Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

Can you explain “reel to and fro” in Isaiah 24:20?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN “REEL TO AND FRO” IN ISAIAH 24:20?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Prophet foretells in Isaiah 24:19-20: “The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the earth is moved exceedingly. The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” What does it mean for Earth to “reel to and fro?” Why is it behaving in this manner?

One helpful passage is Psalm 107:27: “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” To “reel” is to sway or rock back and forth, moving from side to side (“to and fro” the same as “to and from”)—exactly how an intoxicated person stumbles while walking.

Geology, or Earth science, is one of this author’s favorite topics. Seismic (earthquake) activity will increase substantially in the ages to come, as the judgments of Daniel’s 70th Week or the Tribulation period are meted out. Earth is convulsing, so its oceans, seas, and lakes will be disturbed and form tsunamis (seismic sea waves)! Moreover, objects from outer space will be pummeling the planet’s surface. These asteroids and meteorites will be enormous, to the point of resulting in substantial tremors. Volcanic eruptions will disrupt Earth’s bodies of water and rock too. Creation is undergoing extensive, terrifying renovations as Satan’s reign comes to a violent end and the Lord Jesus Christ returns to rule.

Here are excerpts from Christ’s Olivet Discourse (end-times sermon). “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7). “For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows” (Mark 13:8). “And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven” (Luke 21:11).

The Apostle John summarizes the above verses with Revelation 6:12-14: “And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”

We can also consider Revelation 8:10-12: “And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters; And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter. And the fourth angel sounded, and the third part of the sun was smitten, and the third part of the moon, and the third part of the stars; so as the third part of them was darkened, and the day shone not for a third part of it, and the night likewise.”

“And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake (Revelation 8:5). “And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven…. And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail” (Revelation 11:13,19). “And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great (Revelation 16:18).

Here are some other statements from the Olivet Discourse, events that will lead directly to Christ’s return itself: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:” (Matthew 24:29). “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven shall be shaken (Mark 13:24-25).

The above passages draw from Old Testament prophecies.

“Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine” (Isaiah 13:9-10).

“Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations…. The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?…. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:1-2,10-11,30-31).

“Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel” (Joel 3:14-16). “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,….” (Zephaniah 1:14-15).

“For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts” (Haggai 2:6-7). The writer of Hebrews quoted this in Hebrews 12:26-27: “Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.”

Why is all this violent activity necessary? The LORD God is ridding the planet of Satan and his angelic cohorts: “That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it” (Job 38:13).

Also see:
» Are we “doom and gloom” Bible-prophecy believers?
» Why did Jesus tell Israel they do not know the date of His return?
» Is the Rapture in Matthew 24 and Luke 17?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?

Who are “abjects?”

WHO ARE “ABJECTS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Psalm 35:15 says, “But in mine adversity they rejoiced, and gathered themselves together: yea, the abjects gathered themselves together against me, and I knew it not; they did tear me, and ceased not:….”

While considered an obsolete term today, “abjects” is taken from Middle English, carrying the sense of “rejected.” It is derived via the Latin “abjectus,” from “abicere,” itself composed of “ab–” meaning “away” and “jacere” meaning “to throw.” To wit, the gist of the activity is to pummel someone with disparaging remarks, hurl insults, traduce or criticize, the attack rendering the writer of the verse a societal outcast, an unwanted person.

King David penned the verse—yea, the whole chapter or Psalm—to express his distress during a period of intense persecution. It is not merely a song of praise, but also a prayer of imprecation, a desire for and a summoning of the LORD to take vengeance on those evildoers or unbelievers who abuse Israel’s believing remnant (of whom David is a member). Some of these statements (for example, verses 11 and 19) are Messianic, pointing to the Lord Jesus Christ’s undeserved mistreatment circa 1,000 years later (cf. Matthew 26:59-62; Mark 14:55-60; John 15:25).

  Ultimately, Psalm 35 anticipates the Little Flock (Israel’s believing remnant) as it bears the severe despotism of the Antichrist during Daniel’s 70th Week. The punishment for and destruction of their abusers is Christ’s Second Coming in wrath and judgment, at which time He also delivers His saints into the peace, safety, and prosperity of His earthly kingdom!

Also see:
» Should we have a ministry to people who abuse us?
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» What is “leasing” in the King James Bible?

What does, “bray a fool,” mean?

