Endtime Ministries
Arafat and Jerusalem: The Palestinian Perspective
In this exclusive Endtime interview, Palestinian Party leader Jeries Soudah, a Greek Orthodox Christian, shows us how little was known back in 1997 about Yasser Arafat. Soudah told us, ì[Arafat] is a peacemaker. He is not a terrorist, a stereotype Israelis use. He really did create the peace with Rabin. The more you know Arafat, the more you will discover this yourself.î

This interview appeared in the September/October 1997 edition of Endtime Magazine.

Jeries Soudah is a Palestinian attorney who lives in Ramallah, a suburb of Jerusalem. He is a leader in the Palestinian Party and works with Yasser Arafat. His son Maher Soudah, who served as the interpreter for this interview, lives in Columbus, Ohio. Jeries was born in Zebulon in northern Israel and Maher was born in Jerusalem. Both Jeries and Maher are Greek Orthodox Christians.

Baxter: Jeries, how long have you known Yasser Arafat?†

Soudah: I first met Arafat in 1970 in Amman, Jordan.†

Baxter: What is your relationship with him?†

Soudah: I am one of the leaders in the Arab Palestinian Party, which is one of the parties that make up the PLO.†

Baxter: Do you work with Yasser Arafat now?†

Soudah: I am an attorney and one of the leaders that works with the PLO. Therefore, I work with Arafat in an indirect way. I meet with Arafat, but I am not a member of Fatah, Arafat's party. I come from another party that works under the PLO.†

Baxter: How well do you know Mr. Arafat?

Soudah: When I go to a meeting with Arafat, I go as a representative of my party. Arafat knows me as a colleague from another party. I'm not in his group; however, I do know him well, and have met with him many times.

Baxter: Mr. Arafat is described by some people as a peacemaker, and by other people as a terrorist. Can you tell me what this man is really like?

Soudah: He is a peacemaker. He is not a terrorist. He convinced everybody about his peace plan, and everybody under the PLO followed him. He really did create the peace with Rabin. Portraying Arafat as a terrorist is a stereotype that Israelis use. You cannot blame the West because it's the way Arafat has been portrayed. The more you know Arafat, the more you will discover this by yourself.†

Baxter: Is it true that Arafat is a descendent of Mohammed?

Soudah: He is not a descendent of Mohammed. King Hussein and the Hashemite people of Jordan are the ones that descend from the prophet Mohammed.

Baxter: If Chairman Arafat were to propose a comprehensive settlement that would be fair for both sides in the Middle East, what would he really be willing to do?†

Soudah: If Arafat is the man to make this decision, he would go with what his people want. This would simply be an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as the capital.†

Baxter: Many people say that Mr. Arafat made the Oslo peace agreement in order to obtain a stronger position so that someday he can attempt the total destruction of the nation of Israel. Immediately after the peace accord was signed, he made a speech in Johannesburg, South Africa, in which he stated that he was making the peace of Mohammed. Mohammed made a peace agreement with the Kuraish tribe. The peace was to last for ten years, but after two years Mohammed broke that peace agreement and destroyed his enemies. There has been a lot of discussion about this speech. If there could be some kind of an agreement, would Arafat really accept it and would the strife be over? Or is this just a strategy?†

Soudah: If we live in reality, we see that people change over time. Our time is not Mohammed's time. Israel, our ""enemy"", is not like Mohammed's enemies. This is a request from the Palestinian people, from the Palestinian leaders, from the PLOñeverybody wants an independent state and Jerusalem as their capital city. That will happen one day. The PLO will give a guarantee that this is a good peace forever. And by the way, Arafat knows he cannot attack Israel or make a war. Israel can destroy the Palestinians, and he knows that. The Palestinians need to go in there and catch up with Israel. So let's be realistic.

Baxter: You brought up the subject of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. This I suppose is the most difficult question because Prime Minister Netanyahu has stated that Jerusalem is not to be negotiated, not now and not ever. Let's say that the nation of Israel holds this stance. Are you saying that there is no other way for peace and that there is going to be war?

Soudah: We say that the United Nations decision the 242 that Israel has to occupy the territory from the West Soudah: United Nations Resolution 242 which states that Israel has to pull out from the occupied territories, from the West Bank and Jerusalem, has to be taken into consideration. If this will not happen or if they will not at least negotiate about Jerusalem, another Civil War, another Intifada, will start (This is just my prediction). This time the entire Arab world will participate in that Intifada. It's not going to be just a Palestinian Intifada. It will be Arabs, Muslims, Christiansña huge Intifada that Israel cannot resist. Arabs are not going to give up the holy place that easily. Palestinians and the whole Arab world are ready to go for a new civil war.

