Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Another Forgotten Story

Cynthia Chung explains that China’s experience in World War 2 is too often forgotten today.

When WWII started and Japan had taken the side of fascism, China contributed its military forces on the side of the Allies. China had the second highest death toll in WWII after the Soviet Union. However, if you look more closely at the graph depicted above, the number of civilian deaths is much higher than military deaths (by about 12 million). This is because the Japanese fascists committed genocide on the Chinese people. The most notorious being the Nanking massacre which not only had a gruesomely large death toll but became infamous for its horrific torture and mass rape on the Chinese people. During this ethnic cleanse by the Japanese fascists throughout the entire WWII (which overlapped the second Sino-Japanese war), mass graves were dug out and millions of Chinese people would be told to step inside before they were shot to death. The Jewish holocaust is recognised as one of the worst crimes against humanity in recent history. However, not much is given to the memory of the mass genocide that was committed on the Chinese people during the same period.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Forgotten Story

Cynthia Chung explains that China’s involvement in both WWI is too often forgotten today.

When WWI had started, China offered their support militarily to the cause of the Allies. Japan had already become a member of the Allied force and it was recognised that their relationship with China was not on ‘friendly’ terms, especially since the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895.

China’s loss in this war allowed for a series of treatises that divided chunks of China amongst several nations. One particular region that China very much wanted back was Shandong, which was considered sacred land for the Chinese people since it was not only Confucius’ birthplace but also home to the ancient state of Qin, the last kingdom conquered by Qin Shi Huang, who proclaimed himself China’s first emperor in 219 B.C. Japan was at the time in possession of this region.

Japan was asked whether China could be ‘permitted’ to contribute military support for the Allied cause, to which Japan refused since this would give China a more equal footing with its relations to the West. Despite this refusal, China offered to support the Allies as laborers. Starting in 1916, China began shipping thousands of men to Britain, France and Russia who would work to repair tanks, assemble shells, transport supplies and munitions. Since China was officially neutral, commercial businesses were formed to provide the labor.

After a year of supplying labor, the Chinese contribution remained largely unrecognised diplomatically. By the end of the war, Chinese workers would rank as the largest and longest-serving non-European contingent in WWI.

By the end of the war, western powers ultimately awarded the Shandong territory to Japan in the Treaty of Versailles. China was understandably upset and refused to sign the treaty. The Versailles Treaty became a clear sign to the Chinese that they could not trust the European nations to support China’s welfare and that China would have to look elsewhere for support moving forward. [America did eventually intervene on this decision and awarded the territory to China in 1922.]

Another blow would be China’s earning of only two seats at the Paris Peace Conference, relative to Japan’s five seats, the reason why China had fewer seats was because they did not play a military role in the war- a role they were forbidden to play.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Trade with China (3) Slave Labour and War

The Convention of Peking was part of the settlement of the Opium Wars.

The Convention permitted British ships to carry indentured Chinese workers to the Americas. The demand for Chinese workers in plantation economies and for railway construction rose sharply with the limitation and ultimate abolition of the slave trade in the nineteenth century. To many contemporary observers, the ensuing “coolie trade” had many commonalities with the earlier slave trade—including brutal patterns of recruitment, frequent cases of kidnapping, inhuman conditions of transport, and high rates of laborers performing the work. In fact, the two practices were at times hard to differentiate. (101
Many Chinese were brought to America as coolies, but they were little better than slaves.

Chinese labour was used again during World War 1.

Even though China was still, in theory, a neutral country. The British and French governments, to make up for labour shortages in France, as well as to release British dockworkers in French ports military duty, employed over 140,000 Chinese contract workers between 1916 and 1918. During their sojourn in France, these Chinese workers were employed in a wide variety of war-related jobs, both behind the lines (in transportation, armaments and munitions production, machinery maintenance, and aerodrome construction) and at the front (making road repairs, digging trenches, and burying war dead). In evening schools set up by Chinese students in France, the workers were taught to read and write. When they returned to China after the war, they became an important driving force for social and political change. In the French factories, in particular, they had also become committed labor activists and acquired the skills and techniques of political mobilisation. (233)
Despite the contribution to the war effort made by the Chinese workers, the Western leaders who met at Versailles decided to give the eastern portion of Shandong province, which had formerly been controlled by Germany (German Kiaochow) to Japan rather than return it to China. This injustice has not been forgotten.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Trade with China (2) Boxer Rebellion

Chinese opposition to the foreign intrusion in their country continued, just as American settlers got tired of British interference in the colonies. In 1900, the Boxer Rebellion broke out. Peasants who felt betrayed went on rampages against the foreigners who were taking advantage of them. Westerners only know about the Boxer Rebellion from the movie 55 Days in Peking, which gives a rather slanted view of the events.

The first clash was with the Germans, but the crisis quickly escalated and the largest international force that the world has seen was despatched to put down the rebellion. In June 1900, the Boxers laid foreign legations in the Chinese capital, including the embassies of Russia, France, Japan, the United States. By early August, a multinational coalition of nineteen thousand soldiers, including British, French, Japanese, Russian, German, Austrian, Italian, and American troops, was mobilized from Tianjin, which had been occupied in late July. The force reached Beijing on August and prepared immediately to attack the city gates. It entered the city on August 14 and by opening the way for British units to relieve the legation compound, quickly lifted the siege of the legation quarter and the Northern Cathedral.

The Europeans followed up by sending an even larger force to extract revenge. Vessels carrying roughly ninety thousand European, soldiers, among them twenty-two thousand Germans, arrived in Tianjin. Although the Chinese armies had been defeated, the allied army carried out seventy-five “punitive expeditions” around Beijing and Tianjin. These were directed against the general population.

Almost immediately after their arrival in China, members of the eight armies turned to looting. It began with the occupation of Tianjin in late July and stretched well into October 1900 in Beijing. Later, diplomats and missionaries joined the soldiers in looting. The sack of Beijing was similar to what had occurred at the Summer Palace forty years earlier, as “loot fever” took hold among the foreigners The ensuing phase of uncontrolled plunder affected not only Beijing and the new Summer Palace on its western outskirts, but many other cities and towns in the province of Zhili. The German commander Waldersee admitted quite frankly in a November 1900 diary entry the extent of damage and destruction inflicted by looters on Beijing and other wealthy, centuries-old cities.
By the permitted plundering for three days after the occupation, which was followed by private plundering the population of Beijing suffered great, not even quantifiable material damage. Each nationality assigns to another the palm in the art of looting; but the fact remains that they have plundered thoroughly... There is now a rich trade going on with the objects acquired in the plundering. Already traders, namely from America, arrived making fortunes... If one is so naïve at home to believe that all this was done for Christian culture and propaganda, he will be disappointed.
From 1900 to 1902, Beijing and Tianjin were placed under foreign occupation. Barracks were built in Tianjin to house thousands of foreign troops, and a provisional government was set up there by the allied forces. (185)
The Boxer Protocol was forced on the Chinese a year later.
The Chinese government also had to prohibit by law the founding of anti-foreign societies. The nations that had against the uprising gained the right to post permanent garrisons in North China. The most devastating clause, however, concerned the huge indemnity of 450 million tael, excluding interest, which far exceeded the Qing government’s annual budget of 250 million tael. This sum represented the sum submitted by other countries for military expedition costs, damages to property, and lives lost. There was, however, no process by which the validity of the claims and their amounts was assessed requirement to make this large annual payment mortgaged the budgets of Chinese governments tor decades to come, with significant consequences. (185)
The Chinese government was forced to pay all the expenses of the nations that had invaded them and looted their wealth. The collapse of the government a few years later led to the nation being split up and ruled by cruel warlords for a couple of decades.

The people of the United States and Europe have forgotten these events, although they enjoy seeing Chinese artefacts in their museums and antique shows. But the Chinese have not forgotten. So when they rip off Western companies, they are just doing what was done to them by Christian nations a century earlier.

Friday, December 27, 2019

Trade with China (1) Opium Wars

The efforts to negotiate a trade deal between the US and China seems to be failing. Many Americans are angry because they believe that the Chinese are cheating and ripping off their businesses.

Before judging, we should read a bit of history. The early Chinese experience in dealing with the nations of the West was not that great. (The quotes come from Making China Modern by Klaus Muhlhahn).

In the nineteenth century, British merchants were importing exporting opium from India and selling it in China. The Chinese government was concerned about their impact that opium was having on their people, so they closed the border to British merchants. The British were upset by this action, so they sent gunboats.

