[ 121 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 1 - Part 1 ] Anti-Christ, Escaping Remnants: Rev 11-13
[ 122 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 1 - Part 2 ] Anti-Christ, Escaping Remnants: Rev 11-13
[ 123 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 1 - Part 3 ] Anti-Christ, Escaping Remnants: Rev 11-13
[ 124 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 1 - Part 4 ] Anti-Christ, Escaping Remnants: Rev 11-13
[ 125 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 2 - Part 1 ] Prophecy: The White Horse of Revelation 6
[ 126 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 2 - Part 2 ] Prophecy: The White Horse of Revelation 6
[ 127 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 2 - Part 3 ] Prophecy: The White Horse of Revelation 6
[ 128 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 2 - Part 4 ] Prophecy: The White Horse of Revelation 6
[ 129 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 3 - Part 1 ] Revelation 6, Continued
[ 130 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 3 - Part 2 ] Revelation 6, Continued
[ 131 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 3 - Part 3 ] Revelation 6, Continued
[ 132 ] Les Feldick [ Book 11 - Lesson 3 - Part 4 ] Revelation 6, Continued
THE ANTI-CHRIST: DEPARTURE: ESCAPING REMNANTS
Let’s get back into prophecy. Before we go back to Daniel, I’d like you to turn to II Peter Chapter 1. I have a reason for spending as much time in prophecy as I do. I never like to get on a hobby horse, and just ride one thing to death. I don’t teach prophecy simply because it’s sensational, or exciting, although it is. I simply like to teach prophecy on the basis of these verses of Scripture.
2 Peter 1:17
“For he (Christ) received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, `This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'”
Now Peter is making reference to the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration. That’s when the voice from heaven spoke, and Peter, James, and John were struck with such awe at the events that were taking place. After all it was just beyond human comprehension, as Christ was transfigured right before them; and then to hear the voice from heaven. But Peter goes on to say:
2 Peter 1:18,19
“And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount (that is the Mount of Transfiguration).” But now verse 19; here is my reason for spending as much time on prophecy as I do: “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:”
What is Peter saying? Though the event at the Mount of Transfiguration was thrilling, Peter says we’ve got something that proves these things more than that. What is it? Prophecy!
2 Peter 1:20
“Knowing this first (now the word “knowing” in the Greek is more emphatic than what we normally think of the word “knowing.” It’s just not a casual acceptance of something, but it’s a bona fide knowledge, without any questions or doubt), that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
In other words, you don’t take one verse and try to twist it out of shape and make it fit. You leave everything in context. I hope people realize, that is how I teach. I hope I’m never guilty of lifting something out of context and making it say something that the Lord never intended for it to mean.
2 Peter 1:21
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man (but here is how it came about. The word “holy” means set apart. Holy men of God spake, not as they dreamed it up, not as they had remembered what they heard around a camp fire, or what had been handed down from generation to generation): but these holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
What is this saying? Everyone of us will meet someone once in a while who will say, “I don’t see how you can believe all that stuff. After all, why do you think the Bible is more right in what it teaches than the Koran or the book of Mormon?” or anything else that they may say is their guideline for doctrine. I’ll tell you why. There is not another book written that makes prophetic statements like our Bible does. Hundreds, even thousands of years before they happen and they all come true. What hasn’t come true, will!
This is our reason for teaching prophecy. It is to show beyond a shadow of a doubt that this Book is the Word of God. And it’s prophecy that has been spoken, and fulfilled to the last jot and tittle as much of the Old Testament already has been. We have no reason to doubt that the rest of it will be. Because the same God that fulfilled the first ninety percent of prophecy, is the God that’s going to finish the last ten percent. All of that is just to show why we like to spend as much time in prophecy as we do.
The main reason we are studying prophecy now, is, as we come through the Old Testament, we reach to Daniel. Let’s go back to the Book of Daniel now to Chapter 8, which we skipped when we came through. But, you remember on our sojourn up through the Scriptures, starting with Genesis, we have just come right on up, unfolding our timeline, and, consequently, since Daniel is in captivity under the Babylonian empire we stopped there in our progressive revelations. But, of course, Daniel is a book of prophecy. And so, he is dealing almost entirely in his whole book with events that would happen to the Gentile world. Now, back here in Chapter 8, let me show you how accurate prophecy has been. It’s already been fulfilled as you will notice starting with verse 1:
“In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first.”
And he goes on to say that he saw a vision way out there in Shushan, which was the capital of the Medes and Persian empire on the Tigris River. In this vision he’s going to see the unfolding of the rather immediate history (not the long term).
“Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last.”
Everyone envisions some horrible looking creature with a horrible looking pair of horns. Let’s go back to a statement I made several weeks ago. Three books of our Bible were written outside of the land of Israel. All three of them are mostly prophetic, and all three of them deal primarily with Gentile prophecy. Daniel is one of them. He writes from Shushan on the Tigris river; Ezekiel is another, he also writes from captivity; and the third Book is Revelation, when John, the Revelator, wrote from the Isle of Patmos in exile. None of those three books were written in Israel. However, they were all written by Jews, and all three wrote in symbolism. The symbolism here is that the ram was indicative of the Medes and Persian empire. In fact, their coins had the ram’s head on them. The crown of the Medes and Persians had the likeness of a ram. And so, there’s no doubt from history and archaeology, that Daniel is seeing the vision concerning the empire of which he was a part, and that was the Medes and Persians represented by the two horns.
The horns in Scripture always refer to kings or the top guy in control. Try to remember that, because when you get to the Book of Revelation, you are going to see this leader with ten horns. And that simply means a government with ten distinctive heads or presidents, or kings. The Medes and Persians are the two kings. One of them is the father of Cyrus. He was the one horn, but his son Cyrus became so much greater, and pushed the empire out further, that Daniel sees it as the greater of the two horns. And that’s all they are, two kings, the father and son. Now, as the Medes and Persians began to expand out their empire, they enveloped the land of Israel, and they took the city of Jerusalem. Then they went down into Egypt. And then they went around the Mediterranean Sea, and started overrunning what is present day Turkey – and they were headed toward Europe. But Daniel sees something that’s going to stop this Medes and Persian Empire. Verse 4:
“I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.” They were the greatest empire on the earth at that time.
“And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth (they’re in the Middle East. The Medes and Persians are coming from the east, in the area of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. They are moving around the north side of the Mediterranean Sea, and here comes a power from the west to meet them head on. It’s a he-goat, and we know from archaeology that the Grecian Empire emblem was the goat. It was on their coins and other emblems. They recognized them as the he-goat. So this he-goat came from the west), and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn (One. What was Alexander the Great? – a conqueror of one (not a consortium like the Medes and Persians). He alone arose from the Grecian Empire.) between his eyes.”
“And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power.”
Let’s break that verse down. “And he came to the ram” (now what do you have? Do you have a fight between two animals? No, you have a fight between two empires. So, the Grecian Empire is going to run head-on into the Medes’ and Persians’ Empire. And of course we know from history who won? The Greeks did. Alexander overran the Medes’ and Persians’ Empire, and ruled the greatest empire on earth by the time he was 33 years old. And he was also known in history as a general who conquered swiftly. He would move his armies with speed such that the then-known world knew nothing of. He would take chances, and was almost reckless in the chances that he would take. But he always seemed to come out on top. He never really lost an army.
So it was unique to Alexander the Great’s military campaign. I think the word that shows that in verse 6 that many of us might miss is “ran:” but as this he-goat came he “ran;” see the indication of his swiftness and speed? “…and ran unto him in the fury of his power.” Now, people read this and all they picture is a couple of animals in a wild animal fight of some kind – all it is, is two empires. Now you say, “Where do you get it?” Well, just move across the page to verse 20. And as I have said so often, Scripture always does it’s own interpreting.
“The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia (it’s plain isn’t it?): and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king (Alexander the Great).”
“Now that being broken (you know what happened to him – he died; probably of alcoholism. He was only 33 years old. The great empire that Alexander the Great set up so swiftly, was immediately divided between four of his Generals. And so the empire became a quadrangle. It was no longer “one.”), whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power.” In other words, no longer an Alexander.
“And in the latter time of their kingdom (these four generals), when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.”
This is an interesting little quirk of Scripture and prophecy. The little king, spoken of here as being so fierce and powerful, on the pages of secular history wasn’t enough to amount to a paragraph. But he was a king who went down to Jerusalem and utterly persecuted, and put under tremendous pressure, the people of Israel. So, in God’s plan of things, he becomes a prime player. But other than that, he is only a little blip on the radar of history. Let’s look at this man because he is a picture, or a type of the last man of fierce countenance. He is a picture of the Anti-christ. So this is the only way we can look at the description of this Antiochus The Great. The very same descriptive words connected to him are also descriptive of this Man of Sin. I’m going to wind up with the biblical description of this world ruler that is coming on the scene (we think before much longer). Let’s look at verse 24, still speaking of Antiochus The Great, in history shortly following Daniel’s vision:
“And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully (in other words, beyond human comprehension the things that he would do.), and he shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.” See, he came down and persecuted the Nation of Israel.
“And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand (in other words he’s going to be successful in his little era of history); and he shall magnify himself in his heart (this is all indicative of what the Anti-christ is going to be like thousands of years later), and by peace shall destroy many (in other words he’s going to be a political manipulator, and we are going to see that in a little bit. How the man Anti-christ is going to have such charisma, he’s going to have the world just really licking out of his hands, because of his charismatic personality. And this fellow was able to do the same thing): he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes (now that’s capitalized, so he’s actually going to stand up in the face of God, and try to fight against Him); but he shall be broken without hand.”
Well, he ends the vision. Come over to Chapter 11. Now Daniel brings this same personality, this Antiochus The Great, out of Syria, who, like I said, was a blip on history’s radar. But yet in Biblical analogy, he is an important character because he foreshadows the Anti-christ. Now verse 21 . Without realizing it, Daniel is leaping about 2500 years of history, bringing us to this end-time individual.
“And in his estate shall stand up a vile person (this is one of his descriptions), to whom they shall not give honour of the kingdom: but he shall come in peaceably, and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.”
In other words, there is not going to be a great land-swell of voting for this guy. He will come in with intrigue, and political maneuvering. “…but he shall come in peaceably,” So, he’s not going to have a violent overthrow. But by political maneuvering, he’s going to bring himself to the top of the heap. “…and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.” He’s going to say what people want to hear and he’s going to get away with it. He’ll be a liar because that’s his very make-up. He’ll say whatever needs to be said to obtain his end.
“And with the arms of a flood shall they be overflown from before him, and shall be broken; yea, also the prince of the covenant.”
In other words, this Anti-christ, is going to sign this treaty with Israel, with flattery, promise of peace and prosperity, but he’s going to turn on them. And he’s going to bring in violent pressure upon them. Come over to verse 36:
“And the king (this world ruler coming on the scene in the end time) shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done.”
He will finally get to the place where he’ll have almost absolute power over the whole world. When I say the whole world, stop and think for a moment. If you are aware of what is going on (if you read the weekly news magazines and so forth), the world is becoming more global minded. The global economy, global politics, global religion, global currency. It’s world-wide and everything is being prepared for the coming in of this world leader.
Take our Social Security system. That’s not the mark of the beast, don’t worry about that, but I’ll tell you what it is. It’s the forerunner; it’s getting masses of people ready to be subjected to a central power who is going to control them with a number. Now, that’s the mark of the beast, but we believers won’t have to worry about it, because we won’t be here. But for the world that’s here, they are all going to have a number. Even today with the exception of only a few nations in the third world, do you realize that almost every nation has a Social Security system. I didn’t know that until just a few weeks ago. And that Social Security system you see, prepares everybody for understanding that they can’t make a move until they have that number. You just stop and think what we Americans can do without a Social Security number. Nothing. You can’t drive your car, you can’t enroll your kids in school, you can’t file your taxes, or pay your taxes without that number. Well, that’s just the preview of what’s coming. “…and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god,” Now you want to remember, this guy is going to be the very tool of Satan. And what is Satan’s big lie, according to all that I’ve taught ever since we came up from Genesis? That you can be like God. See this guy is believing it concerning himself, that he is greater than God; he is God. Now read on. “…and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished:” In other words, when the Tribulation ends, and he goes to his doom. “…for that that is determined shall be done.” This means that all that prophecy says will happen to this man will happen. But for seven years he’s going to have this kind of power.
Daniel 11: 37
“Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”
He will probably be an apostate Jew. Others say an apostate Gentile from Christianity; but since Israel is going to accept him and almost take him as their Messiah, I personally think he will be an apostate Jew. We know on this subject, there is a lot of controversy among Bible scholars, and I’m not one. I have never claimed to be a scholar. I’m not a theologian. I’m just a teacher. I was thinking the other day, there are thousands of them out there, that are just like I am… Sunday school teachers and what have you. And I never pretended to be anything more than that. We just want to teach the Word on a level that everyone can understand.
“But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things.”
In other words, an indication that he won’t worship the God of Abraham, but he’s going to worship Satan, which of course will be the prime mover. Now, if you will come back with me again to Matthew 24. You remember in Daniel Chapter 9, when Daniel says that this man, the prince that’s going to come out of the revived Roman Empire, is going to sign a seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. And this seven-year treaty is going to run its course according to prophecy. But Daniel says in the middle of that seven-year treaty, he’s going to turn on Israel. We have already seen that back in Chapter 8. And he’s going to set himself up as God to be worshiped as God in the very Temple in Jerusalem that will, of course, by that time be rebuilt. So, again in Matthew 24, I want you to see how Jesus put His stamp of approval upon what Daniel wrote.
“When ye therefore (now He’s talking to the twelve; He’s talking to the Nation of Israel) shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place,…” What’s that saying? Daniel said he would come in and he will.
LESSON ONE * PART II
THE ANTI-CHRIST: DEPARTURE: ESCAPING REMNANTS
Remember in our last program we were describing the attribute or personality of this man that’s going to come on the scene to rule the world during the Tribulation. Also, we had come out of Daniel and gone into the New Testament to see some of those descriptions there. So let’s begin by turning to II Thessalonians Chapter 2. I’ve stressed over the last several months that Paul never writes with regard to prophecy per se. Paul writes concerning the Church. But you see, as the Church bumps right up against the door of the fulfilling again of prophecy, Paul does make some statements here in II Thessalonians Chapter 2 concerning this Man of Sin. Consequently, I want to look at these just to get another point of view about this man who is going to come on the scene:
II Thessalonians 2:1
“Now we beseech you (Paul writes to the Thessalonians who are Gentiles in northern Greece), brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him.”
Do you see the language? That’s not the Second Coming, because there is not going to be a gathering unto Him at the Second Coming. He’s going to come to… but here there is a gathering unto. There is a difference in language. Someday, down the road, we’re going to show the difference in all the Scripture verses – how that the Second Coming is totally different language than Christ’s coming for the Church. And we’ll be able to show that so clearly. Continuing on into verse 2, Paul writes to the Thessalonian believers, that evidently thought they had missed the Out-Calling, or the Rapture, and thought they were in the Tribulation. Remember, they were under intense persecution.
So Paul writes this little letter to calm their fears, and let them know that they hadn’t missed it. I think every believer who understands my teaching of the Rapture of the Church may have had this experience: you come home from somewhere and unknown to you the whole family is gone. My wife loves to go fishing, and sometimes when I come in she’s gone. When there’s nobody around, you suddenly realize that the loved ones you thought should be there are gone. What’s that first thought that may hit us? The Lord has taken them and I’ve missed it. We all have those thoughts occasionally. We should all be aware of this. “Is it possible, have I missed it?” That’s what the Thessalonians thought. They thought because of the pressures they were now under, the Lord had come, the Tribulation had come in and they’d had it. This is the reason for this condolence letter. And he says:
II Thessalonians 2:2
“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
The day of the Lord, the day of Jehovah, the “day of God;” what is that? Well that’s the Tribulation, when God’s judgment is going to come on the scene for those seven years. So he says the day of Christ is at hand, or has happened. Now verse 3. Here is a verse that I think it was so unfortunate the King James translators were not perfect (no translation is). I’ve always had such high respect for the accuracy of the King James Version, but here is one where I think they made a glaring mistake, and it has caused a lot of confusion among Christendom and that is on the word “apostasia.”
II Thessalonians 2:3
“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;”
“Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day,” that is the coming in of the Tribulation, the day of God, “that day shall not come except there come,…” Now most translations have got it `a falling away.’ I think it’s so unfortunate, and I changed the teaching of it when the Amplified New Testament came out. I don’t remember when that was, but the Amplified New Testament came out in about the middle 70’s. The Amplified, for those of you who are not acquainted with it, is a good study Bible. They have simply taken the Greek of the New Testament, and it may take four or five English words to enlarge on a Greek word. Now it doesn’t make nice reading. It’s just word after word after word, all describing the original. But if you take the time, and understand that sometimes it does take four or five English words to understand one Greek word, then you’ll get the picture.
Here is one of them where in their footnote they use `the departure’ for the word `apostasia,’ instead of “a falling away.” Now read it in that light. “For that day shall not come,…” In other words, the introduction of the Anti-christ, “that day shall not come, except there come a departure first.” Now it’s interesting that in all of the early translations of the Bible, beginning with Tyndale, and all the way up through the 1500’s, almost every translation, including the Tyndale and the Geneva, and several others, all translated that word, `the departure.’
