Friday, June 24, 2011

Why Prophecy?

The prophets that have been before me and before thee of old prophecied both against many countries, and against great kingdoms, of war, and of evil, and of pestilence.
Jeremiah 28:8

A Coin of Macedonian (Greek) king, Alexander the Great (356BC - 323BC) in the British Museum. He is depicted with a crown with a goat' horn, exactly as he was prophetically described in Daniel 8:5, 21. He was also prophesied in Daniel 2:32, 39 as the 'thighs of brass',  as well as in Daniel 7:6 as the 'leopard'.

Greece is Symbolically represented as a leopard in Daniel 7:6

A picture of Alexander the Great (left) defeating the Persian king, Darius III (centre right) is an accurate prophetic fulfillment of Daniel 11:3, 4

John Calvin (1509-1564), French theologian and reformer
'As to the Macedonian empire, it ought not to seem absurd to find it compared to brass, since we know the cruelty of Alexander's disposition.
Daniel says, therefore, A beast appeared to him like a leopard. This beast had four wings and four heads, because Alexander had scarcely completed his victories when he died, contrary to all exception.
As the Greeks were situated to the west of Persia, the Prophet says, the he-goat came from the west, and went over he surface of the whole earth. These words signify the very extensive dominion of Alexander, and the terror of surrounding nations.' (1)

Sir Isaac Newton (1643-1727), Theologian, mathematician
'The belly and thighs of the Image were of brass, and represent the Greeks, who, under the dominion of Alexander the great, conquered the Persians, and reigned next after them.
In the next vision, which is of the for Beasts, the Prophecy of the four Empires is repeated, with several new editions. The third Beast was the kingdom which succeeded the Persian; and this was the Empire of the Greeks ... during the reign of Alexander the great.
The rough Great, saith Daniel, is the King of Grecia, that is, the kingdom; and the great horn between is eyes is the first King: not the first Monarch, but the first kingdom, that which lasted during the reign of Alexander the Great.' (2)

Elder James Springer White (1821-1881), Seventh-day Adventist pioneer, author, teacher, preacher, minister, Entrepeneur
'The belly and sides of brass prefigured Grecia, which, conquering it's predecessors, enjoyed it's period of universal dominion.
And lo, another like a leopard, which had four wings and four heads. This was the emblem of the Grecian or Macedonian empire, which for the time was the most renowned in the world. It was erected by Alexander the Great on the ruins of the Persian monarchy, and it continued in four divisions under his successor.
And the rough great is the king of Grecia; and the great horn that is between his eyes, is the first king. This was Alexander, who was born B.C. 356, decided the fate of Persia at the battle of Arbela, B.C. 331, and died eight years thereafter in a drunken fit, at the age of 33, B.C. 323.' (3)

God has always given His faithful flock ample warning of things that are to take place on this earth before it's time, hundreds and even thousands of years before the event happens. Whenever the LORD wanted to emphasise on the importance of a prophecy, it would be repeated a number of times, both in the Old and in the New Testament.

1. A 'hail' of stones is one of the seven last plagues to fall on the inhabitants of the earth who have accepted the Mark of the beast. 

Hast thou entered into the treasures of the snow? or hast thou seen the treasures of the hail, Which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
Job 38:22, 23

And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Revelation 16:21

2. Duration of time the 'little horn' (Papacy) would reign supreme and attack God' church that is symbolically represented as a woman.

