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The Three Final Gatherings (Part 2)

Part one of this series addressed the first of three final gatherings at the end of this age (see here). After an examination of the history of the Feast of Trumpets and the apostle Paul's comments in 1 Corinthians 15 and 1 Thessalonians 4, we can anticipate the Lord's return and our gathering to Him (2 Thess. 2:1) as we approach the first of the seventh month on Yahweh's calendar. The post concluded with imagery from Revelation 12, where the ripe and fully-mature body of Christ [the male child] escapes and finds refuge in God's temple, which is cause for much rejoicing, "Therefore, rejoice, O' heavens, and you who dwell in them!"

Yet, there remains some unfinished business regarding the people below—two main groups, to be exact, "...Woe to the earth [land] and the sea, for the Devil has come down to you with great fury, because he knows he has a short time" (Rev. 12:12). The harvest is ripe, and the One who is reaping the harvest of souls will continue to gather and separate, just as it is written, until the work is finished (Matt. 3:12; John 4:34-38).

Take note that the three final feast days on Yahweh's calendar are often referenced together under the banner of the seventh feast: The Feast of Tabernacles [or Booths]; this is similar to Unleavened Bread and the Feast of Weeks (Deut. 16:16). Tabernacles is also called the Feast of Ingathering (Ex. 23:16; 34:22). Historically, these gatherings would occur at their appointed times in the Fall—at the end of the year. Prophetically speaking, God will be initiating the final ingathering at the appointed times in the Fall—at the time of the end...

...You shall keep the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor" (Exodus 23:16, ESV).


The Gathering of Israel [the Land]

The final gathering of Israel has already begun in a sense. This has been well-documented by seasoned watchmen and prophecy teachers alike, who see the current state of Israel as the sign of the fig tree from Jesus' parable in Matthew's gospel (Isa. 27:6; Joel 1:7; Matt. 24:3, 32-35). However, much to the dismay of many planted in the land of Israel today, the "peace and security" that they confidently declare will be false and fleeting. Entering into a covenant with the iron-clay confederation of Gentiles will bring on the final judgment (Isa. 28:14-22; Dan. 2:41-45; 9:26-27; 1 Thess. 5:3; Rev. 6:1-2). Sudden destruction and painful labor will eventually lead to Israel's atonement and redemption, when, at last, they heed the words of the Lamb...the only spotless and blameless Great High Priest, who was slain for them:

O' Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!" (Matthew 23:37-39, NKJV).

And so, it has been the Lord's desire all along to gather together the children of Israel. This gathering unto the Lord will be accomplished, but only after immense purging, refining, and purifying (Zech 13:8-9). Once God's temple on earth, the Holy Spirit-indwelled body of Christ, is gathered up and taken away to safety (2 Thess. 2:7; Rev. 12:5), Israel will be all alone and without a friend in the world. After the Feast of Trumpets fulfillment, it becomes a countdown to Atonement...




Every year in the West as we inch closer to Christmas Day, the Thanksgiving turkey has barely settled in our stomachs before festive carolers can be heard singing, "Tis' the season to be jolly." Conversely, in regard to the Fall Feasts on Yahweh's calendar, the song is altogether different and solemn; summer joy quickly turns to sorrow as the trumpet blasts warn and awaken, "Tis' the season to repent of folly." Israel's folly: rejecting their Messiah (Acts 2:22-23; 3:13-15). It will take a full seven years of unprecedented persecution, but return to Him they will (Mic. 5:3).

On that day, at the appointed time in the future, the psalm that Jesus' referenced in Matt. 23:39 will be sung with renewed fervor and gratitude:


The LORD is my strength and my song [my strong song]; He has become my salvation...the LORD disciplined me severely, but did not give me over to death...this is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it...blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD...the LORD is God and has given us light..." (Ps. 118:14, 17-18, 24-26).


Israel's Final Gathering and Purification: The Sixth Feast Day Fulfilled 

Here are several Old Testament passages that depict the eventual fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:26-32) at the end of Jacob's trouble. Take the time to study the underlined passages thoroughly to see how these prophecies relate to Israel and her covenant promises:

Deuteronomy 30:1-10 As you read this passage, think of Jesus' parable in Luke 15 concerning the prodigal son. The remnant of Israel at the end of the age will be like the prodigal child who comes to his senses, returns home, and finds a compassionate Father eager to hold him in His arms and celebrate his homecoming. Take note of v. 4, we are going to revisit this later.

