An introduction to last days prophecies


“I tell you [it] now before it happens, that when it happens, ye may believe that I am [he].” (John 13:19)

“But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from among [the] dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.” (John 2:21-22)

“Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt. [Now] his disciples knew not these things at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things to him.” (John 12:15-16)


On this blog, we have previously linked to useful documents related to the last days prophecies:

My Shift to Covenant Theology and Amillennialism by David L. White

A Defense of (Reformed) Amillennialism by Prof. David J. Engelsma

These are important documents, although they are not fully exact in all their parts. But we didn’t have a detailed study about the last days on this blog. We only had an introductory study in our answer to an objection made by those who do not believe God’s Word; that study is in the following article: This generation will not pass away until all these things take place. We also have some articles in which you can read some details related to the last days; I mention: The perfect timing of Christ’s birth; Christ’s second coming on 21 May 2011? These and many other articles contain explanations about truths that each one of us should understand well in order to understand the last days prophecies; an example of such truths is the difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant.

In this article, we will see a brief explanation about last days prophecies, like the Rapture, the Millennium, the Tribulation, the Antichrist, and related facts.

As we read in the biblical passages quoted at the head of this article, a prophecy is understood by the believers when it comes to pass. There is no need to speculate about the interpretation of any prophecy, because “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (2 Peter 1:20) As we will see in the coming lines, God reveals the interpretation always. True believers read the prophecies and take them to heart by faith, therefore they understand them as they come to pass: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” (Revelation 1:3)

Prophecy

What is a prophecy? Contrary to what many people think, a prophecy is not necessarily a revelation about the future; it may be a divine revelation about the present and even a divine revelation that comes as the authoritative interpretation of a previously revealed truth. For instance, when Jeremiah said in Jeremiah 29:10 that the Babylonian captivity would last for seventy years, that was a revealed interpretation of the previously revealed prophecy that said that the judgment of God’s people would allow to the land to enjoy its sabbaths (see Leviticus 26:34 — a sabbath in this case is seven years). Nobody could — and nobody had the right to — interpret those sabbaths as to how many sabbaths they would be; God revealed through Jeremiah that they would be ten sabbaths, and that was a divine interpretation. This is how a revelation interprets another revelation; and only the Bible can interpret the Bible today, as the Canon of Scripture was closed as we have seen in our article The Canon of Scripture.

Prophecy differs between the Old and New Covenants, as we will now see.

The Old Covenant and the New Covenant

As we have seen in the article The Canon of Scripture, the Old Covenant was the Covenant of shadows that are all fulfilled under the New Covenant in the Lord Jesus Christ. God previously spoke to us in different manners by the prophets (see Hebrews 1:1), the prophets of the Old Covenant who were until John the Baptist (see Matthew 11:13). The Old Covenant prophets used Old Covenant temporal forms of expressions to express eternal realities that all are fulfilled under the New Covenant. EVERYTHING, even years and times and numbers in the Old Covenant prophecies, take an eternal dimension or understanding in the New Covenant, as the New Covenant is the fulfillment of all Old Covenant prophecies. We will particularly see this in Daniel’s prophecy in his Book’s chapter 9 about the crucifixion of the Messiah and the events that follow it.

The Old Covenant prophecies were sealed (see Daniel 12:9), and the seals were ALL opened by Christ, thus the New Covenant prophecies were NOT sealed (see Revelation 22:10). So Old Covenant prophets received revelation until John the Baptist, i.e. Old Covenant prophecies came until John the Baptist, but in the last days God spoke to us in His Son (see Hebrews 1:2). So the final and full revelation came in Jesus Christ. As we have seen in The Canon of Scripture, this means that New Covenant prophets did not add anything to the final revelation that came in Christ. Thus all the prophecies of the New Covenant, even the prophecies about future events related to God’s Plan, are already revealed in Christ, and they are the full interpretations of the Old Covenant prophecies.

This is very important, as it will help us understand last days prophecies.

The last days

The Bible is clear about the last days: “God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1-2). So the last days were already in the days Jesus came, i.e. in the days of the Apostles. Another verse: “but when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, come of woman, come under law” (Galatians 4:4). So the Lord Jesus came at the fullness of the time, in the last days; we have an article about this: The perfect timing of Christ’s birth. Again, we read in Acts 2 that the prophecy of Joel about what would happen in the last days was fulfilled in the days of the Apostles: “but this is that which was spoken through the prophet Joel, And it shall be in the last days, saith God, [that] I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your elders shall dream with dreams” (Acts 2:16-17) Peter said that the coming of the Holy Spirit and the related facts were the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy about the last days. So the last days were in the days of the Apostles. And the Apostle John wrote clearly: “Little children, it is [the] last hour, and, according as ye have heard that antichrist comes, even now there have come many antichrists, whence we know that it is [the] last hour.” (1 John 2:18) So John clearly said that in their days the last hour had already come. In this passage, the last hour means the end time (hour means time).

So the last days are not only the last part of the Grace time in which we are now, as many people think. The last days came when Christ came (we will see this particularly in Daniel’s prophecy), and any prophecy related to the last days is fulfilled and will be fulfilled at any time during these last days. I have emphasized this last part because it is very important for our understanding of the Millennium, the coming of the Kingdom and Christ’s second coming.

The second coming of Christ

Understanding the second coming of Christ and the related facts about the time when it will happen is very important for our Christian walk. I will detail at the end of this article the importance of the last days’ topic for our Christian walk, but let me just say this here in brief: “Wherefore ye also, be ye ready, for in that hour that ye think not the Son of man comes.” (Matthew 24:44) As we don’t know when the Lord will suddenly come, so we should be ready, i.e. we should always have the coming of the Lord before our eyes, and we should always be ready for our Beloved’s coming. How can we be ready? By walking in holiness without which no one will see the Lord (see Hebrews 12:14). This is in brief the importance of having the second coming before our eyes all the time.

Now, as you see in Matthew 24:44, the very importance of this second coming is immediately linked to the fact that no one knows the hour when the Lord will come back. We have seen the details of this in our article Christ’s second coming on 21 May 2011? Therefore, any speculation or theory about any biblical end times prophecy that makes any implication that Christ may not come any time now is to be refused. Let me say it in a more simple way: if you read an eschatology (end times doctrine) that implies that something should happen in history before Christ comes, you should refuse this eschatology, because it is not biblical. I will explain this more at the end of this article. But for now, let it be clear that we do not have any hint about the time the Lord may come. He may come at any time now. Yes, we should watch the signs and be ready, but the signs do not give us any anticipated information about the time. The signs of the times are not about knowing the future by looking to signs that happen now, but about knowing what season or what kind of time is now, and thus to be prepared spiritually for the coming of the Lord at any time now (near): “But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws nigh.” (Luke 21:28) If the Lord wanted us to read the future instead of understanding the present in the light of God’s Word so that we may be ready now, then the Lord would be contradicting Himself, because in other places He said that we can’t know the time. And the Lord does not contradict Himself. We know in what kind of time the Lord will come, so when that happens we will know it, but not before. We can’t know the exact date, because it’s not about mathematics, but it is in the authority of the Father. It is an attack against the Sovereignty of God to try to find out the times and seasons which are in His authority.