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.
Daniel 7:25

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Revelation 12:14

3. The two resurrections - One for the righteous and the other for the wicked.

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.
Daniel 12:2

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.
John 5:28, 29

4. The new heaven and new earth.

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.
Isaiah 65:17

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
Revelation 21:1

5. Description of the 'holy city, new Jerusalem' in the earth made new.

And these are the goings out of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures. And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi. And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan. And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun. At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali. It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The LORD is there.
Ezekiel 48:30-35

And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. 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. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.
Revelation 21:12-17

6. Death will be the last thing that God destroys.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the LORD GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people shall He take away from off all the earth: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Isaiah 25:8

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
I Corinthians 15:54

7. God the Father and the Son will reign supreme in the new heaven and earth.

And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day there shall be one LORD, and His name one.
Zechariah 14:9

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
Revelation 11:15

Prophecy has strengthened the faith of the saints and has given them the assurity that while they roam this earth on their pilgrimage towards eternity, they have a divine compass that will steer them on the right course. From a study of Hebrews 11, we see that the early patriarchs down to the faithful saints today have always prepared their hearts for eternity and it was prophecy that gave them a sense of worth when all around them may have looked glim.

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers. But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
Hebrews 11:8-10, 13, 16

Not only did the author of the first book of the New Testament, Matthew, constantly use prophecy to verify that Jesus was authentic and the very Messiah, the Christ, that was prophesied, when he repeatedly said, 'that it might be fulfilled', Jesus also showed and proved that He perfectly fitted into prophetic time after His resurrection (Luke 24:27, 44) and just after He was baptised, when He went into the temple, asked for the book of Isaiah, read it and said, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" (Luke 4:16-21).

In the climate we are living in today many are looking for a Messianic figure to come and deliver their people and bring peace and enlightenment to the inhabitants of the earth. The Hindus are looking for Kalki, the tenth Avatar (reincarnation of Vishnu) who will end or usher in the fourth cycle of the world known as the Kali Yuga; the Buddhists according to their early religious texts are looking for the 'Maitreya', (highly promoted by Scottish New Age Occultist Benjamin Creme); the Muslims are looking for the 'Mahdi' before the day of judgment and the Jews are still looking for 'Elijah' (Mal. 4:5), though Jesus and Luke made it clear that it was John the Baptist (Matt. 11:7-14; Luke 1:17). (Note: There are going to be some serious deceptions on earth before Jesus returns. Matth. 24:, 4, 5, 11, 24).

The difference between Jesus and these so-called Messiah' is that He shows that there has to be a transformation of heart and a heavenly character before He returns and sets up his eternal kingdom (Matt. 18:4; Luke 17:20, 21; John 15:3), Jesus will not be touching the earth when He returns (I Thess. 4:16-18), only after the millennium (Rev. 20; Zech. 14), He also gives a detailed account of world events, ecological disasters and the moral decline of mankind (Matthew 24; Luke 21) and is unequivocally clear that without prophecy we would not be clear on His role in the plan of redemption as He clearly declared.

Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
John 13:19

One of the keys to understanding prophetic time and where we are in history is 'chronology'. The Hebrews like the Egyptians, recorded almost every iota of their history on scrolls or seals (Jer. 36:4). The Holy Scriptures gives the names and years of of the reign of many kings, both secular and religious so that people know where they are in time (e.g. Jer. 25:1).

The Holy Scriptures is clear that a day (Hebrew word is 'yom') is recognised by the rising and setting of the sun (Gen. 1:14, 15; Mark 1:32; 16:2) and that there are twelve months in a year (I Kings 4:7) according to the Hebrew lunar/solar calendar (Ps. 104:19). The week of seven days is divinely appointed and cannot be measured by the cycles of any heavenly bodies. The seventh-day sabbath of creation is a memorial of that week (Gen. 2:1, 2).

Why do we use the Hebrew lunar/solar calendar of 360 days in a year instead of the Julian and later the Gregorian Western Calendar of 365 days? If we are to look at one at one of the time prophecies, that is described as the 'time, times and dividing of time, or half a time', or the 42 months, better known as the 1260 days or prophetic years (Dan. 7:25; 12:7; Rev. 11:2, 3; 12:6, 14; 13:5), when we calculate using the Hebrew lunar/solar calendar we come to the right calculation of 1260.

