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The Two Kingdoms
Before the reign of Nero, Julius Caesar
and Caesar Augustus built the
Just before the birth of Christ, Romans got a taste of what it is like to worship a man. Julius Caesar set himself up to be a god becoming the chief (princeps) of the Senate. He was recognized officially as a "demigod", and temples were dedicated to his "clemency." He also made himself the high priest of the Roman official religion (Pontifex Maximus) so that he could manipulate the will of the gods for his people. He was eventually murdered though, throwing the empire into division and civil war.
Out of this anarchy rose the person of
Caesar Augustus. He became the official founder of the
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Cyria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town
And there were shepherds living out
in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord
appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. Today in the town of
It is not a coincidence that during the
very reign of the first monarch over the
Indeed, two kingdoms were born at the
very same moment of history -- the
When he called for a census, everybody obeyed and went to their home city. But the very act of Augustus' will demonstrates that he was a mere pawn in a vast plan staged by God. For by his command, the monarch only fulfilled what had been prophesied centuries before by the Jewish Prophet, Micah. For it was the Lord who declared, "But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me the One who will be the ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2 niv)
This fact demonstrates the extent that the Roman citizenry erred in looking to man rather than God. They rushed enthusiastically to the promises and proposals of someone who could do no more than exist as the instrument of God's hand. In all his power and glory, what Caesar Augustus accomplished was to assure that Jesus would be born right were God had willed it to be done. Caesar was in the hands of a small child. Who is the greater of the two?
Tiberius (14-37) was the emperor who reigned at the time of the death of Jesus. "Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put and end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophesy and to anoint the most holy.
Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven 'sevens,' and sixty-two 'sevens.' It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble. After the sixty-two 'sevens,' the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing." (Dan 9:25-26b niv)
The last two years of Tiberius' rule
were marked by absolute tyranny. In the mist of these events, the One who the Jews had
called their King died on a Roman cross, hanging between two common criminals. It seemed
that it was just a blip on the map in a remote province when seen in the light of the
Caesar who ruled the world. But it was the power contained in the life and death of this
one Man that would eventually bring the whole
The fact is that Biblical scholars have discovered that the "sevens" that Daniel was talking about can be understood in accordance with the ancient calendar. Chuck Smith wrote of this detailed account of the arrival of the Messiah, "One of the most astounding of all Bible prophecies is found in the Book of Daniel, Chapter 9. When the angel told Daniel that from the time the commandment would go forth to restore and rebuild Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah the Prince would be 69 sevens (7-year periods) or 483 years. The Babylonian calendar was predicated on a 360-day year. So, that would equal 173,880 days (483 years X 360 days = 173,880 days).
"Now history tells us that on
The Romans could not see the truth of
Scripture though it was starring at them straight in the face! So, rather than believing
on the King of Glory, they inherited the likes of the emperors to guide and direct them.
Gaius (37-41 AD), in his insolence, commanded that his own statue be set in the temple of
the Jews who he persecuted. His reign was accompanied with incest, assassinations, and
assorted cruelties. Claudius (41-54) treated the Jews harshly and banished them from
"The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolation's have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven,' but in the middle of that 'seven' he will put and end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him." (Dan 9:26b-27 niv)
There is yet one last "seven" in Daniel's prophecy yet unfulfilled. It is the era of the Antichrist. It is the time when this abominable tyrant will declare war on the Jewish nation.
"So when you see standing in the
holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation, spoken of through the prophet
Daniel - let the reader understand - then let those who are in
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now -- and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There He is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect -- if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.
"So if anyone tells you, 'There
He is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here He is, in the inner rooms,' do not
believe it. For as the lightening comes from the east and flashes to the west, so will the
coming of the Son of
It was Nero who began the first
persecution of Christians. He commenced the principal of punishing Christians, and this
became a precedent for future rulers. So we see within the events that surrounded this
mighty empire, the cry of the martyrs exclaiming, "How long, Sovereign Lord, holy
and true, until You judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?" Then
each of them was given a white robe, and they were told to wait a little longer, until the
number of their fellow servants and brothers who were to be killed as they had been was
completed. (Rev 6:10b-11 niv) Yes, many would end out giving their lives for the sake
of the faith before the ordeal of
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and them the end will come." (Matt 24:9-14 niv)
A lot of suspicion arose amongst the Romans concerning the beastly life, confusion in their world, and strange death of Nero. In fact, there arose a belief that he had not died but was living amongst the Parthians.
