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Studies in Revelation - The Beasts of Revelation

 

 

 

STUDIES IN REVELATION

The Beasts of Revelation

Jack Marshall

 

 

 

Studies in Revelation

 

The Beasts of Revelation

 

 

Jack Marshall

 

Shakespir Edition

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2016 Grain of Wheat Publishing

 

 

 

 

Shakespir Edition, License Notes

Thank you for downloading this ebook. This book remains the copyrighted property of the author and may be redistributed to others for non-commercial purposes. However, if you enjoyed this book, please encourage your friends to download their own copy from their favorite authorized retailer. Thank you for your support.

 

 

This book is dedicated to my wife and soulmate Sandi, whose love and support is so evident each and every day.

Table of Contents

 

Introduction

 

Chapter One: Seven

 

Chapter Two: Write

 

Chapter Three: Beasts

 

Chapter Four: The Dreams

 

Chapter Five: Six Things the Lord Hates

 

Chapter Six: Seven Heads and Ten Horns

 

Chapter Seven: The Woman Clothed with the Sun

 

Chapter Eight: The Male Son

 

Chapter Nine: The Fullness of the Time

 

Chapter Ten: The Lucifer Error

 

Chapter Eleven: The Beast of the Earth

 

Chapter Twelve: The Image of the Beast

 

Chapter Thirteen: The Third Part

 

Chapter Fourteen: The Last Hour

 

Chapter Fifteen: The Mark of the Beast

 

Chapter Sixteen: Buy or Sell

 

Chapter Seventeen: Mystery Babylon

 

Bibliography

 

 

Introduction

The Book of the Revelation has always been my favorite book of the Bible. I love its symbolism and mystery and believe that it contains a wisdom which, once understood, leaves you awe struck and humble. I cannot begin to count the times that I have studied its pages, seeking to understand its hidden meanings, and I can say without any hesitation that each and every moment was well spent.

There are many subjects to consider in Revelation, so this book begins a series of studies that I hope to write and share in the days ahead, the Lord permitting.

If you have read any of my other studies, you know that I place a great deal of importance on the spiritual meaning of numbers. My passion for the numbers began many years ago and the book which started me on this path is called, “Number in Scripture, Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance,” by E.W. Bullinger. It’s a timeless and fascinating work. Later on, I discovered another book, written by Evangelist Ed F. Vallowe, titled, “Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numerics.” I highly recommend both of these books for anyone who is serious about studying the Bible.

I believe the spiritual meaning of numbers plays a very important part in understanding the book of Revelation. It is with good reason that numbers are seen throughout this book, and when we bring their spiritual significance to bear, we will find that it helps to unlock the mysteries contained within.

Keep in mind that numbers are a “universal” language, for though we may pronounce them differently in various countries, two of anything here is two everywhere. I believe this is one reason why their spiritual meaning is woven into the scriptures.

There are mistakes in this presentation, not by intention, but out of ignorance. I am still and always will be learning. It has been difficult to put aside what I have inherited in order to see from a fresh perspective.

 

In His Grace,

Jack Marshall

 

Please note: All Hebrew and Greek definitions are taken from the Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary unless otherwise noted. All Bible passages are taken from the New King James Bible unless otherwise noted.

 

 

 

Revelation 12:3 (KJV)[
**]And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)[
**]And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

Revelation 13:11 (KJV)[
**]And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

Revelation 17:3 (KJV)[
**]So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

 

Chapter One

[]SEVEN

Revelation 12:3 (KJV)
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

 

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

Revelation 17:3 (KJV)
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

 

Before we can fully appreciate and understand the symbolism found in the book of the Revelation concerning the beast with seven heads and ten horns, we need to consider the spiritual meaning of seven. Here is Bullinger’s explanation.

 

We come now to the great number of spiritual perfection. A number which, therefore, occupies so large a place in the works, and especially in the Word of God as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

In the first part of this book we have enlarged somewhat on the importance of this number in Nature and in Grace, so that we need not here repeat many of the interesting facts already given.

 

As a number the actual word and number “SEVEN” is used as no other number is.

 

Also from Bullinger.

 

But now turning to the number Seven, we must first consider the meaning of the word.

In the Hebrew, seven is שֶׁבַע (shevah). It is from the root ‏ שָׁבַע (savah), to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word “seven” is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word שָׁבַת (Shavath), to cease, desist, rest, and שַׁבָּת Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest. This root runs through various languages; e.g., Sanscrit, saptan; Zend., hapta; Greek, επτα (hepta); Latin, septem. All these preserve the “t,” which in the Semitic and Teutonic languages is dropped out; e.g. Gothic, sibun; Germ., sieben; Eng., seven.

 

It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection.

 

In the creative works of God, seven completes the colours of the spectrum and rainbow, and satisfies in music the notes of the scale. In each of these the eighth is only a repetition of the first.

 

Another meaning of the root שָׁבַע (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, “They sware both of them,” that this oath was based upon the “seven ewe lambs” (vv 28,29,30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, “an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife.” Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven.

 

As we can see, seven speaks of spiritual perfection, “perfection” meaning completeness or fullness, to fill to the full (hence the word “fulfilled”). One of the best examples is the ripened fruit of a tree. The ripened fruit is the completion, the fullness or fruition of the seed that was sown in the beginning. For this reason, Jesus taught that a “tree is known by his fruit” (Matt. 12:33; KJV). Whenever you see the number seven in scripture, it signifies this fullness or completion.

Another way to view seven is in the realm of prophecy. When a prophecy is first given, it is usually in regard to a future event, but once the prophecy is fulfilled, it has reached its “seven,” having been filled to the full. This being true, seven also denotes manifestation, for once something comes to pass, what was prophesied is manifested or revealed. It is now evident.

Bullinger tells us, “Another meaning of the root שָׁבַע (Shavagh) is to swear, or make an oath.” This too, is critical to our understanding, for an “oath” is a covenant, and as we will see, it is the covenants of God which are the undercurrent of all that is found in both the Old and New Testaments. In fact, our word “Testament” means covenant.

Seven is found extensively in the book of the Revelation. There are “seven stars” or angels and “seven candlesticks” or churches (Rev. 1:20). There are seven messages to the seven churches in Revelation, Chapters 2 and 3. There are “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne (of God), which are the seven Spirits of God” (Rev. 4:5). There is a “book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Rev. 5:1), and “a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth” (Rev. 5:6). We also see “seven angels” with “seven trumpets” (Rev. 8:2), as well as “seven angels” with seven “vials” (Rev. 16:1). And of course we have our “beast” with “seven heads” found in Revelation, Chapters 12, 13, and 17. All of these sevens suggest to us that a “fullness” has or will be reached, and that the manifestation of such has or will become evident. And all of this is due to the covenants of our heavenly Father.

 

Chapter Two

[]WRITE

Revelation 1:1-2 (NKJV)
The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants—things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.

 

Revelation 1:10-11 (NKJV)
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia…”

 

Revelation 1:19 (NKJV)
Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.

 

We are about to consider the meaning behind the passages concerning the beasts of Revelation. So it is that when we first enter into this book, we must note that John is told by the Lord, “What you see, write in a book (scroll) and send it to the seven churches.” A few verses later, John is then told to, “Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.” This immediately tells us that the book of the Revelation is to be considered in three segments; past, present, future. So, it is imperative that we understand John’s perspective whenever we consider anything in this book. Was it something he had already seen in his experience with Christ and the other disciples? Was it something that existed in his time? Or, was it something that was yet to be fulfilled?

Now, the interesting thing about the past and present is this. Once something is fulfilled, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it goes away. Rather, it often becomes a part of the present, continues to remain, and therefore affects the future. Due to so many “sevens’ in Revelation, I believe this is what we find in this book. Much of what John beheld in his visions took place in his past had become part of his present, and most certainly contributed to what would happen after it.

That being said, we must also take into account that what John beheld on the Island of Patmos was almost two thousand years ago. Some sources say that John was exiled on this island in 95 A.D., so much of what John was told would “take place after this” could easily have been fulfilled before our present time. I believe this is the case in many areas of this book.

Finally, I must mention that one of the most important things to be aware of in this or any study is the deceptiveness of tradition. Please consider.

 

Matthew 15:6 (NKJV)
Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.

 

Mark 7:8-9 (NKJV)
“For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.” He said to them, “All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.

 

Mark 7:13 (NKJV)
making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

 

Tradition is simply the passing down of something from one generation to the next. Many traditions exist today which have been handed down by those who came before us. A good example is our holidays which are marked on most calendars and which we celebrate every single year. Some of these traditions were established hundreds of years ago (like Christmas), while others are only a generation or two old (Martin Luther King Jr. day).

As evidenced in our previous passages, tradition can have a damaging effect on the truth of the Word of God. And there is no doubt that many such religious traditions exist in our present time, which have been passed down to us from various well-meaning individuals from generations past. However, despite good intentions, we must be willing to question anything traditional in light of what we believe. Just as Jesus declared to the Pharisees that their traditions had caused them to “reject the commandment of God” and made it “of no effect,” so too have many of the traditional teachings which most of us have been exposed to and simply take for granted.

I cannot help but say how amazed I am at how many people are afraid to challenge the status quo when it comes to spiritual matters, but at the same time, I am thankful for those who do. For me, I am more than willing to confess that over the past 38 years, I have discarded a great number of things which I first embraced, having eventually realized through much study that they were in error.

Let’s now go into the book of Revelation with an open mind and consider the meaning of the beasts.

 

 

Chapter Three

[]BEASTS

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

Our word “beast” in this passage is thērion and is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “diminutive from the same as G2339 (thera); a dangerous animal.” G2339 reads, “from ther (a wild animal, as game); hunting, i.e. (figurative) destruction.” “Diminutive” indicates that something is small, so our word “beast” in Revelation 13 defines a small but wild and dangerous animal.

Thērion is used in every reference to the beast with seven heads and ten horns, but we also find that there are four “beasts” around the throne of God in Revelation, Chapter 4, verses 6 through 9, however, the definition of this word reads, “A live thing, i.e. an animal.” In other words, these “beasts,” if you will, are not wild and dangerous.

Not for a moment do I believe that the four beasts around the throne represent literal animals. Rather, we discover their meaning in the book of Numbers, Chapter 2, Ezekiel, Chapter 1, and Revelation, Chapter 4. They are signified by the four “standards” or flags of the twelve tribes of Israel, which were a lion, an ox, a man, and an eagle (Ezek. 1:10; Rev. 4:7). And, there is a reason we see four of them. Consider Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of four.

 

We have seen that three signifies Divine perfection.

 

Now the number four is made up of three and one (3+1=4), and it denotes, therefore, and marks that which follows the revelation of God, namely, His creative works. He is known by the things that are seen. Hence the written revelation commences with the words, “In-the-beginning God CREATED.” Creation is therefore the next thing—the fourth thing, and the number four always has reference to all that is created. It is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created; while six is the number of man in his opposition to and independence of God. It is the number of things that have a beginning, of things that are made, of material things, and matter itself. It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the “city” number.

 

The fourth day saw the material creation finished (for on the fifth and sixth days it was only the furnishing and peopling of the earth with living creatures). The sun, moon, and stars completed the work, and they were to give light upon the earth which had been created, and to rule over the day and over the night (Gen 1:14-19).

 

Four is the number of the great elements—earth, air, fire, and water.

 

Four are the regions of the earth—north, south, east, and west.

 

Four are the divisions of the day—morning, noon, evening, and midnight. Or in our Lord’s words, when He speaks of His coming at evening, midnight, cock-crowing, or in the morning (Mark 13:35). We are never to put off His coming in our minds beyond tomorrow morning.

 

Four are the seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

 

Four are the great variations of the lunar phases.

 

In Genesis 2:10, 11, the one river of Paradise was parted, and became into four heads, and “the fourth river is Euphrates.” Here, as so often elsewhere, the four is made up of 3 + 1. For three of these rivers are now unnamed, while one is still known by its original name “Euphrates.”

 

Four marks division also. For the river was “parted.” It is the first number which is not a “prime,” the first which can be divided. It is the first square number also, and therefore it marks a kind of completeness as well, which we have called material completeness.

 

As we see, four speaks of “all that is created,” of “material completeness,” indicative of this natural world, in other words, of all that is visible form. Note too that Bullinger calls it the “city” number, signifying a foundation, for a foundation is usually four sides (Rev. 21:16). For this reason, we see the “four beasts” in “the midst of the throne, and around the throne” (Rev. 4:6), denoting the four banners of the twelve tribes of Israel to whom the law was given through Moses at Mount Sinai. It was the giving of the law to the tribes of Israel, which established the “natural” foundation of that which would one day become a “spiritual” reality as exemplified through Christ (I Cor. 15:46; Rom. 7:14).

 

Ecclesiastes 3:18-21 (RSV)
I said in my heart with regard to the sons of men that God is testing them to show them that they are but beasts. For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again. Who knows whether the spirit of man goes upward and the spirit of the beast goes down to the earth?

 

Here, our word “beasts” is the Hebrew word behēmâ and is defined as, “from an unused root (probably meaning to be mute); properly a dumb beast; especially any large quadruped or animal (often collective).” Consider the definition of this word from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words.

 

Beast

Usage Number: 1

Strong’s Number:

Original Word: ‏בְּהֵמָה‎, behēmâ

Usage Notes: “beast; animal; domesticated animal; cattle; riding beast; wild beast.” A cognate of this word appears in Arabic. Biblical Hebrew uses behēmâ about 185 times and in all periods of history.

 

In Exod. 9:25, this word clearly embraces even the larger “animals,” all the animals in Egypt: “And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast…” This meaning is especially clear in Gen. 6:7: “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air…” In 1 Kings 4:33, this word seems to exclude birds, fish, and reptiles: “He [Solomon] spake also of beasts, and of fowl, and of creeping things, and of fishes. The word behēmâ can be used of all the domesticated beasts or animals other than man: “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and [wild] beast of the earth after his kind…” (Gen. 1:24, first occurrence). Psalm 8:7 uses behēmâ in synonymous parallelism with “oxen” and “sheep,” as though it includes both: “All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field.” The word can, however, be used of cattle only: “Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs [nasb, “animals”] be ours?” (Gen. 34:23).

 

In a rare use of the word, it signifies a “riding animal,” such as a horse or mule: “And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon” (Neh. 2:12).

 

Infrequently, behēmâ represents any wild, four-footed, undomesticated beast: “And thy carcase shall be meat unto all fowls of the air, and unto the beasts of the earth, and no man shall [frighten] them away” (Deut. 28:26).

 

As we can see, this word allows us much latitude and can represent domesticated or undomesticated animals. It’s interesting to note that Solomon tells us that God is testing us in order for us to see that we are “but beasts.” In regard to this human form, this is certainly true.

Like animals, we have eyes, ears, a nose, mouth, hands and feet. We have five senses. We eat and drink in order to survive. We require shelter and sleep. When threatened, we defend. When at peace, we frolic. We procreate. We age and suffer sickness, our human form a temporary abode until such time as we pass from this earth, just like the animals.

It is not surprising that humankind is likened to “beasts” or “animals” in scripture. The various attributes of animals are often seen in humankind and vice versa. And these attributes or comparisons are not limited to just four-footed beasts. We also see “creeping things, and fowls of the air” (Acts 10:12; 11:6).

As most of us know, Christ is called “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29; 36; Rev. 5:6) as well as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah” (Rev. 5:5). We are likened as “sheep” (Matt. 9:36; 10:6, 16) as well as “wolves” (Matt. 7:15; 10:16). The Lord tells His disciples, “Be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matt. 10:16). Comparisons like this are found throughout scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.

 

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

No doubt, the natural characteristics of animals are often reflected in human behavior, so it comes as no surprise that scripture portrays us as both “a dumb beast” as well as a “small” but “wild” and “dangerous” animal, our brutish and destructive attributes emphasized by these descriptions (Rom. 8:7; Gal. 5:19-21; II Tim. 3:1-5; II Peter 2:12; Jude 1:10).

Have you ever made the comment that someone was “crazy like a fox” or a “pig” because they ate so much? Such is the contrast between humankind and animals, so it should come as no surprise that scripture uses the characteristics of animals to describe us.

 

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

In Revelation, Chapter 13, we see a “beast” rising up “out of the sea.” The “sea” represents the whole of humankind across the world, the great “sea of humanity” of which all of us are a part. Confirmation is found in Revelation 17:1, where we find “the great harlot who sits on many waters,” and where, fourteen verses later, we read, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues.” Further confirmation is found in Isaiah.

 

Isaiah 57:20-21 (KJV)
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

 

Isaiah 60:5 (NKJV)
Then you shall see and become radiant, and your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the Gentiles (nations) shall come to you.

 

Also consider the following.

 

Revelation 1:15 (NKJV)
His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters

 

Psalms 93:4 (NKJV)
The Lord on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.

 

Psalms 139:9-10 (NKJV)
If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me.

 

Matthew 13:47-50 (NKJV)
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

 

As these passages show, the “sea” speaks of the whole of humankind, regardless of culture or creed, a mix of “wicked” and “just,” of good and bad. And in this great “sea of humanity” dwells the nature of a “beast,” evidenced by the dangerous, destructive, brutal, and untamed characteristics of which all of us are familiar (James 3:7-10). And from out of this carnal, corrupt, deceptive, and oftentimes cruel nature and spirit arises a system and structure which the Bible calls the “world.” It is this which Jesus overcame (John 16:33) and calls us to overcome (Luke 12:30-31; John 15:19).

 

Romans 8:5-8 (KJV)
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

 

There is no doubt that an animal is concerned only with the world of form into which it is born. It seeks to meet its base desires, unaware that there is a higher realm in which to aspire. This, I believe, is what Paul meant by “the carnal mind.” Consider Vincent’s treatment of these passages.

 

They that are (οἱ ὄντες)

Wider in meaning than walk, which expresses the manifestation of the condition expressed by are.

 

Do mind (φρονοῦσιν)

The verb primarily means to have understanding; then to feel or think (1 Corinthians 13:11); to have an opinion (Romans 12:3). Hence to judge (Acts 28:22; Galatians 5:10; Philippians 3:15). To direct the mind to something, and so to seek or strive for (Matthew 16:23, note; Philippians 3:19; Colossians 3:2). So here. The object of their thinking and striving is fleshly.

 

To be carnally minded (τὸ φρόνημα τῆς σαρκὸς)

Lit., as Rev., the mind of the flesh. Fleshly thinking and striving. Similarly the mind of the Spirit for to be spiritually minded.

 

Is not subject (οὐχ ὑποτάσσεται)

See on James 4:7. Originally to arrange under. Possibly with a shade of military meaning suggested by enmity. It is marshaled under a hostile banner.

 

Our word “carnal” is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “probably from the base of G4563 (saroo); flesh (as stripped of the skin), i.e. (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul [or spirit], or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred), or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties [physical or moral] and passions), or (special) a human being (as such).”

Each of our definitions show that the “carnal mind” is the “mind of the flesh,” a mind which is wholly absorbed in its own fleshly existence and the world of form in which it dwells. It is that which we often call our “human nature,” and which defines the meaning of the word “beast” in Revelation.

 

Revelation 13:2 (NKJV)
Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

 

In keeping with the fact that this entity is a “beast,” John’s description is appropriate. In regard to humankind as a whole, he is given three animals with specific attributes to present to us an understanding of what we are considering. The overall appearance of this beast is “like a leopard,” while its feet are that “of a bear,” and last we see the “mouth like the mouth of a lion.”

The leopard is a beautiful animal, his coat sleek and exotic of color. His spots are a delicate cream color set against a background of exquisite brown. He is one of the most graceful in his movements, agile and swift and dexterous. But he is famous for stealth and one of the most cold-blooded, cruel species known.

In countries like America, the “beauty” of the leopard is seen in its allure to all who are a part of its culture. We have become experts at presenting all that the world has to offer through a multitude of ways that continually entices us by its glamour, its offer of luxury and convenience, its abundance of all those things that satisfy every longing and temptation. But behind all of these lies a destructive consequence as we give in to its temptations, propped up by a love for money that is the root of all evil (I Tim. 6:10). I am convinced that there is more than enough in all of the prosperous countries to supply every need imaginable for every single person on this planet, but instead we have scarcity because of man’s continual want for more. No doubt, the cruelest acts of man can be attributed to his continual longing for the things of this world.

In stark contrast to the overall beauty of the leopard, our beast has “the feet of a bear.” In the wild, bears are at the top of the food chain and are known to roam large territories. In comparison to the size of an animal, its feet are the largest and the strongest foot of any animal extant. No other has such strength of grip in its paws.  The bear is a formidable opponent in the wild.

Like the bear, the brute “strength” and “force” of the carnal mind and its world system reaches everywhere and stands ready to oppose and trample those who would resist it. For this reason, John wrote, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him” (Rev. 13:4)? This worldly system based on the excesses of the mind of the flesh can appear as beautiful as a leopard, but its feet are ugly and ruthless, opposite to its outward appearance.

Finally, our beast is seen with “the mouth of a lion.” Like bears, lions are at the top of the food chain in their environment, appropriately nicknamed the “king of the jungle.”

Male lions are territorial, and will roar and use scent markings to establish their domains. The roar of the lion is usually at sunset and can carry as far as five miles. This roar warns off intruders and rounds up stray members of the pride.

The “mouth” of the lion speaks of the boldness of humankind in its enmity toward its Maker, evidenced by the unending torrent of propaganda, edicts, creeds, laws, regulations, rules, opinions, and ideologies that come from every direction, demanding our obedience and servitude. Never mind if what we desire stands in complete disregard for the principles of the kingdom of God. And the truth is, we have all been taken by the power of this word that issues from the mouth of the beast. John confirms this, telling us, “Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation” (Rev. 13:6-7).

 

Chapter Four

[]THE DREAMS

In order to form a better understanding of the beast with seven heads and ten horns, let’s consider the following passages from Daniel, Chapter 2.

 

Daniel 2:31-35 (KJV)
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

 

During the captivity of the Jews in Babylon, there was a king named Nebuchadnezzar. This king had a dream he couldn’t remember. The dream was so intense that Nebuchadnezzar called for his magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and Chaldeans to not only interpret the dream, but tell him the dream itself which he was unable to recollect. This they couldn’t do, but as a result, the prophet Daniel prayed for understanding and it was given to him by the Lord. He then came to Nebuchadnezzar to give him the dream and its’ interpretation.

