Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

How many angels fell with Lucifer when he transformed into Satan?

HOW MANY ANGELS FELL WITH LUCIFER WHEN HE TRANSFORMED INTO SATAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How many angels fell with Satan? Revelation 12:4 is frequently offered as a possible answer: “And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.”

Revelation 12:3 speaks of “a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.” This is symbolic, of course, but that does not detract from its underlying reality. Verse 9 identifies that great dragon: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” The great dragon is the Devil, Satan.

So, if you read verse 4 again, it says: “[Satan’s] tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” It is believed that one-third of God’s angels fell when Lucifer was thrown out of heaven long ago. (Angels and stars are closely associated with one another in the Bible—see Job 38:7 and Revelation 1:20.) Is there merit in this interpretation of Revelation 12:4?

Revelation 12:4 could not be speaking of history. It is prophetic, something future, beyond our day. The only explanation here is that these angels will not fall until sometime after our Dispensation of Grace. What makes me say this is Daniel chapter 8: “[9] And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. [10] And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them.Here, the Bible describes some of the host of heaven and some of the stars falling to the earth as the Antichrist rises and begins to consolidate his power. This, of course, is not history, but prophecy. John the Apostle must be referring to this when he speaks of one-third of the angels falling from heaven in Revelation 12:4. If you study it in detail, you will see that Revelation chapter 12 describes the career of the Antichrist.

We read about Lucifer’s history by appealing to the Prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel (which we will quote shortly). When the cherub (angelic-like spirit creature) Lucifer became infatuated with himself long ago, he began to think that he was wiser than God and he thought that he ought to be on God’s throne. Lucifer was originally God’s choir director, His composer and song-leader, someone to devise musical methods to praise his Creator God. However, Lucifer wanted to be worshipped as God rather than lead in worship of God. God kicked Satan out of the third heaven, and confined him to outer space and Earth.

Isaiah 14:12-15 says: “[12] How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! [13] For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: [14] I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. [15] Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

And, Ezekiel chapter 28, which is God speaking to Satan through the Prophet Ezekiel: “[1] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [2] Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: [3] Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: [4] With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: [5] By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: [6] Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; [7] Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. [8] They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas. [9] Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God? but thou shalt be a man, and no God, in the hand of him that slayeth thee. [10] Thou shalt die the deaths of the uncircumcised by the hand of strangers: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

“[11] Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, [12] Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. [13] Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. [14] Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. [15] Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. [16] By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. [17] Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. [18] Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. [19] All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more.”

Notice how Satan is guilty of an activity called “traffick” (verse 18). These are dealings or communications with others (think of our English word “drug trafficking”). In addition to Lucifer himself rebelling against God, he went out and enticed other angelic beings to follow him in that revolt. These are the Devil’s angels mentioned in Matthew 25:41, for which everlasting hellfire was created. They are contrasted with the “elect angels,” those that remained faithful to God and did not follow Lucifer (1 Timothy 5:21). God kicked all of these satanic angels out of the third heaven, and confined them in the second heaven (outer space) and below. They will never be allowed into His throne room again.

There are fallen angels—again, the Devil’s angels (Matthew 25:41)—operating in the heavenly places (outer space) today. For example, notice Ephesians 6:12: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (The word “high” here is translated from the same Greek word as “heavenly” in Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:20, Ephesians 2:6, and Ephesians 3:10.) Hence, we read in Job 15:15: “Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.” And, Job 25:5: “Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.”

These fallen angels will be cast out of the second heaven halfway through the seven-year Tribulation period. Here is where Revelation 12:7-12 picks up: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. [10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. [11] And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. [12] Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”

So, then, what is Revelation 12:4 talking about? One-third of the fallen angels operating in the second heaven will come down to earth sometime during the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (seven-year Tribulation). The rest of these fallen angels will be thrown out of the second heaven halfway through those seven years. It is the only way to make Revelation future instead of forcing it to be history. The Book of the Revelation cannot be history, as Revelation 1:1 says these are “things which must shortly come to pass”—they are future from John’s perspective!

How many angels originally fell with Lucifer in history then? We do not know an exact number because Scripture never provides such data. Still, we can infer that it was a large percentage because God never has many human followers throughout the Bible. At any and every point in history, just a very small fraction of believers appear in the Holy Scriptures. For instance, recall the eight believers on the Ark during the Great Flood of Noah’s day (Genesis 7:7; 2 Peter 2:5). Where were the millions—if not billions—of other people on the globe? Why, they perished in God’s wrath, being drowned in the floodwaters! According to Genesis 18:32 and Genesis 19:24-25, there were less than 10 believers in the whole city of Sodom! In Elijah’s day, there were 7,000 believers in the whole nation Israel (1 Kings 19:18)! There were only 120 believers in Jerusalem after Christ’s three-year earthly ministry (Acts 1:20)!

Notice these four verses:

  • Jude 14: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints,”
  • Daniel 7:10: “A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:2: “And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.”
  • Psalm 68:17: “The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the LORD is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.”

The Bible speaks of God’s angels as “thousands,” “ten thousands,” “thousand thousands” (millions), and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (100 million). If these are rough estimates of the number of angels that stayed loyal to God, I would then assume that Satan has many more on his side!

Also see:
» Is there any chance more angels will leave God and follow Satan?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

Who or what are the 10 “toes” or “horns” or “crowns” associated with the Antichrist?

WHO OR WHAT ARE THE 10 “TOES” OR “HORNS” OR “CROWNS” ASSOCIATED WITH THE ANTICHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 13:1-2: “[1] And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

The “beast,” of course, is the Antichrist. He is bestial, animal-like, or cruel in character. Satan empowers him. His “ten horns” having “ten crowns” are of great importance to us here. Horns in the Bible symbolize kings; crowns symbolize kingdoms or nations. “And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings” (Daniel 7:24—Antichrist will assume control over all 10 kings by first conquering the three most powerful kings). “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast” (Revelation 17:12).

It is commonly assumed the Antichrist’s 10 ally nations and 10 confederate kings are members of the European Union (EU, or European Common Market). At one time, this explanation seemed plausible—until the mid-1980s when the number of the EU members exceeded 10. Today, there are 28 countries in the EU (with the United Kingdom’s soon departure—“Brexit”—to bring the figure down to 27). In an attempt to salvage this position, some contend that the European Union membership will eventually return to 10. This is all dependent upon the hypothesis that “the Roman Empire and Western Europe” will form the Antichrist’s government. In fact, the introduction of the Euro currency in the late 1990s was heralded as the forerunner of the mark of the Beast, if not the mark itself. Again, this all stems from the misunderstanding that the Antichrist is tied to Western Europe.

A better way to look at these 10 toes (read about King Nebuchadnezzar’s image in Daniel chapter 2), these 10 horns, these 10 nations, these 10 crowns, and these 10 kings, is to reflect upon the Old Testament enemies of Israel. Upon studying those 39 Books (Genesis through Malachi), we realize that Europeans becoming those chief enemy nations is highly unlikely. We are convinced Psalm 83 identifies those 10 adversarial nations of Israel, and the list contains no surprises.

Let us start Psalm 83 at the beginning: “[1] Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God. [2] For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head. [3] They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. [4] They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance. [5] For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:

Here are the 10 nations against Israel: “[6] The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes; [7] Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre; [8] Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. Selah.” It is a bit tricky to identify all of them with exact precision, but we can offer some insight in that they are not European but Middle Eastern. Moreover, to some extent, we can grasp their modern forms:

  1. EDOM — descendants of Esau/Edom, Jacob’s twin brother, Jacob being father of the Jews (Genesis 25:19-26) (modern Palestinians and Southern Jordanians?) – see #7
  2. ISHMAELITES — sons of Abraham through Isaac’s older brother Ishmael, Ishmael being father of the Arabs (Genesis 16:1-6; Genesis 25:12-18) – fighting Israel because they believe, as per the Quran, they are the “true” heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant (modern Saudis?)
  3. MOAB — Moabites were sons of Lot via his incestuous relationship with his older daughter (Genesis 19:37) – antagonistic toward the Jews in Numbers 22–25, Judges chapter 3, during the reign of King Saul, 2 Chronicles 20:1, et cetera (modern Palestinians and Central Jordanians?) – see #6
  4. HAGARENES — people who lived in the land east of Palestine, near the Persian Gulf (modern Egyptians, named after Hagar the Egyptian [Genesis 16:1]?)
  5. GEBAL — land of Edomites, south of the Dead Sea and extending to Petra (modern Hezbollah and Northern Lebanese?)
  6. AMMON — Ammonites were sons of Lot via his incestuous relationship with his younger daughter (Genesis 19:38) (modern Palestinian and Northern Jordanians?) – Lot was Abraham’s nephew, Abraham being father of the Jews (Genesis 12:5) antagonistic toward the Jews in Judges chapters 10-11, during the reigns of Kings Saul and David, et cetera – see #3
  7. AMALEK — Amalek was an Edomite, a grandson of Esau (Genesis 36:12,16) (modern Arabs of Sinai Peninsula?) – see #1, Esau was Jacob’s twin brother, Jacob being father of the Jews (Genesis 25:19-26)
  8. PHILISTINES — ancient, bitter enemies of Israel in Isaac’s time (Genesis 26:1-33) and throughout the period of the judges and King Saul, lived along the Mediterranean Coast opposite the Dead Sea (modern Hamas of Gaza Strip?)
  9. TYRE — also called Tyrus, a city in the land of Phoenicia, north of Israel (modern Hezbollah and Southern Lebanese?)
  10. ASSUR — also known as Asshur or Assyria, the Assyrian Empire overcame and captured the northern 10 tribes of Israel some 700 years before Christ (2 Kings 17:1-23) (modern Syrians and Northern Iraqis?)

Also see:
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?
» What is “the mark of the Beast?”

Is the Antichrist alive right now?

IS THE ANTICHRIST ALIVE RIGHT NOW?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is the Antichrist currently living among us somewhere in the world? It is a frequent question that stems from the repetitions of Bible-prophecy preachers and teachers. In their podcasts, online videos, television programs, radio shows, books, tracts, and magazines, they take current events—news headlines and reports—and try to match them to specific passages of Scripture. Dates associated with the year 1948 (when Israel became a modern state) and various conflicts in the Middle East are two of their favorite topics. Unfortunately, this can get out of hand quite easily. Verses wind up being wrested (distorted) to teach all sorts of odd ideas. It is similar to trying to find familiar shapes in cloud formations. You need a good imagination to discern them! Undoubtedly, man’s mind takes the preeminence as God’s Word is relegated to a back seat. Bible prophecy, while fascinating, can be dangerous if we do not handle it dispensationally.

For centuries, Bible believers have tried and failed to identify the Antichrist. The Protestant Reformers 500 years ago thought the pope was the Antichrist. Several United States Presidents—including Ronald Wilson Reagan (three names with six letters, 666)—were assumed or are still assumed to be the Antichrist. Any political or religious leader on the world stage does not seem to be above suspicion in this regard! Dear friends, there is absolutely nothing wrong with Christians desiring to see the Scriptures reach their culmination. We want to see all the Bible’s promises come to pass—especially within our lifetime. After all, we seek some validation that what we believe is true. People wondering if the Antichrist is alive today are looking to see just how close we are to witnessing all great Bible prophecies being fulfilled. However sincere we are, though, we should exercise great caution here.

Honestly, we do not know if the Antichrist is living today. There is nothing in the Scriptures to prove it one way or the other, and this is by God’s design. Nevertheless, even if the Antichrist were currently alive, we as Christians would never know it. We will not learn his identity because the Bible says he will be “revealed” after we are removed from Earth. Our mystery program must conclude before Israel’s prophetic program resumes. The Antichrist’s unveiling is prophecy instead of mystery. Until the mystery program finishes, the prophetic program cannot resume. It is impossible to see prophecy being fulfilled in mystery.

We will let 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 speak: “[6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. [8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:….”

