Prophecy Digest: Comparison of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation B -Dr. Ron Bigalke

Comparison of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation -Dr. Ron Bigalke

"This Generation" and Time Texts

Matthew24:34, 36 (cf. Rev)

Preterists claim to place primary emphasis uponthe demonstrative pronouns in verses 34 and 36 of Matthew 24, but only afuturist interpretation seeks to understand those pronouns within the context.Demonstrative pronouns help locate and identify nouns or other pronouns.Pronouns substitute nouns when the nouns they replace can be understood fromthe context. They also indicate whether they are replacing a singular or pluraltense and identify in what location (near/far) the speaker places himself inrelation to the object.

English Demonstrative Pronouns

Pronoun Tense Location













In Greek, there are two demonstrative pronouns.Frequently, these demonstratives will be used independent of a noun and carrythe intensity of a substantive. The most common use of the demonstrativepronoun is with a noun and carrying the strength of an adjective. In otherwords, the noun will contain the article and the demonstrative pronoun can be foundin the predicate position but never in the attributive position (e.g., oJ uiJoV ou|toV or ou|toV oJ uiJoV).

Greek Demonstrative Pronouns

Pronoun Tense Location













Thepurpose of demonstrative pronouns in both English and Greek grammar is to helpidentify where the speaker places himself in relation to the object. Central topreterist eschatology is a first century fulfillment of the Olivet Discourse.The preterist interpretation of the Olivet Discourse requires Jesus to placeHimself in a relatively near relation to the events of Matthew 24-25.

If thisis the scenario, as the preterists contend, then Jesus would use ou|toV and ou|toi in order to indicate relatively nearevents.

Infour verses, Jesus used the relatively distant demonstrative pronouns: ejkeivnaiV tai'V hJmeraiV (24:19); aiJhJmevrai ejkei'nai (24:22); tw'n hJmerw'n ejkeivnwn (24:29); and, th'V hJmevraV ejkeivnhV (24:36).[19]When speaking of His coming, Jesus used the relatively distant demonstrativepronouns. When Jesus spoke of the events that will occur prior to His coming,He usef the relatively near demonstrative pronouns since this would fit Hisperspective at the time of His coming: tau'ta (24:8) and ou{twV (24:33). In other words, Jesus was speaking ofHis future coming, and then used the near demonstratives to describe theeschatological events that will precede His future coming.

When Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, this [au{th]generation will not pass away until all these [tau'ta] things take place"(24:34), He was referring to the same generation that belong in the distance(eschatologically). By identifying the demonstrative pronouns, it becomes clearthat Jesus was referring to the generation that witnesses the events of theOlivet Discourse with His coming in a future time. If Jesus intended to speakof a first century fulfillment then He would have used the relatively futuredemonstrative, ejkei'nai, for the events that would occur among the generationthat would witness His coming. In other words, Jesus was not using relativelyfar demonstratives to describe what He prophecied of Himself in relatively neardemonstratives, as He stepped into the future from His present earthlylocation. Only the generation witnessing all the events prophesied in theOlivet Discourse will be the generation to witness His return. Commenting onthe parallel passage to Matthew 24 in Luke 21, Lukan scholar Darrell Bockassented:

What Jesus is saying is that the generation that sees the beginning of the end, also sees its end.

When the signs come, theywill proceed quickly; they will not drag on for many generations.

Nonetheless, in the discourse's propheticcontext, the remark comes after making comments about the nearness of the endto certain signs. As such it is the issue of the signs that controls thepassage's force, making this view likely. If this view is correct, Jesus saysthat when the signs of the beginning of the end come, then the end will comerelatively quickly, within a generation.[20]

Preteristsinsist that they are defending the Bible against attacks from liberals such asBertrand Russell[21] by claiminga first century fulfillment of Matthew 24. Because, in their view, the OlivetDiscourse and Revelation refer to the same time period, preterists use thewords shortlyand near in Revelation 1:1, 3 to date the events ofMatthew 24 and Revelation prior to A.D. 70.

Preteristssimply are not exegeting the texts as they claim to be doing. BAGD defines theadverb tacos as follows: "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste."[22]The Apostle John uses the adverb tacus with ercomai ("to come") in Revelation2:16; 3:11; 11:14; 22:7, 12, 20 meaning "quick, swift, speedy."[23]All six uses of tacus in Revelation mean "without delay, quickly, at once."[24]Blass-Debrunner concurred by classifying tacus as "an adverb of manner," not"an adverb of time."[25]Therefore, the text in Matthew 24:34 (and Revelation 1:1, 3) describes themanner in which tribulational events will occur, and not their timing.

AlthoughMatthew 24:34 is the preterist mantra, the reference here to this generation is a difficult passage to correlate with thepreterist system.

Preterists seek to demonstrate that whenever thisgeneration is used in theGospels, it refers to the first century generation. Additionally, Christ wasspeaking to the disciples prior to His crucifixion. In Matthew 23:36,thisgeneration refers to those whowould witness the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

Dispensationalists shouldagree with the last statements, but disagree with the first statement.

Dispensationalistsgenerally interpret this generation to speak of those who will not only witness all these things of Matthew 24 (Luke 21:32 reads, all things), which includes the literal and physical returnof Jesus Christ. It seems the best way to understand gevnhtai is as aningressive aorist, which means an event has occurred but the emphasis is oninitiation. The destruction of the Temple should be understood from itsinitiation, which would bear the meaning "begin to take place."

The propheticchronology for all these things ofMatthew 24:34 would begin with the first century generation, but not find finalfulfillment until the second coming.

The Judgment of Gentiles (Matthew 24:36-25:46)

TheOne Taken and The Other Left (24:36-41)

In Matthew 24:36, Jesussaid, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,nor the Son, but the Father alone.In 24:36-41, Jesus will provide answers as to what the conditions will be likewhen He does return. "For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like thedays of Noah (24:37). In thesame way, unbelievers did not believe judgment would be coming upon them in thedays of Noah, so will the response of the unbelievers be during the tribulationeven though they will experience the wrath of God. One will be taken, andone will be left (24:39b). Theunbelievers do not truly believe judgment is coming.