It is only in the first part of the first century that Christians could know for sure that the Lord would not come yet until the Antichrist comes and does what he would do: “Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because [it will not be] unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3). But even then, Christians had to be ready all the time, because many antichrists had already come as John explained and because anyone of them could die at any time and thus he would have no other chance to be ready. Just as Abraham should not have speculated about how he could have a child when he and his wife were old (a speculation that led him to sin by entering to Hagar), the Christians of the first century also should not speculate about how the coming of the Antichrist would be; for them the essential would be to wait for Christ and not for the Antichrist. Many today wait for the Antichrist rather than for the Christ… The Apostle Paul was not telling the Thessalonians not to be ready all the time; he was just warning them that they should not believe those who say that the Lord has already come in any way, because the Antichrist had not come yet officially, and because the coming of Christ will not be in secret as many speculate. If the coming of Christ would be in secret, then He could have come without the Thessalonians being aware of it: this is the lie that the Thessalonians had heard and which Paul refutes in that passage. Paul told them the coming of Christ will not be in secret.

This leads me to clarify the following point which will be clarified more as we study the different facts related to the second coming: there is only ONE second coming of Christ, and that second coming will be clear to all humans, and it will not be in secret. Here is what the Bible clearly says about that second coming: “Behold, he comes with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they which have pierced him, and all the tribes of the land shall wail because of him. Yea. Amen.” (Revelation 1:7) All humans, without any exception, will see the Lord Jesus when He comes back with the clouds. This is very clear if we read all related passages in the Bible together. Those who make complicated charts about different second comings of Christ misunderstand some biblical passages like the Millennium and the Old Testament prophecies related to it, as we will see. They don’t study the biblical passages together. The Apostle Paul also was clear about the second coming when he explained it to the Thessalonians: “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that ye should be written to, for ye know perfectly well yourselves, that the day of [the] Lord so comes as a thief by night.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2) In this passage, the implication is not that the Lord will come secretly as a thief, but suddenly as a thief (in a time when we do not know). This once again proves what I explained above about what Paul meant when he warned the Thessalonians about the second coming. Paul also explained: “for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). A shout, the archangel’s voice and the trump of God do not express a secret coming.

And note how Paul talked about the day of the Lord and the second coming of Christ as simultaneous events. After he explained that the second coming will be with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16), he then explained after a few verses, in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2, that the day of the Lord will come as a thief (an image the Lord used to explain His second coming). Paul later linked the day of the Lord to the second coming in the same context: “Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, nor troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as [if it were] by us, as that the day of the Lord is present.” (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2) As you see, for Paul the day of the Lord (the Day of Judgment) and the second coming are events that happen together. When the Lord comes back, it will be the Day of Judgment, so be ready. There is not a second chance; there are no more particular plans or cases for some people (no particular case for the Jews); there are no more things to happen. When the Lord comes, the Judgment will start. When the director appears on the stage of the theater, we know that the play has finished; we don’t expect the play to go on…

As there is only one second coming which will happen on the day of the Lord (the Day of Judgment), and as this second coming is not a secret coming, then what is the rapture about which Paul talked in 1 Thessalonians 4:17?

The Rapture

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, the Apostle Paul wrote:
“for the Lord himself, with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God, shall descend from heaven; and the dead in Christ shall rise first; then we, the living who remain, shall be caught up together with them in [the] clouds, to meet the Lord in [the] air; and thus we shall be always with [the] Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)

These two verses tell us some important facts about the day of the Lord:

1. The Lord will not come in secret, but, as we have seen above, He will come with an assembling shout, with archangel’s voice and with trump of God.

2. When the Lord comes, the dead in Christ (those who died as true believers in Christ, including the saints of the Old Covenant who believed in the coming Christ) will rise first, before those who are then alive get raptured (caught up). The Lord Himself explained that this is what will happen on the day of the Lord, i.e. the Judgment Day: “Wonder not at this, for an hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs shall hear his voice, and shall go forth; those that have practised good, to resurrection of life, and those that have done evil, to resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:28-29) When the Lord comes, all the dead will rise from the tombs, but only those who died in Christ will be raptured.

3. We will be raptured together with the dead in Christ who rise at that time.

4. Paul and the Christians of the first century believed Christ could come at any time during their lifetime. Note how Paul said “we” when he mentioned those who will be alive when the Lord comes.

So the Lord will suddenly come with His holy angels (see Mark 8:38, Luke 9:26), and all the dead will rise, and the saints who are alive will be caught up with the risen saints to be with the Lord, while the rest will stay on earth. Then the Judgment will begin, and after that there will be a new heaven and a new earth (see Revelation 20:11-21:1). When the Judgment begins, the Lord will put the saints (the righteous in Him) on His right and the unrighteous on His left, thus separating them as sheep from goats; read the full story in Matthew 25:31-46. Note that the Lord said this Judgment will happen when He comes: “But when the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then shall he sit down upon his throne of glory, and all the nations shall be gathered before him; and he shall separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats” (Matthew 25:31-32).

Thus we see that it is a wrong image that many Christians give about the Rapture: there will not come a day when people are surprised that many have disappeared from the earth, and then continue to live on earth… This contradicts the clear biblical facts that we read together.

So there is only one second coming of the Lord which will happen on the day of the Lord (the Judgment Day), and those in Christ, dead and living, will be raptured to always be with Him. All this will happen at the end of the Millennium, so let’s study now what the Millennium is.

The Millennium

The Millennium, or one thousand years, is mentioned only in one place in the whole Bible, and it is in Revelation 20. The Book of Revelation is a prophetic and apocalyptic Book, and such books are full of symbolism. The numbers in the Book of Revelation normally have a symbolic meaning, just like many other things. For instance, when the Book of Revelation mentions twenty-four elders around God’s Throne, that does not mean that there are 24 old men sitting on thrones in Heaven around God’s Throne; that’s a symbolic way to present the whole people of God formed of the 12 Tribes of Israel (the Old Covenant) and the 12 Apostles of the Church (the New Covenant). Another example is the depiction of Satan in Revelation 12 as a big red dragon; no, Satan is not a dragon, but that’s just a symbolic representation. Besides this, in Revelation 20 where the Millennium is mentioned, Satan is said to be bound with a great chain; I guess you know that you can’t bind a spiritual being with chains… So all this is symbolic. Don’t forget that all this is seen by John as visions, so it’s not history that we are reading in the Book of Revelation.

So the 1000 of Revelation 20 is symbolic. In the Bible, the number 10 is the symbol of completeness. Many examples can be mentioned from the Old Covenant, especially from the measurements of the tabernacle, but I will just remind you of one: when God wanted to summarize the Commandments of the Covenant, He wrote TEN Commandments, the completeness of what God wants in a summarized form. As 1000 is 10 x 10 x 10, so it is a threefold completeness. Thus with the number 1000 the Book of Revelation presented to us the perfect Kingdom, the Kingdom of God, the time of the New Covenant. If you remember, when the Lord Jesus began to preach the Gospel, He said: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) The Lord Jesus was about to establish the New Covenant and to abolish the Old Covenant, and the Kingdom of God would come with power: the Lord would sit at the right hand of God (see Psalm 110:1) until all His enemies are made a footstool for His feet. The King Himself told the Jews that the Kingdom was already in their midst, because the King was in their midst; and wherever the King is, there also is the Kingdom: “for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21). We have seen more details of this in our article This generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The Kingdom came in principle when the Lord Jesus came, and it came practically when the Church was formed by the baptism with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, but the Kingdom or the New Covenant was officially established and the Old Covenant was officially abolished when the temple of Jerusalem was destroyed in AD 70. So practically, the Millennium represents the time of the perfect Covenant and the perfect Kingdom of Heaven in its invisible form here on earth in the hearts of men. This Kingdom will be visible when the King comes back and takes His Church. The Millennium started with the coming of the Holy Spirit and the establishment of the New Covenant in Christ’s blood.

