CHAPTER 37 – Revelation 17:8-17 注定要滅亡的國 THE EMPIRE DOOMED TO PERISH

美國對兩個國家發展核武很緊張,一是伊朗,一是北韓。近廿年徵召軍隊分配他們學的語言,最重要是兩個:韓國話與阿拉伯話。但留心看以色列所關心的,只是伊朗。北韓在聖經末日的舞台上沒有地位,伊朗卻佔了很多篇幅。

America is very worried about the development of nuclear weapons of two countries, one is Iran and the other one is North Korea. In the last twenty years the army has been training its troops to learn two main languages, Korean and Arabic. But take careful notice that the only country which Israel is concerned about is Iran. North Korea has no place in the Bible, Iran takes up the whole stage during the end times.

在十叁章我們已經看過這獸國的厲害,但這裡十七章與後面十九章,這敵神的帝國仍然佔有很重要位置,再過不久,我們就會看見牠在這世界上的影響力不斷擴張。因為神把牠的未來與結局預先告訴我們了。我們預先知道,就不會受迷惑。

In chapter 13 we have already seen how brutal the empire of the beast is; but here in chapter 17 and the later part of chapter 19, this empire enemy of God will continue to hold a very important position; in the near future, we will see that its influence in this world will continue to expand. Because God has told us beforehand its future and its outcome, we will not be deceived.

受地上人景仰的國

THE EMPIRE THAT THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD WILL ADMIRE

8 你所看見的獸,先前有,如今沒有,將要從無底坑里上來,又要歸於沉淪。凡住在地上,名字從創世以來,沒有記在生命冊上的,見先前有、如今沒有,以後再有的獸,就必希奇。

8 The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its 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 it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

牠叫住在地上的人希奇。在十叁章的時候,牠能夠叫全世界的人希奇、崇拜、跟從。牠能叫那些以這世界為家,名字不在天國公民冊上的人,都崇拜這帝國的成功,跟隨這帝國的投資方式。

The inhabitants of the earth will be astonished when they see the beast. In chapter 13, it could make the whole world to be filled with wonder, follow and worship the beast. It could make those inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life, to worship the success of this empire and to follow its manner of investment.

在這裡描寫牠的時候,特別說牠是「先前有,如今沒有,將要從無底坑上來」。天使所指的是後面復活的頭。末世的時候,撒但與最惡的天使被釋放,從無底坑里釋放出來。

Here its description is very particular, it says that it “once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss.” The angel is describing the head that became alive later on. At the end of the world, Satan and the most evil of the spirits will be set free and will be coming out from bottomless pit.

短暫的帝國

AN EMPIRE OF SHORT DURATION

9 智慧的心在此可以思想,那七頭… 10 是七個王朝,五個已經傾倒,一個還在,一個還沒有來到,牠來的時候,必須暫時存留。11 那先前有,如今沒有的獸,就是第八個,牠也和那七個同列,並且歸於沉淪。

9 “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads… 10 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 only a little while. 11 The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

聖經沒有說哪一個國家的名字,所以我們只能根據各處經文的描寫來推論。要記得這獸不是一個人,不是敵基督那大罪人。因為無論是誰都不可能複活,撒但沒有生命的權柄,牠只能殺死人,不能使人復活。這獸是敵神的帝國,所以可以復活。

The Bible does not mention the specific name of a nation; therefore, we can only come to a reasonable conclusion by examining different passages in the Bible. Remember that the beast is not a specific person; it is not the Antichrist, the man of lawlessness , because no one can come back to life. Satan does not have authority over life; he can only kill, he cannot give life to anyone. The beast is the nation that is against God; therefore, it can come back to life.

過去已經滅國的帝國中,埃及已經失去它的文化、語言;亞述與巴比倫人已經滅種;希臘、羅馬也失去文化、地位,語言也只剩下字母,也是弱小的國,不可能復活;只有波斯在第四世紀曾經復活,現在波斯人,就是伊朗人仍然存在,文化語言仍然強盛,是亞拉伯國家中異數。

From the empires that have fallen, Egypt has lost its culture and language, Assyria and Babylon are extinct, Greece and Rome have also lost their culture and their status, only their alphabet is left and they have become a weak nation, they could never flourish again. Only Persia came back to life in the fourth century, Persians are the Iranians of today; their language and their culture is still rich and powerful that distinguishes it from the other Arab countries.

那七個頭我們已經聽多了。七個頭是七個王朝,代表七個時代的敵神帝國。我們應該也知道是哪幾個了。前面六個已經過去了。

We have heard a lot about the seven heads which are seven empires; they represent seven eras of empires that are enemies of God. We already know which seven they are, the first six have already passed.

