A friend gave me mp3 files of the Bible a while back, and I immediately copied them to my phone. Fortunately, my earpiece had been damaged for some time, so I had to listen to them on loudspeaker. The next day, I went over to a friend’s to use his internet connection, and the book of Revelation was playing – around about chapter eight – when I got into his room. My friend asked me several times if I wanted to start his morning on such a sour note. He then told me that he had a problem with the way the world is supposed to end. When I asked him to tell me how it would end, he gave me the usual answer:
• There will be rapture.
• Then there will be a seven year period in which the Antichrist will rule: the Great Tribulation.
• Then Jesus Christ will come again to take all who have not received the mark of the beast to Heaven. So what was his problem with it? Too spooky. The Second coming of Jesus Christ is the single most anticipated hope of all Christians. However, it is also one of the most controversial topics in Christianity today.
Most of the Christian world today shares my friend’s position. I have found from deep personal study that there is another explanation of the whole matter. I am going to ask you to study the Scriptures for truth, and trust no man’s position on anything just for his word. What we are going to do is examine the following:
• The generally held explanation, as rendered by my friend
The alternative view we shall call:
• The other explanation, which we shall see, and
• The Biblical explanation
Which is right?
When we have seen the Bible’s clear words on this, we will arrive at a conclusion on the very nature of Christ’s second coming. But why is it important anyway? I have heard some people say that all one needs to do is believe in Jesus Christ for eternal life, and not worry about the exact details of this teaching.
They say: “You just do what you need to do; believe in Christ, and live by the Spirit, and however He comes, whenever He comes, He’ll take you with Him.” Though I fully agree that believing in Christ is the only way by which we are justified, I find it strange to think that someone who is justified and lives by His Spirit will be ignorant of truth:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13 KJV
The Holy Spirit of truth, Christ says, will guide us into ALL TRUTH. He will also show us THINGS TO COME. Anyone who lives by the Spirit of truth cannot live in ignorance. Another reason I will give is that Christ says it is important. In Matthew chapter twenty-four, Jesus gave a sermon on His Second coming when His disciples came and asked him to tell them how the world would end. Christ’s first remark was: …Take heed that no man deceive you. Matthew 24:4 KJV
How are we supposed to guard against deception on this topic if we ignore it altogether? It is definitely imperative that we know how our Lord will return, so that we are not caught in a lie. Indeed, in this one sermon, Christ warned His disciples against deception four times. So let us begin. It is always a roller-coaster ride, this topic, but when truth finally prevails, it is also always worth it. So fasten your seatbelt, grab a Bible, and let’s do this.
THE GENERALLY HELD EXPLANATION
The presently most popular rendition on How Christ will come again is that there will be a silent rapture of God’s faithful (the Church), after which there will be a period of seven years in which the Antichrist will rule the world. When this period begins, the world will have peace for three and a half years, after which there will be chaos and the great tribulation for the remaining three and a half years. Then Christ will come again and take with Him all those that have not received the deadly mark of the beast. The main pillars of this rendition are found in the following:
A. The Rapture does not occur at the visible second coming of Christ, but before it, and is a silent event in which Christians disappear. i.e.: there are two second comings.
B. Those who are not taken in the rapture will have a second chance to go to Heaven When Christ returns after seven years of Tribulation on Earth.
C. The Church of today will escape the Tribulation and will NOT have to face the Antichrist and the Mark of the beast. Let’s call these pillars A, B and C. We’ll start with pillar A.
Pillar A states that the rapture is a silent event in which Christians disappear. The main Bible text used to support this idea is 1 Thessalonians 4:17: Then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 KJV
Now, the first point to answer here is: At which coming of the Lord? If indeed there are two second comings, at which one of these will the rapture or taking up occur? At the silent one, or at the visible one? This particular theory says, of-course, that it will happen at the silent rapture before tribulation. Let’s see what the Bible says.
For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep, 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: Then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17 KJV
It is useful to know that the Greek word Paul used in verse fifteen for “coming” is “Parousia.” You should remember this word; we’ll encounter it a lot more as we go on. Also, it will help if you check it up in a concordance so you are sure we are using it correctly. Note also that Paul says that at this coming of the Lord, there will be a shout, the voice of the archangel, and a trumpet! This is clearly not a silent event! I have heard, in defence of the silent rapture theory, that since Jesus says that His sheep hear His voice, and that He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him, only His sheep; those who are true and faithful Christians, will hear the shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God. Let us put all of this into its complete context, before we make any statement on it.