In the dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw “a great image” in the form of a man. Here is a list from the passages above.

 

1. Head of Fine Gold

2. Breast and Arms of Silver

3. Belly and Thighs of Brass

4. Legs of Iron

5. Feet Part of Iron and Part of Clay

 

Here we have five phrases defining the image of the dream, the spiritual meaning of five signifying sin (author) or grace (Bullinger). If we list the body parts given, here is what we have.

 

1. Head

2. Breast

3. Arms

4. Belly

5. Thighs

6. Legs

7. Feet

 

As we can see, there are now seven body parts. As we continue, we will find that this correlates with the “seven heads” of the beast in Revelation. Consider.

 

Daniel 2:36-42 (NKJV)
This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold. But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze (brass), which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

 

First, we have seven body parts, but also note that Daniel’s interpretation speaks of “the toes of the feet.” This would correlate with the “ten horns” of the beast. So, we have the following parallel.

 

1. Head – 1st Head

2. Breast – 2nd Head

3. Arms – 3rd Head

4. Belly – 4th Head

5. Thighs – 5th Head

6. Legs – 6th Head

7. Feet – 7th Head

Ten Toes – Ten Horns

 

Now, notice that we also have four metals found in the image; gold, silver, brass, and iron. This would align with the following.

 

Revelation 13:2 (KJV)
And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard (1), and his feet were as the feet of a bear (2), and his mouth as the mouth of a lion (3): and the dragon (4) gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

 

The four metals coincide with the leopard, bear, lion, and dragon features, three of which we discussed in the previous chapter.

 

1. Gold – Lion

2. Silver – Bear

3. Brass – Leopard

4. Iron – Dragon (Great Iron Teeth)

 

Notice how I have matched the animal features of the beast with the metals of Nebuchadnezzar’s image. This is due to the following passages found in Daniel, Chapter 7.

 

Daniel 7:1-7 (KJV)
In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel had a dream and visions of his head upon his bed: then he wrote the dream, and told the sum of the matters. Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another. The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it. And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear, and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it: and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it. After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns.

 

As we see, Daniel also had a dream which related to the dream which Nebuchadnezzar had. And there can be no doubt that both dreams align perfectly with the beast with seven heads and ten horns.

Notice too that Daniel tells us, “The four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea.” Clearly, this agrees with the description of our beast in Revelation, Chapter 13, down to the “ten horns.” Though there are seven body parts, there are but four beasts to describe it, which again emphasizes the “material creation” (Bullinger), this body of form in which we dwell.

In Daniel’s time, we find in the Bible and history, that “the four great beasts” symbolized four literal kingdoms which began with the king and kingdom of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar being the “head of gold.” The kingdoms which followed was that of the Medes and Persians, then Greece, and finally, Italy, the Roman Empire.

Notice that the third kingdom of the “leopard” had “four heads,” which when added to the other three, gives us a total of seven.

Now, if we add our seven body parts or “heads” together with our four metals or animal features, we have eleven. Here’s Bullinger’s explanation of its spiritual meaning.

 

If ten is the number which marks the perfection of Divine order, then eleven is an addition to it, subversive of and undoing that order. If twelve is the number which marks the perfection of Divine government, then eleven falls short of it. So that whether we regard it as being 10 + 1, or 12 – 1, it is the number which marks disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.

 

Eleven “marks disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration,” which typifies the carnal world system in its resistance to its Maker and to the principles of the kingdom of God. So, it’s not surprising that our word “Babylon,” represented by the “head” of gold is derived from bābel and is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “From H1101 (balal); confusion; Babel (i.e. Babylon), including Babylonia and the Babylonian empire.” What is also interesting is the root word from which “balal” is derived. H1101 reads, “a primitive root; to overflow (specifically with oil); by implication to mix; also (denominative from H1098 (beliyl)) to fodder.” Keep this in mind as we continue. Also consider the following from The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

Babylon is the Greek spelling of the name which in Hebrew is uniformly “Babel.” The words occurs some 290 times and refers to an ancient city on the eastern bank of the Euphrates about twenty miles south of Bagdad, near the modern village of Hilla in Iraq. Akkadian seems to derive the name from babili(m) or from another earlier Sumerian source. But in both cases it means “Gate of God.” Genesis 11:9 gives the name as Babel (perhaps from bālal “to confuse”) but probably intended as a parody, a word play referring to what happened when the languages were confused.

 

Now, if we add our ten horns with eleven, we have twenty-one. Here’s Bullinger’s explanation of its spiritual meaning.

 

Twenty-one times in the Book of Kings it is said that Jeroboam the son of Nebat “made Israel to sin”: —1 Kings 14:16, 15:26, 30, 34, 16:19, 26, 21:22, 22:52; 2 Kings 3:3, 10:29, 31, 13:2, 6, 11, 14:24, 15:9, 18, 24, 28, 17:21, 23:15.

 

In agreement with Bullinger’s very brief definition, Vallowe states that twenty-one signifies the “exceeding sinfulness of sin” (Biblical Mathematics). In light of our numbers incorporated in the beast of the sea, this would be appropriate. The gross sinfulness of humankind is readily seen on a daily basis.

First, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the image of a man. Second, Daniel’s dream of four great beasts. Finally, John’s visions of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. They are all synonymous. But before we leave this chapter, let’s look at one more component that is a fundamental part of our understanding. It is Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream seen in Daniel, Chapter 4.

 

Daniel 4:10-17 (NKJV)
“These were the visions of my head while on my bed: “I was looking, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong; Its height reached to the heavens, and it could be seen to the ends of all the earth. Its leaves were lovely, its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it. “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven. He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts get out from under it, and the birds from its branches. Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze (brass), in the tender grass of the field. Let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts on the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from that of a man, let him be given the heart of a beast, and let seven times pass over him. ‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.’

 

As you might guess, this dream was again about Nebuchadnezzar himself. Here’s the interpretation of the dream which Daniel gave him.

 

Daniel 4:19-26 (NKJV)
Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home-- it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth. And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze (brass) in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.

 

As our interpretation shows, Nebuchadnezzar was the “tree” in the dream. The reference to “a band of iron and bronze (brass)” relates to the elements of Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream, while the idea of “seven times” points to the seven body parts and or seven heads of John’s vision. Note too that this dream correlates with Daniel’s, where we read, “The first was like a lion, and had eagle’s wings,” agreeing with “it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.” The chopping down of the “tree” would align with, “I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked,” while the restoration of Nebuchadnezzar’s throne aligns with “it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man’s heart was given to it.” Look at what follows after.

 

Daniel 4:27-37 (NKJV)
Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.” All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. .

 

All of the symbols we have considered, along with the spiritual meaning of the numbers, clearly show that the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel agree with the visions which John had.

It is apparent that Nebuchadnezzar was a carnal man, devoid of spiritual understanding. And it was because of his pride or arrogance that he was severely judged by the Lord. I believe this presents to us a key to a better understanding of the seven heads found on the beast of Revelation.

The fact that Nebuchadnezzar was a king who ruled over a kingdom, also speaks to us of an individual and collective perspective that should be applied to all of this. In the same way that Paul used “the first man Adam” as representative of all humankind (I Cor. 15:21-23, 45-49), so too do our dreams and visions reveal the same.

So it is that the beast typifies the carnal mind and its corrupt influence as evidenced in the “sea” or global systems of humankind and their resistance to the principles of the kingdom of God. It is a system established on the arrogant excesses of the ego, motivated by self-love, self-righteousness, and self-absorption. It is dangerous, controlling, destructive, and spread throughout every corner of the world. Collectively, it is what the Bible calls “the kingdoms of this world” (Rev. 11:15; John 8:23; John 18:36).

 

John 8:23 (NKJV)
And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world.”

 

 

Chapter Five

[]SIX THINGS THE LORD HATES

We found in Daniel, Chapter 4, that Nebuchadnezzar was judged severely for his pride. The Hebrew definition of this word in Daniel 4:37 reads, “(Chaldee); corresponding to H1466 (gevah).” H1466 reads, “the same as H1465 (gevah); exaltation; (figurative) arrogance.”

Two of the definitions from The Free Dictionary by Farlex online defines pride as, “Arrogant or disdainful conduct or treatment; haughtiness,” and “An excessively high opinion of oneself; conceit.”

 

Romans 12:1-3 (NKJV)
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.

 

In regard to pride, Paul tells us not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, connecting this with conformity to this world. He then tells us “to think soberly,” the definition from the Strong’s Concordance reading, “from G4998 (sophron); to be of sound mind, i.e. sane, (figurative) moderate.” It might seem like a reach, but the idea of thinking “soberly” or “sane,” of having a “sound mind,” is more needful now than ever before. When we take a raw and honest look at what is happening in the world today, it is apparent that we are not in our right minds.

Albert Einstein said, “Insanity” is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” What an apt description of us today. Despite how many times we have failed in so many different areas, we keep repeating these failures as though expecting something different every time. This is the curse of the carnal mind, and deliverance from this way of thinking will take a deeply spiritual manifestation like no other.

Our word “conformed” reads, “from G4862 (sun) and a derivative of G4976 (schema); to fashion alike, i.e. conform to the same pattern.” And what might this “pattern” be? In light of the spiritual meaning of the numbers six and seven, please consider the following passages.

 

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable (abomination; KJV) to him: haughty eyes (a proud look; KJV), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

 

There is nowhere in scripture where we find six things enumerated which the Lord hates except in these passages. For this reason, I believe this emphasizes their importance. If we list what we find in Proverbs, we have a pattern.

 

1. Haughty eyes (a proud look; KJV)

2. A lying tongue

3. Hands that shed innocent blood

4. A heart that devises wicked schemes

5. Feet that are quick to rush into evil

6. A false witness who pours out lies

7. A man who stirs up dissension among brothers

 

Look closely at our list. The first five make up the whole person, beginning with the head or “haughty eyes” to end with “feet that are quick to rush into evil.” This agrees with the spiritual meaning of five, which is sin and grace. And who of us doesn’t need the grace of God to help us in our struggle with our carnal nature?

The sixth thing sums up the other five, showing what we are when we walk after the first five attributes, “a false witness who pours out lies.” This agrees with Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of six.

 

Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man’s world (4) with man’s enmity to God (2) brought in: or it is 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man’s addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or it is 7 minus 1, i.e., man’s coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.

 

The Hebrew שִׁשִּׁי (shaish) is supposed to be derived from the root שֵׁשׁ שִׁשָּׁה (shah-dash), but nothing is known about its origin or signification.

 

At any rate it is certain that man was created on the sixth day, and thus he has the number six impressed upon him. Moreover, six days were appointed to him for his labour; while one day is associated in sovereignty with the Lord God, as His rest.

 

Six, therefore, is the number of labour also, of man’s labour as apart and distinct from God’s rest. True, it marks the completion of Creation as God’s work, and therefore the number is significant of secular completeness.

 

The serpent also was created on the sixth day.

 

The Sixth Commandment relates to the worst sin, —murder.

 

The sixth clause of the Lord’s prayer treats of sin.

 

Six is the number stamped on all that is connected with human labour. We see it stamped upon his measures which he uses in his labour, and on the time during which he labours. And we see this from the very beginning.

 

Remember, seven is fullness and manifestation, so when we arrive at the seventh thing which is detestable (abomination; KJV) to the Lord, we’re seeing what we do, described as stirring up dissension among brothers (one who sows discord among brethren; NKJV). Consider the following.

 

1 John 2:15-17 (NKJV)
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 

In these passages, John sums up three things which defines our resistance to the kingdom of God and each other, stated as the love of this world, in other words, all that relates to the world of form. Note the phrase, “pride of life.” The New International Version defines this as “the boasting of what he has and does.” Consider Vincent’s treatment.

 

The pride of life (ἡ ἀλαζονεία τοῦ βίου)

Rev., vainglory. The word occurs only here and James 4:16, on which see note. It means, originally, empty, braggart talk or display; swagger; and thence an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt of divine laws. The vainglory of life is the vainglory which belongs to the present life. On βίος life, as distinguished from ζωη. life, see on John 1:4.

 

As seen, our phrase means, “Vainglory” and “means, originally, empty, braggart talk or display; swagger; and thence an insolent and vain assurance in one’s own resources, or in the stability of earthly things, which issues in a contempt of divine laws.” “Braggart talk or display” certainly speaks of pride and the resulting contempt of our pride is readily seen in our resistance to the laws of God and our treatment of each other.

Vincent tells us that this same phrase is used in James 4:16. Let’s look at this.

 

James 4:10-17 (NKJV)
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up. Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another? Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” (16) But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

 

The King James Version renders verse 16 as, “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” Here’s Vincent’s explanation of this word.

 

Boastings (ἀλαζονείαις)

Only here and 1 John 2:16. The kindred word ἀλαζών, a boaster, is derived from ἄλη, a wandering or roaming; hence, primarily, a vagabond, a quack, a mountebank. From the empty boasts of such concerning the cures and wonders they could perform, the word passed into the sense of boaster. One may boast truthfully; but ἀλαζονεία is false and swaggering boasting. Rev. renders vauntings, and rightly, since vaunt is from the Latin vanus, empty, and therefore expresses idle or vain boasting.

 

If we consider what Vincent tells us concerning our word “boastings” and compare it with Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, we find the meaning behind what is recorded in Genesis after Cain killed his brother, Abel.

 

Genesis 4:8-12 (NKJV)
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

 

Our words “fugitive” and “vagabond” both mean, “To waver” or “wander.” In other words, when the love for our brother is stifled by intense self-love and self-interest, we have no true purpose on this earth. We are both a “fugitive” and a “vagabond.” No wonder John wrote, “He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (I John 2:9-11). Do you see it? The one who “hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going.” In other words, when we conduct ourselves in a spirit of superiority and animosity, we are like Cain, a wanderer, with no real direction or purpose. No wonder John also wrote, “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death” (I John 3:14).

In light of the fact that the third thing in our list is “hands that shed innocent blood,” John goes on to say, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15). You see, my friend, we don’t have to “kill” someone to “kill” someone. When our heart is filled with hatred and division, we abide in death, and we “kill” in ways we don’t even know.

To say it plainly, pride is the forerunner of all the attributes found in Proverbs, Chapter 6, for it is our love for self and the things of this world which causes us to stand against each other. No wonder Jesus taught that we must deny ourselves (Matt. 16:24).

Look once more at our passages from James, Chapter 4. James said, “For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.” This my friend, is the reality of our earthly existence. Most of us soon learn that our years on this planet are not guaranteed, that we can pass from this plane at any time. Yet, we still spend so much of our lives trying to amass those things we believe are necessary for our well being. And many of us are so steeped in the mind of form that we are willing to do whatever it takes to have what we want. This my friend, is hell.

Would it surprise you to know that one of the main definitions of “hell” in the New Testament means, “Unseen” (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18)? Wouldn’t this agree with John’s statements about being in “darkness,” unable to “see” where we are going?

 

Proverbs 27:20 (NKJV)
Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

 

Consider this passage in light of what Vincent also writes concerning I John 2:16, especially the treatment of “the lust of the eyes.”

 

The lust (ἡ ἐπιθυμία)

See on Mark 4:19.

 

Of the flesh

Sensual appetite. The desire which resides in the flesh, not the desire for the flesh. For this subjective usage of the genitive with lust, see John 8:44; Romans 1:24; Revelation 18:14. Compare 1 Peter 2:11; Titus 2:12. The lust of the flesh involves the appropriation of the desired object. On the flesh, see on John 1:14.

 

The lust of the eyes

This is included in the lust of the flesh, as a specific manifestation. All merely sensual desires belong to the economy which “is not of the Father.” The desire of the eyes does not involve appropriation. It is satisfied with contemplating. It represents a higher type of desire than the desire of the flesh, in that it seeks mental pleasure where the other seeks physical gratification. There is thus a significant hint in this passage that even high artistic gratification may have no fellowship with God.

 

Now, let me share something further about Proverbs 27:20. Look once more at this passage from the Amplified version of scripture.

 

Proverbs 27:20 (AMP)
Sheol (the place of the dead) and Abaddon (the place of destruction) are never satisfied; so [the lust of] the eyes of man is never satisfied.

 

“Sheol” is the Hebrew word for “hell,” and “Abaddon” is the Greek word which reads, “intensive from H6 (‘abad); abstract a perishing; concrete Hades.” The Hebrew word to which this refers is “ʾābad” which is defined as, “a primitive root; probably to wander away, i.e. lose oneself; by implication to perish (causative destroy).” Doesn’t the idea of “wander away” and “lose oneself” agree with our perspective of Cain? With this in mind, consider the following.

 

Revelation 9:1-2 (KJV)
And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

 

Revelation 9:11 (KJV)
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

 

In Revelation, Chapter 9, we find a “bottomless pit.” Our definition of “bottomless” reads, “from G1 (a) (as a negative particle) and a variation of G1037 (buthos); depthless, i.e. (special) (infernal) “abyss.” G1037 reads, “a variation of G899 (bathos); depth, i.e. (by implication) the sea.”

Our word “pit” is defined as, “of uncertain derivation; a hole in the ground (dug for obtaining or holding water or other purposes), i.e. a cistern or well; figurative an abyss (as a prison).”

When we put our two definitions together, our “bottomless pit” appears to be talking about the “sea,” agreeing with our beast which rises out of it in Revelation 13. To be more specific about what this bottomless pit might mean, consider the following.

 

Genesis 6:5 (KJV)
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

 

Our word “continually,” correlates with “bottomless,” and along with our definitions, leads me to believe that the “bottomless pit” signifies the collective force of the imagination of the thoughts of humankind’s hearts and minds, imaginations steeped in the darkness (smoke; obscurity) and destructive nature of the mind of form (beast). So it comes as no surprise that the “angel” or spirit and message that dominates and rises out of this pit is one of confusion and torment, denoting the mind of the flesh which brings death or “perishing” (Abaddon; Rom. 8:6). Note that this “angel” is called a “king,” signifying the power and authority of this spirit.

 

Ephesians 2:1-3 (NKJV)
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, , among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.

 

Note Paul’s reference to “the course of this world” and “the prince of the power of the air (same word as Rev. 9:2), the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” Our word “disobedience” reads, “from G545 (apeithes); disbelief (obstinate and rebellious).” G545 reads, “from G1 (a) (as a negative particle) and G3982 (peitho); unpersuadable, i.e. contumacious.” “Contumacious” means, “Obstinately disobedient or rebellious; insubordinate” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). All of these definitions aptly describe the “spirit of the world” (I Cor. 2:12) in which all of us have conducted our lives, knowingly or unknowingly.

The opening of the bottomless pit is synonymous with the beast which rises out of the sea. How do we know? Because in Revelation 17:8 we read, “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.” Though pictured differently from our beast in Revelation 13, it is the same beast as evidenced by the seven heads and ten horns. So the “sea” and the “bottomless pit” are synonymous, speaking of what proceeds from the imaginations of the thoughts of men’s hearts.

When I think of “Hell” or “Sheol” typifying “the place of the dead,” Paul states, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” You see, my friend, death and hell are present states of “being” in this realm where we conduct ourselves wholly after the lust of the flesh and eyes and pride of this life.

If we consider Vincent’s description of the lust of the eyes, we will see that it agrees with the component of our imagination, our ability to contemplate and to seek mental pleasure. And, as all of us know, thought leads to action, to fulfilling the desires that our imagination has concocted in our mind. Again, our passages from Ephesians confirm this.

All that we do is a product of the heart and mind, of the inward realm of thinking that manifests itself outwardly, so our battle, as Paul stated, is not with flesh and blood. Rather, it is with our own thinking, our own imagination, our perspectives, ideologies, and our lack of true spiritual understanding (Rom. 1:21; II Cor. 10:4-5; Eph. 6:12).

 

Chapter Six

[]SEVEN HEADS AND TEN HORNS

Proverbs 6:16-19 (NKJV)
These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

 

In our previous chapter, we considered a pattern found in Proverbs, Chapter 6, the six things which the Lord hates, and the seventh, which is the fullness and manifestation of “one who sows discord among brethren” (NKJV). I believe this defines the “seven heads” or attributes of our beast in Revelation, both individually and corporately speaking. As we have found, it is an appropriate description of the “carnal mind” (Rom. 8:7).

Note the word “sows.” Consider its definition from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

The verb shālaḥ means “to send,” “to send away,” “to let loose,” “to spread,” used of strife and discord, “to stretch out,” “extend,” used of the hand or a rod, “to extend,” “reach out,” used of roots and branches, and with ’ēsh “fire,” “to light a fire.”

 

In each of the descriptions of our beast in Revelation, we see “seven heads and ten horns” (Rev. 12:3; 13:1; 17:9-14). We have defined the seven heads, so let’s consider the “ten horns.” Consider the following from Bullinger about the spiritual meaning of ten.

 

It has been already pointed out that ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers. The first decade is the representative of the whole numeral system, and originates the system of calculation called “decimals,” because the whole system of numeration consists of so many tens, of which the first is a type of the whole.

Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.

 

In his book, Biblical Mathematics, Ed Vallowe states, “As the basis of the decimal system, TEN has been a significant number in all historical ages. This is a number of TESTIMONY. Considered as twice FIVE, TEN stands for responsibility, intensified, signifying the measure of responsibility and its judgment or reward. This is a number used under the LAW. Man was responsible under the LAW to keep the commandments and bear a testimony for God.”

No doubt the number ten is important, for we find ten patriarchs before the flood (Gen., Chapter 5) and Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone which Moses received on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20:1-17). There were ten plagues upon Egypt and Pharaoh through Moses. Christ taught the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the Ten Servants who were entrusted with ten pounds, one given authority over ten cities. We then see ten powers which are powerless against the love of God (Rom. 8:38-39).

Knowing that ten is “twice five,” does this not immediately bring to mind that we have five toes on each foot (and five fingers on each hand)? Doesn’t this agree with the “toes” of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?

Note that Vallowe tells us that ten “is a number of testimony,” meaning to “bear witness” of something, that it signifies “the measure of responsibility and its judgment or reward.” In other words, it points to our “works” or “deeds,” of those things we do on a regular basis.