Isaiah 59:20-21The apostle Paul recites Isa. 59:20 and the first clause of v. 21 verbatim from the LXX (OT Greek) in Rom. 11:26-27. The second clause of Rom. 11:27 comes from Isa. 27:9 (LXX), which will be discussed below.

Jeremiah 8:20-21/Micah 7:1-2I include these passages to emphasize the sudden, heart-sinking feeling of remorse that the godly remnant of Israel will experience once they realize that the Church has been harvested and taken by their Messiah.

Jeremiah 50:19-20 More echoes of the Day of Atonement, when the remnant of Israel has been regathered to their covenant land and their sins have been removed (an event typified here during ancient Babylon's judgment; yet this also speaks of a future time when Mystery Babylon will be judged and Israel delivered).

Ezekiel 11:14-21This reaffirms Deut. 30:1-10 and Jer. 31:31-34 as the LORD promises to bring His battered and scattered people back into "the land of Israel" and, according to the 'New Covenant,' God will "remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh" (the Torah will be written on their hearts! See 2 Cor. 3:6; Heb. 10:16).

Daniel 9:24This verse reveals the end result of God's decree for Israel and her capital city, Jerusalem, once the prophetic 70 weeks have been completed, "...to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity...to anoint the most holy place [the holy of holies]" (emphasis mine). Thus, at the end of the 70th week, there will be full atonement for Israel. Also, check out the author of Hebrews commentary on Jesus' fulfillment of the Day of Atonement (Heb. 9); the Messiah's heavenly fulfillment has yet to be applied to all of Israel—the chosen remnant who survive the Tribulation on earth (Heb. 9:11-12; 23-26; Rom. 9:27; 11:25-27).

Zechariah 12:10-14; 13:1; 14:8Compare these verses with Ezek. 39:27-29; both prophets are referring to the same event and write virtually the same Hebrew phrase "...I will pour out My Spirit on [them]..." (Zech. 12:10; Ezek. 39:29). The context of the Ezekiel passage comes after the infamous Gog of Magog invasion—the climactic battle between the holy forces of God and the wicked armies of Gog. More and more students of the Word are beginning to see "Gog" as code for the Antichrist and the passages here in Ezekiel referring to Armageddon. I am in agreement.

Do you also see the connection between the great feast of the birds and beasts (Ezek. 39:17-20) and the "great supper of God" in Rev. 19:17-21? Remember, the prophecies cited here in Zechariah and Ezekiel are fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation, when every single Israelite has been separated from the nations and regathered into the covenant land; it is also the Day of their Atonement, when the Lamb of God, upon His return in glory, takes away their sin and shame, once and for all (Zech. 13:1; Matt. 24:30; John 1:29; Rev. 1:7). For more evidence concerning the ritual pouring of water on Atonement/Tabernacles and the giving of the Holy Spirit, see John 7:2, 37-39 (Jesus, an Israelite, is speaking to Israel, not the Gentiles). Here is an important side note: some prophecies such as the one found in Zech. 12:10 have multiple fulfillments leading up to the final fulfillment (see John 19:37; Rev. 1:7; c.f. Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21).



A Tale of Two Trumpets [The Church or Israel?]

In my last post regarding the Feast of Trumpets, I touched on the confusion between Paul's "last trump" of 1 Cor. 15:51-52 and Jesus' "great trump" of Matt. 24:31. Two famous eschatological trumps [aside from the Donald, of course]. Are they the same trumpet? And do they signal the same event? Well, some would have you think so...but it's those stubborn details that might cause you to reconsider, especially when we examine the surrounding context and the original languages.

Apart from studying ancient Hebrew customs found in extra-biblical sources about the Fall Feasts, there is also evidence within Scripture to suggest a distinction between the last trumpet and the great trumpet gatherings. We'll be focusing on Deut. 30:4, Isa. 27:9, 12-13, and Matt. 24:31. Since I've already covered the Feast of Trumpets gathering as referring to the Church, I will make a few points about these passages that, hopefully, will indicate only the gathering of Israel is in view. This is a vital, basic assumption. Please consider the speaker and the audience within the historical context before jumping to a conclusion, such as reading the Church into the passage:

Deuteronomy 30:4 — This is one of those occasions when an English paraphrase isn't helpful. Both the Hebrew and Greek translations contain a reference to Israel's exiles being gathered (post-judgment) from one corner of "the skies [heavens]" to the next. See it for yourself by using Blue Letter Bible. You might ask, "Big deal, 'ends of the earth' or 'uttermost parts of heaven'...what's the difference?" Well, if we are trying to understand and interpret the Scriptures correctly—a Bible which was written and kept by ethnic Israelites—then it might do us some good to take note of certain idiomatic expressions, especially if Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, spoke the same language and dropped hints when He wanted His hearers to think of certain OT passages. Compare this foundational text from the Torah with Zech. 2:6; 6:5, and Rev. 7:1. The context of Rev. 7:1-8 is instructive as it pertains to the scattered exiles from the 12 tribes of Israel—the chosen remnant who will be signed, sealed, and delivered through the Tribulation period.

Isaiah 27:9, 12-13 — The context surrounding these selected verses concerns the purging and purifying of Israel—Yahweh's "desirable vineyard" (Isa. 27:2; c.f. Isa. 5:1-7). This harsh and severe discipline occurs during the Day of Yahweh (Isa. 26:21), long after the Church has been resurrected and concealed (Isa. 26:19-20; c.f. Isa. 66:7-8); it is also the time when Yahweh defeats the "twisting serpent" and "the monster that is in the sea" with His sword (Isa. 27:1; c.f. Rev. 12:9; 13:1; 19:15). Isa. 27:9 is explicit regarding Jacob's atonement, "the removal of his sin," (Rom. 11:27) and a couple of verses later, you find Jacob being threshed like grain and gathered up "one by one" (Isa. 27:12). This gathering of scattered Israelites takes place on a day when "a great trumpet will be blown" (Isa. 27:13), which in Hebrew is the shofar gadol

Matthew 24:31 — The context of this verse has Jesus answering the disciples' questions about the sign of His coming and the end of the age (Matt. 24:3); He had just told them about "the abomination that causes desolation" (Matt. 24:15; Dan. 9:27), which would trigger "great tribulation," unprecedented persecution and death (Matt. 24:21-22). In short, He provides a brief overview of Daniel's 70th week and concludes, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days..." (Matt. 24:29). Thus, at the end of the Tribulation, He says that "the powers of heaven will be shaken," a statement mainly referring to the dethroning and punishment of Satan and his ruling angels (see Isa. 24:21-23). Then, in verse 30, He says that the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, which should be translated more in the sense of "wonder," or "miracle," rather than a literal alignment of the planets and constellations (see Matt. 12:39). In verses 30 and 31, Jesus gives us an important clue as to the identity of "the elect." When He says, "...then all the tribes of the land will mourn [Greek words are phulai (tribes) and ges (earth/land)]...," then we should immediately think Israel...Israel...Israel (Zech. 12:10-14; Rev. 1:7). When He says the great trumpet signals His angels ["clouds of heaven" being a metaphor describing angels and/or the Church—see Dan. 7:13; Heb. 12:1; Rev. 19:14], heavenly beings who gather His elect "...from the four winds, from one end of the heavens/skies to the other...," then we should immediately think of the previous OT passages cited above from Deuteronomy and Isaiah—all in reference to Israel's purging, regathering, and atonement.

Summary: Think about when Jesus' uttered those words in Matt. 24:29-31 (AD 33); the concept of the Church, though hinted at in Matt. 16:18, was not fully fleshed-out until the time of the apostle Paul, whose writings to Thessalonica and Corinth took place circa AD 51-56. The apostle to the Gentiles recorded for his contemporaries new revelation about the beginning of God's dispensation of the Church age (Eph. 3:1-12) as well as its conclusion (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-52). Therefore, if we are careful with the details of Scripture and not content with generalities, then we cannot in good faith equate Paul's last trumpet and Jesus' great trumpet as referring to the same thing. There is a trumpet for the Feast of Trumpets, the gathering of the Church, and there is also a trumpet for the Day of Atonement, the gathering of Israel (see also Lev. 25:9).


*Bonus feature: I have a working theory on the source of the great trump/last trump confusion. There is a solid textual variant tradition for Matt. 24:31, where it appears that some scribes through the centuries added in the word "shout" or "voice," which is the same Greek word found in conjunction with the trumpet of God in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. It could be that these scribes were familiar with both eschatological texts and took liberty to clarify things. Nothing intentionally sinister, here. Just human nature to smooth-out a difficult text, especially since in both Second Coming scenarios, you have the return of Christ and a trumpet being blown. Many English Bibles also contribute to the error by citing 1 Thess. 4:16 and 1 Cor. 15:52 in their cross-references.



