Impact

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

Revelation Chapters 6:7 thru 7

Very few details are given about the first three and one-half years referred to by Jesus as “The Beginning of Birth Pains.” However, once the Antichrist commits the abomination of desolation, the details of the last three and a half years become extensive.

Detailed Description

Revelation Chapters 6:7 thru 7:17

Daniel’s 70th Week

The Great Tribulation

There are three-time frames given by God that define the last three and a half years: “time and times and half a time,” “forty-two months,” and “one thousand two hundred sixty days.” These terms, without exception, always refer to the last half of the Seventieth Week. This last half of the seven-year period is unveiled as the fourth seal is broken. (26)

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 Fourth Scroll Seal (Disease and Death)

And when He opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come.” Then I looked, and behold, a pale horse; and he who sits on it had the name Death, and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (Revelation 6:7–8 NET)

Jesus’ parallel prophecy of His opening of the Fourth Scroll Seal

With the fourth seal, Jesus describes the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “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. 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 24:9–21 ESV)
“You must watch out for yourselves. You will be handed over to councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand before governors and kings because of me, as a witness to them. First the gospel must be preached to all nations. 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. “But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. The one on the roof must not come down or go inside to take anything out of his house. The one in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! Pray that it may not be in winter. For in those days there will be suffering unlike anything that has happened from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, or ever will happen. (Mark 13:9–19 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. “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are inside the city must depart. Those who are out in the country must not enter it, because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:12–24 NET)

When Jesus opened the fourth seal, the thundering voice of the fourth living creature called to the horseman, Come.

Then when the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth. (Revelation 6:7–8 NET)

This time John saw a pale horse. The general interpretation is that the color is a ghastly pale green. John learns that the name of the rider of this horse is Death and Hades. They are identical since death represents the physical grave and Hades the abode of dead souls. John hears the unthinkable: that Death and Hades were given power over a fourth of the population of the earth to kill with sword, with hunger, with death, and by the beasts of the earth. (10)

This is a picture of the Antichrist as he begins his persecution, first of the nation of Israel and second of the church of Jesus Christ. Our Lord stated that He was the resurrection and the life.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even if he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26 NET)

The Antichrist is called Death and Hades (Sheol). The treaty Israel agreed to with him is called their treaty with Death and Sheol.

Then when the Lamb opened the fourth seal I heard the voice of the fourth living creature saying, “Come!” So I looked and here came a pale green horse! The name of the one who rode it was Death, and Hades followed right behind. They were given authority over a fourth of the earth, to kill its population with the sword, famine, and disease, and by the wild animals of the earth. (Revelation 6:7–8 NET)
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)

The rider on the horse has been granted authority over one-fourth of the earth. This one-fourth most likely composes those who are of the church, as well as those of national Israel. Modern figures show that Christianity composes approximately 25 percent of the world’s population. It is this 25 percent that will be given into his hands for the last three and a half years. (26)

Jesus indicated that the opening of the 4th Seal was the start of the “Great Tribulation.” Jesus then defines it within its proper chronology of when it begins. Jesus reveals that this is the abomination that Daniel the prophet spoke of. The Lord states that the Great Tribulation will begin when the “abomination of desolation” occurs. In Daniel, we are then given the exact moment in the Seventieth Week that this event will occur:

First, the Restrainer Ceases Restraint

Surely you recall that I [Paul] 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:5–8 NET)

The “one who holds back or restrains him [the Antichrist] is Michael, the Guardian Archangel of God’s people (i.e., Israel and the Church). (26)(29)(30)

(Notes in [ ] added by the article’s author for clarity.)

“At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress unlike any other from the nation’s beginning up to that time. But at that time your own people, all those whose names are found written in the book, will escape. (Daniel 12:1 NET)

At the midpoint, the Archangel Michael “will arise” or “will stand up,” which can also be interpreted as “will stand aside” and cease his restraint. (26)(29)(30)

Then, the AntiChrist’s True Nature is Revealed

After three and one-half years of Daniel’s 70th week, the Antichrist will reveal his true nature. The Antichrist will desecrate the Third Temple in Jerusalem and setup up the Abomination that causes desolation in the Most Holy Place.

From one of them came a small horn [the Antichrist]. But it grew to be very big, toward the south and the east and toward the beautiful land [Israel]. It grew so big it reached the army of heaven, and it brought about the fall of some of the army and some of the stars to the ground, where it trampled them. It also acted arrogantly against the Prince of the army [Michael, Guardian Archangel of God's People], from whom the daily sacrifice was removed and whose sanctuary was thrown down. The army was given over, along with the daily sacrifice, in the course of his sinful rebellion. It hurled truth to the ground and enjoyed success. (Daniel 8:9–12 NET)
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)
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. (Daniel 11:31 NET)
“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. 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 24:15–21 ESV)
“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should not be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. (Mark 13:14 NET)

The abomination of desolation occurs when the Antichrist marches his forces into the temple in Jerusalem. He stops the daily sacrifice and declares to the world that he is God.

Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day [i.e., the Day of the Lord] will not arrive until the rebellion comes and the man of lawlessness is revealed [the Antichrist], 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4 NET)

The Antichrist will declare he is the one true God for three and one-half years.

He will speak words against the Most High. He will harass the holy ones of the Most High continually. His intention will be to change times established by law. They will be delivered into his hand For a time, times, and half a time. (Daniel 7:25 NET)
“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. (Daniel 11:36–37 NET)
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. (Daniel 11:38–39 NET)
The beast was given a mouth speaking proud words and blasphemies, and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority for forty-two months. So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. (Revelation 13:5–8 NET)

The Antichrist’s attempt to be the one true God is similar to what Lucifer (Satan) attempted.

Look how you have fallen from the sky, O shining one, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the ground, O conqueror of the nations! You said to yourself, “I will climb up to the sky. Above the stars of El I will set up my throne. I will rule on the mountain of assembly on the remote slopes of Zaphon. I will climb up to the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High!” (Isaiah 14:12–14 NET)

Satan, the dragon, will empower the Antichrist, a human from the sea of people but possessed by a spirit from the abyss of Hades.

So that huge dragon—the ancient serpent, the one called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world... (Revelation 12:9a NET)
When they have completed their testimony, the beast that comes up from the abyss will make war on them and conquer them and kill them. (Revelation 11:7 NET)
Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadem crowns, and on its heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast that I saw was like a leopard, but its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. The dragon gave the beast his power, his throne, and great authority to rule. One of the beast’s heads appeared to have been killed, but the lethal wound had been healed. And the whole world followed the beast in amazement; they worshiped the dragon because he had given ruling authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast too, saying: “Who is like the beast?” and “Who is able to make war against him?” The beast was given a mouth speaking proud words and blasphemies, and he was permitted to exercise ruling authority for forty-two months. So the beast opened his mouth to blaspheme against God—to blaspheme both his name and his dwelling place, that is, those who dwell in heaven. The beast was permitted to go to war against the saints and conquer them. He was given ruling authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation, and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed. If anyone has an ear, he had better listen! 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. Then I saw another beast coming up from the earth. He had two horns like a lamb, but was speaking like a dragon. He exercised all the ruling authority of the first beast on his behalf, and made the earth and those who inhabit it worship the first beast, the one whose lethal wound had been healed. He performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven in front of peopleand, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. He told those who live on the earth to make an image to the beast who had been wounded by the sword, but still lived. 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. This calls for wisdom: Let the one who has insight calculate the beast’s number, for it is man’s number, and his number is 666. (Revelation 13:1–18 NET)

The Antichrist will perform many signs and wonders to deceive the people.

He performed momentous signs, even making fire come down from heaven in front of people and, by the signs he was permitted to perform on behalf of the beast, he deceived those who live on the earth. He told those who live on the earth to make an image to the beast who had been wounded by the sword, but still lived. 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. (Revelation 13:13–15 NET)

The Antichrist will wage war against the saints of God.

“Then I wanted to know the meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet. I also wanted to know the meaning of the ten horns on its head, and of that other horn which came up and before which three others fell. This was the horn that had eyes and a mouth speaking arrogant things, whose appearance was more formidable than the others. While I was watching, that horn began to wage war against the holy ones and was defeating them, (Daniel 7:19–21 NET)

The Antichrist will Trample Jerusalem for Three and one-half years.

But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those who are inside the city must depart. Those who are out in the country must not enter it, because these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing their babies in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led away as captives among all nations. Jerusalem will be trampled down by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21:20–24 NET)
But do not measure the outer courtyard of the temple; leave it out, because it has been given to the Gentiles, and they will trample on the holy city for forty-two months. (Revelation 11:2 NET)

The Antichrist will establish his headquarters in Jerusalem, between the Mediterranean and Dead Seas.