One day in the winter, our Lord walked on Solomon’s porch in the temple, and the Jews came to him, in all their confusion and double-mindedness, saying: …How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they know me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. John 10:24-28 KJV
The Jews came to Jesus asking for a clear statement on whether or not He was the Messiah. Christ told them that indeed, He had already told them before. They came to Him not because He hadn’t already told them, but because they did not believe. His sheep heard the same, and believed. This is the difference ultimately between His sheep and the goats: those who believe and those who don’t. Here, Christ used “Hear my voice” to apply to believing in Him rather than hearing the trumpet blow on the final day. Remember when Christ was questioned by the Jewish rulers after His arrest? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Matthew 26:63, 64 KJV
Christ was speaking to his crucifiers. The hypocritical leaders who sought to kill Him. They never believed His message, and finally killed Him. Even then, they did not repent after He resurrected. They persecuted His disciples, yet even they, Christ says, will see Him when He comes. No exceptions. Indeed, this is not the only way we know that all the world’s inhabitants will hear the trumpet and perceive His coming. We will see some more along the way.
Remember that one point pillar A raises is that the rapture will be silent; Christ’s coming will be secret. One verse used to support this view is 1 Thessalonians 5:2: For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord cometh as a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 5:2
Does this mean that as we do not see it when a thief comes in, we will not see it when the Lord comes down? Or does it mean that as we do not know when a thief will strike, we will equally be taken unawares when the Lord arrives? Thankfully, we don’t have only our common sense to answer that question with, we also have scriptural answers. For when they shall say Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thessalonians 5:3, 4 KJV
For as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:37-39 KJV
Can you see it now? Paul and our Lord Jesus both say that the second coming will happen suddenly, not silently. Christ says His coming will be as the flood came in Noah’s time. Did the flood in Noah’s time come silently? No, it came suddenly! Paul says when they shall say Peace and safety, sudden destruction will come. Not silent destruction. He said it would come as travail upon a woman with child. An expectant woman enters labour very suddenly, but very painfully.
So do we see the picture forming? Pillar A says the second coming will be silent and secret as a thief. Scripture says it will happen with a shout, the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God, and yeah, it will be sudden as the coming of a thief into your house. Still, pillar A says it will be an invisible coming, and that Christians will disappear. Jesus says different: Our Lord disagrees: For as the lighting cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:27 KJV
Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:29, 30 KJV
Christ says that His coming will be as visible as the lighting which spans the sky from the east to the west. He also says that all the tribes of the hearth will mourn, because they shall see Him coming in His Father’s glory. They will mourn because of their sins and imminent destruction. Now, if only God’s faithful could perceive this reappearing of our Lord as some suggest, why would anyone mourn? It is those who have remained in their sins, who will also perceive His coming (with great horror, I might add), who will mourn, and mourn indeed they shall. It should interest you to know that Jesus used the same Greek word “Parousia” to describe His ultra-glorious “coming” in Matthew chapter twenty-four.
The “Parousia” in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 which men say refers to a silent rapture, is the same “Parousia” which Paul says is loud with voices and a trumpet in the same verse, and is also the same “Parousia” which Christ also refers to as a loud, visible and glorious event in Matthew chapter twenty-four. Whom will you believe? Now, back to the question we asked in the beginning: Will we be caught up in the silent, invisible rapture, (which doesn’t look like it even exists anymore), or in the loud, visible and glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ described in Matthew chapter twenty-four?
Notice something beautifully conclusive: after describing in vivid detail His glorious and visible return in Matthew 24:29, 30, our Lord tells us something in the very next verse! And he shall send his angels with a great shout of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:31 KJV
Christ says that it is at this visible, loud and glorious coming of His that we, His elect, shall be caught up by His angels, to meet him in the air! A perfect fit with 1 Thessalonians! Note also that the trumpet spoken of by Paul in 1 Thessalonians also appears here in Matthew 24; perfect, perfect fit! How about the disappearing? Pillar one cites our being “taken up” as disappearing. No Biblical evidence suggests this, however. Indeed, there are Biblical accounts of people being taken up. Elijah was taken up into heaven, as Elisha saw him go. Jesus Christ Himself was taken up into Heaven, and the disciples saw Him go.
The sum of the whole matter: This is pillar A: The Rapture does not occur at the visible second coming of Christ, but before it, and is a silent event in which Christians disappear. i.e.: there are two second comings. This is the Bible’s conclusion: The Rapture, or taking up, will occur at the visible and glorious coming of Christ, not before it, and is a loud event with a great shout and the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God, in which Christians will be visibly carried up in the clouds to meet the Lord. So if all this happens at the visible coming of Jesus Christ, then what happens at the silent coming? There is no silent coming! The Bible says that when that loud trumpet blows, at which time we shall be caught up, it shall be the last trump – the very last! When the disciples came to Jesus asking about His second coming or “Parousia,” they inquired this: And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3 KJV
The Bible makes it plain to us that the coming or Parousia of the Lord will be the end of the world! Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all be asleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, AT THE LAST TRUMP: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1 Corinthians 15: 51, 52 KJV
Paul gives another account here of the same one he gave in 1 Thessalonians. Here he makes it clear to the church in Corinth, as he did to the believers in Thessalonica, that that trump that shall sound shall be the LAST TRUMP.
There will be no other second coming after the elect are gathered to God when this trump sounds. So what will happen to those who are not taken? Like Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:3, “…sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” Remember Pillar B? Those who are not taken in the rapture will have a second chance to go to Heaven When Christ returns after seven years of Tribulation on Earth. That takes out pillar B as well. If it does take out pillar B, then what happens to the seven years of tribulation when the Antichrist rules?
Get ready for more beautiful things. Pillar B: The seven years.
Since we have shown the absence of any second chance for unbelieving people, all that’s left of pillar B is the seven years of tribulation. What does it mean, what does the Bible say about it? First, let’s consider the subject of tribulation. Tribulation refers to intense suffering due to affliction or persecution, or both. No one likes tribulation. Pillar B says that the world will go through the Great Tribulation in the time of the Antichrist.
The Great tribulation is the greatest tribulation the world will ever see, and will be in the future, in the Antichrist’s time. Indeed the Bible does not discount the theme of tribulation. The disciples went through tribulation, and history shows that Christians have gone through a lot of persecution down through the centuries. So what is wrong with pillar B? Pillar B says basically that this great tribulation will occur after the rapture. We have already seen that the rapture occurs at the last trump, the end of the world. It is therefore impossible that any seven year tribulation happens after the end of the world. This also means that the Church will have to go through whatever tribulation there is, before the Lord arrives.
Bible evidence shows us that the tribulation actually started in the time of the apostles, and will end with the coming of the Ancient of Days. We will see where the seven years come in, or rather come from, but first let’s convince ourselves of this scriptural evidence on tribulation, and the role of the Antichrist in it. Jesus, to His disciples: In the world ye shall have tribulation… John 16:33 KJV Paul, to the early Christians: “…we must through much tribulation enter the kingdom of God” Acts 14:22 KJV Paul, to the Church in Thessalonica: “…we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure.” 2 Thessalonians 1:4 KJV
John, on Patmos: “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ…” Revelation 1:9 KJV These verses and many more show us that the church of God does go through tribulation, and will not escape it by any means. I find this one very conclusive: Yea, and ALL that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12 KJV
The operative word is ALL. ALL of God’s faithful. The whole church. Think about it. Does God love us any more than he loved the apostles and the early Christians? Certainly not, for He is no respecter of persons: Then Peter opened his mouth and said, Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. Acts 10:34, 35 KJV
All through history, Christians have been eaten by lions in the Coliseum, brutally murdered in inquisitions, and burned in the Dark Ages. All the disciples of Christ except John were cruelly murdered. God loves us all equally as them. How about the Antichrist? When does he rise? Does he come at the end of the world, or much earlier? The Bible says the Antichrist will come in the last days. The Bible also says the last days started in the days of the apostles, and that the Antichrist was already around then: Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist should come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us… 1 John, 2:18, 19 KJV
The Bible says that the Atichrists have been around since the time of the apostles. It also says that the Antichrists are not people from outside the church, but people who came from within the church. This tells us also that the Antichrist is not one person, as many believe today. So who are they? We’ll deal with that in another paper, but let’s finish this. And now the seven years. The verse used to suggest a seven year period of Antichrist rule is Daniel 9:27: 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. Daniel 9: 27 KJV
The people who uphold pillar B assert that the person spoken of in this verse is the Antichrist of the last days, who shall sign a certain agreement with the people of Israel during the tribulation. They assert that during this time, the Jewish temple will be rebuilt and animal sacrifices will once again be made.
