Keeping it Simple

We have tried to keep the explanations simple. However, the subject matter does take a lot of concentration if you hope to fully appreciate the significance of what it is saying. Here are some tips to help you understand this book better:

1. Look up Bible references as you go. For your convenience, most references are listed in an appendix at the end of each chapter. Make the effort to turn to it each time a Bible reference is mentioned in the text of the chapter. If you do, you will be able to understand more clearly what is being said. The more you understand the passages, the more you will appreciate that we are not taking some isolated text out of context and trying to make it say something that it does not say. What we are looking at in this book is the big picture, based on a broad understanding of the whole message. This takes more effort than simplistic “proof-texting”.

2. Read slowly. It takes time to digest the full meaning, not only of the Bible references, but also of the comments we are making. We have tried to pack a lot of teaching into just a few pages. Time is needed to reflect on the full meaning of each statement.

3. Pay special attention to key terms. We have specifically commented on some, but there are many more. A list of some key terms to watch for as you read this book appears at the end of this introduction. They are part of a very complex inter-related web, which when all put together give a totally consistent picture of what life and the future are all about.

It takes some time, as we move from tree to tree, to give a complete picture of the “forest”, but the end result will be worth the effort, and it will save you from myopic extremes that come from just focusing on one issue. Having said that, we will now give updated comments on a few of the individual “trees”. These comments did not appear in the first editions of this book, and have been written as afterthoughts.

The Pope

From the days of Martin Luther, there has been a large body of teaching about the Pope being the Antichrist. The strongest support for this theory comes from the fact that the Latin title for his role as “Vicar of Christ” is one that adds up to 666 according to the formula described on pages 147-148. This is a significant fact which should not be overlooked, although it has not been dealt with specifically in the main body of this book.
One reason we have not dwelt on this theory is because the title ("Vicar of Christ") belongs to an office rather than to an individual. It may be that the office will at least be used to support the individual who will eventually be the final Antichrist. (See our book, Survivors.) Of course, there is also the possibility that the Antichrist could actually be some future Pope. It does not, however, necessitate condemning all Popes as antichrists.
The Pope, like Solomon, symbolises what the world perceives to be the epitome of religious excellence. Yet the best that the religious world can offer becomes unspeakably evil if it is used to fight against the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Bible says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” (Romans 3:4) In other words, unless we are willing (in loyalty to Christ and to all that he taught) to turn loose of our loyalty to whomever we perceive to be the next most noble religious authority, we are going to err seriously in our attempts to find the truth about anything, including the future.
However, we still maintain that our emphasis should not be on targeting and attacking any individual. The real battle is more one of right and wrong attitudes. Characterisations of people as either demons or as angels often miss the point of God’s grace.

Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses

Groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Seventh Day Adventists have been the world’s chief exponents of endtime prophecy. As such, they deserve some recognition.

Although we do not agree with all of their conclusions, we recognise that the tendency for the religious establishment to condemn them for even attempting to understand prophecy (and coincidentally the tendency to condemn the whole idea of trying to understand prophecy because such groups are associated with it!) has developed moral character in many of those who have been persecuted for their stand.

The Jehovah’s Witnesses in particular are one of the most universally hated groups in the world today, even though most of their opponents could not agree on what it is, exactly, that is so supposedly evil about them.

The Seventh Day Adventists are going through a significant period in their history. In an effort to gain acceptance and to avoid the persecution that the Jehovah’s Witnesses have suffered for their more militant opposition to mainstream Christianity, many Adventists are starting to downplay their traditionally strong stand against religions that continue to worship God on Sundays.

Because we believe their traditional stand was misguided, it is easy to see this shift in their emphasis as being a shift which is taking them a step closer to the truth. However, indications are that it is not a step forward to greater truth, so much as a backward step, based primarily on political expediencies. It has been our misfortune to be accosted aggressively by some Adventists and JW’s (and by individuals from smaller groups, as well as some totally loose cannons) whenever we have been out distributing this book. Such people rarely show any interest in reading what we have to say, because (they tell us) they “know it all already”.

It is this arrogance that has turned so many away from the overall subject of endtime prophecy; and it is also this error which can just about guarantee failure in terms of finding the real secrets of God that are hidden within the pages of the Bible.

We would call on students of Bible prophecy everywhere to exercise greater humility, and greater honesty with regard to the limitations of their own studies, so that we may be able to profit from the truths that God has allowed others besides ourselves to find.

For myself, I must confess that there is very little in this book which is totally original.

