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Olivet Overview – Part 3 – By Ed Wood

We’ll pick up this third article in our Olivet series with the next item on our list of events yet to come.

Great Tribulation (Matthew 24:21-22; Mark 13:19-20; Luke 21:25-26)

This will be a time worse than anything else in history as Jesus said:

Matthew {24:21-22} For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Remember that we are now in the post-Rapture world where, quite literally, all hell has begun to break loose. The reason for this can be found in the following passage from Paul in his second letter to the Thessalonians, written to dispel a false notion that the “day of the Lord” had already come:

2 Thess {2:1-9} Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,  That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come,] except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let,] until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him,] whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders . . .       

Now there is a lot of information here so it is well worth our time to explore this passage in greater detail. Let’s begin with the phrase “except there come a falling away first.” I’ve heard two interpretations of it, each with its own merit. The first says this refers to the Rapture, when all believers are rescued from Planet Earth to meet Jesus in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The second says it refers to a falling away from the faith. In other words, apostasy, something which is occurring in a widespread manner among the church in Europe and North America in particular, something we already discussed under “False Prophets” and “Christians Persecuted” in the initial article of this series. The original Greek term rendered as “falling away” in the above is“apostasia,” from which “apostasy” clearly comes. Therefore, in my opinion, this second interpretation has the most merit. If you think it’s bad now, during the Tribulation it will get a lot worse – along with everything else.

The reason for this is that “he (the Holy Spirit) who not letteth (wherein ‘letteth’ is translated from the Greek word ‘katecho’ which itself means ‘restrains’ in modern English)” will be gone, since those believers in whom he had taken up residence have been removed from the Earth during the Rapture. It is only then that the “man of sin” and “son of perdition (damnation)” otherwise known to us as the Antichrist is revealed and given power to ultimately bring the human race to the very brink of extinction. We also learn that this man will be imbued with satanic powers making him virtually irresistible to most of the planet’s population. Judging by just how much traction lies get over the truth these days, it isn’t difficult to believe the triumph of falsehood and evil for the last seven years of history, is it?

Many of those who study prophecy have applied the terms “Great Tribulation” to the last 3 1/2 years of the entire seven year Tribulation period and there is every reason to believe the this last half of it will truly be the worst. It will be the time after the Antichrist has suffered a fatal head wound, returned to life (Revelation 13:2-4), and invaded the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and claimed to be “God.”

Paradoxically, when this demonic figure first appears on the scene, I envision him gaining wide appeal in a very short time as the “Answer Man” appearing just as Earth thrown into turmoil by the sudden unexpected disappearance of believers (1 Corinthians 15:51-54) coupled with an intensification of all the present economic, political, social, and natural upheavals we are already experiencing today. In fact, the beginning of the Trib period might look just great.

For example, a long sought-after Middle East Peace Accord will likely come into effect with a seven year treaty that the Antichrist will confirm (Daniel 9:27), possibly averting, though only temporarily, the outbreak of a regional nuclear war that would have the prospect of growing into a worldwide cataclysm. Since we already see in our time that whatever happens in the Middle East has widespread implications, I also envision with the tensions relieved there a short-lived global economic boom. For the human race, it will undoubtedly look like Utopia is just around the corner – making it ripe for the Antichrist to exploit for his own sinister plans.

It probably won’t be very long before the euphoria begins to wear thin as Earth continues to be plagued by natural disasters and civic unrest begin to sprout up again as a result of their effects on food production and transportation. The general reaction of governments to such matters is generally one of tightening restrictions on individual liberty. If you think the population of United States would be immune from such a scenario, here is a small sample of what could happen here right from the Office of the Press Secretary of the White House as to who would control our resources in the event of an emergency:

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release

March 16, 2012

Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness



By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended (50 U.S.C. App. 2061 et seq.), and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is hereby ordered as follows . . .

Sec. 201Priorities and Allocations Authorities.  (a)  The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:

(1)  the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;

(2)  the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;

(3)  the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;

(4)  the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;

(5)  the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and

(6)  the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.

(b)  The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions.  Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.

By virtue of this being an Executive Order which bypasses Congress, we have a declaration that puts every vital resource of this country put under the absolute control of individuals who were never elected by the voters of the United States. I am also left wondering just who it is that determines what an “emergency” is. Now if such a thing can happen in America, the land of the free and the brave, it can happen anywhere! People will characteristically give up a lot of their freedom for “peace and safety.” An examination of Hitler’s rise to power and the kind of Germany he created in his image proves this point in dreadful detail. The Antichrist will institute a government based on the total control of everything on a planetary basis. One major way to accomplish this is by controlling the economy. Let’s take a look at the specific way it’ll be done.

Revelation {13:15-18} And he* had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:  And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number [is] Six hundred threescore [and] six. *The false prophet.

This is a subject which we covered in some length in “Prophetic Tech – Part 3″ but is worth a review. There is probably nothing else that affects an individual more than that which affects his or her personal finances. After all, what you eat, where you live, and what you wear, are the essential basics that are common to every single human being on Earth regardless of who and where they are. Control the purse strings, and you control the person. As we have seen before, those who don’t play ball with the Antichrist don’t get access to his economy. There may develop a black market of some type to circumvent the restrictions – a possibility that would explain how some post-Rapture believers will manage to survive to the very end of the Tribulation, but I have a hunch that there will be very few of them since those who refuse the mark will be systematically hunted down.  One must remember that the Antichrist government will not only have advanced technology but the dark power of Satan himself on its side to do just that. In fact, the Bible tells us quite plainly that he will for a time, “prevail against the saints” until Jesus himself returns to establish the Millennial Kingdom upon a decimated and greatly depopulated planet:

Daniel {7:20-22} And of the ten horns that [were] in his head, and [of] the other which came up*, and before whom three fell; even [of] that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look [was] more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them. {7:22} 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. *The Antichrist – the “horn” or leader which eventually takes over the whole world from the other “horns” who ruled previously in some manner of global government. (See Daniel 7:24-25.)

Make no mistake: this will be the worst time in the history of humankind upon the Earth so terrible that if it had not been shortened by direct Divine Intervention not even the relatively few remaining righteous souls would survive, just as Jesus said:

Matthew {24:21-22} For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

If allowed to continue unabated, the Bible makes it clear that no one, not even the “elect” (probably referring mainly to the Jewish race and including post-Trib people who had come to believe in Jesus) would survive. The extinction of the human race would be total.

The implications of this are terrifying – it would mean that Satan wins in a scorched Earth policy from which none would be exempt. Why do I say this? Because if this came to pass, all the promises the Bible records that God made to the Hebrews in the Old Testament and true Christians in the New could never come to pass. Since it is our conviction that the Bible is 100% accurate, this would make it in error. Logically it would follow that God himself is likewise capable of error and therefore fallible.

It has always been the devil’s goal to thwart God’s plan from the very beginning (Genesis, chapter 3) all along. He has tried to destroy the Hebrews throughout history, he tried to do the same to Jesus himself and to his followers after the Ascension. The demonic persecution continues unabated even to this day and, as prophecy reveals, will intensify as we approach the close of this age.

Next time we’ll begin with looking toward the skies and examine what we might expect is coming from above.



Matthew Mark Luke
D TEMPLE DESTROYED 24:1-2 13:1-2 21:5-6
 I FALSE PROPHETS 24:4-5,11,23-28 13:5-6; 21-23 21:8
I WARS 24:6-7 13:7-8a 21:9-10
I FAMINE 24:7 13:8b 21:11
I CHRISTIANSPERSECUTED 24:9-10 13:9-13 21:12-15
F ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION * 24:15-22 13:14-16 (See ** below)
F JERUSALEMSURROUNDED ** 24:15-20 13:14-18 21:20-24
F GREAT TRIBULATION 24:21-22  13: 19-20 21:25-26
F SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS 24:29 13: 24-25 21:11, 25-26
F JESUS RETURNS  13: 26 21:27
F ELECT GATHERED 24: 31 13: 27



I = IN PROGRESS (But we can expect all of these to intensify as time goes by.)


* Jesus told us here that the antichrist will desecrate the temple as did Antiochus IV Epiphanes as related in Daniel 8:9-14. In Daniel 9:27, the prophet describes a second similar desecration of the temple in the midst of the antichrist’s one “week” (seven years) reign.

** Luke’s version omits the mention of the Abomination. Perhaps it relates the siege of Titus in 70 A.D., while Matthew and Mark’s versions refer to that second event that Jesus mentioned which will occur during the Tribulation.


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