Inkeeping with the context of tribulational events, the one taken and the other left in Matthew 24:37-41 is a reference to theseparation that will take place when Christ returns to earth. Israel is notincluded here since her judgment is the tribulation. The one taken is in judgment in death at the second coming andthe other left enters intothe millennial kingdom.

The response of Jesus to the disciples' questioning(Luke 17:37; cf. Rev 19:17-18) accurately fits this interpretation alone. Inother words, the disciples question when the restoration of Israel will takeplace and God will judge all her enemies. Jesus has already answered questionsin regards to Israel and is now dealing with the judgment of Gentiles.

TheOlivet Discourse deals with Christ returning to the earth in judgment beforeestablishing the messianic kingdom. The emphasis does not have to do with theunexpectedness of the time of the Rapture; rather the focus is on unexpectedjudgment just like the days of Noah(Matt 24:37).[26]

Thewide-ranging progression of events (times and seasons), leading to the day of the Lord,will comelike a thief for the unbeliever(cf. 2 Pet 3:3-10). In contrast, the day of the Lord does not overtake thechurch. For God has not destined us[the Christian] for wrath[the day of the Lord], but for obtaining salvation [deliverance] through our Lord Jesus Christ,who died for us, that whether we are awake [the watchful Christian] or asleep [the unwatchful Christian], we may livetogether with Him (1 Thess 5:2,9; cf. 1:10).

Thecoming of the Son of man inMatthew 24:3, 27, 30, 37, 39, 42, and 44 refers to Christ's return to executejudgment and establish His kingdom on earth. The messianic title Son of Mannever refers to the church; it is a title for theDavidic King who will reign on earth from Jerusalem (Dan 7:13-14). Emphasisthen lies upon the signs of approximation preceding the coming of the Son ofMan and the parable from thefig tree is given (24:30, 32).When a future generation witnesses all the signs of Matthew 24, then thecoming of the Son of Manisapproaching, right at the door(24:33).

Ifthere is still any doubt that this coming is for judgment, Luke 17:34-37 mustbe read for it answers as to what place one will be taken and the other willbe left. Jesus responds,Wherethe body is, there also will the vultures be gathered. In other words, God takes them in death andfeeds their carcasses to the vultures. Matthew 24:28 indicates the timing ofthis event will be after the coming of the Son of Man (cf. Rev 19:17-19). At the second coming, someunbelievers are taken in judgment and put to death, thereby beginning theprocess that Matthew 25 reveals will be the destiny of all goats before theestablishment of the millennial kingdom.

The Parable of theHouseholder (24:42-51)

The parable of thehouseholder (cf. Luke 12:41-48) contrasts the eternal destinies ofthefaithful and sensible slave andthe evil slave when Christreturns to earth at the end of the tribulation. One position is that "the Greektext makes it plain that only one servant, not two, is in view."[27]In other words, an individual begins as a faithful and sensible slave, but then becomes an unfaithful, evil slave. According to such a view, the remote Greekdemonstrative, ejkei'no", in verse 48 proves the same slave is in view.The slave started well, but did not finish well. Nevertheless, the slave wassaved and is still saved even though he is unfaithful and will lose rewards.

Theproblem with this position (whether the slave is understood as only one servantthat wavers in faith, or two slaves-one faithful and one unfaithful-that aresaved) is that all of the parables in the Olivet Discourse contrast at leasttwo individuals with the same social background.

The use of slaves (24:46, 48, 50; 25:21, 23, 26, 30) is aneffective means of illustrating the sovereignty of God over all humanity. Somewill believe and some will not believe in Messiah, and the parables reveal thedestiny of both.

Theparable does not concern a slave who was faithful and later became unfaithful.The phrase,if that evil slave,does not refer to a hypothetical situation either. The point of the parable isthe faithful and sensible slavewill be rewarded when Messiah returns, in contrast to that evil slave whose Master shall cut him in pieces andassign him a place with the hypocrites(24:51). The evil character of the unbelieving slave is evident in hischaracter which causes him to deceive himself into thinking the Messiah is notreturning or that he will have time before Messiah returns to become ready.

Thelanguage cut him in piecesand weeping . . . and the gnashing of teeth has been interpreted as "Oriental symbolism forprofound regret" and "the former is a metaphor for judgment."[28]BAGD defined bruvcw as "a sign of violent rage"[29]which could indicate suffering and remorse. However, the noun brugmov" alwaysindicates the eternity state of the wicked. Thayer defines bruvcw as "togrind, gnash, with the teeth" but defines brugmov" tw'nojdovntwn in 24:51 as "a phrase denoting the extreme anguish and utter despairof men consigned to eternal condemnation."[30]

Theparable of the householder also deals with the subject of the judgment ofGentiles. Since God saves all Israel before the second coming, and thesejudgments occur at the second coming, they cannot be a reference to Israel.Indeed, Jesus will not return until the nation of Israel repents and acknowledgesHim as Messiah (Lev 26:40-42; Jer 3:16-17; Hos 5:15-6:3; Zech 12-14; Matt23:39). It is only when Israel cries out for the Messiah that He will return.Theywill look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as onemourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him (Zech 12:10).

The judgments of Matthew24:36-25:46 at the second coming would not pertain to Israel. Since the churchhas been raptured before this period, and the Olivet Discourse is dealing withtribulational events, then the judgments must be referring to the response ofGentiles in the tribulation to the Messiah before His return.

The Parable of theTen Virgins (25:1-13)

Matthew25 begins with the parable of the ten virgins. The background of the parable ofthe virgins is the Middle Eastern marriage custom. The marriage contract wouldcome into being while the couple was quite young and unable to make adultdecisions.

