I primarily use the NASB, but occasionally I find it deficient; I will insert other translations if they can clarify the context. Those translations will be duly noted.
Chapter one was an appropriate greeting, but chapter two stands alone and begins to immediately address fears that have come as the result of some false teaching.
This theme was not a new to Paul as he had written to the Christ-followers in Thessalonica on a previous occasion.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 NASB 13) But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15) For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16) For the Lord, Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17) Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.
Considering the years between these two letters, the new members that had been added to the church body, and the addition of some false teachings, the fear has had a chance to creep in. I see the effects of false teachings frequently in the church bodies I have had dealings with, as people espouse things they know so little about; all the while continuing to cloud the issue.
So let's dissect the passages and see if we can understand all that Paul is trying to say.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 NASB 1) Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2) that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
“with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”
Coming – is the Greek word parousia; a being near, that is, advent (often, return; specifically of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked.) Strong's concordance.
In the explanation above I see two distinctly different things.
One being Jehovah's return in the clouds to catch His church away. This catching away is called the harpazo, but it is also known as the advent or return.
The second possible understanding is this idea of the punishment of Jerusalem or the wicked. This concept pertains to the wrath of God being poured out. One of the keys to understanding the difference between Jesus return for His church and His coming as the conquering Messiah hangs on this phrase - " the day of the Lord.” Using the NASB concordance, the expression shows up in 22 verses. 18 of those references are found in the Old Testament. Since the Tenach is designed for a Jewish audience then the language and references are expressly Jewish; that means that the phrase – the day of the Lord, is almost exclusively about the return of the Messiah.
Of the four verses left and found in the New Testament, three of them are exclusively about the catching away of the church. This catching away is that time when Jesus comes back in the clouds for His church, and they will be caught up to meet Him in the air. 2Peter 3:10 leans more toward the time of the end, as it tells us that, “the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.” While all of these things are a part of the seven-year period the implications are that this will happen almost all at once when Jesus returns to the earth for the final time. You see, this is one of those areas that are not that black and white.
So, let's see if the context of the passage answers the question about when this event will happen.
While I understand that Paul was addressing the body of believers in Thessalonica (a primarily Jewish audience,) these words also apply to us. I do not hear this complaint or question anymore, but I am aware that many do believe that Christ has already returned. If that is the case, what are we doing and why are we wasting our time?
But Christ has not already returned. How do I know that? Well there are markers, or some might think of them as guideposts along the way, and Paul spells them out.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 NASB 3) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4) who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
“The apostasy comes first.”
Since apostasy means a falling away, I ask you, has that happened? Absolutely, and at an exponential rate.
“and the man of lawlessness is revealed,”
I want to show you some alternate readings.
This second selection is from the Complete Jewish Bible, and it translates this passage entirely different from anyone else. Why is this significant? Because even the Muslims have prophecies, and one of them describes such a man;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 Darby Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because it will not be unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;
2 Thessalonians 2:3 CJB Don't let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.
A man who is a descendant of Aaron –
The priests were to come from the lineage of Aaron. Since we know that the temple will be rebuilt, then practically every preparation would have to be made at this point, for a high priest to be installed. He then would be the one to enter the Holy of Holies and sprinkle the blood of the lamb.
The Muslim prophecies tell us that this Jew will reject the Torah, pay homage to the Mahdi, and follow him.
Do you grasp the depth of this action? Many who have esteemed this Jew enough to appoint him as the high priest over the new temple will be deceived, turn from the true God, and follow his actions as they too will bow to the Mahdi in worship. This Mahdi appears to be the Islamic religious leader that will soon be saying peace peace. Most of this takes place 1260 days into the time of wrath upon the earth.
I am always concerned that people will see my words as unbelievable.
If, you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then, you are under a mandate to study to show not only, yourself, to be approved by God, but to judge the words being said to you, as to whether they are true or not. You are not doing this type of study to bash people, although I sometimes think that many should shut their mouths, but you are studying these things so that you can know what is right.
Let me show you an example: I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture, regardless of the poor choice of words we traditionally use. Although there is a voluminous amount of those in opposition to this understanding, I did my homework and became even more thoroughly convinced that Jesus is coming back for His church that is waiting for Him, and, He is going to do so before God's wrath is poured out upon the earth.
Specific reasons why I believe in a pre-wrath rapture.
Matthew 3:7 NASB But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
The obvious thing I see here is that Jesus just acknowledged that it is purposeful to flee from the wrath, and, that there is wrath coming.
