"ON EAGLES’ WINGS MINISTRIES"
“Will the saints rule as foretold by Daniel?” August 2013. Part 4. Page 1.
“After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, [Imperial Rome] dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.” Daniel 7: 7,8.
Experts and biblical scholars from various sides of the religious spectrum have agreed that this description, the Little Horn, identifies the antichrist; called the Man of Sin by the apostle Paul. Here is what history has recorded as facts that will last as long as time itself. Even before the actual fall of Rome, or the demise of the fourth beast, the little horn was already making its presence known and was the unholy power that succeeded Imperial Rome, which was the Papacy.
As stated in an earlier chapter, the early Church Fathers such as Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius, all prayed for the Roman power to remain intact for as long as possible, because they believed that after its demise, it would be succeeded by the Papacy, that will unleash severe persecution upon the church. Their fears were well founded, because history has proven their fears to be justified. To examine the horrors perpetrated upon Christians by the Papacy, buy yourself a copy of the book: “Fox Book of Martyrs.” Your blood will curl by simply reading the accounts of pain, suffering and death inflicted upon Christians by the Papacy that called itself, “The Holy Roman Church.” Miller’s Church History also offers candid details of this.
While multitudes embrace the theory that the antichrist is to emerge from hiding right after the Rapture of the church, Daniel recorded the fact that the little horn [the man of sin—the antichrist] grew out of the fourth beast, while the beast was still alive; there was no other way or time for the little horn to grow out of the fourth beast after its demise. So in essence, when Western Rome fell in 476 A.D., and Eastern Rome fell in 1453 A.D. the little horn was already well established and making its presence felt across the Christian landscape.
But according to Mark’s gospel, Jesus returned from the mount of temptation, and in Galilee, he began to preach that the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Under research, the only time of importance to be fulfilled then, were the 69 weeks of Daniel’s prophecy. This means that Jesus actually began his ministry at the beginning of the 70th week, and was cut off in the middle of the week [3 ½ years of ministry and on Wednesday, the middle of a literal week.] Look at my work: “When Shall These Things Be?” You can buy the book.
To be clear in our expression, even though we may seem to be controversial, it cannot be helped when we align scriptures with pure doctrine. Many Christian authors have raked in millions of dollars teaching and selling books about the “Dreaded Antichrist” who has been in hiding somewhere in Europe, being trained by the devil, to be unleashed upon the world right after the church is caught up to heaven. Even in religious documentaries on television, they feature this mad man with blaring eyes and almost like fire emanating from his mouth.
But nowhere in scripture is a future antichrist embodied in a single human being that will eventually wreak havoc upon the world, underscored and substantiated in the Holy Writ. Also, Daniel did not prophesy that the antichrist would walk into the temple in Jerusalem and thereby defile the holy place. Let us look more closely at what Jesus referred to in Matthew 24. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee to the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.” Matthew 24:15-18.
Countless numbers of people worldwide have been taught, and now embrace the belief that this reference was pointing specifically to the antichrist which is yet to come upon the world scene. But what was Daniel actually referring to? Luke offers a more simplified version of the same truth. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountain; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not that that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” Luke 21: 20-22.
So then, what Jesus referred to in Matthew 24 is the same event outline for us in more minute details by Luke. We like to emphasize for good measure, that if it were the antichrist, and he had already made his way into the holy place [meaning the temple itself] there would be no point of people trying to flee the city. It would have already been captured and the gates shut against all human traffic coming in or going out. No! It was not antichrist per se: it was the Roman armies coming to lay siege to the city, along with their ensigns and practices.
