THE RELEASE OF THE PRINCE
This is a continuation of discussions in A Warning From Jesus.
Table of Contents
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John 14:30 I no longer will speak many things with you: for the Prince of this world is coming. And he has nothing in me. But that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father has commanded me, so do I.
Any question we might have on the integrity of John's text, as it has come down to us, should not deter us from clear recognition that Jesus made very important remarks to his apostles and disciples, and that he kept those remarks to the end of his association with them. He reserved those warnings for the end of his life. This is the only record we have from a living witness. Revelation of a severe religious persecution, and notice that a rebellious spirit personality was now "coming" on this world, should help us understand the circumstances or our day.
Modern people lost the reality of spirit transactions. When we did, we opened the door to this rebel spirit. Ancient people accepted such possibilities; otherwise Jesus would not have addressed them as he did. He would not make remarks that were totally obscure to his apostles. Emphatically, John placed them at a crucial point in his account. They carried significant weight for John. Thus, for two thousand years, a very important warning from Jesus was preserved.
Can we neglect the testimony of the New Testament? The idea that a rebellious Spirit Personality was an immediate threat to everyone is a major theme. The author of I Peter said that he prowls about, seeking to devour, 5:8. The author of the letter of James stated that if we resist him he will flee, 4:7. John told us in Rev 12:12 that he now comes with exceeding anger because he knows his time is short. Such strong tradition had solid foundation in the teachings of Jesus. Only modern generations failed to grasp the significance of these revelations; only modern generations created skepticism and doubt to give the Prince freedom to exercise his diabolical schemes. We now pay a terrible price.
We viewed this Prince in mythological terms, a "devil" or "Satan," who, somehow or other, was around our planet deceiving mankind. We did not grasp him as a real personality bent on literally destroying mankind.
Jesus accorded him honor. "Prince" is from Greek archon. It means Ruler, and is applied to Jesus as Prince of the kings of the earth, Rev 1:5 (KJV), to rulers of the nations, Matt 20:25, judges and magistrates, Acts 16:19, and rulers of the synagogues, Matt 9:18. It is also translated "Prince" by both KJV and RSV in Matt 9:34 and 12:24. It denotes ruling authority. This Prince was assigned administrative responsibility for our world, but he rebelled.
The Greek word kosmos is translated "world." But it meant much more. It meant "order," as intelligently planned, "arrangement," as purposeful design, or "embellishment or decoration," as that by which God blessed creation. This word is the origin of the English word cosmos. In Rom 1:20 it is used for the universe, recognized by the Greeks for the order observable within it. In most applications in the New Testament it meant the earth as a body within the order of creation, the planet. This word must be distinguished from aion, the Greek word for "age."
Thus, the "Prince of this World" meant a distinct personality, ruler of this planet. If we used modern terminology we might more readily understand him as "Prince of this Planet." In more formal terms we might say "Planetary Prince," as a title of lordly administrative authority. Unfortunately, he rebelled. He brought dishonor upon himself, and untold affliction upon mankind. He also brought a final judgment upon himself and upon this planet.
Did Jesus have the power to remove him? Certainly. He is the Creator; he is God. This Prince was a divinely created being. Divine beings do not exist and do not function without the consent, approval and blessing of their Creator.
Why, then, did Jesus permit him to remain? Why did Jesus not remove this diabolical personality?
Jesus was following his Father's will. Jesus did not permit the Prince to remain strictly because it was his own will. Jesus speaks plainly about it; he had nothing "in him." He wanted nothing to do with this fallen Prince. The rebel had long since taken his own devious path, not aligned with his Creator. He was a rebel, pure and simple. The Father wanted this rebel to remain here. This the Father had commanded, and this Jesus would do. The will of Jesus was in perfect alignment with the will of the Father.
We should infer that the Father had reasons which must be for the greater benefit of creation, and for all his created children, reasons which we do not now appreciate, and reasons which Jesus did not discuss.
In order to more clearly determine the spiritual influence of this rebel I shall now examine the phrases in this passage and the other two references in John 12:31 and 16:11.
"Coming" is from Greek erchomai. It is a frequent verb, denoting "to come," "to go," or "to pass." In Matt 11:3 two apostles of John the Baptist inquired if Jesus was "the coming one," the Messiah. The remark in John 14:30 was intended to indicate that the Prince of this World is now coming, i.e. will be permitted to perform his diabolical work. Jesus did not say when this "coming" would be.
This Prince had nothing in Jesus. "Nothing" is from Greek ouden. It meant "nobody," "nothing," "none." It was an emphatic word which removed all possibility that he had any connection with Jesus' goals, was in the same "spirit of intent" with Jesus, or was aligned with the will of Jesus.
"In" is from Greek en. It is used in a wide variety of applications, such as "upon," "among," "before," "in the presence of," "with," and so on. In Mark 5:2 it is translated as "with an unclean spirit." In John 14:3 Jesus meant that the Prince of this World, this Planetary Prince, has absolutely nothing to do with him. He is a rebel.
"Judgment" is from Greek krisis. The word meant "to separate," or "to make a distinction between," "to judge," and "to sentence."
"Cast out" is from Greek ekballo. It meant to "cast out," "eject by force," or "expel". A modifying word, eko, meant "outside." The Prince of this World would be ekblithisetai eko, cast out, completely removed from existence. But not before his coming. He would be permitted to do his diabolical work. He would be given ample opportunity to demonstrate the justice of the judgment placed upon him. Our God is a God of mercy; he is merciful to all his created children. He will extend full mercy opportunity to this rebel Son. And he will extend mercy opportunity to all human beings to demonstrate their spiritual loyalties. But he cannot offer such mercy without spiritual trial.
|The God of This Age|
II Corinthians 4:3-4 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the likeness of God.
In II Cor 4:4 "god" is from Greek theos. In the polytheism of the Greeks the word denoted "a god or deity." See Acts 14:11, 19:26, 28:6, and Gal 4:8. The Greek word was appropriated by Jews in their Greek-speaking communities, and retained by Christians to denote "the one true God." In the Septuagint theos translates the Hebrew word Elohim.
This word should be distinguished from Yahweh, the Hebrew name for God which was given to the tribes of Israel at Mt. Sinai. Yahweh is translated in several English versions as "LORD." In the Septuagint it is translated by Kurios, the Greek word for Lord. However, the Septuagint was inconsistent; sometimes if would translate Yahweh as Theos, depending on context. It should be noted that Yahweh is a name, and not an adjective of royal designation.
As I indicated in the preceding paper, the word translated "world" by most of the versions is from Greek aionos. This is an adjective form of Greek aion, origin of English aeon. Aion denotes an age or an era, a significant period of time; it does not mean the world. Translation as "world" is incorrect and has introduced gross confusion in our understanding. In fact, the modern translations probably reflect a desire to steer clear of the true significance of the term. Aionos is indeterminate as to duration, of unknown length, although it does not necessarily mean unending. The inflected form aionion is translated "everlasting" or "eternal," in Matt 25:41, Rom 16:26, 2 Cor 4:18, and so on.
By shifting emphasis of the word from "age" to "world" modern translators placed a veil over the significance of the presence of this "god" on this planet. Jesus was leaving and now permitted
him to "come." Since that "coming" the Prince has held the world in his grip. In the Dead Sea Scrolls this influence on the present age is designated as the "Era of Wrath". Although he was denied rulership when he was cast down, his power has not ended. As a spirit personality he is about to perform a dramatic act in defiance against his Creator.
Whether Jesus used Greek archon, meaning Prince or Ruler, or if Paul used Greek theos, the designation is one of royal celestial status. This personality was a spirit administrator appointed to rulership of this planet.
Paul wrote to a world embedded in pagan ideas of heavenly realms populated by the gods. The Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, Phoenicians, Phrygians, Babylonians and other surrounding people all believed the skies were ruled by the gods. No matter how debased, mythologized, paganized, humanized, or corrupted, the central concept was one of rulership by spirit entities. They are immortal; they are spirit personalities; hence they were regarded as gods. When Paul used the word "god" his audience readily understood his intent. Only modern people, far removed from the social milieu of those days, and under the blindness wrought by this rebel personality, would fail to recognize Paul's meaning.