'Considering only the five days that are added to the 360 in our ordinary years, we will find that the 1260 days in the Revelation, being reduced to years, are eighteen years short of Julian years, in the prophetical reckoning, by reason of the additional days turned into years in the ordinary accounts now, above the apocalyptical reckoning.' (4)

Why is it absolutely essential to know the right calculation of measuring and studying prophetic/historical time?

'Chronology ... is the science of establishing historical dates.

"Without chronology ... history would lose it's most valuable characters of truth and consistency, and scarcely rise above the level of Romance." Chronology and geography are the eyes of history. The chronology of events is so necessary to the verity of history, extending, as it does, through its very department, that it is also called "the soul of history."
The month a natural measure of time, derived from the measure of the moon. The periodical changes in its appearance naturally suggested their duration, as an easy division of time. In the earlier computation by months, thirty days were reckoned by a month by the Babylonian, Egyptians, Persians and Grecians.
In the deluge, Noah counted five months equivalent to one hundred and fifty days. At a subsequent period it was found that the length of a lunation was about twenty-nine and one-half days; and to avoid a fraction, they counted the months alternately, twenty-nine and thirty days.
Different nations reckoned by different eras, the commencements of which were not always easily reckoned with each other. The Grecian Era, or the Olympiads, commencing July 19, B.C. 776; the Roman Era, commencing with the building of Rome, B.C. 753; the Chaldean Era, or Historic Era of Nabopolassar, commencing with February 26, B.C. 747, and our Vulgar Era, from the four cardinal eras of sacred and profane chronology.' (5)

We are indebted to the Roman mathematician, who lived in Alexandra, Egypt, Claudius Ptolemaus (c.90-c.168) for his study of the eclipses and their alignment in the reign of Chaldean, Persian, Grecian, Egyptian and Roman kings from B.C. 747 to A.D. 137, known as Ptolemy's Canon.

One of the biggest confusions of studying time is the bridge between two eras, titled A.D. (Anno 'year' and Domini 'Lord') and B.C. (Before Christ). How can Jesus be born in 4 B.C., four years before the era that was named after Him? Who made this historical blunder? It was a sixth century Scythian monk by the name of Dionysius Exiguss (c.470-c.544) who created what we call today the Christian era. Let us check the records.

'One of the most important of ancient eras was reckoned from the building of the city of Rome - ab urbe condita - expressed by the abbreviation A.U.C., or more briefly, U.C. In the year which is now numbered A.D. 532, Dionysius Exiguus, a Scythian by birth, and a Roman abbot, who flourished in the reign of Justinian, invented the Christian Era. According to the best evidence at his command, he placed the birth of Christ U.C. 753. But Christ was born before the death of Herod; and it was afterward ascertained on the clearest evidence that death of Herod occurred in April, U.C. 750. Allowing a few months for the events recorded in Christ's life before the time of Herod's death, his birth is carried back to the latter part of U.C. 749, a little more than three years before A.D. 1.
The Christian Era had become so well established before the mistake above referred to was discovered, that no change in the reckoning has been attempted. It makes no material difference, as it does not interfere at all with the calculation of dates. If the era began with the actual year of Christ's birth, the number of years B. C. in any case would be four years less, and the years A.D. four years more.' (6)
The era, however, did not begin to be used much till A.D. 730, and did not come into general use till A.D. 1431, when Pope Eugenius ordered it to be used in the public registers. (7)

The French Revolution:

Europe is the geographical region that plays a centre stage in Bible prophecy especially in the prophetic books of Daniel and the Revelation. Many of its political upheavals are recorded in the book of Revelation as many pre and post-Reformation prophetic expositors have observed. The most famous of these was the 'French Revolution' that was a bloody revolt in France that is seen as the pivot (turning point) of our modern era, also known as modern history that ended aristocratic conservatism but sadly as a result of the Geopolitical strategies of the Napoleonic wars it led to the many problems that eventually resulted to the build-up and the horrors of the First and Second World Wars.

