Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
Authored By :
Published On :
April 4, 1998
Last Updated :
February 22, 2012
Physical Aspect Of Heaven, Will Satan Arrive On The Earth As A "Benign" Alien From Outer Space?, Resurrection And Rapture Of The Saints, He Cometh With Clouds, Are They Actual Clouds Or Celestial Spacecraft?, A Cloud Received Jesus, Difference Between Beast False Prophet And Antichrist, Marriage Feast Of The Lamb, Battle Of Armageddon, Beast And False Prophet Cast Into Lake Of Fire, Destruction Of Babylon The Great, The Destruction Of Jerusalem In 70 AD, Is Jerusalem Babylon?
As I have already explained in this series and elsewhere, there is a very physical or semi-physical aspect to Heaven and the Spirit World. God and Jesus sit on real thrones. The Heavenly City, New Jerusalem, is a real City. After His Resurrection, Jesus still had a real physical body. Now, if some people can interpret the locusts of Revelation chapter nine as Apache helicopters, is it possible that the horses and chariot of fire which took up Elijah to Heaven were something entirely different from what we imagine? Is it possible that we have totally misunderstood the "dove" John saw up in the sky, and the voice from Heaven at the time of Jesus' baptism? What about the "bright cloud" which Peter, James and John entered into when Jesus was transfigured before them? Finally, are the "horses" upon which Jesus and the Celestial Army ride at the Battle of Armageddon really just that? If there is one common description given to UFOs, it is that they are extremely fast, they are very bright, and they zip across the sky at very high rates of speed, just like streaks of lightning.
If you are open-minded enough to consider these possibilities, then perhaps you too will understand that perhaps Jesus was warning us of the arrival of the False Messiah from the stars, before His own arrival a few years later. Having faced his final defeat in the heavens by the forces of Michael and his angels, will Satan, the "angel of light", soon arrive with his space fleet of glistening craft as a "benign" visitor from outer space? If time is as short as some of us believe it to be, I don't believe we have long to find out. Let me make clear that I am not saying that this is exactly the way it will be. I honestly do not know. Perhaps all of these things will occur behind the scenes in the Spirit World; however, we would all be wise to not thoroughly reject the possibility of an actual physical invasion. Again, it is no mistake that we are currently living in an age of scientific and technological wonders. It is no mistake that there is so much UFO hype nowadays. It is no mistake that the United States of America has its eye in the sky. They are looking and watching for something very specific which they don't want you to know about; and maybe the Vatican knows what it is!
Regardless of what you personally believe concerning these things, and regardless of what the "Sign" of the Son of Man may be, when it appears in the sky, those of us who have believed, will give shouts of joy and a sigh of relief; knowing that it will soon be over; while the unbelieving nations of the world are going to mourn and wail and seek to hide themselves in the mountains and dens of the Earth, because they will know that they are in big trouble! At the time of the Lord's Second Coming, whenever and however it occurs, all of the dead Saints of all time will be suddenly resurrected, their bodies changed, and then raptured -- taken up -- to Heaven to be with the Lord. This will also include the two sackcloth witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven who will be punishing the wicked with plagues during the final three and a half years, while at the same time encouraging the faith of the persecuted Saints:
"And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Matthew 24:31, KJV
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed."
1 Corinthians 15:51-52, KJV
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."
Philippians 3:20-21, KJV
Following the Resurrection and Rapture of all of the dead Saints of God of all time, we the living Saints will also be changed and raptured to meet the Lord in the air. This is another possible reason why there may be a thirty-day period followed by a forty-five day period. It may require some time for the thousands, if not millions of dead Saints to be resurrected and raptured all around the world; then to be followed by the living Saints. Remember, we will still be living on the Earth which is governed by all of the laws of physics, including time, when this occurs. Indications are that the Lord's Second Coming may only be an aerial event; He and His Heavenly Host may not touch down on the Earth at this time. We will simply be called up, just as the two sackcloth witnesses will be called up:
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
1 Thessalonians 4:15-17, KJV
"And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."
Revelation 11:11-12, KJV
Let me again remind you of this usage of the word "cloud". During the Transfiguration, we are told that a "bright cloud" overshadowed Peter, James and John; that God Himself spoke out of the "cloud"; and that the three disciples entered into the "cloud":
"While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud."