WHAT DOES, “BRAY A FOOL,” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Proverbs 27:22: “Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.”

The “mortar” here is a bowl used for grinding or crushing, whereas the “pestle” is a club-like tool with a rounded end used to smash the contents of the mortar. Drugs, spices, and grains are pounded or pulverized in this fashion to reduce them to powder form (extracting from them whatever substances are desired). In the case of “braying a fool,” the concept is one of intense treatment in such a procedure. The Scriptures are graphic indeed!

“Bray” is related to the word “break.” A fool could be placed into a mortar and pounded with a pestle, crushed to small pieces, but his foolishness would not be drawn out from him. It is so entangled with his internal makeup that it cannot leave him, no matter how minutely or greatly you dissect him. Folly—silliness—is at his most basic level. Regardless of what you do to him, it cannot be extracted from him.

Remember, the Book of Proverbs is God’s wisdom for Israel’s believing remnant as it survives Satan’s evil world system under the Antichrist (yet future from us). The “fool” in Proverbs is an unbeliever, someone who refuses to believe and follow the true Messiah/Christ (Jesus). On the other hand, the “wise” man in Proverbs is the believer in Jesus, having used spiritual discernment to recognize the Antichrist as false. See also Matthew 7:24-29 and Luke 6:46-49.

Observe the first seven verses of Proverbs: “[1] The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; [2] To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; [3] To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; [4] To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. [5] A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: [6] To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. [7] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.These statements set the tone for the remainder of the Book of Proverbs—the conflict between right and wrong, good and evil, wisdom and folly, knowledge and ignorance, God and Satan, Jesus Christ and the Antichrist, and so on.

Also see:
» Why is the Bible Book of “Ecclesiastes” thus named?
» How could “wise” King Solomon let foreign women deceive him?
» What does “pernicious” mean?

How can God have “horns” coming out of His hand?

HOW CAN GOD HAVE “HORNS” COMING OUT OF HIS HAND?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We find in chapter 3 of Habakkuk: “[1] A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth [Hebrew word unknown – perhaps meaning “poem” or “hymn?”]. [2] O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy. [3] God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. [4] And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power. [5] Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.”

How could God have horns coming out of His hand? Apparently, in this context, they are not horns as in the bony structures on an animal’s head. A better way to look at the phrase is to imagine rays of light coming from His hand. Think of projections, shafts, or beams of light originating from the sun at sunrise, light passing through gaps in or between clouds. The scientific name for them at sunset is crepuscular rays. They are hornlike, but not actual horns. Here is how we should handle the verse in Habakkuk. (We are using common sense here… hopefully!)

Through this prayer-song, which spans the entire third chapter of his Book, the Prophet Habakkuk describes the glorious return of the LORD Jesus Christ. Let us draw our attention to verse 4 again: “And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand: and there was the hiding of his power.” This “brightness” is also referenced in 2 Thessalonians 2:8: “And then shall that Wicked [Antichrist] be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” An intense flashing of light—similar to lighting—will attend the Lord as He passes through Earth’s atmosphere. These “horns” radiating from His hand are generating at least some of that illumination. In Habakkuk 3:5, we learn of “burning coals went forth at his feet,” a glowing fire also accompanying Him during His Second Coming—referenced in the second Epistle to Thessalonica too.

Read the Apostle Paul’s words in the first chapter of 2 Thessalonians: “[6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: [9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; [10] When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.” This is the “wrath… fire… baptism with fire” of Matthew 3:7-12 and Luke 3:7-9,16-17.

Circa 700 B.C., Isaiah the Prophet also saw a glimpse of the LORD’S Second Coming in chapter 30: “[27] Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: [28] And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. [29] Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. [30] And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. [31] For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian [the Antichrist] be beaten down, which smote with a rod. [32] And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. [33] For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king [the Antichrist] it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.” Be sure to take note of the fire and the storm (lightning, wind, hail, et cetera).

Chapter 34 of Isaiah is another preview of Christ’s fiery return: “[8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch [derivative of petroleum], and the dust thereof into brimstone [sulfur], and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.” Actually, the LORD sets afire the oil and gas reservoirs of the Middle East—an extremely thorough cleansing of His land, Satan and all his defilements wiped away.

Lastly, we will look at what Moses told Israel shortly before he died, his sermon also anticipating Christ’s Second Coming. Deuteronomy chapter 33: “[1] And this is the blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death. [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. [3] Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words.”