 

Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.

 

The word “works” in this passage is defined as, “from G4238 (prasso); practice, i.e. (concretely) an act; by extension a function.” The definition of prassō reads, “a primary verb; to “practise”, i.e. perform repeatedly or habitually (thus differing from G4160 (poieo), which properly refers to a single act); by implication to execute, accomplish, etc.; specially to collect (dues), fare (personally).”

As we can see, “works” speak of those things which we “practice” on a regular basis, which we “perform repeatedly or habitually,” so it speaks of how we conduct ourselves every single day. And isn’t what we do a product of the mind and heart, of what we think and feel? Of course. So again, we must understand that our battle is not outward, against others, but inward, against our own thoughts and imaginations. Yes, we are influenced outwardly by the world around us, but how much we are influenced is determined by how much we are willing to be influenced.

So, look again at our definition of “sows” from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, meaning “to stretch out,” “extend,” “to extend” and “reach out.” And what are horns and toes? Aren’t they simply extensions of the head or feet?

So consider it like this. Remember that seven can be illustrated by the fruit of a tree, being the fullness and manifestation of the seed which was sown. Once this fullness is reached, we find much more seed in the fruit than what we began with. This is known as the exponential function, the principle of one to many. When a fruit tree shows ripened fruit, then “the whole cycle is complete,” there is “nothing wanting,” the “number and order are perfect.” The fruit, as well as the seed found in the fruit, can now be harvested to produce more trees and even much more fruit. This agrees with our definition of shālaḥ, meaning “to spread.” This then, is the meaning of the “ten horns” on our beast and the “ten toes” seen on Nebuchadnezzar’s image of a man.

When we combine our seven or fullness with ten meaning “that nothing is wanting” and “that the whole cycle is complete,” we now find that they complement each other. In other words, once a fullness is reached, then what follows simply proceeds from it, there is nothing new to consider. For this reason, we read, “These (ten horns/kings/ten toes) are of one mind,” the carnal mind, “and they will give their power and authority to the beast” (Rev. 17:13).

Now, whether we consider horns or toes, both also signify the “push” of this collective force of the seven heads which we have considered up to this point. As we mentioned, horns simply extend from the head and toes extend from the feet. The force behind each actually comes from the head and torso and the feet and legs. And what is being “pushed” upon us by this collective force of humankind in its pride? Please consider.

 

Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery (1), fornication (2), uncleanness (3), lewdness (4), idolatry (5), sorcery (6), hatred (7), contentions (8), jealousies (9), outbursts of wrath (10), selfish ambitions (11), dissensions (12), heresies (13), envy (14), murders (15), drunkenness (16), revelries (17), and the like (18); of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Do you see it? When Paul enumerated the “works of the flesh,” he listed seventeen specific things. Does this correlate with our seven heads and ten horns (17)? I believe it does.

Paul then follows with, “And the like.” This now makes eighteen, which is three sixes, which points to the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:18). Coincidence? I don’t think so. And could we not say that the things which Paul listed in these passages is yet another description of the attributes of the carnal mind? Of course, because the mind of the flesh can only produce the “works of the flesh” (Rom. 8:1-8).

 

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NKJV)
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

As mentioned, three sixes point to the mark of the beast (carnal mind). Three defines the “works” while six defines the “flesh.” The fact that there are three sixes correlates with what Paul said concerning the need to be sanctified (to make holy, i.e. (ceremony) purify or consecrate; (mentally) to venerate) in spirit (6), in soul (6), and in body (6).

 

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NKJV)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators (1), nor idolaters (2), nor adulterers (3), nor homosexuals (4), nor sodomites (5), nor thieves (6), nor covetous (7), nor drunkards (8), nor revilers (9), nor extortioners (10) will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

In regard to “the works of the flesh,” Paul states in Galatians 5:21, “That those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” In agreement, Paul then writes in I Corinthians, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” and then follows this with ten vices that exclude us from His kingdom. Is this just coincidence, or does this also point to our “ten horns?”

 

2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves (1), lovers of money (2), boasters (3), proud (4), blasphemers (5), disobedient to parents (6), unthankful (7), unholy (8), unloving (9), unforgiving (10), slanderers (11), without self-control (12), brutal (13), despisers of good (14), traitors (15), headstrong (16), haughty (17), lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (18), having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

 

In keeping with our numerical pattern of eighteen, Paul tells Timothy “that in the last days perilous times will come.” And what marks these “last days?” Eighteen things, again emphasizing the idea of the mark of the beast. However, this time he finishes his list with, “Having a form of godliness but denying its power.” This phrase “form of godliness” means, “a semblance of piety.” The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines “semblance” as, “1) An outward or token appearance, 2) A representation; a copy, 3) The barest trace; a modicum.” In other words, our “form of godliness” suggests a religious appearance. Would this be why Jesus warned His disciples so many times about false Christs and false prophets?

Anyone who is honest can look over all of our passages and see the condition of the world at large, but what is heartbreaking is that all of this is also found within the confines of our various Christian religions and beliefs. And today, far too many “Christians” reject the truth of these things which Paul addressed, even to the point of justifying these actions by comparing themselves among themselves (II Cor. 10:12). Still others profess their “Christianity” without even giving thought to these things which Paul described. Would this not emphasize the “perilous times” in which we live? Would this not also emphasize the obvious and arrogant “push” of the world in the church and in its ignorance of the truth and the reality of the kingdom of God?

We are considering seventeen, so allow me to share the following with you from Bullinger’s Number in Scripture.

 

Seventeen stands out very prominently as a significant number. It is not a multiple of any other number, and therefore it has no factors. Hence it is called one of the prime (or indivisible) numbers. What is more, it is the seventh in the list of the prime numbers.

The series runs 1, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, etc. Thirteen, it will be noted, is also a prime number, and is therefore important; but it is the sixth of the series: hence it partakes of the significance of the number 6, and is indeed an intensified expression of it. [Note: 0 and 1 are not generally recognized as prime numbers].

 

In like manner seventeen being the seventh of the series, it partakes of and intensifies the significance of the number seven. Indeed, it is the combination or sum of two perfect numbers—seven and tenseven being the number of spiritual perfection, and ten of ordinal perfection.

Contrasted together the significance of these two numbers is clear; and when united in the number seventeen we have a union of their respective meanings, viz., spiritual perfection, plus ordinal perfection, or the perfection of spiritual order.

 

We see a beautiful illustration in Romans 8:35-39 which concludes the first great division of that all-important Epistle, and sums up the blessings of those who are dead and risen in Christ. First we have a series of seven, then a series of ten. The seven are marked off by being put in the form of a question, while the ten are given as the answer to it.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall

1. Tribulation,

2. Or distress,

3. Or persecution,

4. Or famine,

5. Or nakedness,

6. Or peril,

7. Or sword?

as it is written, For Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that,

8. Neither death (1),

9. Nor life (2),

10. Nor angels (3),

11. Nor principalities (4),

12. Nor things present (5),

13. Nor things to come (6),

14. Nor powers (7),

15. Nor height (8),

16. Nor depth (9),

17. Nor any other creature (10),

shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Thus is set forth the spiritual and eternal perfection of the believer’s standing in Christ.

By forming the conclusive answer to the question, and giving us the positive assurance (though in a negative form), it seems as though the number ten is of more weight than seven when thus used together. It is so in 2 Chronicles 2, where, in verse 7, Solomon sends to Hiram for a cunning workman, and seven particulars are specified; and in verse 14 a man is sent and his qualifications are enumerated in ten particulars. A more important illustration will be found in Hebrews 12:18-24, where the Old Dispensation and the New are thus contrasted:

“Ye are not come

 

1. Unto the mount that might be touched,

2. And that burned with fire,

3. Nor unto blackness,

4. And darkness,

5. And tempest,

6. And the sound of a trumpet,

7. And the voice of words…

 

but ye are come

 

8. Unto Mount Zion (1),

9. And unto the city of the living God (2).

10. The heavenly Jerusalem (3),

11. And to an innumerable company of angels (4),

12. To the general assembly (5),

13. And church of the firstborn which are written in heaven (6),

14. And to God the judge of all (7),

15. And to the spirits of just men made perfect (8),

16. And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant (9),

17. And to the blood of sprinkling that speaketh better things than that of Abel (10).”

Here again the blessings of the New Covenant are seen to be higher than those of the Old, both in number and in importance. The Old were spiritual (7), but the latter are more so, for they are doubly the manifestation of Divine grace, ten, or 2 × 5.

 

As we see, seventeen speaks of “the perfection of spiritual order,” indicating to us that all that is pictured in Revelation is divinely sanctioned and divinely wrought by the power and Spirit of our Creator. When we truly understand that both the natural and spiritual realms begin with, and are subject to our Creator, then we can rest assured that His purpose alone shall be accomplished in the end (Col. 1:16).

As we have found, the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel give us an understanding of the natural elements of John’s vision, however, consider the following.

 

1 Corinthians 15:46 (NKJV)
However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.

There is no doubt that our four beasts in Daniel, Chapter 7, define the four natural kingdoms which we have named, but once we cross into the New Testament into the realm of spiritual realities, I believe we must consider the spiritual aspects of which the natural elements testify.

We should note that due to their spiritual implications, numbers in scripture are more symbolic than literal. In other words, their meaning is more important than the number of something given. So, in light of seven meaning spiritual completion and manifestation, I believe our pattern from Proverbs, Chapter 6, is truly indicative of the “seven” heads of the beast, for it accurately describes the manifestation of the carnal or fleshly mind. So for us, the seven heads and ten horns of the beast speak more about these carnal forces which, like kings, have dominion and rule over our being.

Consider the following from Revelation, Chapter 17.

 

Revelation 17:7-10 (NKJV)
But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.

 

As we know, there are several perspectives given concerning the beast with seven heads and ten horns. It is first seen in Revelation, Chapter 12, as a “great red dragon” (KJV). We see it again in Revelation, Chapter 13. Finally, we see it once more in our passages above.

Now, look at what the angel says to John, that “the beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition.” Ascend from where? The “bottomless pit.” As we now know, this is synonymous with the beast rising out of the “sea” in Revelation 13. And the beast will do what? “Go to perdition.” Our word “perdition” means, “Ruin or loss (physical, spiritual or eternal),” and agrees with the “angel” or spirit and word “of the bottomless pit,” the “prince of the power of the air,” called “Abaddon,” a “perishing” or “destruction” (Rev. 9:11). With our words “sows” and “perdition” in mind, consider the following.

 

Galatians 6:8 (NKJV)
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption

 

Our word “corruption” is defined as, “decay, i.e. ruin,” agreeing with our definitions of “perdition” and “Abaddon.” So our view of the bottomless pit is nothing more than a pictorial presentation of sowing to our own flesh and reaping the “corruption” or “ruin” that follows. Isn’t this the present condition of the world at large? Have we not seen this regularly in our daily news?

Now, consider our passages from Revelation, Chapter 17, from two other versions of the Bible.

 

Revelation 17:9-10 (NIV)
“This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while.

 

Revelation 17:9-10 (NASB77)
“Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

 

In both the New International and New American Standard Versions of scripture, we are told that the “seven mountains” are “seven kings,” i.e. they are the same. Our word “mountains” is defined as, “probably from an obsolete oro (to rise or “rear”; perhaps akin to G142 (airo); compare G3733 (ornis)); a mountain (as lifting itself above the plain).” As the definition indicates, both “mountains” and “kings” agree with our phrase “rise up” from Revelation 13:1 (KJV), and speaks of the pride or love of self in all of us which leads us to think that we are better than others. Therefore, our word “kings” refers to this way of thinking and the corresponding attitude which motivates us to seek dominion or rule over others, not always in a literal fashion, but more in an attitude of mental superiority that is then reflected in how we treat each other.

If our perspective is correct, then as previously stated, the seven mountains or kings symbolize the six things which the Lord hates, the seventh which is an abomination to him.

What is interesting to note is the “woman” who sits on the beast, called “Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (Rev. 17:10; NASB77). In Revelation 17:7, we read that “the beast carrieth her” (KJV). The phrase “that carrieth” means, “To lift, literal or figurative (endure, declare, sustain, receive, etc.).” In other words, she is intimately linked to the beast with seven heads and ten horns, “lifted up” and “sustained” if you will by the same sectarian spirit of the world.

Not for a moment do I believe that our word “harlots” is literal, neither “abominations.” As we have found, the fullness of the six things which the Lord hates is called an “abomination” (KJV) in Proverbs 6:16. The plural of this word simply suggests the manifold expression of this spirit of pride, of the arrogance that arises from the love of self and the world (I John 2:15-17).

 

Chapter Seven

[]THE WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN

Revelation 12:1-3 (KJV)
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

 

In Chapter Two, I mentioned the importance of the three divisions of the book of Revelation as “the things which you have seen (past), and the things which are (present), and the things which will take place after this” (future). We must always keep this in mind when considering anything in the book of the Revelation.

As I previously mentioned, the first appearance of the “seven heads and ten horns” is found in Revelation, Chapter 12, given to us as “the great red dragon” (KJV). The second time we see it as “a beast rising up out of the sea” (Rev. 13:1; NKJV). Finally, in Revelation, Chapter 17, we are shown “a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy” (Rev. 17:3). Later in this chapter, the angel gives John a more complete description, and it is there that we find understanding of the two previous visions.

Before we can understand the meaning of “the great red dragon,” we need to define the symbolism of the “woman clothed with the sun.” Please consider.

 

Galatians 4:21-26 (NIV)
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent Two Covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

 

If we step through the book of Galatians, we will find that Paul’s intentions in this letter were to make it clear that “no one is justified before God by the law, because, ‘The righteous will live by faith’” (Gal. 3:11). All through this letter, Paul contrasts the law with faith in Christ, arriving at our passages above where he gives us a figurative understanding of the “Two Covenants.”

It should be noted that Paul wrote much about the difference between the law and the promise in all of his letters, and this should come as no surprise. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-22), Paul was a Pharisee, holding to the very thing which he afterward condemned.

 

Philippians 3:3-11 (NKJV)
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 

Paul made it clear that his fleshly lineage was “of the tribe of Benjamin” and “concerning the righteousness which is in the law,” he was found “blameless.” Nonetheless, he also makes it clear that “what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ,” calling it “rubbish.”

The wisdom of God is apparent in the choosing of Paul to bring the gospel of Christ to the nations. After all, what better vessel than someone who had been such an influential and integral part of the sect of the Pharisees and the Mosaic law. Who better than a converted Pharisee could give such a great contrast between the Old Covenant or law and the New Covenant or promise? Look once more at our passages from Galatians, Chapter 4.

 

Galatians 4:21-26 (NIV)
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent Two Covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.

 

Note how Paul addresses those who wished “to be under the law” and uses the law itself to prove his point, speaking of “Abraham” and his “two sons,” Isaac and Ishmael (Gen. Chapter 17). He then refers to the mothers of the two sons, Sarah and Hagar, stating that these two mothers represent the Two Covenants, the one “from Mount Sinai” and thus “corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem,” and the other, “Jerusalem that is above,” which Paul called “our mother.”

 

Revelation 12:1 (NKJV)
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet

 

The reference to “Jerusalem that is above” is our first key to understanding the “woman clothed with the sun,” for John clearly states that “a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12:1). Our word “heaven” means “the sky,” which is, of course, indicative of the spiritual realm which is “above” that of this earthly plane in which we dwell (John 3:31). So our “woman” of Revelation 12 speaks of Sarah, who is a figure of the New Covenant Promise as described in Jeremiah, Chapter 31, verses 31 through 33, and reiterated in Hebrews, Chapter 8, verses 7 through 13.

Next we read that our “woman” is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet.” Please consider.

 

Genesis 1:14-18 (NKJV)
Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good.

 

Note that on the fourth day of creation that God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night.” We then read that God “made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night.” This is, of course, speaking of the sun and the moon.

Where were these “lights” placed? “In the firmament (heaven; Gen. 1:8) of the heavens.” So it comes as no surprise that our “woman” is seen in heaven, “clothed” as it were by the sun. With this in mind, consider the following.

 

1 John 1:5 (NKJV)
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

 

1 Corinthians 15:41 (NKJV)
There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.

 

“God is light,” so the “glory” of the natural sun is symbolic of His glory, and this glory is exemplified in His covenants.

 

2 Corinthians 3:6-11 (NIV)
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenantnot of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!

 

Do you see it? In these passages, Paul speaks of the differences in “glory” between “the ministry that brought death,” i.e. the law, and “the ministry of the Spirit” which “brings righteousness.” So the “greater light” of the sun refers to the greater “glory” of the New Covenant Promise, while the “lesser light” of the moon (which is simply a reflection of the light of the sun), refers to the lesser “glory” of the law that remained up until Christ. The fact that the “moon” is “under her feet” gives the contrast of this greater glory of the Promise which surpasses the lesser glory of the law. These passages fully agree with Paul’s presentation of Sarah and Hagar, figurative of the Two Covenants (which I believe currently reside over both the natural and spiritual elements of our being).

 

Revelation 12:1 (NKJV)
… and on her head a garland of twelve stars.

 

Genesis 1:16 (NKJV)
He made the stars also.

 

Twelve is the number of “divine government” (Bullinger), or “government by divine appointment” (Vallowe). And who is responsible for instituting the Two Covenants? Our heavenly Father.

 

Revelation 21:10-14 (NKJV)
And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west. Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

 

There can be no doubt that in these passages, John is beholding “Jerusalem that is above,” for we read that “the great city, the holy Jerusalem,” is “descending,” from above, “out of heaven from God, having the glory of God.” Note the reference to “her light” and to the “twelve gates,” the “twelve angels,” and the “names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel,” along with the “twelve foundations, and on them,” the “names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.” Would the “twelve stars” on the head of the woman speak of the “twelve apostles of the Lamb?” It does, for we are told that we “are built upon the foundation of the apostles (12) and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph. 2:20).

At this point, I should emphasize that the light of the moon is simply a reflection of the light of the sun, for the moon has no light of its own. But the fact that they are connected in this fashion speaks to us of the following.

 

Hebrews 8:7-13 (NKJV)
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” In that He says, A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

 

To put it simply, the New Covenant Promise of God is not the doing away of the moral aspects of the Old Covenant Law. Rather, it is the placing of these “laws” into our minds and hearts. This shows that they are and always will be eternally joined.

 

Colossians 2:13-14 (NKJV)
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

 

As Paul shows, the law itself was not done away with in Christ, however, the “handwriting” of the “requirements” of the law were. No longer do we need a Tabernacle or Temple and various animal sacrifices. No longer do we need to follow the rituals of the feasts which were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. No longer is it necessary to perform the “works of the law” to approach our Father in heaven as they did so long ago. All of these natural elements were fulfilled through Christ who brought their spiritual realities into being almost two thousand years ago.

 

Chapter Eight

[]THE MALE SON

Revelation 12:2 (NKJV)
Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.

 

Revelation 12:5 (NKJV)
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

 

Remember that John was told to write the things which he had seen, in other words, that which was part of his past and yet necessary to the understanding of the “revelation” or disclosure of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1). It is my opinion that what John beheld in Revelation, Chapter 12, had already taken place through the birth, ministry, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Yet this was only a partial fulfillment. We’ll understand this as we continue.

Speaking figuratively, we’ve found that our “woman clothed with the sun” denotes the glory of the New Covenant Promise of God as outlined in Jeremiah, Chapter 31, and Hebrews, Chapter 8. We now see in our passages above that this New Covenant Promise is “pregnant” with a “child,” which she gives birth to in verse 5, a “male Child,” or more appropriately a huios or son, “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron.” Please consider.

 

Revelation 2:26-28 (NKJV)
And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations -- ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father; and I will give him the morning star.

 

Revelation 3:21 (NKJV)
To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

 

In two of the messages to the churches, the Lord promises those who overcome that He would give them “power over the nations” and that they would “sit with Me on My throne.” Note that the Lord makes it clear that He had overcome and had received this same privilege to sit down with His Father “on His throne.” As we see, the “rod of iron” in our first set of passages agrees with Revelation 12:5. So it is that Christ Jesus is symbolized by the male son, however, it is evident that others would be as well.

 

Romans 8:29 (NIV)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

 

Do you see it? Christ Jesus was the “firstborn among many brothers.” So our passages in Revelation 12 speak of that which had already taken place as well as that which would follow after. I do not hesitate to say that these other “brothers” of Christ would include His twelve disciples and the seventy He commissioned to go before Him (Luke 10:1). Still, it doesn’t end there, for the promise to those who overcome is relevant to every generation since the days of Christ and the apostles as evidenced by the messages to the seven churches.

Now, to get a better understanding of “the male son,” let’s take time to consider the Two Covenants again, for they are essential to all of this. Though they are foreshadowed even before Abraham, both covenants began with him. For this reason, Jesus and Paul, as well as all the Jews, spoke of Abraham as their “father” (forefather) (Matt. 3:9; Luke 1:55; John 8:39, 52-58).

 

Genesis 17:1-8 (NKJV)
When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you. And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.”

 

As we see, the Lord appeared to Abraham when he was ninety-nine years old and tells him that He would establish His covenant “between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” Look at what follows.

 

Genesis 17:10-14 (NKJV)
This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

 

Here, Abraham is told that every “male child among you shall be circumcised” “in the flesh of your foreskins.” This speaks of the penis of the child, so I immediately think of the fact that it refers to that part of the male which is used to “sow” seed in order to procreate. The fact that circumcision is the cutting away of the “flesh” represents the need to be spiritually cleansed from the “works of the flesh” in order to “sow” to the Spirit (Gal. 6:7-10; Rom. 2:28-29).

From this point forward, the rite of circumcision on the eighth day was seriously regarded by the people of Israel. And well it should be. As God said to Abraham, “And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.”

The fact that it was done on the “eighth” day is significant, for eight is the number which denotes “a new beginning or new order of things” (Vallowe). There is no doubt that God’s covenant with Abraham most certainly did that for Abraham as well as his descendants.

Now, does our phrase “male child” correlate with our “male child” (NKJV) in Revelation, Chapter 12? I believe it does, so it signifies and reinforces the fact that our “woman clothed with the sun” represents the New Covenant Promise which began with Abraham (Rom. 2:28-29). Let’s continue.