Luke 21:23 NASB ... for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people;
Here we can see that the intended target is the land and these people. Now the statement, "o this people" is relatively generic and needs some clarity. Luke 21:24 NASB tells us that “they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations;”
It is easy enough to see that a part of this fulfillment comes upon Israel and it's people, the Jews. However, pay attention, and you can see one other group, the Gentiles. The Gentiles and the nations are the same. If you are not a Jew, and you are a follower of Christ, then you have been engrafted into the vine and no longer fall under the category of being a Gentile in God's eyes.
Those with a veil over their eyes will not get this concept. Since we are “in Christ” then we are part of the church and not subject to this wrath.
Romans 1:18 NASB For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
What is evident to me is the terminology, the wrath of God. Pay attention to the words being used and upon whom they are directed. Romans 1:18 can be taken as a somewhat broad spectrum statement.
An example of this broad spectrum idea – I know a man who came to church for a time and did all the appropriate things. He came down front, cried his eyes out, made sorrowful and repentant statements. Why he even got baptized in a swimming pool as a symbol of this new and changed life he wanted to live. That didn't last long. Does he belong to God and is therefore not going to be subject to this wrath because he is part of the church. I do not know, because any fruit he produces is rotten and stinks before it falls off the tree. This pattern has been going on for years.
Ephesians 2:3 NASB Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
The Apostle Paul taught that we were formerly children of wrath, and no longer subject to the “wrath of God.”
1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB 10) and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.
1 Thessalonians 1:10 is one of the most specific examples that Paul gave us. Since we are in Christ, Jesus has rescued us from the wrath that is to come.
1 Thessalonians 5:9 NASB 9) For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Many think that we deserve punishment. Well, that might have been true, but as followers of Christ, we are of those who have agreed to and accepted His salvation. You see, you need to have a firm grasp on what Jesus did. I am continually trying to remind people that all sins were forgiven – past, present, and future. Then what are people being punished for? Look at what Colossians 3:5-6 tells us,
Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6) For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, NASB
Simply put, you either follow Jesus, or you follow the god of this world, Satan. He will go to an eternal punishment, as will all those who choose to follow him. This punishment, as many want to believe, is not the end-all statement, as God is a merciful God beyond everything else; ask Jonah. And that is why we have the sheep and goats of Matthew 25. Take the time to study that.
Revelation 6:14-17 NASB 14) The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. 15) Then the kings of the earth and the great men and the commanders and the rich and the strong and every slave and free man hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains; 16) and they *said to the mountains and to the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the presence of Him who sits on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; 17) for the great day of their wrath has come, and who is able to stand?"
There are three things I want you to see here. Verse 15 gives us a description of some of the people affected by what is happening: kings of the earth; great men; commanders; the rich and strong, and every slave and free man. No one upon the earth is left unscathed by what is coming.
In verse 16 we see them crying out to be hid from the presence of “Him who sits on the throne, AND from the wrath of the Lamb. This lamb is Jesus Christ. Since I used an example from the Revelation, let me point something out to you. This entire book is a Revelation of Jesus Christ. Even the rich, in this scenario, understood that God played a hand in this, and at the same time, they are acknowledging Jesus. It's all about Jesus.
And the last thing, although I have already intimated it, is that this wrath is coming from God/Jesus.
Since we are going to be like Bereans, a people who had enough sense to verify that what Paul was teaching was right, what then do we use as a basis for what is true? Keep in mind, that the Bereans did not have Bibles, they had some scrolls. Those scrolls were so valued that only a limited number of priests could handle them, and so the Torah and Tanakh were read aloud. This idea of scrolls changes the whole idea of Bible study. The Bereans had no New Testament, it was being spoken in their ears by Paul and lived out right in front of them. I, on the other hand, have over thirty translations of the Bible on my computer, and over forty commentaries that I can glean from. I have no excuses.
The answer to the question is The Word of God. Now, since we know that there are errors across translations, is it wise to merely open the NIV for example, read it, and then say, “this is how that is supposed to be understood!” NO, because, as I said, there are errors. (Do not for a moment think that these errors are on God's part, as God's wisdom has been substantiated by His ability to get His message across plainly to those who choose to pursue this wisdom.)
So, what am I saying to you? Be open but alert; trust the Holy Spirit to guide you; judge everything against the word of God, and, remove yourself, if you can, from false teachers. They will corrupt you with the simplest of things, such as David conquering Goliath when David was only four foot tall. That is not even close to the terminology used in the descriptions of David. King Saul, who knew David well for David was his ARMOR bearer, called him a youth. But what does that mean? Are these things critical to the story? NO, but if you are willing to build false images about the nature and character of David, what else will a false teacher do with God and His word.
I can tell you what some will do, for I have experienced this first hand. These false teachers send everyone that comes to the Great White throne judgment to hell. There is nothing about that scenario that definitively points to that happening; these same teachers refuse to see that Matthew 25 and the story of the sheep and the goats, is just another picture of the Great White Throne. In other words, they will twist the gospel so tightly that in time, you will not be able to understand what is true.
