Open as PDF
The RedeemerÂ’s Return
THE WORLDWARD RESULTS OF THE REDEEMER’S RETURN
"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 electÂ’s sake those days shall be shortened."
Matthew 24:21, 22
In the last chapter we considered seven of the Churchward Results of the RedeemerÂ’s Return. We saw that the One who left His disciples almost nineteen centuries ago, is coming back again, that the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout; that this Shout will be heard by all the saints whether alive on the earth or asleep in their graves, and that at the time He gives this Shout our Lord will exert a miraculous "drawing" power which shall "catch up" His people unto Himself so that they meet Him in the air, after which they come before the Bema in order that their works may be examined and their service rewarded; subsequently, after an interval of seven years or more, the Lord returns to the earth accompanied by His people in glory. It is concerning the Interval which follows the Rapture and some of the things which shall occur during this period of time which are now to engage our attention. What is to take place on earth after the Church has been removed from it? What are the conditions that will obtain in this world during the interval which divides the two stages in the second advent of Christ? What is the course of events which shall culminate in the Return of the Redeemer to the Mount of Olives to usher in the long-promised Millennium? The Scriptures which make answer to these questions are exceedingly numerous and our chief difficulty is to select and classify.
What will occur on earth after the saints have been removed? In seeking to summarize the predictions which bear upon this time, we shall confine ourselves again to seven of the most prominent items, namely, the Consternation of the world at the removal of the Church, the Hopeless condition of those left behind, GodÂ’s dealings with the earth in judgment, the character and career of the Antichrist, the situation of the Jews during this period, the Battle of Armageddon, and the Return of Christ to the earth itself. Before we study these seriatim, a further word or two is necessary to prepare the reader for what follows.
The length of time which separates between the secret coming of Christ to the air for the purpose of catching up His people and His subsequent and public return to the earth itself is not clearly defined in Scripture. It is certain, however, that this interval will last at least seven years and if, as the writer believes and an increasing number of prophetic students conclude, a goodly proportion of the Jews are to return to Palestine, if their Temple in Jerusalem is to be re-built, if Babylon is to be restored until it becomes again the metropolis of the world, then it will last much longer, possibly seventy years in all. For the sake of convenience we shall refer to this interval as the Tribulation period, though to be strictly accurate the "great Tribulation" is but three and a half years in length, the final three and a half years before the Lord Jesus returns to the earth.
Anyone who has given himself at all seriously to the study of Prophecy will immediately recognize the difficulty of seeking to arrange in chronological order the things which are shortly coming to pass. Concerning the exact sequence of details we cannot be absolutely dogmatic, but so far as the general outline is in question that is plain. With these explanatory remarks let us now turn directly to the subject before us. And,
1. The WorldÂ’s Consternation at the sudden and secret Removal of the Church.
One can better imagine than describe the awe-inspiring effect upon the world which will be occasioned by the secret removal of the Church. We say "secret removal" for we know of nothing in Scripture which intimates that our LordÂ’s Shout shall be heard by any save His own people, and judging from the analogies furnished by the oases of the translation of Enoch and Elijah nothing will be known of the ChurchÂ’s rapture until after it has occurred. That the world will not witness the catching up of believers to meet their Savior in the air seems to be further borne out by the fact that their translation and transformation will be so swiftly accomplished that it is all said to occur "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye." We take it then that the removal of the Church will be both sudden and secret.
Some day in the near future, how near none can say, but probably in the lifetime of the present generation, the world will awaken to find that a most startling phenomenon has occurred. A large number of their fellow-men and women will have mysteriously disappeared, leaving no traces behind them! In many a home there will be more than one vacant chair. In many an office and store there will be vacant stools. From every walk of life there will be taken those who "Chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season: esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world: for they had respect unto the recompence of the reward" (Heb. 11:25, 26). Possibly some seats in the Senate and some thrones will be vacant, for GodÂ’s children are "scattered abroad" (John 11:52) in many spheres and callings. The phenomenon of the missing ones will be no local one, but earth-wide in its range. It is highly probable that from every village, town, and city in this land, there shall be taken those who are caught up to meet the Lord in the air. Imagine then the amazement, the consternation,, the commiseration of those that are left behind! Imagine the panic which shall seize their hearts. If they search, their search will be in vain. No trace of the missing ones will be forth-coming. Imagine again the dismay and the awe, as the news is received from other lands that this same mysterious phenomenon has occurred there too! Will it take the left-behind ones very long to find a solution to the mystery? Will it be very difficult for them to find an explanation which will account for the disappearance of GodÂ’s people from the earth? We believe not. The imminent coming of Christ has been so widely proclaimed both by voice and pen that there are now comparatively few people who are in complete ignorance upon this subject. Today the wise of this world may sneer and scoff at the truth that the coming of the Lord draweth nigh, but then, when it is too late to profit from the witness that is now being borne, it shall be seen that those who were looking for that blessed hope and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ were no mere visionaries and fanatics, but sober men and women whose faith was founded upon the unerring Word of God. O what anguish will fill those who gave no heed to the faithful warning of their godly friends! And here we would pause a moment and ask, Reader, How is it with you? Suppose that Christ should come todayÂ—and He mayÂ—in which class would you be found? Would you be among the "wise" virgins who are ready for the BridegroomÂ’s appearing, or would you be numbered among the "foolish" virgins who had made no adequate preparation for this great event? Pass not this question lightly by. It is now the most momentous question which can possibly engage your attention. You say, you hope you would be among those that are ready. But you cannot afford to be uncertain upon this matter, the issues are far too serious and solemn. Stop right here we beseech you and honestly examine yourself and see whether you be in the faith. Do you know within your heart that you are unprepared, that all your efforts have been directed toward the securing for yourself a comfortable position in this world? Then, let us ask, "What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Do you say, I have already faced that question and I know not how to make the necessary preparation. Are you constrained to ask, "What must I do to be saved?" Then the answer, GodÂ’s own answer, is ready to handÂ—"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Appropriate the provision which Divine grace has made for lost sinners. Flee to Christ while there is yet time. Turn away from self with all its resolutions and failures, its doings and its sins and cast yourself on the Lord Jesus. Heed that pressing word, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation." Boast not thyself of tomorrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Tomorrow may be too late. Before tomorrow the Lord may have come, and then the door of mercy will be closed against you. And this leads us to consider,
