Question #1: Hello Dr, I have read Gen 3:15 translated as (He, She, it or they) will strike ( or bruise) your head. From one of your posted answers I see that you translate Gen 3:15 as "He will strike your head". Do you like "He" because of New Testament insight or is this the best grammar choice? Also, does the LXX shed any light on this verse in Hebrew the way it does for for the word "Virgin" in Isaiah? Thanks again for all the effort,
Response #1: As to Genesis 3:15, this whole section is treated in detail in the following places:
In BB 3A: Anthropology: "The Judgment"
In CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom: "The Origin, Character and Rise of the Beast"
I am now inclined to translate the verse as follows:
Then the Lord God said to the woman, "What is this you have
done?" And she replied, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate". So
the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this,
you are accursed, more than any beast or wild animal. You shall
go on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. And I
shall place hostility between you and the woman, that is,
between your seed and her Seed. He (i.e., Christ) will attack
you head[-on], but you will attack Him from behind" (lit., "His
In any case, while I suppose you could translate with "it" as the subject understanding the serpent as the grammatical referent here, "he" seems a better way to go since the serpent represents Satan (and prophetically his son antichrist). In no case is "she" correct, because in Hebrew there is a separate form in the imperfect for feminine subjects (that is to say, Hebrew, unlike English and many Indo-European languages, often does differentiate by finite verb form the gender of the subject). Technically speaking, there is no neuter in Hebrew. The feminine is usually used for this (a fact which militates against the use of "it"), but since snake (nachash) is a masculine noun in Hebrew, the masculine form yeshuphechah (feminine would be theshuphechah) could certainly be translated "it". But as I say, this particular snake is long dead – the devil and his antichrist are the true prophetic subjects.
The Septuagint isn't helpful in this regard since Greek makes no distinction between the three genders in finite verbs. And the LXX actually reads "guards" (!?) here instead of "crush/strike/attack". That brings up my overall feeling about the LXX. Greek is my specialty and I spent a lot time in seminary in Septuagint courses (although my major was Hebrew – balancing off all the Classical Greek in my other degrees), but the main benefit I got out of these classes was a true appreciation of the LXX's worth. Quite frankly, I don't find it worth very much. It's textual tradition is so muddied and the Hebrew textual and linguistic understanding of the translators so questionable that one is almost always better served by spending the time focusing on the Hebrew text, parallel passages, Hebrew grammars and lexicons, rather than attempting to glean nuggets from the mud in the LXX. On occasion it has proved somewhat helpful, but my advice is to use it with extreme care and caution: many of the translators apparently didn't quite know what they were doing in Hebrew (not to mention Greek!).
Hope this helps – feel free to write me back about it.
Thanks as always for your generous answers and the time you spend providing Bible insight to all of us who visit your website. I will take the next few days to study the links you have provided. I have over 50 Bibles and every major translation and commentary. You name it: D-R, KJV, NKJV, NIV, ASB, NASB, RSV, NRSV, NAB, Jerusalem, New Jersalem and others with commentaries from the Catholic, Lutheran, Orthodox, Reformed, dispensational, general protestant, Jewish and Jewish Messianic as well as other organizations. The plain English reading of Gen 3:15 would suggest that real snakes would bite at our heals and we would crush their heads as we have done throughout time. Just as the snake would crawl on his belly seems to address only real snakes and not Satan who probably does not crawl on his belly. However I understand the prophecy here of Christ crushing Satan as well. It does seem that the word order is backwards. How can Satan bite Christ's heal after Satan's head has been crushed? Not trying to be nit-picking. I just wonder if this verse describes the ongoing battle between Christians and Satan's offspring. In that case "They will strike at your head" seems to make sense. An example of this fight might be WWII when the mostly Christian nations of the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia defeated the pagan governments and people of Germany, Italy and Japan. Again - thanks for the time spent answering my questions or commenting on my emails.
You make a couple of very good points. The first and last parts of the prophecy would certainly be appropriate for snakes in general. The fact that the prophecy is personalized says a couple of things to me, however. First, the Bible is very likely in terms of general prophecies to say things like "you and your offspring", but I can't think of an instance off-hand where the prophecy is personalized (i.e., directed only to "you") and yet is still meant to be understood as generic as well as personal. That problem is solved (in regard to snakes) if we understand here the devil as the prime recipient (i.e., the "you") and serpents receiving this transformation as a sort of "cursing by association". In that case, the "cursing", "going on the belly" and "eating dust" will be literal for snakes but symbolic for Satan (a necessary combination of objects for the prophecy since the serpent more than represents the devil; the serpent was possessed of and used by the devil). Secondly, just as normal snakes do not have free will (any more than any of the other non-human/non-angelic creatures), not only are the words and actions of the serpent to be attributed to the devil, but I think we have to assume that the Lord would not be addressing the creature personally here ("you") unless the combination of possessed and possessor were in view (with the latter being the prime recipient of the curse).
Then there is the middle of the prophecy, the woman's Seed versus the serpent's seed, which, as you say, has to refer to our Lord and, I would say, more likely to the devil's seed than the devil himself (i.e., to antichrist); I would absolutely agree that the words "you" and "the woman" do indeed refer to and reflect the ongoing struggle between the evil one and the Church, the Bride of Christ. However, I tend to see this struggle more (indeed, almost exclusively) in spiritual and individual rather than in political and collective terms. In my view, that is how God deals with us and what really moves history, human perception notwithstanding.
To take your example, I notice you left out the Soviet Union, a nation which was responsible for an even greater number of grisly deaths and an even more horrendous toll of human suffering than Germany and Japan put together. Also, they could not have killed as many people as they killed, nor could they have enslaved half the world and terrorized the rest for half a century had it not been for the tremendous resources and support the west gave them, in full and cynical knowledge of what was happening. The more thoughtful historians I have read admit that war with Japan might well have been avoided except for the U.S. government's determination to bring things to a head in order to bring American into the fight against Nazi Germany, and also that the European war might easily have been brought to a quicker, less deadly, more just and more desirable end, had Roosevelt and Churchill not been so quick to bend over backwards for Stalin on the one hand, and so adamant about unconditional surrender on the other. In most conflicts in world history, wise policy-makers do their utmost to separate the enemy government from its people. Hitler had plenty of enemies ready at hand for us to employ and there were numerous assassination attempts against him even so, but the unconditional surrender policy coupled with a complete lack of willingness to find any sort of political solution cost many lives by driving the entire German people into Hitler's arms even at the end – at least that is an argument which can be reasonably made.
My point here is not to grind any personal political ax but really precisely the opposite. No nation is perfect, and I think most true Christians would be very surprised to find out how few genuine Christians there really are in countries which have predominately Christian cultures. The fact that many of us in the west have been blessed to such a large degree is a testimony to the effect that a small "remnant according to the election of grace" can have through God's blessing of them. My apologies in advance if I have made this argument a bit too forcefully. It's just that I have learned in my life that separating politics from Christianity is absolutely essential and that failing to do so tends to lead to all sorts of pitfalls. For while we have complete control over our own will and vast opportunity to grow in grace and to serve God in helping others to do the same through our individual choices, when it comes to influencing others politically or looking to collectives for answers, especially political ones, the prospect is always one of spiritual danger rather spiritual progress.
In the One who died for us, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I have no problem with your view of politics and Christianity and do not consider it at all forceful. Quite the opposite, I appreciate you taking the time to respond. I personally believe that the war in Heaven is played out on earth and between individuals, groups and nations. I have read the arguments, mostly by isolationist such as Pat Buchanan, that state that the war between Germany, Japan and the U.S was avoidable. What is left out of those arguments is the recognition of the horror and devastation the Axis countries were causing and the potential for that horror to spread around the globe. Japan was raping and pillaging its way thru China and Korea and causing massive death and suffering in the Far East long before we went to war with them. Hitler, on the other hand, was so determined to wipe out the Jews that he diverted trains, badly needed to resupply the German Army on the Eastern Front, to transport Jews to concentration camps. "The voice of thy brother's blood cries to me from the ground".
The argument that we were too unforgiving in surrender terms has a number of problems as well. Among those problems are the absolute fanaticism of the Japanese, expressed infamously but not exclusively by the kamikaze pilot; the demonic nature of the NAZI party and its military wing the SS and the fact that the U.S. lacked any desire for the spoils of war and even invested many millions of dollars to rebuild Germany and Japan. America's relationship with Russia during WWII is best explained by "Realpolitik", and best voiced, albeit for another war, by Abe Lincoln as "One war at a time" when he backed away from a potential conflict with England during the American Civil War.
I believe Satan introduces Chaos into the world. I don't mean this in a strictly theological view but in a general philosophical view. Man, sin or Adam and Eve are responsible as well, but Satan, I believe, is the general author of chaos. As Christians, we are obedient to Jesus whenever we battle chaos and try to bring order into the world. This does not have to be and usually should not be military action. It could be feeding and clothing the poor, rehabilitating the criminal, wiping out sources of disease, providing clean drinking water and so on. But, at times, it could also be removing a dictator and a corrupt and evil government from power.
It's sad but true that we are not the Christian county we used to be. It is also true that we have persons in our government and business community with less than Christian values and motives. Still, like Israel of old, we are capable of redemption and could still rise to the occasion if we would only return to the Lord. I find some hope in believing that we can join the Lord of Hosts (armies) in the great universe of battle first mentioned in Gen 3:15. I don't view it as politics but think of it as a duty.
I certainly agree with you in terms of description; it's the personal application with which I quibble. Beyond all question, Satan seeks to impose his plan on humanity through various and sundry means, and politics is the way this plays out in large measure in the visible conduct of human affairs. The question is, to what degree are we believers enjoined, encouraged or allowed to become involved in this process? Satan has emissaries to all of the world's nations and leaders of mark (cf. Dan.10:13; Lk.4:5-7), and without doubt is behind much political machination in the history of the world. He does not, however, control history, as his many unsuccessful attempts to destroy Israel prove. But of course it is God who has delivered Israel, not Israel herself.
Here is what I find in the New Testament on this subject:
Let every person be subject to [all] superior authorities.
For no authority exists which has not [been established] by God.
And those that exist are [in turn] subject to God. Therefore
whoever opposes [established] authority has taken a stand
against God's [ordered] arrangement, and those who have done so
will receive judgment upon themselves. For rulers do not exist
to discourage good deeds through the fear they inspire, but
rather evil ones. So do you wish to have no fear of the
authorities? Then do what is good, and you will have praise from
them. For they are ministering to God on your behalf for your
[own] good. But if you do evil, beware, for they have not been
invested with the power of punishment (lit., "the sword") for
nothing. For they are ministering to God in the severe vengeance
[they bring down] upon those who do evil. Therefore it is
necessary to be subject [to authority] not only because of this
severity, but also for conscience' sake.
Submit yourselves to every established human [authority] for
the Lord's sake, whether to a king, as being sovereign, or to
[other] executives, as being sent through Him for the purpose of
reproving evil doers but for praising those who do good. For
this is the will of God, namely, for you to muzzle the ignorance
of foolish men by doing good, as free men, yet not using your
freedom as a cloak for evil but as servants of God. Give respect
to everyone, love the brotherhood [of believers], fear God,
honor the king.
1st Peter 2:13-15
I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers,
intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyoneófor kings and
all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet
lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases
God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a
knowledge of the truth.
1st Timothy 2:1-4 NIV
These passages teach unequivocally the need for Christian submission to established authority. And as I often remark, these are breathtaking statements when we consider that the Roman Empire was not particularly sympathetic to the cause of Christianity (to say the least). What these passages do not do is to 1) tell us to get involved in politics – except for prayer on behalf of those who rule; or 2) tell us to advocate for political solutions, domestic or international.
We do live in the world and complete isolation from it is of course impossible. I admire and respect your service to our country. It was at least in part with a similar sense of obligation that I did my hitch many years ago (though not with anything close to approaching the sacrifices you have had to make in your deployments to Iraq). But I don't see the New Testament advocating "democratic solutions". Everything I see in scripture is directed toward the building up of our individual spiritual relationship with the Lord, not with collective worldly solutions of any kind. Indeed, it is in this desire to "change the world" through collective action that visible Christianity has gone astray throughout history. We are not here to change the world; that is impossible. The world lies "in the lap of the evil one". We are here to make a difference for Jesus Christ – on His terms, in the way He has chosen to use us.