 

Genesis 17:15-19 (NKJV)
Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.” Then Abraham fell on his face and laughed, and said in his heart, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old? And shall Sarah, who is ninety years old, bear a child?” And Abraham said to God, “Oh, that Ishmael might live before You!” Then God said: “No, Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his descendants after him.

 

Remember, Sarah represents the New Covenant Promise. So Abraham is promised a son, Isaac, who would be born to Sarah and this despite the fact that Sarah was past the childbearing age (Gen. 18:11). Notice that Abraham asked God, “Shall a child be born to a man who is one hundred years old?”

Our number one hundred is significant. Vallowe wrote, “ONE HUNDRED is the number that stands for GOD’S ELECTION OF GRACE, or THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE. Isaac, a child of promise, was born when his father was a HUNDRED years old.” One hundred is 10 × 10, denoting the “witness” (2) of “ordinal perfection” (10; Bullinger). Once Isaac was born, God’s covenant with Abraham was evident, the number and order perfect.

Do you see that Sarah, representing the New Covenant Promise, gives birth to Isaac, who was the result of that “promise?” So this also defines the “male son” of Revelation, Chapter 12. The following passages confirm this.

 

Galatians 4:28 (NKJV)
Now we, brethren, as Isaac *was*, are children of promise.

 

Romans 9:6-9 (NKJV)
But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed. For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”

 

Now, take another look at what Paul wrote. “Those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.” It almost appears that Paul is discounting his own people, but we know that this is not the case. Rather, understanding is found in our passages from Galatians, Chapter 3.

 

Galatians 3:16 (NKJV)
Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ.

Who is the “seed?” Not Jesus, but “Christ.” Shall I say that again? The “seed” is not Jesus, but Christ. Ah, but Jesus was the Christ, was He not? Of course, but again, there is a precious understanding here that we need to realize.

First of all, our word “Christ” means, “Anointed.” It is taken from the word chriō which reads, “probably akin to G5530 (chraomai) through the idea of contact; to smear or rub with oil, i.e. (by implication) to consecrate to an office or religious service.”

 

Luke 4:14-21 (NKJV)
Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

 

Clearly, the anointing speaks of the “Spirit of God” which came upon Jesus after He was baptized by John in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:16). This is the meaning of the word “Christ,” the “seed” to whom the promises were made. This tells us that God’s Covenant Promise was made to His own Spirit! Please consider.

 

Hebrews 6:13-15 (NKJV)
For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by (to) Himself, saying, “Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.” And so, after he (Abraham) had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

 

These passages refer to the following from the book of Genesis.

 

Genesis 22:15-18 (NKJV)
Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By (To) Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

 

Do you see it? God, who is Spirit (John 4:24), swore to Himself, forming a Covenant or Promise with Himself that was extended to Abraham so that his “seed” would bless “all the nations of the earth.” And though it began with and incorporated the natural descendants or “seed” of Abraham as typified by Isaac, the true connection if you will, was by and through the Spirit of God incorporating the Covenant Promises or Word of God which are an integral part of His divine purpose.

Now, consider what Paul follows with in Hebrews.

 

Hebrews 6:16-20 (NIV)
Men swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things (His promise and His oath) in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where Jesus, who went before us, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.

 

As shown, an “oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument” (remember, this is also the meaning of seven). And God made this oath to show “the unchanging nature of His purpose” “to the heirs (plural) of what was promised.” And since it is “impossible for God to lie,” this oath or Promise has been and is being fulfilled. Because God made this oath to Himself, it has not and cannot fail.

 

Luke 8:11 (NKJV)
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.

 

John 1:1 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

 

In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught that “the seed is the Word of God.” John declares that this Word or “seed” was “in the beginning.” In other words, all that we know, both visible and invisible, began with and issued from this “seed” or living and powerful “Word” (Heb. 4:12).

 

Genesis 1:11-12 (NKJV)
Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, the herb that yields seed according to its kind, and the tree that yields fruit, whose seed is in itself according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

 

All of us know that you cannot plant an apple seed and produce oranges, nor can you plant an orange seed and produce apples, for a seed must produce “according to its kind.” Within the shell of the seed are the directives necessary to bring forth what it is, the instructions of life within that leads to the fruit which leads to even more seed. So it is with the “seed” of the Word of God, and the “life” of this Word is found in the Spirit of this Word. It is both which make up the “seed” of God, and it is this which is defined as the “Christ” of God. Once the Spirit of God came upon Jesus, He became the Christ, and after His temptation in the wilderness, He returned in the power of the Spirit where He came to Nazareth and declared the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Word of God to Isaiah.

And what was this fulfillment? It is that which we see in Revelation, Chapter 12, the advent of the New Covenant Promise, which God declared to Abraham and then through His prophet Jeremiah so long ago (Jer. 31:31-34). The “male son” who was “birthed” by the New Covenant Promise was none other than Jesus, who became the Christ, “caught up to God and His throne” by means of the power and presence of the Father Himself, and from that point forward exhibited this power and presence in a way that had never been seen before. Ah, but He was the “firstborn among many brothers” (Rom. 8:29; NIV).

 

 

 

Chapter Nine

[]THE FULLNESS OF THE TIME

Galatians 4:1-7 (NKJV)
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. (4) But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.

 

Revelation 12:1-4 (KJV)
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

 

An “heir” is someone who has an inheritance coming, but when they are a “child,” they are certainly not ready or capable to receive it. Now, when Paul spoke of “adoption,” he was not referring to that which we think about in our day. Rather, he was speaking about “the placing as a son.” In other words, when we are no longer a “child,” and we have been properly prepared, then we are ready to receive our inheritance from our Father.

Now, what did Paul mean by “the fullness of the time?” Our word “fullness” means, “Repletion or completion, i.e. (subject) what fills (as contents, supplement, copiousness, multitude), or (object) what is filled (as container, performance, period).” Remember, this is the meaning behind our number seven. Knowing this, consider our passages from Revelation, where we see “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” So not only do we see “seven heads,” denoting fullness, but “seven crowns” on those heads, also denoting fullness. A quick comparison with our beast in Revelation, Chapter 13, shows the “crowns” on the “ten horns” (Rev. 13:1). There is clearly a reason for this difference.

If we consider verse 9 of Revelation, Chapter 12, we will find that the “great red dragon” is “called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” and “he was cast out,” of heaven, and “into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” But here we must be willing to lay aside the traditional thought that this shows how Satan became a “fallen angel.” How could it? The passages of Revelation, Chapter 12, have nothing to do with a rebellion long before the serpent’s first appearance in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1). Rather, and as we are now considering, the casting out of the great red dragon in heaven relates to the “birth” of the “male son” (Rev. 12:5).

So again, what is meant by “the fullness of the time” in Galatians 4:4? When we see the “seven heads” with “seven crowns,” then it’s apparent that this “fullness” relates to the “great red dragon.” And any time we see the serpent, devil, Satan, and dragon, then it relates to deception. With this in mind, consider the following.

 

Matthew 3:4-10 (NKJV)
And John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance, and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. And even now the ax is laid to the root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Here we see John the Baptist, baptizing at the Jordan river. Note that “when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism,” that he called them a “brood of vipers” (poisonous snakes). No doubt, this was a serious charge against them and suggested that they were deceivers.

 

Matthew 12:33-34 (NKJV)
“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

 

Here we find that Christ Jesus laid the same charge against the Pharisees in our passages above, also calling them a “brood of vipers.”

 

Matthew 23:29-35 (NKJV)
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. (32) Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt. Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

 

Note in verse 32 of these passages the phrase, “Fill up.” The definition of this phrase reads, “from G4134 (pleres); to make replete, i.e. (literal) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figurative) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction).” It is taken from the word which means, “replete, or covered over; by analogy complete.” Doesn’t this agree with our understanding of seven and fullness? It does, and the statement which Jesus made here defines the meaning behind the “great red dragon” and the “seven crowns” on its heads. This also defines what is meant by “the fullness of the time.”

In Revelation 12:9, the word “serpent” is the same word that Jesus used in our passages above, meaning, “A snake, figurative (as a type of sly cunning) an artful malicious person.” The word “Devil” is defined as, “A traducer,” taken from the word which means, “To traduce.” The definition of “traduce” reads, “To make false or malicious statements about (someone) in order to cause humiliation or disgrace” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). The word “Satan” is “a Greek form derived from the Aramaic (Heb., Satan), ‘an adversary’” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words).

In all of these definitions, we see the spirit and character of the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ time. Anyone who has read the gospels knows that it was these religious leaders who opposed, slandered, mocked, scorned, hated, and persecuted Him all throughout His ministry. Sadly note that Jesus said to them, “That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.” At the end of His ministry, it was the scribes and Pharisees who conspired to put Him to death, but little did they know that this was ordained by the heavenly Father Himself to achieve a higher purpose.

Note that Jesus added “Abel,” connecting the spirit of the Pharisees to Cain, Abel’s brother of which John wrote, “Was of the wicked one and murdered his brother” (I John 3:12; NKJV). Our phrase “that serpent of old” in Revelation 12:9 also connects our “great red dragon” to the “serpent” in the garden of Eden (Gen. 3:1).

“Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt,” Jesus said, showing clearly that a fullness had been and was about to be confirmed. How? By the final and most horrendous act of their taking of Jesus and condemning Him to His death on the cross. This is what is meant by “the fullness of the time.”

For a better understanding of the Pharisees and Sadducees, consider the following from Wikipedia.

 

The Pharisees were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought in the Holy Land during the time of Second Temple Judaism. After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, Pharisaic beliefs became the foundational, liturgical and ritualistic basis for Rabbinic Judaism (the term ‘Judaism’ today almost always refers to Rabbinic Judaism).

 

Conflicts between Pharisees and Sadducees took place in the context of much broader and longstanding social and religious conflicts among Jews, dating back to the time of slavery in Egypt and exacerbated by the Roman conquest. Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization (the Sadducees) and those who resisted it (the Pharisees). A third was juridico-religious, between those who emphasized the importance of the Second Temple with its rites and services, and those who emphasized the importance of other Mosaic Laws. A fourth point of conflict, specifically religious, involved different interpretations of the Torah and how to apply it to current Jewish life, with the Sadducees recognizing only the Written Torah (with Greek philosophy) and rejecting doctrines such as the Oral Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and the resurrection of the dead.

 

Josephus (37 – c. 100 CE), himself a Pharisee, estimated the total Pharisee population prior to the fall of the Second Temple to be around 6,000. Josephus claimed that Pharisees received the full-support and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees, who were the upper class. Pharisees claimed Mosaic authority for their interpretation of Jewish Laws, while Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as High Priest. The phrase “common people” in Josephus suggests that most Jews were “just Jewish people”, distinguishing them from the main liturgical groups.

 

Outside of Jewish history and writings, Pharisees have been made notable by references in the New Testament to conflicts with John the Baptist and with Jesus. There are also several references in the New Testament to the Apostle Paul being a Pharisee. The relationship between Early Christianity and Pharisees was not always hostile however: e.g. Gamaliel is often cited as a Pharisaic leader who was sympathetic to Christians. Christian tradition draws attention to the Pharisees.

 

Revelation 12:5 (NKJV)
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.

 

Revelation 12:7-8 (NKJV)
And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.

 

There are two things necessary to our understanding of the preceding passages. First, where we see the male son “caught up to God and His throne.” We touched on this earlier, but let’s do so again. Please consider.

 

Matthew 3:13-17 (NKJV)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him. When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

Note that when Jesus came up from the water that we are told, “And behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.” The fact that the Spirit of God came upon Jesus at His baptism shows us that this was when He became the Christ, the “anointed” of God. Furthermore, “the heavens were opened to Him,” agreeing with the catching up of the male son in Revelation, Chapter 12. In other words, the open heavens speak of the spiritual ascension of Jesus the man to His position as Jesus the Christ at the “right hand” (power and authority) of God, the Father. At this point, Jesus received His inheritance from the Father, “placed” as a “Son,” for we read that God said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” For this reason, Jesus told Nicodemus, “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven” (John 3:13). Following His baptism by John, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, returning after forty days “in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14), again verifying His spiritual position at the throne of God.

Once Jesus ascended to the throne of God and returned in the power of the Spirit of God, there was “war in heaven,” made evident by the opposition of the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees of Jesus’ time. But as we know, they could not prevail against Him. And they never did, for the taking of Jesus in the garden of Gethsamene was not a victory of the Pharisees, but a voluntary laying down of His life by the Lord. Jesus knew it was time and delivered Himself up for all of humankind. What an astounding picture of the Lord’s love for us!

The second thing we must consider is our phrase, “Nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.” This indicates that up to a certain point and time, the “great red dragon,” the “devil” and “Satan,” had a place “in heaven.”

If we consider the position of the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day, we will find that Jesus said the following.

 

Matthew 23:1-3 (NKJV)
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.

 

The phrase “Moses’ seat” refers to the fact that the Pharisees were regarded as those who held to and taught the law. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon gives us the following definition (bolding mine).

 

καθεδρα G2515, καθεδρας, ἡ (κατα and ἑδρα), “a chair, seat”: Matthew 21:12; Mark 11:15 (Ecclus. 12:12; Herodian, 2, 3, 17 (7 edition, Bekker)); of the exalted seat occupied by men of eminent rank or influence, as teachers and judges: επι της Μωυσεως καθεδρας εκαθισαν, sit on the seat which Moses formerly occupied, _*i.e._ [*bear themselves as Moses’ successors in explaining and defending his law], Matthew 23:2.

 

Paul wrote that Jesus came “under the law” that He might “redeem them that were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5). Despite the fact that the Pharisees were extremely carnal, connected to the same spirit as Cain, they were still able to approach God by means of the law. This is why the “great red dragon” had a “place” “in heaven.” But after the anointing of Jesus at the Jordan river, a shift took place where the carnal works of the law were no longer sufficient to approach the Father. And once Christ Jesus died on the cross, He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Col. 2:14).

Now, consider the following in regard to the Jews and Pharisees.

 

John 8:37-44 (NKJV)
I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.” They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

 

Jesus makes it clear. Though the Jews and Pharisees were “Abraham’s descendants,” naturally speaking, it didn’t negate the fact that spiritually speaking, they were of their “father, the devil,” essentially a collective “great red dragon.” It mattered not how well versed in the law they were, or how religious they appeared to others. Jesus knew their hearts and their hypocrisy and that they would be the ones to send Him to the cross.

 

Colossians 2:13-15 (NIV)
When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

 

Ephesians 2:11-18 (NKJV)
Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles (other nations) in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision (Gentiles; nations) by what is called the Circumcision (Jews) made in the flesh by hands -- that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is,_ *the law of commandments _*contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.

 

In the mind of the Pharisees, their most glorious moment was the Lord’s crucifixion. Finally, after three and a half years, they were able to put a stop to this man who had exposed their religious hypocrisy. Oh how they must have hated Him! I cannot imagine being so filled with hatred against someone who exhibited the things which Jesus did. Despite the miracles and healings, His gentleness and kindness, the Pharisees despised this man Jesus. But little did they know that the divine purpose of the Father was accomplished by and through the death of His Son, forever and ever.

Take a moment to consider Vincent’s treatment of the phrase “law of commandments contained in ordinances.”

 

The law of commandments contained in ordinances (τὸν νόμον τῶν ἐντολῶν ἐν δόγμασιν)

The law, etc., depends in construction on having abolished, and is not in apposition with the enmity, as A.V. The middle wall of partition, the enmity, was dissolved by the abolition of the law of commandments. Construe in His flesh with having abolished. Law is general, and its contents are defined by commandments, special injunctions, which injunctions in turn were formulated in definite decrees. Render the entire passage: brake down the middle-wall of partition, even the enmity, by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments contained in ordinances.

 

Isaiah 53:1-12 (NKJV)
Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken . And they made His grave with the wicked-- But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.

 

Chapter Ten

[]THE LUCIFER ERROR

In the previous chapter, I spoke of the “great red dragon” of Revelation, Chapter 12, as symbolic of the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees which stood against Jesus during His ministry. So, I thought it would be good to take a few moments to share with you how one simple error in understanding can become a doctrine or teaching of wide and unquestioning acceptance.

When I say “Lucifer,” what is your first thought? It’s the devil, isn’t it? That which we also know as the “serpent” and “Satan.” But where does this idea come from? Is it scripturally sound? It might surprise you to know that it isn’t. The word “Lucifer” comes from the following passage.

 

Isaiah 14:12 (KJV)
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

 

The word “Lucifer” in this passage is the only time this word is used in the Bible. The Strong’s Concordance defines this word as, “from H1984 (halal) (in the sense of brightness); the morning-star.” H1984 reads, “a primitive root; to be clear (origin of sound, but usually of color); to shine; hence to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causative to celebrate; also to stultify.” Now, consider the following explanation from the Amplified Bible (bolding mine).

 

The Hebrew for this expression—“light-bringer” or “shining one”—is translated “Lucifer” in The Latin Vulgate, and is thus translated in the King James Version. But because of the association of that name with Satan, it is not now used in this and other translations. Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that effect, is erroneous. The application of the name to Satan has existed since the third century a.d., and is based on the supposition that Luke 10:18 is an explanation of Isaiah 14:12, which many authorities believe is not true. “Lucifer,” the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “Phosphoros,” which is used as a title of Christ in 2 Peter 1:19 and corresponds to the name “radiant and brilliant Morning Star” in Revelation 22:16, a name Jesus called Himself. This passage here in Isaiah 14:13 clearly applies to the king of Babylon.

 

How is it that something like this can take hold within Christendom, leading to such confusion and misunderstanding? Would it not be through the power of conversion which later leads to a “collective” and traditional stance that few question or challenge? Consider the following from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament in regard to the word “morning” and the phrase “son of the morning.”

 

The crux interpretum is Isaiah 14:12, “How you are fallen from heaven Lucifer (KJV son of the morning, hêlēl ben shaḥar).” That the passage occurs in the context of a satire on the king of Babylon no one will deny. Yet many Christians have taken this verse (along with perhaps Ezekiel 28), and on the basis of verses such as Luke 10:18; 1 Tim. 3:6, have assumed that here is something on Satan’s origin, especially his expulsion from heaven subsequent to his pompous display of arrogance. The New Bible Commentary (rev. ed., p. 600) calls such exegesis “a precarious conjecture.” And E. J. Young can say flatly (p. 441), “It cannot apply to Satan.” Among evangelicals Archer (WBC, p. 622) is the most open to a supernatural, cosmic interpretation. We feel safest with the application of the phrase to the Babylonian tyrant whose gross pride provided fuel for the prophet’s invective.

 

Note the reference made to Ezekiel, Chapter 28, which has been used in conjunction with Isaiah 14 to propose the idea of Lucifer or Satan as a fallen angel.

 

Ezekiel 28:11-16 (NKJV)
Moreover the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.

 

No doubt, these passages are filled with a symbolism which is difficult to understand, but clearly, this was a “lamentation for the king of Tyre.” Yet, due to its symbolic references, it is possible that it refers to more than just this king, the most challenging being those I have bolded. “You were in Eden, the garden of God,” and, “You were the anointed cherub who covers,” and finally, “You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.”

Like the word “Lucifer,” the word “cherub” is greatly misunderstood, due to the traditional idea that a “cherub” is an angel. Let’s take some time to consider this.

First of all, the word “cherub” is the Hebrew word kerûb and is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “Of uncertain derivative; a cherub or imaginary figure.” As we can see, this doesn’t give us much to go on.

In the Old Testament King James Version of scripture, the word “cherub” is used thirty times. The plural of this word, “Cherubims,” is used a total of 64 times. In other translations, the plural use drops the “s.” The first use of this word, plural or otherwise, is found in the following passage.

 

Genesis 3:24 (NKJV)
So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

 

The next time we see this word is found in the following passages in regard to the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Exodus 25:18-22 (NKJV)
And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

 

Our passages from Genesis and Exodus are enough to show the importance of the cherubim. The fact that they were placed at the “east of the garden of Eden” to “guard the way to the tree of life,” along with the fact that Moses was instructed to “make two cherubim of gold” on the ends of the mercy seat which sat on the Ark of the Covenant in the Most Holy Place of the Tabernacle of Witness, is enough to prove their significance. But it’s the placing of the cherubim on the mercy seat which gives us a clue as to what they may represent. Please consider.

 

1 Kings 6:23-28 (NKJV)
Inside the inner sanctuary he made two cherubim of olive wood, each ten cubits high. One wing of the cherub was five cubits, and the other wing of the cherub five cubits: ten cubits from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. And the other cherub was ten cubits; both cherubim were of the same size and shape. The height of one cherub was ten cubits, and so was the other cherub. Then he set the cherubim inside the inner room; and they stretched out the wings of the cherubim so that the wing of the one touched one wall, and the wing of the other cherub touched the other wall. And their wings touched each other in the middle of the room. Also he overlaid the cherubim with gold.

 

These passages are in regard to the Temple, which Solomon began to build during the fourth year of his reign over Israel (I Kings 6:28). Though much more elaborate than the Tabernacle of Witness during Moses’ time, it was still built with an Outer Court, Holy Place, and a Most Holy Place. And it was in this “Most Holy Place” or “inner sanctuary” where the Ark of the Covenant was placed. By all indications, the two large “cherubim of olive wood” stood above the original Ark of the Covenant with its two cherubim on the Mercy Seat. Is it just a coincidence that the two cherubim were made of “olive wood?”

In Romans, Chapter 11, Paul likens Israel as “a cultivated olive tree” and the Gentiles or nations as an “olive tree that is wild by nature” (Rom. 11:16-24). Might this explain the “olive wood” of the two large cherubim?

“Gold” is symbolic of divinity which means, “The state or quality of being divine” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). And don’t we read in Genesis that God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth’” (Gen. 1:26-29). Didn’t the serpent also tell Eve, “You will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5)? And couldn’t we say that all of us have the essence of the divine within us, breathed into us by God Himself (Gen. 2:7)? Finally, wasn’t Nebuchadnezzar a carnal man, yet represented by the “head of gold” in his dream?