Let’s see all this in Revelation 20:

Revelation 20:1-3 .- “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.”
Before the New Covenant began, only Israel from among all nations of the earth, had the Law and was in a Covenant with God. The rest of the nations were in darkness and were deceived by Satan. Their only means to come to light was to listen to the Law that was intrusted to Israel. This is why Paul said the following about the importance of circumcision: “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2) Even Jesus originally and in principle came only for the lost sheep of Israel: “But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) So the nations were in deception, and they had to receive light from Israel. But Israel refused their Messiah, which was already ordained by God, and thus the door of Salvation was opened to all nations, therefore the Lord Himself sent His Apostles to all nations (see Matthew 28:19-20) and He went, through His Church, to seek the other sheep that are not of the fold of Israel, i.e. the believers from all nations (see John 10:16). Thus under the New Covenant Satan is bound so that he may not deceive the nations, but that the nations may enter by faith under the New Covenant and be saved. The Lord Himself described this enchaining of Satan: “No man can enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.” (Mark 3:27) The Lord Jesus showed this practically as He cast out demons and liberated those who were possessed by them. When the Lord overcame Satan on the cross, He established the New Covenant in His blood, and thus the door of Salvation was opened to all nations. Now the Church, the people of God, is not only Israel, but all the redeemed from all nations including those redeemed from Israel (the Remnant). This is how Satan is bound and cannot deceive the nations until the end of this age of the Kingdom in its invisible form, i.e. until the end of the Millennium. At the end times of the Millennium, we should expect to see the nations being deceived again. This can be seen in the general apostasy. We can understand this as the general apostasy that we are already experiencing in these days: previously, all sins were committed, but those who committed them were careful to hide, but today those sins are becoming legal and are even encouraged by the governments that legislate in a way to defend them (example: homosexuality). Previously, heresy was clear, and the camps of Christianity were clear: there was the traditional Church (especially Roman Catholics) who refused the Reformation, and there was the camp of the Reformation. Today, heresy is mixed with orthodoxy (example: Ecumenism), and even false teachers are considered as good teachers (example: Word of Faith movement). Many other examples can be mentioned. Apostasy is general, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12) In the first part of the Millennium, Christianity was the normal “religion” of the known world, and the rest were called barbarous or Muslims; in these days, Christianity is considered an option among many, and the Lord Jesus and His Church are openly mocked and attacked. All these are features of the loosing of Satan at the end of the Millennium. So let’s read the signs and be ready.
I have explained above how the signs should be read. So I should note here that this sign would not be so clear before it happened. In other words, in all times during the Millennium Christians could see the loosing of Satan in different aspects of their times’ apostasy, but, as we have seen at the beginning of this article, the full understanding of a sign or prophecy will not be really understood before it comes to pass. So in all times, no one could know when the Lord could suddenly come. In all times, we should be ready, because the temple was destroyed and the son of perdition has already come, as we will see later.

Next in Revelation 20, we read:

Revelation 20:4-6.- “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
The Holy Spirit came to convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8). He does this through His saints who reign with Christ NOW as kings and priests (see Revelation 1:6 and 5:10). Thus the judgment is given to the saints. These saints are those who during the whole of the Millennium are persecuted for their testimony and their faith in Christ; they are either beheaded (martyred) or have been persecuted in many other ways because they didn’t want to submit to the ungodly rule of the Antichrist (as we will see). In many articles on this weblog we have seen how all saints will surely be persecuted; for example: The saints will be persecuted. By the way, ruling or judging with Christ does not have a carnal meaning; the Christians are not promised to rule nations on earth in a materialistic way. We will rule, i.e. we will overcome sin in all its forms, whether it is in us or in the world. We previously were slaves of sin, now sin is not master over us; we have become kings and priests. This also is a feature of the time of Grace, the New Covenant: “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (Romans 6:14) On these saints the second death has no power, because they are not under sin; death is the wages of sin. And if one asks how saints who have not died are raised (risen) and are with Christ in Heaven, we answer them by sending them to Ephesians 2:6: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. One should study all parts of the Bible in order to understand its particular parts well…
So Revelation 20 says the souls (not the bodies; this is not a bodily resurrection) of these saints will live and will reign with Christ during the Millennium, i.e. during the time the Kingdom of God is in our midst and is built in the hearts of those who believe. The Lord Jesus already talked about this first resurrection, the resurrection of souls, and He even clearly said that that would begin to happen IN HIS DAYS: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.” (John 5:25) All those who believed in Christ (“they that hear”) were previously dead, but now they live! They experienced this first resurrection, the resurrection of their souls, and they are not slaves of sin anymore, but they reign with Christ, they walk in newness of life. When they die, their souls will rise to be with Christ forever in Heaven, waiting for the resurrection of their bodies when the day of the Lord comes, as we have seen above. Note that the Old Covenant saints did not have this life yet in the Old Covenant time, because Christ the Life had not come yet. They had the life in hope. But only when Christ came, those saints also were perfected, and yet not without us, i.e. not without the New Covenant saints (see Hebrews 11:39-40). Thus all the souls of saints, both Old Covenant and New Covenant saints, lived under the New Covenant, and they reign with Christ; they are not slaves of sin anymore.
Note that, after saying that the souls of the saints lived during the Millennium, the Holy Spirit added that the rest of the dead (note it well: He didn’t say the souls of the rest of the dead…) did not live until the end of the Millennium, i.e. until the Day of Judgment. The Holy Spirit is very precise. Those who do not believe in Christ are dead spiritually. During the Millennium, both Old Covenant unbelievers and New Covenant unbelievers who die will NOT rise, neither spiritually nor bodily. The bodily resurrection will happen when Christ comes. ONLY the righteous will experience the first resurrection, the resurrection of their souls; but ALL humans will experience the second resurrection which will happen when the Lord comes back (see Revelation 20:13). The Lord Jesus Himself, after He talked about the first resurrection, as we have seen in John 5:25, He continued and talked about the second resurrection, and this time He did NOT say that that would happen in His days: “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.” (John 5:28-29) Previously He said that only those who hear (spiritual hearing = faith) will live; that was about the first resurrection. Now, He says the hour is coming (and He didn’t add “and now is” like He did previously), when ALL that are in the graves (and not only those who hear spiritually) will hear physically the voice of Christ calling them to life (the second resurrection). He clearly said that this will be the Day of Judgment, as all those who rise will be judged and will go either to eternal life or to eternal damnation.

In the next verses of Revelation 20, the Holy Spirit explains to us how Satan will be loosed at the end of the Millennium, as we have seen above. And then the Judgment Day comes.

As you see, the biblical interpretation of Revelation 20 is consistent with all the rest of Scripture. Any other interpretation will be inconsistent with at least one other truth of the Bible. Many people today interpret the Book of Revelation in a way that contradicts all what the Lord Jesus said about the last days. This is not the place to study the inconsistencies of other interpretations; we may study them in other related articles.

As you see, during the Millennium the saints will be persecuted. The persecution may take different forms and different levels, but it is persecution anyway. The persecution will be more intense at the times of great apostasy, so let’s be prepared today! The judgment of God begins from His household (the whole visible Church) so that the true saints will appear, as Jesus said: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Matthew 10:22) The Apostle Peter already told us that the judgment begins with the household of God: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” (1 Peter 4:17) This is the great Tribulation of seven years. We will now see what the great Tribulation is and what those seven years are.

The Great Tribulation

The Lord Jesus spoke of a great tribulation that would happen before the official abolition of the Old Covenant by the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem:

“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. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:15-22)

Let’s begin with the last verse: As you see, the elect, i.e. the Church, has to be present in this great tribulation. Indeed, as we have seen above, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18) Indeed, the righteous are scarcely saved by God’s mercy who shortens those great tribulation days for the sake of the elect, and keeps them from that tribulation, and gives them the grace to endure to the end and thus to be saved: “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” (Revelation 3:10); “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24:13)

Now, let’s see what is this great tribulation about which the Lord was speaking, and then it will be clearer how the Church should be present during this tribulation.