This is a post I made to my blog site in 2015. It is still important and valid.
This phrase “shall wear out the saints,” came up in conversation recently. It begs explanation and answers; at least in my opinion.
Depending on what version of the Bible you are using, wear out is also translated as: exhaust, crush, hurt, and consume. It is the Chaldean word belâ, meaning: to afflict, and it is only used once in the Bible. The terms wear out and to afflict, say two entirely different things to me. One makes me think of the damage I used to do to my jeans during the summers as a child. We climbed and slid across everything we could. Mental pressure could certainly do that. To afflict on the other hand has a broad range of violence attached to it. I can remember the knuckle to the head in grade school, but it can also mean beheadings. Needs some clarity, doesn’t it?
I asked, when does this take place, and is it possible that we are in it now? Does it imply a continuous action, or it could be at a given moment? Is it suggesting common issues of life or a constant threat of death?
Allow me to apologize up front. This piece, as with most of my writings is long. There is a reason for that, and it comes out of conversations and sadly, disputes. The confrontations, when you follow the broken logic, could never end as every illogical argument seems to be thrown at you. Most of these arguments are easily resolved if the person speaking would merely read their bible, but they do not. They only read and hear what they want. That is why these become more of a visual conversation. One in which I could actually pull up concise information, such as quotes from Josephus, that clearly show why the answer is not always so black and white, or narrow-minded. On that note: there is only one way, and his name is Jesus.
The confrontations are not so much on my part, mainly because my memory is shot and I am not retaining scriptural references as I once could. I think that this is the Holy Spirit keeping me in check, because I know me, and I would shred these false teachers if given a chance. Since I cannot, I often defer and withdraw. I hate that, but if I look at this in terms of a warrior who has taken a hit to a dominant arm or hand. They might be rendered ineffective, but you will not remove the warrior mentality from them. That warrior mentality can become a burden at times, primarily because there is no need for a full-on clash. Sometimes all you need to do is reason with people.
I suppose I should tell you that I am still affected by learning disabilities and often find my mind disconnecting from the topic. This is particularly noticeable to me when I am under pressure. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit, and it stuns me the way he kicks in and gives me the words to say. I wish that happened every time.
One other thing; I have also come to realize that I do not have to be heard all the time. This takes a tremendous amount of pressure off me, as I have come to realize that God is in control, not me.
While we understand that Satan is the perpetual enemy of the believer, scripture tells us that there is a particular time range. Unfortunately, this wearing out of the Saints falls during is during a vast, nondescript period, the time of the fourth beast. The particular reference is found in Daniel’s book of prophecies.
“Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them, and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end.” (Daniel 7:23-26 KJV)
I felt safe in calling the time of the fourth beast, vast and nondescript because we have a sharp clarity on the identity of the former three kingdoms. The last of the three was the Grecian Empire starting with Alexander and continuing through the Seleucid and Ptolemaic Empires. Although, we like to speculate that the fourth empire was the Roman Empire, which is not spelled out as the others were. The typical approach most use in determining what to call this empire, and therefore decide where the “beast” will come from is published in the book of Daniel, specifically:
Daniel 9:26 KJV And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
If you have followed me, long enough you understand that this has two fulfillments. One came under the rule of the Roman general Titus and the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. However, there is another fulfillment coming in the last days.
Titus, the Roman general, is considered by many to be “the prince that shall come.” However, if you do your research, you find that the evidence leans toward a Middle Eastern people, not Roman.
Here is what the historian Josephus tells us in - The Wars of the Jews - Book 5 Chapter 13
“.yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved; for there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews' bellies; for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out, and for these did the seditious search them all; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, insomuch that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve Attic [drams], as was sold before for twenty-five. But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected."
"Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?"
In The Wars of the Jews book 6, chapter 4, Josephus tells us that many considered the temple a citadel for the Jews and an inspiration to continue rebelling against the Roman occupation. The fire had already been ordered against the gates of the temple, but Titus argued and verbally prevailed in regards to saving the temple.
"But Titus said, that "although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;" and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued. So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire."
"Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it; and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it."
Notice the reaction of Titus and ask yourself, does this look like someone bent on a complete destruction of the temple?
"And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was, ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire; after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatening could restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his commander at this time;” I perceive this statement to be the most telling of them all, and it was said by Titus, the Roman general:
“Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now, first of all, begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war, and then, out of their barbarity in murdering men, and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?"
Titus’ fear was that the barbarity of these men would be ascribed to the Romans, and that is exactly what we do when we declare the fourth empire to be a revived Roman Empire. Do you not see that ascribing Rome to the fourth empire also takes our eyes off what could be the true evil of the last days, Islam?