The agreement is referred to in a famous book called Left Behind as the seven-year protection agreement between the global community and Israel. They further assert that three and a half years after the signing of the agreement, halfway through the week, he will nullify the agreement and cause that the sacrifices should cease. Millions of Christians interpret Daniel 9:27 this way. Well, let’s see. To see who is spoken about in this verse, we should start reading from much earlier, when the subject is actually named: Chapter 24.
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make a reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times.
26 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.
27 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. Daniel 9: 24-27 KJV
So who’s the subject of these verses, generally, at least? The Messiah! Jesus! He is the Messiah the Prince. Now you see, we can actually prove this, so there will be no doubt.
By these verses, the people of Israel should have known when their Saviour would come. Some did. The wise men who came to Jesus did, and we shall presently see how. Verse twenty-four gives us the whole summary of the accomplishments of Israel and the Messiah:
24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make a reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. Verses twenty-five to twenty-seven give us the breakdown. But how do we interpret the times? Note that in Biblical prophecy, a prophetic day actually represents a literal year (Numbers 14:34, Ezekiel 4:6). Please check to make sure. Take no man’s word for anything, but rely on the scriptures. So in verse 24 the summary is that seventy weeks are determined, where: 70 weeks = 70 * 7 days (a week has seven days) = 490 prophetic days = 490 literal years. The breakdown follows in verses 25 to 27. Four hundred and ninety literal years were determined for Israel to finish the transgression and make and end of sins and to anoint the most Holy.
Starting from what time?
Verse 25, where the breakdown of the 490 years begins, has the answer:
25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. The commandment to build and to restore Jerusalem and the temple was given in the year 457BC. This is recorded history.
The commandment is rendered in Ezra 7:11-26. Again, please verify. From this time, unto Messiah the Prince were to be:
7 weeks = 7 * 7 prophetic days = 49 prophetic days = 49 literal yeas and 3 score = 3 * 20 weeks = 60 weeks = 420 prophetic days = 420 literal years and 2 weeks = 2 * 7 prophetic days = 14 literal years Totaling: 49 + 420 + 14 literal years = 483 literal years.
Notice that this is seven years short of the 490 years. That is, seven prophetic days and therefore, one prophetic week short, if you have understood the conversions. So 483 years after the order was given in 457BC, takes us to when? From 457BC, we count down toward AD. The 457 years end in 1AD. The remaining 26 years end in 27AD, the year Christ was baptized, precisely in the autumn, by John the Baptist. What happened after Christ’s baptism? 27And 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.
Remember, that one week, or seven years, remain after the 483 years to finish the 490 years wherein the transgression is to be finished. Verse twenty seven tells us that in the midst of this last week, he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. Three and a half years after his baptism, halfway through the final week or seven years, Christ was crucified in the spring of 31AD, bringing the daily sacrifice and oblation to an end.
This fulfilled the three and a half year period, in the midst or middle of the seven years. But now, three and a half years still remained for the nation of Israel to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to end the 490 years. The nation of Israel indeed finished its transgression against the Messiah of God by rejecting His message outright and persecuting His disciples. It all finally ended in 34AD: Stephen was stoned to death, and the persecution drove out the believers from Jerusalem. The nation’s rejection of Christ was sealed, and the transgression was finished, on the 490 year mark!
The covenant was confirmed. Just a little more math. We skipped verse 26 in our calculations because it is explanatory of the same times. Verse twenty – six tells us that Christ was to be crucified not for Himself, but for the lost, after threescore and two weeks after we are told in verse twenty – five that the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. So let’s see: 3 * 20 weeks = 60 weeks = 420 prophetic days = 420 literal years and 2 * 7 weeks = 14 prophetic days = 14 literal years Totaling: 420 + 14 literal years = 434 literal years.
