Category Archives: Eschatology

Israel Forever!

Jerusalem

My personal Bible reading this morning had me in Jeremiah 31. In this chapter, God expresses His desire to restore Israel, not because Israel is sinless, but because God is faithful to keep His promise. All end-times prophecy centers on the nation of Israel, which is precisely why Satan has worked throughout history to destroy the nation. If Satan can destroy Israel then God can be shown to be unfaithful and unreliable. If God cannot keep His promises concerning Israel, neither can He keep His promises to us about our eternal life. That is why this is so important.

The prophecies of Israel’s restoration have been partially fulfilled. After almost 2000 years of diaspora, from which no culture in history has ever survived, the Jews, no matter where in the world they lived – Spain, Poland, Germany, Russia, America, etc. – they maintained their identity, customs, traditions, and even to a great extent, their language. Then on May 14, 1948, they became a nation once again, and they continue to attract Jews from all over the world. They are growing stronger in number, in wealth, and in science and technology. God’s promise has been and is being fulfilled in our time. And Satan hates it! Those that call America the Great Satan and Israel the Little Satan are Satan themselves.

But God is not blessing Israel because they are “good” or better than any other nation on earth. In fact, Israel is a very secular nation. It has, perhaps, one of the largest percentages per capita of homosexuals in the world. Many of the Jews keep the customs and traditions but are really atheist in their beliefs. The truly religious Jews hold the minority in the nation. So, God is not blessing them because they are faithful to Him. He is blessing them because He promised to do so, and God keeps His Word.

However, one day very soon, all the Jews that survive the coming events of “Jacob’s trouble,” aka, the Tribulation, will finally return to God.

For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither. They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. (Jeremiah 31:6-9)

God says …

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that 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 that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

In that day – during the Millennial reign of Christ – all of Israel will turn to God. “And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).

And here is how sure God’s promise is. God says that when the physical laws that govern the sun, moon, and stars cease to function, then will God break His promise. When man is able to discover the boundaries of the universe or discover the foundations of the earth, then will God’s promise cease to be in effect. Hear this …

Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the LORD; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 31:35-37)

God has been faithful to keep His promise to Israel thus far and unless the physical laws which govern the universe cease to function – and it is God who established and maintains the physical laws – God will keep His promise to Israel, not because they deserve it, but because God is faithful. For those of us who have placed our faith, trust, and hope in Christ for our eternal salvation, we can know without a doubt that He will be faithful to keep His promises to us.

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Limited Patience

For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. (Jeremiah 4:22)

Jeremiah prophesied at the time just before, during and after the Babylonian captivity of Judah. As I read the first chapters of Jeremiah, I recognized the United States in the litany of charges God leveled against the nation of Judah. I mourn as the words on the page ring true as applied to the nation that I love.

Judah abandoned God and turned to and worshiped demonic gods. They still went to the Temple and offered sacrifices, but it had become a meaningless routine. “To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me” (Jeremiah 6:20). They were going through the motions, but treating the LORD no different than any of the other gods they worshiped. By this point in their history, Judah had gradually fallen into idolatry in the course of 200 years or more. God had been patient with them sending prophet after prophet to warn them of the dangerous road they were on, but they did not listen. “Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it” (Jeremiah 6:19, emphasis mine).

God had it with Judah! On three separate occasions God told Jeremiah, “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee” (Jeremiah 7:16, emphasis mine). Imagine offending God so badly that He will not listen to the prayers of those who pray for you! This is how low Judah had sunk. “Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble” (Jeremiah 11:14, emphasis mine). Judah had crossed the line. “Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them” (Jeremiah 11:11, emphasis mine). “Then said the LORD unto me, Pray not for this people for their good” (Jeremiah 14:11).

Judah’s list of sins was long and wicked. Not only did they worship idols fashioned after demonic gods, but they offered their babies as burnt sacrifices to these gods. They practiced sexual sins of all kinds. They took advantage of the poor and the widows. They listened to false prophets and rejected the prophets of God who spoke God’s truth like Jeremiah. This was no small thing and they breached the limit of God’s patience. Their rejection of God resulted in their demise at the hands of the Babylonians.

The warning God gave had both a short-term and a long-term application. The Babylonians carried out the short-term application and the Romans carried out the long-term application in A.D. 70 that lasted for almost 2000 years. However, God demonstrates His mercy in that He does not retain His anger forever. He also demonstrates His faithfulness in that He will not break His promise.