The Gathering of the Gentiles/Nations [the Sea]

Once all of Israel has been atoned for and delivered (Rom. 11:26-27), we can now turn our attention to the Feast of Tabernacles. While the Feast of Sukkot (Booths) has its roots in the ancient Israelites wandering in the wilderness (Lev. 23:42-43), the ultimate fulfillment awaits a fully redeemed nation under her Lord and God...with liberty...and justice for all (yes, justice for all nations through Israel and her King!).

Bringing justice and mercy to the nations has been the LORD's goal all along. We first encounter His far-reaching plan in Genesis 12:1-3, a passage labeled by many as the Abrahamic Covenant:

I will bless those who bless you, I will curse those who treat you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you" (Gen. 12:3, HCSB).

Israel, under the authority of her King and Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, will be a mediator of blessing to the Gentiles. No longer will they be under the oppressive yoke of Gentile dominion and Satanic deception; on the contrary, they will be the head, and not the tail (Deut. 28:13). What does this mean for the Gentiles who survive the Tribulation and enter into Messiah's kingdom on earth? Let's explore the implications by examining the final feast day on Yahweh's calendar: the last of the final gatherings which has a fulfillment at the end of this age and one that continues on into the Millennium.


The Final Gathering of the Gentiles (Stilling the Storm and Calming the Sea)

Remember that day on the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus calmed the storm in the presence of His fearful disciples? I find myself returning to this passage of Scripture whenever life seems to be spiraling out of control. That being said, more than demonstrating His mastery over the wind and waves as the One through whom all things were made (Lk. 8:25; Jn. 1:3), I believe this event also reveals His identity as the Psalm 2 Christ:

Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against His anointed..." (Psalm 2:1-2, ESV).

In the mind of an ancient Israelite, the goyim [Gentiles/nations] were like the vast, open sea. Chaotic. Turbulent. Unpredictable and treacherous. And you know you are a desperate Israelite, indeed, when you run away from God and board a ship headed for Tarshish (Jnh. 1:3)! As one who was well-acquainted with the Israelite worldview and vernacular, the apostle John uses the terms "sea" and "many waters" in the book of Revelation to represent the Gentile nations who are stirred up and raging against God and His Christ (Rev. 13:1; c.f. Rev. 17:1-2; 15).

We've read the ending of the Book, so we all know how it ends for these rebellious nations. The Psalm 2 Christ and His Church will crush these rebels like jars of pottery, smashing them to pieces, (Ps. 2:8-9; Rev. 2:26-27; 12:5; 19:15), and, eventually, after Christ establishes His peaceful and just rule on the earth, John tells us, "...the sea was no more" (Rev. 21:1).*

*When John sees no more sea, I am inclined to think that there will be no more revolts, revolutions, and conquests for power among the nations, because the Lord Jesus Christ will be the sole authority who places His people in positions of leadership to govern the nations (Lk. 19:17). In addition to "stilling the storm" among the Gentiles, I also believe this could be a "both/and" situation, rather than an "either/or." The oceans today are trackless wastelands that will be topographically reorganized by the Lord in order to create more habitable land during the course of the Millennial Reign (for an example of Jesus changing geography of the earth upon His return, see Zech. 14:4-5, 8; c.f. Isa. 65:17-25). 






So, what does this process of calming the raging seas look like? We know what is going to befall the unrighteous kings and leaders of the beast kingdom, especially those who are gathered for battle at Armageddon. But what about the leftover Gentiles? Thanks to Matthew we have an answer—an event commonly referred to as "The Judgment of the Sheep and the Goats." You'll find the account in Matt. 25:31-46, but I want to highlight a couple of things:


1. The Messiah is not alone in this judicial assignment (Matt. 25:31):

Remember back in Matt. 24:31, Christ sends the angels to gather the scattered exiles of Israel in order to bring them to Jerusalem; He also promised the Twelve that they would be given 12 thrones in order to "...judge the 12 tribes of Israel" (Matt. 19:28). Now jump to Rev. 20:4, where John briefly describes this same scene; however, upon examining other passages in the book, it appears that the Twelve are joined by 12 more, making 24 elders (Rev. 3:21; 4:4; 5:10; 19:14; c.f. 1 Cor. 6:3-4). Maybe, just maybe, since the Twelve are assigned specifically to the tribes of Israel, then other leaders in the Church would be responsible for judging the remaining Gentiles. Food for thought.

