One of the things that dominate my thoughts is how we are lacking in our understanding of end times events and scripture about them. I am also fully aware of how alternate points of view can make closed-minded people angry because it rocks their traditional worldview. I happen to believe that we are in the last moments of the ballgame with one out to go, and then Jesus will return to gather His long-awaited bride, the church.
If you have watched the news about events in the middle east then you are aware that he has already gathered so many of the saints home to himself. While I honestly wish I were home myself, I believe that he has given me a mission, and that is to share and encourage those of us still here, paying attention, and have a heart that longs for an adventure.
I want you to visualize an event with me. Jesus is gathering up the disciples after telling them that He is to be betrayed and specifically hands the chunk of bread to Judas indicating who it was that was to do the betraying. With this announcement, He has made it clear that he is about to die at the hands of the Jewish priesthood, and now his compulsion from the Holy Spirit is driving him to his favorite place on earth, the olive garden. He knows exactly where he is going, he prayed there often. This is the place where Peter and John saw him glow. In addition, Moses, whom they had never seen showed up and they recognized him. He pauses, and then turns looking Peter right in the eyes and says, grab some swords. Peter stunned, replies, we have two. We can buy more. Jesus responds, no, that is enough. It was not about the swords but the readying and the glory of God about to be demonstrated.
If you are a follower of Christ then you know that the sword is His Word. I am asking you to do what the Apostle John tells us that they did:
1 John 1:1(b) NASB …. “what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life”
The word looked in Greek, theaomai, is to view attentively, or to contemplate. I am asking you think about what I am about to say. Look attentively at the scriptures, do not be afraid to challenge God, ask him questions, He can handle your questions. Consider the direction that things are going in the earth. You are surrounded by wealthy people who want control so badly they can taste it, and they are doing it at your expense. This is not just mere circumstance, it is a directed, intentional effort, and if you are paying attention, and student of scripture, then you should be aware that this is all spelled out in the Revelation.
I will tell you straight out this was initiated because of someone coming back at me with, “no its not! We are supposed to be waiting for the revised Roman Empire.” They demonstrated no interest in changing their point of view at that moment, and I do not convey myself well at times. I wish my head could retain information, it does not, but my computer does. I got away for a couple of days and pulled enough information together to reestablish my knowledge base in my head, and write sufficient information to show others what is happening in the immediate future.
I guarantee you that I could not have said this any better than the author Joel Richardson. It his books, “The Islamic Antichrist”, and “The Mideast Beast” that opened my understanding of Revelation, Daniel, and in general, what is going on around me. I have taken portions from his book “The Mideast Beast” in order to convey a clear intent, and added my own comments as I thought necessary. I have indicated quotes from Mr. Richardson’s book by placing an asterisk in front of it.
Problems with identifying the Roman Empire as the fourth kingdom.
*”The first problem with the Roman identification of the fourth kingdom is that the Roman Empire does not meet the specific criterion of Daniel 2:40. This verse, speaking of the nature of the rise of the fourth kingdom, says that when it emerged, it would crush all three of the other kingdoms:”
Dan 2:40 then there will be a fourth kingdom. That kingdom will be strong like iron. Just as iron breaks things and smashes them to pieces, that fourth kingdom will break all the other kingdoms and smash them to pieces.
*Later in Daniel 7, speaking of this same empire, we find a similar description:
Dan 7:23 Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.
The three other kingdoms that are to be trampled are spelled out in scripture.
Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
*“The three empires never coexisted, and thus we must ask what the text means when it says that the fourth empire would “crush” all the others.”
Daniel 5:28 spells out the kingdom that follows the Babylonian.
Dan 5:28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
We call this the Medo-Persian Empire, and are the second kingdom that is to be crushed.
The third empire to be crushed was the Grecian empire.
Dan 8:21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
male goat … large horn. This is the third Gentile world power, the kingdom of Greece, and specifically Alexander the Great, the notable and “first king” after conquering Medo-Persia. Cf. Dan_11:3. (John MacArthur)
Richardson implies that word crush, as used in Daniel 2:40 means geographically. When I look at the meaning of the word, I find this in the dictionary:
1. To press and bruise between two hard bodies; to squeeze, so as to force a thing out of its natural shape; to bruise by pressure.
2. To press with violence; to force together into a mass.
3. To overwhelm by pressure; to beat or force down, by an incumbent weight, with breaking or bruising; as, the man was crushed by the fall of a tree.