Turmoil followed his death. Nero's despotic reign certainly made it evident to them that the succession of rulers should not be determined by heredity. So it was discovered that emperors could be nominated by the armies who contended for mastery of the empire. As a result, after the death of Nero, in 68 AD, bloody civil war was so profound that the empire in one year that saw four emperors ascend to the throne.
They had read about the woman
THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony of Jesus. (Rev 17:3-6 niv)
The number ten was the number of worldly power (i.e. the beast with the ten horns and ten toes in the Book of Daniel 2). They began to associate scarlet-colored beast with Roman government in general, and Nero in particular.
The Jews believed that Nero would re-emerge as the Antichrist himself. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with then crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion. The dragon gave the beast his power and his throne and great authority. One of the heads of the beast seemed to have a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast, and they also worshipped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" (Rev 13:1-4 niv)
As it was, Nero was not the one with the fatal head wound that would raise from the dead to become master of the world. When he died, he was never heard of again, though the likes of historical personalities such as Hitler and Stalin were truly likely candidates to fulfill the personage of this possessed man.
This is exactly the point. When interpreting Biblical prophesy, one must understand that, due to the universal nature of the truths proposed by them, they can have a multitude of fulfillment's before they find their place in final consummation. This is why Pharaoh, in the book of Exodus, suffered from plagues very similar to the ones incurred by the final kingdom in Revelation. He continued to remain steadfast in his disobedience to God by refusing to surrender to Moses' command to let the people go. By the same token, those who remained obedient and smeared the blood the lamb (Christ) in the shape of a cross around their doors escaped the wrath.
The blood will be a sign for you on
the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. I will pass over
you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike
The Bible instructs us, Dear
children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even
now many antichrists have come. (I John niv) With that, we understand that
throughout history there has been a multitude of personages who were precursors of the One
whose appearance will usher the last days of the world. These antichrists have and,
perhaps will rule over kingdoms that resemble the final kingdom of the world. Because they
bear the similarity, they will likewise behave in the same manner of this final demonic
kingdom, and will inherit a judgment that resembles that which we read about in the book
of Revelation. As we look at
The Apocalypse was composed by the
Apostle John in a province of
The state priesthood organized in cities
was administered to cause men to fall down on their knees to worship
This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666. (Rev 13:11-18 niv)
So we see in
It was also a reminder of that statue
constructed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar to which he commanded his entire kingdom
to bow before, and the blazing furnace that awaited anyone who would dare to defy the
king. (Dan 3:1-6 niv) The ancient Roman poet Virgil described
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is a graduate of the prestigious music department at CSULB where he studied under Frank
Pooler, lyricist of Merry Christmas Darling, and sang in Poolers world renown
University Choir alongside Karen and Richard Carpenter. During this time Don was also the
lead composer of the band, Clovis Putney, that won the celebrated Hollywood Battle of the
Bands. After giving his life to God, Don began attending Calvary Chapel,
Eventually Don served as a pastor at Calvary Chapel Bakersfield to witness thousands of salvations through that ministry. As the music/concert director, Don worked for seven years with most major Christian artist of that time while producing evangelical concerts attended by thousands of young people seeking after God. Dons Calvary Chapel Praise Choir released the album Let All Who Hath Breath Praise the Lord on the Maranatha! label.
years of Dons life were spent as the praise leader of
Today Don is the leading force behind Wigtune Company. This webbased project located at www.praisesong.net has provided several million downloads of Dons music and hymn arrangements to tens of thousands of Christian organizations throughout the world. More music can be found at Don's Southern Cross Band website at www.socrossband.com.
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