If we were to answer in the affirmative—yes, the Antichrist is alive today—then that would introduce yet another question. Who exactly is he? Someone would say Pope Francis. Others speculate it is President Trump. Numerous others are assumed as well. If we would answer this question definitively (we cannot, but let us momentarily assume we can), then yet another question would arise. When is he going to make a covenant with Israel? Friends, the inquiries just never end and the speculations would never end either. There is nothing meaningful if we take this route to Bible prophecy. Here is a better way to view the Scriptures.

When we approach the Bible dispensationally, “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), we discover that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), God’s spokesman to us in the Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 3:1-2). Instead of looking for the Antichrist’s arrival, we should be anticipating Jesus Christ’s coming (the Rapture, “our gathering together unto Christ;” 2 Thessalonians 2:1). The Holy Spirit through Paul exhorts us with the following:

  • 1 Corinthians 1:7: “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Philippians 4:5: “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:5: “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.”
  • Titus 2:13: Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;….”
  • 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10: “[9] For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; [10] And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

Again, the Antichrist may or not be alive today. We cannot say dogmatically either way. Moreover, God has not revealed to us how long the Dispensation of Grace will last. Potentially, it could extend for another century. Or, it may close in the next few seconds. Paul’s epistles are silent as to an exact length. Regardless of the duration, the Antichrist will be not be revealed until after our dispensation has run its course. Our program must wind down before the Antichrist starts his political career.

Individuals who claim the Antichrist is living today then proceed to speculate who he might be and when he might act—and speculation is all it is. What we can say for a fact is that the Antichrist will not make his appearance until long after the Body of Christ is caught up into the heavenly places. We should not be looking for the mark of the Beast, we should not be fearful of taking that mark, and so on. If we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, then we should be looking for Jesus Christ to come. Let the lost people look and wait for the Antichrist, for they will be the ones left here to see him anyway!

Also see:
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?
» What is “the mark of the Beast?”
» Why is “666” the number of the Beast?

Why did God let James die but deliver Peter?

WHY DID GOD LET JAMES DIE BUT DELIVER PETER?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Acts 12, why did God spare the Apostle Peter but allow the Apostle James to be executed?

“[1] Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. [2] And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. [3] And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.) [4] And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

“[5] Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him. [6] And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison. [7] And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands. [8] And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.

“[9] And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision. [10] When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him. [11] And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.” (To find out the rest of the story, you should read verses 12-18 in your own study.)

As there were different Caesars, so there were various Herods in the New Testament. Both are titles (like “king”), not first names of people. The Herod of Acts chapter 12 is Herod Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great (the bloodthirsty king who attempted to kill the Christ Child in Matthew chapter 2 some three decades earlier).

Herod Agrippa I successfully put the Apostle James to death by beheading (verse 2). Attempting to “score more political points” with the unbelieving Jews, he arrests and imprisons the Apostle Peter. Herod purposes to execute Peter, but the Messianic Church prays and Peter is delivered. As we read, the angel of the Lord spares Peter in a dramatic rescue operation. It is bizarre that Peter was allowed to live but James was allowed to die. Someone might reply, “That is the mysterious working of God, something inexplicable that we dare not try to answer!” Friends, it is our firm conviction that the Bible provides a reason as to why God spared Peter. There is precious little about James here in this chapter (a single verse—verse 2). However, there is so much more about Peter. Peter stands out in this passage, and for good reason. We will not learn about it until chapter 15.

Back in Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus met the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ; he was saved unto eternal life and commissioned on the road to Damascus. At the time of chapter 12, this new apostle, the Apostle Paul, has been traveling for over a decade preaching the Gospel of the Grace of God. The Jerusalem Church—the Messianic Church—has met him back in Acts 9:26-29 (cf. Galatians 1:18-19). While Paul is in the early stages of his ministry amongst the Gentiles, the Lord directs Peter to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (Gospel of the Circumcision) to some Gentiles—the Roman centurion Cornelius and his household (Acts chapter 10).

