We have seen from the testimony of Scripture itself that the only company of the redeemed for whom the Millennial reign is introduced into the pages of Holy Writ, is the overcomer. Revelation 20:1-10 is the only portion of Scripture that gives positive teaching concerning the Millennium; other Scriptures contain passages that may or do belong to that period, but all other companies of either saved or lost can only be introduced into this kingdom by inference.
The companies mentioned in Revelation 20:1-10 are the following:
- The martyrs who withstood the Beast and refused his image. They not only ‘live’ but ‘reign’ with Christ a thousand years.
- The ‘rest of the dead’ is another company, only mentioned in order to make it clear that they do not live again until the thousand years are finished.
- The overcomers of martyrs are called ‘priests of God and of Christ’.
- After the thousand years, ‘nations’ are revealed to have been living during that reign, and some of these nations lived ‘in the four quarters of the earth’.
- Inasmuch as the ‘camp of the saints’ and the ‘Beloved City’ could be compassed by these rebellious nations, they too must have been on the earth during the Millennium.
We consider the meaning and bearing of the martyred saints in section 17 of this series. We now round off the study by considering the remaining four items listed above, ‘the rest of the dead’. The Greek word translated ‘rest’ is loipos. ‘Peter and the rest of the apostles’ (Acts 2:37). This implies that Peter also was an apostle.
- ‘The election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded’ (Rom. 11:7).
Here the ‘election’ and ‘the rest’ both belong to Israël, as the opening of the verse shows. We could not say ‘the election’ (of Israël) and ‘the rest’ (of the Gentiles) without adding an explanatory clause. Loipos occurs in Revelation eight times, thus:
- Rev. 2:24 – ‘Unto the rest in Thyatira’ not unto the rest of the seven churches, or the rest of the world.
- 3:2 – ‘Strengthen the things which remain‘.
- 8:13 – ‘By reason of the other voices’.
- 9:20 – ‘The rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues’. Plainly not the rest of mankind as a whole’.
- 11:13 – ‘The remnant were affrighted’.
- 12:17 – ‘The remnant of her seed’.
- 19:21 – ‘The remnant were slain’.
- 20:5 – ‘The rest of the dead lived not again’.
This last reference which directs us to the judgment of the Great White Throne warns us that a special company is envisaged. It is composed of believers, who together with those who were martyred, formed one company, AND NO OTHERS are in view. The wicked dead of all ages will have their judgment, but that is not contemplated here. One company and one only are before us, and that company is divided into two portions: (1) the overcomers, (2) those who were not overcomers, or briefly ‘the rest’. The overcomers live and reign during the thousand years. ‘The rest’ do not live again until the Millennium is over. They do not forfeit ‘life’ necessarily, but they have lost the ‘crown’, a doctrine not confined to any one dispensation as 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; Philippians 3:11-14 and 2 Timothy 2:11-13 will show. This is the first resurrection; the ‘former’ of two, as we have seen earlier.
These overcomers are called ‘priest of God and of Christ’. There seems a need to discriminate once again between the restored nation, which will be a priestly nation on the earth, and this company of priests which exercise their priesthood in the Heavenly City. Let us see. At the foot of Mount Sinai, the whole nation were given the terms by which they could become ‘a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation’. Those terms none have ever kept; with those conditions no one has ever complied (Exod. 19:5,6). Isaiah, visualizing not the old covenant, but the ‘everlasting covenant’ (Isa. 61:8) looked down the age and beheld Israël restored, having the oil of joy instead of mourning, rebuilt and raised up and repaired (Isa. 61:3,4), and named ‘The Priest of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God … the seed which the LORD hath blessed’ (Isa. 61:6-9).
Just as the restored earthly Jerusalem will have a resemblance to the Heavenly City, with its foundations of sapphires, and its gates of agates (Isa. 54:11,12), so we find at the close of Isaiah 61 this restored priestly nation likened also to a bridegroom or to a bride. This must not lead us to confuse this company with the Bride of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7), for Isaiah 54:6-8 makes it clear that Israël as a ‘woman forsaken’ and a ‘wife of youth’ who had been refused, is in view, whereas the Bride, the Lamb’s wife, is not the nation of Israël, once divorced but now restored, but a company of overcomers whose seat of authority is not the earthly but the heavenly Jerusalem, a company that had never known divorcement. When we open the book of the Revelation the first company of the redeemed we meet with are those who say:
- ‘Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father’ (Rev. 1:5,6).
While all, whoever they may be, and whatever their calling, must have been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, there seems some special reason why it should have been introduced here. The word ‘washed’ is the Greek lousanti, but the best texts read lusanti which means ‘loosed’. Again, redemption sets free, and employs a number of words derived from luo, ‘I loose’. Nevertheless the way in which the word luo is used in the book of the Revelation makes us suspect that something more is intended here in Revelation 1:5,6, than purely evangelical salvation. Let us assemble the occurrences of luo which are seven in number.
Luo in Revelation
- Rev. 1:5 ‘Loosed us from our sins in His own blood’.
- 5:2,5 ‘Loose the seals’. ‘Loose the seven seals’.
- 9:14,15 ‘Loose the four angels’. ‘The four angels were loosed’.
- 20:3,7 ‘He must be loosed’. ‘Satan shall be loosed’.
Haima, ‘blood’ occurs nineteen times in the Revelation. Four references are to the blood of the Lamb. Thirteen to blood shed or sent in judgment. The four that interest us at the moment are:
- Rev. 1:5 ‘Loosed us from our sins in His own blood’.
- 5:9,10 ‘Redeemed us to God … kings and priests’.
- 7:14 ‘Washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’.
- 12:11 ‘They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb’.
The references to blood that remain fall into two groups:
(1) The call for vengeance:
- Rev. 6:10 ‘Avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth’.
- 16:6 ‘For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and Thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy’.
- ‘Drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus’.
- 18:24 ‘… and in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’.
- 19:2 ‘Avenged the blood of His servants at her hand’.
- 19:13 ‘He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood’.
(2) The Judgment by blood:
- Rev. 6:12 ‘The moon became as blood’.
- 8:7 ‘Hail and fire mingled with blood’.
- 8:8 ‘Third part of the sea became blood’.
- 11:6 ‘Power over waters to turn them to blood’.
- 14:20 ‘Blood came out of the winepress’.
- 16:3 ‘The sea … became as the blood of a dead man’.
- 16:4 ‘Rivers and fountains … became blood’.
- 16:6 ‘Thou hast given them blood to drink’.
- 18:24 ‘And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth’.
The recording and the reading of this list is nauseating, but the facts that are recorded will be horrible beyond description. Here again we add one more of the many correspondences which these studies are making with the book of Genesis, namely the solemn words of Genesis 9:6:
- ‘Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed’.
to which is added both the basic reason and another connection with the Revelation:
- ‘For in the image of God made He man’.
It is a solemn thing to know that it is possible to ‘blaspheme’ our fellow men who are made in the ‘image’ of God (Titus 3:2 and Rev. 13:6). Idolatry violates that glory conferred upon man as well as the glory of God Himself:
- ‘They … changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like unto corruptible man … who changed the truth of God into a lie (or “exchanged the glory” for “THE LIE”), and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, Who is blessed for ever. Amen’ (Rom. 1:21-25).
This abandonment leads straight on with excessive abuse of the gift of sex, even as this same evil is seen to preponderate in the book of the Revelation. The worship of the Beast and of his IMAGE dethrones not only God, but man, and turns the whole direction of life toward ‘the lie’, Satan’s counterfeit. Because of this we read of ‘the wrath of God’ (Rom. 1:18).
The word orge (translated ‘wrath’) occurs twelve times in Romans, and of these occurrences seven are found in the first great doctrinal division (Rom. 1:1 to 5:11). It is an important word, and seeing that it is placed in distinct relation to righteousness in Romans 1:17,18, it demands a prayerful study. We observe in the first place that ‘wrath’ is used in the outer portion of Romans only. The word is not used in Romans 5:12 to 8:39. The word ‘wrath’ is not used either of Adam or of man seen in Adam. Judgment, condemnation and death there are, but unaccompanied by wrath. There is no wrath either in connection with the lake of fire, or the great white throne in Revelation 20. All is calm, books are opened, everyone is dealt with in pure justice. Wrath, anger, indignation, fury, these words are of a different category.
Many times do we read that the wrath or the anger of the Lord was ‘kindled’, as in Exodus 4:14, or of wrath ‘waxing hot’, as in Exodus 22:24, or of His anger ‘smoking’ (Psa. 74:1), and of it being poured out in ‘fury’ (Isa. 42:25). The nature of the wrath of Romans 1:18, and of the day of wrath with which it is connected (Rom. 2:5), is discovered in the book of Revelation. Those upon whom this wrath is poured are the ‘nations’, and the time is the time of the dead that they should be judged and rewarded (Rev. 11:18; 19:15). This wrath falls particularly upon Babylon (Rev. 16:19), and in direct connection with its idolatry and uncleanness (Rev. 14:8-10), Babylon is in view in Romans 1:18-32. There we see that Satanic system in all its naked horror; there we see the domination of darkness and the lie. In this section we read of those who by their deeds are ‘worthy of death’, and who ‘have pleasure’ in deeds of evil (Rom. 1:32). This section therefore is connected with wrath.
There is much to be learned by comparing 1 and 2 Thessalonians with the passage in Romans:
- ‘Wrath … revealed from heaven‘ (Rom. 1:18).
- ‘The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven‘ (2 Thess. 1:7).
- ‘When they knew God, they glorified Him not as God … They did not like to retain God in their knowledge’ (Rom. 1:21,28).
- ‘In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God‘ (2 Thess. 1:8).
- ‘They … have pleasure in them that do them’ (Rom. 1:32).
- ‘They … had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thess. 2:12).
- ‘They changed the truth of God into the lie‘ (Rom. 1:25).
- ‘They received not … the truth … they … believe the lie‘ (2 Thess. 2:10,11).
- ‘They changed the glory of … God into an image made like to … man‘ (Rom. 1:23).
- ‘Man of sin … shewing himself that he is God’ (2 Thess. 2:3,4).
- ‘Wrath … revealed … idolatry‘ (Rom. 1:18-25).
- ‘Ye turned to God from idols … delivered … from the wrath to come’ (1 Thess. 1:9,10).
- ‘God also gave them up to uncleanness‘ (Rom. 1:24).
- ‘Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God’ (1 Thess. 4:5).
If we also bring together the parallels that we find in the book of the Revelation, we shall have a full reference to that Satanic system of iniquity commenced at Babel, dominating the nations of the earth from that time onward until judged at the Coming of the Lord in the day of wrath.
The reference in Romans 1:19,20 to the evidence of creation finds an echo in the Revelation.
So in the days when Babylon and its system shall be revived and in full power, the ‘everlasting gospel’ will be preached, which gospel is nothing more nor less than a proclamation of the Lord as Creator.
- ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen’ (Rev. 14:7,8).
There is a slight alteration in the words translated ‘change’ in these verses in the Authorized Version of Romans 1. We have attempted to indicate the difference by using ‘change’ and ‘exchange’. First they changed the glory of God without actually giving up God altogether, but this soon led to the next step, for they exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and then worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator. It is not possible for God to take second place. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Into the third item we cannot go. The defiling character of idolatry may be gathered from its annals, and we do not feel that any good purpose would be served by elaborating this revolting subject here. At the same time we know only too well that human nature is not a whit better today than when it openly practised the sins condemned in Romans 1. We need faithfully to warn the rising generation, speaking very tenderly and lovingly, yet nevertheless plainly, for Babylonianism in all its forms is rising like a flood, and the book of the Revelation reveals Romans 1 in a superlative degree. We need not go so far into the future as the book of Revelation, however, for 2 Timothy 3:1-8 uses many of the words of Romans 1 to describe the perilous times at the close of this present dispensation. The sequence of the apostasy and its relation to the development of the mystery of iniquity otherwise called ‘the lie’, and the mystery of godliness, otherwise called ‘the truth’, can be traced through Paul’s epistles.
Taking the statement of Romans 1 we find them worked out in the other epistles.
A comparison of the list of sins in Romans 1 with that of 2 Timothy 3:1-7 will show how completely the parallel is recorded. The reader must supply further parallels by studying the intervening epistles.
(1) ‘As God’. ‘The creature more than the Creator’. — ‘That man of sin … as God‘ (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
(2) ‘The lie’. ‘The truth’. — ‘They received not the love of the truth … they … believe the lie‘ (2 Thess. 2:10-11).
(3) ‘Given up to an undiscerning mind’. — ‘God shall send them strong delusion’ (2 Thess. 2:11).
