Category Archives: ESCHATOLOGY (END TIMES) / PROPHECY

Why is “666” the number of the Beast?

WHY IS “666” THE NUMBER OF THE BEAST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The following Bible passage is known far and wide: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 13:16-18). With a “score” being equivalent to 20, the verse furnishes us with the following mathematical formula: 600 + 60 + 6 = 666. But, what is so significant about “666?” Why is this the number—and not “665,” “2,” or “999,” for example? Exactly what role does “666” play in the Antichrist’s arrival?

CONFUSION! (CONFUSION! CONFUSION!)

Ironically (and most regrettably), as touching Bible topics, culture and vain religion have impacted our thinking far more than the Holy Bible itself. This is certainly true of Bible prophecy, and especially the “number of the Beast.” (Another highly misunderstood topic along these lines is “the mark of the Beast.” For a treatment of that concept, please refer to our companion article linked at the end of this study.)

In smugness and lightheartedness, mockers of Christianity tattoo “666” on their bodies, write it in their online posts, use it flippantly in speech, and so on. Some interpret the phrase “the number of his name” as really suggesting the number of letters in his name. Decades ago, for instance, former United States President Ronald Wilson Reagan (count the letters in his full name) was suspected as being the Antichrist. Such speculations are made about ancient Roman Emperor Nero too. Counting letters in someone’s name to see if he may be the Antichrist has led to such wild speculations that it would be best for us not to go that route. It is as profitable as the rumors spread by those who feared the date June 6, 2006 (06/06/06), still dread getting a “666” address or telephone number, avoid labeling airline flights and bills of legislation as “666,” and so on.

Superstition and alarm are expected where Bible ignorance abounds and faith lacks. People often do not study Scripture itself, but they are quite familiar with books written about Scripture. Therefore, the elaborate and endless conjectures of unsaved theologians and other “experts” have taken precedence over the actual Bible text. Despite abounding commentary though, Bible understanding is quite shallow. If Holy Writ speaks of “666,” and it certainly does, then we in this study insist on closing our ears and eyes to the vain speculations of men and are become resolute in opening them to the Bible’s self-interpretation. Far better we have eternal Scripture verses supporting our view than relying on the opinions of mortal, fallible men such as ourselves!

CLARITY! (CLARITY! CLARITY!)

The best method of interpreting the Bible is to find related verses found in the Bible. As noted earlier, this will prove far more useful than appealing to “scholarship,” church tradition, history, hunches, et cetera. Varying opinions and assumptions mean nothing in light of God’s eternal Word. They will only lead to more darkness (and there is more than enough of that already!). In the ensuing pages, we aim to be as simple as possible about a topic people have needlessly complicated. Again, the key is to let the Scriptures themselves lay the basis for our understanding.

Genesis 1:31 is the first time where the number 6 appears in Scripture. This passage sets the stage and attitude of the Bible concerning the number 6. Read for yourself: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

“[29] And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. [30] And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. [31] And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”

The LORD God created man on the sixth day, so 6 is the Bible’s number for man. Three, on the other hand, is the number of God (think of the Trinity/Godhead—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). That human connotation of the number 6 in Scripture is apparent when we read Revelation 13:18: “…for it is the number of a man. The Antichrist is the personification or embodiment of Satan’s policy of evil. He is, in one being, everything that Satan intends to accomplish in creation. The Antichrist is the perfect example of what it is like to live exclusively for self—apart from the words and influence of the one true God. He “does his own thing,” and he behaves as though he is “his own authority.”

Second Thessalonians chapter 2 speaks of Antichrist’s arrival: “[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Here is exactly what Lucifer intended to do when he was transformed into Satan (Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19). Lucifer endeavored to counterfeit God in order to receive worship that belonged only to God (cf. Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Six is the number of the Beast’s “name,” with “name” carrying the idea of character or authority. Again, the Beast is the pinnacle of natural-man wisdom. We see his perverted philosophies underscored throughout the Book of Ecclesiastes. The Holy Spirit warns us of worldly wisdom in the first three chapters of 1 Corinthians. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8). The evil world system that began in Genesis chapter 3 (before us), and will give rise to the Antichrist (beyond us), it is here with us even now. We had better be sure to understand God’s Word rightly divided, or that evil world system will deceive us!

One supernatural characteristic of the Bible is its ability to preview or typify future events. There are various historical characters (“types”) scattered throughout Scripture—at least 18—whose qualities and behaviors provide us with hints as to what the Antichrist (“antitype”) will be like. We want to focus on three on them, and note well their relation to the number “6.”

Giant Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17: “[4] And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [6 cubits = 9 feet = 2.7 meters; 1 span = 9 inches = 0.23 meters] [total height = 9 feet 9 inches = 2.93 meters]. [5] And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. [6] And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. [7] And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him.” (Notice how “six” appears here. Goliath is a type or picture of Antichrist—he is an oppressor, challenger, and ridiculer of Israel. Check Revelation 12:1-6 and Revelation 13:1-18.)

