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God's Plan for the Ages – Dispensations Lesson #26
September 23, 2014
"Father, we are thankful we could come together this evening for prayer before class to focus on things that we can give praise for in terms of the Good News Club today. We are thankful for the students that were there and for how well everything went and for those who are helping out. Father, we are thankful for the DM2 conference this last week. We pray that that would really impact people and challenge people to be prepared and open to teaching and helping out in different areas. Father, we continue to pray also for Chafer Seminary and for George Meisinger. We pray for those from this congregation either locally or beyond, like Matt Hagemeir and John Williamson, who are seminary students. We pray for them and their courses and their studies. And Father, we continue to pray for us that we might be responsive to the challenges of Your Word. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."
Okay, we've got a couple of questions that came in. One came in at the end of last week and I am going to answer it in the course of what I am teaching tonight. And that had to do with the identity of the Antichrist in terms of his Roman identity. And then there were a couple of other questions that I am really surprised no one has asked these other questions. I have asked them many times when I've been studying and don't have really good answers for some of them, but they are questions I think that have occurred to everybody, but just nobody comes right out and asks those questions and they have to do with Daniel's 70th week. So we are going to do a little review of that and kind of flip through some slides very rapidly just to come back and understand again. I think it is a good review to go through the whole scenario on that chronology. It is one of the most remarkable prophecies in Scripture, and its one I cover every now and then, but every now and then I find people saying, well you just need to go over that one more time. I've just not quite gotten that one point. Now some of you who may be very familiar with numbers can move through that pretty rapidly, but those of us for whom arithmetic is sort of a curse, part of the curse on the earth, we have to go through this a little more often.
So we are looking at the Tribulation. Here is a slide (slide 3) showing the ages: The Age of the Gentiles broken down to three dispensations. The Age of Israel broken down into three dispensations with the Messianic Age as a hinge dispensation. Then we are in the Church Age, which is comparable to a dispensation. Okay? Then the Church Age ends with the Rapture of the church; and then we are looking at that red vertical line, the Tribulation, which is a seven-year period that comes sometime after the Rapture of the church. It doesn't begin with the Rapture. The Rapture ends the Church Age, but it is a peace treaty that is signed with the Antichrist that comes in, that begins actually, this period known as Daniel's 70th week (slide 4).
The whole prophecy begins back in the Old Testament (OT) as we looked at that last time. Sixty-nine weeks of seventy weeks prophesied by Daniel occurred before the Cross ending right before the cutting off of the Messiah; and then there is this huge gap, this interim period, sometimes called the "great parenthesis" by some dispensationalists, that ends with the Rapture. Then there's a little intervening transitional period, and then "the coming prince" will sign this treaty, this covenant with Israel. That kicks off the stopwatch again and we have a period of seven years that is divided equally into two three-and–a-half-year periods, and this is known as the Tribulation period.
Now we went through this last time (slide 5), that Daniel had been reading through Jeremiah coming to understand that God had decreed that there would be a seventy-year captivity. This came out of his study of the passages in Jeremiah. So the basic outline of Daniel's 70th week (slide 6) is the look at this future period. It is called seventy periods of seven. Now the question that came in was: what is the connection between this future seventy-year period that turns out to be 70 × 7 and the previous seventy sabbatical years that Israel had violated and so God was going to take them out of the land to give it rest? Only in terms of the number. God is using a symmetrical pattern here. In the OT there were seventy sabbatical years. Now a sabbatical year came once every seven years. So if they were going to be removed from the land for seventy years to give them rest for each of those seventy sabbatical years that they had been disobedient, 70 × 7 = 490 today, yesterday, forever. So that framework simply becomes a pattern for the future. It's not related to sabbatical years that were violated. It is just the number is the same. So the future 490 years that is being predicted here is not related to sabbatical years. It's only literarily because there had been 490 years in the past, now we are going to have another 490 years. That is what they have in common. The text doesn't say there are 490 years for you and your people and that is related to the sabbatical year, the year of Jubilee, or anything like that. It is just the number is the same that is the only connection.
And so we see that at the end of Daniel 9 that there is this basic organization; there are seventy weeks, that is seventy periods of seven. It doesn't say "weeks." It just says seventy periods of seven. 7 × 7 is 490 years. It is broken down into, if you open your Bibles and look at the passage in Daniel 9:24-27, you will see that the first part is broken down into two periods. At the end of Daniel 9:25, about half way through verse 25, the statement is made, "there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;" so 7 + 62 = 69.
Now there have been a lot of people and usually they come from an amillennial (amil) or post-millennial (post-mil) framework, which means they are looking at this as having already been fulfilled, but the whole seventy weeks was fulfilled before the Cross. That's the standard view of non-pre-millennialists. So they try to peg, this first seven-week period ended with Cyrus, then the next period ends with Alexander the Great. They come up with their own different schemes, none of which are satisfactory because they are trying to put everything back into the period before the Cross. Among pre-mils and dispensationalists, they see the seven weeks and sixty-two weeks as simply a literary way of saying sixty-nine. There will be 7 + 62 week period. There is nothing historically to look at in terms of what happens if they return to the land. If the decree is in 444 B.C. what happens forty-nine years later? Forty-nine years later is roughly somewhere around 395-396 B.C.
What happened then? Well, we don't know anything significant that happened then. There has never been anybody who has come up with anything satisfactorily other than perhaps indicating that it is during that first period of forty-nine years that Israel really consolidates in their position in their return from the land and then that is followed by the remaining years, but even that seems a little forced. It is like we are trying to make this work into something and there is nothing. That is a question I have always waited for people to ask me. I don't know the answer and I have read and read on this and nobody else seems to know the answer. So we have the basic Text. Let me just kind of skip through these slides.
Let me find the important slides because I do not want to go through the entire thing all over again. Here is the background I was mentioning earlier. We will look at this slide again (slide 7). You have in the previous time period, 490 years, which was covered by the 70 × 7 sabbatical years because it is 490 years. This is the slide. I think this originally came from Randy Price. This is a slide that indicates 490 years is, of course, going to have seventy sabbatical years because that is how the math works out. But the Text never makes an emphasis out of that. There are going to be these periods of years, so that is a little bit confusing. The basis for the seventy years is Jeremiah 25:11-12 (slide 8), as well as Jeremiah 29:10 (slide 9). This is what Daniel read when he realizes, as he counted on his fingers and toes, that they have arrived in the time period where it is time for the LORD to bring His people back to the land.
The Text clearly says that there are going to be six things accomplished (slide 10) at the end and all of these are accomplished with regard to Israel. That is what comes across. It is very clear in the Text that the seventy weeks are determined "for you and your people and your holy city" to do these things. Some people ask the question because it says, finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, and atone for iniquity" that that looks like what was accomplished at the Cross at the First Advent? What is the problem with that? The problem with that is that the seventy weeks are determined. Not the first sixty-nine weeks are determined to accomplish these things. Those three things were accomplished at the end of the 69th week. After the 69th week Jesus was crucified. But this is the seventy weeks, the full 490 year period is necessary to bring this to a conclusion. So it is not talking about what was accomplished by Jesus on the Cross. It is talking about dealing experientially with Israel's sin, their idolatry, and their rebellion against God, and the rejection of the Messiah.
So the last three all make it clear that they are all fulfilled only at the end when the Messiah returns, when everlasting righteousness is brought in, when He brings in His kingdom. It completes the fulfillment of prophecy related to the coming of the kingdom. This is when all of the unconditional covenants from the OT are brought into effect. The Abrahamic Covenant is fully realized; the New Covenant is fully realized; the Davidic Covenant is fully realized; and the Land Covenant is fully realized. These are not realized until then. In spite of the fact, one of the catch words you will hear people talk about today in a lot of non-dispensational circles and sometimes in progressive dispensationalism. There is a term called "realized eschatology." Now eschatology has to do with future things. But some of those future things, if you believe what they believe, that we are in some form of the kingdom now, then we are realizing some of those prophetic things in a shadow form today; or we are realizing them in a partial form today, and "already here", but now quite fully. We will talk about that when we get into the millennial section again. But this is not an "already not yet view." It is clear that we're not there yet and none of this comes in until the kingdom fully arrives with Jesus.
So skipping ahead I want to move through some of the slides I brought up last time. Let's go to the first good chart (slide 11). There is this "The Decree to Restore." This is stated in Daniel 9:25, "so you are to know and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore." As we looked at last time, there are four different decrees issued by Persian rulers related to Israel, but there is only one that fits the bill because the Text says, "from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem." Not to return to Jerusalem; that was the decree of Cyrus to send Ezra back. That was the decree that you could return to Israel. It is a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem and then the last phrase of that verse says "it will be built again" referring to Jerusalem, "with plaza and moat." Now those two terms are important. The plaza was the marketplace. So it is going to have a rebuilt economy; and the moat has to do with the defense of the city. So it is a rebuilding of the walls. It is not just a rebuilding and resettlement in the land. It is a rebuilding of it so that the economy is flourishing and it has its defenses in place. A decree to that end doesn't occur until 444 B.C. when Artaxerxes gives that to his cupbearer, Nehemiah, to take it back to the land. So this can be dated to March the 5th, 444 B.C. and stated scripturally in Nehemiah 2:1-3.
So we have this initial period broken down in the Text in Daniel 9:26, "after seven weeks and sixty-two weeks" [7 + 62 = 69 weeks] first mentioned in Daniel 9:25, and then after that second period, the sixty-two weeks, after that the Messiah is cut off. So this is really important because the Text is saying that there is a gap here. After you come to the conclusion of that 62nd week, the stopwatch stops. After that, so there is a pause, after that the Messiah is cut off. The other thing that has to happen is that the temple is going to be destroyed. There is that destruction of the temple and the destruction of the city, which is in the second line in Daniel 9:26, "the people of the prince who is come will destroy the city." So two things have to happen between the 69th week and the 70th week and they are:
1. The Messiah is cut off, Jesus is crucified.
2. And the city is destroyed and that occurred a little over thirty five years later.
So the fact that it says "after the sixty-ninth week" indicates a break in the action because the 70th week doesn't start until Daniel 9:27, "and he" that is 'the prince who is to come' "will make a firm covenant with the many for one week." That is what starts that last week. So it is really clear that there is a gap here. Jesus has His triumphal entry on March 30th of A.D. 33 and that is exactly in fulfillment. Seventy times seven is four hundred and ninety years [70 × 7 = 490 years], then you take the sixty nine years and multiply it times seven and it is four hundred and 483 years [69 × 7 = 483 years], which comes to 173,880 days. I memorized that number when I was in college. I was so impressed with this. I love teaching this! This is one of those great prophecies in Scripture that gives us such great confidence in the accuracy of the Bible.
And (slide 12) then we would always have this problem with what are the 360 days and you have to compare Scripture with Scripture in Daniel and in Revelation because different terms are used to describe the same thing. It is called a "half a week" in Daniel 9:27; and then in Daniel 7:25; Daniel 12:7; and Revelation 12:14 it is described as "time, times (that would be two) and a half a time." It still comes out to three and a half. It is described in Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 11:3. Notice that over here you have Revelation 12:14 and Revelation 12:6. These are in the same context. So this time period is equivalent to 1,260 days according to these two verses and this phrase is used in these other two verses. And then Revelation 11:3 also mentions the 1,260 days.
Another reference is used of 42 months. This is used in Revelation 11:2 and Revelation 13:5, which is the same basic context here. Revelation 11:2-3 are just right next to each other showing that the 42 months is 1,260 days and that is equal to time, times, and a half a time [42 months = 1,260 days = time, times, half time + half week]. Therefore, when you work this out, it comes to the fact that each month must be comprised of thirty days and a year would then be a lunar year of 360 days [month = 30 days; year = 360 days]. You can also check this (slide 13):
- 69 × 7 × 360 = 173,880 days.
- You can work out the details from March 5th, 444 B.C. add 173,880 to that. You come up with March 30th, A.D. 33 [March 5, 444 B.C. + 173,880 = March 30, A.D. 33].
To verify that check you math [Verification]:
- 444 B.C. to A.D. 33 – 1 (because there is no year 0) = 476 years.
- 476 years × 365.2421989 days (modern year) = 173,855 days
and then you add (+) the days between March 5 and March 30
and that gets you another 25 days
- Total = 173,880 days
So it all works out. The math is impeccable there! So what happens then to those last seven years? That is when we get into the period that comes up. What happens? That is the Tribulation period as we see in this chart (slide 15) that defines "The Coming Prince" and "The Messiah's Return."
Now I want to bump ahead just a little bit again. Take us through the calculations here. And we see that, I'll go to this slide here (slide 16). The seventy weeks concern the nation of Israel. It is all about God's plan for Israel. I was reading Dr. Ryrie today. I read along in three or four different dispensational books as I've been teaching this just to go back and be reminded of things other people have said; and he makes the observation here that in an earlier period in the development of dispensationalism the primary argument for pre-Trib Rapture had to do with the imminence of the Rapture, and I talked about that last time. But in recent years, Dr. Ryrie wrote the book the book originally in the 60s, but he revised it in the late 90s, and I think this reflects what changed during that period. There is more of an emphasis placed upon understanding Daniel's 70th week, because Daniel's 70th week is for Israel. It is not for the church. It is not for us. It is not for the bride of Christ. It is to complete God's plan and purposes for Israel. And it is important to understand that if there is this time gap there and the church is in between, that the church has to be removed in order to start things going again for that final week. This paragraph is very important:
"Since the first sixty-nine weeks have been fulfilled literally in terms of the time clock, we must expect the last week, that last seven-year period to also be fulfilled literally."
We have to understand this consistently. It is funny. When you look at amil or post-mil systems, where they very subtly shift from a literal hermeneutic to more of a figurative or typological hermeneutic. When they get into prophetic things they will play fast and loose with the details of this 70th week prophecy. They'll deal with the first part almost in a literal timeframe, but then when it comes to the 70th week I've read some that put the 70th week between the crucifixion and the fall of the temple. That is a lot more than one seven-year period. It just doesn't fit, but the only way they can make it fit is to spiritualize it. So that is a very important thing to understand.
So in Daniel 9:27 we see (slide 17):
I. The commencement of the 70th week
II. The covenant that starts the 70th week
III. The consummation of the 70th week
Let's just skip ahead a little bit and we will come to our slide here (slide 18) on key "Tribulation Events." This fits over the book of Revelation. The first three chapters of Revelation deal with the seven churches of the Church Age and are raptured to be with the Lord in the air. Then in the first three-and-one-half-year period Israel is protected. There will be something called the church or Christianity, but it is all apostate. These are not believers. They are the ones who survive. They are the ones who aren't believers now. They are liberal, whatever, but they are not composed of people who are believers. The Jewish Levitical system is going to be reinstated. They are going to start to rebuild the temple if there is not something already there before the Rapture. It could start before the Rapture. It may not. Right now we have a little problem. It is called the Dome of the Rock that is sitting on top of the Temple Mount. The Rock is considered by Jewish tradition, as well as Islamic tradition, to be the foundation stone. This is where the Garden of Eden was located, and this is the place where Abraham brought Isaac to sacrifice him, and this is the Rock that was in the Holy of Holies on which the Ark of the Covenant sat.
They understand that continuity in Scripture. All that is necessary in order for the future temple, which will be apostate, to be reestablished on the Temple Mount is for the Jews to fully control the Temple Mount. They gained military control of it in 1967 and then Moshe Dayan gave control back to the Islamic committee, the Waqf, in order to control it. So every time Jews go up there, if they are seen praying or anything like that, the Arabs riot because that is their typical response to anything. And that is the status quo since the last intifadah no non-Muslims have been allowed to go into the Dome of the Rock. So anybody who has been to Israel since 2001 has not been allowed to go into the Dome of the Rock unless you are Muslim. But all that somehow will be wiped out, whether it is in a war or in an earthquake, we have no idea. But I will get back to this in just a minute, but that's the issue there. The temple will be there. It doesn't have to be a fully built and completed temple by the time of the abomination of desolation. It can be a mobile home, sort of like the tabernacle was a mobile home. It just has to be sanctified by a resurrected priesthood and sacrifices need to start being offered again.
This is what the Bible predicts will happen, that there will be a return to these sacrifices, Daniel 9:27 says, "He will make a firm covenant," that is the Antichrist, the prince who is to come, "will make a firm covenant with the many for one week" that is referring to Israel. "But in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering;" that means that there has to be, by the midpoint of the Tribulation at least, an ongoing day-to-day grain offering and a sacrifice. And so of course, we know that that is apostate because these sacrifices should have ended because Christ died on the Cross. But this is a return to Judaism and a return to the Law. So you will have the Jewish Levitical system reinstated. And then halfway through the Tribulation period the Antichrist, who is so full of himself and all of his conquests will have this huge statue erected of himself in the temple and he will call upon all the people to worship him as God. And that is when it becomes very clear that Jesus' sign has come true, where He told the disciples that when you see this sign those who are in Jerusalem are to flee into the hills. Those who are in Jerusalem and Judea are to flee into the hills.
Notice He didn't say Jews that are all over the earth or any Christians who are all over the earth. He is talking specifically to those who are living in Jerusalem and Judea are to flee into the hills. And that starts the last half of the Tribulation period. All of this is covered in the book of Revelation. The first two sets of judgments, the seal judgments and the trumpet judgments, take place in the first half of the Tribulation and then the bowl judgments; the intensified period takes place in the second half. And there will definitely be an overt worship of Satan and a worship of the Antichrist. I think demonism will run rampant during that period; and demons as well as elect angels will appear, will be visible to human beings as history is brought to a close.
So, as we got started in Daniel's 70th week last time, I think I've answered the questions related to that. There is still one question. I don't know if any other questions have come in, but there is still one question about the identity of the Antichrist I'll get to eventually as we go through this. We started this by looking at the terminology of the Tribulation. And so the first term that we looked at had to do with Daniel's 70th week. Some people think that that is really the most accurate term to use; some people say, well, Tribulation is misleading because we all experience tribulation, but I think that there's a basis for that. But like a lot of these words that are used, "Daniel's 70th week" is only used one place. "Tribulation" is only used in a couple of places. The term "the Antichrist", as we will see, is only used in one place. The Bible doesn't always use the same term. There are a variety of different terms.
So we come to the second term, which is the "The Day of the Lord" (slide 19). The Day of the Lord is a term that is crucial to understanding this time period and identify what that term describes. As I have put on the screen:
1. It emphasizes special interventions of God in human history.
It is really a broad term although it is used most of the time to refer to the great end time judgments. It is also just a generic term to describe any special intervention of God in human history where:
- He brings victory over His enemies
- His sovereignty over the universe.
The term refers both to a time of judgment as well as a time of blessing.
It has this "nontechnical" sense where (slide 20): God is simply demonstrating His authority over Gentile nations in judgment.
"A day of the Lord" could be the defeat of Syria, the defeat of the Assyrians, the defeat of Babylon, that could all be described as "a day of the Lord."
But as a "technical" term (slide 21) it describes: a future event where God intervenes in the Tribulation to judge the nations, all those judgments.
Go back and read through Isaiah. Read through Jeremiah and Ezekiel. There are all of these judgments that are pronounced chapter after chapter on all of the nations that surround Israel. As God brings the judgment to its final conclusion, at the end of the Tribulation period; this is "The Day of the Lord," when He has the final say. It describes this judgment of God upon the nations. God brings discipline upon Israel, judgment upon Israel for their disobedience, and for their rebellion against Him and their idolatry, and to establish His Messianic Kingdom.
It brings history to this crescendo point of incredible violence and warfare that has broken out in human history that is focused on Israel. Now the Antichrist is not there to destroy Israel except as a subject people who have disobeyed him; he is clearly anti-Semitic. They are supposed to be worshiping in the temple. So this shows that he has kind of got a double or dual attitude toward the Jews; he wants them to worship him; he invades their temple, but because they don't then he turns hostile against them. But he is there not just to destroy Israel, but also, I believe he's brought into the Middle East because the worldwide coalition that he has built is collapsing and this is the focal point of the war between the other opposing kings on the earth. And the focal point ends up being in Israel and it is the calling upon Jesus as the Messiah to come and rescue Israel that delivers Israel.
It is a funny thing that in the Jewish community there's a couple of myths about why Christians support Israel. One of those myths that is completely false is that the reason Christians support Israel and want all the Jews back in the land is that once all the Jews get back into the land then Jesus will come and destroy all of them because they haven't accepted Him. Now there are a lot of Jews who believe that. Unfortunately, we've got almost 1800 and 1900 years of Christian anti-Semitism that makes it difficult for them to believe otherwise; but the point is that the reason Jesus comes back isn't so that Jews will be killed and slaughtered, but to rescue Israel from the assaults of the Antichrist and from sure annihilation at the hands of the Antichrist and at the hands of Satan.
We look at a couple of passages that use this term in a technical sense (slide 22). We look at Zechariah 12:2-5. I have put all of this up on the screen for you. God says, predicting this future time, "Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around." Now we all know that the Middle East crisis is a major problem in world history and we are told that from a lot of different perspectives. You will read people everyone from Hal Lindsey to I don't know who else, who will say this is the application of this verse. Only in a stretched sense. The context is talking about what God is going to do. It is a future tense concept. "I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around." This is fulfilled in the Tribulation period. It is not talking about now. It is talking about when this becomes a major problem as a focal point of all of the armies of the world near the end of the Tribulation period. So at that point, that is when Jerusalem, when this is fulfilled; we see a foreshadowing of this or a preview of coming attractions today as we deal with how we are going to resolve the Middle East problem. So He says "Jerusalem will be a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples; around and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah." There is that focal point on Jerusalem and the southern part of Israel. Not so much the Galilee or the northern kingdom of Israel.
In Zechariah 12:3, "And it will come about in that day" and whenever we see that phrase "in that day" in the OT, probably about 95% of the time it is referring to "The Day of the Lord." Watch it; there are a few places when it doesn't, but most of the time if you see "in that day" that is probably what it is describing, but make sure you read the context just to make sure. "And it will come about in that day" when Jerusalem is causing reeling to the peoples and when there is a siege against Jerusalem. So this shows that Zechariah 12:2 is talking about a future end time period within Daniel's 70th week, near the end of Daniel's 70th week. "It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples." We should probably translate that not just peoples, but "Gentiles." It is referring to all the Gentiles in the world in contrast to the Jews. "I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the Gentiles; all who lift it will be severely injured." Those who try to solve this problem are going to be hurt severely by it. "And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it."
See, we are not anything like that right now. Not all the nations of the earth are gathered against Israel. Canada is very supportive of Israel. The United States is still pretty supportive of Israel. There is mixed support from other nations. There are a few other nations in the world that still support Israel. So Zachariah is depicting a time when all the nations of the earth are against Israel. The United States included, Canada included, this is within the Tribulation period. There is no Christian influence whatsoever. "In that day," in Zechariah 12:4, "declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness." As destructive as it looks, God is still in control. No matter what the plans of the Antichrist are to decimate Jerusalem and annihilate the Jewish people, God is going to stop him. That is the point of Zechariah 12:4. "I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness." People always say, well are they going to have horses then? Then you have people like Hal Lindsey who used his imagination to say, well these riders didn't have terms to talk about M60 tanks or whatever the latest tank is or armored personnel carriers, those things. That is what they are describing.
As I pointed out in the Revelation series, at the sixth judgment there is going to be this massive asteroid shower on the earth. This is about a year and a half into the Tribulation, that I believe is so massive it is going to take out the electrical grid. It is going to throw everybody back into a pre-20th century timeframe in terms of technology. Electricity, water power, all of those things are going to be removed and all the armies of the earth are going to have to go back to the time-tested technology of bows and arrows and spears. I mean, if you wipe out the electrical grid now you can't fly any of the helicopters. You can't fly F-16 jets. You don't have the computers to run all these things. All of a sudden everybody is back to throwing rocks at each other. So they will be back on horses. I think this is literal. Every horse will be struck with bewilderment. His rider with madness. God "will watch over the house of Judah and every horse of the peoples, of the Gentiles, will be struck with blindness. Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, 'A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the Yahweh of the armies.' " There is going to be this true genuine revival as God delivers those in Jerusalem. Just imagine that under siege, as they are thinking about all the times in their history when they have been under siege in Jerusalem and they are about to be overrun and God destroys the army. And then they are going to cry out and recognize that He is "their God."
Some other passages that talk about the Day of the Lord": Isaiah 13:6-9 (slide 23):
Isaiah 13:6 says, "Wail, for the day of the LORD is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty."
Because God is ultimately in control.
Isaiah 13:7-9 "Therefore all hands will fall limp, And every man's heart will melt. And they will be terrified, Pains and anguish will take hold of them; They will writhe like a woman in labor, They will look at one another in astonishment, Their faces aflame. Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, Cruel, with fury and burning anger, To make the land a desolation; And He will exterminate its sinners from it." That is in the context in Isaiah 13, talking about the fall of Babylon, which takes place in the future. So it is described as a time of fury, burning anger, to make the land a desolation. So there is a judgment of sinners at that time.
Amos 5:18-20 (slide 24) "Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD" (Zechariah 5:18a). See, just like today we have people who say, oh, I wish the LORD would come back. They are saying, oh, I wish that the day of the LORD would come and end all of this. "You who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light" (Zechariah 5:18b). He says you don't know what you are wishing for; you don't know where you are for this is going to be the most horrendous catastrophe you could possibly imagine, worse than anything else ever to happen in human history. "It will be darkness and not light; as when a man flees from a lion, And a bear meets him" (Amos 5:19a). I love the graphics here. You are running away from a lion and all of a sudden you run right into the arms of a bear. How could your day get any worse? "Or you go home" and you say awe, I am finally home and I am safe and secure and you lean up against the wall and a snake bites you (Amos 5:19b). It says you think that there is hope and there is no hope. The day of the LORD is not a time of hope. It is a time of judgment. He says, "Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:20). There is nothing positive about the day of that LORD and that judgment at all. It is something that is horrible!
Then we come to Joel 2:28 and following (slide 25). This is what I always think of as a central passage on the day of the Lord. That the day of the Lord not only involved judgment on the earth, but it involves the things that are going to take place among the stars in the heavens, the sun is going to be darkened and the moon is turned to blood.
Guess what is coming up in another month? We are going to get another "Blood Moon." Remember, there are two "blood moons" this year. One at Passover, one at Succoth in October. Next year it will repeat, one at Passover, one at Succoth. The reason you have these things that I pointed out in the study I did previously was the Jewish calendar is built on full moons. It is no accident that these full moons occur on feast days. The calendar is built on a lunar calendar. You expect that, but it is not just that there is a "blood red moon." Of course, it is not always that it is fully "blood red" as we will see in these passages. There are other things that go along with that. There is a series events. The sun is also darkened. There are other things that go along with it.
Joel 2:28 says, "And it will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;" so "after this" means after the events already described in relation to the end-time judgments. After this God says, "I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind." This is the beginning of the fulfillment of the New Covenant, which will be put into effect, of course, at the end of the Tribulation period. "Your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions." This is what was quoted by Peter in Acts 2. The trouble is that none of these things actually happened on the Day of Pentecost. Peter was just quoting it to say these are the kinds of things that happen by the Holy Spirit. What they saw on the Day of Pentecost is similar, but it wasn't the same. Joel 2:29 "And even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." That is a reference to the fulfillment of the New Covenant.
Now Joel 2:30 and following (slide 26), "And I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth." So there is one thing that is going to happen "on the earth" and what is that going to be? In a Jewish community men and women (and) their sons and daughters are going to prophesy and they are going to have visions and dreams and all these things are going to happen that have to do with revelation. Then following that "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire, and columns of smoke." So it is not just that you have a full moon that occurs on a feast day that looks red. That has got to be preceded by these young men and young women seeing dreams and visions and all of these other things, as well as these other wonders in the sky and on the earth.
And then, in Joel 2:31, "the sun will be turned into darkness" so it is not just the moon. It is not just a lunar event. "The sun is turned to darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes." And it is immediately followed by the coming of this final judgment at the end of the Tribulation. So what we see with these so called "blood moons" has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the end times. It has to do with interesting effects of today. And as I pointed out, if you go back and look historically at the alleged fulfillment back in 1492 and again in 1951, 1967, when these things happened. Why is it that they don't go back to all the different times when this phenomenon of a full moon that looked red that occurred on a Jewish feast day; why don't you look at all those, let's say, A.D. 70 and A.D. 1492. What happened during that time period? What is that? 1,470 years? So it is roughly 1,400 years since the fall of the temple. Why don't they go there? Because nothing significant ever happened on those days. So they are cherry picking the evidence, cherry picking the data.
Joel 2:32 goes on and says, "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD" this is at the time of the great and awesome day of the LORD. This is using the phrase "day of the LORD" in terms of its most technical sense, as that period immediately surrounding the return of Jesus. "And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls."
So what we see here in a study of the use of these passages there is both a narrow sense and a broad sense. The narrow aspect/sense (slide 27) describes the time immediately preceding the Second Coming and the judgments that are associated with that Coming concluding the seventh bowl judgment, concluding the Tribulation period. That is the "great and awesome day of the LORD" described in Joel 2:31 and Zechariah 14:1-5. Then there is a broad sense in which it describes the overall judgment of God in the Tribulation period as the "day of the Lord." It is not the "great and awesome day of the LORD" that is contrasted. It is the "day of the Lord."
So you have verses like this in Jeremiah 30:7, which shows that this is part of Jacob's Trouble (slide 28). "Alas! For that day is great." What day? The day of the LORD. "There is none like it; it is the time of Jacob's trouble." The time of Jacob's adversity. That covers the whole period of Daniel's 70th week. It is not just the end times. So this is a broad sense of the use of that term. "But he (that is Jacob or Israel) will be saved from it." Another term. So we've looked at "Daniel's 70th week." We've looked at "the Day of the Lord." We've looked at "Jacob's Trouble."
And now, the fourth term for the Tribulation is the Wrath of God(slide 29). We've gone through many of these verses already, so I won't take time on it. But 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9 both talk about "the wrath to come." Jesus "delivers us from the wrath to come" in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, "God has not destined us for wrath."
Then we look at how the term is used in Revelation. In Revelation 6:16 (slide 30) it is used in terms of the "wrath of the Lamb!" This is early in the Tribulation period. This isn't late. This isn't that pre-wrath rapture view that the wrath of God is only the very last period at the end of the Tribulation. This describes what happens during the sixth seal judgment, which is probably during the first six months to a year and a half of the first half of the Tribulation. The seal judgment comes probably somewhere between a year to a year and a half into the Tribulation period and is described as this meteor shower. These asteroids are falling upon the earth and creating havoc. The rebellious kings of men, the leaders of men, run into the earth to hide. They run into caves and wherever to seek protection and they are just screaming upon the mountains to "Fall on us" form the face of Him who sits on the throne" that is the Father, "and from the wrath of the Lamb!" So from the very beginning the Tribulation is described as a time of God's wrath.
Revelation 11:18 (slide 31) "And the nations were enraged," that is Psalm 2:2 and following. "The nations are enraged and Thy wrath came," see again it is God's wrath. So this comes in the summary description of the first half of the Tribulation period.
Revelation 14:10 (slide 32) "he himself shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God," this is taking about the second half of the Tribulation when the wine is like in communion. What color is wine? It's burgundy. It's red. It is like the color of blood. So this is talking about "the wine." It is the bloodshed of the wrath of God during that second half of the Tribulation period.
We see this also indicated in Revelation 15:1 and Revelation 16:1 (slide 33) talking about this final period in the Tribulation as "the wrath of God." Now when you look at people who look at the pre-wrath rapture view, they look at this and they say, okay, the wrath of God just comes at the end. But we have the wrath of the Lamb, which is the wrath of God, so the whole period is the wrath of God.
Now, a couple of things about the Tribulation period and another term that we use for Tribulation, to describe it, is the Tribulation and also the Great Tribulation. I'll say something about that as we go through this. The word "tribulation" in Greek is THLIPSIS and it is just a general word for adversity, calamity, distress, tribulation. What the Scripture teaches is that all believers can expect some level of adversity or tribulation in life. Now the reason I say that is because I have heard people since I was in college say, well, you people that believe in the pre-Trib Rapture, you just want to avoid tribulation. That is not true! We know that all through the Church Age Christians have been subjected to horrendous persecution, horrendous martyrdom! Just look at what is happening to those Christians in Iraq right now that are losing everything. And many of them are losing their lives! They are being tortured and they are having their wives and their children taken captives as sex slaves by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) and these radical Islamists! We do believe that there is horrid, horrid persecution!
You think back to the period in American history during the colonies, as we came into contact with the severely demonized Indian tribes, American Indian tribes, and just read the accounts of how they fought each other. You can't escape the conclusion that they are not demonic. It is exactly how we would picture the demonic. They were involved in all manner of shamanism and witchcraft and it is just phenomenal the extreme violence that occurred. And when you read the accounts, which I have done, of pioneers that were on the edge of the settlements, the edge of civilization in the late 1600s–1700s, especially during the time of the so called "French and Indian Wars", "Queen Anne's War", and "King George's War", "King William's War", and all those different wars that took place in the 1700s, what you discover is that there was a very good reason why the colonists said that the only Indian was a dead Indian; because when the Indian warring tribes came into the settlements, they would kill the men and scalp them alive and torture them and do all kinds of unspeakable things to them while they were still alive! They would drag off their women, the children, and they would take them back and enslave them and mistreat them and abuse them in just unspeakable ways! And this happened again and again and again. So it was such a horror on the frontier. And especially, most of these were Christians!
So we believe that Christians go through suffering (slide 34). They go through martyrdom. They go through adversity. This is what Jesus taught, John 16:33, "In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, because I've overcome the world." He overcame the world before He ever went to the Cross. That is a perfect tense of that verb "overcome" and He hadn't gone to the Cross yet. But He had already overcome the world. Romans 2:9, "There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek." Romans 5:3, "And not only this, but we also exult." We as Christians "also exult in our tribulations" because we know that "tribulation brings about perseverance."
So yes, we believe that we go through tribulation, lower case 't'. In Matthew 24:29 (slide 35) the term is used of an unprecedented future worldwide suffering. It refers to the entire period of Daniel's 70 weeks. Jesus said in Matthew 24:29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days." So that refers to the almost all of it except for the end time. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken." Once again this is one of those passages that talks about those "blood moons" and what happens in the signs in the moons. When does it happen? It's clearly preceded by all of the other signs in Matthew 24. It comes at the end of the Tribulation period. Mark 13:19 is a parallel passage. It says, "For those days will be a time of tribulation such as is not been seen since the beginning of the creation which God created, until now." So this is talking about the entire period of Daniel's 70th week. Mark 13:24 talks about the very end. That is a parallel to Matthew 24:29.
Revelation 17:14 (slide 36) it uses the term "great tribulation." Some dispensationalists take this as a technical term. "The Tribulation" is the first half. "The Great Tribulation" is the second half. But I think it is not a technical term. In both passages, as you read them, it is simply talking about the term "great" as an adjective describing the intensity, the unique intensity of this period of adversity. And so the whole period is the "great tribulation." In Matthew 24 Jesus uses the term when He talks about the second half because it is more intense than the first half. After the abomination of desolation you will have "great tribulation." It was bad before, it gets worse in the second half.
When you look at the "Length of Tribulation" (slide 37) we will just look at this slide (slide 38). It is seven years from the signing of that covenant with Israel until Jesus Christ returns at the Second Coming. Next time we will get into this, talking about the key people in the Tribulation. We need to get our program out and figure out who the players are and define them and come to understand them.
Now I was putting off a question all the way through this because I thought I'd actually make it to the Antichrist. The Antichrist is, just to answer that question that came up last time. Let me pull up the slide I put together on this. It talks about "the people of the prince who is to come." Here is the slide (slide 39).
- The Antichrist will be the head of a confederation of western powers during the tribulation years.
That immediately negates, I mean the fact that it is western, because he comes in from these. He clearly has a headquarters in Babylon. I understand that, but there is a coalition. If the Antichrist is the coalition of the Middle East, then what do you do with Europe and what do you do with the western hemisphere? It is like virtually ignored in the scenarios of some of these people who want to promote the idea that it is a Muslim Antichrist and I understand their arguments for that, but they don't really wash.
- Daniel 9:26 has the phrase "the people of the prince who is to come."
"The prince to come" describes the Antichrist. He is going to come in the future. "The people" are described as those who will destroy the temple. That is in A.D. 70. Those people who destroyed the people in A.D. 70 are "the people of the prince who is to come," who comes 2000 years later. Those people were the Roman army. They are comprised of many different peoples form all over the Roman Empire. They came from North Africa, which now is Muslim. They came from the Levant area, which is now Muslim. They came from the Greece, which is not. They came from Rome. They came from Spain. They came possibly from other areas of Europe around what is use to be Yugoslavia, Serbia, Croatia, Macedon, those areas. All comprise this army. So the army is made up of this conglomerate of peoples that basically populated the Roman Empire. So in A.D. 70 the people were the Roman Imperial Army of Titus composed of people from all over the empire, which would include North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean area.
In Daniel 2, in the chapter describing Nebuchadnezzar's vision, it talks about the feet of iron in that big statue you see. The feet of iron and clay. It is a mixture. The iron comes from the legs of iron, which was the Roman Empire. The feet are made up of iron, which is composed of the previous elements of the Old Roman Empire, plus clay, which are weaker new elements. This would include the United States, western hemisphere, Canada, all of these western hemisphere countries are descendant and our institutions all derive from Greco-Roman culture. So we are all part of that. All of Europe, and there were parts of Europe that weren't part of the original Roman Empire, so all of that; so it is primarily coming out of that organization. It looks at that scenario. That pulls the world together because the passages in Scripture all talk about the Antichrist controlling "the world."
If you go along with the flow of these advocates of a Muslim Antichrist you not only have the problem of the fact that this centralizes everything into a Middle Eastern scenario and ignores the rest of the world, but you have a problem with the Antichrist coming along and establishing a covenant with Israel that would by every account establish the rights of the Jewish people to build a temple, a functional temple, on the Temple Mount. You can argue until you are blue in the face with well maybe it there is going to be both of them up there. Whatever? There is no way a Muslim, that kind of a power, is going to allow a Jew to even set foot on the Temple Mount, much less build a third temple on the Temple Mount. So this is never explained by these particular advocates and then there are other problems with that position as well. Next time we will come back and look at the details related to the Antichrist and the rise of the final Empire of Babylon.
"LORD, thank You for this time tonight to look at these things and to focus on the future knowing that since You have revealed them to us You are very much aware of what will happen. There will be no surprises. You are very much in control and You'll bring all things to a glorious conclusion and we will see that all things do work together for good to those who love You and to those who are called according to Your purpose. Father, we pray that You would challenge us with the fact that we face tribulation today, difficulties today, heartaches and challenges, but You are in control and no matter how chaotic our lives may appear at times, we can relax and trust You because You are in control. We pray this in Christ's Name, Amen."