4. To overwhelm by power; to subdue; to conquer beyond resistance; as, to crush ones enemies; to crush a rebellion.
5. To oppress grievously.
6. To bruise and break into fine particles by beating or grinding;
Joel Richardson proves his point with historical fact.
*”the Roman Empire only conquered roughly one-third of the regions controlled by Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece. About two-thirds of the regions controlled by these empires were left entirely untouched by Rome. In fact the Roman Empire never even reached the two Persian capital cities of Ecbatana and Persepolis.”
Others have claimed that *”because the Roman Empire succeeded Greece, which succeeded Medo-Persia, which succeeded Babylon, the Roman Empire did crush all the others.” Richardson acknowledges a professor named Stephen R. Miller, as substantiating that view, but Richardson goes on to say that the view is based on faulty reasoning because it goes outside the biblical text.
*”Although the Roman Empire did conquer portions of the land holdings of the other empires, it clearly did not conquer all of them, not even a majority of them. The Roman Empire only conquered roughly one-fifth of the land holdings of the Medo-Persian Empire, whose capital cities of Ecbatana and Persepolis forever remained hundreds of miles out of the Roman Empire’s reach.”
The only empire to fully, absolutely, and completely conquer all the prescribed lands was the Islamic Caliphate.
If the definition of crush is expanded beyond geographic to mean culture, religion and language, what do we get when we do a comparison between the Roman Empire and the Islamic Caliphate?
The Roman Empire is known as one puts down rebellions. Putting down rebellions does not qualify as the crushing descriptions found in Daniel’s prophecy.
*”When we consider the nature of the Roman Empire, it was far from being a purely destructive influence to its conquered peoples. Rome is better known for being a nation-building force of the ancient world. When the Roman Empire conquered a people, rather than destroying the culture, abolishing its religion, and imposing a new language, it generally tolerated these things while adding law, building roads and infrastructure, and creating order.”
Referring back to Daniel 2:40 once again:
“Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.” NASB
According to criterion of Daniel 2:40, the Roman Empire does not fulfill the requirements of scripture.
If the crushing means something other, such as, culture, religion, and language, then what do we find when we compare the Roman Empire against the Islamic Caliphate?
Since its inception the Islamic Caliphate (Rashidun Caliphate in 632 AD ending with the demise of the Ottoman empire in 1923) *was an Arab-Islamic-supremacist force that crushed and erased the cultures and religions of the peoples it conquered. This is due to the uniquely all-encompassing ideology of Islam, which includes every facet of life. Islam has rules and commandments that pertain to far more than just theology. It also dictates law, government, language, military, and even the sexual and hygienic practices of those under it authority.”
* “The very name Islam means submission to the laws of Allah, the Muslims’ god, as well as the practices of Muhammad, their prophet.”
*“Wherever Islam spread, it brought with it this oppressive ideology of submission. Islam conquered all the regions of the former Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian empires. It exported and imposed the Arabic language onto a vast proportion of its conquered peoples. Today, in Jordan, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and throughout much of North Africa, the people speak Arabic. While the Persians and Turks have retained their own languages, their alphabets were both Arabized. Later, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk enforced a new, anglicized alphabet in Turkey.”
*“As an Imperial force, Islam imposed Arab religion and culture onto all of its dominated peoples, while erasing evidence of previous religions and non-Islamic cultures.”
Consider where we have seen the evidence of this type of activity. The first I can recall was when the Taliban shelled two large images carved into the side of a hill. These two images were considered global art treasures. Although we have witnessed the death of, not only the worshippers of other religions, but also the destruction of any identifying symbols of religion outside of Islam. Under the guise of overthrowing a regime, this destructive activity has gone on in many nations including: Indonesia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria, Sudan, most any northern African nation, and we are beginning to see this in Britain as well.
There is calculated effort to destroy any evidence of a historical Jewish connection to the temple mount in Israel today. This has actually been going on for several years.
*“Examples of Muslim ‘Temple Mount denial’ in both popular and academic contexts are legion. The former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, has stated on many occasions that the Jewish connection to the Temple was a myth. In 1998, Sabri stated, ‘Moslems have no knowledge or awareness that the Temple Mount has any sanctity for Jews.’”
These atrocities by Islam and it’s followers are many, outlandish, and ongoing.