Nevertheless, at this time, the couple was considered legallymarried. After an unspecified period passed and the couple had matured, thebridegroom would journey to the house of the bride, and take her to his home.The bride and groom would then proceed to the marriage supper, along with allthe guests (cf. 22:1-14), at the house of the bridegroom. The wise virgins arethose who were longing for the wedding feast at the house of the bridegroom.The marriage supper of the Lamb will take place on earth in the millennialkingdom (Rev 19:7-10).[31]

Themarriage supper imagery is a familiar reference to a Jewish person concerningthe Messianic kingdom and the bride, Israel. The context negates any connectionwith the bhvma or the mystery . . . speaking with reference to Christ andthe church. The Olivet Discoursedoes not even address the church or the issue of the rapture, the parable hereis treating judgment at the second coming.

The five foolish virgins were invited but not worthy (Matt 22:8) and will be sent into the outerdarkness (22:13). One interpretationis to regard the man not dressed in wedding clothes is a saved man and "he was apparently not onlyin the kingdom but actually at the wedding banquet himself."[32]He is merely "outside the relative light of the banquet hall."[33]

Sucha view is based upon interpreting ejxwvtero" (8:12; 22:13; 25:30) as "thedarkness outside."[34]Since the basic meaning of ejxwvtero" is "outside" it can be translated"the darkness outside." However, the question is whether "outside" refers toexclusion from the millennial marriage feast or complete exclusion (due to lackof justification) from the millennial kingdom.

Thesuperlative ejxwvtero" ("outer," "exterior," or "external") is closelyrelated to the adverb e[xw which is often translated "without" or "out ofdoors." The adverb e[xw is used more than a few times (1 Cor 5:12-13; Col 4:5; 1 Thess 4:12; Rev22:15) to describe the eternal destiny of the lost ("those who are without").[35] Itis never used to describe the eternal destiny of the saved. Indeed, Jesus usesit, promising, "All that the Father gives Me shall come to Me, and the onewho comes to Me I will certainly not ejkbavlw e[xw (John 6:37).

Somecontend that the man in Matthew 22:13 is saved and therefore allowed into thewedding hall, but excluded from the marriage feast. If this interpretation isaccepted, then consistency must be maintained in 25:10 and the foolish virgins are saved.[36]Matthew, however, saidthe door was shut hence they were not allowed into the wedding hall. Furthermore,Jesusanswered and said, "Truly I say to you, I do not know you" (25:12; cf. 7:21-23). Once the door was shut it was too late to enter, therefore, "Be onthe alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour (25:13).

Those who are outside do not just missan extravagant meal; they are completely outside the kingdom permanently.

Sincethe parable begins with the phrase, oJmoiwqhvsetai hJ basileiva tw'n oujranw'n (25:1),it is not addressing "eternal reward" but "eternal salvation." Matthew used thephrase thirty-two times (3:2; 4:17; 5:3, 10, 19, 20; 7:21; 8:11; 10:9; 11:11,12; 13:11, 24, 31, 33, 44, 45, 47, 52; 16:19; 18:1, 3, 4, 23; 19:12, 14, 23;20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1, 14) and when he used it in other parables outside the Olivet Discourse, they are always treating the issue of eternal salvation.

[1]John F. Walvoord, Matthew: Thy Kingdom Come(Chicago: Mood Press, 1974; reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1998), 183.

[2]Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of the Messiah (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries Press, 1983), 440.

[3]James C. Cornell Jr., The Great International Disaster Book (New York: Pocket Books, 1979), 155.

[4]Ibid., 138-84.

[5]Sigve K. Tonstad, Saving God's Reputation: The Theological Function of Pistis Iesou in the Cosmic Narratives ofRevelation (New York: T. & T. Clark, 2006),132.

[6]Arno C. Gaebelein, The Gospel of Matthew: An Exposition, 2 vols. (New York City: Our Hope, 1910), 2:182.


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Prophecy Digest: Comparison of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation A -Dr. Ron Bigalke

A Comparison of the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation

Dr. Ron Bigalke

The purpose of this presentation is to demonstrate parallel events between the Olivet Discourse and the Book of Revelation in a sequential format. Correlation of each event of the Olivet Discourse with its timing in the Book of Revelation informs our understanding of the current age (in regards to signs of the end times or stage setting), and interpretation of the return of Christ, and the judgment at that time.

Sequential and Successive, not Merely Recapitulation

There is an expanding development of the judgments in the Book of Revelation. In other words, there is a sequential relationship between the seal, trumpet, and bowl judgments. The series of judgments are not parallel and simultaneous in the sense of recapitulation. Each series of judgments is best interpreted as generally chronological to its antecedent. This means the seventh seal judgment leads specifically into the series of the seven trumpet judgments, and the seventh trumpet judgment leads specifically into the series of the seven bowl judgments. 

The Beginning of theTribulation (Olivet Discourse and Revelation)

There are two differingviews among premillennialists as to the timing of prophetic fulfillment of thebirth pangs prophesied in the Olivet Discourse. In his commentary on the Gospelof Matthew, Dr. Walvoord referred to premillennial interpreters who understand24:4-14 "as a unit, describing the general characteristics of the age leadingup to the end, while at the same time recognizing that the prediction of thedifficulties, which will characterize the entire period between the first andsecond coming of Christ, are fulfilled in an intensified form as the age moveson to its conclusion." In other words, 24:4-14 are "general signs" whereas24:15-26 are "specific signs." Generally, this would mean "these [general]signs have been at least partially fulfilled in the present age and havecharacterized the period between the first and second coming of Christ."[1]However, even within this view, there are some who interpret 24:4-8 as generalsigns of the period between the first and second coming of Christ; therefore,24:9-14 would be events concerning the first half of the tribulation.[2]

It is not easy to arguethat the birth pangs (false messiahs, wars, famines, and earthquakes) have beenlacking in the present age. However, the relation of the disciple's questionsin the Olivet Discourse to parallels in Revelation 6 indicate that these signscannot refer to the current church age. Furthermore, these signs are unique toa period of which the world has never known. Since these signs are events whichfit contextually with the tribulation period, they should not be cited asfulfilled (in any sense) in the current age.

Forexample, famines and plagues are offered as proof of fulfillment, but the truthis they have been occurring throughout the course of human history forthousands of years. The worst famines in history occurred in North China(1876-79) and India (1876-1878). In North China alone, "deaths by hunger,violence, and subsequent disease are estimated at between 9 million and 13million.

