God when the flood of Noah’s generation was still fresh in the people’s minds,” the rabbi said. “It was an attempt to prove that God, via nature, did not rule over man. These events also will lead men to try to prove that they are above nature and God, and that they rule themselves.”

If Apophis hits Earth, it could create an explosion equal to 880 million tons of TNT, creating a crater about 1.25 miles across and almost 1,700 feet deep. Such an impact would be devastating. Though scientists believe there is little chance Apophis will hit earth on this pass, they expect the near-miss to disrupt the asteroid’s orbit, making its next pass in 2036 unpredictable.

In response to the growing threat of the pending asteroid hit, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced last Friday that they will launch a probe to alter the trajectory of a small asteroid as it approaches Earth as a first attempt at planetary defense. The project is named the Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), scheduled to take place in October, 2022 coinciding with two smaller asteroids that are predicted to make a close pass to Earth.

“DART would be NASA’s first mission to demonstrate what’s known as the kinetic impactor technique — striking the asteroid to shift its orbit — to defend against a potential future asteroid impact,” said Lindley Johnson, NASA’s planetary defense officer in Washington, in the press release announcing the project.

The hope is that with the amount of time between the DART test and the looming danger of Apophis, NASA will find a way to circumvent the asteroid to protect Earth from tremendous carnage.

Despite NASA’s determination to thwart the pending threat, Rabbi Berger noted the role scientific uncertainty will play in the End of Days.

“In the days after Messiah, it will become undeniably clear to all that God is in total control of everything,” Rabbi Berger said. “Science is a necessary tool, but any attempt to deny the ultimate authority that stands behind nature is not only a denial of God, but it is mistaken and destined to fail.”

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Prophecy: A Sign Will Rise Above Israel

Tower OF David
Munday and Jennifer Martin say the Lord has told them a sign will emerge over Israel this summer, signalling something greater than the Jesus Movement. (Reuters photo)

Prophetic ministers Munday and Jennifer Martin, writing to readers of Elijah List, said something “far greater than the Jesus Movement” is coming in a new word shared on Friday.

“Something even greater than the former Jesus Movement is upon us right now!” they wrote. “There is a fresh stirring of hunger for love in America. People in the church are feeling it. People outside the four walls of the church are feeling the drawing. Harvesting angels at this hour are being sent out on assignments. People are hungering for acceptance, forgiveness and the supernatural, and they are struggling with their identities. Jesus is about to quench a desperate thirst that nothing this world is currently offering can afford and that no community can give outside of the Holy Spirit.

“God has always had a heart for cities and nations even when darkness was upon them—such as Nineveh. This generation reminds us of the days of the hippies and bohemians, when many youth (though entrenched in darkness of New Age and drugs) were hungry for truth, experience and love. Sadly, much of the church in that time could not offer it in fullness until the precious Holy Spirit showed up—the only One that can draw people to Jesus. What is the precursor for a nation to be awakened to God? Common logic reveals that every revival in history was preceded with great darkness or deception in a nation. But a lovesick remnant would arise and say, ‘We want You, Holy Spirit!'”

They note that the world is approaching the 50th anniversary of the end of the Six-Day War as well as the launch of the Jesus Movement. The number 50 is the number of jubilee, they added, stating that a new great awakening has been triggered and will come soon.

“America is in the season of healing revival again,” they wrote. “Miracle harvest glory is coming, and the Lord says, ‘Watch the month of August, as you will begin to see signs of this in the heavens and in the news as we approach the jubilee of the Six-Day War in June!’

“This summer, God will release a sign over the nation of Israel and in the city of Jerusalem and it will be on the news. Everyone will be talking about it. This is the sign that this word is truly coming to pass.”

All rights reserved Charisma News ( Image taken by the Royalty free images )

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Bible Study on Gospel of John, Chapter 1 – John 1:1–51 – The World – Jesus Christ – Beginning of Creation – John the Baptist – Regeneration

THE WORD

  1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    1. Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
    2. The word “word” was familiar to the Greeks who understood it to be the rational principle that governed the universe. The Jews understood the word to mean God.1  Therefore John was seeking to establish that the word which was God and was in the beginning is that governing principle.
    3. The word is eternal.  The Word is divine.  The word is personal.
      1. John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.””
    4. God created through his word is Genesis 1:3 demonstrates, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”
    5. Jehovah’s Witnesses render this as “and the Word was a God”
      1. This is problematic because it implies polytheism.
  2. He was in the beginning with God.
    1. This hints at the Trinity due to the word being God and yet with God.  At the very least this is a plurality within the Godhead
    2. Notice the distinguishing between the “He” and “with God”.  Yet, John 1:1 already said the “Word was God.” To be God and with God implies a separation from God, yet also a sharing of the same nature of God, as John 1:1 says “the Word with God and the Word was God.”
  3. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.
    1. John the apostle is telling us that the Word, which later became flesh, (John 1:14) is the source of all creation. Notice “through him.”  This shows the work of God through the Word.  Yet, the “Word was God.”
    2. Some might say that God used the pre-incarnate Christ as the conduit through whom creation was made. Often this comment is offered in an attempt to deny the deity of Christ.  Yet, that cannot work in light of the following verses.
      1. Isaiah 44:24, “Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb, “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself And spreading out the earth all alone,”
        1. The LORD (YHWH) is the sole creator of all things.  If this is the case, and the Word is the means by which God created, then it could not be said that YHWH created all things alone.  But, since YHWH created all things alone, and the Word was God, then we can see the harmony in these verses.
      2. Colossians 1:15–17, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. 17 He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
        1. Firstborn does not mean first created. Firstborn is a transferable title, a title of pre-eminence and does not necessitate being a created thing when applied to Jesus.
          1. Gen. 41:51-52, “And Joseph called the name of the first-born Manasseh: For, said he, God has made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”
          2. Jer. 31:9, “…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn.”
        2. The Jehovah’s Witness New World translation inserts the word “other” four times in this text.  
          1. NWT, “because by means of him all [other] things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All [other] things have been created through him and for him. 17Also, he is before all [other] things and by means of him all [other] things were made to exists.”
        3. There are two Greek words for the word “other”, allos which means another of the same kind and heteros which means another of a different kind. Paul could have used either word. However, he chose to use neither one. Therefore, the New World translation is incorrect and its attempt to deny the deity of Christ is wrong.
  4. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.
    1. The first appearance of the word “life” is in this verse.  The word “life” occurs 47 times in 39 verses in the New American Standard Bible
    2. Life:  Jesus, as the creator, provides physical life as well as spiritual life.
      1. John 10:27–28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
    3. The first occurrence of the word “light” is in this verse. The word “light” occurs 23 times in 16 verses in the new American Standard Bible.
    4. Light: Jesus is the light. Notice the similarity with Genesis 1:3, “Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.”
      1. There are many verses in the gospel of John that speak of Jesus as being the light.
        1. John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.”
        2. John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.””
        3. John 12:35, “So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.”
        4. John 12:46, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
  5. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.
    1. The allusion to Genesis is obvious. 
      1. Genesis 1:4, “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.”
    2. In this verse of John 1:5, light and darkness are symbols of good and evil.
    3. The word for “comprehend” is katelaben, from katalambano.  It means to “apprehend, attain, obtain, find, lay hold of, seize.”2  It is used figuratively here of “seizing the mind”, comprehending, understanding.
    4. Related Verses
      1. John 3:19–21, “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.””
      2. Acts 26:15–18, “And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 ‘But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you a minister and a witness not only to the things which you have seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’”

