Discourse 93 - The Reign of the Antichrist and Love among People.




The First Four World Empires in Daniel.

The Last World Empire on Earth.

Satan the Dragon, The Serpent of Old.

The Scheme of Three Tenses.

The First Antichrist, The Son of Destruction.

Most People's Love Will Grow Cold.

The Source of the Lawlessness.

Does Scripture forbid communal prayer? / Reply Ingmar Bauer 00, 2008-02-25

Are teachers and preachers not to be recompensed for their work of preaching? / Reply Ingmar Bauer 01, 2008-02-25



The First Four World Empires in Daniel.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream about a shining statue and wanted his magicians, conjurers and sorcerers to explain this dream to him. When they arrived, they first wanted the king to tell them the dream so that they could interpret it. But the king suspected that they wanted to deceive him and demanded that they provide some proof of their ability: to interpret a dream without previously knowing what the dream was about. When they declared that they were not able to interpret a dream whose content they did not know, the king became furious and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be executed.

Since Daniel was also included among the wise men in Babylon, he should also have been killed. But he requested some time so that he could interpret the dream himself to the king. That night, together with his companions, he prayed to God for help in this matter, and the meaning of the mystery of the statue was revealed to him in a night vision, which he presented to the king the next day.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great statue.

Dan 2,31 "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 2,32 "The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 2,33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 2,34 "You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. 2,35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan 2,31-35;

The interpretation of the dream.

Dan 2,36 "This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. 2,37 "You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 2,38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. 2,39 "After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth. 2,40 "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces. Dan 2,36-40;


As can be deduced from the interpretation of the dream above, Nebuchadnezzar received a prophecy in his dream about the empires that would succeed his own. Thus, he, Nebuchadnezzar - and with him the whole Babylonian Empire - was the head of gold. After him, another kingdom or empire would arise, and it would be “inferior” to his. We know from history that the Babylonian Empire was followed by the Medo-Persian Empire, and the alliance of power between the Medes and the Persians could be represented by the two arms, which belong to this “silver” kingdom.

The third “bronze” kingdom is expressly characterized as a world empire: it would “rule over all the earth.” This was the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, which conquered nearly the whole inhabited world at that time within a very short time.

The essential characteristic of the closing fourth empire of “iron” is its toughness: it will crush and pulverize everything like iron. Not least, it was this “iron” toughness of the Roman Empire - which succeeded the Alexandrian Empire historically - both in the toughness and discipline of its army in conquering their enemies as well as in the administration of its provinces that provided people at that time with security from thieves, robbers, murderers and swindlers. And there were even kings who voluntarily joined their countries to the Roman Empire for these reasons.

If we examine these prophecies more closely, we will see that metal is a recurring aspect: first, the precious metals, gold and silver, then the non-ferrous metal bronze and finally, the base metal iron. This is certainly not a coincidence, but, even so, it is mostly neglected in exegesis. These metals are distinguished from one another with respect to value on the one hand but also with respect to hardness on the other. Gold is the most valuable but also the softest metal. If one wants to make jewelry from it, one needs to combine it with another, harder metal. On the other hand, iron is the least valuable but hardest metal of this group.

That this fact of decreasing value and increasing hardness must be significant in the interpretation of this prophecy is confirmed by Dan. 2,39. There we read: “After you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you.” This refers to the attractiveness of the kingdom and it is explicitly pointed out that the successor to Nebuchadnezzar at least - but evidently also all the successive empires (like the metals) - would be “inferior” to the preceding one.

And here the question arises as to what this “inferior” refers to. The obvious assumption that this kingdom will not be as large or as powerful as Nebuchadnezzar’s is evidently false. There were both greater and also more powerful empires than the Babylonian (the Greek and Roman Empires). If we now turn to the other end of the series, another characteristic of these empires is their toughness. Of the four, it is said of the Roman Empire in Dan. 2,40: “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.”

We could attempt to draw the following conclusion: like the metals that represent them, the empires will be increasingly inferior in “value” but increasingly greater with regard to strength. But what does that mean? Here we should probably no longer think in terms of “empires” but should concentrate on the individual people who ruled and inhabited these empires. These people obviously have a “mentality” which is referred to and conveyed here.

The statement about the “kingdom of the feet” mentioned further below in Dan 2,41-43 confirms this: This empire is described as “partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron,” whose people will “combine with one another in the seed of men” but - like clay and iron - “will not adhere to one another.” They will indeed procreate among themselves but will not make any kind of personal commitment any more, i.e. they will obviously be lacking in the capacity for mutual affection and love.

Here as well, Daniel thus applies the composition of the materials clay and iron to the psychological state of these human beings. It would therefore be obvious to compare the “value” and “hardness” of the metals with the spiritual/psychological attitude of the people in these empires. The goodness of the metal would then correspond to the goodness and morality of the human heart, while its toughness could document the hardness of the human heart.

But we could also see in these four empires, which the statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream represents, a parallel with Daniel’s own dream of the four beasts described in the seventh chapter of the book of Daniel:

And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.

Dan 7,1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. 7,2 Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.

7,3 "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. 7,4 "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 7,5 "And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’ 7,6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

7,7 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Dan 7, 1- 7;


Here also we have the same series of successive empires as was apparent to Daniel in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

The first beast here represents the Babylonian Empire. On the one hand, the king of Babylon is described as a lion - as also in Jer 50,43-44; on the other hand, the fact that the wings have been plucked indicates that Nebuchadnezzar was robbed of his reason for seven years through the intervention of God as punishment for his megalomania. His hair was like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws, and he lived among the beasts of the field (Dan 4,26-30). When his reason returned to him after seven years, he was compelled to recognize that God, not he, was sovereign. He was again “made to stand on two feet like a man.”

The second beast represents the Medo-Persians (Jer 51,11). The bear, which was raised up on one side, may indicate that the Persians were indeed the stronger party in this alliance.

The third beast is Greece, and it is described in Daniel’s vision of the empires as a leopard, with four heads and four wings. The “leopard” and the four wings indicate the speed of Alexander the Great’s conquest, and the four heads are a prophecy of the division of the empire among the rival kings who succeeded Alexander after the latter’s death.

In line with historical tradition, the fourth beast must be the Roman Empire.

The fourth beast will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it.

Dan 7,19 "Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, 7,20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. 7,21 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them 7,22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. 7,23 "Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. Dan 7,19-23;;


As has already been stated further above, however, in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue in Dan. 2,41-43 yet a fifth kingdom is mentioned,


The Last World Empire on Earth

This fifth empire is not recognized at all as such by many exegetes. They are so fascinated by the Roman Empire that they do not (want to) see the feet as its own, separate empire. Nevertheless, there is no doubt - Daniel states explicitly: “In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom.” Thus, it is its own separate empire and a "divided” one. This expression can refer only to the feet, for the legs are entirely of iron and therefore not divided.

As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle.

Dan 2,41 "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 2,42 "As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 2,43 "And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

2,44 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 2,45 "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." Dan 2,41-45;


Parallel to these statements in Dan 2,41-45 on the fifth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the ten toes, Daniel’s dream in Dan 7,7-8 also refers to the ten horns/kings of the fourth beast and the small horn that came up was greater than the other horns and three of the ten kings were humbled before it:

A little horn with eyes like eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts.

Dan 7,8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. Dan 7,8;


In contrast to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Dan 2,41-43, where the mentality of people (clay/iron) is characterized in this final empire, we are told in Daniel’s own dream in Dan 7,8.20-21.24-25 something about the ruler in this last world empire: he has eyes like a human’s and a mouth that utters great boasts. The proof that both cases - Dan 2 and 7 - actually concern the same empire is found, on the one hand, further above in Dan 2,44-45, where, in connection with the empire of the feet/toes, “the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed.” This will mean the end of the empires of this world and the start of the millennial kingdom of the Son of God. On the other hand, there is also Dan 7,9-14 here below where, after the end of the dominion of the small horn and likewise the death of the fourth beast, the Son of Man comes on the clouds to assume his throne in the millennial kingdom, which will not be destroyed, with the resurrected martyrs in eternal dominion. After the end of this world, this eternal dominion will continue for eternity on the new earth in the heavenly Jerusalem.

With the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming and to Him was given dominion and a kingdom.

Dan 7,9 "I kept looking until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 7,10 "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened. 7,11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 7,12 "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. 7,13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 7,14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. Dan 7, 9-14;


Together with the Son of Man, thus Jesus Christ, dominion will also be given to saints of the Highest One after the judgment for reward.

The dominion under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One.

Dan 7,26 ‘But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. 7,27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ Dan 7,26-27;


And it is precisely of this judgment and the people of the saints of the Highest One who will reign with the Son of God in his kingdom that John speaks in Revelation.

The martyrs came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. Rev 20, 4;


The saints of the Highest One are thus all those martyrs of every age who sacrificed their lives for their faith and their God. This also includes those believers who during the time of the Antichrist had not received the mark on their foreheads or hands and did not worship the image, since all those who did not worship the image of the Antichrist were killed (automatically! Rev 13,15). And now, in Rev 20,4, after the battle of Armageddon and immediately before the beginning of the millennial kingdom those who were beheaded, the martyrs, come to life at the first resurrection to reign with Christ in the millennial kingdom as priests and kings.


The Ruler in the Last World Empire

In the passages above in the books of Daniel and Revelation we see one of the many parallelisms between these two books of the Bible. But they have still other points in common on this subject. The “kingdom of the feet” in Dan 2,41-43 has ten toes, which clearly represent ten kings to which Dan 2,44 then refers when it says: “ "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom.” The ten horns of the fourth beast in Dan 7,7 also refer to ten kings that arise, as is stated here below in Dan 7,24:

The ten horns are ten kings who will arise out of this forth kingdom.

