The 70th seven of Daniel is divided into two equal halves of three and one-half years, 42 months or 1,260 days each. The first half is called the beginning of sorrows or the beginning birth pangs. The second half, the real travail or hard labour so to say, consists of the Great Tribulation and part of the Wrath of God, the Day of The Lord or the day of His Wrath. Precisely in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel, a lot of critical events occur that initiate the Great Tribulation by the antiChrist which is the great wrath of Satan. This convergence and confluence of events orchestrate the worst persecution that mankind shall ever witness in all of its existence on the planet, Earth.
(1) War In The Heavenlies.
The execution of the sentence against Satan occurs in four stages. First he was cast out of the heaven of heavens alongside his evil angels following his rebellion against God in eternity past, prior to the creation of man. His present abode is in the dark void and the starry heavens from whither he roams to and fro the Earth and up and down in it(Job 1:7, 2:2). Right up to now, Satan has access to the Throne Room in the Temple Of God in Heaven where he accuses the brethren before God, day and night. But precisely in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel, that access shall be cut off. This is the second stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan and His fallen angels.
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the Dragon; and the Dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the Great Dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the Earth, and his angels were cast out with him”(Rev.12:7-9).
Michael, the warrior archangel of God and the angels of God under his command fought against the Dragon and his fallen evil angels. The Dragon and his hordes of fallen angels were defeated and forcibly cleared from the dark void and the starry heavens. They were forcibly evicted from the Heavenlies. There was no place found for them in the Heavenlies. They lost their abode in the Heavenlies. The Dragon lost his access to the court of Heaven where he accuses the brethren before the Lord. The elimination of satanic accusations enhances the position of saints in the court of Heaven. The saints can now approach Heaven without a feeling of being accused. The absence of accusations eliminates inferiority complex, and creates a robust access to the court of Heaven. There is no one there to remind God of our sins and failures. Even though they were washed away by the blood of the Lamb, Satan had the audacity to bring them up again and again.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far hath God removed our transgressions from us(Ps 103:12).
“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them”(Rev.12:12).
This shall bring much joy to the heavenly dwellers; for no one brings foul accusations against the saints before them any more.
The third stage will be when Satan is cast into the bottomless pit at the end of the war of Armageddon.
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.”(Rev.20:1-3).
From the bottomless pit, Satan and his fallen evil angels shall be cast into the Lake of Fire and Sulphur at the expiry of the 1,000-year reign of Christ.
“And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”(Rev.20:10).
This is the fourth and final stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan and his rebellious evil angels.
(2) Satan Cast Down To The Earth.
The first stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan was his eviction from the Heaven of heavens to the dark void and the starry heavens. It is from here that he roams the Earth, going to and fro, and up and down in it, like a roaring lion, he prowls around seeking whom he may devour(1 Pet. 5:8). The second stage of the execution of the sentence against Satan and his rebellious evil angels will be to cast them down from the dark void and the starry heavens to the Earth. He shall be barred access from not only the Heaven of heavens and the Throne Room of God in the Temple Of God in Heaven but also from the Dark Void and the Starry heavens. His sphere of influence shall be restricted to the Earth.
“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night”(Rev.12:10).
When Satan is cast down to the Earth, he knows he has but a short time, three and one-half years plus 30 days before he is incarcerated in the bottomless pit for a thousand years.
(3) The Removal Of The Restrainer.
Christian bible scholars are not agreed on whom the Restrainer is, but there is no argument amongst orthodox Jewish bible scholars on whom the Restrainer is. The concept of the Restrainer is not primarily Christian but Jewish. Some biblical scholars, especially of the pretribulation persuasion identify the Restrainer with the Holy Spirit. Therefore He must hitchhike with the Church at the Rapture which occurs, in their view, at least, seven years prior to the commencement of the 70th seven of Daniel. Assuming the Restrainer were the Holy Spirit, there is no need for him to hitchhike with the Church at the Rapture; inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has been working here prior to the inception of the Church on the day of Pentecost. The Lord God and His Spirit has sent me says the prophet Isaiah(Isa.48:16). The Spirit of the Lord God has anointed me says our Lord Jesus, The Messiah(Is.61:1). Prior to the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit had been at work here on Earth. Moses was anointed of the Holy Spirit, so were the High Priests, prophets and the Kings of Israel. Besides, there were others who were specially anointed to perform special tasks like David’s mighty warriors, Bezaleel and Aholiab who were divinely tasked with the construction of the tabernacle in the wilderness(Exid.31:1-11). What happened on the day of Pentecost was the initiation of a new relationship between God and man based on a new covenant established in the upper room on Mount Zion on the day of Passover some fifty days earlier.
This new relationship will expire with the Rapture of the church. It does not however mean that the work of the Holy Spirit amongst men will cease with the Rapture of the Church. The Holy Spirit was here before the inception of the church on the day of Pentecost. He is here right now in the Church Age. And He will continue to be here after the Church Age. The Holy Spirit is the Third person of the Godhead. Like the other two persons of the Godhead, The Father and The Son, He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. But unlike Jesus, the second person of the Godhead, He does not possess a physical body and cannot therefore be restricted to a particular location. But His work and actions may be in manifestation in one place at one time or the other. What am trying to prove here is that the Rapture does not in any way take out the Holy Spirit from the Earth.
As touching the identity of the Restrainer, there is no confusion amongst Orthodox Jews about who he is. His identity was known in Judaism for hundreds of years prior to the advent of Christianity. The Restrainer is archangel Michael, the warrior angel of God who standeth for His(God’s) people, Israel.
“And at that time Michael shall stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to the same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book”(Dan.12:1).
At that time, Michael, the great Prince that defends Israel and the church, the rest of the offspring of the Woman that have the testimony of Jesus Christ(Rev.12:17), shall cease to defend Israel and the church, and there shall be a great tribulation, such as never have been before that time. Rashi and other orthodox Jewish scholars are unanimous in their identification of the Restrainer as archangel Michael who defends Israel. Without the removal of the Restrainer, there shall be no great tribulation. At the middle of the 70th seven, after he has cast Satan and his fallen evil angels down to Earth, prior to their being herded into the abyss and Hell respectively, God shall put him on a leave of absence for a while. Our brother Paul and father in the Lord, writing to the Thessalonians said,
“and you know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now leteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed, the son of perdition, 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, 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).
There are two personalities mentioned here. Second, the antiChrist whose coming is after the working of Satan with all signs and lying wonders. There is no argument about the identity of the second person. But there is no consensus of opinion amongst Christian bible scholars with regards to the identity of the first personality. But our brother Paul did not bother to identify the restrainer to his audience because his identity is already pretty well known to his immediate audience, the Thessalonians. Paul probably told them who he was in his previous oral instructions while he was with them. The identity of the first personality is revealed in the OT in the book of the prophet Daniel as we have seen. When the archangel Michael “amads”, that is ceases to do what he normally does best, defend the people of God, there shall be a time of trouble.
Some Christian bible scholars identify the restrainer with the Church. These are some of the pretribulation rapturists who teach that the church shall not go through the Tribulation. There are others also who identify the restrainer with human government. But this cannot be true because human government is present throughout the entire length of the 70th week until destroyed at Armageddon.
Jewish scholars did not begin to associate the restrainer with any other than archangel Michael till the second century BC. This is believed to be due to the influence of Christian Bible Scholars.
(4) Satan Possesses The antiChrist
Satan is a spirit being; he has no physical body. So also are his demons. In order to be effective here on Earth, they must possess physical objects, human beings, animals and other material objects. When Satan entered into Judas, the man from Iscara, he betrayed his Master Jesus for thirty pieces of silver which he never used(Matt.27:3-6). Satan possesses the antiChrist. He gives him his power, seat and great authority to rule over the Earth on his behalf.
“And the Dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority”(Rev.13:2).
A good number of the fallen evil angels evicted from heavens’ premises shall find abode in rebuilt Babylon, the commercial and religious headquarters of the kingdom of the antiMessiah.
“And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils(demons), and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird”(Rev.18:2).
The rest of these demons shall possess whosoever they can. Because of the preponderance of demonic possession evil shall run riot on Earth. Men and woman shall walk about naked unashamed and perform ludicrous and forbidden acts in public to the consternation of anyone left with a sense of decency.
(5) The Jerusalem campaign: Jerusalem Surrounded By Armies
Because of the peace treaty with Israel, the antiChrist posing as a protector and a benefactor of the Jewish state would station some troops in Israel from the very beginning of the peace covenant. But precisely in the middle of the 70th seven, the antiMessiah shall relocate his headquarters from Europe to Jerusalem, the land between the two seas- the Mediterranean and the Dead seas– in the glorious holy mountain(Dan.11:45). In anticipation of Jewish opposition, and in order to enforce the Apostasy, the antiMessiah shall surround Jerusalem massively with his troops.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are Judea flee to the mountains; and let them who are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into……”(Luk.21:20-24).
As we can see here, the fleeing to the mountains of them that are in Judaea is associated with the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies by the antiMessiah. The same events associated with the surrounding of Jerusalem with armies are also associated with the abomination of desolation standing in the place where it ought not, that is, the rebuilt Jewish temple on mount Moriah in Jerusalem(Matt. 24:15-20; Mark 13:14-18). And we know that this event, the abomination of desolation occurs in the middle of the 70th seven.
“For he shall cut the covenant with many for one seven. And in the midst of the seven, he shall cause the sacrifice and the grain offerings to cease; and as for the overspreading of abomination, he shall make it desolate”(Dan.9:27).
It therefore follows that these two events are concurrent. They occur when the Restrainer is removed. When the opposition of Michael, the archangel that standeth for His people is removed, the Beast-antChrist shall be at liberty to do as he pleases. This initial invasion of Jerusalem by the armies of the antiMessiah is dubbed The Jerusalem Campaign in order to distinguish it from the other two campaigns that will take place in the same vicinity, namely the Jehoshaphat campaign and the Battle of Armageddon.
(6) antiChrist Relocates His Headquarters To Jerusalem
Prior to the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel, the headquarters of the Beast-antiChrist shall be somewhere in the land of Magog from where he forms a coalition of the most three powerful European nations, Magog, Meshech and Tuval. He unites them with Javan, and six other nations in Africa and the Mid East to form a ten nation confederation. He amasses the most powerful army in the annals of military history with the most sophisticated weaponry ever. Posing as Israel’s protector because of the peace treaty, he relocates his headquarters to Jerusalem in the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel.
“And he shall plant the tabernacle 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).
The seas mentioned here are the Mediterranean and the Dead Seas. The glorious holy mountain is mount Moriah, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
(7) antiChrist Makes His Debut At The Temple.
When the antichrist relocates to Jerusalem, he shall make his debut at the rebuilt Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. There he declares himself God.
“He as God, sitteth in the temple of God, displaying himself as God.”( 2 Thess.2:4b).
(8) Self-deification Of The Beast-antiChrist
When Satan possessed Judas, he betrayed his Master Jesus. When he possesses the antiChrist, he becomes a political megalomaniac. He declares himself God, and demands worship of all living earth-dwellers.
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a fallen away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposseth and exalts the himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped”(2 Thess.2:3,4a).
(9) Abomination Of Desolation
The antiMessiah shall place a statue or image of himself in the Holy of Holies of the Rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. He shall sit in the temple of God displaying himself as God.
“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”(2 Thess.2:4).
This shall be like in the days of Antiochus, the seventh Greek ruler of Seleucid dynasty who defiled the Jewish altar of holocaust by sacrificing a pig, an unclean animal on it. He also put a statue of the Olympian Zeus or the Canaanite Baal Shemen in the Holy of Holies of the second Temple built by the returning exiles. The image of the Olympian Zeus was actually a burst of Antiochus himself. He claimed to be the God made manifest, Antiochus Theos Epiphanes. He was the prefigure of the antiMessiah. So, like his foreshadow, the antiMessiah shall desecrate the Holy of Holies. This is the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
“And in the midst of the week(seven), he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abomination he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined, shall be poured upon the desolate”(Dan.9:27b, 27c).