JOHN THE BAPTIST

  1. There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
    1. Old Testament Prophecy of John the Baptist
      1. Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.”
    2. The word “sent” is from the Greek apostello, to send, from which we get apostle.
    3. Jesus spoke of John the Baptist
      1. Matt. 11:7-11, “As these men were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 “But what did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ palaces! 9 “But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one who is more than a prophet. 10 “This is the one about whom it is written, ‘BEHOLD, I SEND MY MESSENGER AHEAD OF YOU, WHO WILL PREPARE YOUR WAY BEFORE YOU.’ 11 “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
    4. Biography of John the Baptist
      1. He was born in the hill country of Judah (Luke 1:39)
      2. He was the son of Zechariah a priest (Luke 1:5)
      3. His parents were godly and obey the commands of God (Luke 1:6)
      4. His birth was prophesied by the angel of the Lord (Luke 1:8-13)
      5. His name was assigned by the angel (John 1:13)
      6. He would be great in God’s eyes, would not drink any alcohol, and would be filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15)
      7. He was related to Jesus (Luke 1:36)
      8. He lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance (Luke 1:80)
      9. He preached a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:3)
      10. He bore witness of Jesus (Mark 1:7-8)
      11. He baptized Jesus (Matthew 3:14-17)
      12. He reprimanded Herod who imprisoned him (Luke 3:19-20; Matthew 14:3-5)
      13. He was beheaded by Herod (Mark 6:27)
      14. His body was laid in the tomb (Mark 6:29)
    5. John the Baptist as Elijah
      1. He is Elijah, Matthew 11:13–14, “For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.”
      2. He is not Elijah, John 1:19–21, “This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20 And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21 They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.””
      3. Spirit of Elijah, “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
      4. John the Baptist wore a garment of camel’s hair, Matthew 3:4, “Now John himself had a garment of camel’s hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.”
      5. Elijah 2 Kings 1:8, “They answered him, “He was a hairy man with a leather girdle bound about his loins.” And he said, “It is Elijah the Tishbite.””
        1. “This was the description not of his person, as in the case of Esau, but of his dress, which consisted either of unwrought sheep or goatskins (Heb. 11:37), or of camel’s haircloth—the coarser manufacture of this material like our rough haircloth.”3
        2. John the Baptist’s father was Zechariah who was a temple worker and may have had access to artifacts from ancient times.
  2. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
  3. He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
    1. The function of John the Baptist was to bear witness of the light, being Jesus. John was sent from God (v. 6).
    2. The word “testify” occurs 33 times in the gospel of John.
    3. Testifying/bearing witness of Christ
      1. Jesus bears witness of Himself, (John 8:18; 14:6)
      2. Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself, (John 5:36; 10:25)
      3. The Father bears witness of Jesus, (John 5:37; 8:18; 1 John 5:9)
      4. The Holy Spirit bears witness of Jesus, (John 15:26)
      5. The multitudes bear witness of Jesus, (John 12:17)
      6. The Prophets bear witness of Jesus, (Acts 10:43)
      7. The Scriptures bear witness of Jesus, (John 5:39)
  4. There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
    1. Light
      1. 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.”
      2. John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.””
      3. John 9:5, “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
      4. John 12:46, “I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.”
      5. Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
    2. World
      1. The word “world” here refers to the physical realm into which Jesus had entered via his incarnation and humiliation.
        1. Philippians 2:5–8, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8 Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
      2. The word “world” is used in different ways in the New Testament. It can mean…
        1. The earth
          1. John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
        2. A limited and/or known area
          1. 1 Peter 5:9, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
        3. People of all kinds
          1. John 3:17, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.”
        4. Possessions, power, influence
          1. Luke 9:25, “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?”
    3. “Enlightens every man”
      1. What is meant by “enlightens every man”?
      2. Does in mean every individual who has ever lived, was then living, or will live?  If so, how is this done?  Via the Bible?  Preaching?  Is it I statement about the general idea of the gospel message going forth?
      3. What exactly is the enlightening? Does it mean that Jesus is making himself known to everyone all over the world?  Or, does it mean that in the process of evangelism he enlightens every man about the truth of sin and salvation and the necessity of trusting in him and his sacrifice?
      4. Could it be a conscience that is provided to every individual?
      5. Does “everyman” mean it in a literal sense or in a general sense to all types of people all over the world?
      6. Debate on the answers of the questions continues within the Christian church.
  5. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
    1. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. He was born into the world and yet the world  was made by him.
    2. To not know who Jesus is, is to not know his divinity, his Majesty, his work, his love, his purpose.
  6. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
    1. Jesus came to the Jews but the Jews, as a whole, rejected him.
    2. Matthew 10:5–6, “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
    3. Matthew 15:24, “But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
    4. Old Testament Verses as background about the Messiah
      1. Genesis 12:3, “And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.””

 REGENERATION 

  1. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
    1. Receiving [lambano] Christ is an action performed by the believer.  It is enabled by God’s regenerative work in us.
      1. The unbeliever cannot receive Christ of his own, sinful free will which is what the following verse 12 tells us.
    2. Receiving Christ means that we become the children of God.
      1. “in John’s Gospel believers are referred to as God’s children and never as “God’s sons.”4
      2. Children of God
        1. Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
        2. 2 Corinthians 6:17–18, “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord. “AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.”
        3. Galatians 3:26, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.”
        4. Galatians 4:6, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!””
        5. 2 Peter 1:4, “For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”
        6. 1 John 3:1, “See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.”
    3. Believe in his name
      1. This means to trust in Christ, to put hope and faith in him.  It does not mean simple intellectual acknowledgment (ascentia).  It means faithful trust (fiducia).
  2. who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
    1. not of blood – not of human origin
    2. not of the will of the flesh – not of carnal desires
    3. not of the will of man – human effort and desire
      1. It is man who is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), full of evil (Mark 7:21-23), loves darkness rather than light (John 3:19), and cannot come to God on his own (John 6:44), does not seek for God (Rom. 3:10-12), is helpless and ungodly (Rom. 5:6), is a slave of sin (Rom. 6:20; John 8:34), cannot receive spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14), is dead in his sins (Eph. 2:1), is by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and is at enmity with God (Eph. 2:15).
      2. It is God who appoints people to believe (Acts 13:48), grants the act of believing (Phi1:29), works faith in the believer (John 6:28-29), grants us repentance (2 Tim. 2:24-25), causes us to be born again (1 Pet. 1:3), grants that we come to Jesus (John 6:65), and predestines us to salvation (Rom. 8:29-30).
    4. Regeneration precedes faith
      1. Since the unbeliever is in a precarious position and since it is God who must intervene, how then does regeneration and faith work?  here is an illustration using a light bulb.
        1. In a light bulb whenever electricity is present, light is also present. However, light is not the cause of electricity. Electricity is the cause of the light. Though they occur simultaneously, we would say that the electricity is logically prior to the light since it is the cause of the light. Likewise, in our salvation, regeneration is the logically prior condition that brings the result of belief. 