By the time of chapter 15, Paul has been preaching for about 20 years. Jews from the Jerusalem Church are telling his Gentile converts that they must follow Judaism. Paul and his ministry coworker Barnabas travel to Jerusalem to settle the matter. What right do Paul and his Gentile converts have in operating apart from Moses/Judaism? After all, Judaism had existed prior to Paul’s ministry. The 12 Apostles were all Judaistic in their theology. In order to straighten out the confusion, the Holy Spirit directs Paul to visit Jerusalem and confer with the Apostles (cf. Galatians chapter 2).

Read Acts chapter 15: “[1] And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. [2] When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. [3] And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 

“[4] And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. [5] But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. [6] And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.

“[7] And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. [8] And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; [9] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

“[12] Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. [13] And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: [14] Simeon [Simon Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. [15] And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, [16] After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: [17] That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. [18] Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.”

(NOTE: James here in chapter 15 is not the same as John’s brother James of chapter 12; remember, John’s brother James is already dead. The James of chapter 15 is the Lord’s brother [Galatians 1:19], the man referenced in Matthew 13:55, and an elder of the Jerusalem Church. As per Galatians, he is an apostle in a secondary sense.)

Peter’s firsthand testimony of his experience with Gentile Cornelius years earlier saved Paul’s Gentile ministry from being discredited and destroyed! God had Peter visit and evangelize the Gentile Cornelius in chapter 10 for a special purpose—but Peter would not realize it for another 15 years. At the Jerusalem Bible conference, Peter discovered his experience with Cornelius provided him and the Jerusalem Church with insight into Paul’s Gentile ministry.

Had Peter died with James in chapter 12, he would not have been present to come to Paul’s defense in chapter 15! (Peter was the leader of the 12 Apostles, as per Matthew 16:19—“thee” and “thou” is second-person singular, referring to Peter alone. It was thus more important that Peter bear witness rather than John’s brother James. This was why God selected Peter, not James, to visit Cornelius.) At the time of chapter 12, Peter had not yet publicly endorsed Paul’s ministry. God was not yet finished with Peter, which is why He spared Peter. Peter went on to publicly endorse Paul’s ministry in chapter 15, before fading off the scene from Acts.

SUPPLEMENTAL: ACTS 12 AND PROPHECY

Acts chapter 12 previews what will follow our Dispensation of Grace. As Herod was an apostate king reigning in Jerusalem, so Antichrist (yet future) will be another satanic king governing Jerusalem. Herod decapitated James; likewise, the Antichrist will behead believers in the Lord Jesus (Revelation 20:4). Some members of the Jewish Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, will be spared, of which Peter’s escape and survival typifies (Revelation 12:1-17). Others, like James, will not be so fortunate. When Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming to destroy the Antichrist, He will bodily resurrect all those who died for His Word (Revelation 20:1-6). Herod’s gruesome demise in the closing verses of Acts chapter 12 pictures the Antichrist’s destruction.


Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts 7-15?
» What happened to the Gentiles of Acts 10?

Are the “angels” of the Revelation really “pastors?”

ARE THE “ANGELS” OF THE REVELATION REALLY “PASTORS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Aggelos” appears 76 times in the Greek version of the Book of the Revelation. While most commonly rendered “angels,” scholars want to make eight exceptions. They argue that 68 references are to spirit-beings. Allegedly, the other eight references are not angels but rather “pastors” or “messengers.” Why do they say this? Are they correct? Why does it matter that we settle this? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

According to Strong’s Greek Concordance of the Bible, the King James Bible’s underlying Greek New Testament contains 186 instances of the word “aggelos”—rendered “angel” 179 times and “messenger” seven times. Never once is it translated “pastor.” While most often referring to spirit creatures, there are some exceptions: “aggelos” is the role of John the Baptist as “messenger” of God (Matthew 11:10; Mark 1:2; Luke 7:27), it applies to the “messengers” of John (Luke 7:24), it describes the “messengers” of Jesus (Luke 9:52), and it applies to the Jewish “messengers” sent to Rahab in Jericho (James 2:25). Finally, “aggelos” is rendered the “messenger” of Satan that afflicted Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7—this would be a malady rather than a spirit-being or human.