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 11:45 NET)

In the Hebrew Bible, we learn that the Lord pronounced similar judgments when His people continued to reject Him. The Lord spoke through Ezekiel and said that even if Noah, Daniel, and Job were there, He would not spare His judgment on the people. But God also said He would leave a remnant who would survive and turn to Him. (Ezekiel 14:12-22.) (10)

The natural results of war and famine are plagues, disease, and death. Tragically, throughout history, people suffered in these ways whenever major wars occur. Many who survived the wars died of building collapses, fires, floods, starvation, crowded living conditions, poor sanitation, contaminated water supplies, exposure to the elements, and spreading diseases such as typhoid and cholera. (10)

Now that we have weapons of mass destruction, it is easy to understand how nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare could destroy a fourth of the earth’s population. With a world population that reached 8 billion people on November 15, 2022, more than 2 billion people will die when the fourth seal is opened. (32). With such a monumental tragedy, we can also understand how wild animals attack weak and sickly human beings. Yet, even with such terrible destruction, God would bring three-fourths of the world’s population through this judgment and give them time to repent. (10)

Since the masses do not want Him, God removes His covering of protection and provision and leaves mankind to himself. While God cares for His people, those who reject Him destroy themselves, which we see in the opening of these seals. Let us not blame God for our own failings. (10)

The Fifth Scroll Seal (Martyrdom of those that keep the Word of God and Testify of Jesus)

And when He opened the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the witness which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Master, holy and true? Will You not judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was told to them that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow slaves and their brothers who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. (Revelation 6:9–11 NET)

Jesus’ parallel prophecy of His opening of the Fifth Scroll Seal

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 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. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. (Matthew 24:23–28 NET)

Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe him. 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 13:20–23 NET)

At this point in the Great Tribulation, the remnant of Christians are hiding to escape total annihilation by the Antichrist. False messiahs and prophets empowered by Satan will appear and offer substantiation of their claim through signs and wonders to lure Christians out of hiding to be martyred.

Note these Christians were martyred for the same reason John was imprisoned on the Island of Patmos: “because of the Word of God and their testimony about Jesus.”

I, John, your brother and the one who shares with you in the persecution, kingdom, and endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony about Jesus. (Revelation 1:9 NET)

This also is the reason given for Satan making war with Christians:

So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
 (Revelation 12:17 NET)

John sees the souls of those martyred for their belief in the Word of God and their testimony under the altar in Heaven. (26)

This does not necessarily mean that he saw a literal altar but that he saw the altar in his vision. In ancient times, people built altars of their gods and made sacrifices to them. They did this to appease the anger of their gods. This is because the life of the flesh is in the blood. They hoped their gods would accept the animal’s blood in their place. When making the sacrifices, they would pour out the blood of the animal under the altar. (10)

The Lord also required His people to make sacrifices but with a major difference. One of the Hebrew words translated as “offering” is korban. The word means to “draw near.” In other words, the people were instructed to offer sacrifices to God to draw near to Him, not to appease His wrath. God provided the system of the blood of the innocent substitutionary sacrifice that stood in place of the people. This was how God could judge sin while showing mercy to the sinner. These souls were described as being under the altar because they chose to draw near to God rather than the anti-God world system. (10)

At the Temple in Jerusalem, the blood of the sacrifices was poured into a basin underneath the altar. Water then carried the blood from the Temple Mount to the Kidron Valley. When the people saw the blood and water, they knew the Lord had accepted their sacrifices. Likewise, the blood of these martyrs was an acceptable sacrifice to the Lord. They had not died in vain. (10)

Obviously, this is not a time of “easy-believism.” There will not be any casual believers during this time on the earth. There will not be any “Sunday-morning Christians” who live for themselves the rest of the week. There will not be any “mega-churches” as the church will have gone underground. Like the believers in the seven congregations of the first century, the people of God will be persecuted and scattered, and many will be martyred. This situation will distinguish true believers from those who profess faith but do not really possess faith. (10)

It is important to note that these martyrs are said to be “souls” under God’s altar. They have not, at this point, received their resurrection bodies. The martyrs are told that they will not receive their resurrection bodies until the rest of their brethren are also slain for their testimony. The final martyrs to die for their testimony will be the two witnesses killed by the Antichrist at the end of the Seventieth Week. Once Jesus has destroyed the Antichrist, He will then give these martyred believers their resurrection bodies. The martyrs of the ages are said to be given a special resurrection because of dying for their faith in Christ. The author of Hebrews speaks of this special resurrection of the Lord’s martyrs: (26)

Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; (Hebrews 11:35 NASB)

Those tortured and killed for their faith in Christ will be part of a special resurrection at the beginning of Christ’s earthly rule. (26)

Then I saw thrones and seated on them were those who had been given authority to judge. I also saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. These had not worshiped the beast or his image and had refused to receive his mark on their forehead or hand. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4 NET)

They will also be given special status in the Lord’s government because of their martyrdom. (26)

They cried out with a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Master, holy and true, before you judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?” Each of them was given a long white robe and they were told to rest for a little longer, until the full number was reached of both their fellow servants and their brothers who were going to be killed just as they had been. (Revelation 6:10,11 NET)

It is crucial to note in this text that the martyrs are crying out to God, asking Him when He will finally pour out His wrath in judgment on “those who live on the earth.” The term “earth dwellers” is always applied to unbelievers throughout Revelation. Their home is this world, for their father is Satan, the world’s ruler. (26)

They want to know how long they must wait before God avenges those that took their lives. (10)

According to the text, the martyrs knew that the first four seals were not God’s judgment. In fact, they are pleading with God for Him to finally begin the Day of the Lord. They understand that the seals are the only conditions that precede God’s judgment and are not to be confused with His direct wrath. The Great Tribulation is persecution by the hand of the Antichrist and Satan, not of God. God does not persecute His own disciples. He will allow persecution, but He is not the one initiating it. As seen in the book of Job and the rest of Scripture, Satan persecutes the righteous (Job 1 and 2). However, God’s wrath will begin shortly, and the martyrs know it is extremely close. (26)

Unfortunately, more would be martyred for their faith. Again, we must understand that these did not die due to God’s wrath, as it has not been poured out yet. In fact, God’s wrathful judgments described later in the Book of Revelation are His answer to the prayers of these faithful believers. It is during the future Day of the Lord that God will pour out His wrath on the remaining wicked. There is no mercy for the wicked who have chosen to never change from their evil ways.



How can a good God who is grace, mercy, and compassion pass judgment for destruction and suffering?

Do I actually delight in the death of the wicked, declares the sovereign Lord? Do I not prefer that he turn from his wicked conduct and live? (Ezekiel 18:23 NET)

The answer is that God does not cause this suffering. Mankind causes this due to the hardness of his heart. It is the result of the evil in people’s hearts to live their lives without God. His Great MERCY is extended to all equally, and He waits patiently for all to accept it.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be like your Father in heaven, since he causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45 NET)
Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know that God’s kindness leads you to repentance? (Romans 2:4 NET)
The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NET)
How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. 
Not so with the wicked! Instead they are like wind-driven chaff. For this reason the wicked cannot withstand judgment, nor can sinners join the assembly of the godly. Certainly the Lord guards the way of the godly, but the way of the wicked ends in destruction. (Psalm 1:1–6 NET)

Nevertheless, when the point is reached that a person or persons, by an act of their will, decide to never change from serving evil (Satan) to serving good (God), then the only thing left is a JUDGMENT of WRATH that will keep them that have chosen to serve Satan from affecting the MERCY to be received by those that have chosen to serve God.

An evil man is rebellious to the core. He does not fear God, for he is too proud to recognize and give up his sin. The words he speaks are sinful and deceitful; he does not care about doing what is wise and right. He plans ways to sin while he lies in bed; he is committed to a sinful lifestyle; he does not reject what is evil. (Psalm 36:1–4 NET)
God, the one who has reigned as king from long ago, will hear and humiliate them. (Selah) They refuse to change, and do not fear God. (Psalm 55:19 NET)
Turn away from evil and do what is right! Strive for peace and promote it! The Lord pays attention to the godly and hears their cry for help. But the Lord opposes evildoers and wipes out all memory of them from the earth. (Psalm 34:14–16 NET)

The MERCY for the future of those who have chosen to serve God trumps the present MERCY extended to all, resulting in the removal and eternal incarceration of those who have chosen to serve evil.

