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The Bright Side
by Dave Harris
Looking at what has been happening to most of us, we would have to confess to living in very difficult circumstances. Far beyond the news of distant troubles, we are all more than able to tell of things that affect us very, very personally.
Sicknesses that continue to linger; financial challenges that too often appear to be insurmountable; disagreements with family and friends; a growing sense of fear for the worsening events we read about in the news; personal doubt about whether or not we, individually, are really fulfilling God’s calling; wondering if our prayers are being heard and will be answered—the list is long, and not many items are being resolved, or so it might seem.
More than likely, you’ve heard this response before when you were suffering, “Well, just look on the bright side…” That, in and of itself, is hard to do, but it is truly the very action we should be taking throughout our lives—both in good and in bad times!
King David certainly lived his life walking before God and is even called a man after God’s own heart; however, he stumbled in his conduct, and he sinned greatly. The consequences for his actions brought about very heavy penalties for himself and his family. For David to have found a bright side in all of this is quite remarkable.
How he handled things is summarized in Psalm 51. David repented deeply and completely for his grievous sins—which went beyond adultery to even include the murder of Uriah. David faced what he had done and yielded himself to God’s mercy.
But that isn’t all that he did! In this most remarkable account, we find that David picked up the pieces and returned to serving God—he did not quit or give up:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise”
For us, as well as it was for David and other of God’s servants, the lesson is that we must never turn away from God—no matter what we have to face!
When life seems nearly unbearable, remember the truth that time-and-again resounds throughout the written Word of God—Paul puts it this way: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
Something to consider when we are looking for the bright side of things!
We begin with reporting on events pertaining to the Middle East, especially focusing on Egypt, Israel, Syria and Palestine.
Turning to the UK and Europe, we report on changes in the Commonwealth and more and more voices in the UK to leave the EU. We speak about a new EU note and the desire to revive the Weimar Triangle, and address Hungary’s far right and Berlusconi’s conviction.
We conclude with surprising or disturbing claims and allegations regarding President Obama, the US Air Force and members of the US Congress.
This Week in the News
Muslim Brotherhood Strengthened in Egypt
The Wall Street Journal reported on May 7, 2013:
“Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi swore in new cabinet ministers Tuesday in a reshuffle of his government that strengthened the position of the Muslim Brotherhood in key ministries and provoked complaints from the nation’s disparate opposition.
“Members of the opposition had demanded that Mr. Morsi form a more inclusive government—one including liberals, moderates, Coptic Christians and women—ahead of parliamentary elections due to take place later this year. They also sought the removal of Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, who is viewed by his critics as lacking political experience and charisma.
“But Mr. Qandil retained his post in the reshuffle, helping to form the new cabinet that includes 10 officials belonging to the ruling Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Eight of 35 ministers in the previous government were FJP members. Many of the cabinet’s non-FJP ministers are also seen as allied with the president and the Brotherhood.
“No opposition members were named to the cabinet. The ministers of information and education, both Muslim Brotherhood members, retained their posts, as did the controversial interior minister, whose ouster had been sought by opponents…”
While Egypt’s Brotherhood infiltrates and exerts its control, the nation’s economy is draining away. More rioting looms unless substantial financial help comes from outside of Egypt. Like so many countries following the ‘Arab Spring,’ Egypt’s circumstances have grown more uncertain. “Middle Eastern and African Nations in Bible Prophecy” is our free booklet explaining in great detail the meaning of events now taking place in Egypt and other surrounding nations–you may download this by clicking on the title or write for your own copy.