(4) ‘Pleasure in them that do them’. — ‘Had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thess. 2:12).
(5) ‘Neither were thankful’. — ‘God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth’ (1 Tim. 4:3,4),
Another feature that contributes to the build-up of the actual purpose that runs throughout the Revelation is the use of the title ‘Lamb’, arnion.
Apart from the one reference, John 21:15, ‘feed my lambs’, the remaining twenty-nine occurrences are all found in the Revelation. Although the first thought that comes into mind when we think of Christ as ‘The Lamb of God’ is the One Who takes away the sin of the world, no such association is made in the Revelation. We read of ‘the wrath of the Lamb’ and even of those who ‘drink of the wrath of God’ … in the presence of the Lamb’ (Rev. 6:16; 14:10). We read of ‘the throne of the Lamb’ and of ‘the marriage of the Lamb’ and ‘the book of life of the Lamb’ (Rev. 22:!; 19:7; 13:8). We read of those who overcome by ‘the blood of the Lamb’; of those who are ‘first-fruits’ unto God and to the Lamb, and of those who sing the song of Moses … and of the Lamb, with which the seven vials of wrath is associated (Rev. 12:11; 14:4; 15:3-8). The only time that redemption is associated with the Lamb is in Revelation 5:9 and 14:3,4. At the opening of the sealed book by ‘the Lamb that had been slain’ a new song was sung: ‘Thou wast slain and hast redeemed us (or them) to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us (or them) unto our God KINGS and PRIESTS: and we (they) SHALL REIGN on (over) THE EARTH’. Epi is translated ‘over’ in Revelation 2:26; 6:8; 13:7; 16:9 and 17:18. Another new song is recorded in Revelation 14:3,4 where once more redemption is found:
- ‘The hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth … these were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruit unto God and to the Lamb’.
These are exclusive and exceptional, but they are the only ones ‘redeemed’ so far as this book is concerned. Redemption in the evangelical sense, as deliverance from sin and issuing in forgiveness, does not enter into the record. We come then once again to Revelation 20:6. These ‘priests of God and of Christ’ who ‘reign with Him’ are not an earthly priesthood, they are heavenly, and minister and reign from their exalted position in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Heaven has its ‘Temple’ (Rev. 11:19; 15:5,6,8), its ‘Ark’ (Rev. 11:19), its ‘Altar’ (Rev. 8:3), its ‘Incense’ (Rev. 8:3,4) and consequently has a heavenly priesthood. The ‘overcomer’, his suffering, his endurance, his deliverance and his reign as a priest with Christ in the heavenly Jerusalem, is the theme of the Apocalypse, and limits the use of the word ‘millennium’ so much that every passage from either the Old or New Testament which is labelled ‘Millennial’ by countless commentators, must be challenged lest by a zeal without knowledge we rob the Millennium of its distinctive character and are found entertaining instead a vision of our own hearts. The ‘nations’, the ‘camp’ and the ‘beloved city’ are of necessity on the earth during the Millennial reign, but have no such distinct place in it as do these overcomers. We must consider their place in another article. Meanwhile to any who may be disturbed or even angry, we still commend the Berean spirit, ‘search and see’, for you may never ‘see’ if you avoid the ‘search’.
THE LITTLE SEASON
After the thousand years during which the overcomers reign with Christ, Satan will be let loose from the abyss, and go out to ‘deceive’ once more. We already know that much that is found in Genesis finds its sequel in the Revelation. Here, maybe, is just another of those illuminating correspondences. We may often have wondered at the sudden entry of the ‘serpent’ into Genesis 3, with his great deception. If, as we have already seen, ‘the deep’ of Genesis 1:2 which is translated ‘the abyss’ or ‘bottomless pit’ by the Septuagint, if that ‘deep’ had been his prison, could he not have been loosed at the close of some definite period (and see the minute exactness of the time in Revelation 9:15) to test and try the newly created Adam? However, this is not our theme. What are we to understand by the ‘little season’? The word that should be translated ‘season’ is the Greek word kairos, whereas in Revelation 20:3 the word is chronos, ‘time’.
Kairos in Revelation
- Rev. 1:3 ‘The time is at hand’.
- 11:18 ‘The time of the dead’.
- 12:12 ‘He hath but a short time’.
- 12:14 ‘A time, and times, and half a time’.
- 22:10 ‘The time is at hand’.
Two references stand out for consideration here:
- ‘Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a SHORT TIME’ (Rev. 12:12).
In this chapter Satan is given his full title:
- ‘The great dragon … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth’ (Rev. 12:9).
‘The dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan’ shall be loosed out of prison when the thousand years are finished, and shall ‘go out to deceive the nations’ ‘for a little season’. He knew that he had ‘a short time’, he is let loose for ‘a little season’. The word used in Revelation 20:3 is chronos:
- Rev. 2:21 ‘I gave her SPACE to repent’.
- 6:11 ‘They should rest yet for a LITTLE SEASON’.
- 10:6 ‘There should be TIME no longer’.
- 20:3 ‘He must be loosed a LITTLE SEASON’.
These occurrences seem to explain one another. Thus, the word of the mighty angel, immediately preceding the voice of the seventh angel when the mystery of God should be finished, and the kingdom set up (Rev. 10:7;11:5) instead of declaring that ‘time’ should cease, which is contradicted by the references to time, days, nights, months and years that are found later in the book, to say nothing of the explicit statement, that there will be a kingdom lasting for a thousand years declares that there will be ‘space to repent’ no longer, and chapter 10 is immediately preceded by the words:
- ‘Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, not of their fornication, nor of their thefts’ (Rev. 9:21).
Under the fifth seal, where the martyrs are told to rest for a little season, we find similar words to those used in Revelation 20:4. These were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. The white robes given to them link them with those that come out of ‘The Tribulation, the great one’. He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them, and the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them (Rev. 7:12-17). This tribulation is the same as that of Matthew 24:21,29 which is followed immediately by the coming of the Son of Man with power and great glory. This coming must be the same as that of Revelation 19. The reference to the throne shows that these overcomers are linked with the heavenly Jerusalem:
- ‘A throne was set in heaven … in the midst of the throne … four beasts (living creatures) … in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb … the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it’ (i.e. the New Jerusalem) (Rev. 4:2,6,8; 5:6; 22:3).