Again, is it simply a coincidence that the two cherubim of olive wood were “ten cubits high,” ten meaning “that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete” (Bullinger)? Finally, the two wings of the cherubim were “five cubits” each, the number of “sin” (author) and “grace” (Bullinger). Look once again at our passages concerning the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant.

 

Exodus 25:18-22 (NKJV)
And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. Make one cherub at one end, and the other cherub at the other end; you shall make the cherubim at the two ends of it of one piece with the mercy seat. And the cherubim shall stretch out their wings above, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and they shall face one another; the faces of the cherubim shall be toward the mercy seat. You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony that I will give you. And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel.

 

Allow me to share the following illustration of the Ark of the Covenant with you. It may have looked something like the following.

 

So what am I suggesting in all of this? I am suggesting that the two cherubim above the mercy seat are defined by the following.

 

1 Corinthians 15:45-49 (KJV)
And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

 

Now, if you will indulge me, consider this illustration.

 

In this illustration, I’ve used the lampstand found in the Holy Place which represents the concept of Christ as the “light of the world” (John 8:12) as well as His people as this same light (Matt. 5:14). Note that there are seven branches on the lampstand, indicative of fullness and manifestation. Then notice that I’ve overlaid the cross and the Ark of the Covenant to show how the left side signifies the “cultivated olive tree” or Israel, while the right side speaks of the “wild” olive tree or nations. The central or middle shaft of the lampstand and beam of the cross denote the following.

 

Ephesians 2:14-16 (NKJV)
For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity.

 

As these passages show, the death of Christ on the cross “has broken down the middle wall of separation” between Israel and the nations, removing “the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace.” The cherubim on both sides face the middle, which indicates that both Israel and the nations were brought together by means of the blood of the New Covenant which Christ Jesus shed on the cross (Heb. 9:12).

The Ark of the Covenant itself bears witness with our perspective.

 

Hebrews 9:1-5 (NKJV)
Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

 

In the Ark of the Covenant was found “manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant” (Ten Commandments). The “manna” speaks of Christ Jesus Himself, the “true bread from heaven” (John 6:30-33; KJV). “Aaron’s rod that budded” speaks of the resurrection life in Christ because it was able to blossom while detached from the tree (Numbers, Chapter 17). Finally, the “tablets of the covenant” speak of the law, which by means of the New Covenant Promise, is put into our minds and written within our hearts (Heb. 8:10).

These three items denote the work of the Spirit of God in His people, the Ark itself pointing to the heart of the believer where the “true bread” of resurrection life abides. For this reason, we see the two cherubim on the Mercy Seat where the blood was applied by the High Priest once a year (Heb. 9:7-14), for it is only through the blood of Christ that we can know resurrection life, the eternal life of the Spirit of truth and grace.

Now, let’s return to our passages from Isaiah, Chapter 14.

 

Isaiah 14:4 (NKJV)
… that you will take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say: “How the oppressor has ceased, The golden city ceased!

 

Isaiah 14:12-17 (NKJV)
How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! (13) For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; (14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, To the lowest depths of the Pit. (16) “Those who see you will gaze at you, And consider you, saying: Is this the man who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world as a wilderness And destroyed its cities, Who did not open the house of his prisoners?’

 

Clearly, this proverb was about Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. And didn’t Daniel call him a “king of kings”? And wasn’t Nebuchadnezzar instrumental in the purpose of God in regard to His people? Of course. And as we have already considered, it was Nebuchadnezzar’s great pride that brought the judgment of the Lord against him as indicated by these passages.

If these passages point to someone other than the king of Babylon, I am inclined to believe that they point to the “first man Adam.” Why do I say this? It is due to what Isaiah said in verse 16, “Is this the man?”

Consider that Adam was made “a living soul” (Gen. 2:7; KJV). Then consider that we are told, “The soul who sins shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). Then understand that Paul wrote, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12), and through “one man’s offense death reigned through the one” (Rom. 5:17). It is clear that Adam’s act of rebellion to the commandment of God brought “death” to himself (Gen. 2:17) and thus “entered the world.” Ah, but who does Adam represent? The “earthy” or “natural man” in all of us, so “death spread to all men, because ALL sinned.” In other words, and in light of what Paul wrote, Adam (and Eve) represents the formation of the natural man in all humankind, and it is by means of this “man” that sin enters our “world,” our mind and heart, and thus into the rest of the world around us.

And what was Adam’s sin? Was it not the same as Nebuchadnezzar’s, which was pride, as confirmed by verses 13 and 14? How do we know? Please consider.

 

Genesis 3:8-12 (NKJV)
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be , she gave me of the tree, and I ate.”

 

Once Adam disobeyed the commandment of God, we find the Lord God speaking with him about his disobedience, asking, “Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” And what was Adam’s answer? “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” In other words, Adam sought to pass blame to the woman and God, accusing her as well as the Father Himself. And isn’t accusation a result of pride? Of course.

“Babylon” means “confusion,” and “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God.” Would this lack of wisdom from our Maker not put us into a confused state? And reconsider the following from The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

Babylon is the Greek spelling of the name which in Hebrew is uniformly “Babel.” The words occurs some 290 times and refers to an ancient city on the eastern bank of the Euphrates about twenty miles south of Bagdad, near the modern village of Hilla in Iraq. Akkadian seems to derive the name from babili(m) or from another earlier Sumerian source. But in both cases it means “Gate of God.” Genesis 11:9 gives the name as Babel (perhaps from bālal “to confuse”) but probably intended as a parody, a word play referring to what happened when the languages were confused.

 

The idea that Babylon means “Gate of God” is interesting because I see in this that Adam’s fall was by design, not by accident, for “the creation (Adam; us) was subjected to futility (vanity; KJV), not willingly, but because of Him (God) who subjected it in hope” (Rom. 8:20). Furthermore, “the spiritual (last Adam) is not first, but the natural (first Adam), and afterward the spiritual” (I Cor. 15:46). In other words, the “gate of God” begins with all of us coming into this world in a “natural” state first and is a necessary component of our existence in order for us to reach the “spiritual.”

 

Ezekiel 28:12-16 (NKJV)
“Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created. “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. “By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.

 

I reiterate that this is a “lamentation for the king of Tyre,” but could be pointing figuratively to something or someone else. But is it the devil? I don’t believe so.

Just as our passages in Isaiah, Chapter 14, refer to the “king of Babylon,” our passages here refer to another king, the “king of Tyre.” And what brought the fall of this king? “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned.” At any time, what does the devil have to do with trading? If we read the passages in Ezekiel, Chapter 28, which precede these, we will find that they establish Tyre as a coastal city which became quite prosperous due to coastal trade and that the “prince of Tyre” became lifted up in pride in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar did.

“You,” king of Tyre, “were the anointed cherub who covers.” In other words, this king was consecrated by God to fulfill the purpose of God for a time. Remember, anointing refers not only to prophets and priests, but to kings as well, and anointing speaks of the manifestation of God’s will and purpose by His divine Spirit. And what did Daniel tell Nebuchadnezzar? “And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Dan. 4:32). Doesn’t this clarify that God’s purpose, implemented by the anointing of His Spirit and Word, is manifested in both the natural and spiritual realms of our existence? Of course.

Last but not least, we find more detail concerning cherubim in the book of Ezekiel, Chapters 1 and 10. In Chapter 1, the prophet Ezekiel has visions of “four living creatures” which “had the likeness of a man” (Ezek. 1:5) and had “the hands of a man” “under their wings” (Ezek. 1:8). There were “four faces,” which were “the face of a man,” the “face of a lion,” the “face of an ox,” and the “face of an eagle.”

When we look at the vision of Ezekiel in Chapter 10, we find that the “face of an ox” is not present, but instead we find the “face of a cherub.” Remember this.

These same “four living creatures” are found in Revelation, Chapter 4.

 

Revelation 4:6-8 (NKJV)
Before the throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the throne, and around the throne, were four living creatures full of eyes in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!”

 

Remember in Chapter 3 that we mentioned these four living creatures were on the four banners of the twelve tribes of Israel. And there is a precious understanding here that relates to Christ Jesus.

The “face of the lion” speaks of Christ as “the lion of the tribe of Judah,” the “root of David” (Rev. 5:5), hence the book of Matthew begins with “the book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David.” The lion represents the boldness and confidence of Jesus through the Spirit of God.

The “face of the ox” (calf) speaks of Christ as the servant of God in Mark’s gospel (Mark, Chapter 1). Unlike a “wild animal,” an ox is domesticated, a “beast of burden” if you will, and the lord’s servitude is evident in the very first chapter of this gospel.

The “face of a man” speaks of Christ as the “Son of man” in the gospel of Luke (Luke 3:23-38). Luke was a physician and so gave us a picture of the “human” side of the Lord.

The “face of an eagle” speaks of Christ in the gospel of John, having ascended to the realm of heaven (John 3:13), His spiritual love, power, and grace evident in all that He did.

Now, think again about our change from the “ox” to the “cherub.” Why do we see this? Could it be because the essence of the “cherubim” speaks of us when we are a true “servant” (ox) of God in His purpose, natural or otherwise?

 

John 8:44 (KJV)
Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

 

Finally, consider the preceding passages. Jesus makes it clear that the devil “was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” Where in this statement do we find anything suggesting that Satan was ever righteous?

In summary, as my earlier illustration suggests, the cherubim speaks of “the first man Adam” (collectively) and the “last Adam” (also collectively), for it is man who was made in the image of God, first to bear “the image of the earthy” and destined to bear “the image of the heavenly” (I Cor. 15:49).

On a personal scale, the first covenant or law has authority and dominion over our natural essence while the second covenant or Promise has authority and dominion over our spiritual essence. Through the work and fulfillment of these Two Covenants, our natural and spiritual essence is brought together as “one new man.”

 

Romans 5:12 (NKJV)
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned…

 

Friend, it was “the first man Adam” who brought sin into the world and “death through sin,” not the devil. Yet, we know that the first appearance of the “serpent” is in the garden of Eden. However, if we closely examine the passages in Genesis, we will find that the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent are presented in symbolic form. There is no literal “Garden of Eden,” nor literal “trees” presenting “the knowledge of good and evil” or “life.” Rather, the symbolism of all of this relates to the Lord’s teaching in the Parable of the Sower concerning the sowing and reaping of the “seed” of the Living Word of God. It is my opinion that the two “trees” of the garden foreshadow the Two Covenants which our Creator established with Abraham, and the basis of these Two Covenants is found in the following.

 

Galatians 6:7-10 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

 

The “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” speaks of the principle of sowing to our flesh and reaping corruption, for we find that the first or Old Covenant was called “the ministry of death (corruption), written and engraved on stones” (II Cor. 3:7). The “tree of life” would then speak of sowing to the Spirit and reaping everlasting life, corresponding with “the ministry of the Spirit” and “righteousness” (II Cor. 3:8-9).

Chapter Eleven

[]THE BEAST OF THE EARTH

When we consider the beasts of Revelation, we must keep in mind that there are three different areas in this writing which must be considered together. As we have found, the first appearance of the beast with “seven heads and ten horns” is seen in Revelation, Chapter 12. Here we find “seven crowns” on the heads. However, in Revelation, Chapter 13, we see the “seven heads and ten horns,” but now the “crowns” are on the ten horns. As we discovered, the “ten horns” merely point to what follows after fullness, the harvest and spreading out of both the fruit and seed, albeit the “works of the flesh.”

In order to understand the difference between the “great red dragon” and the “beast rising up out of the sea,” we must use the explanation provided John in the 17th Chapter of Revelation, for it is there that we are given a reason for the “crowns.” Following is the explanation of the beast in its entirety.

 

Revelation 17:7-14 (NIV)
Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns. The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss (bottomless pit; KJV) and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come. “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction. “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

 

If we pay close attention to our description, we can explain what we find in Revelation, Chapters 12 and 13. First, John is told, “The beast, which you saw, once was.” This would be in John’s past and correlate with his vision of the “great red dragon” seen “in heaven” in Revelation, Chapter 12. “Now is not,” or that which was present in John’s time, would align with the casting down of the dragon through Christ as we discussed in Chapter Eight. “And will come up out of the Abyss (bottomless pit)” would align with the beast rising out of the sea in Revelation, Chapter 13, and indicate what would follow after in John’s future.

Now, let’s look at our list which we considered in Chapter Four, relating to the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel, which are synonymous with our “seven heads and ten horns.”

 

1. Head – 1st Head

2. Breast – 2nd Head

3. Arms – 3rd Head

4. Belly – 4th Head

5. Thighs – 5th Head

6. Legs – 6th Head

7. Feet – 7th Head

Ten Toes – Ten Horns

 

John is told that the “seven heads” “are seven hills on which the woman sits” and that “they are also seven kings,” i.e. they are the same. “Hills” and “kings” both refer to the pride of man and his desire to ascend and rule over others.

“Five have fallen, one is,” John writes. This would agree with the “6th head” or “legs” on our list, indicative of the Roman Empire, but more importantly of “a false witness who speaks lies,” which would refer to the spiritual condition of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew, Chapter 23). It was during this time that Jesus was born, entered into His ministry, and dealt a “deadly wound” to the beast (Rev. 13:3) through the power and authority of the kingdom of God in which He dwelt. No doubt, the murderous and violent spirit of the world was evident in both the Roman Empire and the religious Jews.

“The other has not yet come.” This agrees with John’s vision of the beast rising out of the sea in Revelation, Chapter 13, and would correlate with the “7th head” on our list. This would show that a “fullness” would once again become evident after the rise of the New Testament Church in the book of Acts.

John is then told, “The beast who once was (great red dragon), and now is not (cast down to the earth), is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.” Remember, eight denotes a “new beginning,” a “regeneration” (Bullinger). Regeneration speaks of a rebirth, renewal, or regrowth of something that was lost or destroyed. This would correlate with Revelation 13:3 where we read, “And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed.” And what “head” did Christ wound? It was the head of the dragon. We should also note in Revelation 13:2, where we read, “The dragon gave him (the beast of the sea) his power, his throne, and great authority.” And again, we are told it is “an eighth king.” With this in mind, consider the following.

 

Revelation 13:11-12 (NKJV)
Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

 

Where was the dragon cast down to? The “earth.” And what does John see “coming up out of the earth?” “Another beast,” separate from the seven heads of the first beast. But John immediately describes the “head” of this beast as having “two horns like a lamb.” Would this not be an eighth “head?” And we see that this “head” had “two horns like a lamb,” indicative of Christ, but “spoke like a dragon,” denoting deception.

In agreement with, “he belongs to the seven,” we read, “And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast.” And what might this eighth beast represent? Please consider.

 

1 John 2:18-19 (NIV)
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

 

“Dear children, this is the last hour,” John wrote. “And as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” Now look at the following.

 

1 John 4:1-6 (NKJV)
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

 

Do you see it? In regard to “antichrist,” the “spirit of the antichrist,” and “false prophets,” John tells us that in his time it was “already in the world.” And what did John write regarding them? “They are of the world,” that is, “he,” collectively speaking, “belongs to the seven,” to the spirit and mind of the world, the carnal mind. So our beast which comes up out of the earth denotes the spirit of antichrist and the false prophets who conduct themselves after this spirit. Further confirmation is found in the following passages.

 

Revelation 16:13-14 (NKJV)
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon (Revelation 12), out of the mouth of the beast (Revelation 13:1-10), and out of the mouth of the false prophet (Revelation 13:11-18). For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

 

Revelation 19:20 (NKJV)
Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

 

Do you see in these passages that the beast coming up out of the earth is clearly replaced by the phrase “false prophet?” In Revelation 19:20 we read that he “worked signs in his (beast of the sea) presence” and “deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.” Compare that with our description from Revelation, Chapter 13.

 

Revelation 13:13-18 (NKJV)
He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

 

Our beast of the earth “performs great signs” and “deceives.” He makes “an image to the beast” and gives “breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” He is responsible for causing “all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.” Doesn’t all of this agree with our understanding of the spirit of antichrist and the false prophets which John described in his letters? Doesn’t this also agree with what John wrote in Revelation 19:20 as well as Revelation 16, verses 13 and 14?

Remember, John wrote, “They,” the false prophets, “are of the world,” i.e. “of the seven,” and, “Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.” No wonder James wrote, “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

At this point, let us return to some passages from Revelation, Chapter 12, which helps us to better understand what lies behind the “false prophet.”

 

Revelation 12:3-4 (KJV)
And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

 

What does the “great red dragon” signify? The scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees who were able to approach God by means of the law. But what is meant by the “tail” of the dragon? Please consider.

 

Deuteronomy 28:13-14 (NKJV)
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them. So you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right or the left, to go after other gods to serve them.

 

Isaiah 9:14-16 (NKJV)
Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel, Palm branch and bulrush in one day. The elder and honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those who are led by them are destroyed.

 

Remember, as mentioned earlier, “one is” refers to the sixth thing which the Lord hates, a “false witness who speaks lies” and correlates with our “great red dragon.” In confirmation, we find that the “tail” of the dragon is responsible for drawing “the third part of the stars of heaven” and casting them “to the earth.” And what is the “tail?” Clearly, it refers to those who are “beneath,” cast down “to the earth,” and not in the spiritual position of “above,” or “heaven,” and it is “the prophet who teaches lies.” Wouldn’t this agree with a “false witness who speaks lies?”

 

Revelation 12:9-10 (NKJV)
So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.

 

It is in these passages that we begin to truly see the nature of what the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees were guilty of. No doubt, they were devoted to the law. And this was certainly to be expected, for when the fullness of the time had come, Christ came under the law to redeem those who were under it. But this was not the reason why Jesus denounced them so severely.

 

Matthew 23:1-5 (NIV)
Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. “Everything they do is done for men to see…”

 

Here we find the Lord telling the crowds and the disciples to obey and do everything the “teachers of the law (scribes) and the Pharisees” told them to do, “but do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” And what did they do? First, they did everything to be seen of men, clearly indicating pride. Secondly, “they tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.” When we consider this in conjuction with our phrase, “the accuser of the brethren,” we find that it speaks of condemnation which comes through accusation.

Remember that “the great red dragon” is called “that serpent of old,” identifying him as the serpent in the garden.

 

1 John 3:11-14 (NKJV)
For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.

 

The “wicked one” speaks of the serpent, the “great red dragon,” “called the Devil and Satan.” Cain was “of the wicked one” and so “murdered his brother.” “And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous.” Just like the Pharisees, Cain “said” but “did not,” his deeds testifying against his hypocrisy (Heb. 11:4). Like Abel, Cain brought an offering to the Lord (Gen. 4:3), however, we are told that it was “the fruit of the ground” while Abel’s offering was “the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.” The “fruit of the ground” denotes the “works of the flesh.” After all, Cain was “a tiller of the ground” while Abel was “a keeper of sheep.” “A keeper of sheep” denotes love for one’s brother.

And what does John connect all of this with? “Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you.” And don’t false prophets “speak as of the world” and the “world hears them”? And what is it that puts all of this together? Wouldn’t it be the SPIRIT of the world, which is the SPIRIT of the antichrist, the SPIRIT of accusation which leads to condemnation?

To emphasize my point, the casting down of the dragon in Revelation, Chapter 12, was the casting down of this spirit of accusation which was so clearly evident in the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees of Jesus’ time. This is confirmed in verse 10 of Revelation, Chapter 12, where the “great red dragon,” “that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan” is called “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night.” Our word “accuser” is defined as, “To be a plaintiff, i.e. to charge with some offence.” It’s taken from G2725 which reads, “against one in the assembly, i.e. a complainant at law.” This is the definition of the word “accused” in this same passage.

The Free Dictionary by Farlex defines accusation as, “An allegation that a person is guilty of some fault, offence, or crime; imputation.” With this in mind, consider what James wrote.

 

James 4:11-12 (NKJV)
Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?

 

It is evident in all of the gospels that the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees stood against Jesus throughout His entire ministry and falsely accused Him many times. This my friend, is the spirit of the antichrist which John warned of in his letters, a spirit of self-righteousness which leads us to think that we are better and more deserving of God’s favor.

Chapter Twelve

[]THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST

Revelation 13:14-15 (NKJV)
And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

 

First, we see the “great red dragon” in “heaven” (Rev. 12:3). Then we are told that his “tail,” symbolic of the prophet who teaches lies, “drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth” (Rev. 12:4). Then we see the birth of the male son, followed by “war in heaven” (Rev. 12:7). This “war” is with the “great red dragon,” the spirit of accusation and condemnation, which is “cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (Rev. 12:9; KJV). Then we are told, “Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” “Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child” (Rev. 12:12-13).

What is apparent in all of our passages is the references made to “the earth” and “the inhabitants of the earth” as opposed to those who “dwell” in the “heavens.” No doubt, this phrase is very important in our consideration, for we read in Revelation 13:14, that the beast that comes up “out of the earth” (Rev. 13:11) “deceives those who dwell on the earth” (Rev. 13:14).

Our key to understanding this is found in our passages above where the beast of the earth tells “those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath (life; KJV) to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” Note that it is the “image” of the beast which is given “breath” or “life” and “kills” those who do not worship this “image.”

 

Romans 1:20-23 (NKJV)
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they (Jews or Greeks; indicative of the whole world; Rom. 1:16) are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

 

In these passages, Paul shows that through our own hearts and minds, we change “the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man.” In other words, we conceptualize God as a man, as someone who thinks like we think and acts like we act. But what a gross error! “God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good” (Num. 23:19)? Furthermore, “ ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts’” (Isa. 55:8-9).

 

1 Corinthians 15:42-50 (KJV)
So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

 

It is here that we find an understanding of what is meant by the “image” of the beast. As we know, the “beast” speaks of the carnal mind, the mind of the flesh. Here we find that the “earth” speaks of “the first man Adam,” who “is of the earth, earthy.” Notice how Paul states, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy.” An “image” is a “likeness,” so this “image” would be the manifestation of those things which issue from the carnal mind, especially from the spirit of accusation which we are discussing. This is confirmed by the fact that Adam, once he transgressed, sought to accuse both God and his wife (Gen. 3:12). This would be the “natural man,” not just the physical form, but the mindset of the spirit of this world into which we are cultured as children.

When John spoke of “antichrist,” he told us to “test the spirits, whether they are of God” (I John 4:5). So again, the spirit is the focus of his discourse.