前面的帝國都有相當長時間逼迫神的子民,看這些國的長度,不是看王朝有多長,乃是看壓迫神的子民的時間有多久。像埃及上千年,但欺壓神子民時間只有四百多年;羅馬帝國也上千年,但逼迫神子民時間也只叁幾百年。但後面這王朝更是非常的短。而且在這非常短的時間裡面,居然還有兩個朝代的變動。因為還出了第八個,與前面七個同列。

These previous empires oppressed God’s people for a very long time. When we look at how long these empires have lasted we do not take into consideration how long they ruled but how long they persecuted God’s people. Egypt, for example, has a history of thousands of years but they oppressed God’s people only for about 400 years. The Roman Empire also had a history of more than a thousand years but they only persecuted God’s people for about 300 years. But this empire that appears later on is very short. Furthermore, during this very short time, there are unexpected changes among these two reigns, because an eighth one appears which belongs to the seven.

所以第十節說牠「必須暫時存留」,意思是只存在很短的時間,只出現幾年的光芒。

That is why verse 10 says, “He must remain only for a little while”. That means he will only exist for a very short time, only for a few years.

十個領袖人物

TEN LEADERS

12 你所看見的那十角,就是十王。他們還沒有得國,但他們一時之間,要和獸同得權柄與王一樣。13 他們同心合意,將自己的能力權柄給那獸。

12 “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast. 13 They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.

這裡有十個領袖人物,都是國家領導人。他們必定同時在十個小國掌權,這就是「一時之間」之意。但到了時候,將會達成協議,把十個國聯合起來,成一個聯邦國。看歐洲卅多個國家聯合,國民互相來往,不需簽證,用統一貨幣。雖然好像不是很成功,但至少比蘇聯的共產模式好多了,給了他們一個可作參考的榜樣。他們的聯合可能更加的緊密。

Here there are ten leaders; they are a country’s head-of-state. They will rule ten small nations at the same time. This is the meaning of “one hour”. But when the time comes, they will reach an agreement and the ten nations will get together and form an alliance. Take a look at the European Alliance of more than thirty countries, the citizens of those countries come and go without the need of a visa and they use the same currency. Although this ruling system doesn’t seem very successful, it is much better than the communist regime used by the Soviet Union. It is a model which they could use as a reference. Their union will have stronger ties.

再看古代波斯國的版圖,現在包含有十個國家,正符合「十角」,就是十王的描寫。十個角,就是在最後那個帝國出現的時候,同時執政的十個王。在今天,可能稱為總統,或別的頭銜。根據但以理書的解釋方法,十個角就是十個人物。

Taking another look at the territory of the Persian Empire in ancient times, at present, it contains ten countries, which corresponds exactly to the “ten horns”, which are the ten kings. The ten horns are the ten kings that appear at the time that the last empire emerges. In modern terms, they could be called the president of a country, or they might have another title. According to the explanation in the Book of Daniel, the ten horns are ten individuals.

根據十六章十二節,在哈米吉多頓大戰時,十王都是從幼發拉底河的東邊來的,正合舊波斯版圖所在十國的領導人。

According to chapter 16, verses 12, during the battle of Armageddon, the kings come from the east of the River Euphrates. This corresponds exactly to the location of the ten countries of the ancient Persian territory.

十權合一的國

ONE EMPIRE – THE UNION OF TEN POWERS

17 因為神使諸王同心合意遵行祂的旨意,把自己的國給那獸,直等到神的話都應驗了。

17 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled.

他們都同心合意交出自己的個人權柄,以大局為重,以這聯合的帝國為重。這樣他們給了機會那「大罪人」出頭。

They willingly and by mutual agreement gave up their authority to the Empire Union, giving opportunity for the “man of lawlessness” to rise.

這裡有兩個「給」,或「交出」。第一次在十叁節說,他們同心合意,將自己的能力、權柄給那獸。第二次到了十七節,他們把「自己的國」給那獸。整個國家都捨棄,全交給那位大人物,於是就成了第八個帝國。第七、第八兩個帝國都是很短的,可以當作一個來看。反正結局都是一樣,都必定應驗神的話,全都歸於沉淪。

There are two words here that have the same meaning, “to give” and “to hand over”. The word “give” appears in verse 13, it says that they will give their power and authority to the beast. The word “hand over” appears in verse 17, they “agree to hand over to the beast their royal authority”. The seventh and eighth empires are so short that they could be considered as one. At any rate, their ending will be the same, God’s word will be fulfilled, and they will all be destroyed.