The fact that the Devil will only be loosed a ‘little season’ shows how rapid will be the deception of the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth. These nations will have kept as far from the beloved city as possible, and by their attack upon the camp of the saints and of the beloved city they reveal their innate, though covert, animosity. This time there will be no further respite ‘fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them’ (Rev. 20:9). The fact that such a trial should be necessary after the thousand years, declares plainly that the Millennium was no more sinless and perfect and secure than was the garden of Eden in the beginning. Man, tried in the most advantageous conditions, yielded, and man after a thousand years when the Devil shall be under restraint, manifest that no delegated authority, or advantageous environment is enough to bring in that perfect kingdom which the Son will deliver up to God even the Father. That kingdom follows the Millennium, but it is not the purpose of the Apocalypse to do more than lead up to it, which it does in its two closing chapters.
THE HEAVENLY JERUSALEM
In the epistle to the Galatians ‘Jerusalem’ is mentioned five times. Three of these occurrences refer to Jerusalem, the literal city on earth, to which Paul went to see Peter (Gal. 1:17,18; 2:1). In the allegory of Galatians 4, Sinai in Arabia answers to Jerusalem ‘which now is’, but those who form the unity expressed in Galatians 3:28,29 belong to ‘Jerusalem which is above’ (Gal. 4:26). There can be no doubt as to the intention of that word which translates ‘above’ the Greek ano. ‘Filled up to the brim‘ (John 2:7). ‘Beneath … above’ (John 8:23). ‘In heaven above … in earth beneath’ (Acts 2:19), are some examples. When we are exhorted to set our affection on things above, we are also told that such things are (1) not on the earth, and (2) they are where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Col. 3:1,2). Jerusalem which is above therefore is in contrast with the Jerusalem which is on the earth. It is not only heavenly in character, it is also heavenly in situation. When this city is mentioned in Revelation, it is called:
- ‘New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God’ (Rev. 3:12).
This feature is repeated in chapter 21:2 and 10:
- ‘And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven’.
- ‘And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God’.
For the moment we leave the question as to when this city descends and consider the place that it occupies in the epistle to the Hebrews, the only other portion of the New Testament that speaks of it. This is found in Hebrews 12:22, where we read:
- ‘But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem’.
This, as in Galatians 4, is in contrast with Mount Sinai. This city is moreover inhabited by an innumerable company of angels, and angels, while they visited the earth on missions of blessing or judgment, are designated as ‘the angels of heaven’ in the Scriptures. In Hebrews 11 we see how the vision of this city influenced Abraham, for it is written:
- ‘These all died in faith … and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth … they seek a country … they desired a better country, that is, an heavenly … God … hath prepared for them a city’ (Heb. 11:13-16).
For this, Abraham was willing to be a tent dweller, ‘for he looked for a city which hath (the) foundations, whose builder and maker is God’ (Heb. 11:9,10). We learn from Isaiah that when God calls Israël to Himself as a woman forsaken, as a wife of youth, when refused, who for a little time had been under the cloud of wrath, and under the hiding of His face, He declares:
- ‘I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones’ (Isa. 54:11,12).
Here, this city is seen to be an earthly reflection of the heavenly Jerusalem, but must not be confused with it. One feature alone shows that the two cities are distinct. The gates of the one are of carbuncles, the gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem were ‘every several gate of one pearl’ (Rev. 21:21), consequently there can be no confusing of these two cities, beautiful as they both will be. The city of Isaiah 54 may be invested by an enemy, and the promise that no weapon that is formed against it shall prosper (Isa. 54:15-17), but there is no thought in the Apocalyps that the Heavenly Jerusalem will ever be, or ever could be, thus threatened. The city that Abraham looked for cannot be the city of Isaiah 54, it must have been the city of Revelation 21 and 22. Some difficulty may be experienced by the reader when he reads the dimensions of the heavenly Jerusalem, given in Revelation 21:16:
- ‘And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal’.
Commenting on this verse, and the problem that arises, Dr. Bullinger wrote in his Apocalypse, ‘In this case the city will be 1,500 miles high’, and referring to another system of measurement says, ‘Is 375 miles high easier to believe than 1,500?’ We know that great changes will take place, not only in the Holy Land but in the earth at large, and so a city of these vast proportions set in the centre of a world in which there was ‘no more sea’, need not be disproportionate. However, an article in ‘The Faith‘ suggested that the 12,000 furlongs refers to the area of the square base, and the square root of 12,000 is 109, which taking the stadium to be 582 feet (see Twentieth Century Dictionary) gives about 12 MILES for the length of one of the square sides. By comparing this with Ezekiel 48:35 the 18 thousand measures, or reeds of six cubits would give us, with 25 inches to a cubit, a circumference of 42.6 miles, which, divided by four, gives 10.6 miles for one side and so practically identical with the suggested measurement given above. This means, if it be true, that the Heavenly Jerusalem would descend and rest upon the basis formed by the restored Jerusalem on earth. A city twelve miles square is a reasonable proportion, and twelve miles in height could symbolize worldwide dominion, 12 denoting governmental perfection. However we are perfectly sure that when the day of fulfillment comes, there will be perfect harmony between the event and the prophetic record. Whatever the size of the city may be, it will fulfill perfectly the purpose for which it was prepared. It will be the jewelled centre of the new earth. We return now to the question, when will the New Jerusalem descend? When the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, there will be:
- ‘no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: FOR THE FORMER THINGS ARE PASSED AWAY’ (Rev. 21:4).
- ‘He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make ALL THINGS NEW’ (Rev. 21:5).
The arrangement of the material of Revelation 21:1-5 is as follows:
A 21:1. NEW Heaven and Earth.
B 21:1. FORMER – He Prote – Passed away.
C 21:1. NO MORE Sea (ref. to Gen. 1:2).
B 21:2. I SAW New Jerusalem.
B 21:3. I HEARD – Tabernacle.
C 21:4 NO MORE Death, sorrow, pain (ref. to Gen. 3).
B 21:4. FORMER – Ta Prota – Passed away.
A NEW All things.
The New Jerusalem which is also The Tabernacle, is unlike the tabernacle in the wilderness which was limited to Israël; this is now ‘with MEN’, anthropos. The Tabernacle, made after the pattern shown to Moses in the mount, in a wilderness, limited to Israël, and temporary as a tent, but forshadowed this bejewelled city when all families of the new earth shall ultimately be brought into blessing. The New Jerusalem evidently descends from heaven to rest upon the New Earth. During the Millennium therefore it must have been in the heavens. This raises another question. Do those who are destined to walk its golden streets, enter into their inheritance:
- At the commencement of the Millennium reign, or
- Do they have to wait until the 1,000 years are finished, if so
- Are they not raised from the dead until the 1,000 years are finished, or
- Where are they during that time?