False prophets “are of the world.” Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them” (I John 4:5). The “world” is not the physical things we see around us. Rather, it is the “world” within us, the realm of thought and intent, of emotion and will. What we see outwardly is a product of what transpires inwardly. For this reason Paul wrote, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). “Heavenly places” doesn’t speak of any “heaven” far away somewhere, but of the invisible realm of Spirit in which all of us move (Acts 17:28), which includes thought and thinking, imagination and perception. After all, thoughts are invisible, and the realm of heaven speaks of that which we cannot see. For this reason Paul also wrote, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments (imaginations; KJV) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor. 10:3-5). Consider Vincent’s treatment of II Corinthians 10:5.

 

Casting down (καθαιροῦντες)

Not the weapons, but we: we war, casting down, etc.

 

High thing (ὕψωμα)

Only here and Romans 8:39. Falling in with the metaphor of strongholds. High military works thrown up, or lofty natural fastnesses with their battlements of rock. The word is also used in the Septuagint and Apocrypha of mental elevation, as Job 24:24, where the Septuagint reads “his haughtiness hath harmed many.”

 

Exalteth itself (ἐπαιρόμενον)

Rev., is exalted. Aeschylus uses a similar metaphor in Atossa’s dream of the two women whom Xerxes yoked to his chariot: “And the one towered (ἐπουργοῦτο) loftily in these trappings” (“Persae,” 190).

 

Bringing into captivity (αἰχμαλωτίζοντες)

Or leading away captive. The military metaphor is continued; the leading away of the captives after the storming of the stronghold. See on captives, Luke 4:18. The campaign against the Cilician pirates resulted in the reduction of a hundred and twenty strongholds and the capture of more than ten thousand prisoners.

 

Thought (νόημα)

See on 3:14.

To the obedience of Christ

In pursuance of the metaphor. The obedience is the new stronghold into which the captives are led. This is indicated by the preposition εἰς into or unto.

 

Remember, it is sowing discord which is the seventh or fullness of pride and an abomination to the Lord, and discord is created by accusation. Accusation comes as a result of how we think about ourselves, our identity or ego or self, in contrast with others. It is fostered by those things which we most readily identify with; our culture, our political party, social class, religious ideology, skin color, language, etc. This is why Jesus taught that we must deny ourselves, i.e. change the way we were first cultured to think, challenging and disconnecting from those things we identify with that cause us to separate from one another.

 

Colossians 3:1-11 (NKJV)
If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication (1), uncleanness (2), passion (3), evil desire (4), and covetousness (5), which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger (6), wrath (7), malice (8), blasphemy (9), filthy language out of your mouth (10). Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

 

Note how Paul contrasts those “things which are above” with “things on the earth.” He then tells us we “died” and that our “life is hidden with Christ in God.” What does Paul follow with? Ten things pertaining to our “members which are on the earth.” Would this align with the “ten horns” of our beast? Notice that the first five are inward and personal while the last five are outward manifestations toward others. Then Paul follows with, “Do not lie to one another,” aligning with our “false witness who speaks lies.” Why is this important? Because the truth about all of us is that every single one of us are guilty of sin, guilty of giving in to the flesh and the carnal mind, therefore, none of us are qualified to judge and condemn others.

Friend, our spiritual destiny has been reckoned in and through Christ. When Christ died, all of us died in Him.

 

2 Corinthians 5:14-16 (NKJV)
For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.

 

It is one thing to recognize an obvious and hurtful act committed by someone and to judge accordingly. But it is another thing entirely to be separated by the ideologies in our mind that lead us to isolate and condemn each other because we don’t agree. So let me emphasize this point—what we believe is not nearly important as what spirit we are of. Please consider.

 

Luke 9:51-56 (NKJV)
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” But He turned and rebuked them, and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.” And they went to another village.

 

Revelation 13:13 (NKJV)
He (the beast of the earth) performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.

 

Do you see it? The beast of the earth, the false prophet, “makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.” Friend, this is not a literal fire, but relates to what Jesus said to James and John. It is a “fire” that issues from the tongue (James 3:6) out of the wrong spirit, the spirit of pride and accusation. And this we do too freely in our religious ideologies and in our personal lives. And because the world is saturated with this same spirit, we attract and convert others to this same deceptive nature which is opposed to the Spirit of truth.

The church has fallen prey to this spirit of accusation that is so prevalent in the world, just as the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees did in Jesus’ time. Evidence is easily seen in the doctrines of hell and the rapture which we have fabricated and propagated to each other and the world at large. Even a cursory examination of these doctrines shows that they are based in self-righteousness and separatism.

 

Revelation 13:15 (NKJV)
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.

 

John 16:1-3 (NKJV)
“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me.

 

When we refuse to be part of the sectarian spirit of this age, we place ourselves in a position to be “killed,” not only physically, but in the sense of reputation and character. The natural man is quick to judge and condemn and to falsely accuse and evidence is easily seen on our daily news. But this, my friend, is not the essence of the Spirit of Christ. Consider what Jesus said.

 

Luke 6:35-38 (NKJV)
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 

The Spirit of Christ is the Spirit of kindness, mercy, and forgiveness, a Spirit of love that does not judge or condemn. When we conduct ourselves in this Spirit, we recognize and acknowledge and understand that all of us are on the same level, that no one is better than another, and that all of us are in much need of grace.

 

Chapter Thirteen

[]THE THIRD PART

Revelation 12:4 (KJV)
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

 

The Lucifer error is due in part to this passage about the “tail” of the dragon and “the third part of the stars of heaven.” Tradition states that the “stars of heaven” in this passage speaks of angels, therefore a “third” of the angels were cast down with the great red dragon or “Lucifer.” But we have already considered the error behind the concept of Satan as a fallen angel. So, let’s reconsider this passage as to what it might mean.

 

Mark 4:26-29 (NKJV)
And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how. For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade (1), then the head (2), after that the full grain in the head (3). But when the grain ripens, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.”

 

Note that Jesus taught a simple parable about the “kingdom of God,” using the planting of a seed to illustrate a certain truth, stating, “For the earth yields crops by itself: first the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.” Here we have three stages that show the “work” of the seed above the ground. We have mentioned the spiritual meaning of three throughout this study. Let’s look at Bullinger’s explanation.

 

In this number we have quite a new set of phenomena. We come to the first geometrical figure. Two straight lines cannot possibly enclose any space, or form a plane figure; neither can two plan surfaces form a solid. Three lines are necessary to form a plan figure; and three dimensions of length, breadth, and height, are necessary to form a solid. Hence three is the symbol of the cube—the simplest form of solid figure. As two is the symbol of the square, or plane contents (x2), so three is the symbol of the cube, or solid contents (x3).

 

Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.

 

All things that are specially complete are stamped with this number three.

 

God’s attributes are three: omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence.

 

There are three great divisions completing time—past, present, and future.

 

Three persons, in grammar, express and include all the relationships of mankind.

 

Thought, word, and deed, complete the sum of human capability.

 

Three degrees of comparison complete our knowledge of qualities.

 

The simplest proposition requires three things to complete it; viz., the subject, the predicate, and the copula.

 

Three propositions are necessary to complete the simplest form of argument—the major premiss, the minor, and the conclusion.

 

Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter—mineral, vegetable, and animal.

 

When we turn to the Scriptures, this completion becomes Divine, and marks Divine completeness or perfection.

 

As Bullinger wrote, “Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire,” showing that “the third part” of the plant is and agrees with the “full grain in the head.” Where seven denotes the spiritual perfection or maturity of the plant, three denotes the entirety of the process of the seed. When brought together, we have ten, meaning “nothing is wanting,” that “the whole cycle is complete” (Bullinger).

In the same way that the “third part” of the wheat in the parable is the “full grain in the head,” so the “third part of the stars of heaven” speak of something similar. Consider the following illustration.

 

As our illustration shows, the “full grain in the head” aligns with the spiritual maturity of the plant, signifying the fruition of the seed which was sown.

So what do the “stars” signify? Please consider.

 

Psalms 147:4 (NKJV)
He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.

 

Psalms 148:3 (NKJV)
Praise Him, sun and moon; Praise Him, all you stars of light!

 

Daniel 12:3 (NKJV)
Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.

 

Our passage from Daniel shows that the “wise” are those who “shine,” that “those who turn many to righteousness,” are “like the stars forever and ever.” So the “light” of the stars speaks of the “righteousness” in His people. For this reason we read, “God is light and in him is no darkness at all” (I John 1:5), for “the Lord is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works” (Psalms 145:17).

The “third part” of the “stars” of heaven speaks of the “light” of righteousness that is seen through His people. When we understand that the “tail” of the dragon speaks of the prophets who speak lies, we find that, over time and through deception, the “light” of this divine righteousness is cast down “to the earth,” brought down to the carnal and earthy nature which cannot produce the true righteousness that God’s Spirit alone can give. Instead, through pride, our righteousness becomes self-righteousness and our works proceed from our own self-effort.

 

Matthew 24:29 (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken…

Not for a moment do I believe these passages to be literal. As we have learned, the “sun” and “moon” represent the New Covenant and Old Covenant respectively. So when the reality of these covenants is lost, then the righteousness which is defined by these covenants is lost as well. This is what is meant by “the stars shall fall from heaven.”

 

Revelation 1:4 (KJV)
John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne…

 

Revelation 1:20 (KJV)
The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.

 

As we see, there were “seven Spirits” before the throne of God and “seven stars” in the right hand of the Lord in John’s vision of the “Son of man” in Revelation, Chapter 1. We are told, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches.”

 

Hebrews 1:7 (NKJV)
And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”

 

God’s “angels” are God’s “spirits.” Please consider.

 

Isaiah 11:1-5 (NKJV)
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom (1) and understanding (2), The Spirit of counsel (3) and might (4), The Spirit of knowledge (5) and of the fear of the Lord (6). His delight is in the fear of the Lord, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears; But with righteousness (7) He shall judge the poor, And decide with equity for the meek of the earth; He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, And faithfulness the belt of His waist.

 

The seven angels or Spirits are defined for us in these passages from Isaiah, but notice how it is but the one “Spirit of the Lord” which would rest upon Jesus. As shown, the “Spirits” are attributes, characteristic of the one Spirit of God, which is summed up in the fullness (7) of “righteousness.”

 

Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

 

The kingdom of God is and always has been about righteousness. After all, God is love, and righteousness proceeds from this love for His creation. It is not about “going to heaven,” but of entering His kingdom while on earth, into the righteousness of Christ by faith, so that we may walk in the love of God that leads us to lay down our lives for one another. As long as any shred of pride and self-righteousness remains in us, we cannot know this love in its fullness. It is for this reason that the divine process of God works throughout this world, moving us forward through our self-inflicted suffering that is necessary to humble us.

When we look at the Two Covenants, we will see that they are clearly about righteousness, for the law which God gave Moses was merely an outward representation of an inward work of the Spirit of God in this planet.

It is apparent in our society that we have sought to change God’s righteous requirements to satisfy our own fleshly lusts, but our Father will simply not have it. Once spoken and established, it remains. Our resistance to His principles will only continue to bring suffering into our lives, for these principles were established by the same Superior Intelligence which designed us. Who better than our Maker understands our thoughts and intents and our obvious lack of perception and understanding?

Love is the fulfilling of the law, but we cannot attain this love by our own efforts. For this reason, His divine principle of sowing and reaping continues to work in this earth and in our earth, slowly bringing us to the all-consuming power and presence of His holy nature.

Yes, the sun, moon, and stars will fail for a time, but only for a time, for the Lord has determined that the Word of His Covenants will be fulfilled, for He has sworn to Himself and it will surely come to pass.

 

Matthew 24:29-31 (KJV)
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

 

Chapter Fourteen

[]THE LAST HOUR

Revelation 17:12-14 (NIV)
“The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast. They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

 

It’s easy to understand that one man alone cannot do much damage. But when he gains a number of followers, things change. What begins with one, can spread to many, and as more are added, they become quite a force to reckon with. Such is the case with so many areas of our society and throughout the world.

From the simple concept of “friends” and “followers” on our social media to the political structures of our government, we are always reaching out to others with our ideas and opinions, our passions and interests, often seeking to convert as many as we possibly can to our own way of thinking.

There can be no doubt that religion is one of the strongest forces to deal with, for once you add the name of God, Jehovah, Allah, Christ, Buddha, Muhammed, Krishna, or any other such name, you enter the realm of spiritual mysteries and thus capture the attention of a multitude of people who are desperate to understand them. And there is proof all around us. At the moment, Christianity is the largest religion in the world with hundreds of denominations and independent organizations which include millions of people around the world. But this is just Christianity.

According to Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, “Buddhism in the world is practiced by an estimated 488 million, 495 million, or 535 million people as of the 2010s, representing 7% to 8% of the world's total population.” Again from Wikipedia, we are told, “With about 1.62 billion followers or 23% of the global population, Islam is the second-largest religion by number of adherents and, according to many sources, the fastest-growing major religion in the world.” Hinduism is said to be the third largest religion.

Remember, the “ten kings,” being “ten horns” or “ten toes” are merely an extension of the head or feet and thus “push” the will of the beast. For this reason, we read, “They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.” And what is this one purpose? “They will make war against the Lamb.”

 

Revelation 19:11-13 (NKJV)
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

 

Revelation 19:19 (NKJV)
And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.

 

In our first set of passages in Revelation, Chapter 19, we find “a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.” No doubt, this is a description of Jesus Christ the “Lamb of God.” Further in Chapter 19 we read, “And His name is called The Word of God.”

A “name” in scripture denotes the nature of the one to whom it is given. The definition of “nature” means, “The set of inherent characteristics or properties that distinguish something” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). As an example, consider that Jacob’s name, because he took hold of his brother Esau’s heel when he was born (Gen. 25:26), means “heel-catcher.” It was changed to Israel, which means, “He will rule as God” because he prevailed with the angel of the Lord in Genesis, Chapter 32. So, to make war against the “Lamb” is to contend with, not only the truth of the Living Word itself, but with the “name” or nature of those who are transformed by it (Rom. 12:2). Scripture, along with history, both show that Christ and all of His apostles were persecuted for this very reason (Matt. 24:9-12).

Just a few verses later in Revelation 19, we find “the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against” the Lord and His army. When we compare this with our passages from Revelation 17, verses 13 and 14, we find that the “ten horns” are symbolic of the armies of the “beast” and “the kings of the earth,” denoting the collective strength we have spoken about.

 

Revelation 17:12 (NKJV)
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.

 

1 John 2:18 (NIV)
Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.

 

The “ten horns” “receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast.” In comparison, John wrote that “this is the last hour,” but we must keep in mind the dispensation of the Spirit in which John was a part. In other words, John’s reference to this “last hour” is understood by the following in Acts, Chapter 2.

 

Acts 2:15-21 (NKJV)
For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs in the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

 

Note the reference made to “the last days,” plural, and “in those days,” also plural. So we see from this that the “last days” involves more than one “day” if you will. Though I don’t believe they are literal days, the fact that there is more than one reveals a certain truth. Please consider.

 

Matthew 12:40 (NKJV)
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

 

John 2:18-22 (NKJV)
So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said.

 

In these passages, we find the Lord speaking of “three days and three nights” in which He would be “in the heart of the earth.” He also tells the Jews that when they “destroy this temple,” that He would “raise it up” in “three days.” As noted, “He was speaking of the temple of His body.” As scripture shows, Christ was raised from the dead after three days. However, I believe there is a deeper meaning here.

 

1 Corinthians 3:11-17 (KJV)
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. , and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

 

Paul made it clear that the true “temple of God” are those who are established on the “foundation” of Jesus Christ by means of the “Spirit of God.” And “every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try (test) every man’s work of what sort it is.” I believe this is the “temple of God” which Jesus was speaking of. And not only was Christ the “temple of God,” so too were His disciples, for the “temple of God” is a collective “temple,” made up of those who overcome. Note too that “the day shall declare it,” indicating any one of the three “days” of which we speak.

 

Matthew 5:17 (KJV)
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.

 

When Moses received the law at Mount Sinai, he also received instructions for the building of the Tabernacle of Witness (which incorporated the temple of God) and the Feasts of Israel. Very specific instructions were given in regard to both (Exodus, Chapters 25 through 31; Lev. 23:1-44). The reason for this specificity is because the law, along with the Tabernacle and the Feasts, was symbolic of spiritual realities that were to follow (Heb. 8:1-5). Jesus knew and understood this perfectly.

The spiritual fulfillment of the Feasts of Israel is simply one aspect of that which Christ came to fulfill. There were three feasts, divided into seven segments. Coincidence? I don’t believe so. As we know, seven denotes spiritual perfection or fullness and three denotes the work of the seed. So our three feasts in seven segments represents the fullness or fruition of the work of God in His people. Now, in light of our passages from Acts, Matthew, and John, consider the following illustration.

As you can see, I’ve chosen the lampstand once again in order to define our understanding of “three days and three nights.” Now, on each branch, we have light, so each branch represents a “day,” for “God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night” (Gen. 1:5). Are there not seven days in a week? The spaces between the branches represent the “Night” or darkness (John 9:4).

As shown, each branch of the lampstand represents a part of the three Feasts of Israel, beginning with the Feast of Passover which included “Unleavened Bread” and “Firstfruits.” This was followed by the Feast of Pentecost, represented by the central shaft of the lampstand. Finally, we have the Feast of Tabernacles, which includes the Day of Trumpets, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Seven segments of three feasts, speaking of the fullness or manifestation of the kingdom of God through Christ and His people. The fact that there are three feasts speaks of the work of the Living Word through the covenants of God which began with Abraham.

Inasmuch as Christ fulfilled all of this within Himself, the same is purposed for His people. Jesus said that He was “the light of the world” (John 8:12) and that we are “the light of the world,” and, “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house” (Matt. 5:14-15). Paul also tells us that we “are all the children of light, and the children of the day” (I Thess. 5:5). Please consider.

 

John 11:9 (NKJV)
Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.

 

There are “twelve hours in the day,” so there are also twelve hours in the night to make a total of twenty-four hours. Twelve is the number of divine government (Bullinger), or, government by divine appointment (Vallowe), representing the spiritual rule of those who overcome and inherit the kingdom of God (Rev. 3:21). No doubt, John was one of those who walked in this divine light or “day” of Jesus Christ.

 

Genesis 1:5 (KJV)
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

 

As shown, biblical time is reckoned as “the evening and the morning,” so the Hebrew “day” actually begins at sunset. So it is that when we consider the “three days and three nights” in light of our illustration, it begins with the “night” followed by the “day.” See Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 4, where we are given a “mirror” image if you will; the “heavens and the earth” and “the earth and the heavens.” When viewed from the heavens, we see the “heavens (day) and the earth (night)” but when viewed from the earth, we see the “earth (night) and the heavens (day).” Of course, the Lord’s perspective was from the “heavens,” thus it was “three days and three nights.”

“Dear children, this is the last hour,” John said, “And as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.” If we look at our illustration of the lampstand, we leave the twelfth or last hour of the “Day” of Pentecost to enter into the first hour of “darkness” or “night” of the “Day” of Trumpets. Would this correlate with the seven trumpets of Revelation? I believe it does. How do we know? Because the first trumpet aligns with John’s warning about “antichrist” and with the prophecy to the church of Ephesus, signaling the entrance of “false apostles” in the church. Please consider.

 

Revelation 2:1-2 (NKJV)
“To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars

 

In the prophecy to the first church of Ephesus, we have confirmation. Jesus tells them, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars.” Jesus goes on to say, “And you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Rev. 2:3-4). Despite the fact that the “false apostles” were tested and exposed, they still managed to influence the church enough to begin a spiritual decline that would only grow worse.

Now, compare the first trumpet with the first message to the church of Ephesus.

 

Revelation 8:7 (KJV)
The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth…

 

Here we see “hail” and “fire” “mingled with blood.” Compare this with the following.

 

Revelation 3:15 (NKJV)
I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.

 

Matthew 24:12 (NKJV)
And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

 

In Revelation 3:15, Christ speaks of the spiritual condition of “cold” and “hot.” In the first church of Ephesus, the entrance of false apostles in the church began a spiritual decline within the body of Christ, reflected in the statement, “You have left your first love.” The increase of this condition is confirmed by what Jesus said in Matthew 24:12.

“Hail” is cold while “fire” is hot, so the “hail” symbolizes the rise of false apostles in the church, love growing cold, while the “fire” speaks of the true apostles, their love and passion for the truth evident. In the beginning of the New Testament Church of Christ, both were “mingled with blood,” i.e. found within the church which are the redeemed through His blood. The Parable of the Tares also confirms this understanding (Matt. 13:24-30).

So, based on prophecy, the advent of “antichrist” was destined to follow after the glorious spiritual fulfillment of the “Day” of Pentecost. After all, there cannot be an “antichrist” until there is a “Christ.” Following is another illustration of what we are considering.

 

As we see, this illustration shows the “12 hours” of the nights and days that follow after the Day of Pentecost. To reiterate, the “last hour” of which John spoke was the “twelfth” or “last hour” of the Day of Pentecost which led into the “first hour” of the “night” of “Trumpets.”

If we take what Jesus said about “destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” we see the destruction of the temple beginning in the first segment or “night” of Trumpets and ending with the “light” or “day” of the Feast of Tabernacles.

Not surprisingly, the Feast of Trumpets begins on the first day of the seventh month. The Day of Atonement follows on the tenth day of the seventh month. Finally, the Feast of Tabernacles begins on the fifteenth day of the seventh month. But keep in mind that these are three segments of the one Feast of Tabernacles. Do these numbers have spiritual meaning? Of course.

The fact that all three segments of the Feast of Tabernacles are in the seventh month again points to fullness or the spiritual fulfillment of the will of God through Christ in the church (Matt. 5:17).

The spiritual meaning of one applies to the first day of the seventh month, the Day of Trumpets. One is the number which defines “independence” as well as “unity” (Bullinger). Independent of us, God’s will is reckoned, yet in that independence, unity is the purpose.

There are nine days from the first to the tenth and nine is the number which “marks the end” and is “significant of the conclusion of a matter.” (Bullinger). It is “significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man’s works. Nine is, therefore, the number of finality or judgment” (Bullinger). This shows that the Day of Trumpets speaks of the judgment of the house of God (I Peter 4:17) until such time that our works become His will.

