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In 1986 I was the editor of a company magazine in Batesville, Arkansas. We were scheduled to have a staff meeting breakfast at the American Restaurant early on the morning of March 26. I was the only person who showed up, so I had breakfast by myself.
As I was eating, I noticed an angel standing quietly nearby. The angel was new and I did not recognize him.
“What happened to my own angel?” I asked.
“He’s on assignment,” came the reply.
“War is forming. Saudi Arabia holds the key to this.”
“Oil price wars?” I asked.
“Yes, and more. One leads to the other.”
“Can I join him in Saudi Arabia to see what’s going on?” I asked.
“Yes, that is why I have come. Look and see, but do not participate.”
“You will see,” the angel replied.
I suddenly found myself in a dimly lit dungeon-like room. The first thing I saw was a black, hairy, bear-like beast. Its roar was frightening. However, it was chained, and my angel was standing guard nearby. The angel that had transported me to this dungeon then ceased to be a part of the vision. Presently, my angel began to speak.
“Ramadan. Watch the month of Ramadan.”
“Why?” I asked.
“I must then release the beast you see before you.”
I looked at it as it sullenly glared at me with eyes glowing red with hatred. Looking back at the angel, I asked him, “How long have you been here?”
“Since September.” He did not specify which year.
“What is this beast? What is his job?”
“This is the beast of war, to be released when peace is taken from the earth. It hungers after the flesh of men and lusts after blood.”
“Why is it in Saudi Arabia?”
“It was sent here by the Church in their hatred for the Arabs. They think they do God a service by thus supporting the Jews.” He paused for a moment, then said, “There is a like beast in Jerusalem, sent by those who hate the Jews. Both have been commissioned by the Church to devour much flesh.”
“When is Ramadan?”
“When will the beast in Jerusalem be released?”
“The month of Elul.” [Hebrew 6th month—August/September]
“What can we do about these beasts?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he replied. “Only guard them until the appointed time. Keep watch over them, that they be not released before their time.” (End of vision.)
For those of you who might be unfamiliar with visions, let me explain that I did not see any of this with my physical eyes. My natural mind was conscious of my surroundings at the restaurant. All this occurred by the spiritual mind and consciousness, which is distinct from the natural mind and its consciousness. Many people have such visions, but only a few seem to recognize them as such, thinking they are only one’s natural imagination. Yet as we learn to separate soul and spirit (Heb. 4:12) and to recognize the difference between these two minds, we become aware of many things we did not know about how spiritual matters operate.
At the time of the vision, I did not know that this beast was the Prince of Persia. I was thinking more of the “Russian bear” and wondered why it would be found in Saudi Arabia. And so in my ignorance, I did not know how to interpret the answers the angel gave to my questions. Nothing really made much sense.
A friend in Arkansas, James Wilson, was the first to see the bear released in a vision July 11, 1986. The angel had said he would have to release the beast in the month of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. The month of Ramadan changes each year, but in 1986 it extended from May 9 to June 8. Nonetheless, the angel defined it as “July.” This was, at the time, a mystery.
Behind the scenes in high levels of government, Oliver North and Robert McFarlane visited Iran (Persia) on May 25, 1986, during the month of Ramadan. They were there to work out a deal that later became known as the “Iran-Contra scandal” during the Reagan administration. But this did not become public knowledge for some months when the story hit the news in November 1986. It is my view that the bear was released during Ramadan with the secret deal made by the governments. However, we did not see the released bear until July.
When James saw him and began to describe him to me, he mentioned that he looked a lot like “Smokey the Bear.” He had steel and diamond teeth (not fangs, but like human teeth). When he said this, I had a quick flash as well, seeing him with a row of pearly white teeth with one prominent gold tooth.
I did not understand this vision until after the Gulf War in early 1991, when I watched a television documentary about General Norman Schwartzkopf’s “dungeon” headquarters under the sands of Saudi Arabia. The soldiers called him “The Bear.” When I saw him smile with pearly white teeth and one gold tooth, I instantly recognized him. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
The release of the bear had an effect upon me as well, for it was at this time in July 1986 that I was supposed to leave the NOP. Part of the revelation that God had given me at that time was this:
“This is a severe test, choosing between loyalties to men and going according to My headship. Has that idol grown in your heart again? Destroy it quickly.” (July 15, 1986.)
Unfortunately, I failed this test at that time, as I did not leave until October 1989. But in looking back at this time, I see clearly that this “bear” partly represented the idol of the heart dealing with loyalties to men, rather than coming under Christ’s direct headship. In other words, I was more loyal to men than to Christ, and so men became my gods. I had submitted to the word of the NOP leadership, rather than to the revelation of God. In so doing, I had done precisely what Israel did when they preferred the rule of men to the rule of God. That is why God gave them King Saul (1 Samuel 8:4-7).
As we showed earlier, King Saul was crowned on Pentecost, the day of wheat harvest (1 Samuel 12:17). He was a type of the Church during the Age of Pentecost. The tendency to reject God's rule and submit to men is the denominational spirit that has plagued the Church since its early beginnings. What the Church did on a spiritual plane, I did on a personal level. The only difference is that God had mercy on me and set me free through disciplines and heartache. God led me through this difficult time, so that I would be able to testify to the rest of the Church about this denominational spirit.
After the first vision of the “bear” in March 1986, more than a year passed before God began to reveal to me who this “bear” was. On May 10, 1987 I finally made the discovery. The beast called “Apollyon” and “Abaddon” in Revelation 9 were the Greek and Hebrew names for the Prince of Persia.
Revelation 9 describes the rise of the Muslim religion and its followers in the 7th century A.D. just a few years after the Bishop of Rome was given the exclusive title of “Pope.” Revelation 9:7-9 pictures the Muslim Saracens as warlike “locusts,” having the faces of men, having long hair, wearing turbans (“crowns”), having armor and breastplates of iron, and riding horses. In ancient times, swarms of locusts originated in Arabia when they overran Palestine.
Rev. 9:5 and 10 describe a period of 5 months (5 mo. x 30 days per mo. = 150 days or 150 years), during which time these “locusts” would conquer the Eastern Roman Empire. The Saracen conquests began when Mohammed began to preach his new doctrine in 612 A.D. It ended in 762 A.D., when the Islamic Empire reached a peak, with the transfer of their capital from Syria to Baghdad. From 612 to 672 A.D. was precisely 150 years, which is 5 months, prophetically speaking. This was the first “woe” (Rev. 9:12).
The second “woe” begins with the death of Tughril Beg, who had been the head of the Seljuk Turkish empire. He had conquered Baghdad in 1055 and died in 1063. Then his nephew, Alp Arslan succeeded him. He first conquered Georgia and Armenia from the Byzantines. Then as he prepared to conquer Egypt in 1071, a new Byzantine army marched against him, and he crushed it catastrophically.
In the next centuries they conquered Bulgaria (1319), Salonika (1430), Greece (1446), and finally the big prize—the city of Constantinople in 1453. This was the 391st year from 1063.
Specifically, Rev. 9:14 says that the second woe began when the angel’s trumpet sounded, loosing the four angels in the river Euphrates for an hour, a day, a month, and a year. In long-term prophecy, a year is 360 years. A month is 30 years. A day is one year. An hour is 1/24 of a year, or about two weeks. Adding these together, we come to a period of 391 years and two weeks.
The siege of Constantinople is described perfectly in Rev. 9:17-19,
17 And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone, which proceeded out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails; for their tails are like serpents and have heads; and with them they do harm.
The cannon pictured above is taken from the cover of Howard Rand’s interesting book, Marvels of Prophecy. In Rand’s book, A Study in Revelation, he tells how he discovered the canons used in the siege of Constantinople, saying on page 98:
“While walking along the embankment near the Tower of London some few years ago, I came across many cannons captured by the British in past wars. It is always interesting to note the evolution in style and design of such weapons until we reach the modern breech loader and rapid-fire cannon in use today. My attention was attracted to an old cannon among this collection, cast in the form of an animal sitting upon its haunches. Immediately, the passage cited above came to mind as I exclaimed: ‘There, that is what John saw.’
“Upon investigation history revealed that the first serious use of cannon and gunpowder against a city is recorded in connection with the siege of Constantinople. It was also interesting to discover that the cannons used were cast in the form of lions. John saw men astride these cannons, ramming in the powder and shot. He watched the burning of the old-fashioned fuse, serpent-like with its sputtering head of fire, followed by the fire, smoke, and brimstone issuing out of the mouth of these iron horses with lions’ heads.”
In other words, John saw a literal battle that proved to be the culmination of the “second woe”—the fall of Constantinople.
The point of all this is to show the connection between Apollyon of Rev. 9 and the events in Persia and Arabia, from whence Islam came. Apollyon is his proper name, while the Prince of Persia is the title of the same spiritual entity. In fact, the city at the top of the Persian Gulf is named Abadon, which is the Hebrew name for Apollyon given in Revelation 9:11 (spelled Abaddon in the King James Version).
