Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

How shall Elijah “restore all things?”

HOW SHALL ELIJAH “RESTORE ALL THINGS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things (Matthew 17:11). “And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought” (Mark 9:12). In what sense will Elijah “restore all things?”

Our best option in interpreting this is to appeal to the original Old Testament passage being quoted, the final two verses of Malachi chapter 4: “[5] Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: [6] And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

The Word of God, if permitted, would have brought societal unity in the nation Israel. However, the Jews allowed spiritual error—false religion (pagan idolatry)—to creep in and it destroyed them from the inside out. In Malachi’s day, some 400 years prior to Christ’s earthly ministry, Jewish fathers and children are at odds with each other. Micah chapter 7, written over three centuries before Malachi, says: “[5] Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide: keep the doors of thy mouth from her that lieth in thy bosom. [6] For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother, the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.”

Christ quoted Micah in the Book of Matthew, chapter 10, when He commissioned His 12 Apostles: “[21] And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. [22] And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. [23] But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. [24] The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. [25] It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?….

“[32] Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. [33] But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. [34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

As touching John the Baptist’s ministry, an angel of the LORD told his father Zacharias in Luke chapter 1: “[16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” John the Baptist conducting his ministry “in the spirit and power of Elias [Elijah]” meant he, like Elijah eight centuries earlier, would be fighting against Israel’s apostate leadership (see 1 Kings chapter 17–2 Kings chapter 2). As a believing remnant was formed because of Elijah’s message, so a Little Flock of believers would be created in Israel when John preached. John’s converts would be ready to accept Jesus Christ.

Combining all the foregoing information, we take Elijah “restoring all things” as meaning thus: (1) the Holy Spirit will use his ministry to “recover” and proclaim truth that has been pushed aside because of false teaching, and (2) the Holy Spirit will reestablish the spiritual and social stability in Israel lost because of said false teaching. The truth unites people; it is error that divides. Unfortunately, a majority in Israel will retain their error, which will further divide Jewish families. This was true in Elijah’s day, it was applicable during John the Baptist’s time, and it will be true even beyond our dispensation leading up to Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew chapter 10).

Revelation chapter 11 prophesies of “two witnesses” who will have ministries during the reign of the Antichrist. As the Lord Jesus Himself confirmed, Elijah will be one of these men who will precede His Second Coming (cf. Malachi 4:5-6 and Matthew 17:11). Therefore, as Elijah of old preached sound Bible doctrine that unified Jews spiritually, as John the Baptist proclaimed sound Bible doctrine that united Jews spiritually, so Elijah (who never physically died) will be brought back to Earth in the future to preach sound Bible doctrine that unifies Jews spiritually. This believing remnant in Israel formed will then make way for Messiah Jesus to return and usher His earthly kingdom.

Also see:
» Was John the Baptist really Elijah?
» How could John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ?
» As Christians, should we hate our parents?

How are the days of Matthew 24:22 “shortened?”

HOW ARE THE DAYS OF MATTHEW 24:22 “SHORTENED?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read in Matthew chapter 24: “[21] For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [22] And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.”

This chapter outlines the events leading up to Christ’s Second Coming. Verses 4-14 of Matthew chapter 24 are the first half of Daniel’s 70th Week (see Daniel 9:24-27—a “week” here equals seven years, like our English word “dozen” means 12). Verses 15-22 are the midpoint. Verse 23 onward is the second half, leading up to the Second Coming itself (verses 30-31, for example). For more information on timing, note these quick facts: Revelation 11:2 speaks of 42 months or 1260 days (3½ years), whereas Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 13:5 concern another 42 months (3½ years). Overall, these are the final seven years of Daniel’s prophecy, that which will occur after our Dispensation of Grace runs its course and we the Church the Body of Christ have been removed from Earth. Remember, the 490 years of Daniel chapter 9 concern Israel and Jerusalem (Daniel 9:24)—not us!