In recent years, I held the position that “the saints” were only those that were martyred during the seven-year period of God’s wrath, that we so foolishly call the tribulation. I did the very thing I despise, spewing out concepts as fact without checking my Bible adequately. Paul used the term saints throughout his writings, and that tends to dispel the idea that the saints are exclusive to the years of wrath. Several examples are Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; Ephesians 6:8, and numerable others.
The terminology saint immediately takes me to Revelation where we see things like the woman, drunken with the blood of the saints (Revelation 17:6). It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that the largest implication here is the martyred saints.
However, there is something notable about John’s writings. He never used the term saints in speaking about the church outside of the Revelation; the majority of the time he calls them –little children and brethren. The feel is one of association and an understanding of the heart and character of God. Considering John’s beginnings in comparison to the end, it only makes sense that he would have God’s heart as he unfolds the Revelation, a time of nightmarish destruction and judgment. This time is not directed at “my little children.”
I realize that I initiated this conversation with a portion of Daniel, not John, yet they talk about the same thing. This demonstrates the leading and direction of the Holy Spirit. We cannot discount that John’s recollection of Daniel’s prophecies may have played a role in John’s terminology.
When you look at end times prophecy, there are only three people groups to consider: the Jews, the nations, and the church. While there can and will be some crossing over between the Jews and the church; at that point followers of Christ are considered a part of the church.
Some will say that God gave up on the Jews. I do not think so. He has engraved their names and faces on the palms of his hands. You do not give up something that precious, especially after showing that level of commitment. God has a plan to drive the heart of the Jew, his chosen, back to himself. Unfortunately, there is much pain and suffering involved with that journey.
In general, the Jews have rejected Jesus, the Messiah, and therefore subject themselves to the wrath that is coming.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou had known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knew not the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19:41-44 KJV)
The rejection of God by Israel is a common theme. An example of this is seen in the selection of Saul as king.
And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. (1 Samuel 8:7 KJV)
The nations could also be referred to as the Gentiles. Daniel referred to them as the people of the prince that shall come. Jesus, talking about the days of vengeance said,
“And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24 KJV)
The church is the entire collection of believers comprising the body of Christ.
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:22-23 KJV)
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. (Colossians 1:15-18 KJV)
In general, the church is excluded from the wrath, or vengeance, that is coming upon the earth.
But God proves his love for us by this (James Moffatt), in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Romans 5:8-9 KJV)
“. you turned to God from idols, to serve a living and a real God and to wait for the coming of his Son from heaven — the Son whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who rescues us from the Wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 Moffatt NT)
The church likes to hold itself in exclusivity, thinking that we are protected from tribulation. Look, Jesus guaranteed us three things:
In this world, you will have tribulation. You will be hated by all men for my names’ sake. I will come again for you. Tribulation and Wrath/vengeance is two different things. Tribulation is non-stop and comes in many forms. It has nothing to do with your inability to buy a new propeller for the family ski boat. Get real, people in parts of the world where there is a heavy Muslim influence are being killed daily.
If you lived under a constant threat of death, do you think you would feel as though you are being worn down, absolutely?
Perhaps the Bible in Basic English translates it more appropriately. Daniel 7:25 (a) BBE “And he will say words against the Most High, attempting to put an end to the saints of the Most High;” It is clear that the intent is to kill the saints.
And he shall speak words against the Most High, and he shall wear out the saints of the Most High. And he intends to change times and law. And they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and one-half time. (Daniel 7:25 LITV)
Daniel 7:23 Declares what was to come, the fourth beast. If the fourth beast is Islam, then that was initiated over 600 years after Christ's death by Muhammad.
Born approximately in 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, Muhammad was orphaned at an early age; he was raised under the care of his paternal uncle Abu Talib. After his childhood, Muhammad primarily worked as a merchant. Occasionally he would retreat to a cave in the mountains for several nights of seclusion and prayer; later, at age 40, he reported at this spot, that he was visited by Gabriel and received his first revelation from God. Three years after this event Muhammad started preaching these revelations publicly, proclaiming that "God is One", that complete "surrender" (lit. islām) to Him is the only way (dīn)[n 3] acceptable to God, and that he was a prophet and messenger of God, similar to other Islamic prophets. (From Wikipedia.)
Islam has operated under various caliphates since the death of Muhammad in 632 AD (BCE). While all of them caused the Middle Eastern world grief, the largest most powerful were the Ottoman Caliphate.
