VI. SHAPE OF THE FUTURE (1)

7 World Empires

(First published 28 November, 2011. Updated in August, 2014; June, 2015; November, 2015; August, 2016; June, 2017)

[Scripture references are from the New King James Version, unless noted otherwise]

CONTENTS

1 – CONTENTS/INTRODUCTION

2 - THE FINAL EMPIRE: ITS PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY

A. Dual Nature of the Empire
B. Economic Superpower: the New Beast
C. Who Are the Two Superpowers of the End?
D. Is Modern Europe the “Beast from the Earth”
E. Eighth Head
F. Who Are the “Ten Horns”? 

3 - THE FINAL EMPIRE: ITS SPIRITUAL GEOGRAPHY

A. Physical and Spiritual Geography in Daniel 2
B. Modern Day Cultures of Darkness
C. How “Iron” Continues in Today’s World: Domain of the Antichrist
D. “Clay” Power in Ancient Times
E. Rise of “Clay” Power in the Modern Age
F. “Clay” in the 20th Century 

 4 - WHERE ARE WE HEADED?

A. Merger – Two Separate Beasts Become One “Iron and Clay” Dominion
B. “The Kingdom Shall Be Divided”
C. Role of Technology in the Antichrist and False Prophet’s New World Order
D. What the Future Holds
         On the Political-Economic Level
         On the Religious Level

5 – SUMMARY

1 – INTRODUCTION

It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approach’d the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -”Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approach’d the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” -quoth he- “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” -quoth he,-
“‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” -quoth he,- “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

MORAL,
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

– based on the famous Indian legend, poetic version by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)

**

When it comes to interpreting what the Bible says about the future, it is easy to fall prey to what happened to the “blind men of Indostan”. For we are already “blind” to some extent, simply because the predicted events haven’t happened yet. Or at best we see only a dim outline, and we grope around, guess, and try to come up with reasonable explanations. What really helps in this kind of business is to see the whole “elephant” – that is, get the general, overall picture. Then the specifics, and their relationship to each other and to the whole, will fall into place more easily. What we want to avoid is the tendency to grab ahold of one aspect and insist on visualizing the “elephant” on the basis of that one feature only.

Since many predictions in the Bible concern the near future of mankind’s history, that certainly makes them a subject worthy of our attention. That doesn’t mean to say that the conclusions brought forth here in this particular study are all correct. But hopefully, if nothing else, some small advancement in our understanding of what the Sacred Book is trying to tell us about our future and present day historical conditions may come out of it.

For prophecies that are in the process of being fulfilled, usually they’re difficult to understand. With already fulfilled prophecies, we have the benefit of hindsight. But for prophecies about our modern day, it can be a tricky business trying to figure out how they’re supposed to apply to historical reality. And here is where it pays to steer clear of the kind of “theologic wars” that the blind men encountered in their discussion about the elephant that they couldn’t see in full but could only see in part.

Along this line, it helps to keep in mind that some prophecies aren’t even supposed to be understood until after the fact. They are only intended to inspire our faith in God’s power and foresight. “And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:29) In other cases, they satisfy our curiosity and give us hope for the future. And lastly, they can serve the purpose of preparing us for what’s coming. We may see ahead rather dimly, but at least the future isn’t a total mystery. We can see something, usually because the prophecy has already been fulfilled partially, and we have a bit of historical hindsight to go on. And this helps us to see the “elephant”. It may be just a shadowy glimpse, but hopefully, that will be enough to safely expand and clarify our conceptions of what the ancient Scriptures have been trying to tell us all along about the present and near future.

***

Note: The following study presupposes that the reader has some basic knowledge of certain portions of Scripture, especially the chapters of Daniel 2 and Revelation 13. If you are not familiar with them, then it may be advisable to go over those two chapters (below) before going any further.

Continue on to 2A: Dual Nature of the Empire

***

Daniel 2 and Revelation 13 (NKJV)

Daniel 2

1 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him.
2 Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.
3 And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”
4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.”
5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap.
6 However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”
7 They answered again and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”
8 The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm:
9 if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”
10 The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, “There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.
11 It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
12 For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
14 Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon;
15 he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel.
16 So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation.
17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,
18 that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him.
23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; You have given me wisdom and might, And have now made known to me what we asked of You, For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”
25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king, and said thus to him, “I have found a man of the captives of Judah, who will make known to the king the interpretation.”
26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”
27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king.
28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.
30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
31 “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.
35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
37 You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory;
38 and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all–you are this head of gold.
39 But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
40 And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.
41 Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.
42 And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.
43 As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
45 Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold–the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.
47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon.
49 Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Revelation 13

1 Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.
2 Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.
3 And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.
4 So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
5 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.
6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven.
7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear.
10 He who leads into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.
11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon.
12 And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men.
14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.
15 He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads,
17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.