Dan 7,24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. 7,25 ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. Dan 7,24-25;;


John also speaks of this last world empire before the millenial kingdom and its ruler (Dan 7,8,24-25) in Revelation as the “beast coming up out of the sea.”

The beast coming out of the sea and his fatal wound was healed.

Rev 13,1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 13,2 And the beast which I saw was like a leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 13,3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; 13,4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" Rev 13, 1- 4;


We see here that this beast coming up out of the sea in Rev 13 has something in common with the four beasts in Dan 7. First of all, it is said of all five beasts that they come up from the sea. But we also see parallels between the shape of the beast in Revelation and the characterization of the first three animals in Daniel 7. If the first animal in Daniel is presented as a lion, John describes the beast coming up out of the sea as having a lion’s mouth. The second beast in Daniel is like a bear; the beast in Revelation has feet like a bear. The third beast in Daniel is described as a leopard and the beast is Revelation was “like a leopard.” And both the fourth beast in Daniel and the beast in Rev 13 have ten horns.

(See also Table 02: “The world empires in the Bible.”)


Finally, we find all the attributes that are ascribed in Daniel to the small horn that becomes greater than the others also attributed to the beast coming up out of the sea in Revelation:

o  It blasphemes the Highest One/God

o  It destroys/conquers the saints

o  Its mouth utters great boasts

o  It rules the peoples for 3 1/2 times or 42 months


(See also Table 06: “The Antichrist, the 'queen' in the chess of the devil.”)


To furnish proof that Rev 13 is actually also about the last empire before the millennial kingdom, as in Dan 2,42 and 7,24-25, we will briefly follow the course of this empire and its ruler to its end. This beast coming up out of the sea (the demonic Antichrist) is also mentioned in Rev 16,13-14, where three unclean spirits are sent out from the beast, from the dragon (Satan) and from the false prophet. Let us simply note here for later analysis that Satan is also involved here. But then the indication is important that these kings and their armies will be gathered for the battle on the great day of the Lord at Armageddon.

And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon.

Rev 16,12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. 16,13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 16,14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. 16,15 ("Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.") 16,16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. Rev 16,12-16;


We are told in Rev 19,11-18 who the adversary is against whom these armies of the world are fighting: it is the “Faithful and True,” “The Word of God,” thus our Lord Jesus Christ, who takes up the fight with his heavenly armies against Satan, the Antichrist, the false prophet and the armies of their worldly kings.

He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

Rev 19,11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 19,12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 19,13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 19,14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 19,15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. 19,16 And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev 19,11-16;


The outcome of this battle is reported in Rev 19,19-21. The kings and their armies are killed by the sword that comes from the mouth of the Son of God and the beast - the demonic Antichrist - and the false prophet are thrown alive into the lake of fire - that is the second death.

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse.

Rev 19,19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 19,21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev 19,19-21;

(See also Excursus 08: “The first and the second death.”)


Satan the Dragon, The Serpent of Old

There is still something missing, however, in the Son of God’s defeat of this demonic trinity: the head, the dragon and the serpent of old - Satan. We find out where he will be in the following chapter, i.e. in Rev 20,1-3:

And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.

Rev 20,1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 20,2 And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 29,3 and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time. Rev 20, 1- 3;


As we can see, Satan is not, like the Antichrist and the false prophet, thrown into the lake of fire but bound and imprisoned in the abyss for the duration of the millennial kingdom. As we see in Rev 20,7-10, after these thousand years are up, God will use him to tempt people after the Millenium to see if they will choose -after this millennial kingdom of peace by the Son of God on earth - God or Satan.

Satan will deceive the nations to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore.

Rev 20,7 When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison, 20,8 and will come out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together for the war; the number of them is like the sand of the seashore. 20,9 And they came up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 20,10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Rev 20, 7-10;


Sadly, we must state here that a thousand years of peace and absolutely just dominion on earth also failed to lead many people to devote themselves to God. Indeed, the opposite is the case: many people have such an evil character that these thousand years (people will become very old in this time) have become a great torment because they cannot commit any corruptions, deceptions, crimes, etc. or, if they did, they would be justly punished. And thus after the millennial kingdom Satan finds people “like the sand of the seashore” who will march with him to Jerusalem in the final battle against God.

As could be expected, these people under Satan’s leadership are destroyed in their attempted attack on Jerusalem, and the devil who led them is finally thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where both the beast and the false prophet already are.

(See also Chapter 11: “The end of the world - The Last Fight.”)


The Exegetically Important Distinction between Satan and the Demonic Antichrist

To return once more to the demonic Antichrist, the ruler in the last world empire on earth, one should refer to the fact that the depiction of him as the “beast coming up out of the sea” in Rev 13 is confused time and again with the beast in the wilderness” in Rev 17. Although the verses Rev 17,10-14 speak of the empire of the Antichrist, they are to be viewed from Satan's viewpoint and there is no direct reference at all to the Antichrist.

To be sure, in Rev 17,11 we also have an indication that Satan will manifest himself both as a seventh “king” in the demonic Antichrist as well as the eighth “king” in his final rebellion against God at the end of the world. And it is precisely this temporary identification of Satan and the demonic Antichrist that makes these texts so difficult to understand. Nevertheless, a clear distinction is possible. As we can subsequently ascertain, this beast in the wilderness on which the whore of Babylon sits is simply to be identified, on the basis of Scripture, as Satan himself. For a concrete analysis we must refer to the unquestionable characterization of the dragon - thus of Satan - in Rev 12,3-4.

A great red dragon having seven heads ten horns and on his heads were seven diadems

Rev 12,3 Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. 12,4 And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. Rev 12, 3- 4;


Satan is depicted here as a red dragon with seven heads and tens horns, with seven diadems on its heads. We can also observe that here in Rev 12,3 the seven heads, thus all seven kingdoms, are mentioned first - in contrast to Daniel, where only the last four are mentioned. Only after that are the ten horns - the alliance of the kings of the world with the demonic Antichrist - mentioned. In comparison to this, the beast in the wilderness is also scarlet, and also there the seven heads are mentioned first and then the ten horns.

A scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns.

Rev 17,1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 17,2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality." 17,3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. Rev 17, 1- 3;


If, in contrast to that, we then look at the description of the demonic Antichrist, the beast coming up out of the sea in Rev 13, then we read in Rev 13,1: “Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems.” Thus here the order is reversed: first the horns and then the heads. And on top of that, here the diadems (the power) are not on the heads but on the horns.

Therefore Rev 13 is not about Satan, who has power over the seven kingdoms (heads) but about his puppet, the demonic Antichrist who forms an alliance in the end time with the kings of the world (horns). Satan does indeed manifest himself in this demonic Antichrist, as stated in Rev 13,4: “... they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast” - namely that power that he had also given to the rulers in the previous six kingdoms - although in condensed form - for we read in Rev 13,2: “And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority.”

And this manifestation of Satan in the demonic Antichrist is also the reason why Rev 17,11 says that the dragon is also a seventh king. Even so, both have tasks in God’s plan that are completely distinguishable and are not to be compared to each other: Satan as the ruler of the seven world empires in the past 3500 years and the demonic Antichrist as the ruler of the heads of state in the world in the last years of the end time. Not least, that also shows the different ends that await them.

(See also Table 06: “The Antichrist, the 'queen' in the chess of the devil.”)


This frequent confusion has, in principle, its background in the text of Rev 17,12-14, where it already says that, although the ten kings do not have any kingdom yet, they will receive power like kings in the end time with Satan - the beast in the wilderness. At this time they will give their power and authority to Satan and wage war with the Lamb - thus the Son of God.

The ten kings and the beast will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them.

Rev 17,12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 17,13 "These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 17,14 "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." Rev 17,12-14;


There is no doubt that the text refers to the battle of Armageddon, in which the kings of the world give their power and authority to Satan, the “beast in the wilderness,” in order to fight against the Son of God with his heavenly hosts. And it is precisely this statement that we also find in Rev 19,19-21 but this time in reference to the demonic Antichrist, the “beast coming out of the sea”:

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth assembled, to make war against Him who sat on the horse.

Rev 19,19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 19,21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev 19,19-21;


It is also prophesied here that the demonic Antichrist will wage war against “Him who sat on the horse,” thus the Son of God, the “Lamb.” Here we see that a particularly precise consideration and analysis is required to interpret correctly the statements about these two beasts - the beast in the wilderness (Satan/Rev 17) and the beast coming up out of the sea (demonic Antichrist/Rev 13). We must therefore look at the text of Rev 16,13-14.

Three unclean spirits come out of the mouth of the dragon of the beast and of the false prophet.

Rev16,13 And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; 16,14 for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. Rev 16,13-14;


Here we have that event that is also described in Rev 17,13, where the kings of the world have one purpose and give Satan “their power and authority.” As can be seen, this unanimity of the kings of the world is not to be traced back to a sudden change of mind but simply to those spirits that were sent out by the demonic trinity. These spirits take over these kings and control their will and actions.

But this confirms that Satan has been a part of it right from the beginning. It is he who controls and guides all these events in the demonic Antichrist in the end time. In a perverted echo of what the Lord says in Jn 14,11: “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me,” Satan will also be in the Antichrist and the Antichrist in Satan. Viewed in this way, it is absolutely correct when it is prophesied, on the one hand, of Satan (the beast in the wilderness) and the kings in Rev 17,14 that:

These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them.

