Impact

Part XII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Beginning of Birth Pains (BBP))

Revelation Chapter 6:1 thru 6:6

What is the “Tribulation Period?

One of the most frequently used terms concerning future events and the church’s Rapture is “tribulation.” This, in turn, leads to a discussion of the Great Tribulation, its significance, and its duration.

The designation “the tribulation period” should be omitted from any honest consideration of the time of the church’s Rapture. The term tribulation period is normally used by pretribulation rapturists as a synonym for the seventieth week of the book of Daniel (Daniel 9:27); that is, to describe the seven years that immediately precede Christ’s physical return to the earth to establish His millennial kingdom. Although popular and used by many competent preachers, teachers, and theologians, such a designation has no biblical justification. (18)

The Greek word thlipsis, translated as tribulation or affliction in many English Bibles, occurs twenty times in the New Testament.

Tribulation conveys the idea of pressure, affliction, anguish, persecution, and trouble. It is most frequently used in nonprophetic settings, for instance:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (John 16:33 NKJ). 

Or again,

And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3–4 NKJ)

And Paul wrote to the church at Corinth,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NKJ) 

Only six Scripture verses can be clearly identified as using the word tribulation in a prophetic context. Two others (Romans 2:2-9 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6) may have prophetic significance but have no bearing on the chronology of the Tribulation. One of the six uses is found in the Old Testament. (18)

Moses said to Israel:

When you are in tribulation, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, you will return to the Lord your God and obey his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God. He will not leave you or destroy you or forget the covenant with your fathers that he swore to them. (Deuteronomy 4:30–31 ESV)

Since no clearly definitive time period can be identified by the phrase “in the latter days,” the word tribulation in this context must be interpreted in the light of its clear usage in the New Testament. (18)

Of the five clear prophetic uses of the word tribulation or affliction in the New Testament, four appear in the Gospels in the teaching of the Lord, and the fifth occurs in the book of Revelation. (18)

In His Olivet Discourse teaching, the Lord said,

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:21 ESV)

Two points are germane to that statement. First, the time of the tribulation of which the Lord speaks is directly related to the desecration of the temple (the abomination that maketh desolate) and the warning to flee Jerusalem. (18)

“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. (Matthew 24:15–20 ESV)

It is widely agreed that the temple’s desecration occurs in the middle of Daniel’s seven-year-long seventieth week, specifically, three and one-half years into it. (18)

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 addition, the word tribulation in this text (Matthew 24:21) has the adjective “great” before it. Thus, the Lord is speaking of the Great Tribulation. Eight verses later, He once again uses the word tribulation. He taught: (18)

“Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Matthew 24:29 ESV)

There can be no doubt that the tribulation which the Lord has in view in Matthew 24:29 is the Great Tribulation to which He had just referred in Matthew 24:21. The second gospel writer recorded the Lord’s Olivet teaching on the Tribulation this way: (18)

For in those days there will be such tribulation [Gk. thlipsis] as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. (Mark 13:19 ESV)

This usage of the word tribulation is once again intimately and uninterruptedly linked to the desecration of the temple and the warning to flee in the middle of the seventieth week in the preceding verses.

“Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains. (Mark 13:4–8 ESV)

Again, a brief five verses later, these words are recorded:

“But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. (Mark 13:24–25 ESV)

The association of this verse with that which precedes it and with the Matthew account, which exactly parallels it leaves no room for doubt. Of the four times the Lord spoke of tribulation in a prophetic context, He spoke of the Great Tribulation, which begins in the middle of Daniel’s seventieth week – precisely three and one-half years into it. (18)

In each instance where the Great Tribulation is used in a prophetic setting, it always refers to the persecution of God’s elect by Satan-controlled wicked men, never to the wrath of God directed toward mankind. Prophetically, therefore, the Great Tribulation speaks of Satan’s wrath against man, not God’s wrath against man.

The word tribulation is found one more time in a clear prophetic context.

The apostle John wrote,

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:13–14 ESV)

A clear fact emerges from examining the word tribulation as used in the Bible. In a prophetic context, it is used to describe only the period of time that begins in the middle of Daniel’s seventieth week-never of the first half of it. Based on that indisputable fact, to call the entire seven-year time frame the tribulation period is to coin a technical phrase and superimpose it upon the Scriptures, reading into the biblical text that which it does not itself declare. (18)

Someone may object, “But isn’t the seventieth week of Daniel a time of great difficulty? Isn’t it a time when the scroll, found in the right hand of God the Father, is being opened by the Son of Man Revelation 5:5-10 and when the seals, trumpets, and bowls are bringing history to consummation?”

And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5 ESV)

That is true. But in no sense does that justify giving that period the technical designation of the tribulation period. Many periods of intense pressure, affliction, persecution, and trouble have existed throughout history. But they are not called the Tribulation period. During the Roman siege of Jerusalem between A.D. 68 and 70, tens of thousands of Jews were killed or enslaved, and multitudes fled. It was a time of intense trouble and persecution, not called the Tribulation period. In the fourteenth century, an estimated twenty-five million people died from the black plague in Europe; it was a time of extreme distress and pressure, but that is not called the Tribulation period. During the Civil War, fifty thousand men died in three days at Gettysburg. It was a time of great national distress-Americans were killing Americans, and brothers were killing brothers – but that is not called the Tribulation period. From 1938 until 1945, during the Second World War, an estimated forty million people died worldwide, including six million Jews. It was a time of great distress and persecution, but that is not called the Tribulation period. There is no basis for calling a particular period of time characterized by pressure, affliction, or anguish the Tribulation period. And more importantly, as will later be argued, most of that difficult seven-year period cannot be directly attributed to action by God or be properly defined as the time of God’s wrath.

Someone else may object, “But isn’t it simply a matter of semantics – a choice of words – it really doesn’t mean anything?” What’s the difference if it is called the seventieth week of the book of Daniel or the Tribulation period?” The answer to that question is it means a great deal. If the seventieth week of Daniel is inappropriately given the technical designation the Tribulation period, and believers are reminded that they are “not appointed… to wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:9), that they are “saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9), and that they “are not in darkness, that that day should overtake [them] as a thief” (1 Thessalonians 5:4), an “a prior” (i.e., deductive) case is built for the pretribulation rapture on a false foundation. If the seventieth week is the Tribulation period, or ” the time of wrath,” and God’s people are exempt from “wrath,” the matter is settled. But such an argument is both unbiblical and illogical and cannot be allowed to stand. (18)

If, in fact, the first three and one-half years are not part of the tribulation period, and God’s wrath does not start, as pretribulationists assume, at the beginning of the seventieth week of Daniel but considerably further into it. They have built their argument on a foundation that will crumble. (18)

It would be terribly inaccurate and unjust to suggest, as has been done, that many Christians are pretribulational simply because they want to escape the Tribulation period. It would be equally inaccurate to suggest that pretribulation rapturism does not offer appealing comfort. No normal person welcomes tribulation, and all the more so if that tribulation is initiated by God. The use of the phrase tribulation period (coined by men but not justified in the Bible) creates, at the very least, a built-in bias for pretribulationism. Therefore, the term the seventieth week of Daniel, a term with biblical justification, is preferred. It will frequently describe the seven-year period that precedes Christ’s physical return to the earth. When the terms pre-, mid-, or posttribulationism are used in this article, they will be used to communicate in familiar terms but with the clear understanding that such terms have no biblical basis. (18)

A second and related term has been touched upon. Now it must be examined further. It is the term Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is specifically referred to five times, as has already been noted (Matthew 24:21, 29; Mark 13:19,24; Revelation 7:14). The starting point of the Great Tribulation can be clearly established. It coincides with the desecration of the temple by the Antichrist in the middle of the seventieth week (Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). Pretribulation rapturists are generally agreed on that point. They also concur that the Great Tribulation is three and one-half years in duration and coincides with the last half of the seventieth week of Daniel. (18)

It is fair to say, however, that most pretribulation rapturists would view the entire seven years of Daniel’s seventh week as the Tribulation period and the last three and one-half years as the Great Tribulation. (18)

But now another crucial issue arises: Does the Word of God teach that the Great Tribulation is three and one-half years in duration, as pretribulation rapturism insists? (18)

In His Olivet Discourse, the Lord spoke of the coming Great Tribulation, which would begin in the middle of Daniel’s seventieth week. (18)

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:21 ESV)

In the next verse, He declared,

And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:22 ESV) 

A normative understanding of the Lord’s teaching is quite clear. The only possible antecedent to “except those days be shortened” is the Great Tribulation. The Lord is teaching that the Great Tribulation will be cut short. (18)

The exact same truth is taught in the gospel of Mark:

For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. (Mark 13:19–20 ESV)

Once more, it is the Great Tribulation that is shortened.

It is beyond refutation that the seventieth week of Daniel is not shortened. (18)

Daniel was told,

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. (Daniel 9:24 ESV)

The seventieth week is the last seven-year period of Daniel’s prophecy. The last three and one-half years are not shortened. This period of time is designated in days:

and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:6 ESV)

“A thousand two hundred and threescore days” is forty-two months (the Jewish biblical month based on the moon is thirty days), and forty-two months is three and one-half years.

The time period is also directly designated in months:

And the beast [the Antichrist] was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. (Revelation 13:5 ESV)

Forty-two months is three and one-half years.

The same period is also directly referred to in years:

But the woman [Israel] was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time [one year], and times [two years], and half a time [one-half year]. (Revelation 12:14 ESV)(cf. Revelation 12:6)

Once again, the period is three and one-half years. Therefore, it is clear the entire seventieth week is not shortened.

The last three and one-half years of that seventieth week are not shortened. However, the Lord teaches that the Great Tribulation is shortened to less than three and one-half years. It begins in the middle of the seventieth week but does not run until the end. (18)

The Great Tribulation will be cut short “for the sake of the elect.”