2. The Hopeless condition of the left-behind ones.
What will happen where Christendom awakens to the solemn fact that the real Church, the Church of God, has been removed from this earth and taken to be with the Lord? Again we say, it is not difficult for our imagination to supply the answer. But we are not left to the exercise of our imagination; the Holy Scriptures contain a plain and full reply to our inquiry. The Word of God intimates that following the Rapture of the saints many of the left-behind ones will earnestly seek the salvation of their souls. Multitudes of men and women will, for the first time in their lives, call upon the name of the Lord and cry unto Him for mercy. But their cry will not be heard. Their seeking will be in vain, because they have delayed the all-important matter of their salvation until it is too late. The door of mercy will then be closed, for the Day of Salvation will have ended. Often had these left-behind ones been warned, but in vain. Servants of God had faithfully set before them their imperative need of fleeing from the wrath to come; knowing the terror of the Lord, they had sought to persuade their unsaved hearers to be reconciled to God, only to be laughed at for their pains. And now the tables will be turned. God will laugh at them, laugh at their calamity and mock at their fear. Listen to the solemn declaration of Holy WritÂ—"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out My hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all My counsel, and would none of My reproof; I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then they shall call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would none of My counsel: they despised all My reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices" (Prov. 1:24-31). Unspeakably solemn words are theseÂ—words which ought to be thundered forth from every pulpit in the land. Many the time had these same people heard the Gospel preached, but they had deliberately hardened their hearts. Many the time had they been urged to "Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near" (Isa. 55:6), but they despised the invitations of Divine grace. Now they shall reap as they have sown. Hitherto they had mocked God; now God shall mock them. Hitherto God had called to them, but they had refused to attend; now shall they call upon God and He will decline to answer them.
Parallel with this solemn declaration in the Old Testament Scriptures we find our Lord Himself testified, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able when once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know ye not whence ye are" (Luke 13:24,25). These words contain an amplification of His utterance concerning the "foolish virgins"Â—"Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But He answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not" (Matthew 25:11,12). Whoever the "great multitude" of Revelation 7 may be, it is certain that none in Christendom who have rejected the Gospel during the present dispensation will be among that number. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 is equally explicit. The Antichrist shall come "with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they ALL might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." Let it then be distinctly understood that, there will be no "Â‘second chance" for present-day Christ rejectors left behind on the earth after the removal of the Church, for when the Church goes the Holy Spirit, too, is taken away. Knocking and crying then will be useless. The door has been closed. The Day of Salvation is over. An angry God shall then mock those who have mocked Him. As it was with Israel of old, so shall it then be with a God-forsaken ChristendomÂ—"Therefore will I also deal in fury: Mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in Mine ears with "loud voice, yet will I not hear them" (Ezek. 8:18). Unsaved reader, consider thy peril. The Lord is at hand, and if you are not among the number caught up to meet Him in the air, then your doom will be eternally sealed. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). But not only shall the left-behind ones seek the Lord in vain, but they shall be the objects of His wrath. This leads us to considerÂ—
3. GodÂ’s dealings with the earth during the Tribulation period.
The interval of time which separates the removal of the Church from the earth to the return of Christ to it, is variously designated in the Word of God. It is spoken of as "the day of Vengeance" (Isa. 61:2). It is called "the time of JacobÂ’s trouble" (Jer. 30:7). It is the "hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world" (Rev. 8:10). It is denominated "the great day of the Lord" (Zeph. 1:14). It is termed "the great tribulation" (Matthew 24:21). It is the time of GodÂ’s "controversy with the nations" (Jer. 25:31). In Daniel 12:1 it is described as "a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time." Our Lord referred to this same period when He said, "For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation, which God created unto this time, neither shall be. And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the electÂ’s sake, whom He hath chosen, He hath shortened the days" (Mark 13:19,20). As one reads these unspeakably solemn Scriptures the question naturally occurs to our minds, Why will this period be visited with sorer afflictions than any season which has preceded it since the commencement of human history? The answer is, Because this will be the time when the thrice holy God avenges the Death of His blessed Son. God has a "controversy with the nations," observe "the nations" not "nation" for the Gentiles, equally with the Jews, shared in the awful crime of the Crucifixion. It is written in Romans 12:19, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." And, as in everything, so here, the Holy One sets us a perfect exampleÂ—"Who, when He was reviled, reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously" (1 Pet. 2:28). Yes, He committed Himself unto Him that judgeth righteously, and now the time will have come when His cause shall be espoused and when the righteous Judge shall exact full satisfaction for that awful crime perpetrated nineteen centuries ago. On the Cross, the Smitten One cried, "Pour out Thine indignation upon them, and let Thy wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents. For they persecute Him whom Thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of Thy wounded" (Ps. 69:24-26). Then will be the time when God answers that prayer.
Yes, my reader, you are living in a world which is stained with the blood of GodÂ’s own Son, and which in the sight of Heaven now lies beneath the guilt of that terrible crime, a crime which each new generation since then has perpetuated by "Crucifying to themselves the Son of God afresh and putting Him to an open shame" (Heb. 6:6). Long have GodÂ’s judgments been withheld. Long has His grace been displayed. But soon shall this dispensation of grace close, and then shall the Lord God make answer to His SonÂ’s cry and "pour out His indignation" upon the world which murdered the Lord of Glory. This "pouring out of GodÂ’s indignation" is described in numerous passages. We read in Zephaniah 1:14-18, "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers. And I will bring distress upon men, because they have sinned against the Lord: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung. Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LordÂ’s wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of His jealousy: for He shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land." Again we read, "Behold, the whirlwind of the Lord goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until He have done it, and until He have performed the intents of His heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it" (Jer. 30:23,24). And once more we are told, "For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch" (Mal. 4:1).
No less than thirteen chaptersÂ—6 to 19Â—in the last book of the Bible are devoted to a description of the terrible judgments which God will pour upon the earth during the tribulation period. We cannot now review all of these chapters, but will confine ourselves to a brief examination of a portion of the sixth. "And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword" (Rev. 6:4). The symbolism here is easily interpreted. The "red horse" denotes the blood-shed and slaughter. Peace is taken "from the earth" not merely from one country, or even from a whole continent, but from the earth itself. The fulfillment of this is yet future. But coming events cast their shadows before them, and the length, of the shadows which are even now cast across the earth, shows how near we have approached to the dread reality itself. Today, the saints of God are "the salt of the earth," preserving the human race from going to utter corruption, and the Holy Spirit who is now here exerts a restraining influence upon the powers of evil. But in the day contemplated by Revelation 6 the Holy Spirit will have gone, the Church will have been removed, and then will the wildest passions of men be let loose and a time of mutual slaughter and universal carnage shall ensue.
"And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny" (Rev. 5:5, 6). The "black horse" symbolizes lamentation and mourning: the "balances" that which will be employed for carefully weighing out the cereals: the "penny" is a dayÂ’s wage (see Matthew 20:2). Added to the horrors of universal war, depicted by the previous "seal" judgment, there will be an unparalleled scarcity of food, and the very necessaries of life will be sold at famine prices. For centuries God has blessed the earth with abundant crops, but His mercies have been received without thanksgiving. But in that day there shall be a general scarcity of food and multitudes will die of starvation.
"And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hades followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth" (Rev. 6:8). As it was in connection with His plagues upon Egypt of old, so during the Tribulation period GodÂ’s judgments will increase in severity. The "pale horse" signifies Death, and his rider is thus denominated. Death is accompanied by Hades: the former seizing the body, the latter claiming the soul. In this one judgment no less than a fourth of earthÂ’s inhabitants will be slain by GodÂ’s avenging agents, while those that are left will be tormented by the pangs of hunger and terrified by wild beasts.
"And I beheld when he opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; and the stars of heaven fell upon the earth, even as a figtree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places" (Rev. 6:12-14). In addition to the horrors of war, famine, and wild beasts, there will follow the most fearful convulsions of Nature. First, there is a "great earthquake," an earthquake unparalleled in the history. of man, and beside which the destruction of Pompeii and the catastrophe at San Francisco will, by comparison, fade away into utter insignificance. God Himself terms this a great earth-quakeÂ—great in its severity and great in its reach, far it will shake the entire earth and even the mountains and islands of the sea will be moved out of their places. Next, we are told that, to add to the sufferings of earthÂ’s afflicted inhabitants, the "sun" will be darkened, as though it were reluctant to shine upon such a scene of judgment and death. Furthermore; the moon will be transformed into an object of horror. Long had men despised the precious blood which the Lamb of God shed upon the Cross. Instead of seeking its cleansing they had scorned it. But now the day will have come when God will compel all men to look upon blood. Now that it is too late for the blood of Christ to save them, God will mock them by turning the moon into blood, so that it shall no longer shed its silvery light as hitherto, but will then cast a crimson glow upon the scene of GodÂ’s judgments. As though this were not enough, the heavens will exhibit their wrath upon the earth which crucified their Creator, and will cast their stars upon it. All nature will be convulsed and all the earth will be encompassed by those unparalleled plagues.
A similar picture of the Divine judgments which will be inflicted at this time is furnished by the prophet Isaiah, "Behold the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate. And He shall utterly destroy the sinners out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine. And I will punish the world for their evil, and due wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger" (Isa. 13:9-13). These words are to be taken at their face value and understood literally.
What shall be the effect of all this? Let us return to Revelation 6 and read the Holy SpiritÂ’s own description of the consternation of mankind at that time. "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And they said to the rocks and the mountains, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of His wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:15-17). A prayer-meeting is convenedÂ—one unrivalled for size and earnestness, and one to which all classes and conditions of men assemble. Kings and rulers will be present. Hitherto they were more often found at Race-meetings than Prayer-meetings. All classes of men will be there. Many an opportunity for prayer had they missed in the past. Many the time they had lain down at night upon a prayer-less bed. They had regarded prayer as a profitless occupation, as so much time wasted, as an exercise fit only for women and children. But now they fall prostrate on their faces. When prayer would have availed, they scorned it; now that it is useless they go at it with a will. Such is the depravity and folly of human nature. But note the object of their prayers! They pray not to the living God, but in the inanimate rocks and mountains. They cannot pray to the Lord God for they never learned how to address Him, and now it will be too late to learn for the Holy Spirit, who is the inspirer of all real prayer, has been "taken out of the way." They pray not to the Rock, but to the rocks. They had made material things their gods, and so to these they now address their petitions. Note, too, the burden of their prayers! They ask to be hidden from the face of God and from the wrath of the Lamb. When they had opportunity, they refused to acknowledge His Love, they slighted the overtures of His Mercy, so now they have to endure His Wrath. To see GodÂ’s face is the deepest longing of His people: to be "hid from His face" will be the one desire of those left behind for judgment.
Above, we have reviewed only down to the end of the sixth "Seal" judgment. There is a seventh which is itself divided into the seven "Trumpet" judgments, the seventh of which is again divided, divided into the seven "Vial" judgments. Little does the world dream of what is coming upon it. The present war with all its horrors gives but a faint conception of whist will shortly come to pass on this earth. Not only will peace be entirely removed from the earth, not only will all Nature be convulsed by the outpouring of GodÂ’s wrath, but the Bottomless Pit will be opened and out of it shall issue two hundred millions of supernatural locusts, having tails like scorpions and stings in their tails, and for five months they will "torment" those who have not been destroyed by the previous plagues. The torment inflicted by these infernal creatures will be so unendurable, that we are told "And in those days shall men seek death." But mark the still more awful sequelÂ—"And shall not find it: and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them" (Rev. 9:6). At a later stage, earthÂ’s inhabitants will be "scorched with great heat" and so terrible will be their suffering and so incurable is the wickedness of their hearts as it will then be manifested, that we read, "and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds" (Rev. 16:9-11). Such will be a part of the "indignation" which God will yet pour out upon this guilty world as His response to that cry made by His beloved Son as He hung upon the Cross. But we must turn now and consider another prominent feature of the Tribulation period, namely,
4. The revelation and career of the Antichrist.
Who is the Antichrist? Varied and wild have been the answers returned to this question. In pre-Christian times there were many who regarded Antiochus Epiphanes as the one whom Daniel and the other prophets described. At the beginning of this dispensation Nero was looked upon as the predicted Man of Sin. After the Reformation the Papacy was selected as the fulfiller of the prophecies given through the Patmos seer. And in our day there have been those who consider the Kaiser to be the Son of Perdition. It cannot be denied that each of these infamous characters have manifested various characteristics which will yet be fully displayed by the Antichrist, yet, they none of them match completely the delineation of the Man of Sin which is given in the prophetic word. There is one Scripture which is quite sufficient to prove that none of those mentioned above are the Antichrist, a Scripture, moreover, which makes it certain that he has not yet been revealed, and cannot be revealed until after the Rapture of the Church. We refer to 2 Thessalonians 2:7,8Â—"For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is One that restraineth now, until He be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the Lawless One" (R. V.). The One who now "restrains" is the Holy Spirit, and the time when He is "taken out of the way" is at the removal of the Church which is His "temple." Here then is a conclusive argument: the Antichrist cannot be "revealed" or publicly manifested while God the Spirit is on the earth.
Who is the Antichrist? Having shown who cannot have been the Antichrist, let us now consider the positive answer to our question. In the first place, he will be a man, a real man, just as truly man as the Son of God was the Son of Man. The Antichrist is termed "The Man of Sin" (2 Thess. 2:3). In the second place, he will be a Jew, if he were not he would be unable to make good his claims to be the real Christ; if he were not a Jew he could not deceive the Jews. That he will be a Jew, seems clear from Daniel 11:37. In the third place, he will be the Super-man, he will be a supernatural character, he will be the Son of the Devil. It is clear from Revelation 20:10 that there is an Evil Trinity, as there is the Holy Trinity. The Antichrist will be the second person of the Evil Trinity as the Lord Jesus is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. As Jesus Christ was the God-Man, so the Antichrist will be the Devil-Man.
There are at least three Scriptures which prove the superhuman character of the Antichrist. The first is found in Genesis 3:15. In this verse there is a double "enmity" spoken of: God says, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman," that is between Satan and Israel, for Israel was the woman that bore Christ (see Revelation 12); "And between thy seed and her seed." Observe particularly that two "seeds" are here spoken of, thy seed (the antecedent is plainly the "Serpent") and "her seed" the womanÂ’s Seed. The womanÂ’s "Seed" was Christ, the SerpentÂ’s "Seed" will be the Antichrist. The Antichrist then, will be more than a man, he will be the actual and literal Seed of that old Serpent the Devil, as (Christ was, according to the flesh, the actual and literal Seed of the woman. "Thy seed," SatanÂ’s seed, refers to a specific individual, just as "her Seed" refers to a specific Individual.
The second Scripture which proves that the Antichrist will be super-human, the offspring of Satan, is found in John 8:44Â—"Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar, and the father of it." In the Greek there is the definite article before "lie"Â—the lie, "The Lie." There is but one other passage in the New Testament where "The Lie" is mentioned and that is in 2 Thessalonians 2:11 where again the definite article is found in the Greek, and here the reference to the Antichrist is unmistakable. A threefold reason may be suggested as to why the Antichrist should be termed Â‘The Lie." First, because his fraudulent claim to be the real Christ will be the greatest falsehood palmed upon humanity. Second, became he is the direct antithesis of the real Christ who is Â‘The Truth" (John 14:6). Third, because he is the Son of Satan who is the arch-Liar. But to return to John 8:44Â—Â‘When he (the Devil) speaketh (concerning) The Lie, he speaketh of his own." His "own" what? His "own" SonÂ—the reminder of the verse makes this very plainÂ—"for he (the Devil) is a Liar and the father of it" i. e., of "The Lie." The Lie then is SatanÂ’s "Son"! The third Scripture which proves that the Antichrist will be super-human is even still plainer. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 he is expressly said to be Â‘The Son of Perdition."
Who is the Antichrist? He will be a man, a Jew, a supernatural being, the "Seed" of the Serpent, the Son of Perdition. Where is he today? It is possible that even now he may be on the earth, though personally we hardly think this is likely. But if he is not yet born then the unequivocal answer is, He is in the Abyss or Bottomless Pit (Rev. 11:7). This Scripture contains the first reference to "the Beast" in the Revelation. The question naturally arises, How did he get there? and when was he sent there? In answering this question we are well aware that we shall call down upon us the criticism and censure of brethren that we honor and love, yet, notwithstanding, we must again be true to our convictions and faithful in presenting what we believe to be the teaching of Holy Scripture on this solemn and mysterious subject. When was the "Beast" consigned to the Bottomless Pit? We answer, when Judas Iscariot died. The Antichrist will be Judas Iscariot re-incarnated. The proof for this startling assertion (we may say, a by no means novel one, though our study of this point has been conducted independently) will now be humbly submitted to the critical attention of our readers.
Who was Judas Iscariot? He was the one by whom the Lord of Glory was betrayed. He was a "man" (Matthew 26:24). But was he more than a man? Let Scripture make answer. In John 6:73 we read, "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a Devil?" It is hardly necessary to say that in the Greek there are two different words for "Devil" and "demon." There are many demons but only one Devil. Further, in no other passage is the word "Devil" applied to anyone but to Satan himself. Now here in John 6:70 our Lord says of Judas that he is "ho diabolos" not "daimonizomai": the definite article is employedÂ—one of you is "the Devil." Judas then was the Devil incarnate, just as the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. Christ Himself said so, and we dare not doubt His word. Again, in John 17:12 He said, "Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost but the Son of Perdition." Here then is the answer of Scripture itself. Who was Judas Iscariot? He was the Devil incarnate; he was the Son of Perdition.
Now let us see how Scripture connects the Antichrist with Judas and shows that they are one and the same person. In the first place, as we have already pointed out, the first reference to "the Beast" (the Antichrist) in the Revelation is 11:7, where we read of "the Beast that ascendeth out of the Bottomless Pit." We asked, How and when did he go there? And we answered, at the death of Judas. Have we any Scripture which supports this assertion? We believe so. Mark the language used in Acts 1:25, "That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." Of no one else in all the Bible is it said that at death he went "to his own place." Put these two Scriptures togetherÂ—Judas went "to his own place," the Beast ascends out of the Abyss. Again, in Revelation 17:8 we read, "The Beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit, and go into perdition." This verse is generally understood to refer to the revived Roman Empire and with this interpretation we are in accord, but we believe it is a mistake to limit it to this. In the Apocalypse, the Roman Empire and its final and Satanic Emperor are very closely connected, so much so, that at times it is difficult to distinguish between them. But in Revelation 17 they are distinguishable. In verse 8 we are told that the Beast "shall ascend out of the Bottomless Pit, and that he shall "go into perdition." In verse 11 we are told, "And the Beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition" Now nearly all expositors are agreed that the Beast of verse eighth (head, and form of government of the Roman Empire) is the Antichrist himself; then why not admit the same of verse 8? In both, the designation is the sameÂ—the Beast; and in both, we are told he "goeth into perdition." We take it, then, that what is predicted of the "the Beast" in 17:8 is true of both the Roman Empire and of its last head or Emperor (the Antichrist)Â—of the former, in the sense that it is infernal in its character. Viewing it now as a declaration of the Antichrist, what does it tell us about him? Four things. First, he "was." Second, he "is not." Third, he shall "ascend out of the Bottomless Pit." Fourth, he shall "go into perdition" The various time marks here concern the Beast in his relation to the each. First, he "was" i.e., on the earth. Second, he "is not" i.e. now on the earth (cf. Genesis 5:24, "Enoch was not for God took him," i.e. "was not," any longer on the earth). Third, he shall "ascend out of the Bottomless Pit" (where he now is) which agrees with 11:7. Fourth, he shall "go into perdition." We learn then from this Scripture that at the time the Apocalypse was written that the Beast "was not" then on the earth, but that he had been on it formerly. Further, we learn that in JohnÂ’s day the Beast was then in the Bottomless Pit but should yet ascend out of it. Here then is further evidence that the Antichrist who is yet to appear has been on earth before! If this is not sufficient to prove that the Antichrist will be a re-incarnation of Judas our next Scripture ought to decide the matter. As we have seen in John 17:12 Christ termed Judas "the Son of Perdition" and in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 we find that the Man of Sin is similarly designated "that Man of Sin be revealed, the Son of Perdition." These are the only two places in all the Bible where this name occurs, is it not clear then that Judas and the Man of Sin are one and the same person? What other conclusion can a simple and unprejudiced reader of the Bible come to?
It is further to be noted that the Antichrist is twice termed "Death and Hades" (Isa. 28:18; Revelation 6:8) as if to intimate he came from Hades the place which receives the souls of the dead.
Who is the Antichrist? We have dwelt upon his mysterious person, and we would now call attention to a number of passages in Scriptures (which the reader will do well to look up and prayerfully study) in which he is variously denominated and described. He is the "bloody and deceitful man" of Psalm 5:6. He is "the man of the earth" of Psalm 10:18. He is the "Head over many countries" of Psalm 110:7. He is the "little horn" of Daniel 7:20-27; 8:9-12. He is "the prince that shall come" of Daniel 9:27."He is the "vile person" of Daniel 11:21. He is the "proud man" of Habakkuk 2:5. He is the rider on the four horses in Revelation 6. He is the "fallen star" of Revelation 9:1, He is "the Beast" of Revelation 18:1-8. He is the "Lawless One" of 2 Thessalonians 2:8, 9.
As can be well imagined the Scriptures draw a sharp contrast between Christ and the pseudo Christ. It is remarkable how complete the antithesis is. We give a twelvefold contrast between their various designations. The one is called the Christ (Matthew 16:16), the other the Antichrist (1 John 4:13). The one is called "the Man of Sorrows" (Isa. 53:3, the other "the Man of Sin" (2 Thess. 2:13). The one is called "the Son of God" (John 1:34), the other "the Son of Perdition" (2 Thess. 2:13). The numerical value (the gematria) of the name Jesus is 888, the number of the AntichristÂ’s name is 666 (Rev. 13:18) The one is called the "Seed of the woman" (Gen. 3:15), the other the "Seed of the Serpent" (Gen. 3:15). The one is called "the Lamb" (Isa. 53:7), the other "the Beast" (Rev. 11:7). Christ is called "the Holy One" (Mark 1:24), the Antichrist is termed "the Wicked One" (2 Thess. 2:8). The one is called "the Truth" (John 14:6), the other "the Lie" (John 8:44). The one is called "the Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), the other "the Profane Prince" (Ezek. 21:25). The one is called "the Glorious Branch" (Isa. 4:2), the other "the Abominable Branch" (Isa. 14:19). The one is called "the Good Shepherd" (John 10:11), the other "the Idol Shepherd" (Zech. 11:17), The one is called "the Mighty AngelÂ’" (Rev. 10:1), the other "the Angel of the Bottomless Pit" (Rev. 9:11).
Not only do the Scriptures point a complete contrast between Christ and the Antichrist in their several names and titles but the same is true in regard to their respective characters and careers. Christ came down from heaven (John 8:15), but the Antichrist comes up out of the Bottomless Pit (Rev. 11:7). Christ came in AnotherÂ’s name (John 5:48), but the Antichrist will come in his own name (John 5:48). Christ came to do the FatherÂ’s will (John 6:88), but the Antichrist will do his own will (Dan. 11:86). Christ wrought in the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:14), but the Antichrist will be energized by Satan (Rev. 18:4). Christ submitted Himself to God (John 5:30), but the Antichrist will defy God (2 Thess. 2:4). Christ "humbled" Himself (Phil. 2:8), but the Antichrist will "exalt" himself (Dan. 11:86). Christ honored the God of His fathers (Luke 4:16), but the Antichrist will refuse to do so (Dan. 11:37). Christ cleansed the Temple (John 2:14-16), but the Antichrist will defile the temple (Matthew 24:15). Christ ministered to the needy (Luke 4:18), but the Antichrist will refuse to do so (Zech. 11:16). Christ was rejected of men (Isa. 58:8), but the Antichrist will be accepted by all the world (Rev. 18:4). Christ "leadeth" His flock (John 10:3), but the Antichrist will "leave" his flock (Zech. 11:17). Christ was slain for the people (John 11:51), but the Antichrist will slay the people (Dan. 11:44). Christ glorified God (John 17:4), but the Antichrist will blaspheme God (Rev. 15:6). Christ was received up into Heaven (Luke 24:51), but the Antichrist goes down into Hell (Rev. 19:20).
The remarkable career of the Antichrist is sketched in a number of different Scriptures, some of which we shall now briefly consider. In Daniel 7 the prophet is given a vision of the four great world-empiresÂ—Babylonish, Medo-Persian, Grecian and RomanÂ—which are symbolized by as many "beasts." The fourth beast is described in verse 7Â—"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces (referring to the conquests under the Caesars), and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it (entirely different in its form of government); and it had ten horns." In verse 24 these "ten horns" are said to be "ten kings that shall arise" which corresponds with Revelation 17:12 where the Roman Empire revived and in its final form is again in view. In Daniel 7:8 we read, "I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things." The "little horn," which occupies a prominent place in this chapter, symbolizes the Antichrist who will be the Head of the revived Roman Empire. The part that he will play is described in verses 20 to 26 in this same; chapter. "And of the ten horns that were in his head (i. e., of the beast which represents the Roman Empire), and of the other (the Antichrist) which came up, and before whom three tell (three of the ten kings); even of that horn that had eyes (symbol of intelligence), 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; 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 (which looks forward to the Millennium). Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom on earth (i. e., the fourth universal kingdom after the Times of the Gentiles had begun), 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 are ten kings that shall arise (in the Tribulation period): 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 (the "times and laws") shall be given into his hand until a time (a year) and times (two years) and the dividing of time (half a yearÂ—three and a half years in all). But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end." Here we are told, First, that the Antichrist will "have a mouth speaking very great things" which we know from 2 Thessalonians 2 refers to his audacious claim to be God Himself. Second, that he will "make war with the saints." These "saintsÂ’Â’ are the godly Jewish remnant which will refuse to render him homage and in consequence will be slain (cf. Rev. 20:4). Third, he will "speak great words against the Most High" which clearly identifies him with the Man of Sin. Fourth, he will "think (purpose) to change times and laws," the reference being to the religious feasts and festivals of Israel which the Antichrist will abolish, for everything which bears testimony to God he will seek to destroy. Fifth, his "dominion" shall be taken away from him, for at the close of the Tribulation period he will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 19:20).