Here is the irony that has been missed by Christendom at large, even though it continues to be taught and preached about far and wide. A large percentage of believers have accepted the idea that the “Man of Sin” referred to in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians is indeed the antichrist. And when Paul said that the mystery of iniquity doth already work, he meant that antichrist is already in place but in hiding until the church is taken out of the earth. My questions can be thrown in this mix! If Paul identified the antichrist when he wrote in about 65 A.D. saying that this man is already in their midst, how can a human being be alive since Paul’s days, and is now getting ready to emerge from the shadows more than 2000 years later. The entire concept is absurd and erroneous, but some will quickly add that this man is in fact, a sort of demon in human form, much like a Frankenstein monster that we see on television. They will invent anything to lend credence to their philosophy.
But let us slow down for a moment and consider Paul’s account to the Thessalonians. The apostle had a good reason for using covert and a sort of clandestine language to identify the person or power of which he spoke. Here is Paul’s approach! “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what witholdeth [restrains or hinder] that he might be revealed in his time.” 2nd Thessalonians 2: 5,6. The church was already undergoing severe persecutions, and Paul could not use plain language in his letters, risking the chance of Roman authorities getting their hands on them. This would add great punishment and even death to the church. But the saints were told in advance and in person by Paul what was in the making and what they are to expect.
Because of the popularity and ceaseless efforts of some teachers to espouse this concept, let us look at it more closely and bring in some thoughts expressed by the early Church Fathers, who lived in the first century after Christ. Paul went on! “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. Then shall that Wicked [The antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” 2nd Thess. 2: 7, 8. The term let and letteth as used in the verse, are old English terms that simply means to hinder, obstruct or delay. I can still remember, how, as a young Christian in my teens, our pastor was articulate and eloquent as he taught us that it is the church that is holding back the emergence of the antichrist. In other words, he who now letteth refers directly to the church. He explained that it is the Holy Ghost in our midst that is holding off the unveiling of the man of sin. But as soon as the church is Raptured and the Holy Ghost is taken from the earth, the antichrist will come forth.
But what was it that was actually delaying the emergence of the Man of Sin? Was it the church or something else? Was this monster lurking in the shadows waiting intently until the church waves goodbye to this earth in the so-called Rapture? Here is Paul again! “Let no man deceive you by any means. Not by camp meetings and weekend conventions; or by DVDs, video tapes, or fast selling books—don’t be deceived in any way, or by any means. For that day [the emergence of the man of sin—the antichrist] shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” Verse 3.
The “falling away” resulted in the Holy Ghost being dismissed from the church: being unseated and replaced by the bishops that composed the church hierarchy. At this point, it became the blind leading the blind, because the gift discernment by now had departed from the church. The man of sin at this point, had a completely open field in which to function. Man was too busy contending for power and religious influence to care about true doctrine against all that was false. This was exactly the sort of cover that the man of sin was waiting for. Amazingly enough, there are preachers still going about telling us that Christ will not return except there be a falling away first, missing the truth of what Paul alluded to. But what were the thoughts of the early Church Fathers? Justin Martyr stated that the Christians’ understanding of the time caused them to pray for the continuance of the restraining Roman Empire, [he who letteth or hinders] lest the dreaded times of antichrist, expected to follow upon its fall, should overtake them in their day.
Cyril of Jerusalem, in the fourth century, speaking of the power in question wrote: “This, the predicted antichrist, will come, when the times of the Roman Empire shall be fulfilled. Ten kings of the Romans shall arise together. Among these the eleventh is antichrist, who, by magical and wicked artifices, shall seize the Roman power. Another notable writer of those days pondered: “One may naturally enquire, “What is that which witholdeth? He answered that it was the Roam Empire, and that when the Roam Empire is taken out of the way, then he [antichrist] shall come.” We have people like Irenaeus [130-200 A.D.] Chrysostom [347-407] and Jerome [331-420] all of whom agreed that it was Imperial Rome that stood in the way of the antichrist being revealed. So the man of sin was not waiting for the church to vacate the earth; rather, he was waiting for the breaking up and fall of Imperial Rome. But as we said before, Paul, in his letter could not risk putting that name on paper that could mean the death sentence for many of the saints.