Rev 17,12 "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast (in the wilderness/NB) for one hour. 17,13 "These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 17,14 "These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful." Rev 17;12-14;


On the other hand, Rev 19,19 also states concerning the demonic Antichrist:

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse.

Rev 19,19 And I saw the beast (out of the sea/NB) and the kings of the earth and their armies assembled to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. 19,21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev 19,19-21;


Both - the demonic Antichrist and Satan who manifests himself in the former - fight in this battle with the kings of the earth against the Lamb and his heavenly hosts. But at the end of the battle this trinity of evil, however, do not share the same fate. The demonic Antichrist and his false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire, but Satan himself will first be bound and imprisoned in the abyss until after the Son of God’s millennial kingdom of peace.

The Schema of Three Tenses

A second problem that arises in the exegesis of both these texts in Rev 13 and Rev 17 is the so-called “schema of three tenses” in Rev 17:8-11:

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction.

Rev 17,8 "The beast (in the wilderness/NB) that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 17,9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 17,10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 17,11 "The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. Rev 17, 8-11;


(See also Excursus 03: “The scarlet beast.”)


Here as well we must make a strict distinction between the prophecy concerning the beast (Satan) in Rev 17,3.8.11 and the prophecy concerning the empires in Rev 17,9-11. If we look first at the latter, where it says: “Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction.”

As can be seen in Table 02, the first five heads/kings (they have fallen) refer to the world empires before the time of this prophecy (about 80-90 A.D.) and the sixth head/king (that one that is) represents the Roman Empire that ruled at the time. “... the other [i.e. the seventh king] has not yet come, and when he comes he must remain a litte while.” This is the prophecy about the last world empire on earth, the empire of the Antichrist before the millennial kingdom.

(See also Table 02: “The world empires in the Bible.”)


Let us look at the statement above in Rev 17,8: “The beast that you saw was [past], and is not [present], and is about to come up out of the abyss [future] and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come.” We thus see this schema of three tenses on the one hand and on the other that these statements refer exclusively to Satan and have nothing to do with the heads/kings (world empires).

This reference is therefore important, since especially the mention of “those who dwell on the earth ... will wonder ... that [the beast] was and is not and will come” very much recalls the statement about the reawakening of demonic Antichrist in Rev 13,3, where it says similarly: “And his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast.” If we do not distinguish between the beast coming up out of the sea and the beast in the wilderness, this similarity in texts can lead to further misunderstanding.

If we assume that the text in Rev 17,8 refers exclusively to Satan and has nothing to do with the Antichrist, it is essentially easier to interpret the text. Like the explanation of the world empires in Rev 17,9-11, where the key to the solution in the prophecy that “[the first] five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come” lies in the expression “one is” and its identification with the then dominant Roman Empire, we must also attempt to assign corresponding events that Scripture mentions and in which Satan is involved to the schema of three tenses: “The beast that you saw was [past], and is not [present], and is about to come up out of the abyss [future] and go to destruction.”

Here as well it is of course necessary to localize a temporal orientation in the text. It is the statement “the beast ... is not” that permits the conclusion that Satan “is not” in the period 80-90 A.D., when this prophecy was uttered. It would be quite obvious if this statement is intended to refer to the time of the millennial kingdom when Satan is imprisoned in the abyss and thus “is not” on the earth. But a reference to the time of the Roman Empire seems quite difficult.

But there is an event, although hidden, discernibly set down in Scripture in this connection. As everyone who is familiar with the Bible knows, in the beginning Satan was one of the most highly placed angels of God in heaven. But then, a few Bible passages inform us, he, together with his followers among the angels, revolted against God, waged war with the archangel Michael and his angels in heaven and was defeated.

The battle in heaven.

Rev 12,7 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. The dragon and his angels waged war, 12,8 and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. 12,9 And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Rev 12, 7- 9;

The accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.

Rev 12,10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. Rev 12,10;


Thus Satan is defeated with his angels and cast down to earth. If an angel is cast from heaven to earth, he is no longer an angel but a demon. Satan, the former angel, is no more. He is now the leader of the demons on earth, the prince of the power of the air, as Paul calls him in Eph 2,2. But we still do not know when this battle in heaven took place, when Satan’s influence as an angel in heaven ended, and his rule as the leader of the demons on earth began. It is the Son of God who provides clarity here through more clues. In Jn 12,31 the Lord tells us:

Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.

Jn 12,28 "Father, glorify Your name." Then a voice came out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." 12,29 So the crowd of people who stood by and heard it were saying that it had thundered; others were saying, "An angel has spoken to Him." 12,30 Jesus answered and said, "This voice has not come for My sake, but for your sakes. 12,31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. Jn 12,28-31;


Here the Lord obviously refers to that event - the battle in heaven - that John portrayed further above in Rev 12,7-10. But this “now” here also of course refers to that time in which it was stated. It was thus at the end of Jesus’ public activity that the battle in heaven occurred and Satan was thrown out. But we still have other clues from the Lord about this event.

I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming.

Jn 14,28 "You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 14,29 "Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 14,30 "I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 14,31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father, I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here. Jn 14,28-31;

I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning.

Lk 10,17 The seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name." 10,18 And He said to them, "I was watching Satan fall from heaven like lightning. Lk 10,17-18;


Thus in his lifetime the Lord still saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning. There is therefore no doubt: Satan was cast out of heaven in the period 29-33 A.D. with those angels who followed him. And that ended the life of Satan as an angel in heaven - he is not (no more). But since angels have an eternal existence, they are cast down to earth after the end of their heavenly existence (after their heavenly “death”), where they continue to exist as disembodied spirits (demons), insofar as they are not banished into the abyss by God or God’s Son (2 Ptr 2,4; Rev 20,4). At the end of the world they will be judged at the last judgment and thrown into the lake of fire for their final damnation.

They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss.

Lk 8,30 And Jesus asked him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Legion"; for many demons had entered him. 8,31 They were imploring Him not to command them to go away into the abyss. 8,32 Now there was a herd of many swine feeding there on the mountain; and the demons implored Him to permit them to enter the swine. And He gave them permission. Lk 8,30-32;


Incidentally, we also have a parallel to human development here. God also created human beings for eternal existence. When a person dies, that is the end of his earthly, physical existence - he is no more - and he receives a disembodied spirit, with which he waits in the realm of the dead to be raised from the dead/resurrection. But in distinction from the angels, it appears that human beings do not consciously perceive this stage of their existence. And people will also be judged - many at the end of the world and many earlier - where they are judged and, according to their conduct during their lives, will either enter into eternal life or be cast like the demons into eternal damnation in the lake of fire (the second death).

(See also Excursus 08: “The first and the second death.”)


After Satan has been cast to earth, he continues to live on earth as the leader of the demons in the air and, as already presented further above, he will be bound after the battle of Armageddon and thrown into the abyss as a prisoner, where he will remain for the duration of the millennial kingdom. After those thousand years he will come up out of the abyss and will tempt human beings for the last time and gather those who put their faith in him for the battle against God. In this final battle on earth the armies of the world will be destroyed and Satan cast into the lake of fire, where the Antichrist and the false prophet already are.

We have now analyzed here what Satan’s fate will be and discovered a major correspondence with the schema of three tenses. “The beast (Satan) was” an angel in heaven. He had rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven and “is not,” because he is now only a demon, an unclean spirit without a body. After the battle of Armageddon he will be bound for a thousand years. After these thousand years he will “come up out of the abyss” and here all God’s enemies will wonder and rejoice that he is again present. In his last battle against God he will be destroyed and “go to destruction,” i.e. he will be cast into eternal damnation, in the lake of fire.

The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction.

Rev 17,8 "The beast (in the wilderness/NB) that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 17,9 "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 17,10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 17,11 "The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. Rev 17, 8-11;


(See also Excursus 06: “From the face of God into the lake of fire the four stages of Satan.”)


To be sure, we are confronted here again with the problem that we see a similar development in the demonic Antichrist in Scripture. “He was” - as the first Antichrist - a human (the man of lawlessness, 2 The 2,3-8). At the return of the Lord for the rapture, he will be killed (2The 2,8) by the sword that comes from the mouth of the Son of God (Isa 11,4; Rev 13,14; 19,21) - “he is not.” Then he is raised from the dead by Satan as a second, demonic Antichrist (Rev 13,1.4) and is equipped with all Satanic power and authority (Rev 13, 2) - he “will come up out of the abyss.” Here as well it says that people will be amazed about this - “the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast” (Rev 13,3). But the demonic Antichrist will also finally be thrown alive into the lake of fire after the battle of Armageddon.

If we want to interpret the schema of three tenses correctly, we must also therefore analyze these two prophecies and decide which of the two figures - Satan or the demonic Antichrist - they refer to. To that end, let us recall once more the text from Rev 17,8:

“The beast (past) that you saw was, and is not (present), and is about to come up out of the abyss (future) and go to destruction.”


That the people on earth will be amazed - in line with the statements in both prophecies - is not surprising and therefore hardly helpful for the unraveling of the text. That the beast goes to destruction also applies to both beasts: the beast coming up out of the sea, the demonic Antichrist, immediately after the battle of Armageddon and the beast in the wilderness, Satan, after his last battle at the end of the world.

More promising, therefore, is the mention of the abyss and that the beast comes up out of that (onto the earth). As we established further above, the abyss is the residence of demons who have been banned from the earth (2 Ptr 2,4; Rev 20,4). This also confirms the statements in Scripture about the casting out of demons by the Lord during his life (Lk 8,20-32). In this schema of three tenses it therefore refers neither to a heavenly angel nor a human being but to a demon.

