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Critique of Irvin Baxter's "Revelation Commentary," Part 7

by Karl Kemp  
12/30/2015 / Bible Studies

We just discussed Rev. 9:13-21 in Part 6, verses that prophesy of the super-intense, sixth trumpet warfare of the short great tribulation. Here in Part 7 we will go on to discuss two other very important passages that prophesy of that same warfare: Joel 2:30, 31 and Dan. 11:40-45.

Joel 2:30, 31. These verses prophesy of this same warfare (the warfare pictured in Rev. 9:13-21, which is the warfare of the short great tribulation of Matt. 24:21, 22). I'll quote these verses and make some comments: "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke. (31) The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD [Hebrew "Yahweh"] comes." [[The blood, fire, and columns of smoke picture the warfare of the short great tribulation. As I mentioned, the mention of "smoke" here (and in Rev. 9:17, 18) is very important. It explains the sun being darkened and the moon being turned to blood (or being darkened) "before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes" (Joel 2:31). The "day of the LORD" will start when God the Father sends His Son back to the earth to save (starting with the rapture) and to judge. The wording of Joel 2:30, 31 shows that when the Lord Jesus returns the sun will have been turned into darkness and the moon into blood. We see the same sequence of events in Matt. 24:29-31 and Rev. 6:12-17. Most agree that the moon being turned into blood (with an ominous red coloration) in Joel 2:31 (and Rev. 6:12) is the equivalent of the moon's not giving its light in Matt. 24:29.

It is also quite significant that Joel 2:32 goes on to prophesy of the conversion of the elect, end-time remnant of Israel that will take place after the great shaking of the short great tribulation reduces them to a repentant remnant during the one-month period that will start with the abomination of desolation. (At least most of the reduction will take place during that one-month period.) On being reduced to a repentant remnant, see, for example, Zech. 13:8; 14:1, 2; Jer. 30:7 [the time of Jacob's trouble]; and Isa. 10:20-23 with Rom. 9:27-29). On the conversion of this repentant remnant (when they become Christians; see, for example, Joel 2:32; Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:25-27 [cf. Rom. 9:27-29]; and Rev. 11:13).

Daniel 11:40-45. This is another passage that prophesies of the warfare of the short great tribulation. I'll quote these interesting verses and comment on them. (For more details see the verse-by-verse discussion of Dan. 11:36-45 in chapter 9 of "The Mid-Week Rapture.") "At the end time [I would translate "the time of the end" with the NIV; KJV; and NKJV] the king of the South [[Throughout Dan. 11:5-35 we read of various kings of the South and kings of the North. Ptolemy, who had been a general under Alexander the Great, was the first "king of the South." He reigned in Egypt from 304-285 BC. There was repeated warfare between the kings of the South and the kings of the North mentioned throughout these verses. The kings of the South were in Egypt, so the "king of the South" in the time of the end will undoubtedly involve Egypt (cf. Dan. 11:42, 43).]] will collide with him [The king of the South will take the initiative and collide with the king of the North.], and the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, with horsemen and with many ships [The king of the North, who is Antichrist, will strongly retaliate. The armies will use modern weapon systems.], and he will enter countries, overflow them and pass through. [We should undoubtedly think of Antichrist coming from the North, and in the light of the countries mentioned in verses 41-43, we should apparently think of him first entering countries like Syria and Lebanon.] (41) He will also enter the Beautiful Land [Israel], and many countries will fall [[The NASB supplied the word "countries" in italics. I agree with those who believe Daniel was prophesying here that many Israelis will fall, not countries. (See my book, "The Mid-Week Rapture" for the details.) Antichrist's abomination of desolation will apparently take place at this time. He will probably tell Israel that he has come to save them and that they need to worship him. It is quite possible that the way the king of the South will collide with the king of the North (11:40) is that he will attack Israel in some way that will give Antichrist the right "to defend" Israel based on the terms of the seven-year treaty/covenant of Dan. 9:27.