Luke 9:34, KJV
Could this mean that they were simply surrounded by some kind of brilliant Heavenly Mist, what the Jews refer to as the Shekinah Glory? Possibly. In Matthew chapter twenty-four we are told that the Lord will come in the clouds of Heaven. Could this simply be a reference to the atmospheric clouds? Again, it is quite possible. As we have already seen, in the Epistle to the Thessalonians we are told that we shall be caught up together IN the clouds. Here again, floating up to the clouds in the high atmosphere is a distinct possibility, but is this what it really means? In the first chapter of the Book of Revelation we are told that He will come with clouds. I have always found this verse interesting as it says "with clouds" which appears to indicate that they will accompany Him. This could be a reference to the angelic beings which will accompany Him; but does it? Consider the following Scriptures:
"Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen."
Revelation 1:7, KJV
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"
Hebrews 12:1, KJV
"And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean."
Revelation 19:14, KJV
We are also told that the two sackcloth witnesses of Revelation chapter eleven will ascend up to Heaven IN a cloud after they have been dead for three and a half days laying in the streets of Jerusalem:
"And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them."
Revelation 11:12, KJV
Everywhere we look where there is a mention of being transported to Heaven, there is this mention of clouds. When the Lord has His servants the Scribes and Prophets repeat something over and over again in the Scriptures, it is for a good reason. I don't believe that the Lord likes to waste words. If you are not yet convinced that perhaps there is a wonderful Truth which has been hidden in the Scriptures for literally thousands of years, consider this next verse which describes Jesus' own return to the Heavenly Realm. I discuss this topic in more detail in my article "The Triumphant Touchdown of Jesus Christ"; but there is a very important point I wish to bring to your attention:
"And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight."
Acts 1:9, KJV
I have read that verse many times; yet it wasn't until now that my curiosity caused me to look up a word in my Greek lexicon which has given me a whole new understanding of this verse. The word "cloud" is derived from the Greek words "nephos" and "nephele" which mean exactly that, a cloud. There is nothing unusual or revelatory about this word. Perhaps this is exactly what the writers meant and nothing more. However, I think it would be foolish of us to totally reject other possibilities. Without anything else with which to compare it, how else could the ancient writers have described a glowing vehicle of Celestial Origin which was totally outside of anything they had ever seen or witnessed before? While the word "nephos" by itself may not cause any excitement, it is the verb which accompanies it which may thrill you as it has just thrilled me! For years I assumed that the phrase "a cloud received him out of their sight" simply meant that some large billowy cumulus cloud passed in front of their line of sight, and thus the Disciples could no longer see Jesus as He rose to the Heavens; however, that may be a totally wrong conclusion. This verb "received" is derived from the Greek word "hupolambano", pronounced hoop-ol-am-ban'-o, which has the following definitions according to the Greek lexicon:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) to take up in order to raise, to bear on high
1a) to take up and carry away
2) to receive hospitably, welcome
3) to take up
----- End Of Quote -----
Isn't that wonderful?! A normal cloud cannot raise anyone up; it cannot take up and carry away anyone; it cannot receive or welcome anyone hospitably, but a Celestial Vehicle with an Angelic Crew inside certainly could! While some rigid traditional Christians may view this as nothing short of blasphemy, perhaps it is they who are being a bit short-sighted due to carefully-controlled indoctrination over the centuries which has been purposely crafted to spiritually blind people to the facts.
If there is any truth to the idea that Some UFOs might possibly be of Divine Origin, then it should also shed some light on how Satan, the false "angel of light", might make his grand appearance into the world as the "savior" of New Age advocates; and maybe even of the Jews! As I discuss in other articles, the fact that the advent of the UFO age occurred less than one year prior to Israel becoming a nation in May of 1948, may be significant. Let me caution you that I am by no means stating any of this as fact; but I do believe you should be made aware of these possibilities. Regardless of what the exact specifics are concerning the Lord's aerial Second Coming, as I mentioned earlier, it may be at that time that the Jewish Antichrist will be destroyed by the brightness of His Coming:
"And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:"
2 Thessalonians 2:8, KJV
Within eschatological circles, there is a bit of a debate concerning the proper identity of the one being described by the Apostle Paul in the above verse. Some have assumed that Paul is referring to the Beast who will take over the Middle East, and possibly regions beyond. He is often referred to as the Antichrist; however, I feel that this is due to a lack of a proper understanding of what is meant by some of these Biblical terms. As I explain in such articles as "Who is Who?: Defining Important Prophecy Terms", according to the Daniel prophecies, the Beast will be a political/military man like President Hafez al-Assad of Syria, or quite possibly Saddam Hussein of Iraq. I explore this topic in great detail in "The Seven Heads" series. At any rate, I do not believe that this is who the above verse is describing.