France was the oldest child of the Papacy, when in 508 A.D., Clovis, the first King of the Franks under the influence of his wife converted to Catholicism and made France the first European nation to be a vassalage (servant) of the Papacy. It was the French that orchestrated the bloody crusades that shook two continents (Europe and Asia) where it has still left a very deep bitter sore within the Arab/Islamic world.

Philip Schaff (1819-1893), Swiss-born German-American theologian
'The Crusades began and ended in France. The French element was the ruling factor, from Urban II., who was a native of Châtillon, near Rheims, and Peter of Amiens, to St. Louis. The contemporary accounts of the Crusades are for the most part written by Frenchmen. Guibert of Nogent and other chroniclers regard them as especially the work of their countrymen. The French expressions, outré-mer, was used for the goal of the Crusades.' (8)

Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910), British missionary, prophetic scholar
'France had taken rank as the the first of Papal nations, ever since the conversion of Clovis, and the donations of Pepin and Charlemagnes. France had taken a leading place in opposition to the glorious Reformation; by the iron heel of power, she had crushed down the new life and had extinguished the rekindled Gospel light of that glad era. In the massacre of St. Bartholomew she had all but extirpated Protestantism; and by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, she had banished from her shores her surviving Huguenot subjects. France was for more than a thousand years, a main pillar of the Popedom of Europe.' (9)

Rev. James Aitken Wylie (1808-1890), Scottish historian, Presbyterian minister
'France, from its central position, extent and fertility of territory, and the genius of it people, was obviously meant by nature to be one of the first of European kingdoms. We find France taking the lead at the opening of modern European history, and, after a period of decadence, resuming her former place under Louis XIV. Since that time her progress has been steadily downward. In France the health as well as the stature of the people has declined.' (10)

Louis Alexander Berthier (1753-1815)

French General Louis Berthier arresting Pope Pius VI

Pope Pius VI

Pope Pius VI on his death bed in France 

With France being a vehicle of Papal absolutism and responsible for spilling rivers of innocent blood, the prophetic indictment was to be met, when 'He that leadeth into captivity, shall go into captivity' and 'he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword' (Rev. 13:10) was fulfilled when France switched on its mother and oldest ally, the Papacy, during that bloody Revolution in France (1789 - 1799), where as a result, in February, 1789, Italy was occupied by a French Army and declared a Republic led by the French (he was actually Corsican) Military leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) and his General-in-Chief, Louis Alexandre Berthier (1753-1815) took Pope Pius VI (1717-1799) 'captive' (a prisoner), humiliated him by stripping the Papal ring off his finger and carried him across the Alps to France from Italy, where he died in exile in 1799. Those who studied prophecy new over 100 years in advance that France which spilt so much innocent Calvinist Huguenot Protestant blood, was going to revolt against its mother, the Papacy and a few prophetic commentators in the following century after the revolt, verified what other commentators had foresaw.

Robert Fleming Jnr. (c. 1660-1716) was a Scottish Presbyterian Minister and Calvinist theologian who wrote a treatise in 1701 about the fall of France, according to Bible Prophecy.

Thomas Goodwin (16001680), English Puritan, theologian and teacher
'Now, which of these kingdoms of the ten states in Europe, and what tenth part thereof, shall first have this great privilege.
The saints and churches belonging unto the kingdom of France God hath made a wonder unto me in all his proceedings towards them, first and last, and there would be some great and special honour reserved for them yet at last. The churches of France have ever since had as great a share in persecutions, yea, greater than any other churches.
In France, in the year 1572 ... The massacre of the Protestants began, and in appearance an extinction of the religion.
... an earthquake joined with it, which shakes 'the tenth part of the city;' that is, as I take it, and shall afterwards give my Reason for it, one of those ten European kingdoms that have given up their power unto the beast, shall now in this slaughter begin to fall from and cease to be a part of the city, or belong to the jurisdiction of Rome any longer...
By the earthquake here, which is said to be a great one, is meant (as still in this book it is) a great concussion or shaking of states, politic or ecclesiastical, for of either or of both it is used.
The effect of this earthquake, and fall of the tenth part of the city, is the killing seven thousand of the names of men.' (11)