King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter 3: “[1] Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits [60 cubits = 90 feet = 27 meters], and the breadth thereof six cubits [9 feet = 2.7 meters]: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. [2] Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. [3] Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. [4] Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, [5] That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:….” (Notice how the number “six” emerges here—right down to the number of musical instruments in verse 5! Nebuchadnezzar is another picture or type of Antichrist—someone who persecutes Israel’s believing remnant for refusing his false religious system and its image/idol. See Revelation 13:15-18.)

King Solomon in 1 Kings chapter 10: “[14] Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was six hundred threescore and six talents of gold, [15] Beside that he had of the merchantmen, and of the traffick of the spice merchants, and of all the kings of Arabia, and of the governors of the country. [16] And king Solomon made two hundred targets of beaten gold: six hundred shekels of gold went to one target. [17] And he made three hundred shields of beaten gold; three pound of gold went to one shield: and the king put them in the house of the forest of Lebanon. [18] Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold. [19] The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays. [20] And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.” (The number “six” pops up throughout in reference to now-apostate King Solomon, another picture of Antichrist. Like Solomon, Antichrist will be king of Israel. Notice in verse 14—“six hundred threescore and six” [666]! Solomon constructs a great throne of ivory, counterfeiting God’s great white throne in Revelation 20:11.)

CONCLUSION

Scripture uses the number 6 as man’s number. The forthcoming Antichrist is the pinnacle of man’s life apart from the Creator God. His self-will and self-worship will align perfectly with sinful man’s fallen nature and Satan’s original goal. He will rule and pervert God’s people Israel (like Solomon), he will tyrannize and corrupt her with false religion (like Nebuchadnezzar), and he will taunt and challenge her (like Goliath). This is as anti-God as one can get. It is therefore wholly appropriate that the number of the Beast’s name be “666” (Revelation 13:18). However, it is not necessary to imagine the actual number “666” will appear on everything related to the Antichrist. Revelation 13:17 says his followers will have that number, but in what sense they “have” it Scripture is unclear. They do not have to have it on or under their skin, for example—that would be the Mark of the Beast (see our related study linked at the end of this article).

In its most basic sense, according to Revelation 13:18, someone having “666” is advertising an alliance with sinful man as he operates without Divine life and wisdom. With the Antichrist and his “666” association, it will be Satan’s last stand and sin’s final exaltation before the Lord Jesus Christ returns most violently to destroy it and set up God’s eternal kingdom in creation! If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we need not be concerned with the Antichrist/Beast, his image, his mark, his name, or his number. They are for another dispensation, for the purging of the nation Israel, and have absolutely nothing to do with us the Church the Body of Christ. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, show that we in the mystery program are totally isolated from that time period. In fact, 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 and Romans chapters 9–11 were written to show we do not belong in the prophetic program of which Antichrist is a part!

Friend, have you noticed the spiritual profit here? That is because we have used the Bible to interpret itself. We did not appeal to church tradition or scholarly consensus. There was no philosophy or speculation. We simply compared verses—and what immeasurable spiritual light has flooded our minds and hearts! Such is the result when we set aside the opinions of men and let Scripture speak for itself. The Holy Spirit gave us insight here because we desired to give His words a fair hearing. Unsaved people cannot do this because they lack the Spirit of God who wrote the Bible—and they also refuse to understand it anyway! Their answer to unraveling Bible enigmas is to use everything but the Bible in order to guess possible meanings. Worldly wisdom is of no use in understanding the things of God. Human viewpoint will lead us to additional ignorance. We have considered such speculations, and found them profitless. Therefore, we have chosen to take our stand on plain and simple verses.

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT “616?” (HERE IS THE IDLE SPECULATION WE ALREADY WARNED ABOUT!)

Based on a few ancient witnesses (Papyrus 115, Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, and so on), some suppose “616” is a possible alternative to “666.” We austerely reject that view, not only because it is a departure from the proper text (Greek Textus Receptus and its resultant King James Bible) but also because “616” has no Scriptural precedence.

Studying what the Bible says about the Antichrist/Beast, we expect him to be man-oriented (a “humanist,” if you please) to the fullest degree. After all, “6” is man’s number in Scripture. Would not “666” be much more man-oriented than “616?” Which reading would you thus believe to be the correct one? Surely, “666!” Satan, no doubt, encourages such a corruption of the Bible text and resulting confusion. It covers up what is really going on with his chief man in the Earth. Once the Antichrist does show up, there is a perverted “bible” to deceive people. They will avoid “616” (ignorant of the fact they should be avoiding “666.” Consequently, they will likely fall for the lesser lie (false text) which will make them vulnerable to embracing the greater lie (Antichrist).