Paul emphasized the difference between this "god" who was given administrative power, and Jesus, who was in the likeness of God the Father, far superior to all lesser gods, including the god of this age. Jesus, as our Creator, is a God who demonstrates true righteousness and glory.
Paul confirms the fact of world spiritual "power," granted by God to the "god of this age," for a period of unspecified duration.
|Many Gods and Many Lords|
|1 Corinthians 8:5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom all things are and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.|
In this passage "gods" is from thei, the Greek plural of theos.
Here Paul supports a theme of celestial rulership. Did he use the term "so-called" because celestial personalities, the "gods,"
a. do not exist and are so-called out of imaginary pagan mythology, or
b. actually exist but are not gods in the sense that they should be worshipped?
Philo, for example, argued that, while there is but one sovereign God, he has commissioned many lesser authorities and ministering angels to serve his purpose. Paul was expressing the same understanding. The "god" of this age would be one who was commissioned, but a rebel who is now in spiritual "power," blinding the minds of those who do not believe. Modern disbelief rejected such concepts because of the blindness this rebel has brought. This rejection not only prevailed among the godless minds of the secular world, it also prevailed among Christians and Jews who no longer believed in the reality of rebel spirit personalities. When Christians proudly proclaimed their understanding of the Bible they concurrently rejected the revelations they had been given. Their understanding was conditioned by a desire for "smooth things."
The confirming parenthetical remark, "as indeed there are many gods and many lords," has been variously interpreted to reject the possibility that God has commissioned many lesser "gods" and "lords" as administrators in the celestial realms. One commentator described it as "ironic," meaning that Paul did not intend a literal statement, but was speaking in irony, reflecting
on prevailing social attitudes. Another described it as "felicitous," patronizing his spiritist-minded Corinthian audience, but again not literally true. Still another commentator remarked that "Paul's wording . . . is not to be taken to affirm that the gods and lords of the pagan religions have some sort of existence." Paul "is not affirming that these gods have actual reality, for this would be directly contrary to Jewish-Christian faith that there is no God but one." The commentators thus reflected prevailing attitudes that there are no commissioned spirit rulers in the heavenly realms who may be called "gods" and "lords."
However, Paul was emphatic of their actual existence. Indeed, there are many gods and many lords in the heavenly realms, immortal spirit beings who deserve human respect. But for us there is only one God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus. Only they are to be worshipped. Attempts to reduce the significance of Paul's remark denied the value of his statement, and elucidation of our understanding.
The modern world, whether secular, Jewish, or Christian, did not want to understand. The attitudes of modern people were captured by that rebel. The reason for this reduction in reality is simple: if he no longer existed, if he was no more than mythological, he could not be of danger. He then was only a harmless image in those Christian, Jewish, and secular minds. He could proceed with his diabolical work unopposed. And that is exactly where we are today. We human mortals permitted an environment which gave him free reign. And all because we did not remain righteous and true to God.
|The Prince of the Power of the Air|
Ephesians 2:2 In which you then walked, according to the age of this world, according to the Prince of the power of the air, the spirit now operating in the children of disobedience.
"Power" is from Greek exousia. It meant freedom of action, the right or authority to act. This personality had authority from God to act, according to his celestial status.
"Air" is from Greek aer. It occurs seven times in the New Testament.
In five applications it means the atmosphere; in the other two, of which Eph 2:2 is one, it could carry a meaning of a "spiritual atmosphere," or an atmosphere not physically visible. This latter sense may also be implied in 1 Thes 4:17.
Again, as with all other revelations of the fallen Prince, this passage received considerable attention from biblical commentators, with confusion about its meaning. As one commentator said:
Note that this commentator admits the air as a common designation for the domain of this spirit ruler, and states that "it presupposes several areas of the universe have each its spirit ruler." He abstracts his idea of administrative dominions by the phrase "several areas." Although he sees these as within the universe, he does not recognize the possibility of dominion over other worlds. A large "Kingdom of Heaven" of many worlds is beyond his thought. He would see Paul's remarks as a reflection of the then current astrology. He would not credit Paul with understanding of such matters beyond appeasement to this popular myth. If administrative realms are real, and if they have a multitude of ruling personalities, the commentator is the one who refuses to admit such existence, not Paul. He regards such existence as mythological; it was not so regarded by the ancients. He would unjustly apply his myth suppositions to the ancients. Once again, he is reflecting the general unbelief which pervades Christian thought.
Another commentator said this:
Here the commentator is willing to quote from Eadie that the "air" in Paul's remarks refers to a spiritual cosmos, although he discounts the validity of such suggestion. The silent inference is that Paul was conceding to current intellectual fashion but did not himself actually believe such myth. Paul can use such imagery because it derived from common views; he is not making any special revelation.
How truly unfortunate that we denied Paul's intent.
The power of this Prince was in world spiritual influence granted him by God. How he used that power was within his hands, a freedom of personality expression also granted by God. As a spirit being he is resident upon this planet, but it would be primitive for us to view his abode as in the physical air.
|The Divine Councils On High|
|Psalms 82: God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment. "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked." They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." Arise, O God, judge the earth; for to thee belong all the nations!|
In 1888 Thomas K. Cheyne wrote:
How true. We human mortals, isolated for thousands of years from contact with the celestial realms, no longer understood revelation. Celestial beings appeared to Abraham, Gen 18:1f; Melchizedek was one of those, Gen 14:18. Moses had direct contact with heavenly representatives, Exod 19, 24:9-11. Other examples could be cited from the Old Testament. The apostle John states explicitly that he had conversation and revelation direct from celestial beings, Rev 1:1, 17, 22:8.
In commenting on this Psalm the writer in The Interpreter's Bible, stated:
While it is true that we have no explicit revelation on celestial administrations in the Bible, sufficient evidence exists for us to come to more certain understanding. How truly the Prince of this World blinded us. It was his purpose to keep us from understanding; the generations reflect the results of his diabolical plan. These possible explanations given in The Interpreters Bible, and other scholarly studies, show the darkness which has afflicted us.
Consider the manner in which the word "gods" is
used in the Psalms. All are from KJV.
Do we really believe our God would be a King of pagan gods? Would he be a Lord to all those? Would the Psalmist ask those pagan gods to worship our God? Would we sing praises to our God in an assembly of pagan gods? Can we not understand that the heavenly realms are populated with many gods and many lords, divine administrators who serve our common God? Is this not sufficient evidence to demonstrate how the god of this world blinded us to clear vision of the might of our heavenly Father?
As further evidence of this blindness consider the KJV translation. "Congregation of the mighty" is properly rendered as "divine council." Literally, in Hebrew, b'edath-el is "assembly of God." Such difficulty in translation can be followed through the entire passage.
As a consequence of our mythologized fears few recognize the existence of a divine administration in the heavens. God is a great and powerful God, he has many lesser gods to assist him in the transactions of a universe. He assigns Planetary Princes to rule on the worlds of space. And if they rebel he gathers divine councils to deliberate on justice, and the actions necessary to correct disruptions. As The Interpreters Bible goes on to say:
How true. Blind Judaism and Christianity admit of a heavenly host, but solely of angels. Jews bear a heavy burden; they were entrusted with the oracles of God, as stated so eloquently by a Jew in Romans 3:2. How unfortunate that they also became blind to divine revelations. We cannot escape the view that those of Hebrew heritage are more accountable; they received revelations directly; they did not need the environment of the Near East to so inform them. When the devil brought blindness to this planet he did not favor Christians over Jews; they were of equal mark.
If God consults with other divine beings does this mean he is a lesser God? Certainly not. It means that he gives respect to the existence, function and service of his other created children.
