|Satan Evicted: Study Framework|
Study OverviewDefinitions First
Things You May Not Know
Christians Will Face Persecution
Three Dimensional Prophecies
The Book of Revelation
Daniel’s 70th Week
The Olivet Discourse
A Fictional Narrative
In any work of substantial length and depth, the details have a tendency to obscure the overall picture, “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” In order to address this difficulty, this section paints an overall portrait using a variety of views. Scriptural and supporting evidence are provided elsewhere within the study text.
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Most scholars force their discussions on “end time” prophecy to conform to a single seven year period referred to as Daniel’s 70th Week. Under such forced conformity, a distorted and misleading picture emerges. Unfortunately, the events related to the Christian Church do not fit within such a timeframe… events begin prior to the confirms a “covenant with many” and events end prior to the physical return of Jesus Christ to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
There is a difference between the Great Tribulation, the Wrath of God, Daniel’s 70th Week, and the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. Treating these four distinct periods as if they were a single, unified period leads to great confusion and misunderstanding. The transition from the current Church Age to the future Millennial Age involves both the Christian Church and the remnant of Israel. While they overlap and sometimes share common traits, these periods are not identical nor should their labels be used as synonyms. Understanding these difference helps bring the events and relationships into sharper focus:
Explanation of the Events within the Table
The learned scholars have it wrong, at least many things wrong. Why? Perhaps the meaning of end time prophecy has remained sealed since the days of Daniel? Perhaps Satan has been more effective in misleading the scriptural message than one would think? Perhaps the mankind’s obstinate mind prefers the teaching of man rather than the voice of the Holy Spirit? Perhaps the mankind strives to protect their fragile ego rather than admitting possible error? I’m not sure. There are many things we cannot know about the latter day events, but the Holy Scriptures are clear on several issues:
Many proponents of a pretribulation Rapture firmly assert that Christians will not suffer persecution under the Antichrist. This belief is so firm that they ignore clear historical and scriptural evidence demonstrating that persecution is a normal component of a Christian’s life. This error is significant and dangerous. It discourages Christians from arming themselves for possible future battles.
John 17:14-15: I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. (NIV)
Revelation 13:7: He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them… (NIV)
The Catholic Standard and Times, 2008: Even the average church-going Christian is not likely to know that 45.5 million of the estimated 70 million Christians who have died for Christ did so in the last century.2
Matthew 10:28: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (NIV)
Hebrews 11:35-38: But others were tortured, not accepting release, to obtain resurrection to a better life. And others experienced mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawed apart, murdered with the sword; they went about in sheepskins and goatskins; they were destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (the world was not worthy of them); they wandered in deserts and mountains and caves and openings in the earth.
Also referred to as Dual Purpose Prophecies, Dual Purpose Literary Devices, or Dual Fulfillment Prophecies.
Amillennialism – the Kingdom of God has already arrived, we are already in the millennial kingdom, and the first resurrection occurs upon spiritual rebirth. Preterism – prophetic events described in the Bible are historical; they have already occurred. Idealism – prophetic events should be viewed figuratively as imagery, symbols, and allegories not to be interpreted literally. Premillennialism – the Kingdom of God was delayed and Jesus Christ will return to establish His earthly kingdom one thousand years before the White Throne judgment. Which viewpoint is correct? Well, in a manner, each is based upon a partially correct view of the whole picture.
Of the competing views, the amillennial portrayal of the Kingdom of God seems relatively accurate. The Kingdom of God has already come and, if we accept Christ as Lord, we are living within that spiritual kingdom. The Preterism assertion that prophetic events have already occurred is at least partially correct. The Olivet Discourse accurately warned 1st Century Jews of the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the Diaspora. A partial Idealism view seems virtually imperative. If we do not interpret the beast in Revelation 13 as symbolic, our picture of the Antichrist would be incomplete. The Premillennialism accurately claims that Jesus Christ will return and establish an earthly, millennial kingdom prior to the final judgment. Unfortunately, each takes a flat view of prophetic events… they don’t view biblical scripture as multidimensional. They emphasize supporting passages, diminish opposing passages, or spiritualize passages to suit their purpose. This approach is problematic preventing us from forming a full and comprehensive portrait of God’s message.