With “6” appearing not once but thrice (“3” being the number of God—namely, the Trinity/Godhead, remember), that signifies man is endeavoring to replace God with himself. As it turns out, that is exactly what Antichrist seeks to do as well! Let us go back to what the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2: “[3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (Again, the Antichrist/Beast is “the man of sin” because he is the embodiment of sin, Satan’s lie program; he is “the son of perdition” in that damnation has given birth to him, and he is heading to an eternal doom. Draw your attention to the fact that he, like Satan, seeks to be worshipped as God—Matthew 4:8-10 and Luke 4:5-8.)

In Thessalonians, Paul was drawing from what the Prophet Daniel had already laid out 600 years earlier in chapter 11 of his Book: “[36] And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. [37] Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

Like Satan who is empowering him, like Satan who enticed man to rebel against God back in the Garden of Eden, the Antichrist is an egotist, a narcissist who seeks the worship that belongs only to the Creator God. Romans 1:25 amply summarizes any defection from the God of Creation (but here it speaks of the nations seeking idols at the Tower of Babel in Genesis chapter 11): “Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” No better number could fit all this but that “number of the Beast”666!”

Unbelievers will fall for the Antichrist, just as 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 predicted. Their penalty will be eternal Hellfire! Read Revelation chapter 14: “[9] 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, [10] 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: [11] 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.”

Also see:
» What is “the mark of the Beast?”
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

What is “the mark of the Beast?”

WHAT IS “THE MARK OF THE BEAST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Revelation 13:16-18 says, “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

CONFUSION! (CONFUSION! CONFUSION!)

For many decades, prophecy preachers have harped on the idea of “the mark of the Beast.” It is one of their favorite topics to use to $ell their printed, video, and audio media (another topic is “666, the number of the Beast”—for more info, see our companion article linked at the end of this study). The standard explanation is that it is a personal identification number (PIN) on a microchip implanted in the right hand or forehead. Others thereby cry out against our increasing dependence on computers because such machines are leading us to a “cashless” and “checkless” economy. Credit and debit cards, Social Security numbers, lasers, barcodes, supercomputers, and the like are seen as paving the way to the Antichrist! Honestly, friends, this is nothing more than idle speculation. It leads to great fear and overwhelming paranoia. Soon, each and every activity will be introduced as, “The Antichrist is soon to appear, so do not be deceived!”

How awful the Bible ignorance is—even among professing Christians. They have little to know idea what the Scriptures actually teach. A clear Gospel they cannot preach. Christian living they do not understand. Bible prophecy they enjoy speculating over but have no solid footing in verses. Yet, they can quote “Christian” “best-selling” books, movies, church traditions, hunches, and so on. Take the topic of “the mark of the Beast,” for example.

The Seventh-Day Adventists (SDA), noteworthy for observing the Saturday Sabbath, believe going to church on Sunday is “the mark of the Beast!” They allege that the Roman Catholic Church—what they refer to as “the Beast”—was erroneous in instituting Sunday worship (Rome calls Sunday “the Christian Sabbath”). SDAs argue God want us to worshipping on the original Sabbath (which indeed is Saturday). Frankly, both groups are confused. They both fail to “rightly divide the word of the truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In the Dispensation of Grace, we are under no Sabbath-Day commandment whatsoever (whether Saturday/Sabbath or Sunday!). Sabbath-Day keeping is associated with the Mosaic Law, of which we have no part (see Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4:9-11).

Here is another instance of confusion. Since some hold to a “revived Roman Empire” view of the Antichrist’s government, the introduction of the Euro 20 years back sparked renewed interest in a one-world currency. It was speculated that if the Antichrist were to arise from Western Europe, then the Euro could possibly be a catalyst to bring or actually be “the mark of the Beast.” Of course, the membership of the European Union is now well beyond the 10 members needed to correlate to the 10 nations under the Antichrist (see Revelation 13:1). “The revived Roman Empire” position—while highly popular—does not agree with Daniel 8:20-23. The 10 nations under the Antichrist’s power are not European but rather Middle Eastern. We find them, Israel’s enemies, enumerated in Psalm 83:1-8. Europe is not there!!! The Euro has nothing to do with the “mark of the Beast!”

Friends, if we look at the Bible alone—and not insert popular opinions, hunches, and “Christian” bestsellers—then we will arrive at solid ground concerning “the mark of the Beast.” We will let Scripture interpret itself.

CLARITY! (CLARITY! CLARITY!)

The Bible speaks of a man named “Antichrist” (1 John 2:18,22; 1 John 4:3; 2 John 7). He is against Christ because he seeks to replace (or counterfeit/imitate) Christ. In other words, he challenges Jesus Christ (the true Messiah) by pretending to be Him! Since Israel refused the genuine Messiah and hung Him on Calvary’s cross, God will let her have her way (a false Messiah). The Lord Jesus therefore claimed, “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).

Second Thessalonians 2:9-12 complements this: “[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.”

The Antichrist’s reign is seven years total (the “week” of years in Daniel 9:27). It is halved into two 42-month periods (see Revelation 13:5). The second 3½ years will be far worse. They are described beginning in Revelation chapter 13: “[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.”

Draw your attention to the above similes. The Antichrist is like a beast (bestial or savage and cruel in character). He resembles a leopard, a bear, and a lion. Read what Scripture says in Jeremiah: “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (13:23). A leopard’s spots resemble crude rings. (Technically, the adjective is “rosettes,” rose-like patterns.) A similar outline is made when a woman wearing lipstick kisses a surface. If we study the Scriptures, we will see a correlation between the Antichrist and kisses. Let us deal with the “kisses” issue first and then we will return to the matter of the “mark.”

King David’s son Absalom used kisses to win the Jews over to his side as a way to usurp his father’s throne. Second Samuel chapter 15 reports: “[4] Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! [5] And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him. [6] And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.” Absalom is a type or preview of the Antichrist. His attempt to overthrow Israel’s true king (David) parallels Antichrist stealing David’s throne from Israel’s ultimate King (Jesus Christ)!

Judas Iscariot, sharing the Antichrist’s title “the son of perdition” (John 17:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:3) betrayed Jesus Christ with a kiss. Turn to Matthew chapter 26 to learn: “[47] And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. [48] Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. [49] And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him” (cf. Mark 14:43-45; Luke 22:47-48). Luke records Jesus inquiring, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” Judas Iscariot is another preview of the Antichrist.

Turning back to Revelation chapter 13, we continue reading: “[16] And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: [17] And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. [18] Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Antichrist will be notorious for instituting a “mark”and we are careful to notice the mark and the number are two separate matters. The mark is not “666,” as often taught; rather, the number is 666. The mark is an identifying feature placed in the right hand or in the forehead. When we think of what has gone before in our study—especially the verses—then the “mark” would be identical to the leopard’s spots. This is not unfathomable at all, is it? Even now, we are familiar with “marks” placed on the forehead for religious purposes. Think of the cross of ashes applied to a Roman Catholic’s brow on “Ash Wednesday.” Or, consider the “bindi,” that prominent red dot between the eyes of a Hindu woman. It is thus not surprising that the Antichrist will employ a similar spot to promote his false religious system. It is further noteworthy that that colossal religious-political-economic system, described in Revelation chapters 17 and 18, is identical to Roman Catholicism in several dozen points.

Why are the right hand and the forehead so important here? The right hand is a symbol of service or action; they find purpose and strength in serving the Antichrist. The forehead represents the mind; they have given themselves over to do the Antichrist’s will. They proudly advertise their “religiosity,” that they are members of his satanic church. One religious authority says of modern forehead marks, “By these marks we know what a person believes, and therefore know how to begin conversations.” This will be no different with the Antichrist. His followers will not be ashamed of their devil worship; their defiance against the one true God will be there for all to see. The “mark” is like the branding of an animal. It signifies ownership, submission to a higher authority. The Greek word is “charagma,” rendered “graven” in Acts 17:29. Otherwise, “charagma” is the King James term for “mark” (you may compare Revelation 13:16; Revelation 14:9,11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 16:2; Revelation 19:20; and Revelation 20:4).

It is also interesting that God, in the Mosaic Law, commanded the nation Israel to remember His Word by applying it as a “sign” on their forehead (between the eyes) or on their hand (Exodus 13:8-9,16; Deuteronomy 6:3-8; Deuteronomy 11:18-21)! These are the “phylacteries” of Matthew 23:5 (see our study linked at the end of this article). Satan will use the mark of the Antichrist to mock God’s Word, as he will have his own people flaunting their alliance with him!

Since Messianic Jews will accept Jesus as Messiah and reject Antichrist, they will not accept the mark of the Beast. Without that mark, the Bible says they will be able to neither buy nor sell (as we already saw in Revelation 13:16-18 at the beginning of this study). This will obviously result in great economic hardships. Any Messianic Jews who refuse to worship the Antichrist, reject his image and his mark, are beheaded (Revelation 20:4). However, God promises them bodily resurrection into His Kingdom so it does not matter what sinful man does to them!!!

CONCLUSION

Prophecy preachers have been preying upon the ignorant Christian public (and general public) for many decades now. While we give some the benefit of the doubt, there is certainly an economic incentive to writing books on prophecy. It is an interesting topic, everybody wants to say something about it, yet they are doing nothing more than using news items and haphazardly pairing them with verses (they have to look credible, you know!!). Rather than speculating, and yanking verses from contexts, we would much rather let the Bible interpret itself. We do not need to sensationalize, generate paranoia, confuse people.