Baxter: Before the election of Benjamin Netanyahu, Shimon Peres had apparently negotiated a secret agreement with the Palestinians. Yossi Beilin had negotiated for Israel and Mahmoud Abbas for the Palestinians. This supposedly was completed in August of 1995, but it had been kept secret because Israeli elections were coming up. But in that agreement, Shimon Peres had agreed to divide Jerusalem and to make part of Jerusalem an International City. If that possibility would come again, there is one big question. There are very powerful forces in Israel that say: ""For 2,000 years we have been away from our temple area, the Temple Mount. Now we want to build our Third Temple."" For 2,000 years Jews all over the world at the Passover supper have said, ""Next year in Jerusalem."" Many of the religious Jews are making plans to build their temple on the Temple Mount right now. Is there any way that the Temple Mount can be shared? Is there any way that the Jews could be allowed to worship on the Temple Mount?†

Soudah: The secret August 1995 agreement was to divide Jerusalem's east and west side. And if that agreement had been implemented, there would have been no problem in having two sides of the cityñIsraeli and Palestinian. But talking about the temple, Israelis say that it has to be built on the site of the Dome of the Rock. The Muslim community will not allow anything to happen to the Dome.

Baxter: I understand that they would not let anything happen to the Dome. However, there is a Hebrew professor in Israel by the name of Asher Kaufman. He believes that the true site of the temple is not where the Dome is. He believes the temple should be built in the large open area north of the Dome of the Rock. He has proposed that the Jews and Arabs could worship side by side. What kind of an attitude would there be in the Arab community towards this kind of solution?†

Baxter: I understand that they would not let anything happen to the Dome. However, there is a Hebrew professor in Israel by the name of Asher Kaufman. He believes that the true site of the temple is not where the Dome is. He believes the temple should be built in the large open area north of the Dome of the Rock. He has proposed that the Jews and Arabs could worship side by side. What kind of an attitude would there be in the Arab community towards this kind of solution

Soudah: The Islamic Arab world will not allow the Israelis to mess around in this area because this is a holy place. They cannot do any construction by this area for one reason. It has not been proven that the temple was ever located there. Even if they do have proof the temple was there, I don't think Arabs will listen, especially the Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran. Maybe you could negotiate with the Palestinians and with the Jordanians. But it is hard to negotiate with those Islamic countries. Palestinians are in between. We want to make peace. But we cannot be peacemakers and lose the Arabs, because we are part of the Arab community.

Baxter: Let me tell you why I asked that question. In the Bible it is prophesied that, in the near future, there will be a temple on the Temple Mount. The prophecy is found in Revelation 11:1-2. It says that John was to measure the temple, but that he should not measure the outer court because it would be under Gentile control. Asher Kaufman does not know this prophecy, but he says that the temple could be built north of the Dome of the Rock, leaving the Dome in the temple's outer court. Since the outer court was the Court of the Gentiles anyway, Kaufman says that it would be permissible for the Dome of the Rock to remain undisturbed. This 2,000-year-old prophecy was written before any of the present situation developed. Yet it foretold that in the endtime the temple would be built, but the outer court would be trodden down by the Gentiles for a period of time. It's almost like the prophecy is exactly what Asher Kaufman is now proposing

Soudah: Don't you think he's smart enough to take this plan from the Bible and explain it his way?

Baxter: I interviewed Kaufman a year ago in May, and he said nothing about that verse in Revelation 11:1-2. He is Jewish, and is not a believer of the New Testament. I don't think he even knows that verse exists. So I found it quite interesting that what he's proposing appears to fit perfectly the prophecies of the New Testament.

Soudah: The Muslims believe that this whole area is a holy area. You cannot do construction in that area whether you are Jewish or Christian. In doing what this man has planned, this means you are attacking the holy private properties and beliefs of the Muslims.

Baxter: The Jews also believe that this is a holy area. They believe that Almighty God put His name there. Now in my opinion, God no longer dwells in specific locations. So this is not me. I am talking from a Jewish perspective. Jews believe that God put his name on the Temple Mount, and so it is a holy area. The Arabs also believe it is a holy area. So what do we do? Do we solve it? Is there any way to solve it?

Soudah: It's a tough one. But do Jews have proof that this is the site of their holy place?

Baxter: I was just in Israel and went down into the Hasmonian Tunnel which runs along the western wall of the Temple Mount. You can see the entrances from the time of the Second Temple. You can see the arches and the gates that led into the temple from this tunnel.

Soudah: Maybe this is right. There are the arches and everything, but are these from a Jewish temple being there? How do we know that these are not Muslim or Christian constructions?

Baxter: According to the history of the world, the temple was on the Temple Mount. The sealed gate, which is the eastern gate, is lined right up with this area. I'm not arguing for the building of a temple because, from a Christian perspective, we don't need a temple anymore. I'm merely presenting to you the situation that could blow our world up.†

Soudah: I am not saying that this is not true. Maybe there are certain pieces that prove that something Jewish was there. But there is no absolute proof that a .Jewish temple ever stood there

Baxter: Yes, the temple is gone. The temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.†

Soudah: I know. There is no such thing as 100 percent proof that this is a Jewish temple. I am not denying the fact that there are pieces, but why claim that it is Jewish?

Baxter: I understand what you are saying. I don't suppose the Arab's can prove everything they say about this place, and I don't suppose the Jews can prove everything they say about this place. It doesn't matter whether you can prove everything or not. What matters isñthe Jews do believe that here is where their temple was and where God said I will put my name. It's all through the Old Testament. So then the question becomes, is there anyway we can compromise on the Temple Mount issue, or will this trigger World War III? We're not the only ones wrestling with this issue. This is what ultimately Arafat, Netanyahu and President Clinton are going to have to face. Mr. Netanyahu said in 1995 that, when he became prime minister, Jews would be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. He's now building on Har Homa to demonstrate Israeli control over all of Jerusalem. Maybe the next move will be to launch construction of the Third Temple.

Soudah: Throughout the Arab world it is known that negotiations are being conducted. A lot of people are not happy with what Arafat is doing. Other people are happy. But you cannot please everybody. However, when it gets to that sensitive pointñJerusalem, I think there will be another war. The Islamic and the Arab world just cannot compromise concerning Jerusalem. They just can't. Because, this is not just a peace for the Palestinians. The Jews think it's just a matter of negotiating with the Palestinians, but that's not right.

Soudah: Everybody in Saudi Arabia has a one-hundred percent right to vote yes or no about what happens on the Temple Mount, and they are not going to vote yes. All the Muslim world is involved here, and Netanyahu knows that. If he insists upon praying here, he is just getting on the nerves of the Arabs and the Muslim world. And at that point there is no such thing as peace. The peace process that has been formed will be destroyed in a second.

Baxter: So what you are telling me is what I see in the Bible. I see in the Bible a big war over Jerusalem. You are telling me that you think there is war coming over Jerusalem as well.

Soudah: Absolutely. If both sides, especially Netanyahu, are not going to negotiate properly, there will be war.†

Baxter: Among the Arab populous, would negotiating properly mean agreeing with the Arab stance?†

Soudah: In what way?

Baxter: For instance, Netanyahu may believe that negotiating properly is offering to share the Temple Mount. Perhaps he might sayñwe took the Temple Mount in 1967. We could have bulldozed down the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque, and there would not have been anything you could have done about it. But we were kind and allowed you to return to your holy places. We even voluntarily placed them under your jurisdiction. We didn't have to do that. Now we're asking you to share the Temple Mount with us. We won't disturb the Dome of the Rock. Let's worship together and live in peace together. What would the Arabs' reply be?†

Soudah: I think that the Arab world will never negotiate this with Netanyahu. If you negotiate on dividing of the Temple Mount, you are acknowledging that Netanyahu has a right to part of it. You are admitting that he has the right to move the temple or whatever he wants to do. That is contradicting to your beliefs. You cannot say this is my house. But when someone comes along and attacks you, you say, ""OK, I'll give you my bedroom."" The principle of negotiation on this piece of property is not acceptable in the Arab Islamic world. They can negotiate on East and West Jerusalem. But when it comes to the Temple Mount, there is no such negotiationñeven if it's going to get us into World War III.†

Baxter: Are you aware of a document called the Jerusalem Covenant?

Soudah: No, not really.

Baxter: This document states that Jerusalem must never be surrendered and must never again be divided. It was signed by Yitzhak Rabin during the time he was the head of the Israeli Defense Forces in 1992. The Jerusalem Covenant was also signed by Yitzhak Shamir, Teddy Kollek, both of Israel's Chief Rabbis and most all of Israel's cabinet members. This covenant stated that Israel will never again allow Jerusalem to be divided and that it must remain under Israeli sovereignty forever. The Jerusalem Covenant is on display in a six-foot-long glass case on the main floor of the Israeli Knesset, their government headquarters. So the Israelis say that Jerusalem must never be divided. The Arabs say that if Jerusalem is not divided, there will be war. It looks like to me, unless something gives, that Arabs and Israelis are on a collision course on the Jerusalem issue.

Soudah: The Arabs and the Palestinians have no problem with dividing the city between the east and the west. The east was the Arab side and the west was the Israeli side. They have no problem with this. They don't care what those people signed when they signed the Jerusalem Covenant. We also want East and West Jerusalem to be united, but under two different governments. However, the Temple Mount is in the east side and that is why we cannot negotiate on this. We can negotiate on Jerusalem, but we cannot negotiate on Eastern Jerusalem.

Baxter: I understand. Let's talk a little more about Yasser Arafat. I recently heard a man state that Arafat has influence far beyond the West Bank in such places as Sudan and Libya.

Soudah: In what way?†

Baxter: This man stated that Arafat is very powerful in these places. Is there is any truth to this?

Soudah: Arafat has a lot of fans in the Arab world, whether in Sudan, Tunisia, Libya, or wherever. At the same time, he has many who are against him, even in Palestine. There are many who like Arafat, and there are many that do not.

This is the way of democracy. Even President Clinton, the Republicans don't like him. That's just politics. But Arafat has nothing to do with terrorism in Sudan or Libya.

Baxter: This man that I heard speaking said that Arafat is, among the Arab world, called ""the horn."" Is there any truth to that?†

Soudah: Not really. I have never heard of that.

Baxter: Arafat's name Yasserñwhere did it come from?

Soudah: The word s literally means one who has money; a skillful man or one who provides you with a nice lifestyle.

Baxter: Is it true that Muslims believe that Jesus is coming back to the earth?

Soudah: They do. There is one area of the Koran that says that He will come back.†

Baxter: Do you know if they believe the time of his return is approaching now?

Soudah: I am not sure whether they believe he is coming soon or not. We hardly discuss religious things.

Baxter: I've been reading that the Christian population is decreasing in the West Bank and the Muslims are becoming more and more predominant. Is this because Christians are being put under pressure, or why is this happening?†

Soudah: Many of the Christians are located in the south of the landñRamallah, Bethlehem, Jerusalem. You find few Christians in Jenin and Nablus. The further you go north, the more Muslim people that you find. There are always exceptions to the ruleñfor example in Hebron. The majority of Christian Arabs have more money and are well educated. They go outside of the country more easily because of their common religious culture. This is one reason the Christian population is in decline. The opportunity for the Muslim to come to the United States or to Europe is less because of financial and religious barriers. Consequently he is forced to stay at home.

Baxter: Do many of the Palestinians see Arafat as somewhat of a savior or messiah? Is there a feeling like that?

Soudah: The fans of Arafat think that he is a good leader, he's a peace maker, but they don't look at him as a savior. He's just a political leader. They see him as a human being, a leader, trying to create peace and to get them what they want.

Baxter: Arafat and the Pope have met together many times. What is the relationship there?†

Soudah: As a political leader, the way to lead your country is in the way that Arafat does. There is no discrimination or prejudice whether you are a Christian or a Muslim. Arafat treats everybody equal. The relationship with the Pope demonstrates that there is no difference between the Muslims and the Christians. The Pontiff looks at Arafat as a brother and as a political leader.

Baxter: In many Arab countries, this is not true. In Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other Islamic countries, there is no allowance for Christian activity at all. What's the possibility that this situation will eventually encroach upon Palestine?

Soudah: Never, for one reason. Palestine has not been built on whether you are Muslim or Christian. We are not an Islamic country.

Baxter: Could it ever become one?

Soudah: No. Because when we were under the control of the Jordanian's, there was never a difference between Muslims and Christians. Now in Jordan there is. But Palestinians have never had a tradition of separation or conflict on the basis of religion.†

Baxter: Islam is sweeping all the Arab countries. That's the reason I asked about the possibility of it happening to the Palestinians.

Soudah: I think it is just the quality of our people. Most of us are well educated. Once you go out and get in touch with the western world, you realize that an Islamic form of government is not realistic.

Baxter: Is there anything else you would like for our readers to understand?

Soudah: Yes. The main thing everyone needs to understand is that Israel is being supported by the United States of America. If the U.S. administration wants to put pressure on Israel, it can through U.N. Resolutions 242 and 338. If the U.S. doesn't want to put pressure on Israel, then the situation will have to go to the United Nations for their final decision. At that point the U.N. will put pressure on Israel like it did against Saddam Hussein. All the Palestinians hope for is that the United States would not be pro-Israeli or pro-Palestinian. We just want the U.S. to be for justice, for fairness, for peace. Everybody knows the United States has been supporting Israel for a long, long time.†

Baxter: The veto power of the United States at the United Nations is the only thing that has kept the U.N. from acting against Israel to this point. The vote on Har Homa was 130 to 2.