Although Israel and Judah were unfaithful to God with their idolatry, He determined to keep His word, not for any merit of this unfaithful nation, but because of His own integrity. He made a promise to Abraham long before Israel became a nation and the only collateral, He gave was His name.[1]God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19, emphasis mine).

As an object lesson, God instructed Jeremiah to go to the house of the potter. There, Jeremiah saw the potter working at the wheel forming a clay vessel. In the process, the vessel developed a flaw at which time the potter crushed it and started over until he completed a vessel that suited his liking. “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel” (Jeremiah 18:5-6).

We see the fulfillment of this prophecy today. For almost 2000 years the Jews wandered from country to country never having a homeland of their own. Linguists considered the Hebrew language a dead language. The Jews did not speak it, yet they maintained their identity as a people and carried on all of their traditions. They never assimilated into the cultures of the lands in which they lived. Then, on May 14, 1948 God brought them back into their Promised Land from all over the world, made them a nation once, and revived their dead language. No other people group in the history of the world had maintained their identity after such a dispersion. The Jewish people returning to their land and the rebirth of their nation is a miracle of God and a promise kept! Of this day the Prophet Isaiah said, “Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children” (Isaiah 66:8).

There is more to come for Israel. However, what is true for Israel is not necessarily true for the United States of America. We can see many parallels. Regardless of what revisionist historians say, America was founded on biblical principles giving glory to God for His providence. Four hundred years have gone by since the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. For most of our History, God was central to our government and our nation, but slowly the leaven of humanism crept in and started eating away at our foundations. About 50 years ago, the cracks in the foundation became more obvious, until now they seem to have crumbled altogether.

One big difference sets America apart from Israel. God never made an unconditional promise to any one of our founding fathers, not even to George Washington. God made an unconditional promise to Abraham; therefore, Israel survives as a nation. We have no such guarantee. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance” (Psalm 33:12); but we, as a nation, have rejected God and made the earth our god. Unless we, as a nation, repent and return to God, no hope remains for our survival. I see no prospect of a national repentance. God’s patience is limited, and I fear we have breached the limit.

Yet, even though the nation crumbles – that seems evident to me – God’s people will survive. While God still has His people here, it is incumbent on His people to carry on His work until Jesus comes to take us home. As God’s people, we need to remember that this world is not our home.[2] We are citizens of heaven[3] and we are ambassadors of the king[4] in this foreign land. Let us do the work of an ambassador until the Lord closes down our embassy and calls us home.

If you do not know God and are unsure of where you will spend eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 12:2-3; 13:15-16; 15:18

[2]  John 15:19

[3]  Philippians 3:20

[4]  2 Corinthians 5:20

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We’ve Been Warned

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)

As you watch or listen to news reports, even from the “fake news” media, do you wonder about what is going on in the world? Russia amasses troops and armaments on the border of Ukraine threatening an invasion. It already has troops stationed in Syria, which although not openly voiced, threaten Israel with its alliances with Turkey and Iran.[1] China boldly invades Taiwan’s airspace daring the United States to do something about it. North Korea once again tests its ballistic missiles in defiance again of the United States. Just yesterday (February 4, 2022), the United States lifted all sanctions from Iran allowing the belligerent nation to go unrestrained in the development of their nuclear weapons – not that the sanctions were any deterrent to their plans, but perhaps the plight of the Iranian people will improve somewhat.

The United States has sent 3000 troops to Europe to scare Putin into backing off of Ukraine. In addition, the United States has sent weapons of various kinds to Ukraine for their own defense. NATO nations are also sending troops and weapons. Germany sent helmets! By analyzing the situation, it appears that the stage is being set for World War III.

Meanwhile, the COVID “plandemic” is being used by governments to oppress their people. Australia and Canada exemplify the harsh totalitarian mandates imposed by governments to exercise control over their people. The United States is not far behind. However, here we have the Constitution that hobbles the government from taking such draconian measures. Instead, government mouthpieces exert their influence to pressure large businesses to do their dirty work for them. Hence, airlines force employees to take the “shot” and require passengers to mask up.

