Conversation about Eschatology

Interview with Erling Elgeholm
By Debora Elgeholm

The subject of our talk is Europe. Specifically the signs of times described in the Bible regarding Europe at the end of times.
There are numerous instances recorded in the bible concerning what the world will be like at the second coming of the Lord. There will be natural disasters and starvation, but also ongoing wars.  Even the Antichrist, referred to as ”the Beast” in the book of Revelation, is a sign of the end of times. As I understand it, he will become the leader of the resurrected union. Could you tell us about the formation of that union?
It isn’t quite an easy task to know exactly when the signs will occour. No one knows. There are multitudes of prophecies in the Bible regarding the future. The book of Revelation tells us in chapter 13 about a kingdom under the rule of the two beasts, portrayed in a vision of John. This has by and large been interpreted as being a world power in Europe, the resurrected kingdom of Rome.

Is it talking about two beasts?
Yes, it is recorded in Revelations 13:1-18: “And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. He had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name. (…) Then I saw another beast, coming out of the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but he spoke like a dragon. (…) He was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that it could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.”

It says that the beast has ten horns. Haven't this been intepreted as the leader being chosen by ten nations, and hence been compared to the EU?
Yes, that’s correct.  We generally refer to the prophecies in the book of Daniel. The ten-horned beast mentioned in Dan 7:7, gives us the idea of a powerful kingdom. The same ten fashioned kingdom of Rome is predicted already in the dream of Nebudkadnessar where he sees the image with the ten toes.

The book of Revelations says that the Antichrist will force every one to bear his mark on the hand or on the forehead. Now, the Verichip Corporation2 has started to manufacture a chip that can be operated into the hand. The chip can store all information about a person and can be used as a credit card. Dou you believe this is the mark of the beast referred to in the Bible?
Yes, but I believe it will develop even more.

The storage of personal information is a technology that can be used to take control over people. But how does it benefit Antichrist to be in control over the citizens?
He wants to be in full control of all people. The mark is an effective way to prevent every person from trading and staying alive, lest they worship the Antichrist.

It sounds really useful having the chip containing all personal information. How will people identify the chip as being evil and that it will be abused by the Antichrist?
Of course the technological development is very interesting. Every technology is in itself neutral. It is all about the user and his/her objectives.  I have read that there is a huge interest in getting a society of control within the EU. This is expressed by the recent political proposal to record all Internet traffic and voice traffic over mobile phone systems.

But why can't Christians accept the mark, when the chip has all these advantages?
The technology surrounding the chip is neutral and will probably develop further in the future and become used in many contexts. As I've understood it, the mark in connection with worshipping the Antichrist is about a religion where the Dragon, Antichrist and the false prophet will totally rule and reign over all people. The mark is associated with the Beast and his image.3
What is the image?
I don’t know. But there are already computer systems that give us multimedia coverage of what is going on in Jerusalem and the rest of the world. The image is mentioned in connection to the other beast, later referred to as the false prophet: “And it was given the rights to breathe life into the image of the beast so that the image could also speak and see everyone that are not worshipping the image and make sure they become killed”4

Does the Antichrist have do be a person, do you think? Couldn’t it be a strong economical factor, a system or the consumption/capitalist society in itself?
I believe the Antichrist spoken about in the Bible to be a person. The word anti means either against or instead of. The name the Antichrist means that he is to be a person that is against Jesus Christ, and he demands the worship of people by, in every way, resembling Jesus Christ.

What if you believe in capitalism and in gaining happiness through products or a lifestyle. Then that might be a substitute to the beliefs of a religion, the beliefs in a god that gives meaning to life.
I have a hard time believing in that way of interpretation. The human being is an eternal creation, created by God and can thereby not become satisfied unless she gains contact with God.

To my understanding, the Antichrist will try to appear as a good person?
First and foremost, he will become a peacemaker, which is my understanding of the Bible. He will be received as the one coming to solve all of our problems. “No wonder, Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 5

Do you believe the Pope to be a aspirant?
I don’t believe the present Pope to be! There are those who infer a future Pope to be, since the Catholic Church is a mighty religious establishment in all countries of the EU, and since the Pope is strongly political underneath.  “The world needs a new leader” were lines I read, stated by Paul-Henri Spaak, former general secretary of NATO. “We do not want another committee, we have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all the people and to lift us up out of the economic morass into which we are sinking. Send us such a man, and whether he be God or devil, we will receive him.”6
But I don't think that the Antichrist will be a reality until Jesus comes to get the dead in Christ. It can happen anytime, since we're seeing a lot of the signs of time that Jesus talked about being fulfiled, e.g. wars and natural disasters.

When Jesus is coming back to get the dead in Christ, will the living go along at the same time?
Yes, according to the Bible, it will be simultaneous.7Jesus will appear as lightning (an atomic unit, an undividable time) to get the those dead in Christ and the living belonging to Him. The Bible speaks about two resurrections. The first takes place when Jesus comes to get the church. During this resurrection only those who have believed in Christ will take part.8 The second resurrection, the general one, will take place after the Millennium Kingdom and prior to the last Judgement.
“(…) And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and book were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his work.  Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not find written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.” 9