And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. (Matthew 24:22 ESB)

The prophet Daniel predicted this shortening of the Great Tribulation:

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 7:21–22 NET)

Although the Antichrist is given authority over the saints for three and a half years, God will cut this period short.

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 24:22 NET)

The term that Jesus uses for “cut short” is the Greek word Koloboo, which literally means to “amputate.” So although the saints or elect are given into the hands of the Antichrist for three and one-half years, God will sovereignly choose to amputate the amount of time allotted to him. This amputation will occur when Jesus comes to gather His elect at the rapture and initiate the wrath of God. This scenario is also confirmed by the Apostle Paul: (26)

and then the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out by the manifestation of his arrival.  (2 Thessalonians 2:8 NET)

Paul states that at the “coming,” or Parousia of Christ, the Antichrist will be “destroyed.” Paul employs the Greek term “Katargeo” for “destroy.” This word means to render inactive or reduce the inactivity of the works of the lawless one. In other words, when Jesus comes to gather the elect and initiate the Day of the Lord, the great persecution of the Antichrist will be rendered inactive. Later, at the end of the Day of the Lord, Jesus will “consume” the Antichrist at Armageddon. Believers are not to know the day or the hour that this amputation or shortening of the great tribulation will occur; they are just told to persevere until Jesus returns.

In light of this truth, the Lord’s teaching regarding His return takes on added significance.

“Immediately after the [Great] tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29–30 ESV)

The Lord is speaking of an event (cosmic disturbance) that occurs after the Great Tribulation but before the end of the seventieth week.

The following facts cannot be set aside:

(1) The Great Tribulation begins in the middle of the seventieth week but does not run until the end of that seven-year week. It is cut short.

(2) Immediately after the Great Tribulation, there will be cosmic disturbances; these phenomena will signal the coming of the Son of Man from heaven.

(3) His coming will commence before the end of the seventieth week and is consummated after the end of the seventieth week (Revelation. 19:11). For pretribulationism to be sustained, there must be another coming at the beginning of the seventieth week. Evidence for such an event is simply nonexistent. It will later be demonstrated that following (the Sixth Seal, Revelation 6:12-14), the Lord’s coming from Heaven will be to rapture the church before the Day of the Lord’s wrath begins with the opening of the Seventh Seal. (18)

There simply can be no question on this point. The cosmic disturbances concerning which the Lord taught (Matthew 24:29) and which parallel the Sixth Seal (Revelation 6:12,13) signal the coming of the Son of Man in Heaven. The sign will occur after the Great Tribulation but before the end of the seventh week. This cosmic disturbance (the sun will be darkened, the moon shall not give light, and the stars shall fall from heaven) will result in a darkened earth. It will be the manifestation glory of God that will dispel that darkness. The natural light of the heavenly bodies will be shut off (darkened), and then the supernatural light (the glory of God) will be revealed. The manifestation of God’s glory was called by the Jewish people shekinah (dwelling) and indicated God’s presence. (18)

Here is the answer to the question posed by the disciples,

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 ESV)

God’s presence will be known through the universal manifestation is His glory. He will rapture the church before He begins to pour out His wrath (the trumpet and bowl judgments) on an unrepentant world. A cosmic disturbance will precede Christ’s coming to rapture the church and judge the wicked. (18)

The shortening of the Great Tribulation to less than three and one-half years is one of the most important truths to be grasped if the chronology of end-time events is to be understood. It is the key that reveals the sequence of Matthew 24-25 and the chronology of the book of Revelation with the opening of the seals, trumpets, and bowls. Because pretribulation rapturists do not recognize the cutting short of the Great Tribulation (i.e., making it less than three and one-half years), they are logically forced to place the sixth seal at the end of the seventieth week in their interpretation of Matthew 24:22, if they are consistent, and are then faced with the unsolvable dilemma of what to do with the trumpet and bowl judgments of the book of Revelation which arise out of the opening of the seventh seal. It is, above all else, for that reason that a logical, unforced, chronological unfolding of Revelation has evaded pretribulation, premillennial commentators and, in large measure, is the explanation for the fact that the last book of the Bible has largely remained an unsolvable riddle for students of the Word to this very hour. (18)

To sum up, God will cut the Great Tribulation short, bringing it to a conclusion before the seventieth week is concluded. The Great Tribulation will be followed by cosmic disturbance, indicating that the Day of the Lord is about to commence. At that time, God’s glory will be manifested. Speaking broadly, “that day” will have two objectives. First, the church’s Rapture will occur, followed by the Lord’s judgment of the wicked as He begins His physical return to the earth. (18)

Therefore, this article uses Jesus’ term for the first 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th week, “The Beginning of Birth Pains,” and the second 3.5 years of Daniel’s 70th week, “The Great Tribulation” and the “Day of the Lord.”

Detailed Description

Revelation Chapter 6:1 thru 6:6

Daniel’s 70th Week

The Beginning of Birth Pains

Introduction from Daniel’s Vision

“Then the king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur. He will not respect the gods of his fathers—not even the god loved by women. He will not respect any god; he will elevate himself above them all. What he will honor is a god of fortresses—a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, valuable stones, and treasured commodities. He will attack mighty fortresses, aided by a foreign deity. To those who recognize him he will grant considerable honor. He will place them in authority over many people, and he will parcel out land for a price. “At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him. Then the king of the north will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river. Then he will enter the beautiful land. Many will fall, but these will escape: Edom, Moab, and the Ammonite leadership. He will extend his power against other lands; the land of Egypt will not escape. He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, as well as all the treasures of Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians will submit to him. But reports will trouble him from the east and north, and he will set out in a tremendous rage to destroy and wipe out many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas toward the beautiful holy mountain. But he will come to his end, with no one to help him. (Daniel 11:36–45 NET)

The Opening of the First Three Scroll Seals

Jesus referred to the opening of Seals 1-3 as the “Beginning of Birth Pains.”

All these things are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:8 NET)
These are but the beginning of birth pains. (Mark 13:8 d NET)

Beginning birth pains come and go to announce that birth is coming soon, but not yet.

The breaking of the first four seals releases what has been referred to as the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.” While scholars have speculated on what the first-century believers understood these to be, we do not know what they believed. We know that each horse is a different color, and the color symbolizes the reality of its judgment on the earth. (10)

Revelation 6 initiates the last seven-year period of God’s dealing with the nation of Israel. As announced by the angel to Daniel, the 70th week is to:

“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 9:24 NET)

With the opening of the first seal, God’s time clock for Israel again begins ticking. This is apparent for two reasons:

  • The context dictates that the next chapters of Revelation take place at a time after God’s dealing with the Gentiles is almost completed, and the redemption of national Israel is about to begin. Jesus, during the opening of the seven seals, will begin to bring the church age to a close while setting up events that bring Israel to repentance. (26)
  • The rise of the Antichrist is presented next and 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 [the Antichrist] 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) 

Even though, in this present dispensation, God is working specifically with the Gentiles, He still has fulfilled many prophetic promises to the Jewish people. For example, God dealt with the nation of Israel in 70 AD when their land was destroyed, and the Jews were scattered into all nations, as was predicted by the prophets and Jesus Christ (Deuteronomy 28:64-68 & Luke 21:24). This prophecy was fulfilled during the church age. In our own time, we witnessed the Second World War, wherein Adolf Hitler slaughtered over six million Jews. Because of this atrocity and the world’s outcry, in May of 1948, the nation of Israel was restored to give the world’s Jews a homeland. This restoration was also in specific fulfillment of Bible prophecy, as was previously discussed. Also, in 1967, the world held its breath as the tiny Jewish nation was about to be attacked by its surrounding Arab neighbors. Against insurmountable odds, Israel was victorious in defeating the Arabs and regaining the city of Jerusalem, thereby setting the stage for the beginning of the Seventieth Week. Also, before our eyes, we are witnessing the ongoing stages of Middle East peace negotiations that may be the precursor to the treaty that the Antichrist will “confirm.” Not a day goes by in which Israel, Jerusalem, or uprisings along the West Bank do not appear on the front pages of the daily newspapers. And where has the church been while all this has been occurring? It has been right here on earth, going about its business of fulfilling the great commission to a lost and dying world. (26)

Adhering to the presumption that the church absolutely cannot be around while God begins to deal with national Israel is very weak in light of the amazing prophecies that God has fulfilled concerning the Jewish people amid the church age. Furthermore, nothing explicitly in Scripture declares that the church has to be removed from the earth for God to initiate the Seventieth Week. Nevertheless, the church will be gone when the “fullness of the Gentiles” has come in and The Day of the Lord begins. The Day of the Lord, also known as the End of the Age, or the Day of the Wrath of the Lamb, should not be confused with the Seventieth Week. To understand this point, it is absolutely essential for one to understand the correct timing of the rapture, along with the chronology of all other end-time prophecies. The Day of the Lord is when God will bring the Jewish people to repentance while also pouring out His judgments on the world and the kingdom of the Antichrist. The church of Jesus Christ will not be present during the Day of the Lord. Yet, the church will be present to witness the beginning, midpoint, and great tribulation of the Seventieth Week. (26)

The interpretation of the seals of Revelation chapter six is fully explained by Jesus Himself in the Synoptic Gospels. Since this is the case, there is no need for speculation about the correct interpretation of the seven seals. This important portion of Scripture is commonly referred to as the Olivet Discourse. The Olivet Discourse occurred right before Jesus was to be crucified. (26)

It is crucial to understand that this dissertation occurred on the Mount of Olives. This is important because many commentators confuse the Lord’s pronouncement of the destruction of Jerusalem with His outline of the end of the age, given in the Olivet Discourse. The destruction of Jerusalem is predicted while Jesus is with His disciples and apostles in the temple area (Matthew 24:1-2; Mark 13:1-2; Luke 21:1-38).