*“Wherever Islam has spread, the conquered culture is gradually erased, the symbols and evidences of the former culture destroyed. The religion of the subjugated peoples are most particularly targeted. This is Islam’s heritage, the perfect fulfillment of the criterion of Daniel 2:40.”
Richardson warns us to stay within the context of both scripture and Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, a concept we Westerners struggle with, because we trace much of our culture and history through the Roman and Greek empires. We also tend to look at the Bible from a Western perspective. I consistently admonish my bible study to remember that for the most part the scriptures were written primarily to a Jewish audience; we are fortunate to be included by adoption. Changing the way we think will definitely aid in our understanding.
THE DEMISE OF THE FOURTH KINGDOM
The second problem for the Roman identification of the fourth empire is the criterion of Daniel 2:34-35. The verses spell out the demise of this fourth kingdom, its destruction, and the return of the Messiah and His kingdom. Christ’s kingdom is that rock-cut out, but not with human hands. This is a specific destruction of the Antichrist’s kingdom, but also of Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece; all at the same time.
Daniel 2:34-35 NASB “You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. (35) “Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
The point to this is that this empire is so all-encompassing that it takes all these with it. You could not and cannot obtain that level of destruction based upon the effectiveness, and conquering abilities of the Roman Empire.
BABYLON DID FALL
Exactly as the prophecy declared. Later, the Medo-Persian Empire was conquered by the Greek Empire by Alexander the Great. But in the midst of Alexander’s conquest of the region, he dies leaving the empire to be split four ways among his generals/successors.
This is discussed in detail in Daniel 8 and 11.
And so did the Roman Empire
The “Roman Empire” ended in 1453 with the death of Constantine XI and the fall ofConstantinople to the Ottoman Turks.
There is only one entity that does everything that Daniel’s interpretation covers, and that is the Islamic empire or Caliphate. They have conquered every piece of property and more. They have obliterated and crushed entire religions in their path, and are more than willing to do that again. There are only two things that have stood against Islam in their efforts to gain world dominance; one is their inability to get along with each other. This strife was demonstrated during our first ventures into Iraq, as Sunnis and Shiites fought against each other. This will never end. Look at what God says about this:
Genesis 16:11-12 NASB The angel of the LORD said to her further, “Behold, you are with child, And you will bear a son; And you shall call his name Ishmael, Because the LORD has given heed to your affliction. (12) “He will be a wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone’s hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers.”
The other thing that stands in the path of Islam is Jesus Christ coming physically back to this earth. When that happens he will slaughter those that blatantly oppose him, and radical followers of Islam will fall into that category. Scripture tells us that anyone worshiping the beast will be cast into outer darkness with their leader, Satan. This is difficult for me to write about because tradition (yes, I struggle with it too) gets in my way. What I see clearly, is that even in the last days God is merciful. I know this because while we as followers of Christ want to see a world purged of sin, all you have to do is read about the millennial reign, and you will find statements implying that there are vile sins going on as nations not turning their hearts willingly to Christ are forced to participate in the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem every year. Choosing not to participate results in no rain upon your land for a year. A second offense brings a plague upon and what sounds like a rather instant death. While that does not sound so merciful at first read, you have to understand that tradition and poor teaching would have these people wiped out so that all the happy people can have free reign of the 1000 years.
Why then do we have those martyred being brought back to life to rule and reign over this earth during that time period?
Who are they reigning over, other followers of Christ? I do not think so. There will be middle of the road people that refused to worship the beast and yet do not a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps mere compliance during this time grants you entrance into the 1000 years. It also sounds like life just continues.
Don’t fight and argue over this stuff. Take the time to look intently into it, and you will see exactly what I am talking about.
Should you not know this Jesus Christ I speak of, you can. Merely ask him into your life and allow him to have all of it. That is actually a process, but know this, He will come into you immediately, as you are. You do not have to do anything like shower, and fix your bed, just ask him. He will change your life as you allow him the freedom.
A thought concerning your last points in the post: the people or nations that do not willingly give allegiance to Jesus during the 1000 years.
