The Passion Translation, authored by Brian Simmons, has inserted these words into the mouth of Christ: "For you reach into my heart. With one flash of your eyes I am undone by your love, my beloved, my equal, my bride. You leave me breathless-I am overcome by merely a glance from your worshiping eyes, for you have stolen my heart..." Song of Songs 4:9 (TPT) Much can of course be said about interpreting Song of Songs/Solomon to be about Christ and the Church, but to even suggest, nevermind blatantly have Jesus call us His "equal", is beyond erroneous, it is heretical and even blasphemous. The worst of it is that, thanks to Brian Simmons and his "Passion Translation", people can now argue that mankind's equality with God is Biblical. Honestly, I do not know how terrible the deception in the Church has to be before more people are willing to stand up and speak up to warn brothers and sisters in Christ. The Passion Translation is used and promoted by Bethel Redding, (Bill Johnson) and by Georgian and Winnie Banov, and who knows how many others. It seems to be a favourite "translation" in the loosely organized but very broad and fast growing NAR. I encourage all Christians to do their research on this. Here are several screenshots from the Banov's Facebook page, where they repeatedly promote this heretical and blasphemous doctrine of equality with God (among other equally horrendous claims). Thoughts?
I was asked by my pastor why I study eschatology (end times events.) Ignoring the negativity of a challenge like this, I find that "end times events" are tied in with almost everything I read in scripture. Ezekiel 38 and 39 is such an event, as it speaks of a horrific situation that may happen at any minute.
Try opening a conversation about what you find in Ezekiel 38 and 39 and the eyes of your audience will glaze over and you can watch them begin to look at their watches, wondering if there isn't somewhere else they need to go. There are reasons behind this lack of interest, and they stem from confusion; a lack of understanding; the inability of the speaker to put flesh and blood on the characters; and, the worst part is that there is a veil over the eyes and ears of the hearer so that they cannot comprehend. Along with those factors, there is a multitude of answers as to who the players are and when this event will take place. Ambiguity plays a role in the disinterest because an honest dissertation of an end-times scenario will typically put you in the ballpark, perhaps even provide the audience with the team name, but at this point, I am not sure we specifically say who the main characters are. Furthermore, two simple sentences can inspire books of commentary. I am going to try and condense but still give you an understanding of this prophecy.
An introduction to Ezekiel:
He was a priest, the son of a priest, and he was taken captive into Babylon. Already, you should be thinking, odds are not in his favor. Ezekiel was one of the few that give us precise dates.
According to Dr. John Gill's commentary, chapter 38 gives an account of "an enemy of the Jews, under the name of Gog, that shall invade their land, and disturb their peace after they are settled in it;"
J. Vernon McGee, in his commentary, demonstrates some classic old-school thinking as he tells us the theme of Ezekiel 38 is Russia's invasion of Israel. McGee is making his case for Gog to be Russia.
I happen to think McGee's assessment is wrong and we should not be focused on the Russian President Putin. You have to keep in mind what was going on in the world that would have inspired the McGee's particular emphasis on Russia in his commentary. For example, The United States was deeply entrenched in the Korean war; the Vietnam conflict, with the cold war with Russia waiting just around the corner. I too assumed that Russia would be one of the major players (and no doubt they are, but we are trying to think biblically while paying attention to the context.) as we lived with the verified threat of Russian missiles 90 miles off our coast in Cuba - a Russian ally, as children.
The Summarized Bible commentary conveys that “God does not only see those who are now the enemies of His people, but foresees those who will be so in the last days, and lets them know by His Word that He is against them, and will make their movements to serve His own purposes.”
I know, every generation has had those that have said, "we are in the last days," and I would tell you that they were right.
Now how would I come to the understanding that every generation comprehended that we are in the last days?