I finally made this connection on May 10, 1987 over a year after the original vision of the bear in Saudi Arabia. Only then did it occur to me that the angel had told me that this beast was told to “devour much flesh.” This is the precise terminology used in Daniel 7:5,
5 And behold another beast, a second, like to a bear; and it raised up itself on one side, and it had three ribs in the mouth of it between the teeth of it; and they said thus unto it, Arise, devour much flesh. (KJV)
This bear-like beast is easily identified as Medo-Persia, which arose after Babylon, the first beast that is portrayed as a lion. Persia always dominated Media, so it “raised up itself on one side.” This is NOT a Russian bear, but a Persian bear.
On May 14, 1987 I was led to go specifically to the “El Bandito” restaurant for lunch. There the Word of the Lord came to me, explaining more about Apollyon:
“He is the one who empowered Mohammed to destroy one-third of the Roman Empire Church in the middle ages. He is the one empowered by the Church to bring destruction upon itself. He seeks to destroy and conquer the Church by promising great wealth to men of materialistic minds. He entices by lust those whose eyes are insatiable as a bottomless pit.
“Destroy this foe and you shall set free a whole people, the entire Muslim world . . . . For he is the Muslim strong man who guides their destiny and keeps them in bondage.”
In Daniel 10 the prophet engaged in spiritual warfare for 21 days against the Prince of Persia. Verse 1 says (KJV),
1 In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia, a thing was revealed unto Daniel . . . and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long [literally, “the warfare was great”] . . .
After 21 days of prayer and fasting, an angel came to Daniel and told him:
12 . . . Fear not, Daniel; for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days; but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there [lit. “was not needed there”; hence, “I left him there”] with the kings of Persia.
We are not told who this angel was that appeared to Daniel. For some years I believed it was Gabriel. But more recently, the Lord spoke to two of us that it was the angel Peniel.
Michael is commonly believed to be the warrior angel of Israel. I believe this is so. He was assigned to Israel in Ex. 33:2, 3 after Israel worshipped the golden calf. This was when they lost the leading of the divine presence, represented by the angel Peniel (“God’s face, or God’s presence”). Michael was the “substitute” angel who led them into the Promised Land.
Daniel 12:1-3 also identifies Michael with the resurrection of the dead. Hence, Michael brings people into the Promised Land by means of death and resurrection, and for this reason Israel entered the land from the east, having to cross the Jordan River. The Jordan signifies death and resurrection.
If Israel had entered the Promised Land from the south at Kadesh-Barnea during their first opportunity, they would not have had to cross the Jordan River at all. They would have entered at the time of the Feast of Tabernacles and would have fulfilled that feast day with the whole nation being transfigured by the presence of God—Peniel. Peniel is the angel of transfiguration.
Peniel is therefore the angel whose job it is to bring about the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles. This is what Israel lost in Moses’ day when they worshipped the golden calf. When it came time for them to enter Canaan at the feast of Tabernacles, they did not have the faith to do so. That generation would be saved only by going through death and resurrection.
I first saw the angel Peniel on Oct. 8, 1995 when he appeared to me in North Carolina and identified himself by that name. Up to that time I had thought this name was merely the name of the location where Jacob wrested with an unknown angel. But I was shown then that Peniel was the name of the angel Jacob wrestled and that Jacob named the place Penuel (Gen. 32:31). The spellings are different in the Hebrew text, but the meanings are the same. The appearance of Peniel and its significance is a marvelous story in itself, and his appearance has great significance. This will be explained later at the appropriate time.
For now it is important only to recognize that Peniel is the spiritual enemy of the Prince of Persia. Angels represent a Word from God and a commissioning in the earth to accomplish that Word without it returning void. Peniel's commission is to overcome the Prince of Persia and to bring the transfiguration or “change” to those who are alive and remain at Christ's coming.
The Prince of Persia is the spirit behind events largely centering in the area of ancient Persia. This spirit manifests primarily through the men in authority in that area at any given time. In Daniel 10:1, King Cyrus of Persia was the authority through whom the Prince of Persia was manifesting.
Daniel was praying for answers and was apparently engaging in spiritual warfare. The angel Michael was Daniel's prince (Dan. 10:21), and when Daniel needed revelation from Peniel, he sent Michael to help Peniel in his battle with the Prince of Persia. When Michael came to help Peniel, it freed Peniel to come to Daniel with the revelation.
We are not told, but the prophet may have had the revelation to send Michael to find out why there was such a delay in getting an answer from God. Michael then went to help Peniel, to “relieve” him in battle, setting him free to come to Daniel with the answer.
In our next chapter we will chronicle the events of 1988, when we were led into actual spiritual warfare against the Prince of Persia in order to end the war between Iran and Iraq that had raged for eight years. We will see how our warfare changed historical events dramatically, and how we are still seeing the effects of that warfare today.