In June 1840, with the arrival of a British fleet at the mouth of the Guangzhou River, the first Opium War began- The war lasted almost two years and was a complete disaster for the Qing empire. By the summer of 1842, the British fleet celebrated victory as it reached the Yangzi, and prepared to shell the old capital, Nanjing, in central China. The Qing court capitulated shortly thereafter. Negotiations with the British were held onboard a British ship and in a small temple just outside of the city walk of Nanjing. (94)
The Treaty of Nanjing (August 1841), the first of the so-called unequal treaties, opened China to the West and marked the beginning of a growing western dominance in the nation. According to its terms, the Qing had to open Guangzhou and tour other ports for direct trade between foreigners and Chinese. The island of Hong Kong was ceded to Britain in perpetuity and China agreed to pay twenty-one million silver dollars in reparations British merchants who had been driven out of Guangzhou. Twenty-one million silver dollars represented a considerable burden for the already strained Qing treasury. A supplementary treaty signed the following year gave Britain extraterritoriality—that is, full exemption from local laws for all its subjects in China. In 1843, France and the United States, and in 1858, Russia, negotiated treaties similar to England’s Nanjing Treaty, including provisions for extraterritoriality (94).
A second Opium War was fought between 1856 and 1860.
After the first Opium War, the city of Guangzhou became a center of anti-European agitation. The literati of the city’s great academies protested against “barbarians” entering the city. A movement emerged in Guangdong province, promoting the fortification and militarization of villages and small towns for self-defense.., Local society rose up against the European presence, to protect their economic interests and their homeland. (95)
When a British ship was captured, the government did not hesitate to start planning a reprisal.
What happened next was unprecedented. France and Great Britain formed an armada the likes of which the world had not yet seen. The fleet that departed for North China in the summer of 1860 numbered 41 war vessels and 143 transporters, carrying 24,000 Indian, British, and French troops artillery, and engineers; thousands of horses and mules; and thousands of support personnel. (98)
The Chinese lost all the ensuing battles.
The empire had to watch helplessly as even the capital Beijing was occupied in mid-October 1860, driving the Xianfeng emperor out of the city to his summer palace at Chengde. The Qing army lost over five thousand men...

After occupying Beijing, the troops set out for a palace complex on the outskirts of Beijing called Yuanmingyuan (the Garden of Perfect Brightness) built by the Qianlong emperor at the height of the Qing empire. In revenge for the Qing military’s violence against the thirty-nine English and French prisoners it had captured, Lord Elgin ordered the British army to destroy and burn Yuanmingyuan to the ground. It took two full days of burning and demolition to destroy the hundreds of exquisite palaces and buildings in Yuanmingyuan. Ironically, this had been a palace complex, perhaps the only one in the Qing empire, that featured a section of European-style buildings, fountains, and formal gardens. Called “Western Mansions” (Xiyang Lou), it was modelled on Italian baroque architecture, which the Chinese had become acquainted with from drawings and descriptions by Italian and French missionaries At the center of Western Mansions was a Mediterranean-style landscape of fountains, basins, and waterworks surrounded by a palace, pavilions, aviaries, and a maze. This section of the palace reflected Qing China’s curiosity about foreign objects and interest in foreign civilizations. The gardens also had hundreds of Chinese-style palace buildings—art pavilions, pagodas, temples, and libraries—as well as Tibetan and Mongolian-style buildings.

Before burning the rich and lavishly appointed palaces, British and French soldiers and officers carried away as much loot as they could. A French soldier wrote: “I was dumbfounded, stunned, bewildered by what I had seen, suddenly Thousand and One Nights seem perfectly believable to me. I have walked for more than two days over more than 50 million worth of silks, jewels, porcelain, bronzes, sculptures and treasures! I do not think we have anything like it since the sack of Rome by the barbarians.” (99)

Imagine if the Chinese had sailed up the Thames and looted Windsor Castle of all its treasures. Would that ever be forgotten?
The 1858 and 1860 treaties extended the foreign privileges granted in the first Opium War and confirmed or legalized the developments in the treaty-port system. Great Britain, France, Russia, and the United States would die right to establish embassies in Beijing, marking the first opening of and France of eight million taels of silver each, and compensation to British merchants of three million taels of silver. Eleven additional ports were opened to foreign residence and trade, including Niuzhuang, Tamsui (Taiwan), Hankou, Nanjing, and Tianjin. The lease of the Kowloon peninsula was ceded to Great Britain. Foreigners, especially merchants and missionaries, were allowed free movement throughout the interior. Hardest to swallow for Qing authorities were not necessarily the economic rights given to western governments, such as trade and the opening of treaty ports, but the non-economic political privileges that affected the stability of social order. Chief among them was the legalization of opium, which would all but guarantee a deepening of the social and economic problems caused by opium addiction. (101)
The British and French used military power to get the monopoly over drug dealing in China.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


A creator god becoming a human, a created species, is an amazing event. What problem made this extreme event necessary.

God had created humans in his image and given them authority over the earth. Because humans have authority, the solution to any problem on earth has to come from a human.

The spiritual powers of evil tricked humans into rejecting God’s authority. By submitting to the deceiver, they handed authority on earth to the spiritual powers of evil. They set about destroying every aspect of God’s good creation.

The creation was becoming a problem.

  • Earth was being wrecked, but God could not do anything about it, because he no longer had authority to intervene on the earth. He needed permission from humans with authority on earth before he could act to rescue his creation.
  • Humans had given the spiritual powers of evil authority on earth, so they were not strong enough to defeat them.
  • The spiritual powers of evil would not willingly surrender their authority back to humans.
To break the impasse, a human person needed to take back authority over the earth. He had to rescue his fellow humans from the clutches of the spiritual powers of evil without being caught himself.

The only solution was for God to become a human. That is the incarnation. The Holy Spirit came upon Mary, and Jesus was birthed in her as God, yet also as a human.

Jesus was truly human, so he could take back authority on earth. He had the authority on earth to do what had to be done to defeat the spiritual powers of evil and rescue humans and the earth from their power. He never disobeyed God, so the spiritual powers of evil were never able to capture him. What a wonderful rescuer.

I explain this in more detail in Kingdom Authority.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Whose Shoulder?

Isaiah prophesied boldly about Jesus.

For to us, a child is born,
to us, a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

Of the increase of his
government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign … over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD Almighty
will accomplish this.
The government will be on his shoulder.


The Child

The simple reading of this text is that Jesus will be the government
from that time forward and forever.

So why does Donald Trump think that he should be the government?
or Boris Johnson, or Angela Merkel, or Xi Jinping, or Vladimir Putin, or Jacinda Adern?

Why do we put our faith in democracy?
Why do we think that we can vote in a new government,
At the next election?

Herod understood Isaiah's prophecy.
He knew that his government was a goner,
so he tried to kill Jesus,
but he was still a goner.

Mary understood it too. That is why she said,
Kings would be thrown down from their thrones
and the humble raised up.

The spiritual powers of evil understood the threat.
That is why they came up with clever deception that
this prophecy is "Not for now, but for later",
"Jesus government comes at the end of the age."
You could trust them to thrust their shoulder in.

The government is on Jesus' shoulder.
He will govern with justice and righteousness.
and his government will never stop increasing.
The Zeal of the Lord will do it.


Not in the future.
From that time on and forever.

We had better work out what this means.

Political Power

It took me 30 years, of being a politics junky, learning political science, studying political theory, learning theology and working for the government, to realise that political power is not a solution to the problems of the world.

Having understood that truth, my thinking about everything has changed. The resulting insights are described in detail in my book called the Government of God.

Monday, December 23, 2019


Donald Trump is a disrupter, not a rescuer.
At best, God is using him to expose the heart of the nation.

The prophets should have been doing this, but they have remained silent, because they love political power and influence.
God is revealing:

  • The Greed and Selfishness of the Finance Sector.
    These merchants of debt become rich by enslaving people and burdening them down with debt.
    then cry out for the government to cancel their debts when the tower of debt they have built and prospered from falls over.
    The GFC should have exposed them in 2008, but that was not enough.

  • The Foolishness and Folly of the Federal Reserve.
    They pretend to know what they are doing, but every solution they come up with causes another problem they don’t understand, but needs a new solution that they are not sure will work.
    They do not have an economic theory to support their decisions, but are working things out as they go.

  • The Greed and Callousness of the large corporations that dominate the US Economy.
    They shifted their activities to China to get the benefit of cheap labour,
    betraying their faithful employees by throwing them on the scrapheap
    then scream for the government to help when the Chinese cheat on them.

  • The Corruption and Dishonesty of the Congress.
    Newly elected representatives and senators go up to DC with enthusiasm to do good, but are sucked in by the pride of power, so they sell out and become rich.
    The government spirits that control the nation continue to set the direction of the nation.
    Hunter Biden benefiting from his father’s position to be become wealthy is so normal in both political parties that no one is even shocked by it.