"[3] The worst case of pestilence was the Plague ofJustinian (AD 500-650). The effects of the plague left three of every fiveinhabitants dead. The decline of the city of Constantinople, and the ByzantineEmpire, dates from the Plague of Justinian. Not until the ninth century did theEmpire begin to recover. "Recurring epidemics of bubonic plague," the BlackDeath, "killed as many as 100 million people." From 1347-51 "the diseaseaffected every level of society, killing an estimated 75 million people,depopulating more than 200,000 villages, and reducing the European populationby perhaps as much as one-quarter" in Western Europe.[4]None can deny the devastation of these select examples, but they will pale incomparison to those of the tribulation. No current frame of reference existsfor the judgments and signs of the tribulation.

If the events of 24:4-14 (or24:4-8) are general signs of disasters as ancient as the humanrace-representing familiarly distressing scenes of conquest, war, famine, anddeath-then what is different with the breaking of the first four sealjudgments? Obviously, nothing would be different.[5]

Another premillennialinterpretation of 24:4-14 would understand these prophesied events as occurringsolely in the first half of the tribulation.

Gaebelein wrote, "The point whichwe wish to make is the following: If this is the correct interpretation, ifMatthew xxiv :4-14 refers to the beginning of that coming end of the age and ifRevelation vi refers to the same beginning of the end and that which followsthe sixth chapter leads us on into the great tribulation, then there must be aperfect harmony between that part of the Olivet discourse contained in Matthewxxiv and the part of Revelation beginning with the sixth chapter. And suchis indeed the case."[6]

The First Half of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:4-20)

In Matthew 24:4-5, 11; Mark13:5-6, and Luke 21:8, false messiahs and prophets are mentioned; and, inRevelation 6:2, we read of the rider on the white horse. Revelation 6:2indicates four significant factors of the horseman of the first seal: (1) thecolor of the horse is white; (2) the rider holds a bow; (3) the rider wears a stevfano";and, (4) the rider's conquering according to the verb nikavw.

Asopposed to the horseman of the first seal being identified as Antichrist, itwould seem best to understand the first seal referring to false messiahs andprophets.

Thesecond white horse rider consistently has a sword throughout the Book ofRevelation (1:16; 2:12, 16; 19:15, 21); therefore, such divergence with thefirst white horse rider results in an obvious distinction.

Aftergiving a warning of manyfalse messiahs, Jesus used a future tense (mellw) to indicate that at the timeof the false messiahs you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars (Matt 24:4-6). This appears to be an obviousparallel to Matthew 24:6-7a; Mark 13:7-8a; Luke 21:9-10 where we read about"wars and rumors of wars," and nation rising against nation, and kingdomagainst kingdom." A false peace and security, along with religious apostasy(the false messiahs inspire their devotees to insurrection and wars), characterizethe beginning of the tribulation that will develop into multiple wars near andaway from the land of Israel. All this is yet future and parallels John'sdescription of the second seal horseman in Revelation 6:3-4.

Thethird seal horseman, or black horse rider, brings famine (a forebodingindication of the pale horse rider). The third seal will likely occur shortlyafter the second seal judgment since famine often follows open warfare.

Thefourth seal horseman, the pale horse rider, brings death. This judgmentparallels the synoptic Olivet discourses that prophesy famine, pestilences, anddeath as part of the beginning of birth pangs. Luke simply mentioned famines,whereas John's usage ofthanatoswould include pestilences and death in general.

"For thus says the LordGod, 'How much more when I send My four sever judgments against Jerusalem:sword, famine, wild beasts, and plague to cut off man and beast from it!" (Ezek14:21). These same four figures are prophesied as God's wrath in several otherpassages (cf. Lev 26:21-28; Numb 11:33; 16:46; 25:8-11; Deut 11:17; 28:20-26;32:22-25; Jer 15:1-9; 16:4-11; 19:7-9; Ezek 5:11-17; 6:11-12; 7:3-15). Thetribulation commences with the outpouring of God's wrath in the seal judgments,followed by the trumpet judgments, and concluding with the bowl judgments. Thejudgments are sequential and progressive, which means there is no break in theoutpouring of God's wrath, and intensify as they are cast upon the earth.

The Birth Pangs

This is in keeping withthe analogy of birth pangs, since such pains do not occur at the beginning ofpregnancy, but at the end. In the same manner, the signs of Matthew 24:4-14 donot occur during the current church dispensation, but only during thetribulation immediately before Christ's return. The Olivet Discourse willinstruct Israel and Gentile saints, during the tribulation, that the events ofverses 5-6 are not yet the end.It is just the beginning of birth pangs before being able to straighten up and lift up [their] heads, because [their] redemption is drawing near (24:8; Luke 21:28).

TheGreek word, wjdivn, may be a technical term, as BAG define it as "of the'Messianic woes', the terrors and torments traditionally viewed as prelude tothe coming of the Messianic Age . . . associated with the appearance of the Sonof Man at the end of history, as the beginning of the (end-time) woes ajrchwjdivnon Mt 24: 8; Mk 13: 8."[7]The birth pangs of the first half of the tribulation are the beginning of thegreater birth pangs in the second half of the tribulation. The entireseven-year tribulation is the period of birth pangs, as Jeremiah 30:6-7indicates, "'Ask now, and see if a male can give birth. Why do I see every man,with his hands on his loins,as a woman in childbirth? And why haveall faces turned pale? 'Alas! for that day is great, there is none like it; andit is the time of Jacob's distress, but he will be saved from it."

Theseven-year tribulation is clearly divided chronologically in the Books ofDaniel and Revelation, and characteristically in the eschatological discoursesof the synoptics, that is the beginning (less intense experiences) and the morefrequent and intense experiences of the tribulation period. Drawing fromextra-biblical sources, Raphael Patai devoted an entire chapter to "The Pangsof Time" and concluded,

Thepangs of the Messianic times are imagined as heavenly as well as earthlysources and expressions. From Above, awesome cosmic cataclysms will be visitedupon the earth. . . . All this will lead to internal decay, demoralization, andeven apostasy. Things will come to such a head that people will despair ofRedemption. This will last seven years. And then, unexpectedly, the Messiahwill come.