Also see:
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» How are the Beast and the False Prophet “cast alive” into the Lake of Fire?

Can you explain “God speed” in 2 John?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN “GOD SPEED” IN 2 JOHN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In 2 John 10-11, the Holy Spirit writes: “[10] If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: [11] For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.” What is this “God speed?”

The larger context, of course, is found in verses 7-11: “[7] For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. [8] Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. [9] Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. [10] If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: [11] For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.”

“God speed” is a greeting which basically means, “May God prosper you on your missionary journey!” “Speed” is an archaic word derived from the Old English “spowan,” meaning “succeed, prosper.” (See our related study about “All hail” linked at the end of this article.) Obviously, it would not make sense for a Christian believer to endorse anti-Christian teaching. How absurd is the wish for God to prosper a false teacher’s ministry! The Apostle John is addressing Israel’s believing remnant during Daniel’s 70th Week, the time of the Antichrist, the false messiah.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son” (1 John 2:22). “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:3). “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 7).

Speaking of this time of Daniel’s 70th Week, Jesus Christ delivered His Olivet Discourse.

Matthew chapter 24: “[4] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…. [11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…. [23] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. [24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. [25] Behold, I have told you before.”

Mark chapter 13: “[5] And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: [6] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…. [21] And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: [22] For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. [23] But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”

Luke 21:8: “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”

It was on the basis of these verses the Apostle John later wrote what he did in his little epistles of 1 John, 2 John, and 3 John. Since the nation Israel rejected Jesus as Messiah/Christ during His earthly ministry 2,000 years ago, and persists in this unbelief even now is this the Dispensation of the Grace of God, the nation is headed for the culmination of Satan’s lie program.

See 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12: “[9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, [10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. [11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: [12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Also, Jesus Himself said of the Antichrist, “I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive” (John 5:43).

During Daniel’s 70th Week, or the Tribulation, or the reign of the Antichrist, these passages will be fulfilled. In other words, Israel in unbelief is still waiting for Messiah/Christ to come the first time—and that will set the nation up for supporting various “antichrists” or “false Christs” which will ultimately lead to the Antichrist. The followers of these corrupt men are they who are not to be bidden “God speed.” They are preaching, “The Antichrist is Christ/Messiah,” which is nothing but a false gospel. God certainly would not prosper Satan’s work.

Also see:
» What does “All hail” mean in Matthew 28:9?
» Why does Matthew 24:26 highlight the “desert” and the “secret chambers?”
» How can I most effectually deal with cultists who knock on my front door?

What does “pernicious” mean?

WHAT DOES “PERNICIOUS” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version uses “pernicious” only one time, in 2 Peter 2:2: “And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” What does this word mean? By learning it, how can we better grasp end-times prophecy?

Whatever its definition, “pernicious” is definitely situated in a bad context: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned [faked, pretend!] words make merchandise of you [take advantage of you for purposes of gain]: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

Although we could study all 22 chapters of the Revelation, or all 12 chapters of Daniel, or all 14 chapters of Zechariah, to gain a great deal of insight into what lies ahead for our planet; a quicker method would be to study the Olivet Discourse, the Lord Jesus’ end-times sermon delivered just prior to His crucifixion. It is recorded in Matthew chapters 24–25, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21.

Of particular interest to us in this study is what the Lord said about deception during the recommencement of the prophetic program (after our mystery program has ended):

  • Matthew chapter 24: “[4] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…. [11] And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many…. [23] Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. [24] For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. [25] Behold, I have told you before.”
  • Mark 13: “[5] And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: [6] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many…. [21] And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: [22] For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. [23] But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”
  • Luke 21:8: “And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.”

This deception is also featured in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12, particularly verses 9-12. While Jesus Christ is away at His Father’s right hand in Heaven—the period between His First Coming and Second Coming (but excluding our 2,000-year-long Age of Grace!)—“many” imposters will arise. All these men will claim to be Messiah or Christ, allowing apostate or unbelieving Israel a multiplicity of opportunities to follow someone other than Jesus the genuine Christ (cf. John 5:43). This mounting deception allows one ultimate Antichrist (fake Messiah) to take over Israel’s government.

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18). “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist(2 John 1:7). “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:1-4).