Are we not told in Revelation, that when Jesus returns and throws the anti Christ and false prophet into the lake of fire that He kills “the rest” with the sword from His mouth? That is, every one who took the mark of the beast. Anyone who did not take the mark, was killed by the anti Christ, except for the Jews who were in hiding. It would thus seem that the 1000 years is began with only believers. These people will of course have children and multiply throughout the 1000 years and they will retain their natural, sinful nature and free will. This explains the sin and rebellion in the 1000 years. I am curious as to where you get the idea that mere compliance, or not getting the mark, will be enough to enter into the 1000 year reign of Christ. Please expand on this thought, as I am not arguing, but sincerely curious.
Thanks and Maranatha,
After listening to Daniel 1-3 ober and over, I too believe we are in the fourth kingdom days.. and it tells of JESUS return..
Greetings Marcia in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Well, here it is three years since you wrote your comment and I am finally responding to it. I wish I could tell you why but I cannot remember now. Perhaps I can chalk it up to not having enough time at that point, but as I had only recently been fired from my last job back then, you might think I had nothing but time. Perhaps I did not have a clear answer and needed to develop a concrete response; or, maybe I just forgot. Regardless, another comment, just a few days ago – three years later, has brought your comment to my attention once again.
Let me add, that in the process of learning how to deal with my thoughts on “paper” and then subject myself to potential criticism, was quite challenging. I can tell you that I did not handle criticism well back then; I am not sure I manage it well now, but I certainly deal with it differently now. Having read another bloggers advice I have responded, deleted and blocked several caustic and religious “Christians.” However, I did not do that with yours as you were not hostile. I also felt that people who are reading my blog needed to see what the other questions are.
Your question/and interpretative challenges you put forth are not new to my world. Recently, as I sat among the men in Monday mornings “Bible study” the leader, unprovoked by me, proffered this very assumption, and he did so as though it was doctrine. As I have done with you I challenged his premise from the Word of God; however, he disregarded it. Considering how we are to make the Word of God the final authority on questions and challenges, our morning teacher chose to ignore what the word of God had to say and added, then I am stating my opinion, and that is all that matters. While opinions can often be important and valid, they are not all that matters, especially when you are alone with that idea. Fortunately, all these interpretative challenges will become clear someday as they are tested with fire before the Bema seat of Christ.
For now, let me offer a response.
You said, “Are we not told in Revelation, that when Jesus returns and throws the anti-Christ and false prophet into the lake of fire that He kills “the rest” with the sword from His mouth?”
While you are correct, it does say that, but the hypothesis is misleading because you ignored the context, which we find in Revelation 19:19.
Allow me to explain.
Revelation 19:15-19 NASB 15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 16) And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” 17) Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice, saying to all the birds which fly in mid-heaven, “Come, assemble for the great supper of God, 18) so that you may eat the flesh of kings and the flesh of commanders and the flesh of mighty men and the flesh of horses and of those who sit on them and the flesh of all men, both free men and slaves, and small and great.” 19) And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
What do we see here?
– Jesus, with a sword in his mouth.
– With that sword He will strike down the nations, AND, He will rule them with a rod of iron.
— Why would there be a need to rule them if it is only believers that go into the Millennial kingdom?
Remember, we believers were changed in the twinkling of an eye.
Yes, I noted your comment that apparently only believers enter the Millennial reign.
I have covered this in more detail toward the end.
– An angel invites the birds to come and eat the flesh of kings, commanders, and so on, at the great supper of God.
– And finally verse 19, the most telling of all as it says, “And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army.”
So, who is fighting against Jesus at this point in time?
Is it all the nations, with all their citizenry? NO, it is the beast; the kings of the earth, and their armies.
Why do I know this, because the context tells us precisely who is involved and therefore killed?
For the sake of context let’s go ahead and use Revelation 19:20,21 as well.
Revelation 19:20, 21 NASB “And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 21) And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.”
Based on what we see in Revelation19:19, we know that there is a large army amassed against Jesus and the saints with Him.
It is evident from Revelation 19:20 that only two persons are thrown into the lake of fire at this point; the beast (known to us as the Antichrist,) and the false prophet who deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped his image. And, they are thrown alive into the lake. Therefore the remainder: kings; commanders, and the army are those that are killed; no one else.
Assuming that we could not perceive the context, could we then build an argument on logical thought and patterns?
When you look at Revelation 19:21 NASB, it unquestionably states that the rest were killed, and that sounds compelling doesn’t it?
And yet, the word rest/loipoi means remaining ones: – other, which remain, remnant, residue, rest.
The word rest, when we look at the Greek definition is not so definitive because it allows for others remaining, which can easily include those from Israel if I don’t follow the context.
