Population: 32,585,692 (July 2014 est.)
Ethnic groups: Arab 75%-80%, Kurdish 15%-20%, Turkoman, Assyrian, or other 5%
Religions: Muslim (official) 99% (Shia 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian 0.8%, Hindu <.1, Buddhist <.1, Jewish <.1,
folk religion <.1, unafilliated .1, other <.1 - Note: while there has been voluntary relocation of Christian families to northern
Iraq, reporting indicates the overall Christian population dropped by as much as 50 percent since the fall of the Saddam
Hussein regime in 2003, with many fleeing to Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon (2010 est.)
History of Iraq:
In ancient times, Iraq was known as Mesopotamia (Greek for "land between the rivers") because it refers to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
The land became the center of the ancient Babylonian and Assyrian empires. Mesopotamia was conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia in 538 B.C. and by Alexander in 331 B.C. After an Arab conquest in 637-640 A.D., Baghdad became the capital of the ruling caliphate.
Nominal Turkish suzerainty imposed in 1638 was replaced by direct Turkish rule in 1831. In World War I, Britain occupied most of Mesopotamia and was given a mandate over the area in 1920. The British renamed the area Iraq and recognized it as a kingdom in 1922. Iraq attained full independence in 1932.
Britain occupied Iraq again during World War II because of its pro-Axis stance. Iraq became a charter member of the Arab League in 1945, and Iraqi troops took part in the Arab invasion of Palestine in 1948.
At age 3, King Faisal II succeeded his father, Ghazi I, who was killed in a car accident in 1939. Faisal and his uncle, Crown Prince Abdul-Illah, were assassinated in July 1958 that ended the monarchy and brought a military junta to power headed by Abdul Karem Kassim. Kassim began to form alliances with Communist countries.
Kassim was killed in a coup on March 8, 1963, by the military and the Baath Socialist Party. The following year, Abdel Salam Arif, consolidated his power by driving out the Baath Party. He adopted a new constitution in 1964. In 1966, he died in a helicopter crash. His brother, Gen. Abdel Rahman Arif, assumed the presidency.
Arif's regime was ousted in July 1968 by a junta led by Maj. Gen. Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr of the Baath Party. Bakr and his second in command, Saddam Hussein, imposed authoritarian rule. Iraq used its oil revenues to develop one of the strongest military forces in the region. On July 16, 1979, President Bakr was succeeded by Saddam Hussein.
A territorial dispute over control of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway between Iraq and Iran broke into full-scale war on September 20, 1980, when Iraq invaded Iran. For several years, Iran and Iraq fought an indecisive war that eventually expanded into the Persian Gulf and led to clashes between US Navy and Iranian military forces between 1987 and 1988.
On July 20, 1988, Khomeini agreed to cease-fire negotiations with Iraq. The cease-fire went into effect on August 20, 1988.
On August 2, 1990, Iraqi troops invaded Kuwait and set up a puppet government. On January 18, 1991, United Nations (UN) forces, under the leadership of U.S. General Norman Schwarzkopf, launched the Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm), liberating Kuwait.
Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and allow UN verification inspections. In November 1997, Saddam Hussein expelled American members of the UN inspections team. In August 1998, Hussein put a halt to inspections, On December 16, 1998, the U.S. and Britain began Operation Desert Fox, four days of intensive air strikes.
After the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, President George W. Bush began calling for a "regime change" in Iraq, describing the nation as part of an "axis of evil," along with North Korea and Iran.
On September 12, 2002, President Bush addressed the UN challenging the organization to enforce its own resolutions against Iraq. On November 8, the UN Security Council approved a resolution imposing new arms inspections on Iraq. On November 26, inspections of Iraq's military holdings began.
At the end of January 2003, chief weapons inspector Hans Blix lamented that "Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament that was demanded of it." On March 17, resident Bush delivered an ultimatum to Saddam Hussein to leave the country or face war.
On March 20, 2003, the war against Iraq began with the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom. By April 9, U.S. forces took control of Baghdad. Although the war was officially declared over on May 1, Iraq remained enveloped in violence and chaos. Iraqis protested against the delay in self-rule and the absence of a timetable to end the U.S. occupation. In July, the U.S. administrator for Iraq, Paul Bremer, appointed an Iraqi governing council.
The U.S. military captured Saddam Hussein on December 13, 2003. He was found hiding in a hole near his hometown of Tikrit and surrendered without a fight. Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity for the execution of 148 Shiite men and boys from the town of Dujai.
On June 28, 2004, sovereignty was officially returned to Iraq. Ayad Allawi became prime minister of the Iraqi interim government, and Ghazi al-Yawar, a Sunni Muslim, was chosen president.
On July 9, 2004, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report, concluding that "most of the major key judgments" on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were "either overstated, or were not supported by, the underlying intelligence report."
In January 30, 2005 elections, a coalition of Shiites, the United Iraqi Alliance, received 48% of the vote, Kurdish parties received 26% of the vote, and Sunnis just 2%. In April, Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, became president, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, a religious Shiite, became prime minister.
In August 2005, Iraqi lawmakers completed a draft constitution that supported the aims of Shiites and Kurds but was unsatisfactory to the Sunnis. In October, the constitutional referendum passed, making way for parliamentary elections on December 15 to select the first full-term parliament since Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
In January 2006 elections, the United Iraqi Alliance did not make a strong enough showing to rule without forming a coalition. Sunni Arab, Kurdish, and secular officials rejected the nomination of interim prime minister al-Jaafari for head of state. The deadlock was broken in late April when Nuri al-Maliki, of the Islamic Dawa Party, was approved as prime minister.
On February 23, 2006, Sunni insurgents bombed the Shiites' most revered shrine in Iraq, the Askariya Shrine in Samarra. The bombings ignited attacks between Shiites and Sunnis. More than a thousand people were killed.
In June 2006, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the most-wanted terrorist in the country, was killed by a U.S. bomb. Zarqawi was responsible for many of the most brutal and horrific attacks in Iraq.
At the end of July 2006, the U.S. announced it would move more troops into Baghdad from other regions in Iraq, attempting to bring security to the country's capital. By October, the military acknowledged its campaign to establish security in Baghdad had been unsuccessful.
Saddam Hussein was hung in December 2006 before being tried for innumerable other crimes associated with his rule.
In a January 2007 televised address, President Bush announced that a "surge" of 20,000 additional troops would be deployed to Baghdad to try to stem the sectarian fighting. Gen. David Petraeus told members of Senate and House committees in September that the U.S. military needs more time to meet its goals in Iraq.
On September 16, 2007, seventeen Iraqi civilians were killed when employees of private security company, Blackwater USA, fired on a car that failed to stop at the request of a police officer. The killings sparked protests in Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki threatened to evict Blackwater employees. In November, FBI investigators reported that 14 of the 17 shootings were unjustified.
In October 2007, Kurdish separatists in Iraq escalated attacks into Turkey. Turkey's parliament voted to allow the deployment of troops into northern Iraq. In December, Turkish fighter jets bombed areas in Dohuk Province in northern Iraq, targeting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
On January 8, 2008, Parliament passed the Justice and Accountability Law, which allowed many Baathists to resume the government jobs they lost after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
In March 2008, Iraqi troops and police, with air support from the U.S. and British military, attempted to oust Shiite militias, primarily the Mahdi Army led by cleric Moktada al-Sadr. The operation failed, and the Mahdi Army maintained control over much of Basra. After negotiations with Iraqi officials, al-Sadr ordered his militia to end military action in exchange for amnesty for his supporters and the release from prison of his followers who had not been convicted of crimes.
On September 1, 2008, the U.S. transferred to the Iraqi military and police responsibility for maintaining security in Anbar Province, which was the cradle of the Sunni insurgency.