Many Israelis will strongly react against Antichrist's abominable activities, and many will undoubtedly fall at that time. We expect Israel's end-time troubles to begin with Antichrist's abomination of desolation (cf., e.g., Dan. 8:10-14; 9:27; 12:11; Isa. 66:5, 6; Matt. 24:15-22; 2 Thess. 2:3, 4). As we have discussed and will further discuss in this paper, the warfare of the short great tribulation will take place during the one-month period between the abomination of desolation and the mid-week return of Christ and the rapture.]]; but these will be rescued [I believe "shall escape" of the KJV; NKJV, or "will escape" is better.] out of his hand: Edom, Moab, and the foremost of the sons of Ammon. [[They will probably escape (at least temporarily) because Antichrist will be in a hurry to move South to deal with Egypt (see Dan. 11:40, 42, 43; as I mentioned, the king of the South undoubtedly involves Egypt). Modern Jordan now covers the territory of ancient Edom, Moab, and Ammon; the Jordanians are probably in view here.]] (42) Then he will stretch his hand out against other countries, and the land of Egypt will not escape. (43) But he will gain control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the precious things of Egypt; and Libyans and Ethiopians will follow at his heels. [[The Libyans and Ethiopians may have been aligned with the king of the South in his initial collision with Antichrist (Dan. 11:40). Anyway, they, like the Egyptians, will submit to Antichrist, including submitting their armies to him. (NOW WE COME TO VERSE 44, WHICH APPARENTLY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT VERSES IN THE BIBLE THAT PROPHESIES OF THE WARFARE OF THE SHORT GREAT TRIBULATION OF MATT. 24:21, 22.)]] (44) But rumors ["reports" with the NIV is better] from the East and from the North will disturb him, and he [Antichrist, the king of the North of verse 40] will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many." [[Antichrist will be in the South, having conquered Egypt (verses 42, 43). He will apparently be disturbed by reports of VERY LARGE armies crossing the Euphrates River and coming into that part of the world. Those armies will be coming from "the East" and "the North" of his location. Antichrist's abomination of desolation and the fact that he has been conquering countries will stir up much opposition to Antichrist, and nations/religions will want to defend their perceived rights (including religious rights) in Israel, especially in Jerusalem.

Apparently the prophecy of the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation (Rev. 9:13-21), which we discussed above, enables us to understand the "reports" that will disturb Antichrist. That trumpet will sound about the time of Antichrist's abomination of desolation. The four evil angels who are now bound at the Euphrates River will be released at that time to gather TWO HUNDRED MILLION SOLDIERS who will cross the Euphrates River and come into that part of the world that includes Israel. Reports like that can disturb a person. (The ancient Romans feared attacks from Parthian horsemen who came from the other (northern and eastern) side of the Euphrates River.) Each evil angel may be responsible for gathering an army from his assigned part of the world. Note that demons gather the enemies of God (referring to people) to Armagedon (Har-Magedon) under the outpouring of the sixth bowl of wrath (Rev. 16:13-16).

As this verse (Dan. 11:44) shows (and it is no surprise) Antichrist "will go forth with great wrath to destroy and annihilate many." Antichrist will probably be killed during the warfare of the short great tribulation (Matt. 24:21, 22) that will take place in the one-month period that will start with the abomination of desolation (Matt. 24:15) and end before the Lord Jesus returns in the middle of the seven years (Matt. 24:29-31). Antichrist will be killed, but he will come back from the dead (he will come up out of the abyss [Rev. 11:7]) in time to kill the two witnesses three and one-half days before they come back to life (to the fullness of eternal life) before the watching world in the middle of the seven years and are raptured (Rev. 11:7-11). It isn't hard to believe that a third of mankind (but, as I mentioned, not necessarily a third of mankind worldwide) will be killed during those few weeks of warfare that will undoubtedly use nuclear weapons and probably other weapons of mass destruction.]] (45) [[This verse is important to help confirm the (apparent) important point that God will not permit Antichrist to have access to Jerusalem (very much including the temple mount) during the second half of the seven years, after the Lord Jesus has returned and the rapture has taken place. It will apparently be controlled by the Lord Jesus and the elect end-time remnant of Israel who will have repented and submitted to Him and become Christians.]] He [Antichrist] will pitch the tents of his royal pavilion between the seas and the beautiful Holy Mountain; yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him [Contrast Michael arising to help the end-time remnant of Israel during the days of the (short) great tribulation that is spoken of in the next verse (Dan. 12:1), which (as we have discussed) will start about the time of the abomination of desolation]." [[(This double bracket goes on for three paragraphs.) Antichrist will set up his headquarters in Israel. This may be his primary headquarters from this time (about the middle of Daniel's 70th week) to the time "he will come to his end" at the end of Daniel's 70th week (cf., e.g., Dan. 7:11; Rev. 19:20).