When will the Millennium Kingdom come to pass?
The rapture, the first resurrection, occurs according to 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. Nations invade Israel and are defeated in a supernatural manner, according to Ezekiel 28-29. The Antichrist takes dominion over the world in accordance to Revelations chapter 13. The dreadful judgements of God will be poured out over the earth and the nations will gather to the battle at Armageddon. Christ and His Holy ones will appear at this sight and make to nought the godless powers.
There are interpretations meaning that this is to be”a prophetic Week”, that is to say seven years.10 These seven years contains the first resurrection and the time until Jesus comes back to Jerusalem as King of kings and Lord of lords and throws the false prophet into the fiery lake of furnace and binds Satan for a thousand years and erects the Millennium of Christ.
After the Thousand years, Satan will be set loose and there will be a last pandemonium. Thereafter Satan will be thrown into the fiery lake. This brings the second resurrection and everyone is judged by their deeds, then comes the eternity with Jesus.
But I'm not sure, so I won’t go any further into the theory about the seven years. I you spend time in the mountains you will see a lot of heights, but it is often difficult to decide which height is closest to you. So is it with the prophecies of the Bible. It is difficult to know the order in which it will take place and when. God has a totally different chronology. To Him one day equals a thousand years and a thousand years equals a day.12

It is often spoken about the people of Israel and the return to their country. Is this a figurative or literal way of speech when is said that all Jews will return or is the most important issue for them to get their land back?
I interpret the prophecies concerning Israel literally, and believe God is able to give His covenant people back their land and bring them back from all countries according to His roadmap.13 Many prophecies suggest that all will return. They were dispersed but God will bring them back. The prophet Jeremiah describes the dispersion of Israel out over the earth and their gathering back to their country:
“Therefore behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when they will no longer say, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of Egypt,’ but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up and led back the descendants of the household of Israel from the north land and from all the countries where I had driven them.’ Then they will live on their own soil.”14
I see it as a sign of times that Israel will regain their land and it may well happen before the rapture but also after. What now takes place in Israel is strong evidence to the future fulfilment of the rest of the prophecies and it may happen very hastily.

What is the Armageddon?
Armageddon in the revelations of John, is the location where the world’s rulers will gather in the day of battle, the terrifying day of the Lord.15 The battle at Armageddon means a climax to the acts of war that is to take place at the end of the ages and at the coming of the Christ.

Does that place exist?
Well, the Hebrew word Megiddo means enlistment. Megiddo is an important Israeli town, situated in the south-western part of the Jisraeli fields, it’s where the ancient road between Egypt and the Euphrates/Tigris-nations runs. The plains of Megiddo have been identified with the Tellel-Mutesellim. The surroundings of Megiddo together with the Jisraeli fields have been the place of show-downs of many military battles and are counted to be the bloodiest battlefields of the ancient world.16

There are those who see connections between the American peace talk interventions involving the giving up of Israeli land and the natural disasters that have struck the United States.
One example is when the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met with the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, October the 15th of 1998 at the Wye River-estate in the state of Maryland, USA.  The talks were planned to last five days, focusing the giving up of 13% of the Israelian parts of Judea and Samaria. The talks were prolonged and were finished October the 23rd. The 17th of October huge rainstorms and tornadoes struck southern Texas. The rain and the floods continued until October 22nd and then ceased.17 Do you think there is a connection or is this just a coincidence?
I have seen some sources on the Internet saying that there is a correlation. But I think it is hard to known, I am not quite sure.

But why would God punish the US?
The prophet Zachariah writes about God’s concern for Jerusalem:
“The burden of the word of the Lord concerning Israel. Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him, Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.”18
However, there are several natural disasters taking place at the present, many of which we can say are caused by the human abuse of nature through greed, egoism, scientific experiments, manipulation of genes and horrific wars etc.

For instance the depletion of the ozone layer?
John describes what is scientifically known as the ozone layer in his vision of the seven angels with the seven plagues shown by Jesus at the isle of Patmos:
“Then the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and power was given to him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and they blasphemed the name of God who has power over these plagues; and they did not repent and give Him glory.”19
We have dealt with eschatology. It involves future research and prophecies. Eschatology is the teaching of the latter happenings. The old-testament prophets of the Bible prophesied and Jesus spoke of the future. There are many speculations concerning what is what, and you have to make sure to be careful with speculations. The most important thing is to be ready when Jesus returns so you get a ticket to heaven.

Are you afraid of not coming to heaven?
There's always a possibility for me of being eternally lost. As well as for all people. Sure I can be doubtful and fear. Therefore it is all a matter of having a good relationship, just as in relationships with people, and not letting anyone destroy it. If you are in a good relationship, you are not afraid of meeting the one you love and you are sure of that what is said is true, i.e. He will get me to His heaven. I want to be with Jesus because it will be a wonderful existence in eternity with Him.20

I think we’ll have to finish off now, but thank you very much!
Good luck!
Good Luck to you!

1 Daniel 2:28, 31-34, 41-45
3 Revelation 13:14-18
4 Revelation  13:15
5 2 Corinthians 11:14-15
6 William R Goetz Uppenbarelseboken och vår tid. Stockholm: Norman Förlag, 1983, page 119
7 1 Tessalonians 4:13-18
8 1 Tessalonians 4:16-17, Revelation 20:4-5
9  Revelation 20:12-15
10 Daniel 9:24-27
11 Revelation 19:11- 20:3
12  2 Peter 3:8
13 Deuteronomy 28 and 29:1
14 Jeremiah 23:7-8
15 Revelation 16:13-16
16 Illustrerat bibellexikon, Stockholm: Filadelfia Förlag 1967, band 2 s 3809
17 stora händelser.pdf
18 Sechariah12:1-3
19 Revelation 16:8-9
20 Revelation 21:1-7, 22:1-5