Impact

Part X: The Lord of the Scroll – When will the King of Kings Return?

One of the fundamental beliefs of Christianity is that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will one day return, gather those alive on Earth that truly believe in Him (i.e., His Church), and then move them to be with Him forever!

Overview

The First Return of Jesus the Messiah

The first time will be to rapture or “take away” (1) the Church, thus rescuing it from the pouring out of God’s wrath immediately before the “Day of the Lord.” (13) During this return, Jesus will come with all the Christians that have died, from Adam to the time of His coming, and will not set foot on Earth but instead descend only into the lower atmosphere (3). Realize, to those who are lost (i.e., have not accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord), this return will be as a thief in the night.

Now on the topic of times and seasons, brothers and sisters, you have no need for anything to be written to you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come in the same way as a thief in the night. Now when they are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction comes on them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will surely not escape.(1 Thessalonians 5:1–3 NET)

Jesus’ first return will be like a thief in the night to those who are not saved. However, to those saved, Jesus’ first return will NOT be as a thief in the night.

But you, brothers and sisters, are not in the darkness for the day to overtake you like a thief would. For you all are sons of the light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of the darkness. So then we must not sleep as the rest, but must stay alert and sober. (1 Thessalonians 5:4–6 NET)

Christians can and should recognize the signs that His return is drawing near; however, the exact timing of this first return of Jesus is only known by God the Father.

But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man.Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left.There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36–44 NET)
But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father. Watch out! Stay alert! For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey. He left his house and put his slaves in charge, assigning to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to stay alert. Stay alert, then, because you do not know when the owner of the house will return—whether during evening, at midnight, when the rooster crows, or at dawn—or else he might find you asleep when he returns suddenly. What I say to you I say to everyone: Stay alert!” (Mark 13:32-37 NET)

During this first return, He will:

1. Resurrect and transform the decayed bodies of those who have already died into perfect, glorified bodies. Then, reunite these glorified bodies with the spirits of the saints that have come with Him from Heaven. Saints are those who have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son, including:

  • all that died in the Lord from the time of the first Adam and went to Paradise in Hades (1) (after the resurrection, Jesus moved Paradise (1) and its occupants to Heaven), and
  • all that have died in the Lord after the resurrection of Jesus and went to Paradise in Heaven.
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. (1 Corinthians 15:51–52 NET)
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
(1 Thessalonians 4:14-16 NET)

2. Transform the bodies (i.e., pass them through death to glorification, thus complying with Hebrews 9:27) of the Christians alive on Earth at His appearing.

And just as people are appointed to die once, and then to face judgment, so also, after Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many, to those who eagerly await him he will appear a second time, not to bear sin but to bring salvation. (Hebrews 9:27–28 NET)

For those who are alive and have a personal relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:17–18 NET)
But our citizenship is in heaven—and we also await a savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform these humble bodies of ours into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he is able to subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:20–21 NET)

The Earthly bodies that believers now have cannot enter into Heaven. Those that are in Heaven now only have spiritual bodies:

Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)

So changes are necessary. These changes will occur at the Rapture when “corruption puts on incorruption and mortality puts on immortality.” (2)

3. Draw both groups that now have glorified bodies to Himself and transport them (us) to Heaven.

Dear friends, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet been revealed. We know that whenever it is revealed we will be like him, because we will see him just as he is. And everyone who has this hope focused on him purifies himself, just as Jesus is pure). (1 John 3:2–3 NET)

4. We Christians will appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where our works will be judged.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NET)
If anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, or straw,each builder’s work will be plainly seen, for the Day will make it clear, because it will be revealed by fire. And the fire will test what kind of work each has done. If what someone has built survives, he will receive a reward. If someone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss. He himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12–15 NET)

This is a judgment for what we have done (i.e., our works, including our motive for doing them) for the determination of any reward and NOT a judgment of whether we can be with the Lord forever (the latter has already been decided based on our belief or faith in Jesus’ completed work on the cross (1)).

because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and thus has righteousness and with the mouth one confesses and thus has salvation. For the scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord is Lord of all, who richly blesses all who call on him. For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:9–13 NET)

Three main scriptural passages deal with questions the early Church had about the Rapture:

THE FIRST MAIN PASSAGE

Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians.For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thessalonians 4:13–15 NET)

The first passage asks: “Do believers who die miss out on the benefits of the Rapture?” Paul had taught them some truths about the Rapture. However, he did not have time to teach God’s whole counsel because of the persecution in Thessalonica. Paul had to leave the city and the church to take care of himself, leaving many of their questions unanswered. (2)

One of the questions that remained unanswered concerned believers who had passed away. They already knew that they would be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air when the Lord returned. What they did not know was about those believers who had already died. In these verses, Paul comforts the bereaved members with the truth: dead believers will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture. In fact, they are going to receive these benefits first. (2)

Paul spells out the process of the Rapture in seven specific steps:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet [shofar] of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:16–17 NET)
  • For the Lord himself will come down from Heaven… At some point in the future, the Lord will come out of the Heaven of heavens and descend into the atmospheric heavens. That is, He will come out of the third heaven, pass through the second heaven, and come into the first heaven—into the air, into the atmosphere. (2)
  • with a shout of command,… The Greek word translated shout is a word used about a military leader’s command. The shout is a command for the resurrection of dead believers and the translation of living believers to occur. Paul put the whole sequence of events very much in specific military terms. The Messiah will shout the shout of a military commander ordering the Rapture to begin. (2)
  • with the voice of the archangel… Angels (1) are often used to put God’s plan into motion. In this case, it will not be just any angel, but Michael the Archangel. The word archangel means “chief angel.” He is the one in authority over the other angels. Michael the Archangel will be used in conjunction with the Rapture. Again, it states: with the voice of the archangel. If one follows the military pattern that Paul used, after the chief commander gives the shout of command, that command is repeated by the sub-commander. So after Jesus, the Chief Commander, issues the shout, Michael, the sub-commander, will repeat the order. Jesus will give the shout or command for the program of the Rapture to begin, and it will be Michael’s task to set it in motion so he will repeat the command of the Messiah. (2)
  • and with the trump of God… A trumpet of some kind is going to be involved in the program of the Rapture. As pointed out earlier, the sound of a trumpet was used as a summons to battle, worship, or come together. With Michael’s repetition of the Lord’s command, the trumpet sounds. Again, this follows the regular military procedure: first, the chief commander gives a shout; next, the sub-commander repeats the command of the chief commander; and then the trumpeter sounds the specific note so that the soldiers will know exactly what the command is. Hence, the trumpet sound will trigger the Rapture itself. This trumpet will serve as a summons for the Rapture to move into action. (2)
  • the dead in Christ will rise first. This is the Resurrection of dead believers, which is why they will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture; they will actually begin to enjoy the benefits of the Rapture first. (2)
  • Then we who are alive, are left, then will be suddenly caught up with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. This step in the Rapture program concerns the living believers: The resurrection of the dead saints is followed by the translation of the living saints. Every believer, without exception, will be removed from the earth and reunited with the Lord in the heavens. The living believers will be caught up or “raptured” with the dead ones to meet the Lord in the air. (2)
  • And so we shall always be with the Lord. The final step is to guarantee that once we have been united with the Lord in the air, we will permanently remain with the Messiah and return to Heaven. (2)

Paul admonishes his readers:

Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18 NET)

THE SECOND MAIN PASSAGE

The second passage deals with the details of the Rapture and also mentions the role that the shofar will play. It declares the necessity of a change in the nature of the body of the raptured living and dead believers. (2)

Now this is what I am saying, brothers and sisters: Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50 NET)

The background to this statement is found in this verse:

but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:17 NET)

And these verses:

But to Adam he said, “Because you obeyed your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ cursed is the ground thanks to you; in painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, but you will eat the grain of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat food until you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17–19 NET)

Because of sin, man has become subject to corruption and mortality. Our bodies are mortal bodies, subject to death. Our bodies are subject to corruption, sickness, and illness. Upon death, these bodies are destined to become dust because this kind of body cannot enter Heaven itself. (2)

All men are guilty by the accusation of participating in Adam’s sin according to these verses:

So then, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all people because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world, but there is no accounting for sin when there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam until Moses even over those who did not sin in the same way that Adam (who is a type of the coming one) transgressed. (Romans 5:12–14 NET)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23 NET)

According to this passage, mankind is living under the sentence of death in that his physical body is subject to corruption and mortality. The sin nature is in it, and the results of sin are evident in the death of the body. This kind of body, subject to sin, mortality, corruption, and death, cannot enter Heaven. Therefore, a change will be necessary, either by means of resurrection or by means of translation, before the bodies can enter Heaven.

The change itself is described in these verses:

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 HCSB)
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking [see NET Note 31 below] of an eye, at the last trumpet [shofar]. For the trumpet [shofar] will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 NET)

NET Note 31 tn The Greek word ῥιπή (rhipē) refers to a very rapid movement (BDAG 906 s.v.). This has traditionally been translated as “twinkling,” which implies an exceedingly fast—almost instantaneous—movement of the eyes, but this could be confusing to the modern reader since twinkling in modern English often suggests a faint, flashing light. In conjunction with the genitive ὀφθαλμοῦ (ophthalmou, “of an eye”), “blinking” is the best English equivalent (see, e.g., L&N 16.5), although it does not convey the exact speed implicit in the Greek term. (8)

The emphasis is on the quickness and rapidity of that change. It will be done …in a moment… The Greek term translated moment is the word from which the English word “atom” comes. It is going to be in the “atom” of time. Furthermore, it will also be as fast as …the twinkling of an eye… (2)

This is not the blinking of an eye but a reference to a sudden flash of recognition. It is like seeing a person one knows but does not immediately recognize. Then, suddenly, that sudden flash of recognition is what the twinkling of an eye means. This, too, emphasizes the quickness of that change. (2)

1 Corinthians 15:52 also points out that this event will happen …at the last trumpet; at the time of the blowing of the trumpet: the trumpet shall sound. The trump here is the same as the trumpet of the 1 Thessalonians passage. That trumpet begins the process of the Rapture itself; it begins the process of both the resurrection of believers who have died and the translation of living believers. (2)

THE THIRD MAIN PASSAGE

While this new body for believers is not the subject of many revelations, a few things are revealed. The largest single passage about the resurrection precedes the discussion on the Rapture and the role of the trumpet in the Rapture:

But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” Fool! What you sow will not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare seed—perhaps of wheat or something else. But God gives it a body just as he planned, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same: People have one flesh, animals have another, birds and fish another.And there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. The glory of the heavenly body is one sort and the earthly another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon and another glory of the stars, for star differs from star in glory. It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:35–49 NET)

Paul quoted Isaiah and Hosea when he wrote these words of assurance:

For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. Now when this perishable puts on the imperishable, and this mortal puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will happen, “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” [Isaiah 25:8] “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” [Hosea 13:14] The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! So then, dear brothers and sisters, be firm. Do not be moved! Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:53–58 NET)

From this one passage, six things can be learned about the nature of the resurrection body:

  • It will be an incorruptible body in verse 42: It is the same with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It will no longer be subject to corruption.
  • It will be a glorified body in verse 43a: it is sown in dishonor and raised in glory. This same point is made by: who will transform our humble bodies into the likeness of his glorious body by means of that power by which he can subject all things to himself. (Philippians 3:21 NET)
  • It is going to be a body of resurrection power in verse 43b: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is going to have power that our bodies do not have at the present time.
  • It is not going to be a blood-sustained body, but a spirit-sustained body; it is going to be a spiritual body in verses 44–46: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also, it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living person”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual did not come first, but the natural and then the spiritual. (cf. Luke 24:39, where Jesus’ resurrected body was flesh and bone with no mention of blood)
  • It is going to be a heavenly body in verses 47–49: The first man is from the earth, made of dust; the second man is from heaven. Like the one made of dust, so too are those made of dust, and like the one from heaven, so too those who are heavenly. And just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, let us also bear the image of the man of heaven, and
  • It is going to be an immortal body in verse 53: For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. The resurrection body will no longer be subject to mortality or corruption. That is why this type of body can enter Heaven itself.

The Resurrection Body of Jesus

As far as direct statements of Scripture, this is all that God has chosen to reveal about the nature of the resurrection body. Another possible source of information can be used to discover the nature of the resurrection body: the resurrected body of the Messiah. However, this must be done with caution. One cannot always be sure that everything true about the resurrected body of Yeshua (Jesus) will necessarily be true of the believer’s body. Nor is it not always easy to determine if something true of the body of the Messiah was true because of His Resurrection or because of His deity. Yeshua was not only resurrected, but He is also God, and perhaps some things are true because He is God and not because He had a resurrected body. Certain things that were true of His resurrected body will not be true of ours. For example, after His Resurrection, Jesus still had wounds on His hands and side. Yet the believer’s resurrected bodies will have no evidence of this kind of corruption, such as wounds or scars. Yet, for some reason, the resurrected body of Jesus did have wounds and scars, though it is not known if He still has them today. Perhaps when He was glorified upon His entry into Heaven at the Ascension, the scars of the Crucifixion were removed. One known thing is that when He first arose, He did have the scars of the Crucifixion. When believers are raised from the dead, they will not have any scars whatsoever. So it must not be assumed that everything true of the body of Jesus at His Resurrection will necessarily be true of us. Again, it is not always easy to determine if what He did was because of His resurrected body or because He is God. (2)

Six observations can be made concerning Jesus’ resurrected body:

  1. It is known that Messiah’s voice was recognized as the same one He had before His death and Resurrection (John 20:16). When He said Mary, Mary Magdalene recognized that the One speaking to her was none other than Yeshua. Whatever accent He had—and He probably had a Galilean accent; whatever tone of voice He had—since everyone has a unique tone of voice, Mary recognized His voice. Possibly, our voice will be recognizable because it will be much the same.
  2. His physical features were always recognized, but not always immediately (John 20:26–29; 21:7). There were enough changes in His resurrected body that recognition was not always immediate. But some things remained the same so that the people who knew Him eventually recognized Him. (2)
  3. It was a real body, not a phantom one, as His body was embraceable (John 20:17, 27). (2)
  4. He was able to appear and disappear (Lk. 24:31). But the question is: “Was the Messiah able to appear and disappear because He had a resurrected body or because He is God?” There is no guarantee that believers will be able to do the same thing. (2)
  5. He was able to go through walls (John 20:19). Here again, believers cannot be sure that their resurrected bodies will be able to do the same (2) and
  6. He was able to eat food (Luke 24:41–43). Believers will certainly be able to do this much in their resurrected bodies because they will participate in the Marriage Feast, and there is no sense in coming to a feast if one cannot eat and feast. The resurrected body will be immortal, not subject to death. So they will not have to eat to survive; it will be purely for pleasure. The nature of the resurrected body will be such that believers can eat all they want and never gain an ounce of weight. (2)

Consequently, inquiring minds have wondered WHEN this will occur.