Daniel chapter 9, spells out a seventy-week decree against Israel. Sixty-nine of those weeks have been fulfilled. The seventieth week of years (7years) has been on hold for over 2000 years. Therefore, we, the church, have been in the last days for over 2000 years.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, filled with Holy Spirit, preached to the thousands milling about the streets of Jerusalem that day. An aspect of what Peter said came from Joel chapter 2 which speaks about the time of God's wrath which the seventieth year portrays. However, within that period, people are acting out in the power of the Holy Spirit as the prophets of old did. Peter said this part of Joel's prophecy had been fulfilled in your hearing.
What did he say? We are living in the last days.
Since the last days seems to be very focused on the seven-years of wrath, are we, at the moment, living in the seventieth week? No, and that will not come until the church is removed from the earth. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
The NASB opens our look into Ezekiel 38 with:
Prophecy Against Gog
Ezekiel 38:1-2 NASB And the word of the LORD came to me saying, 2) "Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him
Note how the passage provided has no appropriate punctuation at the end. That is because the thought continues and we will pursue that shortly. But for the moment let's dissect the verses.
“Son of man,” Is there any question as to whom the Lord is talking? The answer is Ezekiel.
“set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him,” Okay, what just happened? Ezekiel was told to prophesy against two entities:
Gog; this person also happens to be the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal.
And, the land of Magog; If Ezekiel is told to prophesy against him, and "him" includes the land, then we should be considering the possibility that this is:
A nation? A people group? A demonic operation that controls a people group? As I try to understand, I turn my attention to my concordances and look up the word Gog.
BDB Definition: Gog = “mountain” - A Reubenite, the son of Shemaiah (1 Ch 5:4); The prophetic prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and Magog (Read Ezekiel 32)
Strong's concordance merely adds Gog, the name of an Israelite.
The KJC keeps us in Ezekiel with one exception: 1 Chronicles 5:1-4 MKJV And the sons of Reuben, the first-born of Israel (for he was the first-born; but since he defiled his father's bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel, and the genealogy is not to be counted according to the birthright; 2) For Judah prevailed among his brothers, and from him came the chief ruler, but the birthright was Joseph's); 3) the sons of Reuben the first-born of Israel: Hanoch, and Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 4) The sons of Joel: Shemaiah his son, Gog his son, and Shimei, his son.
The dishonor carried by the family due to Reuben's indiscretion, which excluded them from any rights of birth, surely plays a role in all of this.
The Word Study Dictionary tells us this about Gog:
He is pictured as a great enemy against God's people. Ezekiel 38:9 NASB "You will go up, you will come like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land, you and all your troops, and many peoples with you."
He is from the land of Magog or possibly "from the land of Gog." Gog. i.e., mountain, in reference to the Caucasus mountains, the chief seat of the Scythian people. Note: Rather, "Gog (the prince) of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal." The Ultimate Cross-Reference Treasury
The Lord sets Himself against Gog (Eze_38:2). Gog will lead a coalition of nations against God's people who are then dwelling securely in the land of Israel (Eze_38:14-16).
With the addition of the words, God's people who are then dwelling securely in ...Israel. They have turned this so that we are looking at the church and not Israel, which is incorrect.
But God, in fact, will bring Gog forth and will destroy him and his people. Ezekiel 39:1-2; Ezekiel 38:19-23
The Lord spoke about this through other prophets (Eze_38:17-18). Ezekiel 38:17 MKJV So says the Lord Jehovah: Are you he of whom I have spoken in former days, by the hand of My servants the prophets of Israel, who prophesied in those days and years that I would bring you against them?
The multitudes of Gog will be buried in the Valley of Hamon Gog, that is, "multitudes of Gog" (Eze_39:11), Ezekiel 39:11 CJB " 'When that day comes, I will give Gog a place there in Isra'el for graves, the Travelers' Valley, east of the sea; and it will block the travelers' passage. There they will bury Gog and all his horde, and they will rename it the Valley of Hamon-Gog [horde of Gog].
The Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature informs us that: They are the name of a mixed race dwelling in the extreme north, comprehended by the Greeks under the name of the Scythians; (2.) to the center and representative of their race, i.e. their king (Ezekiel 38:39). Gog comes forth from the distant north (Eze_38:15-23; Eze_39:2), ... And, if you are stickler for history - Interpreters have given very different explanations of the terms Gog and Magog; but they have generally understood them as symbolical expressions for the heathen nations of Asia, or more particularly for the Scythians, a vague knowledge of whom seems to have reached the Jews in Palestine about that period. Thus Josephus (Ant. 1:6, 3) has dropped the Hebrew word Magog, and rendered it by Σκύθαι;
See attachment - Classic Bible Maps, The World as known to the Hebrews
Of the maps, I looked at to better understand this ancient classic version shows me more and divergent details than any other map, as it points out Gog and Magog, and where they were located. I have also provided a link to Wikipedia which continues to fill in the blanks in understanding and prophecy with highly detailed information about the Scythians. Because of the quantity of information found there, which all seems important, I am only going to suggest that the interested pursue that there. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scythians]
As you read the information, consider where Gog might come from. It may help you to understand more clearly how the Turkish "president" Recep Tayyip Erdoğan might best fill the role of Gog.
Just for the fun of it, I searched the internet to find out if Genghis Khan could have been a Scythian. The Headline read, “Not Just Genghis Khan - Scythians Show Genetic Blending With Europe 2,000 Years Ago.” http://www.science20.com/news_articles/not_just_genghis_khan_scythians_show_genetic_blending_europe_2000_years_ago-96314
Here is was I gather so far.
Gog, from the disinherited family line of Reuben, moves North and becomes a nomadic mounted and warring nation known as the Scythians. They ranged into China, Siberia, Egypt, Asia Minor and as far south as the Northern African nations, however, they seem to be centrally located around Turkey and the Caspian Sea. They are heavily influenced and integrated by the surrounding nations such as Persia, Syria, and the Caucasus regions. They conquered Nineveh, the Assyrians, and the Medes. Having relations as violent as Genghis Khan one can assume that slaughter was their general theme. This is the people that God sees as one of Israel's few remaining thorns in the flesh.
I ended the last post with this verse -
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 WNT 7) For lawlessness is already at work in secret; but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, 8) and then the Lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will sweep away with the tempest of His anger, and utterly overwhelm by the awful splendor of His Coming.
I keep running these concepts through my mind, and, when possible, talk with my wife or a few close friends about what I think I see. Recently we had finished eating, and once again I brought up 2Thessalonians 2:3 where it says
2 Thessalonians 2:3 NASB “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,”
I find myself breathing a heavy sigh as I read this passage. For me, the heaviness comes out of a sincere desire for the church body to be firmly grounded in an understanding of end times events and how those events will fall into place, but it also comes out of the reality that all these years later we are no more confident in our faith and comprehension that they were all those years ago. During a fifteen year period, I attended three churches, and I can tell that it is rare to find anyone that has a firm grasp on what Paul is saying here in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. When you begin talking to them about Paul words here, some respond with confused or distorted views of “the day,” while others seem to feel that you have challenged their long-held beliefs and therefore attack with a loud and caustic defense that demonstrates no logic, that they do not read for themselves, or that they choose not to think.
The other side of Paul's teaching, not spoken of in verse three, is “hope.” Our comprehension that Jesus is coming back for His church is a part of this anchor we call hope. Since hope is integrated into our faith in Jesus' words that He will come back for us, wouldn't it be beneficial to understand why we have this hope, and where we place our assurance?
John 14:3 WNT And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will return and take you to be with me, that where I am you also may be.
[In case you did not notice, Jesus did go already]
I primarily use the NASB and it refers to this man that is to come, as the man of lawlessness. Since verses three and eight have a common thread, the man of lawlessness, let's ponder this person for a few moments.
The man of lawlessness
He is also known as the son of perdition; the man who separates himself from Torah; the man of sin; the man of evil; the son of destruction; the wicked one. One last example comes from the Weymouth New Testament, a translation that, in this case, gives much more definition.
Thayer's definition of lawless: Greek anomos 1) destitute of (the Mosaic) law; 2) departing from the law, a violator of the law, lawless, wicked
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 WNT 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for that day cannot come without the coming of the apostasy first, and the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition, who sets himself against, 4) and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship, and goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.
What do I know about this guy?
“the appearing of the man of sin, the son of perdition.”
This is merely an explanation and a title at this point; however, he will fulfill every aspect and detail of Biblical prophecy about himself in time.
“who sets himself against, and exalts himself above, every so-called 'god' or object of worship,”
To set oneself against God doesn't seem so bad, and yet we do it all the time. We do it with our money; vehicles; homes, and for some, trophy wives. First off you need to understand that EVERY thing in this world works in opposition to God. And yes, that includes religion. So what we are doing is committing adultery with the world. This guy takes it to the extreme as he exalts himself above God, and, every so-called 'god' or object of worship. Not even the Catholic church does that; there is, however, an ideology that does, and it is called Islam. Every nation in the world where Islam exists, the Muslim's that live there are under a mandate to infiltrate and put that nation under the Islamic laws of Sharia. Islam's 'god,' invented by Mohamed, is called Allah.
“goes the length of taking his seat in the very temple of God, giving it out that he himself is God.”
This idea of someone taking a seat in the temple, has, since 70 A.D., been difficult to grasp as there is no temple. At the time Paul wrote this letter the destruction of the temple was at least 20 years away. Short of a revelation by the Holy Spirit, Paul would not have known this.
In May of 2018, the Israeli Prime Minister spoke openly that the temple would be rebuilt. As you can imagine, at the time of this writing, this borders on impossible, and if it were restored, the rioting would be horrendous. And yet, scripture tells us it will happen.
What an absurdity it is to know that this man of sin will exalt himself above God and place himself in the most Holy seat, all the while decreeing himself to be God?
Still under the heading of what we know about the man of lawlessness, comes the Islamic prophecies. Here is just a portion of what they expect to happen.
The ten major signs known as alamatu's-sa'ah al-kubra (the major signs of the end).[note 56] They are as follows:
The false messiah—anti-Christ, Masih ad-Dajjal—shall appear with great powers as a one-eyed man with his right eye blind and deformed like a grape. Although believers will not be deceived, he will claim to be God, to hold the keys to heaven and hell, and will lead many astray. In reality, his heaven is hell, and his hell is heaven. The Dajjal will be followed by seventy thousand Jews of Isfahan wearing Persian shawls.[note 57]
The return of Isa (Jesus), from the fourth sky, to kill Dajjal.
Ya'joo and Ma'jooj (Gog and Magog), a Japhetic tribe of vicious beings who had been imprisoned by Dhul-Qarnayn, will break out. They will ravage the earth, drink all the water of Lake Tiberias, and kill all believers in their way. Isa, Imam Al-Mahdi, and the believers with them will go to the top of a mountain and pray for the destruction of Gog and Magog. God eventually will send disease and worms to wipe them out.[note 58]
This information comes from Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_eschatology
What do Islam prophecies and what Muslims believe, mean to me?
Since we know from scripture that the plan of redemption was written long before Mohamed had this message about Allah delivered to him in a cave, is it possible that this information, much like everything else Satan has done, is a fraudulent and intentional misrepresentation of truth?
While we are aware that someone, in the role of the Anti-Christ, will come, but that is not who Paul spoke of when he used the phrase, the man of lawlessness. We should also be aware that one we know as the false prophet, will show up, but not until the mid-point of the seven years of tribulation. According to Islam, both of these are known to them. The man of lawlessness to us, is the return of Isa ibn Mariam, the Islamic Jesus. This is the information I presented above as the first and second points of their major prophecies.
