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Babylon

The Ishtar Gate of ancient Babylon

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged. (Isaiah 13:19-22)

Babylon appears 294 times in the King James Bible. The first reference can be found in Second Kings. “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof” (2 Kings 17:24). This citation refers to the time when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom of Israel. Babylon had not yet ascended to power. However, the history of Babylon goes all the way back to Genesis after the flood when the people rebelled against God by refusing to “fill the earth” as God had commanded. Instead, they congregated in one place and built a tower to worship the heavens. God overruled their plans, confused their language, and scattered them all over the earth as He willed.[1] “So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:8-9).

“Babylon was initially a minor city-state, and controlled little surrounding territory; its first four Amorite rulers did not assume the title of king. The older and more powerful states of Assyria, Elam, Isin, and Larsa overshadowed Babylon until it became the capital of Hammurabi’s short-lived empire about a century later … After the reign of Hammurabi, the whole of southern Mesopotamia came to be known as Babylonia, whereas the north had already coalesced centuries before into Assyria.”[2] After this, Babylon diminished into a weak city-state until Nebopolassar came into power. “Under Nabopolassar, a previously Chaldean King, Babylon escaped Assyrian rule, and in an alliance with Cyaxares, king of the Medes who was his son in law together with Cimmerians, finally destroyed the Assyrian Empire between 612 BC and 605 BC. Babylon thus became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian (sometimes called the Chaldean) Empire. With the recovery of Babylonian independence, a new era of architectural activity ensued, particularly during the reign of his son Nebuchadnezzar II (604–561 BC).”[3]

As students of the Bible, this last name rings a bell. We are familiar with the biblical accounts of the conquest of Judah and Jerusalem and the demise of the Babylonian Empire by the Medes and the Persians. Prophecies concerning Babylon call for its utter destruction as in our passage above (Isaiah 13:19-22). Consider the following verses from the Prophet Jeremiah.

Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. (Jeremiah 50:13)

As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein. (Jeremiah 50:40)

And I will render unto Babylon and to all the inhabitants of Chaldea all their evil that they have done in Zion in your sight, saith the LORD. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the LORD, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain. And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 51:24-26)

And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant. (Jeremiah 51:37)

How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations! The sea is come up upon Babylon: she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby. (Jeremiah 51:41-43)

And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah. (Jeremiah 51:64)

The book of Revelation also speaks of the complete destruction of Babylon. “And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Revelation 16:19). “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:1-2).

Babylon exists today, albeit not as a city of great significance. The rebuilding of the Ishtar Gate and the archeology taking place there make it more of a destination for curiosity seekers. “By 1905, there were several villages in Babylon, one of which was Qwaresh with about 200 households located within the boundaries of the ancient inner city walls. The village grew due to the need for laborers during the German Oriental Society excavations (1899-1917) … On 5 July 2019, the site of Babylon was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Thousands of people reside in Babylon within the perimeter of the ancient outer city walls, and communities in and around them are ‘rapidly developing from compact, dense settlements to sprawling suburbia despite laws restricting constructions’.”[4]

Obviously, the prophecies of the total destruction of Babylon have not come to pass. Since God cannot lie,[5] these prophecies must yet be future. However, there are some end-times prophecy teachers that teach that the Babylon referred to in Revelation is symbolic of false religion that has its roots in Babylon. They also teach that John employed coded language to refer to the Roman Empire as Peter did in his letters. “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son” (1 Peter 5:13). However, there are many that take deference to that saying that Peter was referring to an actual church in literal Babylon.

It’s hard to say. It may be that John was referring to Rome when he referred to Babylon. Christians experienced much persecution under Rome and perhaps this was John’s way of obscuring the meaning in case the letter was intercepted by Roman authorities. That is not beyond possibility. However, there is still the fact that the real, physical Babylon still exists, and it has not been made “a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby” (Jeremiah 51:43). It is also not beyond the realm of possibility that Antichrist could indeed set up his headquarters there. There is a population there. There is infrastructure. It does not need to be a “show place” for him to operate from there. For that reason, I lean toward the actual Babylon being the center of Antichrist’s government. That is where false religion started, and that is where it will end when Christ returns. Then all the prophecies of its total destruction will be fulfilled.

Jesus is coming soon, and His reward is with Him. The signs for His appearing are increasing in intensity and frequency. Are you prepared to meet Him? If you do not know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, please read my page on “Securing Eternal Life.”

Notes:


[1]  Genesis 11:1-9

[2]  “Babylon” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon

[3]  Ibid.

[4]  Ibid.

[5]  Numbers 23:19; Titus 1:2

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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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All Things New

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:1-5)

 With Christmas behind us, we turn our attention to the coming year and the prospect of better things for the future. The year 2020 started out strong, but then things quickly degenerated to lockdowns, isolation, and fear for an unseen villain – the COVID-19 virus. At first the lockdowns were for just two weeks, then four weeks, then three months, then six months. Businesses, schools and churches were shut down. As our nation experienced an unprecedented rise in violence, many of us hunkered down in fear of dangers seen and unseen.