Maher Soudah: Let me tell you something. I went home in 1994, and I was driving with an American drivers license. Some Israeli soldiers stopped me. I was driving my mom's car with no Israeli drivers license because I was living here in Ohio. By Israeli law you cannot drive with an international drivers license in your homeland. With an international drivers license, I can drive in Canada, France, but not in Israel. I gave them my international drivers license, and they said this is not acceptable. So he asked me to get out of the car and proceeded to arrest me. Then the captain of the General Police came. I gave him my Ohio drivers license, and he said, ""Oh, yeah this will work. Israel is the fifty-first state."" So my point is, Israelis consider themselves as the fifty-first state. They accepted the Ohio license but not the international license. All the Palestinians are hoping for is for the U.S. to support peace, not Israel; justice, not Israel; to get to a final agreement.†

Baxter: I believe the United Nations will invade Israel for the final battle called Armageddon. I believe the Bible says that will happen.

Soudah: The Bible says that about the U.N.

Baxter: Yes. It says, ""I will gather all nations against Jerusalem.""

Soudah: How do you know that will be against the Israelis and not the Palestinians?

Baxter: Zechariah 12:8-9 proves this conclusively: ""In that day shall the LORD defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the LORD before them. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem."" This passage specifically refers to the house of David. Furthermore, it is pretty obvious that all the nations of the world are now aligned against Israel. The vote on Har Homa was 130 to 2. The two were the Unites States and Israel. God loves all people, no matter who they are. I don't believe God loves Jews better than Arabs or Arabs better than anybody else. But God is going to fight for Israel when it comes to Jerusalem because he promised Jerusalem to them.

Soudah: This is the whole point. U.N. Resolution 242 says that Israel has to pull out of the occupied territory and all of the settlements.

Baxter: Israel says that she will accept Resolution 242. Israel says, ""We will trade land for peace, but not all the land for peace.""

Soudah: The 242 Resolution requires Israel to return everything that was taken in the 1967 War. This includes the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Baxter: I know that's what the Arabs say and what the U.N. says. But Israel on the other hand has said, ""Wait a minute. We were attacked in 1967. Egypt committed acts of war against us and therefore we had to attack."" When the 1967 War broke out, Israel called King Hussein and said, ""If you will not attack us, we will not bother you."" But King Hussein said he could not stay out of the war. He had to show solidarity with this Arab brethren. So he came into the war, and Israel swept all the way to the Jordan River. Now Israel says, ""You guys picked the fight, and yet you want us to give everything back."" How do you respond to that?†

Soudah: In what way?

Baxter: Can you pick a fight with someone and then after they whip you say, ""O.K. Give it all back?""

Soudah: That's politics. King Hussein just admitted a couple of weeks ago that one the biggest mistakes of his life was the 1967 War.

Baxter: Most people think that King Hussein is a good leader. Jeries and Maher, it has been good to meet with you. Thank you very much for sharing with our readers your insights concerning Arafat and Jerusalem from a Palestinian perspective.

","Middle East","Irvin Baxter Jr." 48,"July/August 1995"," Is the Book of Revelation in Chronological Order?","

The article, ""Chernobyl--The Third Trumpet?"" in the May/June, 1995, issue of Endtime, provoked many inquiries and comments about the sequence of endtime events and the chronological order of the book of Revelation. One typical comment stated: ""I enjoyed your well-supported article concerning Chernobyl being the third trumpet; but if this is true, why am I still here? I always thought the events of Revelation, from chapter four on, would occur during the Great Tribulation.""

Two key questions
There are two key questions that must be answered if we are to understand the sequence of events in endtime prophetic fulfillment. 1. Do the final seven years before Armageddon, commonly referred to as Daniel's 70th week, begin in Revelation 4:1? 2. Are the events of the book of Revelation in chronological order?

Three categories
In Revelation 1:19 Jesus instructed John: ""Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter."" Everything in the book of Revelation falls into these three categories.

  • Chapter one speaks mostly of the things ""which thou hast seen.""
  • Chapters two and three pertain to the ""things which are."" They contain messages to the seven churches which existed at that time in Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). History states that John, after writing the book of Revelation on the Isle of Patmos, was later released and served as the overseer of these seven churches. Some have theorized that the messages to the seven churches of Asia were prophetic of seven church ages extending from the early church to the second coming of Christ. However, there is absolutely no biblical proof at all for this theory. These messages to the seven churches were not prophetic, but all of the messages can certainly be preached to churches today.
  • Revelation 4:1 marks the beginning of the prophecies about things that would occur in the future from John's vantage point. Notice what it says: ""After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.""

The things that had been shown to John up to this point were things ""which thou hast seen"" or ""things which are."" Chapter 4, verse 1 begins the revelation of things in the future.

Rapture in Revelation 4:1?
When studying as a young man, some of the books I read on prophecy taught that the rapture occurred and the final seven years began in Revelation 4:1. Several things caused me to conclude that this was not true.