Having run through cross-references, we return to 2 Peter 2:1-3 and better understand the passage: “[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” Basically, all these false prophets have one message: someone other than Jesus is Christ! Not only will many preach this blasphemy, many will be misled because of it. Such deception will cement the Antichrist’s power in Israel and his influence over the nation. His satanic religion will ensnare the multitudes, influencing even the nations (Revelation 13:3,7,14). It is here in 2 Peter that we come across that interesting term “pernicious.”

“Pernicious” is based on a Latin word that means “destructive,” itself derived from a term for “ruin,” itself related to a word meaning “death.” In English, it is defined as: “destructive or harmful, especially in a subtle or gradual way.” In the Greek New Testament, it is “apoleia,” 8 times rendered “perdition” (John 17:12; Philippians 1:28; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 1 Timothy 6:9; Hebrews 10:39; 2 Peter 3:7; Revelation 17:8,11); five times “destruction” (Matthew 7:13; Romans 9:22; Philippians 3:19; 2 Peter 2:1; 2 Peter 3:16); two times “waste” (Matthew 26:8; Mark 14:4); once “damnable” (2 Peter 2:1); once “damnation” (2 Peter 2:1); once “die” (Acts 25:16); and once “perish” (Acts 8:20).

In fact, as you might have just noticed, “apoleia” is found four times in the three verses with which we opened our study: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable [“apoleia”] heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction [“apoleia”]. And many shall follow their pernicious [“apoleia”] ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation [“apoleia”] slumbereth not.” This is quite strong language! God does not appear to be happy with these people, does He?

The “pernicious ways” of unbelievers during the end times can be seen in Matthew 7:13, Acts 8:20, 1 Timothy 6:9, and Hebrews 10:39; their result is in 2 Peter 3:7,16; their doom, meeting the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-face as He returns in flaming fire to take vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)!

Also see:
» “In your patience possess ye your souls?”
» Does doctrine really matter?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» How many Bible teachers should someone have?
» What does “Anathema Maranatha” mean in 1 Corinthians 1
6:22?

“In your patience possess ye your souls?”

“IN YOUR PATIENCE POSSESS YE YOUR SOULS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Lord, in His renowned Olivet Discourse about end-times prophecy, announced in Luke 21:19: “In your patience possess ye your souls” (King James Bible). Various interpretations have been offered as touching this allegedly “obscure” declaration. Unfortunately, modern English translators, equally puzzled concerning how to properly render this verse, have not actually enlightened the average English reader either. As always, provided we handle it dispensationally, we have no problem.

We start by reading the context: “[7] And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? [8] And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. [9] But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. [10] Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: [11] And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.”

The Olivet Discourse describes what will happen while the Lord Jesus Christ is away in Heaven (between His First Coming and His Second Coming), what occurs at His Second Coming, and what follows His Second Coming. Matthew chapters 24–25, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21 should all be examined to see the big picture. As the curses of the Law of Moses are meted out on sinful Israel (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28), there is also the persecution and martyrdom of the Little Flock or Messianic Church (see Revelation 6:1-17, especially verses 9-11). Unbelieving Jews mistreat their believing Jewish brethren. The Antichrist oppresses, tortures, and beheads those in Israel who trust and support Jesus as Christ (see Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:15; Revelation 20:4). Keep reading the Olivet Discourse:

“[12] But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. [13] And it shall turn to you for a testimony. [14] Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: [15] For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. [16] And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. [17] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. [18] But there shall not an hair of your head perish. [19] In your patience possess ye your souls.

Again, how do they “possess [their] souls?” The statement is quite challenging to “scholars” of modern English versions—and even their readers. For example, the following re-translations have been offered: “You will win life,” “Save yourselves,” “Win your souls,” “You will live forever,” or “Gain your lives.” Here is one of the many places where the so-called “easier-to-read” contemporary versions do nothing but introduce additional confusion. Of course, individuals will then use such perversions to promote a works-oriented “Gospel:” “You need to strive to be saved, you should keep trying to merit God’s favor, you must persevere to be saved,” and so on. (The Calvinists and the Arminians particularly lean toward that idea of perseverance.)

Provided we are mindful of the context—Daniel’s 70th Week, not our Dispensation of Grace!—we will not have any difficulty leaving the verse as is: “In your patience possess ye your souls.” To amplify it, let us consider some contrasting passages also related to end-times events. Read Matthew 16:26: “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37 has it this way: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Finally, Luke 9:25 reads: “For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?” If you read the contexts of these verses—Matthew 16:27, Mark 8:38, and Luke 9:26—you will see how they are connected to Christ’s Second Coming. Therefore, they are cross-references to the Olivet Discourse. Obviously, to “possess” your soul would be the opposite of “lose” your soul. If we can establish exactly what it means to lose the soul, then we could deduce the meaning of possess the soul.