In Daniel 8 the "little horn" is mentioned again. Many regard this "little horn" as symbolizing a different personage from the one brought before us in the previous chapter, and this, because here he is said to arise out of the third kingdom (Greece), whereas in chapter 7 he is seen coming up out of the fourth (the Roman Empire). But this we regard as a mistake. To us, this method of interpretation appears very much like the reasoning of the Jews who of old denied that their Messiah could come out of Nazareth because it was written that He should be born in Bethlehem. Or, to make these two "little horns" separate characters seems to us like the device of the ancient Rabbis who taught there would be two Messiahs, the one a suffering Messiah and the other a triumphant Messiah. No; rather do we regard each of the "little horns" as representing the same person, but viewing him in different connections and relationships. That each of the "little horns" do point to the Antichrist seems clear from a comparison of what is predicated of them with what is said of the Antichrist in other places.
To quote now from Daniel 8: "And out of one of them came forth a little horn which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land (Palestine). And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground and stamped upon them (probably a symbolical reference to his deposing of certain rulers, corresponding with the plucking up of the "three kings" in the previous chapter). Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away (which action dearly identifies him with the Antichrist), and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And a host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced and prospered" (vv. 9-12). Here again the Antichrist is seen subduing governmental powers and enlarging his own kingdom. Here again we see him inflated with egotismÂ—"magnifying himself," which is a characteristic mark of all the prophecies which describe the Antichrist, a mark by which we are enabled to identify him. And here again we see him opposing the Jews, and destroying that which bears witness to GodÂ—"taking away the daily sacrifice."
In Daniel 11:36-45 we have another prophetic picture of the character and career of the Antichrist. We do not quote the whole of this passage but merely the first two and last verses of it. "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself (the last two words showing that he is the same character as symbolized by the "little horn"Â—compare 8:11) above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods (cf. 7:25), and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall came to his end, and none shall help him." Here we are told the Antichrist will be a "king." He will be king of the Jews and king over the restored Roman Empire in its ten-kingdomed form. He will be a king of kings. His blatant impiety is pointed out in the words "he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself against every god." The words "Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers" call attention to his Jewish nationality. "Nor the Desire of women" (cf. Haggai 2:7) is a Hebraism for the Messiah. The birth of the Messiah was the great hope of Israel and every Jewish maiden desired above everything else to have the honor of being the mother of the promised One. The Antichrist then will deny both the Father and the Son (see 1 John 2:22). The closing verse refers to his destruction.
In 2 Thessalonians 2 we also read, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the day of ChristÂ—the Millennium) 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. For the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work: only He who now letteth (restraineth) will let (restrain), until He (the Holy Spirit) be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked One be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming (to the earth itself) even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the Lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (vv. 3, 4, 7-12). Incredible as it may seem, Satan will be permitted to travesty the miracle of Bethlehem. Observe that the incarnation of the Son of God is termed "the mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16) while, above, the incarnation of the Son of Perdition is styled "the mystery of iniquity." Satan is going to send forth his own son into this world, born under supernatural circumstances and combining in his person the human and Satanic natures. The daring blasphemy of the coming Antichrist is also mentioned again. He will "sit in the Temple" a re-built Temple in Jerusalem "shewing himself that he is God." He will assume the place and prerogatives Of the true Christ, will in fact claim to be Christ Himself. His audacious claim will be supported by imposing credentials, for he will work miracles by which he will deceive the whole world. Apostate Christendom, previously "spued out" by Christ (Rev. 3:16) will be given over by God to believe the Lie, that is, they will be completely deceived and will readily accept the Antichrist as the Lord Jesus. But his end is sure. The Lord shall "consume him with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of His coming."
One other Scripture must suffice. In Revelation 13 we read, "And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the Dragon (the Devil) gave him (the Antichrist) his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the Beast. And they worshipped the Dragon which gave power unto the Beast: and they worshipped the Beast, saying, Who is like unto the Beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, and His tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And it was given unto him to make war with the saints and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (vv. 1-8).
The last quoted Scripture is a case in point where it is difficult to distinguish between the kingdom and its king, the empire and its emperor. The "beast" which is here seen rising out of the "sea" symbolizes the revival and restoration of the old Roman Empire and corresponds with DanielÂ’s fourth beast. In Scripture the "sea" figures the restless nations away from God. Revelation 13 contemplates a time of political upheaval and social disturbance. Out of revolutionary conditions will issue the revived Roman Empire, the last head of which will be the Antichrist. Many students of prophecy regard the head of this Empire as another person than the Antichrist. It is supposed there will be two men on earth at this time, the one controlling political affairs, the other dominating the religious realm. But we fail to see anything in Scripture which justifies this distinction, On the contrary, it seems most in accord with analogy to believe that just as the Lord, Jesus will yet combine these offices and functions, so the pseudo christ will fill this double role. It is true there will be two Satanic characters on the earth during the Tribulation period and the second of these is brought before us in the second "Beast" of Revelation 13. This second Beast we regard as the "False Prophet" of Revelation 19:20; 20:10. He is the third person in the Trinity of Evil. That the Second Beast of Revelation 13 is SatanÂ’s parody of the Holy Spirit (the Third Person in the Holy Trinity) rather than of Christ Himself, seems clear from what is here predicted of him. Just as the Holy Spirit "speaks not of Himself" (John 16:13) but is here to glorify Christ, so the second Beast causes men to worship the first Beast. And just as the advent of the Holy Spirit was accompanied by the descent of tongues of fire (Acts 2:3), so this second Beast "maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men:" (13:13). Finally, that the second Beast (and not the first) is the "False Prophet" is abundantly clear from Revelation 19:20 where we are told, "And the Beast was taken, and with him the False Prophet that wrought miracles before him with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the Beast, and them that worshipped his image." The marks of identity here are so plain that it seems impossible to mistake them. In Revelation 13 it is the Second Beast that "deceiveth them that dwell on the each by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the Beast;" and here in Revelation 19 it is the False Prophet that is said to have "wrought miracles before him" with which he deceived the BeastÂ’s worshippers. Hence we unhesitatingly affirm that the False Prophet is the Second Beast of Revelation 13.
We do not now attempt a full interpretation of the symbolical description of the Antichrist contained in what is said above of the first Beast, a hint here and there is all we shall essay. The Antichrist will combine in his personality the characteristics of the leopard (beauty and subtlety) of the bear (strength and cruelty), and of the lion (boldness and ferocity). He will be vested with full power and authority from Satan as the Lord Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit. He will compel the admiration of the whole world and will be universally worshipped He will be a warrior of international renown and none will be able to resist his terrible power. But his career will be cut short: after his rise to full power only forty-two months, or three and a half years, will be allowed him by God.
Putting together the various Scriptures at which we have little more than glanced, we learn that the Antichrist will be a supernatural beingÂ—the Son of Perdition; that he will be revealed subsequent to the departure of the Holy Spirit from the earth (which occurs at the Rapture of the saints); that he will be the greatest soul-destroyer chat has ever trod this earth. He will be the Super-Man for whom the world is already looking. He will personify all the godless culture of the last days, and will be endowed with a supernatural wisdom. He will be the consummation of vilenessÂ—"the Wicked One;" he will be the personification of evilÂ—"the Man of Sin;" he will be the incarnation of the DevilÂ—"the Son of Perdition." He will pose as the Christ of God and will substantiate his claims by performing wonderful miracles. He will be welcomed and cordially received by all Christendom. He will utterly deceive the majority of the Jews who will hail him as their long-expected Messiah. He will rule over a restored Roman Empire thus travestying Christ who, in the Millennium, will sit as a priest upon His throne. He will be a warrior of world-wide renown, a statesman of unrivalled skill, a man of transcendent genius, before whom the exploits of Caesar, Charlemagne and Napoleon will appear trifling. Kings will be his toys and thrones his playthings. Toward the close of his reign he will throw, off his mask, no longer assuming to be the real Christ, but standing forth in his own colors he will deny both God the Father and God the Son, will seek to exterminate the Jews and everything else which bears witness to the living God; will set up his own image in the rebuilt: Temple at Jerusalem, and under pain of death will compel all to worship it and receive his mark upon their bodies. But he will meet with summary judgment at the end, as we shall yet see. We turn now to consider,
5. The Situation of the Jews during this Period.
As we have seen in earlier chapters, the declarations of Holy Writ make it very clear that Israel will yet be restored to GodÂ’s favor and be rehabilitated in Palestine, But before that glad time arrives, the Jews have to pass through a season of sore trouble and affliction, during which God severely chastises them for their sins and punishes them for the rejection and crucifixion of their Messiah. Fearful indeed have been the past experiences of Â‘the nation of the weary feetÂ’ but a darker path than ever yet lies before them. Their cruel bondage in Egypt, their captivity in Babylon, and their grievous handling by Titus, were but faint foreshadowings of what they shall yet be called upon to undergo. In Jeremiah 30:4-7 we readÂ—"And these are the words that the Lord spake concerning Israel and concerning Judah. For thus saith the Lord; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! For that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the Time of JacobÂ’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." This Time of JacobÂ’s Trouble was described in part when, in answer to His disciplesÂ’ question concerning the end of the age, our Lord said, "Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My nameÂ’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity. shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end (of the Tribulation period which terminates the Age), the same shall be saved" (Matthew 24:9-13).
It has also been pointed out that considerable numbers of the Jews have recently turned their faces Zionward and returned to the land of their fathers, but before the revelation and rise of the Antichrist to temporal power, many others will also have returned to Palestine. This is clear from Daniel 9:27, where we learn that Antichrist (the "prince" or head of the restored Roman Empire) will ratify a treaty with Israel for seven years, under which he guarantees them protection and allows them to rebuild their Temple and restore its ancient ritual. It is to this Covenant between Antichrist and the Jews that Isaiah 28:18 refers, "And your covenant with Death (a title of Antichrist, in contradistinction to the true Christ who is "the Life") shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it (probably a reference to Zechariah 14:1,2). For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, He shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that He may do His work, His strange work; and bring to pass His act, His strange act." It is to be noted that this "Covenant" between Antichrist and Israel is established during the early part of his reign, or certainly, at the very commencement of DanielÂ’s seventieth week (see Daniel 9:24-27Â—a most important passage), while he is posing as the true Christ and before he throws off his mask and denies both the Father and the Son. It is in the midst of this final seven years that he openly defies heaven and earth, breaks his covenant with the Jews in Palestine, causes their sacrifices to cease and in their place demands that they shall set up an image to himself which, like Nebuchadnezzar and his image, he will require to be worshipped by all under pain of death. It is to the setting up of this "image" in the Temple that our Lord had reference when He said, "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation (for the meaning of "abomination" see 1 Kings 11:5-7Â—it is an "image" to a false god), spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand). Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day: For then shall be (the) great Tribulation, such as was not from 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 electÂ’s sake (i. e. for the sake of the godly Jewish remnant) those days shall be shortened." The above Scripture is a warning from our Lord to the godly Jews who will be on earth subsequent to the Rapture of the Church, and who are informed that when they see AntichristÂ’s image set up in their re-built Temple then let them know the time for the outpouring of GodÂ’s wrath is at hand. The part of wisdom for them in that day will be to flee from Jerusalem lest they share its judgment. Be it noted it is those who readÂ—i.e., the Holy Scriptures, and particularly Daniel and the RevelationÂ—who will "understand." Following this timely warning