The “mark of the Beast” is a religious blot, placed on the forehead or right hand (Revelation 13:16). Someone may object to the language here, but this author believes too much is made of the argument in the forehead” and in the right hand” versus on the forehead” and on the right hand.” He thinks we could better spend our time focusing on more important facets of this topic (namely, comparing verses to see the nature of the mark itself). There is no demand that it be under the skin (the microchip idea is speculation). The significances of the forehead and right hand are these people have given their minds and “strong hands” over to the Antichrist’s will and work. That mark advertises their allegiance to him and his evil religion. It will be compulsory for economic survival once instituted (verse 17). Moreover, the “mark of the Beast” is related to the number “666” (verse 18)—the mark and number should never be confused!!

Since the Antichrist has a leopard symbol, we cannot help but see his mark being related to the kiss-like spots of the leopard (Jeremiah 13:23). His religion has an identifiable emblem or sign. It reminds us of the “Ash Wednesday” black spot and the Hindu bindi on the forehead. The kisses of Absalom and Judas Iscariot—and resulting rosettes (like leopard spots)—point to how the Antichrist will operate with respect to craftiness and disloyalty.

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?

What is the extent of Antichrist’s reign and religion? While he seeks worldwide dominion, Jesus’ Second Coming prevents it. The Antichrist will certainly exercise great governmental power over the Middle East, and particularly Israel and 10 of her neighboring enemy nations. However, there is no indication in the Bible that he will manage to overcome the United States (if it still exists at the time!). All those speculators running around and telling us in America to “watch for this” or “watch for that” with respect to preparing for the arrival of the Antichrist, they are spouting hysteria that has no biblical basis.

Will we as Christians be brought before the Antichrist to accept or reject his mark? No! The Church the Body of Christ has no relation to the Antichrist. We have not rejected Jesus Christ; the Antichrist is designed to separate Israel’s believers and her unbelievers in her prophetic program not us in our mystery program (go back to John 5:43). We will have been raptured (resurrected) long before Antichrist appears, and we will be reigning in the heavenly places by the time he arises. Again, the Antichrist is meant to separate believers and unbelievers with respect to the nation Israel. If we have come to faith in Christ now, we have already made our decision to follow God. We do not need to make another decision: the Antichrist’s religion identifies the apostates (false Jews) and segregates the true Jews (followers of Jesus). Unbelievers will fall for the Antichrist, just as 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 predicted. Their penalty will be eternal Hellfire!

Read Revelation chapter 14: “[9] 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, [10] 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: [11] 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.”

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

Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE A JEW OR A GENTILE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Moses says Israel must choose a king from their own brethren as opposed to a non-Jew. Surely, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Deuteronomy 17:14-15: “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” There is a strict prohibition as appointing a “stranger” or Gentile.

Furthermore, it is quite unfathomable to think the Jews would look for a deliverer in the form of a Gentile. Throughout the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, raises up and sends Jews as deliverers of Israel—Moses, Samson, King David, Gideon, Mordecai and Esther, Deborah, Jephthah, King Saul, and so on. All were formidable leaders of Israel when the nation needed to be rescued from Gentile oppression. The Antichrist will promise Israel peace and prosperity (see Daniel 11:21,32). Surely, in keeping with the aforementioned Old Testament typology, the Antichrist will be a Jew.

Also, notice Deuteronomy chapter 18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; [16] According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Moses speaks of “a Prophet like unto me.” This man is an individual “of the [Jewish] brethren” and “from among the [Jewish] brethren.” On the basis of Acts 3:19-26, we Christians conclude this was a Messianic promise. Israel is looking for a special someone like Moses (a Jew) and someone from among their own nationality (a Jew). As Christians, we know this to be the Lord Jesus Christ (“Messiah” is Hebrew for “Anointed one;” “Christ” is the Greek equivalent; cf. Psalm 2:2, John 1:41, and Acts 4:26). Today’s Jews overall, however, reject the New Testament as divine and authoritative. They believe their messiah has never come before: hence, they await him (but it will really be the counterfeit messiah, Antichrist).

Satan, the chief enemy of the God of the Bible, always endeavors to counterfeit his Creator’s work so he can be worshipped instead. “I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:14 quotes him as declaring. Since Jesus Christ is a Jew, Satan’s “messiah” (Antichrist) will mimic Him as closely as possible. The Antichrist would need to resemble Jesus Christ as many ways as necessary to pass him off as genuine. It will surely be a time of great deception, unparalleled imitation, including “power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Daniel 11:36-37 adds this about the Antichrist: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” “The God of his fathers”—notice the capital “G”—refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This title could refer only to a Jew.

Lastly, the Bible refers to the Antichrist as “the Assyrian.” Assyria was located in present Syria, eastern Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and western Iran.

  • Isaiah 10:24: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.”
  • Isaiah 14:25: “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”
  • Isaiah 30:31:“For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” (The cross-reference is 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)
  • Isaiah 31:8: “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.”
  • Micah 5:5-6: “[5] And this man [the Messiah, Jesus Christ—verses 2 and 4] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. [6] And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

CONCLUSION

According to Scripture, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Moreover, he will have some connection to ancient Assyria (modern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Iran). Will Assyria be his birthplace? Or where he will have his citizenship? Maybe it will be the origin of his political career? We cannot say anything other than he is an “Assyrian Jew.” Such prophecies obscure to us in the Dispensation of Grace will indubitably be revealed to those to whom the Antichrist’s reign pertains. That should suffice us.

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Are those Gentiles in Revelation 7:9?

“So shall we ever be with the Lord?”

“SO SHALL WE EVER BE WITH THE LORD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

A recurrent idea among Christians is that the Church the Body of Christ will return with the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Various and sundry verses are offered as support. However, a careful examination of the Holy Scriptures demonstrates this to be a total misunderstanding of both the purpose of the Body and the objective of the Second Coming. (For more info, please see our related studies linked at the end of this article.)

Years ago, when this author began coming to the knowledge of the truth, better understanding the Word of God rightly divided, he struggled to make sense of the above matter. Were we returning with Christ at His Second Coming, as he had been led to believe for so many years? First Thessalonians 4:17 nagged him: “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” What should we make of the phrase, “so shall we ever be with the Lord?” Will we be physically “with” the Lord Jesus when He steps onto the Mount of Olives at His Second Coming? Will we be reigning “with” Him on Earth in Israel’s Davidic kingdom? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Like most individuals, this author assumed the “and so shall we ever be with the Lord” clause meant that we must be in close proximity to Christ at all times once we are raptured. After He takes us into Heaven in that split second of time (1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), we will never again leave His side. Wherever He is, we will always be beside Him. Is that what “with the Lord” means in 1 Thessalonians 4:17? No, as this explanation is contrary to many verses in Paul’s writings (we will get to those shortly). First, we need to review the basics.

Creation consists of “heaven and earth” (Genesis 1:1). Offices govern both realms—thrones, dominions, principalities, powers, mights, and every name that is named (Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16). Satan has usurped and corrupted these offices but Father God will bring them all under His authority again through His Son Jesus Christ. In “the dispensation of the fulness of times,” our Heavenly Father shall gather all governments under one Head, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:9-10). He has thus formed the nation Israel to be His earthly people, and the Church the Body of Christ to be His heavenly people. It is one overall kingdom, functioning in two realms, for one eternal purpose! The Lord Jesus Christ will be glorified forever—regardless of the angels and the humans who refuse to participate and accomplish it.

We the Church the Body of Christ have a heavenly destiny not an earthly destiny. Our realm of blessings and influence is the heavenly places. Observe the following:

  • 2 Corinthians 5:1: “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
  • Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:….”
  • Ephesians 1:20,22-23: “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,…. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
  • Ephesians 2:6: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:….”
  • Ephesians 3:10: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,….”
  • Philippians 3:20: “For our conversation [lifestyle reflecting citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:….”
  • Colossians 1:5: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;…..”
  • Colossians 1:16,20: “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:…. And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:18: “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Consider all the above verses. We are installed to serve in the heavenly places prior to the Second Coming (in perfect accordance with Revelation 12:7-12—Satan and his angels evicted from the second heaven to make room for us there). Therefore, it certainly would not be appropriate for us to use one verse (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to teach that we will come down with Christ to reign on Earth with Him. So, what of “so shall we ever be with the Lord?” In what sense are we “with” Him? Let us quickly survey verses that show us how the English (King James) Bible employs “with” in sentences.

“WITH” (AS IN CLOSE PHYSICAL PROXIMITY, EXISTING BESIDE ANOTHER, ADJACENT OR NEIGHBORING)

  • Acts 8:31: “And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.”
  • Galatians 2:3: “But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised:….”
  • Matthew 9:10: “And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.” (A similar idea is found in Matthew 14:9 and Acts 11:3.)
  • Matthew 4:21: “And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.”
  • Acts 11:12: “And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:….”

(You may also consult Acts 20:14, 2 Timothy 4:11, John 13:18, Acts 9:7, Acts 9:19, Matthew 26:23, Mark 14:18-20, Acts 23:19, Philemon 13, and Acts 27:2.)

The above verses contain probably the most frequent definition of how we use the word “with.” Considering all that has gone before, however, there must be another sense 1 Thessalonians 4:17 is using the word. Our destiny is the heavenly places, recall.