As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NET)

Many had tried to predict WHEN this would occur, only to be proven wrong when their date passed without it transpiring.

Furthermore, the enemy of our souls – Satan – in his usual manner (2 Corinthians 2:11), attempts to confuse the matter by tempting us with many variations of the opposite of truth (e.g., Jesus is not returning or certainly not in your life, so no need to worry about it just eat, drink, and be merry) leading to complacency (2 Peter 3:3-7) and many variations of the counterfeit of truth (e.g., His return is so imminent you need to stop everything you are doing and wait for His return or in fact He is on Earth now – quick go see him!) leading to anxiety (Matthew 24:24. 1 John 2:18. 2 Thessalonians 2).

Jesus said,

I have told you now before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe. (John 14:29 NET)

Therefore, without trying to be wrong (again) in predicting a date, let us simply see what the Bible says about when Jesus will return for His church.

I heard, but I did not understand. So I said, “Sir, what will happen after these things?” He said, “Go, Daniel. For these matters are closed and sealed until the time of the end. Many will be purified, made clean, and refined, but the wicked will go on being wicked. None of the wicked will understand, though the wise will understand. (Daniel 12:8–10 NET)
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. For he will not speak on his own authority, but will speak whatever he hears, and will tell you what is to come. (John 16:13 NET)

Are You Rapture Ready?

If the Lord’s Shofar were to blow today, would you be among those caught up (i.e., raptured) to meet Him in the air? If you do not know, then know that you can know. Please click here to know. (1)

The Second Return of Jesus the Messiah

I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13–14 NET)
“Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet [shofar] blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29–31 NET)
But Jesus was silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (Matthew 26:63–64 NET)
Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!” Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world—to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:36–37 NET)

Jesus is the prophesied “Son of Man,” the God-Man, the Cloud-Man, the Messiah, King of Kings, and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah coming on the clouds to judge the nations and establish His physical Kingdom on the earth.

The Second Return as the Lord of Hosts

The second time, Jesus will come to the Earth to defeat the Antichrist, destroy evil, and establish His millennial (26) or thousand-year kingdom on Earth.

Now Enoch, the seventh in descent beginning with Adam, even prophesied of them, saying, “Look! The Lord is coming with thousands and thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict every person of all their thoroughly ungodly deeds that they have committed, and of all the harsh words that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” These people are grumblers and fault-finders who go wherever their desires lead them, and they give bombastic speeches, enchanting folks for their own gain. (Jude 14–16 NET)
Then I saw heaven opened and here came a white horse! The one riding it was called “Faithful” and “True,” and with justice he judges and goes to war. His eyes are like a fiery flame and there are many diadem crowns on his head. He has a name written that no one knows except himself. He is dressed in clothing dipped in blood, and he is called the Word of God. The armies that are in heaven, dressed in white, clean, fine linen, were following him on white horses. From his mouth extends a sharp sword, so that with it he can strike the nations. He will rule them with an iron rod, and he stomps the winepress of the furious wrath of God, the All-Powerful. He has a name written on his clothing and on his thigh: “King of kings and Lord of lords.” (Revelation 19:11–16 NET)

This return is referred to as the Day of the Lord in scripture.

Recall that the Scroll of Authority (1) leased to man the rule over Earth for a finite time. The man then made a covenant with Satan by sinning, thus giving Satan the right to rule over his world system for the same finite time. This finite time is known by both God and Satan.

When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way. They cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone! Have you come here to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28–29 NET)
Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!” (Revelation 12:12 NET)

The Lord told His disciples that unless the days of the Great Tribulation were shortened, none of His disciples would survive. The Antichrist would literally annihilate every single breathing Christian. Jesus states that it is only for the “elect’s sake” that the days will be shortened. The “elect” refers to those who have placed their faith in Christ, either Jew or Gentile. (26)

For then there will be great suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the world until now, or ever will happen. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:21–22 NET)

Satan is later imprisoned in the Abyss during the thousand years of Jesus’ reign on Earth.

Then I saw an angel descending from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the abyss and a huge chain. He seized the dragon—the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan—and tied him up for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1–2 NET)

Nevertheless, God, being just, will release Satan for the balance of the time of the lease (i.e., a brief period of time), as specified in the Scroll of Authority, after the thousand-year reign of Jesus. 

The angel then threw him into the abyss and locked and sealed it so that he could not deceive the nations until the one thousand years were finished. (After these things, he must be released for a brief period of time.) (Revelation 20:3 NET)

Then Satan and all his evil will be removed forever! Hallelujah!

And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet are too, and they will be tormented there day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10 NET)

A Wonderful Time Up There

Pat Boone

Well, now, everybody’s gonna have religion and glory
Everybody’s gonna be a-singin’ that story
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there
Oh, glory hallelujah
Brother, there’s a reckonin’ a-comin’ in the mornin’
Better get ready ’cause I’m givin’ you the warnin’
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there

Now listen, everybody ’cause I’m talkin’ to you
The Lord is the only one to carry you through
Ya better get ready ’cause I’m tellin’ ya why
The Lord is a-comin’ from his throne on high
Goin’ down the valley, goin’ one by one
We’re gonna be rewarded for the things we’ve done
How ya gonna feel about the things you’ll say on that judgment day?

Well-a, well-a, well-a
Well, now, everybody’s gonna have religion and glory
Everybody’s gonna be a-singin’ that story
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there
Oh, glory hallelujah
Brother, there’s a reckonin’ a-comin’ in the mornin’
Better get ready ’cause I’m givin’ you the warnin’
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there

Now ya get your Holy Bible in the back of the book
The book of Revelations is the place ya look
If you understand it and you can if you try
The Lord is a-comin’ from his throne on high
A-readin’ in the Bible ’bout the things he said
He said he’s comin’ back again to raise the dead
Are ya gonna be among the chosen few?
Or will you make it through?

Well-a, well-a, well-a
Everybody’s gonna have religion and glory
Everybody’s gonna be a-singin’ that story
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there
Oh, glory hallelujah
Brother, there’s a reckonin’ comin’ in the mornin’
Better get ready ’cause I’m givin’ you the warnin’
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there

Well-a, well-a, well-a
Everybody’s gonna have religion and glory
Everybody’s gonna be a-singin’ that story
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there
Oh, glory hallelujah
Brother, there’s a reckonin’ a-comin’ in the mornin’
Better get ready ’cause I’m givin’ you the warnin’
Everybody’s gonna have a wonderful time up there (25)

Detailed Description

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
While I [Daniel] was still speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and presenting my request before the LORD my God concerning his holy mountain—yes, while I was still praying, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen previously in a vision, was approaching me in my state of extreme weariness, around the time of the evening offering. He spoke with me, instructing me as follows: “Daniel, I have now come to impart understanding to you. At the beginning of your requests a message went out, and I have come to convey it to you, for you are of great value in God’s sight. Therefore consider the message and understand the vision: “Seventy weeks have been determined concerning your people and your holy city to put an end to rebellion, to bring sin to completion, to atone for iniquity, to bring in perpetual righteousness, to seal up the prophetic vision, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:20–24 NET)

In 539 B.C., the Messenger Archangel Gabriel, who would later announce the births of both John the Baptizer and Jesus, the final sacrifice, came to Daniel when the evening sacrifice (3 P.M.) would have been held in the temple. He explained to Daniel that there were seventy weeks of years of prophetic history that would be divided into three sections or periods:

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
1 week of years (1 x 7 = 7 years)

Period I: 49 Years to Rebuild and Restore Jerusalem

7 weeks of years (7 x 7 = 49 years)

So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. (Daniel 9:25 NET)

The seven weeks (or sevens) of years in which Jerusalem’s city was to be restored and rebuilt, which was decreed in 457 B.C. by Artaxerxes to Ezra and completed with much distress in 408 B.C., forty-nine years later. (Ezra 7:11-26. Ezra 9:1. Isaiah 58:12) (35)

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
1 week of years (1 x 7 = 7 years)

Period II: 434 Years from the restoration of Jerusalem until the Anointed Prince Arrives

62 weeks of years (62 x 7 = 434 years)

So know and understand: From the issuing of the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until an anointed one, a prince arrives, there will be a period of seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. It will again be built, with plaza and moat, but in distressful times. (Daniel 9:25 NET)

The sixty-two weeks (or sevens) of years began with the completion of Jerusalem’s restoration and rebuilding in 408 B.C. However, the first contiguous seven years are added back to the sixty-two years for simplicity. Then, we calculate the end date of the sixty-nine weeks (483 years) time period from the order to rebuild the temple (457 B.C.) to determine when the Anointed Prince (Luke 4:18. Acts 4:27;10:38. Isaiah 9:6) was predicted to appear on the scene.

483 years – 457 B.C. + 1 (offset for no year zero) = 27 A.D.

Jesus then bursts onto the scene, being declared, by John the Baptist, the Lamb of God who will take away the world’s sin!

On the next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29 NET)
Again the next day John was standing there with two of his disciples. Gazing at Jesus as he walked by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” (John 1:35,36 NET)

The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus like a dove (1) and anoints Him as the Messiah!

Then Jesus came from Galilee to John to be baptized by him in the Jordan River. But John tried to prevent him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and yet you come to me?” So Jesus replied to him, “Let it happen now, for it is right for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John yielded to him. After Jesus was baptized, just as he was coming up out of the water, the heavens opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my one dear Son; in him I take great delight.” (Matthew 3:13–17 NET)(cf. Mark 1:10; Luke 3:21,22)

That is, the Anointed One, the Prince is Yeshua Hamashiach (Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Anointed, or Jesus the Messiah)! Jesus, the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), was revealed to Israel when baptized by John the Baptist and anointed with the Holy Spirit by God His Father.

Then God, His Father, announces that Jesus is His Son, identifying the one that would fulfill the prophecy given through Isaiah (Isaiah 42:1-4, c.f. Matthew 12:18-21).

Here is my servant whom I support, my chosen one in whom I take pleasure. I have placed my spirit on him; he will make just decrees for the nations. He will not cry out or shout; he will not publicize himself in the streets. A crushed reed he will not break, a dim wick he will not extinguish; he will faithfully make just decrees. He will not grow dim or be crushed before establishing justice on the earth; the coastlands will wait in anticipation for his decrees.” (Isaiah 42:1–4 NET)
Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I take great delight. I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out, nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets. He will not break a bruised reed or extinguish a smoldering wick, until he brings justice to victory. And in his name the Gentiles will hope.” (Matthew 12:18–21 NET)
Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he endured temptations from the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were completed, he was famished.(Luke 4:1,2 NET)
Then Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, returned to Galilee, and news about him spread throughout the surrounding countryside. He began to teach in their synagogues and was praised by all. (Luke 4:14–15 NET)

This occurred on the Day of Atonement(s), the 10th of Tishri 3788 (Monday, September 29, 27 A.D.), when Jesus’ human body was thirty-two years old.

So Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years old. He was the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, (Luke 3:23 NET)

Thus, this satisfies the legal requirement of being at least 30 years old before entering the priestly service (Numbers 4:3).

Furthermore, the Day of Atonements was not designated as a “Pilgrimage Festival,” meaning there was no requirement for all males to be in Jerusalem during this time, as required for Pilgrimage Festivals (1). Consequently, Jesus could be with John the Baptizer at the Jordon River on this day.

Going down under the water, He is baptized (1) by John the Baptizer and, in so doing, publicly accepted the mission of dying on the cross as the sacrifice for man’s sin (Romans 6:4,5). This, even as the goat was sacrificed and its blood sprinkled over and in front of the mercy seat on the Day of Atonement(s), typologically represents Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross for our sin and sins (Leviticus 16:15-19. Leviticus 23:26-32).

Now in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan River. And just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens splitting apart and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my one dear Son; in you I take great delight.” (Mark 1:9–11 NET)

The anointed Prince of Peace had arrived! Also, the water baptism was the moment when Jesus became our High Priest, establishing a new order of priesthood not of Aaron but like Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10). John the Baptist, who was of the order of the priesthood of Aaron, officiated in the priesthood ordination ceremony by washing Jesus in water (i.e., baptized Him) and then God the Father anointed Him with the Holy Spirit (1)(which the oil (1) of the Old Testament represented, Leviticus 8:1-12). Jesus becomes our High Priest (1) so that He can later offer Himself as our sacrifice for sin on the cross of Calvary! (Hebrews 7). God, His Father, announces to all present that Jesus is His unique Son with whom He is well pleased.

But so we would understand that He really did not need cleansing, Jesus said, “…I sanctify (cleanse) myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth”

“For their sake I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:19 LSB)
And I set myself apart on their behalf, so that they too may be truly set apart. (John 17:19 NET)

Earlier, He had declared Himself to be the truth.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6 LSB)
Jesus replied, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6 NET)

Full of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is led by the Holy Spirit into the desert where The Two Kingdoms (1) The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan – will have their first confrontation! (Luke 4:1). Typologically, the scapegoat sent into the wilderness on the Day of Atonement to face Azazel (the fallen angel (1), Satan) represented Jesus being led into the wilderness to face Satan (a fallen angel (1)) (Leviticus 16:5-10;20-22) in temptation and then later taking our sin into the Abyss after His death on the cross.

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down) or “Who will descend into the abyss?” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). (Romans 10:6–7 NET)

Jesus then went to His hometown and framed His mission as doing the work of Isaiah 61:1,2;58:6. That is, the proclamation of the good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight for the blind, setting at liberty the oppressed, and proclaiming the year of the Lord.

Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:16–19 NET)

Jesus conducted His public ministry, again which started at His Baptism at human age thirty-two on the 10th of Tishri 3788 (Monday, September 29, 27 A.D.) as the Son of Man on Earth and ended on Wednesday, Nisan 14, 3791 (Wednesday, April 25, 31 A.D.) (31)(62)(63) at His crucifixion. That is, Jesus’ ministry totaled three and a half years, from water baptism to crucifixion.

Thus one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time the Lord Jesus associated with us, beginning from his baptism by John until the day he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness of his resurrection together with us.” (Acts 1:21–22 NET)(cf. John 15:26,27)

Note a selection criterion for the replacement of Judas was that they had been with Jesus from the beginning, which started with His baptism.

Jesus’ death on Wednesday, April 25, 31 A.D. (Nisan 14, 3791) was thirty-five years and two weeks after His birth (1), which occurred on Saturday, March 20, 6 B.C. (Nisan 1, 3755)(i.e., Jesus had just turned 36 two weeks before His death). Nisan 1 is called Rosh Chodesh (1), meaning the “beginning of the new moons or months” of a year. (Exodus 12:2) It began the annual Hebrew Religious Calendar (1).

Rosh Chodesh was not designated as a “Pilgrimage Festival,” thus not requiring anything other than the previously mandated monthly New Moon trumpet blasts, sacrifices, and offerings (1). This means that there was no requirement for all males to be in Jerusalem during this time, as was required for Pilgrimage Festivals (1). Consequently, Joseph could be with Mary (1) in the Tower of the Flock (1) at Bethlehem during the birth of Jesus (Yeshua).

Furthermore, this means Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit on Pentecost (Hebrew – Shavuot) (aka, the Feast of Weeks, or the Feast of Harvest). This was on June 7, 7 B.C. (Hebrew Sivan 10, 3754), with Sivan being the third month (1) of the Hebrew religious calendar. How appropriate for the Lord of the Harvest to be conceived during the feast that celebrates wheat harvest! Wheat (1) represents humans that choose to be the chosen! (1)

Don’t you say, ‘There are four more months and then comes the harvest?’ I tell you, look up and see that the fields are already white for harvest! (John 4:35 NET)

The Lord of the harvest is the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom the Father has committed all judgment (John 5:22;5:27–29; cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:5–10). The compassionate Lord seeks to rescue people from His wrath and judgment through the prayers of believers. This is the paradox and wonder of the gospel. The judge commands His people to pray that more sinners be saved from His judgment; more than that, that more evangels be sent to those sinners because the judge and executioner was Himself executed to save others from being executed by Him.” (44)

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
1 week of years (1 x 7 = 7 years)

Period III: The Anointed One is Cut Off, followed by the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple

Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction. (Daniel 9:26 NET)

“The expression be cut off means “to be killed.” Sometime after the sixty-two week time period (434 years, which ended in 27 A.D.), but before the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple (70 A.D.), Jesus was to be killed. (36)

He was led away after an unjust trial— but who even cared? Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded. (Isaiah 53:8 NET)

“It says ‘Messiah shall be cut off [Karat]. …in Hebrew, it is the same word. It means the new covenant will begin with the cutting of a sacrifice. So Messiah will be the sacrifice offered up to begin the new covenant.” (23)

After living 35 years and two weeks on Earth (i.e., He had turned 36 two weeks earlier), Jesus was cut off on Wednesday, Nisan 14, 3791 (Wednesday, April 25, 31 A.D.), the midpoint of the week, the midpoint of the month, and the midpoint of a human’s life of seventy years (Psalms 90:10). This occurred after the 62 weeks of Daniel, which ended in 27 A.D., and before the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 A.D., thus satisfying the prophecy.

The days of our lives add up to seventy years, or eighty, if one is especially strong. But even one’s best years are marred by trouble and oppression. Yes, they pass quickly and we fly away. (Psalm 90:10 NET)
He has taken away my strength in the middle of life; he has cut short my days. (Psalm 102:23 NET)
Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one will be cut off and have nothing. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince will destroy them. But his end will come speedily like a flood. Until the end of the war that has been decreed there will be destruction. (Daniel 9:26 NET)

Furthermore, it says: and shall have nothing. The noun may mean “nothingness” to explain His state at death, or the Hebrew term may also mean “but not for Himself,” meaning He did not die for Himself, but for others. That is probably the intent of the passage.” (36)

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. (Daniel 9:26 ESV)

“The word people in the Hebrew text has a definite article. It is the people, specific people, who are the subject of the action. In other words, it is not the prince who shall come who will destroy the city and the Temple; rather, the prince’s people shall come. The point of that second phrase in verse 26 is that the people’s nationality and the prince that shall come are the same. The prince that shall come in this context is the Antichrist, whom Daniel has already spoken about in chapters 7 and 8. By saying the prince, Daniel uses the article of the previous reference because he has spoken of him in the previous chapters. The prince that shall come, still the future, is of the same nationality as the people who will destroy the city and the Temple. After the Messiah is cut off, the city and the Temple will be destroyed.” (36)

“This occurred in A.D. 70, forty years after the death of the Messiah. It is known from history who the people were. The people who destroyed the city and the Temple in A.D. 70 were the Gentiles of Rome, the Romans. Since the Antichrist must be of the same nationality as the people who destroyed the city and the Temple, this verse shows that the Antichrist will be a Gentile of Roman origin.” (36)

Again, Daniel’s prophecy revealed the timing that the Messiah would arrive and be anointed, and then Jerusalem would be destroyed.

Since Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70, the Messiah has definitely come, the sacrifice has been offered up, the new covenant has been cut [karat], and has definitely begun. (23)

“Then he states: and the end thereof shall be with a flood, meaning that the end of Jerusalem and the Temple shall be the result of a flood. Whenever the figure of a flood is used symbolically, it always is a symbol of a military invasion. Jerusalem was destroyed by a Roman military invasion, first under Vespasian and then under Titus.” (36)

And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. (Daniel 9:26 ESV)
They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:24 NET)

The “times of the Gentiles” refers to the book of Daniel, in which he was a vision of the Gentile empires (i.e., the Metal Image Prophecy) that would rule the Jewish people until the return of Messiah. The “times of the Gentiles” began with the Babylonian captivity and will end when Jesus destroys the ten-nation kingdom of the Antichrist. (28)

“For the remainder of the interval before the start of the seventieth week of Daniel, the Land will be characterized by war. This has certainly been true throughout the history of the Middle East. As a result of the wars, desolations are determined, a reference to the state of the Land as determined or decreed by God.” (36)

Furthermore, it is revealed in the book of Daniel that the Seventieth Week begins when the Antichrist “confirms” a seven-year treaty with Israel and her surrounding neighbors. (26)

He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.” (Daniel 9:27 NET) 

In Daniel’s text’s language, it is interesting that the Antichrist is said to “confirm” or enforce this treaty. It may very well be that a document for peace will already exist, and the Antichrist will be the one who can make all sides submit to its provisions. (26)

Daniel’s dream interpretation, as recorded in Daniel Chapter 2

FOUR GREAT EMPIRES

In the second chapter of Daniel, the prophet interprets a dream that God had given to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. It is important to understand that the nation of Israel had been conquered by Babylon in 606 BC as a result of the judgment of God. When Israel was led into captivity, what is known as the “times of the Gentiles” began. Although Israel has been in possession of her land twice since the rule of Babylon, she has never been in full control. It has always been the Gentile world that has held control of tiny Israel in one form or another. Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream in which God revealed all the empires that, during the times of the Gentiles, would rule and persecute Israel. This vision took the form of a great gold, silver, bronze, and iron statue mixed with clay. Nebuchadnezzar was then shown the final ending of the times of the Gentiles when Jesus would set up His eternal kingdom.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream & The Metal Image Prophecy
“You, O king, were watching as a great statue—one of impressive size and extraordinary brightness—was standing before you. Its appearance caused alarm. As for that statue, its head was of fine gold, its chest and arms were of silver, its belly and thighs were of bronze. Its legs were of iron; its feet were partly of iron and partly of clay.You were watching as a stone was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its iron and clay feet, breaking them in pieces. Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold were broken in pieces without distinction and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors that the wind carries away. Not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a large mountain that filled the entire earth. This was the dream. Now we will set forth before the king its interpretation. “You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has granted you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. Wherever human beings, wild animals, and birds of the sky live—he has given them into your power. He has given you authority over them all. You are the head of gold. Now after you another kingdom will arise, one inferior to yours. Then a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule in all the earth. Then there will be a fourth kingdom, one strong like iron. Just like iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything, and as iron breaks in pieces all of these metals, so it will break in pieces and crush the others. In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile. And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.” (Daniel 2:31–45 NET)

He would not describe his dream to his advisors because he knew they would fabricate an interpretation. However, the Lord showed Daniel the dream and gave him the interpretation. (21)

First, Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the God of Heaven has revealed the dream to him (Daniel), and then he describes what the king saw. (Daniel’s dream interpretation recorded in Daniel 2 is further clarified in Daniel 7). Nebuchadnezzar saw a great and glorious image. (This is how world leaders view themselves, their rule, and their power.) The head of the image was fine gold, its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, its legs were iron, and its feet were partly iron and partly clay. Then, according to Daniel, the king saw a stone strike the image on its feet and destroy it. Daniel says the king saw that the stone was cut out without hands, meaning the image was destroyed by a sovereign act of God, bringing an end to man’s empires and vain attempts to rule without Him. (21) After that, Daniel provides the interpretation. He explains to Nebuchadnezzar that the image represents four successive kingdoms or empires, with a fifth empire—the Kingdom of God—coming to the earth. (21)

Fortunately, we have the benefit of history to understand exactly what empires Daniel’s interpretation refers to. One must remember that these empires are only mentioned because of their relation to the nation of Israel. They are empires that, from Babylon onward, would persecute God’s chosen people while they were in the land of Israel. Many other Gentile kingdoms have also persecuted the Jews throughout world history. Still, it is only these four empires that God has specifically identified as being pertinent to understanding end-time events. We must not, as some do, enter secular history and pull out the Assyrian, Egyptian, Syrian, German, or other empires which have not explicitly been given to us by God. When one does this, one’s view of where the Antichrist is to arise becomes very subjective and beyond the scope of what God has revealed. God has presented us with a very specific portrait of this man in the book of Daniel. One should not second-guess what God has already revealed. One must stay within the realm of what has already been disclosed to understand the rise of the Antichrist and the end-time prophecy. (26)

Gold Head

The first empire mentioned by Daniel was the Babylonian Empire. The head of gold represents King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian Empire (606–536 B.C.). Ancient Babylon is modern Iraq. It is with King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon that the times of the Gentiles were to begin. In approximately 606 BC, the Babylonian Empire attacked Jerusalem, destroyed the temple of Solomon, and led Israel into captivity for seventy years. It was shortly after that Nebuchadnezzar had this dream that troubled him. This judgment was brought upon Israel for their failure to repent from idol worship, sexual immorality, and not observing the Sabbatical years of the land. The Babylonian Empire was a regal empire unequaled in the ancient world. This is why it is represented as being the head of gold.