The phrase translated overspreading of abominations or wings of abominations is best translated extreme point of abomination. This shall be the extreme point or zenith of abomination when a man sits in the temple of the God of Israel and declares himself God, demanding worship of all mortals. Our Lord Jesus in His Olivet Discourse told His disciples,
“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”(Matt.24:15-21, cp. Mk.13:14-19). The Great Tribulation has begone.
(10) Abolition Of Daily Sacrifice
When the Jewish temple is rebuilt on Mount Moriah, they shall resume temple worship, animal sacrifice, grain and drink offspring, following the false covenant of peace mediated by the antiMessiah between Israel and her Arab and Islamic neigbours. The daily morning and evening sacrifices shall be recommenced. When the antiMessiah makes his debut at the temple, he shall put a stop to the daily animal sacrifices, meal and drink offerings. He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease(Dan.9:27b). He will do this because he will not recognize any God; he will not brook rivals. He opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God(2 Thess.2:4). Because of his demand to be worshipped as God and his murder of those who refuse to worship him, the observant Jews who abhor idolatry will desert the temple and the city. Therefore there will be no one to offer the daily sacrifice to the Yahweh of Israel and of Judah. That’s why it is called the abomination that maketh desolate. It will make the Temple Mount and the city of Jerusalem desolate because observants Jews will flee for their lives, and anyone else who repudiates his authority and refuses to bow to his image.
(11) antiChrist’s True Identity Unveiled
Prior to this time, the antiMessiah shall travel incognito, unrecognized as it were for who he truly is. Except for members of his inner circle and the believers who had learned from the word of God of his true identity, the mass of humanity would not know that the antiMessiah is a dead man who had lived before and ruled one of the previous seven Beast Empires come back to life, to rule over the Eighth And Final Beast Empire of Satan.
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”(Rev.17:8).
At this point he shall not hide it any more, for it serves his purpose. He shall take away the veil and reveal himself as a dead man come back to life. Men shall be literally paralyzed with fear. This shall be the singular most important factor that shall give him overwhelming influence over the majority of the living earth-dwellers.
“And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the Dragon who gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, who is like unto the beast, and who is able to make war with him”(Rev.13:3,4)?
For the Jews who made a peace covenant with him, it shall be so terrifying for them to understand that they have made a covenant with a dead man come back to life(Is.28: 19).
(12) antiMessiah Demands Worship Of All Men
The antiChrist shall demand all men to worship him from the moment he sits on the temple of God displaying himself as God. The large majority of the living earth-dwellers shall worship him being awed by the fact that he is a dead man come back to life. The antiMessiah is not just a dead man come back to life, but he actually ruled over one of the seven previous Beast Empires of Satan.
“The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.”(Rev.17:8).
A lot of folks will be awed and frightened and horrified by this singular fact, and will not have the courage to resist him.
“They worshipped the Dragon who gave power to the Beast; and they worshipped the Beast, saying, who is able to make war with the beast?”
They will question their ability to resist him because of the fact that he is a dead man come back to life, and because their names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life slain from the the foundation of the world. Beyond this he has the most sophisticated armies in the world at his beck and call. He is also in control of world food supply. To effect his plan to get all and sundry to worship him, he shall introduce a mark of loyalty to his assumed divinity. Anyone who receives this mark shall become a loyal citizen of his kingdom. Anyone chipped or branded shall be at liberty to buy and sell and engage in any business transactions. Those who refuse this Mark shall not be able to buy or sell. They will be economically boycotted. If they have not previously stockpiled food and other supplies, they could die of starvation, or be caught trying to procure food for themselves and their families and loved ones. This shall be a horrible period of time in the history of man on Earth.
(13) The Great Tribulation Begins.