According to the Book of Revelation, the Second Beast known as the False Prophet, may be a powerful Islamic spiritual leader who will team up with the Beast. He will rally the Islamic hordes around the Beast as he undertakes his military campaign against Israel and Jerusalem. While Muhammad was indeed a false prophet, I believe there will be someone else in the near future, who will serve as the catalyst to unite the Muslim nations, the Ten Horns, behind the Beast. My current feelings are that he may possibly be of Iranian origin. The current ayatollah makes a perfect candidate as he is extremely powerful, and very anti-U.S., and very anti-Israel.
Finally, there is the Endtime character referred to by many as the Antichrist. I personally feel that this term is most appropriately applied to the false religious leader of Israel who will convince Orthodox Jews that he is their long-awaited messiah. He is commonly referred to as "Moshiach ben David", which loosely translates as "messiah, the son of David". You will find this topic discussed in great detail in part two of "The Kings of the North and the South", as well as in "Who Hindered the Antichrist?". While many have embraced the idea that the Roman Catholic pope may be the Antichrist, or the False Prophet, again, I feel that they are in error. There is only one man who will be permitted to sit in the new Temple in Jerusalem; and that is the Jewish Antichrist, who will claim to be God:
"Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
2 Thessalonians 2:4, KJV
Following the Rapture of the Saints into Heaven, my understanding is that we will participate in the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. Again, this may somehow be related to the extra thirty and forty-five day periods added to the end of the Last Seven Years, at the end of the Great Tribulation:
"And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."
Revelation 19:6-9, KJV
For more information regarding the Bride of Christ, I encourage you to read such articles as "Revelation's Babylon the Great". It may be while we are enjoying the Marriage Feast of the Lamb in Heaven, that the Lord will be pouring out His Wrath upon the wicked Kingdom of Darkness of the Beast and the False Prophet. The Seven Plagues, or Vials of Wrath, are discussed in the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation. What adds some weight to this possibility is the fact that the Seventh Vial of Wrath appears to culminate in the Battle of Armageddon and the Lord's Third Coming. I believe that it is at this time that we may see the fulfillment of the prophecies of Zechariah as I discussed earlier. In other words, unlike the Second Coming which was only an aerial Coming, this will be a physical landing on the Earth at the Mount of Olives in preparation for the Battle of Armageddon in northern Israel:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south."
Zechariah 14:1-4, KJV
"And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done."
Revelation 16:16-17, KJV
This event will occur after the Sixth Vial of Wrath in which the River Euphrates is dried up to make a way for the kings and armies of the East, to join the Beast in the Great Battle against the Lord and His anointed:
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty."
Revelation 16:12-14, KJV
All of these events are further discussed in the Endtime articles I have named throughout this current paper. From the description given in Revelation chapter nineteen, one thing which is apparent, is that as a result of their defeat at this decisive battle, both the military leader known as the Beast, and the religious leader known as the False Prophet, will be cast ALIVE into the Lake of Fire burning with fire and brimstone:
"And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Revelation 19:20, KJV
However, this is not the only event which will be occurring at this time. Revelation chapter sixteen also makes clear that it will be at this possible Third Coming, when the Seventh Vial of Wrath is poured out, that the mysterious Babylon the Great will finally meet her destruction:
"And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath."
Revelation 16:19, KJV
The physical destruction of Babylon the Great is described in the seventeenth and the eighteenth chapters of the Book of Revelation. In the six-part series entitled "Revelation's Babylon The Great", I explain how there have been a number of speculations regarding the identity of this mysterious woman who rules over the kings of the Earth. These various possibilities include the ancient city of Babylon in Iraq, which at one time was being excavated and reconstructed by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein; Rome, which is the power base of the Roman Catholic Church and a great financial power in its own right; New York City, the epitome of power, wealth and glory of Western capitalism; and London, said by some to be the European equivalent of New York City.
