April 21, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
If you will recall last time we started taking a look at three possible interpretations of the oft discussed passage of scripture Revelation 13:3. The Word says, And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast. [Rev. 13:3 NKJV] Most prophecy teachers have misinterpreted this passage in my opinion. We looked at the first two possible interpretations last time. We come to the third, and again in my opinion, the most plausible.
The third and most plausible meaning is that one of the previous seven kingdoms (one of the beast’s heads) was mortally wounded. Notice, one of the heads, and not one of the horns, is wounded. The horns represent the individual kings, and the heads allude to earthly prophetic kingdoms. The emphasis is not on the Antichrist as such, but upon one of the beast’s heads or one of the seven empires of prophecy. As previously stated, the seven empires are as follows:
- The East-West Division
Out of the above list, which empire or nation no longer exists? The Egyptian empire faded in glory after the departure of the Hebrews, but the nation of Egypt still exists. The Assyrians, presently called Syria, exist but with little to no influence on the global scene. The Persians are today called the Iranians, and the Iranian people still consider themselves to be Persians, not Arabs. Greece is a contemporary nation and part of the EU. Italy, whose capital is Rome, is a nation among world nations and the headquarters for the Roman Catholic Church, centered in the Vatican City in Rome. Even Turkey continues to exist with the same name as its former empire. Only one of the previous empires of the ancient world no longer exists in name, and that is Babylon.
Let’s look at a little historical background. The Tower of Babel built by Nimrod, mentioned in Genesis 11, is the beginning of the kingdom of Babel (Gen. 10:10). Centuries later, Nebuchadnezzar constructed one of the world’s most elaborate cities off the Tigris River in Mesopotamia. This is the Babylon where Daniel penned the book of Daniel during his time as a Jewish captive.
Although the name Babylon is the ancient name of an empire of prophecy, the area of Babylon was called by that name five hundred years after the Jews returned from captivity. In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter addressed “the church that is in Babylon…” (KJV). The name Babylon is mentioned six times from Matthew’s gospel to 1 Peter 5:13, and in each reference it alludes to Babylon, the capital of Chaldea. John in Revelation mentions the name of Babylon six times, referring to a spiritual Babylon (Mystery Babylon – Rev. 17:5), and predicts the economic collapse of Babylon. Why does John use the name of Babylon when alluding to the future destruction of a city built on seven hills (Rev. 17:9)?
The present territory of Iraq is the same region of the ancient political Babylon of the Bible. The early name was the land of Shinar, the first site of the first mega structure called the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11). Centuries later, the prophet Zechariah saw and was given dimensions of a flying scroll. Using the measure of one cubit to equal twenty-five inches, the scroll was forty-one feet eight inches long and twenty feet ten inches in diameter. This scroll recorded a curse that consumed the timbers and the stones of a house. The prophet then peered into the future and saw an ephah (basket) with a lead lid covering it, weighing one talent (122 pounds).
Inside the basket was a woman who was called “wickedness.” She was being carried by two angelic-like beings with wings to a foundation located in the plains of Shinar (Zech. 5:1 – 11). Today there is a section of flat land near Baghdad called Shinar. This is the area referred to in the vision of Zechariah. When commenting on this strange prediction in the 1940s, biblical scholar Finis Dake, in the side notes in his Annotated Bible, commented:
“One thing is certain; Babylon will be the center of activities in the East during the last days, in commerce, religion, and politics. It will be rebuilt and become the capital of the Antichrist. He will come from Syria, which will take in Babylon in those days, for the Syrian division of the old Grecian empire included all the countries of Syria and Iraq.”
Babylon is also a theme in the prophecy of Isaiah. Isaiah exposed the fall of Lucifer (Satan) from heaven in Isaiah 14:12 – 15. God through the prophet then predicts the defeat of Babylon and how He will break the rod of Assyria out of the land of Israel (Isa. 14:22, 25). The prophecy suddenly takes an abrupt turn from an Assyrian prophecy to a prophecy against Palestina:
Do not rejoice, all you of Philistia, Because the rod that struck you is broken;
For out of the serpent’s roots will come forth a viper,
And its offspring will be a fiery flying serpent. [Isa. 14:29 NKJV]
Interestingly, Palestina is the ancient name of the area where the Philistines once ruled in Israel. One of the theological definitions identifies “the general territory on the West coast of Canaan, or the entire country of Palestine.” In the prophetic future, the leaders of both Assyria and Babylon will be deeply involved with people living in Palestine. Out of this Palestinian conflict will come forth a “fiery flying serpent.” The only place in scripture where the symbolism of a fire-colored serpent is found is in Revelation 12 where John saw: And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. [Rev. 12:3 NKJV]
This dragon is Satan, and the seven heads are the seven empires of prophecy, each of which had a strong demonic prince spirit attempting to control the spiritual atmosphere and governmental leaders of those empires (See Dan. 10:20).
I strongly believe the event of the Palestinians forging a Palestinian state, and the resulting conflict surrounding this event; will initiate many of the wars between Israel and her Muslim neighbors. Given that, I would say prophetically speaking the hour is very late. It is time to have our houses in order and to be looking up for our soon coming redemption. It is a time to be passionate about evangelism, souls are in the balance and eternity waits.
The Weekly Word is found in Romans 13:11. Here the Bible says,
11 Besides this you know what [a critical] hour this is, how it is high time now for you to wake up out of your sleep (rouse to reality). For salvation (final deliverance) is nearer to us now than when we first believed (adhered to, trusted in, and relied on Christ, the Messiah). [Rom. 13:11 Amp.]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson