Interpreting Eschatology Using Patterns

Lately I have been reading Jeremiah, and parts of other books of the Bible. It’s been hard to decide what to write about, not to mention I’ve been so busy I can’t keep my head above water. In addition to being in survival mode, I have been looking at what’s going on in our nation and I am burdened by what I see all around me. My thoughts often turn to latter day prophecy and I sense that we are in the last days. We may be further along than we realize.

The way I’ve looked at eschatology in the past may need to change slightly. All of the end-time prophecy scholars look at things so differently than I do. I don’t intend to join their beliefs or be influenced by them. I know the pattern of Scripture and understand the need to stay within those boundaries. I’ve shared this in past posts. I’ve always looked at eschatology from a historical perspective but now things are beginning to come into view in a way I didn’t expect. The problem is that the teachings of these scholars still influence my thinking more than I’d like to admit. I’m extremely concerned those teachings are going to blind us to what’s happening right before our eyes. We’ve got to understand the concept of seeing patterns in Scripture.

Over the past few years, I’ve been learning more about patterns and how they work from personal experience. Ecclesiastes 1:9 is a very important verse for us to understand. It says, “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” It’s the pattern (series of events) that is not new.

Things in life can follow a Biblical pattern, but obviously, the players are different. The players are present day people like us. They can be us, family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors, people in our communities, or anybody in our nation or the world. If you’ve ever thought that what was happening in your life reminded you of a particular Biblical account, you might have been living a pattern of Scripture. You might have to chart it out to be sure. Understand this: it’s the themes/events of the pattern that unfold before us.

Sometimes, opposition takes place as the pattern unfolds; in other words, the opposite of what we expect to happen (based on the Biblical pattern) takes place. This is a result of personal, freewill choices people make. Other times, it may be another unexpected person that causes the action of the pattern to move forward according to, or in opposition to the pattern.

Occasionally, a person can fulfill the role of one or more people in the original Biblical pattern. This can make the expected “unexpected.” Because of this, we can’t always accurately “prophesy” what will really happen in a given situation. We can project, but only to a point, and only thematically at that; we can’t always be specific.

Another difficulty with Scripture, especially as it pertains to Isaiah and Jeremiah, is how much of the text applies to the past and what, if anything applies to the future. It’s also hard to determine what in Scripture, is a type of what will happen in the future. It could be that a prophecy was fully fulfilled in the past; yet, it plays out again in the future, but not exactly as it was originally written due to the presence of opposition and/or shift in characters. We may see this happen in the last days, especially as it pertains to Daniel 11 which appears to have been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes IV; yet, Yeshua alludes to a time of future fulfillment of the abomination of desolation in Matthew 24:15.  Another question is whether or not the kings of the north and south will be tied to their historical counterparts.  I’ve been of the opinion that they would; but, time will tell for sure.

Lately, I’ve seen evidence that some of the latter parts of Daniel 11 may be taking place. Since the world stage is so large, it’s hard to know if all the details have occurred or will occur shortly.

I do know that in order to properly interpret Revelation, we have to look to the past. We need to understand the patterns of the Scriptures and identify the symbols in Revelation based on the Tanach.

When we look at Revelation, we have to know who the beast, false prophet, and the harlot Babylon the Great are. I think I’m close. As I’ve said in the past, I think the beast is Islamic (based on the book of Daniel and Revelation) and that Babylon the Great is a false religious-economic-political system; I know that the beast intends to destroy Babylon the Great so they can’t be the same thing. Yet, there is some kind of relationship between the two because the harlot rides the beast, at least for a while.

I’m starting to see that these players are a bit more multifaceted than I originally believed. They have to be in order for the details of Revelation to take place. I still see Islamic eschatology playing a role in fulfilling Scriptural eschatology.

The teachings of scholars, movies, and fiction/non-fiction books concerning the identity of the beast, false prophet, and the harlot are clouding our vision! It’s causing us to expect one thing, when something else is probably going to take place. The scarlet beast is not a single man; it has seven heads. One of those heads will suffer a mortal head wound that will be healed. How can we interpret Revelation 13:3? Will it be like it’s described in books and movies? Do these incorrectly influence our judgment?

Obviously, one of the heads of the beast is going to die. I doubt this individual will be resurrected; but, anything is possible. More likely, the healing of this mortal wound will be in the form of him being replaced by a like-minded individual, and the nation he led will continue to function without him. This like-minded individual (new head) will carry on with the other heads of the scarlet beast in order to carry on the wickedness of the beast. I could be wrong, but I think the man who is going to die is alive and leading our country; I don’t think he will survive another year. He will probably be assassinated as Bible codes seem to indicate.  This is another area of interest I have been exploring.

