Tag Archives: End Times

Daniel’s 70th week and the Abomination of Desolation

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Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him, we ask you, brothers…Let no one deceive you in any way.  For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.  2 Thessalonians 2:1-4

In order to understand the events of the time before Jesus returns, we need to know some key events that are mentioned in the book of Revelation, as well as 2 Thessalonians 2, and Matthew 24.  Two of those events that I mention today will be seven years of prophetic significance called “Daniel’s Seventieth Week,” and “The Abomination of Desolation.”

There is a period of time that is referred to related to the end times.  It is known as “Daniel’s Seventieth Week,” or “The Seven Years of Tribulation.”  In Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel was getting a prophetic lesson from the angel Gabriel about things to come.  He started by explaining that 70 weeks were decreed about the Jews and Jerusalem to “finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place (vs. 24).”

That’s a mouthful.  The idea is that 69 weeks are completed, but there is one more week yet to be fulfilled to finish everything listed in verse 24. A ‘seven’ represents a seven-year period, so seventy ‘7 year periods’ is equal to a total of 490 years.  That period of time is to finish the things mentioned in Daniel 9:24.  It’s more complicated than that, but for now, let’s just say that most people believe that there is one week, or seven years left,  where the rest of the prophetic events will take place surrounding Jesus’ return.

Those seven years begin with an agreement, which is mentioned in Daniel 9:27, “And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.  And on the wing of abominations shall come who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

An covenant of some sort will be forged with the antichrist figure, the man of lawlessness as 2 Thessalonians 2:3 calls him, with the Jews in Israel.  Daniel 9:26 calls him ‘the prince.’  That will begin the seven years.  It could be a peace treaty, or a pact that enables the Jews to take control of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem where there are now two Muslim shrines.  Perhaps a quickly built Jewish temple will be built so that sacrifices would be resumed.  A temple of some sort will have to be rebuilt in order for it to be desecrated.  

In the middle of the seven years, there will an abrupt end to the Jewish sacrifices.  The antichrist, or man of lawlessness, will offer a sacrifice that is an abomination to Jews.  He will take his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.  According to Matthew 24:15-16, this is when everything busts loose: “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”

According to Daniel 9:27, this happens in the middle of the seven, or week: “And he (the man of lawlessness or the prince) shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.”  That means that this abomination of desolation will take place three and a half years into the seven years, the midway point of this seventieth week.

We may or may not know when this covenant is made between this man and the Jews.  We may know it if we hear that the Temple is being rebuilt.  There are a large number of Jews in Israel who have all of the articles for the Temple, as well as a governing body of Rabbis, waiting for this day.  We will know that something is up if the Temple Mount is no longer controlled by Muslims.  Some people interpret the ‘temple of God,’ referred to in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 to mean something else symbolically.  But if you stick to the face value understanding of Scripture, comparing one passage with another, then when Paul refers to ‘the temple,’ it means the temple.

Jesus said in Matthew 24:32-33, “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.”  Many quote Matthew 24:36, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”  

Jesus went on to say that it would be like the days of Noah when people were swept away unwittingly. But Noah knew that the flood was coming and once his ark was finished, he most likely knew that the rain would come at any time.  Although we can’t know when this seven year period is going to begin, we can read the signs of Matthew 24:15-28 to know that Jesus is near, at our very gates.

This is a lot to wrap your mind around if you have never sorted through any of the events of Revelation or other prophetic passages.  But hopefully you will have some explanations that make sense to you.  As we go on, maybe you can eventually piece together a framework that will help you to understand end time events.  

“But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:36

*Picture from Google images

 


The 144,000

After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree.  Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.’  And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.  Revelation 7:1-4

In walking through the book of Revelation, we encounter things like seals, trumpets, a group of people called “the 144,000,” two witnesses, and time periods of days that mean something.  If you understand these basic events, time periods, and groups of people, it may help you to understand what we can from the book of Revelation.  There is a certain mystery to prophecy that leaves the knowledge of what will really happen to the people that are alive at that time.  Maybe it will be us, maybe not.

