End-Time events are beginning to pile up on the edge of the horizon in a remarkable way. Broad descriptions are given in Scripture, such as the Rapture told of in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, but even in that context are finer details that are often overlooked or confused as to timing or connection to the main event specified.
These looming events and related conditions include the “falling away” which must happen before the lawless one can be revealed. Another is the prophecy of Jesus that He will return during a time of economic revival. Still another is the prophecy of the Gog-Magog war recorded in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Then the strategic and time-sensitive confirmation of a covenant with many, as reported in Daniel 9:27.
In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul writes that a “falling away” must come before the lawless one can be revealed, and the pronouncement seems to have two prongs to it. One, that there will be a turning away from the faith, a blanket-like rejection of the knowledge of God—fewer and fewer will be embracing the claims of Christ for redemption. Then, parallel to that, multitudes will be rejecting the rule of law, making laws of their own pleasing.
Trashing the principle of equal justice for all, with the fear of God non-existent, are visible results of this growing trend. They call evil good and good evil and rant and rave in the streets against authorities. One might surmise it this way:
“When the gestation period is finished, out comes that lawless one to take over the raging multitudes.” (Note that it says “he will be revealed,” indicating that he is already here but hidden.)
Further in that chapter 2 of 2 Thessalonians is listed another event that parallels the falling away from God and lawfulness. In Noah’s day God looked down and noted that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). And the ark He had Noah build was to carry Noah and his family out of the punishment of the flood upon those left outside. Likewise, in the case of Lot, recorded in Genesis 19, he was snatched out of the way of the destruction of Sodom.
So will it be for the believers who are born-again children of God when the lawlessness compounds to the breaking point of God’s mercy. Those who have been resisting the ever-increasing scourge of evil among the people of the world will be removed by the Lord, and evil will have its full sway over the world. It will be the time of the Rapture of the saints, as Paul reports in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
An unusual incident has occurred in the midst of this abandonment of the law that was heading up a planned destruction of the American sovereignty in order to institute a New World Order that would foster a one-world government. The surprising upset of Donald Trump’s win over Hillary Clinton was utterly unexpected by that globalist faction. It has fulfilled a prophecy of Jesus in Luke 17:26-30 that He would return at a time of economic revival in America and in the world.
That passage recounts how Noah and Lot were rescued from the destruction of the flood, for Noah, and of the destruction of Sodom for Lot, telling how that provision of God for salvation of the righteous ones from His judgment of the unrighteous will occur in like manner when He comes. The passage is clear that those left behind will be judged by destruction on earth, just as He said:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
The following verses of that context tell how that escape from judgment will affect each individual person. The judgment is from heaven upon the earth, and those left behind on earth will face it.
The larger context of that concise detail of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 continues into chapter 5, verses 1-10, but essentially through verse 4:
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.”
Jesus said no one but the Father knows the day and the hour of His return. It will be “as a thief in the night,” but He said THE day or THE hour, not some day and some hour. There is, then, an “appointed time” already in place. And, we must remember that God has not made a promise or a prophecy that He does not intend to keep!
In verse 3 there is what appears to be a trigger-like incident, for it says, “…for when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety,’ sudden destruction shall come upon them, and they shall not escape.”
Who are “they,” and where else is “peace” indicated, and for whom in end-time prophecy? “They” are the Israelites, and the seven years are called “the time of Jacob’s trouble” in Jeremiah 30:7.
In Daniel 9:27 he predicts a confirmation of a covenant for seven years and speaks of a temple that is not now present in Jerusalem that will be completed by the halfway point of the seven years. It is then that the evil one will cancel the covenant and the sacrifices in the temple to declare himself God and demand the worship of the people.
This is the same scenario that Paul predicts in 2 Thessalonians 2 and John in Revelation 17, where the Satan-indwelt Antichrist takes over the one-world government as the eighth head of the beast that has become known more specifically as the one-world government. This is when the Great Tribulation, the last half of the tribulation, begins with its demand that everyone take the mark of the beast or be killed.
Hovering over the Middle East is the present threat of Russia’s and Iran’s combined efforts to take control of the region, including Israel and her abounding resources. When reading in Ezekiel 38-39 that the nation of the far north, no doubt Russia, would have her back turned, and God would have to put hooks in her jaws to bring her attention back on the Middle East and Israel, one may wonder when will, or did, it happen.
Perhaps God allowed the Soviet Union to fall apart and leave the solitary nation of Russia standing in shame and dishonor after the Cold War in order to bring about that different coalition with Iran (Persia) and other nations which are named in Ezekiel 38-39, in order to make way for the Antichrist’s certain judgment as the solitary head of all evil in resistance against God.
In Ezekiel, Gog is awakened to the opportunity of plunder against an “unwalled,” defenseless nation that has let down its guard, resting in assumed “peace” from an imposed covenant. The only thing that is apparently holding them back, except for the Lord’s timing, would be the commitment of America to defend the state of Israel. If the Rapture will have already taken place, America’s ability to defend Israel will have disappeared in the “sudden destruction” described in that event. Russia and the Muslim world will not have been affected very much with the disappearance of Christians from their populations.
The question often posed as to how the seven years taken to burn the residue of the weapons of war, and not spill over into the millennium, may be satisfied with the 75 days added on to that last half of the tribulation, as noted in Daniel 12. It appears that the Gog-Magog invasion will take place immediately after the Rapture, then the invasion’s failure, followed by the rebuilding of the temple which the Antichrist takes over, but temporarily.
The compressing of these events together is evidence that the time is drawing very near. Romans 8:11 is reassurance to the believers that their expectation is to be snatched out of the way of that “sudden destruction” just as Noah and Lot were in those days of long ago:
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”
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