2. The gathering of Gentile survivors includes both the righteous and unrighteous, true and false believers (Matt. 25:32):

This gathering at the end of the age will not include Gentiles who were martyred—these are the Trib saints who will be resurrected and glorified to rule and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:4). One is either a sheep or a goat based on how they treated Christ's brothers (Matt. 25:40, 45; c.f. Jl. 3:1-16); so, who are Jesus' brothers, the least of these? Well, they must be the remnant of Israel, His ethnic brotherhood. I say this because "the rest of the offspring" of the woman (Rev. 12:17) are believers in Jesus, but not ethnic Israel. Imagine the tension of this future scene: the joy of those being rewarded for their heroism in the face of death, as well as the sheer terror, when the unrighteous are separated and taken away from the presence of the Lord (Matt. 13:40-42; Matt. 25:41, 46).

3. The establishment of Christ's "glorious throne" in Jerusalem [on earth] is a direct fulfillment of the Davidic covenant, whereby the son of David will carry on this dynastic rule into eternity (Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-13; Matt. 19:28; 25: 31; Amos 9:11-12).

There is a fascinating connection here to Tabernacles and the possession of the nations. Look at Amos 9:11-12 and notice that the LORD says he will "raise up the fallen booth of David" and "rebuild it as in the days of old." The term "booth" is sukkot, which is often translated as "tabernacle, house, dwelling, etc." Verse 12 indicates the purpose of this endeavor, which is to rebuild David's dynasty on earth, " [so that]...Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine..." (NLT). For the reference to possessing Edom, see Num. 24:18.


The Purpose of Tabernacles (The Seventh Feast Fulfilled)

Since we know that the LORD's feast days given in Lev. 23 are shadows of things to come (Col. 2:16-17), then it is to be expected that the Messiah will complete the seventh and final feast. It is Christ who gives meaning and significance to all of the moedim. While there is a fulfillment of Tabernacles at the end of this age in conjunction with the establishment of Christ's kingdom on earth and the possession of the nations, there is an added significance to this particular feast:

Then all the survivors from the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, and to celebrate the Festival of Booths. Should any of the families of the earth not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of Hosts, rain will not fall on them" (Zechariah 14:16-17, HCSB).

Zechariah emphasizes the Feast of Tabernacles (3x) in 14:16-19, and there are severe repercussions for those nations who refuse to go up and bow to the King of kings, and Lord of lords. It seems unfathomable to us now that anyone would rebel against the physical presence of the Lord reigning from Jerusalem, but we are told that there will be a last-gasp rebellion at the end of the 1,000 years (Rev. 20:7-10). Remember, those left alive at the end of the Tribulation will still have their old, fallen nature, and so will their children, and their children's children...

Finally, there is a thread woven throughout the book of Revelation that is related to the Feast of Tabernacles. God is a shelter in a storm of final judgment. He currently dwells in heaven, but He also plans to tabernacle with mankind on earth again. The Greek word for tabernacle is skene [which sounds a lot like "skin"] and can also be found in John's gospel, "And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us..." (Ok, so spell-check doesn't like me using tabernacle as a verb, but I'm doing it anyway).

Skene, often translated as "dwelling, booth, tent, tabernacle, shelter, etc.," shows up in several places within Revelation, but I want to highlight three:

1. Rev. 7:15 — The vast Gentile multitude slain during the Tribulation will be "sheltered" by the Most High. Rev. 7:9-17 includes another reference to Tabernacles. In verse 9 the Trib saints hold "palm branches," the Greek word phoenix, which is rare in the NT and one of the few trees the Israelites were instructed to use in building their booths; see Lev. 23:40 (LXX). The word is also used in John 12:13—Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. (There is more to this palm tree symbolism: check out 1 Kgs. 6:29; Ezek. 41:18-20; and Rev. 2:7; 22:2 — apparently, the land of Israel used to be filled with palm trees; Josephus notes this in his Antiquities; I also discovered that the city of Palmyra has this same connection with palm trees).

2. Rev. 12:12 — I cited this verse in the beginning of the article, because I believe it portrays the three groups involved in the final gatherings: the Air [rejoice, O' heavens—the newly gathered Church!], the Land [Israel], and the Sea [Gentiles]. We will be heaven-dwellers in God's tabernacle for a time until our return to earth with Christ.