We can see here already that, indeed, the second Antichrist does not come up out of the abyss but out of the sea. He was obviously also not a demon at this point but a human being who had died (the first, the human Antichrist) and could not therefore be in the abyss but in the realm of the dead (the “sea” - Rev 20,13; 21,1). Assuming that the temporal statements in the schema of three tenses are based on reality, i.e. that future, present and past correspond thus to true depictions of time, the classification would be: the beast “is not” can be true only if this beast was not at the time of the prophecy - thus in the period 80-90 A.D. But this is precisely not at all the case with the beast coming up out of the sea, the demonic Antichrist, for he will be alive only in the end time, both as a human being and as an Antichrist raised from the dead.

An interpretation of the schema of three tenses for the demonic Antichrist can without a doubt therefore - in spite of astonishing similarities in the attendant circumstances - be excluded. This prophecy can only be - also based on the scriptural analysis in this discourse - about Satan himself.


The First Antichrist, The Son of Destruction.

Up till now we have looked at the ruler of the final world empire on earth - the demonic Antichrist - and his diabolical father, the dragon and Satan. But as has already been mentioned, this being probably had its origin in a human being who ruled before him: the first, human Antichrist, “the man of lawlessness,” as Paul also calls him in 2The 2,3. Paul writes there about the return of the Lord and our being united with him - thus the rapture. And he assures the Thessalonians that this day is not to be expected unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness has come.

For this day will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2,5 Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2The 2, 1- 7;

That lawless one, whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.

2The 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 8-12;


Paul is speaking here of the apostasy of the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction, who must come before we can expect the rapture. This statement exposes at once all those preachers’ lies that teach brothers and sisters in the congregations irresponsibly that the rapture will occur before the Great Tribulation and not to expect any more major world events before the return of the Lord, for the Lord can “come today, now, tomorrow.” According to the characterization of the ruler of this penultimate empire on earth, the man of lawlessness and the son of destruction, he can be recognized as a human tyrant and as the first Antichrist. And this “apostasy” of which Paul speaks here is the Great Tribulation and is identical with the global catastrophe and almost two billion deaths during the first four seals of revelation (Rev 6,1-8).

(See also Discourse 71: “Is the next major event of world history for the faithful the Rapture?”)


Also the indication that the Lord Jesus “will slay this lawless one with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming [to unite us with him]” confirms again a rapture after this Great Tribulation, for if the Lord destroys the lawless Antichrist at his coming to rapture us, this Antichrist must have ruled on earth previously during the Great Tribulation. The distinction as well from the second, demonic Antichrist is quite obvious. While here it is the man of lawlessness who will be destroyed by the Lord with the breath of his mouth at his coming to rapture us, the demonic Antichrist will be thrown alive into the lake of fire with his false prophet after the battle of Armageddon. A more detailed argumentation can be found in Discourse 86.

(See also Discourse 86: “The first and second Antichrist.”)


But it is important for our considerations here that we have localized that event in Scripture, which is to be placed at the beginning of the end time and thus for us is actually the greatest event in this world, which we can expect before the return of the Lord - namely the Great Tribulation. As Paul shows above, in 2The 2,9, the ruler in this penultimate world empire on earth is also Satan’s puppet, just as John portrays the second, demonic Antichrist in Rev 13. The arrival of this first Antichrist also occurs, “in accord with the activity of Satan” and “with all power and signs and false wonders.” The distinction from the subsequent, demonic Antichrist can be seen in the quality of his power. While the man of lawlessness can only perform signs and false wonders, the demonic Antichrist receives from Satan his own power and great authority and even his throne (Rev 13,2).


Most People’s Love will Grow Cold.

Although we do not want to explore in detail here the individual events at the time of the reign of the first Antichrist, the man of lawlessness, since this is presented in detail in Discourse 05, we do want to test various phenomena in our present time by Scripture as to how far they can be compared with these prophecies of the Bible in question and could thus be a sign of the beginning of the end time.

(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.”)


If we stick with the objective statements by Paul in 2The 2, we find a reference there to an event that can be expected before this man of lawlessness becomes public:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.

2The 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2The 2, 7- 8;


This lawlessness, which was already at work in Paul’s time, refers in the first instance not only to religious lawlessness, i.e. apostasy from God and godlessness. If we examine Scripture, we will see that, in addition to godlessness, there is also a worldly lawlessness, thus the injustice deliberately practiced by the secular judiciary that is meant here. The Lord thus spoke to the Pharisees about their religious lawlessness:

Outwardly you appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Mt 23,27 "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 23,28 "So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. Mt 23,27-28;


However, Paul speaks in his second letter to the Corinthians of lawlessness in contrast to justice - and indicates clearly that he is speaking of the secular judiciary:

For what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness?

2Cor 6,14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2Cor 6,14;


In the Lord’s discourse on the end time we also find an important reference to this lawlessness:

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

Mt 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 24,8 "But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. 24,9 "Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 24,10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 24,11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 24,12 "Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 24,13 "But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. Mt 24, 7-13;


The Lord speaks here about “the beginning of birth pangs,” thus about the beginning of the Great Tribulation. For this period he prophesies worldwide wars, famines and earthquakes. The believer must also take into account that he will undergo great difficulties, even the possibility of death, during this time. Jesus then indicates that the lawlessness will get out of hand, referring here no longer just to religious lawlessness, godlessness, but also to the matter of justice in this world. Corruption, deception and oppression will prevail and even the courts and judges will render false verdicts. As the Lord says, this is also the reason why most people’s love will grow cold. It will thus be a society without justice, without love and without sincerity. And this is a first feature of the beginning of the end time.

In our present time, just verdicts are still rendered in the courts of most countries, sincerity is present in the relevant aspects, and we cannot speak of a lack of love in principle - except in individual cases. Even so, the question arises: Are we applying the right standard in this assessment? Judges can render just verdicts only if the laws they must observe are also just. But these laws are made by politicians, and whether it is Europe, Asia, Africa, or America, corrupt politicians are a frequent enough occurrence. There are also problems with sincerity. This is also the case in the West, of course. Most people resort usually to white lies, which in most cases only proves that they have told others untruths for the sake of personal advantage. And finally love: today it is widely viewed as sex. A love that is based on emotional affection and warmth assumes that there are people who are responsive and worthy of love on this level. And these are becoming fewer.

An entirely significant sign of this great lack of genuine love in our time can be seen, for example, in the divorce rate in Europe, where almost half of all marriages end in divorce:

Divorce: There is a divorce every 30 seconds in Europe (2005).

In 25 years (1980-2005) the number of annual divorces in the EU grew by 369,975 (from 672,917 in 1980 to 1,043,892 in 2005). That is an increase of 55%. Here Spain, with an increase of 183%, is the country in the European Union where the number of divorces in the last ten years (1995-2005) grew the most, followed by Portugal (89%), and Italy (62%). Over 13.7 million marriages ended in divorce in Europe (EU27) in only 15 years (1990-2005).

In 1980 the difference between marriages and divorces came to 2,421,716 (one divorce to 4.6 marriages performed). In 2005 this difference amounted to merely 1,359,000. The ratio of almost 5:1 in 1980 decreased to a ratio of 2:1 in 2005 (one divorce to 2.3 marriages performed). Almost half of all marriages performed in Europe (EU27) end in divorce.


Divorce Rate in the EU 2004

 
Country Marriages Divorces In Percentages
Belgum 43,000 31,000 72%
Estonia 6,000 4,000 67%
The Czech Republic 51,000 33,000 65%
Lithuania 19,000 11,000 58%
Hungary 44,000 25,000 57%
United Kingdom 306,000 167,000 55%
Germany 396,000 214,000 54%
Latvia 10,000 5,000 50%
Luxembourg 2,000 1,000 50%
Austria 39,000 19,000 49%
France 259,000 125,000 48%
Portugal 49,000 23,000 47%
Sweden 43,000 20,000 47%
Finland 29,000 13,000 45%
The Netherlands 76,000 32,000 42%
Denmark 38,000 16,000 42%
Cyprus 5,000 2,000 40%
Spain 215,000 86,000 40%
Slovakia 28,000 11,000 39%
Poland 192,000 56,000 29%
Slovenia 7,000 2,000 29%
Greece 47,000 13,000 28%
Italy 251,000 44,000 18%
Ireland 20,000 3,000 15%
Malta 2,000 (*)
Total 2,177,000 956,000 44%
(*) Divorce is not allowed in Malta

Source: Eurostat Press Office, Tim Allen L-2920 Luxemburg



We analyzed the text of Daniel 2 (Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue) at the beginning of this discourse. There the conclusion was that the “kingdom of the feet” (Dan 2,41) is a separate, fifth empire and that, although the kingdom of the toes was indeed also seen as part of the kingdom of the feet, it was also seen in Dan 2,42 as its own, separate empire (ten toes - ten kings). Since Dan 2,44 indicates that the millennial kingdom would be inaugurated during the time of these kings, the kingdom of the feet and, with it, the kingdom of the toes represent the final world empire on earth we are discussing and thus the rule of the Antichrist.

And now in Dan 2,41-43 this empire is described as “partly of iron and partly of clay,” whose people “combine with one another in the seed of men” but - like clay and iron - will “not adhere to one another.” They will indeed procreate among themselves but will not make any kind of personal commitment, i.e. they will obviously be lacking in the capacity for mutual affection and love.