To repeat, “aggelos” is used 76 times in the Greek version of Revelation. Most scholars favor it be translated “pastors” or “messengers” in eight particular instances. This alteration of the text makes it easier to teach that these beings are humans as opposed to angels. Therefore, they claim “angel” in our King James Bible should really be “messenger” or “pastor” in Revelation chapters 1–3. Let us read those eight verses:

  • Revelation 1:20: “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”
  • Revelation 2:1: “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;….”
  • Revelation 2:8: “And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive;….”
  • Revelation 2:12: “And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges;….”
  • Revelation 2:18: “And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass;….”
  • Revelation 3:1: “And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead.”
  • Revelation 3:7: “And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;….”
  • Revelation 3:14: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;….”

Dr. C. I. Scofield, in his eponymous study Bible, has placed a footnote at the word “angels” in Revelation 1:20: “The natural explanation of the ‘messengers’ is that they were men sent by the seven churches to ascertain the state of the aged apostle, now an exile in Patmos (cf. Phil. 4. 18); but they figure any who bear God’s messages to a church.”

While we will always appreciate Brother Scofield’s diligence in disseminating dispensational Bible truths via his study Bible, we must respectfully disagree with him concerning the “natural explanation” of those “angels” of Revelation’s seven churches. If we attempt to make these seven churches part of the Church the Body of Christ, we will seek to make the passages in Revelation fit with God’s current dealings with us. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are totally silent about any angelic beings leading any local assemblies of the Body of Christ. If we make Revelation’s seven churches part of the Body of Christ, and most do (as Dr. Scofield), then we will naturally disagree with Revelation when it mentions “angels” leading seven local churches.

Another theologian commented on the word “angels” in Revelation 1:20: “The word lit. means ‘messenger.’ Although it can mean angel—and does throughout the book—it cannot refer to angels here because angels are never leaders in the church. Most likely, these messengers are the 7 key elders representing each of those churches.” Notice how he argued “angels” should be “messengers” because angels never lead the church. Why? Like many, he is forcing these seven churches of Revelation to be the Church the Body of Christ. This is completely unsound theology, non-dispensational Bible study. Furthermore, he admits that the word “aggelos” is translated “angel” throughout the Book of the Revelation. Still, he wants to make the eight exceptions (change the word from “angel” to “messenger”) in order to keep his pet theological position!

As always, dear friends, the safest method to handle the Bible is to leave the King James Bible text alone. If we must alter God’s Word to fit our theology, then our preconceived ideas mean more to us than God’s Word. We have mixed-up priorities and misplaced loyalties! Beware, beware, beware!! Unless we turn back from this wayward path, we are sure to be further deceived! (The Bible says this, but it really means that. “Angel” is not “angel;” “angel” means “pastor.” If that is the case, how will we ever get anything out the Bible? Whether this or other topics, will be “spiritualizing” it instead of taking it literally.)

In Scripture, “stars” and angelic beings are closely related (Job 38:7; Daniel 8:10 cf. Revelation 12:4). As we saw earlier, Revelation 1:20 says the “stars” of the seven churches (verse 16) are “angels.” Such is not the language of human messengers of God. In keeping with Bible terminology, “stars” and “angels” are linked. People and stars, however, are never associated with each other in Scripture. If we can understand this, we will have no problem with leaving the Bible text alone in the opening chapters of Revelation. While Paul’s epistles are silent about angels ministering to us today, angelic beings have played and will play a very important role in the nation Israel’s program. This is how we should approach the Book of the Revelation.

Angels served in Israel’s history concerning Divine revelation, particularly regarding prophecy. For example, when the Prophet Daniel asked God in prayer for wisdom concerning his end-times prophecies, God sent the Angel Gabriel to give him “skill and understanding” (Daniel 9:21-27). This is repeated in Daniel 10:21: “But I will shew thee that which is noted in the scripture of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me in these things, but Michael your prince.” Gabriel illuminated Daniel concerning the Bible. Also, we see an “angel” “shewing” the Apostle John in Revelation 22:8 various prophecies that comprise that Book. Zechariah the Prophet received Divine insight into prophecy from angelic beings (see the Book of Zechariah, chapters 2 through 6). The Prophet Ezekiel had visions of angels and their roles in God’s program for Israel.