However, as revealed in that article, after a close study of the Scriptures, I have come to the conclusion that Babylon the Great might in fact be Jerusalem herself which is guilty of spilling all of the blood of the ancient Prophets. If I were to summarize my findings, it would be based on the following verses from the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and John's description of Babylon the Great in the Book of Revelation:
"Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Matthew 23:33-38, KJV
In the above verses, Jesus is clearly prophesying the destruction of Jerusalem due to the Prophets whom she slew in the Old Testament. Jesus clearly calls the Scribes and the Pharisees the children of those murderers. In the Gospel of Luke, He again prophesies this destruction:
"And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh."
Luke 21:20, KJV
While these prophecies did indeed have a partial fulfillment in 70 A.D. with the invasion and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by the Roman General Titus, through previous verses I have shown that there will yet be a final Endtime fulfillment. Why will the Lord allow this to occur? Because even after His own warning, the unbelieving Jews continued in their very same sins; beginning with the crucifixion of their very own Saviour! As the Book of Acts reveals, others followed in Jesus' footsteps like Stephen and James; and the Lord only knows how many more! There was a major persecution in the eighth chapter of the Book of Acts which was possibly spearheaded by Saul. I discuss this in "A Biblical Cafeteria or the Whole Course". It is for this very reason that John describes Jerusalem as Babylon the Great in the following verses:
"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration . . . Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her . . . And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Revelation 17:6, 18:20, 24, KJV
This is the exact same thing that Jesus said regarding Jerusalem. There is no other city mentioned in the Bible which is accused of these sins. Jerusalem has been invaded and destroyed a number of times throughout her long history; and it has always been for the very same reason: because she has forsaken her true God, and killed those who have tried to warn her of her sins. It wasn't Babylon in Iraq, or New York City, or even Rome. Yes, Rome truly has her share of sins, and she did persecute and kill many of the First Century Christians, but the Prophets of old were not sent to Rome; they were sent to Jerusalem, exactly as Jesus and John both said. Furthermore, the prophecies very specifically tell us that Jerusalem will continue to kill those sent to her right up to the very end until she is destroyed. Remember what I shared earlier. Her final persecution against God's children will result in the deaths of the two Sackcloth Witnesses. This is again a clear sign of to whom John is referring. Some have speculated that these two mighty Endtime witnesses might be two of the greatest Prophets Israel has ever known; Moses and Elijah:
"And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified."
Revelation 11:7-8, KJV
Notice how Jerusalem is referred to as the "great city" in the above verse. In Revelation chapter twenty-one, the New Jerusalem is also referred to one time as "that great city"; however, what is most interesting about this is that this very same term is used seven times to describe Babylon the Great in the Book of Revelation! Can the connection be any more obvious than that? Jerusalem the great city, and Babylon the great city are one and the same! Truly then, her cup of iniquity will finally be filled to the brim after she has slain the two Prophets of the Lord. It is for this reason that we are told that the Ten Horns will unite with the Beast to destroy Jerusalem in one hour:
"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings ONE HOUR with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast . . . And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled . . . Therefore shall her plagues come in ONE DAY, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her . . . Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in ONE HOUR is thy judgment come . . . For in ONE HOUR so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,"
Revelation 17:12-13, 16-17, 18:8, 10, 17, KJV
Notice that these Ten Horns, whom I believe to be ten Arab nations, will only give their power and strength to the Beast for one hour. Notice that Babylon's destruction also comes in one hour. This is exactly why they unite with the Beast; to destroy Jerusalem with all of the fire power that they've got! It is going to be a total holocaust, possibly nuclear in nature! This is why Jesus specifically warned the Jews to flee to the mountains when they see the Abomination of Desolation standing in the holy place in the newly built Temple at Jerusalem. This is exactly what the angels told Lot and his family to do before they destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plains:
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Matthew 24:15-21, KJV
"And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed."
Genesis 19:17, KJV
Please go to part five for the conclusion of this series.
⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .