John’s Revelation of the Millennium – Part II – Randy Nettles - https://www.rev310.net/post/john-s-revelation-of-the-millennium-part-ii
ALLEGORICAL INTERPRETATIONS BY ORIGEN, AUGUSTINE, AND THE EARLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Clement of Alexandria was a well-known Christian scholar of the 2nd century. He became the head of a catechetical school in Alexandria in 190 AD. While in this post, he wrote three books that have survived. Clement adopted an allegorical method of interpreting the Bible, using Greek philosophy as a means of understanding the Scripture. He taught Origen, who became the early theologian of the Eastern Church.
Origen (185-254 AD), considered the greatest scholar of his age, was born in a Christian family in Alexandria, Egypt. A prolific writer, Origen authored more than two thousand works, including commentaries on almost every book of the Bible. Origen was primarily responsible for making allegorical interpretation of the Bible the standard hermeneutic from his time through the Middle ages and beyond. Because he included many concepts from Plato in his teaching, he is considered a father of both orthodoxy and heresy. It is believed his writing contributed to Augustine’s conversion (nearly two centuries later) to this philosophy/theology. Prior to Origen, Clement of Alexandria, and the liberal school of theology at Alexandria, which spiritualized and allegorized scripture, a premillennial eschatology view prevailed within the church.
It wasn’t until Augustine of Hippo Regius in Numidia, Roman North Africa, was converted to Christianity in the late 4th century AD that amillennialism became the dominant view of eschatology in the church. Amillennialism doesn’t mean there isn’t a millennium but is just the span of church history in which Christians live, then die, then go to heaven. Christ doesn’t rule and reign from the earth but merely returns to the earth and judges the world. Augustine’s viewpoint became the prevailing doctrine of the Roman Church, and it was adopted with variations by most of the Protestant Reformers along with many other teachings of Augustine. The writings of Augustine, in fact, caused the decline of premillennialism by most of the organized church.
“Augustine conceived of the present age as a conflict between the City of God and the City of Satan, or the conflict between the church and the world. This was viewed as moving on to the ultimate triumph of the church to be climaxed by a tremendous struggle in which the church would be apparently defeated, only to consummate in a tremendous triumph in the second coming of Christ to the earth. Augustine held that the present age of conflict is the millennium. Following as he did the chronology of the LXX which is somewhat longer than Ussher’s chronology (using the Masoretic text), he found that the Christian era is the sixth millennium from creation. In contrast, the Masoretic text reckons the Christian era begins in the fourth millennium.
This age apparently began somewhat before Christ, according to chronology, but Satan in any case was bound, during the lifetime of Christ on earth (Luke 10:18). Augustine put it, “This binding of Satan began when the church began to spread from Judaea into other regions, and lasts yet, and shall do until his time be expired.” Augustine considered the progress of the millennium in his day (400 AD) well advanced and predicted the consummation would occur in the year 650 AD. Augustine, however, qualified his date setting. He states: “In vain therefore do we try to reckon the remainder of the world’s years… Some say that it shall last four hundred, some five hundred, some a thousand years after the ascension. Everyone has his view, it was vain to try to show on what grounds.”
Revelation 20 was, therefore, a recapitulation of the present age which Augustine held was portrayed in the earlier chapters of Revelation. The present age, for Augustine, is the millennium promised in Revelation 20. Augustine, however, also held to a future millennium, to round out the seven millenniums from Adam which he believed comprised the history of man. This future millennium, he believed, was not literal but is synonymous with eternity – a use of the number in a symbolic sense only. In Augustine, then, we have specific and concrete teaching on the millennium. There is no future millennium in the ordinary meaning of the term. The present age is the millennium; Satan is bound now; when Christ returns the present millennium will close, and then the future millennium or eternity will begin.
It is clear that in arriving at his conclusion regarding the millennium Augustine used the principle of spiritualizing Scripture freely. While he did not use this principle in interpreting Scripture relating to predestination, hamartiology, salvation, or grace, he found it suitable for interpreting prophecy. A candid examination of his interpretation leaves the examiner with the impression that Augustine did not give a reasonable exegesis of Scripture involved. Augustine’s doctrine that Satan is bound in this age – an essential of his system of interpretation – is a notable illustration of spiritualized and strained exegesis (cf. Luke 10:18 and Revelation 20:2-3). Nothing is clearer from Scripture, the history of the church, and the Christian experience than that Satan is exceedingly active in this present age against both Christians and unbelievers.
The exegesis of Augustine on Revelation 20 as a whole, fares no better. After concluding that the binding of Satan is synonymous with the victory of Christ in His first advent, he draws the strained conclusion that the first resurrection of Revelation 20:5 is the spiritual birth of believers. The Augustinian concept of the binding of Satan has already been shown to be without Scriptural or historical warrant. Certainly, there has been no real change in the working of Satan in the world and plainly no lack of activity of Satanic forces. The concept of progress and a triumphant church while not stressed by Augustine in a postmillennial (and/or a millennial) way, falls far short of fulfillment or even significant attainment. The Christin era has been no golden age of righteousness nor has the church conquered the world. It is more accurate to recognize that the world has to a large degree possessed the church.