3. Rev. 21:3 — This is it. This is what the whole world has been groaning and longing for, "Look! God's dwelling [tabernacle] is with men and He will live with them..." This is the final answer to the prayer Jesus' modeled for us, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Matt. 6:10).


Conclusion

Our God, the LORD God, is a God of order (1 Cor. 14:33; 1 Cor. 15:23). Soon, and very soon, He will bring order out of this present chaos. It has been my goal to show how He will accomplish this end by means of Fall Feast fulfillment—the three final gatherings. All those who are called, elect, and faithful (Rev. 17:14)—those from the Air, Land, and Sea—these will be gathered to Christ, the Chief Shepherd (1 Pet. 5:4), and the One through whom all things in heaven and earth will be brought together (Eph. 1:10).
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8 comments :

  1. Thank you for the work you have done on both of these articles. I went back and studied through the first one, and I will take the time to go through this one more thoroughly soon.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Just finished reading this. Fantastic as always, Jeff. I was very blessed by this having not extensively studied what happens to the Jews and Gentiles who had not been martyred at the end of the Tribulation. This is like pure poetry.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Super job and work Jeff, thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jeff, I have a question for you: is there a direct link between the "sea" and the Gentile nations in the Bible? I wonder if the references to the sea in Revelations could have different meanings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Tim, thank you for your question. It sent me on a quest to clarify John's use of "sea" in Revelation. Ok, so here's what I've determined so far:

      There are several biblical references linking the Gentiles to "the sea," but I'll point out a couple that jumped out at me. And, as I noted above, I'm not against a "both/and" interpretation, because I realize that sometimes a word or term in Scripture can have a double-referent...or, in certain instances, God has a material reality to represent and unseen reality (see Heb. 8:5).

      1. Daniel 7:2-3 — Based on the assumption that the apostle John comes from long line of Jewish prophets, his book reads a lot like Daniel. I think it's safe to say that John doesn't invent any new terms or symbols, but receives revelation from the same Spirit concerning Israel and her dealings with the nations. In verses 2 and 3, you'll find "the great sea" and four beasts that arise from the sea. Just as John has an angel interpret visions for him (Rev. 17:7), so also the prophet Daniel has a heavenly messenger clarify the symbols, "These beasts, four in number, are four kings who will rise from the earth" (Dan. 7:17). These beasts (kings), we were told in v. 3, came up from the sea (nations other than Israel - the Land). We also have John depicting the Antichrist's kingdom as "a beast coming up out of the sea" (Rev. 13:1), and there is a contrast in 13:11, where the false prophet comes up out of "the earth/land."

      2. Isaiah 17:12-13 — The context is the Day of the LORD (v. 7), and the nations are likened to "the roaring of the seas" and "raging of mighty/many waters" (see also a possible link to Luke 21:25 and Rev. 17:1, 15 - 'many waters').

      What do you think?

      Delete
  5. That makes a lot of sense. So if I'm following you correctly, the distinction between the beast coming from the sea vs the false prophet coming from the land would be because the antichrist is a gentile and the false prophet is Jewish?

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    Replies
    1. I just discovered an explicit link of the Gentiles and the sea in Isaiah 60. The context of the whole chapter is about the nations coming to worship Christ in Jerusalem during the Millennial age (also prefigured and foreshadowed by the Magi, who were foreigners bringing their gifts to the King - Matt. 2:1-12). Check out Isa. 60:5; the synonymous parallelism of the second part of the verse makes the connection crystal clear, "...because the riches of the sea will become yours, and the wealth of the nations will come to you."

      Delete
  6. Yes, I think this makes good sense of the contrast in Rev. 13. Also, a few other details give weight to the false prophet being Jewish:

    1) He has Christ-like attributes: "two horns like a lamb" (13:11). This term for lamb is 'arnion,' a very distinct, diminutive form of 'aren' (sheep/lamb), a word used by John throughout the book of Revelation in reference to Christ himself - it very well could be translated "a little lamb." Compare Rev. 13:11 with 5:6, and I think you'll see this parallel...even the horns.

    2) He has characteristics reminiscent of Jewish prophets (e.g. Elijah and the Two Witnesses from ch. 11): Rev. 13:13-14 reveal that he "performs great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven" and has great authority over the deceived, portraying himself as a representative of God. Compare Rev. 13:13 with 2 Kings 1:10; Luke 9:54; and Rev. 11:5-6.

    ReplyDelete


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