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Teddy

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Teddy last won the day on April 9 2017

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  1. Teddy

    The Blood

    Quite true. Eph. 4:13-19. Heb. 10:19-20.
  2. Daniel 7: A New Perspective (Part X) by TLD Speaking of Time God has indicated that the tribulation of the saints lasts for a time, times, and half time, or for 42 months (Dan. 7:25). If we take this time frame literally, then the whole tribulation period lasts only three and half years. But such an undertaking clashes with reality. If we interpret the vision of Daniel in Ethiopian politics terms, then we have to interpret the time frame symbolically as we did with the rest of the vision. Since we already know that the Ethiopian Revolution has lasted more than 3.5 years, we must look for a symbolic meaning of not only the 1,260 prophetic dates, but also equally for the other two prophetic dates, namely 1,290 and 1,335 days associated with the duration of the calamitous period. One clue for the symbolic understand of times will be to recognize that Scripture singles out certain numbers to use them as length of time, but with profound prophetic and symbolic intent. The following numbers when used as length of time (either used as days or years), mean something prophetic: 3, 7, 12, and 40. The numbers 7 and 12 are used as objective measures of time. Seven (and its multiples) is the standard measure for the week and month cycles. Seven is associated with the lunar cycle. On the other hand, twelve, which is associated with the solar cycle, is used to measure the diurnal and annual cycles. (For example, see Gen. 1:14 where God established the celestial bodies to mark seasons and times). Moreover, God also uses what we call heaps of time to establish some religious/ spiritual order. For example, based on the idea of seven-days based week cycle, He also establishes the seven-year cycle, as well as the 49-years (jubilee) cycle (Lev. 25). However, God has used an undefined time measure to inform Daniel about the duration of the tribulation period. God stated that a “time” with its multiples will make the span of the impious tyrannical system. “The holy people will be delivered into his hands for a time, times and half a time.” (Dan 7:25) So, what does God’s prophetic “time” span mean here? How long is a “time’? To begin with, good candidates for the “time” span include: three, seven, twelve, and forty years. Given what has happened in Ethiopia since 1974, I decide to take “time” to refer to 12 years, Therefore, a “time” is a prophetic time capsule made up of 12 years. Hence, the calculation of the duration of the calamitous period, becomes. A time = 12 years Two times = 24 years Half-time = 6 years For a total of 42 years. Hence, counting 42 years from 1974 gets us to 2016, which by itself is a significant year in Ethiopian politics. The Revolution turned 42 years in 2016. The year 2016 is important in Ethiopian politics as it is in November that year that we’ve started to see serious protests emerging against the EPRDF regime. It is these protests which finally culminated in overthrowing the Marxist/ Stalinist dispensation which has dominated Ethiopian politics since 1974. The protests gave hope that the eclipse that has enveloped the country was finally to lift. We equally recognize that the atheist dispensation did not end in 2016 and to this Scripture gives additional hint. For example, in Daniel 12, we read how God extends the completion time at least twice. "From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” (Dan. 12:11-12, NIV) That is, we are given two new end-points, prophetic landmarks, namely 1,290 days and 1,335 days. If we apply again the same formula where we take each prophetic day to mean 12-years, then 1,290-days equals 43 years and 1,335 days equals 44.5 years. When applied to Ethiopian events (starting our counting from 1974 from the year of the Ethiopian revolution), these two dates take us up to 2017 and 2018, respectively. But do these two-year markers then match any significant change in Ethiopian politics? Do the 43 and 44.5-year mark dates (i.e., counting from the 1974 Ethiopian Revolution) mean anything? The year 2017 is significant because the anti-regime protests had become widespread and sustained. The year 2017 made clear that the EPRDF days were numbered. The second phase of Ethiopia’s Marxist/ Stalinist Revolution (i.e., the EPRDF dispensation) looked to wind down. What happened in the 44.5-years mark, meaning in mid-2018? Something quite prophetic and remarkable has happened in Ethiopia in mid-2018 which gained worldwide attention and respect. It was in April 2018 that the 2.5-years old protests crested achieving radical change. The leadership changed at the top. The coming of Dr. Abiy Ahmad (who is a born-again Christian) to the helm of power, in many eyes, is God’s miracle. Abiy’s rise to power inaugurated a new day in Ethiopian politics. It became clear that communism/ atheism was out of the Ethiopian palace finally. Hence, we can conclude that 1,260 days initiated, the 1,290 days sustained, and the 1,335 culminated the regime change protest movement. Or, we can equally argue the 1,290-days and 1,335-days mark points are included for another reason. We can argue saying that the momentous tribulation train does not come to an immediate stop. Mechanical engineering requires that a train with high momentum must apply the brakes slowly lest the train derails. Similarly, God slowly winds down the Marxist/ Stalinist train slowly, gradually. He needs two or three additional years to bring everything to a halt and system change. Hence, the same deceleration principle applies to the prophetic-spiritual world. But does, the 44.5-years mark (mid-2018) mean total and final rest? No, because again some time must elapse as indicated by the angel who spoke to Daniel: "As for you, go your way till the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days you will rise to receive your allotted inheritance." (Dan. 12:13, NIV) It is just like this. Once an airplane has touched down, it must run on the runway for a few miles before it stops. Even after the airplane has stopped, passengers must wait until the motor (blades) stop rotating. Only then do the doors open and passengers leave the airplane. As there are stages of ending a long flight, in similar ways God’s long tribulation journey, apparently, follows the same principle. The series of dates about the the duration of the tribulation (i.e., 1,260, 1,290, and 1,335, etc.) are intended to intimate such idea: Things do not return to normal right away. . The idea of gradual deceleration of calamity also gets support from one story in the Scriptures. Regarding, the Flood (Gen. 8), once the rains has stopped, we are informed that the flood waters receded gradually. The Holy Spirit intentionally marks out milestone dates and the series of waiting days Noah has to do before he disembarked from the boat. "The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible. After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark" (Gen. 3-6, NIV) Noah's times foreshadows the sinful culture of the last days and the Flood prefigures the wrath of God which will overtake the earth as the result (Luk. 17). Similarly, the effect of the tribulation will recede step by step, and not immediately. End Notes: [Note 1: Throughout the Bible we read how God uses three days (similarly, the third day) as symbol of a divine sanctioned waiting period. We have either to wait, journey, or prepare for three days before God perfects His plan. The period is used as a sign of our obedience in waiting upon God. For example, see Gen. 22:4; Joshua 1:11, 3:2; Esther 4:16; Luke 13:32; Matt. 12:40; Rev. 11:11.] [Note 2: Time capsules (heaps) are human inventions used to measure time more conveniently and to organize life easily. Some of the most common ones include the following: 1 day = 12 (24) hours 1 week = 7 days 1 month = 30 days 1 year = 12 months Decade = 10 years Century = 100 years Millennium = 1,000 years [Dedication: To my beloved mother Etete Desta. RIP] Glory be to God. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx © TLD, 2017 - 2055. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Duplication and sharing of this writing is welcomed as long as the complete message and website information for Teddy L. Desta, PhD is included. Copyright © 2016
  3. Daniel 7: A New Perspective (Part IX) by TLD Application of the Visions If Daniel's visions are political and that they can be understood and interpreted meaningfully in modern-day political terms, then it requires us to look around the world to find a country whose politics answers to the inherent symbolism given in Daniel 7 and in the prophet's other visions. Here I will use Ethiopian politics to exemplify Daniel's visions. I will use Ethiopian politics beginning its revolution in 1973/74 to show how it closely parallels (the interpretations I have provided) the visions of Daniel. The Turbulent Political Waters First, the sea whipped up by the storm and eventually manifesting four major (political) animals matches the Ethiopian situation in 1973/74 period where there was a revolutionary situation brewing and major political forces tearing at the long-standing monarchy and feudal system. Next I match the major Ethiopian political players with Daniel's beasts and what their imagery represents. Lion: The lion in the vision represents the Solomonic dynasty that ruled Ethiopia for long centuries until its overthrow by the Ethiopian revolutionary forces. The lion in particular represents the last emperor, Haile-Selassie, who through what is now known in history through the 1974 “creeping coup”, step-by-step was stripped of his powers and majesty. At the end the majestic king fell into the hands of his guardians, the soldiers. The Emperor, once looked upon as a divine figure, with deep awe and respect, now through a carefully planned coup was stripped of his majesty and power. The Lion of Judah, frail and weak, was reduced into an obedient pet in the hands of his captors. He was handled and treated as a mere human being, and no longer as the anointed one of God, the most revered Lion of Judah. Like a circus lion, tamed and cowed, the Emperor took orders from his one-time obedient soldiers. Does the picture (imagery) and what happened to Emperor Haile-Selassie match to the description and interpretation of the lion vision of Daniel. I say, "yes". Bear: The bear has two main features, namely it drags itself one side and second it devours much flesh. I identify the imagery of the bear with the northern secessionist/ regional movements which were active in particular in the norther part of the country, such as the Eritrean liberation fronts such as the ELF and the EPLF, and also another regional group, the TPLF. These groups were one-sided. They were regional or ethnic in their base and operation. So when Daniel said the bear lifted itself up on one side, he is referring to such regional forces. Secondly, these groups were responsible for a long-running regional insurgency which killed and maimed hundreds thousands of people. Daniel saw the bear with three ribs in its mouth to represent how rapacious the political animal it represents would become. Does the picture (imagery) and activities of the bear match to that of the northern regional and secessionist movements which were a major political force in Ethiopia, particularly after 1973/74? I say, "yes". Leopard: The leopard, with its four head and four wings, is matched with a political movement with main characteristics with the following traits. The movement will be brainy, likely made up of mainly intellectuals. The political force will be quick in its activities. Its operations will not take time to emerge and mature. Third, its influence will sweep the four corners. Fourth, its followers will be drawn from the four quarters; it is be diverse (mottled). Fifth, the political force will use ambush (terrorist) tactics. Because of these peculiar characteristics, I identify the leopard with one political force which came into prominence during the Ethiopian revolution. This is the Ethiopian Student Movement inspired urban-based Marxist groups, such as EPRP (Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Party) and AESM (All-Ethiopia Socialist Movement), etc. Such organizations were made up of educated elite. They were nation-wide in their outreach. They recruited irrespective of ethnicity, religion, and gender, etc. Particularly, EPRP and AESM engaged in urban warfare. Until they were destroyed by the fourth beast (i.e., Derg or military junta), EPRP and AESM were important power-brokers in Ethiopian politics. EPRP's tactics of political assassination which drew the wrath of the the fourth beast (i.e., the Derg) in the form of the Red Terror. Fourth Beast: The fourth ghastly beast, for its features and actions, matches the other main role player in the Ethiopian revolutionary politics. I find the the Ethiopian army which gave rise to the armed forces coordinating committee (i.e., Derg) to match the nature and actions of of the fourth political beast. If the beast in general is the army, and then its ten horns represent the several strongmen it gave rise to, namely the Derg. The ten horns represent the 109-member Derg which was made up of mostly obscure junior officers and non-commissioned soldiers. Eventually it was the Derg which emerged the most powerful force in post-1974 Ethiopian politics, removing the monarch from power and squashing all its political opponents. The Derg was repressive, intolerant, and cruel. To fulfill the vision, the Derg manifested series of power struggles. Several leaders of the Derg were eliminated through bloody purges. Finally, one despicable (non-noble, or insignificant) officer, Mengistu Haile-Mariam (MHM) emerged as the de facto head of the Derg and of Ethiopia. Major Mengistu removed from power, one after the other, General Aman Mikael Andom and General Teferi Benti the successive chairpersons of the Derg (junta) before himself assumed the chairmanship. Mengistu also killed Major Atenafu Abate who was the initial leader and inspiration behind the Derg. Major Atenafu made way for Mengistu to serve as first vice-chairperson of the Derg, under the Generals Andom and Teferi. Eventually, under the leadership of MHM, the Derg adopted communism as state ideology, making the Soviet Union and North Korea as its models of state craft and policy-making. Answering the descriptions of the little horn found in Daniel chapters 7, 8, and 11, Mengistu was intelligent, cunning, hard-headed, haughty, impious, militaristic, and merciless. His economic policies were socialist/ communist, as he was distributive to a high degree. Under him the country was literally brought down to its knees – the socialistic economic policies bankrupted the country. His agricultural policies devastated the country. His militaristic approach made the Ethiopian civil war in the north worse. Mengistu mercilessly eliminated his opponents. At the hands of the Derg, thousands of Ethiopians lost their lives, were thrown into prison for many years, and other millions left the country for good in exile. Because of its communist ideology, the Derg put protestant churches under severe restrictions.[23] Many Pentecostal churches were shuttered, and most were turned into government offices or community service centers. Many believers were incarcerated or left the country in search of religious freedom. God judged the Derg through the fire of war. God completely dismantled and destroyed the Derg in 1991, when the northern “bear” (I.e., the EPLF and TPLF alliance) defeated the Derg’s army and took power in Addis Ababa in May 1991. Other political organizations were let operate in the country, but the Derg was totally destroyed. "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.” (Dan 7:12) A Diversion to Daniel 2 The iron-legs regime is succeeded by the the ten toes-&-iron-and-clay made feet. The branching or multiple toes are indicative of political or regime fragmentation. The iron and clay mix predicts a political alliance between strong and weak organizations. In short, the regime which succeeds the iron-type dictatorial regime will be fragmented and fractious, with quite strong elements and extremely weak components as well. The iron leg in the man-image in Daniel 2 matches the dictatorial behavior of the Derg. But what succeeds the "iron leg" is the fractious metal-clay mix feet. The fragmented and fractious feet as an image of a regime nicely match the picture of the Ethiopia People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) which replaced the Derg in 1991. Hence, what Daniel sees about the "feet" fragmented-and-fractious regime easily fits the description of the EPRDF. "Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. The feet of the image were partly iron and partly clay, which suggests that this last kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. It will be a fractious regime. It will be a fractious regime. Just as you saw iron mixed with clay, so they will mix themselves with human offspring. Furthermore, they won't remain together, just as iron doesn't mix with clay." (Daniel 2: 41-43, NIV) Similarly, the EPRDF is a federation of ethnically based political parties. Among all ethnic based parties which make up the EPRDF, it is only the TPLF which has the iron quality because of its military strength and political domination, while all its allied parties are mere clay for their relative weaknesses. Moreover, the EPRDF has set up Ethiopia as an ethnic federations, with 9 ethnic regions. Because of ethnic based federal system, the country has become quite fractious and unstable. Daniel intimates that mix between the iron and clay represents the seeds of men (v. 43) The seeds of men today we know as races or ethnic groups. It is in such a political atmosphere where ethnic-based federalism prevails that God sends His heavenly kingdom. "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever." (Daniel 2:44, NIV) That means the EPRDF is barely visible in Chapter 7 (also not in Chapters 8 and 11). This suggests that the EPRDF is not anti-church and blasphemous as the fourth beast, therefore gets less of God's attention. However, God has given us enough clue that the fourth beast will not be immediately succeeded by the Kingdom of God. God has indicated in Daniel 2 that first there has to be an iron-clay mixture regime, which we have identified with the ethnic-based politics and federalism. Hence, based on this new line of interpretation then it is right to expect the political Kingdom of God to make its appearance about any time soon. [To be Continued} Glory be to God ============================================================================================================================================= © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  4. Daniel Chapter 7: A New Perspective (Part VIII) by TLD (2003) [Continued] To summarize, the fourth political force: First, possesses formidable power, beyond any comparison to what the other three political beasts possess. Second, expresses itself through a select body (i.e., the ten horns). Third, instills dread and horror, and acts ruthlessly. Fourth, is susceptible to power struggle. There will be power struggle among the ten horns, which means the leaders in this political organization will fight for dominance. Fifth, causes the persecution and destruction we customarily associate with the events of the last days. Basically, the imagery of the fourth beast implies a political force which is armed to its teeth (literally and figuratively). It