In the above verses, Christ taught His audience not to become so focused on this temporary world that they lost sight of eternal matters. To “lose the soul” is the idea of one’s soul permanently damned in the afterlife. Those who die in their trespasses and sins are fully given over to their everlasting effects—the soul decaying, deteriorating, breaking down. As the curse of sin decomposes our physical body into a horrid form, so it decays our spiritual body to irreversibly render it a monstrosity. Unless we are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, our eventual lot is to be cast into the Lake of Fire where we are fully given over to sin and its eternal punishment.

Satan’s evil world system—active on Earth since Genesis chapter 3 when Adam relinquished to Satan his God-given power over creation—will take on a special arrangement during the end-times. It will be personified in one man, the Antichrist, the counterfeit Messiah or fake Christ, one who claims to be God and seeks worship as such (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). Since Israel refused the genuine Messiah (Jesus) and nailed Him to Calvary’s cross in unbelief, she is punished with a false Messiah, a devious man she will be deceived into supporting (John 5:43; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12). There will be great economic rewards for following the Antichrist—and, conversely, severe economic penalties for declining him (Revelation 13:15-18). Psalm 37 should be consulted here.

In light of what we have read from the Bible thus far, 1 John 2:15-17 was penned: “[15] Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. [17] And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” Believing Israel, the Antichrist’s rejecters, are in verse 17. Draw your attention to verse 15 now. Those who “love the world” are the Antichrist’s followers (yet future from us, remember). Sin has conquered them. Once they worship the Antichrist, worship his image (idol), or receive his mark, they are damned. Revelation 14:9-11: “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.” Here is the loss of the soul about which we learned earlier!

Now, let us continue into verse 12, Israel’s believing remnant: “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Did you notice the clue to answering our original question? This “patience” is that of Luke 21:19!! Read the Luke passage again: “In your patience possess ye your souls.” That is, by the Little Flock patiently awaiting their true Messiah (Jesus’ Second Coming), thereby refusing to give in to the immense pressure to follow the Antichrist (worship him or be executed!), they are spared the loss of their souls in Hell and the Lake of Fire (places they will avoid entirely). If we want to see the opposite attitude, the materialistic or worldly outlook, we can study Matthew 6:19-24, Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-37, Luke 9:23-25, Luke 12:13-21, Luke 19:18-23, and Luke 21:34-36. All these verses furnish Jesus’ audience in Israel with information they need to survive Daniel’s 70th Week in faith. Any unbelievers in Israel are thereby warned about their eternal outcome, losing their souls in Hell and the Lake of Fire, if they fail to believe God’s Word to them (particularly Matthew through John, and Hebrews through Revelation).

Also see:
» What does “pernicious” mean?
» What is the “mark of the Beast?”
» Why is “666” the number of the Beast?
» “My kingdom is not of this world?”
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» “We are in the world, but not of the world?”

What are “prognosticators?”

WHAT ARE “PROGNOSTICATORS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Only once does the Authorized Version use the term “prognosticators,” in an ancient prophecy in Isaiah: “Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee” (47:13). The audience is Babylon (verses 1,5). JEHOVAH God is pronouncing His judgment on that evil city and the kingdom it heads. Historically, the prophecy was partially fulfilled in 536 B.C., when Persian King Cyrus the Great led the Medes and Persians to conquer Babylon (see Daniel 5:30-31). Prophetically, it awaits culmination at Christ’s Second Coming when the Lord Jesus destroys the Antichrist’s regime (Revelation chapters 17–18). See Babylon’s doom also described in Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51.

Babylon is personified as a goddess, boasting about how she is invincible, “the lady of kingdoms… I shall be a lady for ever” (Isaiah 47:5,7). The LORD speaks to her in quite graphic language: “[8] Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: [9] But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. [10] For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. [11] Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know. [12] Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail. [13] Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. [14] Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it. [15] Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, even thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.”