  • The Impotence and Fragility of Presidential Power.
    God began exposing this through Barack Obama. He came in promising to bring change, but after two terms nothing much had changed. He gave a Nobel-prize-winning speech in Egypt announcing a reset of US policy in the Middle East, but nothing changed.
    Donald Trump came in promising to change foreign policy and drain the swamp, but everything carries on the same.
    While the government-spirits that control the nation have not changed, so presidential power changes nothing.

  • The Duplicity and Warmongering of the US military.
    Their commander-in-chief announces the withdrawal of troops from a war
    but the twist his command into an excuse to increase the number of troops and get them to stay longer.
    They lie to cover up their failures by pretending they are successful.
    They hate peace, because they need continuous war to enrich their friends in the defence industries.

  • The Ferocity and Fickleness of the security agencies: FBI, CIA and TSA
    They cheat, lie and kill to advance their own interests while pretending to do what is best for the nation.

  • The Lying and Duplicity of the news media.
    They are willing to lie to support the power of the political leaders, the military forces and the security agencies of the nation, even when they are doing evil.

However, Donald Trump cannot save America.

Only God’s people can do that, by preaching the good news in the power of the Spirit and teaching those who freely choose to follow Jesus how to obey his commands and become part of his better kingdom.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Third Way

Jerry Sittser has just released a book called Resilient Faith: How the Early Christian "Third Way" Changed the World . I have not read the book yet, but I have listened to an interview with Jerry about the book. The following paragraphs are the notes that I took while listening to the interview.

In the Greco Roman world, there were no church buildings. There were only people of God living in community in the world. Saying to people that you were going to church would not make sense to them. They would say, “You can’t go to church, you are the church".

We g to a church. We go to this building which is like a castle surrounded by a cement moat. We are constantly isolated. We live in homes. We go to the patio where we have our small group on. We attend a church that is dead space in any neighbourhood or community.

In the ancient world, that community life was much more public. Christians could not hide like we can hide today. So, the house church/community became a form of witness in the Greco-Roman world. People could see the obvious difference it made to become a Christian and follow Jesus.

The community was their form of witness. Their witness was inviting people into a community, not asking them to go to a church meeting.

Christians lived amongst the Romans (unlike the Jews who had to separate out). They shopped at the same markets and sent their children to the same schools. They looked like everyone else, but they were different. They were different in the way that they lived.

Christians immersed themselves in their culture, but they were able to maintain their difference based on the light of their belief in Jesus incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension.

They were revolutionary, without being seditionary. There were no marches on Rome. No protests. There were no political rallies. They were a quiet grassroots force that over a couple centuries had an enormous impact on their culture.

They permeated the culture like yeast. They believed in the Kingdom. They believed in God’s rule over all of reality, including the Roman world. They saw themselves as a new commonwealth, without armies, without borders without traditional Romans Institutions. This is why Rome saw the church as a menace, although it seemed that they had no reason to fear it.

Christians have accommodated themselves to the world in many ways. One is politics. The church has compromised by wanting political power, but at a cost to the gospel. It is a very costly move. Churches are divided by their political affiliation.

Wealth has shaped American Christianity. We tend to uproot Jesus from the grand story for God’s redemption of the world and replant Jesus into a cultural narrative: capitalism, democracy, socialism, whatever. That tends to shape how we read the gospels. Luke has a lot to say about wealth. We ignore it, to our peril.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Ten Reasons - Response

Most American Christians will be surprised by the suggestion that the United States is becoming the Beast described in the visions received by Daniel and John. While the accepted teaching was that the Beast would emerge in Europe, American Christians could give thanks that they would not be affected. Now the finger is being pointed in a different direction, they will have to think about how they should respond.

The future of the nation is not set. If the gospel goes forth in the power of the spirits and the prophets challenge the nation about the direction it is going, the nation might repent of its false ideas and turn back to the ways of God. It could become a place where the Kingdom of God emerges in fulness. God would prefer that outcome, but it is not guaranteed. It depends on how his people and the nation respond to his call.

There is currently a battle going on for the American soul. Christians assume that they will win the struggle. I suspect that the dark side is stronger than they realise, and will eventually make it to the top. We may be already seeing it manifest in many aspects of US government. People who hear the voice of God should be getting prepared for living through a season when the Beast emerges.

The Beast will persecute the church, so it will need to adopt an organisational structure that is persecution proof. The safest place to be during the season of the Beast power is a strong community of followers of Jesus, who are committed to loving one other by serving and protecting each other. I have described how these would function in Kingdom Communities and Being Church Where We Live.

Fortunately, the best witness to Jesus is also a community of his followers caring for each other in the presence of the watching world. So regardless of the outcome, Kingdom Communities are the best option for Christians in the United States.

The full list can be found at Ten Reasons

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Ten Reasons (10) State as Saviour

Democracy has given the American state unprecedented power by expanding the role of governments. They now promise to provide cradle to the grave security. Over the last century, the thinking of people has changed. They now expect the state to provide all their needs. Governments care for the poor, the sick and the elderly. They are expected to guarantee wealth and happiness for everyone.

The rulers of earlier empires had more absolute power than current governments and took the title saviour, but they never considered care for individuals to be part of their role. The state acted on behalf of the privileged elite. The rest were left to fend for themselves, or worse, were slaves. The Government as Saviour is a new idea, but is the spirit of the age.

In the State We Trust
The United States is an enigma. It was founded on faith, yet political power was dominant right from the start. Christians had an influence on the government, but this was soon squeezed out the decisions of the Supreme Court and Congress and the growth of Presidential Power. Faith in political power and human government now dominates American culture. Even those who oppose a particular party or president have enormous faith in the presidency and politics.

  • Americans trust in God, but expect the state to solve the problems of life.

  • The American lifestyle is extremely materialistic and people expect the government to sustain a lifestyle of comfort.

  • Comfort trumps freedom. American people will give their rulers immense powers to maintain peace and security.

  • Despite public profession of faith, the government of the United States has bowed to humanism. Many public institutions are hostile to Christianity.

  • American big businesses claim to believe in free enterprise, but expect the government to protect their interests and rescue them when they fail.

  • The people claim to trust in God, but rely on military power for security.

  • Christians have been captured by the lure of state power. When they see human suffering, compassionate Christians say, "The Government should do something about it".

  • The "End-times Industry" has encouraged American governments to expand their political power and dominance of the world. The church has been a false prophet supporting the American Beast.

The political systems of great nations are extremely dangerous, because one person has control over hundreds of millions of people. Evil gains huge power on earth by deploying a few strong spirits to get control of the leaders of large powerful nations. By controlling these leaders, the government-spirits get authority over everyone submitted to the leaders. Concentration of human political power gives vast power to the government-spirits that control it.

Political power is a huge obstacle to the Kingdom of God, because it is so vulnerable to evil. Political evil cannot be defeated with political power. Many Christians have unwittingly supported the enemy and held back the Kingdom by supporting political power.

More at Messianic Imperialism.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Ten Reasons (9) Believing Lies

The Beast of Revelation arises to power when the people of a nation come to believe a lie. This monster does not need to establish its power by military force. It gains authority by deceiving the people into thinking that it is good, when its heart is evil.

The lies that deceive them came from two sources. The first source of the lie was the False Prophet. John received a vision of a powerful organisation that caused the people to believe a lie. This organisation helped restore the democratic republic that had died when the Roman Empire came to power.

Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed (Rev 13:11-12).
This beast had "two horns like a lamb". The two horns signify enormous worldly power, but there is an interesting twist. In Revelation, the lamb is Jesus, so it appears to represent Jesus, but it speaks like a dragon. This shows that it is actually working for evil.

John saw a lamb-like animal doing great evil. The beast with horns like a lamb represents a Christian organisation that has influence over much of the world. This church becomes a strong advocate for political power. This is a strange role for the church, because Jesus had refused to use force and coercion to establish his Kingdom. This church is different, because it has greater faith in human bureaucracy and political power than on the gospel and power of the Holy Spirit.

John calls this beast the False Prophet (Rev 19:20). God uses true prophets to constrain political power. The False Prophet builds up political power. It will support the re-emergence of a powerful democratic empire.

It deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honour of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived (Rev 13:14).
The Beast that was wounded yet lived was the Roman Republic. The False prophet will be an advocate for democratic political power.

The other source of the lie was the Woman riding on the Beast. This woman is Israel.

By your magic spell, all the nations were led astray (Rev 18:23).
John explains that Israel will contribute to belief in the lies that support the emergence of the Beast, the democratic/republican empire. Israel has a powerful and effective propaganda system that has deceived many Christians from all over the world.

The American people are generous, bold, positive, confident, active, entrepreneurial and outgoing. Whether because of this, or despite this, they have a propensity to believe lies, especially about political and military power. These lies could allow the United States to become the Beast of Revelation and Daniel.

LiesI was going to list the lies here, but they are too many, so here are just a few that I read or hear quite frequently. Not all these lies are believed by all people, but all people believe some of them.

  • The United States has the only true free-market capitalist economy in the world (this is believed, despite the largest sectors of the economy being dominated by state-controlled, state-protected and state-funded corporates, such as telecommunications, finance, defence, agriculture).

  • America is the indispensable nation with responsibility for delivering peace to the world.

  • God wants the United States to intervene and transform evil nations by using military force to impose a copy of the American political system.

  • The United States only fights good wars, whereas other nations fight wars for evil gain. The eighteen-year long war in Afghanistan that has empowered warlords and imposed corruption is a good war, despite the military being uncertain about what it is trying to achieve and lying about its lack of success.

  • The people of the United States watched on television as their military forces attacked Iraq, killing thousands of people, damaging infrastructure, including power stations, telecommunication equipment, hospitals, schools, churches, mosques, roads, bridges, factories, oil wells, because their leaders had lied about Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). The Iraqi people, who had good education, health care, abundant electricity and plenty of food now face shortages of food, fuel, electricity, medicines, and items of daily life, and face life with lawlessness and chaos everywhere, but it is their fault, because they were too stupid to accept the good opportunity that the US invasion offered them.

  • The US military is still the most moral in the world. The soldiers and contractors who tortured prisoners, deliberately shot civilians, and mutilated bodies are not true Americans.

  • Many Christians believe that God sent Donald Trump to save the American nation. The idea that a political leader can save a nation is a distortion of the gospel.

  • Many Christians assume they are prophetic because they are critical of Donald Trump, but their faith and interest in political power is strengthened, not weakened. They still believe that the American political system is the best in the world, despite it throwing up a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

  • Influential newspapers, like the New York Times and the Washington Post, are willing to lie in support of the political leaders, the military forces and the security agencies of the nation, even when they are doing evil.

  • The United States is good. A few other nations, like the UK, Australia and New Zealand are OK, but a bit dodgy. Most others are evil.

  • The Chinese police shooting rubber bullets against protestors in Hong Kong are evil, but the Israeli snipers who deliberately shoot protestors across the Gaza fence are good.

Lies like these make it easy for the United States to become the Beast of Revelation.

The people of other nations are cynical about political power. They assume that politicians will behave badly. They realise that people who are trained in war will begin to see violence as a solution to all problems. This counterbalance seems to be missing in the United States.

American Christians who believe the myths about their nation will not be surprised when it manifests fully as the Beast. They have always loved American dominance and power, so they will be glad when it becomes strong and more brutal.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Ten Reasons (8) Entertainment Empire

The spirit that controls the Beast of Revelation uses music and entertainment to gain influence (Rev 18:23-24). John calls this witchcraft. Traditional emperors used witchcraft as a source of wisdom and to shape thinking about the world. The modern equivalent is the entertainment industry. Modern people are taught what to believe by the music, movie and television industries.

The music industry has become very powerful. Musicians are the philosophers of the current age, who create the patterns of thinking that undergird an entire movement. The result has been an enormous shift in values.

Advertising and Materialism
American business and advertising have worked together to shape the culture all over the world. Television advertising tells people what they need. It fosters hedonism and materialism: new cars, new houses, beautiful bodies. This demand has been an important driver of the American economy.

The "spin doctors" who manage the image of politicians are the new palace magicians. Their power is so great that a good image is more important than sound policies for winning an election.

Television Morality
Television and movies are powerful tools for shaping culture. The United States is the base of an enormous entertainment industry that spreads evil. The television industry has filled the living rooms of people all over the world with filth and abominable things that would not have been allowed near our houses in earlier generations. Blasphemy has become commonplace. The names of God and Jesus have become the most common expletives.

The entertainment empire is very hostile to the Christian faith and the church. When Christians appear in popular programmes are usually are mocked. They are portrayed as slightly feeble and out of touch with life. The American entertainment industry determines what is good and evil. Once the media takes sides, anyone opposing their view is relentless mocked. Talkback hosts and are the prophets of this new age.

Secular Humanism
The voice that dominated the last century is secular humanism. This philosophy came out of universities in the United States and Europe and through the media has flooded the entire world. Humanism shapes the way the modern world thinks. This movement has been so successful, that humanity has become its own god.

The United States is the centre from which secularism humanism has been exported into the world. The American movie, television and music industries shape the universal culture that is sweeping the world. Together with the universities, these industries have spread humanism throughout the world.

Christians often only see one side of their nation’s culture and behaviour. They think of the thousands of American missionaries that have bent out into the world to share the gospel, but they ignore the humanistic, and often evil, content being sent into the world by Hollywood and the television industry. This has a far greater impact on the culture of the world than all the missionaries.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Ten Reasons (7) Economic Power

The Terrible Beast manifests is an Economic Empire in which it controls all buying and selling. The nations are unable to buy or sell without the permission of the beast (Rev 13:17).

Controlling buy and selling ▶ Powerful government controlling the world economy.
The Mark of the Beast symbolises management of the economy by political power. Traditional empires imposed massive taxes and collected them harshly, but they did not attempt to control other aspects of economic activity. They let businesses do what they liked, but made sure they captured a big share of the profits. They did not care if businesses were dishonest, because they could demand an even bigger share of any corrupt gains.

In contrast, the Terrible Beast seeks to control every aspect of economic life. It sets prices and sets rules that businesses must comply with. Over the last century, we have seen a vast increase in interference in the economy by human governments.

When studying the Mark of the Beast, Christians focus on the technique used (a mark) which is quite obscure, rather than the outcome, which is clear. People and nations are unable to buy and sell without the permission of the democrat beast. John saw a great political power waging war and controlling the world using economic weapons.

The technique by which control is accomplished is less important, because it is determined by the legal situation at the time when it will be fulfilled. John did not know how societies would change, so he did not understand the techniques available to future rulers, so he described it in terms of images that he understands.

Marking people with an image/stamp was the way that empires and slaveowners controlled people in John's time. So that is the way that John described the techniques used by the empire to impose control. That does not mean that the vision will be literally fulfilled in that way.

A modern empire can use tariffs, import controls, quality standards and documentation requirements to limit trade. The United States has also used the SWIFT system that banks use for international transfers to control trade. This is a practical implementation of the Mark of the Beast that previous empire could do.

John’s vision will be fulfilled in a time when people, businesses and nations are represented by numbers, actually digits on a computer database. The beast has a number. Every other person has a number. This is the situation in the modern world. John saw a situation where a powerful political power used the numbers issued to people and business to prevent them from buying and selling.

The United States uses its place at the centre of the world financial system to control other nations. Nations that do not submit to the American interests are not allowed to trade. Sanctions are imposed on nations that will not submit to the dictates of the United States. Nothing like this has been done before.

These sanctions are directed at nations, but they are mostly imposed on people and businesses. The list of people and businesses that are banned is thousands of pages long. Some of the bans have been in place for nearly fifty years. The United States uses control of the financial system to prevent people and companies from other nations trading with the nations on their list of baddies.

The Church provided moral support for this behaviour by declaring that the sanctioned nations are evil. Many churches advocate the full use of economic power to implement American power in the world, but their selection of targets is highly selective. The Beast decides which nations can buy and sell.

John said that the people of the world would be deceived. The United States claims to be a leader of the free world and claims to be a staunch advocate of free trade, yet it is acting to limit the free flow of trade. This is probably what John saw in his vision?

Economic sanctions are immoral. No person or nation has the right to prevent other people or nations from buying and selling. The person who owns something does not have to sell it if they choose not to, regardless of the price that is offered. But if they choose to sell to someone, they are free to sell. No political power has authority to prevent them. All economic sanctions are immoral. They are a form of blackmail.

Christians think of American business as free enterprise and a force for good in the world. They don’t notice the harm done by powerful, but soulless US corporations all over the earth.


I have just discovered that in his translation of Revelation, NT Wright uses the word “Monster” for the Greek word Therion (usually translated beast). This captures the sense of John’s message much better. Monsters are huge and scary. The Monster that Daniel and John saw in their visions was a huge and scary empire.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Ten Reasons (6) Controlled by a Woman

One of the mysteries in the book of Revelation is the woman riding on the beast.

Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns (Rev 17:3-5).
John was surprised by the vision
Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished" (Rev 17:7).
John knew all about beasts. His world had been dominated by many great empires, and was currently controlled by the powerful Roman Empire. What was strange about his vision was the woman sitting on the beast. Sitting symbolizes control, so this terrible beast with seven heads and ten horns was being controlled by a woman. Her identify is the key to identifying the Beast.

The wilderness is a key to understanding the identity of the woman. An angel had carried John into the wilderness where he saw the woman controlling the kings of the nations. John knew who the identity of this woman, because he had seen her in Revelation 12. She gave birth to a child that was eventually caught up into heaven. The child was Jesus, so this woman was Israel.

After Jesus had ascended into heaven and defeated the spiritual powers of evil, they lost their place in heaven, so they attacked the woman.

She was scattered in the wilderness for the entirety of the Times of the Gentiles. The wilderness is the place that God prepared to keep the children of Israel safe during the time when they would continue to reject Jesus as their Messiah (Rev 12:14-16).
John was not surprised to see the woman in the wilderness. He already knew she was there. What surprised him was that she was riding on a powerful beast. He did not expect to see her controlling the Beast that controls the rulers of the nations. John had been Israel being exiled from Canaan, so he was amazed to see this same woman still in the wilderness (in exile from God) sitting on a terrible beast and controlling it.

The empires of the world had trampled Israel, so it was almost impossible to believe that it could control an empire greater than the Roman Empire. Instead of trusting God to keep them through their troubles, the chosen people have been seduced by political and military power. This is a false hope.

The identity of the woman was confirmed to John at the end of the vision.

The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth (Rev 17:18).
This great city had been described in the vision of the two prophets in Rev 11:8.
Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city-which is figuratively called Sodom and Egypt-where also their Lord was crucified.
This city is called Egypt and Sodom and Babylon to indicate that it is opposed to the purposes of God, but it is actually the city where Jesus was crucified. Everyone knows where Jesus was crucified. The great city is Jerusalem. This means that the woman controlling the beast is the city of Jerusalem and the nation of Israel.

The vision of the woman on the Beast describes a season when the nation of Israel will control the most powerful empire the world has known. This vision seems to be being fulfilled in our own time. The United States is the most powerful empire ever known, with the strongest economy and military bases all over the world.

The dominant political force in the United States is the Israel lobby (AIPAC). A presidential candidate who rejected the demands of AIPAC will have difficulty being elected. Getting elected to congress is difficult without its support. Many members of congress are willing to place the security of the United States at risk in order to protect Israel, even when it engages in evil activities. When the Israeli resident visits the United States, the congress gives him a standing ovation, something it rarely does for a sitting US President. This strange power situation is perfectly described by a woman (Israel) sitting on a beast (United States).

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Ten Reasons (5) Astonished

John said that people would be astonished when a democratic republic returns, because this form of government seemed to have been obliterated. When the democratic republic is restored, the people of the world will be impressed too.

The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast (Rev 17:8).
They will be impressed with the "new" form of government because it seems to give them control over the state. The democratic republic will seem like the best form of government ever (its true nature will eventually be revealed). People longing for peace and prosperity will support any political power promising to fulfil their dreams.

Many Christians believe that the restoration of a Christian empire is part of God’s plan. They will be puzzled by the suggestion that this democratic empire is the Beast described in Revelation. They will not realise that their faith in political power has made possible the greatest accumulation of political power and control that has ever existed on earth.

The only people not surprised by this aggregation of political power will be followers of Jesus who understand the signs of the times. When most people are calling on the political powers to do more to turn back the overwhelming crisis, they will expose the real character of the "best government ever", but explaining that this democratic republic is just another manifestation of the Beast will make them unpopular.

The surprise will be greatest amongst American Christians, because they believe that their system of government is better than all others. They will find it hard to believe that the system which they trust has become the Beast of Revelation.

This surprise is a confirmation of the Beast’s identity, because John said that God’s people would be surprised when the identity of the Beast.

In a way, this surprise is not surprising. The United States has a higher percentage of Christians than any other modern nation. Despite this strong influence, the nation has two serious vulnerabilities.

  • American Christians have immense faith in political power, perhaps because they think their political system is the best that has ever existed. The consequence is that they have massive expectations of what politics can achieve. Many Christians have more faith in the power of politics than they have in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  • American Christians have even greater faith in military power. As a consequence, the nation has been engaged in wars around the war for most of its history. Despite considerable evidence to the contrary, American Christians believe that their troops are always well behaved and only ever to do good. They believe their military forces are needed to keep the world safe. They are often elated when American bombs and missiles destroy their enemies.

This faith in political power to bring change at home and military power to bring change in the world has opened the way for the United States to become the Beast of Revelation. Because these vulnerabilities are rooted in Christian faith, most Christians will be amazed when they realise their nation has become a terrible beast.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Ten Reasons (4) Brutal Military Power

Daniel described a powerful military empire that would dominate most of the earth.

The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing it (Dan 7:23).
This Terrible Beast devoured the whole earth, trampling it down and crushing everything that stood in its way.

The military power of the United States exceeds anything that has ever been known. It has military bases all over the world, including a large force in Europe and another in Asia (Korea). The US navy has more powerful ships than any nation that has ever existed. The US air force has the ability to drop bombs or target missiles anywhere in the world. No nation can challenge the military power of the United States.

The military power of the United States is made greater by its economic power. United States defence expenditure is bigger than the budgets of the next 15 to 20 biggest spenders combined. It is making it hard for any other country to catch up. It spends far more on military research and development than any other military power.

The United States has overwhelming nuclear superiority, the world's dominant air force, the only true, blue-water navy and military bases all over the world. It leads the world in exploiting the military applications of advanced communications and information technology.

American unmanned planes and guided missiles are becoming increasingly sophisticated. These developments give unrivalled ability to destroy targets from afar with extraordinary precision.

The British Empire at its peak had about 35 bases in foreign countries. The United States has over a thousand bases all over the world. This superiority gives the United States a unique capability to project power around the world.

Compared with earlier empires, like Rome, Egypt and Babylon, the reach of American power is absolutely immense. Those ancient empires only controlled a small part of the world and their economic power and military forces were feeble by comparison to the United States.

All previous empires were surrounded by enemy powers. The United States is isolated on an island on the other side of the world with no threats to its peace. It has never been invaded, except by the first European settlers. Yet because the people trust in military power, their leaders have been able to devote massive resources to build up the nation’s military forces. This situation is unique, so military dominance on this scale will probably never happen again.

The American Empire does not need direct control of every country in its sphere. It can gain enough control to accomplish its purposes by doing deals with kings and dictators. The United States government supplies the dictator with military and economic assistance. The dictator creams a tithe off the top of the economic aid to maintain his family in a presidential lifestyle. He uses military assistance to suppress opposition and to establish the peace and stability needed for the operation of American business. Everyone that counts is happy.

The United States is the only modern nation with sufficient military and economic power to be the fulfilment of the Beast. Unfortunately, its system of government is breaking down. As presidents become more dictatorial, they will embark on foreign adventures using military power to enhance their popularity.

The expansion of the American Empire does not eliminate kings and rulers. They can continue in their comfortable lifestyle with undiminished power, provided they submit to American interests. Many weak nations will be trampled by American power. If rulers refuse to comply with American interests, they will be beaten up like Iraq and Libya.

Christians think of their military as the nice people in uniform at church on Sunday. They ignore the brutality of the US military in places where it is fighting, destroying buildings, massacring citizens, imprisoning people who disobey their commands.

Political Philosophy

Hunter Baker explained,

Political philosophy attempts to answer the following question. We are social beings. How can we best live together as humans?
Christians need a political philosophy. Unfortunately, they look in the gospels and the rest of the New Testament and do not find one, so they give up looking and adopt a political philosophy from the world instead. They do not realise that God gave his political philosophy to Moses; ie a way for group of people to live together in peace and harmony.

I explain this in Government of God.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Ten Reasons (3) Confederation of States

The Beast of Revelation had "ten horns" (Rev 17:13-18). Daniel also saw a Beast with ten horns (Dan 7:8). The most obvious interpretation of the beast with the ten horns is that a number of independent nation states hand over their sovereignty to become part of a single united nation. One-third of these nations refused to give up their sovereignty and are forced to join under threat of military force (Dan 7:20, 25).

America is the only place in recent history where this has happened. The thirteen states that gained independence from Britain were each independently-governed, autonomous nation-states. They united to fight for independence, but they remained politically independent. After the war of independence, these nation-states came together and established the United States. They created a federal system in which they handed over very limited powers (mostly defence) to the federal government. All other powers were retained by the states.

We sometimes get confused by the use of the word state in this context. These states were not provinces of a greater state, but legally independent states that gave some power to a federal government.

Because they joined freely, many states considered that they could also withdraw from the Union. At the beginning of the civil war, the southern states attempted to withdraw from the Union and establish a separate confederacy. Although slavery was the initial trigger, the civil war was primarily fought over the right of these states to secede from the Union. If they had been allowed to freely secede from the Union would have been significantly weakened and further fragmentation would have been inevitable.

The army of the twenty northern states (two thirds) destroyed the armies of the 11 southern states (one third). The victory of the union forces enabled them to maintain the union, eliminating the right of the states to secede. This opened the way for a gradual shift of power from the states to the federal government. During the following century, the United States became the greatest military and economic power in the entire world and the states are now just provinces within this greater entity.

Christian commentators looking for a powerful confederacy of nations forget that a powerful union called the "united states" already exists. Daniel saw a group of nations (ten horns) joining together to become one nation (a single horn). At first, the federal government had very limited power (a little horn), but it defeated a group of states that tried to withdraw from the union (three horns) and became very powerful (large beast).

The numbers ten and three should not be taken literally. Ten symbolises completeness, indicating that all the states joined freely. The number three indicates that 3/10 of these states would be defeated in their attempt to secede.

Ten minus three is seven. Seven symbolises divinity. This indicates that the conquering states would take attempt to take on sovereignty that belongs only to God. The Beast attempts to "try to change the set times and the laws". This represents a rejection of God's laws. Since the civil war, the United States government has become increasingly secular and humanistic. Whereas the thirteen original states had laws directly based on the Bible, American law is now dominated by pragmatism and humanism.

Forty Years Ago

Country of Sheep
New Zealand is a country with more sheep than people. The number of sheep peaked at 70 million in 1982. The human population at that time was just over 3 million. Twenty sheep for each person (fortunately, they did not live in the same places).

At the end of the Second World War, Britain was seriously short of food, so the UK government agreed to buy all the sheep meat that New Zealand could produce. Over the next twenty years, New Zealand farmers focussed on producing sheep meat for the British Market. That came to an end in 1973, when Britain joined the EU (then the EEC) and gave priority to imports of meat from Europe. At the end of a transition period, New Zealand meat companies were left with a limited quota that they could sell into their traditional market.

By the end of the 1970s, the meat exporting companies and the New Zealand Meat Producer Board, which controlled marketing of New Zealand meat, were desperate for new markets. They decided that Middle Eastern countries would be the best alternative market for the surplus meat. The only catch was that to sell into these markets, livestock had to be killed according to Islamic halal requirements, which meant the slaughter board must face Mecca, slaughterman must be a Moslem and say a Moslem prayer when each animal is slaughtered. The Meat Board and the government began to pressure the meat companies to get set up for halal slaughtering of livestock for export.

Out of Nowhere
In 1979, I was a young minister in a Presbyterian parish in the southern part of New Zealand. The parish was entirely rural and most of the parishioners were farmers. In October 1979 I saw a news item in the local newspaper that a contract for the supply of 200 thousand tons of sheep meat had been negotiated with Iran. The pressure came on the meat companies to adopt halal slaughtering of livestock. I was serious about making the Christian message relevant to the lives of the people, so I preached a sermon about the issue to help the farmers thing through their response. (The information in my message is here).

Each Sunday morning, I covered a circuit of three churches. The first service was in a small church at a place called Merino Downs (the small church and a community hall were the only buildings, as the school had closed many years earlier). The congregation was usually less than twenty people. On the morning that I spoke about halal slaughtering, a woman was there who did not often attend. She went home to her husband who never attended church, and told him he should have been there, because he would have been interested in what I had said. I did not know, but he was a director of a cooperative meat processing company called Alliance, which handled more than half of the livestock produced in the Southland region.

By the time I got to the third church on the circuit, two of his fellow directors, who were also parishioners, turned up to listen, one armed with a cassette recorder. He told me at the end of the service that he had recorded the sermon, and hoped that I did not mind.
Two days later, the board of the Alliance met in Invercargill. One of the directors, whose father had been instrumental in establishing the cooperative, played the cassette to the meeting. A rural reporter for the local radio station had attended the meeting (I don’t know if he had been warned) and by lunchtime, an item about a local clergyman’s concern about halal slaughtering was on the national news.

The outcome was that many Christian farmers, and there were large numbers in the area, refused to allow their sheep to be halal slaughtered. The meat processing companies killed livestock “on consignment” and they purchased the livestock after they had been processed, so that any that were defective could be rejected. This meant that when they were being slaughtered, the sheep still belonged to the farmer who had grown them. So, the Meat Board and the government were effectively forcing Christian farmers to pay for Moslems to pray over their livestock, a serious breach of their freedom.

The spiritual implications were more serious, as by submitting to the process, farmers were submitting to the spiritual powers behind it.
That was forty years ago.

The Alliance cooperative kept halal slaughtering out of one of their plants for about ten years to allow their farmer-shareholder who were opposed to the change to continuing supply stock, but they eventually succumbed to the political pressure and began all halal processing. After being a very profitable operation, it had a number of very bad years and had to merge with some other meat companies to survive.

Halal slaughtering has become the norm in New Zealand, although only about 15 percent of sheep meat is exported to Moslem countries. The meat processing companies prefer to have all livestock halal slaughtered, so that they can send stock to any market. They say that people in other counties do not care that meat has been subject to a religious process when slaughtered.

A few small processing companies still have not adopted halal slaughtering, but the number is getting fewer. This leaves few options for farmers who object to their livestock being halal slaughtered. The same regulations have been applied to the slaughtering of beef.
A significant number of farmers have continued to refuse to have their livestock halal slaughtered, but this has significantly reduced the markets open to them. Over the forty years, they have paid a significant cost for their stand. I admire their courage and persistence in doing what is right.

Sheep farmers in New Zealand have had some very difficult years with low prices and difficult growing conditions. The number of sheep has dropped massively, as farmers in the South Island switched from sheep farming to dairy farming. Sheep numbers have more than halved to 27 million, while dairy cattle numbers have doubled to 6.5 million.

I have a couple of questions for readers in the US, UK and Europe.

  • Have Christians farmers in these countries been forced to have their livestock halal slaughtered in the same way as here (sheep or beef).
  • Do people in these countries care if the meat they buy has been halal slaughtered.
  • Are there meat wholesalers or importers in these countries, who specialise in meat that has not been halal slaughtered (there are plenty who specialise in halal meat). Is there a market for meat that has not been halal slaughtered?
If you know the answers to any of these questions, or know someone who does, please leave a comment.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Ten Reasons (2) Government that Died

The key to identifying the political empire called the Beast is that it seems to have died, but then comes back to life again. When it comes back to life, the entire world follows the Beast.

One of the heads of the beast seemed to have had a fatal wound, but the fatal wound had been healed. The whole world was astonished and followed the beast (Rev 13:3).
One of the heads of the beast had been killed, but it came back to life, which caused great amazement throughout the world.

This Beast uses a form of human government that existed before John's time, but came to such a violent end that it seemed impossible that it would rise again. John saw a form of human government that seemed to be finished forever, coming into existence again. This is confirmed in a later vision.

The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and will come up out of the Abyss and go to his destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because he once was, now is not, and yet will come (Rev 17:8).
The Beast once existed, in John's time it did not exist, but in the future, it will come back into existence. People will be amazed when this type of government returns, because it seemed to have been obliterated.

John records the time when this government came to an end.

They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while. The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction (Rev 17:9,10).
The seven kings (or heads) are the seven forms of human government that ruled over Rome. Five did not exist during John's lifetime but had held power in previous times. The sixth form of government was ruling at the time when John received his vision. It is easy to identify, because the Roman Empire dominated the world throughout John's lifetime. The sixth head is the Roman empire.

The Beast has a form of government that did not exist during John lifetime, but had existed previously. Therefore, the key to identifying the Beast is identifying the form of human government that came to a violent end when the emperors came to power. The major form of human government that existed prior to the Roman Empire was the Roman Republic. It began in 500 BC and lasted for nearly five centuries. The Republic was led by consuls elected for a year. An elected Senate was responsible for passing laws and appointing government officials. Not everyone had the right to vote, but the Roman Republic was based on the principle of democracy, which had been developed in Greece, but had died there much earlier.

The republic was an important form of government for several centuries, but by the time that John received his vision, the Republic appeared to be gone forever, having been fatally wounded by several Roman emperors. It came to a violent end about thirty years before Jesus was born, when Julius Caesar and his successor Augustus turned their armies against Rome and destroyed the Republic. By the time of Jesus, the Empire was fully entrenched in power.

John’s vision warns that the Republic would come back to life as an eighth king. The Beast with the "fatal wound had been healed' and the "beast who was wounded by the sword and lived" is a democratic republic. It is the fifth king that died just before the Kingdom of God was established.

The democratic republic came back to life ten centuries later when the leaders of the democratic movement in the United States looked back to the example of the Greek and Roman Republics. The government buildings in Washington used Greek and Roman designs. The eighth king is the restored democratic republic that was developed in the United States and copied in other parts of the world.