We might devise a scenario of the deliberations which took place. Those other gods might ask him:
And then God might respond:
And now God rises to judge the earth. To him belong all the stars and worlds of space.
Now creation will know who is God.
This Psalm shows that unusual transactions are to take place. The passage suggests that divine beings are to live as men; in one final mercy extension they will be given opportunity as human mortals. This concept is so profound, and so utterly beyond the theological range of existing Jewish or Christian religions, it demands careful attention. It is revealed to us in more than one passage.
|Ezekiel 28:12-19 "Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: "You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, carnelian, topaz, and jasper, chrysolite, beryl, and onyx, sapphire, carbuncle, and emerald; and wrought in gold were your settings and your engravings. On the day that you were created they were prepared. With an anointed guardian cherub I placed you; you were on the holy mountain of God; in the midst of the stones of fire you walked. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. In the abundance of your trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned; so I cast you as a profane thing from the mountain of God, and the guardian cherub drove you out from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was proud because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you. By the multitude of your iniquities, in the unrighteousness of your trade you profaned your sanctuaries; so I brought forth fire from the midst of you; it consumed you, and I turned you to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all who saw you. All who knew you among the peoples are appalled at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more for ever."|
Previous passages demonstrated the difficulty we have in understanding and accepting divine revelations. This passage is further encumbered by the symbolism and figures employed.
The phrase "King of Tyre" has thrown most expositors into the assumption that it refers to the historic Tyre, and the kings who ruled it. Their commentary centers on the idea that the prophet intended a description and pronouncement against an ancient earthly prince. "The ruler of Tyre has been led to imagine himself as more than human, and his city as impregnable, like the seat of the gods." They believe this view is confirmed by the fate which is decreed against him. He will be turned to ashes upon the earth, in the sight of all who see him. How could that be other than an earthly king?
But the statement is clear; he was cast to the ground; he became a physical being. And in that physical condition he was burned to ashes in the sight of the kings of earth. Now he will be no more forever.
Thus, we now have two passages which show that a divine being will be given one final mercy opportunity as a human mortal. But he will fail; his mind became so distorted with pride, and betrayal of the trust placed in him, he long since lost his mental equilibrium. No being, human or divine, can betray such immense trust without paying the personal price. He is truly insane.
Other commentators suggest this chapter is a continuation of Chapters 26 and 27, which contain an extended description of a land of Tyre. "In both passages the prophet is speaking, not so much of an particular individual, as of the nation whose character is embodied in the person of the chief." Unfortunately, for this view, the prophet promised that "Tyre" would be totally destroyed and covered by the waters of the sea, 26:19, 27:27. This never actually happened to the historic Tyre; therefore, the commentators seek recourse in the suggestion that the terms are merely poetic, or that some later editor corrupted the original text.
Little did the commentators and theologians recognize that Chapter 26 and 27 deal with a different, but related, subject. As "King of Tyre" this celestial personality will focus his insane activities in a land of "Tyre." The symbolism of "Tyre" is fitting to a land upon earth in these last few days of the planetary age. Tyre symbolized the United States. Refer to my paper on Great Babylon.
The commentators also believed this oracle was part of a myth cycle then current in the Near East. "The story belonged, no doubt, to the common stock of Semitic myths, some of them preserved in the Babylonian epics, some in the Phoenician traditions." For parallel, the commentators cited the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3, and the placement of a cherubim to guard against their return. This Archon, this Ruler, this Prince, was created perfect, as was Adam, until iniquity was found in him. His fate is similar to that of Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12, who was fallen from heaven and cast down to earth, again to die like any man.
Contrary to the scholarly godless view the passage informs us in some detail of the origin of this heavenly personality. The use of the phrase "King of Tyre" was convenient for the prophet to provide a context for his message. He was writing among people who no longer respected the heavenly realms. Ezekiel composed his prophecies just following 600 BC and the Babylonian captivity. Disbelief and failure to remain true to God led to that captivity. Under conditions of revelation imposed upon him, Ezekiel could conceal his purpose; the revelation would then await a future generation which might examine it with greater care.
Indeed, this personality was in the heavenly Eden, in the literal garden of God. This home was prepared for him on the day that he was created. He was created a divine being, a personality of celestial brilliance. His habitat was suited to his divine splendor. He was on the holy mountain of God, a distinct physical abode within the universe. Angelic beings were in service to him.
Compare his walking among "stones of fire," glistening crystals ablaze with spirit light, to the witness of the writer of the ancient
Book of Enoch 18:6-9: "And I saw a place which burns day and night, where there are seven mountains of magnificent stones. . . And I saw flaming fire." Consider also the description which this writer of the Book of Enoch provides of his visit to a great Majesty in the heavenly realms.
These brilliant crystals, composing walls and floors, are not in some mystical heaven beyond space and time.
Furthermore, the apostle John provides description of a great crystalline structure, sometime to come down upon earth, composed of numerous gems, and "the city was pure gold, clear as glass," Rev 21:18. This great edifice also is lit with a glorious celestial light; it has no need of the sun or the moon to obtain its light.
Do any of us really believe that a great crystalline structure, obviously composed of materials that one can see and touch, would come down out of some mystical heaven? Are we to continue to believe that the Kingdom of Heaven is not within the physical realms of time and space?
Consider the statements. That personality of Ezekiel 28 was in Eden, the Garden of God. The Garden was not an earthly Eden, it was a heavenly Eden. He was cast as a profane thing from the mountain of God. The guardian cherubim drove him out.
For those of us unacquainted with textual study
the word "Eden" may be a major stumbling block. We traditionally identify
it with the Garden of Eden, the earthly home of Adam and Eve. Study of
the Hebrew word, and other uses in the Bible, shows that it is a generic
term for any place of great beauty, luxuriousness, and natural bounty.
See Davidson and Brown, et al. In Isaiah 51:3 the word is used to describe
the dramatic changes in world environment which will take place in the
coming new age:
Here the Garden of Yahweh, located in the heavenly
realms, is used as an archetype for great beauty. The "material" beauty
surrounding the residence (throne) of God is also indicated by John.
In another oracle Ezekiel compares great beauty
to "the cedars in the garden of God," and to the "trees of Eden,"
The commentators see this as mere poetic emphasis.
This personality, this heavenly being, was created perfect. Then, as he considered his perfection and his beauty, he became proud. He began to question his Creator and his Creator's purpose. As temptation grew in his heart he entertained the notion of independence. He could function without his Lord and Creator. When he succumbed to this sophistry iniquity was found in him
A Note On The Hebrew Words For God
The Hebrew of the Old Testament uses different words for "God" and "god," and their plurals. These are El with the plural Elim, and Eloha with the plural Elohim. (The "im" endings are pronounced with a long sound, "eem.") The most prominent form is Elohim. Although it is recognized by scholars as a plural linguistic form it is understood in a majestic singular sense. (However, see below.) The singular Eloha is rarely used. The form El is used less often than Elohim, and its plural Elim is also rare.
The form El was common in the Semitic regions of the Near East. It was a very ancient, prehistoric word. It came down from a time when the ancients had a much more respectful regard for God. Later, as those ancient people lost memory of the heavenly realms, it continued to be used for their mythological pagan gods. It is found in the Canaanite (Phoenician) Ba'al. Many modern scholars, perceiving only the historic pagan use, dilute the holy significance of the word when they equate biblical use to the pagan uses.
Brown, Driver, and Briggs, in their Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, provided a thorough review of these various forms. They state that Eloha is assumed as the root of El and Elohim, "but the question is intricate, and the conclusions dubious." Some scholars would make El and Elohim distinct from one another and primitive in origin. Others would connect these formal names through functional designations, "leader or lord" from the word 'ol, "to be in front." Still others see the two as connected and deriving from a root elah = "strong." Apparently it did not occur to the scholars that the last two forms derived from the original El, not vice versa.
The presence of the word el, an adverb of negation, and a preposition denoting motion to or action toward something, does not make the linguistic task easier; one would naturally assume that a relationship might exist among words with phonetic identity.