The crucifixion of Christ came a few years after 434 years. When was the temple finally built? The Jews set off to build the temple three years after the command went out. We know that it took them forty – six years to complete it. Remember that when Jesus said He would raise the temple in three days, the Jews, thinking He referred to the temple asked Him: Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? John 2: 20 KJV
So the order goes out in 457BC.
There is a three year delay before work starts in 454BC. The building took forty – six years, finally ending in 408BC. From this time, 26And 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.
Daniel 9: 26 KJV From 408BC, 434 years takes us to 27AD ( bear in mind that the 408 years end in 1AD, and the remaining 26 years take us to 27AD), when Christ was baptized; that is, the most Holy was anointed: Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. Luke 3: 21, 22 KJV
So the verse says that after 27AD, Messiah shall be cut off for us, and the people of a certain 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. Many hold that it could be this prince that is the Antichrist, who will destroy the newly rebuilt Jewish temple in the very last days.
This prince, however, was Titus, who captured the city of Jerusalem less than forty years after they sealed their rejection of the Messiah and finished the transgression. Titus’ army burned down the temple, and the Jews fled and were scattered all over the world in the violence that ensued. They still are today. Remember the words: and unto the end of the war, desolations, or abandonments, or desertions were indeed determined.
“It began in the year 66, stemming from Greek and Jewish religious tension. It ended when legions under Titus besieged and destroyed Jerusalem, looted and burned Herod’s Temple (in the year 70) and Jewish strongholds (notably Gamla in 67 and Masada in 73), and enslaved or massacred a large part of the Jewish population. Titus Flavius, Vespasian’s son, led the final assault and siege of Jerusalem. During the infighting inside the city walls, a stockpiled supply of dry food was intentionally burned by Jewish leaders to induce the defenders to fight against the siege instead of negotiating peace; as a result many city dwellers and soldiers died of starvation during the siege.
Zealots under Eleazar ben Simon held the Temple, Sicarii led by Simon Bar Giora held the upper city. Titus eventually wiped out the last remnants of Jewish resistance. He was so determined that nearly three years after the destruction of Jerusalem he was still hunting down rebellious Jews, including a determined band that held the mountain fortress Masada. By the summer of 70, the Romans had breached the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire city.
The Romans began by attacking the weakest spot which was the third wall. It was built shortly before the siege so it did not have as much time invested in its protection. They succeeded towards the end of May and shortly afterwards broke through the more important second wall. The Second Temple was destroyed on Tisha B’Av (July 29 or July 30), 70. Tacitus, a historian of the time, notes that those who were besieged in Jerusalem amounted to no fewer than six hundred thousand, that men and women alike and every age engaged in armed resistance, everyone who could pick up a weapon did, both sexes showed equal determination, preferring death to a life that involved expulsion from their country.
All three walls were destroyed and in turn so was the Temple. John of Giscala surrendered at Agrippa II’s fortress of Jotaphta and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The famous Arch of Titus still stands in Rome: it depicts Roman legionaries carrying off the Temple of Jerusalem’s treasuries, including the menorah.”
Christ Himself prophesied of His crucifixion and of the persecution f the apostles, and even made specific reference to the stoning of Stephen before it happened, at which time he said that the kingdom would be taken away from Israel and the Father’s presence from the temple:
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as the hens gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! 38Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Matthew 23: 37 – 39 KJV
The Jews had been God’s chosen people for a long time. Countless times, He tried to bring them back to Himself as they erred. Eventually, though, the Jewish nation became so stubborn, and refused to heed his words. They rejected His Word and killed him in AD31. Then they drove out His followers in AD34, sealing their rejection of His truth. The apostles turned to the Gentiles, and the chosen people were no more.