Ottoman Caliphate (1453/1517–1924)
At the end of October 1922, the Allies invited the nationalist and Ottoman governments to a conference at Lausanne, Switzerland, but Atatürk was determined that the nationalist government should be Turkey's sole representative. In November 1922, the Grand National Assembly separated the offices of sultan and caliph and abolished the former. The assembly further stated that the Ottoman regime had ceased to be the government of Turkey when the Allies seized the capital in 1920, in effect abolishing the Ottoman Empire. Excerpt from, the Ottomans.org
Is it possible that believers have been under attack for eighteen hundred years, without a doubt!
Pay attention to another aspect of Islam.
“The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Ismailia, Egypt by Hassan al-Banna in March 1928 as an Islamist religious, political, and social movement. The group spread to other Muslim countries but has its largest, or one of its largest, organizations in Egypt, where for many years it has been the largest, best-organized, and most disciplined political opposition force, despite a succession of government crackdowns in 1948, 1954, 1965 after plots, or alleged plots, of assassination and overthrow were uncovered. Following the 2011 Revolution the group was legalized, and in April 2011 it launched a civic political party called the Freedom and Justice Party (Egypt) to contest elections.” (Wikipedia)
Notice that this is two years after the Caliphate was disbanded.
“Links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and Western societies generally.” (Wikipedia)
The point to this is that Islam has been a destructive thorn in the flesh of those who do not comply for over 1800 years. Have they been a global threat throughout their history, no, but it took a global response to subdue them in 1922. I think we can agree that they are global now, and a greater threat than ever before. Aside from that, their prime directive is to kill the people of the book, which would be the Jew and the Christian. Have you noticed that they are making a serious dent in their goals?
If you have watched the news the last couple of years, then you are aware of Christians that are being slaughtered in the mid-East and African nations. Perhaps you have also noticed that attacks against any group outside of Islam are fair game to them. Buddhists, Catholics, you name it. They even fight each other as though there is a competition to see who can follow the Qur’an most precisely. Unfortunately, for the outsider, while the Qur’an does have passages devoted to peace, they are superseded by newer passages that demand a strict and violent compliance.
I think it is evident that there is affliction directed at Christians in certain parts of the world. Not to be left out of this violence against Christians is China and North Korea. I suppose the question is, how long until this level of violence comes to the Americas and afflicts us as well?
Do not think that your non-belief will protect you. In general, Islam feels that any American is a Christ follower and worthy of death. Scripture tells me that you may have a chance to reject God and accept Allah as your God of choice, bowing before him in worship. Perhaps that will save your neck for the moment. I am aware that they cut a man’s head off anyway, possibly because they felt he was a coward with no backbone. I suspect it will not be as easy as that, and they may not have the time to await your decision. Of course, giving into this cuts you off from any hope of a relationship with God. In other words, there is no turning back from this decision.
If you do not know this Jesus Christ, you can. Ask him into your life, and turn yourself over to him and accept his forgiveness. Allow him to run it. You do not have to work for your salvation, as it is free and paid for, you merely have to receive this life and salvation. You will experience a peace that you have never known before and a promise that he will come for you so that you can live with him in glory.
By Omegaman 3.0
I have, for the most part, not commented on many of the passages we have read in our Bible readings. Part of this is because I am lazy, but part of it is also, because we have the Worthy Christian Forums where discussion already goes on, and it is a place where Many views are represented.
When I set up the Bible 365 Club, one of the things I wanted to accomplish, was just to get people into God's word and read it, without the need for squabbling.
Here in Daniel 12, I don't think it is proper for me, to not draw attention to some connections to the New Testament. Reading the Bible for the sake of reading it, is not to get it's full benefit, we want also to understand what we are reading.
With that said, I am not attempting here, to use this as a soap box for my particular views, but I do think I have a responsibility to connect some of the dots, since some Bible 365 Club members may be encountering some verses and concepts for the first time.
By providing some Bible passages outside of our reading assignments or schedule, we can broaden our understanding a little, and begin to make some of the connections that we can examine, and hopefully the Holy Spirit will aid our understanding.
In Matt 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, Jesus is speaking with His disciples about the time of the end. Those are good chapters to read to broaden our understanding about the things of the end. However, here we are in Daniel 12, so what are the connections I am alluding to?
Quoting from Matt 24:15 (NIV in this case) Jesus said to His disciples:
“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’a spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—"
and in Mark 13:14 it reads:
“When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’a standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—
These passages make reference to a coming abomination, and desolation, and the Matthew one tells us that this is spoken of in Daniel. In Daniel 12:11, here is a connection:
11 “From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the abomination that causes desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days."
This is a perfect example of a principle of Bible study, comparing scripture with scripture. Here we have something in the Old Testament, that is difficult to understand, or at least might make us wonder. However, in the New Testament, we get some explanation and elaboration.
Now, if you read the New Testament passages that I mentioned in Matt, Mark and Luke, you might well have more questions than answers, but at least you will understand with a little more detail, something about Daniel 12.