Since El is the common stem behind all these forms it would seem reasonable to look to it as the source of the other forms. Indeed, linguistic evidence suggests that long before historic times El was used with other words to denote divinity, the godhead, or God, and hence strength and power, and, from his spiritual drawing power, motion toward him, and later, motion toward anything. A later derived meaning could also be an emphasis on denial of earthly temptations. If el was anciently used for "God" the sense of "being in front" and being "strong" could easily be derived meanings also, certainly attributes of God. In such difficult and uncertain linguistic areas it is easy to get the cart before the horse.
Widespread common use of El is illustrated from many personal and place names. It is found as both a prefix and a suffix to other words. From those additive forms we have such well-known common names as Daniel and Elijah, "wise as God," and "God is 'Ya'."
Given the vast evidence it does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the El stem was also attached to verbs to form other words for God. Can we find words in Hebrew which would offer such other possibility?
Hayah is a central and primary verb, "to be" or "to exist." Hayah, and its many inflections, produce other basic verbs and words. Howah is the present, second person, feminine form, "(I, you, she) exist." Literally, El-Howah means "God, You Exist." Unfortunately, this form is feminine; no Semite in his right mind would use a feminine form for a God who cannot be regarded as anything but male. However, this irrevocable tradition begs the question of Eloha as the singular of the male Elohim. The "ha" in biblical Hebrew is universal as a feminine singular ending. The form X-'o'-X-ha (El-o-ha) is also pervasive as a feminine verb form. Furthermore, the present tense demands auxiliary nouns to provide the sense of who is performing the action, or, in this case, existing. This combined form, according to my proposal, used the noun El, and was attached to howeh, before historic documentation. El-howeh then contracted into Eloah.
Another linguistic difficulty is the form of the "h" accent. Scholars fuss over this. However, the reader can attest to the easy interchange of "ah" and "ha" forms, what linguistic scholars call metathesis. Interchange between "ah" and "ha" is common in all languages. Many persons would not easily discriminate between "Eloha" and "Elhoah" = "Eloah." Try it for yourself; vocalize with the accent on both the "o" and the last syllable.
Howeem is the present, third person plural, male form of hayah, "they exist." Literally El-howeem means "God-they exist." According to my proposal this combination became Elohim through similar metathesis.
Now consider some of the problems encountered in translation of these divine designations.
In Psalm 82:1 the words are in the following order: "Elohim takes his place in the El-assembly, in the midst of the Elohim he judges."
Dan 11:36: ". . . and shall speak astonishing things against El Elim (God of gods) . . ."
Deut 3:24: ". . . what god is there in heaven (me-El shamayim) or on earth that can do such works or mighty acts . . ."
Psalm 136:2: "Give thanks unto God of the gods (Elohai ha-Elohim)."
It should be evident that an ability to read Hebrew would greatly enhance our sense of the God and god designations in the ancient writings. The gods in the heavenly realms are real. They are not borrowings from pagan mythological gods. On the contrary, the pagan gods are debased memory of the actual gods known in the most remote ages.
|II Thes 2:1-12 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, in order that he can sit in the sanctuary of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains him will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming. The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.|
This passage is the most crucial in the Bible for our understanding of events as they are unfolding today, yet the most confusing. That blinding confusion rests on the powerful tradition that a "man of lawlessness" will "take his seat" in the "Temple of God," proclaiming himself to be God.
In popular notion there must be a "man," there must be a "seat," there must be a "Temple of God," and there must be such intense megalomania this "man" believes himself to be God.
1. Examination of the attributes of this "man of lawlessness" suggests components of character which place him above ordinary human capacities; i.e. he seems almost as a god.
2. The "Temple of God" can find no easy location, although most expositors assume modern Jerusalem. Some expect the construction of a new temple, since the sectarian and ecumenical temples presently in Jerusalem do not seem appropriate to the tenor of these remarks.
3. We all have difficulty conceiving how a human being would somehow get it into his head that he is God. An ordinary mortal, reaching to such megalomania, would not have the sanity to function as a world leader, regardless of how depraved the world would become.
4. Of course, if a human mortal were driven by the power of an evil spirit entity within his head, he might aspire to believe he was God. But then the human mortal would be merely an agent, and not the personality assuming the Godship.
Many entertain these notions out of a mythical mental framework; they do not take time to examine reality. If this is truly a man he must be born of a woman; he must grow up in some geographical location in some identifiable country; he must have social training; he must have been educated in some earthly school; he must have been reared in some political environment; he must have had association with scores of fellow human mortals. Given the mundane nature of ordinary human life how would he arrive at such extraordinary presumption?
We might argue that Jesus was the incarnation of God, yet his human nature and physical limitations prevented many from believing in him. Even the apostles had trouble coming to grips with his divine nature, for all the miracles they witnessed, until he appeared to them after his resurrection. If another fantastic personality were to appear we might not, at first, notice him. But the extraordinary role described by Paul would require our elevating a supposedly human mortal to godlike status.
The supposition almost requires another incarnation, this time of a diabolical personality.
This is not to say that somewhere on this planet the possibility does not exists that a man has been born who will assume such a role. If so, and if events are imminent, we should expect that he already has indicated his wild propensities to comrades and compatriots. This would mean he is a "sleeper." He has not yet asserted himself in such blistering megalomania. Regardless of how we view such plausibility, it is time to replace mythical notions with reality; we must get our feet on the ground where the mysticism evaporates and is replaced by down-to-earth hard criteria. It is easy to create boogie men out of our imaginations. It is time for us to exercise more discipline in our thinking.
This is not to deny the fearsome tone of this revelation. It carries portent which demands the utmost care. Is Christian tradition correct? What was Paul really trying to say? Did he confuse different elements in a destiny episode for this planet?
Much of the difficulty is linguistic. How did Paul use the Greek words? What did he intend in his statements? Another part of the difficulty is in his private revelations. He was not one to expound at length on those things which had been revealed to him; he made only passing remarks. Yet those aside comments provide us with important clues to God's plans for this world. A third difficulty is the limitation of Paul's understanding; depending on how information was given to him, his human mind may have tied the wrong two-and-two together, or otherwise confused planetary events.
All of these elements condition our understanding of this passage.
|Part 1: The Temple of God|
The New Testament uses two Greek words which are both translated as "Temple." The first is heiron; it meant a sacred place. In Mark 11:11 the word denoted the entire Jerusalem building with its precincts. This word was never used figuratively.
The second word is naos. It meant "a shrine or sanctuary." It was used both figuratively and metaphorically. The naos of the Jerusalem temple was the inner sanctuary, the holy of holies, where only the priests could enter. The word was used among Greeks and Romans as the "shrine" containing the idol of worship. The word was used figuratively by Jesus of his own physical body, John 2:19,21. In apostolic teaching it was used metaphorically for the church, the mystical body of Christ, Eph 2:21. It was also used by John, both literally and figuratively, in Rev 3:12, 7:15, 11:19, 14:15,17, 15:5,6,8, 16:1,17 and of the "Temple" of the new and heavenly Jerusalem, Rev 21:22.
As an illustration of the confusion which tradition and modern translation have placed upon the word naos, consider Paul's remarks in II Cor 6:14-16. There he draws out the contrasting parallels between the children of God and the children of darkness.
Righteousness with lawlessness. Fellowship in light with darkness. Christ with Beliar. Believer with unbeliever. A shrine of God with idols.
Or, we could use sanctuary, the alternate word:
This passage is universally translated as the "temple of God." But consider the difference between "sanctuary" and "temple." Although "temple" denotes a place of dedicated worship, perhaps even sacred, it carries with it the idea of physical structure. Shrine, or sanctuary, denotes a hallowed or holy place, not necessarily physical. By translating naos as temple we reduce the significance the term carried in the original writing. The two words were not directly synonymous for the ancient writers.
Temple can mean only that which is physical; it has no figurative application. Sanctuary, on the other hand, can mean any place that is hallowed or holy, physical or spiritual, figurative or metaphorical.
If we are the sanctuary of God he can dwell in our minds and our souls; the physical body then carries little significance, although Paul specified the physical body in I Cor 6:19. A living God does not occupy a physical structure; he dwells in a spiritual edifice. We must make our sanctuary holy for his indwelling; he would not indwell an unholy place.
When the "man of lawlessness" takes his place it is not in the "Temple of God," but in the "Sanctuary of God." That is what Paul wrote, and that is what Paul meant.
Therefore, Paul did not necessarily intend a physical location; he easily could have meant a spiritual place, or occupation of a spirit position. Such possibility would throw away interpretation which would identify Jerusalem or any other earthly location.
|Part 2: Lawlessness|
|The Greek words anomos denotes "lawless," "without law," "not subject to law." Anomias means "lawlessness," "violation of law." If the framework is the rules of creation set forth by God it would mean sin and iniquity, open and conscious defiance of God's laws, beyond simple blundering acts which are unlawful. Divine beings or human mortals who do not obey the will of their Creator, but substitute their own will in purposeful defiance, are in rebellion.||
"Lawlessness" is not limited to human mortals; it can be practiced by divine beings. The statement strongly implies a personality who is in defiance against his Creator, and therefore, not human.
(This Greek word finds parallel in Latin inimicus and modern English inimical, enemy, and enmity.)
|Part 3: The Man|
The Greek word is anthropos. We get such English words as anthropology, the study of man, and anthropomorphic, ascribing human characteristics. This one word throws understanding completely awry. Many interpreters believe the reference can only be to a human mortal.
The International Critical Commentary engages in discussion of the various scholars who have viewed this word as a reference to a divine personality, not a human mortal. The use by Paul could be metaphorical; he may have used the word in a derogatory sense. For example, I have often referred to the devil as the "Old Man." A difference in view comes about because the ancient manuscripts are not in agreement on use of the word describing this lawlessness. Some use the Greek word amartias, denoting error or offense, an act of the unaware human mortal, in contrast to anomias, an open defiance.
ICC offers these remarks about II Thes 2:
ICC goes on with a very important remark:
heaven." Beliar, on the other hand is a purely Satanic being. "It is through the Beliar constituent of the developed Antichrist myth that the old Dragon saga from Babylon gained entrance into the eschatologies of Judaism and Christianity. This fusion of Antichrist with Beliar "appears to have been affected on Christian soil before 50 A. D.," and is attested by II Thes 2:1-12.
These remarks well describe the situation facing us. Indeed, two episodes are fused together, one now unfolding in our day, and the other to come at the end of the millennium. I provide an exposition on the Gog and Magog revelations which appear in John's Revelation and in Ezekiel to demonstrate how this fusion took place. Refer to my paper on The Millennium. We need not resort to Babylonian myth or obscure early Christian eschatology to show this confusion. Suffice it here to say that several revelations show rebel celestial personalities in human incarnation: Isa 14:12-20, Ezek 28:18-19, Psalm 82:6-7, and Ezek 38-39 with Rev 20:7-10.
Returning to verse four we can examine the attributes of arrogant character which lead us to assign these actions to a celestial personality. He is not an incarnate devil in our own day, keeping in mind that the designation "man" is part of the fusion from two different revelations.
1. He is impious: "the one who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship."
2. He has a spirit of self-exaltation: "so that he sits in the sanctuary of God."
3. He is blasphemous: "proclaiming himself to be God."
Paul gave us precedent for the phrase "so-called god" in I Cor 8:5 where he used the same word. He meant all those loyal gods and lords of the heavenly realms. This phrase is highly important to our understanding. The personality of this passage opposes those gods and exalts himself above them. He ranks himself with them but thinks he is better than they. He will not accept his divinely assigned role in creation. A human mortal would not rank himself with the gods of the heavenly realms. Only a celestial personality would presume to such cosmic arrogance.
We might believe that Paul made reference to pagan gods, not only from use of the word "so-called," but also when he uses the phrase "object of worship." For the true son and daughter of God there is only one place for our worship, the Father and the Son. Paul meant that the so-called gods were objects of worship to pagan people; again, they readily understood his reference. He was writing to people who believed in and were surrounded by pagan gods; they had been converted from those beliefs. Paul's remarks may reflect a struggle with their habit of mind which understood lesser beings of the heavenly realms as worthy of worship.
|Part 4: The Seat|
As a further example of how we have been influenced by early Christian attitudes, (and misunderstanding), and how Christian tradition has become chained to those early attitudes, consider the translation "so that he takes his seat in the Temple of God." This phrase has a subject "he", a verb "takes," and an object "seat."
The verb and the object do not exist in the Greek text. They are inferred from the form of the Greek phrase, and our view of Paul's intent.
Literally, from Greek to English:
ooste = so as
The verb "kathesai = to sit" is an aorist infinitive. An aorist verb "expresses action without further limitation or implication." An infinitive is a verbal substantive, which means it is not a verb in the full sense; it is a verbal noun. The infinitive then led to the idea of a "seat."
Consider how the identical word "kathesai" is translated in Acts 8:31.
"And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him."
Again, the identical word "kathesai" is translated in Rev 3:21.
"He who overcomes, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne . . ."
Simply, the word means "to sit." The Greek says nothing about taking a seat. The translation of verse 4 is properly rendered as "Who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god and object of worship, in order to sit in the sanctuary of God . . ."
Now we can understand how the sanctuary and the sitting take on a different sense.
The sanctuary need not be a physical structure in a geographical location upon earth. Rather, it is a spirit center. That spirit center is the naos, a sanctuary of God. He presumes against God in order to sit there. He was cast down but does not respect his judgment. The idea of God's sanctuary carries several possible implications.
1. The sanctuary offers protection from other spirit beings. Those other beings respect the sanctuary, just as the Jew respects the inner sanctuary of the Temple, the holy of holies. This being is using this sanctuary, in rebellion against God, and against the laws of the universe. The sanctuary may be nothing more than God's command to "leave him be."
2. The sanctuary may carry a functional advantage. By sitting in it he may be able to contact the minds of human mortals more directly. He is using God's laws to prosecute his wicked purpose. He is a rebel; he has no respect for holiness.
3. "Sanctuary" may be used metaphorically, as often in the New Testament. Although he was "cast down" he presumes to his former status, equal to that of loyal beings.
4. Or, he pretends to a status equal to loyal beings, that human mortals may believe he operates from the same holy estate.
From that sanctuary he openly blasphemes against God. He proclaims himself to be God.
We must get a tight grip on our attitudes. We must recognize that all loyal divine beings know he is not God. Only susceptible human mortals would not be able to descriminate. His proclamation as God therefore can only be to foolhardy human beings.
If this personality is divine, and not human, the proclamation as God now takes on more sense. We need not postulate a human scenario to interpret the passage. He is not now a deluded human mortal; he is a spirit being who is trying to delude mankind. Perhaps he is trying to reclaim the respect he possessed as our former planetary ruler, our planetary god, but which he lost when he rebelled. Held up against the reality of Creation his actions are truly insane.
Human susceptibility to belief that he is God will lead to the mass slaughter about to burgeon forth on our world.
In my previous letter I quoted a statement made by this rebel personality to Mark Farley. There he pretended to be Michael, as God. Current "spiritist" communications, now rampant around this planet, are rife with these pretenses and impersonations as God. A good example is the "Christ" of A Course in Miracles. Little did we recognize how this prediction by Paul would be fulfilled. Our mythological images prevented us, even now, at the last hour, from understanding the deadly transactions being prosecuted before our very eyes, by neighbors, friends and relatives. The current development of spiritist groups in all corners of the land is the practical fulfillment of Paul's prediction. This rebel does not appear as some mystical figure, taking his seat in some mythical temple, shouting to the world that he is God. He appears in the minds of human mortals proclaiming that he is God. And they believe him.
|Part 5: The Restraint|
Return now to verses six-eight. These may be the most cryptic in the Bible, simply because Paul refers to conversations he had with the Thessalonians in which he provided details and a context, but which he does not relay to us. The Thessalonians may have known what was restraining or withholding "him"; we do not.
Speculation has soared around this passage. Many and diverse suggestions have been proffered for the identity of the lawless one, who or what is restraining him, when he will be revealed, and the context of the actions. Much of that speculation uses political scenarios, either of early Christian days, or others down through the centuries. Some interpreters believe it was Nero who was doing the restraining; others suggest other Roman emperors. Persons in later centuries suggested a Pope, or political leaders, or national dictators, and so on. All are in error. The context is religious, not political. These are divine transactions; not human activities. The context is heavenly; the environment is not geophysical, political, or commercial. These are cosmic transactions.
Through heavenly processes unknown to us, God held the devil in check. God limited his ability to function. God placed restraints upon him. He was cast down. Now those restraints have been removed. "He who restrains him will do so until he comes out of the midst" is so confusing because Paul was limited in his vocabulary. The "midst" may be the sanctuary. Or it may be a spirit environment not discernible to human kind. Or it may be a spirit restraint which God has now lifted.
The mystery of lawlessness is the permission by God that the devil remain on this world to prosecute his evil designs. We do not have a clear perception why God would allow this; hence it is a mystery. As Jesus stated, it was not his wish that this rebel remain, but he would do the will of the Father.
When Paul said the mystery of lawlessness was already at work he meant the methods employed by this rebel to destroy the world. Prior to the present release those methods were of two kinds:
a) the antagonistic spiritual environment this being
created, the one spoken of by the apostles and Christians down through the centuries, and
We were immune to the environmental influence as long as we remained righteous, as long as our hearts were centered to God. But when the world became godless we opened the way to an ever more powerful influence which now pervades our current social order. Furthermore, "spiritualism" was limited in cultural power, although it was pursued increasingly at many levels during the past 150 years. For example, Mary Todd Lincoln, the wife of Abraham Lincoln, sought out "spiritualist" phenomena, as did many reputable scientists.
The "coming" of the lawless one is the same word as used for the "coming" of Jesus. The Greek perousia means "a presence." His coming will be according to his celestial status, in power, with many signs and lying wonders. The demonstration of his power will reach beyond any traditional view, far beyond the current conceptual range of Jew or Christian. About to unfold upon this planet is an episode that escapes the most erudite religious theoretician, the most sophisticated theologian, the most perceptive Rabbi, and the most adamant fundamentalist Preacher.
In order to demonstrate how this release is understood by
the rebel Prince, I quote statements he made to a spiritist group in Woods Cross, Utah. He made these remarks through the mind of Jan Messenger, a member of that group.
With due regard to the caution that his purpose is to deceive, this statement probably captures the nature of the spiritual transactions transpiring on our world today. He is not afraid to discuss these elements because he needs justification for those individuals who are now following him. They may wonder how this is now coming about, why the exact form of this phenomena was not known in prior historical times. The reason is simple; a spiritual release has now come. Since this view of new spiritual transactions is totally outside the purview of Jews and Christians, not included in their theologies or popular notions of God's control of this planet, it could not have come out of the unconscious mind of Jan Messenger. These concepts are foreign to any historical view and could not have human origin.
It is not my purpose to provide justification for the authenticity of these remarks. Each of us must decide for ourselves the validity of the information being given to us, whether from holy and righteous sources, or from the vile Prince. We should remember that he mixes truth with lies. Everything he says is not false; otherwise foolish human kind would quickly see through him. The power of his appeal is in his judicious mixing of false concepts with truthful statements. And even his false concepts are centered in the wishful thinking of man. He uses their weaknesses to appeal to them. He is a very devious being.
Given this cautionary note we can now examine elements of the statement he made through Jan Messenger.
The spiritual changes taking place on our world are enlarging the capacity of human mortals to become receptive to "spirit" communications. The entire world is responding to the changes, but not for the general good of mankind. Self-centered people look for personal gain. Man's love is growing cold. Conversely, those who are dedicated to God are feeling stronger emotions toward him. But because of the mythologized and paganized elements within current religions their spiritual longings do not find appropriate expression. Witness the struggle in Christian churches for ecumenism, liberation from old forms, "charismatic movements" or "contemporary" services. Thus a great spiritual conflict now unfolds upon our world.
The goal of the Prince is two-fold. First, he is transforming individuals. His purpose is to get into their minds. That is his only purpose. When he has established himself inside their heads he can use them as he pleases. His ability to accomplish that feat is becoming more easy because of the changes taking place in the spiritual environment of our planet.
Second, his purpose is to spread, and to maintain this transformation. He wants to get control of as many human mortals as he can convert to his devilish scheme. His drawing power is increasing every day. He appears more and more as a "God" to those individuals. Indeed, the scope of his project is worldwide destruction.
The world is about to enter a spiritual judgment, the likes of which have never before taken place in God's creation. And we human mortals now living will respond according to our individual relationships with God. Willing or not, we are participants in a unique cosmic episode.
Note: This section was revised December, 2003, after I learned of the history of the ancient document containing the following material.
Charles Lang Freer was a Detroit industrialist and collector of ancient art objects. During his first visit to Egypt in 1906 he was offered a small group of biblical manuscripts for purchase. Among them was the third-oldest Greek parchment manuscript of the Gospels in the world (late 4th–early 5th century), known as the Washington Gospels (Codex Washingtonianus), or the Freer Manuscript of the Gospels. This manuscript is now located in the Freer Museum at the Smithsonian Institute. It contains a small fragment of text known as the Freer Logion. The book, "Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts" by Frederick George Kenyon, (revised by A. W. Adams in 1958), contains a picture showing the Freer Logion. See
The ancient scholar Jerome, (340 to 420), mentions the text in circulation in early Christianity but manuscript evidence to support that assertion has never been discovered. Hence, the text is not considered credible by modern scholars, and is not commonly published in Bibles as part of the controversial "Long Ending" of the Gospel of Mark.
The text appears in Greek in the exhaustive critical edition of The Greek New Testament by Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo Martini, Bruce Metzgar, and Allen Wikgren, published by the United Bible Societies, 1968.
This brief passage, located between verses 16:14 and 16:15, is only part of the textual problems found at the end of the Gospel of Mark. Various versions occur in different ancient manuscripts. The New Oxford Annotated (RSV) Bible, 1973, adds the remark that ". . . a few authorities insert additional material after verse 14," but does not quote the text.
However, this text is found in Footnote 2 to Mark 16 in the New American Bible, in widespread use by American Catholic people in public worship, with a different translation in the phrase about unclean spirits, a translation that is crucial to our understanding.
I quote the footnote in order to show how modern minds rearrange disturbing text to bring comfort.
Now note the differences in translation:
This text is quoted as the second translation in the International Critical Commentary in Volume Two of the New Testament by E. P. Gould, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Mark. 1907. He was astute enough to tie this remark back to a warning from Jesus in John 16:1-4. (His tie is under his discussion about John 16:11.) He states that:
"The impending 'terrors' may be the persecutions foretold in John 16:2-3."
Indeed, that is exactly what is going on.
The character of the writing appears expository, a later Christian commentary, not as something that was part of the original Mark gospel. (This agrees with the general scholarly assessment that the writer of the Long Ending of Mark was not the same person who wrote the main section of the Gospel.)
If we take the first translation used in the New American Bible we see how it is watered down to avoid the hard threat. However, if we take the second translation the passage becomes highly disturbing; it makes specific assignment of the activities of the devil, and that assignment is in the sordid practices of spiritualism and channeling, the agency of unclean spirits.
This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things dominated by the spirits.
This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who, through the agency of unclean spirits, does not allow the true power of God to be apprehended.
I am not sure what "unclean things dominated by the spirits" truly means. What unclean things? Immoral acts? What spirits?
I am sure what is meant by the agency of unclean spirits. And I know what it means that he does not allow the true power of God to be apprehended. Not apprehended means not understood. That is where we have been for 2,000 years.
The limit of the years of Satan's power is completed, but other terrible things draw near.
The limit of the years of Satan's authority has been fulfilled, but other terrors draw near.
Terrible things is abstract, but terrors means terrors.
Many persons view this text as part of a mere transition piece, to smooth the rough ending of the Short Version of Mark. But it we accept the full implication we see that there must have been
current among Christians, up to the fifth century, ideas or beliefs about Satan's continued power, and that this power would result in terror among
This text carries multiple portent.
1. The Prince of this World acts through the agency of "unclean spirits." Or, stated otherwise, through "seducing spirits." See I Tim 4:1.
2. Through this agency the true power of God cannot be apprehended. The agency of "unclean spirits" camouflages a true relationship with God. This "God" effectively turns his "believers" into false directions.
3. The persecutions he will bring through the agency of "unclean spirits" are recognized for their "terror" content. Although he may have brought "terror" to previous world regimes, other, more horrible, terrors draw near.
All residents of this planet will experience a true spiritual judgment.
This small section, and its history deduced from the surviving manuscript, added some time after the first century, demonstrates that knowledge, discussion, and considerable interest in Jesus' prediction was current in early Christian days; it was part of the body of early Christian thought. As the centuries passed the significance of Jesus' remarks became diluted, while practical belief of devil's work faded under increasing skepticism. The Devil gained ever tighter grip on the attitudes of men.
As we approached this century the validity of those remarks were increasingly discounted. Those fundamentalist groups who continued to believe in the devil were buried beneath debris of mythology and mysticism. Hence, the fearful tone and apprehensive nature of the Mark appended text caused it to be excluded from modern editions. Godless generations discount the reality of spirit personalities; they do not believe the "devil" would have such power. This suppression is an excellent indicator of how this Prince has blinded the minds of recent generations.
What is meant by unclean spirits?
In many cases in the New Testament it meant demonic possession, the actual seizure of certain human mortals by rebel spirits. See Mark 1:23f, 3:11, 7:25, Luke 9:42, Acts 8:7, and so on. In some cases the context is uncertain; it could mean spirits who do not actually possess human mortals, but merely communicate with them in their minds. See Mark 6:7, Luke 6:18, Acts 5:16, and so on. Notably, references to unclean spirits do not appear in John's gospel.
The fact of demonic possession is well attested in the record prior to Jesus' resurrection. It is not well attested after his resurrection. The ancient Druids, the priesthood of the Celtic people, upon hearing reports of Jesus' resurrection, recognized that all demonic spirits had been removed from the planet at that time. If demonic possession existed yet today it should be far more prevalent. The cases which have received great notoriety in modern times could be explained through emotional or mental illness. Or, in some rare cases, certain human mortals have submitted their minds and bodies to actual devil possession. Published photographs of Jane Roberts, medium for "Seth," show her under possession.
If this evidence is indicative of the current planetary regime it would mean that spirits capable of demonic possession are no longer with us; all spiritist activities today originate with the fallen Prince. Beyond this cursory comment I shall not now engage in further classification of spiritist activities. Here I wish to focus on the fallen Prince.
Given these brief remarks about spirit communication
through human mind the curious passage in Matt 12 now takes on striking
I shall not engage in discussion of textual problems of this passage. Regardless of the integrity of this text it shows the stern attitude of Jesus. Do you want a sign? You will not get one. Do you want someone or something to reassure you or give you "proof." You will not get it. Those sleeping in the dust of the earth will arise at this judgment and they will condemn this unbelieving and adulterous generation. Something greater than Jonah is going on here. Something greater than Solomon is going on here. When the fallen Prince departs from the mind of a man and returns to find it empty, swept, and put in order he returns with even greater vengeance to perform his nefarious purpose. The state of that man becomes worse then when he first started seeking the spirits. So shall it be with this perverse and evil generation. They wanted spirit communications; they shall receive thunderbolts which will take them into light, into bliss, and into death. But not before his deadly work is done.
|Charmers And Enchanters|
Specific remarks were made about this devious
and deadly insane personality.
Psalm 58 offers stark and violent phrases. The commentators express their annoyance and frustration with it. Mitchell Dahood, in The Anchor Bible, states that the Psalm contains "some of the most difficult phrases in the Psalter."
For verse 1 and the phrase "Do you judge uprightly," ICC remarks:
The couplet is not easy to render. Text and versions differ. In the first line the same Hebrew consonants with varying vowels give four different interpretations.
The Anchor Bible states:
Verse 5 has lent itself to many diverse versions and interpretations . . .
In verse 7 the first simile asks that the wicked vanish like water that runs away. The second simile should show a parallel symbolism but the translations are wildly different. The initial phrase compares them to green grass, which is a common symbol for speedy growth and equally rapid withering away. ICC remarks:
The wrong attachment of a single letter to the previous instead of the following word, changed the former to the verb "tread," and the latter to the word "his arrow," and so got a phrase for the usual "tread the bow" which cannot be explained satisfactorily in the context.
Dahood states that verse 10 is unintelligible to him. Here he faults RSV for its rendition "without the benefit of a note that the Hebrew is unclear, or that it version rests upon emendation . . ."
These difficulties suggest that the text was corrupted before it came into the canon. Sentences are confused in their structure; continuity is irregular; themes are mixed.
In spite of these textual problems the Psalm contributes to our understanding of the mechanism employed by the Prince in the prosecution of his deadly schemes today.
These gods are rebels. They have led the worlds astray. They devise wrongs; through their machinations violence appears on
the earth. Instead of fostering righteous people they cause the wicked to go astray from birth. But God's people look forward to a time when they will vanish like water that runs away, like the grass that withers, like the snail that dissolves into slime. There will come a day when they will be regarded even as an untimely birth that never saw the sun. Then peace and righteousness will reign upon the earth.
This Psalm would tell us more but there is a serious disruption in the text. Between verses four and five a break occurs which destroys the continuity, and portions of the revelation.
Those with poison like the venom of a serpent probably refers to wicked human mortals, not to rebel celestial beings. A new verse should begin with the last phrase of verse 4, and into verse 5. The arrangement of the words has led interpreters to believe that the allusion is to snake charmers; the human serpents are not held from their wicked ways because they refuse to be charmed. But such allusion is contrary to the meaning of "charmers and enchanters" used in the Bible. Consider, for example, a passage from Deuteronomy.
Charmers are listed among mediums and necromancers. Mediums are those human agents who consult the "spirits" and communicate with them through their minds. Necromancers are those human agents who consult the "spirits" of dead people; they are merely a subset of mediums, who may consult supposed celestial personalities as well as the dead. The charming and enchanting is done by the "spirits" through the mediums and necromancers. The "spirits" mislead human mortals into deadly eternal loss because their pronouncements charm and enchant. Human mortals who follow them unknowingly give their hearts over to the rebel Prince. They follow the advice of the "spirits." Their thoughts are occupied with the charming pictures drawn by those "spirits." The rebel Prince practices delusion because he is false. He lies. He enters the minds of the mediums and necromancers, pretending to be assorted celestial personalities and dead people who have long since rotted in their graves.
Deaf adders do not stop their ears so that they do not hear the voices of the charmers and enchanters; God's righteous people do.