First, I felt that God helped me to understand the identity of the four horsemen contained in the first four seals of Revelation 6. I saw that the red horse was Communism, the black horse was Capitalism, the white horse was Catholicism, and the pale horse was death. (For a full theological explanation of the four horsemen, read chapter three of A Message for the President.) Once I understood the meaning of the first four seals, it became obvious that they had been opened for some time.

I understood in 1968 that the healing of the deadly wound in Revelation 13:3 would be the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany. This was published in A Message for the President in 1986. The Wall fell in 1989, and I realized that the events of Revelation 13 were being fulfilled right then.

When I first heard that Chernobyl is the Russian word for wormwood, I shrugged it off as just one more rumor. However, the ramifications, if this were true, seemed to continually resurface in my mind. Finally, I began to research in order to determine if this could possibly be true. I began this process skeptical, but wound up being convinced. I could find no holes in the prophecy or its fulfillment. Consequently, I was forced to conclude that the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986 was the sounding of the third trumpet in Revelation 8:10-11.

All of these factors convinced me that the rapture does not take place and the final seven years do not begin in Revelation 4:1.

Objections
Why do some teach that the rapture occurs in Revelation 4:1? Let's look at the scripture again: ""After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.""

Those, who teach that this verse depicts the rapture, cite the voice talking to John saying ""come up hither"" and the ""voice like the sound of a trumpet"" as evidence. After careful study I concluded that this verse meant just what it said. It was merely John being caught up into heaven (whether in the body or out of the body, we do not know) and being shown things of the future.

My belief that the rapture did not occur in Revelation 4:1 was further strengthened when I noticed that the marriage of the bride (the church) to the Lamb (Jesus) did not take place until Revelation 19:7-9; ""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.""

One of the key points for those who believe the rapture occurs in Revelation 4:1 is that later in chapter 4, there were twenty-four elders seated before the throne of God. They contend that the twenty-four elders symbolize the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve apostles of the church. The reasoning continues that, if the apostles are in heaven in Revelation 4:4, the rapture had to have taken place before then.

The error in this reasoning is obvious when we consider Paul's writings. He said in II Corinthians 5:8 that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. He even said in Philippians 1:23-24: ""I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."" Paul was teaching that when a child of God dies, he is immediately in the presence of the Lord. This shows that a rapture does not have to take place in order for saints to be in heaven. Saints, who have already died, are right now in the presence of the Lord! It is true that all saints will not be given their new bodies until the time of the rapture.

The chronological order of Revelation
The key to understanding the order of the book of Revelation is to realize that the sixth seal, the seventh trumpet, and the seventh vial are the exact same occurrence. The seven seals are the long story ending at the revelation of Jesus at Armageddon, the seven trumpets are the shorter story ending at Armageddon, and the seven vials are the very short story ending at Armageddon.

Jesus Himself prophesied concerning these events.
When we consider the description of these same events by Jesus Christ, the case for this view becomes even more compelling. In Jesus' sermon, in Matthew 24 concerning the last days, he told us exactly when the sixth seal, the seventh trumpet, and the seventh vial would take place: ""Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken."" These are the same things that occur at the sixth seal, seventh trumpet, and the seventh vial. Jesus explicitly states that these things will occur ""immediately after the tribulation of those days.""

Vials of wrath will be poured out at Armageddon
The seven vials of Revelation 16 are almost exact duplicates of the plagues that God sent upon Egypt in the Old Testament. God used the plagues of Egypt against Pharaoh at the time of Israel's deliverance from bondage. Likewise, God will pour out the vials upon the Russian-led world government armies when they come down against Israel at Armageddon.

The description of these things is found in Ezekiel 38:18-22; ""And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face. For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel; So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.""

Conclusion
The seven seals began with the advent of Catholicism and will conclude at Armageddon. The trumpets began much later (possibly World War I) and end at Armageddon. It appears that the vials will all be poured out during a very short period immediately after the Great Tribulation. They too conclude at the Battle of Armageddon and the second advent of Jesus Christ.

So the book of Revelation is in an order, but it is not in chronological order from beginning to end. The seals, trumpets, and the vials comprise the basic structure of Revelation, but there are many other special subjects dealt with, from time to time, throughout the book. Some events spoken of in the sixth chapter will occur after things prophesied in the seventeenth chapter.

The book of Revelation is like a puzzle that must be put together. Isaiah 28:13 explains it this way: ""But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.""

","Prophecy Insights","Irvin Baxter Jr." 49,"September/October 1992"," The Four Horsemen Have Arrived!","Most people have been taught that the four horsemen of Revelation 6 represent the Antichrist, war, famine, and death. Does this line up with scripture?