國家合併,可能是艱難的事。看很多小教會,人力、財力都不足,要生存下去都有困難。尤其是在一些大城市,常有好幾個教會都在附近作垂死的掙扎,如果兩叁個小教會聯合起來成為一個教會,資源就豐富多了。但這種聯合,卻沒有機會看得見,大家仍然各自苦苦支撐,誓死不作聯合之舉。主耶穌曾對撒但國作出評語:「凡一國自相紛爭,必變為荒場。」言下之意,撒但國里面沒有內鬥,牠們一同為著邪惡的目標同心合作。不知道我們甚麽時候能學到這功課呢?

It is very difficult for countries to unite. There are some small churches that are having trouble surviving due to the lack of manpower and financial resources. In large cities there might be some small churches that are near to each other and are struggling to survive. If two or three of these small churches would join forces into one church, their resources would be more abundant. But this scenario is unlikely to happen as they prefer to retain their individuality no matter what they are going through. Jesus once commented about Satan’s kingdom saying: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.” Implying that in Satan’s kingdom there are no internal struggles, everyone works together in one accord towards a wicked and evil target. I wonder when we will learn the lesson.

注定失敗的國

THE EMPIRE DOOMED FOR DESTRUCTION

14 他們與羔羊爭戰,羔羊必勝過他們,因為羔羊是萬主之主、萬王之王。同著羔羊的就是蒙召被選有忠心的,也必得勝。

14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

這個新興起的霸權大國,得全世界住在地上的人,就是那些不信的人的擁戴,但不要以為牠全世界都是朋友。因為牠仇視羔羊,與基督為敵,牠不遺馀力去褻瀆神,到處破壞基督的教會,迫害神的兒女。牠也不會放過那位「大淫婦」,就是拜偶像的大公教會與東正教會。反正在這帝國眼中,不管是否忠心於基督的人,一律都不會放過。

This new powerful empire had the allegiance of the people of the whole world, the unbelievers; but this empire is not friends with everyone because it waged war against the Lamb, it is Christ’s enemy, it spares no pain or effort to blaspheme God, persecuting the church of Christ, the children of God. It will not show mercy to the “great prostitute”, which is the Catholic Church that worships idols. It will not let go of anyone who stands on its way, no matter if they are loyal to God or not.

16 你所看見的那十角與獸,必恨這淫婦,使她冷落赤身,又要喫她的肉,用火將她燒盡。

16 The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

如果人不知道這獸有多重的身份,真的不會明白,為甚麽有一段時間,這獸讓大淫婦騎在其上,轉眼間又恨她,積極對付她,孤立她,攻打她,燒毀她。原來當這獸代表大羅馬的時候,是支持她、高捧她的。到了末後,牠又代表另一個帝國大波斯聯盟,態度完全不同了,牠絕對不容許有傳播基督教教義的國家存在。

If the people did not know about the many identities of the beast, they wouldn’t truly understand why, for a time being, the beast permitted the great prostitute to sit on her, and suddenly turn around to hate her, actively oppose her, isolate her, attack her, burn and destroy her. So, actually, as it turns out, during the time that the beast represented Rome, it supported her and put her on high. During the end times, it will represent another empire, the Persian Alliance; its attitude will change completely, it will absolutely be against any nation that teaches Christian doctrines.

不過在神的計劃之中,牠只有很短時間的威權。牠雖然看起來很成功。對內,幾乎統一所有回教國家;對外,全世界不信主的人,都佩服這短時間崛起的梟雄。牠也在對付大淫婦的事上有非凡的成就,梵帝岡將會被牠瓦解,徹底消滅。但事實上,牠的結局是失敗的,牠將會失敗在神的手裡,也被基督忠心的門徒所打敗。

But in God’s plan, it will only have authority for a very short period of time. Though this ambitious and ruthless character may seem very successful; inwardly, unifying all the Islamic nations; outwardly, getting the admiration of all the unbelievers of this world, handling the great prostitute in an unusually successful way, bringing the Vatican to its total collapse and ultimate destruction. In reality, it will ultimately be defeated in the hands of God, overpowered by Christ’s faithful followers.

謀事在人成事在天

MAN PROPOSES BUT GOD DISPOSES

17 因為神使諸王同心合意,遵行祂的旨意,把自己的國給那獸,直等到神的話都應驗了。

7 For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God’s words are fulfilled.

我們看見「神使諸王遵行祂的旨意」,也看見「神的話都應驗了」。原來這十個大人物所做出來的決定,都跟神的旨意有關,都應驗了神話語中預告的事。世上許多不信的人不知不覺之中,幫助完成了神計劃中的事,還天真地認為他們有極大的能力,能掌握未來的前途,他們相信人定勝天,可以憑自己的才幹智慧,改變國家人民,操控自己的命運。

We can see that “God has put into their hearts to accomplish his purpose…until God’s words are fulfilled”. Actually, the decisions made by these ten leaders had to do with God’s will, fulfilling God’s words. Many people in this world who are unbelievers have helped accomplish God’s plan without knowing it; naively thinking that they were the ones who had the power to control their own future, they believe they could conquer nature and change the people of a nation using their own abilities and intelligence and change their destiny .