Pierre (Peter) Jurieu (1637-1713), French Huguenot Protestant scholar
'Mark that the earthquake, i.e. the great alteration of affairs in the land of the papacy, must for that time happen only in the tenth part of the city that shall fall: for this shall be the effect of that earthquake.
Now what is this tenth part of the city which shall fall? In my opinion, we cannot doubt that it is France. This kingdom is the most considerable part, or piece of the ten horns, or states, which once made up the great Babylonian city. This tenth part of the city shall fall, with respect to the papacy; it shall break with Rome, and the Roman religion.' (12)

Bishop Thomas Newton (1704-1782), Anglican Bible scholar 
'The 'great earthquake,' and the 'falling of the tenth part of the city,' and the 'slaying of the tenth part of the city,' and the 'slaying of thousands of men,' according to this hypothesis, must be referred to the great commotions and civil wars, which for several years afterwards cruelly disturbed, and almost destroyed, the kingdom of France.' (13)

Uriah Smith (1832-1903), Seventh-day Adventist hymn writer, teacher, poet, writer, inventor, first secretary of the General Conference
"What city? (See Revelation 17:18: 'The woman which thou sawest is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth.') that city is the papal Roman power. France is one of the 'ten horns' that gave 'their power and strength unto the [papal] beast;' or is one of the ten kingdoms that arose out of the Western Empire of Rome, as indicated by the ten toes of Nebuchadnezzar's image, Daniel's ten-horned beast [Daniel 7:24], and John's ten-horned dragon. [Revelation 12:3.] France, then, was 'a tenth part of the city,' and was one of the strongest ministers of papal vengeance; but in this revolution it 'fell,' and with it fell the last civil messenger of papal fury. 'And in the earthquake were slain of men [margin, names of men] seven thousand.' France made war, in her revolution of 1798 [1789] and onward, on all titles and nobility ...'And the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.' (14)

So the question is asked 'Why prophecy'? Why would Jesus go through so much great lengths in detailing the course of human history to show God' people not only what takes place on earth, but also events that take place in heaven. The reason is He so earnestly wants to make a home in the hearts of His Fallen creation, that's why that 'still small voice', the Holy Spirit (John 14:26) constantly knocks on the hearts of His professed (Rev. 3:21), so they can wake up out of their Laodicean spiritual slumber and share this beautiful message of the 'everlasting gospel' to a dying world who have no knowledge of Him and have sadly seen major distortions of His character through fakes, frauds and hypocritical Christians who profess to be His Child. The ticket to eternity is free, take it before it's too late. 

While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Hebrews 3:15

Source: (1) Daniel by John Calvin, LECT. IX. p.164, LECT. XXXIII. p.18, LECT. XXXIX. p.88; (2) Observations upon the prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John by Sir Isaac Newton pp. 21, 22, 60; (3) Life Incidents by James White pp. 42, 45, 47; (4) The Rise and Fall of the Papacy by Robert Fleming p.37; (5) Sacred Chronology by Sylvester Bliss pp. 8, 9, 10, 22; (6) Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith pp. 213, 214; (7) Sacred Chronology by Sylvester Bliss p.34; (8) History of the Christian Church, Volume V by Philip Schaff p.219; (9) The Approaching End of the Age by Dr. Henry Grattan Guinness p.271; (10) The Papacy by J. A. Wylie pp. 483, 485; (11) The Works of Thomas Goodwin, vol. III pp. 158, 176, 186, 188; (12) The Rise and Fall of the Papacy by Robert Fleming p.127; (13) Dissertations on the Prophecies by Thomas Newton p.566; (14) Daniel and the Revelation by Uriah Smith p.542

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