On New Year's Day in 2009, the government took control of the Green Zone, the heavily fortified area that houses the offices and homes of most American and Iraqi government officials. On January 31, Iraq held local elections to create provincial councils.
In February 2009, President Barack Obama announced his intention to withdraw most American troops from Iraq. Prime Minister Maliki declared a public holiday called "National Sovereignty Day" to be celebrated on June 30.
On October 25, 2009, two car bombs exploded near the Green Zone killing at least 155 people and wounding 700. The Islamic State in Iraq claimed responsibility. In December 2009, Five bombs killed at least 120 people and wounded some 400 at or near government buildings in Baghdad. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS) said it carried out the attacks.
Ali Hassan al-Majid, who was known as "Chemical Ali" and cousin of Saddam Hussein, was executed in January 2010 for his role in the 1988 poison-gas attack on the village of Halabja, where 5,000 Kurds were killed.
The electoral process was dealt a blow in January 2010 when a parliamentary panel recommended that 500 candidates be banned from participating in the election because of their alleged former association with the Baath party. The move outraged many Sunnis, who threatened to boycott the elections. A panel of seven judges overturned the ban in February, but said the candidates who run in the elections may still be investigated later.
On the day of elections on March 7, 2010, dozens of bombs exploded in Baghdad. Most were non-lethal, but two killed at least 38 people. Final election results, released in late March, gave the Iraqi National Movement, led by former prime minister Ayad Allawi, 91 seats in Parliament out of 325. The State of Law alliance, headed by Prime Minister Maliki came in second with 89 seats. Maliki challenged the results, and a recount of votes in the Baghdad region confirmed Allawi's lead.
On August 31, 2010, President Obama announced the end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq.
In October 2010, Maliki formed an alliance with the Shiite bloc led by al-Sadr. An agreement to form a unity government was reached in November that allowed Maliki to retain his position as prime minister and the Kurds held on to the presidency. Allawi's coalition, Iraqiya, was promised the role of speaker of the Parliament and leadership of a new committee charged with overseeing security. Parliament approved the government in late December.
On August 15, 2011, insurgents launched more than 40 coordinated attacks throughout Iraq, mostly on civilians. A total of 89 people died and more than 300 were wounded in the violence, which came in the form of suicide attacks, car bombs, and gunfire. Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia took credit for the attacks, saying they were retribution for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
On December 15, 2011, the U.S.-led war in Iraq officially ended. The Iraqi government issued a warrant on December 19 for the arrest of vice president Tareq al-Hashemi, charging him with operating death squads responsible for 150 bombings, killings, and assassinations. Tareq al-Hashemi denied the accusations and fled to Turkey. On September 9, 2012, al-Hashemi was sentenced to death by hanging in absentia.
On May 17, 2013 bomb blasts left more than 66 dead. Car bombs killed 76 civilians three days later in Shia sections of Baghdad. In July, Al Qaeda in Iraq orchestrated two prison escapes that resulted in about 800 militants going free from facilities at Taji and Abu Ghraib.
In August 2013, during the Eid al-Fitr festivities marking the end of Ramadan, more than 100 Iraqis were killed in gun and bomb attacks. Dozens of Sunni members of parliament resigned in December 2013.
In January 2014, ISIS took control of Falluja and most of Ramadi. Government troops resumed control of Ramadi, but militants held on to Falluja.
Al Qaeda severed ties with ISIS in early February 2014. Also in February, Moktada al-Sadr announced his departure from politics.
In April 2014, Iraq announced the complete closure of the Abu Ghraib prison.
In May 2014, Iraq held parliamentary elections. Suicide bombings and attacks on polling stations around Baghdad spiked in the weeks leading up to the vote. Prime Minister Maliki won a third term.
Members of ISIS took control of Mosul in early June 2014. The militants released Sunni insurgents from prison, looted banks, and occupied an airport, several government and military buildings, and a police station. Prime Minister Maliki declared a state of emergency and appealed for help from international allies. After seizing Mosul, the militants took Tikrit and oil facilities in Baiji heading toward Baghdad.
In August 2014, President Fouad Massoum nominated Haider al-Abadi as prime minister. On August 14, Prime Minister Maliki resigned, paving the way for Abadi to become prime minister.
In September 2014, President Barack Obama authorized airstrikes against ISIS and would work with allies to retake areas under ISIS control.
On October 22, 2014, four security guards for Blackwater were convicted in a Washington Federal District Court of manslaughter, murder, and weapons charges in the shooting deaths of 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians. Nicholas Slatten was convicted of murder. Dustin Heard, Evan Liberty, and Paul Slough were convicted of voluntary manslaughter and weapons violations.
War with Iraq & the Seven Seals of Revelation
April 09, 2003
Dear Saint, greetings in Jesus name! I typed this article that you are reading from Jamaica. I met yesterday, March 17, 2003 with the Governor General of Jamaica, His Excellency Sir Howard Cooke and the Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Honorable P.J. Patterson. Even though I talked with both men separately at different times and venues, in both meetings the conversation started off with the war in Iraq. Both men were deeply troubled that President Bush was, in their opinion, defying the United Nations which would lead to World War III. I explained what the Bible and the spirit of prophecy warned would happen before and after World War III. I shared that the book of Revelation was about to be opened and God was going to send His plagues on mankind who fought against His laws and His people. I shared that over two billion people (Rev. 9:15) will die and finally the battle of Armageddon will be fought with Jesus Christ Himself returning to fight the nations which are attacking Jerusalem. I explained that since September 29, 1997, besides traveling the nations of the world, I had been sharing in conferences and churches throughout America warning them of an economic meltdown, stock market crash, nuclear attack, civil unrest, natural disasters, chemical, biological & nuclear terrorism, mammoth tidal waves, earthquakes and eruptions etc. I shared dogmatically across America that we will experience a loss of freedom as a catastrophic event would transpire, either naturally and/or created, that would change the American lifestyle forever. I shared that World War III was coming and that many politicians, as well as church leaders, were working together to create a One World Government. I shared that six months prior to 9/11, I flew to New York City and spoke daily on the television for one hour, warning New York City that blood would soon flow down thousands of their faces but instead of repenting they would join hands together with false religions in prayers of blasphemy. Finally, I warned that because of these blasphemous prayers and a lack of repentance, God would allow more attacks against America until millions of Americans died.
Fellow believers, if you have been reading my newsletters, listening to my messages on radio and short-wave, or watching our television program Warning, you realize I warned that the attack against America September 11, 2001 was just the start of attacks until full-blown World War III was upon us. The War with Iraq begins a process, continually leading us closer to World War III. Let us now look at the seven seals of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 6:1-2 reads, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
In Revelation 5:1-14, we see that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is the only one who was found worthy to take the book of human history from the right hand of God and that Jesus Christ is the only one who has the authority to open the seven seals of God.