As soon as the antiChrist declares himself God and demands worship of all mortals, he begins to enforce the worship of himself by having all the citizens of his kingdom and anywhere else he conquers by war or intrigue, and those nations allied to him branded with his mark as sign of allegiance. He will use food as a bargaining chip. Those who have this Mark can buy and sell, and engage in other transactions. Those who do not have this Mark cannot buy and sell or move around freely. Those who do not take his mark, who are hiding from the watchful eyes of the antiMessiah could die of starvation if they had not stored away food, medicines, and other supplies ahead of time. The antiChrist’s kingdom will be a closed society. Everything will be run by the state and its agencies. The society will be cashless. Purchases will be done online using biometric IDs implanted on ones forehead and right or left hand. Citizens who are cyborgs will be connected to one another through Digital ID. Whatever one purchases online is delivered at one’s door by drones and robots. There will be strict electronic monitoring of transactions. Besides an army of enforcers, robotic images of the antiChrist(beasts of the Earth) shall be situated at strategic locations to identify those who do not have the mark of the Beast, and to coerce them into compliance or be killed on refusal to comply. The society will be more or less like the communist one at the zenith of the Cold War. Citizens will be required by the government to inform on one another. A man’s foes shall be those of his own household(Matt.10:36). Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold(Matt.24:12). There will be false brethren. Brethren shall betray one another. Remember that at this time, it is the apogee of the cosmic conflict between God and Satan. Satan’s plan is to destroy or disqualify all men from becoming citizens of Christ’s millennial kingdom.
Anyone with the Mark Of The Beast will be executed by Christ when He takes over rulership and physical possession of the Earth. Those who do not take the Mark of The Beast, are potential citizens of Christ’s millennial kingdom. So Satan will try to ferret them out wherever they may be and destroy them thereby defeating Christ if it were possible. The Bible makes it clear in the words of our Lord Jesus the Christ, that if the time of persecution by the antiMessiah were not amputated, no one will be able to evade the long arm of the antiChrist’s set up(Matt.24:22). The spiritually dead Christians shall comply and take the mark of the Beast. The compromising and unfaithful Christians shall suffer persecution because they failed to follow Christ’s instruction concerning perseverance during the hour of temptation, but shall be delivered if they endure till the end. Because they are true believers, they will certainly endure to the end of the ages when the true believers are raptured and the Wrath Of God is poured out on the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast.
The uncompromising and faithful believer shall be given protection from the hour of temptation because he had kept God’s instruction concerning perseverance in the hour of temptation, and shall be physically removed from the sphere of persecution when Christ amputates the great tribulation with cosmic disturbances. It will be utter delusion for anyone to think he can outwit and evade the antiMessiah if one had not adequately prepared ahead of time following God’s instructions concerning the hour of temptation. There will be no where to hide because Google has mapped out the whole World including ocean floors. With the advancement in modern technology and electronic monitoring systems, it will be really very difficult if not virtually impossible to evade or spoof the antiChrist’s monitoring systems for any reasonable length of time. The reason why anyone without the Mark Of the Beast will survive at all is because those days shall be cut short.
It will be utterly disastrous for believers who have been taught that the church will be raptured before the antiMessiah hangs out his shingles, to find themselves in the midst of it all unprepared. Those who are teaching this doctrine are doing the body of Christ a lot of disservice no matter how holy they live and how stellar their biblical scholarship. The Pretribulation Rapture View is by far the most popular view. Tons of books have been written on it. A good number of them best sellers at the New York Stock Exchange Market. And the authors have made their millions of dollars. But these are not the measures of biblical accuracy. It is unbelievable that some of the best minds in biblical scholarship are touting a view that is unsupported by the Scriptures, and neither by the teachings of the Apostles of the Lamb nor by the Church Fathers. Even though the fundamentalist evangelicals are the forefront of the peddling of this most unbiblical view, it originated by association from a charismatic and visionary Pentecostal teenager named Margret Macdonald in 1828 in England.
Antiquities alone do not however make a view biblically accurate. Only the Scriptures make a view accurate. But the closer a view to the teachings of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb, and the teachings of the early church Fathers and their immediate disciples; if a view is in the Didachi or supported by it, the more the likelihood of its biblical accuracy. The pretribulational Rapture view is not found in any of these, though it’s proponents make it look so.