Becauseof this gloomy picture of the beginning of the Messianic era, which by Talmudictimes was firmly believed in, some sages expressed the wish not to see theMessiah. . . . In any case, both the people and its religious leaders continuedto hope for the coming of the Messiah.[8]

TheJewish understanding of the birth pangs of the Messianic times is certainlyconsistent with the sequence of the Olivet Discourse and the Book ofRevelation. The birth pangs are additional evidence that supports the conceptof Matthew 24:4-14 (and the parallels in Markan and Lukan discourses) asindicating events of the first half of the tribulation, which is also parallelto the four horseman of Revelation 6:1-8.

Theeschatological discourses of the synoptics warn of persecution and martyrdomduring the tribulation (Matt 24:9-10, 12; Mark 13:9, 11-13; Luke 21:11a-19).Mark and Luke stated the comfort given to the faithful during the tribulationis that the Holy Spirit will give them the words to speak. As martyrdom (24:9)is also the fifth seal, John recorded the prayer of those seeking justice fromGod.

Earthquakesare frequent throughout the Book of Revelation as judgment is about tointensify (Rev 6:12; 8:5; 11:13, 19; 16:18). The sixth seal should becorrelated around the time of the abomination of desolation at the midpoint ofthe tribulation.[9] It seemsthat the sixth seal is used to introduce the great tribulation (24:21), or the second half of the tribulationwhich begins with the abomination of desolation.

The Seal Judgments

Both Rosenthal and VanKampen gave attention to the similarities between the events of Matthew 24:5-9and the first five seals of the Apocalypse (Rev 6:1-8). However, their argumentis that the first five seals (6:1-11) are not the wrath of God, but that of manthrough the Antichrist (similar to midtribulationists).[10]

Both Rosenthal[11]and Van Kampen[12] argued thatGod's wrath does not begin until after the sixth seal. After the cosmic signsof Revelation 6:12-14, verses 15-17 provide the reaction ofthe kings of theearth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong andevery slave and free man.

Theywill cry to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from thepresence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; for thegreat day of their wrath has come; and who is able to stand?" A plain reading of Scripture here should causeone to conclude that the great dayof God's wrath has already come and is present during the sixth seal.

Sincepre-wrath rapturists do not believe God's wrath begins until the seventh seal,they must argue, "the aorist tense is, generally speaking, timeless."[13]Rosenthal wrote, " . . . the phrase, 'the great day of his wrath is come'refers, not to a past event, but to an event about to occur, and that inconcert with the opening of the seventh seal."[14] Following the sixth seal, God's wrath"is an event that is on the threshold of happening-a future event soon tooccur."[15]The aorist, h\lqen, in 6:17 is in the indicative mood which would confirm thereality of the action (God's wrath) from the standpoint of the world leaders.

Theaorist is not timeless as the pre-wrath view requires; rather, the time ofaction is past. Non-indicative moods may indicate the kind of action as opposedto the time of action. Dana and Mantey stated, "It has no essential temporalsignificance, its time relations being found only in the indicative, where itis used as past and hence augmented. . . . The aorist signifies nothing as tocompleteness, but simply presents the action as attained. It states the fact of the action or event without regard to its duration."[16]Robertson concurred, "It is true that in the expression of past time in theindicative and with all the other moods, the aorist is the tense used as amatter of course. . . ."[17] Wallace acquiesced, "In the indicative, the aorist usually indicates past time with reference to the time of speaking(thus, 'absolute time'). . . . Outside the indicative and participle, time isnot a feature of the aorist."[18]


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This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

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Prophecy Digest: The Middle East in the Crosshairs 2010 and Beyond -Koinonia House

2010 and Beyond:

The Middle East in the Crosshairs

by Steve Elwart, IDB Folio Specialist

It is a darker world today than it was a year ago.


Charlie Allen, Chief Intelligence Officer

Department of Homeland Security


Two events in the United States overshadowed all others in 2008 and still loom large as we enter 2010. One was the financial crisis that, spreading from America’s subprime mortgage mess, has stricken the global economy. The other was the election of Barack Obama to the United States presidency. Both events highlight the emergence of a new relationship between America and the world; both color every major event in geopolitics today.

Central and South Asia win our attention by threatening to drag us all into chaos. Russia and China grab our notice by playing the great power game. Petroleum-exporting states like Venezuela hold oil consumers hostage, while financial fears consume the West. What does the Middle East have to do to make us pay attention? With the new administration in control in the United States, backed by same-party control of both houses of Congress, foreign affairs have taken a back seat to domestic affairs. The push in the U.S. to pull the economy out of recession, health care “reform,” and the now near-dead cap and trade legislation has reduced the Middle East to a footnote in the Obama administration’s policy agenda.

But before we go any further, some background is needed on one of the underlying theories that drove U.S. and Israeli foreign policies, the Nash Equilibrium.

John Forbes Nash, Jr. (the main character in the movie, A Beautiful Mind) is an American mathematician who worked primarily in game theory. In 1994, his life work on game theory won him the Nobel Prize in Economics. The precept that won him the prize was the Nash Equilibrium. The Nash Equilibrium is a kind of game involving two or more players, where no player has anything to gain by changing only his or her own strategy.

Simply put, John Nash quantified the concept of “reciprocal altruism.” This is the concept of doing something good for an-other person without regard for repayment. The other, darker side of this theory is to attack anyone who attacks you, but harder.

This “this-for-that” strategy had gained favor in the Bush ad-ministration even before the 2001 World Trade Center attacks. When the attacks did come, the thinking was, “You came here and attacked our home? We will come to your house and kill you.” This precipitated the attack on Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan was only part of the equation. The Al-Qaeda group in Saudi Arabia was still a force to be reckoned with, but they had the protection of elements of the Saudi government and the Royal Family, who for the most part are one and the same. The United States government then was in a quandary. They didn’t want to invade Saudi Arabia, the leading exporter of oil to the United States, but they had to send a message. The invasion of Iraq at the time seemed to fit the bill. The Iraqi government was headed by a brutal dictator, was thought to possess weapons of mass destruction, and did not have many friends in the Muslim or world community. The United States needed to send a message to Saudi Arabia that we would invade a Muslim country and clean out Al-Qaeda if they would not do it themselves: Iraq was an object lesson for the Saudis.