But there is a context, and it specifically points to those armies collected to fight against Jesus Christ.
Some of that “logical” evidence and pattern shows up in Zechariah’s prophetic word, as God has gathered the nations against Jerusalem for punishment.
Zechariah tells us that at least one-third of Israel makes it through the onslaught. I, however, cannot comfortably say that these Jews are those that have gone into hiding, and the reason for that is verse nine as you can see by this statement, “I will bring the third through the fire, Refine them as silver.., and test them..” This refining is not an example, in my mind of people in hiding.
Now if I compared the plight of these Jews with someone like Corie Ten Boom, a woman who helped many people avoid the wrath of the Nazis, many, not knowing the whole story, might think that she escaped and did not have to go through the “fire.” But, we are aware from her testimony that she was caught, tortured in the prison camp, and lost family members to the Nazis.
Zechariah 13:8-9 NASB “It will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. 9) “And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.'”
Isaiah 66 tells us of what appears to be the same scene, and yet, it is not all but many.
Isaiah 66:15-16 NASB For behold, the LORD will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. 16) For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many.
Still trying to define who “the rest” would be, there is this:
Zechariah 14:1-4 NASB “Behold, a day is coming for the LORD when the spoil taken from you will be divided among you. 2) For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished and half of the city exiled, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city. 3) Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle. 4) In that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which is in front of Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in its middle from east to west by a very large valley, so that half of the mountain will move toward the north and the other half toward the south.”
Since we know that this is an important and defining battle, will every person including women and children come and join in the fight?
The obvious answer is NO. We already see examples of this when we look at the Islamic world. Children are taught from the age of understanding, to hate and kill the Jew and anyone who is not a Muslim. The news used to show us young boys about age seven learning to shoot AK 47s’, but it is not practical to place children on the front lines of battle. So, while there will be those with a violent hatred against anything that represents a god other than say, Allah; not all will come to battle and therefore not be included as a combatant, and not killed.
There should be no struggle understanding this, and, I don’t have to go looking for other scriptures to prove my point any further because I stayed true to the context.
Consider, if you haven’t already, that death is separation from God, and is much more than the cessation of breathing, as the spirit ever lives on.
Before I move on to another aspect of your note to me I have to address this statement more fully,
You added a defining factor when you continued with:
“That is, everyone who took the mark of the beast.”
You said this in conjunction with this statement: “Are we not told in Revelation, that when Jesus returns and throws the anti-Christ and false prophet into the lake of fire that He kills “the rest” with the sword from His mouth?“ This implies that only those with the mark are destined for separation from God, and it also implies that those receiving the mark desired to be in compliance with the beast, but that is not the case as most are merely trying to save a life, their own.
The passages from Revelation 19 that initiated this tells us in verse 20 that they were deceived. There is no reason the deceived are doing anything but weeping at the realization of their fate.
You can see from the same verses you referenced that no one else is thrown into the lake of fire at this time, and, there is no denying that at some point those who received the mark and worshiped the image of the beast, are judged, but that is not done here in Revelation 19:21.
What if this is not a government, like the USA, and most people in America assume, that is imposing this mark upon people?
(By the way, taking the mark does not condemn you to hell’s flames; it must include the worshiping of the beast and the image of the beast.)
Islam does a modified version of this marking already, as they victimize conquered peoples. They call it a Jizya tax, and you, as the outsider, are made to wear an identifying band around your arm or head. Without paying this tax you cannot buy or sell under their control, and it is intentionally made impossible. Allegedly, there is a way around this tax, and that is to convert to Islam. To do so, you must deny Christ, His deity, and proclaim that there is no god but Allah and that Mohammad is his messenger. Often they, at this point, treat you as an unworthy coward and kill you anyway.
So, let me ask you a question.
Do Muslims have to take this mark? In most cases, as with women, they are mandated to wear a burka out of compliance, but all of us can see that this is not standardized.
Therefore, I can safely assume that it is only those outside of Islam that must comply like this.
Perhaps I am being far too presumptuous in attributing this designation to Islam, but what other groups, outside of governments, have the capability and desire to globally mark a specific group of people?
I offer you the passage that shows that this taking the mark we speak of is a three-part equation.