I will add that Islam believes this man, will be a Jew; a descendant from Aaron and therefore have a legitimate right to the priesthood; that he will pledge his allegiance to the Mahdi (I believe that this Mahdi person fulfills the role of Anti-Christ); he will perform great signs and wonders (Sadly, this will cause many to follow him. In other words, he causes many to also give their allegiance to Islam.) And, this Isa bin Mariam will be the enforcer of Sharia.
What does this last aspect concerning Sharia mean to any of us?
As followers of Christ, the Church will be caught up to meet Him in the air. Now many believe, such as the man who leads our Monday morning Bible study group, that everyone in that room will be able to bypass the wrath that will be poured out upon the earth. Sorry, but that is not necessarily true. I know this because of the parable of the ten virgins. This parable was an aspect of Jesus response when the disciples asked, "when will these things happen and what will the sign of your coming?"
Matthew 25:1-13 NASB "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2) "Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. 3) "For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4) but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. 5) "Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. 6) "But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' 7) "Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8) "The foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps, are going out.' 9) "But the prudent answered, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' 10) "And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. 11) "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' 12) "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' 13) "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.
Notice, how all the virgins got the same invitation, and, all got ready, but there is an exception, for five of them merely grabbed their lamps off the shelf, while the others took the time to refill their lamps and take extra oil. This oil or the act of taking extra seems to play a critical role in this equation. Sadly, I cannot tell you with precision what that oil represents. It may be in the preparation, as it demonstrates looking intently for Him to come; while for others, it may mean study; and still, others, seem to emphasize desire. My experiences have included a pastor that told me NOT to study eschatology and another brother in Christ who called me a firebrand that momentarily excites people; He went on to say, "besides that, we have been looking for Jesus to return for over two-thousand years." I suppose that pastor who told me not to study, and that brother in Christ feel as though Jesus will not come back for perhaps another forty plus years. May I say that I believe He is riding upon the winds as we speak. I have seen this imagery in my spirit, and I can hear the sound of the trumpets in the distance (not the phony Haarp sounds the governments are playing with.)
Know this, this man, whatever you wish to call him, will be NOT be announced as the man of lawlessness. Because he is a Jew and will have access to the Holiest of Holies within the temple, he will probably be a high priest, and he probably a well-respected man right now. We are there!
“but only until the man who is now exercising a restraining influence is removed, and then the Lawless one will be revealed,” (WNT)
This statement above is an excerpt from 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. When I read this, there is an intense clarity about the timing in which the church; the restraining force that is removed; and “the man of lawlessness” that will be revealed. Since there is no doubt in my mind that the restraining influence is the Church, then the emphasis, therefore, is on the removal of the church before to God's wrath is poured out. Because of this information, I cannot for the life of me figure out how people can assert that the time of wrath upon the earth is something that the church must go through.
How do I rationalize verse 3 and verse 8 as they both indicate that this man will be revealed?
As I pointed out, verse three seems to be our introduction to the man, although it will not be as “the man of … .” In a sense, he will be quite normal. Since we understand that he will be a Jew that turns his back on the Law of God, then we can better understand why Jesus would say that “he” will cause the best of them to be deceived, and He meant the Jewish leadership.
2 Thessalonians 2:9 GNB The Wicked One will come with the power of Satan and perform all kinds of false miracles and wonders,
In general, I can safely say that the church will not see unleashing of Satan's power, because all this is designed to happen 1240 days into the time of wrath.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 CJB He (the adversary/Satan) will enable him to deceive, in all kinds of wicked ways, those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.
This statement “those who are headed for destruction because they would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them,” is primarily speaking to the Jews. Could I apply it to the nations? Indeed, for many of them would not receive the love of the truth that could have saved them.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASB 11) For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false,
Imagine a gathering of Pharisees, like Paul so intensely trained in the laws of God, that God must send a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. Suddenly, it seems like this is all God's fault, is that the case? Hardly, as they turned their backs on when He sent a steady stream of mercies coming to their direction. Israel, since Egypt, has been entrenched in the idolatrous ways of the nations around them, and verse 12 proves that out.
2 Thessalonians 2:12 NASB 12) in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.