It is terrible to show partiality to the wicked, by depriving a righteous man of justice. (Proverbs 18:5 NET)
If the wicked are shown mercy, they do not learn about justice. Even in a land where right is rewarded, they act unjustly; they do not see the Lord’s majesty revealed. (Isaiah 26:10 NET)
The Lord abhors the way of the wicked, but he loves those who pursue righteousness. (Proverbs 15:9 NET)
The Lord approves of the godly, but he hates the wicked and those who love to do violence. (Psalm 11:5 NET)
You reprimand arrogant people. Those who stray from your commands are doomed. (Psalm 119:21 NET)
The wicked have no chance for deliverance, for they do not seek your statutes. (Psalm 119:155 NET)
If the righteous are recompensed on earth, how much more the wicked sinner! (Proverbs 11:31 NET)
Yes, look! Those far from you die; you destroy everyone who is unfaithful to you. (Psalm 73:27 NET)
The Lord protects those who love him, but he destroys all the wicked. (Psalm 145:20 NET)
May sinners disappear from the earth, and the wicked vanish! Praise the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 104:35 NET)
Let anyone who has no love for the Lord be accursed. Our Lord, come! (1 Corinthians 16:22–23 NET)

Remember, refusal of the greater MERCY leaves only the WRATH. (1)

The wicked have decided to never change from evil to good, unrighteous to righteous, and wicked to godly.

There is no Mercy for the Wicked



Again, God’s wrath did not kill these martyrs, but Satan’s wrath was released through the seals’ curses!

Therefore you heavens rejoice, and all who reside in them! But woe to the earth and the sea because the devil has come down to you! He is filled with terrible anger, for he knows that he only has a little time!” (Revelation 12:12 NET)
So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God’s commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus. And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore.
 (Revelation 12:17 NET)

Anyone who tries to live godly can understand these martyrs’ heart cries. The Lord’s people often groan to themselves and the Lord for His soon return to end the evil in our world. It is a normal and natural desire for godly people to grow weary of evil and long for righteousness. We, too, ask, “Lord, how much longer are You going to put up with the evil in our world? How much longer will it be before You judge the wicked?” (10)

The Lord comforts them by clothing them with white robes but tells them they must wait until His mercy for those that will be saved has been satisfied. (10)

The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NET)

White in the Bible and in pagan religious services, past and present, symbolizes purity.

The psalmist wrote:

Who is allowed to ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may go up to his holy dwelling place? The one whose deeds are blameless and whose motives are pure, who does not lie, or make promises with no intention of keeping them. (Psalm 24:3-4 NET).

Jesus said,

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8 NET)

He also promised those who overcame that they would be given white garments:

The one who conquers will be dressed like them in white clothing, and I will never erase his name from the book of life, but will declare his name before my Father and before his angels. The one who has an ear had better hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Revelation 3:5–6 NET)

These believers are given white robes and are in the presence of God because they are spiritually and morally pure. These believers are given white robes to clothe their naked souls until they receive new resurrected bodies. (10)

While we do not know all the theological answers, we know that these believers overcame the world and entered the presence of God. And that is what is important. (10)

Stephen the Protomartyr of the Church – an Example for Us Today (Circa 33 A.D.)

Stephen was first chosen as a deacon by the apostles and was the first to follow in the footsteps of the martyrdom of the Lord (i.e., the protomartyr), being the first that was slain for confessing Christ, speaking boldly among the people, and teaching them. (35)

Stephen truly is an example to us in several ways:

• Stephen is an example of trustworthiness. We need to be the kind of person whose integrity others will respect even though they may be suspicious of the group to which we belong.

• Stephen is an example of humility. Although he clearly had great spiritual gifts, Stephen did not think it beneath him to pass out food to the needy.

• Stephen is an example of courage. Few of us risk our lives when we speak up for Christ, yet many seem unwilling to risk possible ridicule or rejection. We need Stephen’s kind of courage to share the gospel’s good news in our day. (36)

Then Jesus called the crowd, along with his disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and for the gospel will save it. (Mark 8:34–35 NET)

We should not be preparing Christians for a life of pleasure but rather to follow our Lord to Golgatha.

When they heard these things, they became furious and ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked intently toward heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look!” he said. “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent. When they had driven him out of the city, they began to stone him, and the witnesses laid their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. They continued to stone Stephen while he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” Then he fell to his knees and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them!” When he had said this, he died. (Acts 7:54–60 NET)

Christians should never fear death; it is only God’s doorway to Heaven. If we are called upon to be martyred for the Lord and His word, then we can say to Him, “Thank you, Lord. I am coming to you!”

Take notice that after Stephen stood up for Jesus, Jesus stood up for him!

The Sixth Scroll Seal (Cataclysmic Disaster on Earth)

Then I looked when the Lamb opened the sixth seal, and a huge earthquake took place; the sun became as black as sackcloth made of hair, and the full moon became blood red; and the stars in the sky fell to the earth like a fig tree dropping its unripe figs when shaken by a fierce wind. The sky was split apart like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was moved from its place. Then the kings of the earth, the very important people, the generals, the rich, the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath [i.e., the day of the Lord] has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:12–17 NET)

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

“Immediately after the suffering of those days [i.e., The Great Tribulation], the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29,30 NET)
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. (Mark 13:24–26 NET)
There will be great earthquakes... there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11 a, d)   
“And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:25–27 NET)

In the sixth seal, John sees cataclysmic disturbances on Earth that affect the atmosphere. Likely the earthquake included super volcanic eruptions with the associated ash, and volcanic matter ejected into the atmosphere. Those in daylight would see the ash cloud darkening the sun and causing the preexisting clouds to appear “rolled up” as the heated air expands outward. Those affected during the night hours would see the moon appear red, and the stars sequentially hide as the ash cloud rapidly expands.

The Lord states in Genesis that He created the sun, moon, and stars for “Signs and seasons, and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14).

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

These signs in the heavens (i.e., the sun, moon, and stars) will appear immediately before the Day of the Lord begins, as also seen in these Old Testament passages:

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 13:9–13 NET)
I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth— blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the color of blood, before the day of the Lord comes— that great and terrible day! It will so happen that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered. For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who survive, just as the Lord has promised; the remnant will be those whom the Lord will call. (Joel 2:30–32 NET)

For example, Jesus said His hour “has come” before betrayal and crucifixion, meaning it was about to begin.

He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough of that! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. (Mark 14:41 NET)

Similarly, John said that the Day of Jesus’ wrath had come during the opening of the Sixth Seal, meaning it was about to begin after the Seventh Seal is opened.

They said to the mountains and to the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who is seated on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb, because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:16–17 NET)

Again, in the Olivet Discourse, Jesus states that there will be the employment of incredible deception to get believers out of hiding after opening the Fifth Seal. They are warned by Jesus not to move until the great sign of the end of the age is revealed. At this moment, Jesus answers the disciple’s second question: (26)

"And what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the age?" (Matthew 24:3 b NET):
For just like the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. (Matthew 24:27-28 NET)

Jesus reveals that the sign of His coming will be an incredible flash of light that will blaze across the globe from East to West. Jesus then tells His disciples that the sign of His coming will immediately follow the sign of the end of the age or Day of the Lord. He then relates the proper progression of these events: (26)

“Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30 NET)

From this passage, we are to understand that:

  • The sign that the end of the age, or the Day of the Lord, is about to begin involves the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars.
  • This sign will immediately follow the Great Tribulation, not the Seventieth Week. It will signal the amputation or shortening of the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist.
  • After the sign of the sun, moon, and stars, the sign of the coming of the Son of Man will appear; which Jesus previously detailed.
  • The people of the earth will realize that the Day of the Lord has actually come, and they will mourn because of the impending doom.

These passages show that the signs in the heavens occur right before the Day of God’s Wrath (i.e., the Day of the Lord). It can then be easily concluded from Isaiah, Joel, Matthew, and Revelation that the Day of the Lord will not begin until sometime after the midpoint but before the end of the Seventieth Week. The Sixth Seal in Revelation reveals the “Great Day of His wrath has come.” This again demonstrates, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the first six seals have nothing to do with the wrath of God. For the Christians in hiding, this sign will indicate that Jesus is to return and take them off the earth before the wrath of God begins. (26)

God’s Seal of Protection

Impending Curses

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth so no wind could blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. (Revelation 7:1 NET)

In the chapter’s opening verse, John sees four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth. They are ready to release these four winds, which will cause terrible devastation. What are these angels and these four winds? They are fallen angels that will release demonic forces.