Dr. Kenneth Wuest, who is probably the most respected Greek scholar on the scene today is at Moody Bible Institute, and in his book, Prophetic Light in the Present Darkness, he also makes that same delineation of this word, that is better translated `the departure,’ because the same Greek word translated in our King James, `falling away,’ is translated eight times in our New Testament, as `depart;’ either of a person departing from another person to go away, or of a person departing from one place to another. You see, that makes all the difference in the world in this text. That the Tribulation cannot begin until there is the departure. And I think we are going to live to see the day. I think we are getting closer and closer. We’re suddenly going to be gone from this place. And so he says, and we’re going to go on now, “And that man of sin,…” See, here is another one of the titles or the descriptions of this Anti-christ. “…and except there come a departure and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
I’m going to throw this in casually because I don’t get dogmatic on some of these things, but if you want to make a Bible study of something that gets rather intriguing, what other human being in Scripture is referred to as the Son of Perdition? Judas! Judas Iscariot was called the Son of Perdition. Like I say, you can do this on your own. But you see, Judas Iscariot was spoken of as having gone to his own place. The Book of Revelation speaks of the Anti-christ as the Son of Perdition, who also came from his own place.
So there are many Scriptural analogies that may suggest we will have one instance of a reincarnation. I don’t even like to use the word because it’s coming in so fast in the oriental religions and so forth. And there’s certainly no other instance of it in all of Scripture. But I think it is a possibility that Judas Iscariot could come back reincarnated. Remember, Christ was not reincarnated, He was incarnate. But a reincarnation could be someone who has lived and now is alive again. Now, it’s possible, and that’s all I can say, it’s possible that the Anti-christ could be a reincarnated Judas Iscariot. And the more I think about it, the more I think indeed it is possible. And as I said last lesson, I think the Anti-christ will be an apostate Jew, rather than an apostate from Christianity. But whatever, we know he’s going to be a demonic individual. But as we saw in the last lesson, he’s going to have all of these pleasant (on the surface) attributes. He’s going to be a charismatic individual. He’s going to be able to sway people’s opinions. He’s going to be able to lie and get away with it. He’s going to promise peace and prosperity, and that’s what the world is looking for.
The world will vote their pocketbook every chance they get and he’s going to take advantage of that. He’s going to promise world peace and prosperity. Consequently, they’re going to fall for it hook, line, and sinker. I have a statement that was printed in Time Magazine in 1957, by a famous World War II Belgian General who became a diplomat, by the name of Paul Henry Spock. This is what he said, back in 1957, as one of the top leaders in Europe at that time. “We need no commission, we have already too many. What we need is a man who is great enough to be able to keep all the people in subjection to himself and to lift us out of the economic bog into which we threaten to sink. Send us such a man. Be he a god or a devil. We will accept him.” That was spoken by a European leader in 1957. Here we are that much later and the world is that much more ready for such a man. Let’s go back to the text here where Paul is writing concerning this world ruler that’s going to come on the scene. Now, verse 4:
II Thessalonians 2:4
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself…(it’s just exactly what Daniel said; he’s going to worship the god of forces, he’s going to exalt himself as God. Paul is right in line with that here. Beginning the verse again, he says,) 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.”
The Temple will be rebuilt and on the scene in Jerusalem. When we go back to Daniel, we’re going to see how we know the Temple is going to be rebuilt. It has to be! Because Israel is going to enjoy Temple worship up until the mid-point, when this man will go into the Temple as Paul depicts it here, will defile it, will do some abominable thing, probably as Antiochus The Great did. He offered a hog, a sow, upon the altar there in Jerusalem, and I’m sure the Anti-christ will do something just as bad. Reading on in verse 5:
II Thessalonians 2:5
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”
So Paul says you haven’t missed it. The Tribulation hasn’t come in because you are still here. And the Tribulation can’t begin until there is the departure. We won’t go any further here in Thessalonians now; we’ll come back at a later date. Now go to the little letter of 1 John. We have all these references of this Man of Sin, this vile person, a prince that shall come and so forth. But I’m sure this is the only place in our Bible where he is called what we normally call him, and that is the Anti-christ. And here it is in I John Chapter 2:
I John 2:18a
“Little children (now you see how all these writers of Scripture are just assuming that all this would happen, one thing right after the other. Remember when I had the timeline up there on the board, that after the Crucifixion there would be a little segment, and then would come the Tribulation, and then would come the return of Christ, with no hint of 2000 years of Church Age. Well, John writes in that same light. He has no idea of this 2000 year interval in here. And so he says), it is the last time: as ye have heard that anti-christ shall come,…”
As far as I know, that’s the clearest term concerning this man, as being the Anti-christ. John also speaks of many other anti-christs; others who will oppose the Word of God. But there is only one real Anti-christ. Now, we go into the Book of Revelation, and we get a further description in Chapter 13. If the Lord tarries and we stay on television, there will come a day when we will study the Book of Revelation verse by verse. I know in my weekly classes it has always prompted our largest attendance. And the most excited response. But for now we are just going to take a glimpse of it because we want to keep our flow through the Scriptures. I’m getting anxious now to get out of the Old Testament and get into the New Testament. We are going to start in Matthew soon. But now Revelation 13. John in his vision says:
“And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea,…”
Now, we have to stop and explain. Here is another Book of Prophecy written in symbolism. The beast here in Revelation is the same beast of Daniel. Number one, it’s the Roman Empire. But this man Anti-christ, since he’s going to rule it, is also identified as the beast. The word beast has a two-fold meaning. It can mean the original Roman Empire, or the revived one. But it’s also the Man of Sin, the Anti-christ who is going to rule this final world system. Now the imagery here again is the “sea.” Out of the sea he sees this beast come. The average reader will imagine a dragon or some kind of sea monster, coming up out of the middle of the ocean. That’s not what is indicated. It’s a symbolic statement; that out of the sea of humanity, out of the masses of nations, there is going to come this final empire. And we are seeing it happen right before our eyes, with the European community. It’s a restoration of the very same geographical area of the ancient Roman Empire.
I always like to remind my classes that you have to realize that from the demise of the ancient Roman Empire between 300-400 A.D. and the rising now of this revived Roman Empire, even though it’s 1900 plus years, to us that’s a long time. But in the mind of God, what is it? A blink of the eye. As far as He is concerned, what ended in 350 A.D. and is now coming about in the 1990’s, it’s as if there is no interval in between. It has just been pushed right up back to back. And so this is what you must keep in mind when studying the Book of Revelation. Read on, as this great empire, as well as this great individual rises up out of the masses of humanity:
“…having seven heads and ten horns (like we saw in the Book of Daniel, when Medes and Persians were depicted as the ram with two horns. What were the horns? Well, the two individual kings. Now when this empire comes on the scene, there is going to be seven distinct heads of state. But there are going to be ten crowns. You are going to have ten distinct nations, three of whom will not be very powerful, or large enough to have their own heads of state. But you will have ten distinct leaders.), and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”
So who is heading up this empire? Satan is. It’s a satanic consortium of politicians and so forth. Now when I say satanic, remember Satan isn’t just a promoter of skid row. Satan doesn’t just promote the vile aspect of life. Satan can promote the greatest technology, he can promote the most beautiful things on earth, as long as it’s for his own end. And so, even though this great world system comes on the scene, and just because I say it’s satanic doesn’t mean that it’s intrinsically evil from its outward appearance, but you can bet the farm that the inward part of it will be corrupt to the core. And that’s why I said when he comes on the scene, how is he going to achieve his end? By lying, by deception, by flattery, and by his charismatic personality. He’s going to get people to fall at his feet. But remember he’s corrupt. Now let’s read on:
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”
“And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard,…” You always have to take time, and think back to Daniel Chapter 2. Remember the Babylonian Empire was called the head of gold? The Medes and Persian Empire was the chest of silver. The Greek Empire was the belly of brass. The Roman Empire was legs of iron. Then in Chapter 7, Daniel saw those same empires as wild beasts. He saw Babylon as a lion. He saw the Medes and Persians as the bear. And he saw the Greek Empire as the leopard. And the fourth empire was a beast beyond description. Daniel saw them from a prophetic view from start to finish. Coming down, John sees them now as looking back. Notice they are in reverse order.. “and the dragon (Satan) gave him his power, and his seat (or throne), and his authority.” Do you see how plain that is? This man is going to come on the scene, satanically driven, and he’s going to receive his power, talents and ability directly from Satan himself. He’s going to take over these ten nations that I’m convinced will be the European Community. And out of that ten-nation power he will come to the top and will become the great world leader.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death (now again there is a lot of controversy as to, “Will the Anti-christ himself be assassinated and be raised back to life?” I do not think so, although that would make good news. I personally think that the wounding to death here is the ancient Roman Empire. Everyone historically feels that the Roman Empire is dead and gone. But here it is coming back just as if nothing has happened.); and his deadly wound was healed (now watch those next 3 or 4 words): and all the world (not just Europe, not just the Mediterranean, but the whole world.) wondered after the beast.”
“And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying (do you see now why we are seeing such an increase in Satan worship? We’re seeing an increase in the Oriental Religions, which are tied of course to the Occult. They are all getting ready when this man comes on the scene, and takes over and the world is going to be ready to fall at his feet, and they will worship him as well as the satanic power that is behind him. Reading on now, they will ask the question), `Who is like unto the beast (who’s like him? He’s one in millions.) who is able to make war with him?'”
“And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies;…”
He is going to be Anti-God, he is the Anti-christ, and he’s going to have tremendous power because of the satanic power behind him. Don’t ever underestimate Satan. Do you remember when Jesus was out there in the temptations. It’s in Matthew Chapter 4, and one of the temptations was, as Satan took Him up to the mountain top in this particular case, he showed Jesus what? All the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them. And what did Satan have the nerve to say to Jesus? “Fall down and worship me and I’ll give them to you.” I’ve always maintained they’re his to give. And now here we see him really coming to the place where he thinks he’s got the world under his thumb. And they’re all beginning to worship him, but God limits him. And what is the next limit? Forty-two months. That is 3 1/2 years.
So out of the seven years remember the first 3 1/2 he’s going to be making his points, he’s going to be coming on the scene, but he won’t attain this position as absolute world controller until the middle of the Tribulation. That’s when he will move into the Temple in Jerusalem, and that’s when he will turn on the Jew. Then, as we will see in the next few programs, at the mid-point of the Tribulation, Satan is cast out of heaven. So I always put it this way. That last 3 1/2 years is not just going to be the wrath of God poured out, but it’s going to be a combined wrath. The wrath of Satan, the Scripture says, knowing that he has only a short time left, 3 1/2 years. The wrath of God because he has promised he would pour out his wrath on Christ-rejecting mankind, and so that last forty-two months are like Jesus said in Matthew 24, a time of trouble, the like to which the world has never seen or ever will. And it’s going to be such that we cannot even comprehend.
LESSON ONE * PART III
THE ANTI-CHRIST: DEPARTURE: ESCAPING REMNANTS
We’ve been talking about the Anti-christ, the kind of person he would be and how that he is going to sign a seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. Now let’s turn to Daniel Chapter 9 once again. We’ll look at verse 27, where we see so clearly this prince that shall come, this Anti-christ, this vile person, this being of fierce countenance, this man who is going to come in with peace and prosperity on his platform. He’s going to literally bowl people over with his charismatic personality. The thing that is going to reveal who he really is that he will sign a seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. And that’s why I maintain that we, as believers, will not see this happen, because it can’t happen until after we’re gone.
“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 abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.”
“And he,” this Man of Sin, this Anti-christ, “shall confirm” or make, “the Covenant with many,” the Nation of Israel, “for one week:…” Remember, going back a few lessons, that Daniel’s prophecy was a 490 year period of time, going all the way back to Nehemiah’s return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city walls. And 483 of those years were fulfilled just before the Crucifixion: probably on Palm Sunday. And then, according to the Old Testament prophetic program, there might have been a small interval of time between the death, burial and resurrection, and the ushering in of this final seven years to complete the 490. We’ve been trying to show that nothing in the Old Testament indicated that 490 would be split open and stretched out over almost 2,000 years before the final seven happen. But they are going to still be fulfilled. And so this is the triggering mechanism that kicks God’s time clock back in gear.
You want to remember that when those 483 years were completed and Israel rejected the King and the Kingdom, God put His whole program on hold. His time clock stopped. And it hasn’t run for the last 1900 years or so. But as soon as this individual signs a seven-year treaty with Israel, then you’re going to have seven literal years unfold and then Christ returns. So the language is plain enough, that then, “in the middle of the week,” or the middle of that seven years, “he is going to cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.” In other words, the Temple worship will stop. Now in order for the Temple worship to stop, it has to be in operation. So we gather from this that Israel is going to rebuild her Temple. Whether she’ll have it the whole 3 1/2 years is beside the point. It’s going to be operating by the mid-point of this seven years.
This is one reason I think the Anti-christ will be an apostate Jew, because when this fellow signs this seven-year treaty with Israel, they are going to be so enraptured with him. He’s promising them the peace and prosperity they’ve been looking for; he’s going to guarantee their borders against any of their enemies and he’s going to give them permission for Temple worship – well, this is everything they’ve been dreaming of. As I’ve referred to in several of our lessons recently, when you read little comments from some of the Rabbis in the Jerusalem Post, that the Messiah they’re looking for is really a perfect description of the Man of Sin. They’re looking for a man who will rule the world in peace. Someone who will elevate Israel to the epitome of all the nations. But that all the nations would enjoy the peace that could flow from their Messiah ruling the Nation of Israel. That’s what they’re looking for.
So this guy is going to come on the scene, sign the seven-year treaty, and the Jews are going to think they’ve finally arrived. They no longer have to maintain that tremendous military machine. They can lower their taxes and have a prosperity of domestic production and what have you. But, this verse says, that in the middle of the week he’s going to cause all of that to stop; he’s going to turn on the Jew and he will usher in then that final 3 1/2 years. After the departing, which we talked about last lesson, from II Thessalonians, then shall that Wicked One be revealed. He’s going to sign this seven-year treaty with Israel, but in the middle of that seven years, he’s going to go down to Jerusalem, probably from his headquarters in Europe, move into the Temple complex, defile the Temple and force the Jew to worship him as God. It’s going to be Hitler’s Nazism all over again, only a thousand times worse. Let’s go to Matthew 24 again. I think if I’ve emphasized anything over the last two and one half years of teaching on television, it’s that Christ is the Creator God of the universe. He is the very Author of this Book and He Himself refers to this verse we just read in Daniel, when He says in verse 15, “and when you see these things,” and this where we closed last lesson. I’ve been hitting this several times over the last few weeks for emphasis. Now Verse 15:
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place (whoso readeth, let him understand:),”
The holy place spoken of here is Jerusalem. Now get the setting here. This is Jesus in His earthly ministry. He’s talking to the twelve and He’s talking as if it’s going to happen in their lifetime. He gives no indication there’s going to be a big time span in between all of this. He’s talking to them as if they should be ready for it. Now this is in accord with all of Scripture until you get to the Apostle Paul. Then all of a sudden we realize that instead of Israel going out to the nations with the Gospel, what does God tell Ananias in Chapter 9? “Don’t be afraid of old Saul of Tarsus coming into your home, because I have commissioned him to be the apostle of the Gentiles.” See what a difference that makes? Jesus isn’t speaking that way. He is speaking as if all these things are about to happen. Now read on:
“Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains:”
Now I like to always emphasize time words. Until, is a time word. Then, is a time word. And now He says, “then,” at that point in time when the Anti-christ comes in and defiles the Temple and causes the Jews to stop their worship of their Old Testament system, “then,” He says, “let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains.” Now keep that in your mind because we’re going to refer back to it in a little bit. Now to verse 17:
“Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:”
There’s been a lot of talk about the remnant Jew in the Tribulation. Some think it’s the 144,000, but it’s amazing that, of all the reading I’ve done concerning the remnant of Jews who will be saved during the Tribulation, nobody, I feel, explains this portion of Scripture. These are not 144,000 young Jewish men, which Revelation says they will be. This is a mixture of a whole society. Now look at them as we come down through them. Now “Let him which is on the housetop not come down…” If you know anything about Middle Eastern lifestyle, folks who had retired and who were living in a nice comfortable retirement situation, where was their patio? It was upon the roof top. And so Jesus is referring to people who were quite well-to-do, who were no longer in the mainstream work force, but were now enjoying a life of relative ease on their patio on the roof top.
Now, He says to that remnant of Jews, “Who is going to be in the exodus out of Jerusalem?” To this particular group He said, “Don’t even bother to stop and take your clothes.” Well now just be sensible. Just be logical. What class of people are going to be more concerned about the clothes in their closets than they are about getting out of a place of danger? The wealthy, the well-to-do. They may have some expensive dresses, and suits, and so forth. “Oh, I can’t leave them behind.” And so Jesus said if you are in that category, don’t you take time for it. Because time is going to be of the essence. All right, that’s another class of people; let’s read on:
“Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.”
Now what class of people do you have? Working people. Probably the younger people, between the ages of 25 and retirement age, who are still out there working every day. They are doing the common everyday tasks of life. And to that class of people He says, “Don’t you turn back to get your clothes or anything out of your house. Regardless of where you are working, when you hear the Temple has been defiled, you move out to the mountains if you want to escape.”
“And woe unto them that are with child (now what age level are we talking about? Probably young mothers in their 20’s and 30’s. They will be heavy with child, and they are going to have to walk a long way. But He is including them in that escaping remnant.), and to them that give suck (or nursing) in those days!”
There you have young mothers. Do you see the cross-section of society that we are coming up with? We’ve got older, retired well-to-do people, the working class, the young married with their children. A cross-section from top-to-bottom. In Verse 20 Jesus said:
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:”
Do you see what that shows? Since the Temple has been operating for this first 3 1/2 years, what are the Jews going to be aware of concerning the sabbath day? The Law, and how far they can walk without breaking it! And they are going to be so aware of the Law, that Jesus said if it’s on the sabbath most of you won’t dare walk more than the lawful limit. Approximately what? 4000 feet? They wouldn’t get out of town! And then He said hope that it’s not in the winter time, because they are going to be walking. When the Anti-christ comes in and defiles the Temple, when he turns on the Children of Israel or the Jews, and there’s that exodus.