Israeli Warplanes Strike Syria
JTA wrote on May 6:
“Twice in three days, Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace and fired on suspected weapons caches bound for Hezbollah — and nothing has happened in response. Some experts are predicting that will continue to be the case following airstrikes near Damascus on Friday and Sunday that are widely believed to be the work of the Israel Defense Forces. According to reports, the strikes targeted shipments of long-range, Iranian-made Fateh-110 missiles capable of striking deep into Israel…
“Syria’s foreign minister told CNN on Sunday that the strikes amounted to a ‘declaration of war.’ But such gestures, analysts say, are merely symbolic. Torn by a civil war now in its third year, the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad is too beleaguered to fight back. And Hezbollah, the Lebanese party considered a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel, is considered too preoccupied propping up its Syrian patron to respond…
“Syria’s civil war augurs a major strategic shift for Israel. The two countries have technically have been in a state of war since the Yom Kippur War ended in 1973. And though the border since then has been largely quiet, Syria was Israel’s only neighbor to pose a threat of conventional attack. But the weakening of the Syrian regime has raised the frightening prospect that its stocks of chemical weapons may fall into the hands of Hezbollah. Israeli officials have said for months that they would take action should Syria transport unconventional weapons to Hezbollah. In January, Israel bombed a Syrian weapons convoy near the Syria-Lebanon border.”
Israel Doing It Alone…
The Washington Post wrote on May 5:
“Israeli forces have carried out an airstrike against a shipment of sophisticated missiles bound for the Lebanese political and military organization Hezbollah, officials in Washington, Lebanon and Israel told reporters Saturday…. It seems someone in the Israeli government took a not-too-subtle swipe at the Obama administration’s equivocating on Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons. ‘Israeli officials described the missiles targeted in the Friday strike as “game-changing” weapons, according to the Associated Press. They said they were not chemical weapons, but advanced, long-range, ground-to-ground missiles…
“Not only does the Israeli action contrast with the U.S. government’s fecklessness, but it also raises the issue of whether the United States would prefer Israel police the Middle East. It is unbecoming for a superpower to let little Israel take on the Iranian surrogates… when a U.S. president is this passive and unwilling to act in accord with its words, the West and the Sunni states can take comfort in knowing that Israel is there to rein in the mullahs and their surrogates…
“The United States is obviously unwilling to back up its rhetoric with action. Syria is a dress rehearsal for the bigger conflict between Iran and the West. There, too, one suspects, Israel will be forced to act. For what Israeli prime minister could rely on this administration to act? If Obama won’t take on Syria, there is little chance he’ll make good on his threats to Iran.”
No US Plans to Send Ground Troops to Syria
Deutsche Welle stated on May 6:
“International reaction to Israel’s latest airstrikes on Syria has been quick to come… Nabil al-Arabi, leader of the 22-member Arab League… condemned the attacks… On Sunday, senior US Senator John McCain said that the air strikes could add pressure on the United States to intervene in Syria, although Barack Obama has said he has no plans to send ground troops. The US president defended Israel’s right to block ‘terrorist organisations like Hezbollah’ from acquiring weapons after Friday’s raid…
“The United States had no prior knowledge of the attacks, according to officials. Still, the [Obama Administration’s] spokesman said, ‘the close coordination between the Obama administration, the United States of America, is ongoing with the Israeli government.’”
Palestinian President Travels to China, Consolidating China-Palestine Friendship
Xinhua reported on May 6, 2013:
“Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday reaffirmed the country’s support for the just cause of the Palestinian people. While meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Beijing, Li noted that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of China-Palestine diplomatic relations, and reviewed a profound friendship between the two countries.
“Li said the new Chinese government has placed great importance on consolidating China-Palestine relations and firmly supports the just cause of the Palestinian people. ‘China will continue its own way and make use of its influence to boost Palestine-Israel peace negotiations, which will work for regional and world peace and stability,’ he said.”
Israeli PM Travels to China, Thanking Shanghai for Being a Haven for Jewish Refugees Fleeing Nazi Persecution
Xinhua reported on May 9, 2013:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has arrived in Beijing, as part of his 5-day trip to China. He was welcomed by Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday afternoon at the Great Hall of the People. He’s also scheduled to meet with President Xi Jinping. Chinese leaders will hold talks with Netanyahu on trade and regional issues such as Iran, Syria and Egypt. Netanyahu arrived in Shanghai on Monday. He addressed business leaders from both Israel and China. He said Israeli technology and Chinese manufacturing and global marketing capabilities can form a winning combination.
“Later, he toured the city’s former Jewish quarter. There he lauded Shanghai for its past role as a haven for Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution during World War Two. On Tuesday, Netanyahu met Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong to boost economic and trade cooperation. Netanyahu is the first Israeli leader to visit China in six years.”
