In my last article, titled The Beginning of Sorrows, I wrote about what Jesus said in answer to his Disciple’s questions concerning the end of the age. Jesus first answered what will happen up to the time that the ‘sorrows’ would begin, in other words until the time the labor pains of birth begin. He concluded that part of His teaching with saying “lawlessness will abound” and “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Notice that lawlessness does not stop the preaching of the gospel. And notice He does not say ‘all nations will be converted’ only that the gospel will be preached as a witness to them, so that God will be just when He judges them. God already has the justification to judge them but, He follows the principle of two witnesses –
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” – Rom. 1:18-21
The very creation is one witness and the gospel is a second witness. All the Constellations tell the story of salvation in the heavens. But God is not willing that any should perish so He makes every effort reach mankind; the heavenly story, the story shown on the earth, and His word given to mankind. Author Joseph Seiss has written an excellent book on the gospel told in the stars. But, sadly some have already given in to the spirit of lawlessness and so don’t have a love for the truth of God’s words. The Apostle Paul writes about them –
“The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” – 2 Thes. 2:9-12
So, the Church is still here on earth because it has been given the job of preaching the gospel to every nation. That not only means so-called Missionaries, but it means every person who calls themselves Christian. Not all may be able to go to foreign lands but, all can go to their neighbors, their families, to those they work with and all can pray for those spreading the gospel. And all can show kindness in the name of Jesus to those in need. The spirit of Lawlessness and those who follow it may come against you but it has no power over the gospel of the Kingdom. And as it states in Revelation, you can overcome him through “the blood of the Lamb, the word of your testimony, and you do not love your life so much as to forsake Jesus.”
Well, what is to happen between the time the birth pangs begin and the end of the age when the gospel of the Kingdom has been preached to every nation? The final Gentile Kingdom will rise, the kingdom of the Antichrist. The next thing Jesus taught was –
“Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)” – Matt. 24:15
Once again Jesus is focusing our attention back on the nation of Israel. The prophet Daniel wrote –
“And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation. Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” – Dan. 11:31, 32
These verses, I feel, were written about the wicked king of Syria, Antiochus Epiphany, who did just these things which led to the Maccabean Revolt. But Daniel later speaks of another who will do the same thing. Daniel was shown another vision which he did not understand and when he inquired about it, an angel told him –
“And he said, “Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand. And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days. But you, go your way till the end; for you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days.” – Dan. 12:9-13
According to Daniel there is coming yet another ‘abomination of desolation’ and this is the one Jesus referred to. Now what did the first abomination Daniel referred to look like? Antiochus took over the Temple and sacrificed a pig on the Altar. He then converted Jerusalem into a fortress city and announced that it would be Greek in religion, abolishing Jewish rites, burning all the Torahs, and requiring the worship of “the manifest god”, the god Zeus whom he claimed he was the incarnation of. This led to the Maccabean revolt. But, the main thing was his desecration of the Temple. Now for this to occur at the end of the age, a rebuilt Temple must be built in Jerusalem. This was exactly what the Orthodox Jews saw in President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem was the eternal capital of Israel in 2017. They called him a second Cyrus, the Persian king who gave the Jews permission to return from Babylon and rebuild the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. I have written about this in the article Update on the Third Temple. We are not yet at the point where this can happen but, some unexpected things have happened to change the status of the Temple Mount. Always before the Arab Waqf controlled the Temple Mount but in 2017 Arab terrorist shot up Israeli police on the temple Mount causing the Israeli police to take control of the Mount. Since that time Jews and Christians have been allowed to pray on the Temple Mount – a first! Israeli Knesset members began calling for complete Israeli control of the Temple Mount and plans are continuing to build a Third Temple. With the political confusion in Israel these days, anything can happen.
Once the Third Temple is built, the stage will be set for the Antichrist and his armies to appear and attack Jerusalem. Leaving out the details of this, Jesus simply says,
“But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” – Luke 21:20-22
Other Scriptural sources describe this in more detail. Zechariah prophesied –
“Behold, the day of the LORD is coming, And your spoil will be divided in your midst. For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city. Then the LORD will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.” – Zech. 14:1-3
The Apostle John continues –
“Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. . . . Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent. So the serpent spewed water out of his mouth like a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away by the flood. But the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed up the flood which the dragon had spewed out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Rev. 12:6, 13-17
The woman (Israel) flees into the wilderness for 3½ years, the time of the great tribulation Jesus talked about. I have written about this in an article named The End of the War. Notice, when the Dragon is prevented from getting at the Woman, he turns his attention on those who have the testimony of Jesus Christ, the Christians. Obviously the Christians haven’t been raptured at this point! They will instead have the full attention of the Antichrist for 3½ years. At the end of this time Jesus will come riding a white horse followed by the armies of heaven clothed in fine linen, white and clean, the clothing of the saints. But the Lord is clothed with a robe dipped in blood. They are on their way to the battle of Armageddon where the Antichrist has gathered the kings of the earth. But where did the Lord get blood on his robe from before the battle of Armageddon? I believe it was from His deliverance of the woman of Israel who had been hidden in Bozrah which is in Edom south of the Dead Sea.
“For My sword shall be bathed in heaven; Indeed it shall come down on Edom (where Bozrah is located), And on the people of My curse, for judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is made overflowing with fatness, With the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. . . . For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” – Isa. 34:5-8 Italics added.
And Micah prophesied of this woman fleeing into the wilderness as well –
“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, (heb. Bozrah) Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the LORD at their head.” – Micah 2:12, 13
This is a picture of saved Israel who is raptured with the saints and follows the Lord to Armageddon. I believe the rapture will happen toward the end of this 3½ year period when Jesus comes to rescue Israel and just before the battle of Armageddon, but this is just my opinion. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that we would see the ‘man of sin’ (Antichrist) (2 Thes. 2:3) and that the resurrection would take place and then the rapture (1 Thes. 4:16).
There will be other events happening during this time but, this is enough for this article. I believe we are very near to these events happening. The time is very short so, I invite you to accept Jesus as your savior and prepare for His soon coming.