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus addresses in detail questions concerning the destruction of Jerusalem while also mixing in details of His second coming. Luke is, in fact, the only gospel that records exactly what Jesus said to His followers in the temple area. After completing this teaching, Jesus leaves the temple area and goes to the Mount of Olives:

So every day Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, but at night he went and stayed on the Mount of Olives. And all the people came to him early in the morning to listen to him in the temple courts. (Luke 21:37–38 NET)

It is what Jesus says while on the Mount of Olives that is recorded in Matthew 24:3-51 and Mark 13:3-37. This discourse on the Mount of Olives is not related to us by Doctor Luke in his gospel. In Luke, the Lord concentrates more specifically on the destruction of Jerusalem. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus only speaks of the events preceding His second coming. It must be kept in mind that Jesus is the one who speaks the words of the Olivet Discourse, and He is also the author of Revelation. Since this is so, one should see complete consistency in the chronology outlined. This is, of course, only if they are both referring to the same events. (26)

Much debate has concerned exactly what audience Jesus was addressing in Matthew chapter 24. Many propose that the Lord was speaking only to the nation of Israel as it underwent the great tribulation of the Antichrist. This view does a serious injustice to the overall context of Matthew, as well as the context of the Olivet Discourse. To understand the context, one needs to ask, to whom was the gospel of Matthew written? (26)

The easiest answer is found at the end of Matthew’s gospel, in which the final words of Jesus are recorded:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19–20 NET)

The apostles are told to teach new disciples to obey everything Jesus commanded. The only place where one finds the direct teachings and commandments of Jesus is within the gospel of Matthew and the three other gospels. These gospels were not written merely for the nation of Israel but for every Christian believer, whether Jew or Gentile. All disciples are commanded to observe the teachings of Christ in the Gospels, as well as the teachings in the epistles of the Apostle Paul. (26)

As Paul states:

Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the person dedicated to God may be capable and equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16–17 NET)

The resulting conclusion is that the gospel of Matthew was written to believers in Jesus Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles. Since the overall context of the book of Matthew is geared toward believers, one must then look at the context of the Olivet Discourse itself and to whom Jesus was specifically speaking. (26)

This discourse takes place when, much to the dismay of His disciples, Jesus states that:

And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!” (Matthew 24:2 NET)

After this profound statement, Jesus departs from the temple and sits upon the Mount of Olives, where He is pressed for further detail by His disciples:

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)

From the context, it is obvious that the Lord is addressing the questions of His disciples. In the gospel of Mark, the disciples who questioned Jesus are mentioned by name:

So while he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, (Mark 13:3 NET)

What was spoken on the Mount of Olives was directed to, and is specifically relevant to, the disciples of Jesus Christ. These men were believers; therefore, what Jesus is about to say to them is for those who believe in Him and not just for Jews in general. Sometimes it is argued that the Lord cannot refer to the church because it had not been revealed that there would even be a church. Yet they ignore the fact that in Matthew chapter 16, Jesus specifically tells His apostles that there would be a church:

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)

The above conclusions would seem very apparent to anyone who reads the gospel of Matthew at face value. The problems encountered are often because of strict dispensational teaching that completely differentiates God’s plan of salvation for the Jews from God’s plan of salvation for the Gentiles. It is critical to remember that Jew or Gentile, Old Testament or New, no one will be saved except through Jesus Christ. Amen (26)

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among people by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11–12 NET)

As the Old Testament Jews looked forward to the cross for salvation, the New Testament church looked backward to the cross for salvation. The Jewish believers were not saved by keeping the law before the church age. This is clearly stated by the author of Hebrews:

For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. (Hebrews 10:4 NET)

He also states that the law, and its sacrificial system, were only a shadow of the things that would be fulfilled literally in the life of Jesus Christ.

For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship. (Hebrews 10:1 NET)

Out of His sovereign desire to reveal Himself to us, the Creator of the universe needed a people through whom He could make Himself known. He could not reveal Himself to us in the fullness of His glory without destroying us with His manifested presence. He needed a people group. God could have chosen any people group. As we learn in the Bible, He chose Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their descendants as the ethnic people through whom He would reveal His redemptive plans and purposes on the earth. (21)

God did not choose the Jewish people because they were better than any other group. He chose them because He found in Abraham a man who believed in the One True God and followed Him. Abraham’s descendants, later known as the Jews, were not unique because of some inherent superiority but because of their high calling:

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. He has chosen you to be his people, prized above all others on the face of the earth. It is not because you were more numerous than all the other peoples that the LORD favored and chose you—for in fact you were the least numerous of all peoples. Rather it is because of his love for you and his faithfulness to the promise he solemnly vowed to your ancestors that the LORD brought you out with great power, redeeming you from the place of slavery, from the power of Pharaoh king of Egypt. So realize that the LORD your God is the true God, the faithful God who keeps covenant faithfully with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations, but who pays back those who hate him as they deserve and destroys them. He will not ignore those who hate him but will repay them as they deserve! So keep the commandments, statutes, and ordinances that I today am commanding you to do. (Deuteronomy 7:6–11)

While the Jews were the first of God’s people, the Creator made it clear that He would also call a people to Himself from among the Gentiles. In all three divisions of the Hebrew Bible, the Law (Torah), the Prophets (Nevi’im), and the Psalms (K’tivim), the Lord revealed that He would include Gentiles as part of “My people.”

From the moment God called Abraham, He told Abraham that he would be a blessing to all the families of the earth.

I will bless those who bless you, but the one who treats you lightly I must curse, and all the families of the earth will bless one another by your name.” (Genesis 12:3 NET)

God’s covenant people would include “whosoever will” as they responded to the revelation He gave through Abraham.

Before God even brought the Hebrews into the Promised Land, He reached out to the Gentiles and said,

Cry out, O nations [Gentiles], with his people, for he will avenge his servants’ blood; he will take vengeance against his enemies, and make atonement for his land and people. (Deuteronomy 32:43 NET)

The psalmist calls the Gentiles to worship the Lord:

Praise the Lord, all you nations! Applaud him, all you foreigners! (Psalm 117:1 NET)

Isaiah spoke of the Messiah who would come from the seed of Jesse, the father of King David. (21)

He prophesied that the Gentiles would seek Him:

At that time a root from Jesse will stand like a signal flag for the nations. Nations will look to him for guidance, and his residence will be majestic. (Isaiah 11:10 NET).

Luke tells the story of Simeon, a devout Jewish man waiting for the Messiah to appear. The Lord told him he would not die until he saw the Messiah.

When Jesus was presented at the Temple, Simeon prophesied:

“Now, according to your word, Sovereign Lord, permit your servant to depart in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples: a light, for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32).

Simeon was referring to Isaiah’s prophecy where the Lord said of the Messiah:

he says, “Is it too insignificant a task for you to be my servant, to reestablish the tribes of Jacob, and restore the remnant of Israel? I will make you a light to the nations, so you can bring my deliverance to the remote regions of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6 NET)

It is evident, from the writings of Paul, that God has not called two separate peoples but one people. Paul says that true Israel is made up of those who are the children of faith in Christ, not merely those who are born of Jewish descent:

Now this secret was not disclosed to people in former generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit, namely, that through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs, fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 3:5–6 NET)
Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh—who are called “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” that is performed on the body by human hands—that you were at that time without the Messiah, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, the one who made both groups into one and who destroyed the middle wall of partition, the hostility, when he nullified in his flesh the law of commandments in decrees. He did this to create in himself one new man out of two, thus making peace, and to reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by which the hostility has been killed. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near, so that through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer foreigners and noncitizens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of God’s household, because you have been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone. In him the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:11–22 NET)

As Western believers, we must understand that Christians are part of “the Israel of God” and have become “one new man” with them. The Church is not Israel but is joined with Jews as the “one new man,” also known as the new “Israel of God.”

But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16 NET)

Speaking symbolically, Jewish believers are not grafted into the Christians’ wild olive tree, but Christians are grafted into the cultivated Jewish olive tree. Furthermore, the Jewish branches that were broken off will be grafted back into the Jewish olive tree.

Now if some of the [Jewish] branches were broken off, and you, a [Gentile] wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the [Jewish] olive root, do not boast over the [Jewish] branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the [Jewish] root, but the [Jewish] root supports you. Then you will say, “The [Jewish] branches were broken off so that I [a Gentile] could be grafted in.” Granted! They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but fear! For if God did not spare the natural [Jewish] branches, perhaps he will not spare you [a Gentile branch]. Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God—harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off. And even they [Jewish branches]—if they do not continue in their unbelief—will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. For if you were cut off from what is by nature a [Gentile] wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated [Jewish] olive tree, how much more will these natural [Jewish] branches be grafted back into their own [cultivated Jewish] olive tree? (Romans 11:17-24 NET)

While Abraham is the natural father of the Jewish people, he is the spiritual father of all true believers.

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female—for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:26–29 NET)

He is “Our Father Abraham.”

For this reason it is by faith so that it may be by grace, with the result that the promise may be certain to all the descendants—not only to those who are under the law, but also to those who have the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all (Romans 4:16 NET)
It is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all those who are descended from Israel are truly Israel,
 nor are all the children Abraham’s true descendants; rather “through Isaac will your descendants be counted.” This means it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God; rather, the children of promise are counted as descendants. (Romans 9:6–8 NET)
But you, brothers and sisters, are children of the promise like Isaac. (Galatians 4:28 NET)
But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation! And all who will behave in accordance with this rule, peace and mercy be on them, and on the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:14–16 NET)

All Christians are spiritually Jews:

For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something that is outward in the flesh, but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God. (Romans 2:28–29 NET)

Zechariah saw this “One New Man” company of people when he wrote:

The Lord who rules over all says, ‘In those days ten people [a representative number] from all languages and nations will grasp hold of—indeed, grab—the robe [tzitzit] of one Jew and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” ’ ” (Zechariah 8:23)

Through Messiah, God has made way for all people to be His people, regardless of ethnic or national background, skin color, gender, economic status, social position, education, life achievements, age, language, customs, or traditions. No human barriers keep us from being in God’s Kingdom family. All of His people will be forever in His glorious presence.