But I have been able to learn from many sources which were unwilling to listen to me or to anyone else for that matter. Until we stop behaving so narrowmindedly and break free from our individual delusions of grandeur, endtime prophecy will continue to be equated with crackpots and ratbags.

Armageddon the Movie

Coincidentally, the movie Armageddon was released on video in Australia at about the same time that the first edition of this book became available to the general public. It is worth making some comment on the similarities and differences between the movie and the message of this book. Sadly, the movie (like another one referred to later) gives almost no recognition to God (except in the selfish context of using him to achieve even greater glorification for the supposedly wonderful achievements of mankind). In addition, what little reference the movie makes to the real Armageddon is misleading. (You will be able to appreciate the error more after you have read this book.)

Armageddon, in the Bible, is a term given to a battle in which all the armies of the earth are gathered together to challenge the heavenly armies of God. Although the real Armageddon is closely linked with the “end of the world” as we know it, it really has nothing to do with an asteroid striking the earth.

It would have been more accurate to have called the Armageddon movie "The Tribulation", if the producers had wanted to relate it to an asteroid threat mentioned in Bible prophecy. But such technicalities aside, the asteroid threat is certainly a part of the overall picture leading up to the real Armageddon.
In the biblical account, the world is not saved (by Bruce Willis or anyone else), but neither is it totally destroyed by the asteroid.   It is interesting that the movie version featured a fiery shower of smaller asteroids raining down on the earth just a few days before the big one was to hit. It does appear that the Bible account describes a shower of asteroids as well as a single hit by a huge “mountain”, which causes the whole earth to “reel to and fro like a drunk” as a result.  
The one feature of the real Armageddon that the movie of the same name most accurately depicts is the total lack of genuine repentance that will characterise the inhabitants of the earth at that time. Characters in Armageddon, the movie, thought of loved ones, and some (most notably Muslims and Hindus) flocked to places of worship as the end approached. But nowhere did there appear to be any serious attempt to read into the impending disaster a warning from God Almighty that the inhabitants of the earth should seriously take stock of their goals and values, and make fundamental changes in the way that they were living their lives. Instead, the focus was all on a pack of roughnecks who were going off to “kick ass” in the name of mankind.

Independence Day

There is another slightly older movie, which does an amazingly accurate job of depicting what is actually prophesied in the Bible as going to happen some time after the asteroid hits, during the real battle of Armageddon (although the movie itself makes no claim to being based on any prophecy). That movie is Independence Day. With only a slight change in the script, Independence Day could very well have been called Armageddon.   The events leading up to the Battle of Armageddon as described in the Bible, include a scene where thousands of people are suddenly “beamed up” to a huge spaceship that is actually referred to as a “city” floating in the air over Israel.

The Bible talks of all the armies on earth gathering together below it, in an attempt to wage war on this huge “starship”. In the past, whenever I have read this account, I have found it difficult to believe that the armies of the earth would really be so stupid as to think that they could make war against such a supernatural force as that is described in the Bible. And yet, when you watch Independence Day, you see exactly that happening. And it all sounds so plausible when you realise that the earth’s inhabitants will have been convinced that the invaders are aliens from another world, who have come to destroy the earth. And that is pretty much what they are and what they’ll do… except that they will be aliens from the kingdom of heaven, coming to carry out the will of God!  

Personally I recommend that readers see both movies, primarily because they give a certain Twenty-First Century credibility to what has been written in the Bible for thousands of years. They will certainly make you a little less inclined to laugh at what is described in this book.   -The Author

Key Terms
Below are some key terms that you should be looking for as you read this book. Some could be listed in several groupings. The groupings below are very loose and not representative of the complete picture.   This list will not make much sense now; but remember as you read through this book that we are trying to give you a picture of how they all inter-relate. This will help you to appreciate how complex the subject is.  

The baddies: Prince, king, kingdom, head, beast, dragon, bear, lion, eagle, panther, scarlet/red, prostitute, Babylon, sand/clay.  

The goodies:
  Prince, king, kingdom, Son of Man, Lamb, a white horse, birds, giving birth, woman, virgin, remnant, wilderness, stone/rock, servants, witnesses, God’s people, the Lord’s day.  

Numbers: Three and a half years, ten (toes and horns), three (ribs and horns), seven (heads, mountains, years).  
The Mark:
Images/idolatry, 666, Temple, Solomon, wisdom, greed, gold, Babylon.  

desolation, abomination, ‘great trouble’ [tribulation], trumpets, falling stars, wrath, poured, determined, covenant, sword, signs and wonders (miracles), mystery, floods.