Question: Greetings, maybe you can help. For a long time I was hung up on the idea that the whole human race came from Adam and Eve. Then I was enlightened to the fact, by Pastor Arnold Murray, that mankind was created on the sixth day, Adam on the eighth. This seemed to me a suitable explanation for the different races. But now I am hung up on the flood. Genesis 9:19 states, “These were the three sons of Noah, and from them came the people who were scattered over the earth.” Obviously we are not all Jewish; the word of God speaks often of Gentiles. Please help me to understand. Also, do you hold the view that Revelation’s 666 was speaking of Nero? Did he ever snap his fingers and make fire come from the sky as well as perform other miracles to mislead the children of God as it says in Revelation 13:13? And in Mark 13:30 the Lord Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, this generation will surely not pass away until all these things have happened.” Please help shed some light on these issues for me if you may.
Answer: Thank you for your questions, and I know you have been waiting awhile for your answers. Expect that it will take two or three weeks at least for me to get to your questions. And thanks again for giving some background to your questions.
It is not our policy to attack ministries, however, there are times when corrections of false teaching should be made. If this is, in fact, what is being taught, that Adam was created on the eighth day, it is not correct. Scripture is our final authority and Moses said that everything was created in six days and then God ceased from His creating. “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” (Exodus 20:11) So nothing, and no one, was created on the eighth day. Also people who came into this world came only through Adam and Eve. “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” (Acts 17:26) “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned–.Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.” (Romans 5:12-14)
(We have several articles on Creation and these are: World View Part Two, and Evolution verses Creation, and Did God Use Evolution to Create the World?)
The Acts verse should also help us answer your next question about Noah and his descendants. By the way, the people were not called Jews or Gentiles at this time, until Abraham came along. Then God made a covenant with Abraham and His descendants to be His people. In Noah’s time after the flood Noah’s three sons populated the whole world. The Black people came from Ham; Shem was the forefather of the Arabs and Jews. Japheth was the father of the Europeans, Russians, and Asians. It is not too hard to understand if you realize that each son had a wife so you have a possibility of six combinations right there. You can find this information in Genesis chapters 10 and 11 as far as the nationalities and nations that were formed. We believe God gave the different families their own language at the scattering of the Tower of Babel. Therefore they spread out according to their families and languages. As you study languages, they go back to some basic roots.
Hebrews, or Jews, are physical descendants of Abraham. Gentiles are all those who are not physical children of Abraham. You could become a Jewish proselyte even if you were not a Jew physically, you could do this by going through the proper ceremonies. The rest of us are Gentiles, Christians though consider ourselves to be, “spiritual children” of Abraham, through “faith” in our LORD Jesus Christ. “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also, and the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised.” (Romans 4:11-12)
As far as your question on Nero, I do not believe personally that he was THE antichrist of the book of Revelation. Yes, he was “an” antichrist for there are many of those in the world today, and were in the past, but the Bible speaks of an antichrist that is coming. At the writing of this answer, he has not shown himself to the world, if in fact he is alive. “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) You might say who is an antichrist? “Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:22-23) But, there is one coming in the future who will be THE antichrist.
Did Nero do miracles? I am not aware that he did, I do know that he was a mad man that set Rome on fire. When he found that the people were “upset” with him for burning Rome he blamed it on the Christians, and had them set on fire. “[Nero] dressed Christians in shirts made stiff with wax, put the Christians on [poles], and set them on fire in his gardens, in order to illuminate them. This persecution was general throughout the whole Roman Empire; but it rather increased than diminished the spirit of Christianity. In the course of it, St. Paul and St. Peter were martyred.” (Fox’s Book of Martyrs)
I believe Revelation 13:13 is speaking of the “beast” in the time of Tribulation that will bring fire from heaven, this is not speaking of Nero. This beast will cause fire to come down from heaven to deceive people. He is a false prophet that tries to get everyone worshiping the antichrist. Remember to read the context (verses before and after your verse). “Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666.” (Revelation 13: 11-18)
We have an article that is a summary of prophecy, but I will just say here that I take this to be very literal. People try to think of all the different ways this could be something other than what it says, or that it somehow happened in the past. What is wrong with believing it just like it is. People have done the same thing with creation in the past, saying God must mean this or that. Why not just believe the Bible for what is says?!
Yes, there are times when it is speaking figuratively, but here where it says they have a choice, worship the image of the beast or die. Receive the mark or die, why is this so hard to believe that it could happen? We know from the Ten Commandments we are not to worship idols, so if people are deceived, they are willingly deceived. If they receive the mark of this person who says to worship an idol, they should know this is an imposter. Can this person do miracles, yes, but only up to the point that God will allow. His time is limited. Then his judgment will come, and all who received the mark and followed the antichrist. One word of caution, the beast is not probably going to call himself the beast, nor is he going to say I am the antichrist. These are names that God calls him. He will call himself Christ, the Messiah of the World, or some such name.
“Now learn the parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near–at the doors. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place.” (Mark 13:30) Some have taken this to be speaking of the Tribulation period, and we know that this only lasts seven years, so this generation will not pass away till all these things take place.
The other way this could be taken is from the time we saw Israel go back to their land in 1948, or in 1967 when they got Jerusalem back. Then counting from one of these dates, without putting a specific date on it, because we are told no one knows the day or the hour. We could say that a generation is anywhere from 40 to 100 years depending on which type of generation you are speaking of. “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.But in the fourth generation they shall return here.(Genesis 15:13-16) If we go by this time table, a generation is about 100 years. But, the prophecy says, “when you see these happening,” that these things will take place before the generation passes away.
We do not set dates, though, because Jesus said: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” (Matthew 24:36-39)
Let me encourage you to study more about this, because as we study, we find out more. “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants-things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God. And to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw. Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:1-3) At the same time many in the world could care less about Christ’s coming again.
The main thing though is to be ready for His return. “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:46-51)
You say how can I be ready for Jesus’ return? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31) Repent (turn from) your sins and trust Christ Jesus of the Bible to be your Lord and Savior, and you will be saved.
God bless you and thank you for the questions.
Gary T. Panell
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