But that confirms the characterization of people in our time that comes to light in the statistics above: Sexuality has taken the place of love. People marry because they sleep with each other and not because they love each other. This realization also appears sooner or later after the wedding and then they divorce - perhaps in order to marry someone else immediately.

They will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

Dan 2,41 "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. 2,42 "As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 2,43 "And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.

2,44 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 2,45 "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." Dan 2,41-45;


Although it is not difficult at present to end a loveless marriage and thus again obtain one's much desired freedom, it is not so easy “to free oneself” of the “fruit,” i.e. the unborn children and the children born of this marriage - and of course also of every non-marital union. With respect to this, there are sufficient possibilities precisely in our time to prevent such. But, obviously, the simple possibility of having the “thing” “done away with” in a few minutes at an outpatient clinic tempts people to act without taking precautions and to allow their egoism free reign.

But with children who have already been born, it is still very hard. Nonetheless, some do solve the problem by smothering the newborn and “disposing” of it in the freezer, in the flowerpot, in a suitcase in the loft or concreting it in the brick bucket. The baby who is only a few months old and gets on one’s nerves is shaken to death, thrown against the wall or simply out the window from the fourth floor to the street. Whoever follows the news knows that all these cases have, sadly enough, actually been reported in Germany and Austria in recent weeks and months.

Obviously, it is thus also love of one's own children that has been lost in many cases. A pregnancy is terminated every 25 seconds in Europe:

Abortion: Throughout the whole world a child is killed in the womb every second.

According to the data researched by Gilda Sedgh of the Guttmacher Institute, a private foundation that works to advance “sexual and reproductive health worldwide” in cooperation with the World Health Organization (WHO), In 2003 there were about 42 million abortions worldwide. That means that throughout the world a child in the mother’s womb is killed every second.

In Europe (EU27) an abortion is performed every 25 seconds. That adds up to 144 murdered children per hour, which makes abortion the leading cause of death in Europe.


The usual platitude, that it was always that way and that it is only because of globalization that we have access to this information so quickly, is inappropriate here. These “customer-friendly” procedures did not exist - neither for divorce nor for abortion - hundreds years ago. Thus, this trend can be traced back via statistics 50-60 years at most, whereby the extent is growing with each year. This attitude of people is thus a product of our time and a feature of the typical situation for many people. And here the prophecy of the Lord in Mt 24,12 comes to mind:

“Most people’s love will grow cold



The Source of the Lawlessness.

But if we read the text of Mt 24,12 precisely, the Lord says there:"Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” In our time we certainly do have corruption and crime, but it probably cannot be said that these things have increased disproportionately. It would, rather, be conceivable that the Lord here means the other type, religious lawlessness - thus the godlessness of people. But this should also be relativized: there are certainly still many orthodox Christians worldwide.

Moreover, the older people among us still remember the beginning of the 1940s, when the National Socialists were at the zenith of their power. At that time truly innocent people were reported to the authorities by envious people, and their property was seized by judges and courts “loyal to the Reich,” i.e. corrupt, they were incarcerated and, if they were Jews, they were killed by the millions in the concentration camps. It had already been decided that the Christian churches were to be eliminated after the Nazis’ final victory. A similar situation prevailed thus at that time to what we, on the basis of Scripture, expect in the end time under the rule of the Antichrist. And at that time there were many who believed that the end times had arrived.

Thanks be to the Lord - and the Allies - that this horror came to an end after seven years, that Europe returned to more peaceful times, and that the solidarity and love of people for one another could grow again. This shows us that our current relationships are very disturbing but cannot be compared with the rule of the Hitler regime and certainly not with that of the coming Antichrist. Therefore, if it is not the lawlessness - neither religious lawlessness in the form of godlessness nor the lawlessness of the world in the judiciary with corruption and deception that elicits this loss of love among people - what is it then?

In a closer examination of both forms of lawlessness above, one can see that both attitudes are directed against social orders that are imposed on individuals from outside. In religious lawlessness, these orders are ultimately the divine commands that are rejected, and in the secular lawlessness, it is precisely earthly justice that people attempt to escape through deception, corruption, etc.

But there is still a third form of socially relevant principles that are based not on external commands and laws but on the internal attitude of the human being, his character, his ethics and his morality. And if the extent of lawlessness in the form of godlessness and crime has not increased in our time, this kind of lawlessness against one’s own conscience was already at work in Paul’s time (2The 2,7), reached its previous peak in the “Enlightenment” and its final spread in the “generation of ’68.”

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.

2The 2,6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2The 2,6- 7;


While people struggled during the Enlightenment against the religion of the Catholic Church as the legitimation of an oppressive social order, the generation of ’68 went a bit further and characterized all social order as oppressive. But here the baby was thrown out with the bath water and the good and absolutely necessary social order was condemned as well, as happened, on the one hand, in the Enlightenment with the unhealthy excesses of the clergy (theory of priestly deception), and the claim of the aristocracy to absoluteness (French Revolution) and, on the other, in the generation of ’68 with respect to democracy and law. And as is apparent, we have been living since then in a time of successive decline in the character of human beings, the expansion of the egoism of the individual, the lowering of all inhibition thresholds and liberalization on all levels. But this also explains very well the corresponding phenomena in our time.

But considered precisely, we thus have not only another kind of lawlessness but have indeed found the source of all lawlessness; the deadening of one's own conscience is the starting point for the development of all these negative characteristics like unbelief, egoism, the lowering of inhibition thresholds, the liberalization of ethical and moral principles, greed, corruption, deception and crime. Therefore, there is a high probability that all those Bible passages that speak of lawlessness directly or indirectly refer to this self-harm done by the human being through the suppression of his inner voice until it is completely silenced.

The result of this decline in character can be found already in our schools: violence against the weaker students, extortion, and theft - from snacks through pocket money to cell phones - and in extreme cases with crazed rampages by young students against teachers and fellow students. This tendency of attacking only the weak continues after school as well: the elderly are attacked, beaten half to death and robbed, women raped and children sexually abused.

But this lack of moral values is also to be observed among adults. The shareholders in many businesses in the world economy are not interested in knowing if these businesses make their profit through child labour or the exploitation of the underprivileged levels of society. It is also all the same to them if the manufactured products are, because of their hunger for profit, of less quality or even dangerous to the health of the end user. The only thing that these people are interested in is the dividend that is left to them at the end of the business year for their shares. And those people who occupy top positions in banks and commercial enterprises do not recoil either from amassing enormous fortunes through outrageous salaries or through deception in general, and thus give a bad example to employees who are given key positions and there attempt to make money illegally.


Love in the Christian Congregations.

It would be very nice for a believing Christian if this behavior of people in the world could be attributed to the progressing godlessness in broad swaths of humanity and the conduct of the children of God could be placed over against that. That would correspond to the commands of our Lord who called us to love one another.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Jn 13,34 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 13,35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." Jn 13,34-35;

If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love.

Jn 15,9 "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. 9,10 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. 9,11 "These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full. Jn 15, 9-11;


If we are honest, however, such love among brothers and sisters is very rare in our congregations - whatever the denomination. Piety is often donned and love lacks all warmth and sincerity, which it should have as Christian brotherly/sisterly love. The meetings are conducted more and more in accordance with business and management guidelines and less with love and responsibility for the right faith of the brothers and sisters. A gospel of quantitative growth is proclaimed instead of one of growth in the Spirit. If this is recognized after years - as in the confession by Bill Hybels of Willow Creek - there are still thousands of innocently trusting people have already followed this false path.

(See also the article: “A Shocking 'Confession' from Willow Creek Community Church..”)


And those among us in Europe who talk about this lack of the Holy Spirit in their congregations are marked and branded as traditionalists and malcontents. That is also why, in their spiritual dilemma, so many orthodox believers have already quietly withdrawn from these congregations.

(See also Discourse 42: “The quiet withdrawal of Christians from churches and congregations.”)


The leaders of these congregations - in the USA and also in Europe - are mostly active full-time as ministers in this position and are paid by the members of the congregation. But this is largely the main occupation of many Bible teachers and preachers today who therefore often emphasize - because of the fees - more the question of how it impacts on the public than why it is important. However, Paul already warned the Thessalonians:

But we urge you to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands.

1The 4,9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 4,10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 4,11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, 4,12 so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. 1The 4, 9-12;

With labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

2The 3,7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 3,8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 2The 3, 7- 8;


Paul - who was a tentmaker by profession - therefore lived on what he made at that, so that such people, following his example, would practice their own worldly profession in order to earn their own living and not be a burden to their brothers and sisters in the congregation. If they have leading positions in the congregation or taught and preached, they were to do this free of charge. The saying, “What doesn’t cost anything isn't worth anything” is purely of worldly provenance and shows the stupidity and inability of people of the world to assess things and see their true value. Among Christians, however, the following simple saying applies to leaders, teachers and preachers: if they have knowledge from the Holy Spirit, then they have received that freely and should also pass it on freely; but if their knowledge is not from the Holy Spirit, then they should keep it to themselves and also not bother the brothers and sisters with it.

On the basis of the above analysis, we can therefore state in closing that this lawlessness whose increase, based on the statement of the Lord in Mt 24,12, will lead to most people's love growing cold, is not to be identified primarily with godlessness and crime. Both are only a consequence of that other lawlessness that arises from the successive deadening of one's conscience. People want to be “free” and “engage in self-development,” and they do not notice that this internal order always sinks deeper and deeper into the morass of desire, perversion, deception and crime.