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The 144,000 is an interesting group of people that will play a part in things just after the sixth seal.  Who are they?  Chapter 7 tells us that there are 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Jacob).  Between Revelation 7:1-8 and 14:1-5 we find these details:

  • They have Jesus and God’s name written on their foreheads as a seal
  • They will be redeemed (or purchased) from the earth
  • They are virgins and no lie was found in their mouth, they are blameless
  • They will follow the Lamb wherever He goes
  • The Day of the Lord doesn’t begin until they are sealed for protection
  • They are redeemed as firstfruits for God and the Lamb

Again, I am using a non symbolic, face value interpretation of the Bible.  To be redeemed or purchased from the earth indicates to me that they were dead and are brought back to life.  The next deduction that can be made is that in order to get 12,000 pure Israelites from each tribe, they would have to be brought back to life from before the time that the northern kingdom fell to Assyria in 722 B.C.  That was when the Israelites (northern kingdom) intermingled with the Assyrians and the tribal lines wouldn’t be pure after that.  

Ezekiel 37 tells the account about Ezekiel seeing a vision with a valley of dry bones and God tells him to prophesy so that they would come to life.  In verse 9-14 it says, Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God:  Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.’

So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O My people.  And I will put My Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land.  Then you shall know that I am the Lord.’

We have the same words used as Rev. 7 uses, with four angels holding back the four winds  so that the 144,000 can be sealed for protection.  Add to that Daniel 12:1-2, “And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time…And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”  

My view is this: God is going to bring back to life the Jewish people who lived before Jesus.  They never had a chance to accept or reject Him.  He will protect them in the wilderness to deal with them.  Isaiah 26:20 states, “Come, My people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.”  Zechariah 12:10-14 describes how God is going to deal with them “when they look on Me, on Him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only child (vs. 10).”  Rev. 12:6 adds, “And the woman (Israel) fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1260 days.”

To summarize, the 6th seal will be opened some length of time after the event of the Abomination of Desolation.  That will be a topic for another day.  There will be a flurry of intense persecution by Satan where, according to Rev. 12:13-17,  he will go after Israel and won’t be able to get to them because God is hiding them away.  He will then go after Christians.  We will get to Revelation 12 as well.  

Before the 7th seal, I believe that the 144,000 will be brought to life.  Also, an exceedingly great army of Jews will be brought back to life as well so God can deal with them and then bring a remnant of them into the restored land of Israel, as Zechariah 13 describes.  The events that take place once the seventh seal is opened will be a series of events that pours out God’s wrath on those who rejected Him.  It will culminate in a battle between Jesus and Satan, with Jesus winning.

That’s the good news for today!  Jesus wins and He will reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”  1 Corinthians 15:25-26

 


The Sixth Seal

When He opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.  The sky vanished like a scroll that is being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.  The the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountain, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?  Revelation 6:12-17

I always thought that the book of Revelation was something that no one could really make sense of.  I had been taught from a certain end times’ perspective growing up, but there were verses that I’d read that didn’t fit.  When I would ask why they didn’t fit, it was like I needed a decoder ring to get all of the special explanations.

Then I made it my goal to study Revelation all of one summer.  That turned into a study of all of the prophetic verses, especially in the Old Testament, and that lasted for at least two years.  One of the things that helped was using a “face value” approach to Scripture.  That means that you take a look at what is written and take it in its plain sense.  You don’t dig to find some hidden spiritual meaning of words and phrases.

That puts you, or the person that says, “This stands for…”  in the place the authority of the Biblical authors.  If another spot in the Bible tells you that’s what it means, then it’s okay.  As  you compare one passage against another, eventually a timeline will begin to emerge that makes sense.

The next few devotions will include passages, key events and details that might help you begin to piece together a timeline of things that are yet to come, whenever they are.  I recently was a part of a group where everyone at the table had a different view of the end times.  I joked that maybe the ones who are right will get preferential seating in Heaven.  I understand that others have different positions, but I am laying out mine, using a face value approach to Scripture.

red blood moonThe sixth seal has some parallel passages that will help you to understand when it will occur.  I talked about this day in my post, “The Day of the Lord,”  (from 2 Peter 3) and abbreviated it the DOTL.  The DOTL and the breaking open of the sixth seal are the same event.  We’ll take a look at two passages that describe this day.  The first passage is Matthew 24:3-31.  Here are verses 29-31:

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, ( after the Abomination of Desolation) of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from Heaven, and the powers of the Heavens will be shaken.  Then will appear in Heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of Heaven with power and great glory.  And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other.

