This is part 6 in a 14 part series entitled Don’t Panic – Survival Guide to the Apocalypse. Full PDF Download available free here: Don’t Panic – Survival Guide
Act 3 – A Critical Turning Point
In our last chapter we detailed the first 1260 days of the apocalyptic time period. We have now reached a critical turning point! In a very short time span (1-4 days), a number of key changes will take place in the narrative that is earth’s story:
- A Death
- A Resurrection
- Two Witnesses killed
- Religious Winds of Change
- Protection For Israel
- Two Witnesses resurrected
- The Antichrist
So far we have gone through an overview of the first half of Daniel’s 70th week, where some type of covenant was confirmed with Israel and the man who will become the antichrist has risen to power. This is possibly done under Jewish messianic expectations of the anti-messiah (Messiah ben Joseph) fighting and winning wars for them. Around the 3.5 year mark, this messiah figure will set up his headquarters (“palatial tents”) in Jerusalem and declare it to be the capital city of the world. This is again what Jews are expecting from the “messianic kingdom age”. But first, this messiah figure is about to die:
“And he shall pitch his palatial tents between the sea and the glorious holy mountain. Yet he shall come to his end, with none to help him. At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time.” (Daniel 11:45-12:1)
And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound… (Revelation 13:1-3)
Israel may mourn over his death (seemingly in fulfillment of Zechariah 12:10, which won’t come to TRUE fulfillment until the second coming of Christ). This death will likely come as a complete shock to the world.
Look for this death to occur approximately 1257-1260 days after a covenant is confirmed with Israel.
This death is not the end of the beast, he will rise again:
One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?” (Revelation 13:3-5)
This resurrection from the dead will be empowered by God, who alone has authority over death. Why would He allow this? To fulfill the scriptures:
The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12)
The Bible doesn’t tell us, but this man may lie dead for three days and three nights prior to his resurrection. Satan may be trying to replicate the “sign of Jonah” – Jesus’ three days and three nights in the grave, with His resurrection on the third day. Thus, satan may resurrect his “beast” on the third day and claim this is “according to the scriptures”. This may even occur during the Passover season (often referred to as Easter).
Two Witnesses Killed
It seems that the first course of action this newly resurrected beast-man will take is to kill God’s two witnesses. Prior to this point, anyone who tried to kill them would be consumed by fire. However, their decreed 1260 day ministry has come to an end and it will occur as planned:
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (Revelation 11:7-8)
I would suggest this likely occurs in Jerusalem, the city where our Lord was crucified. Because the two witnesses were previously invincible, their death by the beast’s hand will bolster the world’s response of “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”
The Beast may kill the 144,000 sealed Hebrew Christians at this time. Alternately, the 144,000 sealed Hebrew Christians we discussed in the previous chapter might be taken into heaven by God in a disappearance event like the “rapture”. From one cause or another, these specific individuals appear in heaven right around this time.
Religious Winds of Change
Subsequent to killing God’s two witnesses, the resurrected beast-man – the antichrist – will sit in the Jewish Temple and declare himself to be god. Do not marvel, this has been foretold:
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. (Revelation 13:5-6)
And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator. (Daniel 9:27)
The antichrist would appear to stop sacrifices and offerings to God (Jehovah / Yahweh) at this time.
Protection for Israel
We have spent much time on the antichrist and his rise to power, but we also need to discuss God’s remarkable escape plan for the elect remnant of Israel which He has called unto Himself. Right after the antichrist’s mortal wound and “miraculous” resurrection (at which point he is likely possessed by satan), he will seat himself in the Jewish Temple and proclaim himself to be “god”. He will cause all sacrifices to cease. This is the trigger for those in Israel to flee to the wilderness/mountains:
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:16-21)
…and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Revelation 12:6)
But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. (Revelation 12:14-16)
It’s possible that this wilderness location is centered around the area known as Petra. Those who obediently flee to the place prepared for them will be sheltered under the wings of God Almighty. This will likely be done through the leading and the protection of the archangel Michael:
Behold, I send an angel before you to guard you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared. (Exodus 23:20)
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1)
Michael is the angel assigned to protect Israel (Jude 1:9). It appears that Michael will stand for the obedient elect Israel who flee to the wilderness. He will stand guard over them for the 1260 days of the antichrist’s rule – this is why Edom (Jordan) escapes out of the antichrist’s hand? This leading to, and protection in, the wilderness is a similar parallel to the first exodus. Perhaps God will even supply His people with manna once again!
Two Witnesses Resurrected
After 3.5 days, God’s two witnesses will be resurrected from the dead.
For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here!” And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them. And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:9-13)
A great earthquake will accompany their resurrection and ascension into heaven.
This is probably a good time to discuss how one might recognize the antichrist figure for who he is. As a Christian, I believe that Jesus fulfilled the predicted Suffering Servant role at His first coming, and will fulfill the Conquering King role at His second coming. However, the Jews who rejected Jesus are still anticipating the coming of a Messiah. Not everyone agrees, but I believe the antichrist will attempt to fulfill their expectations. I will let you be the judge of how closely he “fits the bill”.
The Jews are expecting the coming messiah to:
- be descended from King David on his father’s side (see Genesis 49:10, Isaiah 11:1, Jeremiah 23:5, 33:17; Ezekiel 34:23-24). According to Jewish sources, the Messiah will be born of human parents and possess normal physical attributes like other people. He will not be a demi-god, (2) nor will he possess supernatural qualities.
- promise a future age of perfection characterized by universal peace and recognition of “God” (Isaiah 2:1-4, 32:15-18, 60:15-18; Zephaniah 3:9; Hosea 2:20-22; Amos 9:13-15; Micah 4:1-4; Zechariah 8:23, 14:9; Jeremiah 31:33-34)
- build, or allow the building of, the third temple (Ezekiel 37:26-28).
- gather all Hebrew tribes back to the land of Israel (Isaiah 43:5-6).
- lead the Jewish people to full Torah observance (Old Testament sacrificial system). (Deut. 13:1-4)
- reveal himself to the Jews at a national (not individual) level (Foundations of Torah, ch. 8; Deut. 5:3)
The earliest view of the church was that the antichrist, when he appeared, would try to convince the Jews that he was their messiah. This makes sense, and is well supported in scripture.
Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Daniel 11:37)
While some translations state that the antichrist will not regard the “gods of his fathers”, the phrase “God of his fathers” is commonly used to refer to God, Yahweh (Genesis 31:29, 46:1,3; Exodus 3:16; 2 Kings 21:22; 1 Chronicles 28:9; Jeremiah 19:4; 2 Chronicles 33:12; Daniel 2:23). The “fathers” referenced are very specifically Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and this would be perfectly understood by the Jewish audience. Thus, if the antichrist is not regarding the “God of his fathers”, he must be Jewish. Note that it also states he won’t regard any other god, either, besides the God of his fathers. Instead, he will claim to be god himself.
I do not believe that the antichrist will come AGAINST Israel, but will try to WOO her as her messiah. She won’t believe that she is being attacked, but rather protected by this man. Israel won’t raise shepherds and princes against him, but will follow him in the ultimate act of harlotry. They will entice the world to follow him as well.
Jesus foretold that while Israel nationally rejected Him, at some point in the future they will receive one who comes in his own name:
I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. (John 5:43)
I suggest to you that the anti-christ (anti-messiah) will to try to parallel what Jesus did at His first coming, in addition to appearing to fulfill what Jesus will do at His second coming. The Jews did not foresee the two-part role of the messiah, and were legitimately baffled when the Messianic Kingdom wasn’t inaugurated at Jesus’ first coming. In this way, the anti-messiah will appear to clear up all confusion and will be received.
Jesus came in His Father’s name to do his Father’s will, but was rejected. God is about to present to them an alternative – the anti-messiah. Basically, the antichrist is the final test for God’s people. Will they pass and choose Jesus Christ, or will they fail and choose the anti-messiah?
Scripture, and Bible prophecy in particular, is about Israel and its’ physical and spiritual descendants. The consummation of scripture will include the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies and covenants. Daniel specifically states that the prophecy he received was for his holy people and holy city (Israelites and Jerusalem). God’s covenant relationship is with Israel alone, and the books of Daniel and Revelation (Ezekiel, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah…) tell the story of how their relationship concludes.
Again, I am operating from a position of looking ahead far into the future (for me). Please test what I say against the Bible and against what occurs in real time. I am trying my best, but I will not be correct in all my hypotheses.