Indeed, I look forward to the Lord's return and accompanying Him in resurrection as He destroys the forces of evil; but as scripture maintains adamantly, He is the One who will do it. Whether wars and other international activities are just or necessary or ultimately helpful will always be open to debate. History seldom, in fact, renders final judgment satisfactory to all. I am in the process of writing (another) book about the Peloponnesian war and this one is still being vigorously debated by the handful of scholars still interested. My point is that our Christian duty is not to get upset about politics domestic or international – as if there were really anything we could do about it anyway – but instead to "keep our eye on the ball", to continue to advance spiritually and to continue to help others do the same. That is what the Lord wants from us and that is the basis for our eternal reward. Ultimately, Jesus Christ controls history, and the most important factors in its playing out are hidden from our eyes. We do not see the angelic conflict swirling around above us, and we cannot really know the consequences of our smallest actions, let alone the results and effects when nations clash. But God knows everything. If it is His will, yes indeed the ruthless will be put down. But how do we know on this score what is or is not His will? How can we know how He is using circumstances for His own purposes, especially when it comes to foreign nations about which and about whose populations we know so little of what is knowable, let alone what is unknowable. On that last point, one very important thing to keep in mind is the principle that the government and governance a people receives never occurs in a vacuum of divine knowledge or will. Put another way, people get the government and the governance they deserve. Human attempts to upset what God is doing never do anything but accomplish what He had in mind in the first place, and precisely so.
I suppose to this charge of hybris in attempting to alter the way the world is and works could be leveled the argument that leaving it as is is just fatalism (which begs the support of your argument of responsibility). In macro terms, I suppose that is true, but not in micro terms. We are individuals, not collectives. We are here to believe in Jesus personally, and serve Him as He directs us to do on an individual level. Clearly, to serve the Church of Jesus Christ requires interaction with others, believers and unbelievers both. But that is always a non-governmental, and, ideally, completely non-institutional thing. It also entails our doing what we are sure the Lord wants us to do for other people on grace terms wherein they accept what we are willing to give personally and freely. All of these aspects are turned our their heads when governments and collectives become involved. Now we have surrendered our free will to the group – free will for the use of which we are responsible on that day of days to the true King. Now the group decides what is good for others, whether as individuals they think so or not. Now we act with force regardless of whether the recipients of our benefits are willing and grateful or not. Organizations and political parties who engage in such activities always call them "good". But if someone, for example, tried to use force to convert me to Islam, even though they sincerely believed they were doing "good", I would call it "evil".
The world will remain what it is until Christ returns. He is the only one who can make any true changes because He is the only One 1) who can remove the devil (and will); 2) who actually knows what is good and right and just in every case; and 3) He is the only One with the power and foresight to effect real, positive change in full knowledge of every consequence of action. It is a mark of the disconnect between human appreciation of such things and divine truth that after a thousand years of perfect government under unimaginably blessed material conditions, upon his release Satan will be able in a very short time to enlist the majority of the world's population in a "crusade" to depose the King of Kings (Rev.20:7-10). My deep concern about this issue stems in part from my understanding of where we are on the eschatological time line. In my reading of scripture, it will not be very long at all before antichrist arises, and he too will proclaim a "crusade" which may very well seem good and noble and right and just – indeed in my reading of scripture it will be packaged just that way. Given that fully one third of genuine Christians are prophesied to fall away into unbelief under the influence of the beast and his lies, the importance of staying aloof from political action, the sphere of antichrist's rise, will never be more important once these events begun to unfold. For even assuming that a person will have the discernment to recognize the beast for who he truly is, that does not necessarily mean that said person will also have the spiritual discernment to avoid political opposition to him – as if the book of Revelation and the rest of prophetic scripture could be re-written. We do have our marching orders, and properly implemented now and then they will take everything we have to carry out properly and effectively. Getting diverted by false issues can only be unhelpful, and in many cases during the Tribulation it will be so to the death of the faith of those who become involved (please see the links: in CT 3A: "The Great Apostasy"; and in CT 3B: "The Rise of Antichrist").
We believers are in this world, but we are not of it, and behavior which attunes itself to that fundamental proposition is the only sort I can personally commend; indeed, it is the only sort I see the Bible commending. Let me end with a quote from L.S. Chafer's Systematic Theology, v.2, p.77-78:
The cosmos is a vast order or system that Satan has promoted, which conforms to his ideals, aims, and methods. It is civilization now functioning apart from God – a civilization in which none of its promoters really expect God to share, who assign to God no consideration in respect to their projects; nor do they ascribe any causativity to Him. This system embraces its godless governments, conflicts, armaments, jealousies, its education, culture, religions or morality, and pride. It is that sphere in which man lives. It is what he sees, what he employs. To the uncounted multitude it is all they ever know so long as they live on this earth. It is properly styled the satanic system, which phrase is in many instances a justified interpretation of the so-meaningful word, cosmos. It is literally a cosmos diabolicus.
In this world we have tribulation, but Jesus has overcome the world.
What will you do when the forces of the Anti-Christ come after you (Rev 12:17)? What will you do when they come after the children?
Of course while in historical cases like the Nazis and Communists no one could tell ahead of time whether or not they would be victorious in conquering any particular area or nation, we have it on good authority that the beast will indeed gain possession of the entire world (e.g., Rev.13:3). So we know ahead of time the likelihood of successful resistance to the beast: zero possibility. I certainly understand the impulse to fight and resist, or alternatively to evade or emigrate in order to avoid the problem of face-to-face confrontation with antichrist's religious demands. To take these in reverse order, the Tribulation will be a unique time of persecution. Since the entire world will come to be under the beast's control, there will be no safe haven, no place to flee for safety (with an important exception in the case of Jews in Israel who believe in response to the ministry of Moses and Elijah: Rev.12:13-17; see the link: "The Dragon's Persecution of Believing Israel"). In terms of evasion, I find this an equally unlikely and unrealistic plan. From what scripture tells us about the Great Persecution, the majority of the world's population will be enthusiastically supporting antichrist by the time of the Tribulation's second half, and likewise enthusiastically betraying anyone who does not accept him as Messiah, even children their parents and parents their children (Matt.10:21; 24:9; Mk.13:12; Lk.21:6). Given that all true Christians will be "hated" and stand out very obviously in their refusal to take the beast's mark, avoidance and evasion for a three plus year period (at least) would seem to me to be a very questionable prospect, no matter how many caches one has buried. It also runs into a problem in the same way that the first alternative approach does. For if evasion is unsuccessful, even only partially, it will no doubt require resistance, and we are back to the same problem which I state here openly for the first time: should believers actively resist the beast, either politically or physically?
