The Tribulation The Great
The word tribulation is the English translation of the Greek word thlipsis. It is also translated affliction, persecution, distress or trouble. It conveys the idea of pressure, affliction, persecution, anguish or trouble. It has a common root with the Greek word thlibo which is commonly translated persecution, and also both of them are used in tandem ( Matt.13:21; Mark 4:17; Rom.8:35 ). It is used about twenty times in the NT. The most frequent use is in a nonprophetic setting, for instance: ” In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” ( Jon.16:33). Paul wrote to the Romans, ” And we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” ( Rom.5:3,4). Paul also wrote to the church at Corinth concerning the comfort with which they were comforted of God in time of persecution: “Who comforted us in all our tribulation, that we may be able also to comfort them who are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God” ( 2Cor.1:4).
There are only six verses of the Scriptures which can be clearly identified as using the word tribulation in a prophetic context or setting. Rom.2:2-9 and 2Thess.1:6 may have prophetic signifance but have no bearing on the chronology of the great tribulation. Of the six, one of them occurs in the OT. ” When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days” ( Deut.4:30). There is no clearly defined period in the OT referred to as the latter days. Therefore the word tribulation in this context must be interpreted in the light of its clear usage in the NT.
Of the five usages of the word in a prophetic context, four occur in the Gospels in the teachings of our Lord Jesus the Christ. All these four occurrences are in the Olivet Discourse Matt.24,25; Mk.13; Luk.21 ). The fifth occurs in the Book of Revelation.
In the Olivet Discourse, Jesus spoke to his disciples, saying, ” For then shall there be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” ( Matt.24:21). The Great Tribulation that our Lord is speaking about here shall occur in relation to the desecration of temple with the abomination that maketh desolate spoken of by Daniel the prophet ( Dan.9:27), and the warning to flee Jerusalem added by our Lord Jesus Christ ( Matt.24:15-20). The desecration of the Rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem is generally agreed by biblical scholars to occur precisely in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel ( Dan.9:27; cp. Rev.12:6,14), specifically three and one half years into the 70th Seven of Daniel. The word tribulation in Matt.24:21 is qualified with the modifier or adjective Great which sets it apart from any other tribulation we may experience in our lives or the church may have experienced in the past or may experience in the future other than in the context of the 70th week in association with the abomination of desolation. In Matt.24:29, our Lord again used the word tribulation. ” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken.” It is obvious anyway that the tribulation our Lord is speaking about in Matt.24:29 is the Great Tribulation which He has already referred to in Matt.24:21.
In Mark 13:19, our Lord warned, ” For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of creation unto this time, neither shall be.” The Greek word translated affliction here is the same word thlipsis which is translated tribulation or persecution elsewhere. It also linked as in Matt.24:21 to the desecration of the temple at the midpoint of the 70th Seven with the abomination that maketh desolate, and the addendum by our Lord Jesus Christ, the warning to flee Jerusalem ( Mark 13:14-18). As in the Olivet Discourse in Matt.24, five verses later, our Lord intimated His disciples, ” But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light” ( Mark 13:24). That the tribulation in verse 24, is the same as the affliction in verse 19, there can be no doubt. This is also associated with the desecration of the temple which precedes it as in Matthew. Therefore of the four times our Lord spoke of tribulation in a prophetic context, he was speaking of the Great Tribulation which occurs three and one-half years into the 70th Week of Daniel, or precisely at the middle of the 70th week, and is associated with the desecration of the temple by the abomination that maketh desolate, and the warning to flee Jerusalem.
In each of the four instances where our Lord spoke of the Great Tribulation in a prophetic context or setting, He was referring to the persecution of God’s elect in the hands of wicked men, never the wrath of God which is directed towards the wicked who obey not God nor worship Him. Therefore, prophetically, the Great Tribulation is the wrath of Satan executed by wicked men against the saints of the Most High, not God’s wrath against the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the antiChrist.
As we have pointed out, the other use of the word tribulation is in the Book of Revelation in relation to the great multitude which no man could number arriving in heaven. ” And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, Who are these who are arrayed in white robes? And from where did they come? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of the great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” ( Rev.7:13,14). The phrase translated great tribulation here is literally the tribulation the great in Greek. As in the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, the word tribulation is qualified with the adjective great. It is no doubt a reference to the Great Tribulation which begins at the midpoint of the 70th Seven which is precipitated by the abomination of desolation, not at the inauguration of the 70th Seven of Daniel.
On examination of the use of the word tribulation in the Bible in a prophetic context or setting, a clear fact emerges. It is always used to describe the period of time that begins at the midpoint of Daniel’s 70th seven, but never the first half of it. Therefore, it is technically wrong to refer to Daniel’s 70th week as the Tribulation Period, and the second half as the Great Tribulation. It may in fact be somewhat acceptable to refer to the 70th week as the Tribulation Period; for it is definitely a period of trouble, it does however build an a priori case for pretribulation rapture position. It is definitely wrong to refer to the second half of the 70th week as the Great Tribulation: for that would mean that the Great Tribulation covers the entire length of the second half of the 70th seven, which is not indeed the case.
Some bible expositors like the gifted Greek scholar Kenneth Wuest call the entire 70th week of Daniel the Great Tribulation. According to Wuest, ” The next prophetic event will be the Day of Christ or the rapture of the Church. Following that will come the great tribulation, a period of seven years, the seventieth week of Daniel ( Dan.9:24-27).” This view ignores the fact that the great tribulation begins precisely at the midpoint of the 70th week when the antiChrist imports the image of himself into the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem dedicated to the worship of Jehovah God. Louis Sperry Chafer shares the same erroneous view. As touching the tribulation period, he wrote: ” concerning the great tribulation period, it has been observed that it is the seventieth week of seven years which was predicted by Daniel.”
The large majority of pretribulation writers view the entire 70th week as the Tribulation Period, and the last three and one-half years as the Great Tribulation. For example the comment of Charles Caldwell Ryrie on Daniel 12:7. ” The events of the Tribulation will be consummated when the three and one-half times ( the three and one-half years of that seven-year period) come to a close. These last three and one-half years constitute the great tribulation” ( cf. Matt.24:21). However, the word of God does not teach that the Great Tribulation is three and one-half years in duration. This is an assumption by pretribulation rapturism that is biblically unfounded.
Our Lord Jesus spoke of the Great Tribulation that will begin at the midpoint of the 70th week ( Matt.24:21). He said, ” And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” ( Matt.24:22). The only possible antecedent to ” and except those days should be shortened” is the Great Tribulation. The Great Tribulation is the diseased part of the limb. Just like an orthopedic surgeon would amputate a limb part of which has be totally damaged by osteomyelitis, lest it kills the patient, the Lord like an orthopod will amputate ( Greek: koloboo ), the Great Tribulation. What is cut short or better still amputated is the Great Tribulation, not the entire length of the second half of the 70th seven of Daniel. The same truth is taught in the Olivet Discourse in the Gospel According To Saint Mark. ” For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days” ( Mark 13:19,20). So, it is very clear that what is shortened or better still amputated is the Great Tribulation, not the entire second half of the 70th week of Daniel.
The prophet Daniel was told by the angel of the Lord, ” Seventy weeks are determined upon they people , and the Holy city ( Dan.9:24). The 70th week is the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy. In Rev. 12:6, this period is designated in days. ” And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared by God that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threes ore days.” 1,260 is 42 months or three and one-half years. It was also designated in months: ” And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months” ( Rev.13:5:). Forty-two months is also three and one-half years. Rev.12:14 refers to it in years: ” And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”
It is obvious from the aforementioned Scriptures that the entire 70th week is not shortened, neither the second half of three and one-half years. What is shortened is the Great Tribulation. It is less than three and one-half years in duration. It begins at the middle of the 70th weeks, but does not run until the end of the 70th week. For the elect’s sake, it shall be shortened. The Great Tribulation shall be cut short with cosmic disturbances. ” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give its light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken; and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” ( Matt.24:29,30).
The cosmic disturbances parallel the sixth seal ( Rev.6:12,13). The cosmic disturbances will darken the heavens and frozen the earth. It will be the appearance of the son of man in the heaven, the Shekinah that will dispel the darkness, brighten the heavens and defrost the earth. The natural lights of the universe shall be shut off, and the supernatural light, the glory of God shall be revealed. The manifestation of God’s glory, the Shekinah signals the presence of God. This is the sign of His coming and the end of the ages. God’s presence will be revealed through the universal manifestation of His glory, the Shekinah. He then raptures the Church before He pours out His wrath upon the living wicked earth-dwellers. God’s wrath, contained in the seventh seal, consists of the the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. Cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal will precede the coming of the Lord to rapture the Church and judge the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast.
If the sixth seal is placed at the end of the 70th week as pretribulation rapturists do, whatever happens to the seven trumpets and seven bowls, considering the fact that there are but 30 days to Armageddon. The fifth trumpet alone lasts as long as five months and the sixth trumpet perhaps even longer. There is no doubt that their chronology of eschatological events is without biblical justification.
Here is a summary of the major points we have presented so far about the Great Tribulation. (1) The Great Tribulation begins at the midpoint of the 70th week provoked by the abomination of desolation and the unveiling of the man of sin. (2) Although the Great Tribulation occurs in the second half of the 70th seven, it does not run the whole length of three and one-half years. (3) It is amputated by the cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal. (4) The sixth seal darkens the heavens and freezes the earth. It is the Shekinah, the appearance of His coming, the visible and universal manifestation of the glory of God that will dispel the darkness and defrost the earth. It is the sign of His coming and of the end of the ages, His answer to the question posed to the Lord by His disciples, ” What shall be the sign of thy coming and of the end of the ages?” (5) Christ’s coming will be to rapture the Church and to judge the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers, and adorers of the antiChrist.
The Great Tribulation begins precisely at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel when there is war in the heavenlies, and Satan and his fallen evil angels are cast down to the earth. ” Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he has but a short time” ( Rev.12:12b ). He possesses the antiChrist, gives him his power, seat and great authority ( Rev.13:2). At this juncture, the antiMessiah suffers from what is called political megalomania. He relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem ( Dan.11:45), makes his debut at the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem ( 2Thess.2:4), desecrates the temple by importing a statue of himself into the Holy of Holies of the temple ( Dan.9:27), unveils himself as a dead man come back to life ( 2Thess.2:3; Rev.13:3), and declares himself God, demanding worship of all mortals ( 2Thess.2:4).
The importation of the image of the antiMessiah into the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah, the desecration of the precincts of the temple by the antiChrist and his acolytes, Gentiles who have no saving relationship with the God of Israel, and the violation and spoilation of the Holy Of Holies is the Abomination of desolation.
” And for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the one who maketh desolate” (Dan.9:27c).
The phrase overspreading of abomination or wing of abomination in the KJV is better rendered extreme point of abomination. It is the height, zenith, the apogee of abomination. It shall bring desolation to the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah dedicated to the worship of the one and only true God, Yahweh of Judah. Like his prefigure, the Greek king of Syria, Antiochus Theos Epiphanes, he shall desire to assimilate all peoples in his realm of dominion. Every citizen of his kingdom must abandon his own God or gods, culture and customs, embrace and worship him as God, and accept his prescribed way of life.
When the temple is thus violated, the observant Jews who through length of experience have come to abhor idolatry and sacrilege shall desert the temple. This abomination shall make the temple a desolation because it shall cause the worshippers in the temple to desert it. Besides, at the same time the antiMessiah desecrates the temple, he also declares himself God, and demands worship of all mortals, more so of the Jews in Jerusalem. The antiMessiah does not just demand to be worshipped, he kills anyone who refuses to worship him as God ( Rev.13:15). For this purpose, he shall surround Jerusalem with armies. “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is near” ( Luk.21:20).
” who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” ( 2Thess.2:4).
At the same time also, he unveils himself as a dead man come back to life.
” And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, Saying, Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” ( Rev.13:4).
The world shall be frightened into submission to the antiChrist simply because he is dead man come back to life.
Apostle Paul writing to the Thessalonians warned them: ” Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” ( 2Thess.2:3).
When the scripture warns us to beware of deception, it is because there is a great risk of deception. It is because there is a likelihood some might begin to teach that That Day, the Day Of The LORD, the day on which the rapture shall take place might occur prior to the unveiling of the man of sin. Apostle Paul makes it clear here that That Day shall not occur until there be an apostasy first and the man of sin be revealed. Greek scholars tell us that by the tenure of the words, both events, the apostasy and the revelation of the man of sin are initiated simultaneously on the same day, and at the same place, in the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem.