The prophet Daniel used similar language in his apocalyptic description of the coming days of judgment:

Daniel explained: “I was watching in my vision during the night as the four winds of the sky were stirring up the great sea. Then four large beasts came up from the sea; they were different from one another. (Daniel 7:2–3 NET)

The prophet Zechariah saw something similar in his apocalyptic vision:

Once more I looked, and this time I saw four chariots emerging from between two mountains of bronze. Harnessed to the first chariot were red horses, to the second black horses, to the third white horses, and to the fourth spotted horses, all of them strong. Then I asked the angelic messenger who was speaking with me, “What are these, sir?” The messenger replied, “These are the four spirits of heaven that have been presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth. The chariot with the black horses is going to the north country and the white ones are going after them, but the spotted ones are going to the south country. All these strong ones are scattering; they have sought permission to go and walk about over the earth.” The Lord had said, “Go! Walk about over the earth!” So they are doing so. Then he cried out to me, “Look! The ones going to the northland have brought me peace about the northland.” (Zechariah 6:1–8 NET)

He described four chariots pulled by different colored horses. When Zechariah inquired into the meaning of his vision, an angel told him that the four chariots symbolized four spirits or winds of Heaven.

Releasing the four winds will bring further destruction to the earth and humanity. Because of this, the Lord will not allow the four winds to be released until His people are sealed and therefore protected from what is to follow. This exemplifies God’s mercy for the just during these terrible judgments.

Temporarily Holding Back the Four Fallen Angels

Then I saw another angel [i.e., the Archangel Michael] ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice [i.e., with the sound of a trumpet] to the four [fallen] angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:2–3 NET)

Here we see God’s mercy in action. He sends a holy angel, likely the Archangel Michael, to tell the four fallen angels to hold back the four winds of further judgment until God’s people are protected.

Realize, in Revelation, a loud voice is conceptualized as a trumpet. (31)

I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet, (Revelation 1:10 NET)
After these things I looked, and there was a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said: “Come up here so that I can show you what must happen after these things.” (Revelation 4:1 NET)

This is very likely the voice of the archangel spoken of by Paul, which is to be sounded at the moment of the resurrection and the rapture. (26)

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, (1 Thessalonians 4:16 a NET)

When the Lord opened the sixth seal, the unrighteous of the world hid from God and cried out,

because the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to withstand it?” (Revelation 6:17 NET)

The answer is that the people of God can stand because the Lord seals them for protection. Hallelujah! The Lord knows those who are His, just as parents know their children. (10)

The prophet Nahum writes,

The Lord is good— indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress, and he protects those who seek refuge in him. (Nahum 1:7 NET)

The apostle Paul gave the same word of comfort and encouraged God’s people to live holy lives. He even referred to God sealing His own. (10)

Paul wrote to Timothy:

However, God’s solid foundation remains standing, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from evil.” (2 Timothy 2:19 NET).

We must distinguish God’s judgments on the wicked from the wicked persecuting the righteous. While God does not promise to spare His people from persecution and tribulation, there are numerous examples in the Hebrew Bible of God protecting His own before releasing His judgments. Genesis 6-8 teaches that God saved Noah and his family in the ark before He judged the world with the great flood. He delivered Lot before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18-19). In the Exodus story, God did not rapture His people out of Egypt. He protected them and then delivered them once His judgments were over. (10)

The Sealing of the 144,000 for Protection

Now I heard the number of those who were marked with the seal, one hundred and forty-four thousand, sealed from all the tribes of the people of Israel: From the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Asher, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Simeon, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Zebulun, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph, twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed. (Revelation 7:4–8 NET)

Here we have a respite in the breaking of the “Seals” so that God’s “elect of Israel” may be “Sealed” (10). A seal in the Roman world and Bible indicates possession (ownership) and protection. They are sealed on the forehead to indicate they belong to God (possession) and will experience His security (protection). Their sealing is to exempt them from God’s wrath, which had just been announced and then delayed until they are sealed. Contextually, God’s wrath cannot be understood to include the first six seals.

Similarly, in the Book of Ezekiel, we learn that God purposed to destroy the wicked in Jerusalem. But first, He instructed a holy angel to go through Jerusalem and put His mark on the foreheads of His righteous remnant. They were marked for protection just as these are marked. Those who had the mark of God would be protected from His wrath. (Ezekiel 9:1-10)

Ezekiel reads:

Then he shouted in my ears, “Approach, you who are to visit destruction on the city, each with his destructive weapon in his hand!” Next, I noticed six men coming from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with his war club in his hand. Among them was a man dressed in linen with a writing kit at his side. They came and stood beside the bronze altar. Then the glory of the God of Israel went up from the cherub where it had rested to the threshold of the temple. He called to the man dressed in linen who had the writing kit at his side. The Lord said to him, “Go through the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of the people who moan and groan over all the abominations practiced in it.” While I listened, he said to the others, “Go through the city after him and strike people down; do no let your eye pity nor spare anyone! Old men, young men, young women, little children, and women—wipe them out! But do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary!” So they began with the elders who were at the front of the temple. He said to them, “Defile the temple and fill the courtyards with corpses. Go!” So they went out and struck people down throughout the city. While they were striking them down, I was left alone, and I threw myself face down and cried out, “Ah, sovereign LORD! Will you destroy the entire remnant of Israel when you pour out your fury on Jerusalem?” He said to me, “The sin of the house of Israel and Judah is extremely great; the land is full of murder, and the city is full of corruption, for they say, ‘The LORD has abandoned the land, and the LORD does not see!’But as for me, my eye will not pity them nor will I spare them; I hereby repay them for what they have done.” (Ezekiel 9:1–10 NET)

In addition, God reserved 7000 in the days of Ahab, who did not bow the knee to Baal:

I still have left in Israel seven thousand followers who have not bowed their knees to Baal or kissed the images of him.” (1 Kings 19:18 NET)

Similarly, there will be a “remnant chosen by grace” of 144,000.

But what was the divine response to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand people who have not bent the knee to Baal.” So in the same way at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace. And if it is by grace, it is no longer by works, otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:4–6)

God will reserve 144,000 of Israel during the Day of the Lord who will not bow their knee to the Antichrist. This is not the sealing of the Holy Spirit, by whom the Believer is sealed. His indwelling presence in the believer is the absolute guarantee that his eternal salvation is secure. That what God has begun in His child He will bring to consumption and that nothing can thwart the divine purpose for His redeemed ones.

As God begins to pour out His wrath during the Day of the Lord, these 144,000 Jews will be protected. It will be the seal of God that will help them to survive through the entire Day of the Lord. (26)

And when you heard the word of truth (the gospel of your salvation)—when you believed in Christ—you were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, who is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13–14 NET) 

But rather a “sealing” at the hand of holy angels.

Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we [angels] have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:2–3 NET)

What this SEALING is, we are told it is “Jesus’ Name” and the “Father’s Name” is to be written on their foreheads.

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)

Realize that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit share a common name – Jesus (Yeshua)! (1)

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  of whom the whole family in the heavens and on earth is named, (Ephesians 3:14,15 YLT)

They were “Sealed” on their FOREHEADS where others could see them. Theirs was no secret discipleship.

The 144,000, 12,000 from each Tribe, will be of earthly Israel, the literal seed of Abraham, living at that time, and not of a mystical or spiritual Israel. Though the “Twelve Tribes” were long ago lost among the nations, their whereabouts are not unknown to God. And though they may have lost their genealogical books and records so as not to be able to trace their Tribal descent, God knows where they are and who is who, and on that day, the angels, with omniscient precision, will seal them according to their Tribes, 12,000 from each Tribe. The Angel who has charge of the sealing comes from the East. This is significant. It intimates that the “Sealed Ones” gaze toward the “Sun-Rising,” as if looking for the fulfillment of the promise. (8)

“For indeed the day is coming, burning like a furnace, and all the arrogant evildoers will be chaff. The coming day will burn them up,” says the Lord who rules over all. “It will not leave even a root or branch. But for you who respect my name, the sun of vindication will rise with healing wings, and you will skip about like calves released from the stall. You will trample on the wicked, for they will be like ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am preparing,” says the Lord who rules over all. (Malachi 4:1–3 NET)

The “Elect” then of Israel will be those who “respect Messiah’s name” and, like Simon and Anna, watched for His First Coming. They will be looking for what they believe is the first coming of their Messiah, although it is the second coming. (8)

These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from humanity as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, and no lie was found on their lips; they are blameless.