For an intelligent biblical scholar to read 2 Thessalonians 2, and come to the conclusion that the church will not go through the great tribulation is mind boggling. These scholars are guilty of intellectual dishonesty. Was it not the Russian philosopher Dostoyevsky who said that
“man has a predilection for systems and abstract deductions, that he is ready to deny himself, that he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses in order to justify his logic.”
Whatever our logics may be, let us make sure that they do not in any way contradict or fall foul to the Scriptures which only are eternally inviolate. But these scholars also claim to be true to the scriptures as I do. But my joy is that a time cometh when no man shall argue about it any more, but it may be too late for some of us then to make the necessary adjustments. Now is the time.
(14) The Apostasy On Account Of His Name
That day shall not come until there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed; the son of perdition(2 Thess.2:3). That day is the day of the Lord or the day of His wrath which occurs at the end of the ages. On that day, the true believers are raptured, and God Almighty institutes His Day of the Lord wrath at the breaking of the 7th seal of the seven-sealed scroll of Rev.6(Rev.8:1). The Greek word translated falling away is “apostasia” from which we derive the English word apostasy and its cognate apostate. It means a revolt, a rebellion, a defection or total abandonment of one’s faith, a cause or a person. It was used by the author of the book of First Maccabees to describe the situation in Israel during the reign of the seventh Greek ruler of the Seleucid dynasty, Antiochus Theos Epiphanes who made a decree that all people in his kingdom should be one. The only way he could achieve that was to get all the peoples in his domain to worship one god, the Greek god, the Olympian Zeus, made in his image, and to practise Greek culture and custom. Antiochus was a prefigure of the antiMessiah. He defiled the Jewish altar of holocaust by offering the blood of a pig on it, an unclean animal, and put an image of the Olympian Zeus, a burst of himself in the Holy of Holies of the Jewish temple on Mount Moriah built by the returning exiles. He demanded that Jews stop the practice of circumcision, the sign of covenantal relationship with the God of Israel. Jewish women who had their children circumcised had those children hung on their necks by the officers of the king who were enforcing the apostasy. Some Jews cut a covenant with the king not to practise circumcision. Those who were circumcised disguised their circumcision. They built a gymnasium in Jerusalem and practiced greek culture and customs. The Greek word gymnasium comes from the root “gymnos” which means naked. Athletes at the gymnasium exercised completely naked in those days. Jews who were circumcised had to disguise the mark of circumcision. These renegade Jews who abandoned their religion for the Greek way of life were referred to as apostates.
Mattattias Maccabeus and his five sons led a revolt against the Greeks. They rededicated the temple after the defeat of the Greeks in 164 BC. This is the origin of the Jewish feast of Channukah, also called the Feast Of Lights or the Feast Of Dedication. When Paul wrote that that day will not come except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who exalteth himself above all that is called God or worshipped, so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God showing himself as God, what he had in his mind was a similar scenario which will be played out in the rebuilt Jewish temple on mount Moriah when the antiChrist shall demand that all men worship him. That some Jews will totally abandon the faith of their fathers in order to make themselves acceptable to the antiMessiah. Some professing Christians also shall totally abandon their faith in the name of Jesus to follow the antiChrist. Jesus referred to this as the falling away on account of my name(Matt.24:8-12). Apostasy must precede the Rapture and the day of the Lord’s wrath against the living wicked earth-dwellers and worshippers and adorers of the antiMessiah. This abandonment begins in the middle of the 70th seven when the man of sin, the son of destruction is made manifest or revealed.
(15) The Ministry Of The Two Witnesses Begins.
The ministry of the two witnesses will last for 42 months or three and one-half years. The majority of Biblical Scholars are agreed that the ministry of the two witnesses will occur in the second half of the 70th seven.
“And I shall give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth”(Rev.11:3).