All too frequently, Christians forget that God created everything that has ever been created, that God nourished Israel while they wondered in the desert for forty years, that Jesus healed the sick and resurrected the dead, and that Christ arose from the grave. Biblical scriptures are not restricted by the limits of the human mind or human understanding but are omnipotent, infinite, and everlasting. The words were written by humans but inspired by the Holy Spirit. They transcend time, language, and interpretation. The Bible is the living, breathing Word of God. Holy Scripture is fully capable of transcending time:
Revelation 1:8: “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”
Revelation 1:19: Write, therefore, what you have seen, what is now and what will take place later. (NIV)
The simplest and best example can be found in Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15-16:
Daniel 9:27: …In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him. (NIV)
Matthew 25:15-16: So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. (NIV)
According to some versions of the Jewish tradition, the “abomination that causes desolation” was committed by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BC by erecting a stature of Zeus within the Jewish Temple. Another view considers it as an allusion to Manasseh, who set up a carved image in the house of God.3 However, some 200 years later, Jesus Christ referred to it as a yet future event. Is there a discrepancy? No. Throughout history, we can see “types” that foreshadow future reality.
Some scholars argue that a prophecy can only be fulfilled once. Others argue that a prophecy can be partially fulfilled in one event and fully fulfilled at a later date. And, still others argue partial fulfillments serve only as an example of a future event. This debate is fruitless… the scholars argue technicalities while overlooking the intended messages. They are placing the limits of human logic on a document that transcends the human mind.
Early Christians understood that prophetic utterances had multiple applications in time:
Acts2:17-21: 17“In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. (19)I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (NIV)
These words from Joel 2:28-32, spoken by the Apostle Peter, correctly applies to Pentecost when early Christians were initially baptized in the Holy Spirit. Notice the events used in verse 20 parallels that used by Jesus Christ within the Olivet Discourse, Matthew 24:29, Isaiah 13:10, and Isaiah 34:4.
Preterism asserts that those verses were thus fulfilled. Did Jesus Christ return during the 1st Century to gather His elect? Did the Day of the Lord, the final judgment, take place on Pentecost? Did the Apostle Peter misapply Joel’s prophecy? Of course the Day of the Lord did not occur during the 1st Century; the events of Pentecost simply serve as a “type” and foreshadow the latter days.
Adhering to a strict, rigid interpretation of scripture makes it impossible to acquire a comprehensive understanding of Bible messages. We must remain flexible. Acquiring a full meaning requires examining the words, figurative language, audience, context, intent, related examples, and parallel passages. Of course, too much flexibility can be equally destructive… We can over-read a passage assigning more meaning than intended. We can also spiritualize a passage distorting the intended meaning. We must use great caution; we must be flexible but not too flexible. Naturally, the addition of a second or third witness helps validate the perceived meaning.
Some scholars assert that individual elements of a prophetic vision can be fulfilled on different occasions. For example, some claim that portions of the Olivet Discourse were specific to 70 AD siege of Jerusalem and will not be repeated while other portions of the same discourse are reserved for the “end times.” We see a similar pattern when John’s prophetic visions within Revelation are spread over a period of two-thousand years.
There are examples of where two different elements of a prophecy are fulfilled on two separate occasions such as the resurrection of the saints and the resurrection of the wicked. There are also prophetic visions that are fulfilled over an extended period of time such as Nebuchadnezzar’s vision of the great statue. However, we must be very, very careful in dividing single prophetic visions into individual parts, and there must be ample justification for such divisions. In the case of the great statue, Daniel’s interpretation provides clear and sufficient evidence. In the case of two separate resurrections, the division is less clear and requires far more than a cursory glance – it requires a careful comparison and detailed analysis of related scripture.
Three Dimensional Examples
The human organ that gives the body it shape, framework, and durability is its skeleton; without a skeleton, the human would be a squishy blog without recognizable form and without meaningful function. Biblical prophecy can have a similar problem if we don’t have a proper framework to build a proper understanding. Luckily, the book of Revelation provides just such a structure for those events occurring during the transition between the current age and the next.
Some scholars assert that events within John’s Revelation occur in the exact order that they are presented. I have difficulty with this approach because it would force several events into an unnatural and illogical sequence. For example, the birth and resurrection of Jesus Christ is described in Revelation 12:5; we know, of course, those events occurred nearly 2,000 years ago and are unlikely to be repeated. A purely chronological framework is unworkable.
Other scholars assert that John’s Revelation is divided into seven parallel sections each representing events occurring during the current Church Age (Progressive Parallelism). These scholars assert that Christ’s work was essentially complete at the cross, and the “thousand years” mentioned in Revelation 20 is symbolic of the current age. Although an interesting construct, a plain reading reveals that the seven trumpets follow the seven seals, and the seven bowls of wrath follows the seven trumpets. This sequence in most notable in Revelation 8:1-2. Progressive parallelism requires far too much “spiritualization” to be considered a viable framework.
John does utilize a number of transitions throughout his narrative such as “and I saw,” “and I beheld,” “and I heard,” and “and I looked.” These transitions help us understand that John’s experience was not a one, coherent vision but rather a single, primary narrative intermingled with other related but non-sequential scenes (interludes) that provide explanation, additional details, or justification of the events within the primary narrative.
If we could image John watching his revelation on a television, it is highly unlikely that he that he would be watching on a single television monitor, but, more likely, he would be standing in a room with multiple monitors, perhaps something similar to a television control booth. Periodically, his focus would shift from the action on the main monitor to images being displayed on secondary monitors. When these secondary images play out, John’s focus would then shift back to primary monitor. These secondary images do not necessarily share the same time sequence as the main event but provide additional information to help us acquire a better understanding. Although determining when John’s focus shifts from one vision to another can be difficult, the book actually contains a clear, coherent organizational structure – much like a bulleted list within a formal business presentation.
John’s narrative reads as a legal justification for God’s outpouring of judgment and wrath. Several non-sequential scenes (interludes) are placed within the narrative to justify these outpourings. For example, although the two witnesses (11:1-13) give their testimony beginning with the first trumpet, they are not introduced into the narrative until after the sixth trumpet. Through their testimony, humankind has an opportunity to repent of their evils ways, but they will not (9:21). God’s outpouring of wrath, therefore, is justified and begins at the sounding of the seventh trumpet.
John’s Revelation: Brief Outline
John’s Revelation: Detailed Outline
Daniel’s 70th Week: Detailed Outline
The information provided with the book of Revelation is incomplete – it does not contain all the information necessary for a complete portrait. This is not an uncommon trait within biblical scripture… many passages omit information when they assume the listener is already familiar with the material or the information does not directly impact the lesson being taught. For example, in Matthew 24:15 Jesus does not provide a detailed description of the “abomination of desolation” – he assumes his listeners are aware of Daniel’s prophecies. Similarly, John’s Revelation relies on other scripture to fill in many details.
Jesus Christ described many events that will occur at the end of this age within his Mount Olivet Discourse detailed within Matthew, Mark, and John. In conjunction with the book of Revelation, we can acquire a fairly detailed outline of the events at the close of the current age:
The Olivet Discourse and Revelation
The following narrative is purely fictional with events having little or no scriptural support. It is provided to the reader visualize what might happen, not what will happen.
This fictional narrative is based largely upon the ideology of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime in order to pave the way for world justice and freedom.”5 There is no intent to cause offense to peace loving people of any religious, cultural, or ethnic background. It is my fervent prayer that all come to know God and find peace and redemption within His message to mankind.
THE COVENANT WITH THE MANY: RISE OF ANTICHRIST: (Daniel 9:27) People, nations, and armies are exhausted. Miraculously, Israel has survived the onslaught and exists as a permanent military encampment. In the midst of conflict, they have built the third Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount; they intend to remove the Islamic Dome of the Rock to make way for the Temple’s outer court. But a young charismatic leader arises from the North to promote a seven year armistice between Israel and her Arab neighbors:
Let us rest our armies and weapons for a season so that we might turn our energies to feeding and clothing our young. Burn your sacrifices and incense to your God but let the Rock lay barren for a time. Let our women and children mourn their dead this night; and when the sun rises in the morning, we will talk of future things.
An uneasy peace emerges, and the world is able to momentarily turn from war to rebuilding its infrastructure, its trade, and its monetary system. Domestic disruption continues but diminishes as the properties of “radical Christian extremist” are confiscated and redistributed to the masses.
PEACEFUL INTERLUDE: RULE OF THE ANTICHRIST: (Revelations 13) Through his charisma and the diplomacy of his religious adviser, the young leader guides the nations out of the darkness of war. An international bartering system replaces monetary systems and permits the trade regional resources necessary to rebuild civilization: grain, crop seed, medicine, labor, livestock, fertilizer, energy, textile, and other commodities. Nations tap into the system enabling rationing of supplies in exchange for products and labor… local farmer and goods markets are forbidden. The charismatic young leader is viewed as a Godsend by the masses.
Muslims view Jewish Temple service in such close to the Dome of the Rock as profane and an affront to Islam; they hotly strain at their leash desiring end the atrocity. The charismatic young leader keeps the peace by quietly promising his Arab allies that they will strike when the time is right. He silently siphon the profits from the trading system exchanging food, clothing, and medicine for weapons of war.
Local authorities, in an effort to quell local uprisings, are granted permission to perform public summary executions for “any individual who publically displays intolerance for a peaceful society striving for the ‘enlightenment of humanity’ through mutual aspiration, tolerance, and cooperation.” Local authorities may grant a reprieve to any individual who publically repents from their transgressions against society, renounces any philosophical or religious doctrine harmful to peaceful coexistence of mankind, and publicly demonstrates remorse through a permanent “exhibition” of loyalty to the “enlightenment of humanity.”
THE MIDDLE OF THE WEEK: ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION: (Daniel 9:27, Daniel 11:36-45, Luke 21:20-24) Radical Arabs, dressed as Hasidic Jews, bombing the Dome of the Rock causing extensive exterior damage; Israeli officials enter the Dome area to assess the damage and conduct an investigation. Arab nations are enraged and return of authority to manage the Temple Mount. The government of Israel refuses.
Under the guidance of the charismatic young leader, Arab armies strike Israel with three primary objectives: (a) decapitate Israeli leadership through the use of mujahedeen forces, (b) avoid Israeli military strongholds, and (c) seize control of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. Within hours, the armies lay siege to Jerusalem. Israeli citizens are captured, imprisoned, deported, and executed. Many escape the city through a labyrinth of underground tunnels. Levitical Priests hide within the catacombs beneath the Temple Mount. Jerusalem succumbs to the siege and the Arab armies turn their focus on the remaining Israeli military encampments.
In an internationally televised event from the Temple Mount, the charismatic young leader is seen entering the Jewish Temple, and upon his exit, he announces from the Inner Court:
Humanity has suffered long enough from the bloody hands of Zionist pigs and their whoring lapdogs. Their filthy spew has contaminated the enlightenment of humanity for far too long. The day of the Mahdi has come; immorality, oppression and injustice will cease. Find them, kill them, and purge the land from this heinous plague.
A grave darkness and heavy silence encases the earth… the only sound a muffled weeping of small children and their young mothers.
TO BE CONTINUED…
1Jerry Dykstra, “Islamic-Majority Countries Top Open Doors 2012 World Watch List,” Earned Media, January 4, 2012. <http://www.earnedmedia.org/odusa0104.htm> August 26, 2012.
2Susan Brinkmann, “The Greatest Story Never Told: Modern Christian Martyrdom,” The Catholic Standard and Times, December 5, 2008. < http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2143770/posts> August 22, 2012.
3“ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION,” Jewish Encyclopedia, 1906. <http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/353-abomination-of-desolation> August 27, 2012.
4Dates derived from Jim A. Cornwell, The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Six, 1995. <http://www.mazzaroth.com/ChapterSix/SevenHistoricalChurchAges.htm> August 27,2012.
5Joanna Paraszczuk, “Ahmadinejad: World forces must annihilate Israel,” The Jerusalem Post, August 2, 2012. <http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=279864> August 28, 2012.
With all glory, honor, and praise to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...
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