Revelation 14:9-11 NASB 9) Then another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10) he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. 11) “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
Even as I read Revelation 14:9-11 I can see that there is a point at which those who “ worship the beast and his image and receive a mark on his forehead or on his hand,” will drink the wine of God’s wrath, and they will be tormented with fire. I think it is safe to presume that this is the lake of fire seeing as it matches the description we have of the lake of fire and its purpose.
“It would thus seem that the 1000 years is began with only believers.”
Since I already know that many Jews survive the wrath of God, can I also assume that they too are believers?
There several problems with the idea that the thousand years is begun with only believers and that Jews would be deemed Christians as they enter.
1. I have to assume that the Jews are included as believers/Christians.
However, we are never told that there are Christians, living among the nations, that go into eternity.
What we do understand is that there are those who warm seats in church buildings that will not go up when Jesus comes for His church. Since John saw the beheaded around the throne in heaven twice, we understand from what he related that their number was uncountable. These people are given the title of saint. The saints only get that title as they are martyred for their testimony, but their numbers are not included among those going into the Millennial reign.
A defining statement about the saints is made in Revelation 20:4,5, where the martyred saints are brought back to life; this is labeled the first resurrection.
The Jews, on the other hand, will not accept the title of Christian as that is a Gentile creation. What they do accept is Yeshua as the Messiah and they would never, with a free choice, agree to be called a Christian. Should they choose not to receive Yeshua then I suppose they would be intermingled with the nations. However, since God lifts the veil from their eyes and all peoples, we can safely assume that most remaining Jews would come to accept the true Messiah.
2. You have these “believers” living the despicable lives we see in Revelation 22:15.
How is that possible that God would allow these fractured believers into the city where no despicable person can enter; only to later go out and do what Satan did – use his free will and choice to act in opposition to God? The logic doesn’t work unless it is the nations going into the Millennial reign along with their vile hatred for God, then Revelation 22:15 makes sense.
3. The other problem, and it is common in the Western/Gentile church. We ignore or do not realize that there are only three people groups, at any given time, in the world. They are The Jews; the nations, and, the Church.
Yes, some Jews can be considered among the Church, and time will prove that out, as they too will be caught up with the Church when Jesus comes in the clouds. Sadly, the Jews, right now, lean more toward the side of the nations as they too will be the targets for God’s wrath alongside the nations.
The nations and the Gentiles are effectively the same things in God’s eyes. In the Western, “civilized” church, we see ourselves as set apart. However, the only thing that sets us apart is our acceptance of this adoption status we have been given. Simply because the “world” does not accept this adoption status, we presume that forgiveness does not and cannot cover their sins as well, but that is not true. The only thing anyone will be judged for is, what that person did with Jesus. That’s all.
At some point, multitudes of these people (the nations) will come into relationship with God. This is all laid out in scriptures by prophets, like Ezekiel. The key here then is the leaves of the trees of life, for the healing of the nations. Healing is the Greek word therapeía; attendance (specifically medical, that is, cure); figuratively and collectively domestics: – healing.
Since we, the church, with our brokenness; twisted ideas; legalism; and prejudices, are not allowed to bring this junk/sin into eternity with God, then, we will be changed in the twinkling of an eye, and so will those who partake of the leaves that give eternal life.
Consider the process here. The nations, in general, do not have access to the trees of life as that would give them immortality without change. But the entire purpose here is to bring these people on the outside into relationship. However, God is not going to allow them to bring their garbage with them as they come into a relationship with Him during the Millennial reign.
There is coming a day when Jesus will return in the clouds to gather His bride back to himself. As you know we call that the rapture, therefore the “believers” should effectively be gone. You should also realize that not everyone that warms a pew will be caught up to be with the Lord. I know this because the Word tells us that he comes for those who are waiting for Him.
4. I am assuming that you when you say believers are then referring to those who continue to come and accept Jesus as their hope and salvation during the time of wrath. Calling them believers might make sense but is inappropriate as Scripture never refers to them as believers; it does, however, call them saints.
This idea of saints can and does cause some confusion as it seems the church is also referred to as saints. However, the word is only used in the Revelation and is always used about those martyred for their testimony. After the rapture, grace is gone. What those who come to Jesus have to live with is something comparable to living under the law as Israel did in the wilderness.
Revelation 12:11 NASB “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
It seems like you asked many questions, however, as I looked at your note you have been making statements; statements that do not align with the Word of God, and I felt they needed to be addressed.
The final thing I want to address is what seems to be your question.