The Twelve Tribes of Israel

John gives the name of each tribe to show that only those of Jewish descent are to be sealed. He does this so one does not assume he is possibly speaking spiritually of the church. (26)

Note there is a remarkable difference in the names of the Tribes as recorded here and the original Twelve Tribes. Here the names of Dan and Ephraim are omitted, and Joseph and Levi are substituted. Why is this? The reason is plain in the Old Covenant: (8)

Beware that the heart of no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you turns away from the Lord our God today to pursue and serve the gods of those nations; beware that there is among you no root producing poisonous and bitter fruit. When such a person hears the words of this oath he secretly blesses himself and says, “I will have peace though I continue to walk with a stubborn spirit.” This will destroy the watered ground with the parched. The Lord will be unwilling to forgive him, and his intense anger will rage against that man; all the curses written in this scroll will fall upon him and the Lord will obliterate his name from memory. The Lord will single him out for judgment from all the tribes of Israel according to all the curses of the covenant written in this scroll of the law. (Deuteronomy 29:18–21 NET)

Any man, woman, family, or TRIBE that should introduce idolatry into Israel should have their name (s) “obliterated” or blotted out from under heaven and be separated from the Tribes of Israel. (8)

This is exactly what the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim were guilty of when they permitted Jeroboam to set up “Golden Calves” to be worshipped, one at Dan in the “Tribe of Dan” and the other at Bethel in the “Tribe of Ephraim.” (8)

Jeroboam built up Shechem in the Ephraimite hill country and lived there. From there he went out and built up Penuel. Jeroboam then thought to himself: “Now the Davidic dynasty could regain the kingdom. If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the Lord’s temple in Jerusalem, their loyalty could shift to their former master, King Rehoboam of Judah. They might kill me and return to King Rehoboam of Judah.” After the king had consulted with his advisers, he made two golden calves. Then he said to the people, “It is too much trouble for you to go up to Jerusalem. Look, Israel, here are your gods who brought you up from the land of Egypt.” He put one in Bethel and the other in Dan. This caused Israel to sin; the people went to Bethel and Dan to worship the calves. He built temples on the high places and appointed as priests people who were not Levites. Jeroboam inaugurated a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the festival celebrated in Judah. On the altar in Bethel he offered sacrifices to the calves he had made. In Bethel he also appointed priests for the high places he had made. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month (a date he had arbitrarily chosen) Jeroboam offered sacrifices on the altar he had made in Bethel. He inaugurated a festival for the Israelites and went up to the altar to offer sacrifices. (1 Kings 12:25–33 NET). 

This is why the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from this chapter, and the names of Joseph and Levi are substituted. However, the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are on the list of the Twelve Tribes that shall occupy the Holy Land during the Millennium: (8)

“These are the names of the tribes: From the northern end beside the road of Hethlon to Lebo-hamath, as far as Hazar-enan (which is on the border of Damascus, toward the north beside Hamath), extending from the east side to the west, Dan will have one portion. Next to the border of Dan, from the east side to the west, Asher will have one portion. Next to the border of Asher from the east side to the west, Naphtali will have one portion. Next to the border of Naphtali from the east side to the west, Manasseh will have one portion. Next to the border of Manasseh from the east side to the west, Ephraim will have one portion. Next to the border of Ephraim from the east side to the west, Reuben will have one portion. Next to the border of Reuben from the east side to the west, Judah will have one portion. (Ezekiel 48:1–7 NET)
“As for the rest of the tribes: From the east side to the west side, Benjamin will have one portion. Next to the border of Benjamin, from the east side to the west side, Simeon will have one portion. Next to the border of Simeon, from the east side to the west side, Issachar will have one portion. Next to the border of Issachar, from the east side to the west side, Zebulun will have one portion. Next to the border of Zebulun, from the east side to the west side, Gad will have one portion. Next to the border of Gad, at the south side, the border will run from Tamar to the waters of Meribath Kadesh, to the Stream of Egypt and on to the Great Sea. This is the land which you will allot to the tribes of Israel, and these are their portions, declares the sovereign Lord. (Ezekiel 48:23–29 NET)

That is, the sealing of the Tribes in this chapter is more for Heavenly Preservation than to keep them for an earthly inheritance. This view is confirmed by the fact that the tribes of Dan and Ephraim are later seen with the Lamb on the Heavenly Mount Zion. (8)

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. I also heard a sound coming out of heaven like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. Now the sound I heard was like that made by harpists playing their harps, and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one was able to learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from humanity as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb, and no lie was found on their lips; they are blameless. (Revelation 14:1–5 NET)

The omission of their names in this list of these “Sealed Ones” is to show that the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim must pass through the remainder of Daniel’s 70th week sealess and unprotected. (8) A remnant of the faithful from these two tribes will survive this period, even though not sealed for protection. (26)

Again, these are Jews that have not bowed to the Antichrist; they believe in the soon-coming Messiah and zealously keep the commandments. However, they have not yet acknowledged that the Messiah has already come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, and He is the cloud man of Daniel that is coming again!

I was watching in the night visions, “And with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man was approaching. He went up to the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. To him was given ruling authority, honor, and sovereignty. All peoples, nations, and language groups were serving him. His authority is eternal and will not pass away. His kingdom will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7:13–14 NET)

144,000 EVANGELISTS?

Much has been written that the 144,000 are Jewish evangelists who will witness Jesus to the world, bringing about the greatest revival ever seen. This is a fantastic tale, but unfortunately, that’s all it is. I do not mean to be cynical, but there is not one scripture in Revelation, or the entire Bible, that states that these 144,000 will evangelize the world. The story of their great evangelism has been told so many times that believers and most scholars believe it without checking the word of God to see if it is true. Besides, there is no scriptural evidence for this great evangelism; it would be impossible for these 144,000 to evangelize anyone. (26)

This is because:

  • God will begin to pour out His trumpet judgments, which are so powerful and immense that there will not be any time to evangelize while they run for cover. (26)
  • God will send mankind a strong delusion that they should believe the lie during the Day of the Lord. (26)
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 2:9–12 NET)

Men who have chosen to believe only in the love of God while forgetting His holiness and justness will be in for a tremendous surprise. The false believers among the seven representative churches of Asia Minor (1) will now realize their error, but it will be too late. The doom of everyone who has followed and worshipped the Antichrist has been sealed. In Isaiah, we are told that men will throw away the little idols they made into the image of the beast. This is because they will now realize that they have worshipped one who is not really the “god” he claimed to be:

They will go into caves in the rocky cliffs and into holes in the ground, trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the LORD and his royal splendor, when he rises up to terrify the earth. At that time men will throw their silver and gold idols, which they made for themselves to worship, into the caves where rodents and bats live, so they themselves can go into the crevices of the rocky cliffs and the openings under the rocky overhangs, trying to escape the dreadful judgment of the LORD and his royal splendor, when he rises up to terrify the earth. (Isaiah 2:19-21 NET)

Before this great wrath is poured out, Jesus must take His church. For His disciples are not to undergo the wrath of God. In the gospel of Luke, believers are assured that:

But when these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28 NET)

Once God has taken His church and begun His wrath, there will be no second chances for those who have followed and worshipped the Antichrist, whether Jew or Gentile. In fact, as we see these judgments being poured out, it is stated over and over again, by John, that mankind would not repent. This is because they cannot repent, for God has given them up to their delusion. To say that there will be the greatest revival in history during the Day of the Lord is inaccurate and unscriptural. (26)

Daniel’s 70th Week

Jesus Raptures His Church

Introduction from Daniel’s Vision

Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake… (Daniel 12:2 a NET)

After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9–12 NET)

After the sealing of the 144,000, John sees something absolutely incredible-a great multitude of men and women suddenly appearing in heaven. This multitude appears after the sixth seal, the sign of the sun, moon, and stars, and after the sign of the coming of the Son of Man.

Continuing in the Olivet Discourse, it must be remembered that, in context, Jesus has just described the Great Tribulation, the sign of the sun, moon, and stars, and the sign of the return of the Son of Man. Here is what the Lord states is to occur next: (26)

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31 NET)

This verse refers to nothing else but the rapture of His disciples. It occurs right after the sign of the sun, moon, and stars and after the sign of the Son of Man. At this very moment, the event that the body of Christ has desired and dreamed of takes place.

Paul revealed the following:

For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also we believe that God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep as Christians. For we tell you this by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will surely not go ahead of those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:14–18 NET)
  • The Lord would descend to earth.
  • There would be a shout of the voice of the archangel.
  • There would be the sound of a trumpet, and believers, both living and dead, would be gathered to Jesus.

The Archangel Michael

Then I saw another angel [i.e., the Archangel Michael] ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice [i.e., with the sound of a trumpet] to the four [fallen] angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:2,3 NET)

This is probably the same voice of the archangel spoken of by Paul that stopped the four fallen angels from initiating their destruction that also initiated the resurrection and the rapture of the saints. (26)

The prophet Daniel is shown this very occurrence:

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.

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

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



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)


The term that Jesus uses for “shortened” (Matthew 24:22) 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 in his second letter to the Thessalonians:

and then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will destroy by the breath of his mouth and wipe out [Gk, katargeo] 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 inactivity 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. 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.