Then came the year 2021 with the promise of “building back better” from a new administration. The COVID “vaccines” promised immunization from the dreaded virus. First, one shot was all that was needed, then two, then a booster. It did not take very long to discover that the vaccine did not prevent infection and whatever benefit derived from the booster was short-lived and no real guarantee against infection. If that was not enough, the Delta variant rose up bringing more fear to an already fearful world, and now we have the Omicron variant and the “need” for a second booster.  Along with all of that, violence and lawlessness continued to increase as our nation declined in preeminence on the world stage. The shameful and dishonorable withdrawal from Afghanistan only made matters worse.

Now 2022 is waiting in the wings. What will the new year bring? Will things ever get back to “normal”?

I am not a pessimist, but I do read what the Bible has to say about the end times. If the Bible is true (and it is), things will get worse before the Lord returns. Jesus said, “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8, emphasis mine).

Does that not sound familiar these days? So, do not expect 2022 to get better; it will only get worse. Now, what do we do in light of this dismal outlook; crawl under a rock and hide away? NO! We face the future with the assurance that God has all things in His control.

 What Does God Have to Say About It?

As Moses prepared Israel to enter the Promised Land, a new land filled with giants, dangers, and unknowns, he encouraged them not to fear because God was with them. “Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 1:21, emphasis mine). As Israel prepared for battle against their enemies, the priests were to encourage the people, “And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the LORD your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:3-4, emphasis mine). The unknown is frightening, but God promises to go with us and even to fight our battles,

So, “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6, emphasis mine). When we attempt to face challenges on our own, WE WILL FAIL, but God will never fail us or leave us alone.

God has unlimited resources. When Syria harassed Israel, their efforts were constantly thwarted because God, through Elisha, warned the king of Israel before every attack. The king of Syria suspected that he had a spy within his ranks, but one of his servants told him about Elisha the prophet who warned the king of Israel ahead of every attack. Therefore, the king of Syria sent an army and surrounded Elisha’s house. “And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do? And [Elisha] answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them. And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha” (2 Kings 6:15-17, emphasis mine).

“And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 28:20, emphasis mine). David referred to the Temple Solomon would build. Solomon had the promise that God would not abandon him until the work was complete. Today, believers are the “living temples” of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). As long as God lends us breath, we have work to do “for the service of the house of the LORD.”

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness … For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isaiah 41:10, 13, emphasis mine). When we trust God, He is our strength and our help, He sustains us and holds our right hand.

 Jesus said, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (Luke 12:6-7, emphasis mine). God cares for all of His creation, even those we would count as insignificant. He knows us intimately, even to the most minute detail – the number of hairs on our head. Since God cares so much for common sparrows, how much more does He care for those created in His image?

What Can We Do?

When Babylon conquered Judah, Nebuchadnezzar carried away the Jews in three deportations. Nebuchadnezzar set Gedaliah as governor over Judah after the third deportation to Babylon. They were going into captivity. In that circumstance, the people are encouraged to “fear not,” accept the situation, and it would be well with them. “And Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan sware unto them and to their men, saying, Fear not to serve the Chaldeans: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon, and it shall be well with you” (Jeremiah 40:9; 2 Kings 25:24, emphasis mine). God promises to be with us even in difficult situations.

Jesus said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28, emphasis mine). The Greek word translated “fear” (used twice in this verse) is phobeō, from which we get the English word “phobia.” Strong’s defines it this way: “to frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere: – be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence” (emphasis mine). With that in mind, Jesus says not to fear or be frightened of those that can kill the body – that would include COVID-19. Rather, we should “revere” the One who ultimately determines our eternal destiny.

When Jesus was selecting His disciples, Luke records the account this way: “And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men” (Luke 5:10, emphasis mine). The world may be falling down all around us, but we are not to “shelter in place.” Jesus gave us the “good news” for us to share with those around us.

Jesus also said, “And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:29-34, emphasis mine). We are not to be overly concerned with our material needs. Jesus promises that God will provide what we need.

 “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation [i.e., behavior/conduct] in Christ” (1 Peter 3:12-16, emphasis mine). When we are secure in the Lord’s care, we can be confident to face whatever the future may bring. When others see our confidence, they will want to know the reason for it, and we need to be prepared to give an answer.

 Conclusion:

We cannot stop 2022 from coming. We cannot alter the circumstances that 2022 will bring. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, emphasis mine). However, we can control our own outlook when we place our trust in God knowing that all things are under His control and that He cares for His own. Again, Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, emphasis mine). Ultimately, we have the promise of eternal life with Him in a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1-5).

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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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In Whom Do You Trust?

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2 Samuel 22:3)

The Wuhan Bug[1] infected the world over a year and a half ago, and while in many places life has regained a semblance of normalcy, the fear mongering persists. No one doubts the potential lethality of the bug, and while government agencies over emphasize and exaggerate the case numbers and death counts, the fact remains that overall, the possibility of infection is rather low.[2]

I live in the Great State of Texas where the draconian measures that were applied at the beginning of this “plandemic” have been mostly lifted. The Texas governor issued an executive order that no business can require patrons to wear masks and employers cannot coerce employees to get the “jab.” However, I live in the far-left-leaning Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex that marches lock-step with whatever the Washington DC “wizards” decree. One still finds many big-name stores with “Masks Required” signs on their doors, but thanks go Governor Abbot, they can be ignored – and I do.