***

Continue on to 2A: Dual Nature of the Empire

VII. UNRAVELING THE MYSTERY OF THE IMAGE (Ch 1)

megiddomap2

(First published September, 2009. Revised July, 2014; December, 2015. Scripture references from the King James Version of the Bible, unless noted otherwise.)

1 – Introduction
2 – Worldwide Worship (Adulation) of the Antichrist
3 – The “Miracles” that Don’t Work and Those that Do Work
4 – How does Singular Change into Plural?
5 – Seemingly Miraculous Nature of the Image
6 – Destructive Power of the Image
7 – A New Initiation Rite
8 – Conclusion

1 – Introduction

In the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation, John the Apostle records his astonishing glimpse into a future world… the very one in which we are now living. This vision of a “future world” came from God, but the understanding of it was filtered though the mind of His apostle. As a result we have in these ancient Scriptures an intriguing form of time travel experience. We are able to see our modern world, not only through the eyes of God, but also through the eyes of someone from ancient times.

This 13th chapter of Revelation foresees several features of modern life. But for this study, we will zero in on the mysterious “image” aspect of what John the apostle saw in vision.

IMAGE

IMAGE

IMAGE

of the Beast

Revelation 13:12B-15 The passage about the “image” - the focus of this study

        … And he (the beast from the earth, the False Prophet) causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast (from the sea, the Antichrist) whose deadly wound was healed.

        And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

        And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

        And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause that as many would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.

In essence, these words outline how this man from ancient times, John the Apostle, understood a vision God had given him about how the False Prophet Beast would get the world to worship the Antichrist - through using a strange “image”; the “image” would have “life”, could “speak”, and was so powerful it caused death to those who refused to worship it.

An awfully tricky passage of Scripture. But as we try to view things through the Apostle’s eyes, this will guide us in our understanding of it.

Now, the Greek word for “image” had the fairly general, almost abstract meaning of “likeness”. It can be used for any type of image.

Interestingly, it is used in one place to describe a reflection, the kind seen in a “glass”, or mirror. (2Corinthians 3:18) So, this word “image” should not be limited in its scope to refer to idols only but can refer to any modern reflection-type of image – photos, xeroxes, faxes, videos, and especially TV. For all its complexity, TV transmission is nothing more than a sophisticated way of creating the most basic kind of image there is, a mirror image – and of casting those live images over great distances. The only difference: Instead of standing in front of a mirror, a person stands or sits in front of a camera.

(Note: Modern technology is coming up with even more realistic mirror images, such as 3-D holographic imaging. Who knows? Perhaps that will become the “TV image” of the future.)

2Mirrors copy

In modern times Bible teachers have at times suggested that the “image” mentioned in the Revelation Book could be talking about television. It has been difficult to accept this, however, because it means sweeping away centuries of past interpretation – what numerous revered scholars have taught for generations (that the image is supposed to be an idol of some kind). Since we, in this generation, do have the benefit of some historical hindsight, having experienced what former Bible scholars had not, we can, and should, leave behind some of the old mindsets inherited from the past. That doesn’t mean we can’t follow in the footsteps of former teachers – by adopting the same spirit of inquiry that motivated them. But it may mean ditching the baggage of some of their uninformed ideas – uninformed simply because they had not yet seen modern technology.

Those interpretations were sufficient in their day, but now that we are getting so close to the very End Time, we need to do some fine-tuning and adopt a better, updated, and clearer understanding about this mysterious vision of John the Apostle’s. We have to clear away the rubble of misguided thinking, the misinterpretations based on how images were made in the past. It’s time to re-think this question about the “image” (from a few different angles) and see if we can find some landing gear for what may seem like a rather high-flying concept (of the “image” in terms of modern broadcasting).

To start, we might ask, what do television images and religious images have in common? Well, like any religious image, television communicates and exerts a spiritual influence over its viewers. Many TV broadcasts are needed and helpful. But there exists also much corruption, decadence, and deception conveyed to us through it; television can act as a channel for the realm of dark, spiritual forces. And generally, this is the downward direction toward which modern TV culture has been heading for many years.

Now it stands to reason that, once the Antichrist enters the political stage, he will appear frequently on TV; and of course, his broadcasted image seen at that time would fall into the category of an “image of the beast”. The general, corrupting influence that television exerts now will be embodied then in the Antichrist himself and his televised image when he will “open his mouth in blasphemy against God”. (Revelation 13:6)

The only trouble is – and this is why the image-is-TV doctrine has been hard to swallow – the description of the “image” in Revelation 13 sounds more as if it’s talking about an idol, not a TV image. But if we can go on a time travel voyage to the 1st century and perceive this vision through the eyes of John the Apostle, we’ll see things differently. The barrier to our understanding will fall away, and it will become evident that John’s description was just the natural result of how someone from an ancient time would react to and try to explain a modern TV image. (Much of the rest of this study will explore that subject more fully.)

Continue to Chapter 2: Worldwide Worship (Adulation) of the Antichrist

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