The overcomer, among other things is to be made:
- A pillar in the temple of God.
- He is to have written upon him the name of God, and the name of the city of God, new Jerusalem, which cometh down of heaven from God.
- The overcomer begins his reign with Christ at the commencement of the 1,000 years (Rev. 20:4,5).
From other Scriptures we gather that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will sit down in the kingdom of heaven, and the reference to the ‘east and west’ shows that his refers to the earth (Matt. 8:11), yet Abraham looked for a heavenly, not an earthly, country or city, and God has prepared for him ‘a city’ (Heb. 11:16). We also learn that ‘In the generation’ the apostles shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israël, presumably on the earth, while all the time we read that the foundations of the heavenly city were made up of twelve precious stones, bearing the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb (Rev. 21:14,19,20). Moreover, the gates are twelve and bear the names of the twelve tribes of Israël, yet the twelve tribes as such will inherit the land as Ezekiel 48 reveals, and not the heavenly city, for that is reserved for the overcomer. It is evident, therefore, that the overcomer will enter the New Jerusalem while it is still in heaven, and will reign and rule over the earth, with that city as the seat of authority, even as the Satanic counterfeit reigned over the people, multitudes, nations and tongues in the mock Pre-Millennial kingdom of the Beast.
When the Millennium closes, and the Day of God succeeds the Day of the Lord, the earth will then receive this resplendent city, and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. What Jerusalem on the earth during the Millennium partly accomplished (for feigned obedience, and the rise of Gog and Magog indicate that the influence of Jerusalem was not universally complete) the Heavenly Jerusalem will accomplish. It is this kingdom which is envisaged in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 which will ultimately be delivered up to God, even the Father, and the goal of the ages be attained, and ‘eternity’ (for the want of better word) begins. This, however, lies beyond the limits of the Apocalypse.
THE EVE OF THE MILLENNIUM
The intense desire for peace on earth and good will toward men, which is one of the deepest yearnings of the individual, but which is so regularly frustrated by the clash of national interests, leads the mind of the believer to dwell on such a passage as Isaiah 2:4 with great joy, but seems to have made many turn a blind eye to such a passage as Joel 3:9,10. Let us place them together and consider their import:
- ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more’ (Isa. 2:4).
- ‘Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears’ (Joel 3:9,10).
The passage from Isaiah speaks of the Millennium day, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, but the passage in Joel deals with days that precede ‘the great and terrible day of the Lord’ (Joel 2:31). In both Joel 2:30,31 and 3:15 the sun shall be turned into darkness, showing that both chapters deal with the same period, namely the very eve of the Millennium. The special feature that calls for fuller consideration is this. The call to beat plowshares into swords, suggests that before this there had been a mock millennium, where the nations of the earth either by intimidation or deception, or both, had beaten their swords into plowshares, and concluded that war had ceased in the earth for ever. Many of those who read these lines have lived through the periods of war that were to ‘end wars’. They have heard of conferences for disarmament and hoped that they would succeed. Such yearnings are natural and right, but they may be ill-timed and, if so, doomed to failure.
Two words sum up the conditions aimed at, ‘Peace and Safety’. Yet we read that at the very time that the day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night, sudden destruction overtakes those whose slogan will be these very words, ‘Peace and Safety’, and they shall not escape (1 Thess. 5:2,3). This ‘Peace and Safety’ is therefore spurious, it is not of God, therefore it must be the false travesty of the Devil, there is no alternative. A false peace can destroy. (See: Daniel 8:25). At the rise of the world’s last dictator (Rev. 13) war will temporarily cease, not because of the conversion of all mankind by grace, but the paralysis of all nations by fear:
- ‘Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? (Rev. 13:4).
The figure ‘beating swords into plowshares’ indicates a turn over to the more peaceful employment of labour and resources, which, for a time at least, will bring prosperity, ‘Peace and Safety’. It should be remembered that the chief aim of Satan is to dethroned the Son of God. He, Satan, must deplore that crime and degradation ever follow his efforts to rule this world. If he could have a Millennium without Christ it would suit his aim completely. After six thousand years of blood and misery, Satan will appear to have attained his goal, but the record reveals its utter failure, it lasts ‘one hour’ (Rev. 17:12; 18:10,17,19). Some light upon the extraordinary prosperity that shall characterize this pre-millennium travesty of Satan, is found in the description of Babylon’s merchandise:
- ‘The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linnen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beats, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves (Gk. bodies), and souls of men’ (Rev. 18:12,13).
Here is a luxury trade, mingled with provision for idolatrous practices giving prominence to ‘costliness’ (Rev. 18:19), and including not only costly goods but ‘the bodies and souls of men’. A Pre-Millennium Kingdom in the absence of Christ is the dream and the goal of the Enemy of Truth. For a brief period he will obtain a superficial semblance to that goal, and then will himself be brought to an ignominious end ‘and never be any more’ (Ezek. 28:19).
Satan did not hesitate to attempt a bargain with the Son of God (Matt. 4:9) and what He, the Blessed One, refused, will prove the bait to catch the Man of Sin (John. 5:43). As a travesty of the mystery of godliness wherein ‘God was manifest in the flesh’ this Son of Perdition will oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; ‘so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God’ (2 Thess. 2:4). To the end his activities are in the realm of religion and worship, but he, Satan, cannot prevent the crimes that are concomitant.
Worship, not wickedness, is ever in the mind of Satan, Preposterous as it sounds, ‘all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them’ were offered to the Son of God for ONE ACT OF WORSHIP (Matt. 4:9), so much does Satan seek it. The immediate effect of the rise of the Beast of Revelation 13 is the temporary attainment of his very same end:
- ‘And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast … and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed … as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed’ (Rev. 13:4,12,15).
Here is a kingdom and worship which is universal, ‘all that dwell on the earth’. It will bring ‘Peace and Safety’ and a standard of living that can only be described as luxurious. War will have ceased. Swords will have been beaten into plowshares, so that at the end when war is again ‘prepared’ or as the word is literally ‘sanctified’ (Joel 3:9 margin), the nations of the earth who have lived in this Pre-Millennial travesty of the Truth, will have to start all over again to ‘beat’ their ‘plowshares into swords’. The reference in Joel 3 to the valley of Jehoshaphat (3:12) turns us back to a typical incident in Israël’s history as recorded in 2 Chronicles 20. Moab, Ammon and others came against Jehoshaphat to battle. Jehoshaphat, all Judah with their little ones, their wives and their children stood before the Lord in prayer. In answer to their petition a message was sent to them:
- ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s (2 Chron. 20:15).