Only those who have faith in Christ are considered God’s people. According to Paul, if one is born Jewish and rejects Christ, he is not considered part of God’s people. This is the same for a Gentile who also rejects Christ.

No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known. (John 1:18 NET)
All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides to reveal him. (Matthew 11:27 NET)
So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does, and will show him greater deeds than these, so that you will be amazed. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes. Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor the Son just as they honor the Father. The one who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. “I tell you the solemn truth, the one who hears my message and believes the one who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned, but has crossed over from death to life. I tell you the solemn truth, a time is coming—and is now here—when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, thus he has granted the Son to have life in himself, and he has granted the Son authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. (John 5:19–27 NET)
Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:23 NET)
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not remain in the teaching of Christ does not have God. The one who remains in this teaching has both the Father and the Son. (2 John 1:9 NET)

God has only provided one way of salvation: through the redemptive sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. (1)

I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 8:11–12 NET)
Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish.” (Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation, and not for the Jewish nation only, but to gather together into one the children of God who are scattered.) So from that day they planned together to kill him. (John 11:49–53 NET)
“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 left to you desolate! For I tell you, you will not see me from now until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” (Matthew 23:37–39 NET)

In all this, one must not forget that God plans to redeem Israel as a nation. Many take what Paul said above and decide that God is no longer concerned with national Israel. (26)

Paul vehemently denies this assertion:

So I ask, God has not rejected his people, has he? Absolutely not! For I too am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, from the tribe of Benjamin. (Romans 11:1 NET)
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)

God has chosen to work with different peoples during different ages: the Patriarchs before the Law, the Jewish people under the Law, the Gentiles under Grace, and eventually, the nation of Israel under Grace. While God may focus on different groups, He calls one specific group out of all these dispensations who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ. With this in mind, when reading Matthew chapter 24, one must understand that its text is primarily written to believers in Christ, whether of Jewish or Gentile descent.

AN IMPORTANT PARABLE

In verse three of the Olivet Discourse, the disciples ask Jesus to address two questions concerning His second coming:

  1. When will these things be?
  2. What will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age? (26)

One must understand that the Jews associated the coming of the Messiah with the Day of The Lord or the End of the Age. The two were inseparable in the Jewish mindset. So the disciples were inquiring when Jesus would return for His faithful, overthrow the rule of the Gentiles, and set up the Messianic Kingdom. This is all precisely answered by Jesus. Before looking at the Lord’s answer, a very important parable in Matthew chapter 13 must be addressed. This parable is significant in that it gives one a clearer understanding of the words of Christ in the Olivet Discourse: (26)

He presented them with another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a person who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, an enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. When the plants sprouted and bore grain, then the weeds also appeared. So the slaves of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ He said, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the slaves replied, ‘Do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, since in gathering the weeds you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I will tell the reapers, “First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned, but then gather the wheat into my barn.” ’ ” (Matthew 13:24–30 NET)

Jesus then explains the meaning of this parable to His disciples:

Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.” He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world and the good seed are the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. As the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather from his kingdom everything that causes sin as well as all lawbreakers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. The one who has ears had better listen! (Matthew 13:36–43 NET)

From this parable, four important points are surmised:

  1. True believers will be separated from false believers (the wheat from the tares).
  2. True believers are to be gathered by Christ.
  3. False believers also will be gathered, and a fiery judgment initiated by the reapers (angels) will burn them.
  4. This harvest for the true and the false disciples will occur at the end of the age, also known as the Day of the Lord. (26)

This parable presents a good background on what is occurring in Revelation and the Olivet Discourse. In this passage, Jesus identifies the key players and their specific roles at the age’s end. (26)

A WORD ABOUT THE COMING OF JESUS

When the disciples asked Jesus the second question, “What is the sign of Your coming?” Matthew uses an interesting Greek word for coming: “Parousia.” Parousia is a special word that carries the idea of a lasting presence.

Vines states:

Parousia is used to describe the presence of Christ with His disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, 2 Peter 1:16. When used for the return of Christ at the rapture of the church, it signifies not merely His momentary “coming” for His saints, but His presence with them from that moment until His revelation and manifestation to the world. (27)

In his critical Greek lexicon, E.W. Bullinger defines Parousia as denoting:

παρουσία, the being or becoming present, (from πάρειμι, to be present,) hence, presence, arrival; a coming which includes the idea of a permanent dwelling from that coming onwards, (occ. 2 Corinthians 10:10; Philippians 2:12. (28)

The Parousia of Jesus refers to an overall event that encompasses the gathering of the elect, the Day of the Lord, and the destruction of the Antichrist at the battle of Armageddon. Parousia does not carry the meaning of moving from one place to the next. While there will be several times in which Jesus is to appear in the earthly realm, there is only one Parousia or coming. The other appearances are within the Parousia’s overall event or the second coming of Jesus. It is important to understand that the disciples asked when the Parousia event would commence, with the Day of the Lord or the end of the age immediately following. As the text of Revelation unfolds, it will be obvious that the Day of the Lord is a period when the entire world will be cognizant of the Lord’s presence or Parousia.

The First Scroll Seal (The Antichrist and False Christs)

I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!” So I looked, and here came a white horse! The one who rode it had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer. (Revelation 6:1–2 NET)

Jesus’ parallel prophecy of His opening of the First Scroll Seal:

Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. (Matthew 24:4–5 NET)
Jesus began to say to them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and they will mislead many. (Mark 13:5–6 NET)
He said, “Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! (Luke 21:8 NET)

Note in verse one the role of Jesus in opening the seals. While He returns to Earth as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (the King and Ruler over the nations), He opens the seals as the Lamb. His role as the Lamb of God makes Him authorized and worthy to open the seals and reveal Satan’s curses on the earth.

When Jesus was first on the earth, Satan offered Him all the world’s kingdoms if Jesus would bypass the cross and worship him. Jesus rebuked Satan (1) with the Word of God, saying:

Then Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘You are to worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’ ”Then the devil left him, and angels came and began ministering to his needs. (Matthew 4:10–11 NET)

Because Jesus was faithful to His mission to give His life for our sins, God gave Him the kingdoms of this world. Jesus did not give in to the temptation. Because He was obedient even to the point of dying for us, God has exalted Him to the highest honor with the highest name. (1) (10)

You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death —even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow —in heaven and on earth and under the earth— and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5–11 NET)

It is the same with God’s people today. As the world’s governments become increasingly anti-God, we, too, will be tempted to compromise to avoid suffering. May we, like Jesus, resist this temptation. May we have the conviction and courage to put God first in our lives, knowing He will honor us with victory over the enemy. (10)

Paul encourages us with these words:

For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. (Romans 8:18 NET).

And let the people of God say, “Amen!” and not “Oh, my!”

In the opening verses of Revelation 6, one of the four special angels speaks. His voice is so powerful that John says it is thunderous. Imagine someone’s voice being so loud it sounds like thunder. (10)

When it was time for the citizens of Roman territories to bow down to their emperor, one of the emperor’s worship leaders would call the people to worship. However, his voice did not sound like thunder. (10)

The glory and the worship of the Almighty, and those speaking for Him, far surpass the puny grandeur of emperors. The self-exalting pomp and ceremony of emperor worship cannot compare to the splendor of Heaven. People who have traveled to Europe can see with their eyes that ancient Rome is in ruins. Yet, we can see in the Book of Revelation that God’s city prepared for His people is eternal. The Roman Empire has been relegated to the dustbins of history, but the Kingdom of God is forever. Modern-day “would-be Caesars” will fail. Whatever glory they may achieve will be short-lived, but Jesus is Lord forever! Hallelujah!

Paul would remind us:

For God did not destine us for wrath but for gaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that whether we are alert or asleep we will come to life together with him. Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 NET).

This thundering voice calls to the horseman:

I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!” (Revelation 6:1 NET)

This invitation command to “Come” is repeated for seals two, three, and four to each of the horsemen. (11)

The breaking of the first four seals releases what has been referred to as the “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse.” While scholars have speculated on what the first-century believers understood these to be, we do not know what they believed. (10)

We know that each horse is a different color, and the color symbolizes the reality of its curse released on the earth.

The prophet Zechariah also had a vision in which he saw colored horses in a different setting from what John saw.

I was attentive that night and saw a man seated on a red horse that stood among some myrtle trees in the ravine. Behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. (Zechariah 1:8 NET)

The first rider John sees is on a white horse. A rider on a white horse is the oriental symbol of a conqueror. So the white horse is a symbol of victory. This rider has a bow and a crown but no arrows. Satan, the evil one, will provide the arrows for this rider!

and in all of this, by taking up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. (Ephesians 6:16 NET)

The Greek word for “crown” used here is stephanos, which means a victory crown more than the crown of a sovereign Lord, which is the Greek word transliterated as diadem. This is not a king but a political leader. The mention that the bow and the crown are given to him rather than taken by him could suggest that the world powers willingly accept him as their leader. (10)

Our best interpretation of this rider and the white horse is that he is the last of the many false messiahs Jesus warned about who will deceive the nonbelieving world. He is known as the Antichrist or Anti-Messiah, who will appear on the scene at the end of days and whose appearance begins during the 70th week of Daniel Jesus outlined. Again, according to the explanation given by Jesus, the Seventieth week begins with the opening of the First Seal.