As for the false prophet, I think he’s also a world leader that’s already in place. I might be wrong, but he could be the current pope (he’s “like a lamb”) who is involved in the religious-political side of things  and trying to connect with the beast. In the past, I’ve considered the pope to be related to the harlot, Babylon the Great.  One is a man, and the other is a system.  It will be interesting to watch this play out as our understanding of his lamb-like beliefs and behavior change for the worse before our eyes, and as he tries to convince the world to follow after the beast. I think that process is already beginning to unfold.

God’s people can watch world events, but need to realize that we can’t do anything about any of this. Prophecy will be fulfilled; it can’t be changed. In the meantime, it is imperative that we wake up and see our true spiritual condition for what it is. God’s people are in Babylon the Great and have been commanded to come out of her.

Babylon the Great is more than just a religious system. It’s economic and political too. I’m not sure how large the true geographical portion of it is at this point although I’m pretty sure America is a part of it. I tend to think we can’t physically come out of her; although Israel has opened its doors so that the Jews can leave where they are living and go there. Unfortunately, not everyone (specifically Gentile believers in Yeshua) has that option. For those who do go there, it won’t be safe there either.

I do know that we can’t support the various aspects of this religious-political-economic system known as the harlot and the mother of all harlots (Babylon the Great).

Religiously:

  • We can open our eyes to see the syncretism in Christianity.
  • Once we can see its pagan practices, we must stop engaging in its various forms of idolatry.
  • We must stop celebrating feasts that are pagan in historical origin and form, and start celebrating the feasts of YVHH.
  • We can obey God’s commandments, including the 7th day Sabbath; they are not too hard for us.
  • We don’t need to embrace the oral traditions of Judaism, but we can learn and obey God’s written commandments which are in the Bible, starting with the dietary laws and setting apart the Sabbath day to rest.
  • As we continue to learn previously overlooked commandments, we can incorporate those into our lives; this is a process.
  • We must realize that God intended one set of laws for both Jews and Gentiles; we must ignore those who teach us otherwise.

Politically:

  • We can stop supporting politicians who stand in opposition to God’s commandments.
  • We can pray for them to pass righteous laws.
  • We can pray for them to make right decisions.
  • We can raise our voices and sign petitions for righteousness.

Economically:

  • We can do our best to live within our means.
  • We can do our best to work and avoid/reduce dependence on government subsidies.
  • We can avoid materialism; have only what you need. You don’t need the latest and greatest of everything all the time.
  • Understand that the economy will fall and there’s nothing we can do about it.

As I previously mentioned, I have been reading Jeremiah. Leaving an idolatrous religious system is what Jeremiah preached. Idolatry can take on various forms. It can be organized religion; but people are engaged in the worship of other kinds of idols – such as idols of the entertainment industry (actors, actresses, singers, team sport players, etc.). People who are sacrificing their babies are offering them up to the god of selfishness; it’s not much different than Molech worship. Anything elevated over YHVH is an idol.

Are we going to abandon these idolatrous things with our whole hearts or only in pretense like the Jews did in Jeremiah’s day?

I strongly urge you — Turn to YHVH completely; thoroughly amend your heart and ways! YHVH wants to give us shepherds who will feed us with knowledge and understanding. This is not what the seeker friendly churches want to do; they often despise the studying the Word. They prefer hands on ministry projects. I’m not saying that ministry itself is bad; I’m saying we shouldn’t ignore digging into the Scriptures. We need to wash our hearts and lives with the water of the Word.

Circumcise the foreskin of your heart. Don’t let it be a heart of stone but one of flesh. Exercise righteous judgment in all circumstances. Don’t oppress strangers, orphans, and widows. Don’t steal or loot when the opportunity arises; exert some self-control. Stop committing adultery and/or sexual perversion.  Stop shedding innocent blood; don’t attack people for fun or participate in a race war. Do not bear false witness about anything.  Do not worship any god but YHVH; and do not worship YHVH using the same forms that unbelievers use to worship their gods.

I know that not everyone is going to do these things. Because of that and because of our unholy lifestyles and sinful choices, judgment is going to come. God is not just a god of love and grace; this has become a perverted teaching. YHVH is also a god of judgment. America was once a nation that followed after God the best way it knew how. Those days are long gone. People now follow after other gods or no god at all. People don’t care that YHVH is God.  They don’t realize there is no other real god besides Him. They don’t fear YHVH or the fact that His judgment is coming quickly.

If you are obeying God and trying to live righteously, pray that God will hide you and spare you from that judgment; pray for His provision in your life. This coming judgment will take the form of a devastating economic fall (Babylon is fallen, fallen), famine, and eventual atomic war in the near future. It’s only a matter of time.  Prepare your heart and mind for this.

Repent before it’s too late!

Advertisements

Virgin Daughter of Babylon

Isaiah 47 speaks to the virgin daughter of Babylon.  The phrase “virgin daughter of…” is used not only for Babylon but also the Lord’s people and of Egypt.  This phrase is obviously an idiom.  As I contemplated its use, I decided that the word “virgin” is used possibly because the privacy, sin, or shame of the nation had not been exposed yet.  Notice how the following verses supports this idea:  Isaiah 47:2-3 Take the millstones and grind meal. Remove your veil, Take off the skirt, Uncover the thigh, Pass through the rivers. 3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, Yes, your shame will be seen; I will take vengeance, And I will not arbitrate with a man.” The Lord intended to expose Babylon.  He eventually took vengeance on Babylon by sending Medo-Persia to conquer it.

The virgin daughter of Babylon is told to sit on the ground without a throne.  The Lord was telling Babylon that He was going to take away her throne and give it to another.  This virgin should be contrasted to the woman in Revelation 17.  This woman was sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.  She was described as holding a cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.  Her name describes her as the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.  Apparently, she willingly flaunts her abominations for the world to see.  To her there are no moral absolutes; there’s only lawlessness.

DragonAccording to Revelation 13:2, the dragon (Satan) gave its power, its throne and great authority to the leopard-bear-lion beast.  This beast is a conglomerate of the leaders of the ancient empires of Greece, Medo-Persia, and Babylon.  This throne is basically the land mass of these ancient kingdoms.  As this beast evolved into the scarlet beast, it gained the territory of Ancient Rome.  This entire area is the most spiritually dark part of the world. It is this territory or throne on which the harlot will be located until she is dethroned and destroyed by the beast.  Contrary to what many believe, the woman is not the beast.  She rides (which implies she controls) the beast temporarily.

Revelation 17:16-18 describes her destruction like this:  “And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

Just as disaster came upon the virgin daughter of Babylon, it will also come upon the harlot, Babylon the Great.

Now let’s get back to Isaiah 47.  It says the Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer; His name is the Lord of hosts (YHVH Tzva’ot).  Previously the Lord had been angry with His people and had given them into the hand of the Babylonians who had treated them without mercy.  The Lord was warning Babylon that He was going to change all of that.

The Babylonians had done another thing wrong.  They equated themselves with the Lord by saying in their hearts, ‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’  This is what the Lord said repeatedly in previous chapters about Himself.  This mindset is repeated again in verse; these bookends emphasize the importance of what is said in between verses 8 and 10.

The Babylonians did not think it was possible for their children and husbands to be taken away from them. They trusted in the wickedness of sorcery and witchcraft; their wisdom and knowledge had perverted them.  They were about to find out that things would change in a moment, in a day.  The Lord sent the Medo-Persians to take away their throne, power, and authority.  Babylon’s astrologers, stargazers, and monthly prognosticators could not stop it from happening nor could they save the Babylonians.

Isaiah 47 continues by saying the wicked will be burned with fire and be as stubble.  I’ve read several accounts of the fall of Babylon but I’ve never seen where it or its people were burned.  I believe this statement is for the future.  Revelation 16 tells us the fourth plague is the burning of people by the fire from the sun.  Revelation 18 describes the destruction and burning of the harlot, Babylon the Great, who will be a producer of a variety of expensive merchandise.  The merchants of the earth will mourn the destruction of the harlot whose judgment will come in one hour.  The riches of Babylon the Great will come to nothing when she is desolated.  The end of Isaiah 47:15 is sobering:  “No one shall save you.”

Think about what happened in the past to each empire that rose and fell.  The Lord controlled that.  History always has a way of repeating itself.  Whose side do you want to be on in the future?  Do you want to stand literally or figuratively with the lawless who commit abominations?  Do you want to be saved with the righteous ones who live lawfully? I think I prefer the latter.

Let us press on and run the race set before us while patiently waiting for the fulfillment of 1 Corinthians 15:52-54:  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

You must choose what will happen to you one day “in a moment.”  Will it be a moment of destruction or a moment of transformation?  Repent; show you love the Lord by returning to Torah observance.

Clothing of God’s People

In Exodus 28, the Lord commanded Moses to make clothing for the High Priest and the Levitical priests.  The garments were made for glory and beauty and they compared to garments of royalty. 

The children of Israel who were not of the priestly tribe did not wear these vestments.  They were commanded to make and wear tassels [tzitziyot (plural), tzitzit (singular)] on the corners of their clothing (Numbers 15:37-39).  A single blue thread was to be put in each tassel.  This was a reminder to keep all of God’s commandments instead of following the desires of their eyes and heart.  God gave them this reminder because He desires his people to be a kingdom of priests and holy nation unto God.

Ordinary priests wore 4 vestments: an undergarment for modesty, a tunic made of a box-like knit, a sash, and a turban.  These items represent the clothing of the bride of Christ who is arrayed in fine linen which is the righteous acts of the saints.  These clothes were for dignity and honor.