INCARNATION OF THE WORD

  1. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
    1. Jesus is the Word made flesh, he is God in flesh.
      1. Colossians 2:9, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,”
    2. Dwelt among us
      1. The word in Greek for “dwelt” is from the Greek σκηνόω, skēnóō.  It means to tent, to encamp.
      2. Exodus 25:8, “Let them construct a sanctuary for Me [God], that I may dwell among them.”
      3. God desires to dwell among his people. God walked with Adam and Eve in the garden. When they sinned he went looking for them.
        1. 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”
    3. Only begotten
      1. The Greek word for “only begotten” is μονογενής, monogenas.  It means both only begotten and unique.
    4. From the Father
      1. Jesus was sent by God the Father.
      2. Jesus says “sent me” in Reference to God the Father 33 times in the Gospel of John, in the NASB.
        1. John 6:39, “This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.”
        2. John 6:44, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.”
        3. John 8:42, “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.”
    5. Full of grace and truth
      1. The term “full of grace” occurs only two times in the New Testament, here in John 1:14 and in Acts 6:8.
        1. Acts 6:8, “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.”
        2. Stephen was “full of the spirit and of wisdom” (Acts 6:3).
        3. But only is Jesus is said to be “full of grace and truth”.  Stephen was “full of grace”.
      2. This is important in light of the Roman Catholic doctrine that Mary was full of grace. The Roman Catholics reference Luke 1:28 which says, “And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
        1. “favored one” is the single Greek word kexaritomena and means highly favored, make accepted, make graceful, etc. It does not mean “full of grace” which is “plaras karitos” (plaras = full and karitos = Grace) in the Greek.
      3. V. 17 also speaks of grace and truth in reference to Jesus.
  2. John testified about Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ ”
    1. Again, John the Baptist is mentioned which signifies the importance of his testimony concerning Jesus.
    2. John the Baptist’s ‘crying out’ signifies his proclamation, his prophetic activity regarding Jesus.
      1. Malachi 3:1, “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.”
    3. John the apostle makes it clear that Jesus was of a higher position than John the Baptist and the reason is because Jesus existed before John.
      1. This is reminiscent of primogeniture the teaching that the firstborn has priority and authority.
      2. Jesus is called the firstborn of creation:  Colossians 1:15, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”
      3. See Also, John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.””
  3. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.
    1. Who is the “all” who have received the fullness?  Obviously, it cannot mean those who reject him.
      1. The “all” probably refers to only those who have received Christ (v. 12).
    2. Grace upon Grace:  the term is not clear. It could mean blessing upon blessing.
  4. For the Law was given through Moses; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
    1. Moses was the individual through whom God’s Law was revealed.
    2. Grace and truth are realized only through Jesus.  The phrase only occurs here and in verse 14.
      1. John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
  5. No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.
    1. We know that God is seen in the Old Testament in many places (Genesis 17:1; 18:1; Exodus 6:2-3; 24:9-11; Numbers 12:6-8), so what we make of this phrase no one has seen God at any time?
    2. Contextually, John 1:1 speaks of the word in relationship to God. In verse 14 after the word becomes flesh, in the Gospel of John, each reference to “God” is in reference to the Father.
    3. This is consistent with the words of Christ in John 6:46, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father.”

JOHN THE BAPTIST’S TESTIMONY

  1. This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?”
    1. Priests and Levites:  They were sent by the Jews, the members of the Sanhedrin.
      1. The Sanhedrin was the “Supreme judicial council of Judaism with 71 members, located in Jerusalem. It figures prominently in the passion narrative of the Gospels during Jesus’ trial and appears again in Acts as the judicial court which investigates and persecutes the growing Christian church.”5
      2. The Priests were in charge of Temple worship in Jerusalem.
      3. The Levites were also priests, but were from the tribe of Levi, and were subordinate to the priests. There were various cities that were set aside for their use (Numbers 35:1-8; Joshua 21:1-45; 1 Chron. 6:54-81) and they were involved in the care and transportation of of the tabernacle.
        1. Levites were divided into three families: Kohath, Gershon, and Merari (Num. 4:1-49).
      4. Neither the priests and the Levites owned land. They received their support through their priestly duties in the temple and in religious education.
  2. And he confessed and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.”
    1. The Jews had been awaiting the Christ, the Messiah, and John made it clear that he was not the one they were expecting.
    2. John the Baptist was the messenger sent by God (Malachi 3:1), to bear witness of Jesus, not himself.
  3. They asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” And he said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.”
    1. If John the Baptist was not the Messiah, then  was he Elijah or the Prophet?
      1. Elijah
        1. Malachi 4:5–6, “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.””
      2. The Prophet
        1. Deuteronomy 18:15, “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.”
  4. Then they said to him, “Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
    1. He denied himself.  So they wanted to know who he was.
  5. He said, “I am A VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, ‘MAKE STRAIGHT THE WAY OF THE LORD,’ as Isaiah the prophet said.”
    1. John claims to be the prophetic fulfillment of Isaiah 40:3, “A voice is calling, “Clear the way for the LORD [YHWH] in the wilderness. Make smooth in the desert a highway for our God.”
    2. Notice that the Hebrew says YHWH and says he is preparing the way for God.
  6. Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.
    1. Pharisees were the dominate religious group in Israel from around 100 B.C.
    2. “Traditional” View The “traditional” view of the Pharisees has been that they were a Jewish sect or party whose members voluntarily took upon themselves a strict regimen of laws pertaining to purity, sabbath observance, prayer, and tithing.”6
    3. Luke 18:9-14, “And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
  7. They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
    1. They wanted to know why he was gathering disciples through baptism. 
  8. John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
    1. They wanted to know why he was gathering disciples through baptism.
  9. “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
    1. Jesus comes after John because John is supposed to prepare the way for Jesus.
    2. Slaves untied the shoes of their masters.
    3. Feet were dirty and sandals covered dirty feet.
  10. These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
    1. They exact site of Bethany is no longer known. It was east of the Jordan, not the same Bethany that is near Jerusalem.