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?” Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. (Matthew 24:3–5 NET)
I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!” So I looked, and here came a white horse! The one who rode it had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer. (Revelation 6:1–2 NET)

Antichrist means “against Christ” and “in place of Christ.” The purpose of the Antichrist will be to oppose the true Christ and to have worship directed towards himself and Satan, who empowers him. Jesus said this would be a time of great lawlessness, rebellions, and deception. The apostle Paul calls this false messiah “the man of lawlessness” who is empowered by Satan to deceive the people of the world, leading to a great rebellion or an apostasy:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3 NET)
Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3 HCSB)

THE RISE OF THE ANTICHRIST AS THE FRIEND OF HUMANITY

The Antichrist will be a “composite” man. One who embraces in his character the abilities and powers of Nebuchadnezzar, Xerxes, Alexander the Great, and Caesar Augustus. He will have the marvelous gift of attracting unregenerate men and the irresistible fascination of his personality, his versatile attainments, superhuman wisdom, great administrative and executive ability, along with his powers as a consummate flatterer, a brilliant diplomatist, a superb strategist, will make him the most conspicuous and prominent of men. All these gifts will be conferred on him by Satan, whose tool he will be and who will thus make him — Superman. He will pose as a great humanitarian, the friend of men, and the special friend of the Jewish race, whom he will persuade that he has come to usher in the “Golden Age” as pictured by the prophets and who will receive him as their Messiah. He will intoxicate men with a strong delusion and his never varying success. And when he shall be slain and rise again, he will have lost none of these powers but will also be the embodiment of all kinds of wickedness and blasphemy.” (8)

He will likely be the political leader of the New World Order that the globalist organizations of our day want to establish. Since the United States is the last great superpower, the globalist leaders have worked behind the scenes for decades to weaken the sovereignty of America so it will join the New World Order League of Nations. We would have to be blind not to see this happening before our eyes. To dismiss this as the rantings of conspiracy theory kooks is to live in denial. It is certainly possible that America will soon become a third-world country. (10)

The three most powerful globalist organizations are the Bilderbergers, the Trilateral Commission, and the Council on Foreign Relations. Their members make up most of the elite American leaders in politics, the media, education, banking, and finance. With America’s financial institutions failing, they believe they are on the verge of achieving their goal. (10)

KEPT FROM THE HOUR OF THE GREAT TRIBULATION

Many in their congregations have been taught that they will not see the Antichrist or his great tribulation but rather be taken (Raptured) off the earth preceding this time (Pre-Tribulationism). What will occur when these believers suddenly realize that the church is in the midst of the Seventieth Week? Some will refuse to believe it, like the dead church of Sardis (1). Others will scramble to find church leaders who know why the rapture did not occur. (26)

At this moment, when the church is in a horrific panic, these incredible false prophets will arise. They will perform amazing miracles and lead thousands astray into the very clutches of the Antichrist. From the Lord’s letters to the seven churches, we must remember that the body of Christ entering the Seventieth Week will be full of bad teaching, false doctrine, and false prophets. Christ, in the seven letters, commanded these believers to overcome and persevere through this period. According to Jesus, His disciples will soon face a choice that will reveal how genuine their faith in Christ is. (26)

“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write the following: “This is the solemn pronouncement of the Holy One, the True One, who holds the key of David, who opens doors no one can shut, and shuts doors no one can open: ‘I know your deeds. (Look! I have put in front of you an open door that no one can shut.) I know that you have little strength, but you have obeyed my word and have not denied my name. Listen! I am going to make those people from the synagogue of Satan—who say they are Jews yet are not, but are lying—Look, I will make them come and bow down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one can take away your crown. The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never depart from it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God), and my new name as well. The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Revelation 3:7–13 NET)

John wrote:

“Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (18)

There is a clearly delineated cause-and-effect relationship. Because faithful believers, for their part, will have kept the word of God’s patience, He, for His part, will keep them from the hour of testing. Therefore, it is crucial to understand the meaning of “Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly.” (18)

The Koine Greek word translated as “endure steadfastly” in Revelation 3:10 occurs thirty-two times in the New Testament. It consistently conveys the idea of endurance amid adversity. (18)

The words “endure steadfastly” are described as an endurance that is grounded in waiting, a waiting that expresses itself in endurance. (30) It is the capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances. (29)

Jesus taught,

But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses.Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense. For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name. Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:12–19 NET)

Believers are admonished to remain faithful amid adversity. The worst men can do is harm the physical and temporal body; they cannot touch the spiritual and eternal soul. (18)

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 NET)

Paul used the word endurance in the same way in writing to the Thessalonians: (18)

We thank God always for all of you as we mention you constantly in our prayers, because we recall in the presence of our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and endurance of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. We know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you,in that our gospel did not come to you merely in words, but in power and in the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction (surely you recall the character we displayed when we came among you to help you). And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, when you received the message with joy that comes from the Holy Spirit, despite great affliction. (1 Thessalonians 1:2–6 NET)

A second time, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians using the identical Greek word, (18)

As a result we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in all the persecutions and afflictions you are enduring. (2 Thessalonians 1:4 NET)

The apostle John, writing in the context of the abomination of desolation which will occur in the middle of the seventieth week, taught: (18)

If anyone is meant for captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed by the sword, then by the sword he must be killed. This requires steadfast endurance and faith from the saints. (Revelation 13:10 NET)

Believers will be severely persecuted in that time. Some will be sent into captivity, with others slain. But those who perpetrate those deeds will be appropriately punished by God. Those who send others into captivity will themselves be sent into captivity. Those who kill with the sword will themselves be killed by the sword. (18)

God is just, and living faith will always exhibit patience. (18)

But we passionately want each of you to demonstrate the same eagerness for the fulfillment of your hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and perseverance inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11 NET)
These all died in faith without receiving the things promised, but they saw them in the distance and welcomed them and acknowledged that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth. (Hebrews 11:13 NET)

Faith and patience complement one another like a hand and glove. The believer who has faith will always exhibit patience. He is to endure and abide faithfully amid adversity. And the ultimate, humanly instigated adversity will be the Great Tribulation. (18)

John wrote again in the context of the middle of the seventieth week: (18)

A third angel followed the first two, declaring in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and takes the mark on his forehead or his hand, that person will also drink of the wine of God’s anger that has been mixed undiluted in the cup of his wrath, and he will be tortured with fire and sulfur in front of the holy angels and in front of the Lamb. And the smoke from their torture will go up forever and ever, and those who worship the beast and his image will have no rest day or night, along with anyone who receives the mark of his name.” This requires the steadfast endurance of the saints—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to their faith in Jesus. (Revelation 14:9–12 NET)

In this text, John is contrasting two groups of men:

The first group is those who submit to the Antichrist, give him their allegiance, and receive his mark. Their just reward will be to experience the undiluted wrath of God.

The second group is those who exhibit patience (endurance amid adversity), some of whom will suffer martyrdom. But of them, it is written:

Then I heard a voice from heaven say, “Write this: ‘Blessed are the dead, those who die in the Lord from this moment on!’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so they can rest from their hard work, because their deeds will follow them.” (Revelation 14:13 NET)
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). Then I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and his image and the number of his name. They were standing by the sea of glass, holding harps given to them by God. (Revelation 15:1–2 NET)

In its biblical usage, endurance conveys the idea of enduring amid affliction. It is frequently used in the context of the seventieth week of Daniel (Luke 21:19; Revelation 13:10; 14:12). There is a reason for an appeal to patience for believers living during that seventieth week: (18)

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, the elect. Be careful! I have told you everything ahead of time. (Mark 13:22–23 NET)
Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. (Matthew 24:4–5 NET)
For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Remember, I have told you ahead of time. So then, if someone says to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out, or ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe him. For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. (Matthew 24:24–27 NET)

Several salient points must be made. First, God has promised the church of Philadelphia that those who keep the word of His patience, He will keep from the hour of temptation. (To apply the promise given to the church of Philadelphia, and the type of Christians it represents, to all of Christendom is to interpret the Scriptures nonliterally. It is only the church of Philadelphia, and it’s steadfastly enduring Christians, that are promised exemption from “the hour of temptation.”) Patience is enduring or remaining steadfast amid adversity. It is to overcome difficulties, persevere, stand firm, and stand one’s ground. (18)

But there is no known or prophesied adversity for the days immediately before the seventieth week of Daniel, and if there is, the Rapture cannot be imminent. If the Rapture occurs pretribulationally, there is no sense in which believers can be said to be keeping the word of His patience and enduring adversity. There is no reason or logic for that concept. (18)

If, on the other hand, Revelation 3:10 describes an event in the middle of the seventieth week, it makes perfect sense. During the first three and one-half years, false Christs and prophets will emerge; they will do false signs and wonders to seemingly authenticate their false message. Believers will be seduced, hated, and betrayed: (18)

“Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name. Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. (Matthew 24:9–10 NET)
When they arrest you and hand you over for trial, do not worry about what to speak. But say whatever is given you at that time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. Brother will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against parents and have them put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:11–13 NET)
But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses. Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense. For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death. You will be hated by everyone because of my name.Yet not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives. (Luke 21:12–19 NET)

The love of many for God will grow cold:

And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. (Matthew 24:11–12 NET)

In that environment, the faith that exhibits patience – that endures amid adversity, that does not reject the true Christ for a false Christ-will be rewarded: “Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (18)

A second important term is also encountered. It is the word temptation.

Realize two different Koine Greek words in the New Testament have both been translated “to test”:

  • Peirazo
  • Dokimazo.