When the antiChrist unveils himself as a dead man come back to life, and declares himself God, demanding worship by all mortals, very few men will have the bravado to resist him. A good number of Jews and Christians shall capitulate to his authority, abandoning the Faith of their fathers. This is what Apostle Paul described as “the falling away first” , an event that will precede the rapture and the Day Of The LORD. Those who refuse to capitulate to the authority of the antiMessiah shall desert the temple to flee into the judaean wilderness. Although both events are concurrent and simultaneous, the unveiling of the man of sin and the apostasy, Paul reasoned from effect backwards to the cause. The unveiling of the man of sin as dead man come back to life, his self-deification and demand to be worshipped by all and sundry are the cause of the apostasy and the desolation of the temple.
The Great Tribulation covers the following events in the eschatological timeline: the Jerusalem campaign ( Luk.21:20), the 4th and 5th seals of the Scroll of Revelation ( Rev.6:8-11), and the Jehoshaphat campaign ( Joel 3:1,2). All these events occur in the second half of the 70th Seven of Daniel beginning from the midpoint.
Prelude To The Great Tribulation
The Great Tribulation shall be sparked by a confluence of events that occur in the middle of the 70th week. Precisely at the midpoint of the 70th week, a lot of critical events occur which initiate the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist which is the wrath of Satan. The wrath of Satan begins at the commencement of the 70th seven, when the antiChrist signs a seven-year peace treaty with the many from within Israel, but turns into a Great Wrath when he is cast down to the earth in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel. ” Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the Devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” ( Rev12:12b).
(1) War In The Heavenlies
The headquarters of Satan is not in hell as some people urge to believe. Satan dreads hell which God built for him and his fallen evil angels ( Matt.25:41). The headquarters of the kingdom of darkness is in the dark void from where he scurries off to heaven to accuse the believers and roams the earth ( seeking whom he may devour, Job 1:7,2:2; 1Pet.5:8 ) and the starry heavens. But precisely in the middle of the 70th seven, Satan’s access to the heaven of heavens shall be cut off. ” And there was war in heaven: Michael, and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out unto the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” ( Rev.12:7-9).
Michael, the warrior archangel of God, and the angels of God under his command, fought against the Dragon and his fallen evil angels. The Dragon and his hordes of fallen evil angels were defeated, and forcibly cleared out from the dark void and the starry heavens. They were forcibly evicted from the heavenlies. They lost their abode in the heavenlies. The Dragon lost his access to the court of heaven where he accuses the brethren before the Lord. “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them” ( Rev.12:12). This shall bring much joy to the heavenly dwellers; for no one brings foul accusations before them against the saints on earth any more. They shall be joyful to be rid of his obnoxious accusations against the saints on earth and his frequent foul presence in the holy precincts of the court of heaven.
(2) Satan Cast Down To The Earth
The first stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan was his eviction from the heaven of heavens to the dark void and starry heavens. It is from there that he goes to and fro the earth, up and down in it. From there he prowls around on earth seeking whom he he devour ( Job1:7; 2:2; 1Pet.5:8). The second stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan and his rebellious fallen evil angels will be to cast them down from the dark void and the starry heavens to the earth. He shall be barred access from not only the heaven of heavens and the Throne Room of God in the Temple in heaven but also from the dark void and the starry heavens. His sphere of influence will be restricted to the earth. ” And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” ( Rev.12:10).
(3) The Removal Of The Restrainer
What is holding back the tide of evil from inundating the earth is the presence of the restrainer. Obviously the Church, human government and the Holy Spirit have some restraining influence on evil on earth, but none of these have been identified as the restrainer amongst Orthodox Jews in antiquity. The identity of the restrainer is not debatable amongst orthodox Jewish scholars. The restrainer has been identified in antiquity as archangel Michael. Without the removal of the restrainer, evil cannot run riot on earth. Without the removal of the restrainer, there will be no Great Tribulation. At the midpoint of the 70th week, after he has cast down Satan and his fallen evil angels to the earth, prior to their being herded into the abyss and Hell respectively, God shall put him on a leave of absence.
Our brother Paul writing to the Thessalonians said: ” And you know what withholdeth that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now leteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall the wicked one be revealed, the son of perdition, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all, deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; became they received not the love of the truth, that they may be saved” ( 2Thess.2:6-10).
There are two personalities identified here. The second personality is the antChrist, the lawless or wicked one, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power, signs, and lying wonders. There is no argument about the identity of the second personality. But there is no consensus of opinion amongst Christian bible scholars about the identity of the second personality. Our brother Paul did not bother to identify the restrainer to his audience because his identity is already pretty well known to his immediate audience, the Thessalonians. Paul probably told them who he was in his previous oral instructions while he was with them. When the archangel Michael “amads”, that is, ceases to do what he normally does best, defending the people of God, there shall be a time of trouble. ” And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince who standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book of life. And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to everlasting contempt” ( Dan.12:1,2).
The 15th century French Jewish scholar Rashi commenting on this Scripture said: ” The Holy One, blessed be His name, said to Michael, ” stand still” , thou shall not defend my people any more.” So, the correct translation of amad is stand still. So Michael will not stand up, or arise, in order to defend Israel during the time of trouble that follows immediately, but rather will stand still or stop doing what he normally does, that is stop his restraining influence over the demonic forces of Satan. The antiChrist will now reveal his true identity to the world, and as Satan’s proxy will vent the fury of Satan on the people of God. Immediately Michael stands still, there is a time of distress. The time of distress that occurs following the removal of the retraining influence of archangel Michael is identifiable with the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist which is a manifestation of the wrath of Satan against the people of God. What Daniel said about this time of trouble is the same as what Christ said about the Great Tribulation: ” For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” ( Matt.24:21). ” And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was nation even to that same time” ( Dan.12:1a).
The statement in Mat.24:21, ” such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be” is identical to the statement in Dan.12:1, ” and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time.” And we can see that this time of trouble which has no comparison to any in the annals of history nor any future events shall be inaugurated when Michael the prince that standeth for thy people amad. This time of trouble is associated with the cessation of Michael standing up for the people of God. In the light of these Scriptures, it is evident that Michael is the restrainer who standeth for thy people; for scripture must be compared with scripture, and also scripture interprets scripture.
(4) Satan Possesses And Empowers The antiChrist
With the restrainer taken out of the way, there is no one to rein in the Devil. Satan possesses the antiChrist. He gives him his power, seat, and great authority to rule over the earth in his behalf. ” And the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” ( Rev.13:2). Babylon will become the hold and cage of every foul spirit and hateful bird. ” And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird ( Rev.18:2). There is a city called Babylon. It shall become the religious and commercial headquarters of the kingdom of the antiMessiah. Babylon also refers to the false religion instituted by the antiChrist, and headed by the false prophet. It is also referent to corrupt human government instituted by Nimrod in defiance to God. Adherents of this religion shall be highly demonized by the evil and foul spirits evicted from the dark void and the starry heavens. These demons shall possess whosoever they can. Because of the high level of demonization, evil shall run riot on earth. Violence shall be the order of the day. Men and women shall drink sexual immoralities like water. Drunkenness and drug addiction shall be shall be the staple of many. So also will be murder and ritual killings, and all kinds of evil.
(5) antiChrist Relocates His Headquarters To Jerusalem
Before the midpoint of the 70th seven, the headquarters of the antiChrist shall be somewhere in the land of Magog, from where he shall form a coalition of the three most powerful European nations, Magog, Meshech, and Tuval. He shall unite them with Javan, and six other nations in Africa and the Near East to form a ten-nation confederation, the 8th and Final Beast Empire. He amasses the most powerful armies in the annals of military history with the most sophisticated weaponry ever. Posing as Israel’s protector on account of the peace treaty, he relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem at the midpoint of the 70th week. ” And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him” ( Dan.11:45). The seas spoken of here are the Mediterranean and the Dead seas. The glorious holy mountain is Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is the center of the earth. It is the gateway to the three major continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Besides, the enemies of the antiChrist are not in Europe and America but in Asia and Africa. It shall be easier for him to administer his armies from the Middle East. And most importantly, he wants to show the world that he is superior to the Sovereign LORD of the Universe, the God of Israel and the Christians by taking over the Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah built for the worship of Jehovah.
(6) antiChrist Makes His Debut At The Temple
On relocating his headquarters to Jerusalem, he makes his debut at the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. There he shall reveal himself as a dead man come back to life and demand worship of all mortals. ” And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall the wicked be revealed, who the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause, God shall send them a strong delusion, that they should believe the lie: Thatall might be armed who believed not the Truth, had pleasure in unrighteousness” ( 1Thess.2:6-12 ).
(7) antiChrist True Identity Unveiled
Prior the to this time, the antiChrist shall travel incognito, unrecognized as it were for who he truly is. Except for members of his inner circle and the believers who have learned from the word of God of his true identity, the mass of humanity would not know that the antiMessiah is a dead man come back to life, who has ruled one of the seven previous beast empires, who shall ascend from the abyss, the underworld of the dead to rule the 8th and Final Beast Empire of Satan. Because it will serve his purpose, he will not hide his identity any more. He shall take away the veil and reveal himself as a dead man come back to life. Men shall be literally paralyzed with fear. This shall be the singular most important factor that shall grant him overwhelming influence over the lives of the majority of the living wicked earth-dwellers. ” And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to the death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon who gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying , who is like unto the beast, and who is able to make war with him? ” ( Rev.13.3,4). As for the Jews who made a peace covenant with him, it shall be so terrifying for them to understand that they have made a covenant with a dead man come back to life ( Is.28:19).
(8) antiChrist Makes Himself God
When Satan entered into Judas, the man from Iscara, he betrayed his Master Jesus. When he possesses the antiChrist, he shall become a political megalomaniac. He declares himself God, and demands worship of all living earth-dwellers. ” Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” ( 2Thess.2: 3,4).
(9) The Abomination Of Desolation
The antChrist and his henchmen shall violate the precincts of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem dedicated to the worship of Jehovah. At the same time he violates the temple precincts, he shall import a robotic image of himself into the Holy Of Holies of the temple. This shall be like in the days of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Greek ruler of the Seleucid dynasty who defiled the Jewish altar of holocaust by sacrificing a pig, an unclean animal on it. He also put a statue of the Olympian Zeus or the Canaanite Baal Shemen in the Holy Of Holies of the second temple built by the returning exiles. The image of the Olympian Zeus was a bust of Antiochus himself. He claimed to be the God made manifest, Antiochus Theos Epiphanes. He was the prefigure of the antiMessiah.
So, like his prefigure, the antiMessiah shall desecrate the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. This is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet. ” And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the one who maketh desolate” ( Dan.9:27). This shall be the extreme point of abomination when a man sits in the temple built for the worship of Jehovah, declares himself God, and demands worship of all mortals. ” Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God , or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” ( 2Thess.2:3,4).
(10) Abolition Of The Daily Sacrifice
When the Jewish temple on Mount Moriah is rebuilt, the Jews shall resume temple worship and the daily morning and evening animal sacrifice, grain, and drink offerings. When the antiMessiah makes his debut at the temple, he shall put a stop to the daily animal sacrifices, meal and drink offerings. ” In the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease” ( Dan.9:27b). He will do this because he will not recognize any God. He will not brook any rivals. ” who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” ( 2Thess.2:4).
(11) The antiMessiah Demands Worship Of All Men
From the moment the antiChrist declares himself God, he shall demand all men worship him. The larger majority of the living wicked earth-dwellers shall worship him being awed by the fact that he is a dead man come back to life. The antiChrist is not just a dead man come back to life, he ruled over one of the seven previous beast empire of Satan. A lot of folks will be awed, frightened and horrified by this singular fact, and will not have the courage to resist him. They will question their ability to resist him because of the fact that he is a dead man come back to life, and because their names were not written in the Lamb’s book of life. ” They worshipped the Dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” ( Rev.13:4).
Beyond this, the antiMessiah has the most sophisticated armies in the world at his beck and call. He is also in control of food supply. To effect his plan to get all men to worship him, he shall introduce a mark of loyalty to his assumed divinity. Anyone who receives this Mark shall be a loyal citizen of his kingdom. Anyone chipped or branded shall be at liberty to buy and sell, and engage in any business transactions. Those who reject this Mark shall not be able to buy and sell. If they have not previously stockpiled food and other supplies like water and energy, they could die of starvation, exposure to the elements, or be caught trying to procure food for themselves and their families and loved ones. This hall be a horrible period of time in the history of man on Earth.