makes policies that cause wide destruction. It emerges winner mainly through terror and brute strength. Several modern-day political movements can fit this billing, particularly those which combine politics with arms. Political movements such the Nazi, Fascist, and communist-based parties easily meet this description. Equally, a military junta can qualify as a candidate to be named the fourth beast. [15] Overall speaking, the key idea behind the fourth beast is dictatorial power that creates terror and wide spread suppression and destruction. Such negative power is often exercised through the military and organs of suppression. This entails that the fourth beast-type party or state that has the guns to instill fear, has the secret service agencies to spy on all, and newly minted laws to suppress opponents and terrorize citizens. Given its anti-God (atheistic) nature it will possess policies which persecute the church. Its militaristic and economic policies ultimately destroy the country. The Fourth Beast as a Junta Whenever the military takes upon one of the extreme ideologies (such as fascism or communism), itself in the form of a junta (or, a revolutionary command council, etc.) takes over political power, it makes for the most grotesque and terrifying political form. This is because by its very nature the military is not fit for politics. Its structure, purpose, and culture are not designed to make it effectively work as a political party or allow it to govern a state in humanely. Therefore, often military regimes suppress political and civic organizations, instill fear through emergency rules, and suspend the people’s rights permanently, etc. The military is a dreadful, awe-inspiring fighting machine. But it is organized and trained to have these effects only on the enemies of the nation and not on citizens. As the result, whenever the military becomes part of politics, politics gets skewed. The balance of power shifts in favor of those with guns and natural freedoms disappear almost overnight. As the military brass (i.e., horns) govern by force, and not by popular consent, they spread fear and terror among other (normal) political organizations and the general public. Because of its authoritarian streak (i.e., iron discipline and unbending will), the military finds it easy to break up political and civic organizations and subdue them. As history attests, some of the first edicts a military government issues are to ban other political parties, abrogate the people’s right of assembly and freedom speech, and throw into prisons or kill all those it suspects of challenging its rule. “It [the fourth beast] was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns.” (Dan 7: 7) The fact that the fourth beast has ten horns is something to take note of implied symbolic value. Based on Scriptural symbolism, the number ten represents the idea of a large number to the point of redundancy. [16] What this means is that the political force – here the army as the fourth beast -- will give rise to several leaders (i.e., ten horns) who will serve as the governing arm on its behalf. The Holy Spirit uses the number ten for the number of horns as if to say, “I see leaders too many to count!” In this count, whenever the military engages in politics or takes political power directly, it usually does through a junta or a revolutionary council.[17] The junta or the council becomes the governing or political arm of the military. If the metaphor of the ten horns implies that the military will exercise political power through a collective leadership (commonly known as junta), Daniel reminds us the council will not be unified. As a lot of juntas or revolutionary command councils do, this prophesied political force will exhibit some form of power struggle. From the power struggle will finally emerge one council member (i.e., little horn) as a strongman to dominate others. This insignificant or despicable leader[18] turns out to be exceptionally haughty, destructive and impious. "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.” (Dan. 7:8) What this means is that there will be a collective leadership system in the junta at the beginning. Eventually the junta will experience some internal power struggle, either due to a faction developing within the group or because one person wants to rule as the ultimate dictator.[19] As history attests, often from the internal squabbles of a non-democratic organization which is on the saddle of political power, will subsequently emerge one person to become the undisputed leader. This person may not necessarily be the senior member of the movement or junta; he can even be an obscure member. In our case what Daniel's prophecies show us that it will be an obscure person who will overthrow a few of its predecessors to assume total power in the “ten horns” council. To maneuver oneself to the pinnacle of power within a junta invariably demands a high level of cunning, ability to act in the right time, and to strike with ruthlessness. This exactly what Daniel notifies us of the little horn that it actually possesses such skills.[20] "As I was looking at the horns, suddenly another small horn appeared among them. Three of the first horns were wrenched out, roots and all, to make room for it. This little horn had eyes like human eyes and a mouth that was boasting arrogantly." (Dan 7:8) The fact that the dictator (i.e., little horn) is said to have eyes like human eyes conveys the message that this leader will possess unusual intelligence. At least, the dictator knows how to vie power, scheme to acquire absolute power, and then know hold on to it successfully. That implies that the man is a master tactician, able to outmaneuver all his rivals. Moreover, his mouth speaks arrogantly. He becomes defiant of God by unleashing persecution against the church. That means humility or religiosity is not part of the virtues of this dictator. "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.” (Dan. 7: 21 - 22) This means that fourth beast supported political system - led by the despicable dictator -will become quite antagonistic to God. The system will cause the persecution of the saints. Such an action makes the possibility that the junta likely espouses an atheistic ideology.[21] At this point the implication of the vision about the fourth beast is clear. The hideous fourth beast will likely be a military or quasi-military organization. It will produce a derivative multi-member political unit, likely a junta or a revolutionary council. The ruling council will manifest a power struggle from which will emerge someone described as despicable, cunning, arrogant and impious. This dictator will be the face of the terror and destructiveness of the fourth beast. The fourth beast as a political actor will succeed in subduing the other three political forces, destroy the land economically, and persecute the church. Effectively the fourth beast will reign supreme in the land until God intervenes to judge it. As Daniel tells us, God would orchestrate events that would destroy the fourth beast utterly. The fourth beast will be consumed by a fire of judgment, which it does not survive. However, to the other three beasts are not utterly destroyed, but allowed to exist longer for a little while (vv. 11-12). Additional Notes Note 1: It is in particular the fourth beast and the little horn which gets the attention of Daniel’s other end time visions in Daniel chapters 8 and 11. The same is true in Jesus’ and the apostles’ prophecies about the end times and the persecution the church suffers. Note 2: Based on the idea I have presented, namely (i) the turbulent sea represents a popular revolt, a revolutionary situation developing. (ii) Major political forces emerge as competitors for dominance in the revolutionary milieu. These are contemporaneous political forces, not successive empires and separated by hundreds of years. They are sequential in the sense of their time of first formation. (iii). Each of the beast in the vision represent a modern-day political force. I have showed the lion is a monarchy; the bear is a regional separatist movement; the tiger is urban-based intellectuals-led guerrilla movement; the fourth beast is an atheistic militaristic junta. Note 3: The fall of the fourth kingdom does not immediately lead to the kingdom of God. Daniel 2 adds some crucial information lacking in Daniel 7 about the coming of the kingdom of God. According to Daniel 2, a fifth kingdom will be in place after the fourth kingdom which God’s kingdom encounters and destroys. There will be another type of government, a fractious government, which will succeed the dictatorial fourth kingdom. It is the fifth kingdom that the kingdom of God (i.e., the Son of Man) will strike when it comes. Note 4: The next task is to find a country whose modern-day politics fulfills the reality of this political vision. [To be Continued} Glory be to God ============================================================================================================================================= © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  5. Teddy

    CORONATION TEMPLE

    CORONATION TEMPLE by TLD (2003) This God has to say to His prophets of the third day. To Moses I showed him the likeness of the Tabernacle, and he built it according to what he saw. To David I sent him a diagram, and Solomon used it to build the Temple. I showed to the prophet Ezekiel My future temple and gave him the details; he wrote it down and left it to posterity. These days, to you, my sons and daughters, the company of prophets, I have entrusted the vision and the building of My kingdom Temple. You have beholden the vision, and heeded My calling; and you have not been disobedient to the heavenly vision. I have seen how you have clung to this vision for years and not let it go. I have seen how you carried it in your bosom, and nurtured it to maturity. I have seen each of you how you labored day and night at My Temple work, and fainted not. I have seen how you went up to the high mountains, to cut the logs and to dig up the stones. I have seen how you tirelessly carved and polished the stones and the wood for beauty. I have noted how you inlaid My Temple with precious silver and gold. All these My eyes have seen, says the Lord. This shall be for a name and for a remembrance to you for generations to come, says your God. And now says your God, be of great courage and of faith. Be diligent and finish, which My Spirit has shown you to build for My Name. Let not your hands slacken, nor your hearts lose hope. It is a little while, then I will come and indwell this House. Remember when Moses and the children of Israel finished the work of the Tabernacle, My glory cloud came down and filled the Tabernacle. And the day Solomon completed his work and dedicated the Temple, My Glory Cloud came and filled the Temple. When I had finished My Atonement work and had prepared the disciples, I sent My Holy Spirit on the first fruit of the Church, and they were filled with the Glory of God. Today, you are the continuation of My Temple, My Church, but you are also that last generation destined for greater things, to build My last-days Temple. My Spirit marks you for a purpose; you shall complete and perfect the millennial vision of My Church. Through your hands My work will be perfected. You shall fashion and complete the holiest place where My Ark will reside. It is this Temple, it is this innermost sanctuary, My Glory will come to fill and abide in forever. Can you see and hear the sound of My Glory Cloud coming? It is about time that it hits the earth. It is coming with power and fury. It will come and fill the Temple you have built for My Name; and I will abide in your midst forever. The whole world shall see My power and glory emanating from this Temple, says your God. Now let each of you be diligent and finish working on what I have set you to do. This shall be for a name and for a remembrance to you for generations to come, says your God. Glory be to God © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  6. Teddy

    Remnant Theology (Part II)

    REMNANT THEOLOGY -Part II- by TLD (2003) III: The End-Time Remnant 3.1 Introduction At the beginning each Kingdom dispensation the remnant-branch principle operates at a grand scale. For example, when God inaugurated the Dispensation of the Law, we saw how the remnant-branch principle operated in the life of Moses. We noted how God made a new branch out of the shepherd Moses to anoint and commission him to liberate the people and usher in the covenant of the Law. Similarly, at the beginning of the Church Dispensation we noted how God used the death-resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ to liberate mankind from the power of sin and to usher in the age of Grace. Reflecting the remnant principle, we have seen why Jesus is called the root (i.e. stump) and branch of David (Rom. 15:12; Rev. 22:16) in His role as the mediator of the New Covenant between man and God (Heb. 7: 22). In all this discussion, however, the matter of interest is to answer the following question: If each Kingdom dispensation is ushered in by the remnant-branch principle, then is it true that a similar process usher in, at the end of the ages, the fullness of the Kingdom of God? The answer to this important question lies through careful investigation of the Scripture. However, it is also equally important to listen to the voice of revelation as being given by the Holy Spirit in our day as the Holy Spirit reveals the Scriptures through the prophetic ministry operating in the Church (1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:10-12; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 28, 3:6, 13, 22). 3.2 The Branch Idea In both the Old and New Testament there is ample evidence that the reign of Christ and the saints in the Millennial Kingdom of God that the remnant-branch principle will be in full play. For example, St. Paul quotes the prophet Isaiah (Is. 11: 1-10) to associate the future kingship of Jesus Christ with the remnant-branch concept, “There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the gentiles. In him the gentiles trust” (Rom.15: 12). Jeremiah on his part uses the same remnant-branch metaphor to describe the future king, “Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth” (Jer. 23:5). Jesus in the Book of Revelation declares Himself as the promised Root and Branch of David, thereby identifying Himself as the promised Messianic King (Rev.22: 16, 5:5). 3.3 The Overcomer Idea As we read in the Book of Revelation, Jesus has promised to share His glory and power with the overcomer (see Revelation chapters 2 & 3). In one of such promises, Jesus said, “He who overcomes and keeps My works until the end - as I also have received from my father, to him I will give power over the nations. He shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the potters’ vessels they shall be broken to pieces. I will give him the morning star” (Rev. 3: 27-28). Promises made to the overcomer in the 2nd and 3rd chapters the book of Revelation alludes to the major Messianic prophecies of Daniel (Dan. 7:13), David (Ps. 89, 110), and Isaiah (Isa. 9 & 11). The implication of Jesus’ words in these promises to the overcomer, is therefore, that those who endure the end-time tribulation to end will get a glory and authority like the one the Lord Himself had obtained after His victory over the cross and death (Rev. 3:21, Eph. 1: 20-22). The idea of the believer being conformed to the suffering and glory of Jesus is not new to Scripture, rather it is found in several places in the Scriptures (Rom. 8: 18--30; Phil. 3: 10-11, 21; Col. 3: 3-4; 2 Thes. 2: 14; 2 Tim. 2: 11-13; 1 Pet. 4: 12-14; 1 Jn. 3:2). For example, St. Paul writes (Rom. 8:29-30) that the goal of God’s plan is to conform the believer to the image of Christ. “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” As the above passage shows, the justification (i.e. sanctification) process implies a pruning and purging process. It is through the crucible of suffering that the dross of the carnal nature is consumed, and the image of Christ formed in the saint. The aim of the end-time tribulation is to prepare the saint to the glory to come. In short, the path to the Kingdom throne passes through the passion of the cross. When St. Paul expresses desire in participating in the passion of Christ and in attaining to the resurrection of the dead (Phil. 3:10-11), he is more than likely referring to a ‘remnant-branch’ or ‘death-to-glory’ experience, which is the ultimate goal of the call of a Christian (Col. 3: 3-4; 2 Tim. 2: 11-13; Rev. 3:21, 11: 1-19). 3.4 The Process and the Branch As Scripture teaches, as we enter the end-time, we shall encounter the great tribulation, which among many other things, the Lord will use it shape and mold His people into His own image. First by allowing them to pass through a fiery trail, He will make sure that they are purged of carnality. Afterwards, by restoring and glorifying them, He allows them to obtain His holiness and righteousness, which are His Divine essence. As the saints endure the deep work of the cross through the tribulation, they mature and grow into the full stature of the image of Jesus Christ. The end-time suffering and glory of the saints can be then be understood in terms of the remnant-branch principle. The end-time suffering-persecution can be compared to the state of a tree stump, what the saints look like as they pass a fiery pruning process. The glory that follows their tribulation, on the other hand, can be compared to new branch emerging from a lowly stump. The idea that God will lift the humble to the throne is found in several places in the Scriptures. When Scripture says the meek shall inherit the earth, it is promise made to the saints, because they submit to the sanctifying (pruning) work of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Sam. 2: 8; Ps. 37: 11, 113: 6-8, 147:6, 149: 4; Isa. 60:22; Matt 5:5; Lk. 12:32). 