Because medical facilities are on the government teat (they accept Medicare/Medicaid), the government can force “shot” and mask mandates to all employees and they can require patients to show proof of the injection before receiving treatment. Many hospitals are experiencing shortages in healthcare workers because many healthcare workers refuse to take the “jab” because they, being medical “experts” know the harm that the injection can do. As for COVID patients arriving at many hospitals, strict regimens of prescribed treatments (by the CDC) prevent medical staff from administering any of alternative treatments that have been proven to work. Instead, they end up killing patients with “approved” treatments.

Large businesses that employ 100 or more employees are carrying out the government mandate that all employees take the injection as a requirement for employment, even though the Supreme Court struck down the mandate as unconstitutional. They do it because they know “from whence cometh their help.” As a result, many businesses suffer from shortages of workers, which further weakens the economy – and this is true around the world. Of course, government employees must adhere to government mandates for shots and masks, which further enhances government inefficiency. I personally am dealing with an IRS matter that I cannot resolve because no one at the IRS is there to answer the phones. They use COVID to excuse their inability to provide service.

In the meantime, “woke” cities experience increasingly high crime and murder rates because “woke” city leaders refuse to prosecute crimes. Then they blame guns for their problems while they prevent honest, law-abiding citizens from purchasing guns for their own self-defense.

Do you get the picture? Do you find all of this a bit unnerving and perplexing? If you are a Christian and a serious student of the Bible, this should not come as a surprise. All of what we are experiencing right now has been predicted in the pages of the Bible. Jesus said of the last days, “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring” (Luke 21:25). Of course, in context, Jesus referred to the time of Tribulation before His Second Coming, but these things will not happen suddenly. They take time to develop and increase in intensity. For those of us who are paying attention, we have seen all of this building up and ramping up for the last 50 years or more. Jesus spoke of the time of Tribulation in His “Olivet Discourse.”[2] However, what Jesus described will be much worse, if you can imagine. Think about the phrase, “upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity.” Is that not what we see happening? It seems that the world has gone mad and governments are at a loss as to what to do to fix it. They are perplexed!

Jesus also spoke of “signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars.” That is happening also. NASA watches as “Apophis,” a large asteroid, approaches earth and is due to arrive on April 13, 2029.[3] While Earth has experienced many “close encounters,” this one actually has the potential of striking Earth. As a result, NASA is trying to come up with a way to divert giant space rocks away from Earth. Could Apophis be the “great mountain burning with fire” spoken of in Revelation 8:8, or the “great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp” described in Revelation 8:10?

Jesus said that “Men’s hearts [would be] failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken” (Luke 21:26). Does that not sound like the prevailing attitude these days? My goodness! Even among Christians, I see so much fear about the Wuhan Bug that they are even staying away from church. They willingly get injected with this unproven mRNA therapy treatment (trusting the NIH and the CDC rather than trusting God), and not daring to leave their homes without their face coverings! I think that is sad.

The Scripture verse I cited at the beginning clearly tells us that God will not do anything without first revealing it to His prophets. We have that revelation in the Bible, so none of what is happening should come as a surprise to Christians if they are reading their Bibles.

So, is God doing all of this? Yes! Nothing in this world takes place unless God either does it directly or allows it to take place. Just read Job 1 and 2, for example. God says, “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things” (Isaiah 45:7, emphasis mine). By the way, “evil” in this context does not mean “sin.” It is the Hebrew word râ‛âh, which means “bad, disagreeable, malignant, unpleasant, displeasing, etc.” Many of the bad things that happen around the world arise from men inspired by Satan, but it is God that allows it in order to accomplish His purpose, which will ultimately work out for good.

Again, Christians should not be caught by surprise by what is taking place in the world today. Understanding what God revealed to His prophets long ago should give comfort and hope to Christians knowing that our “blessed hope”[4] is drawing near. As Christians (the Church, the Bride of Christ), we may experience the “wrath of man” (and we see that on the rise around the world), but we will miss the “wrath of God” that will be in full display during the Tribulation. “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). As things ramp up, we have the hopeful expectation that Jesus is coming soon for His Bride. He promised, “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

Sadly, most Christians do not study end-times prophecy, hence they find prophecy confusing, bewildering, and even frightening. However, there are many resources readily available which provide insight into current events and how they relate to Bible prophecy. Here are some of the resources I use frequently to keep me apprised of world events that the secular media purposefully obfuscate. If you find end-time prophecy scarry or confusing, I would encourage you to take advantage of these resources.