Dr. Ronald E. Cottle, in his book "Revelation 2", writes: "There are two items we must understand by way of introduction to the opening of the seals. The first is that the opening of the seals is the establishment of the Kingdom of God and the gathering of His saints under His rule, and at the same time, it is the judgment of God upon the evil and demonic powers that have oppressed humanity. Second, the breaking of the seven seals is preliminary to the actual opening of the book and the events of the end. The Lamb breaks each of the seals that completely close the scroll. The breaking of the seals, however, is not the opening of the book. The seals are not the events of the end of the world, only the events that lead to the end of the world. Third, the seals are not part of the Great Tribulation - they precede it. The sixth seal clearly brings us to the threshold of the Great Tribulation, but is not part of the Great Tribulation." (p. 38, 39)
Dr. Cottle also writes, "It is important to understand the pattern of the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets and the pouring of the bowls...The content of the seventh seal is the first six trumpets. The seventh trumpet is seen then in the pouring of the seven bowls. This is the developmental tapestry of Revelation...Intertwined in these two visions are four interludes: the 144,000, the unnumbered multitude, the lamb with the scroll and the two witnesses." (ibid p. 35)
Now, let us return to Revelation 6:1-2 and discuss the white horse and the rider of the horse who had a bow and a crown. I realize there is much dispute on the interpretation of the rider of this horse. I believe, according to the way John wrote Revelation (by means of signs, symbols and cryptic language) in order not to be martyred by the Roman government and because I believe that the greatest revival in human history is going to take place during the Great Tribulation, not before this Apocalyptic book starts, that the rider of the white horse carrying a bow and wearing a crown represents an exaltation of violence (wars etc.). One can only understand wars and commotions (conflicts) going on simultaneously in nations today than ever before in human history. Nations cannot agree on how to solve their differences or beliefs. There is "perplexity" amongst the nations, which is so evident in the United Nations, leading up to this war with Iraq and subsequent decisions and conflicts following this present American-Iraqi war. Also, there is a "great general" or super power that is presently conquering and can make war without the other nations of the world in support or agreement depending on how much of their power (nuclear weapons etc.), they could and/or would choose to use. The book of Matthew 24:8, describes these events, "All these are the beginning of sorrows." Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe we are living at the beginning of the seven seals. The first six seals will reveal the events that will lead up to the end of the world. When we reach the seventh seal, instead of the end of the world, we have the seven trumpets and the three woes. The content of the seventh seal will be the first six trumpets and the content of the seventh trumpet is the pouring of the seven bowls. When the first six trumpets sound, the first four will be natural catastrophes and the last two will be directed at mankind that has rejected Jesus Christ and is fighting the elect. Dr. Cottle writes, "A sword represented a commission. The sword is a symbol of civil and internecine or inter-family strife. Many countries rebelled one after another as Rome weakened, but Rome crushed each one as they arose. There were so many of these rebellions that Rome was eventually destroyed. This sword represented a breakdown of human governmental relationships in the Roman Empire. This was going to be one of the signs that would signal the end. The rider of the red horse took peace away so that people killed each other." (ibid p. 40, 41) Ladies and Gentlemen, we are witnessing peace constantly being taken away from the inhabitants of nations as men who become beasts when they reject the Holy Spirit, try to control their fellow man. Religion does not give a person the Holy Spirit. Religious people can become very violent and murderous people as we see in Sudan, Syria, and Iran etc. Religion comes from man rejecting God's plan that is established the Bible as they understand both the old and new testament since they are really one book. It was man that created the division between them, but they should be titled "The Holy Scriptures" as they work together in harmony. It would be like taking any book of history, whether it is medicine etc., and removing half of the content. Doing so would make the entire content lacking of substance, consequently inadequate, or null and void. In the Old Testament one always finds using a bow as a sign of military power. The white horse and crown, I believe, reveals greatness and victory like a great general (superpower) who continues to win battles (wars).
Dr. Cottle writes, "...the Parthians were a vicious enemy of Rome who defeated them in A.D. 62. They were expert horsemen who rode white horses and were the most famous bowmen in the world. The word for crown is stephanos. The idea of crown is expressed in the words 'and he went forth conquering, and to conquer,' which means he was victorious in his missions." (ibid p. 40)
Revelation 6:3-4 reads, "And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
Luke 21:8-10, 24 helps us understand this horse and the trouble that the rider brings to the nations of the earth which cannot agree on the solution to their differences or beliefs. "...Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by. Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom...and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity."