However, only for the sake of the disciples of Jesus will the Great Tribulation be shortened. One absolutely must not confuse the Great Tribulation period with the Seventieth Week. The Seventieth Week will not be shortened, for it has been decreed to last seven years. The Seventieth Week has been decreed upon the unbelieving nation of Israel to bring them to final repentance and belief in Jesus. The Great Tribulation, on the other hand, is a period that begins at the midpoint where Satan, through the Antichrist, will attempt to thwart God’s final plan for Israel and the church. This period will separate the true believer from the false. This persecution will be cut short when the Day of the Lord begins, not the Seventieth Week. (26)

PARABLE OF THE WHEAT AND TARES

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)
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)

In the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus revealed that the angels (the reapers) would gather the wheat, or the true disciples, into the barn (Heaven) at the “end of the age.” Jesus told His disciples that His angels would first gather the “wheat” in His barn, and then they would reap and burn the “tares.” It was also revealed, by Paul, that the Lord Himself would descend as the wheat (believers) was gathered.

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a shout of command, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be suddenly caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NET)
Listen, I will tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a moment, in the blinking of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:51–53 NET)

The “last trumpet” does not correlate with the “seventh trumpet” of Revelation 11:15 (written Circa AD 64-96), which had not been written when Paul wrote 1 Corinthians (written Circa AD 52-55). Paul drew upon the Roman army’s practice to illustrate the church’s removal from the earth. The “first trumpet” signaled the troops to break camp. The “last trumpet” was the signal to begin to march (Josephus, Jewish War, 3.89-92) (34). The “last trumpet” will signal the removal of the church to heaven. (33) Hallelujah!

This trumpet is sounded by the Lord Himself after the sign of the Son of Man (His lightning flash of glory from east to west), as detailed by the prophet Zechariah:

Then the Lord will appear above them, and his arrow will shoot forth like lightning; the Lord God will blow the trumpet and will sally forth on the southern storm winds. (Zechariah 9:14 NET)

The Son of Man, Jesus Christ, does the reaping of the elect believers. At the same time, the angels will do the gathering, as the text of Matthew points out.

And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31 NET)

After the believers have been gathered, it will then be the angel’s job to do the reaping and the burning of the tares, or the unbelieving world.

This will begin with the trumpet and bowl judgments and culminate with the battle of Armageddon.

In the Gospels, Jesus unveils the sign of the “end of the age.” In agreement with His parable, angels now descend to earth, with the sound of a trumpet, to gather the elect from the four winds.

“Immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of heaven will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man arriving on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet blast, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:29–31 NET)
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light; the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then everyone will see the Son of Man arriving in the clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send angels and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13:24–27 NET)

Revelation declares that Jesus will return, and every eye will see Him.

(Look! He is returning with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the tribes on the earth will mourn because of him. This will certainly come to pass! Amen.) (Revelation 1:7 NET)
“And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves. People will be fainting from fear and from the expectation of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. (Luke 21:25–27 NET)

The entire earth will then understand that He is behind the fury about to ensue. We need to believe the word of God, that Jesus will return at the sixth seal, cutting short the Great Tribulation and the rule of the Antichrist. This is the revealing of the Day of the Lord. It is solely the Lord’s moment, and no one will be magnified other than Him. There will no longer be any confusion as to whether what is occurring on the earth is a natural disaster or a supernatural judgment from God above. Men will literally hide in caves to escape the wrath of God. Remember, the world has been told by the angels and the two witnesses that if they take the mark of the beast, they will be destroyed. The world now realizes that God really meant what He said. There will be no escape from the awesome destruction of God. (26)

Who are these elect that are being gathered? Jesus has already disclosed that they are the “wheat,” or His true disciples. Also, in Romans 11:7, the elect are defined as Jews and Gentiles who have put their faith in Jesus as Savior. (26)

What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was diligently seeking, but the elect obtained it. The rest were hardened, (Romans 11:7 NET)

In Matthew chapter 24, Jesus addresses His disciples and what would befall them in the days preceding His return. It should be safe to conclude that these same believers are being gathered by the angels as the Day of the Lord begins. Many shift the context of this verse as referring to the nation of Israel being gathered back to their land. There are a couple of reasons why this view is obviously incorrect: (26)

  • Never, at any point in Matthew chapter 24, does Jesus address national Israel. He always speaks in terms of the disciples or the elect. Even those who are told to flee Jerusalem when the abomination of desolation occurs are those who have read and understood the words of the Lord in these passages. Hence, they are believers.
  • The elect is said to be gathered from the four winds. They are not said to be taken back to Israel or protected by the angels.
  • This verse employs the exact language used in terms of Christ’s coming for His church at the resurrection: the descent of Jesus to the earth (Matthew 24:30), the sound of a trumpet, and the angels, or reapers, gathering the elect.
  • Nothing in the Old or New Testament speaks of national Israel being gathered back to their nation by angels. Yet, as we have observed, Scripture relates to angels gathering believers at the harvest of the “end of the age.”

So that His disciples completely understood what He was speaking about in these verses, Jesus next gave them a parable and two illustrations. (26)

THE PARABLE OF THE FIG TREE

“Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:32-35 NET)

While it is true that Israel is often referred to and symbolized by the fig tree, it does not necessarily follow that every time a fig tree is used in Scripture, it is speaking of Israel. Remember when Jesus saw Nathaniel under the fig tree (John 1:48). Does this passage mean that Jesus saw Nathaniel under the nation of Israel? The fig tree must not be taken to mean anything other than a fig tree unless the context demands otherwise. (26)

So what is the point of this parable? Jesus uses a simple analogy to explain to His apostles how they could know His coming for them was near. Just as they knew that summer was near when the fig trees put forth their leaves, they were also to understand that His second coming was near when they saw the signs that He had just outlined for them. Just as the budding of leaves is the sign of the imminence of summer, the signs that Jesus had just spoken about will signal the imminence of His return. Many prophecies proclaimed in Scripture have taken literally hundreds or thousands of years to be fulfilled. But Jesus tells His disciples that the generation that witnesses the beginning of these signs will see all of them fulfilled within their lifetime (Matthew 24:34). This is because these end-time prophecies will be fulfilled in a very short span of time: seven years. (26)

THE ILLUSTRATION OF THE DAYS OF NOAH

“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—not even the angels in heaven—except the Father alone. For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark. And they knew nothing until the flood came and took them all away. It will be the same at the coming of the Son of Man.Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one left.There will be two women grinding grain with a mill; one will be taken and one left. “Therefore stay alert, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have been alert and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (Matthew 24:36-44 NET)

Jesus now uses the illustration of Noah and the flood to hit home exactly what He was speaking about in the entire Olivet Discourse. Our Lord states that no one will know the day of His return. In context, he must refer to His coming for His church because Scripture explicitly states that Jesus will return to the nation of Israel at the end of the seven-year period. It will be very easy to calculate what day this will be once the seven-year treaty is signed or after the abomination of desolation occurs. However, Jesus is emphatic in revealing that no one can compute the day that He will return for His church at the rapture. (26)

Jesus likens His return to the days of Noah when everyone went about their daily activities until Noah entered the ark and God poured out His judgment on the world. In the same way, before the second coming of Jesus, the world will still be going about its daily business until His elect are gathered out and the Day of God’s Wrath begins. To illustrate this point further, Jesus discloses that two will be in the field, and one will be taken; two will be grinding, and one will be taken. The Scripture twisters immediately change the simple meaning intended by Jesus in this passage. They argue that this whole illustration refers to His return at Armageddon and that the one taken is taken in judgment at Armageddon. The one left is spared to enter Christ’s kingdom. There are some major flaws with this line of reasoning: (26)

  • This particular event is said to occur at a day and hour that no one would know and would catch the world, and possibly “believers,” by surprise. The battle of Armageddon will catch no one by surprise. In fact, as we will later see, the Antichrist and his armies will be waiting to fight against Jesus at the battle of Armageddon. This is because they know the exact moment He will return.
  • The battle of Armageddon has not been addressed in the entire Olivet Discourse. Why, then, do commentators feel that they are free to believe that Armageddon is being implied in these verses?
  • The word used for “taken” in verses 40 and 41 is the Greek word Paralambano. Strong’s Concordance defines Paralambano as “to receive near, i.e., associate with oneself.” Vines defines it as “to take to (or with) oneself.” It does not mean to be judged or taken in a negative sense.

In looking more closely at the Greek word “Paralambano,” it is interesting to note that Jesus uses this very same word when He speaks of His return for His disciples in John 14:1-3.

“Do not let your hearts be distressed. You believe in God; believe also in me. There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you.And if I go and make ready a place for you, I will come again and take you to be with me, so that where I am you may be too. (John 14:1–3 NET)

The word that reads “take” is the translation of the term “Paralambano.” By getting a clearer picture of the meaning of this word, we are to understand that “two will be in the field: one will be taken (received to Christ), and the other left,” just as Noah was received into the boat, and the ungodly world left for destruction. Since Jesus has just spoken of the angels gathering His elect, it is consistent with the context of this passage to interpret it as referring to His return for His church. Jesus warns His disciples to “keep watch,” because the exact hour of His return is unknown. However, the signs He outlined should give believers ample warning that it is imminent. If we recall, the letters to the seven churches indicated that some “believers” would not be prepared for the Great Tribulation, or the return of Jesus. In fact, to the church of Sardis, Jesus said He would come as a thief, and they would be caught completely by surprise (Revelation 3:3). Many scholars teach that the church’s rapture is without a sign and will occur without warning. If true, why does Jesus spend a full chapter in Matthew detailing the signs preceding His coming for the elect? Simple logic demonstrates that if one is told to “watch” and “be ready,” there must be something to watch for. The fact is that the entire Olivet Discourse contains the very events that the Lord’s disciples should be watching for. (26)

THE ILLUSTRATION OF THE TWO SERVANTS

“Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes. I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions. But if that evil slave should say to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 24:45-51 NET)

This final illustration in Matthew chapter 24 leaves no doubt that the entire discourse has been addressed to the Lord’s servants or disciples, and not solely to the nation of Israel. The faithful servants, who have persevered, and overcome the great persecution will be rewarded by Jesus. Those false servants who have not had genuine faith, but have turned from Christ and have beaten and persecuted His true servants, will have their portion with the rest of the unbelieving world during the wrath of God. These are those who were never true disciples. (26)

As the Apostle John states:

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us. (1 John 2:19 NET)

These unfaithful servants are the “tares” left on Earth when God’s reapers gather the “wheat,” or the true believers, into His barn. They are also those who were the false disciples amongst the seven churches. (26)

At this point, we conclude our study of the Olivet Discourse. Jesus does not give any further information concerning the Day of God’s Wrath, because that is not what the apostles were inquiring about. They just wanted to know the sign of Christ’s coming for His elect and the sign that the Day of the Lord had begun. As we have seen, our Lord’s answer correlates completely with every other passage we have studied thus far. We should then continue to see the rapture’s timing after the Great Tribulation and the sign of the “end of the age” in all other related Scripture, especially in the book of Revelation. Before moving back to Revelation, it would be wise to see if there is the same consistency in the timing of the resurrection within the Old Testament and the writings of the Apostle Paul. (26)

THE RESURRECTION IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Two main passages in the Old Testament deal with the timing of the resurrection. Although the rapture is not mentioned in the pages of the Old Testament, it is understood from the writings of Paul that it is to occur immediately following the resurrection of the dead. The first passage that we will address is contained in the book of Isaiah: (26)

Your dead will come back to life; your corpses will rise up. Wake up and shout joyfully, you who live in the ground! For you will grow like plants drenched with the morning dew, and the earth will bring forth its dead spirits. Go, my people! Enter your inner rooms! Close your doors behind you! Hide for a little while, until his angry judgment is over! For look, the LORD is coming out of the place where he lives, to punish the sin of those who live on the earth. The earth will display the blood shed on it; it will no longer cover up its slain. (Isaiah 26:19-21 NET)

This scripture, which speaks of the resurrection, reveals that it is to occur before the Day of the Lord. Those who are resurrected are hidden in God’s chambers until the “indignation” is past. This indignation is defined as being the day that “the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.” It is apparent from this passage that the resurrection, which includes the rapture, will occur before God’s wrath is poured out. This is in complete agreement with the Olivet Discourse, which shows believers being gathered immediately at the unveiling of the Day of the Lord. (26)

Another Old Testament passage that concerns itself with the resurrection is found in the book of Daniel:

“At that time Michael, the great prince who watches over your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress unlike any other from the nation’s beginning up to that time. But at that time your own people, all those whose names are found written in the book, will escape. Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake— some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence. But the wise will shine like the brightness of the heavenly expanse. And those bringing many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever. (Daniel 12:1-3 NET)

This “time of trouble,” described by Daniel, was defined by Jesus as the “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21).

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)

It is to begin at the midpoint of the Seventieth Week. Daniel discloses that many of his people will be delivered at this time. This is most likely speaking of the 144,000, and others of national Israel who will flee to escape the wrath of the Antichrist. Next said to occur is the resurrection of the righteous, and, eventually, the resurrection for the death of the unrighteous. What is important to understand is that, again, the resurrection is said to occur after the “time of trouble,” or the Great Tribulation, has begun. If the rapture is to follow the resurrection, then it also cannot happen, according to Daniel, until after the Great Tribulation has commenced. This passage clearly gives the timing of the resurrection and again agrees with the timing of the gathering of the elect given in the Olivet Discourse.

THE SEVENTIETH WEEK OF DANIEL AND THE RAPTURE

The pattern is extremely simple to follow, as Scripture does not ever contradict itself; however, it might contradict our theology.

Many of those who sleep in the dusty ground will awake— some to everlasting life, and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence. (Daniel 12:2 NET)

Unfortunately, this passage in Daniel blatantly contradicts the pre-tribulation rapture view, because it places the resurrection during the tribulation that the church is not supposed to be around for, as thought by many. To circumvent this passage, many propose that Daniel is speaking of a resurrection of only Old Testament believers. This view is often promoted even though no Scripture supports a separate resurrection of Old Testament believers. Believers in the Old Testament were saved by their faith in Jesus Christ, as is the case with those of the New Testament. Paul has told us that the dead in Christ shall rise first (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Paul does not specify the dead of the New Testament believers only, but the elect dead, of all the ages, who have put their faith in Jesus for salvation. (26)

Looking at both of these Old Testament passages, they agree that the resurrection and rapture will occur after the Great Tribulation but before God’s wrath is poured out. If this is truly the case, then this same scenario should be evident in the New Testament writings of the Apostle Paul. (26)

PAUL’S VIEW

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also came through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ, the firstfruits; then when Christ comes, those who belong to him.Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he has brought to an end all rule and all authority and power. (1 Corinthians 15:20-24 NET)

In this passage, the same pattern again appears to emerge in First Corinthians. First, Paul states that only those in Jesus Christ shall be made alive. This confirms that the Old Testament and New Testament believers will not experience resurrection unless they have put their faith in Jesus. Paul says that Jesus will glorify those who are alive at His coming. In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus disclosed that these elect believers would be gathered after the sign of the Son of Man, which He informed the disciples was the sign of His coming. Finally, Paul reveals that after the resurrection then, the end, or the Day of the Lord, would commence. This will be when the Lord pours out His wrath on the unbelieving nation of Israel and the Antichrist’s kingdom to establish His eternal kingdom. (26)

Confusion at Thessalonica

The most crucial texts on the rapture timing are probably in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians. This was an assembly that was undergoing intense persecution. Paul writes to them because someone had written a spurious document that stated to the believers in Thessalonica that the rapture had already passed, and they were now in the Day of the Lord. Paul combats this letter by relating to them the proper sequence of events before Jesus gathers His elect. Before presenting this chronology, he first comforts them amid their tribulation: (26)

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. This is evidence of God’s righteous judgment, to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which in fact you are suffering. For it is right for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to you who are being afflicted to give rest together with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels. With flaming fire he will mete out punishment on those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will undergo the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his strength, when he comes to be glorified among his saints and admired on that day among all who have believed—and you did in fact believe our testimony. (2 Thessalonians 1:4-10 NET)

Paul states that he has boasted of the Thessalonian believers’ perseverance amid persecution to the other churches of Christ. He then makes the incredible statement that these tribulations they are enduring are occurring so that they “may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God.” I had often strongly argued that the church would not go through the Great Tribulation because God had already forgiven us for our transgressions, so how could persecution make us any purer than the blood of Christ? Yet, Paul states that God is using this current tribulation to test the worthiness of those in the assembly at Thessalonica. Often persecution serves to separate the true disciple from the false disciple. While tribulation does not make a believer any more righteous in God’s eyes, it does bring to light who is truly following Jesus. This separation of the true from the false is the primary purpose of God, allowing the Great Tribulation of the Antichrist to fall upon His disciples. (26)

Paul next makes this verse a “near/far prophecy” by applying this church’s situation to the Great Tribulation of the end times. He states that God will eventually unleash His tribulation upon these persecutors while also giving rest, or resurrection bodies, to His faithful when Jesus is revealed from heaven. Paul declares that these will be punished “when He comes, in that Day to be glorified in His saints.” Again, the pouring out of God’s wrath will be initiated following His resurrection of the faithful. (26)

In the most important verses on the rapture’s timing, Paul gives the Thessalonian believers the exact timing of its occurrence. (26)

Now regarding the arrival of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to be with him, we ask you, brothers and sisters,not to be easily shaken from your composure or disturbed by any kind of spirit or message or letter allegedly from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord is already here. 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. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-5 NET)

Paul sets the context of these next verses as “the coming of our Lord and our gathering to Him.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1). This phrase clearly indicates that Paul will now address believers’ resurrection and rapture. After assuring the Thessalonians that the document they had received was false, he outlines the events that will occur before the Day of Christ and their being gathered to Him.