Let’s use our timeline in a two-fold way. The Anti-christ is going to come in, I think, from Europe, from the west. He’s going to go down into Jerusalem into the Temple, defile it, and immediately turn on the Jew. Now we are going to go to Revelation, and we’re going to find there is going to be another triggering mechanism that’s going to cause these Jews to go down to the mountains. These mountains are to the Southeast of Jerusalem. I call this the escaping remnant. It’s not the whole nation, but only a remnant of Jews from all categories of life. And they are going to flee the area of Jerusalem down to the mountains; whether it’s the city of Petra or not I don’t know – it’s possible. And while there, God is going to watch over and protect them for that whole 3 1/2 years. Now let’s read one more verse before we leave Matthew 24. Verse 21:
“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, or ever shall be.”
I believe the beginning of this verse is the mid-point of the Tribulation. The last 3 1/2 years is known as the Great Tribulation. The first 3 1/2 years is not going to be a Sunday school picnic, as I’ll try to show you during the next lesson. But here at the mid-point, things start to get tough. You not only have the outpouring of Satan’s wrath, but also the outpouring of God’s wrath on the whole human race. Stop and think, those of you who heard me teach about the flood; was that an enjoyable experience? It was awful. It was cataclysmic. It was the end of everybody living at that time except Noah and his family. Then, come up through history. I’ve always said the more you read history, the more you realize that for 95% of the world’s population, life was not life, it was an existence. It was a life of slavery, just barely existing. In World War II, it wasn’t just the slaughter of the Jews, but Russians, and Germans; millions came under the suffering of that war. But Jesus said that is nothing compared to what is coming to this planet.
“And except those days should be shortened,…”
Many people get the idea that instead of running seven years it may run only 6 1/2. I believe the Greek implies that, unless it would end on time, there wouldn’t be anyone left. But since it will end on schedule, there will be survivors. We have to have survivors, for after all, you’ve got to have people going into the Kingdom. The largest group of survivors will be this escaping remnant of Israel. Now to Revelation again and let’s pick up this escaping remnant in the prophetic Book. Revelation Chapter 11. Now here again, symbolism comes in so clearly; all we have to do is decipher it, and all of a sudden the symbolism becomes a literal truth. Just as literal as if it had been written out in plain English. In verse 3, we have the very onset of the seven years, as soon as Israel signs that treaty with the Anti-christ. I think at this time God is going to send the two witnesses to Jerusalem. The two Jews who are going to proclaim salvation to the Nation of Israel. I think it will be out of their ministry that the 144,000 will be sealed and designated, and sent out into the world to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom (The King is coming, and is going to set up His Kingdom.) In order to pick up the time factor, look at verse 3:
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”
How long is that? Three and one-half years. They will be put to death; we’ll come to that later. Anyway, at the end of that 3 1/2 years, verse 12:
“And they heard a great voice in heaven saying unto them, come up hither….”
In other words, they’d been killed, and the whole world is going to see their bodies lying on the streets of Jerusalem. Remember, before the invention of television and Telstar; those of us who are old enough can remember hearing sermon after sermon on this, wondering how in the world will everyone see their bodies. But now we know. With our current technology, the streets of Jerusalem are constantly in our living room on the evening news. So every household will see those two Jews lying on the street, I suppose to rot in that hot midday sun. Then, after lying there for 3 days, they stand upon their feet, as God calls them back to life. And He calls them back to heaven.
“And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud (now this is the miraculous again you know. I’ve told you as soon as God starts dealing with Israel, the supernatural comes in and becomes almost everyday. So they ascend into heaven in a cloud); and their enemies beheld them.”
I don’t know if it will be on the 6:00 news, but it wouldn’t surprise me. This is going to be world news. Now verse 13. This is what I really wanted to come to.
“And the same hour (remember where we are at in the Tribulation? The mid-point) was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.”
Now be careful. Is there salvation by merely ascribing glory to the God of heaven? No! A lot of people do that constantly. And so these Jews recognize now that the God of Abraham, the God of Heaven, is certainly working in their midst. It’s not a salvation experience; but because of their physical fear of what has just taken place, what are they going to do? They are going to flee. Remember not all, but a remnant. Let’s go to Chapter 12, verses 5 and 6. Now here is symbolism again. The woman is the Nation of Israel.
“And she brought forth a man child (in other words, the Christ child. And here we leap the ages, from the time of His birth to the rule of His Kingdom, 2000 years or more), who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron (now the verse backs up again to His ascension): and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. In verse 6, we leap back to the mid-point of the Tribulation:
“And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they (The Godhead) should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” Or 3 1/2 years. This is the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. Now in that same 12th Chapter, verses 13-16:
“And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman (that is the Nation of Israel) which brought forth the man child. 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 (by God) for a time, and times, and half a time (3 1/2 years), from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.”
Quickly go to Exodus 19. I’ve always taught that so much of what happened in Genesis and Exodus, we see a repetition of in Revelation. And this is exactly what we have here. In Exodus, we have Israel fleeing out of Egypt with the Egyptian armies behind them. Now look how God looked at it. He says through Moses:
“Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.”
Do you see what it says? Now flip back again to Revelation 12:14:
” And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness,…”
Now put all of this together. What happened back there in Exodus when Israel was escaping? Pharaoh sent his armies and chariots out to destroy Israel. Where did God stop Pharaoh? At the Red Sea. The Anti-christ is going to do the same thing. He’s going to send an army after this escaping remnant of Jews as they are being hurried along by the escaping power of God. But what’s going to happen? The armies will be destroyed.
LESSON ONE * PART IV
THE ANTI-CHRIST: DEPARTURE: ESCAPING REMNANTS
Let’s jump ahead of prophecy a little bit. We have had so many requests to teach the Rapture of the Church. Many people have been waiting a long time for this, but I didn’t want to jump the gun and come in and teach the Rapture until some of the other things had been laid out correctly. We will begin in I Corinthians Chapter 15. Now, I am well aware of the fact, the word “Rapture” per se doesn’t appear in our King James or in most of our English translations, although the word is in the German translation. As I pointed out previously, the word used most often by the early translators, before 1611 AD, was the “departure,” or departing from one place to another. We have coined the word “Rapture.”
I Corinthians 15 deals with the resurrection. Paul uses various allegories to describe it, saying that throughout nature we have this concept of resurrection from one state to another. In explaining this, he reaches verse 51 (the casual reader may miss this). Paul starts out by talking about a mystery that is about to be revealed.
And the word mystery is translated “a secret.” And indeed it has been a secret. How many times over the last several lessons have I said that there is not a hint of a group of people who are going to be alive, and suddenly taken off the scene (which, of course, we call the Rapture). And the reason is, it is a Church Age phenomena and only one writer in Scripture writes concerning the Church, and that is the Apostle Paul. So it stands to reason that from this man’s writing we get the teaching of the Rapture, or the catching away the Body of Christ. It is a Church Age doctrine. No one else was ever told to look for this event except the Church.
Paul taught the Thessalonians this event would probably take place in their lifetime. You can’t put a date on it, but we are to expect it at any moment. The word we use is “imminent.” He may come this afternoon before we finish this lesson. We cannot speculate when He will come, but when the last sinner is saved, and the Body of Christ is complete, then we are removed, and the Anti-christ will sign a peace treaty with Israel. We do know according to Paul, the Rapture will happen before the Anti-christ is revealed. Verse 51:
I Corinthians 15:51,52a
“Behold, I shew you a mystery; We (Paul always includes himself with us, the believers) shall not all sleep (or die), but we shall all be changed (how?), In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,…”
The Greek here implies, down to the smallest part of time (smaller than the blink of an eye). A lady asked the other night, “What will people think when they see our dead bodies and we’re gone?” They won’t see our dead bodies, they won’t see any trace of us except maybe our clothes and possessions left behind. This body is going to suddenly change. Maybe some theologians would rebel at my analogy, but I like to think of the metamorphosis of a butterfly (like all earthly illustrations of a spiritual truth, you can’t take this from start to finish). What does that beautiful butterfly look like before it is changed? An ugly old cocoon in which there is a ugly worm. And yet after it has gone through that metamorphosis, what comes out of that ugliness? That beautiful butterfly.
Now put ourselves in that same situation. Here we are in this old ugly frame of dust. People ask me, “Les, am I going to have a better looking body than what I have now?” Of course you will. It’s going to be a new body, it will be glorious. Here we are in this old frame of dust, prone to sin and corruption, sickness, and all of its faults. but, all of a sudden, in a split second, those of us who know the Lord and are alive are suddenly going to be changed. We won’t leave this body behind, but it will be changed to a new one.
I Corinthians 15:52
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump (now the trump has always been used in Scripture to announce. Even in Israel, they blew the trumpet for various reasons for the gathering the people together): for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
The first to respond to that trumpet call will be the dead. In verse 23 of this Chapter, Paul tells us that believers of the human race from Adam through the Tribulation are not going to be resurrected at the same moment. There are going to be divisions.
I Corinthians 15:23
“But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
The word “order” in the Greek is a military term – a term of organization or company. So there are going to be several resurrections of the believers, not at the same time. They will be close in proximity of course. But since Paul is writing to the Church, the only resurrection that he is dealing with in verse 52 and 53 is the resurrection of the Body of Christ. This will not include the Old Testament believers, and it can’t include the Tribulation believers because that will not have happened when we are raptured.
Here, Paul’s writing is strictly for the Church Age believer. If we have time I’ll show you how these resurrections are ordered throughout the Scripture. For now, let’s deal with the Church Age believers: those of us who have come into the Body of Christ by believing the Gospel, which Christ Himself revealed to the Apostle Paul for us. If we believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the grave – only believing for our salvation – not working for it. Paul writes this old body must put on incorruption.
I Corinthians 15:53,54
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal (prone to die) must put on immortality (an eternal body that will never die – fit for eternity. That’s what we get with our new body). “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, `Death is swallowed up in victory.'”
In I Thessalonians Chapter 4, the Apostle Paul states this more clearly than in I Corinthians, using almost the same language:
I Thessalonians 4:13
“But I would not have you to be ignorant (when I read something like that, I stop and think for a moment. Why would Paul think that I or anyone else would be ignorant of these things? Because we’ve never heard it before. Paul is the first one to reveal it. He says, “I’m going to bring you out of your ignorance by revealing something to you”), brethren, concerning them which are asleep (or have died a physical death), that ye (as a believer) sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.”
What is Paul recognizing? When a pagan, or lost person, who has no concept of what’s out there in the future, loses a loved one what do they do? They weep and scream and fall apart. We’ve had missionaries from the darkest parts of Africa, and other uncivilized parts of the world, see unbelievers lose a loved one. They weep and wail for days. Why? They know they will never see that person again. They are gone. Now Paul says, “The believer doesn’t have to do that.” We can lose a loved one and suffer loss and mourn. But, I think it’s ridiculous when Christians try to put on a bold front saying, “I’m a believer; I will see my wife again, so I don’t have to cry at her death.” That’s not right. We should mourn the loss of our loved ones, but we don’t have to fall completely apart and weep for days on end, because we know we will see them again.
So this is what Paul is referring to when he says, “that ye sorrow not” Now, here in verse 14, Paul makes it as simple as anyplace in Scripture, how to be involved in this departure if we are alive, or how to be resurrected from the dead if we do go through death. How can we know that we will not be left behind to go into these awful terrible days of Tribulation? How can we know we will be in that group that departs? Here it is in simple language:
I Thessalonians 4:14
“For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again (the Gospel), even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.” We will explain the last part of this verse in a few moments.
“For if we…” Repent and are baptized and have joined a church? It doesn’t say that! Paul never makes that a requirement. But what is the requirement? If we believe. But not just anything. A few lessons ago I told you there was a big difference in believing in God and believing God. Now when you believe God, that is being a man or woman of faith. You are doing what God has said. You are resting on it. And here is a perfect example of it. What has God said concerning the Gospel? That it is the power of God unto salvation. And here Paul puts it right into plain language. Turn back with me to I Corinthians 15 where you will find the clearest and simplest language in the New Testament of the Plan of Salvation. This will take a person to heaven whether by death and resurrection, or by way of the Rapture. And it’s the only way, whether we are Methodists, Catholic, Baptists or whatever, to be assured of heaven. Here it is. This isn’t my idea or my interpretation. This is what the Book says in plain English. Now verse 1:
I Corinthians 15:1,2
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel (watch it. It doesn’t say a Gospel. If a translation does, it is violating Scripture) which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (positionally, what are we to stand in? This Gospel. And remember it’s the Gospel). By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Let’s break that verse down:
“By which also ye are saved (many people don’t like that word. But it is a simple word we use in the secular world, and it denotes a salvation. How many times have you heard of an individual being saved from financial ruin? We use that term in salvation the same way. You have heard people say, “The death of that rich uncle was his salvation.” It saved him from financial ruin. And Paul uses it the same way in the spiritual as he says, “It’s by this Gospel by which you are saved.” But we have to understand and know what we believe, so he says), if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Too many people don’t know what they believe. They have some idea but can’t put it into words. They just hope they make it. It is so plain we are to believe the Gospel. Here is the Gospel that saves each of us in verses 3 and 4:
I Corinthians 15:3,4
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins… And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” Now let me explain:
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received (now where did he receive it? From the Ascended Glorified Lord. God reveals to this Apostle of the Gentiles – remember he calls himself that over and over – how that salvation is not in Law, works, repentance and baptism, but in believing the Gospel. It is too simple for most people, yet I have said over the years that the power of this Gospel is so complex that we can’t understand it, so just believe it.), how that Christ died for our sins… (but He didn’t stay dead ), he was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Now that is the Gospel!
Come back to I Thessalonians Chapter 4. Let’s identify the vehicle for being in on this great event. It’s believing that Christ died, was buried and rose again (that’s not just head knowledge). When every believer can come to the place that he genuinely, totally and completely can rest on the fact that when Christ died, he died; when Christ was buried, he was buried; and when He rose from the dead, he rose from the deadness of sin, and He has imparted eternal life to him. It was that same beautiful picture of Israel coming out of Egypt. What was Israel’s lot? Slavery and bondage; but as a result of the blood of the Passover Lamb, they escaped the death Angel. But they didn’t stay in Egypt. Where did they go? Through the Red Sea event which was a picture of the burial and the death of Christ. They come out on the other side a redeemed people, a picture of the resurrection. They didn’t work for it; neither do we. It was and still is, the power of God. Now verse 15:
I Thessalonians 4:15
“For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord (the ascended Christ revealed this to Paul), that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (or go ahead of) them which are asleep.” Or have died. Why?
I Thessalonians 4:16
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.” There will be no lost dead come out of the grave here. This is only for the believers of the Church Age, the Body of Christ. Then in the next split second:
I Thessalonians 4:17
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them (the ones that have died) in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (not on the Mount of Olives; that’s at His Second Coming. This meeting will take place in the air): and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
All the way since the Body of Christ, saints have been dying and are buried. They are in the grave around the planet. But when the trumpet sounds and Christ leaves Heaven, He is going to bring the souls of those who have died with Him. Remember the Apostle Paul tells us that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. And they are there in Christ’s presence. We don’t know their state or anything like that. The Bible doesn’t tell us. But we know they are waiting for the Great Resurrection Day. When Christ leaves Heaven coming to get us believers, He will also bring our loved ones and all the Church Age saints who have died with Him. Their bodies will rise with us (who are alive when this event occurs) to meet in the air. They will at last, again, have a new body when their souls and bodies once again become united in the air. We will then be escorted back up into Heaven with Him.
Remember at the Rapture, Christ comes for the Saints. And at the Second Coming, Christ comes with the Saints. Turn with me to the Old Testament, to the Book of Zechariah 14 verse 4. Now here is the language of the Second Coming. Paul says, “We will meet the Lord in the air.” The Old Testament prophecy says:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,…”
Do you see the difference? For the Church, He only comes to the air. For the Second Coming, He comes to the Mount of Olives.
LESSON TWO * PART I
PROPHECY: THE WHITE HORSE OF REVELATION 6
Get your Bible and follow along with us. You can’t grow in grace and knowledge unless you stay in the Book. And that is the only reason I teach. I trust I can help people to understand what the Bible is saying. Let’s turn to the Book of Ezekiel. We will continue to study prophecy for several more lessons before going into the Book of Matthew as we continue our Through the Bible teaching.
We will be going to the Book of Revelation, and the timeline as it unfolds for that last seven years. First, I want to show you an event that’s unfolding in Ezekiel Chapter 37. I think we are seeing this happen right before our eyes. Ezekiel 37 is dealing with the awakening again of the Nation of Israel – how they have come out of complete obscurity as a nation. They have been buried among the Gentiles. But this Chapter prophesies that one day they will come alive, come back to the land and become a viable nation. We are seeing that take place even as we speak. But they haven’t come to the full culmination yet, that is still future. So let’s start at verse 1:
“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,”
When we were in Israel a few months ago, our guide pointed to the valley of Kedron, and made reference to this Chapter. He said, “This is what the Jews call the valley of dry bones.” There is a multitude of graves as you look from the Mount of Olives down across the Kedron Valley up to the old wall. But that is not what Ezekiel 37 is talking about. Ezekiel 37 is talking about the Nation of Israel out of the land; out among the Gentile nations scattered across the world without a land, altar, or priesthood. This has been the lot of the Jew ever since 70 AD. But it’s not going to stay that way. And Israel out of the land is a Nation that is in its grave. And that is the whole concept you need to remember as you read this Chapter.
“And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.”
If you know anything about bones, you realize the longer they lie out in the sun, the whiter and dryer they get. The emphasis here is that Israel has been out of the land, the place of blessing, for a long time – over 1900 years. It was from 70 A.D. when Titus destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, that the Jews were scattered throughout the then-known world. They didn’t become a nation again until 1948. So they were out there a long time.
“And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?…”
The normal answer from a human standpoint would have been, “No way!” How could a nation as tiny as Israel completely subjugated by her Gentile enemies ever come back on the scene. I guess when you have an agnostic, or someone who has trouble believing the Bible as the Word of God, one of the most viable proofs, that this Book is supernatural and is the Word of God, is the Jew. He is living proof that this Book knows what it’s talking about – keep that in mind. This little nation should have been completely obliterated. They should have been totally assimilated into the various nations of the world and lost their identity completely – but they haven’t. And we have seen them go back to their land.
Another miracle is the Hebrew language. It was dead. Even the Jews didn’t speak Hebrew for hundreds of years. But when some of the Zionists first anticipated going back to what we call Palestine to make it a Jewish homeland, they demanded that people learn and speak Hebrew again. So, if you go to Israel today, all the billboards and all the highway signs are Hebrew and English. Never has a dead language ever been brought back to life as it has here. Another absolute proof of the prophetic word. So he says:
“Again he said unto me, `Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.'”
Now the most that people know about Ezekiel 37 is the old well-known spiritual, isn’t it? “The hip bone’s connected to the…” and so on and so on. Well, that’s where it came from. It’s from this Chapter. But it’s speaking of something far more important than just a skeleton. Remember, we’re talking about the Nation of Israel as they have been out there amongst the Gentile nations.
“Thus saith the LORD GOD unto these bones (to these Israelites scattered throughout the world); `Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live.'” In other words, a national breath. They will once again become a nation of people.
“And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you,…”
This is a symbolic language. It is merely speaking of that which was dead and seemingly without hope: all of a sudden they are coming back. The Nation of Israel is in the news every day, seven days a week for some reason or another. But they haven’t reached yet, all this is looking forward to – but they’re certainly on their way.
“…and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”
It’s amazing that in spite of all that Israel has accomplished (the tremendous increase in agricultural production; large high-rise building projects; freeway construction. It’s just unbelievable), they do not give God any of the credit. They just claim that they are doing it on their own. But the Lord says that one day they will realize that they didn’t do it on their own. That it was the work of their Almighty God. Alright, verse 7:
“So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking,…”
We want you to see the illustration. This great valley floor, just covered with dry bones. That’s what we want to picture mentally. All of a sudden those bones begin to move, to shake and rattle – they begin to come together and form skeletons. Then soon, the flesh comes on them; and then the skin. And the day is coming when the life will come on them. Now, all of this is just symbolic language in regard to the Nation of Israel away from their homeland. Scattered amongst the nations. Seemingly no hope of ever having a homeland. But little by little, beginning in 1897, a Viennese Jew by the name of Theodor Herzl dreamed of a homeland for the Jews, and founded the World Zionist Organization. The British Government and other powers at that time, thought they could set them aside an area in Africa someplace. But these Jews said, “No we don’t want someplace in Africa. We want our own homeland. We want the land of our forefathers.” And of course we know now from history that it was quite a battle. The British fought them tooth and toenail, all during the eight days after World War II.
Very few people are aware that as the Jews were escaping Europe from the holocaust, the British navy patrolled the Mediterranean Sea day and night, trying to intercept the boat people of that day, who were the Israelites, or Jews, coming out of Europe. If they intercepted them, they would put them in refugee camps on the island of Cyprus. But the few that got through went into the land of Israel and began by building the Kibbutzim. If you go to Israel today, you will likely visit a Kibbutz, which is basically a farming community. But from their farming enterprises, they have expanded and have begun manufacturing and developing a tourist trade.
But it was the Kibbutz people who were the mainstay of that little rag-tag army that defeated the Arabs in 1948. It was quite a bit like our own revolutionary war. Just the rag-tag of farmers and common people with no military acumen whatsoever. And yet with the overwhelming power of God – with just small arms, no tanks, no artillery, no air power – they won the war in 1948 and established themselves as a little nation once again. Well that’s the shaking of the dry bones. Alright now let’s read on:
“And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above (that much they’ve accomplished. But the last still hasn’t happened.): but there was no breath in them.” Or I should say that is still the case. There is no spiritual breath, as yet.
“Then said he unto me, `Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the LORD GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.'”
We’re dealing now with the spiritual aspect. And so we see them in the land. They have their own government – they have their Knesset (what we would call our Congress). And they have a sovereignty of sorts. But they are still so dependent on Uncle Sam and some of the Western European nations for their financial stability. In fact one of the first things that our guide told us, “We just consider ourselves the fifty first State.” – which is so apropos, as they are dependent on us, even though they are an independent state.
“So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.”
That was the vision that he saw, but in reality it is the Nation of Israel coming back to their homeland out of all the nations of the earth. You may ask, “Well, where do you get that?” You just read on, and like I’ve said so many times, if you go far enough, the Scripture interprets for you. Now look what it says in verse 11:
“Then he said unto me, `Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel:…'”
Do you see that? Not just two tribes. But the whole house of Israel. I’m emphasizing that because there is a great move afoot that maintains the Jews of today are only the residue of Judah and Benjamin. The other ten tribes are lost and have been destroyed and are no long a viable entity. But that flies in the face of Scripture. Because even in the Book of Acts, as Peter addresses the Jews on the day of Pentecost, what term does he use? “Therefore let the whole house of Israel know assuredly,…” The whole house of Israel is not just Judah and Benjamin; it’s all twelve or thirteen tribes if you want to include the two sons of Joseph. So, here again, we have the terminology that they are the whole house of Israel.
“`…behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost:…'”
Isn’t that exactly what the Jew felt? Especially prior and after World War II? No hope of having a homeland. No hope of having any congealing of their people. They were just isolated, usually in ghettos in various capital cities in Europe. And they thought that there was no hope. And then all of a sudden a Sovereign God came into the picture. And they said:
“…Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.”
And then I would like to come down to verse 13. Where God says:
“And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves (in other words, out of the place of dispersion.), And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I (God says) shall place you (where?) in your own land:…”
With all due respect to the Arabs, no one likes to give up what they call their homeland. And we certainly don’t look down on them for feeling that way. But the Scripture is so plain. Whose land is the land of Palestine? It’s the Jews.’ It was promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And all of Scripture declares it as “Their land.” Our United States government can go to its doom trying to change that. Other governments will go to their doom if they try to change that. Because God has delineated this little strip of ground between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, as the homeland for his Covenant people.
“…then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.” Now he gives another illustration. And he says to Ezekiel:
“Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, `For Judah (that was the Southern Kingdom, remember. Judah and Benjamin, the Southern Kingdom after the nation was divided), and for the children of Israel his companions:’ then take another stick, and write upon it, `For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions:'”
That was the Northern Kingdom. So we have one stick representing the Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin. The other stick is representing the ten tribes to the north which we normally call the Northern Kingdom, or Israel, or Ephraim. In verse 17, he says:
“And join them one to another into (what?) one stick (see); and they shall become one in thine hand.”
A miracle? Just about like when Moses cast down his rod back there in Exodus. Ezekiel takes two separate sticks, one for Judah and one for the Northern Kingdom. And in his hand, those two become one. Alright, God again is showing not only Ezekiel, but us today, a tremendous lesson. Verse 18:
“And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, `Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these?’ Say unto them, `Thus saith the Lord GOD;…'”
You know I’m always emphasizing that what is most important in the life of a believer is faith. I think I’m getting to be known as emphasizing faith – taking God at His Word. But who is saying this? God is saying it. What does He expect us to do? Believe it. And here is a good example. We believe that the Nation of Israel is going to come back and totally come together as one nation. No longer divided – all the tribes will be involved. Now verse 20:
“And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. And say unto them, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen,…'”
The word heathen in our Bible is simply another word for Gentiles. It doesn’t necessarily mean they are decrepit paganists or something like that – but Gentiles from all the nations of the world.
“…whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:”
We have been witnessing the return ever since the turn of the century, but especially since World War II. The Jews are just constantly coming back. I read in the Daily Oklahoman several weeks ago where a speaker in Oklahoma City, and I believe it was the head of tourism from the Nation of Israel, and he was speaking to a group of businessmen there. He gave this comparison which was shocking. In order to get an idea of what Israel has absorbed in the last year or two, it would be like the whole Nation of France immigrating to America in twelve months time. These immigrants came from all over the world, especially from Russia and from Eastern Europe. This is a staggering number of Jews that have come into that little land which is only 40 miles wide and about 200 miles long at the very most. Could we absorb them? Just imagine what they are up against – finding places for them to live, a food supply. They have to be put on welfare until they can get on their feet and find a job. But always be aware that God is bringing them back.
“And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel (most people don’t realize just how many mountains are in that nation. And here they are building high-rise apartments on those mountain sides. Just one right after the other. Now read on); and one king shall be king to them all:” That is still future. But they are looking for their King. And again, as you travel the Nation of Israel, you see big billboard signs in Hebrew telling the people to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. They don’t look at it as we do for they think He is coming for the first time, and we know it will be the Second Coming. But they realize the signs of the times are building so rapidly that Israel should be ready for her Messiah. Yes, the day is coming, and that is why we are going to study the Book of Revelation because all of that is going to build to the coming of the King of kings.
“And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.”
That hasn’t happened yet. Tonight you would have to say, “Lo-Ammi.” And what does that mean? “They’re not my people.” At times Moses used to tell God, “They are not my people.” And God would say, “They are not mine either.” Still, God doesn’t call them His people, although He has His hand over them and is protecting them. Yet, as a nation, they are completely out of fellowship with Him. And some of the Jewish people who hear me teach this might not accept this. I have many Jewish people who watch the program. Many are now beginning to see what the Old Testament is really talking about. The day is coming when the Jew will be called once again, “My people.” They will have a new heart and God will cleanse them. Also remember in Jeremiah 31:31 it says:
“`Behold, the days come,’ saith the LORD, `that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:'”
They won’t be under that old Covenant of Law any longer, but a new Covenant, where no one will have to be taught the Word of God or what the Law commands. But under that new Covenant every Israelite will have the heart of God within him. They will be an obedient people, they will be a people of faith and believe. And they will prosper materially. Remember in the Old Testament economy, when the Jews were obedient and faithful, God would bless them with material blessing. Now He never promised the Church that in the New Testament. So the day is coming when Israel once again will be showered with all the blessing of God. They are going to enjoy the King and His Kingdom. They will be the head of the nations rather than the tail.
LESSON TWO * PART II
PROPHECY: THE WHITE HORSE OF REVELATION 6
Let’s turn to Revelation Chapter 4 and begin an in-depth study of the Book of Revelation. It’s a book I think is thrilling. It’s not that hard to understand, though I know there have been a lot of people instructed to shy away from it (leave it alone, you can’t understand it anyway). In fact, as we were driving up to the studio this morning I remembered when I was still farming in Iowa, we had a home class and were teaching the Book of Revelation one winter. As that part of the country is prone to, there came a tremendous blizzard, and many stranded travelers came in to spend the night.
It just so happened that this situation occurred and a couple got stranded near the home of a couple who had been attending my classes. During that storm, while locked up within those four walls together, the couple from my class shared what they had been learning from the Book of Revelation. As it turned out, one of the stranded couple was a pastor of a large denomination. When he heard the word “Revelation,” he said, “We never pay any attention to that Book, we don’t feel there’s anything in it that’s appropriate, and so we have no interest in it. At the time it shocked me a little bit, but not really, because I know this is a trend in a lot of peoples’ thinking. Nevertheless, the Book of Revelation starts out with:
“Blessed is he that readeth,…”
And that means you and I. Studying the Book of Revelation is exciting and revealing. Remember that it is all symbolism, but every symbolic teaching in Revelation comes back to a literal meaning and truth. All we have to do is search the Scriptures and it comes out clearly. Since we are dealing primarily with the future aspect of the Nation of Israel and the Tribulation period as we see it coming on the scene, I’m going to skip the Seven Churches. I don’t like to do that, but for the sake of time we will and catch them at a later time. Go all the way to the last verse in Chapter 3:
“He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
This is the last time the word Church appears in the Book of Revelation until you get to the closing verses. So from Chapter 4 verse 1, all the way through to the end, there is nothing of what we know as the Church Age. I think it is evident then that the Church will be gone when the Tribulation begins. And again it is symbolically pictured in John’s own experience in Chapter 4 verse 1.
“After this (after what? After the Church Age has been completed. The previous three chapters.) I looked, and behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me;…”
Be careful as you read Revelation. It doesn’t say the voice was a trumpet, but rather like a trumpet. I’ve had people try to refute the whole aspect of the Rapture because it is associated with the trumpet call. They say only Israel was called with a trumpet. That limits God. Yes, Israel was called by a trumpet for assembly for war and other assemblies. But God has His own trumpets as well. He also has his angelic trumpets. But here John hears a trumpet from heaven, which calls, “Come up hither.” I like to picture that as a symbolic view of what is going to happen to the Church. It too will hear a trumpet call. And the Archangel will give a shout, and suddenly all of us that know the Lord will be gone.
I’m aware that there are many who refute what we call the doctrine of the Rapture. The first thing they like to point out is the word Rapture is not in the Bible. True, it is not in the English, but the German translation does use the word Rapture – a calling out. As we have stressed before, it is so clear in the earlier translation in II Thessalonians Chapter 2 that before the Man of Sin can be revealed, before the Anti-christ can come on the scene, there has to be the departure. That’s the departure of the Body of Christ. We too, will hear the trumpet call to come up. That’s that blessed hope the Apostle Paul talks about in Titus Chapter 2:
“…which said, `Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.'”
After what? After the Church Age is ended. The Church is over and all these things are going to be left on the scene. Now verse 2:
“And immediately (John says) I was in the spirit (he didn’t go to glory bodily. Remember he is exiled on the Island of Patmos, so evidently he just went up to heaven in the spirit.): and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.”
“And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” Beautiful beyond description. I don’t think John could begin to put it into words the beauty of the throne room in heaven. Now verse 4:
“And round about the throne were four and twenty seats (or thrones): and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”
There has been lots of controversy. Who are the twenty-four elders? The Bible doesn’t tells us, so why speculate. We just don’t know. Like I told a lady who called yesterday morning, who had several questions. I told her to remember that the Bible doesn’t tells us everything we would like to know. It just tells us everything we need to know. But we do know they are sitting there on the twenty four seats, or smaller thrones, in the very throne room of heaven. And they are wearing their crowns of gold. Now verse 5:
“And out of the throne (the very presence of God) proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”
The best way I can define the seven Spirits of God are attributes of the Holy Spirit. So we need to go to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 11. And remember in Revelation it talks about Christ having the seven Spirits. Well here is what I think it is referring to:
“And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him (in this case it’s the Branch in verse l who of course is the Son, the Christ.), the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;”
Remember the Book of Proverbs tells us the fear of the Lord is wisdom. So there you have the Seven attributes of the Holy Spirit as they function within His role as a member of the Godhead. Come back to Revelation Chapter 4. These seven-fold aspects of the Holy Spirit are round about the throne as John is being introduced to it:
“And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.”
Now be careful. Don’t envision some horrible looking wild animals. A better translation is “living creatures.” These are angelic beings of a sort. I’ll show you in a bit where I get the word creatures, but for now lets read verse 7 and 8. Here are some beautiful illustrations again as to how Scripture fits together. Even though this is written by John in about 90 A.D., we are going to see it fits the picture of Christ in the four Gospels, and it’s going to picture the exact description of Ezekiel back in the Old Testament. Let’s finish these two verses and we will go back and look at it.
“And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf (or ox), and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”
Here in Revelation we have creatures like a lion, ox, a face as a man, and an eagle. Turn back to Ezekiel Chapter 1. I told you several lessons ago there were three books in our Bible written outside the Nation of Israel by Jews: Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation. They are all written in symbolic language. So now we can see that Ezekiel and Revelation have a perfect correlation.
“Also out of the midst thereof came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance;…” Now to get all four together go to verse 10:
“As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.” So here we have the same four that we have in Revelation 4:7.
Let me ask you, “How is Christ pictured in the Book of Matthew?” Matthew depicts Him as King. Mark depicts Him as Servant, Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man. John’s Gospel depicts Him as the Son of God, His Deity. What am I trying to show? That all of the Scriptures are depicting Christ from the same view point. He is first and foremost the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. He is the Servant as Mark depicts Him. He washed the disciples feet, for example. He lowers Himself to that. And then Luke depicts Him as the Son of Man, His humanity. Then John shows us that indeed He was the Son of God.
So these angelic creatures spoken of by Ezekiel, as well as what John sees in Revelation, are all living creatures that are depicting one of these four attributes again of Christ as we see Him in the Gospels. To me, that shows how perfectly it fits together. It’s so beautifully tuned. I’m reminded of a letter we got recently from a gentlemen in Pennsylvania. He said, “Les, the Bible is finally beginning to run like a fine-tuned machine.” I like that. He was a farmer and we are aware when a machine is running right you don’t hear anything except that steady hum of a fine-tuned machine. And that is what this Book is. It is so fine-tuned. So it disturbs me when we hear people say it is full of contradictions and errors. No it isn’t. When there is a seeming contradiction, it is just a difference in programs. Naturally what the Bible says to the Nation of Israel under the Law is going to be different than what He says to us under Grace. That’s not contradiction, but simply a change in operations. Now back to Revelation for a few moments. And as John sees the living creatures. Verse 8:
“And the four beasts (or creatures) had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, `Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.'”
What does that speak of? From His eternity past, to the present, to the future, He’s the same Eternal Sovereign God of the universe.
“And when those beasts (or creatures) give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever (now the four and twenty elders get involved), The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, `Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power (why?): for thou hast created all things (He created it all. It didn’t just happen. But every thing was created by the Creator), and for his pleasure they are and were created.”
Someone called me awhile back and said, “Before I became involved with your class I didn’t really read every word. I was taught that when we get to glory we will take our crowns and cast them at His feet. But all of a sudden I realized this is the verse we get that from, and it’s the twenty-four elders that are doing that and not us.” We may cast our crowns at His feet, but the Scriptures don’t say we will. You see it is so easy to take a verse of Scripture and lift it out of context and make a statement from it. Like I said, we may indeed. We certainly should be worthy of not keeping those things for ourselves. All I’m trying to show you is the Scriptures don’t say we will do that, but the twenty-four elders do. Now to Chapter 5. I just want you to be careful with what you read, and how you read it. It makes all the difference in the world.
“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book (or scroll is a better word. It was rolled up and sealed) written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.”
Just picture a scroll rolled up and then sealed with seven seals. On the outside are written details. This is alluded to in the Old Testament economy, going back to Israel. They had every right to mortgage their property. Some may think mortgages are strictly twentieth century, but mortgages are not something new. Even at the time of Ruth and Boaz, they could mortgage their property. If they got in a bind and the mortgage was due, and they couldn’t pay, they would either lose their property, or could go to a next of kin for help. If the next of kin had the funds, and wanted to, then the mortgage could be paid off. There you have the three requirements for paying off a mortgage. Next of Kin, Able, and Willing.
This was the whole idea in Israel, that the families would keep their inheritance. Now we have the same picture here of a mortgage. It says it was written inside as well as on the outside. The private details that were not for public scrutiny were written on the inside. But the things that needed to be made public were written on the outside – for example, who the property belonged to. We still do that at the court house today, so it’s not that much different. The lesson here is, there is a mortgage involved, sealed with seven seals, but only One can open the scroll and pay it off.
“And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, `Who is worthy to open the book (or scroll), and to loose the seals thereof?’ And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book (or scroll), neither to look thereon.”
No one seemingly had the next of kinship, who had the wherewithal in wealth, and who was willing. And John says in verse 4:
“And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book (or scroll), neither to look thereon.” Look at verse 5:
“And one of the elders saith unto me, `Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.'” And who is the Lion of the tribe of Juda? Christ.
“And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts (or creatures), and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb [I mentioned a few lessons ago, that if I’m not mistaken (and I’m always willing to have people check me out) the Book of John is the only one that uses the expression, the Lamb of God.] as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.”
“And he (the Lion of the tribe of Juda, Israel’s King, the King of kings, the Son of God) came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.”
We have to bring the Trinity into view again here don’t we? We have to place God the Father on the throne, because Christ is not on the throne tonight, you are all aware of that I’m sure. It says He ascended to sit at the right hand. So in order to get the language, we picture God the Father as on the throne, God the Son at the right hand, and when John gets all shook up that no one can open the scroll, then God the Son comes before God the Father and what does He say? “I’ll do it. I’ll pay off that mortgage.” He is depicted throughout the Old Testament as the Son of David, the Son of God, and so in kinship He can fulfill all of those demands.
LESSON TWO * PART III
PROPHECY: THE WHITE HORSE OF REVELATION 6
We left off in Revelation Chapter 5 with Christ ready to take the scroll out of the hand of God the Father. He was qualified to do that because of His finished work of the Cross – because of who He is, the Eternal, the Creator God of the universe. And He is the One we might say instituted that mortgage in the first place (we will point that out in just a bit). He alone is fulfilling all the requirements to pay off the mortgage. He is the Next of Kin; He is able, and He is going to show Himself willing. We like to tie the Old and New Testament together as much as we can, so come now to Daniel Chapter 7. There are two verses that speak almost the identical language that John uses in Revelation:
“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man…”
Notice that Son is capitalized? Sometimes I shock people by telling them the Son is mentioned in the Old Testament. Here is one of them. Psalms 2 mentions the Son twice in that one Chapter. We don’t call Him Jesus in the Old Testament, because that’s the name of His body of humiliation. But nevertheless, as a personage, He is certainly referred to as the Son back here in the Old Testament.
“…came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days (God the Father), and they brought him (The Son) near before him.” And now verse 14. As a result of all that took place in Revelation Chapter 5.
“And there was given him (God the Son) dominion…”
Who had dominion back in Genesis 1, and then lost it in Chapter 3? Adam. He had dominion and was to take care of all of God’s creation. But he lost it when he sinned. Who picked it up when Adam dropped it? Satan did. So Satan is the mortgage holder, or the one who has the planet under his control, and that’s the mortgage we are dealing with – the same mortgage that God is going to pay off in full by virtue of the judgments and events of the seven-year Tribulation. The end of it will bring the world to a delivery from the curse. And that is why Jesus in Matthew 24 refers to it as the beginning of travail. We are talking about a delivery from the curse. Now verse 14 again:
“And there was given him dominion and glory, and a kingdom (isn’t it amazing how often that word kingdom pops up? It is a visible, political, viable, governmental kingdom on the earth that we are referring to. It is also a Spiritual Kingdom. I pointed out in a previous class that you and I, as Grace Age believers, have our citizenship already in heaven, according to the Book of Colossians. We have been translated into the Kingdom of His dear Son, which is in heaven. But when God the Son leaves heaven and brings the heavenly Kingdom with Him to set up the earthly Kingdom, we will be with Him. And He will be King of kings and Lord of lords), that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him (The King of kings): his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Coming back to Revelation we find in verse 8:
“And when he had taken the book (or scroll out of the hand of Him Who sat on the throne), the four beasts (or creatures) and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”
Whenever you pray, don’t ever think that your prayers are lost. The prayers of the saints I feel are accumulating up in glory as sweet smelling fragrances before the God of heaven.
“And they sung a new song, saying, `Thou (The Son, The Lamb) art worthy to take the book (or scroll), and to open the seals thereof (now here are the qualifications): For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood (we are living in a day and age where many people don’t like the Blood aspect of the Gospel, but we can’t compromise that. It is one of the absolutes of the program of God from day one. Remember there are two absolutes in Scripture you can’t compromise or detour around; they must be faced head on. Number 1: “without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin.” Number 2: “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Both are found in the Book of Hebrews.) out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;'”
“`And hast made us unto our God kings and priests (of course, this is the future of the believer. We will indeed rule and reign under the King of kings and Lord of lords and will have a Kingly priesthood.): and we shall reign (where?) on the earth.'”
A lot of people don’t like to believe that. But we are going to rule and reign with Him in an earthly Kingdom, promised all the way back to the Book of Genesis. Now verse 11:
“And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts (or creatures) and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;”
I believe this angelic host, so often referred to in Scripture, are the clouds. Do you remember at the ascension, a cloud received Him out of their sight. I don’t think it was a moisture cloud, but a very heavenly host escorted Him into glory. And other times when you speak of the clouds of heaven, unless the text is definite that it is weather clouds, you can just about rest on the fact that it is the very multitude of the heavenly host. And that certainly is depicted here. They are there by the millions. And they all say in verse 12:
“Saying with a loud voice, `Worthy is the Lamb that was slain (who was crucified) to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth,…”
Look what the Book says, not just humans but every creature. Turn to Romans 8 for a moment. It’s a perfect parallel that every creature is aware of the Creator. You drive along the road and see a little cottontail rabbit or bird and we think of them as just another wild animal. But they are all God’s creatures and they are all aware of Him. Beginning in verse 18, Paul tells us as believers:
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (or to us. That’s our future), For the earnest expectation of the creature (creation is a better translation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons (or children) of God.”
I have explained the word manifestation for many years. The other night I saw a book written by a very famous man and it seemed he was using my illustration. He said manifestation meant “to be brought into the spotlight.” That is what I always use when using that word. It’s like taking a glass slide with just a drop of pond water, slipping it under the microscope, and turning on that powerful light. All of a sudden that slide just begins to move. But it wasn’t manifested until you put it under the spotlight; in this case under a microscope. So when you see the word “manifested” in Scripture, that is what it really means. When you are brought under the bright light of a magnifying situation; things appear that are not ordinarily seen. Now verse 20:
“For the creature (or creation) was made subject to vanity (to the curse), not willingly (in other words, it wasn’t the creation’s fault that the curse fell, it was Adam’s. It was man’s fault. So the curse came in.), but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,”
As soon as Adam sinned back in Genesis Chapter 3, what did God come right back and promise in Genesis 3:15? A Redeemer who would be the Seed of the woman, who would be The Christ.
“Because the creature (or creation) itself (not just the creation itself, but all of creation) also shall be delivered (keep that in mind. A delivery) from the bondage of corruption (which is the curse) into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they (not only all aspects of creation, but we humans as well, especially those of us who believe.), but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
What’s that? When we shall be ushered into that glorious rule and reign. All creation is waiting for that day, for the curse to be gone. In other words, when that little cottontail rabbit hops across your lawn and stops for a second, does he ever relax? There is always an enemy he is aware of. He can’t relax because of the curse.
But when the curse is lifted, all the animals, as we see in Isaiah Chapter 11, are going to cohabit peaceably. The wolf and lamb will lie down together, and the bear and the cow are going to feed together. And all of creation is looking forward to the day. The curse is lifted. Today, all of the animal kingdom must fight for their own existence, and many times starve for lack of food. That is not the way God intended it. The curse brought all of that on. How sad that so many people are not aware of that. When you watch the masses of people, do you ever ask yourself how many of them are aware that someday all of this is going to end. Most of them never let it enter their minds. Totally unconcerned; totally indifferent. But listen, it’s coming just as sure we are sitting here today. Now back to Revelation. Let’s read verse 13 once again:
“And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, `Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ And the four beasts (creatures) said, `Amen (so be it).’ And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”
The stage is set. God the Son has taken the mortgage with the seven seals on it. And now He is going to open it and begin the process of paying it off. Now we come to Chapter 6, and the first thing we are introduced to is the four horsemen of the apocalypse; most have heard of it. They are very interesting. Verse 1:
“And I saw when the Lamb (God the Son) opened one of the seals,…”
He will take them off one at a time. And these seven seals are going to take us up to the mid-point of the Tribulation. Now the best way to understand the Book of Revelation is to realize that there are a whole series of sevens throughout the Book. The part we skipped was the seven letters to the seven churches. Now we will see the seven seals; the seven seal judgments. They will introduce the seven trumpet judgments. The seventh trumpet judgments will introduce the final seven bold judgments. Interspersed between, there are seven distinct persons, and seven woes.
The whole Book of Revelation is a breakdown of sevens. And seven is God’s perfect number. The whole Book is not a book of myths and legends; it is a perfectly tuned Book that is definitely a part of the Word of God. What we have is the beginning of this final seven years. Several lessons ago from the Book of Daniel, we showed that this seven-year period of time, which we call Daniel’s seventieth week, or the time of wrath and vexation, or primarily the Tribulation, will be opening when the Anti-christ signs that seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel. That’s back in Daniel Chapter 9. And when he signs that seven-year treaty, this is the beginning of the opening of the seals we see here in Revelation Chapter 6.
The first 3 1/2 years are not so much the wrath and vexation, although they will be bad enough. The last 3 1/2 years are going to be terrible for those who must go through it. Remember, as you study Revelation, that all through Scripture these seven years are divided 3 1/2 and 3 1/2; 42 months and 42 months; 1260 days and 1260 days. And as we come through the Book of Revelation, I suppose we should look at our timeline again, beginning with the creation of Adam and mankind as we know it. About 1500 years later we have the flood. Then we have the Tower of Babel.
At about 2000 B.C., God does something totally different. Out of the mainstream of Adam, of course, He now pulls off one separate nation by promising Abraham that out of him will come a nation of people (the Nation of Israel who would come by virtue of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). The Nation of Israel that we now refer to as the Jews. All through the Old Testament economy God is speaking predominately to Jews with exceptions. I say with exceptions because God is Sovereign and He can make His exceptions. But other than His few exceptions, He deals with the Nation of Israel; bringing them to the place according to His Old Testament program where the Messiah would come. They, of course, crucified Him. Following, the Tribulation was to have come on the scene for seven years (or Daniel’s seventieth week). Then Christ would return and set up His Kingdom. But what did Israel do with it? They rejected it. They had a tremendous opportunity.
All the Old Testament prophecy refers to this as a steady flow with no interruptions. But we know that it was interrupted, because the Tribulation did not come in after the Crucifixion. In the Book of Acts, none of this happens. So in essence, God doesn’t give up on the Nation of Israel. Paul tells us that so plainly in Romans Chapter 11, that they have not fallen out of God’s program. They have merely gone into a period when God is going to set them aside and turn to the Gentiles. And so Paul tells us in Chapter 11, that by their fall, salvation has come to the Gentiles.
I like to picture it as a parenthesis. The Book of Acts takes us up to 70 A.D. At 70 A.D., Titus destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. Israel was sent into her dispersion as we saw in the Book of Ezekiel a couple of lessons ago. They were dispersed out in the Gentile world. After Israel is dispersed, we came through that period of time that is totally out of a time frame. I’ve taught that prophecy, as you come out of the Old Testament, is prophetic statements concerning God and the Nation of Israel (but always in a time frame). Remember 490 years are determined upon the people of Israel.
It’s always in a time frame. But as soon as Israel loses her Temple, loses her national state and her sovereign government, and is dispersed; then God’s time clock utterly stops. We then enter into what we call the Church Age or the Age of Grace, or the age where Christ is calling out the Body of Christ, and there is no time frame. No one knows when Christ will return. We call it imminent. He may come before the day is over. It may be years down the road; however, the way things are going, we don’t see how it can be much longer. So never, never subscribe to anyone who says that on such and such a day the Lord will return. We don’t know that. And I have told my classes over the years when someone sets a date, then you just cast him off as a false teacher, because there is nothing in Scripture that gives us the ability to set a date.
So now the Church Age has been coming down the pike these 1900 plus years, ever since 70 A.D., and it actually began before that. But now Israel is in dispersion, and Christ has been presenting the Gospel based on His death, burial, and resurrection. We hold to the fact that, before God can pick up and begin the Tribulation period with the Nation of Israel, the Church has to be removed. The reason I emphasize that is because there has been so much teaching coming in lately, that the Church will not be raptured – that we will go into the Tribulation. This is completely false.
Always remember the Church is predominately Gentile. The Church is totally insulated from all the dealing that God did with the Nation of Israel. The Covenant promises are not ours. So God cannot pick up where He left off with Israel until the Church is out of the way. That is why we put the Church Age in a parenthesis. And when the Church is removed, then God can once again deal fully and completely, and finish everything that was prophesied concerning His Covenant people. That is the best statement that I can make for believing the way I do. And always remember, concerning the out-calling of the Church, this doctrine comes from the writings of Paul as He gave only that great Apostle the revelation of the calling out of the Body of Christ.
LESSON TWO * PART IV
PROPHECY: THE WHITE HORSE OF REVELATION 6
Let’s continue in Revelation Chapter 6. We left off in verse 2. Christ has taken the scroll from God the Father. And that scroll includes the mortgage that Satan is holding over the planet as a result of the curse. And the curse is going to be lifted by the time all of this is over. As we see the first seal of this mortgage removed, it’s the appearance of a white horse. There are many who feel that, because it is a white horse, it has to be Christ. But I’m convinced it is the false christ, because from Genesis Chapter 3, just as soon as man entered the scene, Satan came in as the master counterfeiter.
A master counterfeiter is so like the original, you have to be an expert to tell the difference. Well, Satan has done it. And he has been the counterfeiter from day one. And the human race has been falling over it time after time. That’s why I always like to give the illustration that when people come into the employment of our Treasury Department to work, for several months they do absolutely nothing but look at legitimate American Bills. They don’t look at counterfeits; they look at the legitimate, because after they have studied them for a long time, if they see one little mark that isn’t in an original, they can recognize it as counterfeit. And that is the way we have to study the Scriptures. We just have to be so aware of what the Book says, lest a counterfeiter comes in and we do not recognize him as a false teacher.
The white horse here is a counterfeit. Let’s take a look at the real one over in Revelation Chapter 19. The white horse in Revelation Chapter 6 verse 2 is the very first seal that will open the Tribulation of seven years. In Chapter 19, the seven years have run their course, and now we have the appearance of the genuine article.
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called (watch these as they are all capitalized) Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.”
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood (when we get to this, I’ll show you that it’s not His Blood that’s indicated, but the blood of His victims as He comes in wrath and vexation): and his name is called The Word of God.” And where else is He called the Word? In John’s Gospel Chapter 1:
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
In Revelation 19, Christ is on the white horse for His Second Coming. Verse 14.
“And the armies (and we are included in this army) which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.”
Throughout Scripture, who wears the white linen? Saints do (not angels). Go back with me to the Book of Matthew, Chapter 25. I’ve always said that all prophecy is directed to the Nation of Israel. No prophecy indicates the Church, as such. Not a word is breathed throughout the Old Testament about this Church Age comprised of Gentile believers. Not a word! However, the Old Testament prophets understood that there was “something” between His first advent and His coming in power and glory.
I can remember when I was younger, hearing Bible teachers picture this “something” as approaching the Rocky Mountains from east. There are two distinct mountain ranges with a valley between them. From a distance you can see the ranges, but you cannot see the valley between them. The peaks look like one range of mountains. But as you come to the first range, you suddenly realize that some of those you were seeing from the distance were still maybe a hundred miles away.
That’s the way the Old Testament prophets many times viewed these two advents. They saw them as one. And that’s why I used to put it on the board in the timeline. According to prophecy, it would just go beyond the Cross and that was supposed to be the end of prophecy, and Israel would have her King and and Kingdom, and we would go into the Kingdom Age. But it didn’t end up that way because Israel rejected it and, unknown to the Old Testament writers, we’ve now had that whole period of time opened up (the valley) and parenthesized, which we call the Church Age. But here’s what I like to point out. This shocks a lot of people until they see it: that even in the four Gospels there’s never a single hint God is going to turn to the Gentiles and call out a people for His Name. Jesus was so meticulously careful not to betray that. He knew. Don’t think He didn’t know the end from the beginning. But see, he never revealed anything that was kept hidden in the mind of God.
We will be coming to that sometime down the road. And I’ll show it so explicitly again, as we have in the past that God reveals things according to His time frame and not until. It’s interesting that there would be the armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean at His Second Coming. Here in Matthew 25, Jesus is speaking from the pre-Church situation, and He is not going to betray the secret in the mind of God. Watch His language in verse 31. I want you to see this carefully. I’m not saying this lightly:
“When the Son of man shall come in his glory (what did Revelation say? He’s coming on that white horse, in righteousness; His name will be Faithful and True. King of kings and Lord of lords. Now when that happens), and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
Now I want you to be a Bible student. What am I always telling you to do? Constantly ask yourself a question. According to Matthew, who will be coming with Him? Angels. Does it mention anything about saints wearing linen white and clean? Do you see what I’m driving at? He doesn’t betray that here. It’s not time. And so He doesn’t include the Church here. Only the angels. Now, had He said, “and all the holy angels and the saints clothed in fine white linen,” then He would have betrayed the secret that was to have been kept in the mind of God until revealed to the Apostle Paul some time later. But He doesn’t. He’s the perfect sinless, errorless Son of God. And He said that which was appropriate to say.
Let’s come back to Revelation again. In Chapter 6, we don’t have any of the descriptions that are equal to Revelation 19, so this has to be the counterfeit. The counterfeit christ is the Anti-christ. As we come into this seven-year period of Tribulation, 3 1/2 years and 3 1/2 years, we are going to find ourselves confronted with an unholy trinity all through the Book of Revelation. Satan is the counterfeit of the Father. The counterfeit of the Son will be the Anti-christ. And the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit and His works will be what we refer to in the Book of Revelation as the false prophet. I think Revelation Chapter 19 is the only place where he is named. This is at the end of the Tribulation, and all the horrible judgments have all ready happened. And it’s time for the King and the Kingdom to come on the scene.
“And the beast (Anti-christ) was taken, and with him the false prophet (here he is named. The rest of the time he’s referred to as a personality. Revelation 13 refers to him as the lamb with two horns) that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”
They go into the lake of fire without benefit of the Great White Throne Judgment. They are the very first ones to inhabit the eternal doom of the wicked, the lake of fire. All the other lost are going to stand before the Great White Throne and at least have their moment of time, and I guess they can put up an argument if they feel like it. Because Jesus said in that day, and He was referring to the Great White Throne, they will say unto Me: “But Lord, didn’t we cast out demons in your name?” And what’s His answer going to be? “Depart from me I never knew you.” So there will be a time of rebuttal or whatever you want to call it. But not for the false prophet and Anti-christ. These two humans who are part of this unholy trinity will go to their doom.
Satan is going to go there as well, but he will join them sometime later. As we come through the Book of Revelation, be aware that Satan and the Anti-christ and the false prophet are working in unison, much like the Holy Trinity. The Holy Spirit today in the Age of Grace points people to God, the Son. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, to point lost people to the Son. For we believers, it’s the Holy Spirit’s work to teach and encourage and reprove us, so that we might in turn bring honor and glory to the Son. Now the false prophet is going to do the same thing during the Tribulation. He is going to cause people to worship the Anti-christ. Consequently, he fulfills a counterfeit role of the Holy Spirit. Both of these will be under the power of Satan. Now to Revelation Chapter 6. Once again, we see in verse 2 the white horse:
“…and he that sat on him had a bow;…”
“Bow” is hard to track down since it can be pronounced and mean different things. You can’t really define this word from the Greek as to what is implied, so I’ll have to follow in the tracks of men I’ve read, that most agree it’s the bow that would shoot arrows. But, from our study of the Anti-christ out of Daniel, I trust I made it clear that Anti-christ is not coming in using power of military might or by fighting wars. How is he going to come in? Peaceably and with flattery. He is going to be a political maneuverer – a charismatic type individual. He doesn’t have to use his ammunition, but may come with the threat of power behind him which he will have. Even Western Europe still has NATO. But he doesn’t actually have the military power yet. He hasn’t come that far along.
“…and a crown was given unto him:…”
The world is going to recognize him as their leader. Remember, he will come up out of the Common Market of Europe. The European Community (EC). There will be 10 nations in all and he will come up and usurp the power. Look at Matthew 24. It’s the perfect parallel of Revelation Chapter 6. So always compare the two. Note that Matthew 24 is all prophecy about the Tribulation. There is no Church Age doctrine in here whatsoever. This is strictly Tribulation ground.
“And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, `See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, `There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.'”
Jesus was looking toward the siege of the Roman armies under Titus. And that is just what the armies did. Once they got inside the city wall they devastated the city. Josephus recorded (and it’s not Scripture), that the Roman soldiers had heard it rumored that between the very building stones of Herod’s Temple, there was a lot of gold and other kinds of wealth. And soldiers being soldiers, tore it down stone by stone looking for that supposedly hidden wealth. But whatever the reason, we know that the Temple was destroyed just as Jesus said it would be. This Temple could not be destroyed by fire like King Nebuchadnezzar did to Solomon’s Temple, but remember Solomon’s Temple was built from the beautiful cedars of Lebanon. So it burned to a crisp. But Herod’s Temple was predominately of stone and of course the precious gold and silver, etc. But anyway it was all destroyed except that little segment of the wall that is now known as the Wailing Wall.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately (just the Twelve), saying, `Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming (remember in I Corinthians 1:22, the Jew requires a sign. They wanted to know when His Kingdom would be set up), and of the end of the world?'”
Jesus now begins to lay out the events of the seven years. It begins from the appearance of the white horse in Revelation 6 – the Man of Sin, the counterfeit christ, the Anti-christ.
“And Jesus answered and said unto them, `Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, `I am Christ;…'”
Do you see that? That’s the white horse. He’s will come on the scene and practically convince the world that he is Christ. He’s what the world is looking for. And we are already seeing people like that. Sigma Moon from Korea, about 15 years ago, tried to tell the world that he was the Christ. And we’ve had others, and we will have still more. But it’s going to be culminated by the real counterfeiter, the real Anti-christ, and he’s going to convince the world that he is the Christ and he shall deceive many. Going back to Revelation, stop at I John, Chapter 2 for a moment. This is the same writer who wrote the Book of Revelation. Now let’s drop down to verse 18. And here again, as I have stressed before, is the one place where this Man of Sin is actually called the Anti-christ.
I John 2:18
“Little children, it is the last time (these writers of Scriptures had no idea there was going to be 1900 + years before this would happen. They thought it would be coming in a relatively short time): and as ye have heard that antichrist (here John is speaking of the real Anti-christ) shall come, even now are there many antichrists;…”
Of course there are. But they can’t hold a candle to the one that is coming. Now let’s go back to Revelation Chapter 6. So we see this Man of Sin comes on the scene and he begins to conquer and overtake nations. He is setting up his power base.
“… and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal,…”
Remember these seals are on that mortgage, that scroll. He signs the seven-year treaty with the Nation of Israel as we saw back in Daniel. The next event which may be within the first month or so after the seven years have begun, is another horse. This one is red.
“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon (the red horse) to take peace from the earth (when you have the absence of peace, what do you have? War. I mean a real one. So this power entity, this rider of the red horse is going to bring war on the earth), and that they should kill one another:” I want you to underline those last three words, because I think this indicates what I’m going to show is the rider of the red horse. We won’t have time to take it all the way through during this lesson. But here we have the rider of the red horse, and his battle ground is going to be epitomized by not killing the enemy, but what are they going to do? They are going to kill each other. To whet your appetite, and as you are turning to Ezekiel, I want you to be thinking what great power on earth is associated with the color red? Russia. For over twenty years I’ve been teaching that I think the rider of the red horse will be the Russian invasion of Israel. Just as in Ezekiel 38 and 39. So in Chapter 38, and again, Ezekiel begins as he does so many times:
“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, `Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,”
Most Bible scholars are convinced that Gog and Magog, Meshech and Tubal are Russia and her satellite nations. I have told my classes for quite some time not to believe for a minute that the Russian bear is dead. The Russian bear is alive and well. They may be crimped a little economically, and be a little cold and hungry, but the Russian army is setting there east of the Ural Mountains just as intact as it has ever been. I read again in one of the major news magazines recently, that Russia has not cut one person from their staff of espionage. They are just as busy with their spying activity as they have always been. They have not slowed down the production of any of their war materials. They recently sent another rocket into space. How are they doing all of this if they are destitute and broke? Listen, they are just as alive as can be. And we know they have their problems, but one day soon the Communist will come back in and take over and Russia will be right back on track.
LESSON THREE * PART I
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
In our last program, we were into the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. After our last taping, I got home and picked up the mail and Time magazine was there. As I usually do, I turn to the last page where there is an essay of sorts. Here the writer was degrading the fact that from time immemorial the human race has always been looking forward to catastrophic events. An apocalypse of sorts. He was ridiculing the fact that after all it’s just human nature to look for evil things to come on the scene. He used various books that had been best sellers. So really I imagine that is how a lot of people feel. That we are just barking without any bite.
I have always been under the impression as I teach prophecy that I’m not going to be a sensationalist. We are not going to sensationalize, but teach the way we feel the Bible is putting all this right in front of us, so that for you and I who are believers, we can understand that we are not going to be here when all of this takes place. The Lord has graciously promised us that He has not appointed us to wrath, but rather to be saved out of it. But these are words of warning for those who never yet expressed salvation by faith in the Gospel, that is, by believing for your salvation that Christ died for your sins, was buried and rose from the dead as we find in I Corinthians 15:1-4.
We know, regardless what the scoffer may say, these things are coming on the earth. We are not saying it because it’s human nature to expect it. But only because the Word of God has laid it out so clearly that after almost 2000 years of God pouring out His Grace upon humanity, offering them salvation on a basis of faith plus nothing; after it has been walked underfoot and has been spurned and rejected for so long; God is still going to enter in with His wrath and vexation. We can’t take His Grace for granted forever.
The easiest way to understand Revelation is to take it on a chronological basis rather than chapter by chapter. Because the Book of Revelation does not unfold chronologically, you must skip back and forth, and the way you find out how these things fit is by watching the time factor. I’ll show that to you in the next lesson or so. How you can show from one aspect to a portion of the next whether we are dealing with the first half of the Tribulation, or the middle of the Tribulation, or the last half of the Tribulation. The timing is all in here, but you have to skip back and forth in order to pick it out. So we will try to carefully do that especially for those of you have never understood the Book of Revelation.
In verse 3 of Revelation Chapter 6, we come to the red horse. I’m going to be careful that some of the things I say today are strictly my own personal speculation, and when I digress from what the Word literally says I’ll try to make it clear that this is just my idea. It doesn’t have to mean anymore to you than anything else. But it may provoke some thinking on your part. I like to look at the red horse as a reference to the only military power on earth that has been known as red. And that is the red army of Russia. And so I like to think that I can tie the red horse of Revelation to Ezekiel 38. We like to emphasize all the things that take place at the beginning of the seven years. We will emphasize many things that take place in the middle of the seven years, and then another group of events that will take place at the end, and then we will fill in the details.
At the beginning, we see the Anti-christ signing the treaty with Israel. That is one of the first things. And that treaty, according to Daniel Chapter 9, will guarantee their borders for seven years. He is going to seemingly be everything that their Messiah had promised. Peace and prosperity, safety from their neighbors. So the moment the treaty is signed, God’s time clock starts ticking once again to complete that final seven years of prophecy. Shortly after the treaty is signed we are going to see the red horse, and I’m going to equate it with the Russian invasion, or the Gog and Magog of Ezekiel 38.
Before we go back to Ezekiel, let’s stop at Matthew 24 once again. Remember, this Chapter is totally dealing with the Tribulation. We studied up through verse 5 in our last lesson, so now in verse 6:
“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Now in verse 7, I think we see the red horse:
“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom:…”
I’ll stop there with the red horse. When we get to the next horse, the pale horse, we’ll come back and finish this verse. Now to Ezekiel 38 where we left off in our last lesson. This is a prophecy against Gog and Magog. I think almost everyone is agreed that Gog and Magog are the nations we now recognize as the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, etc. Let’s start with verse 2:
“Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, And say, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:'”
Never lose sight of the fact that God is Sovereign. I know the point came up in our class last night. There are some things we can’t understand that God does. But it is not for us to question because He’s Sovereign. He is the all-knowing, and the Scripture tells us as plain as day, that His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than ours. So we can’t always comprehend His ways of doing things. We must leave it in His hands and know that He never makes a mistake. Again, God is declaring prophetically, that the day is coming when He is going to bring this consortium of nations, headed up by the Russians. Now verse 4:
“And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army,…”
Like literally turning a horse, He will change their direction. Now this is my own personal view. All during the cold war, we know that our allied leaders were deathly afraid of a great Russian invasion of Western Europe. I know this to be true, because I have a friend who was a consultant to the military. He stopped by and saw me one day, after he had just come back from a consultant tour of Western Europe a few years ago. The red army was facing our forces there in East Germany and so forth. He said, “Les, the only thing I’m going to recommend to our authorities is that we had better get a neutron bomb ready and get it ready fast.” You know what a neutron bomb does, don’t you? It kills personnel, but not property as such. He said, “There would be no way to stop them unless we would use that sort of a weapon.”
So we know up until recently, Europe was constantly aware that the great Russian horde over there on that eastern border was in control, with no way to be stopped. But the Scripture says that I will turn thee back. And this is exactly what we have here. That all of a sudden, contrary to the world’s general thinking, the Russian forces will not concern themselves with Western Europe, because that will be the domain of the Anti-christ. That power has to be in place for the battle of Armageddon. Always remember that prophetically there are only three areas of the world that are involved in those last days of the Tribulation or the battle of Armageddon. And that is Western Europe, the Orient, and parts of Africa. There is nothing at the very end that concerns Russia, or the Western Hemisphere. There is nothing in prophecy that would involve those two great areas in that last great battle. Keep that in mind as we move on. God is going to turn the Russians away from Western Europe and bring them down into the Middle East. But not Russia alone.
I’ve pointed this out over the years. That here we have a consortium, especially before communism fell apart, that all of these nations listed here were either already communist or right on the verge of becoming so, and here they are in verse 5. These are the nations and the people that will come with the Russians. They will come down to the hills and mountains of Israel.
“Persia (today we call it Iran), Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet:”
Remember when you read these things, Ezekiel is using the language of his day. So this great mass of humanity is going to come down upon the Nation of Israel with all sorts of weapons.
“Gomer, and all his bands;…”
Almost all Bible scholars are agreed this is Eastern Europe. When General Patton was racing across Europe back in World War II, we thought he would be all the way to Warsaw before we knew it, but then the news came that he had stopped at the Elbe river for seemingly no reason. Their excuse was that he had run ahead of his logistics. But we found out later that was all agreed upon at Yalta. When Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill met at Yalta, they divided Europe and, consequently, we had to stop at the Elbe river. But the Elbe river was for the most part the eastern border of the old Roman Empire. So that really divided, Germany just exactly where it needed to be divided in order for this Gomer to be set apart from that which was more or less Western European.
Now the other thing, when all of this division started to fall apart a few years ago, we all began to wonder about Ezekiel 38? And then, lo, I found an article hidden away in one of our newspapers, that Helmet Cole, the German President, or whatever his title is, had met with Gorbachev, who at that time was the Prime Minister of Russia. And even though communism was falling apart, they made an agreement that the East German Army would remain in the Warsaw pact for at least 4 more years. You don’t see that on the front page news. But you see what that said is that Gomer is still intact with his consortium of nations with Russia.
Now that four years still isn’t up. Whether that is true or not, I do not know. But I have to feel that the Warsaw pact militarily is still relatively intact. It’s still a viable military force. I do know from what I’ve read that the Russian army is east of the Ural Mountains. It’s poised there and it’s ready to move whenever the authorities tell it to. So if you think the Russian bear is dead and has rolled over, you’d better think again. It’s not dead. It’s certainly having a lot of economic problems, but it’s not off the scene. In fact, again I come back to Time magazine. Here again, just a few weeks ago, Time magazine had a little article that every single ballistic missile that Russian had several years ago are still in place; they’re still loaded; and they’re still pointed toward American targets.