Using all of this background, we can see why Almighty God would have literal angelic beings in Revelation chapters 1–3, rather than mere human messengers. Whether in John’s day (history to us) or Daniel’s 70th Week (yet future from us), God has one angel leading each of the seven main assemblies in Asia (that is, Asia Minor, modern Turkey). The letter to each church is written specifically to the angel leading each church. These angels are commissioned to take the doctrine and illuminate the Jewish believers in Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.

If we consider all that the Bible says about angels and prophetic understanding, there is no other way for us to interpret this matter. As the Book of Hebrews, chapter 1, verses 13 through 14, states concerning Israel and the end-times: “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Indeed, angels will have a ministry to Israel yet future!

Also see:
» Is the Ephesian church of the Revelation the same group as those in the Book of Ephesians?
» Do we live in “the Church Age?”
» Should “church” be changed to “called-out assembly” in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?

How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?

HOW CAN MAN REBEL AGAINST GOD AFTER THE MILLENNIUM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How can mankind rebel against the LORD God after the 1,000 years have run their course?

We turn to Revelation chapter 20: “[1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

[4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

“[7] And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, [8] And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. [9] And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.”

Indeed, it is unfathomable that the nations will actually unite against Jesus Christ the King at the end of the Millennium. After witnessing what they did for the last 1,000 years—seeing the benevolent reign of the perfect, wisest King over a restored, breathtaking creation—they side against Him. Satan, having been imprisoned for the last 10 centuries, is now free and he persuades the nations to attack Jerusalem and the saints. Why did these Gentiles not convert to the Lord Jesus Christ while He was reigning? Beholding the wisdom of God during all those centuries, we would expect them to have become His children at some point. Alas, with the Millennium expired, they are just as determined to destroy Jerusalem and kill Christ’s followers as Satan himself had intended before the 1,000 years!

According to Revelation 19:11-21, prior to the Millennium, the Second Coming of Christ and the Battle of Armageddon occurred (see also 16:14-16). The Old Testament Prophet Zechariah already predicted the necessity of this war between God and Satan, Jesus Christ and Antichrist.

Zechariah chapter 12: “[2] Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. [3] And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it…. [9] And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

Chapter 14: “[2] For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. [12] And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth…. [16] And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.”

Throughout Daniel’s 70th Week, the seven-year Tribulation, sinful men wanted to follow Satan in destroying Jerusalem. Near the end of that time, God will grant them their wish to come against His capital city. Through the Antichrist’s agenda, He gathers them and then returns to defeat them in power and great glory (Christ’s fiery Second Coming in Revelation chapter 19). Then, the Millennial Reign of Christ begins and Satan is bound in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-6).

After these 1,000 years, as we saw in our opening remarks, Satan is released and the nations again purpose to assault Jerusalem and the followers of Christ. The generations of people born during the Millennium must make a choice between God and Satan. Even during those 1,000 years, they still have a sin nature—but there is individual rebellion as opposed to national rebellion. (Zechariah 14:16-19 and Matthew 5:29-30 show there is most definitely unbelief and sin in the Millennium.)

Though God punished Satan for a time, notice how he has not been reformed. Satan resumes his plans that he attempted to accomplish 10 centuries earlier. God confined him to the bottomless pit, but God has let him free and he still intends on resuming his previous activity of trying to establish his kingdom in the Earth (and man will go along with it). While they plan on having a battle, it will be nothing like Armageddon 1,000 years earlier. Jesus Christ will not bother to go out to fight against His enemies as He did at His Second Coming. Instead, fire from God out of heaven falls on Satan and his followers and they are vanquished. “And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (Revelation 20:10). Then, the unsaved are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment and finally tossed into the Lake of Fire where Satan was already permanently placed (verses 11-15).

Also see:
» Who will have children during the Millennium?
» What is the “Apocalypse?”
» Are we “doom and gloom” Bible-prophecy believers?