The Roman Church did not make any significant advances in the doctrine after Augustine, and Protestant teachings did not fare much better. Without attempting, within the limited discussion possible here, an analysis of the whole Protestant Reformation, it is safe to conclude that the early years of Protestantism saw little if any advance over the Augustinian view. It is clear that the great Protestant leaders such as Calvin, Luther, and Melanchthon are properly classified as amillennial. As far as millennial teaching was concerned, they were content to follow the Roman Church in a weakened Augustinian viewpoint.
Because of the analytic treatment of amillennialism from a modern viewpoint, it will be sufficient here to observe the broad trend of amillennialism in modern times. For the most part, amillennialists of today such as Allis and Berkhof claim to follow in the hallowed tradition of Augustine while admitting the need for adjustment of his view to the actual modern situation. A new type of amillennialism has arisen, however, of which Warfield can be taken as an example which is actually a totally new type of amillennialism.
The new view instead follows the line of teaching that the millennium is distinct from the church age though it precedes the second advent. To solve the problem of the correlation of this interpretation with the hard facts of a world of unbelief and sin, they interpreted the millennium as a picture not of a time period but of a state of blessedness of the saints in heaven. The new amillennium view requires spiritualization not only of Revelation 20 but of all the many Old Testament passages dealing with a golden age of a righteous kingdom on earth.” 4. Amillenniallism from Augustine to Modern Times | Bible.org
Augustine originally embraced Chiliasm, in which Christ would return to the earth after 6000 years of history (LXX reckoning). Some early Chiliasts put the date of the Second Coming, the beginning of the literal millennium, somewhere near 500 AD, within mere decades of the sack of Rome. With the sack of Rome by the German Visigoths in 410 AD, the chiliasts seized upon the catastrophic current events of the day to relate them to Christ’s imminent return (Second Coming). Some even taught that Christians would enjoy wonderfully carnal delights during the millennium, but before then, the world would go through great tribulation.
“Augustine began to believe this literal view of the millennium to be unnecessarily foolish, making Christianity vulnerable to the mocking critique of the pagans. Those who preached about carnal delights, in the soon-to-be future millennial reign of Christ, had become too ‘worldly’ in their thinking. Instead, Augustine refused to speculate on when the Second Coming might happen. But in order to see how this more thoughtful view fit within his larger understanding of the Bible, he had to rethink the meaning of the millennium.
A renegade, but very talented, Bible teacher, a man by the name of Tyconius, helped Augustine out here. Augustine did not agree with all that Tyconius taught, but Augustine was intrigued by the idea that the “binding of Satan” in Revelation 20:2-3 happened, not at Christ’s Second Coming, but rather at his First Coming. Christ bound Satan at His work on the Cross in the 1st century AD, at the very beginning of the millennium. Satan’s influence was not fully eliminated, but his power was greatly restrained, at least until he would be later released towards the end of this millennium. Only at the very end of the millennial period would Satan temporarily have his way for a brief time.
So, even if the Roman empire were to perish, it did not mean “the end of the world.” Jesus would still rule and reign in his church. People should put their trust in God, and not in political empires. As a result, Augustine understood the “millennium” to be synonymous with the age of the church, and that the “1000 years” should be interpreted figuratively, ending at an unknown time, thus avoiding the temptation of the chiliasts, who were forever trying to fix dates for Jesus’ return.
Augustine’s argument eventually won the day. The old Roman empire, as the people knew it at the time, eventually did crumble. The northern hordes did further plunder the riches of Roman cities. But the church, over the succeeding centuries, was able to preach the Gospel among these barbarians, and eventually win them over to Christ. From those many nations, Christ continued to build His victorious church. This demonstrated that despite the loud rancor of Satan, he was still bound, and his power was limited. The flow of history appeared to vindicate Augustine’s views.
Chiliasm, as associated with the belief in historic premillennialism, soon faded from view, and Augustine’s amillennial interpretation maintained dominance, for the most part, in the minds of Western Christians, until about the 17th century. The fracture of European Christendom, occasioned by the events of the Reformation, led some Protestant thinkers to eventually rethink the meaning of the millennium. But it was not until the 19th-century birth of dispensationalism with its emphasis on God’s future purposes for national, ethnic Israel, and the founding of the modern nation-state of Israel in 1948, that premillennialism once again flourished within the thinking of the evangelical church.” https://sharedveracity.net/2018/02/13/ Why Saint Augustine Changed His Mind About the Millennium | Veracity (sharedveracity.net).
In my opinion, Augustine was searching for another hermeneutic to explain Revelation 20:2-3 other than Chiliasm for pious reasons. He chose to forsake the literal interpretation of a 1000-year reign of Christ on the earth (after Jesus’ second advent) for an allegoric interpretation where the millennium was simply another name for the Church age. Augustine held that the present age of conflict is the millennium and its duration is indeterminant. This view of allegorizing the millennium spread to allegorizing other prophecies of the Bible relating to future events and eschatology. This change in Augustine’s eschatology resulted in a change in his soteriology as well.