Silver Chest and Arms

The chest and arms of silver represent the Medo-Persian Empire (536–333 B.C.) which succeeded Babylon. As a side note, the Persians became more powerful than the Medes and displaced them as the next empire. (Ancient Persia is modern Iran.) While Daniel does not specifically mention the Medes and Persians at this time, he does identify them in Daniel 5:22-31; 8:1-7; 8:20; 11:1-2. (21)

And in that very night Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, was killed. So Darius the Mede took control of the kingdom when he was about sixty-two years old. (Daniel 5:30–31 NET)
The ram that you saw with the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. (Daniel 8:20 NET)
Now I will tell you the truth. “Three more kings will arise for Persia. Then a fourth king will be unusually rich, more so than all who preceded him. When he has amassed power through his riches, he will stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece. (Daniel 11:2 NET)

This empire was mightier than Babylon, as silver is stronger than gold. Yet, it was not as regal as its predecessor. This empire conquered Babylon, and its Persian king Cyrus eventually allowed the Jews to go forth and restore the city of Jerusalem and the temple. Amazingly, the prophet Isaiah predicted that a ruler named Cyrus would allow the Jews to return to Israel after their seventy years of servitude had ended: (26)

This is what the Lord, your protector, says, the one who formed you in the womb: “I am the Lord, who made everything, who alone stretched out the sky, who fashioned the earth all by myself, ...who commissions Cyrus, the one I appointed as shepherd to carry out all my wishes and to decree concerning Jerusalem, ‘She will be rebuilt,’ and concerning the temple, ‘It will be reconstructed.’ ” (Isaiah 44:24,28 NET)

Cyrus was the first of the Persian kings to rule following Israel’s deliverance from the Babylonian captivity. The three kings mentioned in v. 2 refer to his successors: Cambyses (ca. 530–522 bc), Pseudo-Smerdis (ca. 522 bc), and Darius I Hystaspes (ca. 522–486 bc). Although Cyrus himself served relatively wisely as the first of the Persian kings, the fourth king, Xerxes I (485–465 bc), launched a major invasion against the kingdom of Greece. This Xerxes I is the same as King Ahasuerus of the book of Esther. Soon after his accession in 485 bc, Xerxes brutally crushed revolts in Egypt and Babylonia, contributing to his riches and power. He was ready to use this acquired wealth and power against Greece to avenge their earlier embarrassment of the Persians. The banquet scene depicted in Esth 1 was not merely a drinking feast but more so an occasion for Xerxes to bring together the noble officials of the Persian Empire to stir up everyone against the kingdom of Greece and lay plans for a large-scale invasion. This great expedition against Greece began in the spring of 481 bc, yet it resulted in the humiliating loss of the Persian navy at Salamis to the west of Athens in 480 bc. Furthermore, Xerxes’ army was eventually defeated at Plataea (northwest of Athens) in 479 bc. The only consolation for the Persians was a brief conquest of Athens itself, in which they destroyed the old Parthenon, an act that left a bitter taste with the Greeks for centuries. (35)

Bronze Belly and Thighs

Then a powerful king [Alexander the Great] will arise, exercising great authority and doing as he pleases. Shortly after his rise to power, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky—but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these. (Daniel 11:3–4 NET)

The belly and thighs of bronze represent the third empire of Alexander the Great and Greece (333–323 B.C.), which succeeded the Persians. Daniel identifies this empire in Daniel 8:1-7,21;11:3. (21) Alexander destroyed the Medo-Persian kingdom and ruled the Grecian Empire for eight short years before dying, possibly of marsh fever, at 32. It is interesting to note that Daniel says this empire of bronze “shall rule over all the earth.” While the Greek Empire did have vast territories, it cannot be categorically stated that it ruled the entire earth. Later, we will see that this statement by Daniel will take on great significance. Because he did not have a son old enough to inherit his throne, the Grecian Empire was divided after Alexander’s death, with his four generals battling each other. Yet none of his successors came close to having the authority Alexander exercised. (26)

Iron Legs

The legs of iron represent a fourth kingdom or empire that Daniel does not identify. However, history shows that this fourth empire was Rome (30 B.C.–A.D. 364). (21) As iron is the strongest and heaviest of the statue’s metals, Rome was the mightiest and most powerful of the Gentile empires. It destroyed and conquered all others before it, and it was under their jurisdiction that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. It is shown that this empire, as seen by the two legs, would eventually be divided. History reveals that the Roman Empire was divided into an eastern division, with Constantinople as its capital, and a western division, with Rome as its capital, in AD 364. (26) The Western division, weakened by internal corruption, fell to the Mongol invaders in the middle of the fifth century. The eastern division lasted another 1,000 years until the Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople in A.D. 1453. Because the Roman Empire was divided before it fell, a revived Islam led by the Mahdi (i.e., Islamic messiah and Antichrist) will probably be the end-time power because the Muslim Turks conquered Constantinople.

As for Ishmael, I have heard you. I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants. He will become the father of twelve princes; I will make him into a great nation. (Genesis 17:20 NET)

Even Islam, borrowing from Judaism and early Christianity, teaches that the Mahdi (Islamic messiah) will appear after a period of tribulation. This is why the leader of Iran wants to cause war and turmoil in the world. In his mind, this is necessary for the Mahdi to appear. (21)

According to the dream, this empire would continue to exist in a very weak form up until the return of Christ. This indicates that the people and nations of Rome would continue to exist, but not in a unified nature. Unlike the previous empires, Rome was never conquered; it just decayed from within. It has existed in one form or another since its demise, but it has never had the unified power it once did. The Catholic Church tried to reunite it under the Holy Roman Empire. Napoleon and Adolph Hitler also tried. The European Union is another attempt to bring back the iron rule of Rome; it also will fail. (26)

Iron and Wet Clay Feet and Toes

It is also important to note that Daniel states the feet of the statue are made of clay mixed with iron, and the toes also consist of the same composition. What does the clay represent? Many had proposed communism, but with the fall of the Soviet Union, the clay is now said to symbolize democracy. The problem with accepting either of these views is that no scriptures support them. There is, however, a more scriptural interpretation of what the clay may symbolize. It is most likely a reference to the nation of Israel. Both Jeremiah and Isaiah state that “clay” is one of God’s symbols for Israel: (26)

Then the Lord said to me,“ I, the Lord, say: ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ (Jeremiah 18:5–6 NET)
Yet, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the product of your labor. (Isaiah 64:8 NET)

The breakdown in downward continuity from the legs to the feet and the feet’ mixture of iron and clay perfectly portray the beginning and end of the Seventieth Week. At the beginning of these seven years, the Antichrist will enforce a treaty between the Gentile powers and the nation of Israel.

He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing of abominations will come one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.” (Daniel 9:27 NET) 

In fact, Daniel discloses that the “clay” (Israel) is to mingle with the “seed of men” (the Gentile nations), “but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.”

And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. (Daniel 2:43 NET). 

The Seventieth Week will begin with an alliance of Jewish and Gentile powers and culminate with the persecution of Israel by the ten-nation Gentile kingdom led by the Antichrist. There is a very intriguing passage in the book of Habukkuk which may speak of the Antichrist’s initial deceptive alliance with the “clay” of Israel:

“Moreover, wine is a traitor, an arrogant man who is never at rest. His greed is as wide as Sheol; like death he has never enough. He gathers for himself all nations and collects as his own all peoples.” Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!” (Habakkuk 2:5–6 ESV)

Although translated as “many pledges” in the English Standard Version, the Hebrew word used, “Abtiyt,” also carries the meaning of “thick clay.” (29) Both meanings are relevant, for through a pledge or covenant, the Antichrist will align himself with thick clay, or Israel. In verses seven and eight of Habakkuk chapter two, it is pronounced that the remnant of those he allied with will eventually be his undoing.

Will not your debtors suddenly arise, and those awake who will make you tremble? Then you will be spoil for them. Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them. (Habakkuk 2:7–8 ESV)

The feet with their ten toes represent a world empire that will rule the nations when God smashes it with the smiting stone, which is His kingdom coming to the earth. The destruction of the ten toes empire is the prophetic symbolism fulfilled when the seventh trumpet-shofar is blown to announce:

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15 NET) 

Daniel’s dream, as recorded in Daniel Chapter 7

FOUR GREAT BEASTS

Many years later, after interpreting Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel was given a vision of these four great Empires. The last vision revealed how a Gentile ruler viewed these empires: as a magnificent statue. It is now disclosed how God views them: as great beasts.

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream filled with visions while he was lying on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream in summary fashion.Daniel explained: “I was watching in my vision during the night as the four winds of the sky were stirring up the great sea. Then four large beasts came up from the sea; they were different from one another. “The first one was like a lion with eagles’ wings. As I watched, its wings were pulled off and it was lifted up from the ground. It was made to stand on two feet like a human being, and a human mind was given to it. “Then a second beast appeared, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and there were three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and devour much flesh!’ “After these things, as I was watching, another beast like a leopard appeared, with four bird-like wings on its back. This beast had four heads, and ruling authority was given to it. “After these things, as I was watching in the night visions a fourth beast appeared—one dreadful, terrible, and very strong. It had two large rows of iron teeth. It devoured and crushed, and anything that was left it trampled with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that came before it, and it had ten horns. “As I was contemplating the horns, another horn—a small one—came up between them, and three of the former horns were torn out by the roots to make room for it. This horn had eyes resembling human eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things. (Daniel 7:1–8 NET)

In Daniel 7, we learn that Belshazzar is the king of Babylon. Daniel has an apocalyptic revelation through a dream and vision during his reign. He sees the same empires he saw in Daniel Chapter 2, but now he sees them from God’s point of view. The empires are glorious to humankind, but to God, they are beasts, and their beastly descriptions characterize them. (21)

“As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed, and the visions of my mind were alarming me. I approached one of those standing nearby and asked him about the meaning of all this. So he spoke with me and revealed to me the interpretation of the vision:‘ These large beasts, which are four in number, represent four kings who will arise from the earth. The holy ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will take possession of the kingdom forever and ever.’ “Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet. I also wanted to know the meaning of the ten horns on its head, and of that other horn which came up and before which three others fell. This was the horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things, whose appearance was more formidable than the others.While I was watching, that horn began to wage war against the holy ones and was defeating them, until the Ancient of Days arrived and judgment was rendered in favor of the holy ones of the Most High. Then the time came for the holy ones to take possession of the kingdom. (Daniel 7:15–22 NET)

As Daniel, in his vision, stands by the great sea or Mediterranean, he sees four great beasts come up from its waters (Daniel 7:2-3). These four beasts correspond exactly to the four empires that Nebuchadnezzar saw in the statue. (26) Remember that this is an apocalyptic way of saying that the four empires or kingdoms will be inspired by and controlled by evil spirits coming out of the bottomless pit, which is synonymous with the sea. They are anti-God, world empires, so God refers to them as beast empires. While the beasts are said to arise out of the sea, the rulers or empires themselves are said to arise out of the earth (Daniel 7:17). This means they are human agents of the beasts from the sea. (21)

Lion with Wings

Like a lion with an eagle’s wings, the first correlates with the head of gold, which Daniel revealed was representative of King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian empire. We are told that this lion’s wings were plucked; it was then given a heart and made to stand like a man. This is a reference to God’s judgment upon Nebuchadnezzar, where he became insane, and his hair grew like feathers and nails like bird’s claws (Daniel 4:33). When Nebuchadnezzar finally realized that God was the one who was ultimately in control of the Babylonian Empire, his sanity was restored. Nebuchadnezzar no longer saw himself as a god, so a man’s heart was given to him. (26)

Bear

The second beast, a bear, correlates with the silver of the great statue. The silver was said to symbolize the Medo-Persian Empire. The bear had one side higher than the other, as the Persians held a greater portion of this empire’s power. The three ribs in the bear’s jaws correspond with the three areas conquered by this empire: Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt. (26).

Leopard with Four Heads

Next, corresponding to the bronze empire of Greece, Daniel sees a leopard with four wings and four heads. The four wings represent the swiftness with which the Greek Empire gained its territories. The four heads typify its division into four regions after the death of its first ruler, Alexander the Great. It is crucial to note that Daniel says of the leopard with four heads that “dominion was given to it.” The other beasts will later be stated to have had their dominion taken away. Yet, one of the heads of the leopard will later be seen playing an important role as dominion is again given to it. (26)

Indescribable Beast

The final beast that Daniel sees complements the iron portion of the statue, which symbolizes the Roman Empire. This empire is said to be exceedingly strong as it stamps out and destroys the former empires. This beast is also said to have ten horns (kings, rulers, or governments (Daniel 7:24)), the same as Nebuchadnezzar’s statue’s ten toes. What Daniel is shown in his vision correlates exactly with what Nebuchadnezzar was also shown. This reveals how amazingly consistent God’s word is. (26)

Here then, is what is to be understood concerning these beasts:

  • In God’s eyes, Babylon is like a lion with one head.
  • Medo-Persia is like a bear, and it also has one head.
  • Greece is like a leopard, which is said to have four heads.
  • Rome is an indescribable beast, and it is said to have one head and ten horns.

Combining these beasts’ features into one great beast would create a beast with seven heads: Babylon one, Medo-Persia one, Greece four, and Rome one. This beast also would have ten horns, along with the features of a lion, a bear, and a leopard. Amazingly, this is exactly what the Apostle John sees when he is given a view of the rise of the Antichrist during the midpoint of the Seventieth Week. (26)

While, like Daniel, on the shores of the Mediterranean, John writes: (26)

Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority to rule. (Revelation 13:1–2 NET)

John and Daniel describe the same creature, but John describes a composite that Daniel sees as being successive. This is because John describes the beast in its final form when the Antichrist takes control of the ten kings of the revived Roman Empire. When the Antichrist unites the ten kings (the ten toes) under his power, the empire of Rome will revive itself. Understanding this will unlock the keys to where the Antichrist will arise from. Right after the vision of these beasts, the Antichrist is introduced in the Book of Daniel.

Daniel was considering the ten horns of the fourth beast, which symbolized the revived Roman empire, when he saw a “little horn” come up among them and overthrow three of the ten horns, or kings (Daniel 7:8). This may explain why John’s Beast has only seven heads with ten horns. Daniel relates that this horn had a man’s eyes and spoke pompous words. Daniel was grieved in his spirit and wanted to know more about this last world empire with ten horns and the little horn: the Antichrist (Daniel 7:19-20). Daniel also saw that this little horn was making war against the saints and prevailing against them (Daniel 7:21).

Finally, an angel reveals more about the Antichrist:

“This is what he told me: ‘The fourth beast means that there will be a fourth kingdom on earth that will differ from all the other kingdoms. It will devour all the earth and will trample and crush it. The ten horns mean that ten kings will arise from that kingdom. Another king will arise after them, but he will be different from the earlier ones. He will humiliate three kings. He will speak words against the Most High. He will harass the holy ones of the Most High continually. His intention will be to change times established by law. They will be delivered into his hand For a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:23–25 NET)

Greater details are now given concerning the Antichrist. First, ten kings from the old Roman Empire formed a coalition. Then will arise the Antichrist; he will be different from them and will take over the rule of three of the first ten kings. He is different from the first ten kings because he will not arise from the Roman Empire, as revealed in Daniel chapter eight. This Antichrist will be given “a time and times and a half a time,” or three and a half years, to persecute and prevail over the saints of God. However, this time allotment will be cut short (i.e., amputated) by God as the heavenly courts are convened and the Antichrist’s power is broken (Daniel 7:26). Daniel was still perplexed about this little horn, so God shed even more light on him. (26)

The smiting stone from Daniel 2 is clearly the same as the vision of the Ancient of Days and the Son of Man in Daniel 7. (21)

In the days of those kings the God of heaven will raise up an everlasting kingdom that will not be destroyed and a kingdom that will not be left to another people. It will break in pieces and bring about the demise of all these kingdoms. But it will stand forever. You saw that a stone was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands; it smashed the iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold into pieces. The great God has made known to the king what will occur in the future. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is reliable.” (Daniel 2:44–45 NET)
“While I was watching, thrones were set up, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His attire was white like snow; the hair of his head was like lamb’s wool. His throne was ablaze with fire and its wheels were all aflame. A river of fire was streaming forth and proceeding from his presence. Many thousands were ministering to him; Many tens of thousands stood ready to serve him. The court convened and the books were opened. “Then I kept on watching because of the arrogant words of the horn that was speaking. I was watching until the beast was killed and its body destroyed and thrown into the flaming fire. As for the rest of the beasts, their ruling authority had already been removed, though they were permitted to go on living for a time and a season. I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:9–14 NET)
But the court will convene, and his ruling authority will be removed— destroyed and abolished forever! Then the kingdom, authority, and greatness of the kingdoms under all of heaven will be delivered to the people of the holy ones of the Most High. His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; all authorities will serve him and obey him.’ “This is the conclusion of the matter. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts troubled me greatly, and the color drained from my face. But I kept the matter to myself.” (Daniel 7:26–28 NET)

Daniel’s dream, as recorded in Daniel Chapter 8

THE RAM AND THE GOAT

Two years after his dream, recorded in Chapter 7, Daniel has a further apocalyptic dream of the same revelation in Daniel 8. (26)

In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me previously. In this vision I saw myself in Susa the citadel, which is located in the province of Elam. In the vision I saw myself at the Ulai Canal. I looked up and saw a ram with two horns standing at the canal. Its two horns were both long, but one was longer than the other. The longer one was coming up after the shorter one. I saw that the ram was butting westward, northward, and southward. No animal was able to stand before it, and there was none who could deliver from its power. It did as it pleased and acted arrogantly. While I was contemplating all this, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of all the land without touching the ground. This goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes. It came to the two-horned ram that I had seen standing beside the canal and rushed against it with raging strength.I saw it approaching the ram. It went into a fit of rage against the ram and struck it and broke off its two horns. The ram had no ability to resist it. The goat hurled the ram to the ground and trampled it. No one could deliver the ram from its power. The male goat acted even more arrogantly. But no sooner had the large horn become strong than it was broken, and there arose four conspicuous horns in its place, extending toward the four winds of the sky. (Daniel 8:1–8 NET)

Medo-Persian, the silver chest and arms that became the bear in Daniel 7:5, is now seen as a ram with two horns (Medes and Persians). The belly and thighs of bronze are referred to as a leopard with four wings and four heads in Daniel 7:6 and are now seen as a goat with a large horn that destroys the ram. The ram is cast down and trampled by the goat, and the goat grows very great. Amid its greatness, the goat’s notable horn was broken and replaced with four smaller horns. (21)

From one of them [the four conspicuous horns] came a small horn. But it grew to be very big, toward the south and the east and toward the beautiful land. It grew so big it reached the army of heaven, and it brought about the fall of some of the army and some of the stars to the ground, where it trampled them. It also acted arrogantly against the Prince of the army, from whom the daily sacrifice was removed and whose sanctuary was thrown down. The army was given over, along with the daily sacrifice, in the course of his sinful rebellion. It hurled truth to the ground and enjoyed success. Then I heard a holy one speaking. Another holy one said to the one who was speaking, “To what period of time does the vision pertain—this vision concerning the daily sacrifice and the destructive act of rebellion and the giving over of both the sanctuary and army to be trampled?” He said to me, “To 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary will be put right again.” (Daniel 8:9–14 NET)

In this dream, he is given more details and mentions a little horn that comes out of the four horns of the goat. Remember that the four horns represent the four generals who inherit Alexander’s empire.

This little horn has all the markings of the Antichrist; he is said to trample down the host of heaven (the Saints). He exalts himself as high as the Prince of the Saints: Jesus Christ. He commits the abomination of desolation by taking away the daily sacrifices. He is also said to have an army and would cast down the truth and prosper. Scores of commentators will argue that this passage is speaking of a Syrian despot known as Antiochus Epiphanes and not the Antichrist. Although Antiochus did desecrate the Jewish temple, he was only a type of the Antichrist. It is clearly stated by Jesus that the desecration of the sanctuary, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, was still in the future. (26)

“So when you see the abomination of desolation—spoken about by Daniel the prophet—standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (Matthew 24:15 NET)

It had not yet occurred in Jewish history, or at least until the time of Christ. So although a type of the Antichrist, the exploits of Antiochus should not be read into these passages. (34) Daniel’s concern was not for some minor figure that persecuted the Jews during the Greek empire. Daniel wanted to know more about the little horn he had seen in his previous vision.

Finally, in case there was any question in Daniel’s mind as to whether this was the little horn he had seen previously, he is told specifically to: “. . . Understand son of man that the vision refers to the time of the end.” (Daniel 8:17). Again, immediately before the vision was interpreted, he was told, “Look, I am making known to you what shall happen in the latter time of the indignation (great tribulation) for at the appointed time the end shall be.” (Daniel 8:19). The angel stresses twice that what Daniel saw was to occur in the last days, or the day preceding the kingdom of Messiah. This information reveals that the passage must be referring to the Antichrist. (26)

Daniel is next given the interpretation:

While I, Daniel, was watching the vision, I sought to understand it. Now one who appeared to be a man was standing before me. Then I heard a human voice coming from between the banks of the Ulai. It called out, “Gabriel, enable this person to understand the vision.” So he approached the place where I was standing. As he came, I felt terrified and fell flat on the ground. Then he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision pertains to the time of the end.” As he spoke with me, I fell into a trance with my face to the ground. But he touched me and stood me upright. Then he said, “I am going to inform you about what will happen in the latter time of wrath, for the vision pertains to the appointed time of the end. The ram that you saw with the two horns stands for the kings of Media and Persia. The male goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between its eyes is the first king. The horn that was broken and in whose place there arose four others stands for four kingdoms that will arise from his nation, though they will not have his strength. Toward the end of their rule, when rebellious acts are complete, a rash and deceitful king will arise. His power will be great, but it will not be by his strength alone. He will cause terrible destruction. He will be successful in what he undertakes. He will destroy powerful people and the people of the holy ones. By his treachery he will succeed through deceit. He will have an arrogant attitude, and he will destroy many who are unaware of his schemes. He will rise up against the Prince of princes, yet he will be broken apart—but not by human agency. The vision of the evenings and mornings that was told to you is correct. But you should seal up the vision, for it refers to a time many days from now.” I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up and again carried out the king’s business. But I was astonished at the vision, and there was no one to explain it. (Daniel 8:15–27 NET)

The higher horn on the goat represents the Persians displacing the Medes. The angel reveals that the goat represents the empire of Greece that will destroy the kingdom of Medo-Persia. The large horn between its eyes is the first king; this was Alexander the Great. In Daniel 11:3-4 Alexander is called “a mighty king.” The first horn was broken when Alexander died, and four other horns came up in its place. In history, after the death of Alexander, four of his generals divided the empire into four provinces (remember the leopard representing Greece had four heads): Cassander took Macedonia, Lysimachus took Asia Minor (Turkey), Seleucus took Syria, and Ptolemy took Egypt. They are represented by the four heads on the leopard and the four horns on the goat (Daniel 8:8). (21)

Out of one of these four areas, the Antichrist will arise. This will happen in the “latter time” of these four kingdoms (Daniel 8:23). For the third time, the angel stresses to Daniel that these passages refer to the end times. It was stated previously of the little horn that he was to be different from the ten horns. This is because he arises from one of the provinces of the Greek Empire and not from the Roman Empire, as do the ten horns. Understanding this allows many scriptures in Daniel to make sense.

Jesus Christ crushes the iron, the clay, the silver, and the gold. Jesus Christ, the smiting stone, will crush the rule of the ten kings and set up His kingdom on Earth. This indicates that parts of all the former Gentile empires will be around in some form when Jesus returns. The destruction of the ten toes empire is the prophetic symbolism fulfilled when the seventh trumpet-shofar is blown to announce: (21)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven saying: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15 NET) 

THE PROVINCE

The search for the origin of this evil ruler has now been narrowed down to one of four possible areas: Syria, Egypt, Macedonia, and Asia Minor. In the reading of Daniel chapter eleven, one can eliminate two of these four provinces. Predominately, chapter eleven concerns wars between the King of the South (Egypt) and the North (Syria). Remember, these kingdoms are presented in their directional relation to Israel. Egypt is south of Israel, while Syria is directly north. In verse 40, it is revealed that the Antichrist is attacked by the King of the South (Egypt) and the North (Syria). Since both these provinces are attacking him, they can be ruled out as the land from which he will arise. We are then left with Macedonia or Asia Minor as the remaining possibilities. An important portion of the book of Ezekiel must be examined to determine which of these two is the correct area. (26)

In Ezekiel chapter 38, we are presented with a portrait of the Antichrist’s invasion of Israel. He is called “Gog,” the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal. There have been many believers who have been told that “Rosh” is clearly a reference to Russia, “Meshech” to Moscow, and “Tubal” to the Russian city of Tobolsk. So what Ezekiel is really picturing is a Russian invasion of Israel. This story has been told so many times that most commentators write about its accuracy without even researching to verify its truthfulness. Identifying “Gog” as some leader from Russia is absolutely incorrect. One thing that commentators stress to prove this presumption is to point to the fact that this invasion is said to come from the north, and Russia is directly north of Israel. But just because an army is said to come from the north, it does not necessarily follow that it must be Russia. As evidence, I point to the book of Jeremiah, where the prophet states that Babylon will destroy Jerusalem and that they will come from the north (Jeremiah 4:6). Anyone knows that Babylon, or modern Iraq, is east of Israel. Was Jeremiah having a bad day? The solution to this contradiction lies in existence in the Middle East of what is known as the “Fertile Crescent.” (26)

Grey Shading indicates the Fertile Crescent

The fertile crescent is an area extending from the southwestern tip of modern-day Iran and the nation of Kuwait, arcing along both sides of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates up into modern-day Syria and southern Turkey, descending into Lebanon and Palestine, and eventually terminating at the southernmost portion of the Nile River in Egypt. The Fertile Crescent is surrounded on almost every side by mountain ranges, including the Taurus and Amanus ranges on the northern edge and the Zagros range, which straddles the border between Iran and Iraq in the east. The Syrian Desert forms the Fertile Crescent’s primary southern boundary. The Fertile Crescent is primarily made up of plains and gently rolling hills. It is largely comprised of prime land for general agriculture and animal grazing, in contrast to the deserts or mountains surrounding it on all sides. Thus, many of the most important nonnomadic ancient cultures began in the Fertile Crescent, including the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires. Important cities mentioned in the Bible that are found in the Fertile Crescent include Babylon, Ur, and Nineveh in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq); Harran in present-day Syria; Jerusalem in the land of Israel; and Alexandria and Memphis in Egypt. (36)

Travelers and armies would go around the desert wastelands by traveling through this Fertile Crescent. So to invade the Holy Land, they would follow this crescent down through Syria and into Israel. This was the precise route that Babylon took. Even though they were from the east, they invaded from the north. It will be no different for the Antichrist; his army will invade through the Fertile Crescent and come down on Israel from the north. It is also argued that the Hebrew word used in the text of Ezekiel for “north” means “far north.” Russia is, therefore, the only war power to the far north of Israel. They fail, however, to address the fact that Ezekiel states the “house of Togarmah from the far north” also will take part in this invasion. All scholars agree that the land the house of Togarmah inhabited was within the region of what is today known as Armenia. A quick look at any world atlas will show that the region of Armenia, which is to the “far north” of Israel, is fairly far south of Russia. (26)

Since the Antichrist is said to be the ruler of Meshech and Tubal, his origin can be known if we can establish these regions’ locations. So where exactly are Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal located? According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, “Rosh” is best understood as:

The personal name means “head” or “chief.” In the Bible, it is the name of the seventh son of Benjamin (Genesis 46:21)(30)   

“Rosh” should more accurately be translated as “chief.” Ezekiel 38:2 should then read Gog of the land of Magog, the “chief” (Rosh) prince of Meschech and Tubal. (30)

“Son of man, turn toward Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. Prophesy against him (Ezekiel 38:2 NET)

There is some speculation that Rosh may refer to an Assyrian King named Rashu, but his kingdom was located in the modern areas of northern Iran and Iraq, not Russia. “Magog” is merely a Hebrew construction that means “place of Gog.” Magog was also a descendant of Noah (Genesis 10:2). (26)

The locations of Meshech and Tubal are no real mystery, either. If one obtains any modern Bible atlas or Bible dictionary, there is no dispute about where Meschech and Tubal were located. Many monumental discoveries in Assyrian cuneiform texts have properly identified these regions. (26)

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary:

MESHECH (Mēʹ shĕk) Personal name meaning either “sowing” or “possession.” 1. A people of Asia Minor (Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5), known for trading in copper vessels (Ezekiel 27:13), frequently associated with Tubal (Ezekiel 32:26; 38:2–3; 39:1). This Meschech is identical to the Assyrian Mushki and the Greek Moschoi. In Psalms 120:5 the name appears in the form Mesech (KJV). 2. An otherwise unknown Aramean tribe (1 Chronicles 1:17), perhaps identical with Mash (Genesis 10:23). (32)

TUBAL (Tūʹ bȧl) Son of Japheth (Genesis 10:2; 1 Chronicles 1:5) and ancestor of a people, likely of Cappadocia or Cilicia in Asia Minor (Isa. 66:19; Ezekiel 27:13; 32:26; 38:2–3; 39:1). (33)

Author George Roux, in his definitive book on ancient Iraq, also mentions the location of Tubal:

Starting from the north, we find in the heart of the Taurus Mountains about twelve city states forming the confederation of Tabal (the Tubal of the Bible) and along the Upper Euphrates, the kingdom of Kummanu with Milid (modern Malaysia) for a capital city.

