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The Times of the Signs – Part Two – By Ed Wood

In Part One of our exploration of the prophecies Jesus gave in the Olivet Discourse, we discovered that one had been fulfilled, namely the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and that the following are already under way:

1) The appearance of  False Prophets.

2) Wars (and rumors of wars) of which the Twentieth Century was the worst in that regard so far.

3) Famine.

4) Earthquakes.

5) Natural Disasters.

6) People getting worse.

7) Christians being persecuted.

8) The access and preaching of the Gospel to virtually every part of the world.

9) Strife among families.

We will now look at the next two events in the prophetic timeline.

The final prophecy to be fulfilled before the Tribulation begins.

THE RAPTURE

Matthew  {24:37-41} But as the days of Noe [were,] so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were 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 all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. (Jesus is the speaker.)

It’s likely that the people of Noah’s time, much like today, were becoming increasingly desensitized to the evil growing around them. Like now, they were also unaware that their own “End Times” would soon be upon them. Though the Bible doesn’t provide details of Noah’s interactions with the people around him, common sense dictates that they must have wondered about his seemingly irrational activity of building a huge ship in a place where none was obviously needed. As if that wasn’t enough, he eventually started collecting pairs of animals to load aboard. It seems reasonable to assume they asked him about all this. Obviously, they didn’t take him seriously or else they would have been making their own preparations to survive. It seems safe to assume that they regarded him as a raving lunatic.

So what about today?

In the passage above, the Bible tells us that Jesus said the conditions at the end of the age would parallel those of Noah’s time, and, indeed, they are doing just that. The presence of evil is growing and, as was the case with the Flood, most of the world, even much of the modern church, doesn’t expect the return of Jesus for his followers, either. When it does happen, it’ll be just as big a surprise as the Flood. The only difference is that Noah’s society didn’t have time to speculate about the Deluge afterwards as today’s will after the Rapture.

Now the problem some have in accepting the passage above as a true Rapture verse is the 50/50 ratio of those taken and those left behind. I suggest that it might not refer to a literal 50% division, but may be a figure of speech to illustrate the point of people being taken away from their daily routines quite unexpectedly while the others left behind are totally baffled. This theme of  “unexpectedness” appears several times in Matthew, chapters 24 and 25.

If we consider that everything the Bible has to say is important, it follows that the more often something is repeated, the more we should pay attention. A good example of this occurred regarding Joseph’s interpretation of the repetitive aspects of pharaoh’s dream in Genesis, chapter 41.

Now let’s see what Paul describes in an unambiguous Rapture passage:

1 Corinthians {15:51-54} Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

Much has already been written about the Rapture, pro and con, some of the adherents to the latter doing so vehemently and, quite frankly, unpleasantly. Just to make it clear, I am of the former persuasion because only the occurrence of the the Rapture can reconcile the passages like those above which indicate an initial time when Jesus’ return coming as a complete surprise with believers being gathered to him in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) which will mystify those left behind and a second which will be his unmistakable return that the whole world see and which will conclude the seventh year of the Tribulation:

Matthew {24:27} For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Jesus is the speaker.)

The specific timeline for Jesus’ Second Coming to Earth can be found in Daniel 9:24 – 27. The concluding verse reveals that the time of the Antichrist’s “covenant with many” would last one week (seven years), based on the 360 day length of a Jewish year. Though the entire Tribulation, which will certainly mark a dreadful time for the world, begins when the Antichrist ratifies his “covenant” and lasts seven years,  the final half will be even worse. It will finish when Jesus personally comes to put an end to the most horrific despot that has ever lived and destroy his armies at Armageddon (Daniel 7:11-14; Revelation 19:7-21).

From the halfway point, when the Antichrist abrogates the covenant, the exact time of the Second Coming of Jesus is given as 1260 days (symbolically described in Revelation 12:1-7. See also Genesis 37:1-9 which identifies the parties in the Revelation passage), which is also the amount of time Israel is given supernatural refuge by God in the wilderness after the treaty is broken.

We now have two definite markers in time for Jesus’ Second Coming. The Rapture has none. The only way to explain this is that they are two different events.

We also do not know is how soon after the Rapture the Tribulation will begin. It may follow closely, since the sudden and unexplained disappearance of millions of those who have accepted Jesus will send unprecedented shock waves across our planet. I have no doubt that Satan will exploit this time of global fear and confusion to bring his “man of sin” onto the world stage and ultimately into a position of authority that no other human being has ever attained before.

The Beginning of the Tribulation

Let’s look at a possible scenario of how these last seven years might begin.

The Rapture has come and gone, millions of people have vanished. Theories are rampant as to what has happened as the human race reels in fear. How will people react? Looking at post-World War 1 Germany may give us valuable insight into that question.

It was a time when that nation was a complete mess on every level. It’s economy was ruin, unemployment was high, and its people demoralized. Into this scene appeared a young, intense, charismatic man, whom some described as having literally a spellbinding effect on his associates and, ultimately, on the masses of Germans looking for someone who could give them the answers and a hope for the future that they could not find anywhere else.

I’m sure you already recognize this description of Adolf Hitler,  the German Chancellor whose wickedness cost the lives of millions in his mad dash for global domination.

History has shown that desperate people do desperate things and I believe that the Antichrist will come to power following this dark blueprint from the past. Since humanity never seems to learn from history, the Antichrist, like Hitler, will be welcomed with open arms.

Into the Dark Times

It may very well be that with the along with ascent of the Antichrist to power, people will buy into his promises that a golden age is just ahead. I expect he’ll come up with a multi-spectrumed plan to stabilize the global economy and to attempt to deal with the increasing distresses that Bible Prophecy has told us will characterize the Tribulation. Perhaps his most significant action will be his confirmation of a Middle East peace treaty which had already been mapped out before his ascent to world leadership. It will initially succeed where previous peace plans have failed. It will also start the seven-year  Tribulation countdown clock.

Paradoxically, despite an overall deterioration of conditions on Earth as God’s judgments are being poured out, the Middle East, Israel in particular, may experience relative “peace and safety” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) for the next three and a half years.

The reason the Antichrist gives his approval to this peace treaty may be twofold: First, to raise his stature in the eyes of the world. Second, to get as many Jews back to Israel so he can get most of them into one place for future extermination (Zechariah 14:1-2; Revelation 16:13-14).

The confirmed covenant may possibly include a provision that allows for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple on its original site, yet another powerful incentive to get the Jews to come home. That the temple must exist at some level of completion is a necessary element in the prophetic timeline and integral to the Antichrist’s plans when he goes there to declare himself “God” three and a half years later, as we will soon see.

Most people, excepting those who come to believe in Jesus after the Rapture, Jews and Gentiles alike, will apparently believe in this “Answer Man” so much that they’ll embrace his ultimate claims of deity without resistance. That will initiate the final three and a half year countdown when world conditions get a lot worse. As far as Israel goes, it, along with the Tribulation Christians, will become the prime targets of his retaliation.

Into the Darkest Times

THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION

Matthew {24:15, 21} When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)  . .  For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. (Jesus is the speaker.)

What is this “Abomination of Desolation?”

In order to set the stage for that, here is what must happen first:

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.

2 Thessalonians  {2:3-4} 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. *The Antichrist

Without the temple being rebuilt, these prophecies could not be fulfilled because it is needed for the Mosaic system to be reinstituted – and then disrupted. The next prophecy after the Antichrist’s usurpation of the temple is the creation of the “Abomination of Desolation.”

Daniel actually mentions two instances of this taking place:

Daniel {8:13-14} Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain [saint] which spake, How long [shall be] the vision [concerning] the daily [sacrifice,] and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.

This first incident involved the desecration of the temple by Antiochus IV Epiphanes in 168 B.C. At that time, he installed in it his own altar, a statue of Zeus with his face on it and offered up swine – an animal declared by God as unclean. Three years later,  the Maccabees successfully regained control of the temple and purified it. Chanukah annually celebrates this victory and the miracle of a one-day supply of sanctified lamp oil lasting instead for eight days.

Concerning the apparent discrepancy of the length of time noted by Daniel as being  twice as long as the actual length between the defilement (Kislev 25, 168 B.C.) and purification of the temple (Kislev 25, 165 B.C.),  according to the Zondervan Study Bible (copyright 2002), the term “days,” as used by Daniel, was actually the total of mornings and evenings. That brings us to 1150 twenty-four hour days, or about 3 years and two months. The extra two months are attributed to the interval between Antiochus’ removal of the Jewish altar and replacing it with his own.

Now here is the account of the future version, first from Daniel, then from Revelation:

Daniel 9:27 {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. *The Antichrist. ** Note that the length of time Daniel gives for this second desecration is three and a half years. Here we  have one week equaling seven years, four months longer than the amount of time regarding the first “abomination” by Antiochus IV.

Revelation {13:14-15} And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by [the means of] those miracles which he* had power to do in the sight of the beast**; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. 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.  *The False Prophet, the Antichrist’s second in command and spokesman. **Antichrist

Where Antiochus had placed an ordinary statue in the temple, the passage above indicates that his “abomination” will be animated somehow by the False Prophet. With the level of electronic technology available today, this does not at all sound far-fetched. There may be even more to it than mere technology, perhaps a supernatural component, at which we can only guess now. Whatever the nature of this “abomination” is, I suspect that most of the world will willingly worship it, especially after the miraculous “pseudo-resurrection” of the Antichrist himself by the devil himself (Revelation 13:3).

This will begin the time at which things get indescribably worse.


4 Comments

  1. hawk2017 says:

    Amen

  2. Anne Payne says:

    A timely message before the Rapture !! Thank you for its posting

    On Wed, Jul 3, 2019 at 9:46 AM Terry James Prophecy Line wrote:

    > Terry James posted: “In Part One of our exploration of the prophecies > Jesus gave in the Olivet Discourse, we discovered that one had been > fulfilled, namely the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D., and that the > following are already under way: 1) The appearance of False P” >

  3. Ed Wood says:

    You are welcome, Anne. I’m glad you liked the article. There will be at least one more to cover the rest of the things that must occur before the Second Coming.

    God bless.
    Ed

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