Premillennialism began to die out in the established Catholic Church during the life of Augustine (A.D. 354-430). Chiliasm was suppressed by the dominant Catholic Church but survived through various "fringe" groups of Christians during the medieval period. During the Protestant Reformation, Anabaptists and Huguenots helped to revive premillennialism and it was adopted among some Puritans during the Post-Reformation era.
During the Reformation era (1517-1648), reformers like Martin Luther, Philip Melanchthon, Ulrich Zwingli, William Tyndale, John Calvin, Hugh Latimer, Nicolas Ridley, Thomas Cranmer, John Knox, and others challenged papal authority and questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to define Christian practice. They argued for a religious and political redistribution of power to the authority of Bible pastors and political leaders. The key ideas of the Reformation were a call to purify the Church and a belief that the Bible, not tradition, should be the sole source of spiritual authority.
Augustine’s writings were a great influence on these learned men of God. Martin Luther joined the Order of Saint Augustine at Erfurt, Germany in July 1505, and received a spiritual formation that focused on “Great Father Augustine.” Luther’s theology was heavily influenced by Augustine in spiritual issues of sin, predestination, grace, faith, and interpretation of Scripture. In the development of his theology, Martin Luther turned to the writings and thoughts of Augustine more than to any other individual source except the Bible. This also included an amillennial interpretation of the book of Revelation and other eschatological scripture.
Like the medieval church before him, Luther rejected a future physical millennial reign and interpreted Revelation 20 as a description of the historical church rather than the end of history. In the present age (after Christ’s death and resurrection), the church must continue to endure the hostility of both the world and Satan until the lordship of Christ is made clear at the end. Luther also had a problem with the Jews. At first, he was sympathetic to their plight and believed they could be converted to Christianity, but when he heard rumors of Jewish efforts to convert Christians to Judaism his sympathy was replaced with hatred. He believed God had deserted the Jews and turned His attention to the “new Israel,” the Christian church. Luther thus accepted the existing notion that the promise given to the Jews was now transferred to the Church.
“By 1543, Luther proposed seven measures of control should be taken against the Jews in Germany. (1) burn their schools and synagogues; (2) transfer Jews to community settlements; (3) confiscate all Jewish literature, which was blasphemous; (4) prohibit rabbis to teach, on pain of death; (5) deny Jews safe conduct, so as to prevent the spread of Judaism; (6) appropriate their wealth and use it to support converts and to prevent the lewd practice of usury; (7) assign Jews to manual labor as a form of penance.
As a biblical theologian, Martin Luther struggled with the relationship between Jewish (Old Testament) and Christian (New Testament) Scriptures—a struggle not yet resolved. But when Luther concluded that God had rejected the people of Israel, he violated his own theological method. Luther was not an anti-Semite in the racist sense. His arguments against Jews were theological, not biological. Luther was but a frustrated biblical scholar who fell victim to what his friend Philipp Melanchthon called the “rabies of theologians”: drawing conclusions based on speculations about the hidden will of God. Luther erred because he presumed to know God’s will.” Was Luther Anti-Semitic? | Christian History | Christianity Today.
The great preachers in Europe and the colonies in America during the Great Awakening (1726-1760), such as Gilbert Tennent, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitfield, John Wesley, Charles Wesley, David Brainerd, and others took up the eschatological mantel of amillennialism (and postmillennialism or a combination of both). “Jonathan Edwards, a postmillennialist, believed that the millennium would arrive approximately 1260 years after 606 A.D. when the Bishop of Rome was recognized as having universal authority. This date of 1886 AD was reckoned by applying the year-day theory of interpretation to the twelfth chapter of Revelation.
Thus, the millennium was imminent and the revival fires of the Great Awakening could very well be harbingers of the coming age when great progress in technology would free mankind from material concerns to engage more fully in the noble exercises of mind and vital religion. At this time the kingdom of the Antichrist will be utterly overthrown and there will be a national conversion of the Jews. Following the millennium will come a period of great apostasy and tribulation, which will be superseded by the personal Second Coming of Jesus Christ in infinite majesty. The saints will be gathered unto their Head, forever to be in his presence, and the wicked will be summoned before the judgment seat of Christ.” The Eschatology of Jonathan Edwards (kevinstilley.com)
“Dispensational premillennialism (sometimes called futuristic premillennialism) developed later than historical premillennialism. It was popularized by John Darby, a member of the Plymouth Brethren, in the 1830s and by Cyrus Ingerson (C.I.) Scofield, who published Darby’s ideas in the Scofield Reference Bible in 1909. This eschatological view was popularized in the early 19th century…not discovered. You could say it was re-discovered as there are several examples of dispensational writings that originated very early in the Church.
A sermon by Pseudo-Ephraem (4th-6th century titled “On the Last Times, the Antichrist, and the End of the World” states, “All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins.” Other examples include Codex Amiatinus (ca.690-716), Brother Dolcino (d. 1307), Increase Mather (1693-1723), John Gill (1697-1771), Morgan Edwards (1722-1795), and others.” 5. Survey of Eschatological Views | Bible.org
The greatest development and spread of premillennialism since the early church came in the late 1800s - early 1900s with the rise of U.S. Fundamentalism and Dispensationalism. Starting in the British Isles and spreading to America, premillennialism (in its dispensational form) has become prominent in the Evangelical faith. Dispensational Premillennialism employs a more consistently literal hermeneutic when interpreting eschatological Scriptures than the other views.