People of the modern world have enormous faith in the democratic government. Most people have more faith in the state than Christians have in God. They say that democracy is the best form of government, so very few people are interested in being governed by God. Democracy is the ultimate rebellion, because it consists of an entire society refusing to accept God's government.

The Gospel of Jesus

Bad News
When the spiritual powers of evil tricked humans into rejecting God, they set about making life miserable for them and wrecking the beautiful world that God had created.

Good News
God loved the world so much that he sent his son Jesus to live on earth and die to pay for us the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded. He raised Jesus from the dead to destroy their power and returned him to a place of honour in the spiritual realms. From there, Jesus sent a living Spirit to empower those who follow him and teach them how to live in peace and harmony.

Change sides and give your allegiance to Jesus and work with him and his Spirit to restore the good world that God created.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Ten Reasons (1) Time of Distress

The Beast that Daniel saw in his vision is not a person, but a terrible empire that crushes and controls the nations of the world. This terrible beast emerges and dominates the world during a Time of Distress, when a season called the Times of the Gentiles is coming to an end. This beast causes the events that will eventually lead to the Fulness of the Jews, which opens the way for a massive advance of the gospel in the power of the spirit that releases the fulness of his Kingdom on earth.

I have described this change of season in my book Times and Seasons. More detail is given at Times and Seasons. I believe that the world has already entered the Time of Distress, so the events that will bring in a new season are now underway. This means that the Beast of Daniel must already be in existence somewhere. It must have already emerged, even if it has not reached the apex of its power.

When I look around the modern world for a powerful empire, only one nation fits the brief. The only really powerful modern world empire is controlled by the United States. The European Union looked like a candidate for a while. Many biblical commentators expected it to grow into a super-state, like a restored Roman empire. but the European economy is now failing and several countries want to break out of the union. When Britain goes, more will follow. Europe is economically weak and its population is declining. European military forces are very limited and the anti-war sentiments of the population make a military build-up difficult. Therefore, if the prophecy of the Beast is being fulfilled in our time, we must look outside Europe.

The collapse of the Soviet Union confirmed that it is not the Beast. Russia now has an economy about the size of Portugal or New York state, so its opportunity to become a world empire is gone. China is getting strong economically, but it does not have sufficient military power to become a dominant world empire within the next couple of decades. So, if the Beast is active in our world, it must be the United States of America.

The United States is the most powerful empire the world has ever known, with the strongest economy and military bases all over the world. Many nations are dominated by its power, and no other nation can challenge its role as superpower. The US economy is the largest that has ever existed. No other nation could sustain two wars on the other side of the world at the same time without collapsing under the strain. The United States is definitely a world empire.

Most Americans would agree that their nation is an empire, but they believe that it is a good empire. However, the evidence tells a different story. The United States has wrecked many nations while pretending to do good. Some examples are the Philippines, North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Libya, Syria, etc. Daniel said that the Beast would crush many nations.

The beast is dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it (Dan 7:7).
Daniel's Beasts rose to power when the four winds of heaven had churned up the sea (Dan 7:2-3). The sea is a symbol of the multitudes of people living on the earth (Rev 17:15). The beast arrives at a time when the people of the world are stirred up.

The Beast is active throughout the Time of Distress.

He will be successful until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been determined must take place (Dan 11:36).
This beast will collapse when the time of distress is complete and the next season emergences.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Ten Reasons

My working assumption (until history proves it wrong) is that the United States is the Beast described in Daniel and Revelation. This assumption helps me make sense of many events that are occurring on earth.

My assumption is not a vain guess, but is based on a detailed study of the scriptures over many years. In the next ten posts, I will give ten reasons why I believe this assumption could be true.

Christians and the entire US nation are deeply divided over Donald Trump. Some are immensely hostile to him, and others see him as God’s gift to the nation. Both sides of this debater are missing the point. Donald Trump is a sideshow. While Christians are fighting over him, the enemy has been at a work through political parties and the Washington bureaucracy transforming the nation into a Beast that can be used for the purposes of evil.

Donald Trump is no more important than many of his predecessors. The process of transition from Republic to Beast has been going on for many decades, even or most of the twenty-first century. Most presidents and many members of congress have contributed to this transition. Donald Trump is just carrying on down the same path as his predecessors. The only difference is that the starkness of current events is revealing changes that were previously hidden.

Predictions for 2020

Many prophets are gearing up to release their message about God’s plans for the next year. On important thing is often missing from these words. They fail to distinguish between:

  • God’s intentions – what he would like to do, if he could human cooperation (but often doesn’t).
  • God’s plans – What he is definitely going to do, because has everything in place ready to do it.
I believe that much of what the prophets will predict falls into the first category. They describe what God wants to do. He tells his people what he would like to do in order to encourage them to get prepared and act boldly. Usually, these predictions fail, not because God has changed his mind, but because his people fail to do their part.

The other thing that is often missing from these declarations about what God wants to do is his strategy for bringing his plans about. This is important, because the people God need to know they need to do, and how they need to get prepared, in order receive the blessing that God would like to give to them.

This season, I would like to see more about God’s strategy and tactics for accomplishing his plans and less to emphasis on the outcomes. Without the former, the latter is just an intention that might never happen. Outcomes are nothing without strategies to accomplish them.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

Political Power is a False Hope

When the people of a city or nation submit to their political leaders, they give them authority over their lives. If the powers of evil get to control the people at the top of the political hierarchy, they gain authority over all the people submitted to them. Concentration of political power leverages the authority of the powers of evil.

The spiritual powers that control political leaders are called "government-spirits" in the Bible Bible (this is better a translation of the Greek words than the popular expression principalities and powers). Some, like Prince of Persia, take the name of their nation (Dan 10:20). These spirits have immense authority on earth, despite their defeat on the cross, because people submit to the leaders they control. Political leaders have legal authority over their people, so attacking them gives the government-spirits control over cities and nations.

Focusing on individual people is a very inefficient way for the powers of evil to use their shrinking power. If an evil spirit gains control over one person, it can make that person's life miserable, but that is all. By getting control over a political leader, the same spirit can make an entire nation miserable. The powers of evil amplify their feeble power by attacking people with political authority.

The population of the world is greater than it has ever been, more than 7 billion people. The number of evil spirits at work in the world has not increased, so they should now be weaker than they have ever been, as they have to spread themselves more thinly across the world. However, they have amplified their limited authority by aligning themselves with political power.

Because political power is more controlling and more widespread than it has ever been, this strategy has more than compensated them for their limited numbers. Consequently, they are probably more powerful than they have ever been.
The powers of evil are not very creative, so they usually find a method that works and stick with it. Manipulating and controlling political leaders has been their best tactic, and it will continue to be effective as long as people willingly submit to political leaders.

By trusting political power, humans have strengthened the powers of evil at a time when they should be weak. The power of evil is mostly an illusion, but concentrating on a few powerful people has allowed the forces of evil to leverage their pathetic power. Controlling human political power has amplified their authority out of proportion to their strength.

It does not matter how political leaders gain their power by democratic election or military coup, once they hold power, they will be attacked by the government-spirit that manipulates and controls their nation and the numerous spirits that support it. Unless they are spiritually strong, they will find themselves deceived and controlled by the government-spirit. Most think they are the best person for the job, so they immediately open the door by succumbing to pride. A political leader needs to exert control to achieve their goals, so they quickly succumb to a spirit of deception and control. This gives the government-spirit the power that they need to expand their control.

A democracy is no better than a dictatorship, if it is controlled by a government-spirit, and most are, because it is the best way for the powers of evil to leverage their feeble power.

In the modern world, political power has been centralised and consolidated as never before. The leader of a modern democratic nation has greater power and authority than an emperor in Old Testament times, because they can control every aspect of life in their city or nation.

The political systems of great nations are extremely dangerous, because one person has control over hundreds of millions of people. Evil gains huge power on earth by deploying a few strong spirits to get control of the leaders of large powerful nations. By controlling these leaders, the government-spirits get authority over everyone submitted to the leaders. Concentration of human political power gives vast power to the government-spirits that control it.

Government-spirits love to "steal, kill and destroy" (John 10:10). We are seeing this now in many parts of the world. Wars and economic crashes are not God’s judgements, but are a sign that evil powers have been given a free hand.
Political power is a huge obstacle to the Kingdom of God, because it is so vulnerable to evil. Political evil cannot be defeated by political power. Many Christians have unwittingly supported the enemy and held back the Kingdom by supporting political power. Instead, we must wait until God destroys human government by bringing judgment against it when the time is right.

When the time is right, Christian prophets will also announce God's judgement on political power. Their prophetic words will release the power of the Holy Spirit to destroy human government and political empires throughout the world. Big powerful government will sink like a millstone thrown into the sea, never to be seen again (Rev 18:21). Its destruction will be so horrifying that the people of the world will never trust it again.