Unfortunately, this is not only a problem for people in the world but also concerns us believers. If it can also be assumed that godlessness and crime are to be excluded from among Christians, the source of all lawlessness, namely the manipulation of the conscience - our own and that of others - is also a major danger for us. If God is credited with an “infinite” - and thus a blind - love, sin would be trivialized and the necessity of repentance and forgiveness of sins would not be emphasized enough. Among the youth especially, an image of God has arisen who cannot deny anyone anything and with whom one therefore does not need to reckon. The impression arises that whoever believes is always and automatically forgiven for all his sins.

But that is not what the Bible teaches! According to the Bible, the human being receives such a wholesale forgiveness only at his conversion and, indeed, for all his sins in the past. But, sadly, because we continue to sin afterwards, we must regularly confess those sins and pray to God for forgiveness - for all our sins in thought, word and deed (conscious and unconscious) and the sins of omission. Here the issue is not that God does not know our sins. He knows them. The issue is us ourselves, so that we in prayer recall all the instances that we have violated God’s commandments, in order to become conscious again of our weaknesses and the necessity of our salvation. Whoever does not engage in this examination of his conscience in his daily prayers will develop a false self-image and, as leader, teacher, or preacher, will lead the brothers and sisters down a false path.

It is the same with the prayer for forgivenses as with every other prayer that we direct to God. Many brothers and sisters wonder why their prayers are not heard. Actually they have not even expressed these requests in their prayers. They think that God should know - of course he knows. But we would not know that God heard our prayer if we did not pray about it explicitly.

You do not have because you do not ask; you ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

Jam 4,1 What is the source of quarrels and conflicts among you? Is not the source your pleasures that wage war in your members? 4,2 You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. You are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask. 4,3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. 4,4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Jam 4, 1- 4;


This being so, in Scripture we have all conceivable promises that God will hear our prayers - if we speak them in faith and not wickedly and for our pleasures, but pray in accordance with the will of God.

How much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Mt 7,7 "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 7,8 "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 7,9 "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 7,10 "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 7,11 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! Mt 7, 7-11;

And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.

Mt 21,22 "And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Mt 21,22;

If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

Jn 14,13 "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14,14 "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. Jn 14,13-14;

If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

Jn 15,6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned. 15,7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 15,8 "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Jn 15, 6- 8;

All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Mk 11,24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 11,25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. Mk 11,24-25;

This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.

1Jn 5,14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 5,15 And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. 1Jn 5,14-15;


That the forgiveness - both by God as well as among people - of the sins of which we are aware cannot occur sweepingly and automatically is shown by the statement of the Lord here below, in Lk 17,4:

If he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.

Lk 17,3 "Be on your guard! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. 17,4 "And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him." Lk 17, 3- 4;


As Christians, we are obligated to forgive all our brothers and sisters who have sinned against us. And, indeed, as often as they also may have sinned against us - “seven times” is to be understood here as symbolic for “again and again” (Mt 18,2-22). But as the Lord says here, this brother or sister, as often as he or she has sinned against us, must also come to us every time to repent and seek forgiveness. And so it is also with forgiveness of sins by God. If you want to obtain forgiveness, you must request forgiveness. Without repentance and a request for forgiveness there is no forgiveness - not with God and not with men.

And if we are speaking of requests here, we should also, of course, not forget about giving thanks. In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10,25-37), the Lord tells us about love of neighbor (Deut 6,5; Lev 19,18), i.e. that everyone who is helped should love his benefactor like himself. Incidentally, this is a message that has been turned upside down today worldwide, as if this love is not required of everyone who has been helped - as the Lord commands in the parable - but imposed exclusively on the benefactor. Therefore, those people who today receive help from aid organizations are also not grateful: not to the donors - they do not even know them - and not really to the aid organization whose representatives - mostly at the cost of money from donations - travel around the world to distribute the rest of these financial means generously.

But it is not so in the relationship between God and Christians. They know whom they have asked for help and who has helped them. Why is it then that so little actual gratitude is shown? It is a psychological phenomenon that, when things go well, we tend to view it as a matter of course and forget about it very quickly; only if there are problems on top of problems do people remember. We should distinguish ourselves from people in the world on this point also. Thus, often we do not give thanks because we do not know that one of our prayers has been heard, because we prayed superficially, or because we drone out our requests in hackneyed phrases and immediately forget them again.

Therefore to follow God’s responses to our requests, we must keep an eye on the development of our goals. If we have prayed for people, we must contact them regularly and inquire about their situation. If there is a change in the facts, then we should possibly change our prayers or adjust them. But all of that is not possible if we, for example, pray for people in the Third World, because we neither know them personally nor have information about their circumstances.

If there were certain circumstances, such as illness, unemployment or a financial need for which we prayed to God for help, then we should consistently take note of daily events and judge whether something or other is a possible solution that God offers to us. Whoever simply sits back and believes that God will lead him out of all difficulties is very much mistaken. Not only will he not be helped but his problems will only worsen.

And if we then see that help has been granted - whether to ourselves or to others for whom we have prayed - then we should not wait too long with giving thanks. That is the best evidence for being a child of God: if we thank our Father in heaven for his grace and give him the glory. An occurrence in Lk 17,12-19 also speaks about this - incidentally, also in reference to a Samaritan:

One of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice.

Lk 17,12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 17,13 and they raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!" 17,14 When He saw them, He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they were going, they were cleansed. 17,15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 17,16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan.17,17 Then Jesus answered and said, "Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine-where are they? 17,18 "Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?" 17,19 And He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.". Lk 17,12-19;


The circumstance that emphasized precisely the conduct of the Samaritan in the parable of the Good Samaritan mentioned previously stems from the fact that a centuries-long irreconcilable enmity (Jn 4,9) existed between Jews and Samaritans since the Syrian-Ephraimitic War (ca. 733 B.C.). The Samaritans were seen by the Jews as heretics and heathens. Nevertheless, the victim in this parable of the Good Samaritan did not receive help from those who were religiously and ethnically his “neighbors” - thus the Jews - but surprisingly from him who could be expected of all people to pass by heedlessly. And also here above, in Lk 17,16, it is the Samaritan healed of leprosy who was the only one of the ten of those healed to turn back to give God glory.

As is apparent, the others who were healed were not Samaritans but Jews, who went to the priests in the temple to thank God there. But like the Samaritan, we Christians also do not go to the “temple” to speak to our God but as our Lord taught us, into our rooms, where we worship God in spirit and in truth.

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room and pray to your Father who is in secret.

Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Mt 6, 5- 8;

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Jn 4,23-24;


Therefore, in our conversation with the Lord in our room we should take time to think about the past of our lives and consider in how many situations and problematic circumstances God has helped us - partly even already before our conversion and without our having prayed. And then we will know that in many cases we did not see God’s guidance: we thought we were just “lucky” and simply escaped.

But there are probably also events after our conversion that we see only in retrospect as a great danger from which the Lord has preserved us. Have we given thanks for all that? In my experience, it would easily take 5 hours for someone around 50 years old to catch up on the thanks owed for every time God helped him. And here as well, when giving thanks, we should “not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do” but deliberately call up every occurrence that occurs to us, so that we become aware of the grace and mercy of our God in their full extent.

If we do that, it will then be a true revelation for those brothers and sisters among us who often ask why God does not help them: they will know that their God helps them almost uninterruptedly, but they did not know it until now. And thus they will again also have more trust and faith that can help them again to pray and to receive.

All things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

Mk 11,24 "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. 11,25 "Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. Mk 11,24-25;




(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Does Scripture forbid communal prayer? / Reply IB00, 2008-02-25)

You have stressed a few times the statement by the Lord that we should “go into [our] inner room” to pray. This is undoubtedly correct. Unfortunately, your remarks - and I am sure this is unintentional - give me the impression that we should not pray together either. Jesus certainly did not mean that, but he was emphasizing, as you also point out, the distinction between an ostentatious prayer said to please others and a humble and reverent prayer said to please God. But, in your explanation, it sounds a bit like forbidding us to go into a church to pray or just to pray communally.

(Ingmar Bauer, ingmarbauer@yahoo.de)

 



Many thanks for your completely legitimate indication of this to me. It is certainly a question that will occupy many other readers and therefore we should discuss it publicly. Let us just look at this text more precisely:

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret.

Mt 6,5 "When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6,6 "But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. 6,7 "And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 6,8 "So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Mt 6, 5- 8;


As you state completely correctly in your comments above, here the Lord is pointing to

“the distinction between an ostentatious prayer said to please others and a humble and reverent prayer said to please God.

And precisely your formulation also already contains the answer to your question: this humble and reverent prayer to please God should be done alone and in our inner room. Thus, it is also left up to each individual to decide if he is directing a humble and reverent prayer to God or giving expression to a different prayer. To be sure, an entirely different question then arises of course: What would that “different prayer” be? Should our prayers to God not always be humble and reverent? Is a prayer that is not humble and reverent a prayer pleasing to God at all, and does it then have the power in it to be heard by the Father or to be answered?

With regard to saying this prayer alone in our room, it must be stated that in our time, particularly in worldly circles - but not only there - a certain uneasiness among people can be observed with respect to being alone with oneself. Thus, a dear elderly woman said to me some time ago that she could not live in such a quiet and peaceful place, where no traffic at all passed by and there were no people on the street, because then she would hear the blood flowing in her veins. But it can also be observed time and again with younger people that they immediately turn on the radio, TV or CD player if they are alone somewhere. Apparently, it is this inability or unwillingness to be alone with one's own thoughts. And thus it is also not surprising that these people time and again seek the company of others - the more, the merrier. Here it is actually only a question of quantity - in order to drown out one’s own conscience. Quality, i.e. what people believe, think, and say, is not even brought up here.