Even with this greater degree of freedom afforded to us as Texans, I see many people driving in their cars or walking on sidewalks or in the parks, far away from any other living soul and they are all masked up. Somehow, the government agencies that claim to care so much about our citizens have failed to inform them that the Wuhan Bug can easily penetrate most masks, especially the homemade ones. They fail to inform the masses that the Wuhan Bug cannot survive on open surfaces or in the open air.

What the caring government agencies do stress, is that everyone must get the “jab” or you will die! One not only needs one but two jabs and a booster! Now they say that the “jab” cannot guarantee immunity for more than a few months, so subsequent boosters will be required. You must get the “jab” or you will die. If you do not take the “jab” you are being inconsiderate and unloving to your neighbor. That is what Jesus would have you do! The current governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, encourages Christians to get the “jab”[3] because the vaccines are from God.[4] Really?

I am happy that my church is open once more and masks are “optional.” We do not need to social distance if we do not want to, and for those who are willing, hugs are once more allowed. I like that. I am a hugger. Sadly, our attendance numbers are not what they were before COVID. We used to run three services on Sunday morning, but we are down to two now, and those are not at capacity. Our Sunday school classes are divided between live and Zoom ™ attenders, and many attend the services online. If there is anything good in this is that our online attendance has increased; we have visitors from all over the country and the world, so God’s Word is going out.

Still, I sense a lot of residual fear in our congregation. Many that attend live services come masked and are careful to avoid close contact with anyone. I understand, but the fear they harbor saddens me. They fear the Wuhan Bug because “caring” government agencies aided by their propaganda arm, the mainstream media, have filled their minds with the dread of a virus which they have less than one percent of catching. They believe that the government truly seeks their welfare.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Why would the government pressure healthcare organizations to coerce all healthcare workers to take the “jab,” forcing many to quit their jobs rather than submit? There is already a shortage of healthcare workers as it is. And why are healthcare workers reluctant to take the “jab” if it is really “safe”? Do they know something we do not know?

Many jobs are being lost because employees refuse to be coerced into taking the “jab” – truck drivers, airline workers, etc. Many businesses cannot hire workers because the “caring” government pays them more to stay home and collect unemployment for doing nothing. There is a hidden agenda by “undercover” Marxists leaders in our government to destroy America and bring it under the One-World Government. They are unwittingly setting the stage for the fulfillment of end-times prophecy.[5] The world elites pulling the puppet strings of our government do not hide their intentions. One can read what they have in mind.[6]

So, the fear that I witness in my Christian brothers and sisters comes from misplaced trust in man – the Whitehouse, Congress, the CDC, the NIH – rather than placing their trust in God. Yes, I see them mouth the words affirming trust in God, but their actions tell a much different story. Many of my brethren rushed to get the “jab” taking the propaganda of the media without doing any research of opposing opinions. Now, many of them who have gotten the first, second and booster “jabs” have come down with the virus and some have experienced adverse reactions.[7]  So much for the safety and efficacy of the “jab.”

I advise Christians to develop a healthy distrust of the government – they do not have your best interest at heart – and place your trust completely in God. God cares for you. He knows you inside and out. He maintains a second-by-second record of every one of your more than 3-Trillion cells in your body. He designed your DNA and while “scientists” know part of the human genome (DNA), God programed every single nucleotide combination that makes you, you. God knows the number of days He planned for your life.[8] He already knows the mode of your death – car accident, plane crash, cancer, heart attack, stroke, flu, pneumonia, COVID, etc. You have no control whatsoever in the method of your death. Who knows? You may be raptured out of this world and not see death at all! So why live in fear if you truly trust God? You either fully trust God for your life, or you do not. If you do not truly trust God with your life then fear is knocking at your door. Do not say that you trust God and then go around in fear because of what man has to say. God commands, “Fear not!”[9]

Notes:


[1]  “Wuhan Bug” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/03/15/wuhan-bug/

[2]  “Fear” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/11/15/fear/

[3]  https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2021/09/28/hochul-vax-sermon-n2596585

[4]  “NY Gov. Hochul says vaccines are ‘from God,’ sends out her own ‘apostles’ to push jabs” – https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ny-gov-hochul-claims-covid-19-vaccines-from-god-sends-out-her-own-apostles

[5]  Daniel 7:7-8; 9:27; Revelation 13:1-10

[6]  World Economic Forum – https://www.weforum.org/

[7]  This shot is not a vaccine in the traditional sense of injecting an attenuated form of a pathogen that allows our bodies to develop natural immunities. Instead, it is an MRNA gene “therapy” that modifies a person’s DNA. Since every individual’s DNA is unique to that individual, the reactions to the MRNA will differ from person to person. This is why so many different reactions to the injection have been reported.

[8]  Psalm 90:9-10

[9]  “Fear Not” – https://erniecarrasco.com/2020/08/16/fear-not/

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