If you look at the “cosmic disturbances” of the sun, moon, stars and sky it matches up with Revelation 6 and the sixth seal.  The event that Matthew 24 includes the appearing of the Son of Man–Jesus.  Matt. 24 also tells us about our being gathered together to meet Jesus in the air.  This is before all of the bad things break loose.  

This is the point where God’s wrath is poured out on those who have rejected Him.  By the way, nothing before this point is called ‘God’s Wrath.’  There is a period of time where Satan will attack with a vengeance and in Revelation 12:12, referring to this time it says, “But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”  

When people quote 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” they are right.  We will not be around when His wrath is poured out on the earth.  But we could be around for the time just before this, when Satan fights with a vengeance because he knows his time is short.  We’ll see more about that when we get to Revelation 12.

To summarize, when you compare Rev. 6, Matthew 24, (and also Joel 2:30-31), you will see that they are speaking of the same event.  Matthew 24 tells us this is when believers will be gathered up to meet the Lord in the air.  Then the wrath of God, “the great and terrible day of the Lord,” occurs.  It will include signs that no one can miss and everyone will see.

“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.”  2 Thessalonians 2:17-17

*Image from Thomas Taylor Ministries

 


Is this the beginning of the end?

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And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”  Revelation 5:9

The Apostle John was taken in the Spirit to Heaven to see what was going to happen in the future.  He was taken to the Throne of Jesus with all of His majesty.  This was complete with jewels of all kinds, 24 elders on thrones, seven torches of fire, four living creatures with eyes going in every direction who never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty.”  

All of the living things around the throne called out “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they existed and were created (Rev. 4:11).”  I can’t wrap my mind around the sheer awesomeness of this scene.

John then saw Jesus holding a scroll and a strong angel called out, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”  John began to weep because no one was found worthy to do that.  Then an elder said, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that He can open the scroll and its seven seals (Rev. 5:2,5).”  Jesus is the only one worthy to do such a thing.  

Why was taking the scroll and breaking open the seals such a big deal?  Because, in doing so, this will begin the events that will usher in the end of the world as we know it.  Seal by seal it will usher in the very difficult events leading up to Jesus’ return to the earth as judge and  King.  It won’t be pretty.   The seven seals that will be opened are:

  1.  A white horse and rider with a bow,  released to conquer.
  2.  A bright red horse released, taking peace from the earth so that people would slay one another.                                                                                          
  3.  A black horse with a rider with a pair of scales, weighing out wheat and barley for a great price (scarcity of food).
  4.  A pale horse whose rider’s name was Death.  A fourth of the earth will be killed.
  5.  Those who have been slain for the Word of God will be given white robes.
  6.  Cosmic disturbances erupt, complete with red blood moon, stars falling from sky, sky rolled up like a scroll.
  7.  Silence first so the 144,000 can be sealed and a great multitude will appear before the throne.  Then there will be great  thunder, lightning and an earthquake.

Why should we know these things?  Matthew 24:32-33 states, “From the fig tree learn its lesson; as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near.  So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, at the very gates.”  You need to know what will take place that marks the period known as ‘the end times.’  And you need to know what to do.  I believe that we will be here up until the sixth scroll is opened.  Wrap your mind around what that would look like.

The political systems throughout the world are a tinder box.  As things become more and more unstable, you wonder if we could get hit with nuclear missiles, if the world economy will collapse and if anarchy will reign.  It is good to have a clear sense of how things will unfold.  Knowing that God is control and world leaders are controlled by Him helps to allay fear.  God holds our tomorrow, and that’s good news.  

If now could be ‘the end times,’ how should we live?

  • We need to be about spiritual things more than being preoccupied with hobbies, mindless TV shows, and things that don’t have an eternal value.
  • We need to be ready spiritually.  That means that you must not put off making things right between God and yourself.  If you need to drop a bad sin habit, do it.  If you need to spend more time each day and week reading the Bible, praying and seeking God’s will, do it now.
  • We need to help others to be ready spiritually.  If you don’t want your loved ones, friends or acquaintances die without knowing Jesus, tell them now.  
  • We need to be ready financially.  Things could get tough if this is the time that the scrolls could be opened.   We could lose our jobs because of our faith in Jesus.  Get your debts paid so that you can walk when that happens.  Be a part of a community of believers that you can share goods with and trust.  

“But watch yourselves let your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day will come upon you suddenly like a trap…But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things before the Son of Man.”  Luke 21:34,36

 

*Image from Cornerstone Presbyterian Church, Katy, TX