According to verse 27, the desolation or abandonment of the temple, and of the Jewish nation and its capital Jerusalem, will last until the consummation of all things, when the new heaven and the new earth shall be established once and for all. It is at this time that John’s vision shall be accomplished: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21: 2 KJV
Whew! Some Biblical mathematics, huh? Maybe now I understand why God caused that Daniel should understand science (Daniel 1:4)! Alright, so do we see the whole picture? Daniel 9:27, the verse many claim refers to the Antichrist and his seven – year rule, was actually fulfilled by Jesus Christ two thousand years ago! There is really no seven – year Antichrist tribulation; the tribulation started in the days of the apostles and will continue unto its climax until the Ancient of Days returns!
Speaking of the Antichrist, Daniel says: I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Daniel 7:21, 22 KJV
Also, we are told in 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4 that the Antichrist will be revealed before the final trump, when the Lord returns once and for all: 1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2That 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 at hand. 3Let 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; 2 Thessalonians 2: 1-3 KJV
Paul tells us plainly that Christ will not come (again, he uses the Greek word “Parousia”) until there is first a falling away; The Greek word for falling away is “apostasia” which in English is translated, “apostasy”, which means a renunciation of a belief or faith, or an abandoning of principles.
Also, Christ will not come before the Antichrist is revealed, silently or otherwise: He will be revealed before the second and final coming of our Lord! If the usage of the word Parousia isn’t enough to tell you that it is this coming in which the faithful shall be taken up into heaven and at which the world shall end, then verse 1 should convince you finally: 1Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him… The final coming of our Lord and our gathering together unto Him are the same event! Remember the Disciples’ question? …And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? Matthew 24:3 KJV. His coming is the end of the world. Of-course, we’ve seen this already. I just like to emphasize.
So what’s happened to pillar B? Pillar B: Those who are not taken in the rapture will have a second chance to go to Heaven When Christ returns after seven years of Tribulation on Earth. The Biblical conclusion: Those who are not taken in the rapture will not have a second chance to go to Heaven. Christ will not return again after any seven – year period of tribulation, because there is no such thing, and because only the Parousia, or second coming, at which both the rapture and the end of the world occur at a grand and visibly glorious reappearing of the Lord, is spoken of by the Bible.
Pillar C: The Church of today will escape the Tribulation and will NOT have to face the Antichrist and the Mark of the beast.
I think we can already see pillar C cracking up. The Bible is clear on this question as well. The Church is actually constantly urged to be on her guard, that she may mot be overtaken by the events of the end time. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:13 KJV We cannot stand in the evil day if we have already previously disappeared!
Again, some Christians argue that the church doesn’t appear after Revelation chapter four, and so cannot be on Earth while the tribulation goes on. Consider the advice Christ gives the church in chapter16: Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. Revelation 16:15 KJV
Right after this advice to us who must watch and keep our garments unto His second coming, what happens in John’s vision? And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Ar-ma-geddon. Revelation 16:16 KJV Also, But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved. Matthew 24: 13 KJV
Clearly, those who will be saved are the church, and they must endure to the end! No escaping the tribulation is mentioned, just advice on how to get through it! I will end this section with a verse we have already seen, for like I said, I find it quite conclusive on the matter: Yea, and ALL that shall live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 timothy 3:12 KJV
All of God’s children must face the tribulation that started in the days of old. True, it is to climax in the coming days, and very soon at that, and we who are alive and remain must stand in the evil day, and having done all, stand. We should not be afraid, though. Christ tells us that he is with us always: …and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen Matthew 28:20 KJV
Our Lord assures us that He will be with us even unto the end of time. No period before the end is excluded: not a day, not a month, not seven years. Always. It is only with Him that we can overcome the evil one, and He will be with us every step of the way.
The Who: Jesus Christ will come again.
The When: No man knows the day or the hour save the Father, but we can discern the specific prophetic period within which it will occur, by Biblical direction: He’s left us all the clues.
The How: In the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, as visible as the lighting is from the eastern sky to the western sky, with a shout, and the voice of Michael the archangel, and the trump of God.
Bonus, The What: Get prepared. Believe in Christ Jesus for the remission of your sins. Pray to Him today, and let the Holy Spirit guide you in scripture.
The Holy Bible, King James Version
The Left Behind Deception, Revealing Dangerous Errors About the Rapture and the Antichrist, Steve Wohlberg, 2001, Remnant Publications The Story of Daniel the Prophet, Stephen N. Haskell, 1977, Southern Publishing Association