It is noteworthy that both Abbas and Netanyahu are seeking help from China. What is significant is that the leadership vacuum being created by an ineffective United States is being filled!
Now Google Recognizes Palestine!
The Guardian reported on May 3, 2013:
“On Friday, the search engine changed the tagline on its home page in the occupied territories from ‘Palestinian territories’ to, simply, ‘Palestine’. ‘We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries,’ a Google spokesman, Nathan Tyler, told the BBC. ‘In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.’
“What to call the area south of Lebanon and Syria, west of Jordan and north of Sinai that isn’t Israel is a matter of fierce debate. Before 1948 the entire area, including present-day Israel, was called Palestine. In 1988, leaders of the remaining territory declared a state of Palestine, but the state has had trouble gaining recognition. In November’s UN vote, 138 nations voted to recognize a state of Palestine, nine voted against and 41 abstained. Google’s homeland, the United States, is currently the most powerful opponent of recognizing Palestine.”
Preparing for Change in the Commonwealth
Mail Online wrote on May 8, 2013:
“The Queen plans to scale back her public duties and give Prince Charles a bigger role as ‘co-head’ of the royal family, well-placed sources have revealed. Buckingham Palace and senior figures in Whitehall began discussing how to deal with the monarch’s advancing years several months ago, the Mail understands. They concluded that her 64-year-old son – the longest-serving heir apparent in British history – should take a more prominent position representing the sovereign at key events, particularly those abroad.
“In a sign of things to come, for the first time in 17 years the Queen will be accompanied by her eldest son at the State Opening of Parliament, which takes place today. The Duchess of Cornwall will also join them. It follows the surprise announcement by Buckingham Palace yesterday that, in a 40-year first, the Queen will not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference. Instead, Charles will take her place at the two-day event in Sri Lanka in November.
“Aides reluctantly admitted what has been suspected for some time: that the monarch, who reached the age of 87 last month, was not up to making frequent long-haul trips. But Charles’ presence at Parliament today suggests it is also part of the carefully-choreographed plan to share the burden of responsibility.”
Great change is already rumbling in the Commonwealth realms once so dominated by this Queen, and it will coincide with Britain’s growing isolation as the European Union soon completely rejects Britain’s membership within the E.U. “The Fall and Rise of Britain and America” reveals what really lies ahead for the Commonwealth–and for its monarchy!
U.K. Going Non-Traditional!
The Washington Post wrote on May 3, 2013:
“The Conservative-led coalition of Prime Minister David Cameron just got served. The anti-immigration U.K. Independence Party staged a dramatic surge Thursday in local elections in England and Wales, with results on Friday showing voters delivering a brutal whipping to the Conservatives and their junior coalition partners, the Liberal Democrats.
“Political pundits said the results represented one of the strongest showings by a nontraditional party in Britain since World War II, with the gains underscoring the rise of populist and nationalist parties across Europe. At the core of the party’s platform are aspirations to withdraw Britain from the European Union and impose new curbs on immigration, and the powerful showing sets U.K. Independence up to be an increasingly influential force in British politics. In recent months, its growing support in national polls had already sparked Britain’s three major parties — the Conservatives, Labor and the Liberal Democrats — to float increasingly strict proposals aimed at stemming the tide of foreigners…
“’This is a jolt against the entire political establishment,’ said Tony Travers, a political analyst at the London School of Economics. ‘What we don’t know is whether they will disappear like snow in hot weather by the next elections or whether they become an important force.’”
Britain will not be a member of Europe’s final revival under ten core nations or groups of nations, as we have stated for decades.
The Woman Is Riding the Beast…
The EUObserver wrote the following on May 3 about the introduction of a new Euro Note:
“The ECB chief unveiled the new note in the Slovak capital, Bratislava. It marks the official launch of a second-generation bill with new security features aimed to help stamp out counterfeiting. The series’ central figure is Europa, a Phoenician princess abducted and then raped by Zeus disguised as a white bull. The story inspired the ancient Greeks to use ‘Europe’ to name the continent. The princess is often depicted sitting on the bull but the note carries only her profile in a watermark and in a hologram…
“The notes also now take into account the countries that have joined the EU since 2002. The map on the bill shows Malta and Cyprus with ‘euro’ written in Cyrillic, Latin and Greek alphabets. ECB will also appear in nine linguistic variants instead of the previous five.
