I had this thought……………..
Mystery Babylon, both Harlot and City, will be revealed during the first half of the 70th week of Daniel. It will gain power and authority over the kings of the earth during that time, catapulted by the 7 year covenant with the many by the AC, which jump starts the 70th week. The Beast allows Mystery Babylon, the Harlot, to keep it under control until mid week. The beast then reveals itself as the AC and sets up the abomination that makes desolate. The AC then destroys the Harlot religion, the city is destroyed later during the Wrath of God.
At the mid point of the week (start of the Great Tribulation), the AC will move his headquarters from Mystery Babylon the city, to Jerusalem and demand worship. Some say his initial headquarters will not be Mystery Babylon. I interpret it otherwise, since both are dependent on each other during the first 3.5 years of the 70th week. When the covenant is made and the week begins, the seals of the scroll (containing the wrath of God and deed to the earth inside) are broken by the Lamb leading to the opening of the scroll and ability to view the Wrath of God. The first seal is magnanimous. It contains the covenant, the false christ, mystery babylon the city and harlot arise, and the temple construction begins. Our answer will be certain when the Revelation of Jesus to John is unsealed, at the breaking of the first seal. IMO.
Dr. Avraham Shallom:
It will certainly be possible for those of us who study eschatology(End Time biblical prophecy), to identify the antiChrist and Mystery Babylon from the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel(Dan.9:27). The other group of people that will know him will be members of his inner circle. The rest of humanity will be ignorant of his true identity which will be veiled until the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel. If the scornful leaders of Israel knew his true identity at the beginning, they would not enter into a covenant with him in the first place.
Within the first half of the 70th week, the antiChrist will gain power and authority over the kings of the Earth first through subtle peace diplomacy(1st seal: Rev.6:1,2, Matt.24:4; Mk.13:6; Luk.21:8), and later on through wars, commotions, threats and rumours of wars(2nd seal: Rev.6:3,4; Matt.24:5,6; Mk.13:7,8a, Luk.21:9), and famines, pestilences and earthquakes(3rd seal: Rev.6:5; Matt.24:7b; Mk.13:8; Luk.21:10,11).
As you rightly pointed out, the 7-year peace treaty with the many from within Israel will play a major role as it marks the starting point of the 70th week. Besides, it enables the antiChrist to station a protection force in Israel, thusly, granting him access to the Middle East without firing a shot. However the antiChrist will not be revealed to the rest of humanity until the midpoint of the 70th week when he relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem, the city between the two seas in the glorious Holy mountain, where he prolaims himself God, and violates the third Temple.
“And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him”(Dan.(11:45).
In the midst of the week, he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease…(Dan. 9:27b). He as God sits in the Temple of God displaying himself as God(2 Thess.2:4).
It is not Mystery Babylon that keeps the Beast under control. It is the restrainer whom orthodox Jewish scholars had identified in antiquity as the archangel Michael(Dan.12:1). When he is removed at the midpoint of the 70th week, the antiChrist will manifest.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”(2 Thess.2:6-10).
Until the restrainer is removed, the antiChrist will not manifest.
I dealt with this issue to some greater details in my article on The Great Tribulation. As a matter of fact, the woman(Mystery Babylon) rides the Beast(antiChrist). In other words, she comes into prominence through the political clout of the Beast(Rev.17:3). The antiChrist destroys the Harlot because he brooks no rivals, and besides, she has served her purpose of mesmerizing the wicked earth-dwellers to worship the Dragon-Beast. The Beast used the woman to gain notoriety. The woman on the other hand garnered wealth by ingratiating herself to the Beast. As you rightly pointed out, they are dependent on each another. Nevertheless, the antiChrist is the senior partner. It shall be a marriage of convenience. The Divorce shall be effected when the Beast has achieved his goal of world domination. The destruction was carried out by the ten horns of the Beast-antiChrist. God puts it in their hearts to destroy the Harlot(Rev.17:17-18). The destruction of Mystery Babylon is part of the seventh bowl judgment(Rev.18).
It may well be true that the antiChrist will relocate his headquarters from Babylon to Jerusalem. What that would mean is that he would first have moved it to Babylon from somewhere in the land of Magog; for the antiChrist shall be a magogite(Ezek.38:2). No doubt Babylon shall be his commercial and religious headquarters(Rev.18).
The covenant with death marks the breaking of the first seal. Until all the seven seals are broken, the content of the Scroll which is the wrath of God cannot be viewed as the seals are on the exterior of the Scroll.
The first seal appears or seems to be magnanimous as you said, but a subtle and dangerous deception of the sons of Israel. It is a “covenant with death” ; an “agreement with Sheol”(Hell, Hades). It is “seeking refuge in lies” ; and “hiding under falsehood.” “Wherefore hear the word of the Lord, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:”(Is.28:14-15). God will disannul the covenant with death. Their agreement with Hell shall not stand. “And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.”(Is.28:18).