THE LAMB OF GOD

  1. The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
    1. A lamb was the animal of sacrifice.
      1. Exodus 12:3–7, “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household. 4 ‘Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb. 5 ‘Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats. 6 ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight. 7 ‘Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.”
      2. Numbers 28:11, “Then at the beginning of each of your months you shall present a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls and one ram, seven male lambs one year old without defect.”
      3. “Every use of “lamb” in the New Testament is figurative: twenty-eight times with reference to Christ (twenty-four in Revelation; Gk. arníon), twice for followers of Christ, and once in the description of the beast out of the earth (Rev. 13:11).”7
    2. Sin of the world is all nations, not just the Jews.
      1. Matthew 10:5–6, “These twelve Jesus sent out after instructing them: “Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; 6 but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
      2. Matthew 15:24, “But He answered and said, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'”
    3. Jesus was crucified at Passover, the time of the sacrifice of the Passover lambs.
      1. John 19:14–15, “Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!” 15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.””
  2. “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 
    1. This is a repeat of v. 15 which says, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ “
    2. John is speaking of Jesus’ pre-existence.
      1. The angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26) was sent to Mary revealing that John the Baptist was already in the womb of her relative for six months.
        1. Luke 1:36, “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.”
    3. Scripture about Jesus’ pre-existence
      1. Micah 5:2, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity.””
      2. John 8:58, “Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.'”
      3. John 17:5, “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
      4. Colossians 1:17, “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
    4. Order of existence, physical before spiritual
      1. 1 Corinthians 15:45–47, “So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47 The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.”
        1. Adam the man, became a living soul. It is not Adam the pre-existing spirit became a living soul.
        2. v. 46, the natural is first, then the spiritual.
  3. “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”
    1. Baptism is a form of public identification.
    2. Either sprinkling or immersion
  4. John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.”
    1. Matthew 3:16–17, “After being baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and lighting on Him, 17 and behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.””
    2. Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek
      1. Hebrews 4:14, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
      2. Hebrews 6:20, “where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.”
    3. To be consecrated as a priest, Jesus had to be:
      1. 30 years of age
        1. Numbers 4:1-3, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, 2 ‘Take a census of the descendants of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their families, by their fathers’ households, 3 from thirty years and upward, even to fifty years old, all who enter the service to do the work in the tent of meeting.'”
        2. Luke 3:21-23, “Now it came about when all the people were baptized, that Jesus also was baptized, and while He was praying, heaven was opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in bodily form like a dove, and a voice came out of heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.” 23 And when He began His ministry, Jesus Himself was about thirty years of age, being supposedly the son of Joseph, the son of Eli . . . “
      2. Washed with water
        1. Exodus 29:1, 4, “This is what you are to do to consecrate them, so they may serve me as priests: Take a young bull and two rams without defect” … 4 “Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the doorway of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water.”
        2. Numbers 8:7, “And thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying water on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body, and wash their clothes, and they shall be clean.”
      3. Anointed with oil (represents the anointing of the Holy Spirit)
        1. Exodus 29:7, “Then you shall take the anointing oil, and pour it on his head and anoint him.”
        2. Matt. 3:16, “And after being baptized, Jesus went up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him.”
        3. 1 John 2:20, 27, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know … 27 And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.”
      4. Verbal blessing
        1. Exodus 39:43, “And Moses examined all the work and behold, they had done it (regarding the tabernacle); just as the Lord had commanded, this they had done. So, Moses blessed them.”
        2. Number 6:22-27, “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 23 “Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying, ‘Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them: 24 The Lord bless you, and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.’ 27 “So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them.”
        3. Matthew 3:17, “and behold, a voice out of the heavens, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’”
  5. “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
    1. God spoke to John the Baptist
    2. No definite article in the Greek here at “baptizes in the Holy Spirit.”  This is the only location where this construct occurs in the Greek.
  6. “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”
    1. The phrase, “Son of God,” is a title of Jesus. It implies His deity (John 5:18) because the title is one of equality with God. In the Old Testament it was figuratively applied to Israel (Exo. 4:22). In the New Testament it is applied to Christ (Luke 1:35). It has many facets, for example: It shows that He is to be honored equally with the Father (John 5:22-23). That He is to be worshipped (Matt. 2:2, 11, 14:33, John 9:35-38, Heb. 1:6), called God (John 20:28, Col. 2:9, Heb. 1:8), prayed to (Acts 7:55-60, 1 Cor. 1:1-2).
      1. Exodus 4:22, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn.”
      2. John 5:18, “For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”
      3. John 5:22–23, “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”
      4. Luke 1:35, “The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.”

THE FIRST DISCIPLES

  1. Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciples,
    1. We do not know exactly where he was, but from earlier verses the implication is that he was in Bethany, on the east side of the Jordan River (v. 28).
  2. and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”
    1. see comment in verse 29 on “the Lamb of God”
  3. The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.
    1. Two disciples heard John the Baptist speak about Jesus and so they followed Jesus.
    2. Regarding “two disciples”. 
      1. Matthew 18:16, “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.”
      2. The two disciples that followed him were Andrew who was Peter’s brother, and another unnamed disciple, v. 40.
  4. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, “What do you seek?” They said to Him, “Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?”
    1. “Rabbi” means a doctor, a teacher, and a master. It is a title of honor that means that the person is qualified to speak on Jewish law.   It is used of Jesus in John 1:38, 49; 3:2; 4:31; 6:25; 9:2; 11:8.
    2. Rabbi is used of Jesus here as is also the word “teacher” and other verses in John’s Gospel:  John 11:28; 13:13-14; 20:16.
  5. He said to them, “Come, and you will see.” So, they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.
    1. The 10th hour is equivalent to 4 PM.  John is using the Roman system of measuring the day from the rising of the sun which normally occurred around 6 AM.
    2. Was John using the Jewish system of reckoning time or the Roman one?  the measurement of the day in Roman reckoning began at midnight which would make the 10th hour be equivalent to 10 AM. But if it is the Jewish system which began at 6 AM and this would make it 4 PM. If that is the case, then the events of verse 41 and 42 probably occurred the next day since a 4 PM time reference would imply that the two disciples spent the night with Jesus.
    3. An aspect of discipleship in Christianity is spending time with Jesus.
  6. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.
    1. The way “Simon Peter is introduced here implies that he was already well known.
  7. He found first his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which translated means Christ).
    1.  The word “Messiah” means the anointed one and is a Hebrew term.
    2. The word “Christ” also means anointed one and is a Greek term.
    3. It appears that the first one to witness of Jesus in this context is Andrew (v. 40).
  8. He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).
    1. In this act of discipleship, Peter is brought to Jesus.  Jesus should be the focus of who we are to follow as Christians.
    2. Jesus changes Simon’s name to Cephas which is translated as Peter.
    3. The “John” spoken of here would be someone other than John the Baptist.
    4. “Cephas” means ‘rock’. The word appears several times in the New Testament.
      1. 1 Corinthians 1:12, “Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.””
      2. 1 Corinthians 9:5, “Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?”
      3. 1 Corinthians 15:5, “and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.”
      4. Galatians 2:9, “and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.”
    5. To change someone’s name implies authority But, is also representative of purpose.
      1. Abram was changed to Abraham by God (Genesis 17:5).
        1. Abram = father of many.  Abraham = father of a multitude.
      2. Sarai was changed to Sarah by God (Genesis 17:15).
        1. Sarai = Princess.  Sarah = Noblewoman
      3. Hoshea was changed to Joshua by Moses (Numbers 13:16).
        1. Hoshea = Salvation.  Joshua = Jehovah is Salvation.
      4. Gideon was changed to Jerubbaal by the men of Ophrah (Judges 6:32).
        1. Gideon = Hewer.   Jerubbaal = Let baal contend
      5. Daniel was “assigned the name” Belteshazzar by Ashpenaz, a commander (Daniel 1:7).
        1. Daniel = God is my judge.  Belteshazzar = Lord of the straitened’s treasure
      6. etc.