1. This tribulation will be in a time when the holy place (the temple of Jerusalem) will be desolated, and the abomination will be in it. So, as a first conclusion, this tribulation should have happened in a time when the temple of Jerusalem was not defiled and destroyed yet, i.e. before AD 70. We have seen this in our article This generation will not pass away until all these things take place. In AD 70, the Roman general Titus attacked Jerusalem and he defiled the temple and destroyed it. So this great tribulation happened before AD 70.

2. During this great tribulation time, there will be fleeing from Judaea, because it is attacked as we have seen in point 1. Those who are in Judaea should flee to the mountains, because Jerusalem will be occupied and destroyed. There is no Judaea today in an official sense; then this was surely before the temple was destroyed.

3. When this great tribulation time begins, the Old Covenant will not have been officially abolished yet, because the temple will still be called the holy place, and the Sabbath day will still be kept by the people of the Covenant to whom the Lord was addressing those instructions about fleeing to the mountains, etc… In AD 70 God refused the temple of Jerusalem as the holy place and officially declared Christ’s body to be the holy place or the Temple, and He officially abolished the Old Covenant by destroying the temple of Jerusalem, thus the Sabbath also was abolished. Read more about this in our article The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day. So the great tribulation could not happen after that time.

4. All this was a fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, and of course other prophecies of the Old Covenant.

So this is clear: The great tribulation about which the Lord spoke has happened in 70 AD. But was that all?? Of course not! It was not without reason that I have begun this article by explaining what a prophecy is and what is the difference between the prophecies of the Old Covenant and the prophecies of the New Covenant. As we have seen, those events that would surround the destruction of the temple would all happen before the official abolition of the Old Covenant, so those events would themselves be the last Old Covenant symbolic events of all what would happen during the whole duration of the Millennium until the Lord comes back. We have already seen that all what the Lord Jesus said in this passage was already prophesied by the prophets of the Old Covenant, especially Daniel, so what the Lord was giving His Apostles was not a revelation of a new truth, but the divine revealed interpretation of a truth that had already been revealed in the Old Covenant. Thus that Old Covenantal prophecy would have a temporal fulfillment, like all Old Covenant prophecies, and at the same time that fulfillment or those prophecies would have an eternal meaning related to the New Covenant. We have seen this at the beginning of this article. Therefore the Lord directly linked this temporal fulfillment to the New Covenantal fulfillment in a way that confuses many people today. If you remember from our article This generation will not pass away until all these things take place., the disciples had asked the Lord two main questions, one of them being the question about when the temple would be destroyed. But the Lord answered both of the questions simultaneously, linking them both to each other, because, as we have seen, the temporal fulfillment of the Old Covenantal prophecies has a New Covenantal fulfillment which is not separate from the temporal meaning. Thus, just as there was a temporal limited great tribulation before the destruction of the temple in AD 70, this world, including the Church, will experience the completeness or the perfection of the ordained tribulation during the whole of this New Covenant age (i.e. the Millennium), in different intensity according to times, but more intensely at the end of the Millennium, during the increase of general apostasy (as we have seen above). I remind you for instance that the two World Wars took place in the previous century and not in any time before… I remind you that it is recently that the biblical Christians are being persecuted as “intolerant” people by those who claim to be true loving Christians who seek Ecumenism and all kinds of compromise… It is very wrong to expect the Church to be carnally more powerful as the apostasy increases; the Church will be persecuted more and more until the Lord comes. The Church in the world is a Church that is always reproached and persecuted. At the same time, victorious and persecuted! Christian Reconstruction cannot understand this, and does not know what to make of this. Only the spiritual mind, the mind of Christ, understands this. The natural mind supposes that the victorious party does the persecuting… The Church is victorious as she is persecuted! I strongly encourage you to read the following article: A Christian answer to Islamic persecutions.

As this tribulation is the completeness of tribulation in the perfect Covenant time (the New Covenant), so this time of tribulation or the Millennium is said to be seven years or one sabbath of years (see Daniel 9). Seven is again the number of completeness and perfection. We will see this in more details when we study the prophecy of Daniel in Daniel 9. And as the Lord related the temporal Old Covenantal fulfillment to the New Covenantal perfect fulfillment, so the Book of Revelation also links the two aspects of fulfillment to each other and uses the Old Covenant images to express what will happen in the Millennium: for instance, the Book of Revelation uses the image of the abomination of the temple to reveal to us the abomination of the general apostasy where even the visible Church appears as being divided and accepts and preaches heresy. Is this not how the visible Church is today?…

Note again, as I explained above, that we can’t speculate about when was the time we experienced the most intense time of tribulation during the Millennium. We can watch the signs and be ready. The Lord may come at any time, because all the signs are already there. The Lord did not say that He would take a long time to return. If He had said so, we would say: “well, we will wait for the signs to begin to happen, and only then we will expect the Lord to come”… As He said He would come quickly, so we should always be ready, watching the signs and getting prepared, as the Lord taught us.

During the whole of the Millennium, the Church is in tribulation and is persecuted by the system established by the Antichrist, and she is victorious BECAUSE she is persecuted, as we have seen. During the same time, judgments are falling on the reprobate, but they refuse to repent. This is explained in details in the Book of Revelation. Apostasy increases, and the Church is persecuted more and more until the end, as long as the Antichrist keeps spreading his system on earth. So the New Covenant is not a temporal Covenant with an earthly people as the Old Covenant was; in the Old Covenant, earthly temporal victory meant that God’s people was obeying the Lord… The New Covenant is not like that, but it is an eternal perfect Covenant in which the Church is not carnally victorious on earth, but overcomes THROUGH tribulation and persecution. The Church is a heavenly people persecuted on earth.

Now, while talking about the great tribulation, we have seen that Daniel’s prophecy was mentioned. Let’s see what Daniel said about the Millennium and the great tribulation, and let’s see also what he said about the Antichrist.

An example of Old Covenant prophecy: Daniel 9:24-27

We will now see a clear example of a transition from the Old Covenantal fulfillment to the New Covenantal fulfillment in one prophecy of the Old Covenant, and this will then lead us to the explanation of who the Antichrist is.

Seventy weeks are apportioned out upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to close the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make expiation for iniquity, and to bring in the righteousness of the ages, and to seal the vision and prophet, and to anoint the holy of holies. Know therefore and understand: From the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, are seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks. The street and the moat shall be built again, even in troublous times. And after the sixty-two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, and shall have nothing; and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with an overflow, and unto the end, war, — the desolations determined. And he shall confirm a covenant with the many [for] one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and because of the protection of abominations [there shall be] a desolator, even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.” (Daniel 9:24-27)

In this prophecy, we have many details about the exact time of Christ’s birth and death; it even mentions “the abomination of desolation, which is spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in [what is a] holy place” (Matthew 24:15) and which should have happened after the death of the Messiah, as the prophecy says and as also Jesus said and as actually happened and will happen (read more details above and in our article This generation will not pass away until all these things take place).

Now, let’s first see the Old Covenantal fulfillment.