Just to give you some more connections, more things to file in the back of you mind, allow me to point out some concepts or details to take note of, that will help you to make associations in other chapters of various books of the Bible.
Not going to get into it deeply here, but notice in Dan 12:11, not only the abomination of desolation, but, the specific 1290 days. Be mindful of that number, and of numbers that the Bible is going to bring up from time to time, in the context of the end times.
Examples, 1260 days, time, times, and half a time, 3 and a half, the week and the middle of the week.
Also of interest in this connection, is the concept of "great tribulation". Jesus uses that description in Matt 24:
21For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
In this case, the NIV says great distress. The word distress is the Greek word "thlípsis". Many versions use the word "tribulation". It basically means pressure. To understand the word better, see http://biblehub.com/greek/2347.htm
I do, however, want to make another connection, so we can again, see that Jesus and the book of Daniel, are referring to the same thing. Again, Jesus said in Matt 24:21
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again."
Notice that in this distress or tribulation, is unique, not having an equal previously, not in the future. How does Daniel describe this? From 12:1:
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then."
It is also note-worthy, that Michael is mentioned. You probably know, that Michael is an archangel. That ties in to this (probably) if you look at 1 Thess 4:16, and comparing that verse or passage, with the Matt 24 one.
I am not trying to send you down all sorts of side trails, but these things are all related. Going to stop at this point, and move along. Thanks for reading what I have said here, and especially for reading the Bible itself.
The Feasts Fulfilled
from 18 Feb 1991ml I have made some changes. See end for notes.
Jews in ancient Israel were required to go to Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts, Passover, Pentecost, and in the autumn, Trumpets.
Jesus fulfilled Passover which occurred on a full moon, the 14th day of the month Nisan.
Passover celebrates the Exodus from Egypt, which bespeaks salvation, escape, deliverance.
Nisan 1 commences at the New Moon, as do all months on the Jewish calendar. This month should mark the beginning of the year by Jews (rather than in September/October as they presently observe, the Civil Year.)
Ex. 12:1-3: "And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb .... a lamb for an house."
Jesus, the slain Lamb, is the only acceptable sacrifice, and believers trust in the Blood of the Lamb and are thereby saved.
Jesus fulfilled the Feast of Unleavened Bread which commenced the same day as Passover, on the 14th day of Nisan, and it was a seven day period of eating bread without leavening, which represents sin. This feast was fulfilled before God only, as Jesus, the sinless one was lifted up before God.
Jesus fulfilled Firstfruits by arising from the grave on the third day after His death. The term Firstfruits refers to the first sheaves of barley which were ready to cut and Jesus's resurrection is the fulfillment. [Lev. 23:10.] Many saved people were also resurrected from their graves and walked about the Jerusalem area at the time of Jesus's resurrection. This first group of resurrected saints compares to the Rapture of believers as the world goes on around the event.
I believe the Rapture of the Church is shown in the following Scriptures. Jesus the grain, died, brought forth much fruit, and His Church is likened to a harvest of grain. Jesus often likened Himself to a husbandman also, and here He is waiting for the precious fruit, the gathering of the harvest of souls.
John 12:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
James 5:7 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
The barley and wheat harvests in Israel are the early crops, with the earliest, the barley harvest completed in April, and the wheat completed in May. This year of 2018, Passover commences Friday evening, March 30, and the counting of the days, Lag b'Omer, and Omer 1 starts on March 31. Jesus arose on Firstfruits, "the morrow after the Sabbath," Sunday, and in 2018, Firstfruits is Sunday, April 1, through Saturday, April 7. The Lag b'Omer ends on the 50th day, the morrow after the Sabbath, which is Pentecost. Lev. 23. Centuries ago, the Jewish calendar was changed, and Pentecost was shifted from always being on a Sunday 'the morrow after the Sabbath,' to Sivan 6. This year of 2018, Sivan 6 happens to fall on Pentecost Sunday.
These days are for me a time of considering whether He may gather us during the period of the grain harvest.
Lev. 23:10-11 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.
The people were not to eat of the grain until it had been waved before the Lord.
We see a picture of a time of rejoicing for Israel revealed in the story of old Naomi, and her restoration and joy in having a little boy to care for in her old age. Ruth was married and taken into Boaz's house and lifted out of her time of gleaning in the field. The son of Boaz, Obed, is born. Others have noted that the book of Ruth is like the story of the Church and the Lord Jesus, and I think there is also this parallel to Israel revealed in Naomi's story, that Jesus is like Boaz, and when He and the Church are wed in heaven, a son will be born, the sealed servants in Israel.