PHILIP AND NATHANAEL

  1. The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, “Follow Me.”
    1. Philip
      1. Philip was the first disciple called by Jesus and he became one of the 12 an apostle.
        1. Matthew 10:3, “Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;”
        2. It is not clear whether not he was a disciple of John the Baptist first.
      2. Philip “…appears fifth in every listing of the apostles (Mt. 10:3; Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:14; Acts 1:13).”8
    2. Follow Jesus
      1. Matthew 4:18–19, “Now as Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.””
      2. Matthew 8:22, “But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.””
      3. Matthew 9:9, “As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector’s booth; and He said to him, “Follow Me!” And he got up and followed Him.”
      4. Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
      5. John 8:12, “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.””
      6. John 10:27–28, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”
  2. Now Philip was from Bethsaida, of the city of Andrew and Peter.
    1. Bethsaida was a small fishing village on the North Shore of the Sea of Galilee. This is also the hometown of Andrew and Peter.
    2. Later in the Gospel of John some men approach Philip as the person through whom they could meet Jesus.
      1. John 12:21, “these then came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and began to ask him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.””
  3. Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and also the Prophets wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
    1. Nathanael means “God gives”.  He was from Cana (John 21:2).
    2. Nathanael is not listed as one of the 12 disciples though some say he might be Bartholomew (Mark 3:18).
    3. “Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph” is a designation of identification. In Jewish culture to identify a person the place where he grew up or was born was used as well as to say he was “the son of”.
    4. “son of Joseph” does not contradict the issue of the virgin birth. It designates the legal adoption Joseph of Jesus.
  4. Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”
    1. There have been assertions made lately that Nazareth did not exist at the time of Jesus and that this proves the unreliability of the Gospels. But, this has been debunked by present scholarship. Nevertheless, Nazareth was a small village, not an important geographical or economic place.
    2. The phrase “can any good thing come out of Nazareth” may have been a local proverb. Perhaps it is because the town was out-of-the-way and rather insignificant.
    3. This is often the way of God to use the lowly.
  5. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”
    1. “Israelite indeed” probably refers to being a true Israelite and is a positive comment my Jesus.
    2. Jesus is saying that Nathaniel submit of integrity and honesty.
  6. Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”
    1. “under the fig tree” is using the Old Testament and designates rest and safety.
      1. Micah 4:4, “Each of them will sit under his vine and under his fig tree, with no one to make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.”
      2. Zechariah 3:9–10, “For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 ‘In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.'”
    2. The figtree is sometimes used as a representation of Israel along with the implication that Israel should be bearing fruit. When Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had no fruit, some commentators think this is a prophetic reference to the judgment upon Israel for its failure to recognize the Messiah and promote him.
      1. Mark 11:20–24, “As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21 Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23 “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. 24 “Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.”
  7. Nathanael answered Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God; You are the King of Israel.”
    1. The implication is that there was some sort of supernatural involvement on the part of Christ. We do not know for sure, but possibly Jesus simply knew that Nathaniel had been reclining under a fig tree some distance away perhaps earlier in the day.
    2. Nathaniel was most probably alluding to the Old Testament passage Jesus being the king of Israel.
      1. Psalm 2:6–7, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” 7 “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
  8. Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
    1. Jesus said that Nathaniel will have greater reason to believe in him than simply Jesus saying he saw him under a fig tree. Obviously, Jesus knew he would be performing miracles for all to see and that Nathaniel would have greater opportunity to witness them and, ultimately, to proclaim the name of Christ.
  9. And He said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.””
    1. “Truly, Truly, I say to you” occurs 25 times in the Gospel of John.  John 1:51; 3:3, 5, 11; 5:19, 24–25; 6:26, 32, 47, 53; 8:34, 51, 58; 10:1, 7; 12:24; 13:16, 20–21, 38; 14:12; 16:20, 23; 21:18.
    2. “Truly truly” only occurs in the Gospel of John and not in Synoptics.
    3. Ascending and descending
      1. This is an allusion to Genesis 28:12 but here Jacob’s ladder is replaced with “the Son of Man”.
      2. Genesis 28:12, “He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.”
    4. Son of Man
      1. Son of Man designates the humanity of Christ but is accompanied by various attestations of the majesty and authority of Christ which goes beyond the mere fact of being human.
        1. Matthew 12:8, “For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.”
        2. Matthew 13:36–38, “Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.” 37 And He said, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38 and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one;”
        3. Matthew 16:13–16, “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.””
        4. Mark 2:10–11, “But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic, 11 “I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.””
        5. Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.””
        6. Luke 9:44, “Let these words sink into your ears; for the Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men.””
        7. Acts 7:56, “and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””
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Revelation Unleashed: Unlocking The Mysteries Of The Bible’s Most Mysterious Book

On this episode of Rightly Dividing, join us as we drop some pins and create an easy to understand roadmap to the amazing, awesome, and very much knowable book of Revelation!

Join us as we apply Paul’s command found in 2 Timothy 2:15 to ‘rightly divide’ our Bible and put everything in it’s proper perspective and place.

“And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” Revelation 5:5 (KJV)

For centuries, the Catholic Church had locked up the Bible and kept it out of reach of the common man. As a result, when the Protestant Reformation ended the Dark Ages and removed the Bible from its Vatican shackles, it was a book that remained quite a mystery to most people. Out of all of its 66 books, the most misunderstood, most debated over and most feared book is, ironically and undoubtedly, the book of Revelation.

On this episode of Rightly Dividing, we apply Paul’s command to “rightly divide” to the book of Revelation, and in the process of doing so remove much of the mystery in the process. God didn’t write any part of the Bible to be out of reach of anyone who, by faith, wanted to plumb its depths and unlock its mysteries. Join us as we drop some pins and create an easy to understand roadmap to the amazing, awesome, and very much knowable book of Revelation!

In that day, God will be glorified in all the earth, and it will usher in 1,000 years of perfect peace and perfect rule on our earth.

“Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom.” Daniel 7:22 (KJV)

Just for fun, I decided to Google the phrase “greatest event in the Bible”, and got some interesting results. John MacArthur says that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the greatest event in the Bible, and he makes a compelling case. For the Christian, this is certainly true. But the Bible deals with a whole lot more than just Christians and Christianity. The Catholics say, predictably, that the ‘annunciation of Mary‘ is the greatest event. (rolling my eyes). If you were Jewish, you might say the greatest event in the Bible was the giving of the Law to Moses, or maybe the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt at Passover. The Bible is a big Book with lots of big events.
Now if we could ask God what He viewed as the ‘greatest event in the Bible’, what do you think He would say?