3.5 The Wherewithal of the Branch In the history of the church, the fixing of the identities of the overcomer of Revelation chapter 2 and 3, or the two witnesses of chapter 11, or the man-child of chapter 12 have not been an easy task. The prevailing consensus among Evangelical scholars is that, at least the overcomers refer to all the saints who will be taken up in the Rapture and who will then come back with Jesus in His Second Coming to rule and reign with Him. According to this viewpoint, none of the ruling-judging overcomer saints will pass through the Tribulation. However, In the other end-time prevailing viewpoint, that of the Post-Tribulation teaching, saints will be present on earth during the Tribulation period, but they will be much protected from it. Accordingly, there is little mention of the need for the saints to be shaped and transformed by the Tribulation into the image of Jesus Christ. In recent years, there is another emerging viewpoint which teaches that the overcomers or the man-child company will be a few last-days saints who are accorded special revelation about the end-times. According to this teaching, it will acquisition of revealed knowledge that will qualify the chosen ones to sit on the throne with Jesus and allow them to rule the nations with a rod of iron. Again, in this viewpoint, there is little mention of the Tribulation, or its role in the shaping of the future reigning saints. Besides the above-discussed thoughts on the end-time, there is also another viewpoint worth considering. It can be argued from the Scriptures that the end-time saints will not only pass through the Tribulation period, but also that God will use it to shape the saints into the image of Jesus Christ. This viewpoint can be defended from Scripture on the following grounds, - The saint to be called an overcomer, one has first to pass through a fiery trial, endure the testing without fainting, and then emerge victorious at the end (Rev. 3:21; 1 Pet. 1:5-9; 4: 12-13; 5:10). - The two witnesses of Revelation chapter 11 have first to pass through death before they entered resurrection glory. - The man-child and his mother must face of the great dragon, Satan, himself who tried to destroy them (Rev. 12). - The two witnesses and the woman who gave birth to the man-child have first to endure the mystical 42 months period of suffering before they emerged victorious. The great tribulation and the glory to follow it can then be understood in terms of remnant-branch (cross-resurrection) principle. - Jesus said His followers will suffer much during the Tribulation, and He warned that only one who endures (the Tribulation) to the end would be saved (Matt. 24: 9-13). - The Old Testament figures like Joseph, Moses or Esther-Mordecai, first they had endured their fiery trial before they emerged victorious and entered their glory. In this case, their lives are a type and shadow of end-time saints. Secondly, based on this alternative viewpoint, the identity of the overcomer can be shown to be more than a company of saints inheriting the promise, but also that it has a very crucial individual dimension to it. For example, some Bible scholars about the promise have been able to discern an individual in certain passages of Scripture. For example, the great Bible commentator A. R. Fausset (*) reads in the very emphatic of the Greek original wording of Revelation 21: 7, an intended reference to an individual person. He observed, “He shall be my son--"He" is emphatic: He and in a peculiar sense, above others: Greek, "shall be to me a son," in fullest realization of the promise made in type to Solomon, son of David, and anti-typically to the divine Son of David.” -There have been also a few other Bible students who have said the person referred to in places such as Ezekiel 37:24 and 44:2-3 is a human being. They understand this person as a future viceroy king who will rule on earth as Jesus rules from Heaven. Unfortunately, such viewpoints are the exceptions rather than the rule. Therefore, it can be said that the personal dimension of the overcomer promise in Revelation has be one of those Scriptural truths, which has been hid from past generations (Rev. 2:17, 3:10-12, 21-22). However, insight into the Word of God is now been given that many among the people of God are getting the understanding that someone bearing the image of Christ will appear on the world stage as priest-king-prophet. Undoubtedly, there shall be such a personage who will be at the head of the company of overcomers. As Revelation 2: 17 says, he is promised a new name, which carries the name of Jesus Christ, of God and of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 3: 12). If so, then He will bear the names given to Jesus in the Old Testament. Hence, he will be known as, ‘The glorious branch,’ (Isa. 4:2), and ‘The root of Jesse,’ (Isa. 11:1,10). To Zechariah he is known as, ‘The branch which will rise from his own place,’ (Zech. 6:12). Jeremiah calls him, ‘The righteous branch of David,’ and, ‘The prince,’ (Jer. 23:5, 30:21). Ezekiel knows him as, ‘The Prince,’ (Ezek. 44:3), and ‘king David’ (Ezek. 37: 24). In Daniel he is represented as the son of man who comes to receive kingdom authority on behalf of God’ s saints (Dan. 7:13-14, 27). 3.6 The Narrow Path to Glory Such a manner of a saint will be a Moses-like figure for the ways God will deal with him and later glorify him. Such a person, the Spirit of the Lord will shape and mold following the above discussed pattern of the remnant-branch. In the beginning the believer will be one enjoying the glories of the natural man. Then the believer will be reduced to a very lowly state. He will be a humiliated and despised person. [The stump/remnant of the saint, as being conformed to the suffering of Jesus, is assigned different naming by the prophets: ‘the fallen tabernacle of David’ (Am 9), ‘the worm’ (Ps. 22, Isaiah 41), ‘the lame’ and ‘the exile’ (Jer. 31:7-13; Mic. 4:6-7), ‘the feeble’ (Zech. 12), etc.] Lastly, to the lowly stump will come resurrection glory. When the Holy Spirit visits this lowly person, and as the result, the stump will shoot forth a new and glorious branch. This amounts to the opening of the grave and calling him out of his death-like experience (cf. Col. 3: 3-4). When the Holy Spirit from the travail of his soul delivers the lowly and obscure servant, he shall see the joy of resurrection, and become a very powerful world-changing prophet. Such a branch will be called ‘the glorious branch’ (Isa. 4: 2-6, 11: 1-10), ‘the victorious lion of Judah’ (Rev. 4), ‘the overcomer’ (Rev. 2), the man-child (Rev 12), ‘the servant of God’ (Isa. 42), ‘David’ (Jer. 23, Ezek. 37), etc. The following words of the prophet Isaiah (Isa. 49: 7) can be used to best describe the death-resurrection (or stump-branch) experience this prophetic person will undergo. “Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, the Holy One, To him whom man despises, To him whom the nation abhors, To the servant of rulers, Kings shall see (you) and arise, Princes also shall worship, Because of the Lord who is faithful, The Holy One of Israel, And He has chosen you.” This transition from a humiliated stump to a glorious Branch is also expressed in Isaiah 52: 11- 15 passage. Or as St. Paul has put it (Eph. 4:9), “Now this, ‘He ascended’ – what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth?” I believe that when God is speaking through the prophet Zechariah (6: 12-15) about the Branch, that He is saying to us to watch for priest-king-prophet overcomers to be revealed in the last days bearing the image and glory of Jesus. Then say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. "Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.'" Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD." Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the LORD your God. * Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible This one volume commentary was prepared by Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset and David Brown and published in 1871. Glory be to God! (Revised: July 19/03) © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  7. Preparing Joseph by Teddy L Desta 12/12/08 God aims at two major things in our life – changing our nature into Christ-likeness and preparing us for the higher calling He has purposed for our life. God is goal oriented. He does not waste His time and our time when He begins to work in us. From the tiniest encounters and experiences to major life-changing events He weaves it into His grand plan to change us into the image of His son and to get us to the place where we will fulfill the destiny He created us for. In his desire to see each of us realize our full potential, God would deploy every necessary means. God arranges various circumstances and uses different persons to mold us and to lead us to our destiny. He carefully chooses each situation we pass through so that it will contribute something important to our destiny. Often our journey to our destiny could be filled with sorrows and toil that we could barely see God’s hand in it. God’s process of preparation, sometimes, does not make any sense to our natural mind. But nothing is wasted on God’s side; He does not waste our sorrows, our time, or our resources. Unfortunately, to many of us God’s ways will make sense only once we cross the finish line and God crowns our journey with laurels. If we examine the lives of Joseph, Moses, David, Paul, etc., we can see this principle in operation. For an example, let us illustrate this Divine principle by using the life of Joseph to see how God uses every circumstance as a preparation for the realization of our destiny in him. Let us carefully examine to see whether the circumstances Joseph passed through had any relevance and contribution to His final calling. After years of trials, we know that God finally made Joseph a prime minister in Egypt. Joseph’s primary responsibility was in fixing the economy of the empire of Egypt. So we ask, do Joseph’s years of trial have anything to do with his service as prime minister of Egypt? His life as a slave in the house of Potiphar and his life as an inmate in the king’s prison, do they have anything to do with his final destiny? Did these experiences carry an merit for the job he was later honored by Pharaoh to do? Can we find any linkage between the stages in the life of Joseph’s suffering and his great success? Joseph in Power The dream of Pharaoh which Joseph correctly interpreted pointed in the direction of a wild economic swing that would soon hit Egypt. Joseph predicted great economic boom years to be followed by years of harrowing economic hardship. Unless Egypt’s leaders do something in advance during the boom years, Joseph warned, Egypt’s survival as a nation will be at risk. Joseph recommended to the king a wise policy where the Egyptians save extra in the revenue-surplus years to tide them over the slump years. The king liked Joseph’s idea so much so that he appointed Joseph as his prime minister, making him directly responsible to oversee the implementation the measures he recommended. During the economic boom years, Joseph followed a policy of forced saving instituting higher taxation. The king’s treasury overflowed with corn revenue, and Joseph husbanded every extra resource and put it aside for the years of economic downturn he was sure were coming. Once the lean years came, Joseph lowered taxes, and followed an easy money policy. He even subsidized particularly the poor through royal largess. Through his wise policies, Joseph was able to mitigate the adverse social and economic consequences of a recession. He not only virtually eliminated the pain associated with economic cycles for Egyptians, but also made them rich through grain export to other starving nations. But where did Joseph learn all these secrets to manage an economy wisely, of tiding it smoothly from one cycle to another? Was he not at one time a mere slave and then an inmate? Where did he get all this wisdom? Let us back-track Joseph’s life and see how God prepared Joseph for this role. Looking Back: Joseph as a Servant-slave Joseph was sold into slavery by his own brothers, and ended up as a slave in Egypt in the household of Potiphar. This Potiphar who bought Joseph was a very high official in the administration of Pharaoh, the king. Potiphar who was at the head of the palace guards was a man of power, influence and wealth. Therefore, he must have been at the head of a large household, as well as other properties and resources. It was this large and rich household that Joseph joined as another slave. Soon Joseph, because of the grace of God on him, distinguished himself over other slaves for his practical wisdom and integrity. Gradually he rose through the ranks as a trusted servant, and was given additional authority to oversee Potiphar’s household and wealth. Potiphar was quite pleased with Joseph how successfully he was managing his household that Potiphar appointed Joseph as his chief-of-staff and made him responsible for everything. What does life in Potiphar’s house had anything to do with what Joseph later became and did? One major characteristic of Potiphar’s household was the largeness of its stock and flow of wealth. That was a household of abundance of resources. The major responsibility and challenge of managing a household of that size was cutting on waste, adding value to the existing wealth, and fighting corruption. A wise manager should save every extra penny and invest it so that the wealth of the household will grow over time. The manager has also to watch out for any signs of illegal diversion of funds for personal use, or the peddling of positions or influence for money. It is because that Joseph did all these things and more that he won the trust and confidence of his master. While doing his duties, Joseph integrity was tested to the limit at one point. Will he resist the opportunity to posses the last prize in Potiphar’s household or will he remain true to God and to his master. Joseph chose the latter course. He turned down the offer for an affair from Potiphar’s wife again and again. That cost him his job and reputation, and landed him in jail through a tramped charge of attempted rape. With God’s grace he proved that not necessarily that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Joseph throughout his career focused on doing the job he was entrusted with, avoiding any corrupting influence to creep in. Potiphar’s household can be said as God’s module of an economy in boom. God provided Joseph the opportunity of learning the responsibilities and challenges of managing an economy of abundance. He managed the ‘sovereign funds’ of his master without waste, corruption, or downturn. After Joseph passed many years serving and learning in this module, God took him to another and totally different economic environment for another training stint. Looking Back: Joseph as an Inmate In prison, rather being depressed about his sad fate, Joseph was back in form very quickly in his new circumstances. He was up and running doing what he was best doing – administering people and resources. For the practical wisdom and integrity Joseph was showing through in what he was doing and saying, he won the trust and confidence of the prison warden who soon made Joseph an unofficial administrator of the jail. The jail Joseph was in must have not been a small jail; it must have been a big and important jail where the king sent his ministers when they offended him. Joseph in order to be successful had to exercise judicious judgment in administering people in prison – who are often gruff, discontent, and given to in-fighting. As the prison’s virtual administrator Joseph had to know how to soothe nerves and lift up spirits with wise words, settle disagreements with wise judgment, and apportion scarce prison resources (food, clothing, sleeping space, etc.) in a very balanced and fair manner. Joseph must have been good in speech-making. This skill must have been a crucial asset for Joseph helping him to lift up spirits and organize and mobilize inmates for some good cause. Avoiding jail riots, knife fights, or crime from happening under his watch was a key measure of Joseph success as a manager. Joseph had to know how to be tough when it was needed; and to be compassionate when the situation required it. If the prison authorities trusted Joseph in his role, he must have proved it to them in doing all these things successfully year in and year out. What does life in prison had anything to do with Joseph’s future role at the helm of Egypt’s economy? The prison was God’s nearest training module of an economy in depression. The most important feature of an economic bust is that resources are lacking, and the biggest challenge of a chief administrator in this kind of a situation is to ensure nobody is starving. God taught Joseph the skills how to allocate scarce resources in the condition of tight supply, so that everybody gets his fair share. Another skill God taught Joseph must have been how to lift up the spirits of people who feel down and out. Joseph must have learned how to inspire and mobilize inmates for some good cause. Husbanding spiritual resources matter as much as managing material resources in a dire economy. Thus, through his stint as an inmate, God equipped Joseph for the challenges of an economic downturn. Only God’s eyes could see Joseph at the helm of the Egyptian economy, an economy that would face bad days following rosy years. God knew that this needs training and some experience on the part of the chief economist in order so that he can tide the nation over the depression years avoiding any social upheaval. When God passed Joseph through these two starkly different economic conditions – as He made him a manager over a ‘boom’ and then a ‘bust’ household one after the other - God knew what was coming in Joseph’s life in the future. The household or the prison was a microcosm of the larger national economy. After all, the word economy is derived from the Latin word meaning, managing a household. At the core, the basic requirements, in terms of principles and skills, of running a household economy may not be essentially different from that of managing the economy of a community, a region or a nation. Looking Back: Joseph's Dreams Joseph was a dreamer since he was a young lad. God showed Joseph in two dreams his future when Joseph was just a 17-year-old. It is possible that God had given him several more dreams later in his life, increasing his awareness about the importance of dreams in God’s economy. Joseph must have learned the skills of interpreting dreams exercising his mind in trying to interpret the dreams God gave him. It is also probable that he had also volunteered to interpret other people’s dreams to exercise this valuable skill (Gen. 40: 5-14). God’s training in this area finally enabled Joseph to successfully interpret the Pharaoh’s difficult-to-interpret dreams, and for this God-given skill (gift) Joseph was quickly elevated from inmate to prime-minster, from prison to palace. Looking Forward: What is in a Name? There is additional wisdom of God in the life of Joseph. There is something Joseph's name that foreshadows his future. Joseph means “adding”. There is a connection between his name (i,e, "Adding") and the science of economics. Economists are worried about economic growth -- value-adding, productivity, and efficiency. These economic ideas points towards adding to the national wealth. In this sense, Joseph must be recognized as the ideal economist who prudently manages the largest economy of the day through a judicious macro-economic management and legislating. If Joseph’s future career was implied in his name, could there be a hidden mystery in our name? Could our future be implied and even locked up in the name we are given? It needs your readiness and cooperation with God to unleash the dream / destiny locked in our name. But sometimes we may need to pay the price of training like Joseph. If God decides to take us through tough circumstances in order to train us to the full potential implied and locked in our name, we must say, "amen." We must not despise the days of little things, the tough days. Our exacting days are God designed stairways leading us up to the elevated seat of influence and effective service. Glory be to God © Teddy L. Desta, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  8. I think our preachers have replaced the parable story-telling with anecdotes. This short-short stories about persons in various situations are used by preachers to enliven their sermons and to make their points. Some preachers are extremely effective in using this technique to reach outsiders and teach the flock. Otherwise, the parable/ allegory (which is creative story-telling) lives among Christian writers, such as C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, etc..
  9. You wrote: Maybe what we need in the Church today is more Parables, for it seems that the average Believer is not grasping the Revelations that the Holy Spirit is giving to those that have “ears to hear.” I do not know how much those who speak from the pulpit (i.e., pastors, evangelists, and teachers) use the parable method to convey their message. But there are several Christian writers, past and present, who write stories whose themes and messages are moral and spiritual to make their stories modern-day parable and allegory. One good example among modern Christian writers and reputed for this style is Flannery O'Connor.