I believe the reading in the margin of the NIV ("the sea," instead of "the seas") in Dan 11:45 conveys the intended meaning. The Hebrew noun for "sea" is plural here, but it is quite common for Hebrew (unlike English) to use the plural when no plurality is intended. The Hebrew plural can be used to amplify the idea of majesty, extension, fullness, etc. I believe C. F. Keil (Keil and Delitzsch, "Commentary on the Old Testament," Vol. 9, 1978 reprint, pages 473, 474) says it well: The plural "is only the poetic plural of fullness, as a sign of the great Mediterranean Sea." Compare the size of that sea with the Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is a common view in the commentaries.

So, Antichrist's headquarters will apparently be located between the Mediterranean Sea and Jerusalem, which is the "Holy Mountain" (cf. Dan. 9:16, 20). Within Jerusalem was the Temple Mount, which can certainly be called the "Holy Mountain." It seems certain that Antichrist would like to control Jerusalem and have access to the temple from the time he begins his super-evil reign in the middle of the seven years (cf., e.g., Rev. 13:2, 5), but apparently the Lord Jesus will claim Jerusalem as His city when He returns in the middle of the seven years.]]

REVELATION 10:7 AND THE TIME OF THE SOUNDING OF THE SEVENTH AND LAST TRUMPET. I'm taking this excerpt from Article 21 of my book, "Introduction to the Mid-Week Rapture." All of Revelation chapter 10 is discussed there.

REVELATION 10:7. "but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound [better, "when he sounds," or the equivalent], then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets." I can't live with the translation "when he is about to sound" of the NASB. The "mystery of God" will not be finished when the seventh trumpet is about to sound; nor will it be finished when the seventh trumpet begins to sound (with the KJV). The mystery of God will not be finished until the days associated with sounding of the seventh and last trumpet will have been completed. The days of the seventh trumpet will not be completed until God has finished His promised work of saving, judging, and fully establishing His kingdom at the end of Daniel's 70th week. The seventh trumpet will sound right in the middle of the seven-year period (Baxter believes it will sound at the end of the seven years), and the Lord Jesus will return, the rapture will take place, and the day of judgment will begin, starting with the casting down of Satan and his angels.

The Greek verb "mello" is often translated "about to" (and the NKJV and the NIV also include the words "about to" in this verse), but quite often there is no idea of "about to" in the meaning of this verb, and I am quite sure that applies here in Rev. 10:7. As I mentioned, I would translate, "but in the days of the sounding of the seventh angel when he sounds," or the equivalent. Quite a few Bible translations and quite a few Bible commentators agree that there is no idea of "about to" here in verse 7. Also, the BAGD Greek Lexicon (and other Greek Lexicons) lists many verses (under the Greek verb "mello") where there is no idea of "about to." The NASB very often translates mello with no idea of "about to." Nineteen places they translate "going to," for example.

This is very important, so I'll take the time to read a few other translations of Rev. 10:7. I'll just read the relevant part of the translations. I'll read the "New Revised Standard Version," "but in the days when the seventh angel is to blow his trumpet, the mystery of God will be fulfilled...." I'll read "The New Testament in Modern English" (by J. B. Phillips), "In the days which shall soon be announced by the trumpet blast of the seventh angel the mysterious purpose of God [or, the mystery of God] shall be completed...." I'll read the "New American Bible," "When the time comes for the seventh angel to blow his trumpet, the mysterious plan of God [or, the mystery of God]...shall be accomplished in full." And, lastly, I'll read "The New Living Translation," "But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, God's mysterious plan [or, the mystery of God] will be fulfilled. ...."

We read at the end of verse 6 that there will be delay no longer. That is, under the sounding of the seventh and last trumpet (and that trumpet will be on the verge of sounding at that time), God the Father will send His Son to fully save His elect, which includes their glorification; to judge the world, including the devil and all who follow him; and to fully establish His everlasting kingdom. These things are all included in the "mystery of God" that is spoken of in this verse. God has revealed these things to us by His spokesmen (these things that were formerly hidden in Him), so now we can understand this all-important mystery. Understood in the fullest sense, God's plans include the great-white-throne judgment at the end of the millennial kingdom and the bringing forth of the new heaven and new earth, with its new Jerusalem, of the eternal state. God has revealed these details to us through the apostle John, and a whole lot more, in the book of Revelation.


I'll comment briefly on what Baxter says on this topic on pages 38-41. For one thing, Baxter (in agreement with many) believes that the same people are being spoken of in Rev. 7:1-8 and 14:1-5. I am confident that two very different groups are spoken of in these verses. The first group is the end-time remnant of Israel, who will ultimately become Christians, but not until right after the mid-week rapture, when they will look upon Him who they have pierced (Zech. 12:10) and submit to Him (cf., e.g., Zech. 12:10-13:1; Rom. 11:25-27). They will be sealed for protection. This seal will keep them alive through the days of the sounding of the first six trumpets that will be sounding during the first half of Daniel's 70th week, especially during the days of the sounding of the sixth trumpet of the book of Revelation during which so many people (a third of mankind, but not necessarily a third of mankind worldwide) will die. Rev. 9:4 shows that the demonic locusts of the fifth trumpet will not be able to touch those who are sealed. (That includes the true Christians who will be living on the earth at that time; we have already been sealed by the blood of the Lamb and by the Spirit of God [cf. Rev. 14:1].) The number of those sealed in Rev. 7:1-8 will be in the millions, not 144,000. Baxter doesn't say that the number will be a literal 144,000 (or that it won't be), but he gives me the impression that it will be a number not too far removed from 144,000.

Baxter says that "There is another account of the sealing of the 144,000 in the Old Testament. Ezekiel 9:4 [King James version] says, 'And the Lord [This "LORD" is "Yahweh" in the Hebrew; the KJV and NASB (and other translations) have four capital letters for the word "LORD."] said unto him, go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.' " The man dressed in linen (Ezek. 9:2, 11; 10:2, 6, 7; and Dan. 10:5; 12:6, 7) was the one/One who sealed the true believers in Jerusalem (Ezek. 9:4-6) before He initiated the judgment of Jerusalem (Ezek. 10:2, 6, 7); that judgment came through the Babylonians in 587/586 BC.

One thing that makes Ezekiel chapters 9 and 10 so interesting and important is that apparently the man dressed in linen, who plays such a significant role in these chapters, was the eternal Son of God who appeared quite a few times in the Old Testament as the Angel/Messenger of Yahweh. (See my paper, "The Name Yahweh and God the Father and God the Son.") These chapters are discussed on pages 165-180 of my "The Mid-Week Rapture." Ezekiel 9:4 did not prophesy of the sealing of Revelation chapter 7, as Baxter said (it was prophesying of God's judging Jerusalem in the days of Ezekiel through the Babylonians, who even destroyed the temple at that time), but it set an important precedent for the sealing of Revelation chapter 7. I believe it is quite possible (even probable) that the same Person, God the Son, also does the sealing in Revelation chapter 7. See on Revelation chapter 7 on pages 174-179 of "The Mid-Week Rapture."

I Am Going to Excerpt Most of the Nine Pages that Deal with the 144,000 of Revelation Chapters 7 and 14 from a Paper that I Wrote Recently Titled "Some Comments on John Shorey's Teaching on the Mid-Week (Mid-Trib) Rapture." That thirty-one page paper is on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching):

((I discussed Rev. 7:1-8 on pages 176-179 and Rev. 14:1-5 in chapter 23 of my "The Mid-Week Rapture" and under Rev. 7:1-8 in my paper on Revelation chapters 1-10 on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching). Revelation 7:1-3, which deal with the sealing of the 144,000, are quite important and interesting, but I won't deal with those verses in this paper. I'll just deal, for the most part, with the number 144,000, which is, I believe, a symbolic number of completeness. The actual numbers in Rev. 7:4 and especially in 14:1 (and 14:3) will be much higher than a literal 144,000. If the 144,000 of Rev. 7:4 is symbolic, so too are the twelve uses of 12,000 in Rev. 7:5-8. We will also discuss some other symbolic numbers in the book of Revelation. I'll borrow from the writings I mentioned here and supplement them for this paper.))