Their ministry begins at the starting point of the great tribulation, when Satan is cast down to the Earth having great wrath, when the Restrainer is remove, when Satan possesses the Beast-antiChrist, gives him his seat, power and great authority, when the antiMessiah declares himself God, unveils his identity as dead man come back to life, desicrates the rebuilt Jew temple on mount Moriah, deifies himself, and demands worship of all mortals. At this point, the offspring of the woman who keep the commandment of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ are in hiding. God will not leave himself without witnesses. The two witnesses with the anointing of Moses and Elijah shall be wonderfully empowered by God to bear him witness. Their ministry shall be in the vicinity of Jerusalem, right there on the Temple Mount, under the noses of the Beast-antiChrist, the second beast, the false prophet, and their army of sycophants and informants. If anyone attempts to harm them, fire proceeds out of their mouths and makes a mince meal of their enemies(Rev11:5). When they shall have finished their ministry, the antiChrist, the beast that ascends out of the abyss, shall make war with them, overcome them, and kill them on the last day of the 70th seven of Daniel. Their bodies shall be exposed to the elements for three and one-half days to the joy, merriment and celebration of the living wicked earth-dweller, worshippers and adorers of the antiMessiah. Three and one-half days after their demise, that is on the fourth day of the 30-day reclamation period, the Spirit of life from God shall into them, they stand stand on their feet, and they shall hear a voice from Heaven saying unto them, come hither. They shall ascend to Heaven in a cloud. The same hour, there shall be a great earthquake, the tenth part of the city of Jerusalem shall fall, and seven thousand people shall perish in the earthquake(Rev.11:12). The remnants shall be frightened and give glory to the God of Heaven.
(16) The Three Angelic Announcements
There will be three announcements made by the angels of God starting from the middle of the 70th seven of Daniel.
(a) The Everlasting Gospel
The first is the everlasting gospel.
“And I saw an angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto all them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, saying with a loud voice, fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgement is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters”(Rev.14:6,7).
Why is there a call to worship God at this time? It is because there is a false God, the antiChrist who demands worship. There is no consensus of opinion amongst biblical scholars as to when this announcement was made and as pertaining to the content of the gospel. Is the everlasting gospel the same as the gospel of the kingdom which Christ spoke about in Matt.24:14 which must be preached to the world before the end of the ages? The context and timing of these two gospels are in the second half of the 70th seven. It is therefore likely that these two gospels are one and the same. Fear God, and give glory to Him, for the our of His judgment is come, appears to be an addendum to the gospel of the kingdom rather than the main content of the everlasting gospel.
There cannot be two separate and different gospels preached at the same time. The main aim at this time is to get men to acknowledge God and reject the mark of the beast. Anyone beast-marked shall face the wrath of God at the end of the ages. The other thing is who is preaching this gospel. Was the announcement made by the horizontal flying angel all that is needed to make all the peoples of the earth hear this gospel? Or was this announcement chorused by believers also here on earth? I personally think there is cooperation between men and angels to get this gospel to the whole world. When certain announcements are made in heaven, there are corresponding actions amongst men on Earth. God, men and angels are working together to accomplish divine purpose.
(b) The Fall Of Babylon
The second announcement was the fall of Babylon.
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”(Rev.14:8).
The fall and demise of Babylon is inevitable, therefore the announcement was doubled, Babylon is fallen, is fallen. This is a literary device that signals the superlative. It is very common in Igbo language, in which the superlative is stated by doubling the verb. Babylon must fall, hence the need to warn the living earth-dwellers of the dangers of putting their hope and trust in a crumbling system. But what is Babylon? Babylon is a global ideal, a false humanistic philosophical ideology epitomized in the one world religion and one world government of the antiMessiah, that exalts man above God. Indeed it does not recognize God.
It began in the Garden of Eden when the Serpent beguiled Eve and she ate the forbidden fruit. After the deluge, it was given fillip by Nimrod who established false human government, and the religion of mother-child worship and humanistic education and consumerism and commercialism. It will be epitomized in the last days by the false religion of the Dragon-Beast headquartered in Babylon. It symbolizes everything that had its origin in humanistic evolution. Yes! There is a physical city called Babylon. It shall be destroyed. There is false humanistic region headquartered in Babylon. It shall be destroyed. The whole Earth itself shall be salted with fire.
“Seeing that all these things shall be destroyed, what manner persons ought you to be”(2 Pet.3:11)?