I believe we are in a period where Jesus is starting to open the seals. We are not in the Great Tribulation; the Apocalypse or book of Revelation has not been opened yet, but we are getting closer. Remember, the seals are not the end of the world, only events leading up to the Great Tribulation, Armageddon and the end of the world. Today, there are more rumors of wars and commotions (conflicts) going on simultaneously in nations today than ever before in human history. Nations cannot agree on how to solve their differences or beliefs. There is "perplexity" amongst the nations, which is so evident in the United Nations, leading up to this war with Iraq and subsequent decisions and conflicts following this present American-Iraqi war. Also, there is a "great general" or super power that is presently conquering and can make war without the other nations of the world in support or agreement depending on how much of their power (nuclear weapons etc.), they could and/or would choose to use.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe we are living at the beginning of the seven seals. The first six seals will reveal the events that will lead up to the end of the world. When we reach the seventh seal, instead of the end of the world, we have the seven trumpets and the three woes. The content of the seventh seal will be the first six trumpets and the content of the seventh trumpet is the pouring of the seven bowls. When the first six trumpets sound, the first four will be natural catastrophes and the last two will be directed at mankind that has rejected Jesus Christ and is fighting the elect.
Dr. Cottle writes, "A sword represented a commission. The sword is a symbol of civil and internecine or inter-family strife. Many countries rebelled one after another as Rome weakened, but Rome crushed each one as they arose. There were so many of these rebellions that Rome was eventually destroyed. This sword represented a breakdown of human governmental relationships in the Roman Empire. This was going to be one of the signs that would signal the end. The rider of the red horse took peace away so that people killed each other." (ibid p. 40, 41)
Ladies and Gentlemen, we are witnessing peace constantly being taken away from the inhabitants of nations as men who become beasts when they reject the Holy Spirit, try to control their fellow man. Religion does not give a person the Holy Spirit. Religious people can become very violent and murderous people as we see in Sudan, Syria, and Iran etc. Religion comes from man rejecting God's plan that is established through Jesus Christ and consequently they become deceived by evil spirits, etc.
2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7 reads, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition...For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way."
There has never been such an apostate time in human church history where the fundamental doctrines of Christianity are being eroded and heresy is being taught instead. People today, both in the church and in society, cannot recognize right from wrong any more. Evil is being proclaimed as good and good as evil. If one agrees with Jesus Christ according to the Protestant Bible that homosexuality, killing the innocent (abortion) and idolatry (serving other gods/religions/philosophies) are sins; then society classifies you as a hate monger. In some countries, if you proclaim that Jesus Christ is the only living God, then they say you are guilty of causing a disruption and they classify it as a hate crime. In many countries, including America, it is not politically correct to pray in Jesus' name because that name is offensive. Many supposed Christian nations have removed the name Jesus Christ out of their assembly prayers because they claim that it is offensive! The Moslems can name their god "Allah" but Christians cannot name their God Jesus. What is so very sad (but also reveals the degree to which the churches are falling away) is how many Christians themselves will rebuke other Christians for using the name Jesus at Rotary Clubs etc. Can you see the spirit of apostasy and heresy that we are living in today? Dear saints, the name of Jesus Christ as the only messiah has always been offensive. That is why the church was persecuted.
Even in the dark ages of church history, homosexuality, abortion, lesbianism, witchcraft (witches etc.) were dogmatically classified as sin! "The mystery of iniquity" is definitely at work destroying social and Christian norms allowing men with hidden agendas to continue to plot and set up their United Nations, New World Order, One World Government and Religion. The removal of national sovereignty, including the destruction of Judeo/Christian values, is a prerequisite to syncretism thus the "Tower of Babel", all over again. It is man versus God, anti-Christ versus Jesus Christ. Humanism (self will), just as in the garden, reigns throughout the world and most of our churches. Dear saint, it is only by God's method, which is through the blood of Himself (Jesus), that mankind can be forgiven. The precious blood of Jesus Christ is free from the curse of the fall which brought about sin and death. Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, life coming from God Himself; only God's plan and his blood can give us eternal life because his blood was without genetic defect, etc. The eternal life blood of God Himself extended to all who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and savior. Please read, John 3:16.