  10. Daniel Chapter 8: Clash of Worldviews (-Part II-) by TLD (2003) Profiling the End-time Little Horn Introduction This section is dedicated to develop a scriptural composite profile of the Antichrist from the scattered references found in various parts of the Bible. Interpretation is then made of these various references to understand the nature of the Antichrist in the language of modern age political systems and leaders.[1] In order to correctly understand the nature of the persecution the Antichrist initiates, the section also develops an interpretation of the abomination of desolation and the sanctuary to be profaned in modern day terms. After laying down this important interpretative groundwork, the identity of the Antichrist, the sanctuary to be profaned, and the abomination of desolation is established in a new way. In Search of The "Little Horn" Much has been written on the identity - origin and career of the endtimes ‘little horn’ or the Antichrist. Sundry individuals, institutions, and even nations have been suggested as fulfillment of the prophecy about the ‘little horn’ (antichrist). In this regard, some of the most cited candidates have been, the Roman Caesar Nero, the founder of Islam - Mohammed, the Roman Catholic Church and its popes, Adolf Hitler, Communism and its leaders, and much recently the New Age Movement and the Masonic Lodge. These names are in addition to all those false Messiahs who down the centuries declared themselves to be the personifications of the Second Coming of Christ.[2] However, if we let Scripture speak for itself, this will be what will emerge as the profile of the endtimes ‘little horn’ (Antichrist). - It will be a branch to arise from the victorious ‘Greek’ dynasty (Dan. 8: 8-9)[3]. - Starting from small beginnings, it will amass political power through intrigue and conspiracy. Literally, it will be a master of intrigue (Dan. 11: 21, 23). - Though it has its roots in Christianity, it will abandon the Faith. It will deny God and Christ. It will be a master of deception, succeeding in misleading many people. The Lie it promotes will cause many to fall away from faith in God (Dan. 8: 25; 2 Thes. 2:3, 9-12; 1 Jn. 2: 18-19; Matt. 24:24; Rev. 13: 14). - After it comes to political power, it will establish a policy of controlling and distributing wealth (Dan. 11: 24b, 43, 49; Zech. 11: 16). - Those who acknowledge him and owe him allegiance, they will receive privilege and influence. Merit will have little space in the empire the Antichrist (Dan. 11: 39). - Because of the mighty deeds it is able to accomplish many will be duped about its supernatural strength (Dan. 8: 24; 2 Thes. 2:9-10). - It will be a power, which will be quite marked for its haughtiness and impiety. It will be a cruel dictator, which will inspire terror and sow much destruction (Dan. 7: 23-25, 8:23-24; Rev. 13: 1-10). - It will utter words of arrogance. It will lift IT-SELF up against God. It will attempt to play the role of God in the life of the people, promising redemption for humanity (Dan 11: 36; 2 Thes. 2:4). - Its survival skill will convince the gullible in its invincibility (immortality) (Rev. 3-4). - It will have utter disregard for traditions and customs of the people, including to the observance of religion (Dan 7:25, 11:37). - The ruler will shun the flirtation (desires) of women (Dan 11: 37). - It will be intensely hostile to religion to the point of desecrating God’s temple. God’s people will suffer unparalleled persecution at its hands. It will carry out a horrifying act that will leave the sanctuary of God profaned and desolate (Dan.7:25, 8:9-13, 25, 11: 30-31; Rev. 13: 5-7). - It will be called the lawless one, as it will suspend normal rules of governance. Human life and property rights, etc., will be wantonly transgressed against extra-judicial measures will be common (Ps 10; 2 Thes. 2:3; Rev. 13: 10). - It will build up military power, and will engage in territorial expansion. It will attempt at worldwide influence and dominance (Dan. 11:38 –44). - God’s people are advised to be the first to recognize the intentions of the ‘little horn’ as it first emerges in power. When it maneuvers its army in position, it is time to leave town. They should flee its presence to safe zone in time (Matt. 24: 15-21; Lk. 21: 19-23). - The nations that would come under its control will languish under its misrule (Dan. 7:23, 8:24, Zech. 11: 15- 17). - Its will self-destruct as it retreats to its homeland. Its demise will be regarded as Divine judgment rather than man’s overcoming it (Dan. 8:25, 11: 18-19). Therefore, it is based on the foregoing profile we launch the search, among modern secular ideologies and political systems, which one comes closest to fulfilling the profile of the ‘little horn’. I make the hypothesis, to be defended next, that none fits these profile features better than atheistic Communism (Marxism-Leninism). It is this ideology, for its ideological pronouncements and historical records, that qualifies the Scripture prophesied last days persecuting impiety. It is this ideology and regime type which more than any other political/ ideological offshoot of the Enlightenment period better fits the picture we have drawn above as the profile of the ‘little horn’. For example, as history books testify, the revolutionary Communist (Marxism-Leninism) has given rise to despotic totalitarian regimes, to be led by a ruthless leader and party. In all places it has taken political power, it has overthrown the old custom of the people, and tried to replace it with a culture of its own creation. It has shown itself openly as anti-God and anti-religion force, unleashing widespread persecution of the faithful. It has believed and practiced in military buildup, became bellicose and expansionary in its attempt at world domination. A Digression to the "other" little horn However, there is also another kindred anti-God force of the last days, which we must consider here. The second anti-God ideology, like Communism, also drew its ideological inspiration from philosophers whose stock is in the Enlightenment and from some other dubious philosophical and anthropological works of the 20th on race theory.[4] This second ideology, like Communism again, was a political messianic movement whose goal was the setting up of a secular utopia, for its race. But it, like Communism, proved to be the cause of massive destruction to the world, and a source of untold persecution and suffering to the people of God. The second political system, which we consider here was also openly anti-God. It also had a leader of fierce countenance, an evil genius at the helm. This man, also like Communist leaders, was able to make a lie to prosper in his hands and deceive many from the faith. This second ideology and political system we consider here, as the other manifestation of the last days ‘little horn’… is none other than the German Nazism of WWII. We have to consider Nazism here for the sole reason that it under Hitler showed itself a sworn enemy of God’s people, murdering some 6 million Jews in the most gruesome manner.[5] We will discuss Nazism before Communism to show how Nazism also fulfilled the prophecy about the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation. However, Communism will still remain for us the main focus of attention, as it is the better fit of the two anti-God ideologies to the prophecy about the endtime ‘little horn.’ But before, we discuss any of them in their historical career first we have to digress for a while to determine the true identity of the sanctuary/ temple, which the Bible says would be profaned by the Antichrist. It is only after such digression that we can be establishing the true meaning of the sign of the abomination of desolation, which profanes the temple of God. God’s Sanctuary Profaned According to Daniel (8:10-13, 23-27), the ‘little horn’ will become progressively more arrogant and hostile to God. Eventually, it will unleash violent persecution against God’s people, and as the result, God’s sanctuary will experience a horrendous desecration and desolation. And it (i.e. the little horn) grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, "How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?" (Dan. 8: 10-13). But what is the nature and identity of the sanctuary of God that would be profaned in the last days? Is it the Temple in Jerusalem; or some church building; or as some say, the body of believers, which the Bible also considers as the temple of God? Which of these sanctuaries of God is the one to be profaned by the Antichrist? Which of these possible meanings of sanctuary/ temple meant by God - in the ultimate sense - as the sanctuary of God? It can be recalled that the commonly accepted schools of interpretations on End-Time Bible prophecy, nearly all associate the sanctuary to be desecrated with the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Only one fringe interpretation school considers the body of believers (churches) to be the sanctuary of End-Time prophecy. However, even this interpretation gives little room to consider an evil political power, which the Bible says, will arise in the last days to cause fearful destruction to the land and to the people belonging to God. Hence, this interpretation school clearly overlooks the warning given about the intense persecution the political ‘little horn’ will unleash against God’s people (cf. Dan. 8: 23-27). Did not Jesus warn that God’s people should not waste time, but flee as they see the ‘abomination of desolation’, because unparalleled atrocities and sufferings would follow? So we cannot deny the fact that the Antichrist would be a secular political power opposed to God’s people, to cause them physical harm and destruction. At this point, it obliges us to establish whether it is a physical structure or building (temple/ church), which is referred to by Daniel as the ultimate sanctuary of God which will be profaned and left desolate by the Antichrist, or else if it is the mystical/ figurative temple, that is the people of God themselves, who would suffer untold atrocities at the hands of their secular enemies. For many end-time prophecy students, the temple/ sanctuary of God is the physical place where God’s people gather for worship, whether be it the Temple in Jerusalem, or the synagogues or the church buildings. But even in the true sense of the word even these structures derive their sanctity only because the people of God meet there to worship God. There is a good Scriptural reason to consider the people of God themselves as the ultimate and true sanctuaries of God, where God’s primary concern lies. Therefore, it is God’s people, either in the collective or in the individual sense that should be considered as the ultimate sanctuary of God. Such an understanding of the believer(s) as the ultimate sanctuary where God takes up His residence and His worship occurs continually. Such a conception is not only in the Old Testament implicitly but also in the New Testament openly.[6] "Thus says the LORD: "Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool; what is the house which you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest? All these things my hand has made, and so all these things are mine, says the LORD. But this is the man to whom I will look, he that is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word." (Is. 66:1-2 RSV). "But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, 'Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool. What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?" (Act. 7:47-50 RSV). "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are." (1 Cor. 3: 16-17, RSV). "The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign have you to show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he spoke of the temple of his body. " (Jn. 2: 18-21 RSV) Hence, when we talk about the temple/ sanctuary of God hereafter it will be primarily in the sense of God’s people and remotely in terms of a physical place or structure. In this case, then the focus of the desecration and desolation of the sanctuary will be acts of cruelty (horror) committed against the people of God by the anti-God secular power. "At the end of their rule, when the transgressions have reached their full measure, a king of bold countenance shall arise, skilled in intrigue. He shall grow strong in power, shall cause fearful destruction, and shall succeed in what he does. He shall destroy the powerful and the people of the holy ones. By his cunning he shall make deceit prosper under his hand, and in his own mind he shall be great. Without warning he shall destroy many and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes. But he shall be broken, and not by human hands. The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.” (Dan. 8: 23-26) According to this word, in the last days would rise a cruel autocrat, a dictator, who would be a master of intrigue and conspiracy work. This secular power would amass much political power in its hands, and then unleash an act that would astonish and unprecedented in its destructive scale. The secular power, which would arise in the endtime, would mislead many through its demagogy, making many to believe the Lie for the truth. It would be able to accomplish feats of endeavor. It would be pretentious in its claims and be impious in its behavior towards God. It would kill many of those who belong to God. God’s people would be openly marked for persecution and destruction. As we consider the sanctuary of God that would be profaned by the ‘little horn’ principally as God’s people, and not as a physical place like the Temple, synagogue or church.[7] Then the desecration of the ‘temple’ would become the gross violation of human dignity that God’s people will suffer at the hands of the God-haters. Their desolation is then the destruction of their livelihood and even their life. Hence, the endtime manifestation of Abomination of Desolation is mainly the wanton and barbaric act committed against the true temple of God, which are His people.[8] The Rise of the Last days ‘Little Horn’ Next let us historically instantiate the ‘little horn’, which we have already profiled above. As stated earlier, in its historic form, the ‘little horn’ would be a godless and authoritarian political system. Among many evil deeds, it will humiliate and destroy the temple of God (His people) in the most horrific manner. Before this could happen, first a spiritual vacuum has to emerge in the people heart so that the general condition for the emergence such a godless and ruthless force to ripe. What Johnson describes in the following lines provides us with an apt description of the condition which led to the rise of ruthless and godless political systems in modern times. The place he describes is Europe, the times, the 1920s. "The greatest event of recent times – that “God is dead”, that the belief in the Christian God is no longer tenable – is beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe.’ Among the advanced races, the decline and ultimately the collapse of the religious impulse would leave a huge vacuum. The history of modern times is in great part the history of how that vacuum had been filled. Nietzsche rightly perceived that the most likely candidate would be what he called the ‘Will to Power’, … In place of religious belief, there would be secular ideology. Those who had once filled the ranks of the totalitarian clergy would become totalitarian politicians. And, above all, the Will to Power would produce a new kind of messiah, uninhibited by any religious sanctions whatever, and with an unappeasable appetite for controlling mankind. The end of the old order, with an unguided world adrift in a relativistic universe, was a summons to such gangster-statesmen to emerge. They were not slow the make their appearance… [Europe] was in fact embarking on two decades of unprecedented ferocity and desolation – moral relativism in monstrous incarnation.”[9] In this regard, it will be two modern day ruthless and godless systems - Nazism and Communism that we will single out for special scrutiny. First we will consider the Nazis with their unparalleled persecution and murder of the ancient people of God – the Jews. Later, we will look at Communism, in its vicious anti-God career and pseudo-messiah utopia. [10] Here we consider the plight of the Jews’ for a major prophetic-symbolic reason as well. What we find out about them - the Holocaust and how subsequently that led to the setting up of the state of Israel will have for us an immense symbolic relevance, which we will consider later. [11] The Nazis In the political and economic uncertainties in post-WWI Germany, Hitler emerged from total political obscurity to set up his Nazi party. In the late 1920s, Hitler ‘established himself as a brilliant and innovatory speaker, a hard-working party organizer and an authoritarian leader of terrifying will-power.’ Those who gathered around him also believed in the necessity of a strong leader, a totalitarian state, and racial purity and world leadership for the German people. To this end Hitler and his henchmen conspired and maneuvered themselves to power. Though they apparently came to power through constitutional means, once they got the power they clung to it in the most unconstitutional manner. The Nazis in power proved to be the lawless ones par excellence. They ruled by decrees rather than by constitutional laws. What the Fuehrer willed, it was the law of the moment. It was the devils that have assumed state power. Through their skill in organizing and controlling social life, authoritarian rule, and Hitler’s irresistible demagogy, the Nazis were able to impose order, security and industrial efficiency in Germany unseen over the previous two or three decades. The rapid rearmament policy the Nazis followed accompanied by suppression of workers unions, allowed Germany to experience economic boom under the Nazis. This did not fail to make positive impression on many Germans. To many, therefore, Hitler appeared as a miracle worker, working order out of chaos, and bringing optimism out of the national malice. His popularity was not low by any means.[12] The Deception latter to come in the open, for the moment was taking root in the hearts of the German people - that Hitler had the Answer and provides the Solution. But soon the consequences of endorsing the Nazis were to be made apparent to all. The Nazi party under Hitler was a highly disciplined, methodical, and ruthless organization. The Nazis set up a police state, and they ruled through fear and total allegiance to the State. Their main ideology was racial purity of the German race. They taught that a purified German race is historically destined to rule the whole world. To that end the German nation, had to be cleansed from what the Nazis considered ‘polluting’ racial elements and people of inferior quality. So the Nazis set the stage to make human sacrifices to the ideology they preached. It happened that it was mainly the Jews and the Slavs who carried the brunt of Nazi hatred and became the major victims of Nazi extermination plans. The Jews were condemned to die, while the Slavs were mainly intended to become the slave-labor class for the Teutonic master race.[13] True that, Jews have known much hatred and persecution nearly in every nation they were dispersed since the Roman days. However, what they experienced at the hands of the Nazis was unparalleled in its cruelty and magnitude. For Hitler to realize his millennial Third Reich dream, solving ‘the Jewish Problem’ was a centerpiece of his ideology. "The ‘Jewish problem’ was central to his (Hitler’s) whole view of history, political philosophy and program of action." [14] In the years they were in power, Hitler and his henchmen murdered some six million of Jews in the most gruesome manner. Hitler’s race idea was clearly satanic, and its implementation most horrific. “At Auschwitz, where 2 million were murdered, the process was run like a large scale industrial operation.”[15] Hitler in all his arrogance opened his mouth and uttered obscenities against Jews and their God. His hatred of Jewry and their religion was impeccable, and he mobilized all his power and resources to the total annihilation of the ancient people of God. Through the sweeping police actions of the ruthless secret service and the army, the Nazi regime herded Jews inside from Germany itself and from many other European lands and sent them to the concentration camps. In these camps, Jews were worked to death, were starved. Many were sent to science and medical laboratories where they were experimented with as human guinea pigs. Millions of them were murdered in the Nazi gas chambers. "…There were no rest periods and anyone leaving his zone was shot, ‘attempting to escape.’ There were floggings every day and ‘several hangings a week.’ Potato-turnip soup was served at midday, a piece of bread in the evening.