“The old-€5 notes will continue to circulate with the new series for the next several months. The ECB expects the new generation note to outnumber the old by autumn. The old notes will eventually no longer be legal tender but will always retain their value and can be exchanged for an unlimited period of time at any national central bank in the eurozone. The ECB will continue with the new series in ascending order of €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500 over the coming years.”
The euro will not be abandoned, and the connection with the woman riding the beast (compare Revelation 17) is unmistakable.
“Revive the Weimar Triangle”
Deutsche Welle wrote on May 8:
“French President Francois Hollande was joined by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski for the 68th annual Victory in Europe (VE) Day celebrations in Paris. Hollande spoke about compromise with Germany.
“After the ceremonies on Wednesday, Hollande spoke of the need to find a compromise between Paris and Berlin for the good of Europe. Standing with the Polish president, Hollande said: ‘In 1963, General de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, after experiencing the horrors of two world wars, were able to unite France and Germany in a treaty of friendship. In the last 50 years, many things have happened; there has been reconciliation. Today, what we have to do is to come together for a Europe of growth and employment. This is the sense of the discussion that we have and I continue to say: there is a debate and in the end, it’s always with a compromise between France and Germany. This will be the case for the major issues we have to resolve’…
“Hollande said it was the wish of Paris and Warsaw to ‘revive the Weimar Triangle, that is the friendship between France, Germany and Poland together for Europe.’ VE Day was first celebrated on May 8, 1945 to mark the date when the World War II allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Germany, thus ending the war in Europe.”
BBC News wrote on May 4, 2013:
“Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party has staged a rally in central Budapest in protest at the capital’s hosting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) on Sunday. Several hundred supporters took part, despite attempts by the government to prevent it going ahead. Jobbik said the rally was a protest against what it said was a Jewish attempt to buy up Hungary. The party, which says it aims to protect Hungarian values and interests, is the third largest in parliament. It regularly issues anti-Semitic statements.
“The event in Budapest on Saturday was billed as a tribute to what organisers called the victims of Bolshevism and Zionism.”
Anti-Semitism is on the rise… again…
The Associated Press reported on May 8:
“An appeals court has upheld the tax fraud conviction against ex-Premier Silvio Berlusconi and sentenced him to four years in prison. But the former Italian leader could appeal this verdict to a higher court, the Court of Cassation.
“In October, a court convicted Berlusconi in a scheme that involved inflating the price his Mediaset media empire paid for TV rights to U.S. movies and pocketing the difference. Berlusconi denied the charges and says he’s a victim of politically motivated prosecutors. That verdict was upheld Wednesday by the appeals court in Milan.
“The lower court, which began hearing the case in 2006, also said Berlusconi could not hold public office for five years or manage any company for three years, penalties that would take force only if the conviction is upheld on two levels of appeal.”
Any Truth to This?– President Obama’s Hidden Past?
World Net Daily wrote on May 5:
“A prominent member of Chicago’s homosexual community claims Barack Obama’s participation in the ‘gay’ bar and bathhouse scene was so well known that many who were aware of his lifestyle were shocked when he ran for president and finally won the White House. ‘It was preposterous to the people I knew then to think Obama was going to keep his gay life secret,’ said Kevin DuJan, who was a gossip columnist in Chicago for various blogs when Obama was living in the city as a community organizer and later a state senator. ‘Nobody who knew Obama in the gay bar scene thought he could possibly be president,’ said DuJan.
“DuJan, founder and editor of the Hillary Clinton-supporting website HillBuzz.org, told WND he has first-hand information from two different sources that ‘Obama was personally involved in the gay bar scene. If you just hang out at these bars, the older guys who have been frequenting these gay bars for 25 years will tell you these stories,’ DuJan said. ‘Obama used to go to the gay bars during the week, most often on Wednesday, and they said he was very much into older white guys.’ Obama, DuJan said, is ‘not heterosexual and he’s not bisexual. He’s homosexual.’
“Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen, who worked with the National Security Agency from 1984 to 1988 as a Navy intelligence analyst, confirmed DuJan’s claims. ‘It is common knowledge in the Chicago gay community that Obama actively visited the gay bars and bathhouses in Chicago while he was an Illinois state senator,’ Madsen told WND.
“WND also spoke with a member of the East Bank Club in Chicago, who confirmed Obama was a member there and was known to be a homosexual. The upscale fitness club, which has some 10,000 members, is not a ‘gay’ facility. But it’s one of a number of places identified by the Chicago homosexual community as a ‘gay gym,’ where homosexuals meet and engage in sexual activity.
“In April, WND reported a federal judge dismissed a libel case against Larry Sinclair, a homosexual who claimed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign had paid to rig a polygraph test regarding Sinclair’s sensational charge that he had sex and used cocaine twice with Obama while Obama was an Illinois state senator… WND also reported former radical activist John Drew has said that when he met Obama when Obama was a student at Occidental College, he thought Obama and his then-Pakistani roommate were ‘gay’ lovers.
“In addition, rumors have swirled around Obama’s relationship with his personal aide and former ‘body man,’ Reggie Love, who resurfaced on the eve of the Republican National Convention to support his old boss. Love resigned from the White House in November 2011 after compromising photographs of him as a college student received wide circulation…
“DuJan said that during Obama’s first presidential campaign, ‘there was fear in the gay community’ about talking openly about Obama being homosexual, particularly after the murder in December 2007 of Donald Young, the openly gay choir director at Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ, who was known to be a close friend of Obama…”
US Air Force in Crisis
The Guardian wrote on May 8:
“The US Air Force has stripped an unprecedented 17 officers of their authority to oversee nuclear missiles, after a string of failings that the group’s deputy commander said stemmed from ‘rot’ within the ranks… ‘We are, in fact, in a crisis right now,’ the group’s commander, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Folds, wrote in an internal email that was obtained by the Associated Press and confirmed by the Air Force…
“The news follows a series of incidents in recent years that have uncovered major problems with the oversight of the US’s nuclear arsenal. In 2007, airmen at Minot accidentally loaded a B-52 with six nuclear weapons. The aircraft then flew to Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. In another incident, nuclear weapons parts were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan. The defense department learned of the error in 2008, 18 months after the fuses for nuclear warheads were shipped…
“The 17 officers were part of a team standing 24-hour watch over the Air Force’s most powerful nuclear missiles, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) that can strike targets across the globe. They were removed from duty in April…
“The suspensions are believed to be the most extensive ever… Minot’s latest crisis follows a 2008 Pentagon report that found a ‘dramatic and unacceptable decline’ in the Air Force’s commitment to the mission…”
It is indeed frightening to learn about a crisis within the US Air Force pertaining to the oversight of nuclear missiles.
Hypocritical US Congress?
The Huffington Post wrote on May 5:
“Only hypocrisy and demagoguery can explain Republican opposition to gun regulation, alleging potential infringement of constitutional freedoms — alongside Republican support for monitoring American citizens based solely on religion and empowering the government to deprive citizens of their rights, by deeming them enemy combatants… We don’t even know how many Americans own firearms because Congress prevented collection of this information — since the government can’t be trusted with a national firearms database.
“Surprisingly, these same politicians now demand that Americans trust the government to conduct surveillance of citizens based on their religion and to decide when citizens can be detained indefinitely as enemy combatants without a right to counsel. These rights (according to the GOP) are privileges, allowed at the government’s discretion. By contrast, the right to buy a private arsenal of automatic weapons without submitting to a background check is sacrosanct…
“Since 2002, about 19 Americans have died in domestic terrorism-related incidents (this includes the three people killed in the recent Boston Marathon bombing). Over the same period, about 300,000 Americans have died from gun violence…”
These are indeed highly disturbing developments…
Would you please elaborate on the ten European revivals of the ancient Roman Empire? (Part 8)
In the last installment, we showed that the final resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire has already begun in Europe. We saw that core member states of Europe—ten nations or groups of nations—will unify and become militarily strong (Daniel 2:42). They will only rule for a short time and give their power and authority to a charismatic political personage—the “beast”—(Revelation 17:12-13). That short-lived unification under the beast will be hostile towards Jesus Christ (verse 14). Other passages show us that the “beast” will work together with a religious figure, called “the false prophet.”