Naomi will be brought back to joys she had thought were lost forever. Just as Obed means "serving," so the end time, 144,000 believing Jews will be excellent servants of God as we are told in Revelation. Naomi means "pleasantness" but she said she had become bitterness. Naomi's joy will return. Other types of these victorious, believing Jews are seen in the three young men in the fiery furnace; in Elisha; and in Ephraim, the younger son of Joseph; and in Benjamin.
I believe the harvest of grain in springtime points to the season of the coming of the Lord for His believers. The increase of the grain, the harvest reveals the way He has multiplied His believers like a sower who cultivates His field.
Pentecost celebrates the giving of the law, and occurs after seven sabbaths, on a Sunday ("the morrow after the sabbath") according to Scripture, (making it another reason for us to worship on Sunday, the day Christ arose).
This fulfillment occurred when the Holy Spirit fell upon the gathered believers, as Jesus had promised. He came with a noise of a mighty wind, and the separated 120 believers saw the flames of fire on one another's heads. Believers spoke in other tongues, telling about Jesus to people of other nations. Just as fire came on Sinai as the law was given, so fire came on the Church in Jerusalem.
Observance on Sunday has been set aside by the Jews as explained above.
Tradition says that Enoch was born on Pentecost and was also taken up by God on Pentecost.
Feast of Trumpets
Next is the Feast of Trumpets, a convocation of trumpets, and all Jews are to gather in Jerusalem. Some think the convocation of trumpets will be fulfilled by believers going up to heaven, being gathered to Him, and that Jesus, as High Priest, will blow the trumpet ['the trump of God' I Thes.] just as occurred at this feast in Israel near sundown on the evening before the new moon of Tishri 1 when the High Priest blew the shofar to gather the people, who were to immediately go to the temple.
The Day of Atonement
The Day of Atonement was a solemn fast day when the Jews were not to work. For thousands of years, annually on this day the High Priest went into the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood of a sacrifice and interceded for the people. A rope was tied around his ankle in order to pull him out if he died in there and the sacrifice was not accepted. Jesus went into the Holy of Holies before the Lord and made an atonement for us by the sprinkling of His own Blood.
After the Rapture of the believers, there will be, I believe, an awed multitude of Jews who see that something has happened and many will seek the Lord. I think this time of shock is revealed in the first chapter of the Book of Joel, and that following chapters describe the tribulation and their comfort as they find God has not forsaken them. (I have done a little study on Joel which indicates my reasons.) Jesus has made our atonement and we won't ever experience the earthly fulfillment of that dreadful dark period.
I believe the Jews will experience great revival and miracles, and will believe and evangelize. The tremendous outpouring of God's Spirit as related in Joel will fall upon them. I believe "Ephraim" was born in 1948, as Israel became a nation. During the terrible time of God's wrath outpoured upon the sinful earth, Israel will experience great things. I believe this is borne out in books of the Old Testament and in the Book of Revelation. Far from the Jews staying behind to experience only curses, I believe many will believe and please the Lord. They will become a true witness, just as the three young men in the fiery furnace in Daniel, and the Lord will be manifested among them! They will live through terrible times as they wait to see Him. No wonder that He said blessed are those who believe without having to see.
Believers have received the Blood of the slain Passover Lamb, His offering of Unleavened Bread, and we have taken the symbols of His Blood in the wine and His body in the broken bread. We have believed in Firstfruits, with Jesus raised from the dead, like a grain of wheat buried, seemingly dead, and then sprouted in new life. We have experienced Pentecost and are in a time of waiting and watching for Jesus to come. We will never again experience a day of crying out and seeking an atonement because Jesus is our all in all.
Tabernacles, Booths, Succot
At this feast, all Jews were to go up to Jerusalem for the great gathering of the people. They were told by the Lord to live out of doors for a week in little booths made of tree limbs and branches to remind them of the way God had protected them in their sojourn from Egypt. Tabernacles commences on the full moon, the harvest moon. Most of the crops are in, the grape harvest is ending in September.
The olive will be harvested during September, October, November.
Revelation mentions the pressing of grapes was the time of His wrath.
Are the 144,000 believing Jews like olives, pressed, yielding precious oil? The two witnesses of the Book of Revelation are likened to two olive trees. The olive harvest and pressing reminds us of the oil being used for the Menorah lamp. We know that the grapes of wrath reveal the wicked.
Tabernacles will be fulfilled by the Lord setting His Throne in Jerusalem so all the saved would come up to it, since it is on a mountain, Mount Olivet.
Remaining Jews will experience the time of Jacob's trouble and consider the fulfillments of some of the feasts, and realize what the Lord has done. The periods of time spoken of by the prophet Daniel will commence to be fulfilled.