The spiritual meaning of ten is “ordinal perfection,” meaning “the whole cycle is complete” and that “nothing is wanting” (Bullinger). This aligns with the “Day of Atonement.” Once the cycle of trumpets is over, an “atonement” is reached by those who “hear” them (Rev. 11:15). In other words, those who “hear” are those who “overcome” (Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 26-29; 3:5-6, 12-13) and exemplify the sacrifice of Christ within themselves, their love for God and man evident to the world at large.

There are five days between the Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles, which speaks of God’s “grace” (Vallowe) in this process.

Finally, the spiritual meaning of fifteen is “rest” (Vallowe). Bullinger states that it means “acts wrought by the energy of Divine grace.” Both of these meanings agree, for once we enter into the “rest” of God, we cease from our own works as God did from His (Heb. 4:10). In other words, our “labor” or “works” no longer proceed from our own efforts, but from the divine presence of Christ in us. It is “faith working through love” (Gal. 5:6).

What is also important to mention is the divisions of the “night” into “watches.” In the days of Christ and the apostles, the night was divided into four watches (Matt. 14:25; 24:43; Luke 12:38). When we understand our “evening and morning” in conjunction with these watches, it gives deeper meaning to the following.

 

Matthew 24:42-43 (KJV)
Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

 

Do you see it? In these passages, the Lord speaks of an “hour” and relates it to a “watch.” In other words, He is referring to the twelve hours of the “night.” No wonder Paul wrote that the “day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2). Further confirmation is seen in the following.

 

2 Peter 3:10 (KJV)
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

 

Preceding the “day” is the “night,” indicative of the “works of darkness” which we must overcome. For this reason Paul wrote, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:12; KJV). The “earth” and its “works” speaks of those carnal works which issue from the deception of our own hearts (ground; earth).

 

Mark 13:35-37 (NKJV)
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning -- lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!"

 

Now, indulge me for just a moment. Three days and nights are seventy-two hours. I immediately see seventy and two in our number, two being the number of witness. And what does seventy represent? It is the number which symbolizes universality and the restoration of Israel (Vallowe). Seventy years Israel lived in exile (Jer. 25:11; 29:10). This was the length of the captivity of the Jews in Babylon. After this, Babylon was to be overthrown and the Jews were to return to their own land (Jer. 25:11-12; Dan. 9:2; Zech. 7:5). God gave Moses the command to choose seventy elders to assist him because his burden was too heavy (Num. 11:16). Jesus chose seventy disciples to go out in His name (Luke, Chapter 10). We also find “seventy weeks” in the book of Daniel (Dan. 9:2, 24).

 

Daniel 9:24 (KJV)
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression (1), and to make an end of sins (2), and to make reconciliation for iniquity (3), and to bring in everlasting righteousness (4), and to seal up the vision and prophecy (5), and to anoint the most Holy (6).

 

Note that we have six things listed in regard to the seventy weeks. Didn’t God create everything in six days and rest on the seventh? So in the seventy weeks, are we seeing the work of creation in His people that ends with us finding rest (Heb. 4:1-10)?

Six denotes man’s enmity with God, so in the seventy weeks is found all that is necessary to reconcile us in our enmity with our Maker.

A week is seven days, so our seventy “weeks” could also be considered as seventy “sevens.” With this in mind, consider the following.

 

Matthew 18:21-22 (KJV)
Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

 

What a precious understanding we find in the Lord’s remark to Peter. I don’t believe for a moment that Jesus meant that Peter should forgive just 490 times (70 × 7). Rather, I believe He was referring to the fullness of God’s grace and forgiveness through His people which will bring to pass the restoration of His people.

 

Chapter Fifteen

[]THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Revelation 13:16-18 (NKJV)
He (beast of the earth) causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

 

We’ve learned that the beast coming up out of the earth represents the collective “false prophet” (Rev. 16:13; 19:20; 20:10), motivated by the spirit of “antichrist,” the spirit of accusation and condemnation (I John 4:1-6; Rev. 12:10).

In our preceding passages, we find that the false prophet “causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.” Note that there are three classifications which sum up the whole of humankind, “small and great (1), rich and poor (2), free and slave (3).”

We then read “that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Again, we have three things to consider—“the mark (1) or the name of the beast (2), or the number of his name (3).” The number three confirms that even this too is a divine work of the Living Word of God and that the purpose of God is reckoned in all that we are considering.

We then read, “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” Remember the spiritual meaning of six?

Six “is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ” (Bullinger). In six we see man’s enmity against his Maker and “man’s labour as apart and distinct from God’s rest” (Bullinger). Our false prophet causes all to receive it.

There are three sixes to consider, and we are told that “it is the number of a man.” To which “man” does this refer? Please consider.

 

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

The “man” which Revelation 13:18 refers to is not an individual who is destined to rise and take over the world. Rather, it is “the man of sin,” the “son of perdition” of which Paul speaks in our passages above. Remember, Paul spoke of “the first man Adam” as “that which is natural,” the “first man” who “is of the earth, earthy” (I Cor. 15:45-50; KJV). Clearly, the “natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Cor. 2:14). This my friend is the “man of sin,” the “son of perdition (ruin or loss)” to which Paul refers in II Thessalonians. The “number” of this “man” then, should agree with our perspective, and based on our understanding of the spiritual meaning of six, we find that it does agree.

Earlier in this study, we looked at our three sixes summed up as eighteen. And what does eighteen represent? Bondage (Luke 13:4-5, 16; Judges 3:14; 10:7-8; Gal. 5:19-21; II Tim. 3:1-5). Please consider.

 

Romans 8:15-21 (NKJV)
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility (vanity; KJV), not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

 

What would be “the bondage of corruption” if not the law of sin and death, which Paul said was in our members (Rom. 7:23)? And let’s face it. There is not a single one of us who hasn’t struggled with this throughout our lifetime, baffled by its continual rising up in our mind and heart, causing us to do those things which bring suffering into our lives. The New International Version reads, “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear” (Rom. 8:15). Compare this with the following.

 

Luke 21:25-26 (NKJV)
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.

 

Would this “fear” not aptly describe “the course of this world,” the “prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2)?

In our passages in Romans, Chapter 8, we find that every one of us (defined by the word “creature”), “was subjected to futility (vanity; KJV), not willingly,” showing that all of us enter into this “bondage of corruption” from the moment we are birthed into this world. And what did Paul mean by this? Not surprisingly, it goes back to our universal principle of sowing and reaping found in Galatians.

 

Galatians 6:7-8 (NKJV)
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

 

Friend, the “bondage of corruption” refers to the principle of sowing and reaping, “for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” Remember, “corruption” means, “Decay, i.e. ruin.” This agrees with the word “perdition” in “son of perdition” in our passages from II Thessalonians.

Look once more at these passages and see that this “man of sin,” this “son of perdition,” “opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.” Would this not indicate an inward position of pride, when we sit “as God in the temple of God?” Would this not be the “abomination of desolation” that stands “in the Holy Place” of the “temple of God” which we are (Matt. 24:15)?

 

Revelation 13:17 (NKJV)
… and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 

Now, what is the “name of the beast?” Remember, a name denotes nature, so couldn’t we ask, “What is the nature of the beast?” Again, is it not the nature of the “carnal mind” which “is enmity with God” (Rom. 8:7; KJV)? And aren’t we told that “to be carnally minded is death” (Rom. 8:6; KJV)? So the “name of the beast” denotes the “earthy” or carnal nature. Further proof is found in the following passages.

 

Revelation 6:8 (KJV)
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him.

 

Is it just coincidence that the fourth horseman seen in Revelation has a rider whose “name” is “Death?” Remember, four speaks of the “material creation,” the “world number,” (Bullinger) of all that is form and temporary and destined to pass away. But understand that this is by divine design and perfectly normal. The fact that all form is temporary merely emphasizes the fact that the heavenly realm is the priority, that there is something much greater beyond this carnal realm in which we dwell.

Our word “corruption” agrees with the fact that “Death” is the temporary or passing nature of all form, subject to decay and ruin. So Paul clarifies for us that the mind set on the flesh or form-based world, is death (Rom. 8:5-6). When all that we think about is motivated by our love for this world, then we remain captive to the spirit of bondage which produces the fear of death, the fear of the loss of those things we deem as most valuable. This fear of death permeates all that we do, and confirmation can be seen in the fact of how we react to any and every loss in our lives.

 

Revelation 9:11 (KJV)
And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon.

 

Revelation 13:1 (KJV)
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

 

As we have found, the “angel” or spirit of the “bottomless pit” also has a “name,” the first being the Hebrew “Abaddon,” meaning “A destroying angel,” or spirit, taken from the word which means, “A perishing.” The Greek name agrees, meaning, “A destroyer.” It is the active participle of the word which means, “To destroy fully (reflexive to perish, or lose), literal or figurative.” Wouldn’t this also agree with the “bondage of corruption?”

Finally, we read that the beast which rises up out of the sea has the “name of blasphemy” on its heads, one “name” or nature which applies to all seven heads, indicating fullness. The word “blasphemy” means, “Vilification (especially against God).” Vilification means, “To attack the reputation of (a person or thing) with strong or abusive criticism” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). Once again we see our spirit of accusation.

All of our definitions align and agree with each other, showing us the name or nature of the beast, the carnal mind, which holds us in bondage through fear of death (Heb. 2:15), making us hostile toward our Maker and one another.

 

Revelation 13:16-17 (NKJV)
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 

The Strong’s Concordance defines “right hand” as, “from G1209 (dechomai); the right side or (feminine) hand (as that which usually takes).” G1209 reads, “middle of a primary verb; to receive (in various applications, literal or figurative).”

Now, notice that the beast of the earth “causes all” “to receive” this mark. In other words, the beast is not responsible for giving it, but for causing us to receive it from another source. In order to understand this, we must go to the book of Genesis.

 

Genesis 4:1-2 (NKJV)
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

 

In just these two passages, we have much to consider. First, we need to remember that Adam is representative of all humankind (I Cor. 15:21-22; 45-49). The word “Adam” is first used in Genesis 2:19 and is defined by the Strong’s Concordance as, “from H119 (‘adam); ruddy, i.e. a human being (an individual or the species, mankind, etc.).” Before this passage, it is the same Hebrew word translated “man” in Genesis 1:26, 27, 2:5-8, 15, 16, and 18. Our word “Adam” in our passage from Genesis 4:1 is also the same word.

The first time the word “Eve” is used is in Genesis 3:20 and is defined as, “causative from H2331 (chavah); life-giver; Chavvah (or Eve), the first woman.” H2331 means, “To live; by implication (intensive) to declare or show.” We read, “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

If we understand that the story of Adam and Eve is representative of all humankind, then we have some latitude as to its interpretation. Remember, this story is given in parable form, for there is no such thing as a literal “garden of Eden,” or a “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” or “tree of life.” All of these are symbolic of spiritual realities which exist inwardly.

Vincent tells us that the word “parables” is “From παρά, beside, and βάλλω, to throw,” so, A parable is a form of teaching in which one thing is thrown beside another. Hence its radical idea is comparison. Sir John Cheke renders biword, and the same idea is conveyed by the German Beispiel, a pattern or example ; bei, beside, and the old high German spel, discourse or narration. The word is used with a wide range in scripture, but always involves the idea of comparison,” “of a word or discourse which is enigmatical or obscure until the meaning is developed by application or comparison.” Futhermore, the idea of comparison relates to “familiar facts of the earthly life,” which are “used figuratively to expound truths of the higher life.” Finally, Vincent states, “A parable is also an example or type; furnishing a model or a warning.”

No doubt, Paul understood the story of Adam and Eve as being an example and type, a model of the “natural man” in all of us (I Cor. 2:14). For this reason, he speaks of Adam as representative of everyone, telling us, “For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Adam) also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (I Cor. 15:21-22). Later in this same chapter we read, “And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening (life-giving) spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.” This understanding leads us back to Cain and Abel, Adam’s sons.

 

Genesis 4:1-2 (NKJV)
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

 

Look carefully at our passages. “Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived” and gave birth to Cain. “Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel.” This implies that Cain and Abel were twins, since we don’t read that Adam “knew” his wife again but just simply that she “bore again.”

What follows this? “Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.” Though this may have been literal, there is also a spiritual message here. Also note that though Cain was the firstborn, the scripture places Abel, a “keeper of sheep” before Cain, a “tiller of the ground.” Remember our principle of sowing and reaping?

 

Galatians 6:8 (NKJV)
For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

 

Our phrase, “a tiller of the ground” correlates with sowing to the flesh, the “ground” symbolic of our heart (Matt. 13:19-23), the seat of our affections (Gal. 5:24). For this reason, Paul wrote, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2).

Our phrase, “a keeper of sheep,” correlates with sowing to the Spirit, for the kingdom of God, who is Spirit, is summed up in the following.

 

Matthew 22:36-40 (NKJV)
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 

Jesus likened us as “sheep,” (Matt. 9:36; 10:6, 16), so to put it simply, a “keeper of sheep” speaks of someone who loves their neighbor as themselves (I John 2:10; 3:10-15).

Couldn’t we say that Cain represents our “natural body” or being, called the “natural man,” while Abel would represent our “spiritual body” or being, our true spiritual essence (I Cor. 15:44-49)?

 

Genesis 4:3-7 (NKJV)
And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell. So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

 

As we continue our story of Cain and Abel, we see that Cain “brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord.” Then “Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat.” Again we have a contrast between the natural and spiritual components of our being, the “fruit of the ground” which speaks of the “works of the flesh” (ground), the “firstborn” of the flock and of their fat” denoting the “fruit of the Spirit” (keeper of sheep; Exod. 4:22; 13:2).

 

Exodus 13:2 (NKJV)
“Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”

 

The Lord told Moses that the firstborn of man and beast were to be consecrated to Him. So it is that when Abel brought of the “firstborn of his flock,” he came to God with love for his brother, Cain. Though Cain was Abel’s twin, he came first, making him, the firstborn of Adam and Eve. Clearly this was reflected in what Abel did, for we read that “the Lord respected Abel and his offering, but He did not respect Cain and his offering,” and after Cain’s “countenance fell,” we find the Lord saying to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door.” Cain’s offering was rejected, showing that the works of the flesh are diametrically opposed to the fruit of the Spirit because they are works which issue from a heart of self-love and self-absorption.

 

Genesis 4:8-14 (NKJV)
Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.” And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”

 

As shown, we find Cain rising up against his brother Abel and killing him. When God reckoned with Cain and asked “Where is your brother?” note that Cain said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” This defines for us what a “keeper” of sheep truly means.

We touched on these passages earlier in this study, showing that a “fugitive” and “vagabond” speaks of one who wanders without purpose because they don’t love their brother.

 

1 John 2:9-11 (NKJV)
He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him. But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

 

1 John 3:10-16 (NKJV)
In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

 

In this simple story of Cain and Abel is found such precious truth. In Cain and Abel, I see our own inward struggle between our carnal nature and our spiritual nature as well as our struggle with understanding and accepting one another.

There is no doubt that we are challenged every single day by the evident need around us, and the love of God is such that it should transcend every boundary that exists in our mind, for it is truly an unconditional love that sees no difference between us regardless of culture or creed.

Note how John contrasts the difference between “the children of God and the children of the devil,” our word “devil” again pointing to the spirit of accusation and condemnation. You see, my friend, a child of God is not someone who goes to church, pays tithes, listens to sermons, reads the Bible, and attends Sunday School. Rather, it is anyone who loves their brother, so much so that they don’t accuse and condemn or scorn and mock those who are “different.” The truth is, we may seem different outwardly, but inwardly, we are truly all the same.

 

Genesis 4:13-15 (NKJV)
And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

 

Notice closely what Cain said to the Lord. “I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.” Now, the Lord doesn’t say that Cain won’t be killed, but does say, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” So what did the Lord do? He “set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.” What is meant by this?

First I emphasize that “fugitive” and “vagabond” refer to the fact that when we hate our brother, we cannot see where we are going, we are in darkness inwardly (I John 2:9-11), therefore we “waver” and “wander.” When we do this, we act out of our carnal mind which is enmity or hostility with God and therefore each other, for “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen” (I John 4:20)? Furthermore, John wrote, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him” (I John 3:15; NIV). So here we go. As we have found, you do not have to kill someone to kill someone.

Like Cain, when we live with hate in our heart, we are subject to the “sevenfold” vengeance of God. In other words, we reap the consequences of our animosity toward others until God’s vengeance is fulfilled (sevenfold). And keep in mind that this hatred proceeds from our natural man. This “vengeance” will manifest in a variety of different ways, but it is assured. But God’s vengeance is God’s mercy, for our punishment is remedial so that we might be changed inwardly.

So look again at the phrase, “And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.” The definition of this word reads, “probably from H225 (‘uwth) (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literal or figurative), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc..” Consider the following from the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.

 

41a †‏אוֹת‎ (’ôt) H226 sign, mark, token, ensign, standard, miracle, miraculous sign, proof, warning.

ôt. This is the general word for “sign,” and it covers the entire range of the English term and the Greek word sēmeion. On the pedestrian end of the scale it includes what amounts to a “signboard” or “standard” (Numbers 2:2). It also includes such important concepts as the rainbow “sign” to Noah (Genesis 9:12-13, 17).

1. ’ôt first occurs in Genesis 1:14, where it refers to the luminaries serving as “signs” to distinguish the seasons. In Jeremiah 10:2 it has a similar meaning.

2. According to Genesis 4:15, the Lord set a “mark” on Cain. The meaning of this word is uncertain.

3. A third use of the word is illustrated by Genesis 9:12-13, 17, according to which the rainbow is a “sign” of the covenant. Circumcision is the “sign” in Genesis 17:11. Also, the Sabbath is to be a “sign,” according to Exodus 31:13, 17 and Ezekiel 20:12. It is this use of “sign” that is meant when Christians refer to the ordinances as outward “signs” of inward grace.

 

When we consider the definition of our word, we find several proofs that explain what is meant by the “mark” which God set on Cain. Note that it is the word ’ôt which is the “general word for ‘sign,’” and first occurs “in Genesis 1:14, where it refers to the luminaries serving as ‘signs’ to distinguish the seasons,” i.e. the sun, moon, and stars. And what do the sun and moon typify? The Two Covenants, the law and the promise. And the foundation of these Two Covenants is the principle of sowing and reaping.

The definition of “sign” reads, “1) Something that suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality: A high temperature is a sign of fever, and 2) An act or gesture used to convey an idea, a desire, information, or a command: gave the go-ahead sign” (The Free Dictionary by Farlex). Both of these definitions clarify what is meant by the mark. So what is the mark? It is the covenants of God, which are a “sign” that “suggests the presence or existence of a fact, condition, or quality.” And what is this “fact, condition, or quality?” Again, it is the principle of sowing and reaping which typifies the covenants of God over our natural and spiritual bodies.

 

Genesis 4:7 (NKJV)
If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

 

The Hebrew definition of “sin” reads, “An offence.” The Greek definition agrees but shows that it is taken from the word which means, “To miss the mark.” So sin is to “miss” the “mark” or covenants of God. For this reason, John wrote, “Sin is the transgression of the law” (I John 3:4).

 

Revelation 13:16-17 (NKJV)
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 

As I mentioned before, the false prophet of Revelation “causes all” to receive the “mark on their right hand or on their foreheads.” He doesn’t give it, he just causes us to receive it. This shows the immutable purpose of God’s will through His covenants, for everyone, regardless of culture or creed, resides under the Two Covenants whether they acknowledge it or not. Remember, God swore to Himself, and by means of His Spirit and Word, He determined a process that is relevant to every soul on this planet, past, present, or future. What began as the principle of sowing and reaping as represented by the “garden of Eden” and the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” and the “tree of life,” became even more apparent through the law which God gave to Moses. The spiritual essence of this law was then fulfilled and exemplified through the love of God which was embodied in Christ.

The “mark” of God is not literal, for the “right hand” typifies receiving while the “forehead” typifies accompaniment. In other words, all of us receive the mark of the law by means of our culture and conscience, and it accompanies us throughout our life on this planet. We are never apart from it, regardless of our actions for or against it. As I’ve stated, the principle of sowing and reaping is universal in its scope, relevant to every being on this earth.

For further understanding, I would encourage you to read Exodus, Chapter 13, verses 1 through 16, with special emphasis on verses 9 and 16.

Chapter Sixteen

[]BUY OR SELL

Revelation 13:17 (NKJV)
… and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

 

Our words “buy” and “sell” mean just what they say. But underlying the obvious meaning of these words is a mindset. It speaks of a “merit” system. One of the definitions from The Free Dictionary defines “merit” as, “An aspect of character or behavior deserving approval or disapproval.”

A merit system is opposite that of grace, for grace is considered “unmerited” favor. The Free Dictionary defines “grace” as, “Divine favor bestowed freely on people, as in granting redemption from sin, 2) The state of having received such favor,” and “3) An excellence or power granted by God.”

It is apparent in our society and the world that we are structured on a merit system. This is seen in the fact that we have a hierarchy in every aspect of our lives, a “pyramidal” system where the seemingly most deserving enjoys greater benefits and often governs those who are seemingly less deserving. This system is plainly seen in our government, jobs, and even in our religious systems throughout the world. It is made evident every day on our news as we see stories showing the contention between races, classes, parties, sects, organizations, and religions, people clamoring for recognition and consideration for their perceived lack. In some cases, this lack is evident.

All of us feel that we deserve as much as the next person, and rightfully so. But a merit system will always fail in this regard because it is a mindset based in pride. Many of those in power feel that they are better and thus more deserving than those they govern, and many of those who are governed feel that they are as much or more deserving as those who rule over them. Both of these perspectives are in error, for again, they both stem from pride.

To speak of a “kingdom” is to speak of government, for a kingdom incorporates both the ruler and the ruled. This is evident in our discussion concerning Nebuchadnezzar as well as the other kingdoms which followed.

Jesus taught, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). In other words, we should wish for and submit to His divine government as stipulated through the universal principle of sowing and reaping, established by and through the Two Covenants which we have addressed throughout this study.