“WITH” (ON THE SAME TEAM, JOINED IN ONE CONDITION, HAVING A SHARED PURPOSE)

  • Acts 16:34: “And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.”
  • Romans 1:12: “That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.”
  • John 13:8: “Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”
  • Philippians 2:18: “For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me.”
  • Luke 11:23: “He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth.” Matthew 12:30: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”
  • Luke 1:58: “And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.”
  • Romans 15:30: “Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;….”
  • 1 Corinthians 12:26: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.”
  • Galatians 2:20: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The idea in these verses is connecting to others around a common goal or experience—rejoicing with others, mourning with others, praying with others, trusting in God with others, and so on. Physical distance is not under consideration. We can do these things with others around the world, though they are quite far from us bodily. If we look at the Bible’s testimony as a whole, this seems to be the most probable notion being communicated by “with” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

CONCLUSION

First Thessalonians 4:17 says, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” The word “with” here is not to be understood in the sense of sitting face-to-face, or side-by-side with another. Scripture also employs the term as united around a mutual action or experience. There is solidarity or camaraderie, teammates achieving one end, fellowshipping as concerning one matter.

In Revelation 3:21, the Lord Jesus says to Israel, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Certainly, Christ is not speaking of one or two thrones in which He, the Father, and all believing Jews will sit around each other. Close physical proximity is not the issue—that would be most absurd. The idea rather is one of unity in reigning (as in, shared authority or mutual power). Redeemed Israelites are extensions of His earthly authority, just as we (the Body of Christ) are extensions of His heavenly authority. For us to be “with” Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:17) is not about us returning to Earth, but rather sharing His governmental influence in creation—namely, the heavenly places—as Israel will share His influence in the offices of Earth’s government.

One passage to summarize with now is 2 Timothy 2:10-13: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” The “reigning with him” is defined in chapter 4 and verse 18 as entering “his heavenly kingdom.” (Notice the idea of teammates throughout these verses. There is no hint of next-door neighbors but individuals associating around a joint conclusion.)

The idea in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 “with the Lord” means we are on His team, ruling and reigning with Him, but in what realm? Paul’s epistles always speak of our (Body of Christ) realm as the heavenly kingdom. In the ages to come, the Lord will be exercising governmental authority and we will be too. It is all one enormous kingdom, spanning between Heaven and Earth, all to exalt Jesus Christ the Lord of glory. Lastly, remember, we can only be so close to Him physically. Millions of believers from the last 20 centuries will be in Heaven. We cannot all be within arm’s reach of Him, and yet we will be “with Him.” Surely, something beyond physical closeness is under consideration in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

ATTENTION: We have released our new seven-hour Bible study series—“The Feasts of JEHOVAH.” These lessons are approximately 65 minutes each, totaling 7 1/2 hours. They are quite advanced, as they build on our five-lesson series “Israel’s Covenants” I taught a month ago. It is best to watch all seven videos in order, as they are progressive. May you be edified, encouraged, and enlightened! Enjoy!! Praise our Lord Jesus Christ! Click here to watch.

Also see:
» Will we return with Jesus Christ at His Second Coming?
» Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?
» Can you compare and contrast the prophetic program and the mystery program?

Why did Jesus Christ quote Deuteronomy during His temptations

WHY DID JESUS CHRIST QUOTE DEUTERONOMY DURING HIS TEMPTATIONS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Did you ever realize that Jesus was quoting Deuteronomy during His temptations? Why was He using this Book and this Book alone? Why not appeal to something in Psalms, or Proverbs (passages frequently quoted today in difficult times)? What was so special about Deuteronomy that the Lord Jesus used its passages to ward off Satan’s antics?

Matthew chapter 4: “[1] Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. [2] And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. [3] And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. [4] But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Verse 4 is quoting Deuteronomy 8:3: “And he [the LORD] humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.”

Matthew chapter 4 continued: “[5] Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, [6] And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. [7] Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” Verse 7 is from Deuteronomy 6:16: “Ye shall not tempt the LORD your God, as ye tempted him in Massah.”

Matthew chapter 4: “[8] Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; [9] And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. [10] Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Verse 10 is taken from Deuteronomy 6:13: “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.”

Matthew chapter 4, verse 11: “Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.”

In these temptations, also recorded in Luke 4:1-13, Jesus Christ is identifying with His people, Israel’s believing remnant. Deuteronomy records Israel just as they are about to enter the Promised Land under Joshua. Likewise, Israel’s believing remnant, during Daniel’s 70th Week, will soon enter the land. They will be re-gathered into their land at Christ’s Second Coming (Matthew 24:30-31).

Hebrews chapter 4 says of temptations: “[14] Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”

Satan’s evil world system, as it tempted Jesus Christ before He began His earthly ministry, will test Israel’s Little Flock once our Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture. Since Jesus Christ quoted applicable Scripture to overcome His time of testing, they are urged to follow His ensample in their period of testing. He left them a pattern, and just as He was faithful during those challenging times, they can rely on Him to get them through their trial. As He was faithful to Father God, He can enable them to be dedicated to Him (Father). This is “the trial of [their] faith” of 1 Peter 1:7.