In this prophecy, the weeks are seven years, because that’s how the biblical authors used to express the “seven years” in biblical Hebrew. The word used for “weeks” in this passage is the Hebrew “šā·ḇu·‘îm” which is literally “seveneds” or “groups of seven” and which is specifically used of years (i.e. groups of seven years or years week). When the same author, Daniel, wanted to talk about day weeks, he wrote “šā·ḇu·‘îm yā·mîm” which is literally “seveneds of days” and which can be translated as “day weeks” or “groups of seven days”(cf. Daniel 10:2-3). And this is of course not the first time a biblical author uses this form of expression to express “seven years”, but we also find it in other places in Scripture; for instance, we read in Leviticus 25:8: “And thou shalt count seven sabbaths of years, seven times seven years; so that the days of the seven sabbaths of years be unto thee forty-nine years.”

So the weeks in this prophecy are seven years.

The prophecy says that From the going forth of the word to restore and to build Jerusalem unto Messiah, the Prince, are seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks.

The word (or the order) to restore and to build Jerusalem was given by the Persian king Artaxerxes I in the year 445 B.C. (see Nehemiah 2:1-8, and read history).

After this order is given by Artaxerxes I, we have 7 weeks + 62 weeks until the Messiah is crucified (“cut off”). Let’s calculate them:

7 + 62 = 69 weeks = 69 x 7 years (because 1 week = 7 years).

69 x 7 years = 483 biblical years.

The biblical year is 360 days: see Revelation 12:6 and Revelation 11:3 where the 1260 days are the equivalent of the 42 months of Revelation 11:2 and of the 3 years and a half of Revelation 12:14. 42 months are 3 years and a half or 1260 days, so the biblical year is 360 days and not ~365.5 days like the solar year. So if we want to know how many solar years are the 483 biblical years, we need to convert them to solar years in the following way:

483 x 360 = 173880 days => 173880/365.5 = 475.73187 solar years = 475 solar years and 9 months approximately.

(Note: The solar year is not exactly 365.5 days, so we may make a little mistake in months because of this fact. Besides this, sometimes one month is added on the Jewish year in order to make the feasts come on their seasons, and this also may cause a little error in months).

And now let’s see when the crucifixion of Christ should have happened according to the calculations:

– 445 B.C. + 475 solar years = 30 A.D.

Indeed! The 30th year A.D.!!

(Note: A little error in years may be caused by our lack of exact knowledge of the year of Christ’s birth according to the Gregorian Calendar, as we will see, and of the exact year in which the order of Artaxerxes I of Persia was issued).

The Gregorian Calendar according to which we are now in A.D. 2011 was proved to be in an error of a few years. This calendar has counted the birth of Jesus to be in the year zero of the same calendar, i.e. all the other dates before and after Christ are referenced by the date of Christ’s wrong date of birth assumed by the calculations of this calendar. According to this calendar, Jesus would have died in ~34 A.D., because He was about 30 years old when He began His public ministry and He was crucified after about 3 years and a half. But this calendar was proved to be in an error of a few years, and the birth of Jesus is placed by the right calculations between 6 and 4 B.C. of the Gregorian Calendar. To say it in another way, if we take the real year of Christ’s birth, we will now be in 2015 or 2016 or 2017 after Christ’s birth, and thus the crucifixion of Christ has happened in ~30 A.D. (by Gregorian Calendar) which is exactly the date that we got in our calculations based on the prophecy above!! God had revealed to the prophet Daniel the exact date of Christ’s death, as we have seen.

Thus we see that Daniel’s prophecy used the Old Covenant expression “šā·ḇu·‘îm” which is literally “seveneds” to express seven years. The first 69 seveneds or weeks were counted according to the temporal Old Covenantal way, and thus we got to the exact date of Christ’s crucifixion. After all, the number 69 itself is a number of imperfection, because the Old Covenant could not make perfect and because Christ the Perfect had not come yet. As soon as Christ came and was crucified and established the New Covenant, we were already in the perfect Covenant, in the 70th week. 70 is again 10 x 7, two numbers of completeness and perfection. After Christ was crucified, the Old Covenant was abolished and the New Covenant began, as we have seen above, so the numbers or years are not counted in the Old Covenantal temporal way anymore, but they take their perfect actual meaning. Thus Daniel’s 70th week is to be interpreted in the New Covenantal perfect and non-temporal way: it is the perfect time (7 non-literal years) of the perfect Covenant (the New Covenant) which is also the Millennium. So the Millennium and the last week of Daniel are two ways to express the same truth. During this Millennium or week, the great tribulation takes place, as we have seen above. The literal temporal fulfillment of the last week can be seen in the First Jewish Roman War which took place between 66 and 73 AD (7 years); in the midst of this time interval (in AD 70) the Old Covenant sacrifices ceased just as Daniel’s prophecy said: “and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease. But the one generation foretold by the Lord had to pass before this last week begins (see This generation will not pass away until all these things take place), because, as I explained above, the New Covenant had to be established by the coming of the Holy Spirit and the spread of the Gospel in the whole known world: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) The Lord said this immediately before telling us about the desolation of the temple in the next verses. The Lord even said that meanwhile, while the whole known world will be evangelized, yet the cities of Israel will not have been all evangelized before He comes in His Kingdom with power, i.e. before the destruction of Jerusalem: “But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 10:23) We have seen the details of this in our article This generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Of course, I don’t need to remind you that all this temporal fulfillment has a non-limited New Covenantal fulfillment: for example, the temple was destroyed in the midst of the perfect time (the seven years), i.e. in 3.5 years which is an imperfect number; desolation and abominations are imperfections. But all this does not affect the perfect seven years Covenant. This is why the Book of Revelation mentions these 3.5 years of abomination alongside the glorious images of the Church, i.e. the 144,000 remnant of Israel and the great multitudes of all nations.

In Daniel’s prophecy which I quoted in this section, the eternal perfect New Covenant is mentioned alongside and even almost in confusion with the covenant that the Antichrist makes: “And he shall confirm a covenant with the many [for] one week; and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and because of the protection of abominations [there shall be] a desolator, even until that the consumption and what is determined shall be poured out upon the desolate.” This leads us to study who the Antichrist is and what he does.

The Antichrist

As we saw in the prophecy of Daniel above, there is a Covenant that is made during the last week or the Millennium. The Lord Jesus is the Christ, so He made the New Covenant, and the Millennium is the time of Grace in which Christ has made this Covenant. Christ has officially established the New Covenant in 70 AD by making the Old Covenant sacrifice and the oblation cease, as Daniel’s prophecy says. Before 70 AD, the Old Covenant was ready to disappear” (Hebrews 8:13), but it had not officially disappeared yet: the Apostles still used to worship in the temple of Jerusalem (we see this in the whole of the Acts of the Apostles). Jesus Himself told some healed people to show themselves to the priest for confirmation of the healing according to the Old Covenant method. But in AD 70, the Lord officially abolished the Old Covenant and there was no temple in Jerusalem anymore.

