In the first part of this series I examined the idea that Jesus Christ will return at the Mid-Point of the Tribulation, and I gave some verses to back this up. If you haven’t read it I would urge you to read part 1 before reading this article. This article will build on some of the ideas presented, and will add more Scripture to support this contention…
Zechariah has something to add to the discussion about the resurrection of the Antichrist:
“Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zechariah 11:17
You see, when the Antichrist, the Idol Shepherd, is resurrected from the dead, he will not be whole, but the wound that killed him will still have the effect that he does not have the use of one arm, and he will be blind in his right eye! If he was really the “Son of God” he would be raised whole! By the way, this man will be resurrected around the time that the two Witnesses of Revelation 11:3-12 are resurrected, and taken to Heaven in the sight of the world! The second half of the Tribulation is full of supernatural activity!
Nevertheless, a large part of the world will follow this man, and take his mark! This act is a type of Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, the unforgivable sin! Taking this mark is an act of worship, and is also a statement of faith, that the blasphemous explanation he gives for the Rapture of the Church was the “work of Satan (or aliens)”! Therefore anyone who takes this mark will be guaranteed a place in the Lake of Fire!
Notice also in Zechariah chapter 14 that it appears that Jesus’ return seems to coincide with the flight of Israel to Petra, when the Abomination of Desolation is set-up in the Temple!
1″ Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the Lord go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
4 And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
5 And ye shall flee to the valley of the mountains; for the valley of the mountains shall reach unto Azal: yea, ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah: and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee”. Zechariah 14:1-5
Here we have a prophecy about the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ, during the Tribulation. Notice in verse 2 that it does not say why “the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city”, it is merely given as a statement of fact. Personally I think they are not “cut off from the city” because they are supporters of the False Prophet! Don’t forget that he is Jewish, and he will have a Jewish support base! The true believers are spoken of in verses 4-5. They will flee when they see the Abomination of Desolation, and Jesus will go before them like a Shepherd!
Jesus is going forth to fight for His people Israel, in verse 3, and then we have Him touching down on the Mount of Olives, in verse 4. What’s going on is verses 1-3 describe the purpose of His return, and then we have Him setting foot on the earth, with all of His saints, in verses 4- 5! By the way the Mount of Olives is the exact same place he left from, 40 days after His resurrection! It is also within sight of the Temple mount, the very site where the False Prophet sets-up the Abomination of Desolation!
There will be a great earthquake when He sets foot on the mount of Olives, and a new valley will be created so that the people of Israel can flee through this new valley to the place of refuge He has prepared for them! It is this earthquake itself, and the confusion that it causes, that give His people the chance to escape! Notice that Jesus is not going to leave after touching down on the mount! He’s here to fight for His people, Israel! He is leading them, like a Shepherd, to their place of safety!
Psalm 108 speaks about this same time frame:
9 “Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.
10 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
“11 Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts?”
Casting out a shoe is an expression of extreme disgust, or contempt! Nevertheless, God is going to take His people into Edom, the nation founded by Jacob’s brother Esau. Don’t think this is talking about God taking His people into Edom spiritually, He is going to do it personally, physically, in the flesh! He is taking them to the place of refuge He has prepared for them, the city of Petra, Edom’s ancient capital, and in fact the place where Mohammad grew up! Not only is He taking His people into Edom, the very nation of the Antichrist, but He will be leading raiding parties out of Edom against His enemies, all around the world!
Yes Jesus did reject Israel, after they rejected Him, but He has a plan to get them back. He has always had this plan, at least since the time of Moses (Deut. 4:26-31), and there are references to this plan all over the Old Testament! Jesus will keep His promises to Israel, just as He will keep His promises to the Church!
One of the limitations of the printed word is that things that occur simultaneously cannot be written in the same space on the page! You would have words on top of words, and it would be an unintelligible mess! Very often, in Scripture, things that occur close in context don’t always appear consecutively, or even together! Sometimes you have later events first and earlier events written about later; simultaneous events might appear to be consecutive in order, or even in completely different books!
What Jesus said in Matthew 24 is very important in this context; no doubt the earthquake has interrupted power lines, and internet connections! All the surveillance cameras will be off temporarily! It is only a matter of time before these things are restored! Thus, they only have a few hours to get to a place of safety! Once the internet is restored, the Beast and his minions will be able to figure out where the missing people have gone, and the battle will be on!
Isaiah has this to say about this time:
1 “Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
2 For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.
3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.
4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.
6 The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.” Isaiah 34:1-6
Notice in verse 3 that it says of the armies of Israel’s enemies “the mountains shall be melted with their blood”? This is a reference to what is going on in Petra: When the believers of Israel flee from the Antichrist, it won’t be long until he and his forces know where these refugees have gone, and he will send his armies to hunt them down! These armies are world armies but it appears that they are led by Idumeans! The events of verse 2 are chronologically later than the events of verse 3!
Those armies will first attempt to get into their refuge through the narrow passageways that lead into the city. They will meet Jesus there, and He will slaughter them in the way! Eventually when they realize that there is “something” in the passageway killing their soldiers, they will attempt to climb over the mountains, to either shoot down into the people gathered there, or to get in among them, and then kill them!
No doubt the Antichrist himself will use verses 5 and 6 to motivate his troops to go into Petra and to kill the refugees there! He will claim that he is the Lord of this passage, and the people in the city are going to be his sacrifice! As his troops climb the mountains surrounding Petra, however, they will meet Jesus and He will fulfill this passage literally, and the Antichrist’s armies will be the “goats and lambs” of His sacrifice in Bozrah! (Petra is in the Jordanian region of Bozrah)!
The problem with the idea that Jesus will only return at the end of the Tribulation is that Israel needs Him to protect them the day they flee from the Beast! They can’t wait 3 1/2 more years for Him to return! Satan and all of his powers will be concentrating on destroying the people of Israel, hidden in Petra!
This is the time John wrote about in Revelation 12
14 “And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”
So Israel flees for 3 1/2 years, and on their way to their refuge Satan tries to destroy them with a flood! Did you know that Russia has a nuclear torpedo called a Poseidon, which has the ability to park itself on the sea bed and to detonate when it receives a signal? This way it allows the Russian navy to get out of the way before it explodes and sends a giant radioactive tsunami towards nearby cities! I wonder if this is what Satan will use in his attempt to kill the refugees of Israel as they flee around the Dead Sea towards the passageway that goes into the city of Petra? Evidently there will be some sort of earthquake which redirects the water away from these refugees!
The common idea that Zechariah 14 occurs at the end of the Tribulation means that the people of Israel would flee in the middle, when the Abomination of Desolation is set-up in the Temple, but not all of them flee, and they are still there to be saved some 3 1/2 years later when He sets foot on the Mount of Olives. That would mean that His warning of Matthew 24:16-19, to flee without taking anything, was unnecessary, and that they could have stayed in the city to wait for Him to return 3 1/2 years later! Obviously, there is something wrong with this Christian Tradition! Personally, I think that if there are any Jews left in Jerusalem by the End of the Tribulation, they are still there because they took the Mark of the Beast, and he left them alone!
In Revelation 10 there is a statement about the seventh trumpet judgment that is often misunderstood by Christians. This misunderstanding stems from the verse positions and the fact that sometimes sentences are split-up by verse numbers. Revelation 10:5-7is actually one sentence. Here is the part that is frequently misunderstood:
5 “And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven,
6 And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:” Revelation 10:5,6
Many bible scholars and teachers stop here and say that this means that time itself will now end, but that is not what is being said! What is ending is the “time of something…”
Do you see that colon at the end of verse 6? It means that verses 6 and 7 are one sentence, and the next clause explains what has just been said. Unfortunately many bible commentators stop at the end of verse 6, as if this is the end of the sentence!
Here is the rest of the sentence:
“But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.” Revelation 10:7
What is the mystery of God, which has existed throughout the Church-age? You see, when Jesus walked on the earth, there was no mystery; God was on the earth, and you could talk to Him, and touch Him, and even eat a meal with Him, but 40 days after His resurrection, He left this earth, and 10 days later He was replaced by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been intimately involved in the life of every human being since that time. He controls the details of our life, yet without ever violating our free will!
Evidently, Jesus made a deal with His Father, God, that He wouldn’t return until a certain amount of time took place! And yes, the bible does tell us how long this will be. We will discuss this in the next installment…