There was only one problem in the United States’ thinking. The Nash Equilibrium only works if both parties have some-thing equal to lose: “How do you win in a game of Chicken when your opponent thinks he will go to heaven if he loses?” The U.S. invasion of Iraq and subsequent invasion of Afghanistan produced many of the same results as the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. It galvanized Muslim resistance against the foreign infidels. Terrorists from around the world poured in to fight the Allied troops. They believed that they were in Jihad and if they died, they would immediately enter paradise.

For all the hand-wringing over the U.S.-led invasions, most countries were either ambivalent about the engagement or actually glad it came. Many European countries—especially the French, Germans, and Russians—saw it as a business opportunity. The Sunni-dominated Saudi government saw it as Iraq being removed as a threat to their oil supplies, as did the Shiite-dominated Iranian government.

At first, the U.S. had the enthusiastic support of the Iranian government (even allowing our planes to land in Iran if they had mechanical trouble). This was because the Iranians were led to believe that the U.S. would support a Shiite-led government in Iraq, an Iranian puppet state, in effect. The Iranian government’s attitude changed once they saw the United States overtures to the Sunni faction in Iraq. It is interesting to note that Iran didn’t start talking about nuclear weapons until they began to feel like the U.S. was dealing them out of the game. In the beginning, the whole discussion was not about nuclear weapons, it was about Iraq.

The outcome of the “this-for-that” game is that now there are two countries in a state of flux. Iraq is approaching a semblance of order, but Afghanistan is hurtling headlong down the road toward an even more entrenched Taliban-led regime. Since the United States introduced a major shift in the balance of power in the region, it is up to them to bring closure to both these countries. As General Colin Powell once said, “You break it, you own it.”2


The history of Iraq goes back to Genesis 11 and Nimrod, the first world dictator. While today the capital is in Baghdad, Babylon is the center of history of that country. It is interesting that in these times the country that incorporates the Plain of Shinar has, once again, taken center stage.

Stretching back to 3000 B.C. Iraq, like its neighbors, thinks in terms of decades and centuries rather than months and years. A story is told around Iraq about two men that used to meet every morning for coffee. One day the first man disappeared for a month and then came back to their morning ritual. When asked where he had gone, the man replied, “You remember that man who wronged me 10 years ago? Well, I went to his village and killed him.” To which the second man replied, “Why the hurry?”

This is the mind-set of the Iraqi people. The insurgents know that Westerners are impatient, so they are willing to use time to their advantage. The insurgents think that all they have to do is wait and the foreigners will leave.

Though the United States’ commitment to Iraq is far from over, it has reached a crossroads. While the U.S. was the major contributor of forces to the war effort, about 40 countries sent troops to fight in what was called “Multinational Force-Iraq.” As of this summer, however, only one foreign country’s forces remain in country—the United States. A name change in January 2010 will reflect the new reality, when the term “Multinational Force-Iraq” will be changed to “United States Forces-Iraq.” If there is an endgame in Iraq, we are now in it. Again, much of this is being forced by American impatience.

Barack Obama the Candidate was a far different person than Barack Obama the President. President Obama has found that extricating the armed forces from Iraq is not as easy as it sounded in November 2008. He inherited a strategic plan from President George W. Bush that called for coalition forces to help create an Iraqi national military and security force that would be able to keep the central government’s authority and the country’s territorial cohesion and integrity. The strategy had, as a central premise, the belief that the Shiite, Sunni and Kurd factions in the country could cobble together a government in which all factions would participate and their interests were protected. While this government was forming, the United States would reduce its presence in the country un-til the summer of 2010, when the last of the U.S. military would leave.

While the Obama administration continues to blame the previous administration for the current state of foreign policy, President Obama continues to faithfully follow the Bush Plan. A defining moment is fast approaching. While the Iraqi government is far from a first-tier fighting force, they are continuing to put their mark on the country. All the while, forces in-side and outside the country are reexamining their power-sharing arrangements and some are trying to disrupt the en-tire process. The two major players in this disruption are the Kurds and the Shiites. The major issue is oil.

Iraq is a country of three distinct groups: the Kurds in the north, the Shiites in the central part of the country, and the Sunnis to the south. The Kurds have oil fields (and oil revenue) on their land, the Sunnis have oil on their land, and the Shiites have a lot of sand. The Sunnis (and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia) do not want the Shiites to control the government (and all the oil revenue). The Shiites (with 60% of the population) don’t want the minority Sunni (30%) to cut them out of power and oil. The Kurds (10%) don’t want to be governed by either group; they want their own country. (The Turks and the Iranians do not want autonomy for the Kurds in Iraq because it may give the Kurdish populations in their countries ideas.) The Russians desperately want the United States to fail be-cause they truly fear U.S. dominance in the region. All of this is centering on Kirkuk, 150 miles north of Baghdad.

Kirkuk is the gateway into Iraqi Kurdistan. If the Sunnis control Kirkuk, they can project their power into Kurdistan. If the Kurds control it, it shuts down the Sunni threat and also cuts Sunni access to oil revenues in the region. If the Sunnis are shut out of the region, it can lead to being shut out of pow-er by the Kurds and Shia.

To the north and west of Iraq is Turkey. Turkey is a volatile force in the Iraq equation. Iraqi Kurdistan is only part of the Kurdish homeland—Kurds also live in parts of Turkey (18% of the nation’s population), Syria (10%), and Iran (7%). It is the dream of the Kurds in these four countries to have a single homeland carved out of these four regions. If the Kurds in Iraq become too strong, Turkey may see this as a threat to their national sovereignty and may opt for a military response.