As his name implies, the Antichrist is the one who works against the true Christ and wants to take His place as the true Christ. In order to make people believe he is the Christ, the Antichrist has to claim to do what the Christ does: he declares that he is God; he declares that he is the one who will save the world from its problems and its lack of peace (note that there is no mention of Salvation from sin); and he makes a covenant with people just like the true Christ, and he causes the sacrifice to cease in the temple of Jerusalem (or, in the New Covenantal sense, he makes people refuse the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ); in his covenant there is no mention of a sacrifice for sin; on the contrary, he makes the sacrifice cease… Just as in Christ’s Covenant the true Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (see Ephesians 1:13), in the covenant of the Antichrist the unrighteous who refuse the truth are sealed with the spirit (or name, or nature) of the Antichrist which is represented in the Book of Revelation by the number of triple incompleteness and imperfection 666 (which is triple 7 minus 1). The Apostle John himself, who received the Revelation, had explained by the Spirit what the spirit or name of the Antichrist is: “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22); “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3). This is the imperfect name or nature or spirit of the Antichrist: that he denies that Christ is God incarnate. To read more about this truth, go to our article originally written to Mormons: Should we associate with the Mormons? This article contains a detailed explanation about what it means to deny that Christ has come in the flesh. So this is for those who make the objection that 1 John speaks of the spirit of the Antichrist and not of the Antichrist himself: the spirit of the Antichrist is his imperfect name or nature that he denies Christ has come in the flesh, and this name or nature is represented by the number of triple imperfection 666. Those who make the objection cannot explain to us biblically what “spirit of the Antichrist” means… Does it mean a ghost?… Does it mean an angel?… No, it simply means who the Antichrist is, his name. In the Bible, the name means the nature of a person, or who he is; and the spirit of a person is his attitude, or his office, or the essence of who he is, i.e. his nature. Remember that the Antichrist is called “son of perdition” (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3), so he is in opposition to Christ by nature, i.e. by his very name, by who he is. So the spirit of the Antichrist is his nature or name which is imperfection, 666. The name of the Antichrist is his nature or name which is imperfection, 666. The name of the Antichrist means who he is, the essence of who he is, i.e. his spirit that denies that Christ has come in the flesh, and who claims he is God.

Now, many people in history have speculated about who the Antichrist is or should be, based on this number 666… Some have said this was Nero, because the letters of Nero’s name make 666 if calculated… But the Book of Revelation does not say “calculate” the number of the Antichrist… It says: “Here is wisdom. He that has understanding let him count the number of the beast: for it is a man’s number; and its number [is] six hundred [and] sixty-six.” (Revelation 13:18) It says “it is a man’s number” in order to make us understand that it’s not an actual beast that all this is about, but a man; this does not necessarily mean it’s only one man in history. And it says that he who has understanding or wisdom will know how it is calculated, and gives the reason: for it is imperfect, it is 666… Now, he who has biblical wisdom will know what to do with this imperfect number: he will not take a calculator and begin to make mathematical calculations for names of people… He knows that an imperfect or lacking nature cannot be counted!! “What is crooked cannot be straightened and what is lacking cannot be counted.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15) So the message that the Book of Revelation wanted to give us was: he who is biblically wise will not sit and count this number, because it is lacking, it is imperfection! Many today are doing the exact opposite of what the Book of Revelation tells them to do, thus proving that they do not really have heavenly wisdom; they think in a carnal way. Now, while many have thought this is Nero, others have said the Antichrist is the Pope, because the Pope makes himself the Vicar of Christ (Vicarius Christi)… [Note here that this is not only about one Pope in history, but about anyone in the office of Pope, although they all are called “the Pope” in singular… Keep this in your mind, because we will soon see how it is the same with the Antichrist…] Others said that whether it is Nero or the Pope or any other antichrist, they all only came in the spirit of the Antichrist, and that the real Antichrist is still to come… Many others have speculated many other things… The basic assumption behind all these speculations is that 666 is the number of one person in history called the Antichrist. But we have seen that this is not true, and that 666 is the spirit of Antichrist. Besides this, John said that this spirit of the Antichrist was already in the world in his days… We have also seen that the Antichrist makes a covenant with the unrighteous during the whole time of the last week of Daniel which is the Millennium and which began with the coming of the Holy Spirit. So who is the Antichrist?… A little explanation is needed before we understand who he is.

The Antichrist is a liar: he is not who he claims he is, and what he says about Jesus Christ is not true. These are two very important facts that should be understood in order to know who the Antichrist is. So let’s study these two points:

1. The Antichrist is not who he says he is:
The Antichrist says he is God, so those who listen to his claim will think he is one person who claims he does not die and stays forever the same, just like God or Christ, without a need for anyone to succeed to him… This is true about the true Christ who is Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, and He has no need for anyone to succeed to Him, because He does not die (see Hebrews 7:23-24). So those who think the Antichrist is only one person have fallen in the trap of his lie about what being God or Christ means, as we will see. The Antichrist is not God, so he dies, and another (or others) should be Antichrist with him or after him, claiming that they are Christ… The Antichrist is a liar: all antichrists have died since the time Jesus was on earth. Actually, many of those antichrists may have really thought they are something great… But they have died and they did not stay forever. Their followers were deceived.

2. What the Antichrist says about the true Christ is not true:
The Antichrist says that Christ is not God incarnate, but only a creature who came in the power or as a representative of God. Thus, according to this lie, “Christ” does not mean that God became a human; it only means that some spirit called Christ was united to a man called Jesus and was separated from him when Jesus died. This is Gnosticism, and the Apostle John wrote against them in his Epistles where he mentions the spirit of the Antichrist. So Gnosticism tried to replace the true Christ who is God incarnate by a christ who is not God incarnate… John says this is what all antichrists will do: they will claim that there is a certain spirit called Christ who originally entered Jesus and who can enter any human in history. Each antichrist claims he is the one who has received that spirit called Christ…

These two lies tell us something clear: that the Antichrist is many persons claiming to have that spirit called Christ, but in fact they are the spirit of the Antichrist. All these persons have this spirit of the Antichrist who denies that Christ has come in the flesh and who claims to be God.

But why does the Bible call them all Antichrist in singular? Actually, the only place where this name Antichrist is used is in the Epistles of John, and the Epistles of John are not speaking of only one Antichrist, but many antichrists… Read with me carefully: “Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” (1 John 2:18) This verse practically says: “You think it’s not the last hour because one person called Antichrist has not come yet? No, but it is, because many antichrists have appeared, and this is a fulfillment of the prophecies that the Antichrist will come, because the Antichrist is those antichrists, all of them, and not just one person for whom we should wait”. John indirectly says the same thing in other places: “Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son.” (1 John 2:22) This verse is actually saying: “All those who deny that Jesus is the Christ are this liar, the Antichrist”. Again: “and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the {spirit} of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” (1 John 4:3) Note that in this verse the word “spirit” in “spirit of the antichrist” is put in brackets, because it is not in the original Greek. So this verse says every spirit that does not confess Jesus is that one spirit of the Antichrist. We have seen above the explanation of the “spirit of the Antichrist”. But John finally makes the whole thing very clear and openly and directly explains that the Antichrist is many persons and not just one person: “For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.” (2 John 1:7) In this verse John practically said: “All those deceivers are the Antichrist”. No other passage about the Antichrist in the Bible calls him “Antichrist”. One of them calls him “son of perdition”, thus explaining that the Antichrist is that imperfect nature or name that I explained above, and we have seen how that is about the spirit of the Antichrist explained by John: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). Another passage, the passage in the Book of Revelation, calls him 666, and we have seen how this is not about one person. And when the Lord talked about many persons coming in His Name or claiming to be the Christ, He never mentioned one particular last person who would make this claim; He clearly said that they are many: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:5) Yes, there are passages in the Bible that speak about the Antichrist in singular, as if he were one person, but those passages are not as clear as the passages that we read above. So those who interpret those passages as meaning that there is one final Antichrist who is the real one who should come, they are interpreting clear passages with unclear passages. While the right way is to interpret unclear passages with clear passages. If there would be one person called the Antichrist, the Lord Jesus Himself would tell us clearly. But He talked of many antichrists. So why does the Bible call all those antichrists “the Antichrist” in singular? And when this name “Antichrist” is not mentioned, why does the Bible speak of him in some passages as if he were one person? The explanation is very simple: The Bible has this way of expression, as we have clearly seen in 2 John 1:7: the Bible may call many persons with the name of their nature or essence. As the essence of all the antichrists is the Antichrist, i.e. the spirit of Antichrist (here Antichrist is the name of a nature or an office), so all of them are called the Antichrist in singular. Look with me: “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:21) Which Caesar is this?? It doesn’t matter; it’s any Caesar! All of them are Caesar in singular. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme” (1 Peter 2:13) Which king is this? Is it the King of Rome? Is it the king of England? Is it the king of Armenia? Is it the king of Persia?… Yes and no, because it doesn’t matter! It is any king. We read the same thing in many places in the Bible. Even today, we make sentences like the following: “The Pope always persecuted the true Christians and refused the Reformation and worked against the Bible”… Which one of the Popes is this? Those who ask such a question do not understand the idea: it’s about any Pope; it’s about the essence of who a Pope is, what being a Pope means… The same is with the Antichrist: he is all those who deny that Christ is God incarnate and who claim that they are God. Antichrist is an office or a nature, and not one particular person.

