"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“DEFINING THE NEW JERUSALEM” March 2017, Part 3
Whether we talk, believe and teach about heaven, hell, or the world, from God’s perspective, we must understand the spiritual aspects that are woven into biblical truths. Without arguing whether all saints are going to heaven or will remain grounded on earth; let us put all of what we know and believe aside for a moment and observe the language of scripture; then decide if the truth is literal or it is spiritual and Divinely inspired either way.
I have said repeatedly in these writings that we must understand the language of scripture; because many scripture texts are rendered as “insights or waymarks” only alluding to something bigger that requires us to read between the lines; or as they say on many television game shows, we must “fill in the blanks.” In many cases, we are given only a snapshot (an overview or bird’s eye view” of the whole truth; but we have enough to enable us to delve more deeply into the intended truth woven into the subject matter.
We are now going to embark upon a study that has confused many; and remains a source of contention among ardent Christians; and among experts of the scriptures. Let us join Peter in his description of events that are pending, and when unwrapped and put on open display will cause the hearts of men to fail. The apostle wrote: “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens (no one knows how many heavens are referred to here, but it is certainly more than one) shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.” 2nd Peter 3: 10.
Let us patiently and thoroughly dissect what we just read from the perspective of the saints of God going to heaven (believed and taught to be our home.) The obvious question that quickly comes to mind is; “If the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, where will be a safe place for the Saints to dwell even for short time? Indeed, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens (again plurality) and a new earth. But in the meantime, it is obvious that both the heavens and earth and the elements that surround the earth, will be no more; and this vast emptiness will remain as such until the new heavens and a new earth are established. (If we are to understand it in a literal sense.) Let us highlight another passage of scripture that is worth our careful attention. The Apostle John in the Revelation made note of a vision that he had. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.” Revelation 20: 11. So far, so good! But there is more to this vision.
John saw something that continues to be preached over and over; especially in evangelistic meetings when the invitation to come to Jesus is being given. The preacher solemnly warns the sinners in the congregation what John saw. “And I saw the dead, small and great stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” Revelation 20: 12. We are at liberty to ask a reasonable question that logic would dictate. As stated in the previous verse, if heaven and earth fled away so that no place was found for them, where are the dead small and great standing? It is obvious that these accounts including the account of 2nd Peter 3:10 cannot be taken literally. The book of Revelation is composed of images—symbols and types.
John simply described in his written accounts the images he saw without offering what they meant. To understand images, types, and symbols, it is profitable for us to go back to ancient times, especially the days of Daniel the prophet. As we do a biblical safari through the accounts of this prophet, we will get a better understanding of the cases shown above. We will understand what symbols and certain images mean. As we gain new understanding from the Old Testament accounts, our understanding of the scriptures highlighted above will no doubt enlighten the eyes of our understanding by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ. Ephesians 1: 17, 18.
Daniel’s entrance into major “time prophecies” began when King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him; but none of his wise men, soothsayers, magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers were able to tell the king the interpretation of his dream. Not only that, the king knew it was an important vision, in so much that it troubled him greatly. But adding to the dilemma, he forgot what the vision was all about. Eventually Daniel was brought before the king to solve the problem. We are condensing the story somewhat to conserve space. What was Daniel’s approach to such an awesome task? “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his. And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings , and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.” Daniel 2: 20-22.
Daniel explained that the king saw in his dream a huge image that we now call the great Colossus. It was the figure of a man with a head of fine gold, his breasts and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron, and part of clay. Then, alarmingly, a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay and broke them to pieces. The stone then grew and filled the whole earth. What did this represent as a part of world history? In short, it was a picture of four world kingdoms that would emerge; beginning with Babylon as the head of gold. This would be followed by Medo-Persia, (when Darius the Mede conquered Babylon working in tandem with Cyrus the Great) followed by Greece and Rome.
So the important thing is not the image itself but what it bespeaks. Daniel for his part, in a vision saw the same four kingdoms but in a different manner. He saw four beasts upon the great sea. One was like a lion, the second like a bear, and yet another like a leopard, and a fourth beast appeared, dreadful and terrible, in so much that Daniel was troubled. I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me. One of the angels then present came to Daniel with the explanation. “So he told me, and made me to know the interpretation of the things. These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, (or kingdoms) which shall arise out of the earth.” Thus, we see that the image of a man and the images of four beasts are the same—four world kingdoms that would arise among men. As many authorities of scripture agree, if the four kingdoms were literal kingdoms upon the earth, the stone that crushed all four kingdoms into dust, must also be a literal kingdom.
The stone grew and filled the whole earth and as history will attest to, Christ the stone that was cut out without hands indeed smote the image on its feet (the Roman Empire or the fourth beast) and since that time the stone has been growing to fill the earth. In my book “When Shall These Things Be?” I did a full chapter on the Stone Kingdom. The book can be bought online or in book stores, along with three other books. Just go online to Google and type in “books by Royce Kennedy,” and all four books will appear. We should be better able to understand the language used by Peter and John, and even in the many parables spoken by Christ. Looking at the king’s image of an immensely huge man, and the four ravenous beasts that Daniel saw in his night vision; we now understand that the images and even the words used in these symbolic accounts do not reflect the true story. We must look past the words used and the symbols featured to get the true and perfect understanding of what is being conveyed. Daniel was made aware of the fact that the four beasts were four kings (kingdoms) that would arise in the earth.