The High Priest had 8 vestments: an undergarment for modesty, an inner tunic made of a box-like knit, a sleeveless outer robe that was open on the sides, an ephod with a sash-like belt woven into it, a breastplate of judgment, a turban, and a head plate engraved with “Holy (Set Apart) to the Lord.”  This clothing represents the holiness and royalty of Jesus, our High Priest. 

The High Priest’s inner tunic was white and his outer robe was entirely blue.  This can symbolize Jesus who was righteous and anointed by the Holy Spirit. 

The bottom of the blue robe had bells alternating with pomegranates made of blue, purple, and scarlet colors.  The bells obviously announced the presence of the High Priest.  In a way, they represent God’s people who are to warn people of His coming and to share the gospel.  As I pondered the possibly meaning of the pomegranates, the Lord reminded me that as long as believers abide in Him, they bear much fruit.  Believers must cling to Him and sit at His feet in order to learn the mysteries He desires to reveal to them.  It is then that believers can go forth each day, obey His word, and bring forth fruit that is pleasing to Him. 

The High Priest’s breastplate and ephod (ritual vest) was made of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet thread and fine woven linen.  Each shoulder of the ephod had a stone mounted in gold that was engraved with the names of the tribes of Israel – six on one shoulder (for the House of Ephraim) and the remaining six (for the House of Judah) on the other one.  These stones would be seen by the Lord and cause Him to remember His people.  

As the Lord looked down on the High Priest, He could see the stones representing the two houses that comprise all of Israel on the shoulders of the High Priest.  After Solomon, the kingdom was divided but the house of Ephraim and the house of Judah will be fully reunited in Israel in the future because they are close to His heart.

The breastplate had four rows of three stones mounted in gold settings, each one engraved with a different name of a tribe of Israel.  The correct identity of some of these stones is questionable and their names have been translated in different ways among various English versions of the Bible. 

The breastplate was designed as a double layer to create a pocket for the Urim and Thumim which were used for consulting the Lord.  With the Urim and Thumim in their place, the breastplate was positioned over the chest of the High Priest.  Rings attached to the breastplate were bound to the rings on the ephod with a blue cord to keep it in place. 

Many believe the Urim and Thumim were cast as lots to determine God’s will but it has also been said that when the High Priest consulted the Lord about a matter, they would cause the engraved consonant letters on the stones of the breastplate to light up and the High Priest determined God’s answer by correctly arranging the letters which lit up.

The Urim and Thumim were lost long ago but believers have the Holy Spirit in their hearts to give counsel when needed.

As I reflected on the clothing of God’s people, I have asked the Lord why there were three categories of His people:  a High Priest, Levitical priests, and the rest of God’s people.  Obviously, the High Priest represents Jesus but there are two other classes of people.  I suppose this represents the degree of closeness God has with the saints or the degree to which His people are set apart to serve Him.  For example:

  • Jesus’ closest disciples (Peter, James, and John) versus the rest of the disciples. 
  • Torah observant believers (both Jew and Gentile) versus believers who only observe the New Testament. 
  • Those who are anointed for special tasks and/or leadership positions versus ordinary believers.

Since the Lord will be returning soon, there’s another thing we must consider.  The blue color of the High Priest’s clothing is not present in the clothing of the harlot, Babylon the Great.  In Revelation 17, the wealthy harlot, Babylon the Great is clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones and pearls.  Since this color is absent in the clothing of  the harlot, Babylon the Great, I believe that it indicates the harlot has no regard for the commands of God and that she follows the desires of her eyes and heart.  In addition, as a result of her unwillingness to obey the commands of God, she is defiled and not holy.  We are not to seek after her kind of wealth nor her law-less lifestyle.  We are to be pure and blameless for Jesus.

No one is 100% sure of who or what Babylon the Great is or will be, although several ideas have been presented by prophecy scholars and various Christian denominations.  All agree that Babylon the Great has political, economic, and religious characteristics.  The primary beliefs are that Babylon the Great and/or the Beast represents the former Roman Empire; it is politically and economically the New World Order, and religiously and sometimes politically the Roman Catholic Church.  The main reason for considering the Roman Catholic Church is due to the colors worn by church officials and because of the pagan forms that parallel the ancient mystery Babylon religions.  Who knows?  It may be something totally different such as the power wielded by international bankers and/or secret societies who desire a one-world religion and complete control over world politics and the economy. 

At this point in time, we need to consider Babylon the Great to be where ever we are spiritually.  We must ask ourselves whether or not we are serving the Lord in righteousness.  We must also ask ourselves if we have been worshiping the Lord using pagan forms because God has forbidden this (Deut. 12:4, 31). 

Face it, we need the constant reminder of tzitiyot to avoid Torah-lessness and to keep us focused on the Lord. 

We must come out of our spiritual Babylon and reject lawlessness so that the Lord doesn’t ever say to us, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”