The identity of the four horsemen has been shrouded in mystery for many years. However, God obviously intended for someone to understand these symbols since He included them in the Bible.

This prophecy insight article clearly identifies the White, Red, Black and Pale Horses, and proves they are in the world now! It also shows these four invisible forces control the nations and even affect your life!

This story appeared in the September/October 1992 edition of Endtime. In expanded form, it is also the 4th lesson of Irvin Baxter Jr.'s Understanding the Endtime 10-lesson Prophecy Home Bible Study.

The fall of the Berlin Wall, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Saddam Hussein--what does it all mean? Do these world events have any rational correlation, or are they merely the sporadic gasps of a world in crisis?!

In his book ""Communism, Democracy, and Catholic Power"", Paul Blanshard contended that the world is controlled by three international forces. He stated that most every conflict among nations can be traced to the struggle among these three powers.

Interestingly, one of America's foremost Roman Catholic writers Malachi Martin has reached the same conclusion! In his book ""Keys of This Blood"", Martin states that the world is now certain to move into world government. The only question is _ who will rule this New World Order? He says there are only three geopolitical forces with the necessary structure and power base to rule the world ___ Catholicism, Communism, and Capitalism. He believes the '90s will determine the victor.

This is all so intriguing because the Bible prophesies that these are the powers which will struggle for world dominion at this time. Even more amazing is that the Bible prophesies who will win!

Catholicism, Capitalism, and Communism in the Bible
The Bible speaks of four great spirits which control the actions of human beings, leaders of governments, and ultimately, even the governments of the world themselves. One of these spirits will become the dominating force in the program of the future world dictator known as the Antichrist.

In Revelation 6:1-8 in the Bible, there is a prophecy of four horsemen. The horses are white, red, black, and pale colored.

In Zechariah 6:1-8 the same prophecy is given depicting white horses, red horses, black horses, and grisled and bay horses. In verse five Zechariah was told what the horses symbolize--""These are the four SPIRITS of the heavens, which go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth."" Each of these horses symbolizes a ""spirit"", and the color of the horses is very important.

The Red Horse
What international spirit or power on earth is known as the ""red"" power? Communism, of course! The communist nations of Red China, Red Russia, Red Romania, et cetera are nations conquered by revolution at the cost of many lives. The prophecy states that ""Power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth"". Everywhere communism raises its ugly head, war breaks out. Korea, Berlin, the Congo, Cuba, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Nicaragua are just a few of the many examples. Communists, as the scripture says, even kill one another (Revelation 6:4). Many world figures feel that war will eventually break out between Russia and China, the two main bastions of communism. Finally, in the same verse (6:4), there was given to the rider of the red horse a great sword. The prophecy is completely fulfilled! What greater sword exists in the world today than the combined military might of Russia and China? Is there a nation that would like to go to war against these two giants?! The red spirit which takes peace from the earth is communism.

The Black Horse
The December 9, 1966 issue of Time Magazine, page 34, reported that a new coalition government had recently been formed in Germany between the Socialist and the Christian Democratic parties. A comment made concerning the union said, ""... a grand coalition of the two major parties -- the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, that have bitterly fought each other for years...(has been made). A union of black and red, it was a marriage of convenience -- but a stunning match nonetheless"". In political and news circles socialism is referred to as the ""red power"", and capitalism is called the ""black power.""

Let's apply the rest of the scripture about the black horse: ""...he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hands"" (Revelation 6:5). Capitalism thrives on commerce. The world's capitalistic nations enjoy higher standards of living than the other nations of the world! The capitalistic message to the world is the message of trade. This is reinforced in the next portion of the prophecy: ""A measure of wheat for a penny; and three measures of barley for a penny"" (Revelation 6:6). One of the things heard daily in the news of capitalistic countries is, ""Dow Jones Industrials up 3 cents; AT&T down a penny; Xerox is steady"". This passage is a prophetic stock market report! The stock markets are at the center of capitalistic economies.

In verse 6 of the same passage, the Bible says ""... and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."" One of the quickest ways for a man to lose office in the political world of capitalism is for the economy of that nation to suffer under his administration. One of the major issues of any political campaign in the free world countries is that of the economy. The black horse is the spirit of capitalism foreseen by God 2,000 years ago!

The White Horse
White is used as a symbol of peace. Usually, the Roman Catholic pope wears white garments. His personal helicopter is white. It should be noted that the predominant message of Roman Catholicism is the message of peace. The Vatican has become a diplomatic peace center. When peace is being negotiated between rulers of our world, the pope and other high officials of the Roman Catholic Church are many times consulted. Newspapers, magazines, books, television, and radio applaud his efforts towards peace. Pope Paul VI was the world's first religious leader to speak before the United Nations assembly. His message was, ""Lay down your arms. War no more. Never again!"".