Dr. David L. Cooper describes the golden rule of interpretation: “When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”–Dr. David L. Cooper (1886-1965), founder of the Biblical Research Society.
Clearly, this golden rule has been ignored by some of the great Soteriology preachers of the past, from the early Church to modern times. Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, and O.T. Allis were all Amillennialists who allegorized Scripture “when the plain sense of Scripture made common sense.” John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Hodge, and B.B. Warfield were all Postmillennialists who also allegorized much of eschatology and prophecy. They substituted the Church for Israel regarding God’s promises to “His chosen people” when there was no Scripture to substantiate this claim. The great preachers of the early Church, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and modern preachers G.E. Ladd, and Alexander Reese, all believed in Historic Premillennialism where their eschatological interpretations did not give a reasonable exegete of the Scripture involved (in my humble opinion).
The duration of the Messiah’s kingdom on earth was never given in any of the Old Testament prophecies. Not until Revelation 20 does John declare it will last for 1000 years, thus the name “millennial kingdom.” Revelation 20 follows Jesus’ 2nd Coming as described in Revelation 19. So, the order of eschatology (study of end things) is established in the book of Revelation. The pre-tribulation rapture is found in Revelation 4. The seven-year-long tribulation is found in Revelation 5-19. The 2nd Coming of Christ is described in Revelation 19. The millennial reign of Christ is found in Revelation 20 and the eternal order with a new heaven and earth is found in Revelation 21 – 22. The golden rule of interpretation indicates these will all be future physical and literal events and not some kind of allegory.
Jesus spoke of this kingdom as recorded in the book of Acts. After Jesus’ resurrection, and on the day of his ascension, the apostles asked him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” Two angels who stood nearby told them, “This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:6-7,11). Jesus confirmed His kingdom would come but told them they didn’t need to know when it would come. Why? Well, can you imagine their reaction and despondency if Jesus told them it would be another two thousand years before He returned to restore the kingdom to Israel? They were all expecting it to be within their lifetimes, probably within seven years after Jesus’ death in order to fulfill Daniel’s prophecy of 70 sevens.
Ever since this time, Christians throughout the ages have been wondering when Jesus would return. The worse things got with persecutions, wars, famine, plagues, etc., the higher expectations became, as Christians in that particular age believed they were experiencing the great tribulation. I would imagine this is why the Jews were so willing to accept Simon Bar Kokhba as their Messiah in 132 AD when he led a ruinous revolt against Rome from 132- 135 AD. This was more than six decades after Jerusalem and the second temple were destroyed in 70 AD.
The early Chiliasts of the 1st – 3rd centuries thought this as they believed Jesus would return after 6000 years. Hippolytus employed the creation-week typology widely accepted in the west until Augustine. He set the time of Christ's return to 500 AD. This would be the “sixth day” or 6000 AM (anno mundi) according to the Septuagint chronology. I’m sure expectations for the return of Christ ran high after the Visigoths sacked Rome in 410 AD, especially for the remaining (but dwindling in number) Chiliasts as they believed there were only nine decades left until the 6th day (6000 years) which they speculated (according to the LXX chronology) would occur in 500 AD.
The expectation of the imminent return of Christ always spikes after a major disaster. In the 8th and 9th centuries, it was the invasion of the Muslims. In the 12th and 13th centuries, it was the wars of the Crusaders against the Muslims. In the middle of the 14th century, it was the Black Death plague. In the middle of the 15th century, Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire fell to the Ottoman Turks. The list is exhaustive and continues unto modern times, with two world wars in the 20th century and a major war between Russia and Ukraine now in the 21st century.
Of course, the number one sign of the return of Christ, especially for dispensational premillennialists, is the return of Israel as a sovereign nation (in their ancient homeland) on May 14, 1948. This should be proof to the amillennialists and postmillennialists that the Church hasn’t (and never has) replaced the nation of Israel regarding God’s promises to them. Another indication we are in the last days is given in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (prevalent sin comparable to the days of Noah and Lot). Also, we now have the technology for the prophecies of Revelation 11:9 and 13:13-18 to be fulfilled. However, the major sign that we are living in the end times before the Tribulation and the Second Advent is the convergence of all the signs given in Matthew 24:3-14 and the other synoptic gospels.
As a modern Chiliast (dispensational premillennialist) with a belief in the millennial week theory, I believe that Christ’s return is imminent. Unlike the 1st – 3rd century historic premillennialists whose chronology was based on the Septuagint text, I believe the correct chronology of the history of mankind is given in the Masoretic text. In this reckoning, major biblical events occurred every 2000 years. Abraham was born on the “second day” (2000 AM). Abraham is not only the father of the Israelites but the father of all the faithful. “Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16).
Jesus was crucified, resurrected, and ascended back to heaven, and the Church was born on the “fourth day” after approximately 4000 years (4000 AM) of recorded history. “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
According to my reckoning (Chronology of Mankind: 6,000 Years of History Pt 1 :: By Randy Nettles - Rapture Ready), we are now (2023 AD/ 5982 AM) 18 years away from 6000 years of recorded history according to the Bible and secular historical sources. Seven of those years will be taken up by the future Tribulation, so that leaves 11 years shy of six millennia. If there is a gap period between the Rapture and the Tribulation, that could possibly account for a year or two, which would leave us 9 or 10 years shy of 6000 years. For a 6000-year chronology reckoning, a .0015 % margin of error would be 9 years. In other words, we are fast approaching the sixth day (6000 AM) milestone in human history. Will something significant and prophetic happen on the sixth day as it did on the second and fourth days? According to biblical history, I believe the odds are pretty good.
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:7-12).
Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
World War III Alert: The Russians Are Making A Major Breakthrough And The Ukrainians Are Becoming Increasingly Desperate - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/world-war-iii-alert-the-russians-are-making-a-major-breakthrough-and-the-ukrainians-are-becoming-increasingly-desperate/
The conflict in Ukraine has reached such a dangerous phase. For several months, the front lines in Ukraine were relatively stable, and that was a good thing because it meant that both sides were less likely to make really desperate moves. But now Russian forces are making a major breakthrough. The Ukrainians had poured countless troops into Bakhmut in an all-out attempt to keep the city, and they were able to successfully hold it for months. But now Russian forces have almost entirely encircled Bakhmut, and once Bakhmut falls there is going to be nothing but flat terrain between the Russians and the Dnieper River. If Russian forces actually reach the Dnieper River, the Ukrainians are going to become extremely desperate, and it is likely that they may try something extremely stupid in a desperate attempt to pull western forces into the war.
It is being reported that Bakhmut is now “operationally encircled” by Russian forces, and it appears that most of the Ukrainian troops that are still there will be completely trapped…
Some 10,000 to 20,000 troops comprising the Ukrainian army in Bakhmut are now trapped. Reports say that the city is operationally encircled with diminishing chance of a breakout.
There aren’t many places to hide in Bakhmut at this point.
As you can see from this drone footage, the city has been almost entirely flattened by artillery…
That footage looks like it could have been pulled out of a post-apocalyptic disaster film.
But that really is Bakhmut.
I don’t even have sufficient words to describe how horrific the battle for Bakhmut has been.
The Ukrainians just kept pouring more men and more women into a losing cause, and one American that has been fighting on the front lines says that the average life expectancy for a Ukrainian sent to Bakhmut “is only around four hours”…
As winter weather fades and spring approaches, military experts are speculating a renewed offensive from Russian forces. Frontlines shifted to Bakhmut—a city in eastern Ukraine—in July 2022, and according to former U.S. Marine Troy Offenbecker, the scene is grisly.
Offenbecker, who is fighting in Ukraine’s International Legion comprised of foreign soldiers, told ABC News that when a Ukrainian soldier fights on the frontlines in Bakhmut, their life expectancy is only around four hours.
But this is what the foreign policy establishment in Washington D.C. wanted.
They wanted to fight to the last Ukrainian, and that is exactly what is happening.
Once Bakhmut falls, it is likely that the Ukrainians will attempt to establish a new line of defense around Kramatorsk and Seversk…
After months of predictions of Ukraine retreating from Bakhmut it appears the moment is nigh. One of the key unanswered questions is how many Ukrainian soldiers will be captured and how many will escape. Regardless, this will mark another phase for Russia in its Ukrainian campaign to demilitarize and denazify. Ukraine’s next line of defense to the west (Kramatorsk and Seversk) is problematic because it sits in low ground and will be more vulnerable to Russian artillery.
But Kramatorsk and Seversk will be much more difficult to defend than Bakhmut was.
Once the Russians are able to move on from Bakhmut, what they will find is “a lot of open country and not much to prevent a Russian advance all the way to the Dnieper River”…
To the west of Bakhmut is a lot of open country and not much to prevent a Russian advance all the way to the Dnieper River. There is no hard evidence yet that the Ukrainian army has prepared a second line of defense.
This means the way may be open for a possible major offensive by Russian forces. Whether that will happen and what Russia’s goals are remain to be seen.
This is one of the reasons why the Ukrainians were so determined to hold Bakhmut.
If Russian tanks start rolling all the way to the Dnieper River, it is going to become obvious to the entire world that Ukraine is losing.
And at that point the Ukrainians will become very desperate.
But they just won’t roll over and give up. I expect that eventually there will be some sort of a major “event” that will be intended to force the western powers to become direct participants in the war.
Of course U.S. officials are already pledging “unconditional support” for Ukraine, and more aid has just been announced.
The grand total that we have already given Ukraine is close to 200 billion dollars, and that figure is only going to go higher in the months ahead.
In addition, the U.S. has already taken in 271,000 Ukrainian refugees…
More than 271,000 Ukrainian refugees have been admitted to the United States since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began one year ago, according to the Department of Homeland Security, far above President Joe Biden’s stated goal of admitting 100,000.
Just over two-fifths, or more than 117,000, of those who were admitted came via the Biden administration’s “Uniting for Ukraine” program, which allows Americans to sponsor Ukrainians to prove that they will be financially supported in the U.S. DHS, which administers the program, said more than 200,000 Americans came forward as sponsors.