The above is not an exhaustive list, but all of these are solid Bible teachers that I do not hesitate to recommend. When you look at end-times prophecy correctly, it should not be cause for fear, but for hope and anticipation. It should also be a motivator for evangelism. When you know that the time is short, and that you have many friends and loved ones that are lost and hell-bound, it should motivate you to warn them of what is to come and hopefully bring them to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

If you are unsure of where you will spend eternity, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Ezekiel 38

[2]  Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21

[3]  https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroid-watch/eyes-on-asteroids

[4]  Titus 2:13

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Take No Thought

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)

Last week the Wuhan Bug arrived at our house. I felt it first. It came on me Saturday evening in the form of a low-grade fever. I felt my ears “burn” as I worked on a sermon that I was supposed to deliver the following day at an assisted living facility. I called Linda, the lady in charge of the services, to let her know the situation. At that time, I was not aware that I had been “bitten” by the bug, but knowing the precautions taken at the facility to keep the residents safe, I felt obligated to report my condition. Linda, our leader, was a little distraught because she did not have a substitute on such short notice. So, I promised that if my fever left, I would show up and fulfill my obligation. The next morning, I was ready to preach.

I battle allergies constantly, especially this time of the year. So, for me, what I experienced was “normal.” My wife June, on the other hand started feeling bad Monday. That evening, she took her temperature and it was over 100º. The next day she called in sick to work and made an appointment to see a doctor. She was tested and diagnosed with COVID-19. Naturally, when she tested positive, they called me in and I tested positive as well. Keep in mind that I was not “feeling” sick during all of this time, except for the low-grade fever on Saturday night. The doctor prescribed an infusion of monoclonal antibodies and a medical team came to our house on Wednesday to administer the infusion to us. Following the infusion, I experienced chills and high fever the next two days. June had a similar experience, but after that, we both felt much better.

Our experience with the Wuhan Bug was a mild one compared to some. God made each one of us unique. Each one of us has a one-of-a-kind genetic makeup so that viruses affect us differently. One of the reasons I oppose the COVID injection being pushed by our government is that it is designed to manipulate your DNA. In simple terms, the mRNA injected into your body is supposed to “train” your God-created DNA into fighting of the spike protein of the coronavirus. The scientists that developed this “gene therapy” are ignorant (compared to the Designer and Creator of DNA), fallen, humans who are trying to manipulate what God has created. We must remember that these scientists, for the most part, believe that humans evolved from some common ancestor with ape, therefore they have a low regard for the notion that we were created in the image of God. I could go on, but that is not the purpose of this article.

From the beginning of the “plandemic” June and I have rejected the fearmongering propaganda surrounding it. We decided from the onset that we would trust God rather than men. Some will argue that God gave men intelligence to develop medicines and vaccines to help improve the health of mankind. To a large extent, I agree. In the past, medicines and vaccines have been developed from substances God created in nature. Past remedies stemmed from men “thinking God’s thoughts after Him.” These new so-called mRNA vaccines are none of that. They are all developed from manmade substances which attempt to alter or manipulate what God designed and created. You are welcome to disagree, and you have every right to be wrong, but I digress.

In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount He stressed, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” The Greek word translated “thought” is merimnaō and it means “to be anxious about” something. The word “anxious” carries the connotation of “sickening worry.” This Wuhan Bug has many people I know and love living in fear, too afraid to come out of their homes for fear of being infected. June and I refuse to live like that without presuming upon God for our safety. We understood that we could be infected, but we also trusted that God would see us through – and He did!

Jesus says to “take no thought for your life.” The Greek word translated “life” here is not the common Greek words translated as “life.” Rather, it is the Greek word, psuchē, which means “breath” or “spirit.” It carries the connotation of the “soul,” which is the very essence of one’s being and existence. A Christian, of all people, should not be worried or anxious about his life knowing that, as Paul said, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis mine). If you claim to be a Christian and lack that confidence, then you may need to reassess your position before God.

Jesus goes on to list material things over which we should not worry, but He tied all these back to what He stated earlier. Note that He begins the verse with “Therefore I say unto you.” Anytime we see “therefore” in the Bible, we need to see what it’s “there for.” In this case, Jesus had spoken of storing up treasures in heaven.[1] He stressed the folly of accumulating treasures here on earth, because it decays or can be stolen. “Treasures” can be anything that we value – our home, material possessions, family, time, work, life, etc. These are all temporal in nature. Jesus instructed that we should “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matthew 6:20).

I really long for the day when “the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, emphasis mine). I am shocked when I run into Christians that do not share my enthusiasm for the Lord’s return, and in fact, they hope that He does not return anytime soon because they have so many treasures here on earth that they are unwilling to turn loose. Jesus reminds us, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). Where is your treasure?

Divided loyalties weaken the Christian and make him susceptible to fear and worry. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). You can either put your trust in and serve the things of this world (“mammon”) or you can place your trust in God for His provision knowing that your life, your psuchē, is in His strong and loving hands. If your trust is in Him, the Wuhan Bug should not scare you.

Notes:


[1]  Matthew 6:19-24

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Seven Lamps

And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. (Revelation 4:5)

Recently, I started reading my Bible through again beginning with the New Testament, but this time in Spanish. I arrived at Apocalipsis (Revelation) Chapter 4, and Verse 5 gave me pause. I am reading in the Reina-Valera Revisión 1960, which translates επτα πνευματα του θεου (the seven spirits of God) as “los siete espíritus de Dios.” What caught my attention is that “espíritus” was in lower case suggesting this is NOT the Holy Spirit.

I cross-referenced my KJV (1873), and it too had “spirits” in lower case. However, my e-Sword[1] electronic Bible that resides on my computer, uses the 1769 KJV and it capitalizes “Spirits.” Seeing the difference between the 1769 and 1873 made me look to the original 1611; it capitalized “Spirits” – “the seuen Spirits of God.” Looking further back to the 1599 Geneva Bible (the one used by the Pilgrims), I found “spirits” in lower case. Finally, I looked at the Reina-Valera Revisión 1909 and found “Espíritus” capitalized.

Obviously, the translators cannot agree if the Greek πνευματα refers to the Holy Spirit or spirits in general. Spanish is notorious for putting in lower case most words that we in English normally capitalize, like days of the weeks, names of months, and reserving capitals mostly for proper names only. It could be argued that the problem with English was the lack of orthographical standardization prior to the 18th and 19th centuries so that the translators could not agree to capitalize or not.

The question remains, are “the seven spirits of God” the Holy Spirit or is this referring to something else? Throughout the NT, the Holy Spirit is always spoken of in the singular, never in the plural. The only possible exceptions are here in Revelation 4:5, and in Revelation 1:4; 3:1; 5:6. That the “spirits” belong to God is perfectly clear, but to conclude that they refer to the Holy Spirit is rather nebulous.

I looked to some reputable prophecy teachers for insight. Clarence Larkin, whose commentary on Revelation is the foundation upon which others build, completely overlooked Revelation 4:5. He commented extensively on Verse 4 and skipped right over to Verse 6.[2] Apparently, he was unconvinced one way or the other. Ed Hindson, Professor of Religion and Dean of the Institute of Biblical Studies at Liberty University commented, “The seven lamps of fire depict the seven Spirits of God (cf. 1:4)”[3] without any further explanation. Note too that he capitalizes “Spirits” indicating that he believes these to be the One referring only to Revelation 1:4 for support.

Let us examine that verse. “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 1:4, KJV 1769, emphasis mine). This is the first appearance of this phrase in the NT. Note the capitalization of “Spirits” for no apparent reason. Nothing in the text itself warrants the capitalization. For comparison, the 1873 KJV does not capitalize “spirits” nor does the 1611. The 1599 Geneva Bible does capitalize “Spirits” but adds a note which I will address later. So, we remain in a biblical fog on the meaning of “the seven spirits.”

Tim LaHaye, another well-respected prophecy teacher who is now in the presence of our Lord and knows all things perfectly now, suggested that “the seven Spirits of God” represent seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit as described in Isaiah 11:2: (1) the spirit of the Lord, (2) the spirit of wisdom, (3) the spirit of understanding, (4) the spirit of counsel, (5) the spirit of might, (6) the spirit of knowledge, and (7) the spirit of the fear of the Lord. LaHaye draws a convincing parallel of the seven attributes of the Holy Spirit, but why would John make such an ambiguous connection when elsewhere in the Revelation he refers to “the Spirit” in the singular?[4]

In all the 50 years that I have studied end-times prophecy, I have been taught and have come to believe that “the seven spirits of God” referred to the Holy Spirit. I am unconvinced now. Looking at this from a different perspective, I have arrived at the conclusion that “the seven spirits of God” represent the raptured churches that are before the throne of God. Here is how I arrive at this conclusion.

As I stated earlier, throughout the NT the Holy Spirit is always referred to in the singular, never in the plural. The Godhead a unified plurality composed of three single entities working separately and together simultaneously. (I know that is a difficult concept to grasp, but that is what the Bible teaches, and we must accept that by faith.) So, the Holy Spirit is always the Holy Spirit, not Holy Spirits. Therefore, in this verse (and also 1:4, 3:1 and 5:6), “the seven spirits of God” must refer to something else which helps explain the confusion about capitalization. Here’s what I think.

Revelation 4:5 says, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven spirits of God” (KJV 1873, emphasis mine). Have we been introduced to seven lamps before this point? Yes, indeed we have; the first time John sees Jesus. “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks … 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” (Revelation 1:12, 20, emphasis mine).

Someone might well say, “There is a big difference between a “lamp” and a “candlestick” (some modern translations say lampstand). Amen (‘tis true)! John saw Jesus standing in the midst of seven candlesticks (lampstands) representing the seven churches Jesus would address. The word in the Greek is luchnia, which is a lampstand or candelabrum designed for supporting a lamp (or torch). In 4:5, John sees seven lamps before the throne. The Greek word there is lampas, which is a torch or lamp. Thayer’s Greek Definitions adds further, “a lamp, the flame of which is fed with oil.” Isn’t that interesting? Oil is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit.

So, on earth, John sees Jesus in the midst of seven lampstands designed to support lamps, i.e., flaming torches. The Holy Spirit is often depicted as a flame of fire. That could be a study on its own, but by way of example, the flaming bush that Moses confronted in the wilderness was the Spirit of God.[5] The Spirit of God was seen as a pillar of fire by night as the children of Israel wandered in the desert.[6] Later, when the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost, He appeared as “tongues of fire” over their heads.[7]

We know that the Holy Spirit indwells every true believer and by extension, He indwells every true church of Christ. So, as John sees Jesus in the midst of the seven churches (which represent all of His churches throughout the ages), he sees the lampstands, the churches, shining forth the lamps (torches) which are, in fact, One Spirit. Jesus said, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15, emphasis mine). Now, John does not describe the candlesticks as having torches. However, it seems silly to think that Jesus would be in the midst of lampstands with no lamps burning. That, in fact, would be rather sad because it would mean that the Holy Spirit was not in the Churches. Why then would Jesus be in their midst?

Jesus then addresses the seven churches, which represent the churches of all the ages, in chapters two and three. Now we come to Chapter 4. John says, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne” (Revelation 4:1-2). Every good prophecy teacher I know suggests that this represents the Rapture of the Church. The first three chapters dealt with the Church on earth at this present time. Now, John is called up to heaven and from this point on, the Church is no longer seen until the Wedding Supper of the Lamb and she returns to earth with Christ.[8]

This is John’s first vision of heaven and the first thing he sees is God on His throne surrounded by (among other things) “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God” (4:5). These seven lamps, I say, represent the seven churches that John saw on earth, which were raptured up with John when he heard the command, “Come up hither!” They are now just lamps. There is no further need for the lampstand, because they have done their job.

I found a note from the 1599 Geneva Bible on Revelation 1:4 very interesting. It says, “That is, from the Holy Spirit who proceeds from the Father and the Son. This Spirit is one in person according to his subsistence: but in communication of his power, and in demonstration of his divine works in those seven churches, perfectly manifests himself as if there were many spirits, every one perfectly working in his own church” (emphasis mine). That goes along with what I have concluded.

Without completely rejecting the notion that “the seven spirits of God” refers to the Holy Spirit, I suggest that the “seven lamps of fire burning before the throne” are the seven churches that are “the seven spirits of God” through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Notes:


[1]  e-Sword: Free Bible Study for the PC – https://e-sword.net/

[2]  Clarence Larkin, The Book of Revelation Illustrated, (The Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate, Philadelphia, 1919), pp. 38-41.

[3]  Edward Hindson, The Book of Revelation: Unlocking the Future, (AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, 2002), p. 59.

[4]  Revelation 1:10; 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 11:11; 14:13; 22:17

[5]  Exodus 3:2

[6]  Exodus 13:21

[7]  Acts 2:1-4

[8]  Revelation 19

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