They are summarized as follows:

  • The Day (resurrection/rapture) will not come until the apostasy or the “falling away” comes first.
  • The Day will not come until the Antichrist is revealed as he stands in the temple and tells the world that he is God.

Paul is consistent with all other Scripture concerning the timing of the resurrection and the rapture. Paul places it after the great falling away, which are the false christ’s and false prophets of the First Seal (Revelation 6:1) and the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:5), and after the abomination of desolation, where the Antichrist sits in the temple and reveals to the world that he is God (Matthew 24:15). This text proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Paul believed the church would not be raptured until after the midpoint of the Seventieth Week, amid the Great Tribulation. It cannot get any clearer or more specific in this passage about when the Apostle Paul taught that the rapture would occur. (26)

It has been shown that there is absolute consistency in the timing of the resurrection/rapture in the Old Testament prophecies, the Olivet Discourse, and the writings of the Apostle Paul. It then stands to reason that the same sequence of events should be followed in the book of Revelation. (26)

After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. They were shouting out in a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, to the one seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood there in a circle around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving, and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!” (Revelation 7:9–12 NET)

If our hermeneutic is consistent with the other passages studied, then this great multitude has to be those gathered by the angels at the trumpet of God: the resurrected church! This unique occurrence is the “blessed hope” of the church: the Rapture! (26)

This great multitude stands before the throne of God, in contrast with the souls of the martyrs, who are said to be under the altar. (26)

After these things I looked, and here was an enormous crowd that no one could count, made up of persons from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb dressed in long white robes, and with palm branches in their hands. (Revelation 7:9 NET)
Now when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been violently killed because of the word of God and because of the testimony they had given. (Revelation 6:9 NET)

Nowhere in Revelation is it stated or implied that this great multitude is made up of martyrs. (26)

If we recall from our earlier study of God’s Throne (1), it was shown that the job of the Seraphim, or the four living creatures, was to purify those who would come before the throne of the Lord. The first four seals of Revelation were initiated by the Seraphim. They created conditions that would test and purify believers before the rapture and the Day of the Lord began. The Seraphim have completed their job by the sixth seal, and now the church is purified before God’s throne. (26)

John next tells us that the believers in this great multitude have palm branches in their hands. To have hands, one must have a resurrected body. It then becomes obvious this great multitude differs from the martyrs in that they have bodies. They are not mentioned as merely being souls, as was the case of the martyrs under the altar. (26)

Then one of the elders asked John just who this great multitude was. John seems rather surprised by their sudden appearance in heaven. Until now, John has only described seeing the four living creatures, the 24 elders, the martyred souls under the throne, and the great myriad of angels. This great multitude is a group of people that appears in heaven immediately after the sixth seal is opened. John defers to the elder to answer his own question. (26)

Then one of the elders asked me, “These dressed in long white robes—who are they and where have they come from?” So I said to him, “My lord, you know the answer.” Then he said to me, “These are the ones who have come out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb! For this reason they are before the throne of God, and they serve him day and night in his temple, and the one seated on the throne will shelter them.They will never go hungry or be thirsty again, and the sun will not beat down on them, nor any burning heat,because the Lamb in the middle of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:13–17 NET)

So why is John so surprised by this great multitude? He lived in a historical period when Christianity was still a small faith amongst thousands of pagan religions. John had no idea the extent, or the amount, of believers that would put their faith in Jesus Christ before His return. (26)

Again, this can only be the church of Jesus Christ, made up of those who have been resurrected and those who have been raptured out of the Great Tribulation. Many believers have put their faith in Jesus and had their sins forgiven and robes washed through His blood shed on Calvary. (26)

Here is what can be understood about this great multitude: (26)

  • They stand before the throne, distinct from the martyrs under the altar.
  • The multitudes have bodies, contrasting with the martyrs, who are said to be souls.
  • The multitude is said to consist of those who have come out of the Great Tribulation and those who have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb: Jesus Christ.
  • They appear in heaven after the sixth seal but before the Day of the Lord (Day of God’s Wrath) unfolds.

The Church has been brought safely to heaven, and the 144,000 elect of Israel have been sealed. It is at this point in time that the Day of the Lord unfolds. It is also at this point where the Olivet Discourse culminates. The disciples only asked Jesus to reveal the events that would signal His return. They did not ask Him how Israel would be restored or how the kingdom of the Antichrist would be overthrown. (26)

Revelation is the only book in the New Testament that details God’s wrath. It outlines in exact chronological order how these judgments will be accomplished. The Day of the Lord judgments are referred to often in the Old Testament, but only the book of Revelation puts together the exact chronology of how they are to occur. (26)

We learned that the Lord restrained the four fallen angels from releasing Satan’s curse on the earth’s vegetation and water until He sealed His people for protection against these judgments.

Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, who had the seal of the living God. He shouted out with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given permission to damage the earth and the sea: “Do not damage the earth or the sea or the trees until we [angels] have put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:2–3 NET)

Now that this has been accomplished, the Lord will open the seventh seal.


Detailed Description

Revelation Chapters 8 thru 11

Please see the following link for a detailed description of Revelation Chapters 8:1 thru 11:19

Part XIV: The Lord of the Scroll – Daniel’s 70th Week (The Day of the Lord (DOL))


His-Story (History) Series:



Shalom
(Security, Wholeness, Success)
Peace

Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 
(3 John 1:2 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) Witherington, B., III. (2006). 1 and 2 Thessalonians: a socio-rhetorical commentary (p. 211). Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

“But what of the Restrainer being removed from the scene? Nicholl (30) has shown that the LXX rendering of Dan. 12:1a refers to Michael standing aside or passing aside, which precipitates unprecedented tribulation for the people of God.”

(30) Nicholl, Colin. “MICHAEL, THE RESTRAINER REMOVED (2 THESS. 2:6–7).” Journal of Theological Studies, vol. 51, no. 1, 2000, pp. 27–53.

“In conclusion then, there is a good case for supposing the restrainer removed in 2 Thess. 2:6-7 to be Michael. For Michael could legitimately be, and indeed was, viewed as a celestial restrainer, based on Daniel 10-12, and, significantly, he was also understood by contemporary interpreters as ‘passing aside’ or ‘withdrawing’ (Dan. 12:rn) just after a reference to the eschato­ logical antagonist’s setting up of his royal tents near or at the temple mount (11:45a) and immediately before a reference to the breaking out of the final, unequalled tribulation upon God’s people (12:1b).”

(31) Trumpet as Loud Voice —  (2016). The Lexham Figurative Language of the New Testament Dataset. In J. R. Westbury, J. Thompson, J. Parks, & K. A. Lyle (Eds.), Lexham Figurative Language of the Bible Glossary. Faithlife.

A loud voice is conceptualized as a trumpet.

(32) World population reached 8 billion people on November 15, 2022, according to the United Nations. https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

(33) Hughes, R. B., & Laney, J. C. (2001). Tyndale concise Bible commentary (p. 559). Tyndale House Publishers.

(34) Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged (p. 643). Hendrickson.

4. (89) When they are to go out of their camp, the trumpet gives a sound, at which time nobody lies still, but at the first intimation they take down their tents, and all is made ready for their going out; (90) then do the trumpets sound again, to order them to get ready for the march; then do they lay their baggage suddenly upon their mules and other beasts of burden, and stand, at the place for starting, ready to march; when also they set fire to their camp, and this they do because it will be easy for them to erect another camp, and that it may not ever be of use to their enemies. (91) Then do the trumpets give a sound the third time, that they are to go out in order to excite those that on any account are a little tardy, that so no one may be out of his rank when the army marches. (92) Then does the crier stand at the general’s right hand, and asks them thrice, in their own tongue, whether they be now ready to go out to war or not. To which they reply as often, with a loud and cheerful voice, saying, “We are ready.” And this they do almost before the question is asked them; they do this as filled with a kind of martial fury, and at the time that they so cry out, they lift up their right hands also. 

(35) Water, M. (2001). The New Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs (p. 15). John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

 (36) Richards, L. (1999). Every man in the Bible (p. 208). T. Nelson.

 

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

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