The Taurus Mountains are located in the area known as Asia Minor. The people of Meshech and Tubal are well documented in Assyrian cuneiform texts in central and eastern Anatolia (Asia Minor). (26)

Very solid historical and archeological evidence shows these people were from the area known as Asia Minor or modern-day Turkey. (26)

ASIA MINOR

These passages from Ezekiel solve the last piece of the Antichrist puzzle by eliminating the province of Macedonia. This establishes Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey, as the province of Greece from where the Antichrist will arise. Is it any wonder that the book of Revelation is addressed to seven churches in the province of Asia Minor? Or that the church of Pergamos, within Asia Minor, is said to reside where Satan’s throne is (Revelation 2:13)?

Revelation 13:2 states that Satan will give the Antichrist his throne. If our Lord has told us that the throne of Satan is in Pergamos of Asia Minor, it stands to reason that this will be where the Antichrist would arise and ascend to power. Jesus addressed these churches because this would be the very area that would witness the initial rise to power, as well as the incredible deception of the Antichrist. (26)

Seven Churches of Revelation

Note the Seven Churches are arranged in the shape of an Omega “Ω,” the last letter of the Greek Alphabet. How fitting for the last days Antichrist to arise from this province.

In chapter eleven, Daniel presents the entire history of the provinces of the Greek kingdom after Alexander’s death.

Then a powerful king will arise [Alexander the Great], exercising great authority and doing as he pleases. Shortly after his rise to power, his kingdom will be broken up and distributed toward the four winds of the sky—but not to his posterity or with the authority he exercised, for his kingdom will be uprooted and distributed to others besides these. (Daniel 11:3–4 NET)

Daniel relates this detailed history until he reaches the arrival of the Antichrist. Why is Grecian history, with the battles of Syria and Egypt, presented with great specificity in Daniel chapter eleven? It all becomes crystal clear when one realizes that the Antichrist will arise from one of these four provinces “in the latter time of their kingdom.” (26)

Toward the end of their rule, when rebellious acts are complete, a rash and deceitful king will arise. (Daniel 8:23 NET)

Period IV: The Church Age

The Seventy Weeks of Daniel
1 week of years (1 x 7 = 7 years)

The Church Age

An “age” is a historical period of time or an era. Some historians divide human history into many epochs and name them according to their defining characteristics: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, Middle Age, Modern Age, Postmodern Age, etc. Biblical history, too, can be divided into different eras. When those divisions emphasize God’s interaction with His creation, we call them dispensations. More broadly, biblical history can be divided into two periods, roughly following the division of Old and New Covenants (Testaments): the Age of the Law and the Church Age. (9)

The Church Age is the period of time from Pentecost (Acts 2) to the Rapture foretold in First Thessalonians:

Now we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians.For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
 (1 Thessalonians 4:13–187 NET)

Jesus, during the opening of the seven seals, will begin to bring the church age to a close, while also setting up the events that will bring Israel to repentance. The era of the church age is said to end when the “full number of the Gentiles has come in.”

For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob. And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”  (Romans 11:25–27 NET)

The “full number of the Gentiles has come in” refers to the number of Gentile Christians that will put their faith in Christ before God spiritually restores national Israel. This is an amount that only God knows, and once it has been reached, the church will be gathered to Jesus.

It is called the Church Age because it covers the period in which the Church is on Earth. It corresponds with the dispensation of Grace. Jesus predicted the Church Age in Matthew 16:18 when He said, (9)

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. (Matthew 16:18 NET)

Jesus has kept His promise, and His Church has been growing for almost 2,000 years. (9)

Jesus does give us a clue to the approximate length of the church age.

But he said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Look, I am casting out demons and performing healings today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will complete my work. (Luke 13:32 NET)

Remembering a day with the Lord is a thousand years (1).

Now, dear friends, do not let this one thing escape your notice, that a single day is like a thousand years with the Lord and a thousand years are like a single day. (2 Peter 3:8 NET)

Jesus was telling Satan (the spiritual “fox” that was working through King Herod) that for approximately two thousand years (two Heaven days), the church would be alive on Earth with deliverance and healing. Then in the third thousand years (the third Heaven day), Jesus will start His millennial (27) reign on Earth! (4)

There is a similar clue from the Old Covenant:

The Lord said to Moses, “I am going to come to you in a dense cloud, so that the people may hear when I speak with you and so that they will always believe in you.” And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. The Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow [i.e., two days], and make them wash their clothes and be ready for the third day, for on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. You must set boundaries for the people all around, saying, ‘Take heed to yourselves not to go up on the mountain nor touch its edge. Whoever touches the mountain will surely be put to death! No hand will touch him—but he will surely be stoned or shot through, whether a beast or a human being; he must not live.’ When the ram’s horn sounds a long blast they may go up on the mountain.” Then Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. He said to the people, “Be ready for the third day. Do not go near your wives.” On the third day in the morning there was thunder and lightning and a dense cloud on the mountain, and the sound of a very loud horn; all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their place at the foot of the mountain. Now Mount Sinai was completely covered with smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire, and its smoke went up like the smoke of a great furnace, and the whole mountain shook violently. When the sound of the horn grew louder and louder, Moses was speaking and God was answering him with a voice. (Exodus 19:9–19 NET)

The Lord will come down on the third day, announced by the sound of a shofar!

Again, the church will be alive on Earth after two days (today and tomorrow) or approximately two thousand years (two Heaven days). Then in the third thousand years (the third Heaven day), Jesus will announce His return with a trumpet blast (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17) and set in motion events leading to His millennial reign on Earth!

This fits the pattern of God, who never changes (Malachi 3:6. Hebrews 13:8). In Genesis 1, the Earth was restored in six Heaven days (1) (six thousand Earth years), and God then rested on the seventh day (seventh thousand Earth years). There are four thousand years (four Heaven days) from Adam to Jesus’ birth; add two thousand years (4) (two Heaven days) of the church age for a total of six thousand years (six Heaven days). Then rest will come in the seventh thousandth years (Seventh Heaven day) – the thousand-year reign of Jesus on Earth.

Another clue is given in the purification of those made unclean (1) by contacting anything associated with human death (i.e., a corpse, bones, and grave). Recall we are dead in our trespasses and sin until we are born again from above (1).

“ ‘Whoever touches the corpse of any person will be ceremonially unclean seven days. He must purify himself with water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and the seventh day, then he will not be clean. (Numbers 19:11–12 NET)

Again, this refers to Heaven’s days of one thousand years each and the same time period from two different perspectives. The third day is from the perspective of starting the count from the birth of the church. Meaning that at the end of the two-thousand-year church age, or the beginning of the third day, some people will have been purified with the water of the word (i.e., born again) and raptured. The seventh day is from the perspective of the restoration of the earth. Then, some will be found purified with the water of the word out of the Great Tribulation and brought to Heaven on the Seventh Heaven day, which is the beginning of the millennial reign of Jesus!

Another clue is given in the transfiguration of Jesus.

Six days later Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and led them privately up a high mountain. And he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. Then Moses and Elijah also appeared before them, talking with him. (Matthew 17:1–3 NET)

The transfiguration was a preview of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, there are some standing here who will not experience death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:27–28 NET)

We know the disciples have died for almost 2,000 years, and Jesus has not yet come into His kingdom. And yet Jesus said some were standing there and would not see death until they saw Him coming. What was He talking about? Jesus here talked about the Transfiguration, for the Transfiguration was a preview of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The Transfiguration was a foretaste of glory; the Transfiguration was a glimpse into the future. And indeed, some were standing there—Peter, James, and John—who did not taste death until they saw the Son of man, the Lord Jesus Christ, in His glory, in His kingdom, because that is what the Transfiguration was. (6)

Now, what is the significance of “after six days?” Six is the number for man, and it speaks of failure. Seven is the number for completion. Man is a six; he is one less than seven. And so, six days represent 6,000 years of human history. Man’s recorded history on this globe has been 6,000 years. But there’s a new day—a great day coming—and after six days of failure will come the perfect day, the millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. After 6,000 years of failure, 1,000 years of peace and righteousness are coming when the Lord Jesus Christ shall rule and reign. Just as the Transfiguration was the Second Coming of Jesus in miniature—six days, or the history of man in miniature, foretelling that our Lord will come after six days—and the seventh day will be the millennial rest of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (6)

Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! (Revelation 7:13–14 NET)

In conclusion, we should not be complacent or anxious about our Lord Jesus’ return. Rather we are to be faithful in doing what the Lord asks us to do moment by moment and living a life that will allow us to look forward to His return with unashamed joy (1 John 2:28), but letting Him “worry” about the bigger picture of bringing everything to its rightful end – Maranatha! (5)

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave himself for us to set us free from every kind of lawlessness and to purify for himself a people who are truly his, who are eager to do good. (Titus 2:11–14 NET)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election. For by doing this you will never stumble into sin. For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided for you. (2 Peter 1:10–11 NET)

(Romans 13:8-14. Ephesians 5:1-18. 1 Corinthians 4:2. Luke 12:22-32. Philippians 4:6. Matthew 25:1-30).

Signs

The first usage of the word sign is in Genesis in the context of God’s creative acts and the beginning of human history. (18)

God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them be signs to indicate seasons and days and years, (Genesis 1:14 NET) 

The final usage is in Revelation, the last book of the Bible, in the context of God’s final judgment on the earth. (18)

Then I saw another great and astounding sign in heaven: seven angels who have seven final plagues (they are final because in them God’s anger is completed). (Revelation 15:1 NET)

Signs were placed in heaven at creation and will be manifest in heaven at God’s final judgment. Signs are for seeing. That is, men are called upon to look at and behold signs. Signs are intended to be conspicuous, not hidden. Signs, by their very nature, are to be public. (18)

The Bible speaks of signs:

  • Appearing (Matthew 24:30)
  • Being shown (Mark 13:22)
  • Being accomplished before people (John 20:30)
  • Being accomplished among people (Acts 2:22)(2 Corinthians 12:12) (18)

Signs are also miraculous. The concept of biblical signs and miracles is so closely intertwined that sometimes the Hebrew or Greek words usually rendered as signs are literally translated miracle (Exodus 7:9; Numbers 14:22; Deuteronomy 11:3; John 2:11,23; John 12:37). Of the words signs, miracle, and wonders occur in tandem (Exodus 7:3; Deuteronomy 4:34;6:22;34:11; Acts 2:22;8:13). (18)

Signs are placed by God at crucial forks in the road of redemptive history to say to men and women of the faith: (18)

You will hear a word spoken behind you, saying, “This is the correct way, walk in it,” whether you are heading to the right or the left. (Isaiah 30:21 NET)

Signs were to confirm, identify, or mark out someone or something as genuine or authentic. Signs were posted to reveal the truth and were authenticated by a miracle or wonder. Signs relate primarily to the Jewish people. The apostle Paul, writing to the church at Corinth, said: (18)

For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom, (1 Corinthians 1:22 NET)

It was the Jewish people who kept requesting signs to validate the truth. (18)

Then some of the experts in the law along with some Pharisees answered him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:38–40 NET)
A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah.” Then he left them and went away. (Matthew 16:4 NET)
Then the Pharisees came and began to argue with Jesus, asking for a sign from heaven to test him. Sighing deeply in his spirit he said, “Why does this generation look for a sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to this generation.” Then he left them, got back into the boat, and went to the other side. (Mark 8:11–13 NET)
As the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it looks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign to this generation. (Luke 11:29–30 NET)

Signs are more directional in nature than chronological. They tell us “which way” rather than “what time.” When the disciples asked the Lord: (18)

As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NET)

They were not so much asking “when” will the end occur, but “how” will people recognize it when it does?