Confidence in political power will be shaken.

  • Human government will be exposed as a false hope.
  • Faith in democracy will be crushed.
  • Trust in force will be betrayed.
  • Political power will crumble, collapse and sneak away.
  • Faith in political power will vanish from human hearts.
When human rulers and empires collapse, the principalities and powers that have amplified their power through them will be shattered. With no place to stand, they will become common evil spirits defeated by the cross. When political leaders lose their power, the spiritual forces will be fragmented and weak.

When human governments stop functioning, a power vacuum will exist. Those who have trusted in democratic government will be desperate for something different and better. With human government crushed by events it could not control, people will be desperate for a saviour who keeps his promises. They will welcome the Kingdom of God.

As human political powers are swept away, authority will return to families and local communities. Political power will be chopped up, pushed down and spread around to people who trust Jesus and walk in the Spirit. The kingdoms of the world will disappear and be replaced by the Kingdom of God (Rev 11:15).

From Government of God.

Friday, December 06, 2019

Prophesying to Nations (5) People Trusting Politicians

The message to the Christians who trust politicians would be something like this.

You have put your faith in political power
and looked to politicians for solutions
to the problems of the nation
You voted them in
because they promised to make things better,
but you do not realise that political power
empowers the spiritual powers of evil.

Political powers are manipulated by spiritual powers.
Every human government is dominated and controlled
by a government spirit (principality or power)
that exercises control over the nation,
regardless of what government is in power.

A change in government changes nothing,
because the same spiritual powers remain in control.
So it does not matter who you vote for,
because government-spirits cannot be voted out.
They can only be removed by the people of the nation
turning back to God
and forcing them out in the name of Jesus
and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Political power is a trap.
It promises solutions to the problems that people fear,
but it gives evil spiritual powers a home
and allows them to leverage their authority
and increase evil.

Political power is an illusion,
because it is controlled by spiritual powers
who use it to amplify their evil power
and take the nation further away
from peace and blessing.

See Political Power is a False Hope.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

Prophesying to Nations (4) Rulers

The message to rulers of all Stripes would be something like this.

Despite your claims, you are not the answer
you are part of the problem;
You do not have solutions
to the problems that the people fear.

Your best efforts will not make things better,
they will only make things worse.
Your plans and policies will produce greater problems
and you will not understand why
or what to do to change it.

The situation will get worse and worse under your watch
and you will be powerless to do anything about it.
Nothing that you try will succeed.
The people will realise that your platforms
and manifestos are empty promises
with no foundation in truth and life.

When you wake up to what has happened,
You will sneak away and hide
Your power will be broken, and no one will want it.
No one will be willing to take your place.
You have taken authority over the nation,
but you have no spiritual protection,
so the spiritual powers of evil are free to work in this land
because you opened the door for them.

They have authority over you,
but you do not understand how
you do not even know what they are doing.
And you certainly can’t stop them.
Nothing you do will make things better,
they will just make things worse.
because the powers of evil are free
to work through everything that you touch.

The powers of evil are at home in everything that you do
and everything you control,
they control.
They use nothing for good
and everything for evil.

You say that there is no god.
and that we don’t need God
but you have opened yourself up to thousands of non-gods;
evil spirits, who are opposed to God
and you cannot see what they are doing
and have no way to stop them.

So evil will follow evil
and confusion will follow confusion
and muddle and mess will remain.

See Political Power is a False Hope.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Prophesying to the Nations (3) Message

During a season of rapid spiritual decline, the role of prophets is to describe to their nation the consequences of giving greater authority to the spiritual powers of evil. The scope and direction of their message will vary according to the situation.

  • Prophets will primarily address the people of God. Because they are people of hope, they will often be assuming that their nation will turn around and return to a place of blessing. The prophets will warn them what will happen if these hopes are not fulfilled. This type of prophecy is sometimes not fulfilled, because the warning spurs God people to pray and share the gospel effectively, which leads their nation back to blessing as they hoped (Jonah’s prophecy to Nineveh is an example).

  • Prophets will teach the people of God to be prepared for the troubles that the decline in faith is bringing. They will explain the strategies that God has to protect his people during the time of distress that is coming. They will tell them what they must to do to be prepared for a time of disruption. This is important, because if they are not prepared, the people of God could be swept away by troubles that they do not deserve. God wants his people to stand together while everything around them is being shaken. They will be able to support each other while the foundations that everyone trusts are being swept away.

  • Sometimes, God will get the prophets to speak to the leaders of the nation and warn them of the dangerous consequences that their decisions will have. The prophets will explain that what they think is good is bad in God’s eyes and that they are responsible for the outcome. They will explain that the leaders’ decisions and actions are increasing the authority of the spiritual powers of evil, so the harm that follows will be out of proportion to the scope of their mistakes. They need to know, that whatever their intentions, the consequence will be far worse than they expect, and they are mostly responsible. The message of the prophets will probably not be received by the leaders of the nation, but because they have taken up authority and placed responsibility on themselves, God will want them to understand the consequences.

  • During the spiritual decline of a nation, God is unlikely to tell his prophets to speak to the unbelievers living in the nation, even if their numbers are growing. They do not believe in God, so they are unlikely to receive a message from him. Many do not understand the working of the powers of evil, so a prophetic message would confuse them.

    And it is not fair to blame non-Christians for the state of the world. If there has been a spiritual decline, it is because followers of Jesus have not been doing their job, so they are responsible for the consequences.

    The people of the world need to hear the gospel of Jesus, so God is more likely to send evangelists to carry the message of his love to those who don’t know him. He will send people to heal the sick and cast out demons and tell them that he loves them and wants to rescue them from their troubles.

Prophesying to Nations

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Prophesying to Nations (2) After the Gospel

Since the coming of Jesus, the situation is as follows.

Israel mostly rejected the new covenant, so is still under the covenant with Moses. If they fail to keep that covenant, they can expect to experience troubles. Prophets to Israel should be warning about this danger.

The growth of the church changes the situation for the nations of the world. God has promised to bless and protect the people who have chosen to follow Jesus. If there is a large number of people following Jesus in a nation, the blessing of God will flow a long way out to the rest of the nation. The believers will push back against the spiritual powers of evil in prayer. Blessings will flow to those who engage with them in various ways. The poor and infirm will be cared for. The vulnerable will be protected from harm. Those who submit to a Christian employer, share his/her blessings. The wisdom that God gives to his people will be copied by the people of the world. Everyone in the nation benefits when more people choose to follow Jesus.

The real problem occurs in a nation when there is a substantial drop in the number of Christians living within it; everyone suffers. The prayers of the saints will have restrained the spiritual powers of evil. When their number declines, the authority and influence of their prayers will decline too, so the spiritual powers of evil get greater freedom to operate.

People who have lived in a country with many Christians get a false sense of security. They benefit spiritually from the prayers of the saints and the blessings that flow towards them, even if they do not acknowledge Jesus themselves. When the influence of the Holy Spirit in a nation declines, the decline in the state of the nation is not proportional. The amplification of the power and authority of the spiritual powers of evil means that evil gets worse out of proportion to the influence of the gospel in the nation.

This is the situation in New Zealand. The number of Christians and the influence of the Holy Spirit has declined significantly. Here are results from the last population census.

This is a disturbing picture. The Christian influence in New Zealand has declined significantly, but Christians and non-Christians both assume that things can go on mostly as normal. Christians tend to assume that revival is just around the corner. Unbelievers assume the residual blessing from the faithful past will continue, even if they do not acknowledge its source.

The reality is that the influence of the spiritual powers of evil in New Zealand has increased much faster and further than the blue line in the picture would indicate. They are now rampant in our nation. We should expect to see the impact of their greater activity, if there is not an increase in allegiance to Jesus.

The role of a prophet in a secular nation with a declining gospel influence is to warn the nation of the harm that the spiritual powers of evil are planning to do. This is the fourth task in the list in the previous post.

God may sometimes allow Warning Events to wake the people of the nation up. At every stage, the prophets should be warning what the spiritual powers of evil want to do in the nation. The believers will often not have the spiritual authority to prevent it from happening, because unbelievers have given the spiritual powers of evil much greater authority in the nation. I describe this situation in Prophetic Events. If the influence of the gospel declines massively, the control of the spiritual powers of evil will become huge.

If the nation where this is happening is powerful, they might use it to do great evil in the world. When this happens, God might have to bring a Protective Judgment against the nation to restrain it from evil. This is what happened to the Babylonian empire. See Protective Judgments for more on how this works. Warning of the collapse of a powerful empire is role number 4 in the previous post.

The influence of the gospel in the United States is declining so God will need prophets in the United States to undertake this role.