這個獸的號碼是六六六,就是人中的精英。這個國家的領袖人物,都是滿有聰明智慧的人,他們的才幹膽色高過一般的人。他們也心高氣傲,以為全世界的人都敵不過他們。

The number of the beast is 666, which is the number of the elite. The leader of this nation is very clever, more able than any other person; he is proud and arrogant and thinks that no one in the world could resist him.

誰知「王的心在耶和華手中如隴溝的水,隨意流轉。」( 箴21:1) 溝裡面的水,以為自己怎樣轉就怎樣Who would have thought that, “In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.” (Proverbs 21:1) The water in a ravine thinks that it can flow whichever way it wants to but it is actually just following the way the ravine is formed.

就像坐郵輪的人,在船上可以隨自己心意做事。可以去健身室,也可以躺在水池旁邊曬太陽;可以吃冰淇淋,也可以只喝熱茶。真是隨心所欲。不過無論做甚麽,無論是努力還是懶惰,總是要到計劃中所定好的地方。到了目的地,還是要下船的。

It is like going on a cruise, you can do whatever you like on the ship. You can go to the gym, or you can lie by the pool to get some sun, you can eat ice cream or you can just drink hot tea. You can truly follow your heart’s desires. But no matter what you do, you will be arriving to your destination and will have to get off the ship.

看起來好像是我們所說的「命運」。有不相信命運,那要看說的命運跟聖經說的命運是不是一樣。中東這個國肯定要滅亡,那個宗教肯定要丟進火湖里。這就是牠的命運。不單這樣,全世界的人都命定要死,因為「按著定命,人人都有一死,死後且有審判。」( 來9:27) 這是每個人的命運。因為世人都犯了罪。「信祂的人不被定罪,不信的罪已經定了。」不是將要被定罪,乃是罪已經定了。不信者的命運就是等死。

It is like the “fate” we talk about. Some don’t believe in fate, in that case we have to look to see if it is the same thing as what the Bible says. This Middle Eastern nation will definitely be destroyed, that religion will for certain be thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, which is its fate. Not only that, the whole world is destined to die, because “people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” (Hebrew 9 :27). That is the fate of every human being, because all have sinned. “Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already.” It does not say that whoever believes will be condemned in the future but that whoever does not believe stands condemned already. The destiny of the unbeliever is death.

這末世獸國的精英人物,至死不悟,以為憑自己的聰明才智,可以改變命運。人以為可以努力靠自己,成為成功人士,就死而無憾了。卻不知道唯一能改變人命運的行動,就是悔改信耶穌。

This elite character that belongs to the beast empire, who will never repent even at death’s door, will believe that he can change his destiny by relying on his own intelligence and wittiness. People believe that as long as they work hard on something and become successful they will die without any thing to regret. They don’t know that the only action that can change their destiny is to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ.

悔改,表示真的謙卑,知道自己有所不能,回頭倚靠神。人的自以為是,帶來很可怕的後果。始祖犯罪,因為他們以為可以像神一樣有智慧,可以應付受咒詛的情況。

Repentance indicates true humility, acknowledging that you are helpless, turning to God and trusting in Him alone. Believing that you are self-righteous will bring dreadful consequences. Our first ancestors sinned because they believed they could become as wise as God and that they could cope with being cursed.

近代很多白領階級的罪犯,他們都要坐牢,不過他們知道監獄中的黑暗,所以都先花錢找律師幫忙,藉著多花錢,可以住上等的監獄。醫院、監獄都像旅館,只要多花錢就可以有五星級的服務。世界之子都懂得為未來做安排。人如果聰明,就會謙卑自己,早作安排,接受耶穌基督的救恩,改變人生的命運。不要等到死後纔發現,原來聖經所說的是真的,那時纔發現就太晚了。

Nowadays, there are many white collar criminals who have to do time in prison. They know the dark side of what goes on in the jails so they hire a lawyer to arrange for them to live in a higher class prison. Hospitals and prisons can be like hotels as long as you are willing to pay large amounts of money you will have five-star accommodations. The sons of the world know how to plan ahead for the future. If people were wise, they would humble themselves, and make preparations for the future, receive Jesus’ salvation, and change their destiny. Do not wait until after death to find out that whatever was written in the Bible is true, because by then it will be too late.