Once again, we are living in an age of man wanting to control his fellow man. We are in an age of rebellion and self-actualization and exaltation. The Bible tells us that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23). Lucifer led the first rebellion against the authority of Jesus Christ in heaven and man is following Lucifer's spirit; the spirit of humanism which is a spirit of independence, pride and selfishness. Whoever doesn't comply with the spirit of the New Age/New World Order etc., will be classified as a fanatic; a biased prejudicial radical; a hatemonger. Consequently, mankind is being programmed through the media to be brainwashed and controlled. The world is creating syncretism, or another name for it is New Age Religion. Man in rebellion against Jesus Christ has always defied the method of worshipping God through Jesus Christ. Humanism (self on the throne of one's life), insists on creating it's own gods/religions. Please read Romans 1:16-32, Leviticus 18:1-30, etc.
Revelation 6:5-6 reads, "And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou and the wine"
"A pair of balances in his hand" represented weight scales. Wheat and barley was the food of the poor. Olive groves produced "the oil and the wine", the food of the rich. The rider on the "black horse" represented famine and starvation which is coming in much greater proportions than the world has yet witnessed. "Hurt not the oil and the wine" referring to the rich that will survive this world-wide food shortage quite well but the poor will suffer greatly.
Dr. Cottle writes, "The penny or denarius was a Roman silver coin in the New Testament era. It took its name from its being equal to ten "asses," a number that after 217 B.C. was increased to sixteen (about 3.898 grams or .1375 oz.). It was the principal silver coin of the Roman Empire. From the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, it would seem a denarius (penny) was, then, the ordinary pay for a day's wages. (Matthew 20:2-13). One day's labor would buy one measure of wheat, which was approximately two pints, or three measures of barley, which was about six pints. This suggests the poor lived from day to day, dependent on the day's wage to provide the amount of food they needed for the day. They could buy nothing in addition to their daily food needs. This is famine! The poor suffered. Anytime your bread is weighed out for you on a daily basis, it indicates famine (Leviticus 26:26; Ezekiel 4:16). We see in this seal the calamity of the dislocation of wealth, where most of the money is in the hands of a few very rich people while the vast majority suffer and die from lack." (ibid p. 42)
We are seeing this type of living conditions throughout much of the world today, such as parts of the continents of Africa, India, Asia, Central and South America and in The Middle East etc. This will only escalate as we get into the seals and finally the Great Tribulation.
Revelation 6:7-8 reads, "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
Death was the rider of this pale (sometimes called green) horse. The Romans killed people by the sword, starvation and by wild beasts. Power was granted over this rider to kill "the fourth part of the earth." I understand this to mean that people who are against Jesus Christ and His people are going to suffer limited judgment according to the statement, "and hell followed with him." The first four seals are called by many Biblical Scholars, "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse." As Jesus Christ opens each seal, trouble and evil are released, just as a prisoner who has not been rehabilitated is released from prison or a man-eating lion is released from its cage.
You know from my articles titled "I Am Grieved" (Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea), a seven part series of articles discussing the seven churches of Revelation, that Jesus Christ is the author of the book of Revelation and the Apostle John was simply the amanuensis of Jesus. You also realize that in the ancient world, the number seven stands for perfection or completeness. This meant that Jesus Christ was not only writing to the churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea which would share the letters with the smaller churches in their postal districts, but Jesus was communicating to the totality of churches throughout history past, present and future. Please refer to my seven articles on "I Am Grieved" to understand the condition of the church and the strong warning to us Christians to put our house in order (our lives) if we wish to live, rule and reign with Jesus throughout eternity.
Yes, the War with Iraq is just a continuation of the process which started with September 11, 2001. It will one day lead us into World War III followed by the trumpets and bowls of Revelation. Armageddon is certain one day and Jesus Christ Himself will return during this battle against the nations of humanists led by the anti-Christ.
© 2003 World Ministries International
The following are some Scriptures that deal with end-time events. All prophecies concerning the nations are leading up to fulfillment of end-time judgments (events).
Ezekiel chapters 38 & 39
Zechariah 13: 8-9
Zechariah 14: 1-16
Daniel chapters 2, 4, 7-12
Matthew 24: 1-51
Mark 13: 1-37
Luke 21: 6-38
The book of Revelation
The book of Joel
Please wait while we load thousands of articles for you to search...