There was no need to fight that battle, all that the people had to do was to set themselves or take their stations, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord:
- ‘So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about’ (2 Chron. 20:30).
Jehoshaphat, like David, Solomon and the best of men, was in himself a failure (see: 2 Chron. 20:31-37) but the type still holds. Just as Edom said concerning Jerusalem, ‘Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof’ (Psa. 137:7), so will the nations at the time of the end. Indeed almost identical words have been reported in the Press recently. The Presence of Israël in the Devil’s millennium will prove a great disturbance to the false peace that for the time obtains and so all nations will be gathered against Jerusalem to battle, as in the day of Jehoshaphat, so they will gather again. ‘Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when He fought in the day of battle. And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives’ (Zech. 14:3,4).
It is this war upon Jerusalem and Israël that necessitates beating plowshares back again to swords, and which end with the judgment of all the heathen in the ‘valley of decision’. In that day ‘Egypt shall be a desolation, and Edom shall be a desolate wilderness, for the violence against the children of Judah … but Judah shall DWELL FOR EVER, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. For I will cleanse their blood that I have not cleansed: even I the LORD that dwelleth in Zion’ (Joel 3:18-21 margin). Here is proof that all the selfsame time that Israël are restored (Joel 3:1) the nations will be gathered unto this valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:2), that at the selfsame time when Judah and Jerusalem are safe for ever, Egypt shall be a desolation. Yet after all this, Isaiah declares that:
- ‘In that day shall Israël be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land: whom the LORD of Hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people, and Assyria the work of My hands, and Israël Mine inheritance’ (Isa. 19:24,25).
It is an axiom of all rational thought that ‘a thing cannot Be, and NOT BE at the same time’. ‘In that day’ includes too many opposite events to allow us to think of the Millennium as a period of unsullied glory and perfect peace from the beginning of the thousand years to the end. What does fit all that is said, is that Israël will be a nation ‘born at once’ (Isa. 66:8), whereas gross darkness will still envelop most of the nations. Nevertheless, light and truth shall radiate from Zion as a blessed centre, until at last the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. God’s ordination at the beginning was that ‘the evening and the morning’ should constitute a day. A thousand years in His sight are like a day that is past, and the Millennium day may conform to the same pattern.
The Millennium reign begins with an ‘evening’. When the Lord comes the second time to inaugurate that reign, He comes to MAKE WAR at the first (Rev. 19:11). There is not a word to warrant the idea that at stroke of the clock, the moment the thousand years commence, all will be peace. The Lord will reign in Zion in the midst of enemies. The nations will learn slowly the law of the Lord from Jerusalem, and only as the thousand years (the day of the Lord) come to their close, and the Day of God succeeds, when all delegated authority shall be under the feet of the Son of God, will that kingdom be at length perfected and ready for the day of the Age, the goal of all purpose and prophecy, that God may be all in all (1Cor. 15:28).
It is right for us to look eagerly for that blessed consummation, but it is also right to be on our guard, lest overeagerness should lay us open to the deception of the Devil, and we found pointing the Lord’s people to a travesty of truth, with all its accompanying misery and disillusionment. We make no claim to a complete understanding of the teaching of prophecy, but what we do claim to have done is to insist that all that is written, and not selected passages, is the only safe foundation upon which to build, whether for our individual salvation, or for a true appreciation of the Millennium reign or of the ultimate goal of the ages.
THE CONVERGING LINES OF PROPHETIC TRUTH
While it is true that a Prophet in the Scriptural record did minister to the immediate needs of his own time, the outstanding character of his office was the God-given ability to speak of things to come. Horne says of prophecy:
- ‘It is a miracle of knowledge, a declaration, or description, or representation of something future, beyond the power of human sagacity to foresee, discern or conjecture, and it is the highest evidence that can be given of supernatural communion with the Deity, and of the truth of revelation’.
Bishop Hurd has written of Messianic prophecy:
- ‘That prophecy is of a prodigious extent; that it commenced from the fall of man and reaches to the consummation of all things; that for many ages it was delivered darkly, to a few persons, and with large intervals from the date of one prophecy to that of another; but, at length, became more clear, more frequent, and was uniformly carried on in the line of one people, separated from the rest of the world, among other reasons assigned, for this principally, to be the repository of the divine oracles … even to the end of time, or, in St. John’s expression, to that period when the mystery of God shall be perfected‘ (Rev. 10:7).
When Peter wrote his second epistle, the testimony of prophecy was being discounted by scoffers who said, ‘where is the promise of His coming?’ This he countered by saying, ‘no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation’, or as Moffatt has it, ‘came by human impulse’ (2 Pet. 1:20). The Greek words are idias epiluseos, and generally speaking bear the translation given in the Authorized Version. But Peter does not appear to be dealing with how to interpret prophecy, but how prophecy came, for he continues:
- ‘For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost’.
If we retain the rendering, ‘private interpretation’, its first meaning must be, that the prophecies found in the Scriptures are not the private solutions of the prophets of the enigmas confronting them, and secondly, that those of us who read and use those prophecies, must be on our guard, that no one ‘uses’ any prophecy merely as a bolster to support some preconceived theory, which alas has become the dreadful fate of many of these sublime utterances. The completely impersonal character of prophecy is moreover suggested by 1 Peter 1:10,11, where we learn that those prophets who spoke beforehand of salvation, afterwards searched their own writings to discover ‘what, or what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify’.
One simple yet most valuable office of prophecy is to act as ‘a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn’ (2 Pet. 1:19). Another is that the ‘spirit of prophecy’ is ‘the testimony of Jesus’ (Rev. 19:10). Within bounds we believe we are not far wrong when we say, that the door of prophecy swings on two things (1) The Return of Christ and (2) The Return of Israël.
Associated with these two great issues is the history and destiny of two cities, Babylon and Jerusalem, and with these two cities, two kingdoms, namely the kingdom of the Beast, and the kingdom of the Lord. Before proceeding with our studies, the present moment seems to be the time to pause and consider this term ‘kingdom’. It has been maintained that our word government comes nearest to expressing the word basileia. First of all let us consider the classical usage of basileia as set out in Liddell and Scott, where we shall discover the way in which the ordinary Greek used the term:B
- Basileia, a kingdom, dominion, hereditary monarchy opposed to turannis and secondly a diadem.
