Telescoping to the end of the age
Centuries before the Lord Jesus was born the prophet Jeremiah foretold a period of time in history unlike any other time called “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” that would be focused on the land of Israel in the last days just before the Second Coming of Christ. This time period, lasting three and a half years, will be a time of distress and trouble unequalled in history. This period of Great Tribulation also called the Time of Jacob’s Trouble will start when the man of sin also called the Antichrist invades Israel and installs himself on the Temple Mount. He will stop the sacrifices and proclaim himself to be God and to be worshipped. Like Antiochus he will forbid the reading of Torah, desecrate the altar in the Temple and enforce Islamic Sharia Law on Israel. For three and a half years he will gain great power over many nations and will subjugate the people of Israel. Now the Lord Jesus knew that this would happen and he took what happened 160 years before with Antiochus and said it would happen again in the future. While the Lord Jesus clearly had the destruction of Herod’s Temple in mind He also telescoped to the end of the age and said it would happen again just like things happened in the time of Antiochus. Daniel also described the character and deeds of Antiochus but was also telescoping to the end of this age when Antichrist would desecrate the Temple Mount. As we have seen in previous studies Prophecy from the Jewish way of thinking in the Bible was “a pattern” where you had historical events that all lined up with a similar pattern to them and were all partial fulfilments with an ultimate fulfilment in the future. This is the way the Hebrew prophets prophesied when writing scripture. And so the Lord Jesus zooms in on the last three and a half years of this present age and begins with the final and ultimate abomination of desolation that would come to the Jewish people and also send shockwaves around the globe.
(Vs. 16-21) “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the roof of his house go down to take anything out of the house. Let no one in the field go back to get his cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequalled from the beginning of the world until now – and never to be equalled again.“
Sitting in the Temple of God as God
When the abomination occurs and the man of sin sets himself in the Temple to be worshipped as God not only will those in Israel have to flee for their lives but also faithful Christians in many western countries will need to drop everything and run for their lives as well. Already in the Middle-East we have seen many thousands of Christians displaced and persecuted running for their lives from the Islamic scourge. If the Antichrist is a Muslim potentate and the prophesied Mahdi to come at the end of this age then the whole Muslim world will rise up to support him. They will rise up in Europe, in America, in Great Britain and in Australia. Even in the islands North of Australia including Indonesia Jihadist Islam will make inroads for a season. Immigration will see to this! Most recently we saw Erdogan of Turkey telling Turkish Muslims in Europe to get the best jobs and to marry and populate European society with Muslims. The Trojan Horse of Islam is already well ensconced in almost every western democracy today. We also know from the Bible that that Temple of God is also a reference to the Christian Church. The Lord Jesus was telling us that when the Antichrist or the man of sin, as he is also called, is sitting in the Temple demanding to be worshipped as God, in some way he will be worshipped in Christendom. The Apostle wrote also about this; “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above [e]every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4) The prophet Daniel also wrote about this man of sin; “Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods;” (Daniel 11:36a)
Ready to go!
In 70 AD when the Roman armies withdrew from Jerusalem for a short period of time all those who believed what Jesus had predicted escaped from the city. Shortly after, the army returned and destroyed the city. Only the faithful remnant that believed the prophetic words of Jesus escaped when they had the chance. It was Simeon who led the faithful believing remnant through the enemy’s lines with supernatural secrecy and stealth to safety before the siege continued. Simeon replaced James as the chief bishop in Jerusalem because Herod had killed James with the sword. When the Roman armies withdrew nobody had much time. Those who had believed what the Lord Jesus had said around 40 years before had to leave their possessions behind in a hurry and flee as quickly as possible. During “The Time of Jacob’s Trouble” at the end of this age when the armies surround Jerusalem once again only those who are ready to meet Jesus will know that His Coming is very imminent. Faithful Christians need to be making preparations now through prayer, Bible study, and fellowship and by not living for the things of this world. In the dark days of the time of the Big trouble the Lord Jesus will take care of those who are His bondslaves. Many will go to prison and many will be martyred but some will escape yet they will all be overcomers. Satan will not be able to defeat them even in death. As John wrote of them; “And they overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11)
The Great escape!
When the Lord Jesus comes again He will catch up His faithful followers to meet Him in the Air and as His faithful bondslaves go up the fire of God’s wrath will come down upon a Christ hating Christ rejecting world. The bowls of His wrath will be poured out without measure. Faithful believers will not experience this wrath. (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9) Then the Lord Jesus will descend to earth with His faithful bride and His holy angels to fight those nations attacking Israel. In that day the faithful Jewish remnant of Israel and the faithful remnant of the Church will be one flock under one shepherd and together with their Messiah defeat the cohorts of Antichrist and “rule the nations with a rod of iron.” The Bible actually describes these battles and the nations involved and where they will actually take place. These armies of the Antichrist will make war with the lamb but the Lamb will win the battle! As the apostle John wrote; “They will make war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will triumph over them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and He will be accompanied by His called and chosen and faithful ones.” (Revelation 17:14)
The LORD’s ‘final solution!’
One description of this last judgement on the earth just before Jesus comes back to fight for Jerusalem is seen in the book of Revelation. John described this portentous event, “The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was given power to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify him. The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom was plunged into darkness. Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done.” (Revelation 16:8-11) Things will have deteriorated so badly in the world that even after God has poured out His plagues of wrath upon the unsaved they still refuse to repent of their wickedness.
The plagues described in the book of Revelation replay the judgments on Egypt in the book of Exodus. This “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” will culminate the third world war at a place called Armageddon. John records his vision, “Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.” (Revelation 16:16) This last Great War to end all wars will be fought over the city of Jerusalem. The nations that the Messiah will fight on that day will be Muslim ones. The Bible actually names them. When you look at the nuclear stockpile of weapons globally you can see the future of this present age very clearly! When you see Iran seeking to have nuclear capabilities you can imagine what could happen with that nations “Jihad minded madness!” Iran will get the bomb and will use it against Mecca. We are told in scripture that the destruction of Babylon was heard at the Red Sea” The Last Days ‘Babylon’ is a city in the desert by the sea. It is not Rome or New York but Mecca! (See the studies on this website called; “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great!”)
History repeats itself
It’s interesting historically that when the western leg of the Roman Empire was disintegrating and the barbarians were descending on Rome itself the emperor put on entertainment for the people to divert their attention away from their imminent destruction at the hands of the Visigoths. Today primarily in the western nations, we are being entertained by the media who themselves cannot see what is really going on. Our leaders and politicians who are selling us out to Islam for the mighty oil dollar are by this betrayal slowly eroding western democracy and liberty! Islam lies deliberately to the western politicians regarding its real agenda for the world. In fact Allah tells them in the Quran that they can lie in the cause of Jihad. If 9/11 does not speak volumes as to Islam’s real agenda for the west and the world at large then nothing does. Not so long ago in one of his speeches after 9/11 Obama said; “Let me be clear we are not and never will be at war with Islam!” During his time in the Oval Office President Bush had a Koran placed in the White House even after 9/11. Can you imagine after the Second World War Winston Churchill placing a copy of Adolph Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” at number 9 Downing Street?” What “absurdity” and “madness” is it that rules our western politicians today? Indeed the stage is being set for the greatest global calamity ever experienced in history. Let’s continue…
(Vs. 22) “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
A Question of Survival?
As the armies of the Nations converge on the city of Jerusalem the world will be on the brink of self-destruction, however, God will cut those days short for the sake of His chosen people. To “cut short” is the word you would use for cutting off a dog’s tail. It will be swift and sudden. During this time both Israel and the faithful Church will be suffering persecution by the Antichrist and his Beast Empire. John and Daniel record these events, “He (the beast empire) was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them.” (Revelation 13:7a) “He (the beast empire) will speak against the Most High and oppress the saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time…It will be for a time, times and half a time. (Three and a half years) When the power of the holy people has been finally broken, all these things will be completed.” (Daniel 7:25 12:7) The word used for ‘saints’ in both Testaments describes faithful believers. They are still here during the persecution of the Antichrist. Faithful bondslaves of the Lord Jesus come out of the Great Tribulation. To come out of something you have to be in it already. As the apostle John wrote; “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “My lord, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:13-14)
“Not a hair on your head will perish!”
One thing we always need to keep in mind is that Jesus said that He will enable faithful Christians to stand in His strength in times of persecution and to overcome whatever Satan throws at them. Listen to what the Lord Jesus said to encourage us as believers, “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of My name. This will result in your being witnesses to them. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words of wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed by parents, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of Me. But not a hair on your head will perish. By standing firm you will save yourselves.” (Luke 21:12-19) The Apostle Peter also said, “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:14) The apostle Paul also said, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
“Not destined for wrath!”
In 70AD the Christians were also under the siege by the Romans but when the armies withdrew for a very short period of time the faithful remnant escaped the city just before the Romans returned to completely destroy Jerusalem and the temple. As the final plagues fall without restraint on a Christ hating, Christ rejecting world the faithful believers will experience a mighty “caesarean section” as the “labour pains” of wars famines diseases and earthquakes intensify. As the faithful believers are caught up to meet Jesus in the air the bowls of God’s wrath will be poured out on the world without restraint. You can read about these bowls in Revelation chapter sixteen. Faithful Christians will not experience them for God has not destined them for wrath but for salvation. The apostle Paul told us that this would be so when he said, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9) When the flood came upon the earth Noah and his family was saved out of it. Just before the fire fell on Sodom Lot was rescued out of that city. Right at the end of this age just as the final bowls of God’s wrath are poured out every faithful Jewish and Gentile believer will be rescued and taken out of the Great Tribulation.