In history there were many antichrists, and the Antichrist was officially revealed around AD 70 when the Roman Emperor wanted his statue to be placed in the temple of Jerusalem and to be worshiped by the Jews. The Roman general Titus later entered the temple and defiled it. That was the official revelation of the system of the Antichrist that would exist in parallel to the Kingdom of God during the whole of the Millennium. This would be repeated by the Antichrist (any antichrist in history) more than once during the Millennium, and not necessarily in the temple, but the first and official one was in AD 70. See in the conclusion of this article more examples of placing a statue and commanding the Temple, the body of Christ, the Church, to worship it. It is true that the temple was previously defiled in this way, but it was never in the time of the official abolition of the Old Covenant. This was the only time the system of the Antichrist was instituted officially by the world as the parallel system with the Kingdom of God. It’s not Israel and the nations anymore; it’s the Kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the Antichrist. The apostasy will be greater and greater until the Lord Jesus, the true Christ, comes and slays the Antichrist (any antichrist who will be present in the world when He comes) with the breath of His mouth and puts an end to him and to his system.

So now we have two kingdoms: the system of the Antichrist which is the earthly representative of the kingdom of darkness or of Satan, and the Kingdom of Christ visibly represented by the visible Church. The distinction is not between Israel and nations anymore; it’s not between circumcised and uncircumcised; the distinction is now between those who are sealed with the Holy Spirit and those who are sealed by the name of the Antichrist. This leads us to clarify the place of Israel in all this, because Dispensationalists say there should be something special for Israel separately from the Church…

What about Israel?

We all are sinners by nature, and we all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. This is the fact not only for those who live after Christ, but also for all humans since the Fall. And this is not only true about those who did not have the Law of God (the Gentiles), but also for the Jews; Paul explained this in the first two chapters of his Epistle to the Romans, then he concluded in chapter 3: “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin (Romans 3:9). And the only way one can be justified before God and be reconciled with Him is Jesus Christ: Salvation is by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. This also is the fact not only for the Gentiles, but also for the Jews, just as Paul clarified: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17) So this is how all people are saved, whether Jews or Gentiles, and whether before Christ or after Christ.

And although the Law was given to the Jews through Moses, and thus the Old Covenant was established, and yet no flesh was ever justified by the works of the Law (see Romans 3:20 and Galatians 2:16). The Old Covenant saints were justified by faith in the coming Christ. The Law was only the Tutor who brings to Christ (to Grace), and the Old Covenant was only the shadow of the New Covenant. And what does the Spirit say through the Apostle Paul: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” (Galatians 3:17) So the coming of the Law, i.e. the institution of the Old Covenant, did not annul the Covenant of Grace which was made with Abraham in Christ, i.e. in Abraham’s seed (see Galatians 3:16); it is the same Covenant made with Abraham that was confirmed in Christ when He came and abolished the Old Covenant. Note that Galatians 3:17 says that God confirmed the Covenant of Grace to Abraham in Christ, so the Covenant of Grace in which we are now is not different from that same Covenant made with Abraham, because it is the same Covenant confirmed in Christ. The Covenant of Grace is one Covenant. So the Covenant of Grace was never abolished, and the Old Covenant was abolished and will never be established again, because it was the shadow of the substance that came in Christ. Once Christ has come, there is no more need for the Old Covenant. The Covenant of Grace is the eternal Covenant. It was already foretold to the children of Israel that God would abolish the Old Covenant and would establish with them a New Covenant which is not like the Old Covenant: “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34) It is wholly a New Covenant, the Covenant of Grace. There is no more need for a temple in Jerusalem, for God has rejected that temple with the Old Covenant, and now Christ’s body is the Temple (see John 2:21). As the Church is the body of Christ, so the Church is now the Temple of God, as the Holy Spirit (God) dwells in the Church: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) Zionists dream of a rebuilding of that temple of Jerusalem, and many Christians have fallen in the lie that this temple should be rebuilt in order that Christ may return… That temple may be rebuilt, but not with God’s spiritual approval; God may allow them to fulfill their evil purposes for His own good Purpose; but He has refused the temple of the earthly Jerusalem. That’s clear in the whole Bible.

So the children of Israel never had and will never have any way for Salvation other than Jesus Christ, and the Covenant that was established with them will never be established again; they also have now only one Covenant that rules their relationship with God, and that Covenant is the Covenant of Grace that was confirmed to Abraham. The Jews object that if this is the case, then God has rejected them and has denied His promise made to their fathers. But Paul explains that God has not denied his promise, but the Jews who refused their Messiah proved not to be the children of Abraham: “Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.” (Galatians 3:7). Paul further explains: “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Romans 9:7-8) So those who are of faith are the children of Abraham, and not those who are descendants of Abraham in flesh, i.e. the Jews. Paul explains that Ishmael also was the son of Abraham in the flesh, but the promise was not given in him; he also explains that both Jacob and Esau were the children of Isaac from the same mother, and yet God confirmed His promise to Jacob. This is the Election of Grace. Paul explains all this in Romans 9, and he continues until Romans 11, explaining that only a Remnant of Israel will be saved, and not the rest who are hardened, because God has chosen a Remnant according to Grace. And in Romans 11 the Apostle concludes: “so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy.” (Romans 11:31) This is the mercy that God talked about to Moses: “For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” (Romans 9:15-16) So it’s not of those who think they deserve it (the Jews), but of God’s pure Grace and Mercy. By the New Covenant, as God opened the door to the Gentiles, the Jews will now be saved, i.e. the Remnant. After explaining all this, Paul says that so, i.e. in this way (and not then, as many misinterpret it) all Israel will be saved: And so all Israel shall be saved” (Romans 11:26). There is not a future particular plan for Israel; it is the same Covenant for them also. Those who believe are saved, and these are the Remnant. Paul had explained that only the Remnant is of faith and thus children of Abraham, so only the Remnant are the true Israel in Israel: “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” (Romans 2:28-29) So together with all the believers from all nations, this Remnant is the ONE true Israel, the ONE body of Christ: “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace” (Ephesians 2:15). This one new Man is Jesus Christ whose one body is the Church. The Old Testament prophets had already told us that Jesus Christ is the true Israel: “And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (Isaiah 49:3) In this verse, “me” is Jesus Christ; as you see, He is called Israel, because He is the true Israel, and in Him all believers, both Jews and Gentiles, are the true Israel, the Church. There are not two parallel true Israels; there is only one true Israel, and that is the Church. And there is not a Church for the Gentiles and a Church for the Jews, but all are made one Man in Christ, as we have seen above.

All Israel, i.e. the Remnant, will be saved according to God’s promise, so that it may be according to Grace: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all” (Romans 4:16).

Thus we see that our understanding of end times prophecies has a great impact on how we live our Christian life (the walk in sanctification), because the way we look to the end times is related to how we have understood Salvation by Grace. This is what we will see in the conclusion of this article.