I am certainly not a pacifist, and have always argued that national self-defense is an obligation for any state. It is certainly true, of course, that much aggression and much very unwise preemption has been undertaken historically in the name of such self-defense; but we don't need to go into that here. The point I wish to make here is that, in my view, this principle does not apply where the Tribulation is concerned in the case of individual believers in Jesus Christ. For, on the one hand, we will not control the levers of power or in any way direct the historical process, so that whatever any nation or coalition of nations may do to resist the beast (or do on the beast's behalf under the false impression that he is the Messiah) will be entirely outside of our control (so also then outside of our moral ambit except in terms of academic speculation). On the other hand, since there will not be a case of a nation defending itself against the beast and his forces militarily and from "Christian" motives, there will be no acceptable "crusade" to which we may attach ourselves. I fully expect antichrist to rise to power from the U.S., and gain control here and latter in Europe (broadly defined) through political intrigue of a sort beyond the power of any individual or group of individuals to successfully resist. Thus, any believer-based resistance to the beast in this country would have to take the form of an insurgency after the fact, directly opposing itself to established authority, and would be doomed to failure in rather short order at that. It is not the lack of success which concerns me (fighting and dying for a cause that is good albeit lost is no dishonor), but rather the method in which such a resistance would have to be carried out. For the police, the federal law enforcement agencies, the national guard and the regular military are without any doubt the established "sword" of this country's national authority, and they still will be so after antichrist gains control of them. The fact that his usurpation of authority is likely not to be strictly "legal" will not change that essential fact. It is one thing to pursue the overturning of unjust arrogation of power through the courts; it is quite another to oppose the forces of law and order violently from without once the devil's son has entered the inner sanctum of power. The scriptural picture of the beast's success coupled with the more than just a little uncomfortable notion of any "Christian" cause having to oppose with violence established authority (however dubiously constituted) would prejudice me against this idea. After all, Peter, Paul and John were all persecuted by the Roman authorities, yet they all taught acceptance of that authority, even though the Roman state was not only hostile to Christianity, but officially pagan and, technically at least, intolerant of most non or anti-pagan beliefs and practices, including non-participation in pagan emperor worship (a situation parallel at least in principle to what believers will face in this country and worldwide once antichrist comes to power).
But there is more. The picture of believers given by the book of Revelation (as well as by the other prophetic scriptures which deal with these events) to my knowledge never describes Christians "fighting back" when it comes to antichrist. On the other hand, there are a number of places where the descriptions given suggest just the opposite, namely, Christian refusal to participate in anything ungodly, and being willing to suffer the consequences if necessary. Martyrdom is, in fact, one of the key themes of the Great Tribulation, since the Great Persecution is the key event of the Tribulation's second half (see the link: The Great Persecution). It is my firm belief that of those of us who have been called to endure the Tribulation, many of us are indeed called to suffer death on Christ's behalf, not a death of resistance, but a death of testimony:
And when He (i.e., the Lamb) opened the fifth seal, I saw
below the altar the living persons who had been slain because of
the Word of God and because of the testimony which they had
This seems to me to be clearly referring to our refusal to take the mark, and our open confession of faith that Jesus is the Messiah in the face of threats of death for refusing to acknowledge the beast as such.
When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and
authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves
or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that
time what you should say.
Luke 12:11-12 NIV
Failure to take up arms in this unique historical situation is not cowardice; rather it is an acknowledgment of a complete and total trust in the power and purpose of God. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is a time for everything (Eccl.3:1-8). Knowing the right thing to do is often a case of correctly interpreting the time and the circumstances. There is a time to emulate David. There is also a time to emulate Daniel. When the state, the guardian ordained by divine providence to protect us, has come to such an evil pass that it only seeks to destroy us, and when there is no refuge in the world whence to flee, it seems to me that we are right to consider that such things could never come about without divine permission, so that it is to divine guidance we must turn in order to find our way as to how to behave. While in facing external enemies we may well and rightly praise the God who trains our hands and fingers to war, during the Tribulation when facing our own countrymen in positions of authority we are better advised to follow another rule:
But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone
strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
As for myself, I am perfectly content to fight and risk losing my life or to offer no resistance and willingly give up my life if so wills the will of God. However, I believe that I speak from a solid biblical perspective when I say that a very careful walk with the Lord will be required for successfully negotiating the difficulties of the Tribulation in general, and specifically in this case that the proper mind-set of confidently knowing how God wants us to behave will be critical for avoiding apostasy. For the other great trend of the Tribulation will be the Great Apostasy (see the link), wherein fully one third of genuine believers are prophesied to fall away from the faith during those dark days. I can well imagine that falsely assuming that the Lord wants us to resist with violence may have the potential for wreaking havoc with the faith of those so concerned when their efforts go tragically wrong because the Lord is not with them.
(10) And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying, "Now our
God's deliverance and might and kingdom have come, even the
power of His Christ. For the accuser of our brothers, the one
who accuses them day and night in front of our God, has been
thrown down. (11) But these [believers] have defeated [the
devil] through the blood of the Lamb and the Word of their
testimony. For they did not love their lives, [even] to the
point of death.
This testimony we give will likely come before the tribunals set up by antichrist intended to cow the world into taking his mark and worshiping him as God. It is in this setting that are called to fight our fight, the sort of fight that Daniel's three friends fought when commanded to worship Nebuchadnezzar's golden image. They were vindicated out of the fiery furnace, and so shall we be, even if it be by death. No one will be able to take our crown, as long as we entrust ourselves completely to the Lord. The troubles and the horrors of the Tribulation are likely to be so great that it is probably salutary that we don't know more about them now than we do. I can think of nothing worse than losing one's children except being betrayed by ones children (something many will apparently have to endure); and nothing worse than that save betraying Jesus Christ by failing to comport myself as He would have me do when the time of trial and testing comes.
There is much more written about all these topics of course in Coming Tribulation (especially in CT3A, CT3B, CT4 and CT5), but I would certainly be willing to correspond with you about any of these issues at greater length. Please also see the following links:
War, History, and Politics.
Political Action versus Biblical Christianity.
In SR #4 "Politics and Society" (part of the "Integrated Satanic World System")
In the One we love more than life itself, the One who died to give us eternal life, our Savior Jesus Christ.
Do you see anything odd with respect to the two following Passages and their intentional use of the Hebrew word melek (King) and not malkuw/malkuwth (Kingdom)? Why are these Beasts listed below called Kings rather than Kingdoms – of course we know that they also symbolize Kingdoms as well? Nonetheless, are these Beasts actually the fallen Angels who once ruled these respective Kingdoms in the past from the spirit realm as revealed in Dan. 10:13, 20 (Prince of Persia/Prince of Grecia)? In summary, the Kingdoms symbolized below had many mortal Kings.
These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth.
And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king.
But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia: and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.
In examples 3 and 4 below the word "prince" is sar, not from the root mlk. In example 2, we have a double application for Alexander: he is both the goat and the horn, which horn splits into four kingdoms. In example 1, we have a unique situation. Daniel chapter seven is written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. Most critics feel that the word here "kings" is essentially synonymous with "kingdom" (at least one manuscript does have kingdoms, and the Aramaic plural of kingdom is very close in spelling to that of king, so that a confusion in the mss. tradition is certainly possible as the answer). Since later in the chapter, at verse 23, the fourth beast is clearly described as "a kingdom" and not a king, that seems to be the proper (or at least the primary) interpretation in any case. That is, there is a very close association between a king and his kingdom so that prophetically they are close to being interchangeable. Given the description of the fourth kingdom later in Daniel seven, where most of the characteristics listed are inappropriate for a king and must refer rather to a kingdom (e.g., it will trample the whole earth; ten kings will rise from it; and cf. the additional descriptions in chapter two; e.g., v.43), it seems very clear that "kingdom" is what is primarily in view in the prophecy, even if we do wish to understand antichrist (and the archetypical kings of each of the other three kingdoms, Nebuchadnezzer, for example) as initially in view.
I've been told that Daniel 2:43 refers to the revived Roman empire where "they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men" is mentioned.
Daniel 2:43 - And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
I understood "the seed of men" as referring to the human race and don't see any other possible interpretation. And if this is so, then who or what is it that will mingle with the seed of men? The most common interpretation of this passage is that the revived Roman empire is the final empire in which the antichrist will arise out of will mingle with the seed of men. However, I don't see how this can be interpreted that way since even the revived Roman empire belong to the seed of men. This may sound odd, but one interpretation I've heard was that this other than the seed of men are demonic beings or fallen angels intermingling with humans, and that "iron" refers to them and "clay" (earth) refers to humans. Furthermore, that they are the "mystery of iniquity" and the great deception that will lead to the great apostasy before the return of the Lord. He told me that these fallen angels will pretend to be the progenitors of the human race in the near future and deceive the entire world, and that the antichrist is even a fallen angel or part fallen angel himself and start the New World Order. Is this stretching the passage? Thanks in advance!
Yes, I think "over-stretching" is a kind way to put it. The "mingling" is an attempt by antichrist to break down national and racial barriers so as to cement his own rule and further the worship of himself and the devil (every bit as much as Nimrod tried to do at Babel). As Daniel 2:43 tells us, that attempt will not be successful, simply because it is too difficult a thing to accomplish given the limited time of the Tribulation. Had the beast been allowed to rule indefinitely, eventually this enterprise would most likely have succeeded, and would have gone a long way towards destroying the human race. God will not allow this to happen. Here is what I write about this in Coming Tribulation part 3B, "Antichrist and his Kingdom", section III, "The Kingdom of the Beast":
This central characteristic of Babylon's subordinate empire, that is, being both unified in one sense and yet at the same time clearly composed of disparate parts, is also emphasized in Daniels vision of the great statue. In that vision, however, not only are there distinct parts (i.e., "feet" and "toes"), but even within the composition of its essential material we see a further schism:
(39) And after you (Nebuchadnezzar) another kingdom
will arise inferior to you, then a third kingdom after
that, one of bronze which will rule the whole earth.
(40) Then there will be a fourth kingdom (i.e., revived
Rome), strong as iron inasmuch as iron crushes and
shatters everything. And like iron which smashes
[everything], [this fourth kingdom] will crush and smash
all of these other [kingdoms]. (41) And in that you saw
that its feet and toes were part potter's clay and part
iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but in that you saw
iron joined to common clay, it will possess some of the
strength of iron. (42) And as to the toes of its feet
[being] part iron and part clay, the first (lit., "end")
part of the kingdom (i.e., the seven kingdoms) will be
strong, but [the other] part of it (i.e., the three
kingdoms) will be brittle. (43) And in that you saw iron
joined to common clay, there will be an attempt to join
these [ten sub-kingdoms] together in the seed of man
(i.e., through a mixing of their populations), but they
will not bond one to another, just as iron cannot be
joined to clay.
In this passage too we see the beast's kingdom overall represented as bipartite, for there are two legs of "iron" upon which it stands (i.e., Babylon and revived Rome). And as was the case with "Meshech and Tubhal" in Ezekiel 38:2 above, we also see here a second bifurcation that is itself composed of multiple parts: there are two "feet", representing the dual nature of the revived Roman empire over which Babylon rules. Moreover, in Daniel's careful and repetitive representation of the feet and toes as "partly iron and partly clay" these two elements are being represented as visibly distinguishable and distinct rather than intermingled. That is to say, they are seen as fused one to another rather than confused altogether, layered rather than rendered homogeneous. Therefore we may understand that some of the toes are made of iron, and some of clay, with the clay and iron radiating up into the feet in separate and discernible strata (like Zebra stripes), and with the iron toes representing the seven nations of European Rome, while the clay toes represent the three nations of the southern alliance, the former group being "strong", and the latter "brittle".
Hope this helps.
In our Lord Jesus who will deliver us through whatever we must face.
First of all ,may I just say that i find your body of work the most thorough and voluminously researched I have ever seen on biblical prophecy. I really do like your analysis and I totally agree with your post tribulational rapture view. However one thing sorely stands out in your analysis and I find it confusing. In the Satanic rebellion you keep correctly illustrating that angels ,fallen angels for that matter have no physical bodies and fell because they lusted to have what they were not given a physical or material part with which they could savor sensual pleasures all material creatures have. Now this poses a huge problem because you go on to say that they tried to have children by earthly women in Genesis 6.I agree if this is in scripture then it must be true however I believe they possessed human males to do this and even that causes a problem because how can a bodiless being possessing a mortal pass on some sort of gene or even sire any children??
You go on to say that the antichrist and his coterie of rulers will all be sired by fallen angels. How can this be if the fallen angels have no physical bodies and even if they can manifest in the flesh on occasion this could be just for perception by man but not all biological faculties certainly not functioning reproductive organs.
I agree with you on everything but this irreconcilable difference. It is not explained by you and in fact it is contradictory just as the mention of genetic manipulation of hominids. How is that possible for the fallen who are bodiless? Are you saying fallen angels have been to blame for the evolutionary process. I do accept Man was not evolved but created by God and yet to think that bodies beings could animate some sort of life-forms in the primeval past is dumbfounding.
Anyway i really love your work. It is the best I have read and the most convincing in terms of clear doctrine ,reconciling the old earth and more recent existence of man and quelling the false doctrine of the pre tribulational rapture but can you please explain the bodiless fallen and the genesis 6 conundrum....
Yours in Christ
Let me start off by thanking you for you encouraging words about this ministry – they are greatly appreciated. As to our differences, I certainly hope they are not "irreconcilable", or, if they are, that you continue in your quite spiritually mature and may I say somewhat unusual attitude of being willing to set aside a single point of contention and not allowing it to become a cause for breaking fellowship.
This issue of the Nephilim is one of those notoriously sore sticking points that bothers a great many people. In seminary it was a major bone of contention, and I had several professors if memory serves, who went to great lengths to try and dismiss any angelic connection with the Genesis six episode. That is where we should probably start. I think the fact that you are committed to what scripture says whatever scripture says is tremendously important. For my money, there is no responsible way to dismiss an angelic connection based not only upon the most straightforward reading of the Hebrew, but also and very importantly on what the New Testament passages which comment on Genesis six have to say about the matter (i.e., 1Pet.3:19-20; 2Pet.2:4-10; Jude 1:5-7). A fair reading of all of these passages placed side by side in my opinion makes the intervention of fallen angels fairly difficult (I would say impossible) to dismiss. And the "proof of the pudding" of this, as they say, is that all attempts at finding alternative interpretations which rule fallen angels out entirely have been wholly unconvincing. I will not rehearse all the argumentation here, since it is clear from your e-mail that you are not dismissing fallen angel intervention, merely expressing qualms about the nature of that intervention. I have to say, this is the best alternative I've ever heard. However, I cannot accept for reasons I will now state.
First of all, it states in Genesis 6:2 that "the sons of God . . . took wives for themselves", and similarly in Genesis 6:4 that "the sons of God went in to the daughters of men". Assuming we agree that the "sons of God" are angels in this passage (as they are everywhere else in scripture), then it would seem to be they themselves and not some intermediaries who were responsible for the procreation in context. While one might I suppose argue that we are to understand their prior possession of human beings to accomplish this, the second passage in particular seems to discount that possibility by making such a strong contrast between "sons of God" on the one hand, and "daughters of men" on the other, that is, between angels and human beings. It would seem to me that the passage would be likely to say something about demon possession if we were not supposed to take it at face value.
Secondly, if the Nephilim resulted from human to human interaction, merely with one party being demon possessed, then why wouldn't there be Nephilim in every era of human history? After all, there is demon possession in every era of human history, and one would imagine that, if it has been as widespread as I suspect (and as the New Testament seems to support), there have been countless cases of demon possessed men and women having relations – no doubt many cases where both parties were possessed. Why did this not result in Nephilim, and, in the case of the possession of both parties, of super-Nephilim?
Thirdly, as the New Testament passages show us from the punishment inflicted on the fallen angels so involved, whatever they did was outrageous enough to land them in the Abyss, whereas "normal" demon possession does not apparently do so. Why were these angels punished so severely relative to all the other cases of possession, and why, moreover, was the flood a necessity, the destruction of all of "humanity", if what had happened was going to be repeated until the end? It would seem from the severity of the punishment in both respects that something far out of the ordinary had happened.
Fourthly, antichrist is predicted to be the devil's son, "your seed", as the Lord calls him at Genesis 3:15 when cursing the serpent/Serpent (devil/Satan). Now I suppose we can "spiritualize" the passage and say that the Lord only meant this in a "spiritual" or metaphorical sense, but how then would antichrist be any different from the other opponents of the Lord? This passage is meant to call special attention to the false type of the true Christ, that is to the prophetic anti-Christ; moreover "seed" certainly suggests a tangible connection; indeed it suggest a biological one.
Fifthly, your solution, while ingenious, may perhaps cause new problems of workability. After all, from the strictly biological perspective, if angels are strictly spiritual and non-material to the extent of being unable to affect or influence the material world directly, then how would demon possession make any difference whatsoever to the physical outcome of procreation so influenced? For in such a case the possession would only have some sort of spiritual effect or influence. I think, on the other hand, the fact that fallen angels actually do enter into their victims' bodies in cases of possession speaks volumes. Angels are restricted in time and space, only to a lesser degree than is the case for human beings. I believe that a fair assessment of all the pertinent scriptures reveals them to be creatures who are "spiritual" in comparison with "physical" human beings. But of course human beings all have a spiritual part as well: the human spirit. And from what I can glean from scripture, our spirit is never meant to be "naked", that is, without a body of some sort, be it our initial one, our interim one, or our permanent, resurrection one (cf. 2Cor.5:3). Angels, on the other hand, are not dichotomous, but are purely "spirits". However, in that pure "spirituality" they are apparently limited to a size almost equivalent to human size, occupy one place at a time, have to move from place to place "physically", and are recognizable to each other as individuals (even if at present invisible to fleshly eyes). What all this says to me is that our traditional categories of "spiritual and material" are not so precise as to be able to build doctrinal statements upon them as truly representing unique and discernible categories. Human "materiality" is more complex than meets the eye; likewise; angelic "spirituality" is apparently more relative than absolute. As Paul says at 1st Corinthians 15:40, "there are heavenly bodies, and there are earthly bodies", and while it is true that he goes on to talk about the planets, the connection between the stars and angels is one made throughout scripture; all of which leads me to think that Paul and the other writers of scriptures understood very well through the Spirit that while angels are "spirits", that does not mean they don't possess the equivalent of bodies of some non-earthly and more "spiritual" sort.
After all, we know for a fact that angels can and do affect the material world, some time for the good (as in the case of the angels who rolled away the boulder that sealed Jesus tomb), sometimes for bad (as in the case of the fallen angels who destroyed Job's flocks and family). And not only that, but some of the things they do are exceedingly miraculous in comparison with human abilities, producing heavenly voices, transcendent light, shutting the mouths of lions, sealing the elect, controlling the winds, etc. The only really pertinent question is "What are their limitations when it comes to manipulating the material world?" Scripture does not give us this answer. The only thing we can say for certain is that angels can accomplish, in terms of interacting with the physical world, anything the Bible describes them as accomplishing. And since scripture describes them as doing many amazing things, we should be reluctant to say that they can't do "x" or "y" or "z", if scripture gives us some good reason for believing that they can.
As I say, from a purely exegetical point of view, the siring of the Nephilim seems to be described precisely as one of these instances – a huge violation of God's ground rules, mind you, and one for which the offenders paid very shortly thereafter with the curtailment of their liberty. As to the mechanics, I am hesitant to speculate further; there are many things which even modern science does not know about genetics despite all the advances. Angels because of their nature have knowledge and abilities to levels we cannot really comprehend. Who can really say that this would be outside of their abilities? I don't believe that in an utter vacuum I would ever speculate that fallen angels would have the ability to procreate with humans and produce "super-men"; but since the Bible seems to me to state this as an unequivocal fact, I can certainly see how it would be possible, even if the biological mechanics must remain unknown. Accepting this in principle is what leads me to speculate about the dinosaurs et al. as results of similar satanic manipulation before the judgment that resulted in the blacking our the universe and the destruction of the original earth (i.e., the change between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2, the "Genesis Gap" [see the link]); it's not a dogmatic position, only a reasonably well-informed supposition. If fallen angels could manipulate human DNA somewhat directly to produce "half-lings", it seems reasonable to suppose that they could somewhat similarly though indirectly manipulate lower-creature DNA to produce monsters. This is not evolution (a fantasy which never existed); if we are going to call it anything, let's term it "devolution" (or maybe "devil-ution" -- many apologies for the pun).
Thanks again, both for your enthusiasm and for your well-reasoned objection. You are most certainly entitled to your opinion, and I am very happy to hear that you are benefitting from the site even so. Please feel free to write back about any of this if you would like to carry on the conversation further.
In our dear Lord Jesus Christ, the only Truth,
First of all happy belated Easter and congratulations on your finalizing of your Christology pamphlet. I've downloaded it and it's really big. I'm still enjoying it, but I noticed you did not have much in way of comparison of Jesus and Moses and many scholars believe that he is the prophet spoken of and promised to Moses in Deuteronomy anyway how about his second advent will you discuss it more in the Eschatology chapter...anyway to be fair your Coming Tribulation is an encyclopedia on 'Eschatology' in it's own right so my guess is when you will finish part 6 and 7 of this collection then The Eschatology pamphlet will come in short order. Anyway I just want to thank you for your generous ministry and your effort and time to put out such a wonderful work.
I was pondering to myself a very quick deciphering of the 7 headed beast. As you know I like to try figure it out and I am no historicist when it comes to the interpretation of Tribulation times. I think all the 7 heads are perfectly future and NOT previous empires or ancient Rome.
Now I began to realize that though the 7 trumpets are blown by 7 angels the trumpets themselves herald a release of some fallen angels at least twice. Notice the 5 th trumpet shows a star falling to the earth and opening the abyss from which comes an army of locusts. This is akin to the army of locusts in Joel 2 .Anyway so I now think the first head is the first in a series of anti-christ leaders. That first angel is a world leader incarnate maybe like a nephilim (as u mentioned) and he begins the tribulation. Then in trumpet 6, 4 more angels are released from the river Euphrates and this I think are the next 4 leaders probably a group of 4 middle eastern/Central Asian leaders (in what ever ratio) also part human part angel that through their coalition and war destroy a 3rd of mankind. Notice this fits with the description of 7 heads being 7 hills (read kingdoms) and 7 kings of which by the beginning of the Great tribulation of 42 months 5 have fallen ,one is and one is yet to come for a short while.
I think here fits in the Ezekiel 38/39 scenario of 5 terrifying kings destroyed by the God maybe through the 2 witnesses (who had power to bring down fire from heaven and plague Israel's enemies (the celestial fire of the first 3 trumpets and the plague of Zachariah which makes flesh and tongue melt...an uncanny description of perhaps nuclear like explosions whether brought on my war of trumpet 6 or celestial impacts of the first 3 trumpets) all this is proof of God redeeming Israel (only to have it fall under a worse leader for a little while...(perhaps the chastisement of the third spoken of by Zachariah again after 2/3rds are killed) .Again the 6th king is the one who probably claims this false victory and attributes it somehow to himself. He is the beast out of the abyss that kills the witnesses 3 and a half years into the tribulation. He is also somehow wounded or killed and he is the wounded head and is either revived by the false prophet or revives himself and he becomes the 7th king the one 'who was and is not and yet is" and his head has the 10 horns of Daniel with 10 crowns. Surely after "saving" Israel from the 5 kings and surviving an assassination. it all begins to make sense and falls in place. Maybe with the technology of the near future he will die but will have a twin or a clone meaning that this twin or clone fully diabolically possessed is the 8th king and one with the 7th
What do you think of this quick interpretation??
I believe I included all that I know to include on the issue of Jesus as "The Prophet"; while this is assumed and mentioned throughout the study, it is treated specifically at the following link in BB 4A: "Christ's taking on of true humanity was necessary for fulfilling God's prior promises and prophecies."
On the seven heads, this is a question of hermeneutics. I certainly was trained in a tradition which was averse to "double fulfillment" of prophecy. But that is a mistake. In fact, scripture is filled with examples of passages where the first and second advents are telescoped together, for example, so that it would be an error to suggest that they have to be referring to one or the other. In Isaiah chapter 65:17 ff., the millennial Jerusalem and the New and eternal Jerusalem are likewise telescoped together. This "prophetic foreshortening" is very common in scripture and one has to understand the nature and the purpose of biblical prophecy in order to have any hope of interpreting it correctly (this is all written up in part 1 of Coming Tribulation: "Hermeneutic Issues"). In fact, Revelation itself commands us to see these seven heads in more than a single, unified way, for the beast is said to be "the eighth" and "one of the seven". As I have explained this, antichrist is both the next "Caesar" in the grand, prior historical Julio-Claudian sense of absolute control (i.e., he is number seven in this sense, the true successor of Nero who ruled when John wrote Revelation as the sixth Julio-Claudian emperor, when counting Julius Caesar as the first [which is proper]), but he is also outside of these seven when they are considered not in terms of the past but in relation to the contextually contemporary future (i.e., in regard to the seven rulers of the seven provinces of revived Rome as it initially falls under the beast's control, he is a separate, "eighth" super-ruler). After all, Rome is both dead (historically) and will be alive (the New Roman Empire which is the second part of antichrist's power-base in addition to his home country of mystery Babylon), so that the entire interpretation of this part of Revelation requires us both to look backward first for our example, then forward to the coming empire of antichrist.
It is in light of the above that I would refer the interpretation of the 7/10 to the contemporary future during the Tribulation. For of course in Rev.17:12-14 all ten kings are still around, still at least half human, and are acting in concert with the beast under his authority. So as I say, splitting up the historical Roman emperors from the seven cum ten subordinates of antichrist is what I believe to be the correct way to interpret this issue.
Do please feel free to write back about any of this.
Here is a fair question, "When John saw the Great Red Dragon of Rev. 12:3 having Seven Heads and Ten Horns and Seven Crowns upon his Heads, which ONE of the 7 Heads are the 10 Horns attached to?"
Yes, this is a fair question, for scripture does not say explicitly. However, it should be pointed out that your quote from the KJV (whose translation is in this case accurate) is not quite exact. There is a comma following "ten horns", and there could very well have been a semi-colon. In the Greek, the flow of the narrative seems to break at that point. I translate in much the same way as follows: "a great red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven crowns". All this is to say that the text does not indicate where the horns are. It does not even say that the horns are on the heads (or one head). Unlike in the case of the beast (for whom we have an exemplar in Dan.7 and who is described in three places in Revelation: Rev.13:1; 17:3; 17:7ff.), this is the only place where we find the dragon's appearance so described (i.e., in terms or horns, heads, and crowns; in Rev.16:13, for example, he is said to have "A mouth" rather than seven mouths). It would be theoretically possible to posit that in the case of the dragon the horns are not on the heads at all but, say, forming a row of spikes on the serpent's back. However, that is unlikely. First, the head is the normal place one expects to find a crown or a horn. Also, in the case of the beast, the horns are most definitely stated to be "on the head" (Dan.7:20). This would indicate to me that the most likely scenario for the dragon is to envision a central head (flanked by three heads on each side), with all of the heads "crowned" but with the central head having, additionally, all ten horns (just as they are all on the one head in the case of the beast in Dan.7:20; this would also explain Rev.16:13, i.e., one prominent mouth being visible from the central, prominent head).
The picture of the beast is very similar to that of the dragon, a red creature with seven heads and ten horns which I imagine to be similarly deployed (i.e., central head, three on each side, horns all on the central head). The main difference is the number of the crowns and their placement: the dragon has seven crowns, one on each head; the beast has ten crowns, one on each horn. In the case of the beast, the symbolism is fairly clear from Daniel chapter seven, namely, these crowned horns represent the ten national groupings of revived Rome (three of which are the defeated southern alliance, the three horns that "fall" before the "little horn", antichrist, in Daniel seven). In the case of the dragon, my best conjecture is thus that the six flanking heads represent the six chronological periods of human history (i.e., history from the human rather than the divine point of view; see SR 5: "The Six Chronological Periods of Human History"), while their crowns represent Satan's attempt to rule the world in each period, with the dominating central head and its prominent horns symbolizing his attempted replacement of God as the Sovereign of the universe, surreptitiously trying to patch in a head with an otherwise imperfect six. I would say that all of this seems to be pointing to the same conclusion, namely, the presence of the horns on the prominent or central middle head of the seven the dragon is said to possess.
Hope this is helpful!
In our Lord and in anticipation of His perfect rule to come.
Thank you ever so much for your kind response. What you say makes a lot of sense. The reason I asked is because Dan.7:24 reveals that the 10 Horns come from the 4th Beast whom I supposed to be the former Roman Empire and these same 10 Horns are not even seen for the first time with Crowns until Rev. 13:1 which I thought marked the beginning of the Great Trib. Meanwhile, as per Dan. 7:24 the 'Little Horn' does not rise until AFTER the 10 Horns are Crowned. Therefore, by this time would six of the seven Heads of the Beast have already fallen?
And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
You're very welcome. My understanding of these things (outlined in part 3B of Coming Tribulation) is that the ten horns represent the ten "provinces" of revived Rome and their ten rulers (i.e., the crowns). Three fall during the first half of the Tribulation. These are synonymous with the southern alliance grouping of Roman provinces and areas of influence (from Iran down through the middle east to Egypt and into north and eastern Africa – all part of Rome during the early empire or at least under its sphere of influence). From about the commencement of the Great Tribulation forward, this kingdom of revived Rome is indeed "united" under the Beast (although as Daniel makes clear that the unity is very fragile, dependent upon a liberal use of force). All ten kings are by this time in league with antichrist, and, as I interpret it, that was true even of the three who initially opposed him under the leadership of a "Mahdi" who unites the Muslim world; they undermine this leader in subtle ways and contribute to his defeat at the hands of the Beast resulting in the integration of the entire kingdom under his control.
The difficulty with the "heads" of the Beast is that they also represent emperors of Rome (i.e., there is a biblically expressed double interpretation to this feature of the vision as can be seen from the statement to the effect that the Beast is both an eighth and one of the seven). Of these heads as applied to specific rulers of the entire empire, "five have fallen, one is, and one is yet to come". The first five who have fallen are the Julio-Claudian emperors starting with Julius Caesar (who some inexplicably fail to count) but not yet including the last of that line, Nero, who "still is" at John's time of writing ca. 62 A.D. As rulers of the empire, the Beast is number seven in the sequence (for he will be a Caesar in every negative sense of the word); but in terms of the heads being viewed as rulers of sub-kingdoms within Rome, the beast is "an eighth", that is, outside of the seven when they represent those future rulers, because his power center is Babylon from which he comes to dominate the seven "Roman" [provincial] heads by alliance, and together with whom he later conquers the remaining three "horns" (which fall before him).
Hope this helps!
I have been studying your work, especially the forthcoming tribulation series and I saw something which I now cannot find again. You mentioned that some humans might actually be Satan's children. I have been a born-again Christian for many years, and I am a keen observer of human nature. Please could you point me to the work I saw which discusses this subject. I have often been intrigued by the words of the Lord Jesus Christ about the Pharisees being Satan's children.
I think you are referring to the suggestion that, along with antichrist, the ten kings of Revelation 17 may also be Nephilim, that is, half-angelic(demonic). That issue is discussed briefly in CT 3B, under "The Seizure of Revived Rome" (see the link). The principle is discussed in much more detail in that same study in the case of antichrist himself: "Antichrist's Paternal Origin".
You make a good point about the Pharisees. All who follow the evil one are "of him" and "his children" in a spiritual sense – and that is really the most important sense of all. However the beast will uniquely be his physical seed as well (cf. Gen.3:15).
Hope this is helpful – feel free to write me back about any of this.
In our Lord Jesus,