In this and the next installment, we will discuss some of the characteristics of the beast and important concepts associated with him, as revealed in Scripture. We need to realize that the Bible uses the word “beast” for both the entire Roman system (the ancient Roman Empire and its revivals, including the final resurrection) as well as the final leader of that system. The passages which we will discuss below seem to indicate that the word “beast” refers—at least in part—to the end-time leader himself.
In Revelation 13:1-4, 8, 11-12, we are told that it is Satan who will give power to the beast (the system as well as the end-time leader), and that the false prophet, who deceives the nations, causes the nations to worship the beast (Revelation 14:9; compare 20:4). This reminds us of past Greek, Roman and European leaders who were literally worshipped and looked upon as God or a god, and this will also be true for the final leader. For instance, as was pointed out before, it is well-known that Hitler was perceived by many as a or the “Messiah,” and other leaders such as Charlemagne, Otto the Great, Napoleon or Mussolini saw themselves as successors of the ancient Roman emperors (who, as we will see, were deified). Mussolini in particular was worshipped as a god by many Italians.
In the book, “Dark History of the Roman Emperors,” by Michael Kerrigan, the following is pointed out about the deification of several of the Roman emperors:
“The Second Triumvirate had the Senate acknowledge the late Julius Caesar as a god… It also had the consequence that, as ‘Divi Filius’ (‘son of god’), Octavian could claim to be ruling by divine right… After his death, Augustus was quite genuinely worshipped as a deity, as was his Empress, Livia Augusta… Caligula proclaimed himself a god in his own lifetime… Hadrian died in 138 C.E. As Emperor, his successor became known as Antonius Pius… because of his efforts to have his adoptive father deified… He adored his wife Faustina and was devastated by her death in 141 C.E.; he had her deified and built her a temple in the Forum.”
As will be explained subsequently, ancient Antiochus Epiphanes was a forerunner of the end-time beast. As the Wikipedia Encyclopedia points out, “He assumed divine epithets… such as Theos Epiphanes (… ‘God Manifest’).”
In the future, people will worship the beast during his lifetime. They will be deceived to do so by Satan and the signs of the false prophet (who will also be worshipped as God or a god).
In Revelation 13:6, we read that the beast will blaspheme God, His name, His tabernacle and the angels—in other words, everything which stands for the true worship of God and what is associated with God. We note Ephesians 3:14-15, pointing out that God’s people belong to the Family of God, and that “from the Father” God’s children “are named.” This shows, as it is confirmed in other passages, that the beast will become very hostile towards the true children of God and that he will severely persecute them.
Note the contrast in Revelation 13:16-18, which tells us that those who are not called by God and who do not understand the truth will accept the mark of the beast; the name of the beast, and the number of his name, which is 666. In following and worshipping the beast who will blaspheme God’s name, they will accept the name of the beast and his mark.
Regarding the mark, the commentary of Jamieson, Fausset and Brown states that “The mark may be, as in the case of the sealing of the saints in the forehead, not a visible mark, but symbolical of allegiance. So the sign of the cross in Popery. The Pope’s interdict has often shut out the excommunicate from social and commercial intercourse. Under the final Antichrist [the beast] this shall come to pass in its most violent form.”
In chapter 15 of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we state:
“Revelation 13:16–17 explains that ‘the image’ of the second (religious) beast will cause people to accept ‘a mark’ of the first beast ‘on their right hand’ or ‘on their foreheads.’ Without it, they cannot buy or sell (compare Revelation 14:9).
“This mark of the first beast is clearly associated in Scripture with the violation of God’s Sabbath commandment [the time from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset] (compare Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 20:20; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 58:13; Amos 8: 5; Exodus 16:23, 26; Exodus 31:15). In the Bible, the ‘right hand’ is associated with work (Psalm 90:17; 137:5). The ‘forehead’ is the seat of thoughts (Ezekiel 3:8; 9:4; Revelation 7:3).”