Why were the disciples discouraged from looking up in Acts chapter 1?

WHY WERE THE DISCIPLES DISCOURAGED FROM LOOKING UP IN ACTS CHAPTER 1?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:10-11). Why did the angels ask the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

The Book of Acts begins: “[1] The former treatise have I made [that is, the Bible Book of Luke], O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, [2] Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: [3] To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: [4] And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. [5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

“[6] When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [7] And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. [9] And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”

The Apostles are stunned when the resurrected Lord Jesus, physically and visibly, suddenly soars upward into the sky! As they watch Him ascending, two angels appear and ask them, “Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?” Should they have been looking into Heaven? (No!)

Acts begins with Jesus spnding 40 days with His Apostles during His resurrection and ascension. Verse 3 says He spoke of “the things pertaining to the kingdom of God”—see Matthew chapter 28, Mark chapter 16, Luke chapter 24, John chapter 21, and Acts chapter 1. Before ascending into Heaven from the Mount of Olives, Jesus told them they should not leave Jerusalem. Verses 4 and 5: “…wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

The Apostles, having heard Him talk about the kingdom of God those last 40 days, ask Him in verse 6, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Notice again.” The only kingdom Israel ever had was a literal, physical, earthly kingdom—its apex with Kings David and Solomon. Rather than rebuke them—“No, I am talking about a spiritual kingdom in the hearts of men, not a literal earthly kingdom. I am about to start the spiritual Body of Christ” (what people assume Jesus said)—Jesus simply told them in verses 7 and 8: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” The time-schedule of that coming literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom is withheld from these Apostles.

Yet, they start looking up as the Lord Jesus Christ goes into Heaven (our opening comments). They have not been mindful of His instructions to them. Several weeks earlier, just before His crucifixion, Jesus had told His Apostles: “[25] And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; [26] Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. [27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke chapter 21). Believing Israel was not to look up until they saw certain signs. Those signs were absent in Acts chapter 1; therefore, Israel was not to be looking up in Acts chapter 1! The angels asked the Apostles why they were looking up to prompt them to remember Jesus’ words.

Furthermore, Jesus had told them to wait for the Holy Spirit who would come days later: “[5] For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence…. [8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” They were not to be looking up as though Jesus would return right there in Acts chapter 1 because He was not coming back at that time.

God’s Word told Israel not to look up for Christ’s return until certain events transpired. Let us compare and contrast this with His Word to us concerning Christ’s return.

Acts 1:10-11 declares the 12 Apostles looked “stedfastly” toward Heaven. They were not merely watching Christ Jesus ascend. Rather, they continued to look up. It was an intense gaze, not casual observation. Perhaps they even looked up long after He was out of sight. In spite of His instructions not to look for His return until they saw certain events (Luke 21:25-28), they looked up for Him to reappear immediately to “restore again the kingdom to Israel” (Acts 1:6). As we ask someone doing wrong, “Hey, what are you doing?,” to cause him or her to realize misconduct, so the angels asked the Apostles, Why stand ye gazing up into heaven?”

Jesus told Israel’s believing remnant—particularly His 12 Apostles—they were not to look up for His Second Coming (for them) until they saw specific phenomena. Contrariwise, when describing Christ coming for us (the Church His Body), Scripture says nothing about preceding signs. For example, see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 1 Corinthians 15:51-55, Philippians 3:20, Titus 2:13, and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2. There will be no warning signs concerning this coming (for the Body of Christ). In contrast to Israel anticipating the Second Coming, we should be looking for the Rapture to occur at any time. Only in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, do we find this doctrine of the Body of Christ being caught up from Earth into Heaven. Us searching for the Rapture elsewhere in Scripture will introduce unanswerable confusion.

A thoughtful and prayerful consideration of the Bible reveals two future comings of Christ Jesus. To force all verses about “Christ’s coming” to apply to one event is dangerous. We must not combine what God has separated; we must not mixed what God told us to “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15). These two future comings of Christ are separate!

Also see:
» Was an apostle merely one who had seen Christ’s resurrection?
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?