Scripture does not, of course, forbid us to go into a church to pray or to pray with other brothers and sisters. In many situations saying a communal prayer can even be helpful. But neither does Scripture - even aside from what our Lord says here in Mt 6,6 - command us to go to a certain place to pray or to pray only with a certain group of people. We should therefore ask why the Lord asks us to pray alone in our rooms. And here - as so often in Scripture - the context can help us. In the preceding verses the Lord speaks of giving alms and points to an entirely similar context as that of praying:

But when you give to the poor, let it be in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

Mt 6,1 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 6,2 "So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6,3 "But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 6,4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. Mt 6, 1- 4;


Aside from the statement that we should not publicize the gifts we give - just as we do not do so with our prayers (Mt 6,5) - but do them in secret, our Lord also says here that our Father sees what is done in secret. Thus, the giving of alms, exactly like prayer, is something that should be communicated only between God and the believer. And the Lord did not command only us but, as can be concluded from the following Scriptural passages, he also acted that way himself:

After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray.

Mt 14,23 Und als er die Volksmengen entlassen hatte, stieg er für sich allein auf den Berg, um zu beten. Als es aber Abend geworden, war er dort allein. Mt 14,23;

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray.

Lk 6,12 It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God. Lk 6,12;

Some eight days after these sayings He went up on the mountain to pray.

Lk 9,28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. Lk 9,28;

It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place.

Lk 11,1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples." Lk 11, 1;


Every believer who has years of experience in prayer also knows why the Lord went off by himself to pray and why he commands us to do the same. For a child of God, prayer is not a matter of repeating "Hail Mary" so many times as, for example, Catholics are in the habit of doing, but it is a conversation with God - and, indeed, a very intimate conversation. It deals with completely personal things but also with family members, brothers and sisters in the Lord and time and again with people who are still far from the faith. This daily conversation with God is also not limited with respect to time. Like every other conversation, it is directed - apart from the fundamental elements - towards particular matters with requests and thanks but is not, as a rule, shorter than a half hour.

Everyone who believes that he could conduct such a conversation completely publicly is not being honest either to God or himself. If he takes the command of the Lord seriously that we are to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, he will know that in public is not the right place.

God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Jn 4,23 "But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 4,24 "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." Jn 4,23-24;


(Texts enclosed in a black frame are quoted from visitors to the site or other authors.)

(Are teachers and preachers not to be recompensed for their work of preaching? / Reply IB01, 2008-02-25)

In Discourse 93 you wrote “Among Christians, however, the following simple saying applies to leaders, teachers and preachers: if they have knowledge from the Holy Spirit, then they have received that freely and should also pass it on freely.”

I agree with you on this. It would be unjust to demand payment for this, for it says:

Mt 10:8: Freely you received, freely give.

But Jesus also told his disciples when he sent them out to proclaim the Gospel:

Mt 10:10 [Do not acquire] a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support.

Paul confirms this when he writes:

1 Cor 9:14: So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

And:

Gal 6:6: The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. And: 2 Thess 3:9: not because we do not have the right to this [to eat anyone’s bread without paying for it], but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example.

Thus, as I understand it, this means: people are not to accept payment for the Gospel itself, for it is a gift from God, but they can accept payment for the work of preaching the Gospel. For certain reasons, Paul and others gave up their payment. I think if someone can give that up, then it is right to do so. But for someone who will not or cannot, it is also alright for him to receive something for his services. But one should also thank God for the wages for work, for the strength to do that work also comes from God, as David prays:

1 Chr 29,14: But who am I and who are my people that we should be able to offer as generously as this? For all things come from You, and from Your hand we have given You.

(Ingmar Bauer, ingmarbauer@yahoo.de)

 


 

You cited Mt 10,8 and 10,10 above but, unfortunately, left out verse 9, which is very important here. Let us look at the entire section:

Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts.

Mt 10,8 "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 10,9 "Do not acquire gold, or silver, or copper for your money belts, 10,10 or a bag for your journey, or even two coats, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worthy of his support. Mt 10, 8-10;


If we read these three verses, we see an apparent contradiction: the Lord sends these disciples out to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers and cast out demons, but they are not to demand anything for their activities. Rather, they are to do it for nothing. Nor are they to acquire gold or silver - thus money. On top of that, they should not provide for themselves, i.e. take a bag, two coats, or sandals with them, either. And then the Lord says, “[F]or the worker is worthy of his support.” Since it therefore seems impossible that these people could exist without any support, it is concluded in many places that the Lord here meant that those people among whom they heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and certainly proclaim the Gospel should look after them and support them financially. But is that really so?

Let us begin simply at the end of these three verses. The Lord says, “[F]or the worker is worthy of his support.” That confirms the view that these people should be recompensed for their work. The obvious question is of course: Who should do the recompensing? The conventional answer is “Those who have been helped by them.” The disciples would then be working for the sick, the lepers and those possessed, for they receive their compensation from these people. In any case, this is the view that sees this paradox as a worldly problem and wants to resolve it by worldly means.

But we should not forget that it is the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, who commissions these disciples and sends them into the world. And that changes everything. They are no longer the employees of whoever and anyone, but God’s workers. They must not acquire gold and silver - God will provide that for them. Nor do they need two coats or sandals, for God knows what they need and will take care of them.

Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’

Mt 6,31 "Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 6,32 "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 6,33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Mt 6,31-33;


And this is a completely different understanding of the text further above in Mt 10,8-10. No one need look after these people- they are workers and servants of God and his hand is upon them and they will lack for nothing with respect to what they need to live. God will see to it that, wherever they are, they will receive precisely what they need. That was the case then and, since God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, it is still the case today.

Sadly, many preachers and teachers do not pay much attention to the command by the Lord in Mt 10,8, “Freely you received; freely give.” They suffer from the “Gehazi syndrome.” In 2 Kings 5:1-27, Naaman, captain of the army and war hero of the king of Aram, went to the prophet Elisha in Israel so that Elisha could heal him of his leprosy. That did happen in the end, and Naaman wanted to reward Elisha generously. But Elisha refused to accept his reward. When Naaman had left, however, Elisha’s servant Gehazi, ran after him and told him that guests had suddenly arrived at Elisha’s home and he required some gift after all. When Gehazi had hidden this undeserved reward that he had obtained by swindling in his house, he remarked that the leprosy of which the Aramaic captain had been healed would now be on his own body.

And here we see the parallel with our contemporary situation in the proclamation of the Gospel: whoever claims to have received his knowledge freely from the Holy Spirit but nonetheless demands payment acts like Gehazi. After all, he could also have claimed that this was a “reward for his work,” for he had to run after Naaman and carry his treasure back home. Similarly, as the leprosy spread over Gehazi’s healthy, pure skin, until his whole body was covered, these proclaimers of the Gospel run the great risk too that the spiritual leprosy in their spirit will spread and cover up the Holy Spirit in them. The consequence is that they will proclaim the Gospel without the Holy Spirit. They can then indeed demand money for their efforts, but it is no longer worth the effort to explain their views.

But to keep it from becoming a purely theoretical argument, I will show by means of three widespread examples from the practice of proclamation how dangerous such “solo runs” can be and how completely clear statements in Scripture are reinterpreted in such a way that one can doubt if these people read the same Bible.

The Rapture

But immediately after the tribulation of those days sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars will fall.

Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;


One of the most persistent wrong interpretations, which has been maintained for more than 100 years worldwide, is the view that there will be a pre-Tribulation Rapture, thus the return of the Lord to rapture the church of the end times before the Great Tribulation. The Lord himself says above in Mt 24,29:

“But immediately after the tribulation of those days ... they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky ... And His angels will gather together His elect


He thus unambiguously refers to the fact that these believers will have to live through the Great Tribulation before the Lord comes to save them. Nonetheless, the temptation is apparently too great for many exegetes to “preserve” the church now already on paper, as, for example, Heinz Weber and René Pache attempt:

o  The next great event of world history for believers will be the Rapture [before the Great Tribulation / FH]. According to the Bible, there is no event that must happen before the Rapture occurs .... According to the Bible, there is no event that we must demand that it occur before Jesus can return for his church.
Heinz Weber (Lecture in the St. Matthäus Church in Bremen, on “The Return of the Lord”)

o  “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luk. 21:28. How can we, in anticipation of the beginning of the Tribulation, lift up our heads and rejoice? We will be protected precisely from that.
René Pache (Die Wiederkunft Christi - Le retour du Jésu-Christ (The Return of Christ), p. 93).


The Scripture passage to which Pache refers here in Lk 21:28 is the parallel to our text above in Mt 24:29-31. Here is the entire context:

Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.

Lk 21,25 "There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 21,26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 21,27 "Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 21,28 "But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." Lk 21,25-28;


It is therefore the same situation: after the Great Tribulation, the Lord will come on the clouds to rapture his own who longingly expect him. And those in this church of the end times will lift up their heads, for their redemption draws near.

For the sake of the elect the days of the Great Tribulation will be cut short.

Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.24,22 "Unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Mt 24,21-22;


But Pache not only takes this text out of its context but also interprets it contrary to reason. When it says that they will “straighten up and lift up [their] heads, because [their] redemption is drawing near,” it means that previously they were pushed down by fear, their heads cast down and they begged that their oppression would end. How can anyone hold that these encouraging words of the Lord are not spoken to the church suffering under the Great Tribulation but to a church that lives in prosperity and safety before the Tribulation, is not exposed to any oppression and should await, simply and joyfully, their rapture from this Great Tribulation like a supplement?