Babylon has her idolatry, her religious leaders, and her “wise men” (verses 12-13). One of these groups is “monthly prognosticators,” the subject of our inquiry. These are simply fortunetellers (“prognosticator” is from the Greek “pro” [“before”] and “gnosis” [“knowledge”]). Babylon’s arrogance, her “strength,” is in her pagan belief system. Essentially, the LORD thunders out, “Let us see if your spiritual leaders, your prophets, can help you foresee what devastation I will bring upon you!”

Also see:
» Can you explain prophetic “burdens?”
» Why does Daniel 5:25 say “Upharsin” but Daniel 5:28 say “Peres?”
» Were there really three wise men?

What does “sith” mean in Ezekiel 35:6?

WHAT DOES “SITH” MEAN IN EZEKIEL 35:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Ezekiel 35:6, the King James Bible reads: “Therefore, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will prepare thee unto blood, and blood shall pursue thee: sith thou hast not hated blood, even blood shall pursue thee.” What exactly is “sith?” Is that a mistranslation or typographical error?

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, our word “since” can be traced back to Middle English. More specifically, “since” is the contracted form of the obsolete word “sithence,” derived from “sithen” (meaning “thereupon, afterwards, ever since”). We should not think of “sith” as a mistranslation or spelling mistake; it is simply an archaic variant of “since.” Provided we have not adopted the prevalent, arrogant spirit of “scholarship”—“I know more about English than the English Bible does!”—that “old-fashioned” Authorized Version can afford us the opportunity to learn a new word, expand our vocabulary, and better appreciate our language. Of course, if that is too inconvenient, we can rather be lazy-minded, refuse to do any thinking or research, and write off something we do not understand as just an error.

Getting back to Ezekiel 35:6, the sense is this: “Mount Seir (Arabs, Edomites), sith [since] you have not hated blood or war, even blood or war will pursue you.” War never leaves the warmongers. Here is intense violence, JEHOVAH God destroying the Arab and Muslim world for their perpetual hatred toward the Jewish people. The Book of Obadiah goes into great detail here, although Ezekiel chapter 35 in its entirety, Jeremiah 49:7-22, and Amos 1:11-12 should be read in this regard too. At Christ’s Second Coming, all of Israel’s enemies will be judged and defeated. See our “10 toes” study linked below.

Also see:
» Who or what are the 10 “toes” or “horns” or “crowns” associated with the Antichrist?
» Can you explain “enmity?”
» What does “Lord of Sabaoth” mean?

What does “choler” mean?

WHAT DOES “CHOLER” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Our Authorized Version twice contains this word, both of which are in Daniel:

  • “And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand” (8:7).
  • “And the king of the south shall be moved with choler, and shall come forth and fight with him, even with the king of the north: and he shall set forth a great multitude; but the multitude shall be given into his hand” (11:11).

These two passages, if you read them in context, refer to a series of military conquests eventually leading up to the Antichrist. While there is a great deal of symbolism in Daniel, a careful study and comparison of its verses yield this underlying truth: as long as David’s throne is vacant and Israel is scattered amongst the Gentiles, the non-Jewish kings and empires ruling the Middle East will fight and overthrow one another through the centuries until the Son of God and the Son of David, Jesus Christ, finally returns to demolish them all and found His own kingdom in the Earth.

As touching the passage in chapter 8, there is a ram with two horns (verses 3-4). According to verse 20, this represents Media-Persia (ancient Iranians) and its two kings. Daniel also sees a he goat with a great horn (verse 5). Verse 21 says this is the king of Grecia (Greece), and its first king in particular (Alexander the Great). Greek Alexander the Great is “moved with choler against” Media-Persia (verse 7), ultimately conquering and superseding it 331 B.C. Daniel’s prophecy was correct, given some 200 years in advance!

Regarding the verse in chapter 11, in the future, beyond even our time, a “king of the south” (Egypt) will be “moved with choler” to attack a “king of the north” (Syria/Turkey) (verse 11). The king of the south is victorious in this battle. Eventually, north and south fight repeated wars until the Antichrist arises out of the north (verses 15-21, the Antichrist in verse 21).

Let us go back to that idea of “choler.” We know the context is hostility, for it drives these rulers to fight with each other. That context clue should help us to arrive at the correct definition. Indeed, the term is actually taken from the Latin, with late Latin employing it in the sense of anger, hot-temperedness, or easy provocation. The word “irascible” adequately summarizes this temperament or personality.

Also see:
» Can you explain “enmity?”

» What is a “battlement?”
» How will God “chasten” the seed of David?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?