The scornful leaders of the sons of Israel shall be utterly deceived by the antiChrist, hoodwinked by his initial apparent benevolence. In the midst of the week, he shall utterly subvert the sons of Jacob. It shall be so terrifying for them to understand that they have put their security in the hands of the worst Jew hater in history, a dead man come back to life.
As per the Temple, what the Scriptures reveal is that a Place of worship for the Jewish people on the Temple Mount shall be in place before the midpoint of the 70th week for the antiChrist to desecrate it at that point in time. Exactly when it shall be built is any one’s guess. Whatever anyone may say about it shall be speculation. Though the Jews have raised millions of dollars, procured materials for the building of the Third Temple based on a plan drawn from Ezek. 40-43, it is most improbable that a structure of that magnitude will be reared up on the Temple Mount prior to the advent of the Messsiah. What the prophet Ezekiel described is the Fourth and Millennial Temple on Mount Moriah built by Christ Himself after the war of Armageddon during the 45-Day restoration period. I have posted two articles relating to this issue on our website. Link: https://mtzionheritageministries.com
Dr. Avraham Shallom:
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”(1 Thess. 4:13-18).
In this classical Rapture passage, our brother, Apostle Paul’s tells the believers at Thessalonica that at the Rapture, the believers who are alive and remain shall be caught up with those who had slept in the Lord before this event, to meet the Lord in the air. The Greek word translated remain here is “perileipomenoi” which means to leave all around, to remain, to survive. This phrase is better translated, “the living, the remaining” or “the living, the surviving.” The question is what are we survivors of?
If the Rapture had taken place before the Great Tribulation, it would be wrong for brother Paul to speak of this group of believers as “the living, the surviving.” But if this group of believers had past through the Great Tribulation, it would be appropriate for our Brother Paul to so describe them as the living who had survived. Therefore, “the living, the surviving” are believers who had past through the Great Tribulation, and survived the horrors of its persecution by the satanic minion, the antiChrist.
Persecution is not what we desire and pray for as we desire, pray, and work hard for prosperity. In spite of that, they come upon us anyway. Unarguably, the persecuted Church is stronger in the faith, but worldliness can bedeville the Church with more subtle, and difficult challenges than persecution. In persecution, the lines are clearly drawn, but they ain’t so clear with the cares of this life, prosperity, pursuit of happiness, and the good life. The desire to acquire the good things of this life can lead one astray in very subtle ways. In persecution, our physical life and property are in danger primarily even though the ultimate goal is to alienate our souls and spirits from Christ, but on the other hand, in those areas where believers are not physically assaulted, the daily assault on our spirits and souls could be very enormous.
“For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together”(Matt. 24:28 ). The gospel according to Matthew was probably originally written in Aramaic, and later translated into Greek, because it was not likely Matthew, a tax collector understood Greek to such extent as to pen this gospel directly in Greek unless, of course, he employed the services of an ammamuensis. Besides, Aramaic was the language in which Christ ministered to His disciples. This fact does not help us to understand the text as this original manuscript in Aramaic is extinct if at all it existed.
There are three Greek words that are germane to our understanding of this short parable by our Lord Jesus in the Olivet Discourse. The first “ptoma” which is translated carcase in KJV. In the parallel passage in Luk.17:37, the Greek word is “soma” which simply means body. The other word we would look at is aetoi which is translated eagles in KJV. Some other translation render it vultures. The vulture is a class of eagles. All eagles are carnivores, but the vulture is a carrion, a scavenger. In every other place where aetoi is used, it always refers to angels(Rev.4:7; 8:13; 12:14). The usage here cannot be an exception. So this is a metaphor. It should not be rendered vulture at all; it established an a priori case for the Pretribulational Rapture position which sees vultures feeding on dead bodies at the end of Armageddon, and the living survivors gathered sideways into the Millennium.
The third is the Greek word “episunago” which is rendered gathered in KJV. “Sunagoge” means gathering, but the prefix “epi” which means upon, gives it direction. In other words, episounago means gathered upwards. This understanding is in contradiction to the sideways gathering into the Mellennium assumed by the pretribbers who interpret vv.29,30 to be the end of the wrath of God at Armageddon, and v.31 as the sideways gathering of the survivors of the wrath of God into the Mellennial kingdom of Christ by the angels of God.
We conclude therefore that Matt.24:29-31 teaches that the Rature of the saints, both the living and those who have fallen asleep in Christ occurs after the Great Tribulation, and the cosmic disturbances, the darkening of the sun, moon, and stars, and is effected through the agency of the angels who gather upwardly both the living saints and those who have fallen asleep in Christ to meet the Lord in the air.