(c) The Wrath Of God On The Beast-Marked
The third angelic announcement is that the wrath of God will fall upon the beast-marked worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which shall be poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascended up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever recieveth the mark of His name”(Rev14:9-11).
There are some that argue about the timing of this event. My understanding however is that Rev.14 is a recap and a periscope on the major and critical events which occur in the second half of the 70th seven beginning from the desecration of the temple by the image of the antiMessiah. Anyone who takes the mark of the beast shall face the wrath of God. Those who are branded or chipped with the mark of the Beast who survive the wrath of God shall be executed when God Almighty reclaims physical possession of the Earth at the end of the war of Armageddon. Beyond that, they shall be cast into hell and subsequently the lake of fire and brimstone where they will be tormented for ever and ever. The benefits of being branded for the antiChrist are temporal, temporary, transient and ephemeral, but the subsequent punishment is eternal. So it is not worthwhile serving the Beast-antiChrist.
(17) The Everlasting Gospel Preached To All The World
The task of preaching the gospel to the whole world was given to the church by Christ.
“And He came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the ages. Amen”(Matt.28:18-20).
Here, Our Lord Jesus The Christ makes it clear that his disciples will be here on Earth until the end of the ages. The end of the ages is a phrase that marks the end of this age and the beginning of another, the age to come. It is at this point that God intervenes in human affairs to punish the living wicked earth-dwellers, worshippers and adorers of the Dragon-Beast and ushers in the age of righteousness. It is at this point that the true believers are raptured. It is in the second half of the 70th seven of Daniel, in the midst of the great tribulation that this gospel of the kingdom will be preached to all the world perhaps with the assistance of powerful angels of God.
“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”( Matt.24:14 ).
There are biblical scholars who believe that this task which the church had failed to accomplish in the last two thousand years shall be accomplish by angels in the second half of the 70th seven of Daniel prior to the Rapture and the Day of the Lord. But angels were not commissioned to preach the gospel. But they can render assistance to men in the dissemination of the gospel. When the angel of the Lord appeared to Cornelius, he instructed him to sent for Peter(Act.10). Why did not the angel preach the gospel to him? Because they were not permitted by God to do so. The angel of the Lord also gave assistance to Philip in the conversion of the eunuch in charge of the treasury of Queen Candice of Mero(Act.8:26). This kind of angelic ministration was common in the early church and in those parts of the world where believers are severely persecuted today. Recently I read an account in which Jesus personally visited a believer in Iran and taught him for two hours daily for two years. Afterwards He directed him to a secret location where other believers met. It is likely that this kind of angelic ministrations will be increased in the midst of the great tribulation. Without it, in actual fact, it will be impossible for the task to be accomplish by mortal man in the midst of the great tribulation by the antiChrist.
So, in the midst of the severe persecution, some believers will take it upon themselves, with angelic assistance and divine direction not only to refuse the mark of the beast, but also to go about persuading others not to take mark of the Beast and to accept Jesus as their personal Saviour and Lord. Most of them will be beheaded by the Beast. However, they will not be dithered. Come to think of it, there will be nothing else left for anyone with a heavenly vision to live for. In a little while, the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with a fervent heat, the Earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall he dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the Day Of God, wherein the heaven being fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat. Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness(2 Pet.3:10-13).
There will be certain brethren, faithful believers who will have this understanding that there is nothing else to live for, who will go out and preach the gospel in the midst of the great tribulation and persecution. Certainly they will not be those who have been brought up on bread and butter christianity, on nothing else other than prosperity and the happy and good life, who believe they will be raptured to Heaven on the wings of a silver bird many years before the antiChrist hangs out his shingles.
(18) The Destruction Of The Babylonian Harlot?
Although the destruction of the Babylonian harlot is the second angelic announcement, it is doubtful whether it was carried out precisely in the middle of the 70th seven. The destruction of the Babylonian harlot was carried out by the tens kings of the 8th and final beast empire; for God had put in their heart to fulfill His will( Rev.17:16,17). It is part of the seventh bowl judgment, the final wrath of God. For a fuller treatment of this topic, see my commentary on Revelation, chapters 17 and 18.