[16] Fritz Saukel, head of the slave-labour system, had laid down: ‘All the inmates must be fed, sheltered and treated in such a way as to exploit them to the fullest possible extent, at the lowest conceivable degree of expenditure.’" [17] “Then they would feel the gas and crowd together away from the menacing columns and finally stampeded towards the huge metal door with its little window. Where they piled in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling at each other even in death. Twenty-five minutes later the ‘exhauster’ electric pumps removed the gas-laden air, the great metal door slid open, and the men of the Jewish Sonderkommando entered, wearing gas-masks and gumboots and carrying hoses, for their first task was to remove the blood…before dragging the clawing dead apart with nooses and hooks, the prelude to the ghastly search for gold and the removal of the teeth and hair which were regarded by the Germans as strategic materials. Then the journey by lift or rail-waggon to the furnaces, the mill that ground the clinker to fine ash, and the lorry that scattered the ashes in the stream of the Sola.”[18] Thus was humiliated, desecrated and destroyed the sanctuary of God, His own people – the Jew. Hitler and his race ideology was that abomination which left God’s people desecrated in the most horrifying manner. Only a few of the European Jews who were wise enough to discern the devil in Hitler and his sinister plans for the Jews were able to flee the looming menace in time, to flee to safety to other countries (cf. Matt. 24: 15- 20). "The ferocity and the scale with which the Nazi regime destroyed know little parallel in the history of man. The Third Reich…lasted twelve years and four months, but in that flicker of time, as history goes, it caused an eruption on this earth more violent and shattering than any previously experienced, raising German people to heights of power they had not known in more than a millennium, making them at one time the masters of Europe from the Atlantic to the Volga, from the North Cape to the Mediterranean, the end of a world war which their nation had cold-bloodedly provoked and during which it instituted a reign of terror over the conquered peoples which, in its calculated butchery of human life and the human spirit, out-did all the savage oppressions of the previous ages."[19] The founder and leader of the Nazi party and regime, Adolph Hitler, carried many of the hallmarks of the Antichrist listed above. He was charismatic but deceptive, intelligent but an evil-genius. He was with a cruel heart with infinite capacity to hate and destroy on a mass scale. "The man who founded the Third Reich, who ruled it ruthlessly and often with uncommon shrewdness, who led it to such dizzy heights and to such a sorry end, was a person of undoubted, if evil, genius. It is true that he found in the German people, as a mysterious Providence and centuries of experience had molded them up to that time, a natural instrument which he was able to shape to his own sinister ends. But without Adolph Hitler, who was possessed of a demonic personality, a granite will, uncanny instincts, a cold ruthlessness, a remarkable intellect, a soaring imagination and – until toward the end- an amazing capacity to size up people and situations, there almost certainly would never have been a Third Reich." [20] Even what Daniel (Dan 11: 37) alludes to the low-key sexuality of the Antichrist; even this is not lost from the description of Hitler given by some historians. Klein noted, "A man who from very humble beginnings had transformed himself into a demagogue, a man who, as several historians have noted, was much admired by women. Yet, although many theories have been put forward regarding Hitler’s sexual life, whether or not he was impotent for instance, or whether he suffered from syphilis, the truth is that very little is known other than that he had close relations with his niece… and later in life with a woman called Eva Braun." [21] In Hitler, the world saw an abomination that made desolate; he authored the Transgression (i.e., Nazi ideology), which unleashed one of the awful horrors human history has ever witnessed. Nazism was evil incarnate, its destructive power, undoubtedly, energized by the devil. Hitler made the Lie of racial superiority to prosper in his hands, and as the result many were deceived by The Lie and became his agents of desolation. Communism (Marxism-Leninism) Next we will consider revolutionary Communism (Marxism-Leninism) as the primary manifestation of the ‘little horn’ and the abomination of desolation. In the following paragraphs we will expound the features of Communism in order to see what a close parallel exists between it and the profile of the little horn provided above. Communism has its origins in the rational and secular worldview set loose by the Enlightenment. As acknowledged by its proponents, Marx’s communist ideology drew much inspiration from 18th and 19th C. British political economy, French and English Utopian socialist ideas, and the dialectical and evolutionary works of F. Hegel and C. Darwin. Revolutionary Communism, more than any other offshoot of the secular-humanist camp, was the most radical and materialistic in its propositions. It openly and actively rejected traditional institutions and customary values, and called for the total and complete overthrow of the old order.[22] Marxists worked for their political ideal - the establishment of a completely new social, political and economic order organized around an autocratic socialist party and state. Most often, their methods to achieve their goals were conspiratorial, violent and ruthless. For example, as Johnson observed about Stalin, the former ruler of the Soviet Union, Stalin was running a Cultural Revolution, an attempt to change the fundamental human attitudes over the whole range of knowledge by the use of naked police power.[23] Marxism in its conception of history and the origins of the universe was purely materialistic; it has no room for God in the origin of the universe and the affairs of men. For example, the German 19th C. philosopher, Ludwig Feuerbach who strongly influenced Marx with his atheism was, “an early and prominent atheist, who denied all supernaturalism and attributed all talk about God to talk about nature. Man, he said, is not dependent on God but on nature.” [24] The origin of the idea of God and the practice of religion was attributed to the fear man had of the natural forces in his primitive days. Therefore, the idea of God and faith in Him will no longer be necessary once man is able to comprehend the workings of nature. Hence, Marxists reject the idea of God totally as relic of the lower stages of historical development of mankind. Instead they deify the rational, scientific man. Man can liberate himself from all the forces, which hinder it from attaining his perfectibility. The founders of revolutionary Communism assiduously wrote and agitated against any form of religious belief as an unnecessary relic of man’s undeveloped state. For example, Karl Marx noted that religion is the opiate of the masses and a drag on progress, and, hence, one of the primary tasks of the working class when it comes to power would be to destroy all religion.[25] Similarly, Lenin expressed his hatred of the church in the most venomous terms. He considered priests as gendarmes in cassocks. According to Johnson, Lenin’s idea on religion was pure atheism, "Religion was important to him, in the sense that he hated it. Unlike Marx who despised it and treated it as marginal, Lenin saw it as a powerful and ubiquitous enemy… he had an intense personal dislike for anything religious… From the start, the state he created set up and maintains to this day an enormous academic propaganda machine against religion. He was not just anticlerical like Stalin, who disliked priests because they were corrupt. On the contrary, Lenin had no real feelings about corrupt priests, because they were easily beaten. The men he really feared and hated, and later persecuted, were the saints." [26] It was such hatred and rejection of the Divine which took the form of most dangerous policy measures once the Communists started to take state power beginning in 1917 with Russia. As history showed, the Communist totalitarian party and state proved highly inimical and destructive to the organization and mission of the church, as well as to the survival of the individual believer. The Communists attempt to wipe out the idea of God and the practice of religion, cost the church and the faithful much in the form of martyrdom, long and short term imprisonment, exile and material sacrifice, etc. Communists’ general attempt to set up a secular utopia led them to engage on massive scale social engineering and brutal suppression of all whom they considered opponents. The church and the faithful of other religions fell victim to the grandiose Communist attempt to make the ‘New Man’, which will overcome all natural forces and usher the endless era of bliss. The communist party is projected as the incarnation of the infallible word of Marxism-Leninism, which everyone has to follow without any deviation. For example, in the words of V. Lenin, Marxism has a status like that of the Bible among the faithful. "From the philosophy of Marxism … cast as one piece of steel, it impossible to expunge a single basic premise, a single essential part, without deviating from objective truth… [And] Orthodox Marxism requires no revision of any kind either in the field of philosophy, in its theory of political economy, or its theory of historical development."[27] The whole assertion of Marxist theoreticians has therefore been: If the teachings of Marxism-Leninism were strictly followed in statecraft, inevitably would follow the Perfect Society. It was claimed, unlike other social philosophies, that Marxism-Leninism was scientific, therefore, able to provide the Solution to the varied problems of humanity. One need only to follow it thoroughly and apply is wholeheartedly to see its good results. Since Marxists believed in the inherent goodness and infinite capacity of mankind, they believed in the perfectibility of man. They placed much faith in the assertion of Darwinian evolutionary and Hegelian dialectical laws to believe that mankind was on a course of progress to achieve a higher order of existence. To achieve his Perfect State, man did not need the help of the supernatural. As Schaeffer observed such view of mankind contradicted the fallen nature of man. "The Perfectibility of Man was the basis of much of the Enlightenment and of the French Revolution. Theoretically it was a basis of the Marxist-Lenin revolution in Russia. [However] Each place this concept of the Perfectibility of Man has been acted on it has led to tragedy, to political chains, and to the loss of humanness." [28] "Marxist taught that Communism could usher in a secular utopia, a classless, secure and prosperous society, which would know no end. This assertion placed a direct challenge to the Christian millennial worldview. Projecting their vision of a secular perfect world, the Communists confronted humanity with a stark choice. The choice had to be made between them, the secular messiahs, or the Christian Messiah, Jesus Christ. Marxism, which provides remarkable evidence of the power of dominant key ideas to inspire and direct man, is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges to traditional religious belief… the thinking of Marx had religious overtones, whether from his own Jewish background or from a Christian atmosphere…Marxism can be called a quasi-religion insofar as it calls from its followers a devotion and a commitment that is in their empirical character resemble commitment and devotion that characterize religious people...Furthermore, like a religion, it has provided themes of fulfillment and hope – a revolution interpreted as the initiation of a Communist world society that would be a final consummation. There are many logical similarities between the doctrine of the Marxist millennium and the Christian doctrine of Christ’s Second Coming." [29] It should not come as surprise that many were deceived to by the words and deeds of the Communists to believe that the Communist system was the promised Kingdom of God come in a secular form. Therefore, as one Christian philosopher put it, Communism has been a Christian heresy. The sad fact, however, was this - under Communism the heart of man that was intended at creation to worship only God and to be His sanctuary now was forced to enthrone Man as god, the man-made Communist ideology as savior. To achieve this goal, Communists by terror and persecution, propaganda and economic blackmail, induced people to reject God and embrace dialectical materialism as the liberating Truth. Thus God was exiled from the hearts of many. Hence, millions were seduced and compelled to believe the Lie that man is his own god and can save himself. The Lie uttered at the fall of man in the Garden of Eden – ‘You shall be like God’, came closest to its fulfillment through the ideology of Communism. Because, Communism, more than any other ideology has had a very well-thought out atheistic philosophy and attempted for several decades to set up a worldwide Millennial–like Utopia on earth, it more the Nazi ideology comes closer to fulfill the prophecy about the Antichrist. If the decline of Christianity created the modern political zealot – and his crimes – so the evaporation of religious faith among the educated left a vacuum in the minds of Western intellectuals easily filled by secular superstition. There is no other explanation for the credulity with which scientists accustomed to evaluating evidence, and writers, whose whole function is to study and criticize society, accepted the crudest Stalinist propaganda at its face value. They needed to believe; they wanted to be duped.[30] If Nazism was a political Utopian ideology, a secular messianic aberration based on race theory, Marxism, on the other hand, was an ideology of the zealots based on class warfare. According to Communists, in order the Perfect Society to emerge, first society has to be broken up through class warfare, and only later it could be made up again according to the Marxism-Leninism blue print. Therefore, old social relations have first to be smashed ruthlessly, the propitiated classes should be dispossessed mercilessly, and the toiling masses have to be empowered economically and politically with little delay. Only class-based revolutionary struggle led by the Communist party would start and then complete the liberation of the masses from oppressing natural and exploiting social forces. Based on the above theoretical framework, everywhere Communists assumed political power, beginning with the Russian Revolution in 1917, assumed absolute power to organize, direct and control every aspect of social life. Individuals’ rights were suppressed in the name of the common good. Therefore, individual’s right did not count much under Communism, only the so-called interests of the masses, as defined by the Communist elite. Any disobedience and deviation from the Party dogma and rules, was considered treason to the party and state and was suppressed with utmost severity. Society had to render absolute allegiance to the Communist state. Acknowledging any other power, like Jesus Christ, for example, as source of truth and guidance in the life of the people, amounted to treason and anti-revolutionary activity. Under Communism, the state was elevated to a god-like status. It was the most centralized State, overseeing every aspect of life in society. Its orders have to be obeyed at any cost and to the State every allegiance belonged. In such a state, Marxist ideology was defied as the objective and infallible truth. The Communist party leaders were seen as the owners of revealed truth, with power to lead the people to total redemption. Consequently, any allegiance to God or any other customary authority was considered criminal offence in the Communist lands. This inevitably led to conflict between the true believers and the Communist rulers. To true Christians who could only acknowledge Jesus as Lord, the new communist Caesars could not be worshiped and obeyed as Lord without compromising ones faith. As Schaeffer observed in this regard, "The humanist worldview eventually leads in the worship of the state, where the states substitutes God as the solution of every societal ill. This is because humanists, having no god, must put something at the center, and it is inevitably society, government, or the state."[31] "The early church carried out their civil disobedience in the only way available to them. They came to the clear issue of worshiping Caesar or not, and rebelled in refusing to do so, though they knew the cost. It seems to me that in most the Iron Curtain countries the Christians are in about the same position as the early church. They are not in a position to change the system because of their low numbers, because as Christians they are systematically shut out of places of influence, and because of the iron control. Thus they must resist, in the manner the early church did, when they were commanded to disobey God…if apprehended, paying the price [meant] being sent to the labor camps in Siberia, which at times still means certain death, and certainly great suffering. The labor camps take the place of the lions."[32] Under Communism, as under Nazism, the people belonged to the state and not the other way round. Hence, the people were dealt with in every manner in order to make the state ideology a success. But what has been the legacy of Communism - this secular messiah, the pseudo-Christ - over the 70 or more years of its existence? Did it bring to its subjects any spiritual liberty and material bounty, as promised? Was peace, prosperity and bliss its legacy? Is that what its records show? "In the name ideology and economic policy, millions of citizens were killed, interned in prisons, or exiled in Communist lands. As their records show, Communists have been heartless and barbaric to the extent of exterminating and persecuting the populace to fit their ideological ends. For example, in the 1930s under Stalin’s campaign to collective Soviet agriculture, it is believed that some 10 million rural dwellers and others had perished." "During these years something like 10 percent of Russia’s population passed through Stalin’s penitential machinery…Churches, hotels, even bathhouses and stables were turned into gaols; and dozens of new ones built. Within these establishments, torture was used on a scale, which even the Nazis were later to find difficult to match. Men and women were mutilated, eyes gouged out, eardrums perforated; they were encased in ‘nail boxes’ and other fiendish devices. Victims were often tortured in front of their families… In 1942-45, there were many more Soviet camps, most of them larger than the Nazi ones, and containing many more people… Most of the camps, however, served a definite economic purpose…Lenin and later Stalin built up the world’s second-largest gold industry and huge gold reserves, on the backs of men working a sixteen-hour day, with no rest days, wearing rags, sleeping often in torn tents, with temperature down to sixty degrees below zero, and pitifully with small quantities of food.