Peirazo (pi-rad’-zō) – to try or test intentionally to discover what good or evil, power or weakness, was in a person or thing.  However, since men fail so often, this word has a predominant meaning of putting to the test with the intention and the hope that the one put to the test may break down under it.  This word is used with this meaning of the solicitations and suggestions of Satan to get us to act on the sin in our hearts.  It is infrequently used for testing by God, where He allows us to see the hidden (from us) sin in our own hearts before acting on it. 

Scriptural examples of peirazo:

Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10 NET)
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one. (James 1:13 NET)
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matthew 4:1 NET)
Jesus said to him, “Once again it is written: ‘You are not to put the Lord your God to the test.’” (Matthew 4:7 NET)
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13 NET)  
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET)
But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, “Hypocrites! Why are you testing me? (Matthew 22:18 NET)
Then Jesus, when he looked up and saw that a large crowd was coming to him, said to Philip, “Where can we buy bread so that these people may eat?” (Now Jesus said this to test him, for he knew what he was going to do.) Philip replied, “Two hundred silver coins worth of bread would not be enough for them, for each one to get a little.” (John 6:5–7 NET)

Dokimazo (dŏk-im-ad’-zō) – testing someone or something to approve it.  The word further implies that the trial was made in the expectation and hope of victory!  This word is used for testing by God, but never of Satan.

Scriptural examples of dokimazo:

Another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going out to examine them. Please excuse me.’ (Luke 14:19 NET)
but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we declare it, not to please people but God, who examines our hearts. (1 Thessalonians 2:4 NET) 
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. (1 Corinthians 3:13 NET)
A person should examine himself first, and in this way let him eat the bread and drink of the cup. (1 Corinthians 11:28 NET)
Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold – gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away – and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7 NET)

A scriptural example of peirazo and dokimazo in the same verse:  

Put yourselves to the test (peirazo) to see if you are in the faith; examine (dokimazo) yourselves! Or do you not recognize regarding yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you – unless, indeed, you fail the test! (2 Corinthians 13:5 NET)

The Koine Greek word for testing, found in Revelation 3:10, is peirazo, which occurs twenty-one times in the New Testament. (18)

It is impossible to rightly conclude that to be kept from the hour of temptation is to be raptured before the Day of the Lord commences. The Day of the Lord has no temptation or test associated with it. When all of the Day of the Lord texts are scrutinized, they indicate nothing of testing. The Day of the Lord is a time of divine judgment, of absolute, awesome wrath on a godless and unrepentant world, not testing. (18)

The Day of the Lord will vindicate God’s holiness and righteousness through judgment. It will be the natural outcome of God’s final testing of man during the Great Tribulation, but not the testing itself. The prophet Isaiah wrote of the Day of the Lord that it would be a time of destruction by the Almighty, a time of wrath and fierce anger, a time when God would punish the world for its evil, a time when He will shake the heavens and the earth but not a time of testing. (18)

Wail, for the Lord’s day of judgment is near; it comes with all the destructive power of the sovereign judge. For this reason all hands hang limp, every human heart loses its courage. They panic— cramps and pain seize hold of them like those of a woman who is straining to give birth. They look at one another in astonishment; their faces are flushed red. Look, the Lord’s day of judgment is coming; it is a day of cruelty and savage, raging anger, destroying the earth and annihilating its sinners. Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations no longer give out their light; the sun is darkened as soon as it rises, and the moon does not shine. I will punish the world for its evil, and wicked people for their sin. I will put an end to the pride of the insolent, I will bring down the arrogance of tyrants. I will make human beings more scarce than pure gold, and people more scarce than gold from Ophir. So I will shake the heavens, and the earth will shake loose from its foundation, because of the fury of the Lord who commands armies, in the day he vents his raging anger. (Isaiah 13:6–13 NET)

The Great Tribulation, by contrast, is a time of testing. Professing believers will have an unprecedented opportunity to prove themselves and demonstrate the genuineness of their faith by steadfastness amid adversity. (18)

The image of the Antichrist will be erected in the temple. False prophets will abound. Men will be commanded to bow down and worship the Antichrist. Death will be the punishment for those who do not comply. Here is a test with enormous and eternal consequences.

During that time, humanity will either bow to the Antichrist and receive his mark;

The second beast was empowered to give life to the image of the first beast so that it could speak, and could cause all those who did not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He also caused everyone (small and great, rich and poor, free and slave) to obtain a mark on their right hand or on their forehead. Thus no one was allowed to buy or sell things unless he bore the mark of the beast—that is, his name or his number. (Revelation 13:15–17 NET)

OR

Give their allegiance solely to the true Christ and receive His mark. (18)

The one who conquers I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never depart from it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God (the new Jerusalem that comes down out of heaven from my God), and my new name as well. (Revelation 3:12 NET)
Then I looked, and here was the Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with him were one hundred and forty-four thousand, who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1 NET)
And there will no longer be any curse, and the throne of God and the Lamb will be in the city. His servants will worship him, and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. (Revelation 22:3–4 NET)

Back to Revelation 3:10.

The Lord taught:

Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:10 NET)

The Koine Greek word translated as “keep” in Revelation 3:10 occurs seventy-one times in the New Testament. It consistently conveys the idea: “to preserve,” “to protect,” or “to guard.” Jesus promises to preserve, protect, and guard these overcomers within the Great Tribulation.

Those who keep the word of His patience are those who, under the stress and pressure of the first three and one-half years of the seventieth week (i.e., the Beginning of Birth Pains), stay steadfast and true in the face of adversity. They will be the overcomers. As a result, “Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” The “hour of testing” (a specifically appointed time) is the Great Tribulation. It begins in the middle of the seventieth week; however, it will be “cut short” before the end of the seventieth week. (18)

Daniel’s 70th Week

Some men will be kept from that hour in two ways. They will be kept “from the hour” by physical relocation from the area of persecution (perhaps men of faith and patience who are watchful will flee Jerusalem, as history records a believing remnant did before the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70). Others will be kept “through the hour of temptation” by direct, divine protection. Both concepts, removal from the area of persecution and protection from the hour of testing, are correct. (18)

An analogy of this promise of exemption from the coming temptation can be illustrated this way: A professor challenges his class with the remark: (18)

“If when we come to the final exam, you have an A average, you will not have to take the test” (that is, if you got an A in all the quizzes, tests, and assignments, you are exempted from the final exam). Only some students will not have to take the final test – those who have already proven themselves. The Lord promises exemption from the hour of testing only to those who, in His words, have “kept the word of my patience” (that is, who have faithfully endured during the adversity of the first three and one-half years). They are exemplified by the church of Philidelphia (1). (18)

Of that church and its overcoming Christians, the Lord said,

‘I know your deeds. (Look! I have put in front of you an open door that no one can shut.) I know that you have little strength, but you have obeyed my word and have not denied my name. Listen! I am going to make those people from the synagogue of Satan—who say they are Jews yet are not, but are lying—Look, I will make them come and bow down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you. Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. (Revelation 3:8–10 NET)

No such exemption is promised to the other six churches. For instance, to the church of Thyatira (1), the Lord said,

But I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, and by her teaching deceives my servants to commit sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.I have given her time to repent, but she is not willing to repent of her sexual immorality. Look! I am throwing her onto a bed of violent illness, and those who commit adultery with her into terrible suffering, unless they repent of her deeds. Furthermore, I will strike her followers with a deadly disease, and then all the churches will know that I am the one who searches minds and hearts. I will repay each one of you what your deeds deserve. (Revelation 2:20–23 NET)

Jesus also said,

“Whoever, then, acknowledges me before people, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32–33 NET)
For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:26 NET)

The phrase “I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation” in Revelation 3:10 is not a watershed verse to determine the timing of the Rapture. It has nothing to do with the timing of the Rapture. It deals with the Great Tribulation and holds out the promise – the glorious promise – that a remnant who have stayed true to the Lord during the first three and one-half years of the “Beginning of Birth Pains” will be kept from the temptation of the “Great Tribulation,” which will try the souls of men under the barbaric reign of the Antichrist. The Rapture and the “Day of the Lord” will follow the Great Tribulation. (10)

Because you have kept my admonition to endure steadfastly, I will also keep you from the hour of testing that is about to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth. Revelation 3:10

Jesus Himself used the same terminology and prayed to the Father,

I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safe from the evil one. (John 17:15). 

The Lord’s words should be very clear to any of us who want to know the truth rather than the religious teachings of men. He does not pray that believers be removed from the earth but that we can overcome the evil one. (10)

Jesus repeated a similar phrase when He taught His disciples how to pray. He said we should pray,

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6:13 NET)

Is there any believer who has not been tempted by the evil one? Of course not; we all have. Clearly, Jesus is not saying that we will not be tempted but that we should pray for God to help us overcome [be delivered from] the evil one. The second part of His statement clarifies the first part. To be delivered from the evil one means to overcome the evil one. (10)

No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NET)

The Lord’s promise is not that believers will be removed from the earth but that He will protect us from the Great Tribulation and help us overcome the evil one by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. (10)

But they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die. (Revelation 12:11 NET)

The Lord tells them it will be quick or sudden when He comes. Therefore, they should hold fast to their little strength so no one will take their crown. (10)

Malachi prophesied the following about the time before the Day of the Lord (i.e., the Great Tribulation Period):

Then those who respected the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord took notice. A scroll was prepared before him in which were recorded the names of those who respected the Lord and honored his name. “They will belong to me,” says the Lord who rules over all, “in the day when I prepare my own special property. I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Then once more you will see that I make a distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and the one who does not. (Malachi 3:16–18 NET)

Let’s not be naïve. We live in a post-Judeo-Christian world.

Jesus said,

I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage—I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33).