John, in giving the reason for penning the Gospel that bears his name, wrote: (18)

Now Jesus performed many other miraculous signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are recorded so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30–31 NET)

John chose a series of miracles of the many that Jesus had performed. These particular miracles were chosen by John because they authenticated and substantiated that Jesus was the promised Messiah and the Son of God. (18)

Jesus Christ is the pre-incarnate (that is, He existed before He took on human flesh), self-existent (that is, He has always been and owes His origin to no one and nothing), and Son of God. He is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. But at a precise moment in history, Jesus was born of a human mother on Earth. The pre-incarnate (before flesh) Son of God would become the incarnate (in the flesh) Son of man. He would be both an undiminished deity and perfect in his humanity, the God-Man, who alone could meet every human heart need. (18)

But how would men recognize Him when He appeared? How would they know with absolute certainty? How could He be picked out from among the myriads of men who would live and die on earth? (18)

There was a crucial fork in the road of human history, so God would place a sign – not a small placard that could be inadvertently passed by, but a giant billboard, as it were, which all could see. It would be unusual, miraculous, supernatural-something that satanic power could not successfully duplicate. The sign would be given to confirm and authenticate to leave no doubt concerning the identity of the Son of God. He would make His appearance in the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4), and men of faith would be able to recognize Him. (18)

The sign was promised by God more than seven hundred years before it appeared. An unrighteous king was then ruling over the kingdom of Judah. His name was Ahaz. To this king, God gave a promise that the military attack being planned against him by the ten northern tribes of Israel would fail (Isaiah 7:3-9). Although Ahaz was a godless king, this coalition to the north would not be permitted to kill off the Davidic lineage through which the true Messiah would come. To confirm His promise, God invited King Ahaz to request a sign – nothing easy or commonplace, but something miraculous and supernatural. To this faithless king, God said (18)

The Lord again spoke to Ahaz: “Ask for a confirming sign from the Lord your God. You can even ask for something miraculous.” But Ahaz responded, “I don’t want to ask; I don’t want to put the Lord to a test.” (Isaiah 7:10–12 NET)

God turned, therefore, from the unbelieving king to the whole house of Israel. He would give them a sign– not a sign concerning the impending invasion but a sign to identify the righteous King who would bring certain, eternal deliverance. (18)

To Israel, Isaiah said,

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 HCSB)

The birth of a child through a virgin obviously was unique, unprecedented, and miraculous- it would require supernatural power. It would be a bona fide, unimpeachable sign to identify the Messiah and Savior of the world when He appeared. (18)

And so the long centuries moved agonizingly on, one century after another, one generation after another, and the sign God had promised did not appear. Doubtless, with time, some ridiculed the promise of a sign, others ignored it, and many forgot it. Only a few, like the righteous priest Zacharias, and his wife, Elizabeth; (18)

During the reign of Herod king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, and he had a wife named Elizabeth, who was a descendant of Aaron. They were both righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. (Luke 1:5–6 NET)

And godly Simeon continued to wait for “the consolation of Israel:” (18)

Now there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon who was righteous and devout, looking for the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. (Luke 2:25 NET)

It must have been a clear Judean night; the latter rains were now past; the stars were shining brightly; the hills surrounding Bethlehem were never more beautiful. A solemn hush fell over everything; the shepherds were watching their sheep. And then it happened as if a dream, but it was real. Earth was visited by heaven! (18)

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:9–14 NET)

There was nothing unusual about a child being wrapped in swaddling clothes. That the child was wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger suggests poverty, but certainly, there was nothing miraculous or supernatural about it. (18)

Those details were simply given so the shepherds could locate the child in Bethlehem (1).

The sign God gave was the virgin birth–it was the fulfillment of the words of the prophet Isaiah, (18)

Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 HCSB)

The shepherds raced to Bethlehem to find the child. And they found Him wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. When they entered, they bowed; they worshiped, arose, and left. They had no need to inquire, “Where is the proud father?” They knew that He was virgin-born. (18)

Before them lay the Son of God because the eternal God was His Father, and the Son of man because the Jewish maiden Mary (Greek, Miriam) (1), who never knew a man (i.e., a virgin), was His mother (Luke 1:34-35). (18)

Seven centuries earlier, the Sovereign of the universe had promised a sign (i.e., the virgin birth), a miracle to substantiate that God was dwelling among men. The sign was posted for all men to see in the little village of Bethlehem, which lies along the patriarchal highway running north and south through Palestine. (18)

In time, the Son of God grew to manhood. At thirty-two (1), the Lord Jesus Christ began His public ministry. Thirty was the required age at which Jewish rabbis could officially begin teaching. Jesus functioned as a rabbi, but His ministry was short-lived. At age thirty-six, after only three and one-half years of preaching and teaching, His life ebbed away as he torturously suffocated on a Roman cross. (18)

By any standard, the span of His ministry was brief, but it cannot be measured like the shooting meteor that lights up the dark sky for a brief instant only to be remembered no more. Rather, it was like the dawning of a new day as the sun moved from below the horizon to directly overhead. Men could see its rays and feel its heat-and they still can. (18)

For most men, the rays of the truth He taught are too bright, and the heat exemplified in His holy living is too hot. (18)

Once the Lord began His ministry, the scribes and Pharisees came to Jesus to ask for a sign (Matthew 12:38-40; 16:1-4; Mark 8:11-12). Jews require a sign! They were asking for something miraculous, something supernatural, something that would authenticate and substantiate what they viewed as His revolutionary teaching. (18)

They wanted to know, By what right, by whose authority, under whose ensign do You do these things? Give us a sign, they challenged. He responded, “There shall no sign be given” (Matthew 12:39). But they were persistent; they would not be put off. Again they asked for a sign (Matthew 16:1). (18)

Jesus declared, “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign” (Matthew 16:4). His point was clear and forceful: Had His brethren been faithful to Moses and the prophets of Israel (that is, to their own Old Testament Scriptures) they would have known by what right, by whose authority, and under whose ensign He taught and did the things which the Pharisees now questioned. They would have recognized He was the prophet that Moses promised would come (1) (Deuteronomy 18:15–19). They had become an adulterous generation. They had committed spiritual adultery. They substituted the traditions of men for the truth of God, all the while proudly proclaiming their orthodoxy.

Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.” (Mark 7:13 NET)

The die was cast-the decision was final- Jesus was leaving. Israel’s tragic plight was now sealed. They had brought it on themselves. During three and one-half years of public ministry, Jesus had pleaded with His nation to repent of their sin and acknowledge His messianic claim to rule over them. His credentials were impeccable. The lineage from which He sprang, the village in which He was born, the city in which He was raised, the compassion He demonstrated, the courage He displayed, the wisdom He evidenced, the miracles He performed, the message He proclaimed, the authority He exhibited (“Never man spoke like this man, John 7:46)-all collaborated to attest to His messiahship. (18)

Therefore, it was with justifiable reason that the disciples thought He would become King of Israel and that, finally, the yoke of ruthless, relentless Roman persecution would be broken. At last, they believed, under Messiah’s rule, Israel would once again know the greatness and glory which had been theirs almost a thousand years earlier under mighty King David and his wise son, King Solomon. (18)

But their hopes and dreams notwithstanding, it would not be-not for that hour of history. Through the centuries, the Jewish leadership had corrupted the inspired writings of Moses and the prophets of Israel with their oral law and vain traditions. Only a vestigial skeleton of pure, God-given Judaism remained. (18)

Many of the Pharisees were corrupt hypocrites. In the words of the Lord, they were whitewashed sepulchers (Matthew 23:27) – well-manicured on the outside but decaying and smelling on the inside. They had become “blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15.14). The holiness of Jesus condemned their sin, and the truth of Jesus rebuked their error. Tragically, the Pharisees and scribes misled the Jewish people through lies, distortion, manipulation, and false witnesses. (18)

This, in spite of the fact that Jesus’ flawless life and selfless ministry met all the criteria set forth in the sacred writings of their ancient sages for the Messiah, the very Scriptures to which the Jewish leadership outwardly claimed allegiance. (18)

If you believed Moses, you would believe me, because he wrote about me. But if you do not believe what Moses wrote, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:46–47 NET)

Jesus knew that He would be rejected and anticipated the result:

To Himself;

From that time on Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (Matthew 16:21 NET)
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve aside privately and said to them on the way, “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the experts in the law. They will condemn him to death, and will turn him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged severely and crucified. Yet on the third day, he will be raised.” (Matthew 20:17–19 NET)
Then Jesus began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31 NET) 
Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” But he forcefully commanded them not to tell this to anyone,saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:20–22 NET)

To the Jewish nation;

Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.”(1) (Matthew 21:42–44 NET)(cf. Mark 12:10; Luke 2017)
For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side. They will demolish you—you and your children within your walls—and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.” (Luke 19:43–44 NET)

And to the world; (28)

The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day. (John 12:48 NET)

Regarding Himself as a prophet, Jesus anticipated a prophet’s treatment.

Jesus said,

Nevertheless I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the next day, because it is impossible that a prophet should be killed outside Jerusalem.’ O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it! Look, your house is forsaken! And I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Luke 13:33–35 NET)(cf. Matthew 23:37-39)

Finally, in response to their persistent request for a sign, Jesus said only one would be given:

For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. (Matthew 12:40 NET)

He provided the same resurrection response to a request for a sign on another occasion.

So then the Jewish leaders responded, “What sign can you show us, since you are doing these things?” Jesus replied, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up again.” Then the Jewish leaders said to him, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and are you going to raise it up in three days?” But Jesus was speaking about the temple of his body. (John 2:18–21 NET)

The sign Jesus would provide to substantiate and authenticate all He said and did in His life and death would be His resurrection.

Jesus knew in intimate detail what was to befall Him in less than a week at Calvary. He knew the humiliation, pain, and death He was facing. With a saddened heart-amazingly, not for Himself but for His beloved nation-He informed His followers that He was leaving. However, he tempered the shock of His departure with the promise of His return. (18)

Soon now, at the appointed time, in the omniscient plan of God the Father, the steps of God the Son would unerringly wind their way to a hill outside the northern wall of Jerusalem. There He would, as the true Passover Lamb, (18)

but we see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by God’s grace he would experience death on behalf of everyone. (Hebrews 2:9 NET)
For the love of Christ controls us, since we have concluded this, that Christ died for all; therefore all have died [in Him]. (2 Corinthians 5:14 NET)
I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So the life I now live in the body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 NET)
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45 NET)
For there is one God and one intermediary between God and humanity, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all, revealing God’s purpose at his appointed time. (1 Timothy 2:5–6 NET)

Then Jesus gave them the sign of His resurrection:

Now after the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Suddenly there was a severe earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descending from heaven came and rolled away the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were shaken and became like dead men because they were so afraid of him. But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. (Matthew 28:1–6 NET) 

Outside the northern wall of Jerusalem, where multitudes still pass by, the place where the sign was posted can still be seen. An empty tomb is amid an ancient but still beautiful garden. The angel’s stirring message cannot be silenced. Like a rippling pond, it echoes the glorious truth: (18)

He is not here, for he has been raised, just as he said. Come and see the place where he was lying. (Matthew 28:6 NET))

There was a sign to authenticate and substantiate when the Messiah appeared on earth – the virgin birth.

There was a sign to authenticate and substantiate all that He did in life and death – His resurrection.

Now one question towered above all else in the disciples’ thinking. It consumed them in importance and cried out to be answered. All of Israel’s national hopes were linked inseparably to the promised Messiah. Jesus, the disciples realized, was that Messiah. But the national leadership rejected His messianic claims, and He was leaving to return another day. Consequently, the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth was postponed. (18)

The disciples inquired,

As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NET)

This one question, above all others, cried out to be answered. Understanding the significance of the word sign and what the disciples were requesting of the Lord in asking for a sign is a key that opens the door to comprehending many end-time events. (18)

Jesus then ascended into heaven and told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father. Ten days later, on the Feast of Pentecost, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples of Jesus occurred. God then gave a sign to the unbelieving nation of Israel that His Spirit was upon these men who followed Jesus. It is said in the book of Acts that the disciples spoke with other tongues, and all the Jews who were in Jerusalem, from all over the world, heard these men praising God in their own language. The prophet Isaiah predicted this sign, as the Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians: (26)

It is written in the law: “By people with strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, yet not even in this way will they listen to me,” says the Lord. So then, tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers. (1 Corinthians 14:21–22 NET)

Paul was quoting from:

For with mocking lips and a foreign tongue he will speak to these people. In the past he said to them, “This is where security can be found. Provide security for the one who is exhausted! This is where rest can be found.” But they refused to listen. (Isaiah 28:11–12 NET)

The sign of tongues would be the last sign God would give to unbelieving Israel in order to bring them to national repentance before the Day of the Lord. On this very day, Peter made the last attempt to offer the Messianic Kingdom to national Israel in his great sermon. Unfortunately, the leadership of Israel did not repent and accept Peter’s message. However, there were three thousand who did repent and put their faith in Jesus (Acts 2:41). This is in direct contrast with the first Pentecost (1), in which three thousand were killed at the time the law was given on Mount Sinai (Exodus 32:28). The “letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Since Israel did not as a nation repent, God took His plan of salvation primarily to the Gentiles. With the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost, God ended his dealings with national Israel, and the great harvest period of the church age began. Yet, God has not forsaken Israel. For during the Seventieth Week, He will again offer the kingdom to them if they repent. (26)


Detailed Description

Revelation Chapters 1 through 3

Seven Church Conditions

Seven Church Conditions:

His-Story (History) Series:



Shalom
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Peace

Then he said to them, “Therefore every expert in the law who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his treasure what is new and old.” (Matthew 13:52 NET)


(1) Select the link to open another article with additional information in a new tab.

(2) Note: Those not able to choose for themselves (1) (e.g., aborted babies, mentally challenged, etc.) are also in Heaven.

(3) The Greek word used here for air is “aer,” which refers to the lower denser atmosphere. This contrasts with the Greek word “aither,” speaking of the upper thinner atmosphere. For example, a Greek would stand on Mount Olympus (6,403 feet high) and point up to “aither” and down to “aer.”

(4) Realize God does, at times, approximate by rounding off numbers. For example, Exodus 12:40,42 states that Israelites were in Egypt for 430 years, but Genesis 15:13 and Acts 7:6 approximate this by rounding it down to 400 years. Based on this, the Church Age could last until 2300 AD or whatever the highest number is that rounds down in God’s math (e.g., 2400 A.D.).

(5) Maranatha is the transliteration of the Koine Greek word that means “Our Lord Come!” (KJV 1 Corinthians 16:22). This word captures what our attitude should be concerning our Lord’s return. That is, while we are not to be complacent or anxious about His return, we should live such that if Jesus were to return at any moment, we would not be ashamed but rather prepared, excited, and filled with joy to see Him! (1 John 2:28. Ephesians 5:15,16).

(6) Rogers, A. (2017). Mustard Seeds and Mountains. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Mt 16:27–17:21). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.

(7) https://beforethewrath.com/

(8) Larkin, C. (1919). The Book of Revelation: A Study of the Last Prophetic Book of Holy Scripture (p. 124). Philadelphia, PA: Rev. Clarence Larkin Estate.

(9) Got Questions Ministries. (2002–2013). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Logos Bible Software.

(10) Booker, R. (2012). The lamb and the seven-sealed scroll. Destiny Image.

(11) The addition of “and see” (καὶ ἴδε or καὶ βλέπε [kai ide or kai blepe]) to “come” (ἔρχου, erchou) in 6:1, 3–5, 7 is a gloss directed to John, i.e., “come and look at the seals and the horsemen!” But the command ἔρχου is better interpreted as directed to each of the horsemen. The shorter reading also has the support of the better witnesses

 Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Re 6:1). Biblical Studies Press.

(12) (www.hearthstonelegacy.com/ when the skies turned to black the locust plague of 1875.)

(13) Traditionally, we have called this event “The Rapture,” although this word does not appear in most Bible translations.  The word rapture comes from the Latin, Rapare, which means to “take away” or “snatch out.” The word with the meaning of rapture in the Bible is the Greek word harpozo.  This Greek word harpozo is literally translated as “caught up” and has the following meanings: to carry off by force or rescue from the danger of destruction. 

The catching away or rapture of the Church will occur during the Great Tribulation before God’s wrath is poured out during the Day of the Lord.

Jesus will carry us off by force when He removes us through the territory of the Prince of the Power of the Air (lower denser atmosphere (3)) who will apparently attempt to interfere with our leaving Earth (Ephesians 2:2). Again, Jesus will rescue us from the danger of destruction by taking us to Heaven before the outpouring of God’s wrath during the Day of the Lord.

(14) Matthew, a Jew, wrote primarily to the Jews, presenting Jesus Christ as King of the Jews. Mark, a Jew, presented Jesus as a Servant and wrote to the Romans. John, a Jew, presents Jesus as the Son of God and writes to all men. Luke, a Greek, writes primarily to the Greeks. And because the Greeks were fascinated with Aristotle’s ideal republic and Plato’s ideal man, Luke writes of Jesus as the Son of Man, the perfect Man.

 Courson, J. (2003). Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (p. 295). Thomas Nelson.

(15) Luke’s Ethnic Background. Scholarly opinion has been divided on the question of Luke’s ethnic background. In general, two views are proposed:

(1) Luke was a Gentile Christian: This view is based mainly on the internal evidence of the Gospel and Acts: the superior quality of the Greek language, the avoidance of Semitic words (except Amen), the omission of gospel traditions about Jesus’ controversies with the Pharisaic understanding of the Law and about what is clean or unclean, the transformation of Palestinian local color and details into Hellenistic counterparts. These and similar factors have been cited to identify the author as a Gentile Christian, i.e. one converted to Christianity from paganism.

The argument is sometimes pushed still further to maintain that the author was actually a Gentile Christian of Greek origin or an Antiochene Greek. This is based on Paul’s statement in Col 4:11–14, where three persons are listed as his Jewish-Christian co-workers, but Luke seems to be listed among other, presumably, Gentile-Christian collaborators. For instance, K. Lake years ago claimed that the early tradition identified Luke as “an Antiochene Greek” (“Luke,” in Dictionary of the Apostolic Church [New York: Scribner, 1922] 1. 719); and more recently, K. H. Rengstorf (Evangelium nach Lukas, 11) has called him a Gentile Christian, indeed of Greek origin. Many others have followed this view (e.g., W. K. Hobart, A. von Harnack, P. Vielhauer, G. B. Caird, W. G. Kümmel, A. Plummer, W. Manson, J. Schmid).

(2) Luke was a Jewish Christian. The view that the author was a Jewish Christian, i.e. a convert from Judaism, is based mainly on the interest displayed in Luke-Acts in the OT and its phraseology, the author’s alleged Palestinian language, and the Epiphanian tradition (Panarion 51.11) that he was one of the seventy-two disciples; sometimes the mention of Lucius as among Paul’s “kinsmen” (Rom 16:21) is also invoked. Among supporters of this view, one may cite A. Schlatter, B. S. Easton, E. E. Ellis, W. F. Albright, N. Q. King, B. Reicke.

For reasons that I shall try to set forth below, I regard Luke as a Gentile Christian, not, however, as a Greek, but as a non-Jewish Semite, a native of Antioch, where he was well educated in a Hellenistic atmosphere and culture.

Fitzmyer, J. A. (2008). The Gospel according to Luke I–IX: introduction, translation, and notes (Vol. 28, pp. 41–42). Yale University Press.

(16) …The emphasis here would be that the Pharisees confront the kingdom in Jesus. They do not need to look all around for it because its central figure is in front of their eyes…

 Bock, D. L. (1996). Luke: 9:51–24:53 (Vol. 2, p. 1416). Baker Academic.

(17) A Full Circle Rainbow over Australia, Image Credit & Copyright: Colin Leonhardt (Birdseye View Photography)

(18) Rosenthal, Marvin (1990). The Pre-Wrath Rapture of the Church. World Publishing

(19) “Warren’s findings, together with the discovery of Reich and Shukron described in the recent news reports, fully support Josephus’s statements relating to the tunnels beneath Jerusalem and the use to which they were put during the Roman siege of 70 A.D. These underground passages enabled many inhabitants of Jerusalem to exit the city and flee both south to Masada and, via Nahal Qidron and other wadis heading from Jerusalem eastward toward the Dead Sea, to the Machaerus fort lying just east of that sea, which was actually closer to Jerusalem than was Masada. (Josephus describes the large number of refugees who gathered at Machaerus.). The circumstances as now known leave little doubt that quite likely beginning even before the siege had begun, groups engaged in hiding the Temple treasures, the books, and other items listed in the Copper Scroll — as well as those ancient writings of the Palestinian Jews known as the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were found centuries later in caves near the wadis leading out of Jerusalem. Norman Golb is the Ludwig Rosenberger Professor of Jewish History and Civilization at the University of Chicago and the author of “Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?” (Simon & Schuster, 1995).” Read more here: https://forward.com/opinion/11873/newly-discovered-tunnel-may-once-have-carried-dead-00675/

(20) http://www.livius.org/articles/concept/roman-jewish-wars/roman-jewish-wars-5/

(21) Booker, R. (2013). the Victorious Kingdom. Destiny Image.

(22) interruption of chronological sequence (as in a film or literary work) by interjection of events of earlier occurrence…

 Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Merriam-Webster, Inc.

(23) 1984: a story that tells what led up to the main story or plot (as of a film)

 Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). In Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Merriam-Webster, Inc.

(24) Booker, R. (2011). The overcomers: series- understanding the book of Revelation. Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.

55 tn BDAG 352–53 s.v. ἐξουσία 2 [potential or resource to command, control, or govern, capability, might, power] states, “Also of Satan’s power Ac 26:18.” It is also possible to translate this “the domain of Satan” (cf. BDAG 353 s.v. 6 [the sphere in which power is exercised, domain]) Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ac 26:18). Biblical Studies Press.

(25) Written by: Lee Roy Abernathy, Album: The Gold Collection, Released: 1964

(26) Salerno, Jr., Donald A., (2010). Revelation Unsealed. Virtualbookworm.com Publish-ing, Inc.

(27) Millennium [mə lĕnˊ ē əm] (Gk. chília étē “one thousand years”; Lat. mille “thousand” plus annus “year”).† The “thousand years” of Christ’s eschatological reign (Rev. 20:2–7).

 Myers, A. C. (1987). In The Eerdmans Bible dictionary (p. 719). Eerdmans.

(28) Macdonald, C. A. (1906). Rehoboam. In J. Hastings (Ed.), A Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels: Aaron–Zion (Vol. 2, p. 489). T&T Clark; Charles Scribner’s Sons.

(29) Strong, J. (2009). In A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Greek Testament and The Hebrew Bible (Vol. 2, p. 85). Logos Bible Software.

5671. עַּבְטִיט ʿabṭîyṭ, ab-teet´; from 5670; something pledged, i.e. (collect.) pawned goods:—thick clay [by a false etym.]

(30)  Rosh. (2003). In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 1421). Holman Bible Publishers.

ROSH (Rōsh) Personal name meaning “head” or “chief.” Seventh son of Benjamin (Gen. 46:21). The earliest Greek translation regards Rosh as a son of Bela, hence Benjamin’s grandson. The name is absent in parallel lists of Benjamin’s sons (Num. 26:38–39; 1 Chron. 8:1–5).

(31) Finegan, J. (1998). Handbook of Biblical Chronology (Revised Edition, p. 363, Table 179 The dates of Nisan 14 and 15 in A.D. 27-34 (2)). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

(32) Meshech. (2003). In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 1109). Holman Bible Publishers.

(33) Tubal. (2003). In C. Brand, C. Draper, A. England, S. Bond, E. R. Clendenen, & T. C. Butler (Eds.), Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (p. 1632). Holman Bible Publishers.

(34) Antiochus represented himself as a manifestation of Zeus. He issued coins with an image of Zeus, but it was his picture on the coins. Antiochus [partially] fulfilled much of the prophecy in Daniel 8. He forbade the Jews to practice their ancient faith or in any way worship the One True God. (21)

Antiochus went on a rampage against the Jews. From 167–165 B.C., Antiochus stopped the Temple rituals and ordered the burning of the Torah. In the Temple, he erected a statue of Zeus bearing his own image. He built a new altar dedicated to Zeus, on which he offered a sacrificial pig. He then poured the pig’s blood over the Torah. (21)

Antiochus erected shrines and altars throughout Israel and forced the people to make sacrifices to the Greek gods. Those who disobeyed were tortured, killed, or both. This period of time was one of the most gruesome in the long, sad history of the persecution of the Jewish people. Without God’s intervention, they would have surely perished from the earth.

Antiochus knew he already had considerable support from the Hellenistic (nonreligious) Jews. He anticipated that the rest of Israel would fall behind them, but he seriously miscalculated. Under the godly priest Mattathias and his five sons, the third known in history as Judas Maccabaeus (i.e., Judah the Hammer), a guerrilla-style resistance began. Within three years, Antiochus and his Syrian army were driven from Israel in 165 B.C.

After his departure, the immediate priority of faithful Jews was the cleansing and rededicating of the temple built atop Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. An abomination, the parading of a heathen deity in the likeness of man into the temple built for God, had made the temple a desecrated desolation for three years. This temple cleansing resulted in a new, joyous holiday for the Jewish people. The festival of Hanukkah (i.e., the feast of the dedication or festival of lights) celebrates the defeat of Antiochus. It is celebrated for eight days, starting seventy-five days after Yom Kippur, Israel’s Day of Atonements, on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (Chislev) (1).

Then came the feast of the Dedication in Jerusalem. It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple area in Solomon’s Portico. (John 10:22–23 NET)

These actions of Antiochus Epiphanes are [a partial] “fulfillment” of the daily sacrifice being removed. The sanctuary thrown down, “an abomination” that Daniel writes about in Daniel 8:11.

The male goat acted even more arrogantly. But no sooner had the large horn become strong than it was broken, and there arose four conspicuous horns in its place, extending toward the four winds of the sky. From one of them came a small horn. But it grew to be very big, toward the south and the east and toward the beautiful land. It grew so big it reached the army of heaven, and it brought about the fall of some of the army and some of the stars to the ground, where it trampled them. It also acted arrogantly against the Prince of the army, from whom the daily sacrifice was removed and whose sanctuary was thrown down. The army was given over, along with the daily sacrifice, in the course of his sinful rebellion. It hurled truth to the ground and enjoyed success. (Daniel 8:8–12 NET)

(35) Tanner, J. P. (2020). Daniel (H. W. House & W. D. Barrick, Eds.; pp. 647–648). Lexham Press.

(36) Longman, T., III, Enns, P., & Strauss, M., eds. (2013). In The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary (pp. 582–583). Baker Books.

(62) Fotheringham, J. (1934). THE EVIDENCE OF ASTRONOMY AND TECHNICAL CHRONOLOGY FOR THE DATE OF THE CRUCIFIXION. The Journal of Theological Studies, 35(138), 146-162. Retrieved February 5, 2021, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23965042

(63) Richard A. Parker and Waldo H. Dubberstein, Babylonian Chronology, 626 b.c.–a.d. 75. (3d ed.; Providence: Brown University Press, 1956)

(##) For a higher number reference, see: The Feasts of Israel – Passover references

Hal has taught the Bible for over three decades. Through an interdenominational ministry dedicated to helping the local church build men for Jesus, Hal trained men, the leaders of men’s ministries, and provided pulpit supply. Before that, he was a Men’s Ministry Leader and an Adult Bible Fellowship teacher of a seventy-five-member class at a denominational megachurch. Presently, Hal desires to honor Jesus Christ through this Internet teaching ministry, thereby glorifying the Heavenly Father in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. He believes, second to cultivating his relationship with God, that raising his family unto the Lord is the most significant task for him while on Earth. Furthermore, Hal believes that being a successful leader in the church or workplace is no substitute for failing to be a successful leader at home. 
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