For starters, since God wrote the Bible, we might want to look and see if there is a single event mentioned more times than any other. If God did have a ‘greatest event’ would it be possible to figure it out by the sheer number of times it was mentioned? As it turns out, there is a single event in the Bible mentioned more times, by more people, than any other event from cover to cover. Care to take a wild guess at what it might be?

“Thus saith the LORD; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain.” Zechariah 8:3 (KJV)

The greatest event in the entire Bible is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. All through the Bible, in book after book, there is a Day and an event that happens on that Day so important that it is referred to as “in that day”112 times. The prophet Zechariah mentions the phrase 20 times, and is one of the most descriptive and informative books in the Bible on the Second Coming.

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.” Zechariah 14:4 (KJV)

Christians look at Jesus on the cross, and His rising from the dead 3 days later, as the greatest event because that is where we “get in”. But look at it from God’s perspective, it was the day His only begotten Son was executed between common criminals. Why would that be God’s favorite day? But at the Second Coming, God’s Son will receive the Kingdom He rightly deserves, and will reign from Jerusalem as the King over the whole world. That’s the Day that interests God the most.

In that day, God will be glorified in all the earth, and it will usher in 1,000 years of perfect peace and perfect rule on our earth. The Devil will be bound in chains, and the curse will be removed from off the earth and all it’s inhabitants. The Lord Jesus Christ will rule with “a rod of iron” in perfect righteousness.

“For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 66:12-16,22,23 (KJV)

For born again Christians, the Bible says that after we are taken out in the Rapture of the Church, we will return again with the Lord on white horses at the Battle of Armageddon that takes place at the Second Coming. It’s the greatest day in human history, and we get better than a ringside seat. We get to be part of it.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Revelation 19:11-16 (KJV)

Now you know what the greatest day in the Bible is, and why God looks forward to it so much.

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Seven Prophecies That Must Be Fulfilled Before Jesus Christ’s Return

Shortly before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ delivered a major prophecy of end-time events, recorded in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. He was asked by His disciples: “When will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).

Jesus responded with a description of conditions and events that would lead up to His second coming. Moreover, He said that when these signs became evident, His return would occur within one generation (Matthew 24:34). Could this be that generation?

Throughout the nearly 2,000 years since Christ gave His prophecy, many have thought that theirs was the time of His return—and turned out to be wrong, of course. But interestingly, there are a number of prophecies in the Bible that could not be fulfilled until our modern era, the post–World War II period.

1. The human race would have the ability to exterminate itself

In Matthew 24:22, describing world conditions prior to His second coming, Jesus said that “if that time of troubles were not cut short, no living thing could survive; but for the sake of God’s chosen it will be cut short” (Revised English Bible).

The main message that Jesus Christ brought was of the coming Kingdom of God. This is described as “the gospel” (Mark 1:14). Gospel means “good news.” While some of the prophecies concerning events prior to the establishment of the Kingdom can seem negative, we should always keep in mind that the central focus of Bible prophecy is the good news (gospel) of the coming Kingdom of God.

Matthew 24:22 shows us that if Jesus Christ does not intervene in world affairs, the human race will be faced with extinction. It’s crucial to note that humanity has had the capability for self-annihilation for only a little more than 50 years, since both the United States and the Soviet Union developed and stockpiled hydrogen bombs and the world had to learn to live with “mutually assured destruction.”

At that time there were only three nuclear powers (Britain being the other). By the middle of the 1960s France and China had joined the nuclear club. Today at least eight nations have nuclear warheads and the number looks set to increase with a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Of course, the more nuclear powers we have in the world, the more likely it is that someone will use this deadly force for evil.

Although international attention has been focused on the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran during the last few years, little attention has been given to the possibility of some or all of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal falling into the hands of radical Islamists.

During the ongoing crisis in Pakistan, the Taliban and al-Qaeda and their sympathizers have steadily gained more power, territory and influence, making nuclear terrorism more likely. Consider the consequences for the rest of the world if Osama bin Laden (or others like him) had access to nuclear weapons!

Meanwhile, Russia and China are determinedly flexing their military muscles, raising fears of a return to Cold War–era tensions.

The good news in all this is that Christians have an assurance that Jesus Christ will intervene to save mankind from annihilation. This prophecy could not be fulfilled until man had the potential for self-extinction through weapons of mass destruction. Again, only in the last 50 years has this become possible.

2. A Jewish homeland had to be reestablished in the Middle East

Geopolitically, the central focus of end-time events is Jerusalem and its environs, what many people refer to as the Holy Land.

Luke 21 is a parallel chapter to Matthew 24. Notice Luke’s account of Christ’s long prophecy that answered the disciples’ questions: “Teacher, . . . when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?” (Luke 21:7).

In response, Jesus showed that Jerusalem would be the central focus of the political and military upheavals that would immediately precede His return: “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near . . . For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled” (Luke 21:20-22).

Anyone living a century ago would have found these words nearly impossible to comprehend. Jerusalem in ancient times had been fought over countless times, but for four centuries from 1517 the city had been at peace within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. Jews lived there as a minority under Turkish rule. But this was going to change dramatically during the course of the 20th century.

It had to change for the fulfillment of Bible prophecy to take place.

The Old Testament prophet Zechariah was used by God to reveal a great deal about end-time events and the second coming of the Messiah. Zechariah lived and prophesied more than 500 years before Christ’s first coming, yet his prophetic book tells us a great deal about our world of today.

In Zechariah 12:2-3 God says: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah [the Jews inhabiting the land of Israel] and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

In Zechariah 12:9 He adds, “It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

Reading these verses, it is possible to think that they apply to ancient events, as Jerusalem has been fought over repeatedly down through the ages. However, chapter 14 makes clear that this is talking about future, not past, events. The time setting is immediately before Jesus Christ’s return.

“Behold, the day of the Lord is coming . . . For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; the city shall be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity . . . Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations, as He fights in the day of battle.

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south” (Zechariah 14:1-4).

Clearly the last few lines of this prophecy remain to be fulfilled.

Further in this same chapter we read of how those nations that came against Jerusalem will have to go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, Jesus Christ (Zechariah 14:16).

These chapters of Zechariah are a prophecy about the events that precede and include the second coming of Jesus. A Jewish-controlled Jerusalem is notice-ably the central focus.

Shortly before Zechariah, another Jewish prophet named Daniel lived during the time of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. His book speaks of the Jews’ daily sacrifices being cut off in the end time (Daniel 12:11; see Daniel 12:1-13)—an event that had a forerunner in the temple defilement under Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes in the second century B.C.

However, Jesus Christ confirmed this as a future event to precede His return (compare Daniel 11:31; Matthew 24:15). This means that these sacrifices must first be reinstituted in Jerusalem—requiring Jewish rule over the city.