First John chapter 2 says to those Jewish believers in the future: “[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. [18] 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.” Verse 16 adequately summarizes all temptations—including those of Christ, Israel, and us! “The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.”

John’s audience exists in Israel’s program before the Antichrist comes (verse 18). They will be alive when he does appear, and will live as he reigns. The Holy Spirit through John has provided information in 1 John so the Jews can distinguish believers and unbelievers during the end times. They will be able to tell who are God’s people, true Jews, and who are Satan’s counterfeits, unsaved Jews (see 1 John 2:21-23, 1 John 3:6-15, 1 John 4:1-4, Revelation 2:9, Revelation 3:9; cf. Matthew 13:25-30,37-50).

Also see:
» What is the “temptation” in 1 Corinthians 10:13?
» What does 1 John 1:8 mean, “We deceive ourselves?”
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?

Why does Peter start with Samuel in Acts 3:24?

WHY DOES PETER START WITH SAMUEL IN ACTS 3:24?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Why does Peter start with Samuel in Acts 3:24? “Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.”

Firstly (and obviously), Samuel was a prophet. Turn to 1 Samuel 3:20, “And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.” Also, 1 Chronicles 29:29: “Now the acts of David the king, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of Samuel the seer, and in the book of Nathan the prophet, and in the book of Gad the seer,….” (“Seer” is an archaic term for “prophet”—1 Samuel 9:9.) Paul preached in Acts 13:20: “And after that he [God] gave unto them [Israel] judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.”

While it is true that there were prophets prior to Samuel—God using men prior to Samuel to speak for Him (Adam, Noah, Enoch, Moses, Joshua, et cetera)—Samuel was the first to hold the office of the prophet. As seen in Acts 13:20, Samuel was the last of the Israel’s judges (he appeared after the Book of Judges closed). He anointed Israel’s first two kings, Saul and David. David is a preview of Jesus Christ and His reign.

Secondly, Samuel is the first prophet in the order of the prophets. That is, he begins the prophets as in the Bible phrase “the law and the prophets.” (“The Law” is Moses’ writings, the Bible’s first five Books, Genesis through Malachi. The Books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth follow; 1 and 2 Samuel come after. Samuel, obviously, appears in 1 Samuel. Joshua, Judges, and Ruth are overwhelmingly history. Samuel is history but also conveys a great deal of prophecy, especially as related to Israel’s Messiah-King Jesus.)

  • Matthew 7:12: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”
  • Matthew 22:40: “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
  • Luke 16:16: “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.”
  • John 1:45: “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
  • Acts 13:15: “And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
  • Romans 3:21: “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;….”

Acts 3:24-26: “[24] Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. [25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” Indeed, “the Law and the Prophets” announced Messiah’s eventual arrival in Israel.

Also see:
» Who are the “prophets” of Romans 16:26?
» Are there modern-day apostles and prophets?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?

How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?

HOW MANY ANGELS WILL BE WITH JESUS CHRIST WHEN HE RETURNS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

While the exact number is unknown to us, the Bible still provides us clues as to how many angels will accompany the Lord Jesus Christ at His Second Coming.

  • 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.”
  • Jude 14-15: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”

At minimum, “ten thousands” is 20,000 (or 10,000 times two). To aid our comprehension, God the Holy Spirit in His written Word groups these angelic soldiers into multiples of 10,000. Just how high that number goes, though, is anyone’s guess. For example, there could be millions of angels in the army that Jesus Christ will lead at His Second Coming. Whatever the exact number, these are “the armies of heaven” of Revelation 19:14. Also pertinent to our study is 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.” There are at least 20,000 “chariots of God,” which would indicate there are at least 20,000 angels to drive those chariots! And, just remember, one angel slew 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in a single night (2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 37:36)!!

By the way, the word “saints” confuses people in this context. It is not a reference to Christians here but rather the set-apart, or sanctified, nature of God’s angels. They are the holy angels, “holy” being synonymous with “sanctified,” as opposed to Satan and his angels (cf. Matthew 25:41; Revelation 12:7,9).

  • Matthew 25:41: “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:….”
  • Revelation 14:10: “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:….”
  • 1 Timothy 5:21: “I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.”
  • Matthew 16:27: “For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
  • Matthew 25:31: “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:….”
  • Mark 8:38: “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
  • Luke 9:26: “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

You will notice that we answered the question as related to the Second Coming (that is, for Israel). Now, we will reply to it as concerning Christ’s coming for us (the Church the Body of Christ) at the Rapture. Only one angel is said to be present at the Rapture, and he is an “archangel” or head-angel (presumably this is Michael, as he is the only “archangel” identified in Scripture—see Jude 9). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18).

Also see:
» Do people become angels when they die?
» Who are the “saints” in 1 Thessalonians 3:13?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?