THE ANTICHRIST WILL DECEIVE THE LOST PEOPLE OF THE WORLD

For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24 NET)
Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. He opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, and as a result he takes his seat in God’s temple, displaying himself as God. Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you. And so you know what holds him back, so that he will be revealed in his own time. For the hidden power of lawlessness is already at work. However, the one who holds him back will do so until he is taken out of the way, and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out by the manifestation of his arrival. The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, and with every kind of evil deception directed against those who are perishing, because they found no place in their hearts for the truth so as to be saved. Consequently God sends on them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false. And so all of them who have not believed the truth but have delighted in evil will be condemned. (2 Thessalonians 2:3–12 NET)

According to Daniel, the last seven-year period for Israel begins with a confirmation of a covenant, or treaty, by the Antichrist with Israel and many other nations.

Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one [Jesus the Messiah] will be cut off and have nothing [Jesus will die by crucifixion]. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince [the Antichrist] 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. He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one week. (Daniel 9:26 NET)

Isaiah refers to this covenant as Israel’s treaty with death:

For you say, “We have made a treaty with death, with Sheol we have made an agreement. When the overwhelming judgment sweeps by it will not reach us. For we have made a lie our refuge, we have hidden ourselves in a deceitful word.” (Isaiah 28:15 NET)

Revelation and Jesus teach that the Antichrist’s rise after the treaty’s signing will not be peaceful.

After entering into an alliance with him, he will behave treacherously; he will ascend to power with only a small force. (Daniel 11:23 NET)

As the Antichrist consolidates his forces, he shall attack Syria and Egypt. He will eventually march into the Holy Land.

The ships of Kittim will come against him, leaving him disheartened. He will turn back and direct his indignation against the holy covenant. He will return and honor those who forsake the holy covenant. His forces will rise up and profane the fortified sanctuary, stopping the daily sacrifice. In its place they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. Then with smooth words he will defile those who have rejected the covenant. But the people who are loyal to their God will act valiantly. These who are wise among the people will teach the masses. However, they will fall by the sword and by the flame, and they will be imprisoned and plundered for some time. When they stumble, they will be granted some help. But many will unite with them deceitfully. Even some of the wise will stumble, resulting in their refinement, purification, and cleansing until the time of the end, for it is still for the appointed time. “Then the king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every deity and he will utter presumptuous things against the God of gods. He will succeed until the time of wrath is completed, for what has been decreed must occur. He will not respect the gods of his fathers—not even the god loved by women. He will not respect any god; he will elevate himself above them all. What he will honor is a god of fortresses—a god his fathers did not acknowledge he will honor with gold, silver, valuable stones, and treasured commodities. He will attack mighty fortresses, aided by a foreign deity. To those who recognize him he will grant considerable honor. He will place them in authority over many people, and he will parcel out land for a price. “At the time of the end the king of the south will attack him. Then the king of the north will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and a large armada of ships. He will invade lands, passing through them like an overflowing river.Then he will enter the beautiful land. Many will fall, but these will escape: Edom, Moab, and the Ammonite leadership. He will extend his power against other lands; the land of Egypt will not escape. He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver, as well as all the treasures of Egypt. Libyans and Ethiopians will submit to him. But reports will trouble him from the east and north, and he will set out in a tremendous rage to destroy and wipe out many. He will pitch his royal tents between the seas toward the beautiful holy mountain. But he will come to his end, with no one to help him. (Daniel 11:30–45 NET)

Because our world conditions are so chaotic, it is easy to see nations would be willing to relinquish their national sovereignty to a charismatic world leader who would promise peace (1) and prosperity. The Bible indicates that there will be a false “world peace,” a deception. (10)

This is what the sovereign Lord says: Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit but have seen nothing! Your prophets have become like jackals among the ruins, O Israel. You have not gone up in the breaks in the wall, nor repaired a wall for the house of Israel that it would stand strong in the battle on the day of the Lord. They see delusion and their omens are a lie. They say, “the Lord declares,” though the Lord has not sent them; yet they expect their word to be confirmed. Have you not seen a false vision and announced a lying omen when you say, “the Lord declares,” although I myself never spoke? “ ‘Therefore, this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because you have spoken false words and forecast delusion, look, I am against you, declares the sovereign Lord. My hand will be against the prophets who see delusion and announce lying omens. They will not be included in the council of my people, nor be written in the registry of the house of Israel, nor enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the sovereign LORD. “ ‘This is because they have led my people astray saying, “All is well,” when things are not well. When anyone builds a wall without mortar, they coat it with whitewash. (Ezekiel 13:3–8 NET)
“ ‘This is because they have led my people astray saying, “All is well,” when things are not well. When anyone builds a wall without mortar, they coat it with whitewash. (Ezekiel 13:10 NET)
They offer only superficial help for the harm my people have suffered. They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’ But everything is not all right! (Jeremiah 6:14 NET)
They offer only superficial help for the hurt my dear people have suffered. They say, “Everything will be all right!” But everything is not all right! (Jeremiah 8:11 NET)

It is a false promise which will only lead to war, famine, disease, and suffering on a scale the world has never known. This is made clear in the opening of the next seals. (10)

The apostle Paul wrote these words:

While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman who is pregnant, and they will never escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3 NET)

Because world leaders will reject the rule of the One True God, the Lord will allow them to believe and accept the lying deceptions of a false messiah. That is a just judgment. If people do not accept the truth, they will believe a lie. (10)

Children, it is the last hour, and just as you heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. We know from this that it is the last hour... Who is the liar but the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This one is the antichrist: the person who denies the Father and the Son. Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father either. The person who confesses the Son has the Father also.  (1 John 2:18,22,23 NET) 

The Second Scroll Seal (Wars)

And when He opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature saying, “Come.” And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sits on it, it was given to him to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great sword was given to him. (Revelation 6:3–4 NET)

Jesus’ parallel prophecy of His opening of the Second Scroll Seal:

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. (Matthew 24:6)
When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. These things must happen, but the end is still to come. (Mark 13:7 NET)
And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once.” (Luke 21:9 NET)

When the exalted Lamb of God opens the second seal, the second powerful angel, or living creature, says come, and a fiery red horse emerges. John says three things about the rider of this horse: he takes peace from the earth, causes people to kill one another, and is given a great sword. From this, we understand that the red horse symbolizes war. (10)

Jesus said there would be wars and rumors of wars, and nations and kingdoms would fight each other. While His prediction has certainly proven true in history, the rider of this horse will cause wars in the last days that will escalate into a worldwide war and the final Battle of Armageddon. (10)

1. Evil in men’s hearts to want to rule over themselves apart from God.

Why do the nations rage And the peoples meditate on a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against Yahweh and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us tear their fetters apart And cast away their cords from us!” He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord mocks them. Then He speaks to them in His anger And terrifies them in His fury, saying, “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.”(Psalm 2:1-6 NET).

2. Evil in men’s hearts to want to conquer their neighbors. God has appointed boundaries for the nations, as we learn in Deuteronomy:

When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the people of Israel. (Deuteronomy 32:8 HCSB).

How interesting that God set the boundaries of the nations about the covenant land He promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When nations seek to expand their borders beyond what God has allotted them, wars result.

3. The nations’ desire to destroy the reborn state of Israel. One of the major themes of the Bible is that God will bring the Jewish people back to their ancient land in the end times in fulfillment of prophecy. Of the many Scriptures that speak of this subject, probably the most famous is the Valley of Dry Bones in the Book of Ezekiel:

“And speak to them, ‘Thus says Lord Yahweh, “Behold, I will take the sons of Israel from among the nations where they have gone, and I will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; (Ezekiel 37:21).

The anti-Semitic leaders of our world hate God, hate the Jews and Israel. They also hate Bible-believing Christians. They constantly make their anti-Israel resolutions through the hate-filled, Arab-dominated United Nations. This demon-inspired animosity will eventually cause a series of wars culminating in Armageddon. (10)

The next war between the Arabs and Israel may not be contained to the Middle East. It may bring all the nations into war. Ezekiel writes about a confederation of nations coming from the north (north of Jerusalem) in the latter days to attack Israel (Ezekiel 38-39.) The writer of Psalm 83 tells about an Arab confederacy that seeks, in current-day verbiage, to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” (10)

While previous Arab dictators care nothing about their people, they have kept radical groups in check. But with the leadership changes taking place in Arab countries, it is most likely that radical Islamic groups (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood) will come to power. They do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel and will do everything they can to fight Israel. Ironically, the U.S. government naively recognizes the legitimacy of the Muslim Brotherhood. This will further bring God’s judgment on America.

Furthermore, immense gas fields have been discovered in the Mediterranean off the coast of Haifa. It is estimated that there is enough gas for Israel to become completely self-sufficient and a major gas exporter for decades. It is also believed that huge oil fields are located beneath the gas fields. God is blessing Israel with these natural resources because the time to favor Zion has come (see Psalm 102). However, all these discoveries will tempt Israel’s enemies to attack Israel to get their wealth. This is all written in the Bible. (10)

A day of the LORD is about to come when your possessions will be divided as plunder in your midst. Indeed, I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured, the houses plundered, the women ravished, and half of the city will go forth in exile, but those left of the people will not be cut off from the city. (Zechariah 14:1,2).

Zechariah further explains Israel’s eventual plight:

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples all around. Now the one in siege against Jerusalem will also be against Judah. “But it will be in that day, that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who heave it up will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. (Zechariah 12:2-3 NET).