Notice that the rider of the white horse in Revelation had a bow, but no arrows. He had weapons, but was not shooting live ammunition. His weapons are peace, religion, and diplomacy. A crown was given to the one sitting on the white horse. History teaches that the pope originally had no crown. But today the pope wears a tiara consisting of three crowns.

Finally, Revela-tion 6:2 states that the rider of the white horse went forth conquering and to conquer. Although Catholicism at present has no standing army, it is certainly a conquering power. When the majority of the people of a nation becomes Catholic that nation is referred to as a ""Catholic"" nation. This is the spirit of the white horse conquering and to conquer!

The Pale Horse
The Bible plainly states that the name of the man who sat on the pale horse was ""Death"", and ""Hell"" followed with him. The significance of Hell following Death is what we must understand.When people die their individual fate is sealed. People who die in wickedness go immediately to hell (see Luke 16:20-31). So the sooner death can claim individuals, the less chance they have of being saved and entering into the Kingdom of God.

Notice the tools of ""Death"": first the sword, which includes war, crime, and revolution; second hunger or famine (many Bible scholars interpret the black horse to be famine, but if this were true, the fourth spirit would duplicate the third spirit); and third the beasts of the earth, a tool of Death which would exist mainly in the more backward nations of the world.

The four seals of Revelation 6:1-8 represent Catholicism, Communism, Capitalism, and Death. Each of these spirits are international spirits: there are Catholic nations, communistic nations, capitalistic nations, and nations where famine, the sword, hunger, and the beasts of the earth rule.

The Bible even prophesies in which parts of the world these international spirits would have dominion! The angel speaking with Zechariah told him that the black horses went forth into the ""north country"" (Zechariah 6:6). More than 2,500 years ago, God foretold that capitalism would exist in the northern countries! Look on a world map. You will find that every major capitalistic country is in the northern hemisphere! Note that Germany, France, Great Britain, the United States, and Canada are all northern countries. Isn't it wonderful that God gave us His divine, supernatural word so that we could have understanding in these last times?

In Zechariah 6:8 the angel cried, ""Behold, these that go toward the north country have quieted my spirit in the north country."" God is saying here that capitalism has hindered the moving of His spirit in the northern countries. It is easier to persuade people to serve God in poverty stricken countries and in communist countries than in America and other capitalistic nations. Capitalism breeds a spirit of selfishness and a ""do-as-I-please"" attitude which cannot exist in a true Christian. Jesus said, ""If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me"" (Matthew 16:24).

The grisled horses of Zechariah 6:6 went toward the south country. The grisled and bay horses represent one of the four spirits in the earth. We have learned from Zechariah 6:5 that there are four spirits: the white horses, the red horses, the black horses, and grisled and bay horses. These grisled & bay horses seen by Zechariah represent the same thing as the pale horse seen by John in the book of Revelation. Webster's Dictionary says that a ""pale"" horse is one lacking in intensity of color, or void of luster. The colors ""grisled"" and ""bay"", according to Webster, are both lackluster colors; the grisled being a gray and the bay being a dull reddish brown. The ""bay"" horse was the spirit of death which walked to and fro through the earth (Zechariah 6:7). John's pale horse in Revelation is identical to Zechariah's grisled and bay. The grisled horse represents the forces that work with death in Revelation 6:8 -- hunger, poverty, disease and beasts. The nations located in the southern hemisphere have suffered these fates the most, because the grisled horses went into the ""south"". These countries include Africa, South America, India, China, et cetera. The average life span in some of these southern countries is as low as 40 years! Certainly God knew this spirit was going into the southern countries.

The most important thing about this prophecy of the four horses is the identification of the form that the last world government will assume. In Rev 17:3 the beast representing the kingdom of the Antichrist is a ""red"" beast. This indicates that this last world government will be socialistic. Perhaps communism is not quite as dead as we have been led to believe!

It is obvious that the economy of the Antichrist depicted in Revelations 13:15-18 is a socialistic economy. Every person's economic activity will be controlled by a number without which he cannot buy or sell. Government controlled economy is socialism.

Paul Blanshard contended that 3 international forces, communism, Catholicism, and capitalism, rule the world. Malachi Martin graphicly stated the exact same thing. The amazing thing is that the Bible prophesied concerning these 3 spirits 2,000 years ago.

Right now the world is in great revolution and upheaval. People are questioning the validity of capitalism and communism. When the victor of the present struggle emerges, some form of socialism will rule the New World Order. Malachi Martin said he believed the winner for world control would be determined in the '90s. I have to agree!

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