In our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy,” we state the following under the headline, “HOW WILL YOU BE IDENTIFIED?”:
“… the mark of the Beast apparently means general participation in the worship system of the revived Roman Empire…
“The little horn (in Daniel 7:25, referring to a religious power) intended to change times and laws—indeed, to change the law regarding holy times—and persecuted God’s people who did not accept its change. God has commanded His people to keep certain times holy and, during these holy times, His people are not to engage in commerce…
“The Bible is very clear about which days GOD has made holy—the weekly Sabbath (Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) and certain annual Holy Days, which are also called Sabbaths in the Bible (cf. Lev. 23). God commands His people in Exodus 31:13-17, ‘Surely My Sabbaths [plural—the weekly Sabbath and the seven annual Sabbaths] you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you…. You shall keep the Sabbath… for it is holy to you…. Whoever does any work on it, that person shall be cut off from among his people.’ So, in contrast to the mark of the Beast, we have a sign of God and His people—the observance of His Sabbaths.
“The Sabbath command, it must be understood, is not just for the Jewish people, as many today will argue. Rather, the Sabbath was made, as Christ said, ‘for man’ (Mark 2:27) at the very time when man was created—when there was no distinction between Jews and non-Jews. It was clearly made for both Israelites and Gentiles (Is. 56:6-7).”
It is also important to note that in Europe, the weekly calendar was changed in 1976 to the effect that Sunday is designated as the last day of the week. Most people have been misled and deceived to think that Sunday is the “weekly Sabbath”—not Saturday. Indeed, the “little horn” has been heavily involved in changing the law regarding holy times.
We were also told in Revelation 13:17 that the nations will accept the name of the beast and the number of his name.
The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states that the “‘number of his name’ [implies] that the name has some numerical meaning.” The name can refer to a literal name, to an adopted name, or to a well-known- expression associated with or describing the beast (such as “Heil Hitler” or “Il Duce”). In addition, when people accept his name, they accept what he stands for and what he does.
In chapter 16 of our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible? The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation,” we state:
“Verse 18 reveals that the famous ‘number of the beast’ is the ‘number of a man.’ We are told to ‘calculate’ the number, which is 666. King Lateinos was the founder of Rome. In the Greek, every letter has a numerical value. The numerical value for ‘Lateinos’ is 666. Therefore, the… beast is… clearly identified as the Roman Empire—the number 666 identifying the founder of the Roman Empire—Lateinos.
“Although the designation ‘beast’ in Revelation 13 describes the Roman Empire, it can also refer to the representative or ruler of the final revival or resurrection of that Empire (compare Revelation 16:13; 19:20). It is likely that the numerical value of the name of that final human leader of the revived Roman Empire—referred to as a MAN (compare again Revelation 13:18)—will also be 666.”
Many commentaries agree that the number of the beast—666—refers to Lateinos, the founder of Rome. In the Greek, L stands for 30, A for 1, T for 300, E for 5, I for 10, N for 50, O for 70, and S for 200. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown commentary states that the beast “may have a close connection with Rome, and so the name ‘Lateinos’ (666) may apply to him.”
Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains that it is indeed the Greek language and the numerical value of its letters that need to be consulted to determine the number, as John wrote in Greek; the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet are expressly selected to denote Christ’s eternity, i.e. Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8, 11); and “the numerals by which the enigma is expressed… are Greek.” The commentary also explains that the number is indeed 666, and not 616, as sometimes proposed, as 616 is only contained in some falsified and corrupted versions.
The Ryrie Study Bible states that “Somehow, unknown to us, the number will play an important part in the identification of the Antichrist [the beast] in a future day.” And J.H. Blunt’s commentary writes that “the true and full application of it is not likely to be discovered until the personal Antichrist [the beast] himself has arisen, and then it may prove to be one of the signs by which he is to be readily identified.”
However, it won’t be a sign that will be readily discernable by most, since we specifically read in Revelation 13:18: “Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast…”
One will need to have godly wisdom and understanding to figure out the number of his name. Most people will not be able to do so, and they will not believe it when it is revealed, because they will be deceived by Satan and the false prophet to believe a lie.
(To Be Continued)
Lead Writer Norbert Link
Preaching the Gospel and Feeding the Flock
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