The Third Scroll Seal (Famine)

And when He opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature saying, “Come.” Then I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sits on it had a pair of scales in his hand. And I heard something like a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “One choinix of wheat for one denarius, and three choinix of barley for one denarius, and do not harm the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5–6 NET)

Jesus’ parallel prophecy of His opening of the Third Scroll Seal:

For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:7–8 NET) 
For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines. These are but the beginning of birth pains. (Mark 13:8 NET)
There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places,  (Luke 21:11 a NET)

When the exalted Lamb of God opens the third seal, the third powerful angel, or living creature, says come, and a black horse emerges. The rider has a pair of scales in his hand to measure wheat and barley for payment. The rider is told not to disturb the oil and the wine. From this description, we understand that the black horse probably symbolizes hyperinflation and famine, which are the natural results of war. (10)

In ancient times, when merchants wanted to sell their products, they brought them in bulk to the shuk, the outdoor marketplace. The shuk is much like a farmers’ market today. Instead of nice fancy packaging marked with the price, the merchant offered his grains, herbs, spices, and other dry goods, such as nuts, dates, figs, etc., loose in bins. If you wanted to know how much the merchant was selling his product for, he would weigh the product on his scale with the produce in one balance and the weight in the other. He would then tell you how much you would have to pay to buy the product. (10)

Our modern-day shuks (grocery stores) have their own hi-tech version of this ancient form of buying and selling. Stores assign numbers to different produce items. Customers then select these items, place them on the store scale, and punch in the assigned numbers. The computer compares the product’s weight to the price and prints a sticker with the price on it. The sticker saves time during checkout because the price is already on the bag. (10)

John was writing to people used to this marketplace buying and selling. He heard a voice from among the four living creatures calling out the price of the produce. In the vision, the produce items were bread, oil, and wine. These were the staples of people living in Bible times. The vision revealed they would have to pay more than normal for basic, everyday food items. (10)

Wheat was considered a better grain than barley and was more expensive. When John received this revelation, a denarius was a Roman silver coin about the size of a dime equal to a day’s wage. The shopper would have to pay a denarius just to buy one quart of wheat, the amount of bread a person would consume in one meal. He could buy three quarts of barley for a denarius, enabling him to have three meals for the day. (10)

This means the shopper would have to work all day just to buy enough bread for one person. It did not cover the wife and kids. This price was ten to fifteen times the normal price of the produce. That meant working all day to buy a loaf of bread and nothing else—no oil or wine. The economic condition in which prices exceed the product’s value is hyperinflation. (10)

Simply put, hyperinflation is caused when the government prints an excessive money supply without a comparable increase in goods and services. This results in an imbalance in the supply and demand for money. As the government prints more money, it has less value (purchasing power). It doesn’t take long before other governments and the citizens lose confidence in the currency. The government panics and prints more money, meaning purchasing the same goods and services takes even more. Then at a certain point, the currency becomes worthless. (10)

To give you some examples of how bad this can be, in Germany in 1923, the highest monthly inflation rate was 29,500 percent. This amounted to daily inflation of 20.9 percent resulting in prices doubling every 3.7 days. In Hungary in 1946, the highest daily inflation rate was 207 percent resulting in prices doubling every 15 hours. In Zimbabwe in 2008, the highest daily inflation rate was 98 percent resulting in prices doubling every 24.7 hours. This information is readily available by researching articles on hyperinflation’s impact on nations. (10)

If the United States government continues to print money with no comparable increase in goods and services, this could easily cause a massive devaluation of the U.S. dollar and a further weakening of the U.S. economy. This could cause other governments to lose confidence in the dollar as the currency of choice. If this monetary policy is coupled with war, it could create hyperinflation.

Consider what you would have to pay for basic food items if the price doubled daily. On Monday, a loaf of bread might cost $3.00. On Tuesday, it would be $6.00. By Sunday, a loaf of bread would cost $192.00. This is more than a day’s wage for most folks. This is a very real possibility for the U.S. (10)

In addition to hyperinflation, the U.S. could easily experience severe economic depression. This is the opposite of hyperinflation. In a time of economic depression, prices go down. While it might seem good to see prices go down, in an economic depression, they go down in an out-of-control spiral as sharp as the upward movement seen in hyperinflation. Since people anticipate that prices will decrease, they postpone buying until the prices are lower. The result is that companies cannot sell their products and services at a profit. When companies cannot sell their products and services at a profit, they stop buying from their vendors, curtail their business operations, and terminate employees. Even though prices for goods and services are lower, few people can buy anything because most don’t have jobs. (10)

The worst-case scenario is what economists call stagflation. Stagflation is the perfect economic storm. This situation combines the worse features of inflation and depression. In this situation, prices for goods and services continue to rise even as economic depression causes millions of people to lose their jobs. As God continues to judge American materialism and greed, the U.S. will certainly experience some measure of hyperinflation, depression, and stagflation. The wealth of the middle class will be completely destroyed. Only God’s people who have been obedient to Him and good stewards of His resources will survive the economic catastrophe. Those who have ears, let them hear! (10)

It is possible that the Antichrist’s invasion of the Middle East will give rise to this great worldwide economic and financial crisis. The Antichrist, in the book of Daniel, is stated to eventually take control over much of the world’s economy: (26)

He will have control over the hidden stores of gold and silver... (Daniel 11:43 a).

The world has already witnessed that the entire global economy can be affected whenever there are problems in the oil-rich Middle East. When Iraq invaded the tiny nation of Kuwait, the world’s stock markets made a sudden and devastating downturn. The same events will occur as the Antichrist makes unsurpassed political and military moves in the Middle East. (26)

History has shown that when there is serious economic depression and famine, people will look to any leader who can bring about a quick solution. This was the exact scenario that led to the rise of Nazi Germany. The worldwide Great Depression created a moment in history where the German people would accept anyone to lead them, no matter the cost. This was the impetus for a previous type of antichrist to ascend to power: Adolf Hitler. (26)

The very same situation, only much more severe and intense, will be the driving force behind the events that see the world accept the Antichrist as the globe’s great messiah. At this critical moment in history, he will attempt his move toward world domination. Until this point, the Antichrist will only be known for his incredible negotiation and confirmation of a peace treaty with Israel and her Arab neighbors. (26)

Daniel’s 70th Week

With the end of the third seal, Jesus in the Olivet Discourse has brought us up to the midpoint of the Seventieth Week. We must understand that the first three and one-half years will bring false christ’s, wars, pestilence, famines, and economic misery.

HOW WILL WE KNOW WHEN DANIEL’S SEVENTIETH WEEK HAS BEGUN?

According to Paul, the apostasy (the falling away or abandoning one’s belief in Jesus as Savior and Lord) must come before the Antichrist is revealed.

Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3 HCSB)

According to Daniel, the Seventieth week begins with a confirmation of a covenant, or treaty, by the Antichrist with Israel and many other nations. This action will reveal the Antichrist.

Now after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one [Jesus the Messiah] will be cut off and have nothing [Jesus will die by crucifixion]. As for the city and the sanctuary, the people of the coming prince [the Antichrist] 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. He [the Antichrist] will confirm a covenant with many for one week [the 70th Week]. (Daniel 9:26 NET)

According to Jesus, the Seventieth week begins with the opening of the First Seal. This action is revealed by the appearance of the Antichrist making the treaty with Israel and many other nations.

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?” Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ [antichrists and the Antichrist],’ and they will mislead many. (Matthew 24:3–5 NET)
I looked on when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a thunderous voice, “Come!” So I looked, and here came a white horse! The one who rode it [the Antichrist] had a bow, and he was given a crown, and as a conqueror he rode out to conquer. (Revelation 6:1–2 NET)

When we see a treaty made with Israel bringing peace (albeit false) to the Middle East between Jews and Arabs. If this treaty allows the reconstruction of the Temple, look for the broker of the agreement to be the Antichrist. Know, then, we are in the 70th Week of Daniel.


Detailed Description

Revelation Chapter 6:7 thru 7:17

Please see the following link for a detailed description of Revelation Chapters 6:7 thru 7:17

Part XII: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Great Tribulation)


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). 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 the 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) Reid, A. (2004). Daniel: Kingdoms in Conflict (P. Barnett, Ed.; p. 146). Aquila Press.

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

(27) Vine, W. E., Unger, M. F., & White, W., Jr. (1996). In Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Vol. 2, p. 111). T. Nelson.

(28) Bullinger, E. W. (1908). In A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Fifth Edition, Revised, p. 169). Longmans, Green, & Co.

(29) Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). In Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 307). United Bible Societies.

25.174 ὑπομονή, ῆς f: capacity to continue to bear up under difficult circumstances—‘endurance, being able to endure.’ τῆς ὑπομονῆς τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ‘endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ’ 1 Th 1:3.

(30) Hauck, F. (1964–). μένω, ἐμ-, παρα-, περι-, προσμένω, μονή, ὑπομένω, ὑπομονή. In G. Kittel, G. W. Bromiley, & G. Friedrich (Eds.), Theological dictionary of the New Testament (electronic ed., Vol. 4, p. 588). Eerdmans.

Rev. especially, the book of the martyr church, in sevenfold repetition extols ὑπομονή as the right and necessary attitude of believers in the last hour of the old aeon. The two-sidedness of ὑπομονή, its orientation to God and to the world, is particularly clear in Rev. “ὑπομονή is an endurance which is grounded in waiting, a waiting which expresses itself in endurance.” Waiting for Jesus (1:9; 3:10) is on the one side the attitude which fills the whole soul of believers. On the other side salvation depends on their steadfastness to the end. It is particularly necessary as the suffering and enduring patience of martyr believers under persecution (2:2f.; 19). The final clash between the power of the world and the community will also be the final and supreme test of faith. It will demand of believers supreme steadfastness if everything is not finally to be in vain (13:10; 14:12). It is no accident that in Jn., as distinct from Rev., ὑπομένειν and ὑπομονή do not occur, for here eschatological tension is greatly relaxed with the bringing of salvation very largely into the present in mystical union with the Redeemer.

(##) For a higher number of references, see: The Feasts of Israel – Passover (1)

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.  DOULOS HAL'S TOPICAL INDEX

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