We understand these seven years are halved—divided in two. For several reasons (beyond the scope of this study), Divine wrath progressively intensifies and conditions increasingly deteriorate. Revelation chapters 6–18 cover all seven years, with the Antichrist arising in chapter 6 and Jesus Christ returning in chapter 19. Read these passages in order, and notice the escalating judgment and suffering! There will be great wars, various horrific diseases, astronomical anomalies, devastating earthquakes, carnivorous animals eating people, evil spirits tormenting human society, extreme drought and famine, Israel’s believers in Jesus Christ being imprisoned and executed for refusing to follow Antichrist, and numerous other crises. Matthew 24:21 summarizes the second half of Daniel’s 70th Week, in Jesus’ words, as “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Those concluding 42 months are particularly noteworthy. We see them in terms of years in Revelation 12:14: “a time [1] and times [+2], and half a time [+½].

“Shortened” in Matthew 24:21-22 is not to be taken in the sense of reducing a day to 23 hours instead of its usual 24, subtracting years from the seven, removing days from months, making a month less than four weeks, or anything of the sort. Otherwise, we start “readjusting” the entire 490-year period predicted in Daniel 9:24, redefining these “weeks,” and increasingly losing their precision with every modification. If the Bible speaks of “a thousand two hundred and threescore [60] days” (Revelation 11:3), individual days are important here and thus cannot be deleted.

Here is how we are to understand Matthew 24:21-22: “[21] For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [22] And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” The severity of Daniel’s 70th Week becomes so great, the loss of life inflates to such an extent during its last half, that if God does not restrict it to a mere 42 months, no one would be left alive! In order for “flesh” (physical bodies) to be “saved” (delivered, surviving), He limits that latter half to 3½ years. An exact schedule has been established, so Daniel’s 70th Week cannot and will not go on indefinitely. If Almighty God permitted those dangerous days to go beyond that allotted time frame, no flesh would be saved. Again, the issue here is not soul salvation (justification unto eternal life, forgiveness of sins). It is physical salvation—a deliverance of flesh-and-blood bodies. Consequently, members of Israel’s Little Flock (“the elect”) are alive and waiting for Christ to come back for them!

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:
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

How will God “chasten” the seed of David?

HOW WILL GOD “CHASTEN” THE SEED OF DAVID?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Every Bible student should be (is?) familiar with the two great covenants JEHOVAH God made with the nation Israel. The first and foremost agreement is the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Israel’s second major covenant is the Davidic Covenant, given to King David roughly 1,000 years later. The Bible says in 2 Samuel chapter 7: “[12] And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. [13] He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. [14] I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: [15] But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. [16] And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.”

Matthew 1:1 teaches both covenants are fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” We compare this to Romans 1:3 and Galatians 3:16, which we quote respectively. “Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;….” “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” However, there is a puzzling feature of the Davidic Covenant—and perhaps you noticed it back in 2 Samuel. According to verse 14, the God of the Bible promised to “chasten” (punish, discipline) the seed of David because of his (that is, the seed’s) iniquity (wrongdoing, sin). Would that make Jesus Christ a sinner then? What exactly is the “chastening” as touching the Davidic Covenant? In this fascinating study, this is the enigma we aim to unravel.

We turn now to Hebrews chapter 1, where the Scriptures again apply the Davidic Covenant to Jesus Christ: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; [3] Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; [4] Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. [5] For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?”

Verse 5 directly quotes 2 Samuel 7:14: “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men.” It is quite unexpected to see the issue of chastening of Jesus Christ, is it not? What did He do wrong? How would He be guilty of iniquity (wrongdoing)? Yet, here is what we must understand. Types and antitypes do not match 100 percent. Although 2 Samuel chapter 7 surely does eventually look forward to Jesus Christ, just as Hebrews chapter 1 says, we need to view the Davidic Covenant as also describing the condition of his son Solomon’s throne leading up to Christ’s accession. That is, we should think of the Davidic Covenant as having a short-term fulfillment and a long-term fulfillment. After all, there are many such “dual-prophecy” verses in the Bible regarding innumerable other topics—one verse applying to two men separated by millennia, a single verse fulfilled by two events occurring centuries apart, et cetera.