I don't believe that the 144,000 of Rev. 7:1-8 is to be equated with the 144,000 of Rev. 14:1 (and 14:3). Baxter (and many others) believes both passages refer to the same people. Also, I believe it is necessary to see that 144,000 is a symbolic number for many more than a literal 144,000 in both passages. The book of Revelation contains much symbolic language, including quite a few symbolic numbers. Revelation 5:6 is an obvious example. The Lord Jesus does not literally have seven horns or seven eyes, and the "seven Spirits of God" is a symbolic reference to the Holy Spirit. (We'll discuss Rev. 5:6 in more detail as we continue.) I'll quote the brief discussion that I have on symbolic language at the beginning of Revelation chapter 21 in my paper on Revelation chapters 20-22 on my internet site for a start:

Symbolic Language. I'll say quite a bit regarding symbolic language in the book of Revelation before I quote Rev. 7:4-8 and 14:1 and discuss a few details. The book of Revelation contains much symbolic language, including symbolic numbers; chapters 21 and 22 are loaded with symbolic language. Symbolic (figurative) language doesn't mean that we aren't dealing with reality; we are dealing with reality, but symbolic language can help describe the indescribable, like the glories of heaven (including new Jerusalem). I'm confident, however, that the symbolic language used in Revelation chapters 21 and 22 falls far short of communicating the glorious reality. Symbolic language, including symbolic numbers, can communicate much extra information, but we need the wisdom of God to rightly divide and understand God's Word, very much including symbolic language. Quite often the symbols are explained in other parts of the Bible. We don't want to overuse (misuse) the concept of symbolic language, as some do, and take things in a symbolic (non-literal) sense when a literal meaning was intended by God, nor do we want to underuse this concept, as some do. We shouldn't always take language in a literal sense if it is at all possible to take it in a literal sense like many say. We need the meaning that God intended!

Let's look at an important example of symbolic language from the book of Revelation. Revelation 5:6 speaks of "a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth." The "Lamb" is a symbol for the Lord Jesus Christ, who was slain, bearing our sins with the guilt and the penalties. John sees Him after He has been raised from the dead. It is interesting that in the preceding verse Christ is pictured as "the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah." Well, is He a Lion, or a Lamb? He's both, and many other good things too. Christ is a lion (which is another word used in a symbolic/figurative sense) in His power, authority, and dominion.

The number seven is sometimes used as a symbol for perfection/completeness. A week has seven days, Israel also had a seven-year cycle, and a seven times seven-year cycle, and the book of Revelation has seven churches, seven stars, seven Spirits, seven seals, seven angels with seven trumpets, seven peals of thunder, the dragon and the beast with seven heads, seven angels with seven bowls of wrath, and there are a few other uses of the number seven.

For Christ to have "seven horns" is to communicate the all-important fact that He has perfect/complete authority, dominion, and power. For Christ to have "seven eyes" (cf. Zech. 3:9; 4:10) is to communicate the fact that He has perfect/complete knowledge of what is happening everywhere. We are further shown here that He has this knowledge through the "seven Spirits of God," which is a symbolic way to speak of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is perfect/complete in all of His work and manifestations. On the seven-fold Spirit, which refers to the Person of the Holy Spirit, also see Rev. 1:4; 3:1; and 4:5. We're not supposed to try to think of a picture of Christ, or a Lamb, literally having seven horns and seven eyes - these numbers are being used in a symbolic way here, but they certainly do communicate important information, don't they? We are not supposed to think of a literal seven Spirits of God either.

We will continue to speak of symbolic numbers in Part 8 of this eight part paper.

Copyright by Karl Kemp Karl Kemp worked as an engineer in the space field throughout the 60s. He became a born-again Christian in 1964. He received an MA in Biblical Studies in 1972. He has been a Bible teacher for 45 years. See the website for more info on his books, papers, etc.

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