By Abraham Israel
The Bible says that the city of Jerusalem and the temple sanctuary will be destroyed by the people of the prince [Romans] who is to come [Anti-christ]. The first event of destruction has happened as written in the book of Daniel before nearly 2000 years ago. But this verse has also connected the Anti-christ [prince who is to come] to it. And from this we can understand that the End Time events will have the city of Jerusalem and the temple that is going to be built in the coming years will play a major role in the End Time events. The Bible says there will be emptiness and sadness that will continue till the end of the war that is waged by the Jewish people for controlling Jerusalem inside-out with the sanctuary. This will happen only when Jesus Christ comes back to the earth. Until then the Jews who are in Israel will try their best to make it happen. Their only aim now will be to build the temple back on its place and still then the outer court area will be occupied by Gentiles as said in the Bible (Daniel 9:26; Rev 11:1-2).
The Gentiles will fully crush and destroy the city of Jerusalem for three and half years [42 months] underfoot. This will happen during the time when Anti-christ will sit in the temple showing himself that he is God (2 Thess 2:3-4).
But if we ask the question how did he occupy the temple with out the Jews letting him in or accepting him as their leader and messiah?
The Bible says that the Anti-christ will deceitfully confirm a covenant with Israel, with the consent of many nations using his influence. Because of this, the Israelites will believe him to be the messiah who is to come and will honor him by letting him take the seat of the messiah in the temple (Dan 9:27; Matt 24:5; John 5:43).
Before this time period only as the Bible describes there will be wars, rumors of wars and the Bible affirms the end is not yet [Ex: I and II World wars, after that rumors of a third World war]. But after these wars and rumors of wars, nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom in reality. During these times, there will be famines, pestilences and earth quakes in various places around the world in a greater intensity than all the millenniums that has passed by [Last 50 Years]. When these things start to happen, the Bible says sorrows of the End Time have already begun.
Once these sorrows begin, resistance against the preaching of the Gospel will increase. All the nations will start hating Christians because lawlessness will become a lifestyle and there will be no love between human beings because of selfishness. During the loveless times many false prophets will rise up and deceive many Christians. Many Christians will do things against their own feeling of what is morally right and because of indulging in its [fleshly] lust, will betray or stop supporting their beliefs and principles in order get power and avoid trouble.
They who indulge in the lust of the end times will betray their covenant with their family [wife and children], church [God] and community [friends]. They will hate others who walk in the uprightness of heart. But those who continue to hate evil and walk against the tide of lawlessness and lovelessness will be delivered from eternal destruction.
The Great News is that during these times [the time in which we now live], the gospel will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations. These things are happening right now with God raising up many ministries to preach the Gospel with miracles, signs and wonders in every nation. The Gospel is also preached through television, Internet and mobile television [coming shortly] and all other mediums like books, CD’s, DVD’s and news magazines. And the Bible promises when it is fully done, the end will come. Or in other words, it will be time for the Anti-christ to appear. God is restraining the events because of His mercies (Matt 24:3-14).
What ever we have seen until now is the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ. But the appearance of the Anti-christ indicates the end of the age of the Gentiles, which started with the time of Egypt to the time of Anti-christ, who will come out of the Revised [not Revived] coalition of the Roman Empire. Anti-christ will take complete authority over the Revised Empire of democracy. And Anti-christ will give authority to the leaders of the coalition to reign as kings in complete authority over their countries with Anti-christ. Because of his flattery they will give their power and authority to the Empire under Anti-christ (Revelation 17:10-13; Daniel 11:32).
As we have seen those who know their God and those who keep the New Covenant will be strong and do great exploits. They shall instruct many other people about the seriousness of the time of the end in which the wrath of God will appear. Serious opposition and persecution will be faced by these true Christians. When they fall in to these trials of persecution, they will be aided with a little help from God to come out of it as during the first century (Acts 5:17-21; 12:2,5-11; 16:25-34). Many will try to join the true Christians by flattery and will betray them in to the hands of their persecutors. This will happen until the time of the end, which is the appointed time of seven year period (Daniel 9:27). Here we can understand that Anti-christ have been influencing the world not just 7 years, but years ahead itself he has started to corrupt people with his flattery and day by day the world is joining him. His hate will be towards Christ and Christians, right from the starting time of his (Daniel 11:32-35). Main theme of Anti-christ will be peace and prosperity (1 Thess 5:3; Daniel 11:36). Only for the three and a half year period the saints will be given in to the hands of the Anti-christ directly (Daniel 7:25). And the time of trouble which is described in Daniel 12th chapter will start in the middle of the seven years period (Daniel 9:27;12:1,7).This will happen like that because only at the middle of the seven year period, Anti-christ will break the covenant with Israel.
Till this time of the end, many shall run to and fro [traveling around the world will rapidly increase (Job 1:7)] and knowledge [we call it information technology] shall increase. Because of nearing to the very time of the end, these things are rapidly increasing like never before in our period of time (Daniel 12:4). As the Bible says that the words of the book of Daniel will be understood only by the generation which lives at the time of the end (Dan 12:9, 10). In the exact passing of three and half years from the day he made covenant of peace with Israel, he will bring an end to the sacrifice and offering of the Jews in the temple (Dan 9:27). From this time [i.e. Anti-christ making a peace covenant with the nation of Israel] to the abomination of desolation is set up there shall be 1290 days (Dan 12:11; 9:27). The person who waits for Jesus up to 1335 days [i.e. from that day of abomination of desolation is set up to the day of His second coming] after the daily sacrifice is taken away, will see him come to the earth with His saints (Daniel 12:11,12).
The day of the Lord will not start when Christ comes to reign on the earth, but the moment Christ comes in the air to take His church away, from that time itself the day of the Lord will start. That is why the Bible says that the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night. One day with the Lord is equal to thousand years (2 Peter 3:8, 10), so only the thousand year period that Jesus is going to reign on this planet earth is called ‘the day of the Lord’ in the scriptures. Once the day of the Lord starts, tribulation and wrath of God will be seen and experienced by the whole earth (1 Thess 4:14-17; 5:2, 4-9).
In the same chapter of 1 Thess 5:9, Paul after speaking about the day of the Lord was telling to the believers, that God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation. This clearly indicates that after the rapture [i.e. starting time of the day of the Lord], immediately the wrath of God will begin. The day of the Lord will start with the wrath of God and at the end of thousand years will end with the destruction of the earth completely by fire (2 Peter 3:10). Paul also in this chapter indicates the times and seasons, in which this event will happen. The day of the Lord will come as a thief when Anti-christ and his followers will be saying “peace and safety!” Then this sudden destruction [wrath of the Lord] will come upon the Anti-christ and his followers. They shall not escape. Here Paul was describing the suddenness of this event of tribulation as labor pains upon a pregnant woman (1 Thess 5:3).
This is the same phraseology [“as labor pains upon a pregnant woman”] that has been used to describe the tribulation that will come upon Israel and the whole earth in the Old Testament books (1 Thess 5:3; Isaiah 13:6-8; Hosea 13:12-13). The Faithful church [consisting of each faithful individual Believer] which continues to love God and man, which keeps the word of God, which will not deny the Name of Jesus and which continues to do the work of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ in obedience to His Great Commission (Matt 28:19-20), will be the church that will be raptured when Jesus will come like a thief (Rev 3:7-10).The faithful church will persevere to follow Jesus Christ in spite of lawlessness, lovelessness, persecution, deceitfulness even among brethren and flattery of lust. This church will move against all the tides [flood] of evil that is coming upon the whole earth. We are living in this time period which the Bible clearly portrays.
Here in Rev 3:10, “...the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world…” is that great tribulation that Jesus spoke about in the Gospels (Matt 24:21-22, 29; Mark 13:19, 24). This will come as a test for every man who lives upon the planet earth, whether he will follow God who is the real owner and provider for all men or will follow Satan who is the false God who deceives man with enticements to follow him (Rev 3:10; 14:6-12).
Also in 2 Thess 2:1-2, Paul assures the believers that the day of Christ had not come [i.e. rapture has not taken place] because some people have begun to spread rumors that the day of Christ has already come.
Paul gives two signs for the season and time before the day of Christ comes finally.
(i) The falling away [from true Christian faith] will come first. (ii) Then the man of sin will be revealed [to the believers (Luke17:32)].
The Greek word used for the word “revealed” is used in relation to ‘alpha’, which is the first word of the Greek alphabet indicating that Christ is the beginning and the end [a verb “revealed” with a subjective noun “alpha”]. This implies that he will be revealed to the believers before rapture, by direct revelation from God that Anti-christ is boasting himself as God the Christ (2 Thess 2:3, 4; Matt 24:23-26; Mark 13:21-23).
The Greek word for “revealed” is “apokalupto” in all of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6, 8; apokalupto signifies "to uncover, unveil" (apo, "from," kalupto, "to cover"); both verbs are used in Matt_10:26; in Luke_12:2, apokalupto is set in contrast to sunkalupto, "to cover up, cover completely." "The NT occurrences of this word fall under two heads, subjective and objective. The subjective use is that in which something is presented to the mind directly, as, the Lawless One, 2_Thess_2:3, 6 and 8." This shows that God will be seeing the heart of every man who is obeying his word, by heeding to the warning of Jesus in all the gospels and according to their heart conditions, revelation will be directly given in to the mind of every God-seekers [Praying Believers] (1 Samuel 16:7; Luke 21:34-36). The objective revelation will occur when people realize and understand that something is happening or has happened as has been foretold because they see the very object that has been described do the things openly without restraint.
Jesus said that the rapture will be clearly felt by the believers as “the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west so also will be the coming of the son of man [during rapture] be.” (Matt 24:27; Luke 17:22-37).
How do we know that Jesus is speaking about rapture? Because in context to the previous passages, it can be identified as speaking only to the believers (Matt 24:25-26). Hence in the succeeding verse Jesus is also speaking about the resurrection of believers symbolically as eagles gathering together. The believers are identified as eagles in the Old Testament scriptures. So in other words, Where ever the bodies of the believers are, there those who waited for the day of resurrection will gather together as young eagles. Eagles are represented in the Bible for royalty, strength and flight (Matt 24:28; Luke 17:37; Ezekiel 1:10; Isaiah 40:31; Proverbs 23:5; Rev 12:14). The new resurrected body of all the believers will have royalty, strength and flight.
Some people say that if Anti-christ sits in the temple everybody will know the time of Jesus coming? First of all we must understand that these people who will follow Anti-christ are under a strong delusion from God because they did not believe the truth that Jesus had already said and warned about (1 Thess 2:9-11). When Christ came it was a time of expectation of messiah’s appearance, but they were mistaken because they did not believe the words of Jesus and rejected Him (Luke 3:15; 13:10-16).
As per the Bible the disciples asked Him this question before his ascension, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts1:6). In other words they were asking Him, ‘Are you now going to deliver Israel from the Clutches of the Roman Empire and restore it back to us?’ If Jesus had plainly told them the truth at that time, their enthusiasm and the plans and purposes of God would have got disrupted and derailed in their life. So only Jesus told them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the father has put in His own authority.” (Acts1:7).
If really times or seasons cannot be known by the believers, how did Paul the apostle knew it, why did he inform the believers about it? (1 Thess 5:1-2; 2 Thess 2:5). Why in all the Gospels Jesus spoke more about the rapture, Anti-christ and His second coming seasons and times than any other topic (Matt 24; Mark 13; Luke 17,18,21).
In the Bible Jesus only said that you will not know the hour or day in which Jesus comes to take away His church during the rapture (Matt 24:36). But never once did He say that you will not know the seasons or times in which the son of man will come. Instead He gives information about what kind of times or seasons it will be in the succeeding verses (Matt 24:36-44). Jesus said to all the believers, “Therefore you also be ready, for the son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt 24:44). In other words, it is like Jesus saying, ‘See I have told you what are all the activities that will take place during that [rapture] season or time, but you do not know the hour that I will come. Do not get involved in those lustful activities that the world will be involved in during that [rapture] season or time, or else you will miss the hour when I come to take the church’.
After the day of the Lord has come and the church has been taken away to be with the Lord, then the complete authority of governance will be with Anti-christ. Up to that time, the Holy Spirit will restrain Anti-christ from fully ruling the world in complete authority (2 Thess 2:6-7). But after this rapture he will have authority even over every saint who is left behind, and then only those who are left behind will come to understand the lukewarm ness of their life, in spite of the warnings of Jesus in the word of God (Rev 3:10,16,18-22; Dan 7:25). This has happened to them because of deception and delusion. They will come to realize it and will stand and keep the commandments of God (Exodus 20:1-6) and the faith of Jesus (Rev 3:15-21; 14:9-13; 2 Thess 2:8-12; Rev 7:13-15).
The revelation that Anti-christ was boasting as ‘alpha’, which has been known to those saints who had been raptured, will also be revealed to those who had been left behind, who have been deceived by him. But this revelation will come to those lukewarm people only after the rapture had already taken place and this will take them through the persecution of the chastisement of God. At this time those who have been left behind will hardly have any other choice other than to die for their faith or else to worship Satan openly because they will be given in to the hands of Anti-christ (2 Thess 2:3,8; Dan 7:25;Rev 14:9-12).
When the disciples asked Jesus, “What will be the sign of your coming, and when will be the end of the age [times of the gentiles]? (Matt 24:3). In other words they were asking Him about the times and seasons of His coming.
In answer to their question, Jesus spoke about two seasons mainly.
(i) Summer (Matt 24:32; 13:39; Proverbs 10:5; 11:30; 6:8; Jer 8:20; Luke 21:30; 14:14-16).
(ii) Winter (Matt 24:20, 21; Mark 13:18, 19; Sos 2:10-12).
The spring season is when we see the first new leaves come out of the trees. It comes before summer season and is the first season in the season year calendar (Matt 24:32). After the spring season comes the summer season of harvest. When the summer is over, after it comes the autumn season and then winter season. In the autumn season the leaves will fall and the trees will mostly be without leaf because nearly all of it would have withered. The trees that remain without its leaves getting withered or falling away are those who have meditated upon the words of Jesus and have waited for the rapture (2 Thess 2:3; Ps 1:2, 3; Matt 24:23, 42). The autumn season comes in between the summer season of soul harvest and the winter season of tribulation (2 Thess 2:3; Matt 24:14, 20-22).
Always summer and winter season are contrasted and placed only at the opposite ends of each other (Genesis 8:22).
During the summer season, summer fruits would be harvested in Israel. The Hebrew word ‘Kayiz’ means fruit-harvest. Fruits of all kinds especially figs were harvested during summer season in Israel (Amos 8:1-2; 2 Sam 16:1,2).That is one of the reason God described Israel as the land of fig trees (Deut 8:8). Israel is symbolically represented in the scripture as a fig tree (Hosea 9:10; Jer 24:3, 5, 8; Joel 1:6, 12).
Jesus cursed the Fig tree symbolically as a sign that because they [Israel as a nation] do not produce any fruit, they too will be cursed for not bearing fruit. And because of that curse, they will dry of without any strength and vitality and even the nations identity with the true God will be taken away from them (Mark 11:12-14, 20-21; Micah 4:4-5). As we see that Jesus cleansed the temple and then after that this incident happened, He cursed the fig tree, which shows that He was symbolically saying to Israel what was going to happen to them in the coming days (Matt 24:18-20; Mark 11:11-14,20; Luke 13:1-9; Malachi 4:6; Matt 23:34-24:2).
Figs appear before or with leaves, so the leaves indicated that the tree must have figs, even though the time of figs to be fully ripe was not yet come (Mark 11:13). Here the story or parable that Jesus said does not end by the fig tree drying up from the roots forever. But Jesus said a little afterwards at the end of Mark 13:28, he continued in another parable that when you see that the branch of the fig tree [nation of Israel] has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. In other words Jesus was saying, when the nation of Israel has been reborn and begins to strengthen itself in the place where God had given, you know that the summer harvest of fruit [harvest of souls] is near. Summer soul harvest will be the biggest and the greatest of all time which will happen with the saints coordinating with the angels of heaven (Matt 13:37-39,43; 24:14; Rev 14:14-16; 2 Kings 6:16-18).
The winter season as the Bible says is described in Matt 24:20, 21. It is speaking about the season of great tribulation that is going to come upon the whole world. This is also the season of harvest, but with harsh weather condition which is tribulation (Matt 13:40-42; 24:29, 31; Rev 14:17-20). The Sabbath day is when God rested from His activities on the seventh day. The Holy Spirit who restrained lawlessness and the appearance of the Anti-christ will start to rest from his intense activity (2 Thess 2:6-7; Genesis 6:3; 2:2-3).The Sabbath day will start the moment “…the abomination of desolation…stands in the holy Place” (Matt 24:15). In other words only when the restrainer the Holy Spirit starts to take rest from His restraining activities this abomination will start. The restrainer is identified as a person by the Bible using a personal pronoun [‘He’], which indicates it is the Holy Spirit who does the restraining by convicting the world of sin and hence not allowing the lawlessness of man boasting as God to take place for six millennium in the past(2 Thess 2:7; 1 Thess 4:7-8; John 16:8-9,11). Once man tried to do this when he tried to build the tower of Babel, but was prevented by God (Genesis 11:1-9). The day the rapture takes place after this, that day is called as the ‘Day of the Lord’ in the scripture (1 Thess 5:2-4, 6; 2 Thess 2:2-3). Only after this day of rapture, the wrath of God will be released on the earth because the Bible affirms that the believer is not appointed for wrath, but for the rapture of salvation (1 Thess 5:9-11). Sabbath day will continue for a thousand years when the Holy Spirit will rest from His work and Jesus will directly rule the nations with a rod (Rev 20:6; 2 Peter 3:8, 10). Jesus was saying to the believers living during that time, their flight [i.e. flying to safety when rapture takes place] may not be [Jesus is admonishing them to pray and watch in this scenario] during [after a certain time lapse period during] the tribulation. The Greek word used for ‘flight’ is ‘phygē (pronounced-fügā)’. It comes from the root word ‘pheugō (pronounced-fyü'-gō)’ which is apparently a primary verb which means 1) to flee away, seek safety by flight 2) metaph. to flee (to shun or avoid by flight) something abhorrent, esp. vices 3) to be saved by flight, to escape safely out of danger 4) poetically, to flee away, vanish. This clearly points to the rapture more than hiding in the mountains of Jerusalem. With the kind of modern technology, no one can hide in any part of the world without being noticed through the satellite or radar technology.
In other words Jesus was telling the believers to pray so that there will not be any delay for the rapture to take place during that starting time of tribulation in the earth, so that the believer will fly away or be snatched away to safety from the tribulation of those days (Matt 24:20;Luke 21:34-36;2 Peter 2:4-9). Satan will spew flood of filth [water] to make the believers to be consumed in the judgment of wicked, but those who watch for rapture as Jesus forewarned will be rescued at that time through rapture (Rev 12:14-16;2 Peter 2:5-9;Mark 13:18-23). In the next verse 22 he explains why he is wishing like that. Because of the intensity of tribulation, no flesh would be able to live through it. For those believers sake it will be shortened so that Jesus will be able to see faith filled believers when he comes back to the earth (Matt 24:21-22; Luke 18:1-8). Even though such tribulation will come, very soon or speedily God will avenge Anti-christ and his followers when He [Jesus] comes back to the earth (Matt 24:29-31).
Jesus also added at the end saying, ‘the mass of people living during this period of time will not die before all these things happen.’ This means as per the Biblical estimate of a time period of a generation is around thirty to thirty three years approximately. This also implies that there will be a terminal generation that will be present during the entire End-Time events (Matt 24:34). When Jesus was asked about the times and seasons of his coming and the end of the age by the disciples, His immediate answer was “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” (Matt 24:3-5). This makes us understand that the very predictions or even the topics about the End-Time which arises from the sources other than the word of God will be full of deceptions.
Do not take heed to any other information of lies which will be sugar coated as logical, scientific or even historical information that will bombard you in these times of the end. Look only to the truth, which is the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus delicately starts the message of end time with a warning and affirms that many will use His name and say, ‘I am the Christ [the anointed one of God]’ and will deceive many. The Anti-christ will do this and will fulfill it at its zenith.
The sign that Jesus told the people to look out during the end time is the moment you see Anti-christ seating himself as God, who will place a statue for Satan and will tell other people to worship it voluntarily like Nebuchadnezzar did in the Old Testament during Daniel’s time, then let every one flee from that place to the mountains, especially the Jews [those in Judea] (Matt 24:15-19; Daniel 11:27-31; 2 Thess 2:3-4; Rev13:1-8,11-18; Daniel 9:27; 7:23-27; 8:23-27). Jesus admonishes those who see abomination of desolation set up in the temple, to flee from Judea [Jerusalem and its surroundings] because from that point of time anti-christ will declare himself to be God and will pressurize the Jews living in Israel at that time to worship Him and receive His seal or face execution. From that point of time onwards, he will slowly extend that ordinance to all the other parts of the earth. Finally all the earth will worship Him, those of them whose names are not written in the book of life (Matt 24:15-16; Rev 13:8, 15-16).When we see why Jesus said to those in Judea to flee to the mountains, comparing this in context with the destruction of temple after Christ’s first coming in Luke 21:20-24, we see in those days as the history says those who heeded Christ’s word and fled to the mountains did not get killed when the Roman’s invaded and destroyed Jerusalem in the 1st century A.D. Those who heeded and obeyed Christ’s words were saved from imminent vicarious death. This is the same that will happen to those who will heed Christ’s word during the end-time event of the rapture of the Church also. They will be saved from death. Those living in Judea [Israel] who will believe in Jesus as their Messiah will be those who will heed the words of Christ as also in the first century.
Jesus is telling the Jews to flee because it will be the time for the rapture to take place, so that they will not be caught up by anti-christ and hence be going through the torture of being killed just moments before the rapture will be taking place. If they flee to the mountains and start praying and watching because God has revealed that the anti-christ is boasting as God in the flesh, then they will be a part of the flight that escapes tribulation. Here in Matt 24:22, The Greek word used for ‘the elect’s sake’ is ‘eklektos (pronounced-ek-lek-to's)’ which means ‘1) picked out, chosen a) chosen by God, 1) to obtain salvation through Christ a) Christians are called "chosen or elect" of God 2) the Messiah in called "elect", as appointed by God to the most exalted office conceivable 3) choice, select, i.e. the best of its kind or class, excellence preeminent: applied to certain individual Christians’. And this word ‘the elect’ is an adjective which means a word that describes a noun or pronoun. Hence it points to Christians and all those whose believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord which includes Jews [i.e. Messianic Jews] and Christians alike who live at that period of time.
Hence this message of fleeing is not only for those Jews, but in Matt 24:15, Jesus was saying whoever reads let him understand. It means it is also for all those who have understanding. It is for all the saints who do His commandments (Ps 111:10).Jesus has told the believers that when they see these things happening, they should pray so that they may not be left behind (Matt 24:15-20; Luke 17:27, 29, 30-37; Luke 21:36).
The other sign of Jesus coming to the earth is “…there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars [these are the signs in the heavens] and on the earth distress of nations (2 Tim 3:1), with perplexity [the feeling of confusion and worry because of something that people cannot understand], the sea and the waves roaring; men’s heart failing them [i.e. heart attack] from fear and the expectations of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heavens [strength power (‘dunamis.gr’; Luke 10:19), ability consisting in or resting upon demonic armies, forces, hosts that control the heavenlies (Eph 2:2).] will be shaken [dislodged], then they [all the people living on earth] will see the son of man coming in a cloud (Acts 1:11) with power and great glory” (Luke 21:25-27).
Jesus exhorts that when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads [start praying], because your redemption [rapture] draws near (Luke 21:28). When Jesus comes back to the earth the whole armies, forces and hosts of demonic powers will be dismantled and authority of ruling will be given to the saints of the most high God (Isaiah 24:21-23; Rev 3:21; 19:11-16; 20:4, 6;Daniel 7:22, 27). Yet those who are voluntarily in rebellion against worshipping Him [Jesus] will be given under the curse of some of these demonic forces which will haunt their lives and lands in which they live and they will eventually die (Zech 14:17-19; Is 60:12; 65:20-25).