- Basileion, a kingly dwelling, palace. The seat of empire, royal city, the royal treasury, a tiara, diadem.
- Basileios, kingly, royal.
- Basileus, a king, prince, lord. Frequently with collateral sense of captain or judge, later, and hereditary king, then the king’s son, prince or any one sharing in the government, and at Athens, the second of the nine archons. After the Persian war the king of Persia was called Basileus, so afterwards, the Roman Emperor.
- Basileutos, under monarchical government.
- Basileuo, to be king, to rule, to be made king, to rule over a people, to be governed or administered, to be of the king’s party.
- Basilekos, royal, kingly, like a king, princely.
It will be seen that the primary meaning of all these allied words is king, kingly and kingdom, and this is how a Greek reading the New Testament would interpret them. The secondary meanings of rule or government, are the rule or government of such as are kings or kingly persons. If the word ‘government’ be a truer rendering than the word ‘kingdom’, it is somewhat strange to find that there are two Hebrew and two Greek words translated ‘government’, eleven Hebrew and five Greek words translated ‘governor’; one Chaldee word, and three different Hebrew words for ‘to govern’, and yet not one writer in Scripture uses the Hebrew word for king or kingdom! When we turn to the Hebrew word melek, we find it translated KING 2,518 times and ROYAL twice, while the corresponding Chaldee word is translated KING 164 times and ROYAL one, AND IN NO OTHER WAY.
When we examine the Hebrew melukah, malekuth, mamlakah and mamlakuth, we find that melukah is translated kingdom 18, king’s 2, royal 4; malekuth, empire 1, kingdom 49, realm 4, reign 21, royal 14; malekuth (Chaldee), kingdom 46, realm 3, reign 4, kingly 1; mamlakah, kingdom 108, reign 2, king’s 1, royal 4; mamlakuth, kingdom 8, reign 1 and these words are translated in no other way. Not once is ‘government’ ever used. We have not bordered to count these occurrences. The evidence is overwhelming, and the idea that all this can be set aside by a stroke of the pen, seems too monstrous to need refutation. The reader, who is not already predisposed to any particular theory, may wonder what the driving motive must be that so desperately needs a new translation .
This is not all, however. The words king and kingdom do not stand alone. They are most intimately associated with the insignia of royalty. Throne, Crown, Sceptre are continual adjuncts. Britain has a Government. The United States has a Government, but we have yet to hear of the President’s Coronation, that he occupies a throne, wields a sceptre, or is royal. We therefore most earnestly ask every reader to pause and reconsider should they have been carried away by the novel idea that is refuted by the entire range of Scripture and consider this, that such a translation actually robs the Saviour of HIS CROWN RIGHTS.
The Church (ekklesia) of the One Body is not a kingdom. But the Church (ekklesia) of the One Body has the honour to be translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col. 1:130. The corporation of the city of London or of Birmingham is a ‘body’, but that does not place these bodies outside the kingdom of Great Britain. Let us at least be logical. When Israël wanted to be like the nations they demanded a king. When God transferred earthly rule to Nebuchadnezzar, he transferred it to a king. When at last the Saviour returns, He returns ‘to reign’ and the words of Psalm 2 are definite, ‘Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion’. What conspiracy is this then that has seduced the Lord’s believing people to trifle with the crown rights of Him Who comes ‘to reign’ and to sit upon a ‘throne’? However much kingly rule has failed, God’s conception of rule is still as it always has been, a KINGDOM. The Saviour died with the title over His head, and that sacred Head was crowned, even in derision. When He comes He is seen wearing many crowns, He will be King of kings, and the kingdoms of this world will cease, while the kingdom of the Lord shall be established by God Himself.
If we have entertained the idea that there will be a premillennial kingdom WITHOUT THE PERSONAL PRESENCE OF THE KING we may be disposed to look with favour on the substituted word ‘government’, but we may be after all but acting in the spirit condemned by the Lord in no uncertain terms in Mark 7:9. Howe many of those who have rendered lip-service to the doctrine of inspiration, even to its individual words, and echoed that they were ‘convinced’ have taken the trouble to verify their references? What must be the attitude of mind when faced with the overwhelming evidence just tabulated, which desires the truth of God uncolored by theories of the best of men? To quote the words of the writer whose views we have contested, we too say with all our hearts, with just one necessary personal alteration:
- ‘Real conviction concerning great truths can come only when we have made our own personal studies and come to our own independent conclusion. My own convictions that basileia means kingdom (“government” in our friend’s statement) are the result of my own studies in the Word. I be believe the reader will come to the same conclusion if he makes his own study of the subject”.
There speaks the true Berean; may the truth prevail. Returning to our introductory notes on Prophecy, we continue to assemble our key passage:
- ‘When the Lord shall build up Zion He shall appear in His glory’.
A grand crisis is awaiting the world; but it is a Jewish crisis wherein the Holy One of Israël is to be placed in exaltation with His people:
- ‘There are three great eras of visitation, wherein God has many times appointed a term to His controversy with mankind. The first was the deluge … the second is to be the coming of the Lord Jesus in the power of His dominion, when the Antichrist and those with him, will be destroyed … the last controversy is at the end of the millennium, when sentence is carried out upon the rebel nations of that period’ (T.L. Strange).
To observe and record these converging crises, will form a part of our immediate inquiry.
To attain to some fairly comprehensive understanding of the converging lines of prophecy will enable us to see with some measure of clarity the place that less pronounced and problematic portions occupy.
- ‘Better is the END of a thing than the beginning thereof’ (Eccles. 7:8).
Asaph attained to peace, and a solution of his problems, when he went within the sanctuary of God, for then he ‘understood their END’, and understanding the end of the wicked, he no longer envied them their transient exemption from ‘trouble’ (Psa. 73). Daniel was intensely interested to discover ‘the end’ of the things revealed to him:
- ‘O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?” (Dan. 12:8).
and speaks too of the ‘time of the end’. Let us pause, therefore, in our pursuit of the great goal of prophecy to consider more carefully the import of this phrase THE TIME OF THE END. Take, for example, this terrible statement of Ezekiel:
- ‘Remove the mitre, and take off the crown: this shall be no more the same: exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: this also shall be no more, until He come Whose right it is; and I will give it Him’ (Ezek. 21:26,27 R.V.).