 

Matthew 20:25-28 (NKJV)
But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles (nations) lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

 

Luke 6:27-38 (NKJV)
“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

 

What is the difference between the worldly systems of government and the government of the kingdom of God? Simply this. The government of God is a system of giving and receiving based solely on love. For this reason Jesus said, “Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you.” Furthermore, “Love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return.” Finally, “Give, and it will be given to you.” When we give, there are no strings attached, no expectations and obligations from the one to whom you give. This my friend is the true nature of the Spirit of Christ.

Is it simply a coincidence that in the midst of Jesus’ discourse in Luke, that He states, “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned?” Wouldn’t this relate to our spirit of accusation and condemnation which we have discussed?

 

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (16) For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and doescomes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

 

We looked at these passages earlier in this study from the New King James Version of scripture where verse 16 reads, “For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” Note how the New International Version changes “pride of life” to “the boasting of what he has and does.” When translated this way, pride or arrogance immediately comes to the forefront in our word “boasting.”

“What he has and does” explains our “buy and sell,” for in a merit system, “having” is through “buying” while “does” or doing is through “selling.” And it matters not whether money is involved, for again the mindset of such is that whenever we give of substance, time, or effort, we expect something back for it. But Jesus clearly said, “Give, and it will be given to you.” When we give, it is given back to us, “good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over.” It is “put into” our “bosom” or heart. In other words, we receive nothing back from those we give to, but we receive a true feeling of peace and contentment from the Spirit of God within.

We cannot truly give and receive until we have been delivered from our fear of death or loss (Heb. 2:15). In other words, we must be set free from our identity with form. Identity with form produces fear of death. And what do I mean by identity with form? Consider.

 

Luke 12:13-15 (NKJV)
Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

 

What a simple but profound statement! And yet, how difficult it is for us to perceive this. Now, consider what Jesus said after this.

 

Luke 12:16-21 (NKJV)
Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ‘ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

 

No one can “buy or sell” without the mark, for all that we have and do is subject to the principle of sowing and reaping instituted by our Creator. Despite our resistance to or ignorance of this principle, all of us answer to God in the end as indicated by this parable.

Identity with form speaks of the mindset that sees our “life” or self as consisting of the abundance of the things we possess, and this mindset is rampant in the world, especially in countries like America where so much is available to us. But our abundance has become our enemy, changing us in ways we don’t even know, creating a sense of self-entitlement where most of us cannot live simply and peacefully.

 

Revelation 14:11 (NKJV)
And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.

 

As this passage shows, when we “worship the beast and his image” and receive “the mark of his name,” we “have no rest day or night.” To “worship” means “do reverence to, adore.” So, to worship the beast and his image means we admire and esteem the carnal mind and the various manifestations that flow from it. We love the world and the things in it (I John 2:15). And we attach ourselves in such a way as to be greatly affected by any loss thereof.

 

Isaiah 57:20-21 (KJV)
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

 

It is evident in the world that most of us don’t have peace. Everywhere you look, we are struggling within and with each other, discontent, fretful, uncertain, and confused. And our government is continually making new laws, seeking to find solutions to the problems in our society. Ah, but we cannot solve our problems with the same mind that created them. There is so much that we believe which have been lies from the beginning, yet pushed on us as truth. This is not only true in the natural and carnal realms of our existence, but in the spiritual realms as well.

I would challenge you to do a study in human nature. Through the course of your day, pay close attention to what people say and do, including yourself. Observe neutrally, without judgmentalism or condemnation, but again, pay close attention. If you will be raw and honest with yourself, you will find that at the end of the day, most people are restless, discontent, fearful, and fully absorbed in this world of form.

In our society, we are frantic, nervous, worried and perplexed about the current state of affairs around us. Most of us have difficulty with our present reality, therefore we seek entertainment on a grand scale, running to and fro, looking for any means possible to take us out of our current state of mind. But friend, we will never find rest or peace in these actions, for once we have enjoyed our entertainment, we must come back to the reality that we know.

I have said in the past that no one has ever lost their mind, but there are many who have lost themselves in it. I believe this. The incessant noise that runs through our minds each and every day seems like an unending stream that we simply cannot overcome. But there is peace in the mind of Christ, the mind of the Spirit. When our thinking becomes less about ourselves and more about others, we make ourselves free. For this reason, Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Truth is the reality and manifestation of those things which are true. In other words, we must find out what is true, then let it become a part of us. If you seek truth, you will find that it will change your present way of thinking, so much so that most will not understand because their minds are still captive to the “course of this world” (Eph. 2:2).

Hebrews 4:1-13 (NKJV)
Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ “ although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (12) For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (13) And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

 

I believe the “rest” from our passage in Revelation, Chapter 14, is explained in Hebrews, Chapter 4. As these passages show, it is a “rest” attained by means of faith and obedience. As summarized in verses 12 and 13, we find rest when we believe the Word of God, a Word that is “living and powerful,” which discerns “the thoughts and intents” of our hearts.

“All things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” So it is that His perfect principle of sowing and reaping is the spiritual process by which we do give an account, for when we sow to our own flesh, we always reap corruption, and when we sow to His Spirit, we always reap life.

To “worship the beast and his image” means we continually identify with form because of our love for the things of this world, and when we do, “the love of the Father” is not in us (I John 2:15). The “things of this world” speaks of “all that is in the world” (I John 2:16). Did I say all? Yes, I did. Please consider.

 

Matthew 6:24-34 (NKJV)
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (material things). “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles (nations) seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

 

What precious words from our Lord! And yet, how difficult to attain in this present age. Friend, we can’t even drive down the highway without seeing billboards offering some product or service. Television, radio, magazines, and the internet are all saturated with ads which provoke us to want those things which are neither necessary or needful in our lives. Again, our abundance has become our enemy, for it is our obvious want of things which provokes us to contend with one another, accuse one another, and even hate one another.

Do not be deceived, for “the things of this world” also includes our desire for reputation and recognition, even in spiritual matters (Matt. 23:5). We have become so accustomed to the way society and religion presents itself in this country that we believe it’s the way it should be, not realizing that much of what we see stems from pride, from our desire to be seen and recognized. Even when we don’t contend with each other, we are isolated, separated from each other by our “labels,” and over our denominational and organizational names, not realizing that Paul clearly states that this comes from a carnal mind, the mind of a spiritual infant (I Cor. 1:10-13; 3:1-7).

 

Revelation 3:14-17 (NKJV)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked

 

The message to the church of Laodicea is the seventh and final message to the churches in Revelation. Therefore, it speaks of the fullness of the spiritual condition of the church in our time, a lukewarm church, because we say we are rich, wealthy and have need of nothing. Yet the Lord tells us very clearly that we are “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Yes, many of the churches and ministries of this day can boast great material wealth and reputation, but our spiritual lack is evident.

 

Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV)
Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “

 

Are we not the true “temple of God” (I Cor. 3:16)? So when we see Jesus driving out “all those who bought and sold in the temple,” are we seeing a spiritual lesson? I believe so, for as stated, to “buy or sell” speaks of a mindset which is diametrically opposed to the principle of giving and receiving.

Cain’s offering to God of “the fruit of the ground” reflects the things of which we speak, and for this reason, it was rejected (Gen. 4:5). We are God’s house (Heb. 3:6), and this “house” should be called “a house of prayer.”

Would it surprise you to know that “prayer” means, “To wish”? And what is it that we wish for? Do we pray for “things above” or “things on the earth?” Jesus taught how to pray in Matthew, Chapter 6, verses 5 through 15. And my opinion? We should wish for the well-being of all things on this planet, especially each other. I believe this is the true nature of the Spirit of Christ.

 

Chapter Seventeen

[]MYSTERY BABYLON

Matthew 1:17 (KJV)
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

 

Matthew, Chapter 1, verse 1, reads, “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” It is both a natural and spiritual generation, for it begins with Abraham, a natural man, and ends with Christ, a spiritual man.

Note that Matthew sums up this generation, telling us that “from Abraham to David are fourteen generations,” then fourteen generations “from David until the carrying away into Babylon,” and finally “fourteen generations” “from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ.” Here’s Bullinger’s explanation of the spiritual meaning of fourteen.

 

Fourteen being a multiple of seven, partakes of its significance; and, being double that number, implies a double measure of spiritual perfection.

The number two with which it is combined (2×7) may, however, bring its own significance into its meaning, as in Matthew 1, where the genealogy of Jesus Christ is divided up and given in sets of 14 (2×7) generations, two being the number associated with incarnation.

The same principle may be applied to other multiples of seven, and Bible students can find their own illustrations.

 

Vallowe writes, “FOURTEEN is the number that represents DELIVERANCE or SALVATION. It is used some 26 times in the Bible. It was the FOURTEENTH day of the first month of the year when the children of Israel were DELIVERED from Egyptian bondage, and from the stroke of judgment which fell upon the firstborn of the Egyptians (Exodus 12:6-7; Exodus 12:12-13; Leviticus 23:4-5).”

The fact that there are three fourteens to consider speaks again of the divine “work” of the Living Word of God, receiving the end of our faith, the salvation of our soul or self (I Peter 1:9). Does our “three” coincide with our “three days and three nights?”

When we add our three fourteens together, or multiply fourteen times three, we have 42. Please consider.

 

Revelation 11:1-2 (NKJV)
Then I was given a reed like a measuring rod. And the angel stood, saying, “Rise and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there. But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

 

Revelation 13:5 (NKJV)
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

 

In Revelation, we find two passages which refer to “forty-two months.” Do these passages correlate with our 42 from Matthew? I believe they do.

Contained within the generation of Jesus Christ, we see “the carrying away into Babylon.” Of course, the Bible shows that the Kingdom of Judah went into captivity to the Kingdom of Babylon due to their rebellion against the Lord (II Kings 24:8-25:21; I Chron. 9:1). But I believe there is a spiritual parallel here.

In the same way that the Kingdom of Judah transgressed against the Lord, so too have we, and not just in this generation, but in generations past. As indicated by the messages to the seven churches, it is apparent that the people of God would gradually fall away. So what does “captivity in Babylon” mean to us today? Please reconsider our passages from Galatians, Chapter 4.

 

Galatians 4:22-26 (NKJV)
For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: [* the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar-- for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children *] -- but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.

 

We learned earlier in this study that “Jerusalem above” is seen in the 12th Chapter of Revelation as “a woman clothed with the sun” (Rev. 12:1) and speaks of the New Covenant people of God. This being true, it only makes logical sense that our second “woman” if you will, indicative of the Old Covenant and symbolized by Hagar, would also be found in Revelation, and she is. She is seen as “Babylon.”

It is interesting to find that our word “Babylon” is used six times in the book of the Revelation, six being the number of us at enmity with our Maker.

Now, note that Babylon is associated with captivity or bondage, and Hagar, representative of the Old Covenant and those “born according to the flesh,” speaks of “Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage” and “corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.” So Babylon speaks of us “under the law.”

 

Romans 3:9-20 (NIV)
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles (nations) alike are all under sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecc. 7:20) “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.” (Psalm 5:9) “The poison of vipers is on their lips.” (Psalm 140:3) “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.” (Psalm 10:7) “Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know.” (Isaiah 59:7-8) “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Psalm 36:1) Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

 

Note that I have included the passages from Psalms and Isaiah which are given in reference to what Paul wrote in Romans. They are quite enlightening and an accurate description of our society today.

It is apparent by what Paul wrote, that the “whole world” falls under the law. And how is this? It is due to the fact that our natural being or “natural man” was made subject to the principle of sowing and reaping which was further exemplified by the Old Covenant and the law. Please consider.

 

Revelation 17:1-6 (NKJV)
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.” (3) 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. 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.

 

Revelation 17:15-18 (NKJV)
Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (18) And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

 

Notice that our “great harlot,” “Babylon,” “sits on many waters,” and the “waters,” “where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” In other words, the whole world, for we’re then told, “And the woman (Old Covenant and the law) whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” When we understand that the “kings of the earth” correspond to our “seven heads,” then we understand that the law takes precedence over the works of our flesh, defined by the six things which God hates, the seventh which is an abomination to Him (Prov. 6:16-19). And where do we find the “works of the flesh?” Do we not find them in both the world and the church? And didn’t Paul state that “the whole world” will be “held accountable to God?”

For whom did Jesus die? The world (John 3:16). And from where does God call us out from? The world (Rom. 12:1-2; II Cor. 6:17). And what did Isaiah call the world? A “wilderness” (Isa. 14:17). And where was Babylon found? “In the wilderness” (Rev. 17:3).

Notice verse 18 of Revelation, Chapter 17, and the phrase, “great city.” I found it quite enlightening that this phrase is used nowhere else in the New Testament outside of the book of the Revelation. It is used a total of ten times in Revelation, nine in reference to Babylon, and the final time in reference to “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” (Rev. 21:10). Remember, this speaks of “Jerusalem above.”

Now, nine is the number of judgment, and John clearly states, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot (Babylon) who sits on many waters.” Ten is the number for a complete cycle, so once our judgment “under the law” is complete, we are seen “above” as “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” To say it plainly, the law becomes spiritual in us, for “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10).

 

Revelation 11:2 (NKJV)
But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles (nations). And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

 

Coming back to our three times fourteen or “forty-two,” we find in Revelation 11:2, that the nations “will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.” At first glance, this may seem terrible to consider, but understand that judgment begins with the house of God first (I Peter 4:17). It is a necessary and vital part of our transition from natural to spiritual in order to be purified from the carnal mind and the works of the flesh. Please consider.

 

Galatians 4:1-5 (NKJV)
Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father. Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world. But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

 

Remember the meaning of “adoption?” It means, “the placing of a son,” i.e. the receiving of our inheritance. And what does Paul show us in Galatians? “That the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father.” Furthermore, when we are “children,” we are “in bondage under the elements of the world.” Doesn’t our word “bondage” correlate with Babylon? Of course. Furthermore, our word “elements” means, “Something orderly in arrangement, i.e. (by implication) a serial (basal, fundamental, initial) constituent (literal), proposition (figurative).” This same word is used in Hebrews 5:12 as “principles” (elementary truths; NIV) and in Colossians 2, verses 8 and 20 as “rudiments” (basic principles of the world; NKJ). In other words, it is referring to the law under which we remain until such time as it becomes spiritual in our mind and heart.

 

Isaiah 3:11-12 (KJV)
Woe unto the wicked! it shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him. As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.

 

How appropriate are these passages from Isaiah? “As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women (Babylon, mother of harlots: Rev. 17:5) rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” How many today see themselves as spiritual leaders, yet they are but “children.” Doesn’t this agree with what Paul said in I Corinthians 3:1-4?

 

Matthew 1:17 (KJV)
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

 

Look once more at our passage above. First we have “Abraham to David.” This speaks of the beginning of our spiritual journey, when we are first called of God to walk after His covenants. Contained within the covenants is the promise to rule and reign with Christ (Gen. 17:1-8; Rev. 2:26-29). This is signified by David, who was made King of Judah (II Sam. 2:4) as well as Israel (II Sam. 5:3-5).

We then have “David until the carrying away into Babylon.” This speaks of our need for judgment and correction, as typified by what we see concerning Babylon in Revelation. You see, my friend, Babylon is not any particular church as some suppose, but speaks of all that are called and moving through the spiritual fulfillment of the Two Covenants of God. Throughout the past two thousand years, the Lord has called many out from the world, out from the mind of the world, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. And He will continue to do so, for the covenants have been in place for centuries, and their fulfillment has been, is being, and will be fulfilled again in a people.

Finally, we have “from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ,” the third and final stage of our spiritual exodus and journey. As we have found, Christ speaks of the “anointing,” which typifies our inheritance of the kingdom of God so that we might walk in the light of the glory of the Father and the Son. But remember, it is imperative for us to remain under “guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the Father.” It cannot be otherwise. God alone knows the heart and He alone knows those who truly persevere. We must be fully and completely judged before we can be a true “light” to the world (Heb. 12:1-11).

 

Revelation 2:26-29 (KJV)
And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Revelation 3:12-13 (KJV)
Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Do you see it? When we finally overcome, having endured to the end, then the Lord writes on us “the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God.” Isn’t this what John sees in Revelation 21:2 and 3? Of course! Doesn’t this confirm our transition from natural to spiritual, from our bondage in Babylon to our liberty in Christ? It does, for the “name” of our Father and the “name” of His city and the “new name” speaks of the nature of Christ in His people! And what is the nature of Christ? It is the nature of a servant, of one who walks in unconditional love, of one who has fully laid down their life for others (John 15:13).

The law cannot make us righteous (Gal. 2:21; 3:21). Still, it is a necessary part of our lives, for we have not yet arrived at that spiritual place of faith where it is no longer needful. But I believe it will come.

 

Revelation 11:2 (NKJV)
But leave out the court which is outside the temple, and do not measure it, for it has been given to the Gentiles (nations). And they will tread the holy city underfoot for forty-two months.

 

Revelation 17:16-17 (NKJV)
And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

 

Taking one more look at our “forty-two months,” where we see the “holy city” tread down by the nations. In agreement, we are told that the “ten horns” “will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” And this is assured, for we read, “For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind,” the carnal mind, “and to give their kingdom to the beast,” the carnal nature, “until the words of God are fulfilled.”

The condition of the Laodicean church aligns with the condition of Babylon, showing that we are a mixture of law and grace, confused and uncertain. But this is due in part to the spiritual working of the process of God’s divine Word. God’s purpose must be fully reckoned in order for those who overcome to walk in the purity of the true gospel of the kingdom.

There are six important “sevens” found in the book of the Revelation. First, we have the “seven stars” and the “seven golden lampstands,” coupled together to make fourteen. This is followed by the seven messages to the seven churches which is further revealed as a book sealed with seven seals, another fourteen. Out of this seven-sealed book proceeds the seven trumpets and seven vials (bowls), which work in parallel depending on our spiritual position in Christ. Six important sevens, given in three segments of fourteen, which when added together, gives us our “forty-two.” The fact that there are seven of each speaks of the fullness of the manifestation of God’s Word in the earth. The book of the Revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, and there is no doubt that the fullness and the manifestation of this revelation will conclude in the way that our Creator has determined. Of this, there can be no doubt.

 

Revelation 3:21-22 (KJV)
To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

 

Revelation 21:1-7 (NKJV)
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

 

Hebrews 8:7-13 (NKJV)
For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. *None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them._ [_*For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.”] In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

 

 

 

 

It is my sincere hope that this study encouraged and enlightened you in your walk with Christ. If so, won’t you please take a moment to leave me a review at your favorite retailer? Thank you!

Jack Marshall

 

 

About the Author:

 

I was born in Southgate, California in 1957, but raised in Oklahoma, which is the home of my parents and where my older brother was also born. It is where I live now with my beautiful and precious wife, Sandi.

My introduction to Christianity began at the age of 19, in a small church in Oklahoma City. Because I was a singer and songwriter, it didn’t take long for me to become musically involved with this church and the churches which my family and I attended afterward. I was involved for a time with a ministry in central Texas where I was inspired by a brother in Christ who came to our church several times throughout the year to teach the congregation. I was fascinated by his insight and his ability to see things which lay beneath the surface of the scriptures. This led me to study quite frequently. Over the past 38 years, this has been the one constant in my life.

I left Texas many years ago and moved back to my “home” in Oklahoma. Then, as now, I devote a good part of my time to studying the Bible and writing.  Thanks to Shakespir, I have been able to publish the writings you see on this website and will continue to write and publish as the Lord allows.

In my writings, you will find that I am not one who holds to the traditional line of thought that prevails in most denominations and organizations. I have always been willing to challenge the status quo and remain open-minded to the idea that we simply do not fully understand or appreciate the depth that is the Word of God.

It is my sincere hope that you will find my writings challenging and thought provoking. Please feel free to visit my sites below and to contact me anytime.

 

Connect With Me:

 

Friend me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrainOfWheatPublishing

Grain of Wheat Publishing Website: http://www.grainofwheatpublishing.org

Favorite me at Shakespir: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/Biblebooks

 

 

Other books by Jack Marshall

 

The Dream – Through the Eyes of Sowing and Reaping

Times and Seasons – An Alternative View of the Day of the Lord

Hell, No! An Alternative View of Hell

The Rapture – Yes or No?

 

Bibliography

 

Reference:

 

E.W. Bullinger (1837-1913), Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance, Public Domain, 1921

Biblical Mathematics, Keys to Scripture Numerics, Evangelist Ed F. Vallowe

Dr. James Strong (1822-1894), Strong’s Concordance, First Published 1890

W.E. Vine (1873-1949), Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, First Published 1940

Marvin R. Vincent (1834-1922), Vincent’s Word Studies in the New Testament, First Published 1887

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Robert Laird Harris, Gleason Leonard Archer, Bruce K. Waltke, Moody Press, 1980

Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Grimm, Carl Ludwig Wilibald, 1807-1891; Thayer, Joseph Henry, 1828-1901; Wilke, Christian Gottlob, 1786-1854

 

Reference (Online):

 

The Free Dictionary by Farlex, www.thefreedictionary.com

Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, en.wikipedia.org

 

Quotes:

 

Albert Einstein (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955)

 

Bible Translations Used:

 

KJV, King James Version, Public Domain, 1611

NKJV, New King James Version, Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Complete Bible 1982

NIV, New International Version, Biblica, Zondervan and Hodder & Stoughton (UK) (licensed commercial rights), 1973 (NT), 1978 (OT)

RSV, Revised Standard Version, 1946, 1952, 1971 (the Apocrypha is copyrighted 1957, 1977) by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

AMP, Amplified Bible, Published by The Zondervan Corporation and The Lockman Foundation, First Edition 1965

New American Standard Bible, Published by the Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995


Studies in Revelation - The Beasts of Revelation

Seven heads, ten horns, a great red dragon, a beast rising out of the sea. Another beast coming up out of the earth and a woman clothed with the sun. No doubt, there are many mysterious symbols found in the book of the Revelation. But there is meaning behind each and every symbol, and when we understand them, they speak to all who sincerely desire the kingdom of God. This study looks into these symbols and more, showing that they are relevant to us in this time in which we live.

  • ISBN: 9781310702372
  • Author: Jack Marshall
  • Published: 2016-03-22 11:35:17
  • Words: 56150
Studies in Revelation - The Beasts of Revelation Studies in Revelation - The Beasts of Revelation