The Lord has a marvelous plan for the Jews. He will mightily undertake for them, and just as Joseph dealt with his brothers and restored them to himself in a time of great famine, so the Lord will undertake for them in the dark days prophesied in the Scriptures, and they will be restored to Him with tears of joy.
We are soon coming to the sunset, it seems to me. In the twilight after we believers are gone, the Day of the Lord will commence.
The sun was darkened when Jesus died, and the Jewish day commences at sunset, and with it begins the dark Day of the Lord. The Day of Atonement will come and stretch on as the Jews seek God's salvation in that awful time.
The seven years start with the covenant of the evil one and Israel, but there could be some intervening time between the Rapture and the start of the Tribulation. The time of Jacob's trouble will commence, the time of Daniel's seventieth "week." Greater things than the Exodus will occur. Afterward, Tabernacles, and then the light of the new day will come, the thousand year earthly reign of Christ here on earth. And He shall reign forever and ever.
Some say the Church will go through the tribulation, that God fulfilled the spring feasts in a mighty way on the earth, but that both believers and unbelievers will move together into the tribulation.
Jesus will set up His kingdom on earth, and sit upon the throne of David, and rule the earth from Jerusalem. Every year, all people of the earth will come to worship Him there or they will have no rain, according to Zechariah. Jesus will reign one thousand years, and turn all over to His Father for eternity.
Blessed be the Name of the Lord!
Notes, 26 March 2018:
I want to say a bit more about a group referred to by various names: NAR New Apostolic Revolution, Latter Day Rain, MSOG or Manifest Sons of God, Kingdom Now, Dominion Theology, Identity. They and others teach against pre-tribulation Rapture and that Jesus will not come until believers take over, have dominion over the world. I've read that they believe that the office of Apostle can be conferred by the laying on of their hands, and that the Church has replaced Israel, Replacement Theology.
In 2018, Paul Smith of Calvary Chapel states that the "New Evangelical" outlook, which I think is spreading among some churches, is that Jesus is gradually coming into hearts. [So many are being taught to not take the Scripture literally as to Jesus' return.]
I visited a Manifest Sons type of group with an acquaintance, in 1980s, for their large Feast of Tabernacles meetings and celebration, and it took me awhile, but I realized, 'What about the blessed hope?'
I take the Scriptures literally and decided the blessed hope is the hope of His coming for believers -- not death, not tribulation, not being hidden in Petra in the mountains southwest of Jerusalem.
I'm surprised, but these post-tribulation ideas are still growing and are found among many. The Manifest Sons group has their main weekly meeting on Saturday, is allied with "CCC" Christ Community Churches. Dominion Theology people preach that the Church must bring the earth under control before Jesus can come again.
We will benefit from comparing Scriptures about 1) the grain harvest 2) the coming for the Bride 3) the householder on a journey who exhorts his servants to watch, and will learn much by looking again at the parables of Jesus.
All unbelieving people left behind at the Rapture will live during the Time of Jacob's trouble. God's plan will be fulfilled and many will be saved, but many will die, many will be executed, and suffering will be great. One hundred forty four thousand Jewish men from the tribes will evangelize and many will believe. After the departing of the Church, the Scripture will be fulfilled, Jeremiah 8:20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
The book of Joel chapter 1 speaks of an event that has occurred: "The word of the LORD that came to Joel the son of Pethuel. Hear this, ye old men, and give ear, all ye inhabitants of the land. Hath this been in your days, or even in the days of your fathers? Tell ye your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation." Verse 7: "He hath laid my vine waste, and barked my fig tree: he hath made it clean bare, and cast it away; the branches thereof are made white." Does this event point to the missing believers and realization by Jews that they had not recognized Messiah, or does it indicate there has been a military attack on Israel?
Specifics for events in the time of tribulation can be found in Daniel and in the Book of Revelation.
The evil man will arise and set up world government and eventually enter the Temple in Jerusalem, saying he is God, and the most awful times will occur. Great numbers of new believers, who will refuse to take his mark, will be beheaded. Eventually, as Jesus warned, some will flee Jerusalem and hide in the mountains to the southeast, and be sustained by the Lord.
Evil unbelieving people of the tribulation are compared to a harvest gathering of grapes, to be crushed.
Believers during the Time of Jacob's trouble might be compared to the olive harvest, the last harvest of the agricultural year, and the pressing of the olives.
After a specific number of days, Jesus will come with all His saints, on white horses and clothed in white linen, and He will split Mount Olivet in Jerusalem, east to west. He will slay all His enemies upon the earth by the word from His mouth. Some people will live through the tribulation and have children, in a time of peace, blessing, abundance. Satan will be bound, Rev. 20.
Rev. 19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
We look forward to His gathering of His grain harvest. Rev. 22:20 Even so, come, Lord Jesus.