This places the United States in a precarious position. In the last days of the Hussein regime in Iraq, the United States sup-ported a Kurdish insurgency in their area of the country. The Kurds allied with the United States, but also carried deep suspicions dating back to the previous Bush administration.

During the First Gulf War, the administration of George H. W. Bush also worked with the Kurds to form a fifth column movement in Iraq. When the war was over, the United States left the Kurds to their own devices and they were slaughtered. Kurdish memories are long and they are afraid that George Bush the son would do the same thing that George Bush the father did.

Today’s situation is further complicated by private investment by U.S. companies in Iraqi oil interests. A major shift in the political structure in Iraq could jeopardize those interests. Iraq is one insurrection away from becoming another Afghanistan.

The third leg of the power triangle is the Shia. Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is of the same religious line as those in the Government of Iran, but he is not their puppet. Iraq has a long tradition of independence and do not march lockstep with anyone. The Iranian government is not happy with this arrangement and would like to see a regime change with a person more amenable to the interests of Tehran. To prevent this, the United States plans on leaving in country a substantial force of 35,000 to 50,000 troops in Advice and Assist Brigades (AAB), with no combat role, to enforce the agreements in place. These troops will be withdrawn gradually until December 31, 2011 when the last of the U.S. troops would leave Iraq per the agreement the Bush administration signed with the Iraqi government in 2008. It is hoped this plan will prevent Iraq’s neighboring countries, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria—and ultimately Russia—from filling the void left by the United States. All of these countries, including Saudi Arabia, are hostile to the United States.

Not only is keeping the troops in Iraq not an option, given our other commitments, but the uncertainty of Iran is problematic. With this option, the troops are as much a hostage to Iran as they are a guarantor. Previous diplomatic moves by the Obama Administration leave in serious question a forceful response to any Iranian move against these troops. Images of hostages being held by Iran for 444 days could be repeated, but on a much larger scale.

If Iran could be eliminated from the equation completely, the entire region becomes more secure. Short of a major move against Iran—by Israel or the United States—Iran will definitely have a part of the long-term peace process. Thus, the “nuclear issue” needs to be resolved.

In Part 2 of this series we will discuss the status of Afghanistan and Iran.

Prophecy Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Generation (Gen 2012)

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.

#Not All Prophecy Teachers are accurate, Prove all things, and always question everything.

Posted via email from Prophecy Digest-"The Last Generation"

Prophecy Digest: The Woman in Revelation 12 -Thomas Ice

By Thomas Ice

The Woman in Revelation 12

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth. — Revelation 12:1–2

Down through church history virtually all Christian interpreters of Revelation 12 have understood the symbol of the woman in labor as the church. This began to change about 200 years ago when literal hermeneutics were more rigorously applied to the Book of Revelation and Bible Prophecy in general. It took this long for some within the church to begin to overcome the stranglehold that replacement theology or supersessionism had on the church. For most of her history, when Christians read biblical passages, they automatically assumed that it was referring to them and the church. Most have thought that the church has forever replaced Israel and that Israel, as a nation, has no future. This is why a correct understanding of who the woman in Revelation 12 represents is a watershed issue for understanding Revelation as a whole.

How to Interpret Symbols

Revelation 12 is said by some to be the most symbolic chapter in the most symbolic book in the New Testament. That may very well be true! Even though symbols are used to tell the prophetic story of Israel, the symbols are clear when interpreted by comparing Scripture with Scripture. Arnold Fruchtenbaum rightly tells us "that every symbol in the Revelation is explained either elsewhere in the Revelation itself or somewhere else in the Bible."1 In this passage, as well as throughout the Book of Revelation, symbols represent literal, historical persons, places or things. John MacArthur says, “The literal approach to interpreting Scripture allows for normal use of symbolic language, but understands that it points to a literal reality."2 We use symbols for athletic teams. The Bears beat the Lions, 35–21. It is understood that both teams had humans playing for their squads, but their team mascots are bears and lions. The same approach is used in many prophetic sections of both the Old and New Testaments where symbols are used of people and kingdoms.3 "The symbols used in this book are taken from the Scriptures themselves and thus do not allow arbitrary interpretations to be imposed upon them."4

Why The Woman Refers to Israel

Who does the woman of Revelation 12 symbolize? While Catholics and most replacement theologians believe that the woman in this passage is the Church, even preterists like Gary DeMar are able to realize that the biblical symbolism of Genesis 37:9–11 demands that Revelation 12 uses it to refer to Israel.5 However, preterist err in seeing it as a reference to Israel in the past and not including the future. How can we be sure that the woman represents Israel?

First, the context immediately preceding chapter 12 sets the stage for our view, as well as the larger context of the entire Book of Revelation. "And the temple of God which is in heaven was opened; and the ark of His covenant appeared in His temple, and there were flashes of lightning and sounds and peals of thunder and an earthquake and a great hailstorm" (Rev. 11:19). The ark of the covenant is never associated with the church but always with the nation of Israel. This gives a Jewish flavor to the context and prepares the way for God’s disclosure about Israel in chapter 12.

Second, Israel is often represented throughout the Old Testament as a woman (Isa. 26:18;47:7–9; 54:1–6; 66:7–8; Jer. 4:31; 31:32; Lam. 1:1; Ezek.16:32; Hosea 2:16; Micah 4:9–10; 5:1–3). John Walvoord says, "In the Old Testament, Israel frequently is presented as the wife of Jehovah, often in her character as being unfaithful to her husband. Here the godly remnant of Israel is standing true to God in the time of the great tribulation."6 This fits into the overall motif since this woman gives birth to a son.

Third, John’s reference to the sun, moon, and stars in his description of the woman relates to similar descriptions of Israel in the Old Testament (see Gen. 37: 9–11). In Genesis 37 the sun refers to Jacob, “who stood in the lineage to inherit the blessings of the "Abrahamic covenant."7 The moon represents Rachel, Jacob’s wife and the matriarch of the 12 tribes of Israel. The 11 stars in Genesis 37 refer to the sons of Jacob (the 12th star to whom the 11 bow is Joseph, thus 12 stars) and the 12 tribes of Israel or Jacob. This is “a clear reference to the twelve tribes of Israel, not only in Joseph's dream (cf. Gen. 37:9–10), but also by comparison with the twelve tribes in Rev.7:5–8 and 21:12."8 J. Dwight Pentecost also points out other Old Testament passages "where heavenly bodies are associated with Israel’s history" (see Josh. 10:12–14; Jud. 10:12–14; Ps.89:35–37; Jer. 31:35–36).9

Fourth, it is Israel and not the church that gives birth to the male child (verse 5) within biblical imagery. Paul confirms this when writing concerning the Israelites, "from whom is the Christ according to the flesh" (Rom. 9:5). It is obvious the male child refers to Christ since Revelation 12:5 says He will rule the nations with a rod of iron (Ps. 2:9). Jesus is also said to rule with a rod of iron in Revelation 2:27 and 19:15. John 4:22 also tells us that "salvation is from the Jews," which means that redemption came through the nation of Israel in the form of their Messiah — the male child.

Fifth, since we’re dealing with the male child of 12:5, then we should note a parallelism between Revelation 12 and Micah 5 that supports the notion that the woman in Revelation refers to Israel.

The parallelism between Revelation 12 and Micah 5 helps to identify the woman as Israel. In Micah 5:2 is recorded the birth of the ruler. The rejection of this ruler results in the setting aside of the nation ("therefore will he give them up," Mic. 5:3). The nation will be in travail "until the time that she which travaileth hath brought forth" (Mic. 5:3), that is, until the accomplishment of God's purpose. The same program is outlined in Revelation 12.10

Sixth, a comparison of Revelation 12:7–9 with Daniel 12:1–7 confirms the identification of the woman as Israel. Gary Cohen notes:

In Revelation 12, we see a woman being persecuted by Satan, and Michael the archangel at this time fights against Satan (vv. 7–9). Likewise, in Daniel 12:1 when Daniel’s people are said to be in their "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," a time lasting 3½ years (3½ times — Dan 12:7), Michael "shall . . . stand up" and contend for Israel, Daniel’s people. Thus both Revelation 12 and Daniel 12 show Michael contending against Satan concerning the 3½ year Great Tribulation of Israel.11

Seventh, John’s reference to the woman's flight into the wilderness (verse 14) is reminiscent of Israel's past wilderness experiences. As in the Exodus Israel was carried on "eagles' wings" and protected from the Egyptians (Exod. 19:4) so also the woman will be carried to a place of protection — the "wilderness" (verse 14). Just as the nation was sustained by the manna during the wilderness wandering, so the woman is "nourished" in the wilderness. As the wilderness in Israel's past has been a place of God's protection and provision, so it will be in Israel's future. God will preserve a remnant. It should be noted that the flight of the woman to the wilderness is the same flight indicated by Jesus in Matthew 24:16 where those in Judea are warned to flee into the mountains. Those heeding Christ's warning will find protection, but the rest will perish. Of Israel God said, "I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness, and speak kindly to her" (Hos. 2:14). Revelation 12 illustrates God's faithfulness in caring for Israel even in the most difficult of times known as the great tribulation.

Eighth, when the woman is taken to refer to Israel, it harmonizes all of the imagery throughout the rest of Revelation 12. However, if the woman refers to Mary, then when did she flee into the wilderness for 3½ years? If it is a reference to the church or the people of God (including Gentiles) then when did the church give birth to Jesus or flee into the wilderness so that the Dragon made war with the rest of her offspring?

"All this is seen in connection with Israel; for God intends, as far as this world is concerned, all power and glory to circle round Israel," notes William Kelly. "As for the church, she will have all in perfection with Christ, and in Christ; but as far as the earth is concerned, Israel will be the center. The woman is the symbol of God's purpose as bound up with Israel."12 Maranatha!


1. Arnold G.Fruchtenbaum, Footsteps of the Messiah: A Study of the Sequence of Prophetic Events. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Press, 2003), p. 267.
2. John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: Revelation 12—22 (Chicago: Moody, 2000), p. 3.
3. For example a great deal of symbols are used in Daniel 2 and 7. In Daniel 7 a lion represents Babylon (verse 4), a bear represents Medo-Persia (verse 5), a leopard represents Greece (verse 6), and an unidentified beast represents Rome (verses7–8).
4. James Allen, What The Bible Teaches: Revelation(Kilmarnock, Scotland: John Ritchie, LTD, 1997), p. 303.
5. Gary DeMar, Last Days Madness: Obsession of the Modern Church(Powder Springs, GA: American Vision, 1999), pp. 146–47.
6. John F.Walvoord, The Revelation of Jesus Christ(Chicago: Moody, 1966), p. 188.
7. Robert L.Thomas, Revelation 8–22: An Exegetical Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1995), p. 120.
8. Thomas, Revelation8—22, pp. 120–21.
9. J. Dwight Pentecost, Things To Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1958), p. 288.
10. Pentecost, Things To Come, p. 289. For a more extensive development of this point see William Kelly, Lectures on The Book of Revelation (London: G. Morrish, 1868), pp. 255–56.
11. Gary G.Cohen, Understanding Revelation: An Investigation of the Key Interpretational and Chronological Questions Which Surround the Book of Revelation (Chicago: Moody Press, [1968]1978), pp. 136–37.
12. Kelly, Revelation, p. 253.

Prophecy Digest

This material was brought to you by Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity. Last Call Digest, is a ministry of Michael James Stone, volunteers, and people dedicated to the Love of God and Salvation of Souls. It is an aggragate of Christian Material selected to Bless you and Prepare you for each and every day you read them. May God Bless You as You Do!! Reading these Devotions will help you to prepare daily for life, living, and your Lord. You will hear God Speak To You thru them.  Jesus  is Coming Very Soon.

Last Generation (Gen 2012)

Broadcast(B.C.)Christianity, operates by you, with you, and for you. “Freely you have received, freely give”  Pass this on, everywhere you can, anytime you can, anyway you can. You will be blessed if you do.

#Not All Prophecy Teachers are accurate, Prove all things, and always question everything.

Posted via email from Prophecy Digest-"The Last Generation"


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