Conclusion

This was an introductory article to last days prophecies. It was just an introduction, and I have not studied all the related biblical passages in it. But this article contains the essentials that should be understood before any further study of end times prophecies.

Our understanding of end times prophecies has a great impact on our Christian life. Theories of the end times are behind some of the serious heresies. Before I close this introductory article, I will explain in brief this impact that end times prophecies have.

It is first to be noted that cultists usually like to concentrate on the end times in order to impress and control people: the new interpretations they bring tend to impress people by making them think that those cultists have finally found the key to know the future and that those cultists have some higher spiritual insight… This of course does not mean that all those who have different views about the end times are cultists, but we should take heed of this typical behavior of the cultists in relation to end times prophecies.

It is true that many Christians believe in pre-Millennialism (and either in a pre-Tribulational Rapture or post-Tribulational Rapture), but this doesn’t mean that all of them are in heresy. The essential for us is that they should not imply in any way that we may know when Christ may come. Many of them are our dear brethren in Christ and do not imply in any way that they may know the date of His return. But the serious problem is with post-Millennialism that affirms that the Church will be more powerful during time and will have a millennial dominion on earth before Christ comes; this is seriously heretical, because the Bible clearly says that the Church will always be persecuted, and she will be persecuted more and more as the general apostasy grows. The post-millennial heresy has a serious impact on how we live our Christian life and on how we preach the Gospel. The post-Millennialist will seek an earthly carnal success for the Church rather than the spiritual prosperity that we have seen in this article.

Many people have a wrong definition for New Covenant prophecy and do not know that all New Covenant prophecies are fully revealed in Christ and do not understand what it means that even the Son did not know the time (see the full explanation of this point in our article Christ’s second coming on 21 May 2011?). Such people may very easily fall in the error of believing that new revelations are still coming to prophets today… For example, Mormons and the Word of Faith movement are in this error.

Another error to which a false understanding of the Covenant of Grace may lead is Zionism: many Christians today think that the Jews are still the people of God and that we should help the modern nation of Israel in its rebellion against God and in its hatred toward the neighboring nations… Such Christians have believed the lies of Zionist propaganda, and they forget that the nations neighboring Israel have Christian citizens that are also persecuted by Israel… Even Israel itself has Christian citizens… These Zionist Christians make the same error typical Muslims do: many Muslims call USA the Great Satan, and they forget that the USA is full of Muslims… Maybe they think those Muslims also are part of the Great Satan?… Zionist Christians also consider the nations neighboring Israel as the enemies of the people of God, and they forget that those nations have Christian citizens… Maybe they think those Christians also are part of the enemy of God’s people? Have they forgotten that the Church is the people of God?…

Another error linked to a misunderstanding of the difference between the Old and New Covenants is the belief of many Messianic Jews who believe there are two Churches: one for the Jews and another for the Gentiles. We have seen how the Bible says the Church is one and universal. We have a detailed explanation of this in the following article on this weblog: The confusion about the catholic Church.

Another serious problem is when people do not understand that the last days had already begun in the days of Jesus and the Apostles, and that the second coming of Christ (the Judgment Day) will happen at the end of these last days. It is the last hour since the time of the Apostles. People who are watching signs to know when the end will come are rebelling against the clear warning of the Lord that no one knows the time other than the Father. Signs are given so that we may be prepared always during these last days; the signs are the confirmation that God is faithfully fulfilling all what He has foretold through His prophets. In this context also it is dangerous to think that the Millennium is still a future event that has not happened, and that the Antichrist is still a future figure who is not in the world right now. All this is very dangerous: people who believe this will not be careful before the fulfillment of the different prophecies about what the Antichrist will do during these seven years of Tribulation in which we are, i.e. during the Millennium of the New Covenant. The Antichrist (different antichrists in history) has done all what is written about him in the Bible, and especially in the Book of Revelation. Let me just give one example so that we may see how it is dangerous to wait for a future fulfillment when the prophecies are happening before our eyes (but people need to have eyes to see…) For instance, at least two times in history the Antichrist has obliged people to get his sign of imperfection (666) in order to sell and buy (as Revelation says): the first instance was when the antichrist Trajan Decius, the Roman Emperor, persecuted the Christians in AD 250. This antichrist issued an edict which was clearly a fulfillment of the prophecy that the saints will not be able to buy and sell without taking the sign of imperfection; the edict said that “all the inhabitants of the empire were required to sacrifice before the magistrates of their community ‘for the safety of the empire’ by a certain day (the date would vary from place to place and the order may have been that the sacrifice had to be completed within a specified period after a community received the edict). When they sacrificed they would obtain a certificate (libellus) recording the fact that they had complied with the order.”(*) What is this libellus other than the sign of imperfection, i.e. the sign that those people have obeyed the rebellion of the antichrist against the true God? Christians who refused to offer a pagan sacrifice for the Emperor and the Empire’s well-being by a specified date risked torture and execution. The reaction of the visible Church towards this persecution showed the typical result of how people lose their love when the lawlessness increases, as the Lord said. Read more about this first instance here. The second instance of fulfillment of that prophecy about the Antichrist was when another antichrist, Diocletian, the Roman Emperor, issued an edict compelling Christians to sacrifice to idols in order to get permission to work and live in the Empire. Read more about this persecution here. The way the Church overcame these persecutions confirms the words of the Book of Revelation: “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” (Revelation 12:11) Today also, the Antichrist compels the saints in many ways to get his sign of imperfection: for example, many Christians lose their jobs (cannot sell and buy) if they don’t comply with orders that directly tend to make them sacrifice their integrity for the love of money; and many local laws encourage this persecution against Christians. Many Christians today are receiving this sign of the Antichrist without even being aware of it, because they believe the Antichrist is not for now but still for the future. Many laws today step by step present the Christians as threats to the peace of the world and for tolerance towards categories of people who are falsely said to be persecuted by Christians: an example of this is the laws that defend homosexuality as “normal”… This will soon make Christians unable to buy and sell in regions where they will be obliged to bow before the sexual idolatry. Many examples can be mentioned… So those who think all this is still for the future will usually not be careful and will get the sign of the Antichrist and will not repent of it. Their case will be as it is described in this article: Some questions about Hebrews 6:4-6.

Another danger in relation to a false understanding of last days prophecies is this: to think that history will still continue after the Lord comes back, and that His second coming does not mean that the Day of Judgment has come… Thus many people today are waiting for many second comings of Christ, and they draw complex charts to explain their complex views of facts that otherwise are very simple in the Bible… Many Christians today talk about last days prophecies just to impress people and make them amazed, rather than to make them get prepared to meet their God! Impressing people with interesting end times views and causing them to be amazed is not preaching the Gospel! The Gospel is not separate from the Law: both the Law and the Gospel should be preached in their order. The Law confirms the Gospel and leads people to Christ. The Gospel was never to preach to people that they should believe in Christ in order to be saved from a future tribulation on earth! The Gospel was never to preach to people that they should be saved and then wait for a future Antichrist instead of waiting for Christ! We are not to concentrate on the Antichrist, but on Christ! We are not waiting for some future events on earth; we are waiting for our Lord to come back and thus the Judgment to happen! Our Gospel is the same Gospel Paul preached: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31) So we do not preach that people get ready for future tribulations or for a secret Rapture… We preach that people REPENT and get ready for the Day of Judgment. When the Lord comes back, it will be the Day of Judgment.

I close this article, and I am fully aware that this topic was not fully covered yet. If the Lord wills and we live, we may study in the future many other facts related to these last days prophecies. After all, this was just an introductory article.

Grace be with you!
Disciple of Jesus Christ

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