Sadly, this is just the beginning.
Our leaders have made it clear that this war will not end until “Russia is defeated”, and that clearly is not going to happen any time soon.
Meanwhile, our relations with China are going downhill really fast.
U.S. officials are threatening China with severe consequences if the Chinese start supplying Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine, and CIA Director William Burns just went on “Face the Nation” and warned that China is preparing to invade Taiwan “by 2027”…
“We do know, as has been made public, that President Xi has instructed the PLA, the Chinese military leadership, to be ready by 2027 to invade Taiwan, but that doesn’t mean that he’s decided to invade in 2027 or any other year as well,” Burns told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The moment that China invades Taiwan, the U.S. and China will be at war.
Of course a lot of us have been anticipating that such a conflict would arrive for many years.
We really are in the early stages of World War III, and it will eventually get far more intense than it is now.
So many people are going to needlessly die.
And when that happens, you can thank the warmongers in the Biden administration for getting us into this mess.
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Nearing Midnight: Our Military Equipment Reserves Are Getting Low and Degraded – Todd Strandberg - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The U.S. military told Ukraine in a meeting last month that it won’t send long-range missiles because it has little to spare. The Biden administration has sent so much hardware to Ukraine, the readiness of our forces is starting to be questioned.
In recent meetings at the Pentagon, U.S. officials told Kyiv’s representatives that it doesn’t have any Army Tactical Missile Systems to spare, according to four people with knowledge of the talks. They said that transferring ATACMS to the battlefield in eastern Europe would dwindle America’s stockpiles and harm the U.S. military’s readiness for a future fight.
The Pentagon’s assessment of its stockpiles is informed in part by how many weapons and munitions planners think they might need to confront an enemy. Those plans have not been significantly revised since the start of the war in Ukraine, have not recalibrated what the stockpiles the U.S. might need in reserve to face a weakened Russia, or accounted for the fact that Ukraine is essentially fighting that war right now.
“With any package, we always consider our readiness and our own stocks while providing Ukraine what it needs on the battlefield,” said a senior DoD official. “There are other ways of providing Ukraine with the capabilities it needs to strike the targets.”
Ukraine is the country that Western nations just can’t say no to. If we run low on a certain weapon system, we will give them another one. At first, tanking-killing rockets were the first priority. When we ran low on them, advanced tanks were shipped to Ukraine.
Fresh off a successful trip to London, where he met with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who pledged to help train Ukrainian pilots to fly NATO fighter jets, Ukraine president Zelenskyy said, “We have moved towards the solutions concerning the long-range missiles and the training of our pilots.… Also, there are certain agreements that are not public but are positive. When these items will happen, our state will know this, but I don’t want to prepare the Russian Federation.”
I don’t advocate backing away from Ukraine, but we need to realize that war is extremely expensive. I was in the Air Force for 20 years, and I saw firsthand the massive price tags that came with weapons of warfare.
When you spend money in one area, you quickly degrade capabilities in another area. This reality came last week when the U.S. said the British military is no longer an elite fighting force. It has lost the ability to defend its own air space. It would take Britain 5 to 10 years to restore capability to just one division.
Lockheed Martin has produced about 4,000 ATACMS in various configurations over the past two decades. Once these missiles are fired, it takes a long time to replace them.
The shortfall in military equipment is certainly affecting the Russian military. The Russians have had shortages in some of the most basic goods like ammo, gas, and food. As the Dictator of Russia, Putin doesn’t need to care about shortages. If his troops die, he’ll just send more to replace them. Another advantage that Putin has over the West is that his military hardware is much cheaper to make. If we spend $12 million on a jet, Moscow will only spend $300,000. Russian troops are paid a fraction of the ones in the West.
It is possible that Putin has a long-term financial strategy in the Ukraine conflict. He will allow the West to run up massive debts for the supplies they send to the war. Since Russian tanks are much simpler than American tanks, he could build up his force much faster for a future conflict, possibly one in the Middle East.
“Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws, and lead you out, with all your army, horses, and horsemen, all splendidly clothed, a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer and all its troops; the house of Togarmah from the far north and all its troops—many people are with you'” (Ezek 38:2-6).”
Revelation 9: The pit, the smoke and hideous demon creatures - By Mark Creech - https://www.christianpost.com/voices/revelation-9-the-pit-the-smoke-and-hideous-demon-creatures.html
In the spring of 1994, the Associated Press reported that Sweden’s defense ministry determined a Soviet submarine had violated Sweden’s territorial waters. High-tech buoys had detected suspicious noises, which prompted their military to start a submarine hunt in the Baltic Sea.
This wasn’t the first time the Swedes felt they had reason to be concerned. Once, a Soviet submarine had run aground near a naval base in Sweden, and ever since, they had been suspicious of Soviet intrusions.
But the hunt the Swedes launched didn’t turn up any lurking Soviet submarines, and a year later, the Swedes made an embarrassing admission. The noise they had picked up from their high-tech buoys turned out to be minks and other mammals splashing in the water while searching for food. Minks are approximately the size of a cat and plentiful in Stockholm’s islands.