The rebel Prince has a reason why he charms and enchants human kind through human mediums. He cannot talk with everyone directly. Some human mortals do not have the capacity to link up with him. Other human mortals instinctively shun him. But even more, chains were placed upon him. He cannot manipulate the physical world. He cannot reach through to kill those who oppose him. He does not have the power the angels displayed when they rolled the stone away from the tomb. His power is limited. But the power he does possess is deadly, as the world is about to find out.
|Mediums and Diviners|
Since before historical times pagan people sought out the "spirits" for advice, and for prediction of their futures. The ancients were deeply embedded in such practices. We find proscriptions from the time God first began work with the Hebrews. In Lev 19:31 the people of Israel were told to not turn to mediums or wizards, to seek them out, to be defiled by them. KJV uses the term "familiar spirits." The "spirits" were familiar because they knew all about everyone. They could be your best friend. They might pretend to be a dead father or mother who was intimately familiar with the details of your life. When King Saul faced the army of the Philistines he became fearful. God would not respond to his requests for advice and assistance. Therefore he sought out a female medium at Endor. He went at night, disguised, because he did not want his people to know. Such practices were strictly forbidden, I Sam 28.
This perversion continued to be practiced among the people of Israel. Manasseh was twelve years old when he came into rulership in Israel, II Kings 21:6f. He rebuilt the pagan altars, erected for worship of all the host of heaven, all those gods and lords of the heavenly realms who should not be worshipped. He also burned his son as a sacrifice to all the host of heaven, contrary to explicit commands against such practices. He went chasing after the "spirits" through mediums and wizards. Josiah, on the other hand, repudiated and forbid the mediums and the wizards; he destroyed the teraphim, those filthy idols erected to honor the "spirits," II Kings 23:24.
As one reviews this history one is struck by the fact that there appears to be no difference between those ancient times and now. Devout people lived in those days who shunned such practices; others chased after the "spirits." Today we have the same distribution of people, some devoted to God, and many who seek the "spirits." There is one dramatic difference. The Prince is now released to do his deadly work.
Isaiah spoke an oracle against Egypt. He well
described what is about to happen in that land.
The forecast of brother killing brother, of son and daughter killing mother and father, is not limited to one country or one continent. Every land that has tolerated the consulting of "spirits" will experience the same spiritual judgment. Indeed, it is a fierce king who will rule over them all.
When these "wise" people say to you, consult the mediums and the diviners, should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living, Isa 8:19?
There is a Great Babylon, the Great Harlot, who
will lead the nations in rampant slaughter of God's people.
This woman is mother of the abominations of the earth. Within her land the blood of the witnesses of Jesus will flow. She will become drunk with a great bloodlust.
The word normally translated "saints" in the Bible versions is Greek agios. It means separated from common tradition and use, thus dedicated or consecrated. The common understanding of the New Testament writers was of dedication or consecration to God, following pagan Greek use of the word for dedication to the gods. As stated in Vine's Expository Dictionary, "As used of believers, it designates all such and is not applied merely to persons of exceptional holiness . . ." In 2 Thes 1:10 "His saints" are described simply as "them that believed."
The word "saints" is from Latin sanctus, with the same original significance of consecration as the Greek agios. The idea of holiness is derived from later great respect for early Christian leaders, but that was not the original meaning of either the Greek or the Roman words. No human mortal can be truly pure and holy before God.
The word translated as "martyrs" is from Greek marturon. The root is martus. The word had an original meaning as "judicial witness," "one who can be deposed, or testify to evidence in a legal matter, of what he has seen or heard, a declaration of facts." Because of early Christian persecutions, the word came to be applied to those who testified and witnessed for Jesus under social repression. Hence the modern usage as "martyr."
Those who testify and witness today in Great Babylon will be martyrs beyond any previous historical example.
Great Babylon will receive her judgment, Isa 47.
In her heart she says, "Look at me! See how great I am! There is none like
me. I shall not sit as a widow, and as one without children." She felt
secure in her wickedness. She said, "No one sees me." But she shall sit
in the dust. Her nakedness will be revealed; her shame will be seen. She
shall sit in silence and go into darkness. Evil will come upon her, for
which she cannot atone. Disaster will fall upon her which she will not
be able to expatiate. Ruin will come upon her suddenly, of which she knows
nothing. She should stand fast in her enchantments, her consulting of the
"spirits," and in her many sorceries, her reliance on evil fallen Princes.
Now her judgment will come.
|The Wrath Of The Prince|
I shall not discuss here the meaning of the woman who flees into the wilderness. I postpone that for future letters. I do briefly remark that a salvation program is underway for God's people, a physical salvation since the woman takes steps for her physical safety.
We face major difficulties because John used several terms "devil," "Satan," "serpent," "dragon," and "beast" in his Revelation. We all seem pretty clear that the term "devil" means a spirit personality resident on this planet, another word for the fallen Prince. But we have serious difficulties with the other designations. Whether "Satan" is the devil or some other celestial personality, whether the "dragon" is symbolic for a host of rebel beings, or if the "beast" is a physical agency, we do not know. We can only speculate. The usual lazy habit is to lump them all together into one grand personality and thus avoid the troubling confusion we find in the Bible.
We would make no more childish error than to shrink a vast creation to one small and lonely planet, reduce rebel beings to one devil, or identify the mighty heavenly host as a group of effeminate angels.
I shall not enter here into a discussion of this confusion. Many elements demand attention, beyond the scope of this letter. I will limit my remarks to certain elements of the revelation.
Suppose that the first sentence is a different revelation from the remainder of the passage dealing with the dragon. Or suppose that the Great Eagle represents the wilderness of North
America, and that the woman who bore the child represents all those people of spiritual Israel who built this new land, for a time, times, and half a time. Such interpretation would not be more speculative than the wild speculations which have centered on this passage.
Regardless of the context the reference to the pouring out of a flood to drown the woman is more easily identified. The spiritists today, whether they call themselves mediums, or channelers, or transmitters/receivers, are pouring out a literal flood of "revelations" from that rebel. His productions fill the shelves of the New Age book stores. Dozens upon dozens of publishing organizations exist for the production of those "revelations." Instruction books exist to help the fool who would open his mind to the devil. Many of these spiritist agents are affluent middle class professionals.
How will the earth swallow this flood of devil words? Perhaps major and dramatic physical changes will take place in the planet to remove those devil productions, once and for all, but not before he performs his death program. And not before God's people are forced to major life and death decisions.
For references, see The Truth That Goes Unclaimed, Jean K. Foster, Uni*Sun, Kansas City, MO, 1987, as an example.
Opening to Channel, How to Connect With Your Guide, Sanaya Roman and Duane Packer, H. J. Kramer, Inc., Tiburon, CA, 1987, is only one example.
This section is most relevant to our decisions today.
Do you want to hear haughty and blasphemous words? Read the spiritist productions. His mouth is all those spiritists who believe he is God coming into their minds.
Sometimes his words are explicit, but the fools do not recognize his remarks for their literal exactness.
Elder in age, as it were, indeed. He not only will come to "help"; he is already helping with his utmost might. Is he a master? Oh, ever so much, and never admits it to his gullible agents. He will provide the wisdom this human "God" needs to accomplish his purpose. How true he will open the doors to let them express in ways they do not even imagine or suspect.
Blasphemous words, indeed. Thousands upon thousands of such vile pronouncements flood our world today. They are haughty pronouncements against God, against heaven, and against the heavenly host. This beast will make war on God's
dedicated people, to kill them, and to remove them from the face of the earth. Wonders shall spring forth from this maniacal being, so as to deceive the very elect. Large portions of mankind will follow him, and worship him.
He truly will bring open warfare on God's people, all those who commit themselves to their Creator in this most extreme of all world conditions. He especially will focus his slaughter on those dedicated individuals, the "saints," who dare bring revelations to their fellow man.
This present document may serve to help focus that dedication.
The authority this being possesses over every tribe, and people, and nation, and tongue is not necessarily political. If he controls the minds of vast masses he need not gain direct "political" control. On the other hand, if he controls individuals in high political positions, either through philosophical persuasion, or directly through mind manipulation, he could control the direction of political events. We cannot rule out the coming nuclear devastation as the result of his direct control of human mortals.
Those who kill with the sword will die with the sword.
Though they spread terror among mankind they shall themselves experience terror.
This truly is a call for the endurance and faith
of God's dedicated servants.
Ernest P. Moyer