Whether we hurt some feelings or not; whether we want to embrace all religious faiths or not, history has recorded that the power that succeeded Imperial Rome, was the Papacy, and the boisterous, cruel and unbelievable acts of this power can be read from thousands of volumes that have logged the facts of the terror of the Papacy. After reading the details of this terror, one can well understand why the church fathers prayed for Rome to continue in power. There were persecutions of the church by Rome, but the apostolic fathers saw much greater sufferings and death that would come under the Papacy that they prayed earnestly for the continuance of Roman Empire. Daniel rightly alluded to the fact that this entity would make war against the saints, and would wear out the saints. Daniel 7: 25.
The idea of a worldwide tribulation is so prevalent and deeply rooted in Christian theology that I would not do you justice to bypass the issue that is claimed to be the catalyst that will trigger said tribulation. We are being told even to this very day, that antichrist, emerging as a man of peace and cunning, will offer the Jews a peace treaty due to last seven years. [This is widely accepted to be the 70th week—seven years] of Daniel’s prophecy. But, as the belief goes, in the middle of the week, or after 3 ½ years, antichrist will break the treaty, forbid the Jews to access the temple to offer their ceremonial sacrifices, and thus triggering the Great Tribulation that will last for the remaining 3 ½ years, that will end when Jesus descends from heaven with myriads of his saints to destroy antichrist and usher in a thousand years of peace.
But where did such interpretation come from? Did Daniel actually write this event in his “seventy week” prophecy? Bear in mind that I grew up learning these forms of interpretations, and when I began preaching in my youth, I preached what I learned and was admonished to hold fast as a part of my faith. But in later years I learned that in order to acquire new truths, I had to relinquish some old truths. It is not that former truths became false, but often times they outlive their purpose, and are replaced by what we can call “updated truths or present truths.”
Observe and see how mistaken identity has wreaked havoc among sincere believers. The teaching and belief that antichrist will make a peace treaty with Israel then break it after 3 ½ years, thus precipitating the tribulation, must have had its roots somewhere traceable and here is where and how it all began. Follow this very closely if you want to understand the truth in what the angel Gabriel actually said to Daniel.
In a list of several events that would occur within the space of 70 weeks, or 490 years, the following was also mentioned. “And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: [7 years] and in the midst of the week [3 ½ years] he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27. The Internet has supplied me with a number of accounts attesting to the fact that Jews do not offer animal sacrifices today, even among those who do not recognize Christ as their Messiah. To go back to recognizing animal sacrifices, means that God would be digressing and rendering the death of his Son null and void.
Look at two things that have been misplaced and misunderstood. And he shall confirm the covenant. The question is to whom does he refer? Secondly, what does the word confirm means. Here is the root of the problem, because those who uphold the antichrist concept teach that he refers to the antichrist—but neither Gabriel nor Daniel gave the slightest indication that the antichrist is here mentioned or even thought about. So here is a mistaken identity and the word confirm does not mean to make—it means to strengthen that which has already been established—as if to lend credence to a testimony in court.
If we go back to verse 26, we will notice that it was Messiah who would be cut off in the middle of the week [after 3 ½ years of earthly ministry to which history concurs. He was also killed on Wednesday, the middle of a literal week] and by his own sacrificial death has caused all other sacrifices to cease. “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God—For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.” Hebrews 10: 12,14.
Making a covenant with the Jews as it is being taught and written about, cannot be construed to mean confirm. To confirm something, it has to be already in place, and Jesus Christ confirmed the covenant, even the sure mercies of David. We read: For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts.” Hebrews 8:10.”Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31. This new covenant was echoed by Jesus as he sat with his disciples during the last supper and handed them bread and wine. We need to have it clear in our mind that Daniel did not allude to a future antichrist that would mesmerize humanity and throw the entire world into chaos. He shall confirm the covenant speaks of Christ and his redemptive work at Calvary, by which he did put an end to sacrifices and oblations. He did put an end to sins, and made reconciliation for iniquity and brought in everlasting righteousness. Daniel 9: 24.
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