When it comes to our enemies, fears and anxieties, we can become victims of a runaway imagination. Still, we must be astute and careful. Evil exists in the world, and it isn’t wise to dismiss it.
For instance, The devil and demons actually exist. Behind the scenes, beyond the reach of human senses, they diligently endeavor to deceive, destroy, steal and kill. Demons are spiritual entities of great might, power and various ranks and orders. Like their leader, Satan, they hate humanity because humankind is made in God’s image and the apple of His eye.
C.S. Lewis noted at the top of the Screwtape Letters: “There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight.”
So, the content of Revelation 9 should be approached with wisdom and an even hand. What is foretold is beyond fantastic, but to interpret it allegorically rather than literally does violence to the text and diminishes other clear teachings of the Word of God.
In Wilmington’s Guide to the Bible, Harold Wilmington writes: “The ninth chapter of Revelation, which contains both fifth and sixth trumpet judgments, maybe the most revealing section in all of the Bible concerning the subject of demonology.”
The scriptures reveal that originally the devil and demons were good angels in the service of God, but they sinned. It is not clear when they sinned. Nor is it clear what sin they committed, only that pride and disobedience were at the heart of their rebellion.
The Bible reveals that some demons are free to carry out the devil’s purposes. In the Gospels, Jesus is recorded as having cast out demons from people’s bodies. These wicked disembodied spirits can possess people to express themselves and torture their host (Matthew 17: 15-18; Luke 8:26-39). Moreover, they are at liberty to influence human events, though limited by God.
Other fallen angels, or demons, appear to be in a higher and even more dangerous category, bound and chained. 2 Peter 2:4 says of these demons, “For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into Hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment.” Jude 6 says of them, “And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment.”
Revelation 9 warns us that this more threatening order of demons will be unchained in the end, during the last days of the Tribulation period, and they will torture humans with excruciating and unrelievable pain. These beings are hideous by nature and appearance — perverse locust-like with wings to cover the earth in flight, and scorpion-like tails to wound. Verses 1-12 read:
“Then the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen to earth from the sky, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. When he opened it, smoke poured out as though from a huge furnace, and the sunlight and air turned dark from the smoke.
“Then locusts came from the smoke and descended on the earth, and they were given power to sting like scorpions. They were told not to harm the grass or plants or trees, but only the people who did not have the seal of God on their foreheads. They were told not to kill them but to torture them for five months with pain like the pain of a scorpion sting. In those days, people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!
The locusts looked like horses prepared for battle. They had what looked like gold crowns on their heads, and their faces looked like human faces. They had hair like women’s hair and teeth like the teeth of a lion. They wore armor made of iron, and their wings roared like an army of chariots rushing into battle. They had tails that stung like scorpions, and for five months, they had the power to torment people. Their king is the angel from the bottomless pit; his name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek, Apollyon — the Destroyer.”
The star that falls to the earth from the sky is not a literal star in this case, but most likely the Evil One (the devil) himself. Isaiah 14:12 references Satan, saying: “How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning! You have been thrown down to the earth, you who destroyed the nations of the world.” Jesus once said, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning!” (Luke 10:18).
This fallen star is given a “key to the shaft of the bottomless pit,” which God permits him to open, and from the abyss, there comes a billowing black smoke so thick it obscures the light of the sun and chokes the air with its pollution. Then, in a scene of dread greater than any generation has witnessed, creatures of unspeakable description materialize.
“There are eight parts to the description,” says Charles C. Ryrie in his commentary of Revelation. It “begins with the head and progresses back to the tail of these creatures. Overall, they are like horses prepared for battle [meaning they are ready to make war on humanity] (cf. Joel 2:4). On their heads were what appeared to be ‘crowns like gold.’ Their faces were ‘like the faces of men,’ their hair ‘like the hair of women,’ their teeth like those of lions. They had breastplates ‘like breastplates of iron,’ and the sound of their wings was like chariots or horses going to battle.”
Interestingly, the word translated as “pit” indicates an actual entrance from the earth’s surface, unbeknownst to mortals, leading to our planet’s marrow.
IFL Science published an article about the Kola Borehole in Russia two years ago. This bottomless-like hole was one of the projects during the Cold War when the United States and Russia were “peacocking” — trying to prove their “scientific, militaristic, cultural and technological” superiority. The hole the Soviets dug was as deep as the height of Mount Everest and Mount Fuji placed on top of each other.
In the early 1960s, the Americans were also digging in the seabed via a ship in the Mexican Pacific. Eventually, the Americans ended their project because of complications. But the Soviets kept going until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992. Their site lies abandoned today.
However, the article concludes that a drill broke through a rock layer before the project ended and discovered a superheated cavern. It was said that researchers wanting to investigate further dropped a microphone into the pit and, to their great surprise, heard what sounded like the infernal wailing and screaming of the damned in Hell. Scientists were said to be so shaken they left the undertaking. This is why the Kola Borehole is called the “entrance to Hell.”