Let us look at David’s seed in the near-term. To say the least, it is a dreadful tale. Solomon was indeed David’s biological son, his God-ordained heir, and the builder of God’s House (namely, the Temple in Jerusalem). You can read about his birth in 2 Samuel 12:24-25. His anointing, reign, and construction projects are found in 1 Kings chapters 1–8. Upon David’s demise, King Solomon governed all 12 tribes of Israel for a total of 40 years (1 Kings 11:42-43). Yet, Solomon was a man like us—a sinner. Toward the latter half of his reign, his 1,000 (!) heathen wives turned his heart from the LORD and he became increasingly entrenched in their pagan idolatry (1 Kings chapter 11). Therefore, the LORD revealed to him how his idolatry would cause Him to initiate the second course of judgment or chastisement. In the Mosaic Law, this curse would be God “break[ing] the pride of [Israel’s] power” (Leviticus 26:19). Israel’s political might or governmental authority would be destabilized.

We read in 1 Kings chapter 11: “[28] And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour: and Solomon seeing the young man that he was industrious, he made him ruler over all the charge of the house of Joseph. [29] And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way; and he had clad himself with a new garment; and they two were alone in the field: [30] And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him, and rent it in twelve pieces: [31] And he said to Jeroboam, Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom out of the hand of Solomon, and will give ten tribes to thee: [32] (But he shall have one tribe for my servant David’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel: ) [33] Because that they have forsaken me, and have worshipped Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites, and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon, and have not walked in my ways, to do that which is right in mine eyes, and to keep my statutes and my judgments, as did David his father.

“[34] Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes: [35] But I will take the kingdom out of his son’s hand, and will give it unto thee, even ten tribes. [36] And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there. [37] And I will take thee, and thou shalt reign according to all that thy soul desireth, and shalt be king over Israel. [38] And it shall be, if thou wilt hearken unto all that I command thee, and wilt walk in my ways, and do that is right in my sight, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as David my servant did; that I will be with thee, and build thee a sure house, as I built for David, and will give Israel unto thee. [39] And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever.”

Once Solomon expires at the close of chapter 11, in chapter 12, his son Rehoboam and his servant Jeroboam divide his kingdom. Rehoboam takes the kingdom of Judah—the two southern tribes, Judah and Benjamin—whereas Jeroboam rules over the kingdom of Israel (the northern 10 tribes). Exactly as God prophesied, Judah is loyal to the Davidic dynasty, the family connected to the Davidic Covenant. However, as the centuries pass, David’s descendants assuming the throne alternate between good and evil. Rehoboam himself is idolatrous (1 Kings chapters 12–14), one of the many kings of Judah who embrace heathen religion. Manasseh is most wicked of all, reigning in Jerusalem for an astonishing, abysmal 55 years (2 Kings chapters 20–21). It is his idolatry that greatly vexes JEHOVAH God, ultimately bringing about the Babylonians destroying Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple (2 Kings 24:1-4)!

Judah’s final king, Zedekiah (David’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson), is the subject of the following prophecy: “[25] And thou, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end, [26] Thus saith the Lord GOD; Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same: exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. [27] I will overturn, overturn, overturn, it: and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him” (Ezekiel 21:25-27). David’s throne was lost right here. We see now the apex of David’s seed being chastened. God took the crown from his family and gave that governmental authority to the Gentiles (non-Jews). The Babylonians, the first group, invaded Jerusalem thrice and finally burned it to the ground circa 586 B.C. (2 Kings chapters 24–25; 2 Chronicles chapter 36). Solomon’s Temple was demolished too. Daniel chapter 2, among other passages, foretells the Gentile empires who will rule the world now that Israel has politically fallen. Looking back on history, we can see the Babylonians came, followed by the Medes and Persians, followed by the Greeks and Romans.