“I am curious as to where you get the idea that mere compliance, or not getting the mark, will be enough to enter into the 1000 year reign of Christ.”
In response to this question how about, we start with Matthew 25:31-46. This is effectively the same story as Revelation 20 where we see the Great White Throne. The players are all the same but they have different names. The Judge is the same but Matthew conveys him as a gentle shepherd in contrast with the angry God of Revelation. Matthew’s gospel focuses on the outcome of the sheep, while Revelation 20 speaks to those not found in the books.
Matthew 25:31-46 NASB “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32) “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33) and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34) “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35) ‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37) “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38) ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39) ‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41) “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42) for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43) I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44) “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45) “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46) “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
In verse 34 he tells the crowd entitled the sheep “to come inherit the kingdom prepared for you.” They obtain this mercy because they acted like the nature and character of Jesus/God. The judge, which is only Jesus, explains:
‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36) naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’
If you have read this, did you ever notice how shocked they were?
When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40) “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
If these had been deemed as such before the rapture, making them “believers’, then why didn’t they go up with the church?
Another thing that gives me the freedom to talk about non-compliance as an entrance into the kingdom is the process of martyrdom itself.
What are the things that define them as God’s possession?
Revelation 6:9 NASB When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
The mere fact that these are found underneath the altar is indicative of God claiming them as His own.
Revelation 12:11 NASB “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.
Twice now we have seen the term testimony, but what does mean and what does that look like under extreme pressure?
The word testimony is the Greek word marturía meaning to witness. A witness, certification (Joh_1:7), testimony (Mar_14:55-56, Mar_14:59; Luk_22:71), that which someone witnesses or states concerning a person or thing (Act_22:18; 1Ti_3:7; Tit_1:13).
Paul, while still known as Saul, is told by God to go to Damascus where a devout man, a Jew named Ananias, was sent to Saul. After Ananias prayed for Saul, he received his sight. Shortly after this Saul has a dream/vision. In that vision he is told:
Acts 22:18 NASB and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’
What are the ramifications of this? Saul, in talking about the Messiah Jesus would be subject to death for several reasons: The Jew’s had been taught to reject Yeshua.
Some proof of this happened when Herod is told the Magi are coming. Their numbers were large enough to cause some alarm, and so he demands that the Jewish leadership tell him what is going on. They said that the scripture called for the king of the Jews to be born in Bethlehem. While this information got Herod’s attention, the Jews made no effort at all to visit this king of Jews born in a manger. Herod, on the other hand, had all the boys in that region, two and below, killed.
Saul had other problems as well, as he had essentially been a hit man for the Jewish council. Now, this should not have scared the Jews who held to tradition, but converts could have to run for their lives. This Saul was now making converts himself, another reason to kill him.
So what does this idea of testimony look like, especially to a Coptic Christian living in the Middle East?
Let’s assume you are a Christian living in the once quiet little Syrian town of Aleppo. Perhaps our first question is, what is it about these people that tell others they are “Christians”?
Imagine ISIS overruns your quiet little burgh, and you cannot escape. They take you captive, and, after having some fun with you by torturing and raping your wife and children and then dismembering them slowly, they demand that you convert and give allegiance to Allah. After a morning of such wasteful frivolities, they have had enough and needed to move on. A sword is placed to your neck with the command, comply – worship Allah or die. You reply with a simple no. Seconds later your bruised and battered head rolls away from your body.
What just happened?
Did you, by your non-compliance, affirm that there is a God greater than an invented name called Allah? Or, did you, by denying the one accept the other? Is it possible that God is not the least bit interested in our church-related methods of mandated compliance, and does not care if your name is on a list of those who publicly made motions of acceptance in some religious service?
I have an ex-son-in-law who did all that, and yet lives a life of lies and deceit. I am not his judge, and I do not know his heart, but I can tell you that when his fruit falls off the tree, it is already rotten and immediately begins to stink up the yard and the lives of those with which he interacts.
What this tells me, is that God is looking at the heart and the motives, and that, which only He sees, is what matters. I decided long ago, after spending a tortured lifetime in the organized church, that if I must err then let it be on the side of mercy. Funny how that works, for I hear Him constantly telling me, good job and well done because you acted just like I would have.
Thank you! I must admit I had forgotten I even asked that question! Ha ha! Still, you make excellent points and I withdraw the question. Maranatha