(12) Extreme Dearth
The wars, commotions and rumors of wars ( the second seal ), the famines, pestilences and earthquakes ( third seal ) of the first three and one-half years will create a confluence of hard economic conditions all over the globe. Wars disrupt farming. The population is in motion. Cities will be destroyed alongside whatever industries and businesses therein. Commercial shipping will be disrupted as nations war one against another. Goods from combatant nations may not get into enemy countries. Nations will treat one another as pariahs. Others will be blockaded to bring them to submission. There will be huge refugee crisis. International organizations that deal with refugees and relief agencies will not be able to function. The UN, EU,AU and other regional organizations will be rendered powerless as nations jockey for power. There will be realignment of nations. For example, the President of Zambia declared it an Islamic State. Will it still remain a member of UN and AU, and be guided by their principles? Coupled with all these are earthquakes in diverse places. In this kind of situation, it may be virtually impossible to do anything for the victims of natural disasters. When there is an earthquake in a war zone, who will risk his life to go there and bring relief to the victims?
The antiChrist has anticipated this situation of extreme dearth. There probably will be economic boom prior to this time. It will probably be like the situation in Egypt in the days of Joseph. There will be years of plenty followed by years of famine. The antiMessiah being the smart Aleck that he is would have stockpiled food, medicine and other supplies. He will turn this to his own advantage in time of scarcity. He will use food as a bargaining chip. He will tell the citizens of his kingdom, ” I will put a chicken in every pot. Take my mark of allegiance, and you will have plenty to eat and drink.” Do you know what? He shall deliver. It will be extremely difficult for anyone to resist the antiChrist if one has not adequately prepared ahead of time. The frivolous attitude that God will take care of every believer whether or not one had heeded Christ’s instructions concerning perseverance ( Rev.3:10 ) or not will not hold water.
Remember that Satan and his hordes of fallen evil angels now abide on earth. A lot of men are now indwelt by these demons. There is utter wickedness among men. Human feelings will fly out the window. Humaneness will be gone. Men will become heartless and utterly selfish. Most men will be concerned with their immediate needs and nothing else. ” Let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die” ( 1Cor.15:32c). Corruption will be at its peak. The antiChrist loves this chaotic situation because it enables him to divide and rule, to set one man against another. There will be total insecurity. There is no telling what evil man is capable of in a state of insecurity. There will be insecurity of life, property and food and shelter. In situations like this, men eat one another, and women eat their children. It shall be very dismal.
(13) The Hybridization Of The Human Race
Right now as I write there is an attempt to corrupt humanity by the incorporation of animal and plant genes into the human genome. This work is going on feverishly in many laboratories around the globe, some of them hidden in the Amazon and African forests away from the prying eyes of some activists. The humanoids or transhumans, the products of these experiments will be neither wholly men, animals nor plants. There is a disconnect between these men and the rest of humanity. This will lead to wickednes and utter chaotic confusion. Men with animal and plant traits but no human sympathy will be an aberration on humanity just like the nephelim in the days of Noah ( Gen.6:1-8 ). God instituted salvation for man who alone of all creation is made in His image and likeness. Animals do not have spirits to be redeemed. Their souls are based on their flesh which disintegrate when they die. They are not eternal beings. A union between man, an eternal being made in the image and likeness of God, and plant and animal which are temporal is an abhorrent corruption.
Besides, the nephelim are here again. Fallen evil angels are cohabiting with human females and producing and reproducing hybrid humans who are neither wholly men nor angels. These men cannot be saved being humanoids. Fallen angels are locked in unrighteousness and therefore cannot be saved. God decreed a distinction between men and angels, but Satan and his acolytes are attempting to obliterate that distinction. As it was in th days of Noah before th deluge, these men are utterly heartless without human sympathy. They are here again. In those days, it repented God that He had created man because the wickedness of man was great in the Earth, and thoughts and the imaginations of his heart were evil continually ( Gen.6:5 ).
(14) The Pretribulation Rapture Position
One of the worst evils that has befallen the Church in the last two centuries is the pretribulation rapture position which began amongst the Plymouth Brethren in Britain in 1828. It came through a charismatic visionary teenager named Margaret MacDonald. Prior to this time, the historic position of both the Roman Catholics and the Protestants have been that the Church will go through a difficult time during the Great Tribulation before being raptured prior to the outpouring of the wrath of God upon the living wicked earth-dwellers. This position was not designated prewrath rapture position, but that was what it was all about. The pretribulation rapture view was popularized in Britain in 1832 by J. N. Darby of the Plymouth Brethren, and Edward Irvine, a medical doctor, and a prolific charismatic who is credited with being the father of modern Pentecostalism.
It came across the Atlantic to the United States in the early 20th century. It was popularized by Scofield through his reference Bible. It is the most popular view of rapture amongst evangelicals. It has anesthetized the Church to the dangers and horrors of the Great Tribulation which according to the word of God she must go through before being raptured. Of late this view has been further popularized by Tim La Haye and Jerry B. Jenkins through novelization of the book “Left Behind” by Tim La Haye. There are seventeen volumes in the series. Each of them sold over 60 million copies. The Church is inundated with this view which renders believers very vulnerable to the machinations of the antiMessiah. It will be very disastrous for the Church to enter into the 70th week of Daniel without prior preparation to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist having been taught that she will be raptured to Heaven on the wings of silver bird before the antChrist hangs out his shingles.
(15) The Church’s Preoccupation With Prosperity
The prosperity message has further weakened the Church being based on the theology of convenience. Because God of miracle is our Papa, we cannot suffer. But it is plainly written in the Scriptures that if we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him ( 2Tim.2:9a ) . ” Yea, all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” ( 2Tim.3:12). It is given unto us in the behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but to suffer for His sake ( Phil.1:29 ). “For I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us” ( Rom.8:18). ” Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous but grievous: nevertheless afterward, it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” ( Heb.12:11). There is taste in the white of an egg ( Job 6:6b ). There is no pleasure in suffering, but it carries an eternal weight of glory. How can we be so preoccupied with prosperity when Jesus warned us in the parable of the sower that riches are deceitful ( Matt.13:22 ). If we think we can have plenty of it and not be deceived, we are already deceived. It will not be long before every parrot of prosperity will shut up his mouth. When the antiChrist signs a seven-year peace treaty with Israel, and the rapture has not taken place, every voice of pretribulation rapturism will be silenced. In that day, they shall go into the basement and upper chambers and cellars to hide themselves. Unfortunately some ministers oblivious of the emergence of the antiMessiah at the commencement of the 70th Week will still be preoccupied with preaching prosperity, success, and the good life, embarking on white elephant church projects, running bible schools and universities, and looking for solution to social ills until the Great Tribulation happens upon them unawares.
A generation of Christians brought up on bread and butter message of prosperity and no suffering, entering the 70th week of Daniel, confronted with the horrors of the Great Tribulation will be a disaster. Therefore there is a great need to teach the prewrath rapture position, to reorientate the mindset of the Church to go through horrors of the wrath of Satan without falling away.
(16) Modern Technology
One of those factors that will add to the confluence of events to make the Great Tribulation possible will the development in modern technology. Google has mapped out the whole world. One can make call to and from almost anywhere in the world. Electronic mails have almost eliminated the art of letter writing as a means of communication. One can communicate with almost anyone anywhere in the world through Skype, BBM, WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc. With this ease of communication comes the erosion of privacy. Almost any electronic gadget one purchases nowadays is equipped with GPS. Even thermostats in people’s homes are equipped with GPS. The government and its security apparatus can monitor anyone of its citizens at any time. They can monitor one’s movement and activities. Even when one’s phone is not in use or switched off, the manufacturer and the mobile network can pinpoint its exact location. Every government has the responsibility under God to protect its citizens. In an attempt to sieve out terrorists, criminals and felons, every citizen will be monitored. This is a necessary evil. Christians had better be aware of it.
(a) Biometric Implants
With escalation in terror attacks, those in government have enormous responsibility to protect the citizenry. There are private citizens and members of civil liberties union who feel their privacy is being infringed upon or eroded by the activities of the government and its security apparatus. But this is a necessary evil. The government has both the right and the responsibility to protect its citizens. Very soon there will be a harmonization of all biometric data. Driving license, national ID, BVN, credit and debit card numbers etc will be collapsed into one social security number with all relevant biometric data specific to the individual. Initially this number will be carried about on a plastic card. But in order to avoid theft, it will have to be implanted in some part of the body. Biometric implant is already in use in some parts of the world, especially in the Scandinavian countries. This is what the antiChrist will use as a mark of allegiance to his authority. Even before the antiChrist makes his debut at the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, biometric implants will be very commonly in use. The antiMessiah will standardize its use in his kingdom. Lots of our celebrities wear tattoos. What is a biometric implant to those who are accustomed to tattoo mark? The society is already being primed for it. Those who fail to capitulate to his authority will not be able to buy and sell or transact any business.
(b) Cashless Society
In some societies in the West, except drug barons and money launderers, there is hardly anyone with more than a few notes on ones person at any point in time. It is very cumbersome to carry money about. There is the risk of loss in transit, theft and armed robbery. In a place like Sweden, over 70% of business transactions are done online. Very soon cash will be eliminated altogether. With NFC and mobile applications like Google wallet etc which enables one to purchase online, the use of cash will soon be almost unnecessary. All that is left for it to become a reality is the political will on the part of those in government. With one’s account linked to one’s biometrics, one can purchase almost anything online, it will be delivered to one’s door. A cashless society will enable the government and its security apparatus to monitor almost every transaction except in cases where some agree orally to trade by bater. Because it makes it much easier to monitor terrorists, the government will encourage cashlessness. The antiChrist will eventually use cashlessness to his advantage to regulate and monitor allegiance to himself.
(c) Global Wealth Confiscation
The antiChrist will seek to control the wealth of the world. He needs the money to finance the most sophisticated armies in the world. Therefore he will fleece his citizens. The scripture refers to him as the extortioner and the spoiler. ” Let my outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land” ( Is.16:4 ). During the Great Tribulation, the antiChrist will invade Israel in what is called the Jerusalem campaign. The outcasts of Israel will be those who refuse to give their allegiance to the antiChrist. The outcasts of Israel will flee to Moab, which is part of modern day Jordan to escape captivity. But the Jordanians will not cooperate. Due to age old animosity, the Jordanians will kill some of them, and hand over others to the antiChrist; for which reason they will be severely punished by God (Obad.1:10-14; Zeph.2:8-11 ).
Very soon banks will no longer be bailed out by the government. In case of shrinkage of capital, capital flight or lack of liquidity, banks will be bailed in by the depositors. They will seize the deposits of account holders to restore liquidity. Here the antiChrist is referred to as the extortioner, and the spoiler, and the oppressor. He will take spoil of the temple treasures. He will extort money from the Jews in the land of Israel. He will do this all over his vast empire. He will tax the citizens heavily. He will confiscate the wealth of the citizens especially the rich who do not agree with him. Those who do not take his Mark of allegiance will forfeit their bank accounts and properties. He will loot the treasures of conquered nations. He will confiscates their oil wells and mines. He will loot the banks of conquered nations, and confiscate the deposits of account holders. He will confiscate the wealth of churches which do not give him allegiance.
” He shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, all the precious things of Egypt: and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps” ( Dan.11:43 ).
When the antChrist invades and conquers Egypt, he will loot the treasures of Egypt, the treasures of gold, and of silvers, and the precious things of Egypt. These will include artworks and all the archeological treasures of Egypt and the Sinai oil fields. Like ISIS he will auction artworks and archeological treasures in order to raise funds for his vast armies and numerous military campaigns. There is no free launch; someone pays the bill. He will also control the wealth of all the nations of his ten nation confederation; these Kings will give their power and strength, and kingdoms unto him ( Rev.17:13,17 ). This shall be his manner in his kingdom and over the conquered nations.
(d) Internet Of Things
One of the most wonderful inventions of man in our time is the computer and the Internet. It has revolutionized our world as did the steam engine, crude oil, telephone, electricity, and aeroplane etc. Most valuable things we need today we can purchase online. Very soon we can purchase almost anything online. There will soon be an Internet of things or better still Internet of everything. What that means is that one can purchase anything online. Internet of everything, cashless society and biometric implants will make it a lot easier for the antiChrist and his minions to monitor all transactions to ensure that no one without the mark of allegiance ( Mark of the beast ), can buy or sell. It will be virtually impossible for anyone without the mark of the beast to engage in any form of transactions. Those who do not have this mark could die of starvation if they have not previously stocked food, medicine and other supplies. If they get anything from anyone who has it, it will be entirely on the grounds of mercy and good will, if not stolen.
The Great Tribulation Begins
At the commencement of the 70th week, because of the peace treaty with Israel, the antiChrist posing as the protector of the Jewish state will station some of his troops in Israel, especially the Holy City, Jerusalem. But precisely in the midst of the week, he shall relocate his headquarters from somewhere in Europe to Jerusalem, the land between the two seas- the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas- in the glorious Holy Mountain. ” And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end and none shall help him” ( Dan.11:45). In anticipation of Jewish opposition, and in order to enforce the apostasy, the antiChrist shall massively surround Jerusalem with troops.
The Jerusalem Campaign
” And when you shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that in the countries enter thereinto. For these shall be the days of vengeance, that all things written may be fulfilled. But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be Great Distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be lead away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” ( Luk.21:20-24).
The phrase translated Great Distress here in verse 23 is the same translated Great Tribulation in Matt.24:21. As we can see here, the fleeing to the mountains of them that are in Judaea is associated with the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies. The same events associated with the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies is associated with the abomination of desolation standing in the place where it ought not, that is, the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem ( Matt.24:15-20; Mark 13:14-18). We have already proven that this event, the abomination that maketh desolate which is the importation of the image of the antiMessiah into the Holy of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem dedicated to the worship of Jehovah occurs precisely in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel.
“For he shall cut the covenant with the many ( from within Israel ) for one week; and in the midst of the week ( midpoint ) he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations, he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the one who maketh desolate” ( Dan.9:27).
It therefore follows that these two events are concurrent. They occur when the restrainer is removed. When the opposition of Michael, the archangel that standeth for His people is removed, the Beast-antiChrist shall be at liberty to do as he pleases. This initial invasion of Jerusalem by the armies of the antiMessiah in order to enforce the apostasy is dubbed the Jerusalem campaign in order to distinguish it from the other two campaigns that will take place in the same vicinity, namely the Jehoshaphat campaign and the Armageddon campaign. The Armageddon campaign begins in the vicinity of Jerusalem also but ends in the Battle of Armageddon in the valley of Esdraelon in northern Israel, about 160 km north of Jerusalem.
This campaign which shall occur at the beginning of the Great Tribulation shall lead to increased death toll amongst Jews and Christians in the Holy land if it falls on the sabbath day or in the winter. ” And pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day” ( Matt.24:20 ). If it occurs in the winter, many more Jews and Christians fleeing from the antiChrist persecution shall perish from exposure to the elements. Right now we are in the midst of refugee crisis in Europe fleeing ISIS persecution in Syria and Iraq. Something has to be done quickly to provide them shelter before the winter arrives. In the midst of the 70th week, there shall be no government or organization to provide shelter for Jews and Christians fleeing from the antiChrist in the Holy Land. There will be no Red Cross or Medicine sans frontier to provide them with medical care. These international NGOs will not be able to function due to wars and rumors of wars, and earthquakes in diverse places. There will be total disruption of communication and international cooperation. The rules of war enshrined in the Geneva Convention will be rubbished.
It shall be worst for the observant Jews if the flight associated with the invasion of Jerusalem by the antiChrist occurs on the sabbath day. The sabbath day journey is a little more that half a mile. The observant Jew shall run so far and no more. He shall be apprehended, coerced to capitulate to the authority of the antiMessiah by taking his mark of allegiance or be killed on refusal to comply. The majority of the observant Jews shall reject this Mark of allegiance to the antiMessiah outright and pay with their lives.
How difficult shall it be for pregnant mothers and those with children and women who are giving suck in those days? It shall be extremely difficult for them to get away from Jerusalem, more so if the flight occurs in the winter; and worst still on the sabbath day in the winter for the observant jewess. These women and their children shall not be able to go very far, and could die from exposure to the elements or be caught and be coerced to capitulate to the antiChrist or be liquidated on refusal to comply. Others will be taken taken into captivity. Some will be be publically humiliated.
The Fourth Seal
” And when He had broken the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto him over the fourth part of the Earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the Earth” ( Rev.6:7,8).
The fourth seal is the Great Tribulation proper. The fourth seal is Death itself closely followed by Hell. Power was given it over the fourth part of the Earth. The instruments of death will be sword, hunger, death itself, and the beasts of the Earth. Satan wants to be the sovereign Lord of the Earth. He plans to archive his aim of defeating God by disqualifying all potential citizens of Christ’s millennial Kingdom by branding them citizens of his own satanic kingdom or killing them outright if they refuse to be branded citizens of his own satanic kingdom. No living earth-dweller will be forcibly branded, but force can be used to obtain compliance.
Precisely at the midpoint of the 70th week, the antiChrist will declare himself God. This will happen after Satan and his hordes of fallen evil angels are evicted from the dark void and the starry heavens by archangel Michael, and the angels of God under his command ( Rev.12:7-9). He possesses the antiChrist who relocates his headquarters from Europe to Jerusalem in a move called the Jerusalem campaign. He defiles the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah by importing a statue of himself into the temple, and demanding worship of all inhabitants of the Earth.
Because of the large number of fallen evil angels cast down to the Earth, many living earth-dwellers will be possessed by demons. A good number of these demons cast down to the Earth shall find abode in Babylon, the commercial and religious capital of the kingdom of the antiChrist ( Rev.18:2). The remainder of these demons shall be free to roam the Earth and possess whosoever they are able to possess. Because of the preponderance of demons on Earth, iniquity shall abound and the love of many shall wax cold ( Matt.24:12). There shall be escalations in evil, wickedness, unrighteousness, and all manner of abominations.
The false religious system instituted by the antiChrist shall be spearheaded by the Second Beast, the false prophet. He shall ingratiate himself to the First Beast by mesmerizing the inhabitants of the Earth to worship the Dragon-Beast ( Rev.13:11-15). He shall bewitch the living wicked earth-dwellers to worship the First Beast by performing outstanding and supposedly genuine miracles, signs and wonders. For example, he shall cause fire to come down from heaven in the sight of men. He shall cause the statue or image of the antiChrist to speak ( Rev.13:13-15). And he shall use his position in the antiChrist setup to garner much wealth for himself and his false religious institution ( Rev.18:19).
Apart from the image of the Beast in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and at strategic locations throughout his empire, citizens of the kingdom of the Beast shall be required to make little images of the Beast in gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, and wood in their homes to worship; every man according to what he can afford ( Rev.9:20).
Therefore in the day of the Lord, when God shall shake terribly the Earth, these living wicked earth-dwellers , worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast shall cast away their idols of silver, and their idols of gold, which they have made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the Earth. Because in those days, God shall utterly abolish the idols, these men shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the Earth, for fear of the LORD, and the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the Earth ( Is.2:18-20). ” The gods that have not made the heaven and the Earth, even they shall perish from under the Earth, ad from under these heavens” ( Jer.10:11). And the idols He shall utterly abolish ( Is.2:18 ).
The antiChrist shall attempt to brand all living earth-dwellers with the Mark Of The Beast on their foreheads or right hand. The Mark Of The Beast, like the seal is indicative of ownership, authenticity, security and protection. The Mark 666, is a biometric implant consisting of a social security number of 18-digit computer barcode, with other essential biometric data specific to the individual. It is for the purpose of identification. When one is chipped or branded, one becomes a true citizen of the kingdom of the antiMessiah. It ensures that one’s allegiance to the kingdom is guaranteed. The one can buy and sell, and engage in other transactions in the kingdom. Without it, one cannot buy and sell or obtain medical and other insurances ( Rev.13:17).
Those who do not have this Mark could die of starvation if they have not stocked away food and other supplies before hand. They shall be hounded, ferreted out, and coerced to take the Mark Of The Beast. Those who refuse, do so under the pain of death. This Mark is irreversible. It does not count if done by force. Those with this Mark shall face the wrath of God during the day of His wrath.
” And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead or right hand, the same shall drink for the wine of the wrath of God , which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name” ( Rev.14:9-11). Anyone with the ark of the Beast, shall face the wrath of God. Those with the mark of the beast who survive the war of Armageddon, if at all, shall be executed. Anyone with this mark is doomed for eternity. No one with the mark of the beast shall be raptured or become a citizen of Christ’s millennial kingdom.
It will be very difficult for anyone without the Mark of the beast to survive in those days. The antiChrist shall stockpile food and other supplies before the Great Tribulation begins, which he shall use as bargaining chips to compel the inhabitants of the Earth to comply to be branded citizens of his satanic kingdom. Except one has already prepared a hideout beforehand, with food and other supplies, one could be caught trying to procure them without the Mark of the Beast.
The Beast’s allotted time is a short period of three and one-half years, but it is a long time to live without being resupplied. If those days were not cut short, no flesh, that is, the observant Jew, believer or anyone else for that matter who refuses the Mark of the Beast shall survive. With advancement in modern technologies, the antiChrist and his army of enforcers shall be able to ferret out all nonconformists. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be cut short ( Matt.24:22). Besides, the antiChrist shall ferret out and coerce to accept to be branded those who do not readily and willingly take the Mark of the Beast. Those who refuse the Mark of the Beast when caught or discovered shall be executed, some of them by decapitation ( beheading). The faith and patience of the saints shall be if one is to go into captivity, into captivity the one goes; and if anyone is to be killed with sword, with the sword, the one shall be killed ( Rev.13:10). There is a crop of the saints that shall take it upon themselves not only not to hide, but to go about persuading others not to take the Mark of the Beast. When caught, the antiChrist shall give them special punishment, death by beheading ( Rev.20:4).
Besides the placement of the image of the Beast in the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, and instructing his followers to make images of him in gold, silver, other metals, precious stones and wood, enlivened images of the antiChrist shall be stationed at strategic locations: public squares, public buildings, stadia, market squares, malls, supermarkets, banks, post offices, streets and road junctions, educational institutions etc to identify those who do not have the Mark of the Beast. Those who do not have the Mark of the Beast shall be coerced to accept the Mark of the Beast. Those who refuse will do so under the pain of death.
These enlivened images of the Beast, which the Bible refers to as the beasts of the Earth ( Rev.6:8), are robotic images of the antiChrist equipped with artificial intelligence ( AI ) to identify those who are not branded with the Mark of the Beast, and to cause them to be killed. These enlivened images of the Beast act as robocops differentiating those who bear the Mark of the Beast from those who do not. They have the capacity to arrest those who do not bear the Mark of the Beast, coerce them into compliance or kill them if they refuse to comply.
It will be extremely difficult to evade these enlivened images of the Beast trying to procure food for one’s family and loved ones. The best escape will be to prepare a hideout with adequate supplies beforehand for at least three years. The second half of the 70th week is three and one-half years in duration. The first six trumpet judgments occur within the same period. The fifth trumpet alone lasts for five months ( Rev.9:5 ), and the sixth even longer, perhaps about a year. If the first four trumpets last about a year, it therefore follows that the Great Tribulation shall be about one year in duration, give and take. To be on the safe side, it will be more reasonable to store supplies for at least a period of two to three years, inasmuch as apart from the fifth trumpet, the duration of the other trumpets, the first four trumpets and the sixth are not specified in the Scriptures. Believers who master the end times, know that they have a maximum of three and one-half years to prepare, from the time the antiChrist signs a seven-year peace agreement, the so called covenant with death, with the many from within Israel, to the time he makes his debut at the Third Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. He that has ears let him hear.
Apart from the enlivened images of the Beast stationed at strategic locations to identify and cause to be killed those who refuse the Mark of the Beast, the antiChrist shall have an army of enforcers to carry out his orders to brand all citizens of his kingdom. These will be like the SS officers who follow in the heels of the German Army, the Wehmacht, to enforce Hitler’s Final Solution To The Jewish Question. They shall include, secret service agents, the army, the civil defense, the coast guards etc. With the fast development in modern technology and computer, it shall be extremely difficult, perhaps near impossible to evade these overzealous and watchful eyes. Besides these special government officers, ordinary citizens shall be encouraged to inform and report on one another, just like in the communist era in the communist countries at the height of the Cold War. Children shall betray their parents and vice versa. Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold ( Matt.24:12). And a man’s enemy shall be those of his own household ( Matt.10:36; Mark 13:12 ). It shall be difficult to find trustworthy brethren. There will be false believers. Secret agents of the government of the antiChrist shall infiltrate underground Christian groups posing as brethren. There shall be wolves in sheep’s clothing ( Matt.7:15;10:16; Luk.10:30 ). There shall be false teachers, false prophets, and false messiahs, all there to deceive ( Matt.24:5;Mark 13:22,23 ).
The system of government of the antChrist shall be based on mistrust. The antiChrist shall trust no one. Therefore his citizens shall be encouraged to inform on one another. Parents shall report on their children, the children shall be against their parents. The daughter-in-law shall be against the mother-in-law, and vice versa. Then shall be fulfilled the words of Christ: ” think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance with his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. A man’s foes shall be those of his own household ( Matt.10:34-6 ).
The antChrist shall apply the principle of divide and rule. He will destroy family fabrics, and encourage evil of all sorts, some of them so vile that they are unmentionable. He shall not respect family ties. ” And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold Matt.24:10,12 ). Even within the Church shall arise false brethren who shall betray others. It shall not be advisable to trust anyone at that unless one can vouch for them. ” Now brother shall betray brother to death, and the father the son ; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death ( Mark 13:12 ). Those shall be evil days and times indeed.
The antiChrist will have control of the whole world for a season. ” And it was given unto him to make war with the saints , and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations. And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him , whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” ( Rev.13:7,8 ). He will probably massacre a quarter of the world population. “And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with the sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth” ( Rev.6:8 ). Christians constitute about a quarter of the world population today. It does appear all the kings of the Earth will at first accede to his policy of branding every living person on earth with his Mark of allegiance more out of fear because he is dead man come back to life. But later on, there will be some kings and kingdoms that shall oppose him. ” And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the Beast. And they worshippers the Dragon who gave power to the Beast: and they worshipped the Beast, saying, who is able to make war with him?” ( Rev.13:3,4 ). The singular most important factor that will initially frighten the whole world into submission to the antiMessiah is the fact he is dead man come back to life, who has ruled over one of the seven previous beast empires of Satan, and is risen from the dead to rule the 8th and the Final Beast Empire. But towards the End Of Time ( End Of Ages ), some of these nations shall begin to oppose him.
” And at the time of the end ( of the ages ) shall the king of the South push at him: and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over. And he shall enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon. And he shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethiopians shall be at his steps. But tidings out of the East and out of the North shall trouble him: therefore he shall go forth with great fury to destroy, and utterly to make away many. And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious Holy Mountain; yet shall he come to his end, and none shall help him” ( Dan.11:40-45 ).
There will be other kings and kingdoms which shall oppose him, like the king of the North, the kings of the East ( China, India, Pakistan, Indonesia etc ), and the king of the South. ” And at that time shall the king of the South push at him ( antiChrist ): and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and passover” ( Dan. 11:40 ). ” And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east may be prepared” ( Rev.16:12 ).
It is difficult at this time to define the king of the North. The north here refers to countries north of Israel. There are some who define it as Russia. But Meshech and Tuval which constitute the bulk of Russia shall be two of the three power base nations the antiMessiah will use to build the 8th and the Final Beast empire of Satan. Whatever is left of Russia after the separation of Meshech and Tuval may unite with other nations in North and Eastern Europe, and countries in Central Asia to form the king of the North. We may probably not be able to define this king until the beginning of the 70th Seven. The king of the North may be a group of nations that come together in order to oppose the antiChrist, a reaction of sort to his ten nation confederation, and his oppressive rule, and his demand to be worshipped.
There is the king of the South, and the king of the North, but there are kings of the East. The East shall not be one regional body ruled by one king, there shall be independent powerful nations from the East which oppose the antiMessiah. This should not surprise us because the nations of the East, like China, India, and Pakistan are regional rivals with differing political and religious bases and ideologies. They are all nuclear powers. India is predominantly Hindu. Pakistan is predominantly Muslim. China is predominantly Confucian and Buddhist. These do not naturally agree. Pakistan broke away from India, and Bangladesh with the assistance of India from Pakistan. In both politics and in religion, these nations like to maintain their individual distinctiveness.
The African nations south of the Sahara may form a strong regional body. The head of that body may be the king of the South who will oppose the antiChrist. We have already stated that all nations shall initially accede to the demands of the antiChrist primarily out of fear that he is a dead man come back to life. All nations kindreds and tongues shall obey him. But towards the END OF TIME, they shall rebel because of his oppressive rule, claim to divinity, and demand to be worshipped. The fact that the king of the South shall oppose the antiChrist does not however mean that Christians shall not be persecuted in this region. It may be that there will be countries in Africa south of the Sahara that shall be allied to the antiChrist. Besides, Africa is readily accessible via the Atlantic, and Indian oceans and the Mediterranean Sea. The antiChrist may invade Africa through amphibious operations. And any part of it may be invaded and conquered through airborne divisions.
” He shall enter into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, Edom, and Moab and the chief of the children of Ammom” ( Dan.11:41 ).
There are some biblical scholars who believe that the reason these peoples shall escape invasion by the antiChrist is because they shall be neutral. These peoples shall not be neutral at all. Though they are not part of the ten-nation confederation of the 8th and Final beast empire of Satan, they shall be allied to the antiChrist. Edom refers to the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. Moab and Ammon are the children of Lot through inadvertent incest on the part of Lot in the third degree of alcoholic inebriation ( Gen.19:30-38 ). Although God did not give their land to the children of Israel when they came out of Egypt, these were enemies of Israel throughout their history in the Holy Land. During the destruction of Jerusalem by king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 586 BC, they were part of the invading army of Babylon. They participated in the desecration and spoilation of the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. They cut off and apprehended the escapees of Juadah. Some of them they executed, and others they handed over to the Babylonians ( Obad.1:10-14 ).
Today, these ancient kingdoms constitute the modern day Jordan which was established in 1921 by the British on almost 77% of Mandate Palestine designated for the creation of the Jewish State which includes a substantial part of the tribal allotments of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Menashe in order to appease the Saudi royal family. The royal family in Jordan is of the same decent and lineage with the royal family in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ( KSA ). It was originally named the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. During the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist, these peoples shall repeat history by cutting off Jews who shall escape to the red rose city of Petra in modern day Jordan, and participate in the desecration of the temple precincts and spoilation of its treasure, for which reason they shall become an eternal memorial ( Obad.1:15,16 ).
Egypt shall not be part of the 8th and Final beast empire. That does not however mean that Christians and Jews shall be safe in Egypt. Egypt is predominantly Muslim. Traditionally, Muslims persecute Christians. The period of the Great Tribulation shall be no exception. Besides, the antiChrist shall invade and conquer Egypt. ” He shall stretch forth his hand also upon the countries: and the land of Egypt shall not escape. But he shall have power over the treasures of gold and of silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; and the Libyans and the Ethipians ( Cushites ) shall be at his steps” ( Dan.11:42,43 ). The antiChrist shall confiscate the wealth and treasures of Egypt. How else shall he finance his vast and most sophisticated armies in the whole world except through global wealth confiscation and the looting of the treasures and treasuries of nations which he shall conquer. He is rightly named the extortioner, the spoiler and the oppressor ( Is.16:4 ).
Cush shall be part of the 8th and Final Beast empire of Satan. In OT times, Cush refers to the area south and west of Egypt, not modern Ethiopia, formally called Abyssinia, which in biblical times was referred to as Sheba ( 1Kin.10:1-13; 2Chron.9:1-12; Matt.12:42; Luk.11:31 ). The reference to Queen Candace of Ethiopia in the Book of Acts ( Acts 8:27 ), is a reference to Queen Candace of Mero which was an ancient kingdom in modern day Sudan. It is wrong to translate Cush as Ethiopia as did KJV. Cush is better translated black, for that is what it means literally. Cush will probably be modern day Sudan. Phut shall be part of the 8th and Final Beast Empire. Phut in ancient times refers to Libya and the surrounding areas, which in modern times may include Tunisia, parts of Algeria etc. it is likely the king of the South may not include Africa north of the Sahara. We must also bear in mind that in ancient time, kings and their kingdoms were synonymous; it is the context that differentiates between the two.
The nations amongst them that are predominantly Muslim may still persecute Christians and Jews. Everywhere in the world at that time Christians shall be persecuted. They shall be seen as political obstructionists and antigovernmental subversives. For example, China, India, Indonesia, and Pakistan shall not be part of the 8th and Final beast empire nor be allied to it; nevertheless they shall persecute the believers as they do right up to this day. ” Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my names sake” ( Matt.24:9 ). It is wrong for us to think that only the antiChrist and his allies shall persecute believers and Jews at that time. We see here that believers shall be persecuted in all lands even in those areas of the world which are not within the ambit of the antiChrist. For the believers, Jews, and all nonconformists, the Great Tribulation shall be a worldwide phenomenon. Nations will be at war one with another, and there shall be regional hegemonies, rivals and rivalries. Believers shall be viewed as nonconformists and subversives because they will not give their allegiance to the these powers who run their kingdoms on principles contrary to God. The condition on Earth at that time shall be one of war, therefore death shall be very brutal. Anyone who does not give allegiance to the powers that be shall be seen as antigovernmental subversive. Ye shall be led captive into all nations, and shall be brought before kings and rulers ( Luk.21:24 ).
There will be a preponderance of false Christs, false teachers and false prophets. They shall perform outstanding and supposedly genuine miracles which do not lend themselves readily to refutation. ” For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” ( Matt.24:24 ). There have been false Christs, false prophets and false teachers in history. Even now there are many antiChrists ( 1Jon.2:18,19 ). But at that time, right from the beginning of the 70th Week, there shall be a vast increase in the number of false messiahs, false teachers and false prophets. This shall be much worsened from the midpoint of the 70th Seven when Satan and his fallen evil angels are cast down from the dark void and starry heaves to the earth. Presently many people are demonized, at that time a lot more shall be demonized and many possessed of fallen evil angels. Satan shall possess the antiChrist. Many of his principalities and powers cast down from the heavenlies shall possess many of the subordinates of the antiChrist. Demonization and possession shall be a very common phenomena. There shall be a preponderance of mad men and women on earth. Some shall shall be demonized and possessed from the womb.
Our Lord Jesus warned his disciples: ” Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold he is in the secret chambers; believe it not” ( Matt.24:25,26 ). If the Church will not be here during the Great Tribulation, why would Christ warn His disciples beforehand? If the Church would not be here who will the false prophets and false christs deceive? If the Christians would not be here who would the antiChrist be antagonizing? The disciples were the representatives of His Church. If it applied to them then, it applies to us now. And it shall apply to the Church during the 70th week. We have seen that these events shall transpire in the second half of the 70th week.
Some religionists shall compromise. Even some synagogues and churches shall enforce the will of the antiChrist. Believers in Jesus shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. As we have pointed out, the Great Tribulation shall be worst in the land of Israel, especially in its capital city Jerusalem: for that shall be the headquarters of the antiMessiah, the epicenter of the Great Tribulation. Jews and Christians shall fall by the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled ( Luk.21:24 ). The times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled at Armageddon when the armies of the Gentiles who gathered against Jerusalem are annihilated by Christ and His heavenly hosts. The fullness of the Gentiles occurs at the rapture, and then all Israel shall be saved; for there shall come out of Zion the deliverer, and He shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob ( Rom.11:25,26 ).
The dead Christian shall comply with the orders of the antiMessiah ( Rev.3:1 ). The compromising Christian shall go through this horrible persecution unprepared. Therefore he shall face the full brunt of the antiChrist’s persecution, but he shall not comply ( Rev.2:4, 14-16, 20-24; 3:14-20 ) . Most of the Christians that shall be killed shall be compromising ones who have not heeded Christ’s instructions concerning perseverance. They have not adequately prepared for the Great Tribulation ahead of time. The faithful and uncompromising Christian shall be protected from the sphere of persecution because he has heeded Christ’s instructions concerning perseverance ( Rev.2:8-10; 3:10 ). Among the faithful and uncompromising Christians , are those who not only will not take the Mark of the Beast, but shall go about persuading others , at great risk to themselves, both believers and unbelievers not to take the Mark of the Beast, and not to worship the Dragon-Beast. The announcement made by the horizontal flying angels in the heavens, “do not worship the Beast, and do not take his Mark”, shall be chorused by these faithful and uncompromising believers here on Earth, despite the severe persecution going on here on Earth, at the expense of their lives ( Rev.6:9-11 ). This is what it means to overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death ( Rev.12:11 ). In other words, they were willing to die for what they believe, that is, their faith in Christ. They did not shrink from death and compromise their faith. The antiMessiah shall react with indignation at their behavior. He shall execute them by beheading them. These martyrs shall be resurrected specially on the first day of the Millennium, to reign with Christ a thousand years ( Rev.20:4 ).
The coming of the Lord shall be like the lightning that cometh from the east and shineth unto the west. ” For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall the coming of the Son Of Man be. For wheresover the carcass is, there will the eagles be gathered together. The Cosmic disturbances that will interrupt the Great Tribulation shall darken the heavens and frozen the earth. The Shekinah, the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens shall brighten the heavens and defrost the Earth. Then shall the saints be gathered to meet Him in the air.
The Fifth Seal
” And when he broken the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were beheaded for the word of God and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given to every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled” ( Rev.6:9-11).
Whereas the fourth seal is an earthly scene, the fifth seal is a heavenly scene. The fifth seal does not advance the chronology of events in the 70th week. It is simultaneously and concurrent with the fourth seal. The fifth seal is a heavenly reflection of the killings going here on earth under the fourth seal. The martyrs being killed here on earth are arriving in heaven as soon as they are killed. There is no distance in the realm of the spirit.
The Great Tribulation has begun. Those who fail to capitulate to the authority of the antiChrist are executed, some by beheading, especially believers who go about persuading others not to take the mark of the beast. This is the fourth seal ( Rev.6:7,8), the killing of believers, Jews and other nonconformists who repudiate the authority of the antiMessiah by refusing to take the mark of allegiance to the antiChrist. The killing of believers who refuse the mark of the beast is taking place here on Earth, but the souls of the martyred saints are arriving in heaven. They are referred to as souls because they have no physical bodies. They are disembodied spirits. They have not yet received their glorified eternal immortal resurrection bodies. They are kept under the altar of incense in the temple in heaven awaiting the resurrection of the saints at the rapture of the Church.
They demand vengeance from God who responds in the affirmative. But they have to wait until their fellow believers to be martyred are fulfilled. There is a complement of believers to be martyred under the fourth seal. This number is not revealed to us; it is secret. ” The secret things belong to God, but the things which are revealed are for us and our children, that we may do the words of this law” ( Deut.29:29). As soon as that number is fulfilled, God will cut short the Great Tribulation with cosmic disturbances.
So martyrs under the altar is the fifth seal ( Rev.6:9-11). During the Great Tribulation, some believers will be killed while others are taken into captivity. ” Here is the patience and faith of saints: if anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity the one goes: if anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword the one shall be killed” ( Rev.13:10). The KJV rendering of this verse is not accurate. The more accurate and literal rendering is the one quoted above. There are those to be killed with the sword, and there are those to be taken captive. These things are not random; they have been determined by God in eternity past. Nothing can come upon us except that which has passed through the security of His love. We should count ourselves privileged and unworthy to suffer shame for His name and His kingdom ( Acts 5:41).
When the number of martyrs is complete, God cuts short the Great Tribulation with cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal ( Rev.6:12-14). Satan and his minion the antiChrist will be paralyzed ( 2Thess.2:8 ). With that God serves notice to the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast, He is about to punish the living wicked earth-dwellers for their evils. Men shall no longer argue about the existence of God. The atheists will hide themselves in the rocks and the caves of the mountains, so also the humanists. They will know that evolution is a scientific farce. There will be no more arguments about which is the True God.
” And when He had broken the sixth seal, and lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the Earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the Earth departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the Earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every free man hid themselves in the dens, and on the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” ( Rev.6:12-17).
They shall know automatically that God is , and that His wrath is about to be poured out on them; and they are unable to bear it. They shall hide in the dens and rocks of the mountains. But before God pours out His wrath on the nations that know not God, He seals the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel( Rev.7:1-9), and raptures the Church. The Earth shall be darkened and frozen by the cosmic disturbances. The Shekinah in the heavens, the sign of His coming and of the End Of The Ages, the back-to-back sign in the Sun, Moon, and Stars, shall dispel the darkness and defrost the Earth.
The Jehoshaphat Campaign
Towards the end of the Great Tribulation, a little while before the cosmic disturbances that shall interrupt the Great Tribulation, the antiChrist and the nations surrounding Israel which are part of the 8th and Final Beast Empire or allied to the antiMessiah shall carry out another military campaign to destroy all in the land of Israel who do not have the Mark of the Beast. The Great Tribulation which began with the Jerusalem campaign in which Jerusalem was surrounded by the armies of the Beast, shall end with another military campaign carried out in the vicinity of Jerusalem to ferret out and destroy the remnants of Israel who repudiate the authority of the antiChrist by refusing to be chipped or branded with his Mark. These men, women, and children are hiding in cellars, basement, underground bunkers and sewers. This campaign called the Jehoshaphat campaign is the gathering of the armies of the Gentile nations that surround Israel which are part of the ten-nation confederation of the antiChrist, or which are not part of the confederation, but allied to to the antiChrist like Jordan, in preparation for the second military assault on Jerusalem.
The Lord Himself shall draw these nations into the valley of Jehoshaphat prior to the inauguration of the Day Of The LORD. ” For behold in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and of Jerusalem, and I will gather all nations, and I will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and I will plead with them there for my people and my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” ( Joel 3:1,2 ). The intention of these nations shall be to totally destroy the nation of Israel, but God will gather them there to judge them instead. ” For behold, the Day Of The LORD cometh, and thy spoil, shall be divided in the midst of thee. For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; the city shall be taken, and the housed riffled, and the women ravished; and half the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city ( Zech.14:1,2 ). This will be very horrible. One half of the Jewish residents of the city shall be taken captive. Their houses shall be destroyed, and the women sexually violated. The residue of the Jewish residents who shall not be cut off from the city are those who are beast-marked. They are branded with the Mark of the Beast. Therefore they are free to reside in the city, and buy and sell without molestation by the security agents of the antiChrist. However, they shall face the wrath of God in the Day Of The LORD.
” Proclaim ye amongst the Gentiles; prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up: beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong. Assemble yourselves, and come all heathen, and gather yourselves together round about: thither cause thy mighty ones to come down, O Lord. Let the heathen be awakened, and come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat: for their will I sit to judge the heathen round about. Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe: come, get you down; for the press is full, the fats overflow; for their wickedness is great. Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the Day Of The LORD is near in the valley of decision. The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining. The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter His voice from Jerusalem; and the heaven and earth shall shake: but the LORD shall be the hope of His people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy , and there shall no strangers pass through her any more ( Joel 3:9-17 ).
It is obvious here that this campaign shall begin before the Day Of The LORD, when the sun, moon, and stars shall be darkened. But God shall interrupt this destruction by the armies of the antiChrist and the Gentile nations surrounding Israel with cosmoceletial disturbances. A substantial number of these armies shall be immediately annihilated by the cosmic and celestial disturbances. However some remnants of them shall survive the initial onslaught of the wrath of God, but shall finally be annihilated at Armageddon.
There are some biblical scholars that teach that this is part of the battle of Armageddon. The references to the sickle and the harvest in verse 13, indicate that is is part of the wrath of God. But it is also obvious that the gathering of the Gentiles for this battle occurs under the fourth seal of Rev.6. Remember that the fifth seal is a heavenly scene, reflecting the killings going on here on Earth under the fourth seal, the Great Tribulation, and is therefore concurrent with it. This second invasion of Jerusalem by the armies of the antiChrist shall be the final satanic act to destroy those who do not have the Mark of the Beast in and around Jerusalem, and the whole land of Israel during the Great Tribulation before God amputates it with cosmic disturbances. With the cosmic and celestial disturbances, these armies are incapacitated, and shall finally be annihilated at Armageddon a few years later.
The fact that this battle occurs just before the Day Of The LORD, distinguishes it from the Jerusalem campaign which occurs at the beginning of the the Great Tribulation, in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel, and the battle of Armageddon that occurs 30 days after the end of the 70th week of Daniel. The Jehoshaphat campaign is a precursor to the Day Of The lord, and the return of Christ. This campaign as we have seen will involve the Gentile nations that surround Israel ( Joel 3:11,12 Zech.12:6 ).
It is likely that these surrounding nations are the seven secondary nations of the ten nation confederation formed by the antiChrist. But they will also include other nations which are not part of the ten nation confederation which are allied to the antiChrist. The three power base nations would already have their armies stationed in Jerusalem by virtue of the Jerusalem campaign that occurred at the midpoint of the 70th week, at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, the three power base nations of Magog, Meshech, and Tuval shall station a protection force in the land of Israel and her Holy City , Jerusalem, right from the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel, following the 7-year peace agreement between Israel and the antiMessiah and his ten nation confederation. This accounts for the relative peace that Israel shall enjoy while wars rage on in all other parts of the world for the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel. This relative peace shall lull Israel into complacency until attacked by these forces at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel in the Jerusalem Campaign. The seven secondary nations of the ten nation confederation form a circle around Israel. Whichever these nation would be, the prophet Joel prophesied that God would gather these nations together into the valley of Jehoshaphat just before the Day Of The LORD. Therefore this campaign will occur sometime during the second half of the 70th seven of Daniel, just before God cuts short the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist with cosmic disturbances. The Scriptures did not name them, but gave us a description of them. They are the nations that surround Israel geographically.
Most biblical scholars believe the valley of Jehoshaphat is the kidron valley in the east of Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat means Jehovah judges which is an apt description. There is no valley in the OT named the valley of Jehoshaphat. It may be that Jehoshaphat was referring to the valley of Beracah located about six miles, approximately 10 Km, southwest of Bethlehem where king Jehoshaphat defeated the coalition forces of Moab, Ammon, and Edom ( 2Chron.20:20-26 ). Whatever the exact location of this campaign, the Almighty God of Israel will defeat these arrogant, insolent, and ungodly nations.
The prophet Zechariah portrayed the same end time scenario. ” In that Day, saith saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open my eyes upon the house of Judah, and I will smite every horse of the people with blindness. And the governors of Judah shall say in their heart, the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be my strength in the Lord of hosts their God. In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a touch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again on her own place, even in Jerusalem ( Zech.12:4-6 ).
The defeat of these armies by God in the valley of Jehoshaphat shall enable the clans of Judah to mount a counteroffensive against the antiChrist and his allies. It is important to remember that the Jehoshaphat campaign by the antiChrist will begin shortly before the Day Of The LORD is unleashed upon the Earth. The back-to-back sign of the end of the ages, and the sign of Christ’s coming, cannot occur until the Jehoshaphat campaign has been initiated against Israel and her Holy city Jerusalem. It is only after these crucial events that the return of the Lord shall be imminent.
Our Lord addressing His disciples on the end time scenario, said, ” the days will come ( during the Great Tribulation ) when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son Of Man, and ye shall not see it. And they shall say to you, see here; or, see there: go not after them nor follow them. For as the lightening, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall the Son Of Man be in His day ( Luk.17:22-24 ).
Christ continued to admonish his disciples to pray and have faith in God, and not to faint, telling them the parable of the unjust judge. If the unjust judge grants the widow legal redress against her oppressors, so as not to be wearied by her continual coming, shall not God, The Righteous Judge of the Universe grant justice to His elect, who cry to Him, day and night? I tell you, He will grant them justice speedily. However, when the Son Of Man cometh, will He find faith on Earth? ( Luk.18:1-8 ). Therefore we conclude, that the return of the Lord, initiated by the sign of the end of the ages , cannot be imminent until the persecution of the elect begins during the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist, after the beginning of the Jehoshaphat campaign. It is only after then shall we look for the sign of the coming of the Son Of Man, which is the Shekinah in the heaven.
The Sixth Seal: The Cosmic Disturbances
When the full complement of believers to be martyred is reached, God Almighty will cut short the persecution of the saints with cosmic disturbances. ” And I beheld when He had broken the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when it is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places ( Rev.6:12-14 ). There will be total eclipse of the sun and the moon. The sun shall be darkened and the moon shall not give its light ( Matt.24:29b ). Therefore the Earth shall be very dark and cold; in fact, it shall be dark and frozen. There will be thunderstorms and hailstorms. Roads will be blocked, communications disrupted. There will be total power failure, and emergency services zeroed. Folks will be trapped in their houses, unable to get out. Delivery and emergency services will fail.
The monitoring system of the antiChrist and his beast empire, and those of other nations shall fail. Folks will be concerned with personal safety, instead of ferreting out and killing those who do not have the mark of the beast. The saints who are alive and remain shall know that they are about to be delivered. The day on which they shall be delivered is the Day Of Christ. The day of Christ or His Day has the positive connotation of deliverance to the righteous, whilst the Day Of The LORD, or the Day Of God ( 2Pet.3:12 ), or the day of His wrath, has the negative connotation of punishment to the living wicked earth-dwellers adorers and worshippers of the antiChrist. That Day ( Luk.17:24; Zech.14:6 ) has both positive and negative connotations. These phrases are two sides of the same coin, the obverse and the reverse.
Stars will disintegrate in the heaven, and their fragments shall impinge on the Earth causing wild fires. The EMP generated will disrupt telecommunications. Every man on Earth shall acknowledge that there is God. Even the atheists and the humanistic evolutionists shall acknowledge that there is God. The scientific uniformitarians who do not believe that God had ever intervened in history will acknowledge His intervention in the affairs of men. This sort of acknowledgement of the existence of God and his intervention in human affairs will not bring salvation to anyone; it is too little too late, and more so out of fear. With the celestial disturbances, God serves notice to the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast He is about to punish the them for their evils. Humanistic evolutionists will know instantly that evolution is a scientific farce, that God created man in His own image and likeness. That God created the heavens and the Earth, and all that are in them; and that He is the governor amongst the nations.
” And the kings of the Earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondsman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us , and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne , and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come ; and who shall be able to stand?” ( Rev.6:15-17 ).
These living wicked earth-dwellers now know and acknowledge that there is God, and that He sitteth on the throne of the Universe, and that the wrath of the Lamb is come. They ask themselves, who shall be able to stand? The question is rhetorical; it does not need to be answered. Everyone knows the answer. The answer is no one. Is it today the 70th week of Daniel, the so called Tribulation Period began? No. Why is it now that these atheists and idolaters recognize that the wrath of God is come? It is because what has been going on before is not God’s wrath. They know they are responsible for the wars and commotions, and the martyrdom of the saints. But now, the table has turned, and God is about to punish them for their evils. He is about to pour out His wrath on the nations that know not God. He is about to destroy those who destroy the Earth. But before He does, the 144,000 from the twelve tribes of Israel must be sealed for protection and the Church raptured, to remove the saints from the scene of destruction and devastation.
The Final Harvest ( Matt.13:36-43 )
Jesus interpreting the parable of the wheat and the tares said: ” He that sowed the good seed is the Son Of Man” ( Matt.13: 37 ). The title, the Son Of Man is Christ’s favorite appellation to Himself. It has to do with His rulership of the Earth as God’s representative in the earthly realm of His Universal Kingdom. He was not conceived of man; Joseph was His foster father. He was conceived of God. He was born of the Holy Spirit. He is the caretaker of the Earth in the behalf of the Father. He sowed the good seed. The good seed are the children of the Kingdom ( Matt.13:38 ).
The plant translated tares or weeds is darnel which means wild wheat in Hebrew. It looks much like the real wheat in the early stages of growth, and therefore indistinguishable from the real wheat. If the farmer attempts to weed them out in the early stages, he also weeds out the good wheat. In ancient Israel, the farmer allows them to grow together until the harvest when they are ripe and clearly distinguishable from the wheat. Usually the farmer bundles them first into heaps at the edge of the farm to be burned before he harvests the wheat into the barn. Jesus made an allusion to this agricultural practice. The interpretation was clearly understandable to His disciples. His Jewish audience were acquainted with this agricultural practice.
Continuing with the interpretation of the parable, the enemy that sowed the wild wheat is the Devil, the usurper of the earthly throne of God’s Universal Kingdom Matt.13:39 ). The wild wheat, the tares are the children of the wicked one. Jesus made it clear to His disciples, by stating unequivocally that the harvest is the End Of The Ages, and that the reapers are the angels Matt.13:39 ). The good seed and the evil seed shall grow together until the end of the ages. The good seed, the real wheat, the children of the Kingdom, are not gathered until the End Of The Ages. Jesus promised His disciples that He shall be with them till The End Of The Ages. ” And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the End Of The Ages” ( Matt.28:20 ). He that endure unto the End ( of the ages )shall be saved ( Matt.10:22 ).
The End Of The Ages does not begin with the commencement of the 70th week. It occurs at the breaking of the seventh seal. To teach and preach rapture before the breaking of the sixth seal of Rev.6, the celestial disturbances, is to court disaster. Christ’s teaching is very clear here, His disciples who represent the Church, and by way of extrapolation, the believers in Jesus in the last days, shall not be taken away from the Earth until the Harvest. And the Harvest occurs at the End Of The Ages, after the sign of His coming given in the sun, moon, and stars. And the reapers are the angels. Each of the four major events that will occur at the Harvest, the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens, the sealing of the 144,000, the rapture of the Church ( the gathering together in heaven of the great multitude which no man could number ), the breaking of the seventh seal ( the inauguration of the outpouring of the wrath of God on the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers, and worshippers of the Dragon-Beast, are associated with angelic activities. These events are convergent. The very same day the Shekinah appears in the heaven, the 144,000 are sealed, the Church is raptured, the seventh seal is broken, ushering in the outpouring of the wrath of God in the Day Of His Wrath.
(a) The Shekinah In The Heavens
The Hebrew word Shekinah means dwelling. It is the visible presence of the God of Israel among His people. During the wilderness wandering, God’s presence amongst the children of Israel was revealed by the pillar of cloud by day, and by the pillar of fire and smoke by night ( Exod.13:21,22; 14:19,24; 33:9,10 ). So shall it be in the last day. But the difference shall be huge. It will not be an isolated phenomenon seen by the surviving remnants of Israel and surviving saints, it shall be a worldwide phenomenon visible to all and sundry. God’s presence shall be revealed in the heavens. It shall be the sign of His coming. It follows the cosmic disturbances. It together with the cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal, is the back-to-back sign given in the sun, moon, and stars.
The disciples asked our Lord Jesus, ” Tell us when shall these things be, and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the ages? ( Matt.24:3b ). Why were the disciples interested in the end of the ages? It is because it is the point of demarcation of the present age from the age to come. Because it is at this point the saints shall be rescued. The Greek word translated sign here is semeion. It is singular. There is only one sign of His coming, and of the end of the ages. Our Lord Jesus being the great teacher that he is, answered that question by enumerating the sequence of events that shall occur before the appearance of the Son Of Man in the heavens. We have followed that sequence of events in our narrative of the Ends Times.
” There shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, behold, He is in the desert; go not forth: behold, He is in the secret chambers; believe it not. For as the Lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son Of Man be ( Matt.24:24-27 ). The sign of His coming is singular, and occurs in the heavens – the sun, moon, and stars. Like lightning, it shall shine forth from one end of the heavens to the other.
It is not a secret sign at all as some would have believe; it denotes the rapture of the Church and signals the end of the ages, the outpouring of the wrath of God on the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the antiChrist. The coming of the Messiah shall be no secret at all; both at the rapture of the Church which occurs after the cosmic disturbances, the sixth seal, before the breaking of the seventh seal at the inauguration of the End Of The Ages, and His coming to take physical possession of the Earth at Armageddon ( Rev.19:11-21 ), it shall be no secret. ” Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also who pierced Him, and all the kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen ( Rev.1:7 ). He is coming in glory, with the clouds of the heavens. White clouds signal glory and righteousness. He is coming in righteousness and glory to judge the living wicked earth-dwellers. His glory, the Shekinah shall appear in the heavens, in the midst of the cold and darkness caused by the cosmic disturbances. It is His Shekinah in the heavens which shall dispel the darkness, brighten the heavens, and defrost the Earth.
” Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from the heavens, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: and then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens: and then shall all the tribes of the Earth mourn, and they shall see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with the great sound of trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other ” ( Matt.24:29-31 ).
This is unmistakable. His coming and the rapture occur after the cosmic disturbances, after the sign of His coming is given in the sun, moon, and stars, when the living wicked earth-dwellers, adorers and worshippers of the antiChrist shall wail, and mourn, and call upon the rocks , and mountains to fall upon them, and to hide them from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great Day Of Hid Wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? ( Rev.6:15-17 ).
(b) The Sealing Of The 144,000
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads. And I heard the number of them that were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Juda were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Asher were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Menasses were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Zebulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelves thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand” ( Rev.7:1-8 ).
As we have pointed out several times, seals are for protection, and indicated ownership and authenticity. In the ancient Near East, letters, documents, contract, covenants, treaties between nations etc, were sealed. Documents could be sealed or unsealed. If unsealed, anyone lettered could read them. If sealed, they could only be opened by the rightful owner. The 144,000 are sealed with the seal of God to indicate they belong to God, and to protect them from harm and injury during the Day of the His wrath which is about to begin. The best way to describe this is branding. Just like a husband man will brand cattle with a hot iron to indicate ownership. Though cattle from different farmers may mix, it is not difficult to differentiate them because of the branding on them. In like manner the angels of God will brand the 144,000 to indicate that they belong to God. The branding is not physical, and may not be visible to the naked eye.
God will not begin to pour out His wrath on the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast without physically removing the church from the Earth. If the Church is physically removed from the Earth or raptured, God will have no representatives on Earth apart from the two witnesses whose ministry run throughout the three and one-half years of the second half of the 70th seven of Daniel, after which they shall be physically removed from the Earth ( Rev.11:11,12 ). Therefore the 144,000, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel shall be sealed as God’s representatives on Earth, and to protect them from harm through the period of God’s wrath. Therefore, the 144,000 are not part of the Church, else they would be raptured with the rest of the Church.
” And I heard the number of them that were sealed: and there were sealed a hundred and forty and four thousand of the tribes of the children of Israel” ( Rev.7:4 ).
There are some that teach that these men are evangelists. Nothing could be farther from the truth. These men are sealed towards the end of the 70th seven. The wrath of God is about to be poured out on Earth. It will be extremely difficult for any one to go about preaching at this time, after all the devastation caused by the sixth seal, the cosmic disturbances, more so in the land of Israel after the horrors of the Jehoshaphat campaign. Even the ministry of the two witnesses is limited more or less to the vicinity of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. They are sealed for protection. They must needs be protected, shall they go about protecting others? As matter of fact, they are hiding in the red rose city of Petra, across the Dead Sea in modern day Jordan.
(c) The Rapture Of The Church
God is about to punish the world for their evils. The Church is exempt from the wrath of God. ” For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain by our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 1Thess.1:10;5:9 ). Therefore, it must be whisked away from the earth before God pours out His wrath upon the nations that know not God. ” Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him ( 2Thess.2:1 ). The Lord shall appear in the heaven, and then we shall be gathered together unto Him, after the blowing of the trumpet with voice of the archangel.
” For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them that are asleep, for the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, and with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God, and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we who,are alive and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” ( IThess.4:15-18 ).
The phrase, “we who are alive and remain” indicate that a good proportion of the Church have been decimated by the antiChrist during the Great Tribulation. The Greek word translated remain is perileipomenoi. It is used twice in the NT ( 1Thess.4:15,17 ). It means to remain, leave all around, to survive. At the rapture of the Church, the dead in Christ shall be given pride of place; they shall rise first. Then, we, the living the remaining, the survivors, shall be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so shall we ever be with the Lord. The point is what are remnant or survivors of ? We are the remnants who have survived the Great Tribulation as also saith the angel to the revelator John: ” these are they who came out of the Great Tribulaion” ( Rev.7:14b ). With the rapture of the Church, the object of Satan’s wrath is removed, and so ends the Great Tribulation.
” Now I say unto you brethren, that flesh and blood shall not inherit the kingdom of of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruption must put on in corruption, and this mortal must put on immortality ( 1 Cor.15:50-53 ). But make no mistake about it; for that day shall not come except there be a falling away first ( apostasy ), and the Man Of Sin be revealed ( the antiChrist makes his debut at the rebuilt Jewish temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, desecrates the Holy Of Holies of the temple, and unveils himself as a dead man come back to life ). ” Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and the Man Of Sin be revealed, the Son Of Perdition ( 1Thess.2:3 ). Therefore the rapture will not occur until the antiChrist unveils himself, until the apostasy associated with his revelation in the temple, until he deifies himself, and demands worship of all men. The rapture occurs at the harvest, and all four events associated with the Final harvest, the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens, the sealing of the 144,000, the rapture of the Church, the breaking of the seventh seal associated with the outpouring of the wrath of God involve angelic activities.
(d) The Breaking Of The Seventh Seal
The rapture of the Church is associated with the blowing of the last trump. The blowing of the trumpet in ancient Israel serves the following purposes. To call a solemn assembly, to prepare for war, and at the new moon and Israel’s feast days( Num.10:1-9 ). The last trump is the breaking of the seventh seal, before which the saints are called to a solemn assembly in heaven, and God and His angels, the hosts of heaven go to war against the nations that know not God. The seventh seal contains no judgement of its own, but opens into the seven trumpets. In like manner, the seventh trumpet contains no judgement of its own but opens into the seven bowls. The seventh seal contains the seven trumpets and the seven bowls. The seventh seal therefore is the last trump.
We are now in the gap of time between the 69th and the 70th weeks of Daniel. On May 14, 1948, Israel became an independent nation. On 7th June, 1967 Israel regained control of her Holy City, Jerusalem. The one major event that remains to be fulfilled before we enter into the 70th week of Daniel is the signing of a 7-year peace treaty between Israel and the ruler of the three power base nations of Magog, Meshech, and Tuval. The other two major events that need occur are the formation of the ten nation confederation, the 8th and Final Beast Empire of Satan, and the erection of a Jewish temple on Mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Both events may occur before the signing of the 7- year peace treaty or after.
We believers as people who live at the edge of human history should be wise ( Matt.25:1-12 ), faithful ( Matt.25:21,23; Luk.18:8 ), watchful ( Matt.25:13 ), fruitful ( Matt.25:14-30 ), and prayerful ( Luk.18:1-7 ). We should be conversant with the goings-on in our world. We should be listening to breaking news and reading the headlines to see when a powerful leader of Magog overthrows the three heads ( leaders ) of Magog, Meshech, and Tuval. This events can happen before the formation of the ten nation confederation or after. We should also be watchful to see when this great political figures goes ahead and signs a 7-year peace treaty with Israel. Or when the Jews are permitted to rebuild their temple. This is how we can identify the antiChrist before he makes himself known to the rest of the world and tightens the noose on the Church, the Jews, and all those who will not give him their allegiance.
The antiMessiah shall be a consummate politician. He shall have the knack for cracking hard nuts, and dissolving doubts, and unraveling mysteries. He shall unite Magog with Meshech and Tuval, a hard political nut indeed. He shall bring temporary peace between the Jews and Arabs, especially between the Palestinians and the Israelis; another political feat. He shall unite the postdemocracies of the West with the emerging Islamic and Arab pseudodemocracies ( banana democracies) of the Middle East and Africa. This is the union of the iron and the clay in the feet and ten toes of the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream ( Dan.2:33, 41-44 ). This temporary peace shall enable the Jews to rebuilt their temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The mosque of Omer and the Al-Aqsa mosque may not come down. The studies of Asher Kaufman have shown that the Holy Of Holies of the Solomonic Temple is not located in either of the two. Besides, a massive temple like that of Solomon or that built by the returning exiles and refurbished by Herod the Great need not be built. A temporary tabernacle-like structure may suffice.
When the 7-year peace agreement is signed with Israel, the Jews shall resume temple worship and the daily animal sacrifice, drink and grain offerings ( Dan.9:27 ). From this point in the eschatological timeline, the believer who understands the theology of the End Times knows he or she has about three and one-half years to prepare before the midpoint of the 70th week when the Great Tribulation will begin. After the emergence of the antiChrist which is the first seal, there will be wars, commotions, and rumors of wars which constitute the second seal. One should study the trend of wars and commotions before one decides where to build a safe haven. The third seal which brings the first three and one-half years to a close will consist of famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, which are the aftermath of the wars.
It is generally not reasonable to build safe haven before this time, inasmuch as one does not know which areas of the world would be safe. But the ten nations of the 8th and Final Beast Empire will not provide safe havens for believers, Jews and other nonconformists who repudiate the authority of the antiMessiah. The land of Israel will not be a safe haven at all, more so her Holy City’ Jerusalem. It will be advisable for Christians in these areas to migrate to other parts of the world which are not allied to the antiChrist or are part of his ten nation confederation as soon as the antiChrist shows up on the world stage. We know that apart from the nations of the ten nation confederation, there will be other nations which are allied to the antiMessiah. Edom, Moab, and Ammon will probably be allied to the antiChrist. Egypt shall not be allied to the antiChrist, but it shall be invaded and conquered by the antiChrist ( Dan.11:41-43 ). These parts of the world will not be safe for believers and Jews at that time. Eventually all the regional powers shall be at war with the antiChrist and no place will be safe at all. But before it becomes that bad, the rapture would have taken place. These wars will occur at the end of time ( Dan.11:40 ).
Believers should avoid residence in cities, and seek out hideouts in forests far from cities and towns where they may not be easily discovered. Should believers hide in cities, they must do so in basements, bunkers, and cellars. But it will be very difficult considering the fact that they shall do so for at least a year or more.
When we choose a location for a hideout, especially if we have in mind to construct an underground bunker, it should not be in an area prone to flooding, and there should be vents for proper ventilation. We should avoid valleys which are prone to seasonal inundations in the rainy season or winter. Mountains, caves and grottos would be preferable. We must not go to our hideouts when they are in preparation with cell phones, tablets or computers, cars or any electronic gadgets equipped with GPS. These will betray our location. Music and loud noise should be avoided in our hideouts at all cost, not even with earphones. These electronic devices have GPS which could betray one’s location.
We shall only go there with trusted believers who share the same aspirations. Before we finally retire to our lear, we must ditch all electronics and revert to primitive style of life. We may choose to construct a makeshift house(s) with wood or other building materials, or use prefabricated plastic houses. They must be inspected to ensure there are no GPS and electronic bugs implanted in them. Plastic materials are highly combustible. When used to construct houses, fire safety measures must be instituted to avoid fire disaster. We must remember that we are dealing with a mortal enemy who is also very smart. It will not be a surprise if these materials are implanted with electronic bugs to betray our locations. We can be sure that the antiChrist will leave no stone unturned in order to undermine our efforts.
Apart from food and clothing, heating is very important. We may resort to firewood where available or use kerosine stoves or gas cookers. If we decide to use generators, they must be thoroughly inspected for GPS and electronic bugs, they must be silent ones, and they must be properly hidden to avoid revealing our location. Solar panels should be avoided because of the risk of their being spotted from the air. It will be better to be in groups of trustworthy believers, in order that some may be deployed on rotational security duties. In this regard, it shall also be necessary to acquire some firearms. In the midst of the Great Tribulation, after we have finally dropped out of the society, and retired to our secret locations, any members who wants to return to the city and cannot be dissuaded should be eliminated lest he or she endangers the life of all the other members. It is better for one person to die than that the whole group perish.
If the location is far into the forest, some form of subsistence farming may be engaged in to meet the nutritional needs of the family or group. It is advisable to provide sufficient food store to take care of every member for a maximum of three years and a minimum of two. Dried nuts and grains stored in grain silos may last for quite some time. If the group have good power supply, all kinds of foodstuffs may be brought in and stored in deep freezers and refrigerators. It will be difficult to store vegetables for a long period. They can be grown on dishes for subsistence, even at roof tops for those who hide in cellars.
The reason why I said that foodstuffs should be provided to last every member of the family for three years is because, of all those events that will take place in the second half of the 70th week, the fifth trumpet is the only one with known duration of five months ( Rev.9:5 ). The durations of the first, second, third, and fourth trumpets are not known. The sixth trumpet which brings the 70th week to a close with the death of the two witnesses may probably last longer than the fifth trumpet. So, it will be safe to provide enough store of foodstuffs for every member of the family for a minimum of two years and a maximum of three.
Those with special health issues should be taken into consideration. There should be medicine and other supplies. First Aid box is a necessity. Diabetic and hypertensive patients should procure insulin and oral antidiabetics, and anti hypertensive drugs for the same period of time. Medicines with near expiry dates should be used first. Special needs of children should be taken care of. Nursing mothers should make sure they procure baby food for their children. Special needs of the elderly should also be taken care of, so also the disabled if the happen to be members of the Christian family or group.
Clothing should be provided for all seasons, winter, summer, autumn, and spring, or dry and rainy seasons for those in tropical Africa. Warm clothing in winter is paramount lest we die from exposure to the elements. May our flight not be in the winter, or severe harmattan in subsaharan Africa.
If a Christian couple marries after the antiMessiah signs the 7-year peace agreement with Israel, they should avoid pregnancy. They should adopt a safe method of contraception with the counsel of Christian doctors who understand the intricacies and dangers of childbearing during this difficult period of human history. They might even elect to undergo a permanent contraception, either the man, epididymovasostomy, or the woman, bilateral tubal ligation, or both. It will be very difficult for women who rear children in those days. The childbearing mother must understand that in the face of the wars, commotions, rumors of wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes of the first three and one-half years, women of childbearing age, children, and the elderly suffer the most. Add to that the unspecified period of the Great Tribulation, we have a worst case scenario.
Believers who are rich should take care of the needs of others. The antiChrist is a vandal ( Is.16:4 ). He will vandalize people’s property in the areas he conquers. Whatever money we have in the bank which is not retrieved before the Great Tribulation begins will be lost for ever. The antiChrist will run a cashless society. We must retrieve our moneys in the banks before he tightens the noose, and use them to meet our own needs and those of our brethren. The 70th week will not be the time to accumulate wealth. Churches which do not use their wealth to meets the needs of its members in providing them safe havens will find them seized by the antiChrist and his cronies. The antiChrist will vandalize churches, impound their properties and confiscate their wealth. It will be advisable for churches to stymie building programmes, and channel all resources to provide safe havens for its congregants starting from the approaches of the 70th week of Daniel.
All the members of a family in a hideout should adopt a communitarian system of existence. They should share all things in common. Every member must play his or her part to keep the family or group going. The golden rule of love should be the unwritten law. Those who have landed properties should dispose of them and donate the proceeds to the family to meet the needs of everyone. We should revert back to the primitive lifestyle of the early church when no one said that anything he had was one’s own (Acts 2:44-47; 4:32-37).
Believers must realize that despite all precautions, some hideouts shall be discovered through no faults of theirs. The members will be coerced to recant or their lives terminated. Strong leadership shall be very important at this time. The leaders of the group or family must prepare the members ahead of time for this kind of eventuality. Every member must be encouraged never to recant or betray one another. Those who do and take the Mark of allegiance to the antiChrist shall be allowed to buy and sell. But they must be made to know that the wrath of God abides on anyone who is branded with the Mark of the Beast ( Rev.14:8-12 ).
Besides, if anyone of them survives the wrath of God, the one shall be executed at the end of the Battle of Armageddon. So, it is better they refuse the Mark of the Beast, be executed by the antiChrist and his security apparatus, and gain the life of the age to come, than to recant, be executed by Christ and be banished to the Lake of Fire and Brimstone for eternity. The wrath of God is worse than the wrath of Satan executed by his minion, antiChrist. The wrath of Satan is temporary, the wrath of God is eternal. The wrath of Satan leads only to physical death, but the wrath of God leads to not only physical death but also the second death which is eternal separation from the presence of God in the Lake of fire and brimstone.
There must be strong teaching on the love of God. True believers must not suffer themselves to be embittered by the wickedness of men at that time. And because iniquity shall abound, due to the preponderance of demons, principalities and powers evicted from the heavenlies to the earth’s premises ( Rev.12:12 ), the love of many shall wax cold ( Matt.24:12 ). No matter what we do, there shall still be false brethren who will betray others, even their own blood relations ( Luk.21:16 ). We must not suffer ourselves to be offended by these things ( Matt.24:10 ).
We must realize that no matter our efforts to survive the Great Tribulation and be raptured alive, some us must be ferreted out and killed. There is a complement of believers to be martyred ( Rev.6:10,11 ). When that number is complete, God will cut short the Great Tribulation with cosmic disturbances ( Matt.24:29-31 ). Some of us will be taken captive, and others killed. Some of us will be made public examples even in churches and synagogues. Some will think they are doing God a favour by killing us, miserable undesirables ( Jon.16:2 ). Our faith and patience should rest on the fact that if anyone of us is destined to captivity, into captivity the one goes; and if anyone of us is destined to be killed with the sword, with sword, the one shall be killed ( Rev.13:10 ). Some of us will also die of hunger and exposure to the elements because they have not prepared adequately ahead of time ( Rev.3:10 ), and others through no fault of theirs. It may also be due to unforeseen eventualities like when a family or group is attacked. Some member may escape but may not find food and shelter, and so succumb to starvation and exposure to the elements.