As we saw in my last post, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-9 speaks of a dual unveiling of the Antichrist; He will be revealed to one group of people BEFORE the rapture, and to another group AFTER the rapture. You can see this when you read the whole passage at once, and don’t focus on one part over another.
So many speak of the rapture as if it will be a large event with many millions missing; perhaps even more than a billion souls could instantly vanish! This is the hypothesis of the “Left Behind” series, written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins. In fact the series speculates that even the pope, and millions of Roman Catholics, will be raptured with the Church.
All this flies in the face of frequent biblical teaching that Jesus’ Church is a “little flock”, and a “remnant”. Even the passage we looked at last week speaks of a “falling away” happening before the rapture. (2 Thes. 2:3)
Some claim that the word for “falling away”, “apostasia”, can mean “a departure” and thus claim that this means that a departure from the earth will occur before the Tribulation. This would mean that “Before the rapture occurs (our gathering together unto Him), the rapture must occur”! No. Sorry! That interpretation flies in the face of logic and the plain-sense interpretation of Scripture!
The rapture will indeed occur before the Tribulation, but this is not what this verse is teaching. This is talking about professing Christians departing from the faith, combined with the appearance of the Antichrist, as a sign of imminent rapture.
You can be sure that professing Christians who depart from the biblical faith will not be participants in the rapture of the Church. I use the word “professing” because there are a lot more people who profess to be Christians, than there are those who are truly born-again!
The rapture will actually be a very small event, with perhaps only a few million, or maybe even hundreds of thousands, actually being snatched and taken to Heaven!
So many professing Christians will be left behind, that they will deny the event had actually been the rapture at all! Pastors, Elders, Evangelists, Prophecy Scholars, and even entire Churches will be left behind!
Rather than examine their own faith, and their relationship with God, they will attack the character of those who have been taken, and turn the greatest blessing any person has ever received, into a curse, and judgment!
They will claim that this was not the rapture, because those who have been taken were “evil people”!
Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. I Peter 2:12
They may even use Proverbs 10:30 to deny that the rapture has occurred, but will claim that those taken were taken in judgment, to Hell! The truth is that this would be taking Scripture out-of-context, but this is exactly what the modern seeker-driven, purpose-driven, churches make a habit of doing! You should expect nothing less!
The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth. Proverbs 10:30
At the end of the Tribulation period, the evil people shall be entirely removed, but the righteous, who trust Jesus, shall inherit the earth for the millennial reign, and the new earth after!
Jesus’ last command was that His followers should teach their students to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”(Matthew 28:20), but it can be demonstrated that many things taught by professing Christians have either a pagan origin, or are twisted biblical commands! Like the Jews of Jesus’ day, professing Christians have added hundreds of commandments to Scripture, and at the same time, disobey commandments taught by God!
We have no excuse, for we still have a bible which conveys accurately what He wants us to do and believe! (This is the Authorized Version, for those who are interested!)
Last week we established that the Antichrist will be revealed before the rapture of the Church, so how is it that signs of the Antichrist will be missed?
The bible was written by a God who sees all of human history at once. He “sees the end from the beginning”, and thus has the whole big picture in mind even when He speaks of seemingly unrelated subjects. For instance; no doubt He had the mark of the Beast in mind when He told Israel “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Leviticus 19:28
The Jews, alive after the rapture, who obey this 3,500 year-old-command will protect themselves from the mark of the Beast, when it is imposed by the false prophet, and the Antichrist!
Similarly, biblical morality not only reveals the character of God to us, but a correct understanding actually will reveal the identity of the Antichrist, to those who are there when he is revealed.
In the bible, a lot of the statements of the Antichrist’s life and ministry are given without context; it simply says that at some point in his life he will do this, and this, and this. For instance;
“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.” II Thessalonians 2:4
These are all things the Antichrist will do at some point in his tenure, but the passage in question does not say exactly when he will do them. As we compare Scripture with Scripture, we eventually come up with a picture of the order in which things will occur, and sometimes, as we gain more knowledge, we need to fine tune the picture to further conform with Scripture.
Here is another one;
36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 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. Daniel 11:36-37
Here we have a statement that the little horn, the Beast, will;
1) Exalt himself above every god
2) Speak marvellous things against the God of Gods
3) Prosper till the indignation (the Tribulation) is finished
4) Not regard or respect, the God of his fathers
5) Not regard, or respect, the desire of women
6) Not regard any god
7) Exalt himself above all gods (repeat of point 1)
The Antichrist will not do all of these things at the beginning of his rise to power. Such an action would cause alarm bells to ring for many people, but like the proverbial “frog in a frying pan” he has to be wise about what order he reveals his hand. Once he has his power established, and opposition stamped out, then he will be free to let it all hang out!
If you have read this blog for any length of time, you will know that I have provided substantial evidence that the Psalm 83 war, and Ezekiel’s war of chapters 38-39, will both occur during the closing stages of the Church-Age. These two wars will be led by Muslims, and they will be devastating over large parts of the world.
After these wars are over, and the dust settles, the world will be very suspicious of Muslims, as well they should be. Antagonism toward Muslim practices will be an an all time high, unlike today where they are favoured beyond all reason!
The Antichrist himself will come from a Muslim family. As noted in the passage above, while he says amazing things against the God of Gods, the God of the bible, he will also not respect the God of his fathers, the Allah of the Qur’an.
In fact he will disrespect the God of his fathers long before he says things against the God of Gods. How else would he obtain the support of Babylon the Harlot, of Revelation 17?
The Antichrist, will rise in a post-war world, which is recovering from a time of war at least as devastating as World War 2, and probably even worse!
A Sign Missed
Do you remember when Israel was wandering in the wilderness, how the Lord commanded them not to make peace agreements with the land of Canaan? You can read about it in Joshua chapter 9, in which the Gibeonites tricked Israel into making a treaty with them.
After Israel made this treaty, against the wishes of God, it was God Himself who expected them to keep their word!
Later on, when the judges ruled Israel, Jephthah made a foolish promise to the Lord;
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands, 31 Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’S, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering. Judges 11:30-31
The Lord gave Jephthah the victory in the battle, and when he got home it was his daughter who came out of the house first to meet him!
Most modern men would have broken their promise to the Lord. After all who would ever expect the Lord to accept a human sacrifice? Nevertheless Jephthah knew that it was the Lord Himself who had chosen his daughter for this sacrifice! He even gave her the opportunity to escape, but probably to his chagrin, she returned, and he had to carry out his promise!
I have heard pastors use this passage to say that you shouldn’t make foolish promises to the Lord. This is partly true, but the other lesson from the passage is that we need to keep the promises we have made, even if it turns out that the Lord Himself did not command that we make the promise in the first place. Breaking a promise to God is a serious matter, because He is The Promise Keeper, and He has the keys to Hell and death!
As a result of his faith, Jephthah is included in the parade of faith in Hebrews 11!
So what does this have to do with our subject? I am about to say that God does not oppose polygamy, but He does indeed expect you to keep your marriage vows, even if He did not command you to make those particular vows to begin with! (Oh, I guess I said it!) If you made a vow to “have none other” when you got married then you owe God faithfulness to that vow!
But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. Matthew 5:37
That the Antichrist will not “regard” the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, in Daniel 11:37 is simply a reference that in his rise to power, the future Antichrist will prohibit Shariah (Islamic Law), and polygamy, in the areas of his jurisdiction.
Daniel is not saying, one way or the other, whether this is a good thing or not, it is only stating a fact, a sign, which will be observable all over the world. This is a sign which many Christians will miss.
Ezekiel 39:2 tells us that the armies of the Gog/Magog war will die in a ratio of 5:1 when they attack Israel. Since these armies are mostly Muslim they will return home to have six women available for every man, only their homeland will now be administered by either Israel, or the UN, and one of the persons who act in a governing role will be the man who will become the Antichrist.
The Muslim women will expect that they can now have a family in polygamous families, only now the Antichrist will prohibit this practise, which they have practised for thousands of years. By this prohibition he will increase the number of unwed births, but western Christians will look at this prohibition as an indication that he is a Christian!
Now compare this idea to the desire of women found in Isaiah 4:1
1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
If you read the next verses you will see that this is the time when the Branch is ruling in Jerusalem. Jesus is the Branch, and this indicates that in a similar situation, after the armies of the world have died at Armageddon, women will desire to double-up on the remaining men, in the ratio of 7:1!
These women are all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and the passage, which takes place after the Lord’s return, strongly hints that He actually approves of this practise!
The bible is giving us a contrast between Jesus and the Antichrist in Daniel 11:37, and Isaiah 4:1, and the Antichrist’s view of polygamy is actually closer to the modern Christian Church than that of Jesus Christ!
This will be the first sign of the Antichrist, which many professing Christians will miss!
As I said above, you don’t have to be a polygamist yourself to accept that this is a legitimate form of marriage for some people.
Make sure your view of everything conforms to God’s view as revealed in the bible! Your life depends on it!