It was alarming, and it said that our administration is alarmed. But there’s nothing that they can do about it. In fact, I feel that it’s more alarming than it was before Communism fell apart because now we don’t know who’s in control of the little black box. We have no way of knowing who can suddenly unleash those missiles on America. So we can’t get smug. Let’s move on down: Iran, Ethiopia, Lybia with them. Gomer, East Germany or Eastern Europe and all his bands. As we’re seeing in the news, these are all ethnic groups of people. Various tribes and what have you, that hate each other. In fact, I read a little news article again last night in Time magazine, that the reason the American powers that be, whether it’s the President and his administration or the military, realize that there’s not much that they can do because all these ethnic groups in east Europe hate each other with a passion. And whenever hate comes in like that, it’s a religiously based hate. In other words, they all have different ideas of religion. Never lose sight of that. Consequently, it’s a mixed bag. And we really don’t know how to go in and handle it. But somehow or other, these are all going to amalgamate when it’s time to come down into Israel. Then verse 6, and continuing on:
“Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah…”
That’s the nation of Turkey. Turkey up until now has never been in the Russian orbit, per se. But they are so close. In fact, when Communism fell after ruling Russia for 70 years, Turkey was one of the first sovereign states to make overtures to get back into a good fellowship relationship with Russia. So I don’t think it will take much for the nation of Turkey to all of a sudden come out of the Western influence and line herself up with the eastern nation. So watch this group of nations. We can’t put everything together specifically, but we do get a pretty good idea. So now verse 7:
“Be thou prepared, and prepare for thyself, thou, and all thy company that are assembled unto thee, and be thou a guard unto them.”
“After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years (I always point out to my classes that Scripturally, the last days of Scripture are from Christ’s first Advent on. The last days of Scripture doesn’t necessarily mean the last seven years. But it’s been this last 1900 plus years that are considered the last days. But the latter days take you to the end times. That takes you, I think, into this final seven years. And that is the word that is used here. Now watch the language carefully) thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations,…”
What are we talking about? Present day Israel. Fifty years ago do you know that Israel was the land of Palestine? It was a no man’s land. No production, no farming, nothing. Since Israel is back in the land, everyone wants it. The production is unbelievable, both farm, agricultural, dairy and fruit farms. You name it and they have it. And where have these Jews come from? From almost every nation under heaven. And not only is the nation alive, but they have resurrected their dead language.
LESSON THREE * PART II
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
As I have told you before, the only reason I teach is to help people better understand and enjoy their Bible. We have never attempted or intended to build a group or organization. We just like to teach the Word, and we have people taking it into their churches and Sunday schools and taking advantage of it.
Last lesson we were discussing the aspect of the red horse in Revelation Chapter 6. I like to tie it in with Ezekiel 38 be it right or wrong. I’m very comfortable putting this great invasion of Israel in the early stages of the Tribulation. Remember, after the Anti-christ signs that peace treaty of seven years with the Nation of Israel, she will suddenly drop her guard, thinking her borders are guaranteed with this treaty. So when you come to the language in Ezekiel 38, I think it is so appropriate that under those circumstances, with an outside power now guaranteeing their sovereignty and their safety, that it becomes what Ezekiel calls a land of unwalled villages.
When Ezekiel was writing, the walls of the city were the first line of defense. When you speak of a land of unwalled villages what does it tell you? Here is a land with no defense. They have been guaranteed safety by some outside political and military force, but for the nation itself, she is there with no real visible defense. This Northern confederation of nations, that we think will be headed up by Russia immediately takes advantage of this fact. Today, hardly anyone dares to attack the Nation of Israel because they know they will have a fight on their hands if they do. More than likely they’ll get whipped. But here they now realize that Israel is complacent. Israel has finally gotten this almost Messiah-like atmosphere, that they no longer have to fear their enemies.
When we finally get into the Gospels, we will study about Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who suddenly had his speech given back to him. I always tell people to read what he had to say in Luke 1:67-71 and to read it carefully.
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, `Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people (Israel), And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;”
This is exactly what Israel is looking for today. That they could be safe from their enemies. It’s not a spiritual thing. It’s physical. And they will swallow what the Anti-christ will promise. Now picking up where we left off in the Book of Ezekiel. Chapter 38 and verse 9. God speaking through the prophet to the Northern Confederation, because it will involve more than just the Russians.
“Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land (not necessarily air power, but massive invasion armies.), thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.” It will be a consortium of all these nations listed in verse 5 and 6.
“Thus saith the Lord GOD; `It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:'”
“And thou shalt say, `I will go up to the land of unwalled villages (Israel is now sitting there relatively safe and secure. Now’s the time for a surprise attack.); I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,'” Then to verse 12: “To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited,…”
What a perfect picture that is of Israel? It had been a no-man’s land for years, and now since 1948, it has blossomed into a land of production. They are building highways; they’re building apartments. It’s almost like being in America. Their traffic patterns are much the same as any major city here. I had a gentlemen in my class when we were still in Iowa who’s gone to be with the Lord now. He was stationed with an American group in Palestine during World War II. I can still remember his explaining the conditions. He said, “Why in the world would anyone want that country? I just couldn’t understand. There’s nothing there.” Well that’s not the case today. It’s a vibrant country. It’s producing. And they’re just constantly coming up in production of agriculture, technology and medical. The Nation of Israel is at the forefront of all these things.
“…and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations (that’s where the Jews have come from remember. Every nation on the globe.), which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land.”
“Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, `Art thou come to take a spoil?…'”
Tarshish, I think, either refers to Spain or Great Britain, and I would probably say Great Britain. Some of the other nations involved there in the NATO alliance, will be under the rule or control of the Anti-christ at this time. And all they’re going to be able to say is, “What do you think you’re doing?” Because this has caught them so by surprise, they won’t have time to retaliate, militarily. And so all that they do I suppose, is tell the media at a press conference, “Well, all we can say is, `What do they think they’re doing’ and there’s nothing we can do about it.” Read on:
“…hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey (are you invading)? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods,…”
In other words, to take a great spoil? That’s about all the Western European nations are going to be able to do. But remember that God’s going to intervene in short order.
“Therefore (God says to the prophet), son of man, prophesy and say unto Gog, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; In that day (when they invade Israel) when my people of Israel dwelleth safely, shalt thou not know it? And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts,…'” And that means everything from Lebanon, all the way, I think, to Moscow.
“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days (that’s the second time the word “latter” has been used. And that is why I have to feel that it will be in the Tribulation), and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen (or the Gentiles) may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog,…”
In other words, when the rest of the world will see what a Sovereign God can do to a modern military force.
“And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, that my fury shall come up in my face.”
You need to remember that Russia has been anti-God for the past 70 years. And God hasn’t forgotten. God is always just. And when He pours out His vengeance, He has a reason. I think that Russia still is going to have to answer for all the millions that the Communists put to death, and for their ill-treatment of the Jew. God says, “My fury is coming up before me.”
“For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, `Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;'”
As a result of this invasion. Now verse 21, and I want you to watch the language very carefully. God says:
“And I will call for a sword against him (that is, against these invaders) throughout all my mountains,…”
A lot of people don’t realize that Israel is mountainous. In fact, I was reading an article just the other day, of someone who was speaking to one of our head government people (I think in the State Department). He didn’t know that Israel was a mountainous country! I know that our younger generation hasn’t been taught geography like I was. But there are people who are, seemingly, in places of high authority and they don’t even know simple geography. But yes, Israel is mountainous. The very center of the country is just a string of mountains and valleys. Here is the very series of words that I tie with Revelation Chapter 6. And this is my reason for bringing it. I go by that basic rule of Bible study: Always go to the place of first mention. In other words, when something is mentioned in the Old Testament and then again in the New, see if they tie together. Now look at the language:
“…every man’s sword shall be against his brother.”
Do you see that? Now to those verses that we read in Revelation, Chapter 6, and I want you to see the comparison. Of course, I don’t get dogmatic. If anyone says, “I can’t see this,” that’s fine. This is the way I see it and I wouldn’t teach it if I wasn’t comfortable with it. Now back here now in Revelation:
“And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they (that is, the combatants) should kill (who?) one another:…”
Not the enemy but each other! That’s what’s so unique about this great invasion of Israel. Go back to Ezekiel and compare the words. The Sovereign God is going to fight this battle here on the hills of Israel. And of course it happened before. Do you remember Samaria had been encircled and was under siege, and they were starving to death. Then the Lord gave them a prophecy that by tomorrow night at this time, they would have more food than they would know what to do with. And you know the Syrian army was put into a route because in their confusion, they were killing each other. So it’s happened before. Now look what Ezekiel then says again in comparison to the red horse statement in Revelation 6, that every man’s sword should be against his brother. In other words, they’re going to be annihilating themselves. God, Himself, of course, is going to come in with His own power.
“And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. (which of course is the same language of Sodom and Gomorrah, you’ll remember) Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD.”
In other words, that Russian army or that Northern Confederation army will be defeated by not only its own confusion, but by a tremendous power of God. And it’s going to be utterly destroyed there on the hills and mountains of Israel. Now we have to go into Chapter 39 because these two chapters tie together:
“Therefore, thou son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, `Thus saith the Lord GOD; `Behold, I am against thee,…'”
It would be awful to have God simply tell America for example, “I’m against you.” I’m afraid the day is coming. But so far it hasn’t happened. Now then, verse 2. He says to this invading force:
“And I will turn thee back (God will. And remember that He brought them down. And this is the way God deals with nations when He judges them. He brought them into the Nation of Israel. He destroyed them there. And now He says, “I’ll turn thee back”), and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel:”
“And I will smite thy bow out of the left hand, and will cause thine arrows to fall out of they right hand. Thou shalt fall upon the mountains of Israel, thou, and all thy bands, and the people that is with thee: I will give thee unto the ravenous birds of every sort, and to the beasts of the field to be devoured.”
Now some people believe that this is Armageddon and I just can’t agree with that. This is a separate war. A separate battle within the seven-year time frame. But it is not Armageddon.
“Thou shalt fall upon the open field: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD (and then look at verse 6. Underline it if you haven’t before). And (God says) I will send a fire on Magog, and among them that dwell carelessly in the isles:…”
In other words, the homeland of Russia as well as the homeland of all these nations that have consorted against the Nation of Israel. The language is different than it is with the destruction of the army and Israel itself. Their (Israel’s) God is going to do it by sending pestilence and hail and brimstone. That’s God. But in Chapter 39 verse 6, I think God is using an outside force to destroy the Russian homeland. I’ll comment on verse 6 in more detail, but first let’s do verses 7-9 and pay particular attention to verse 9:
“So will I make my holy name known in the midst of my people Israel; and I will not let them pollute my holy name any more: and the heathen (or Gentile) shall know that I am the LORD, the Holy One in Israel. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken. And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the hand staves, and the spears (remember Ezekiel is writing the language of his day. We would say today the tanks, armored personnel carriers and so forth), and they shall burn them with fire seven years:”
People will say, “This can’t be the Tribulation because there want be enough time for it.” But if you will remember in Scripture a part of a year was counted a whole year. A good example was when a King would serve Israel for 10 years and 1 month, it would say he served for 11 years. So using that rule of thumb, an invasion of the Nation of Israel within the first 11 months for instance, after the seven-year treaty is signed, will still make this prophecy come true. I might also point out that back in the 1960’s a Dutch scientist had perfected some sort of a process where he came up with a tank that was made with wood product that would actually repel shells and so forth. And the Russians bought a large quantity of them because they were so much more economical. Then after the war in 1967 in Israel, the Israelites captured some of these tanks and discovered that they burned like cardboard. Whether that is still the case, I don’t know. But if it is, then you see again the Scripture is so accurate. The Jewish people will use this equipment as firewood if this is the case.
Now I want to finish commenting on verse 6 as I had promised. I’m going to speculate, and I want to make sure that people understand that this is only speculation. I can’t prove it through Scripture, but I can certainly whet your thinking. And just consider the possibilities. Logically. Now I know that God doesn’t have to work in the terms of logic. I know that. But many times He does. Logically then, I’ve put it before my classes over the years, and I’ve never had anyone ridicule the concept at all. Logically, if you were sitting in a place of authority, whether it’s in the Kremlin or some other place in this Northern Confederation, and you were getting ready to invade the little Nation of Israel, I think that you would realize there’s only one nation on earth that might oppose you. And who would that be? America. We are the only friend that Israel has in the world. And I think that the Russian leaders would understand that if they invaded Israel, America would probably come to her defense.
Now I mentioned in my last program, and Time magazine just stated it again a couple of weeks ago, that every missile that has ever been pointed at America before, is still sitting there. Still pointing at the American target. Speculate, project, that’s all I can do. If you were the commanders, what would you do? I know what I would do. I would say, “Let’s unload everything that we have on North America. They’re the only possible enemy that we have.” And that’s what I think will happen. I think the Russians will unload everything that they have and will utterly knock the Western Hemisphere out of the rest of prophecy. Because there’s nothing for us in prophecy. Then, when it says that God will send a fire on the Russian homeland, we know that we have submarines all over the oceans of the world, loaded with ballistic missiles on board. So after we have suffered that initial attack, I think our military will still have enough left to give the command to unload all our submarines on the Russian homeland, which will destroy it.
I said that this is all speculation and I don’t say it to cause fear or anything like that, because you want to remember that in the Tribulation, events are going to start taking place that are so beyond human understanding. And that’s why I think it’s so logical to teach it. That when America retaliates and knocks out the whole Russian homeland, then you see between those two annihilations, North America out of the picture for the most part. And the Russian homeland is also out of the picture. Now I want you to come back to Revelation once more. And you can stop again at Matthew 24, because I told you that Matthew 24 and Revelation 6 are direct parallels. So you might as well stop first at Matthew 24 verse 7. And remember, I stopped in the middle of verse 7 with regard to the red horse. Alright, let’s go to the last part of verse 7. And this will tie us to the third horse of Revelation 6:
“…and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” Now flip back to Revelation Chapter 6 verse 5:
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast (or creature) say, `Come and see.’ And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts (or creatures) say, `A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny;…'”
What does that black horse indicate if you’re going to have to ration the food supply? Famine. Alright, come back to my premise. Take, for example, the great production areas of the North American Continent; whether it’s the great grain belt to the north, or the citrus growths in other areas such as California, that have vast food production. If you knock out the great food production area of Russia (the Ukraine), what does that do to the world’s food supply? It almost annihilates it. So what will the rest of the world suddenly find itself in? A famine.
The language in this verse boils down to the average worker (a field worker for example) having to work a full day, sun-up to sun-down, just to earn enough money to buy bread for the next day. It’s going to be runaway inflation caused by a shortage of goods. You’re going to have a tremendous decrease in the production of food stuffs. And whenever you have famine and the amount of death as we’ve seen in Somalia and so forth, what accompanies it? Disease. It just goes hand in glove. Now, lest you think that I’m stretching the point, come down to the fourth horse in verse 7, because these all tie together now. The black horse spoke of famine. What comes as a result of the famine?
“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast (or creature) 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 them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”
The fourth horse is the pale one. As a result of the demise of two great power structures, he now sees this pale horse and on him was Death; and Hell followed with him. And power was given over them to kill with the sword. And what have you, what portion of the world? One fourth. Whether it’s one fourth of the geographical area or one fourth of the population, either one. But this is the Tribulation. This is just the beginning.
Go back to Matthew 24 again. I guess you could just put a mark in it because we will be flipping back and forth. In Matthew 24, after these four horsemen have made their appearance (remember these are merely symbolisms. This isn’t really someone riding on a horse and announcing that the world is going to have famine. They are symbolic of these events that are going to come on the planet) Jesus goes on to say in verse 8 that there would be famine and earthquakes and pestilence in divers places.
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
“Travail” is a better word. The King James uses “sorrow.” Your newer translations may have the word “Travail” because Jesus is speaking in terms of a delivery. When we were back in Chapter 5 of Revelation, I spoke of a scroll, which was the paying off of a mortgage. It was also a delivery of the earth from the curse that was instituted back in the garden. This is what Jesus is referring to; all these events that are going to come on the planet, beginning with these horsemen of Revelation. This is just a beginning. This is like the mother who is about to deliver. Her birth pains are relatively mild and far apart. That’s what we have here. As great as this is going to be, it is mild compared to what it is going to be at the end. And so he says, “These things are just the beginning of Travail.” This is the beginning of the delivery process. Look at one verse in the Book of Jeremiah Chapter 30:
“Alas! for that day is great (that is, this Tribulation), so that none is like it: it is even the time of (who’s trouble?) Jacob’s trouble (the Nation of Israel); but he shall be saved out of it.”
So these things will have their vortex upon the Nation of Israel.
LESSON THREE * PART III
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
Let’s go back to the horsemen of the Apocalypse in Revelation Chapter 6 for a quick review. First we have the appearance of the Anti-christ. He signs the seven-year treaty with Israel which gives them relative peace and safety. Then I feel you will have that great invasion of the red horde from the north, which in turn will precipitate a great demise in the food supply. That will trigger the famine (or the black horse in verses 5 and 6), as well as the pestilences. And remember that we showed you in Matthew 24 that Jesus foretold that these things were just the beginning of sorrow or travail. These are the beginning days of the Tribulation. It’s going to be the most awful seven-year period in human history. We will be seeing that, as Jesus spoke of it in Matthew 24. But now, turn to Revelation Chapter 6. Remember, these horsemen were also seals, and we have four of the seals off (there were seven seals on the scroll to begin with). Now He opens the fifth seal. And John, in his visionary experience, of course:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:”
I have to feel he was making reference to the Tribulation martyrs. Later we’re going to show that, yes indeed, there will be multitudes of non-Jews who will have a salvation experience during this turmoil. But they will not live very long to tell about it, because it’s going to be a period of time where they are going to be martyred immediately. These are the ones I feel that John sees in a prophetic light, and these who have been martyred for their faith will cry:
“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, of course, we know that He’s going to.
“And white robes were given unto every one of them (that is, these that had been martyred for their faith); 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.”