Moreover, we have a great number of Bible passages that confirm that the Rapture will occur after the Great Tribulation:

These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.

Rev 7,9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 7,10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." 7,11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 7,12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."

7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 7,16 "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 7,17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Rev 7, 9-17;


This great multitude is without a doubt the church of Jesus Christ from all nations. If they are dressed in white robes before the throne, they are in heaven. And the elder says about them: These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.” They must thus have been present during the Great Tribulation and either died during it or survived and were raptured by the Lord after the Tribulation.

Paul also gives us this incontrovertible evidence that the day of the Lord's return (coming) to rapture (to gather) his own will come only after the Great Tribulation with the Antichrist (apostasy, man of lawlessness).

The Rapture will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed.

2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction; 2The 2, 1- 3;


But if Heinz Weber proclaims to his audience about the rapture that “According to the Bible, there is no event that must happen before the rapture occurs” and René Pache teaches the brothers and sisters concerning the Great Tribulation that “We will be protected precisely from that,” the consequence is that the brothers and sisters expect that the rapture is more or less just around the corner and do not have to fear that they will undergo either the Tribulation or temptation prior to that event.

And similarly to the situation above with the Thessalonians in Paul's time, there is the danger here that many believers, in anticipation of a speedy rapture, will sever all earthly ties and do nothing more than wait for the Lord. But such a wrong view, i.e. that they would be safe from tribulation and temptation, alone brings these brothers and sisters into the great danger that, when the Antichrist appears, who will present himself as the “true” Christ and our Lord Jesus Christ as a deceiver, they will acclaim him as the returning Lord.

(See also Discourse 65: “Why the Rapture is to be placed after the Great Tribulation.



The First Resurrection

The souls of the martyrs came to life. This is the first resurrection.

Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. 20,6 Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. Rev 20, 4- 6;


Even though most exegetes of the Bible argue that this “First Resurrection” has nothing to do with the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the Rapture (1 The 4,3-18), there are still those giving lectures and writing books who continue to spread this old, wrong - but as can be seen here below still very tempting for brothers and sisters - view of this text in the churches (and unfortunately are also left unchallenged).

o  Taking Revelation 20 at face value, it appears that the resurrection of the righteous will take place at the Lord’s return, which will be a thousand years before the general resurrection and the final judgment .... So where does Matthew 25 fit in? Before or after this “millennium” - since it appears to be the final judgment, yet takes place “when the Son of Man comes?” The “sheep” belong to the “first” resurrection and the “goats” to the “second”, yet both are here judged together!
David Pawson (The Road to Hell, p. 111)

o  We see that at the beginning of the thousand-year reign only the martyrs who refused to worship the Antichrist during the Great Tribulation will be resurrected. Rev 20,4-6. And yet the believers of all ages share in the First Resurrection to life and dominion with Christ. Jn 5,28-29. When are these believers raised, if not at the Rapture of the church before the Great Tribulation?
René Pache (Die Wiederkunft Christi - Le retour du Jésus-Christ (The Return of Jesus Christ), p 94).

o  The period of the church closes with the Rapture. The Great Tribulation occurs on earth, and the Lord is with his own before the judgment for reward and the wedding of the lamb in heaven, and he will return with them for the millennial reign, for we will indeed reign as his church on earth - reign with him for a thousand years.
Heinz Weber (Lecture in the St. Matthäus Church in Bremen on “The Return of the Lord”)


We have to admit that David Pawson is right when he says that “that the resurrection [actually the raising of the dead /FH] of the righteous will take place at the Lord’s return,” to be precise, “a thousand years before the general resurrection and the final judgment.” However, when he argues that the first resurrection in Rev 20,4-6 is this resurrection of the righteous (the church /FH), he ignores - as do the exegetes in the adjoining two quotations - the fact that Rev 20,4 speaks of those who “had been beheaded,” thus those who had been killed for the sake of their faith, and thus exclusively of martyrs. That is the source of his problem with the placing of the “sheep” and “goats” in Mt 25,32. Since he places the resurrection of all the righteous (“sheep”) already before the thousand years, there are then no righteous left for the final judgment for him. But apparently it did not occur to him that righteous (“sheep”) will also die in the millennium, and are then preserved together with the “goats” to be judged at the final judgment.

(See also Discourse 88E: “David Pawson and the interpretation of the end-time events.”)

René Pache’s assertion that in this event “only the martyrs who refused to worship the Antichrist will be resurrected” is clearly wrong, because the text also speaks explicitly of those who “had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God.” But Pache replaces this reduction of the great multitude from the Old and New Testaments without any further ado by “the believers of all ages,” thus also all those who had not been beheaded. That the reference in Jn 5,28-29 does not concern the First but the Universal Revelation at the end of the world, where not the martyrs but all people are resurrected in order to be judged, is not at all surprising any more.


(See also Discourse 862: “18 Arguments for Placing Rapture before the Great Tribulation - and their Refutation.”)

And Pache is in the good company of Heinz Weber in the third quotation, who also confuses the First Resurrection with the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture and promises his audience cheerfully that “we will indeed reign as his church on earth - reign with him for a thousand years.” That we all - thanks be to the Lord - are not beheaded for our faith and therefore cannot meet the criteria of this First Resurrection is, indeed, apparently not that important in this context.

(See also Discourse 71: “Is the next major event of world history for the faithful the Rapture?”)

(See also Discourse 07: “The Rapture and the First Resurrection: a single event?”)



The 144.000 Who Were Sealed

144,000 from every tribe of the sons of Israel were sealed with the seal of the living God.

Rev 7,4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:

7,5 From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 7,6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7,7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 7,8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. Rev 7, 4- 8;

Regardless of the fact that John is speaking here completely explicitly and down to the last detail about Israel and its twelve tribes - and only of these - many exegetes do not let this turnover-enhancing “sweetener” for their audience and readers escape and interpret these statements in terms of the Christian church. That Israel is often denied every expectation of salvation in general is only a side effect, as can be concluded from the following small selection of interpretations of this Bible text by well-known exegetes:

o  The whole church, insofar as it is truly church, is sealed.”
Adolf Pohl (Book: Die Offenbarung des Johannes 1. Teil, (The Revelation of John, Part 1), p. 217)

o  To the fundamental principles of the New Testament belongs the notion that the church is the true Israel and the people Israel as a nation has lost all its privileges to the church.
William Barclay (Book: Offenbarung des Johannes 2 (The Revelation of John 2), p. 32)

o  Thus the hundred and forty-four thousand are the multitude of those who have been bought by Jesus from Israel and all nations.
Fritz Grünzweig (Book: Bibelkommentar Band 24 - Johannes-Offenbarung 1. Teil (Bible Commentary, Vol. 24; John’s Revelation, Part 1), p. 207)

o  It concerns here the elect of the end time, and their number is to be understood symbolically. God has arranged it. They owe their election to his grace alone; and belonging by blood to one of the tribes of Israel is not decisive
Peter Ketter (Book: Die Heilige Schrift für das Leben erklärt - Die Apokalypse, (The Holy Scripture Explained for (Practical) Living - The Apocalypse),: p. 118)


Next to this recasting of the 144,000 as the Christian church, these exegetes share the fact that they give lectures and write books and these must be sold of course. And that it no doubt concerns a topic here that tickles people’s ears (2Tim 4,3) and is spread further can be seen in the discussions. A dear brother in the Lord recently wrote this to me on this question:

“Why should it be impossible that the [Christian/ FH] believers, who, according to Eph 4,30, are sealed on the day of redemption, have this seal on their forehead for the invisible world? It is also possible that the forehead is a synonym for our understanding, and there we should - if we belong to the Lord Jesus - leave it to the Holy Spirit to guide us, by whom we are sealed, according to Eph 1,13.”

The answer is very simple, for the text is talking explicitly about Israel and its twelve tribes and not about the church. According to this brother’s method, this seal could also indeed be the sign of the beast that people bear on their foreheads according to Rev 13,16, the number 144,000 then refers to all those who worship the beast and their God is, according to 2The 2,4, Satan, who sits in the temple and pretends to be God. As we can see, by means of such wrong symbolizations God can be presented as the devil and the devil as God and both views can appeal to the Bible.

(See also Discourse 06: “The 144,000 who were sealed: Israelites, or the congregation of the Last Days?”)


Thus far these three examples from practice.


Your further Bible quotations I agree with entirely:

1Cor 9,14 So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel. 1Cor 3,14;

Completely right! But as the Lord says above in Mt 10,9 and 6,32, it is not by acquiring gold and silver (thus money) in their money belts, for that is what all nations do. But it is by trusting in their heavenly Father who knows that they need all these things.

Gal 6,6 The one who is taught the word is to share all good things with the one who teaches him. Gal 6, 6;

Here Paul is speaking to those who have received the Gospel and not to those who proclaim the Gospel! Whoever actually has possessions and feels encouraged by God will certainly do that. But in courses and seminars the proclaimers do not ask that but sell their entrance tickets, manuscripts and books for a great deal of money.

And finally, let us look at your last quotation on this theme, where Paul points out that he wanted to give the Thessalonians an example they could emulate:

2The 3,9 not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 2The 3,9;


This verse concerns precisely this question, as he unmistakably writes in the two preceding verses:

2The 3,7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 3,8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 2The 3, 7- 8;


Already here Paul instructs us to emulate him and not to take money from anyone for proclaiming the Gospel but, like him (he was tent-maker by trade, Acts 18,3), to work day and night with much pain and trouble in our worldly profession so as not be a burden to any one.