‘Until He come’. This can refer to none but Christ Himself and His Second Coming. Until that takes place, chaos abides, neither Priest (mitre) nor King (crown) remains, and we are in the atmosphere of Hosea 3, Israël’s lo-ammi condition. If there is to be a kingdom in the absence of Christ, before the millennium, Ezekiel evidently had no knowledge of it. One can be excused if he fails to see the possibility of about 500 years of enlightenment anywhere in these two verses. There is no ambiguity about the word ‘until’ (Hebrew ad.). No interval can be permitted in such a sentence as, ‘Thou shalt eat bread till thou return unto the dust’, neither can one be interpolated here.
We find that Daniel was very concerned to know more about the fourth beast of chapter 7. We learn from the vision in that chapter the sequence of events up to the coming of the Son of Man with the clouds of heaven. They can be epitomized as follows:
- (1) Four diverse beasts are to arise up from the sea.
- (2) The description is that the: First is like a lion – Second is like a bear – Third is like a leopard – Fourth is indescribable.
Now it is obvious that the Beast from the sea in Revelation 13, is none other than this fourth beast of Daniel 7, and combines in itself the preceding symbols:
- ‘And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat (throne), and great authority’ (Rev. 13:2).
- (3) Thrones were set (cast down as cushions, not overthrown) and the Ancient of Days did sit, a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him, and …
- (4) The beast was slain, and his body destroyed and given to the burning flame. In Revelation 19, at the Apocalypse of Christ, John says:
- ‘The beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped him image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone’ (Rev. 19:20).
By comparing these words with Revelation 13:12-15 we are in no doubt but that the Coming of Christ comes immediately after the reign of this anti-christian beast, namely, at the close of a period of forty-two months, of which more presently.
- (5) This beast developed ten horns, and one in particular had ‘a mouth that spake very great things’:
- ‘He shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High … and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time’ (Dan. 7:25).
In Revelation 13 we read:
- ‘And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months … And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them’ (Rev. 13:5-7).
We have noted the period denominated forty and two months, and time, and times and the dividing of time. In Revelation 11:2,3 we have a similar period, here given as forty and two months and 1,260 days. In Revelation 12:6 this number of days is repeated, and equated in verse 14 with the cryptic enumeration, ‘for a time, and times, and half a time’. Now, this period of time is 3.5 years, and the peculiar mode of reckoning links these chapters once more with the book of Daniel namely in Daniel 7:25 and in 12:7. The prophecy of Daniel 9 speaks of a period of time as ‘the midst of the week’ (9:27), and if in this prophecy a week, or heptad, is a period of seven years, then here in Daniel 9:27 we reach the same period that we have found in Revelation 12 and 13 and so, by the other links, with Revelation 19.
The image that formed the basis of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s great prophecy of Gentile dominion extends to the time of the end.
Whatever difference of opinion there may be as to wether Rome was the fourth in the list, or wether, owing to the rejection of Christ, the fourth kingdom is the one at the end, does not for the moment alter the fact that the END of Gentile dominion, and the BEGINNING of the kingdom of God upon earth synchronize, there is no possible room for an interval of 5 MINUTES, let alone 500 YEARS between the impact of the Stone cut without hands and the filling of the whole earth. Here are the inspired words:
- ‘Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. THEN was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces TOGETHER, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king …
- ‘And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever’ (Dan. 2:34-36,44).
Another feature that demands attention is ‘the time of Jacob’s trouble’ or ‘the great tribulation’; that too must find its place in the Divine scheme, and its Scriptural association must be noted:
- ‘I will bring again the captivity of My people Israël and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it … Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: but they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them … And ye shall be My people, and I will be your God’ (Jer. 30:3,7-9,22).
The context of this time of Jacob’s trouble is the time when both Israël and Judah shall be saved ‘from the land of their captivity’ and they have the assurance, that ‘though I make a full end of all nations wither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished’ (Jer. 30:10,11). Jeremiah 30 reads straight on to Jeremiah 31 where the Lord announces the bringing in of the New Covenant and the return and settlement of Israël as a nation for ever. This time of tribulation is spoken of by Daniel:
- ‘And at that time (not the connection with the preceding anti-christian events, with no interval possible) shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time (the time note repeated) thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever’ (Dan. 12:1-3).
The closing words of this reference are referred to by our Lord in Matthew 13:40-43 in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares:
- ‘Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father’,
and link the days in which Heaven’s King was rejected, and when the ‘mystery’ form of the kingdom took the place of positive prophecy, with the days yet to come when the mystery of God shall be finished.
This unprecedented and unrepeated time of tribulation is referred to by the Saviour in Matthew 24, and is related by Him with epoch-making events:
- To the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place as foretold by Daniel in Daniel 9:27 (Matt. 24:15).
- To the Second Coming of the Lord (Matt. 24:30).
- To the day when the tribes of the land (Zech. 12:12) shall mourn when they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
- This is the moment when Israël shall look on Him Whom they have pierced, and when a fountain shall be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and uncleanness, and when in all the land two parts shall be cut off and die, but the third shall be left and brought the refining fire, and will become once more ‘My people’ (Zech. 12:9,10; 13:1,8,9).
- This is the sunteleia, the harvest gathering at the end of the age, as foreshadowed in the feast of the ingathering in Exodus 23:16, where the LXX reads sunteleia, the word used in Matthew 24:3.
All these prophecies synchronize at the time of the End, the time when the Stone strikes the feet of Nebuchadnezzar’s image, when Gentile dominion is destroyed, and the kingdom that shall never pass away is set up.
We have to consider many other aspects of prophetic truth but as honest Bereans before God, and as desiring to know and believe all that God has spoken we must bear witness, but so far we cannot and dare not introduce any other kingdom than that of ‘the Beast’ before the Millennial Reign of Christ, and if because we see this, we are obliged as before God, to speak of this subject many times in this analysis, we do so because we desire to be ‘pure from the blood of all men’.
By Charles H. Welch – ‘The Berean Expositor’ – London.
Nieuws vanuit het Midden-Oosten:
Centrum Informatie Documentatie Israël:
Studies vanuit de grondtalen / Hebreews en Grieks:
De Messiaans-Joodse identiteit in Nederland:
JUDEA AND SAMARIA: Biblical Heartland
United States of America:
Mark Biltz / Shabbat viering / zie:
Gerard J.C. Plas