[33] Another major country, which came under the influence of Communism next to Russia, was China. In China Communists took power in 1949. The Chinese Communist leader, Mao tse-Tung indulged in social engineering and politically motivate terror campaigns with consequences not less than that of Stalin in Soviet Russia. For example, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, his attempt to transform Chinese agriculture into a commune system, had a high human cost. It led to man-made famine, which killed some 40 million Chinese [34]. Mao’s rule was a ruthless and autocratic as much as Stalin’s was. Wholesale killings of political opponents, consigning intellectuals and dissidents to labor camps, persecuting and controlling the churches have been a common occurrence in Communist China [35]. Regarding the policy, which the Chinese Communist followed in relation to the churches, what Aikman notes here is quite revealing. "On coming to power, therefore, what the [Chinese] Communists needed to accomplish in relation to China’s Christian population was twofold challenge.. First, they needed to intimidate into total compliance or cow into silence any prominent Catholic or Protestant Christians leaders who opposed the new regime. Any center of impendent civic leadership, and hence potential political opposition, could not be permitted to survive beneath the new mandate. Second, to avoid totally alienating the entire mass of Christian believers in China while they were still consolidating their power, the Communists needed to co-opt a large portion of the clergy. These were not to be just passive supporters to the new regime, but active enthusiasts…the Communists had planned the infiltration and control of Protestant Christian churches carefully and thoroughly. . It was during this period of mass reeducation all over China that the terms ‘thought reform’ and ‘brainwashing’ first acquired wide currency. The large majority of Protestant clergy in China went with the process. The price for resistance ranged from public denunciation, arrest, imprisonment, and possibly execution." [36] Aikman ably chronicles what Chinese church leaders had to pay for standing firm for Jesus Christ and rejecting Mao’s secular Utopia propaganda. Many Church leaders and priests were shot to death for so-called counter-revolutionary activity. Many others were sent to labor camps as long as 20 years where they labored under harsh conditions. Police torture and surveillance of churches is still a common occurrence in China today. Believers faced similar persecution in countries where Communists took power. In former East European Communist block counties, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Cuba, Ethiopia, Christians churches were closed, and believers suffered martyred at the hands of Communists [37], [38]. What took place in Cambodia at the hands of Communist in the mid-1970s was horrifying. "The Communist elites, which seized power by force all over Indo-China in April 1975 immediately, embarked on nationwide programs of social engineering, with grave consequences to the population. The models and inspirations were Stalin’s collectivization of the peasants and China’s Mao rural communes. But it was in Cambodia, where the worst atrocities against humanity took place. The most horrifying atrocities against the people were justified in the name of total social revolution, where everything from the past was anathema and had to be destroyed. At the hands of the ruling party, the Khmer Rouge, mass terror was the chosen weapon to hasten history, and realize the envisioned Communist Utopia without delay. Millions of members of so-called parasite classes, undesirable elements and counter-revolutionaries died under the social engineering policies of the Khmer Rouge. Most died while attempting to flee the Khmer devils, got executed by the Communist, or died under the harsh conditions of the rural villages to which they were forced to live after driven out of the cities and towns. About 100,00 Cambodians were executed, 20,000 died trying to flee, 400, 000 died in the forced exodus from the towns, a further 430, 000 died in the camps and ‘villages’ before 1975, and a 250,000 more in 1976. Hence between April 1975 and the beginning of 1977, the Marxist-Leninist ideologues ended the lives of 1,200,000 people, a fifth of the population." [39] The Khmer Communists like their predecessors, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, were heartless ideologues. The human person was an expendable sacrifice on the altar of Ideology. They were prepared to commit mass scale atrocities in the name of ideology. "Like Lenin, they were pure intellectuals. They epitomized the great destructive force of the twentieth century: the religious fanatic reincarnated as professional politician. What they did illustrate the ultimate heartlessness of ideas." [40] "Communists believe in strong military and police power to impose and control their autocratic rule. This has to be done to use their parlance to protect the dictatorship of the proletariat from internal and external counter-revolutionary forces. So everywhere, Marxist-Leninist parties, inevitably a large-sized ‘people’s army’ characterized each state. The first and leading Communist country, Soviet Russia for long time maintained one of the largest armies of the world and it became one the largest arms producer of the century. It was mainly Russian armament, which was exported to other communist nations to bolster their dictatorial grips on their own citizens. Most of the former and present day communist nations have had the highest per capita number of soldiers and defense expenditures." [41] "The virtual strength the Red Army demonstrated in WWII in defeating the Nazis was soon used to occupy many East European countries under the Soviet orbit as satellite communist nations. Soviet Russia exercised influence in Communist China’s policy until the early 1960s, and was the undisputed controlling force in other Communist oriented countries of the region. Soviet expansionism in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa and to some extent Latin America was quite marked.[42] Among other factors, it was helped by the winds of change that were sweeping the developing world in the post-WW II years. Soviet influence and expansionism was carried out in the guise of supporting national liberation struggles and in the name of assisting developing nations to pursue independent economic and political policies from their former colonial powers. In many developing countries the Soviets supported left wing movements and armed revolutionary insurgencies; engineered coups to bring Communists to power; propped up unpopular socialist governments with massive economic and military aid; and even at times launched direct military invasions in support of their client regimes, etc." [43] However, according to Daniel Chapter 11, the pretensions of the ‘little horn’, in our case, that of Soviet Russia’s expansion and world domination, would not go unchallenged. Another secular world power will strongly challenge its posturing. Particularly in its latter stages, the Antichrist’s empire would encounter a stronger challenge, which would leave it exposed for its true nature. The charges it used to hurl on others would return back on it; and it would be made to retreat back to its own homeland (Dan. 11: 18-19). As winds of change sweep against it from various directions, it would try to save its empire, but that would be too late. Once retired and confined to its provinces, it would stumble (make false steps), and as the result meet its demise never to rise up again (Dan 11: 44-45). [44] Conclusion Given the scripture-based composite profile developed for the last days Antichrist, only two ideological movements, namely Nazism and Communism fit the billing. Moreover, because of some specific details, communism more than Nazism comes closer to fulfill the prophetic descriptions. The best way to understand the sanctuary to defiled by the actions of the Antichrist is none but God's people, where each the person (i.e., body) is the true (mystical) sanctuary God dwells in by His Spirit. Primarily Jews in the case of the Nazis and Christians in the case of Communism make the respective of sanctuaries of God ravaged by the actions of this anti-God godless ideologies. The abomination of desolation that profanes the temple of God is understood as the godless ideologies of these systems, or the personal cults of the totalitarian leaders which every one is asked to worship. Refusal to give such acknowledgment on the part of God's people leads to a sacrilege, namely the destruction or abuse of their bodies in the form persecution that includes execution, torture, imprisonment, and starvation. There is no other better way to end the discussion on the desecration and desolation of the human person at the hands of 20th century godless ideologies than to look at the reflections of the present Pope, John Paul II. The Pope is one of the few persons of who has witnessed the emptiness and horrors of both Nazi and Communist ideologies. The Pope is also unique in the sense that he as a Christian scholar devoted himself to the metaphysical study of the plight of the PERSON. His deep reflection on the degradation and pulverization of man’s fundamental uniqueness at the hands of modern day godless ideologies is unprecedented.[45] What Naugel notes below about the Pope is quite noteworthy in light of what has been said in this article about the Antichrist and the abomination of desolation. [The Pope] "witnessed first hand the devastating consequences of various humanistic ideologies which promised a utopian dream but delivered a cultural nightmare, stripping away the freedom and dignity of countless multitudes (emphasis added – Ed.). In due course [he] became convinced at intuitive, experiential, and philosophical levels that the fundamental crisis in the West rested squarely upon false ideas about the nature of persons... [He] was not only concerned about the devastation of those who suffered under the icy grip of the Nazi and Communist regimes, but he also recognized the disfiguring consequences of upon those held in bondage to the excess of Western individualism and selfish capitalism. Regardless of location, for [him] various political and economic systems based upon secular and atheistic assumptions led to a profound betrayal of the true nature and nobility of persons." [46] The Nazi atrocity against the Jew had at least one positive outcome - the setting up of the Jewish own homeland, the state of Israel in 1948. One of the mottoes of the founding fathers of the re-born state of Israel was: No more again. After 2000 years of exile, persecution at the hands of Christians and gentiles, and lastly victims of unprecedented Nazi atrocities, finally God allowed the Jews to set up their own kingdom (state). This God allowed coming to pass so that the Jew will no longer be trampled under the feet of the gentiles. There is a spiritual lesson from Israel’s story. How the restoration of Israel’s kingdom (state) was preceded by the rise of the godless Nazi regime and its evil deeds, this carries a deep spiritual lesson. The story of Israel is intended to shadow the story of the Christians, how first they would suffer intensely at the hands of another 20th c. ruthless godless power. The fall of this anti-God power would be a harbinger of the rise of the Kingdom of God in the earth. Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it (he) is near--at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place (Matt. 24: 32-34 NKJV). xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Foot Notes [1] The ‘little horn’ is also commonly known as the Antichrist (2 Thes. 2: 2-12; 2 Jn 1:7) and the (Red) Beast (Rev. 13). [2] Some of the cult leaders who claimed the title of Messiah include such figures as the Americans Charles Mason, Rev. Jim Jones and David Koresh, the Korean Rev. Moon, and the Japanese Asahara Shokou. For one aspect of a discussion on this subject, see David Gorenberg’s book, The End of Days . [3] Hence, as we have seen earlier, it will be an offshoot of one of the major branches of the Enlightenment Movement. It means that it will be part of the secular-humanist movement, which would dominate the Western mindset beginning the 17th C. [4] For the intellectual roots of Nazism, see William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Touchstone, 1990), pp. 97-113. Shirer traces the origins of German (Aryan) racial superiority and the theory of the Superman, which led to the megalomaniac deeds of the Nazis, to the works of the following major philosophers and writers: the Germans, Fichte, Hegel, Treitschke, Nietzsche, R. Wagner, as well as the lesser lights of the Frenchman, Gobineau and the Englishman, Chamberlain. [5] Though Hitler did kill many Christians for their faith, those whom he killed for their religious identity by far a larger number were Jews. [6] Stephen in his last sermon, which led to his martyrdom, brings out this idea most. He argued with the Jewish religious leaders that God’s ultimate temple is the human body (the believer’s heart) and not the Jerusalem Temple (acts 7: 44-50). To support his point he quoted 1 Kgs. 8:27 and Is. 66: 1-2. The apostle also quite underlies the fact the believers are collectively and individually constitute the ultimate temple of God (1 Cor. 3: 16-17, 6: 19-20; 2 Cor. 6: 16-18; Eph. 2: 21-22). Paul by quoting Lev. 26:12 to support his interpretation clearly indicated that its was Israel the nation which was collectively the true abode of God and not necessarily the tabernacle or the temple she had. Jesus also referred to His body as the temple (cf. Jn. 2:19-21). Jesus words in Jn. 14: 23 give some indication on the ultimate meaning of the human body as the temple of God. [7] One can include all other classes of people who as well who refuse to submit to the dictates of the impious secular power, and hence suffer similar fate as does the people of God. Humanity, in the general sense, it can be argued that, is the bearer of the image of God and His potential temple. [8] The perpetrators of this indignity against the people of God are ‘despised powers’ - educated barbarians (‘Greeks’). The designation, ‘little horn’ implies as much the inferior quality or the low estimation given to such intellectuals by God, as anything else (Dan 11:21). See also Ps. 119: 141 to see that the word ‘little’ implies contemptible, despised. [9] Paul Johnson, Modern Times, (New York: Perennial, 1991), p. 48, 261 [10] Israel and the Church are the two ecclesia of God. Both have been selected as the repository (abodes) of the oracles of God. Israel incarnates the OT, and the Church the NT. God, who is the WORD (Logos) resides and manifests Himself through a chosen people. See for example, Is. 49:3; Rom. 9: 4-5; 2 Cor. 3: 3. [11] In a wider context, one can consider all human kind, irrespective of nationality, class or creed, as the ultimate and potential temple of God. In this case, any power that attempts to take the place of God in the life (heart and mind) of mankind is the false Messiah (‘little horn’). Some of the anti-God forces more than others have been quite violent in their opposition and persecution of those who resist such a usurpation. [12] According to Johnson (p. 295) “By the mid-1930s Hitler was running a brutal, secure, conscienceless, and successful and, for most Germans, popular regime. The German workers, on the whole, preferred secure jobs to civil rights which had meant little to them.” [13] Johnson, p. 381. [14] Johnson, p. 413. [15] Johnson, p. 415. [16] It is said that the ‘little horn’ will suspend the morning and evening sacrifice for 2,300 days (Dan 8:13). That is for about for 6 years and 4 months. If in this case if one considers food as the required sacrifice for the upkeep of the human-body temple, then, the Nazis by starving the Jews for the duration of the Holocaust (1939-1945) fulfilled this part of Daniel’s prophesy. (NB. However, based on ones preferred calculation, if one doubles the 2300 days, one arrives at duration of about 12 years and 8 months. This gives us roughly the period the Nazis lasted in power (1933 – 1945)). [17] Johnson, p. 417. [18] Gerlad Reitlinger, The Final Solution (London 1953) quoted in Johnson’s Modern Times, pp. 115-116. [19] William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (New York: Touchstone, 1990), p. 5. [20] Shirer, pp. 5-6. [21] Shelley Klein, The Most Evil Dictators of History (New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004), pp. 60-61. Eva Braun, was quite an abandoned, love-starved mistress of Hitler, driven to suicide attempts by her loneliness (Shirer, p. 1111). One can contrast this profile of Hitler’s with his contemporary, Mussolini. Johnson (p. 96) notes that Mussolini, “Was handsome, vigorous, well-launched in a sexual career that would bring him 169 mistresses.” If all these true then, the Jew has the last laugh regarding its mortal enemy, Hitler. The Jew could see even right into the bedroom of its archenemy to describe him to such private details - 2500 years before his rise!! [22] According to prophecy (Dan 11:36-39,) the Antichrist will be anti-traditionalist. The ‘little horn’ will have a clean break with the traditions and customs of the people. What it will bring into national life will be an imported god, a foreign idea, with little root in the customs and traditions of the people. The idea being foreign, then it has to be bolstered and secured with force of arms. The subject people have to pay a very stiff price to comply. Only those who conform can make a living out of the system. [23] Johnson, p. 453. [24] J. McDowell and D. Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions, (San Bernardino: Campus Crusade, 1982) p. 421. [25] McDowell and Stewart, p. 421. [26] Johnson, pp.50-51 [27] Johnson, p. 53. [28] F. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, (Westchester: Crossway. 1982), p. 125. [29] Encyclopedia Britannica III, Macropedia, “Philosophy of Religion,” Chicago, IL: William Benton, Publisher, 1978, vol. 15, p. 598 in J. McDowell and D. Stewart, pp. 435-436. [30] Johnson, p. 275. [31] Schaeffer, p. 114. [32] Schaeffer, pp. 122-123. [33] Johnson, pp. 304-306. [34] David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing (Lanham: Regenery, 2003), p. 214. [35] Johnson, pp. 544-574. [36] Johnson. pp. 52-54. [37] Brother Andrew, God’s Smuggler (Grand Rapids: Chosen Books, 2001). [38] Aikman. [39] Johnson, p. 656. [40] Johnson, p. 657. [41] This conforms Daniel’s words that the Antichrist will worship the god of strongholds (Dan. 11:38). In modern parlance, that he puts much faith in military buildup and use of military power. [42] According to prophecy (Dan 11:18) the ‘northern power’ (Antichrist) will succeed in his expansion campaigns until it is stopped by an opposing power. In its Middle East and Africa adventures, many ME Arab countries will be spared its control; but north and northeast Africa would come under its influence (Dan. 11: 41-43). [43] In this instance, the case of Hungry (1956), Czechoslovakia (1968) and that of Afghanistan (1980) can be considered as clear cut cases of direct Soviet military interventions. [44] See Dan 11: 18-19, 44-45. [45] David K. Naugel, Worldview: The History of A Concept (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), pp. 39-40. [46] Naugel, pp. 39-40. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Copy right © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  11. Teddy

    The Remnant Principle

    Thank you LynnMosher. Whenever you get the time, please leave me your comments on "The Bride is Coming" and "Daniel Chapter 8: a new approach." As you see, I need some feedback from time to time. God bless!
  12. Daniel Chapter 8: A New Approach by TLD (2003) This article presents a new perspective on Daniel Chapter 8. It moves the interpretation away from the historical-literal framework, to focus on the symbolic and the eschatological. I present the interpretation in three sections. The first section discusses the Chapter in its symbolic and eschatological meaning. It interprets the chapter in the form of clash of cultures. The second and third sections will focus on the new meaning and end-time fulfillment of the abomination of desolation. Section 1: Clash of Worldviews Here is the word: “… I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. 3 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great. 5 And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. 7 And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand.“ Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. 9 And out of one of them came a little horn, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. 10 And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them.” Dan. 8: 2-10. Daniel saw this vision around 538 BC. As the Book of the Maccabees and secular history attest, Daniel’s vision had come to pass by accurately predicting the events, which took place in the Middle East region during c. 300 – 100 BC period. However, it will be totally wrong to limit the understanding and application of this vision (and the other related visions of Daniel’s), only to the events that took place in that time frame and in that confined region. We have a solid precedence in the New Testament usage of Old Testament history and prophesy to enable us to seek for wider and deeper meanings in Daniel’s vision. We also find enough exegesis precedence in Bible scholarship to take a vision like Daniel’s beyond its local and immediate context and apply it to far distant future events, including Endtime events. For that matter, the angel that was sent to Daniel to help him understand the vision had told Daniel that the vision has application to latter day events. If so, then Daniel’s vision should be interpreted in such a way that it becomes fully applicable in a meaningful way to make us understand better God’s workings in the last days. But the question will be - which of the available Scripture interpretation methods should we choose to attain our intent? If Daniel’s vision is to apply to latter day events in its totality, there is a need for adopting a different interpretation method. One such technique is the figurative interpretation method. The figurative approach is chosen, because, Daniel’s vision is inherently typological, and hence such an interpretive approach will allow us to fully grasp the larger issues implied in the vision. Once we adopt this interpretive method, the next step will be to single out the major protagonists and historical processes found in the vision for closer scrutiny, to evaluate them for their typological value. Later, we will map these protagonists and historical processes to their figurative counterparts of the last days. Only after such a course, then we will assign the abomination of desolation a new meaning based on what we have come to establish through the new approach. Hence, the logic we will apply to identify the abomination of desolation will be inductive rather than deductive.