That’s all part of the fifth seal. Now we come to the sixth seal. Remember there’s only seven that are holding this scroll together, and Christ is the One that is opening it in order to be able to read that mortgage and pay it off. Okay, we’re coming back to that scroll that was in Revelation Chapter 5:
“And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and , lo, there was a great earthquake;…”
In Matthew 24, that was one of the things that Jesus had mentioned, that there would be famine and pestilence and earthquakes in divers places. We’re already seeing a tremendous increase in earthquake activity; thousands of percent in the last twenty or thirty years. There’s so many earthquakes taking place every day that the media doesn’t even bother to report them. I read recently in one of the daily papers there where three or four earthquakes; not huge, but 4.6 or 5 on the Richter scale. There was one in China, one in Southern Russia and one in Iran. They’re taking place every day. This is contrary to history; it hasn’t always been that way. In verse 12 we’re approaching the mid-point of this seven years. We’re about at the end of 3 1/2 years as we get to the sixth seal.
“…and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;”
All you have to do is know the circumstances. When there’s tremendous earthquakes, there’s more than likely volcanic eruptions as well. As we know from the past, volcanoes can spew out so much dust that the sun can almost be blocked out. I think that’s what we have here. It isn’t that God all of a sudden is going to blacken the sun, per se. But as a result of all these activities on the planet, the sun will almost become like we’ve seen it at times, like a little red glow. And the moon became as blood, again because of all the pollution that has been blown into the atmosphere. Then verse 13. This is God dealing primarily with the Nation of Israel. Jeremiah said it was the time of Jacob’s trouble. I’ve pointed out over the years, for those of you who have been following from Genesis on, that whenever God was dealing with Israel in the land, the supernatural was commonplace. Beginning when Moses went into Egypt, the plagues were supernatural events that were under God’s control. The opening of the Red Sea was supernatural. The life and escapades of Samson were supernatural. And the appearance of the Angelic hosts at Christ’s birth was supernatural. The opening of the prison, when Peter was in captivity, by the use of a earthquake – what was it? Supernatural. So this is what I’m talking about. When God is dealing with that Nation of Israel, as He will be in these seven years, we’re dealing with the supernatural every day – things that are beyond the ordinary. In verse 13, we even have cosmic disturbances.
“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 heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.”
In other words, tremendous earthquake activity. And this is only in the first half. The second half is going to be far worse. Even rulers and men in high places are getting shook up:
“And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains (and they actually plead for death): 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:'”
Do you see for the last 1900 plus years, mankind has not seen the wrath of God. Now we know there has been a lot of calamity. We know that there has already been a lot of earthquake activity, and wars and famine and so forth. But that has not been the wrath of God. I’ve always maintained that the things that come upon the human race, that plague us, are not acts of God’s wrath. They are God permitting Satan to bring suffering and turmoil to God’s creation. God is not in the business tonight of pouring out His wrath. He’s a God of Grace, tonight. Paul says in Romans Chapter 5, that where sin abounded, what’s always greater? His grace abounds even more. But, grace has ended here with the out-calling of the Body of Christ just before the Tribulation begins. We are seeing the wrath of the Lamb being poured out. Verse 17, and it’s repeated twice in two verses:
“For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”
Do you remember Psalms Chapter 2? We’ve used it so often coming up through the Old Testament. After mankind, Jew and Gentile, have rejected the King, they’re going to go into a period of perplexity and derision – and that’s where the world is tonight. They don’t know where to turn. And then what does the next verse say in Psalms Chapter 2?
“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”
It’s no longer the Age of Grace. All these events take us up to the mid-point of this seven years. We’ve had the appearance of the Anti-christ. We’ve had the permission (if I may use that word) for Israel to go back into Temple worship. She’s going to go back under the Law you might say. She’s getting closer to that all the time. Now back again to Revelation 6. As we come to the end of the Chapter, let me repeat verse 17:
“For the great day of his wrath is come: and who shall be able to stand?”
The Bible does not actually refer to the Tribulation as being the wrath of God until the last 3 1/2 years. The first 3 1/2 are going to be bad enough, but the last 3 1/2 years will be beyond human comprehension. Let’s go to Matthew 24 once again. I’ve said before, you can’t study Revelation without studying Matthew 24. Here Jesus is speaking of this very thing. Starting at verse 8, what does Jesus call all of these things that are taking place (the tremendous loss of life in that 1/4 of world has died – and all the pestilences and famine)?
“All these are the beginning of sorrows.” It’s not the wrath of God yet. Now verse 9:
“Then (that is in this first half) shall they deliver you up to be afflicted (remember at the close of the last lesson I took you to Jeremiah 30:7 because it is the time of Jacob’s trouble. This is right now primarily God dealing with the Nation of Israel, although it will be world-wide), and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.”
We see that this is already coming on the scene, where the hatred of the Jew is bubbling to the surface, and will keep on increasing.
“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound,…”
Remember that the Church is gone from the earth. Today the Church is really the only break from wickedness across the world. It’s the Christian influence that still holds things in check. But at this time it will be gone. It will be like lifting a great dam out of a river; that reservoir will suddenly just wash down that river bed taking everything in it’s way. I think that will be the picture of iniquity and wickedness that will break loose as soon as the True Church, the Body of Christ, is removed. Now verse 13. This verse has been twisted and lifted out of context and mistaught too often.
“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
This is not talking about salvation! We’re talking about physically surviving. Let’s go for a moment to the Book of Isaiah Chapter 24. We’ll come back to this later. This is exactly why Jesus said what He said. Those who are fortunate enough to have come through this whole seven years will see the light at the end of the tunnel.
“Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down,..” We’re dealing with the Tribulation here.
“And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him. The land shall be utterly emptied, and utterly spoiled: for the LORD hath spoken this word. The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.” It’s even going to hit the super, super rich. Now verse 5: “The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Now verse 6 and watch the language very closely:
“Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth (the reason for the Tribulation is to pay off the curse. The earth is going to be delivered from the curse), and they that dwell therein are desolate (because of the awful events that have taken place): therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned (I think there will be tremendous nuclear activity), and few men left.”
In other words, there will be survivors. Some are going to make it all the way through this awful seven years. Now come back quickly to Matthew 24. Remember Jesus is on the earth talking to the Twelve, during His earthly ministry. Now verse 14:
“And (what the next word?) this (speaking to that which was contemporary with His day.) gospel of the kingdom…”
Now a lot of people twist that and try to make it the Gospel of Grace. Some people will fly off the handle and accuse me of saying that there is more than one Gospel. Yes, I’ve said it for over 20 years and still do because the Book says so. They didn’t know the Gospel of Grace at this time. Christ hadn’t died yet, He hadn’t been raised from the dead yet. There could be no Gospel as we know it. It hadn’t been accomplished. But what Gospel did they know? The King is coming. The King is here. And it was called by Jesus over and over through the Gospels, the Gospel of the Kingdom. Good news, the King is ready to set up His Kingdom as it was being offered to Israel. Now then Jesus is using that back drop. The Kingdom Gospel that He and the Twelve had been preaching for almost 3 years now and He says:
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall (at a future time.) be preached in all the world for a witness unto (how many?) all nations; and then shall the end come.”
Now, you see how simple that is when you put it in the right prospective. I’ve had good friends of mine lift this verse out of context, and say we have to get the Gospel into every nation before the Lord can come. That’s not what Jesus was talking about. The Gospel of Grace is a calling out a people for His Name, absolutely. But it’s going to end, and the Tribulation is going to come in and then Jesus said, “The same Gospel of the Kingdom that He preached in His three years of ministry will be proclaimed again during the Tribulation.” Now can you keep that? Put that up here. Just stop and think. If that Good News is proclaimed to every nation on earth, that the King is coming, it will last for the whole seven years. Notice Jesus did not mention the Church Age and the Gospel of Grace. He skips over it from His ministry to the Tribulation. And that will be the message that the 144,000 young Jewish men will preach to the world. The King is coming, and indeed He will be! _______
LESSON THREE * PART IV
REVELATION 6, CONTINUED
Let’s turn to Revelation Chapter 11. And here is where you can pick up a time frame if you will just take time to study it. You will find here in verse 3, where God says:
“And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy (speak forth the Word. The word “prophesy” in Scripture can mean either one. To speak about the future or just speak forth the Word. They are His witnesses, and they are going to minister primarily to the Nation of Israel and the area of Jerusalem.) a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”
That is 3 1/2 years. We know that is not the last 3 1/2 years, because you see when you come to end of their ministry in verse 12.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, `Come up hither.’ And they ascended up to heaven…” And then in verse 13:
“And the same hour was there a great earthquake,…”
This is at the middle of the Tribulation and not the end. These two witnesses will minister the first 3 1/2 years. That is why I’ve come to Chapter 11 (the middle of the Tribulation), after Chapter 6 (the beginning of the Tribulation) because again we are going to come right back to an event at the beginning of the Tribulation. It is the appearance of the two witnesses. I’ll have to comment on who those two witnesses might be. We can’t be dogmatic because the Scripture doesn’t tell us. There’s nothing in this verse that says that it’s going to be so and so. But we can speculate. The one that I think is a little easier to decide on than the other, is Elijah. I think that it’s very possible that one of these two witnesses will be Elijah, because Elijah was taken up without having died. And there is a good reason for that. Let’s go to the Book of Malachi. It’s the last book of your Old Testament. Malachi Chapter 4 and verse 5:
“Behold (the prophet writes. God is speaking through the prophet), I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:” That’s plain English. I know it was originally in Hebrew, but for us it’s in plain English. Before the great and terrible day of the Lord, Elijah will come.
“And he (that is, Elijah) shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Alright, flip back if you will to Matthew Chapter 11. Again, we are in Jesus’ earthly ministry. Now in Chapter 11 he makes an unusual statement. Starting with verse 11. Jesus is speaking and he says:
“Verily I say unto you, `Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now (and remember that this is during Christ’s earthly ministry) the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.'”
“For all the prophets and the law prophesied (of the coming kingdom) until John. And (what’s the next word?) if (a little word like that is so easy to gloss over. but it’s loaded) ye will receive it,…”
Who is Jesus talking to? Jews. He’s talking to the Nation of Israel. If they would receive what? The King and the Kingdom. That’s what He’s offering. He’s their King and He’s ready to set up the Kingdom, if Israel would accept the King and the Kingdom at this point and time. Remember that it’s an offer. We know according to prophecy that it couldn’t have happened because Christ had to die. But nevertheless, it was still a valid offer. They had the opportunity to accept Him as their King. So read it in that light.
“And if ye will receive it (the Kingdom then), this is Elias,…”
Who is? John the Baptist. Think about that for a minute. Jesus is offering the Kingdom to the Nation of Israel in fulfillment of those Old Testament Covenants. The Abrahamic and all the rest of them. The Old Testament said, “that before the return of Christ or the setting up of the kingdom, Elijah had to come.” But Jesus said, “If you accept the kingdom now, then what? John is the prophesied Elijah.” That’s hard for us to comprehend, but that’s what He’s saying. But since Israel did not accept the King, and did not accept the Kingdom, what has to happen? Elijah has to come. Come back to Revelation Chapter 11. I have to feel that on the basis of those two scriptures, one of these two witnesses will quite likely be the Old Testament Elijah brought back on the scene. He was also at the Mount of Transfiguration. Back to Revelation 11:4:
“These (the two witnesses) are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.”
In other words, they are God’s messengers for that time. The candlestick refers to the light that a candlestick gives forth. In the midst of the Tribulation darkness and wickedness and iniquity, in the great cataclysmic events that are taking place, these two men will still be like a spiritual lighthouse. Now verse 5:
“And if any man will hurt them (or try to), fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies (they’re going to have a special power for their protection as they proclaim the Word of God): and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.”
In other words, these two witnesses are going to have that kind of power. And then in verse 6, is another reason why so many people feel that one of these witnesses is going to be Elijah, because he’s going to do the same thing that he did in his Old Testament experiences.
“These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy (or their speaking. Remember Elijah stopped the rain for three years back in the Old Testament.); and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” Now that kind of language gives us an idea that it could be Moses. See? Now I never get dogmatic about this. Others say it has to be Enoch, because Enoch didn’t die either. This isn’t all that basic to our doctrine. All we have to do is believe that our Sovereign God is in control, and is going to bring these two men to the city of Jerusalem at the very onset of the seven years of Tribulation. Now verse 7:
“And when they shall have finished their testimony (their 3 1/2 years), the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit (I think the beast could either be the Roman Empire which is now the E.C. and is now back on the scene. Or the beast here could be in reference to the Anti-christ himself. I throw this out to get you to study. I remember years ago as our class was dismissed, a lady walked out the door and she had just been a visitor. She had come from another part of the country. And she said, “Well, I don’t know that I agree with you, but I’ll give you credit for one thing. I have already promised myself that starting tomorrow I’m going to study my Bible.” And that is the only reason I teach. Then verse 7 winds up with this government that I think will be the Anti-christ or the revived Roman Empire) shall make war against them (They will try to destroy these two men. And they are going to succeed), and shall overcome them, and kill them.” So these two men will be put to death.
“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”
So that was what city? Jerusalem. So they are going to be killed and left to rot on the streets of Jerusalem. Just because of their mortal hatred for these two men. Verse 9:
“And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.” They will just lie out in the hot sun for 3 1/2 days.
“And they that dwell upon the earth (not just Israel, but the whole earth, from one end to the other) shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.”
Well, how did they torment them? By simply pointing out their wickedness, and their iniquity. And the righteous judgment of God which is already to a certain degree upon them. And the world is going to hate them. But the amazing thing is that verse 11 says something that 50 or 60 years ago was almost hard to swallow, and the average Bible believers had problems with this. All you could say was that God in His wisdom knows how He is going to do it. And now you see it is so common. What is it?
“And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them (God brings them back to life), and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.”
Who saw them? The whole world. How do they see them? Television. We do that everyday. It is very common now to see a news broadcast from the other side of the earth. I can remember when I was a kid, I would hear a preacher preach on this, and I can still hear mom and dad talk about, how that was going to be possible. How can the people of the world see two dead people lying on the streets of Jerusalem. Now, we just take that for granted. It will probably be on the 5:30 national news. And the whole world will see these two witnesses suddenly ascend.
“And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, `Come up hither.’ And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.”
Right in view of the cameras up they go, and this is going to shake people up. But remember this will be the time of the supernatural and God isn’t going to hide it. And when these two witnesses who have been put to death, are suddenly made alive, and ascend right out of the midst of Jerusalem, the whole world will witness it. Now these are Tribulation days. The days of Supernatural. Alright let’s go on to verse 13:
“And the same hour (remember this is the mid-point of the Tribulation) was there a great earthquake,…” You have to remember that Jerusalem and especially the valley of the Jordan, and the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee, are setting right on a tremendous fault line. It’s historical. In fact, that’s probably why the Dead Sea is so deep and why it is so far below sea level (approximately 12-1400 feet below sea level). Because at times the fault has literally dropped the surface of the earth in that area. Remember the whole Jordan valley is below sea level. Even the Sea of Galilee is 600 feet below sea level. So when the Bible speaks of great earthquakes in that part of the world it is not unusual.
So we know we are at the mid-point of the Tribulation. Remember I told you rather than go verse by verse chronologically, take Revelation by events. The beginning (the appearance of the Anti-christ and these two witnesses), and at the mid-point we have the end of these two witnesses and have a great earthquake. We studied earlier how the Anti-christ will come in and desecrate and defile the Temple at the mid-point. We will try to look at that in our next lesson. But for now let’s look at Revelation Chapter 7. And here again is a portion of Scripture that has been so completely perverted that we have a lot of confusion and it doesn’t have to be. It is so plain. Now since these two witnesses are beginning to proclaim Godly things, and I think again just like Jesus said, they are going to be proclaiming the King and the Kingdom is coming. Out of their preaching, almost immediately, they will have a response of their prophesying or speaking, by the 144,000 young Jewish men that we find in Chapter 7. Now let’s read it:
“And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth (remember this is supernatural experiences in a supernatural time), 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 the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt (or judgment on) 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.'”
Now isn’t that easy to understand? These servants, I feel, have been listening to the two witnesses and so they are responding. Now look who they are in verse 4:
“And I heard the number of them which were sealed (or designated or commissioned): and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand (now watch where they come from) of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”
So that there are no mistakes, He names them in verse 5-8 except for one. And that question comes up often. Why isn’t Dan and Ephraim mentioned in these 12 tribes? Remember, they moved up into the northern part of Israel, and what were the tribes guilty of? They were the first ones to go into idolatry. And, consequently, they are left out of these 12 tribes. So we have 12,000 from each of the other 12 tribes all sealed and they are given a particular mission. And here it comes in verse 9. As a result of their sealing:
“After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations (that indicates that the 144,000 will not limit their ministry to just the Nation of Israel), and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;”
Now remember back in Chapter 6 when we talked about that 5th seal, in verse 9-11 it reads:
“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain 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 unto 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.”
This is where it all begins. These 144,000 young Jewish men will be encircling the globe in a miraculous way. They won’t have to buy any airline tickets. I think they will be Spirit sent. They won’t have to learn a language. They will know every language and dialect everywhere they go. And these 144,000 young Jews will circle the globe at least three or four years out of this seven. And here are the results of their ministry. Verse 13:
“And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, `What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?’ And I said unto him, `Sir, thou knowest,’ And he said to me, `These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
Now that is a vast number of people from every tribe and tongue and nation. And they will martyred almost as soon as they believe. But a few will survive. And we will pick them up in a later lesson. There will be some survivors, as we saw in the Book if Isaiah a couple of lessons ago. What I think we have here is sort of a compensation, or an evening out of what the Nation of Israel literally missed. They were originally going to be the vehicle to bring the pagan, Gentile world to a knowledge of their Jehovah. And they missed it. But the 144,000 will sort of make a compensation for that.