It looks terrible at this point, does it not? Yet, the LORD knew all that disaster would come to pass because of sin—and He made a provision for it. Let us now look at David’s seed in the long-term. If you will remember, the Davidic Covenant involved a son of David that would reign “for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). Obviously, this looks beyond Solomon (whose reign was merely 40 years) or any other “short-term” son of David we just discussed. This eternal Son of David will reclaim the throne once lost. It is none other but the Lord Jesus Christ, whose right that throne is (Ezekiel 21:27). The good news is that, “But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee” (2 Samuel 7:15). While God permanently took the kingdom from David’s predecessor Saul and his seed because of his evils (1 Samuel 13:8-14), the kingdom would never be taken from David’s house forever. The Mosaic Law would be broken, and sin would result in the curse of political ruin, but God in His faithfulness would never utterly destroy David’s seed. “And I will for this afflict the seed of David, but not for ever(1 Kings 11:39).

We go now to Luke 1:31-33: “[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. [32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: [33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” This was the Angel Gabriel speaking to Mary the mother of Jesus. Again, we see the Davidic Covenant fulfilled in the long-term. It has an eternal aspect, looking far, far, far beyond Solomon and all his sinful sons.

David’s seed is perpetuated not through his son Solomon but another son, Nathan. Solomon carries the legal right whereas Nathan carries the blood right. Jeconiah, Solomon’s great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson, was so wicked God refused to have any of his sons sit on David’s throne (Jeremiah 22:24-30). This disqualifies Solomon’s bloodline from fulfilling the Davidic Covenant. Nevertheless, the LORD God in His wisdom passes David’s bloodline through another son, Nathan. Whereas Jesus’ stepfather Joseph is David’s descendant through Jeconiah and Solomon (Matthew 1:6,11,16), Jesus’ biological mother Mary is David’s descendant through Nathan (Luke 3:23,31). Through both Joseph (legal) and Mary (biological), Jesus Christ is David’s son.

Let us go back to the Davidic Covenant, which says, “He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever” (2 Samuel 7:13). While this “house” is Solomon’s Temple in the short-term, the long-term view is the house of Israel. Jesus Christ will form a group of people—the “Little Flock” (Luke 12:32), Israel’s believing remnant—who will be living temples of the God of Abraham and His kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9-10). Hebrews chapter 3 says to this point: “[4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

CONCLUSION

The “chastening” of the wicked seed of David as promised in the Davidic Covenant does not refer to Jesus Christ being punished for any wrongdoing (He was sinless, after all!). Rather, it is the chastisement of the sons of David prior to Jesus Christ sitting on that throne. David’s throne was greatly weakened because of the pagan idolatry of his son Solomon. Solomon’s seed was ultimately cut off from the throne because of Jeconiah’s idolatry. David’s throne was finally lost because of Zedekiah’s idolatry. Today, tonight, there is no throne of David in the land of Palestine. It has been over 25 centuries since a son of David has sat on a throne in Jerusalem. Gentiles have been dominating Israel in her land all during this, “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).

Yet, Daniel chapter 2 prophesies: “[44] And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. [45] Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Here is Father God giving the kingdoms of this world over to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Revelation 11:15). Yes, Christ will take up the dominion David once had before Solomon and his sons lost it (cf. Ezekiel 21:25-27). Go back to Hebrews chapter 1, the eternal fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.

By the way, Solomon’s wise, righteous, and prosperous reign—that is, before he grew apostate—was a glimpse or preview of this other but greater Son of David. Read of Solomon’s amazing, world-renowned kingdom in 1 Kings chapters 3 and 4. Here is a type of Jesus Christ’s reign yet future from us. Christ will repeat Solomon’s righteous works… but on a much grander scale! The worldwide rule of Christ will allow Him to also fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant, blessing all the nations with the light and Word of the one true God!

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:
» Is “the Divine right of kings” a Scriptural teaching?
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Could you explain, “I will give you the sure mercies of David?”

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?