  13. Teddy

    The Remnant Principle

    Remnant Theology -Part I- (2003) By TLD "Behold, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will lop off the boughs with a terrible crash; Those also who are tall in stature will be cut down And those who are lofty will be abased." (Isaiah 10:33) Unredeemed humanity - even for that matter carnal Christians - are hardly able to do the will of God by themselves. The root of the problem is the power of sin and their carnal mind which is opposed to God and His ways (Rom. 8: 5-8; 1 Cor. 2: 14, 1 Jn. 5:19). The salvation experience is the primary and the most important step in tackling the problem of sin and the secular mind set. However, receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is just the first step; it is the door way into the realm of God. To completely transform the new believer into a mature Christian, into the image of Christ, God has first to undertake a molding and purifying process in the life of the person. This is the process of sanctification that requires various processes to mature the believer into a vessel fit for God’s higher purposes. The Pruning Process The sanctifying measures God initiates in the life of the believer primarily target the natural man in the areas of self-sufficiency and self-glory (Ps. 147: 10-11; Jer. 9:23-24; 1 Cor. 1:3-31; Jn. 15:4-6; 1 Pet. 5:5b; James 4:13-16). God’s objective targeting these areas is to bring the believer to a life of faith and dependence on God, to a life of humility and obedience. God wants to restore His original image in man that was lost because of the fall. The pruning process targets thinking habits, to re-shape set mind sets, worldviews, and plans of life. It also targets behavioral patterns, settled habits of life and relational patterns. The final product God is aiming at is none other than the original image of man before the fall. It is the restoration process of image not less than the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself (Eph. 4: 22-24; Heb. 12:5-6,11; Rom. 12:2). The pruning experience will differ from person to person. What each person will pass through will depend what God sees needs addressing. Whatever the sin or the bad habit God detects, He will remove through His fire. The type and length of the pruning process will also depend on what God wants to form in the person’s life. The purpose God has for the person’s life determines how God will refine and mold him. Nonetheless, the result is essentially the same in all. After the pruning experience, the person will be ready for the service of God, as a restored and empowered vessel of God, promoting God’s higher purposes on earth. The Remnant Principle The pruning process by which God works – to restore His righteousness in the life of His people and to prepare His servants for a higher service – in this discussion I call God’s remnant principle. The same idea we encounter in the Old Testament in the form of the remnant-branch principle (Job 14:7-9; Isa.10: 33,11:5; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 6: 12-13), and in the form of the cross-resurrection principle in the New Testament (Matt. 10: 38-42; Jn. 12: 23-26, 15:3; 2 Cor. 12: 7-10, Phil. 3: 10-11; Rev. 22:16). God’s Old Testament remnant-branch and New Testament cross-resurrection are inherently the same. Both as a process their purpose is to purge sin and self-sufficiency, and to bring man closer to God and to make man a totally-surrendered servant of God. The importance God places on this principle becomes clearer as we study the following examples. 1. The Case of King Nebuchadnezzar The fourth chapter of the Book of Daniel has an incident which is a stark illustration of the remnant principle. The chapter recounts a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, the powerful king of the Babylon. The dream is about a luxurious tree which is suddenly cut down to its stump. The branches are removed way, but the stump is preserved, wrapped in chains. After a long waiting period (literary, seven seasons) the stumps revive. The dream foretold what will come to pass in the life of King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The dream foreshadowed what God will do to humble the king for his pride and self-sufficiency. The luxurious tree: The majestic tree signified the king in his worldwide power and influence, in his unprecedented glory and impressive achievements. However, these blessings made the king proud; he took all the credit for his spectacular achievements. He left God no room for his success. His pride attracted the attention of Heaven in the form of God’s humbling judgment. God cut down the pride of the king. The king left his palace to roam the fields as a lunatic (Dan 4:10-14, 20-22). The stump: The luxurious tree is not destroyed; it is not torn out of the ground by its roots. The tree was cut down to a stump. God left a hope of life, a future, for the tree. But it must remain bound, wrapped up in chains. Similarly, God did not kill Nebuchadnezzar for pride. God could have killed him as He killed king Herod for pride (cf. Acts 10). Instead, God humbled Nebuchadnezzar. His reduced roamed the fields like a lunatic. Invincible chains were all around him, a sign of the judgment of God in his life. The mighty king was humbled to the point of eating grass. The king remained a miserable figure until the time God visited his stump self in His mercy (Dan 4: 14-17, 31-33). The branch: Once the process of humbling the king was completed, God let the humbled, transformed king to be restored to his former glory. After the king has completed the appointed time of his trials and repented of his sin of arrogance, God restored him to sanity and to the throne. King Nebuchadnezzar, transformed by his humbling experience, became a God-knowing and God-serving leader (Dan. 4:34-37). A new branch (a transformed man) emerged from his testing dark times to rule in the fear of God. 2. Noah: The Cosmic Meltdown In the Old Testament the lives of Noah, Job, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, etc., we can see the same remnant-branch principle at work. bear testimony to the workings of the same principle in their lives. For example, in the Flood account (Gen 6 –9), we read how God judged the entire world for depravity. We can consider the Flood which God sent on that generation as His ax of His judgment that God laid at the root of the tree of human pride and depravity. God gave the depraved world a time to repent, but at last when they did not, He moved in with His ax of judgment. The Flood, which destroyed everything in its wake, except a “stump,” a seed of hope. Noah and his family were that “stump” which was not removed along with the branches of sin. The “sump” was wrapped up (protected) in the ark, while the deluge prevailed on earth and destroyed everything with life. After a season (after God made sure that which should be removed has died out), God remembered Noah and his family in the ark. The remnant of humans, its stump, God brought out of the ark, made them the new branch that fill the earth. 3. Job: Rising from the Ashes In the life of Job, we also encounter the remnant-branch principle, working at a microcosm level (cf. Job 14: 14: 7-9). We first meet Job prosperous and in favor with both God and man. However, God permitted Satan to bring series of calamities into Job’s life Job was hacked down by series of disasters of every type. He lost his children, his wealth, and his health in rapid succession. Job was reduced into the lowest state any person can ever experience. Job became a mourning, destitute, sickly, and despised man. That respected man among his community, ended as the most humbled despised person. The luxurious branch of Job removed, only his stump remained intact. He did not understand why such ordeal can happen to a man a God-fearing man like him. When God allowed God-fearing Job pass through a fiery ordeal. God has His own reasons. It is because even the religious life is not exempt from the pruning knife of God. Even pious has some dross to be cleansed of His life. Does Job know that God’s favor in His life does not depend on works, but in faith? When everything does not seem to work in his life, does Job still love and trust God? Does Job know God’s love is not dependent on our circumstances, even on our pious deeds? God restored Job after the pruning process. God revived the ‘stump’ of Job. Job received double for all what he lost. Job learned the true way of worshiping and understanding God. A new man has first to emerge from the ashes to carry God’s glory. God can bestow His secrets only to the new branch, the purified Job. God wanted a new wine-skin to pour His new wine into. 4. Israel: A Remnant Shall Return For most of their story, Jews disregarded God’s laws, pursuing idolatry and sinful practices. As the result, God sent judgment on Israel time and again. The purpose of the judgments of God, either war, exile, or famine, all were intended to cleanse the people from their habit of transgressing His ways. God’s judgment usually came against Israel in the form of natural calamity or invading armies. God used dire punishments such as drought, plague, enemy forces, and exile to humble His people. The aim of God’s judgment was primarily to remove the proud and the arrogant among the people, particularly those who led the people astray. Through the judgment process, God always preserved a holy remnant whom He later uses to bring about national restoration and revival of spiritual commitment (1 Kgs 19: 10; Is. 2: 12-22; Amos 3: 9-12; Micah 2: 12-13; 5: 7-8; Zephaniah 3: 11-13). In understanding the principle of God’s dealings with Israel, the Book of Isaiah is the best guide. In his inspired prophetic evaluation of his nation, Isaiah amply uses the metaphor of a cut tree that will come to life again from its stump. A felled tree, a surviving stump (remnant), and a regenerated new branch characterize Isaiah’s prophecies (Is. 4:2 –6, 6:11-13, 10:15,33-34, 11:1, 14:8, 27:6, etc.). For example, Isaiah wrote, Behold, the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, Will lop off the branches with terror, Those of a high stature will be hewn down, The haughty will be humbled, He will cut down the tickets of the forest with ax, And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One. (Is 10:23-34) On the other hand, God would preserve a holy stump, and use that to restore and renew the nation. Isaiah wrote, If only a tenth of the people are left, even they will be destroyed. But just as stumps remain after trees have been cut down, Some of My chosen ones will be left as holy seed. (Is 6:13) We can consider one historical episode in Israel’s history to see how what Isaiah’s and other prophets’ words in this regard came to pass. God used Babylon as His ax of judgment against idolatrous and arrogant Judah (2 Chr. 36:14-16). Judah was carried away into captivity for 70 years. In the captivity, God preserved a remnant, a holy seed unto Himself, which He later used to bring about the restoration of His people. After the appointed period of captivity was over, God visited this remnant and brought it back to its own land. Leaders like Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua and Zerubbabel, and all the rest of the returnees, were the remnant God used to rebuild the temple and city, and revive true worship in the land. Here we note how God used Babylon to purge His people of their pride and idolatry. God preserved a humbled and cleansed remnant which He used to perpetuate the identity of Jewry and to preserve Judaism in its original form (see Ez. chapters 9 &10; Neh. 10:28-31). 5. Moses: A Prophet’s Life in Three Phases At the individual level, Moses’ life serves as a good illustration of the theology of the remnant-branch. Moses can provide us with a pattern by which we can understand the way God shapes and molds His servants for His calling and divine purpose. Moses’ comes in three distinct phases, each 40-years long. These phases in the life of Moses furnish as with the perfect model to illustrate the principle of remnant-branch theology. Each of these 40-years period in Moses’ life correspond with the three processes stages we have identified as the characteristics of the remnant-branch principle. i. The first forty years of Moses life, were years of the natural man, developed to the highest level of rank and status. From his infancy upward, Moses was privileged to the comforts of the palace of Pharaoh. Moses was educated to the highest degree; he was instructed in all the wisdom of Egypt. In rank, he was a very powerful prince in Egypt (Ex. 2: 210; Acts 7: 20-22; Heb. 11: 23-26). Literary, Moses had it all – power, wisdom, influence, riches, glory, etc. No wonder that Moses was a smug, self-sufficient and authoritative person. Though he felt God will use him to liberate his fellow Jews from Egyptian bondage, he could barely wait until on God uses him to this end. Moses chose to act without waiting on God. Moses, in this instance, represents the natural man – mankind all in its self-sufficiency not relying on God to save it. ii. The next forty years of Moses’ life were in quite contrast to the first forty years. In one day, Moses lost it all. After killing an Egyptian (in a botched attempt to rescue a Jew), Moses had to leave Egypt in haste to escape the wrath of the king, Moses fled to Midian. Moses stay in exile in Midian lasted full forty years. This makes the second phase of Moses’ life, or in God’s plan in the making of His servant. God used Moses’ 40 years in Median to strip Moses of his self-sufficiency and arrogance. Moses’ glorious luxurious tree of life was cut to its stump by the strong hand of God. The man who once was used to public acclaim now became a very obscure herdsman. Before God could visit the remnant (stump) of Moses, first patience has to run its full course in Moses’ life (cf. Jam. 1:3-4). iii. After the completion of the 40 years, God appeared to Moses at the burning bush. The much reduced Moses was anointed and commissioned by God. God commissioned Moses to be the liberator of Israel from Egyptian oppression. God’s visitation changed the lowly shepherd into a mighty prophet-prince in one day. The stump of Moses gave rise to a new branch, a branch that was destined to impact the whole world. At the burning bush, it was as if, ‘a man-child’ was born, and a mighty man of God was anointed. Moses came out of his wilderness as a dreadful lion that will plunder the den of the powerful Egyptian Empire, releasing the God’s people from Egyptian captivity. 6. The New Testament: The Cross and the Believer In the New Testament, the theology of the remnant-branch is presented in the form and language of the cross. In the New Testament, the cross is used in dual sense. First and foremost, the cross is about the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made of Himself on Calvary to atone for the sin of humanity. In its second sense, the cross signifies the surrender of self and one’s own will in an ongoing fellowship with Jesus. In this regard, the cross places an obligation on the believer to purge himself daily from all carnal inclinations and to transform his natural mind set to reflect that of Christ, the incarnate Word (Mat. 10: 37-39; Gal. 2:20, 5:24). Therefore, it is in the second sense that here we discuss the cross. In this sense, the cross means the lying down of one’s life in total obedience in order to do the things that please God. As God’s will goes against carnal choices, bearing a cross becomes a purging and humbling experience for the believer. The purging and experience often takes place in any of the following three forms, - Through voluntarily carrying ones cross daily: Here the believer willingly crucifies the flesh daily so that the will of God will prevail in his life. In this case, out of his volition and desire to surrender to the will of God, the believer, happily applies the ax of the cross to his life. Through moment by moment obedience to the Word of God and to the Spirit of God, the believer lies down his life as a sacrifice to Christ (Rom. 12: 1-4). He applies the Word of God as an ax to the tree of his natural man, to cut away branches of pride and self-sufficiency from his life. The humble remnant that finally remains (forms in him) will be Christ like in its humility and obedient spirit. At the end of the process of self-surrender, God will lift up and glorify this holy remnant of a person in the sight of all (Mat. 10:37-39; Lk. 14: 7-10; 1 Pet. 5:6). - The second avenue is a pruning process God Himself initiates and undertakes. Often, God takes the initiative to trim off fleshly desires and carnal pursuits from the life of His own people. When this happens, the working of the cross in one’s life will be deep and painful. The person undergoing a pruning experience will suffer the dark night of the soul. God applies the painful pruning knife to facilitate that a sanctified people can bear much fruit (Jn. 15: 1-7; 2 Cor. 4: 16-18, 6: 10; Heb. 12: 3-11; Jam. 1: 1:2). - Judgment of God: Whenever the Holy Spirit has to deal with sin in a person’s life, God will subject the person to a purifying process. The person will be disciplined by the hand of God, but the purpose is to bring the person back to do the right relationship with God. The punishment God administers in the lives of His people can be quite fiery. What God does to purge His people from sin of pride and arrogance can be exacting (1 Cor. 5: 1-5; 1 Tim. 1:19-20; Rev. 2: 22-23, 3: 19; cf. Isa. 4:3-4). Since the major emphasis of the New Testament is on humbling oneself voluntarily, the life of the Lord Jesus is presented in the Bible for Christians to follow and imitate. 7. Jesus Christ: Our Heavenly Example Jesus’ incarnation, ministry, and death on the cross are set as examples of total surrender and obedience to God’s will (see Ps. 40; Heb 2; Phil. 2). St. Paul writing about Jesus in Philippians clearly brings out the exemplary nature of the life and suffering of the Lord Jesus. St. Paul words in Philippians 2: 1-11 give us some clue how the life of Jesus’ corresponds with the remnant-branch/ cross-resurrection principle. 1. The pre-incarnate Jesus existed in full divine glory. Jesus was part of the Godhead. In this state, Jesus was co-equal with God (cf. Jn. 1:1). 2. At the incarnation, Jesus voluntarily emptied himself of all His Divine attributes, and entered the world as a lowly human being. Not only that, but He furthermore humbled Himself to the most ignominious death, death by Roman crucifixion. His choice to die on the cross was the sign of the depth of His self-denial and total surrender to the will of God. In the eyes of the world, crucifixion was a penalty reserved only for the accursed according to the Jews, to the idiots according to the Greeks, or to the worst criminal types according the Romans. 3. Jesus’ for the depth of His obedience in dying on the despised cross, God the Father resurrected Him from the dead, raised Him to Heavenly glory, and gave Jesus a name above every other name. God the Father bestowed authority on Jesus, making Him to rule over all God’s creation, forever. God declared ultimately everyone will bow before Jesus. Jesus is called the root (i.e. stump) and branch (i.e., revival) of David’s kingdom (Is. 11: 1-4; Rom. 15:12; Rev. 22:16) for this reason. 8. The End-Time Remnant-Branch At the beginning of each Kingdom dispensation, the remnant-branch principle operates at a grand scale. For example, when God inaugurated The Patriarchal Age we note how God worked through the life of Abram/ Abraham and Sarai/ Sarah. We note how God launched the Dispensation of the Law, we saw how the remnant-branch principle operated in the life of Moses. Similarly, at the beginning of the Church Dispensation, we saw how God used the cross-resurrection principle in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, if each Kingdom dispensation is ushered in by the grand application of the remnant-branch operation, then is it scriptural to expect the last phase in the dispensations of God’s Kingdom to manifest the remnant-branch principle on a grand scale? The answer to this important question lies through the careful investigation of the Scripture. However, besides searching the Scriptures it is also equally important and valid to listen to the voice of revelation as being given by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:10-12). “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19:10). According to the Bible, Jesus’ obedience is something the church has to follow for a pattern (1 Pet. 2:21). The Christian has to emulate Jesus in His utter obedience and in enduring fiery trials (Phil. 2: 5, 3:10-11; 1 Pet. 4: 12-14; Mk. 10: 35-45; Rev. 11). Emulating Jesus’ in His utter obedience and suffering has the promise of a blessing bordering on His. If we endure our suffering as Jesus did, then we will enter to a glory like His (2 Tim. 2:12; Rev. Chapters 2 & 3). (To be continued with the second part of this article). xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Glory be to God (Received and taught beginning 1988. Written and posted July 2003) © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
