|Volume 17 Number 3 March 2015||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
I will like to know if it is true that 666 will come in our days now and that there will be a last kingdom which will take over the whole world before the rapture will come. These are what I don’t understand much, and I need your assistance on these lessons to enable me teach others who are always asking me of this topic that I can’t answer them. …My problem was I really want to know if the world 666 will come, and also of the rapture, what does the Bible say about it… Kind Regards, Noah Opoku
The Book of Revelation is one of the Bible books that is written in highly figurative language, and that it is composed of very figurative language ought to be apparent to anyone who has read very much of it. The problem comes when people treat the figurative language of the Book of Revelation as though it were literal language. In addition, the problem is compounded when manmade ideas are interjected into the biblical text. Consequently, denominationalism today is awash in the manmade and anti-biblical doctrine of premillennialism and its component parts (i.e., 666; rapture; 1,000 year reign on earth in Jerusalem; the great tribulation; the earthly battle of Armageddon; etc.).
The key part of the sincere question above is “what does the Bible say about it?” The Bible does not teach a contemporary, literal, earthly application of 666, the rapture, a 1,000 year reign on earth by Jesus Christ on a throne in Jerusalem, etc. Premillennialism is completely a denominational, manmade doctrine without biblical validation.
Premillennialism and its component parts have been frequent topics of discussion over the years in the pages of Gospel Gazette Online; following are some of the URL’s that one can find by searching the GGO “Archive” for “premillennialism,” “666,” “rapture” and “great tribulation.”
666, Mark of the Beast
Second Coming of Jesus Christ
Restoration of Israel
End of Time
I hope that these articles will help to know what is not true regarding the Book of Revelation and to know better some of what is true about the end of time.
Did the Pharaoh Die in the Red Sea?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
“Did the pharaoh of the Israelite exodus die in the Red Sea?” Some commentators and artists are certain that this pharaoh died in the Red Sea with his military force. Consider this exemplar of that persuasion. “Whether he himself was drowned has been considered matter of uncertainty, as it is not so stated in the account of the exodus. Another passage, however, appears to affirm it (Ps 136:15)” (McClintock and Strong). Others are equally sure that though the army was destroyed in the Red Sea, pharaoh himself did not perish at that time. Still others are not sure, and I am uncertain whether pharaoh died in that miraculous incident at the Red Sea crossing of the Israelites. Fortunately, knowing for sure one way or the other does not affect salvation, Christian worship, Christian living, Christian service or Christian doctrine.
However, let us look at the available biblical information. Exodus 14:17-18 announces the intention of God to punish Pharaoh and his military host, but the verses fall short of specifically stating that the Egyptian king and his army would suffer the same fate.
And I indeed will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them. So I will gain honor over Pharaoh and over all his army, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gained honor for Myself over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen. (Exodus 14:17-18 NKJV)
Likewise, after the Egyptians died in the Red Sea pursuit of the fleeing captives, the lyrics of the Israelite victory song are no more conclusive as to whether pharaoh drowned with his army. “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; His chosen captains also are drowned in the Red Sea” (Exodus 15:4). This verse only acknowledges that army with its leaders perished, but it stops short of declaring that pharaoh was in that number who died.
The verse of Scripture on which some rely to conclude that pharaoh also died in the Red Sea appears in Psalms. “But overthrew Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:15). Pharaoh was overthrown whether or not he died in the Red Sea on the basis of the overthrow of pharaoh’s army by drowning it in the Red Sea and by the escape of the Israelite slaves.
Now, let us briefly reflect on available secular, historical information. Amid conflicting efforts to harmonize biblical history and Egyptian history, agreement as to either the dates of the Jewish exodus or which Egyptian king was involved cannot be reached. In any case, secular history does not record the occasion of the catastrophic defeat of the Egyptians at the Red Sea at the time of the exodus; of course, biographies and histories tend to highlight triumphs and successes, while downplaying or ignoring uncomplimentary information.
The Bible is completely trustworthy and reliable regarding everything that through it Almighty God has determined for mankind to know. In the case of the inquiry before us, the lessons are the same irrespective of whether we can determine if pharaoh died in the Red Sea. The historical overview is certain, and God rules in the kingdoms of men.
“Pharaoh.” McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2006.
New Heavens and a New Earth
Louis Rushmore, Editor
The phrase “new heavens and a new earth” appears three times in Scripture. The first two occasions are prophetic and appear in Isaiah 65:17 and 66:22. The third reference is 2 Peter 3:13 and refers back to the prophecies. Compare these to “a new heaven and a new earth” in the figurative language of Revelation 21:1.
The apostle Peter refers to a future habitat for righteous souls after the destruction of this present world in which we now live (2 Peter 3:10). Speaking without figurative language, our Lord identified the eternal habitation of the righteous as being heaven (Matthew 5:12). The apostle Peter likewise taught the same thing (1 Peter 1:4). Numerous New Testament passages assign the eternal abode of righteous souls as being where God is – in heaven (John 14:1-3).
Note also some of the articles from the “Archive” of Gospel Gazette Online that refer to “new heavens and a new earth.”
“New heavens and a new earth” is an idiom or figurative expression referring to the future heavenly home of righteous souls – redeemed from all ages.