One hundred years ago such developments were hard to imagine for the simple reason that no independent Jewish political entity existed in the Middle East.

After rebelling against the Romans in A.D. 66 and again in 132, Judea was crushed and most of the remaining Jews were dispersed throughout the Roman Empire and beyond. No Jewish homeland existed again until 1948 when the modern nation of Israel was established.

An independent Jewish homeland was merely a dream for a small group of zealots a century ago. It moved a step nearer during World War I, when forces of the British Commonwealth took control of Jerusalem from the Turks in December 1916. A few months later, the British government pledged itself to the establishment of an independent Jewish homeland in the ancient lands the Jews had inhabited for centuries.

It was to be another 30 years before the dream was realized in 1948. Yet since then tiny Israel has had to fight wars for survival in 1948, 1967 and 1973 and has suffered countless terrorist attacks and threats of annihilation from hostile neighbors determined to eliminate the Jewish state.

Once again, here is a prophecy that can now be fulfilled in our time.

3. The end-time king of the North and king of the South

In Daniel 11 we find an amazing prophecy about two leaders, the kings of the North and South, the heads of regions that were geographically north and south of the Holy Land. To understand this prophecy we have to go to the time of Alexander the Great, who lived near the end of the fourth century B.C., 200 years after Daniel.

Alexander figures prominently throughout the book of Daniel, even though Daniel did not know his name and never knew him personally. He couldn’t have, since he died almost two centuries before Alexander appeared on the world stage.

But God revealed to Daniel that after Babylon, Persia would arise as the greatest power of the region, to be followed in turn by Greece. Not surprisingly, the prophecies regarding the rise of Greece are centered on Alexander the Great, one of the greatest conquerors in history.

Daniel 8 gives a vivid account of the coming clash between Persia and Greece. As you read it, remember that a horn symbolizes royal power and authority. Persia had “two horns and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last.” This refers to the Medo-Persian Empire, the coming together of two nations or peoples. As foretold here in Daniel 8:3, the Persians rose to greatness after the Medes.

In Daniel 8:5 we read of Persia’s later defeat by Alexander the Great: “And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes” (Daniel 8:5).

The “notable horn” or royal leader was Alexander the Great. The prophecy about his army not even touching the ground is a reference to the incredible speed with which he conquered the known world. All this was achieved in a very short time. Alexander died in 323 B.C. when he was only about 33 years old.

Even his sudden, unexpected death was prophesied: “The male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven” (Daniel 8:8).

When Alexander died, his empire was eventually divided between four of his generals—the four “notable horns” mentioned here. Two of these established dynasties would have a profound effect on the Jewish people, caught in the middle between them. These two dynasties were the descendants of Seleucus, who ruled a vast empire from Antioch in Syria, north of Jerusalem, and Ptolemy, who ruled Egypt from Alexandria.

Daniel 11 is a long and detailed prophecy about the dynastic conflicts between these two powers, their respective leaders being referred to as “the king of the North” and “the king of the South.” Of great significance is that whenever they went to battle against each other, the Jews got trampled on. This was to continue from the time of Alexander until the middle of the second century B.C., a period of almost two centuries.

Then, suddenly, the prophecy jumps down to the end time.

In Daniel 11:40 we read: “At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them and pass through. He shall also enter the Glorious Land [the Holy Land], and many countries shall be overthrown” (Daniel 11:40-41).

While we don’t have space here to cover all the details, the latter part of Daniel’s prophecy of the North-South conflict describes a clash of civilizations between the leader of a soon-coming European superpower—a revived Roman Empire (successor to Seleucid Syrian rule)—and a leader who is the successor to the Ptolemaic rule of Egypt, which is now part of the Islamic world. (To learn more, request or download our free booklet The Middle East in Bible Prophecy .)

We now see geopolitical conditions lining up for this inevitable clash. Here is yet another prophesied circumstance for which the stage has now been set within our lifetime!

4. An end-time union of European nations

In Daniel 2 and 7 we see prophecies about four great gentile empires that would arise in the period between the time of Daniel and the coming establishment of the Kingdom of God (Daniel 2:44). Daniel was himself living in the first of these great empires (Daniel 7:4) as a Jewish exile in ancient Babylon.

Following the fall of Babylon in 539 B.C., Persia would become the greatest power, to be followed by Greece (Daniel 7:5-6). After Greece came the Roman Empire, “dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong.” This empire was to have “ten horns” and would continue in some form until the establishment of God’s Kingdom at Christ’s return (Daniel 7:7-9).

As we saw in the previous section, horns represent leaders or governments. Here these 10 horns symbolize 10 attempts to restore the Roman Empire to the power it had in ancient times. Various attempts at a restoration have taken place since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in A.D. 476. A final attempt is to be made shortly before Christ’s return.

We find more details in Revelation 17. Here we read of a final attempt to revive the Roman Empire by “ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Revelation 17:12-13).

They will also “make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings” (Revelation 17:14). Again, it is clear that this prophecy is still future.

Previous attempts to forge a united European empire, from Justinian in the sixth century through Charlemagne, Napoleon, Mussolini and Hitler, all involved force. The final resurrection of the Roman Empire will not be attempted in the same way.

Revelation 17 suggests this will be a voluntary union. When these 10 leaders receive power, they will then give their authority to a single leader. Scripture refers to both this individual and the new superpower he leads as “the beast”—acknowledging it as the continuation of the four gentile empires prophesied in Daniel, each one depicted as a beast or wild animal.

Only now is it possible for this to be fulfilled.

In 1957, the Treaty of Rome was signed by six European nations that formed the European Economic Community. Today the EEC has grown into the European Union (EU) with 27 member nations. Out of these will likely come the 10 nations or 10 leaders that form the final resurrection of the Roman Empire. (For more details, read “The Coming European Superpower “)

Some have speculated that the 10 kings referred to in this prophecy will be leaders of 10 regions of the EU that will redraw the boundaries of Europe, ending the present nation-states. The Bible is not clear on exactly which 10 regions or nations will configure the final revival of the militaristic Roman superpower—only that this new superpower will indeed emerge just before Christ’s return.

However, it wasn’t until the 10th nation, Greece, was admitted in 1981 that any conceivable fulfillment of this prophecy was even possible.

5. End-time rise and fall of Israel and Judah

” Israel” was the new name God gave the biblical patriarch Jacob in Genesis 32. The 12 tribes of Israel were descended from his 12 sons. These tribes later formed a united kingdom.

It’s been almost 3,000 years since the kingdom of Israel was split in two. Ten of the 12 tribes of Israel rebelled against King Rehoboam, the son of King Solomon and grandson of King David. The Bible continued to refer to these 10 tribes as Israel while the other two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) that remained loyal to David’s descendants were known as the kingdom of Judah or simply Judah.

Sometimes Israel is referred to as the northern kingdom and Judah as the southern kingdom. Dominant among the northern tribes were to be the descendants of Jacob’s son Joseph through his sons Ephraim and Manasseh—prophesied by Jacob to be the chief nations of the world in the last days (Genesis 49:1, Genesis 49:22-26; compare Deuteronomy 33:13-17).

About 200 years after the kingdom split, the northern tribes of Israel fell to Assyria and were deported by the Assyrians to the northern parts of their empire. Often referred to now as the lost tribes, they later migrated northwest across Europe, eventually settling in new homelands far from the Middle East.

The kingdom of Judah fell to Babylon more than a century after Israel’s deportation, but its people were not lost to history. We know them today as the Jews.

The name Ephraim is sometimes used representatively in Scripture for the entire northern kingdom, though it can also refer solely to the descendants of Joseph’s son of that name—prophesied to become a “multitude of nations” (Genesis 48:19). Remarkably, this promise to Ephraim was fulfilled in the British Empire and Commonwealth.

Ephraim’s older brother Manasseh was also prophesied to become a great nation (same verse), separating himself from the multitude of nations. This prophecy would be fulfilled in the formation, growth and dominance of the United States of America.

In a revealing prophecy regarding the United States and Britain, Jacob (Israel) said, “Let my name be named upon them” (Genesis 48:16). References to ” Israel” in end-time prophecy often refer to the United States or the English-speaking countries of the British Empire or both. Sometimes ” Israel” can mean all 12 tribes. We have to look at specific verses in their context to see which is meant.

“Judah,” however, always refers to the Jews, the descendants of the house or kingdom of Judah. We must also understand that the modern nation called Israel is really Judah, made up of Jews. (For much more detail, download or request our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy .)

Understanding this critical part of biblical history will help us more fully comprehend a passage of Scripture in the book of Hosea, which is a prophecy about Ephraim (the multitude of nations—Great Britain and some of those nations that came out of her). It warns of destruction to follow the end-time ascendancy of the Israelite nations.

In Hosea 5 we read a prophecy that mentions Israel, Ephraim and Judah: “The pride of Israel testifies to his face; therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them” (Hosea 5:5). The prophecy continues: “With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them. They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, for they have begotten pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage” (Hosea 5:6-7).

New moons occur a month apart. A new moon “devouring” them would seem to mean that Israel, Ephraim and Judah will all fall within one month.

This prophecy was not fulfilled in ancient times. As already mentioned, ancient Judah fell to Babylon more than a century after Israel fell to Assyria. Yet in the end it appears they will fall together—within one month of each other. This prophecy remains to be fulfilled.

Remember that Israel gave his name to Ephraim and Manasseh, the ancestors in turn of the British and American peoples. As Ephraim is mentioned separately in this prophecy, the reference to ” Israel” must apply to the United States, which is now the more dominant of the two nations.

For two centuries prior to World War II, the roles were reversed with the multitude of nations—the British Empire—a greater power than the single nation, the United States. But today America is the greater.

“Judah” refers to the Jewish people, particularly those who now constitute the modern nation in the Middle East that calls itself Israel.

Here then is a prophecy regarding all three nations—the United States, Britain and Israel (Judah). According to this prophecy, it appears that all three will fall within the span of a month. Hosea 5:6 shows these nations turning back to God, but finding it’s too late. Because of their sins, He will let them suffer defeat and collapse.

This prophecy could not have been fulfilled until after the rise of Britain and the United States as world powers in the 19th century and the formation of the Jewish state of Israel in the 20th.

Lest the idea seem outlandish, consider that Israel and the United States are perhaps the most maligned and criticized nations on earth. Among Muslim hard-liners, America is commonly called “the great Satan” and Israel and Britain “the little Satans.”

6. The gospel will be preached in all the world

In His major end-time prophecy, Jesus answers the question posed by the disciples: “When will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3).

After listing a number of signs of the nearness of His coming, He reveals that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).

The gospel is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. This message could not be preached around the world without the Bible and freedom of religion. Both came gradually with the ascendancy of the English-speaking peoples from the 16th century until the present day.

However, it was only with the technological advances of television and radio and other means of mass communication after World War II and their widespread acceptance that it became possible to reach hundreds of millions of human beings with the message of the Bible. The gospel of the Kingdom of God will continue to be preached to all nations as long as we have the freedom to continue The Good News magazine and our other media efforts.

Even so, during the last 50 years it has not been possible to reach all countries. The former communist nations did not allow freedom of religion. China, with one quarter of the world’s people, still does not. Other nations also try to suppress the publication of biblical truth and even the Bible itself. Many Islamic nations do not allow religious freedom. In some countries people risk the death penalty for changing religion.

But the Internet is changing everything. It is much harder for governments to control. The gospel message of the coming Kingdom of God is still going out to the world. It will finish when God has decided that His work is completed and the time is right for the final end-time events to take place.

This is yet another prophecy that could not be fulfilled until recent times.

7. Instant worldwide communications and God’s final witnesses

Another end-time Bible prophecy could not be fulfilled until this era of instant worldwide communications.

In His major end-time prophecy of Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus gave an outline of disasters that would occur on the world scene with increasing frequency and magnitude—to the point where people would be shaken with fear (Luke 21:26). Discerning an increase in the scale of these events and reacting to them requires knowing about them.

At the time this prophecy was given, it could be many months or years before people heard about various disasters—and many they would never hear about at all, much less be able to put together the fact that catastrophes were on some kind of global increase.

Only with the proliferation of newspapers and other forms of mass communications did this become remotely possible. Yet the level of awareness and consequent fear in many that Christ speaks of implies an even greater availability of information—possible only since the development of rapid electronic communications.

In any case, only with the technological advances of the last few years has it become possible for the events in Revelation 11 to occur—for people around the world to see the fate of God’s final two witnesses.

These two witnesses, reminiscent of other biblical prophets like Elijah and Elisha, will carry God’s final warning to the world in the last 3 ½ years leading up to Christ’s return.

“And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days . . . When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them and kill them. And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.

“Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 11:3, Revelation 11:7-10).

Note that people the world over will be able to see their dead bodies during the 3 1⁄2 days that they lie on display in Jerusalem. This was not possible before satellite television, portable communications devices and the Internet. Again, only in the last few years has it become possible for this prophecy to be fulfilled . It still lies in the future, of course, but only now it is clearly possible for this to take place.

Will this generation see God’s Kingdom established on earth?

We have seen how seven biblically prophesied circumstances could not have come to pass until recent times. In fact, the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 was clearly a major turning point in the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, as was the acquisition of the hydrogen bomb by the two superpowers of the 1950s that led to the period of mutually assured destruction.

All has now become possible. This, in turn, makes it much more likely that our generation will live to see Jesus Christ return and establish the Kingdom of God on earth. After all, Jesus Himself said that once these things begin, the generation alive at that time “will by no means pass away till all these things take place” (Matthew 24:34).

It’s both sobering and encouraging to think that we appear to be living in the generation that will ultimately witness the most important event in the history of mankind. As Jesus Christ tells His followers in Luke 21:28, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

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