When we examine world history, the explanation that Daniel gave to king Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled exactly the way Daniel explained it. He was concise in his explanation to the king. “Thou (Babylon) art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom (Medo-Persia) inferior to thee, and another third kingdom(Greece) of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom (Rome) shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter’s clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of iron. Etc. Daniel 2: 38-41. Let us take a quick look at ancient world history to see how these predictions were fulfilled just the way the prophet Daniel outlined them. Beginning with Babylon (the head of gold) Babylonia was established in 625 B.C. by Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father. In B.C. 539 Babylon fell to Persia at the hands of Darius the Mede ruling jointly with Cyrus, giving birth to the Medo-Persia Empire. King Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Palestine after their 70-year Babylonian Captivity.
In 331 B.C. Alexander, the Great, conquered most of the known world and he reigned until B.C. 63, when Rome conquered Greece. Thus, we have the four world kingdoms or the four beasts that the angels told Daniel that would rise out of the earth. Here is a point of great interest that I don’t want you to ignore or treat lightly. Yes, there were four world kingdoms of which a lot more can be said. In fact, in writing about Rome, we would need to update our work all the way to 1453 A.D. This fourth kingdom (fourth beast) died in the west in 476 A.D. and 1453 A.D. in the east. The antichrist (the little horn) grew out of the fourth beast, and that had to have taken place while the beast was still alive. But alas! Since the fall of Rome in totality, there has never been another single world power to rule over the earth.
Many dictators and Popes of Rome dreamed of picking up the pieces to create another super world power. None has succeeded—why? Because the Lord spoke the truth to Daniel, that there would be four world kingdoms and only four. Today, America, Canada, Great Britton, Russia, Australia and a few others all vie for world dominance; but none can step forward and claim the number one spot. It will not happen, because after the four kingdoms have had their time on the world scene, the next universal kingdom will be the Kingdom of God on the earth. (And I do not speak as a Jehovah’s Witness.)
Those who do not subscribe to this theory cite Jesus as he stood to defend himself before Pilate. Asked if he indeed is the King of the Jews, Jesus answered saying: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight that I should not be delivered to the Jews: But now is my kingdom not from hence.” John 18: 36. So those who cater only to the spiritual aspects of the kingdom of God use this verse to underscore their conviction. But if we look more closely to what Jesus said, we will notice that he did not dismiss the reality of his kingdom being on the earth. He said but now, in this present time frame my kingdom is not from hence: but he did not say that it would not be. Why? Because Daniel offers another major reason and Divine aspiration concerning the kingdom of God that will occupy its rightful place in God’s master plan for the entire creation.
Daniel wrote: “And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve him and obey him.” Daniel 7: 27. In this narrative, there is no mention of the saints possessing heaven. The heaven does rule, but that rule will be relegated to a people on earth, as we mentioned in the previous chapter: “And hast made us unto our God, kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5: 10. Another classic example of the truth hidden within the language of scripture can be found in the writings of one of the ancient prophets, who prophesied somewhere around B.C. 730. “But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.
And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it.” Micah 4: 1-4.
One word of distinction that we need to examine so as to certify its meaning is “mountain.” In most prophecies, the word mountain speaks of “kingdom” thus, the kingdom of the house of the Lord will be established upon the top of the mountains (meaning to over-rule all other kingdoms.) And it shall be exalted above the hills, meaning above smaller kingdoms. All of those we call “End-time prophets) presented narratives that showcase the unfolding of God’s kingdom here upon the earth. Let us take another look at a heavenly picture that cannot be understood as written.
John wrote: “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars. Remember that like the narratives of Peter and John that we previously referred to, we are compelled to decide if what we read should, or can be taken as it is written. It seems to me that those who believe in the literal interpretation of the bible must have a hard time explaining the woman clothed with the sun, having the moon under her feet, and a crown of twelve stars upon her head.
In this, we are shown the church from her birth, and her journey through the ensuing centuries, in which man’s ideologies replaced the authority of the Holy Spirit, and church bishops sat in the east of the Spirit. We see the woman being hidden in the wilderness, where she is fed by a specific ministry (headed by the resourcefulness of the Son—as in a body of sons.) Throughout this study of the New Jerusalem, we are shown the truth, that both God himself and the holy city made earth the center of their existence.
As a matter of practice, I do not ask for donations in support of this ministry. However, the 1st day of Spring (this month) will mark my 82nd birthday and I feel totally blessed. To mark the occasion, and because I am now retired and living on a fixed income, if you would like to send me a blessing, you have the option to use my PayPal account at my e-mail address at the top of this newsletter, or the US postal service. Some of you have been with me since the inception of this ministry in 1985. In the past, many of you have been in house meetings and weekend retreats together. I keep those memories as something special to me. Be blessed my friends!
To be continued...
Royce O. Kennedy
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