Is it the entrance to Hell? IFL Science claimed the story was an “urban legend” and “unverified nonsense.” They may be right. Nevertheless, of one thing we can be sure, the Bible refers to a place in the earth called the “bottomless pit” no less than seven times in the book of Revelation (Revelation 9:1,2,11; 11:7; 17:8; 20:1-3). It is a literal place of such terrible horrors that even the evil spirits Jesus cast out of the Gerasene Demoniac begged him to send them into a herd of swine instead of to the “abyss” or the “bottomless pit.”
These abominable beings from the pit, led by Apollyon, likely a fallen archangel, emerge from the pit’s smoke and are not allowed to assault earth’s vegetation. Neither are they permitted to injure those with the seal of God. However, they are authorized by God’s wrath to torture those who hate and reject Him. They may torture them for up to five months with something akin to a scorpion’s sting — a sting so intense its victims will want to die but cannot.
J.A. Seiss, in The Apocalypse, writes, “The pain from the sting of a scorpion, though not generally fatal, is, perhaps, the most intense that any animal can inflict upon the human body.”
How mind-boggling! How chilling! And this is only the first woe. Two more are to follow.
Indeed, all of this from Revelation 9 may seem utterly ridiculous to many — something borne from extreme fears and anxieties — the product of a wild and runaway imagination. Nevertheless, the reality of demons and their power is real.
The good news is everyone who has trusted in Christ alone for the forgiveness of sins, the salvation of their soul, is already a victor over the Evil One and his minions. Because Christ overcame the devil by his life, death and resurrection, believers are also victorious. No devil, great or small, has any authority over the believer.
Thus, the call of God cannot be emphasized enough in these commentaries. Repent of sin, turn to Christ in faith and be saved. If you don’t believe now, you will. By that time, it may be too late.
Daily Jot: Stupidocrisy: Lies and makers of lies - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Shocker alert! In a FOX News interview Tuesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray publicly confirmed what many have been saying for three years and the federal government has been denying—that the COVID virus likely originated from a lab in Wuhan, China. Moreover, he admitted in so many words that the virus responsible for the deaths of millions around the world was a bioweapon and that killing people was “precisely what that capability was designed for.” Think about how many people were censored, demonized and marginalized by social media tech firms, the mainstream news media, and the medical and scientific communities for the mere suggestion that this virus didn’t jump from bats at a Chinese marketplace.
Wray told FOX News: “the FBI has folks, agents, professionals, analysts, virologists, microbiologists, etc. who focus specifically on the dangers of biological threats, which include things like novel viruses like COVID and the concerns that, in the wrong hands, some bad guys, a hostile nation-state, a terrorist, a criminal, the threats that those could pose. So, here, you’re talking about a potential leak from a Chinese government-controlled lab that killed millions of Americans, and that’s precisely what that capability was designed for. I should add that our work related to this continues, and there are not a whole lot of details I can share that aren’t classified. I will just make the observation that the Chinese government, it seems to me, has been doing its best to try to thwart and obfuscate the work here…and that’s unfortunate for everybody.”
“Unfortunate for everybody,” really? It was genocide. But the FBI also was involved in suppressing the China lab leak story, as was it responsible for suppressing the Hunter Biden laptop story that implicates the current president and his family in using government positions to enrich themselves. But then again, the FBI also was complicit in promoting the false claims that former President Donald Trump was compromised by the Russians, while his opponent Hillary Clinton peddled her position as Secretary of State to enrich the Clinton Foundation and her campaign chairman John Podesta. The FBI seems to be at the center of a lot of lies. So now, after all this time and so many Americans dead or injured because of COVID, the FBI comes clean on Wuhan? What gives? The dam of lies is being broken by truth seekers.
Government, and the science, medical, and media communities have lied to the American people and these lies have been deadly to the citizens the government is constitutionally required to protect. Moreover, many people have been deceived by believing these lies. As Christ said in John 8:43-44, “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” Not measuring what these deceivers say the truth of God’s Word is…say it with me…Stupidocrisy.
Daily Devotion: Everyday Faith - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. —Psalm 73:16–17
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/everyday-faith/ - Listen
Sometimes we wish the Christian life could be a constant state of euphoria in which we’re always experiencing God in some wonderful way.
But we need to realize that when we go to church, we won’t always have a strong sensation of God’s presence. We won’t always be deeply moved by a message. Then again, sometimes we will. When that happens, we can thank God for it.
Still, we don’t live for those times. We don’t depend on them. When we mature spiritually, we understand that we need to apply ourselves to the truths of God. We realize that we need to come down from our spiritual mountaintops to the valleys, to the real world of temptations, challenges, and trials.
Church should equip us, challenge us, and build us up. Something wonderful happens when God’s people come together for worship and Bible study. Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20 NKJV).
Not only is God’s presence manifested in a unique way at church, but we often find a resolution for our problems while there. Or at least we gain a better perspective on how to deal with them.
The psalmist Asaph grappled with the age-old question of why the wicked prosper, and then it dawned on him: “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end” (Psalm 73:16–17 NKJV).
In other words, “I didn’t understand why things are the way they are. But when I came into God’s presence to study His Word with His people, my questions came into their proper perspective.”
When we think about the greatness of God, when we remember the truths of God, it puts our problems in perspective.
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