  14. Teddy

    The Bride is Coming

    The Bride is Coming By Teddy L. Desta (2003) The Analogy of the Bride The Scripture uses various analogies to depict various aspects of the relationship between God and the believer. Some of the most familiar ones are: Son – Father Disciple –Teacher Servant – Master Soldier – Captain of the army of God Sheep – Shepherd Living stones – Corner stone Vineyard – Farmer Body - Head Wife – Husband Bride – Bridegroom, etc. In the Bible, we note how there will be a transition from one analogy to another depending on the need to illustrate and emphasize a certain aspect of the Divine – believer relationship. For example, the son – father analogy is used whenever the speaker intends to show the unmerited privileges coming to a one-time sinner. It is used to emphasize inclusion, permanent location, ready access to God, and unique spiritual and material bounties flowing to the believer upon the decision to follow Jesus (John 1: 11-12; Rom. 8: 14-16; Gal. 4: 1-7). On the responsibility side, it is used to underscore what God expects in the believer, like filial-like obedience, dependence and trust, and an upright life style worthy of the child of God (Matt. 5:16, 48; Heb. 12 5- 11, 1 Pet. 1: 13 –17; 1 John 3:1, 9-10). But when the Scriptural focus is the issue of battling temptation, preempting the devil’s plans, or destroying demonic strongholds, Bible writers opt for another analogy. This time they use an analogy derived from the army and warfare. In such instances, the church is presented as a spiritual army of God, and each believer is then called a soldier. The analogy of the army is used to teach about the nature and rules of engagement in the spiritual conflict which exists between Good and Evil, i.e., the Kingdom of God and that of Satan. The nature of the enemy, the issue of spiritual discipline and required militancy, the armory of God, and the war strategy, all these and more are covered under this analogy (Matt. 10: 34-39; Luke 11: 21-23, 13:24, 14: 31-33; Rom. 13: 12-14; 2 Cor. 3- 10; Eph. 6: 10 - 18; 1 Tim 1: 18, 2 Tim. 2:4; 6: 12; 1 Pet. 8-9; Rev. 12, 19: 11- 16). The Analogy of Marriage In the multi-faceted relationship that is between God and the believer(s), Bible authors also use two related analogies derived from the martial life area. One of these analogies is that of the marriage analogy, and the second one is the wedding ceremony analogy. The first analogy is used when the intention is to emphasize covenant-based relationship between God and the body of believers. This analogy is selected in its power to demonstrate the need on the Divine side for a permanent, stable and ongoing relationship with the elect community. The married life analogy is chosen to underline pure love, fidelity and obedience. It also carries the idea of unity of purpose with God, and the promise of abundant spiritual fruit (Ps. 45; Rom. 7: 1-6; 1 Cor. 6: 12-18; 2 Cor. 2-3; Eph. 5: 21-33). The second analogy is that of a wedding ceremony. It represents a bride-bridegroom type of relationship between God and the church. The wife-husband analogy is about fidelity and permanence in an on-going relationship. On the other hand, the bride–bridegroom analogy represents courtship and romance evolving into a joyous moment ate the end in the form of a wedding ceremony. This analogy is selected and used in the Bible to depict faithful waiting and a relationship that promises to end in a climax. The bride-bride groom analogy focuses on the consummation joy of intimacy where the two beings become mystically one. The act of consummation is soon followed by a rapturous honeymoon period. In short, in this analogy the focus is on joy. In the Scriptures, it is the Song of Solomon, more than any other book in the Bible, which has a very rich and beautiful poetic description of the bride- bridegroom analogy represented. Though the book at the literal level, narrates the lovely romantic relationship between King Solomon and a shepherd girl, it is now widely taken as spiritual love story between God and Israel first, and then the church. In the New Testament usage there is a very surprising twist in the way the romantic relationship between God and His people is presented. We notice an apparent reversal of events in the logical order how the two analogies, namely the wife-husband and bride-bridegroom analogies are presented. The New Testament first presents the church as to be in a mystical marriage relationship with the Lord. But in what appears to be a reversal of natural order, after a long waiting period, the church is announced to have made herself ready for her wedding. In order to clarify this reversal of natural order of events, we need to first clarify a few things about the use of analogies in the Bible. First, an analogy is a figure of speech, a communication technique and not the reality itself. Thus, Biblical analogies cannot be taken too literally; otherwise confusion will result of meaning will result. For example, how can the Bible allow in one page to say the Christian believer is a child of God, and then in the next page that it declares the believer to be the bride of Christ? Such paradoxes remind us to exercise carefulness in understanding and interpreting Biblical analogies by not becoming too literal and fastidious in our interpretation of biblical analogies. Second, the wife-husband and bride-bridegroom analogies are unique as they are specifically time bound. The bride-bridegroom analogy is employed to describe a church blessing to manifest in the distant future, namely in the last days. From this viewpoint, we conclude that the church is destined to enter a new stage in its relationship with the Lord at some future fixed time. What is true and what will be true later in the future they have qualitative difference demanding use of different analogies. Then the question becomes, why did God select the wedding ceremony, the bride-bridegroom analogy to represent this new form of relationship? What are the salient features of the wedding ceremony to make it an apt metaphor to represent the qualitatively new type of relationship that will be realized between God and His church in the last days? The answer to these important questions lies in the salient features of a typical traditional wedding ceremony, for example, that of the Middle East. In the Bible, as said earlier, any analogy acquires its usefulness from its power in illustrating a given spiritual reality more than any other metaphor. The following main elements of a traditional wedding ceremony will illustrate the mind of God when He selects and uses the bride-bridegroom metaphor to express the spiritual reality that will infill His Church in the last days. The following features, I believe, are the main characteristics of the wedding ceremony which is at the heart of the bride-bridegroom analogy. Joy: The culmination of the relationship between God and man, marked by a climax of rapturous joy and adoration of the King. Adornment: The bride will be clad in ornate dress. There will be lavish outpouring of gifts from the bridegroom to the bride. The outpouring of the gifts will be proportionate to the royal bounty of the Lord God. Banquet: A sumptuous feast (table) laid out for invited guests to enjoy. Intimacy: Time for the bride and bridegroom to enter union. Secrets revealed. Identity: The bride takes the identity of the groom. Her last name changes. She gets the legal authority to rule over her husband’s property. In the last days, we must expect the manifestation of the spiritual counterparts of the above-mentioned wedding markers. Their presence will be a sign that the Divine–church relationship has entered a new and elevated phase. Therefore, the spiritual counterparts of these wedding ceremony features need manifest first before we say: “Lo and behold the Bridegroom is coming!”, and before we trim our lamps and enter with the groom into the banquet. The Signs of the Times In our generation, as many agree, many of the signs given by Jesus and the prophets indicative of the coming Kingdom of God are being fulfilled. More than we think, the night is far spent, and the promised day is upon us. As a pall of darkness covers the world, and distress and chaos grip the nations, the church, on the other hand, is experiencing the glory of God in a new way. There is a new sound coming out of many churches, a sound that is unheard of in previous generations. This is a new sound, in its depth, variety and outreach. Undeniably, for any careful person watching the church landscape, this new sound cannot be missed. The voices and signs are indicative of the above-mentioned markers of a wedding ceremony. Can it be said, then by reviewing the following words that God is opening a new phase in His relationship with His church? Joy: In many churches today there is now a sound of worship unparalleled. The church worldwide is experiencing a new release of the spirit of praise and worship. Adoration of Jesus is being accompanied by joy unspeakable. Believers in many places are experiencing a spontaneous spirit-led ecstatic worship. The spirit of sorrow and sadness is being broken from the people of God in many congregations. The air is imbued with joy and expectancy. Not only the people are dancing before God, but also in a sense the Lord Himself is also breaking in joy and singing over His church (Zeph. 3:14-20; Isa. 62:1-5; Hos. 2:16-22). In traditional societies, singing and other festivities herald a coming wedding. For example, in my culture which is Semitic to a great extent, weeks before the actual wedding date, friends of the bride gather at the bride's house every evening to sing and dance. Every evening, their singing pierces the quiet night, their joyous sound travelling wide and far. Every one who hears the singing understands that soon a wedding is coming to that household or village. Adornment: Today we note that the Holy Spirit is emphasizing holiness among the church. There is a purging and purification process going on in the body of Christ. Sometimes this is done by fire and sometimes by water. The church is being prepared as a bride for her wedding. To make her spotless and without wrinkle, she is being washed with water, and anointed with myrrh and spices. Moreover, the church is putting aside the old clothes, and it is rising from the dust putting on new clothing. God has been putting on the church a glorious garment of salvation, and her neck is being adorned with the necklaces of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In recent years, we are seeing the unprecedented restoration of many of the gifts of the Spirit to the church. As a bride becomes more beautiful from every additional touch of preparation, so is the church. It is being changed from glory to glory, it is becoming as ‘radiant as the sun, and as beautiful as the moon,” and “terrific in majesty as an army with banners” (Esth. 2: 12-18; Ps. 45: 9; Song. 2: 6, 4: 1-7; 6: 4-10; Is. 52: 1-2, 61: 10; Ezek. 15: 6-14; Matt. 22: 11-13; Eph. 5: 26-27; Rev. 19: 7-8, 21: 9-12) Banquet: According to Scripture, there shall be a spiritual banquet prepared by God for His people in the last days. God in that day, will throw a big party of rich food and old wine, where those with hunger will satisfy their souls with spiritual dainties and get drunk with the wine of the Holy spirit. God will open the treasures of His spiritual storehouse, and feed His people from the richness of His word. Revelation will be given from the word of God to answer the questions of life’s perplexing problems. Since every area of life will be dealt with using the word of God, and that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit will be in an unparalleled manner, then no longer going to church will be that dry ritual experience as it is now for many, but a necessity to satisfy ones hungry soul with the word of God, and indulging oneself in the joy and liberty of the Holy Spirit (Prov. 9: 1-6; Is 25: 6-8; 55: 1-3; Jer. 31: 10-14; Matt. 22: 1-10; Rom. 14: 16; Rev. 19: 9). Intimacy: A new level of intimacy will emerge between God and His people in the last days. That time will be marked by an outburst of love by God. His love will make Him to rend the veil, take us to the innermost chamber, and allow us to behold His glory. We shall have communion with Him in the most intimate way, where He will reveal to us what has been deep in His heart, and that which He has never disclosed to a previous generation. But the question is: Is there any sign that we are seeing such intimacy emerging between God and man? Is there any indication that God is rending the veil and He showing Kingdom treasures to His people? We notice in our days: That which has not been known even to previous generation of Christians, is now being revealed to His prophets and apostles. A spirit of teaching and prophetic proclamation has been given lavishly to enable many to declare the deep secretes of God. God is anointing many with prophetic insight that they are now teaching and revealing the wisdom and knowledge of God, which has been kept secret from the wise of this world, but that which has been hid for our glory from the beginning of the ages. Many are coming forth declaring hid mysteries of the Kingdom of God, as the Holy Spirit is opening that which has been sealed until the last days for our glory (Prov. 25:2; Song. 1: 2-4; Isa. 43: 18, 48: 4-8; Dan. 12: 8-10; Matt 13: 44; 1 Cor. 2: 13; Eph. 1: 15-19; 3: 8-12; Col. 1: 26-27; 2: 2-4; 1 Pet. 10-12; Heb. 11: 39-40). Identity: The grand and lasting effect of the wedding ceremony is that the bride and groom will become one in covenant of marriage. This oneness will be legally recognized, and as of that hour the two will be regarded as one before the community and the law for many purposes and intents. Following the wedding ceremony, the bride will take the name of the groom as her own, and she will enter the possession and administration of the husband’s property. When we apply the above aspect to spiritual reality, then we must expect in the last days (as Scripture teaches), the church to enter into an identity relationship with Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom. This will involve, among many things, sharing His name, partaking of His nature (holiness, majesty), and reflecting His power and glory in such unprecedented degree that to see the church will be seeing Jesus, God. However, before the church is transformed into a queen with divinity in her, before it attains to the unity (oneness) with the Lord, first God must do a miraculous transfusion of His nature into her. The issue of attaining God-like identity will prove to be as much as a process as it is also a suddenly. It will involve a peaceful progression as well as an upheaval. St. Paul, at one point, described this as a maturing process, writing, “growing into the full measure of Christ”. In other parts, the apostles, including St. Paul and St. John, see the bride as the overcomer of a great tribulation, to be finally declared worthy to be rewarded with a new name, the name of God, and rulership with Him. This transformation (transfiguring) for the church till gets the identity of Christ, will involve both a nurturing process, as well as a disruptive tribulation period. God will use both methods to uproot the old nature and implant the new. It is as much as that we die to the world and self so that He who in us as the hope of glory will emerge as our new identity, it is also that we fight our way into the fullness of the Kingdom of God, battling strongholds and principalities all the way until we conquer the heights of Zion (Is. 62:1-5; Dan. 7: 13-14, 26-27; Zech. 6: 12- 15; 12: 8; Rom 8: 18-23; 1 Cor. 3: 22-23; Heb. 12: 28; Rev. 2: 17, 26-28, 3: 11-12, 21-22). The issue of identity will emerge as the most debated and controversial aspect of church life in the coming days. But if we have to remain faithful to the wedding analogy scripture employs to describe the end-time glory of the church, we cannot escape the above kind of conclusion regarding our identity. Calling Two Witnesses The book of Esther contains some rich imagery with deep implication for the end-time wedding analogy. If the book is interpreted prophetically, it can show us some important points about the destiny of the church in the last days. By what we read in the book of Esther, the interplay of the various scenes and the nature and roles of the characters, we can discern the outlines of the spiritual destiny of the church. For example, Esther (with Mordecai), can symbolize the church for the following reasons. - Humble beginnings, - Replacing a former arrogant queen. - Living in the palace as a bride of the King, - But vexed by an evil viceroy who is the virtual ruler of the empire, who tries to wipe out her tribe. - The power of intercession, and the sudden turning of the tables against the evil ruler. - Esther and Mordecai finally becoming the effective ruler of an extensive empire. It is crucial for our prophetic interpretation of the book that we do not see Esther, though a queen for some time, entering the fullness of her power and authority until the end of the chapter. Similarly, the church, though seated with Christ on a throne in the heavenly places, we do not see her exercising full power in the earth today. However, as full governmental authority came to the Jews later, it shall be so with the church. However, as the Jews first must endure the wrath of an evil viceroy, so must the church by overcoming the end-time wrath of Satan. Finally, what we read about Mordecai in the following quote will give us a good picture of the glorified church as it enters effective rulership by attaining the identity of the King of the Universe, Jesus. On that day the king Ahasuerus gave the house of Haman, the Jews’ enemy, to Esther, the queen. And Mordecai came before the king; for Esther had told him what he was to her. And the king took off his ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman…Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a garment of fine linen and purple. The city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. The Jews had light, and gladness, and joy, and honor…Many of the people of the land became Jews that day; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them ( Est. 8: 1-2, 15-17). We also read in the Song of Solomon how a wedding ceremony relates to the crowning ceremony. The prophetic implication of the following quote, with the rest of the book, is crucial for what we said in the preceding sections. Go out, O ye daughter of Zion, and behold King Solomon! with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him, in the day of his wedding, and in the day of the joy of his heart. (Songs 3: 11) xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx PTL © TLD, 2017 - 2025. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Teddy L. Desta and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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