Thursday, April 18, 2013

End Times Chronology ....debunked #8

The Midpoint of the Tribulation

From the book "End Times in Chronological Order" by Ron Rhodes 

The Little Scroll Is Opened
The Antichrist Is Wounded, and Is
Seemingly Resurrected
Satan Is Cast Out of Heaven
The World Church Is Destroyed
God's Two Prophetic Witnesses Are Executed
and Resurrected
The Antichrist Breaks His Covenant with Israel...
The Abomination of Desolation Occurs
The False Prophet Carries Out His Diabolical
The Antichrist Blasphemes God
The Jewish Remnant Flees
Satan Makes War on the Saints
Midtribulation Announcements Are Uttered
from Heaven

The Little Scroll Is Opened

In Revelation 10, we read of an angel with a mysterious little scroll. The biblical description is intriguing.
Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire. He had a litde scroll open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the land, and called out with a loud voice, like a lion roaring. When he called out, the seven thunders sounded. And when the seven thunders had sounded, I was about to write, but I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Seal up what the seven thunders have said, and do not write it down." And the angel whom I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven and swore by him who lives forever and ever, who created heaven and what is in it, the earth and what is in it, and the sea and what is in it, that there would be no more delay, but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, "Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land." So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, "Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey." And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, "You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings."

The Apocalypse provides revelation to Gods people about the future. As we see in this passage, however, John was forbidden to record what the seven thunders spoke. Nevertheless, what was recorded was to have no further delay. An announcement was made that the seventh trumpet would bring about the accomplishment of the mystery of God.
What is this mystery of God? Prophecy expositors have various opinions. John F. Walvoord offers this explanation: "[God's] mystery had been previously announced to God's prophets. The reference, therefore, is not to hidden truth but to the fulfillment many Old Testament passages which refer to the glorious return of the Son of God and the establishment of His kingdom of righteousness and peace on the earth."1 William MacDonald and Arthur Farstad suggest that "the mystery of God has to do with Gods plan to punish all evildoers and to usher in the kingdom of His Son."2 Arnold Fruchtenbaum suggests that "the content of the Little Book is prophecy, especially the prophecy of the middle and the second half of the Tribulation."3 It is unwise to be dogmatic about this mystery.


John obeyed the angel's instruction to eat the scroll, and though it was sweet (like honey) in his mouth, it quickly soured in his stomach. The symbol seems to relate to Scripture. God's Word was sweet to John, as it is sweet to believers around the world, throughout all ages. After all, the Word of God abounds with the glorious promises of God. The Word of God speaks of victory in the end for Gods people. However, the Word of God is bitter to unbelievers because it includes warnings of woe and judgment. Scripture promises doom, not victory, for those who have rejected God. This passage depicts both sweetness and bitterness in the Word of God.
Fruchtenbaum suggests that this approaching tribulation bitterness for unbelievers ought to give us a burden for the lost so that some may be reached for Christ and escape the coming tribulation through the rapture of the church.4 That, of course, requires that people trust in the divine Messiah now, for salvation is found only in Him (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).


The Antichrist Is Wounded and Is Seemingly Resurrected

In Revelation 13:1-3, we read of the apparent death and resurrection of the antichrist.
I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.

This has been the topic of much debate and speculation. Some have suggested this may refer to the revival of the Roman Empire, and that people will be amazed when it happens. However, this view has problems, as prophecy scholar Arnold Fruchtenbaum notes: "A revived Roman Empire would not cause man to worship it as God any more than the revival of Poland or Israel did. This kind of thinking is purely imaginary. It is the resurrection of the man Antichrist which creates this worship."5


Many other Bible-believing prophecy lovers believe this refers to the antichrist suffering a mortal head wound and then somehow being healed by Satan. In keeping with this, Revelation 13:12 clarifies things a bit in its reference to "the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed." John F. Walvoord explains it this way:

The final world ruler receives a wound which normally would be fatal but is miraculously healed by Satan. While the resurrection of a dead person seems to be beyond Satan's power, the healing of a wound would be possible for Satan, and this may be the explanation. The important point is that the final world ruler comes into power obviously supported by a supernatural and miraculous deliverance by Satan himself.6

This supernatural event would seem to be a contributing factor to people worshipping the antichrist, for many will believe that this involves a godlike recovery. Many will be awestruck.


Satan's Power

Walvoord touches upon an important issue: Does Satan have the ability to engage in miracles? Scripture reveals that Satan has creaturely limitations but nevertheless is extremely powerful and influential in the world. He is called the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31), "the god of this world" (2 Corinthians 4:4), and the "prince of the power of the air" (Ephesians 2:2). He deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9; 20:3) and has power in the governmental (Matthew 4:8-9), physical (Luke 13:11,16; Acts-10:38), angelic Qude 9; Ephesians 6:11-12), and ecclesiastical (church) (Revelation 2:9; 3:9) realms.

Satan's Vast Experience

It is critical that Christians realize that Satan has vast experience in tricking human beings and bringing them down. In fact, his experience is far greater than that of any human being. By his very longevity, Satan has acquired a breadth of experience that easily eclipses the limited knowledge of man. He has observed people firsthand in every conceivable situation, so he can predict with accuracy how they will respond to circumstances. So although Satan is not omniscient, his wide experience gives him knowledge that is far superior to anything any human being could have.
Because of his vast experience, Satan has learned many wiles and tricks regarding how to deceive human beings. Some of his deceitful tricks no doubt relate to the counterfeit miracles he inspires. Christians are therefore urged to beware (2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Peter 5:8).

Satan as the Ape of God

Augustine called the devil SimiusDei—"the ape of God." Satan is the great counterfeiter. He mimics God in many ways. A primary tactic Satan uses to attack God and His program in general is to offer a counterfeit kingdom and program. This is hinted at in 2 Corinthians 11:14, which makes reference to Satan masquerading as an angel of light.
In what ways does Satan act as the ape of God?
Satan has his own church—the "synagogue of Satan" (Revelation 2:9).
Satan has his own ministers of darkness—false prophets who bring false sermons (2 Corinthians 11:4-5).
Satan has formulated his own system of theology, or "doctrines of demons" (1 Timothy 4:1; Revelation 2:24).
Satan's ministers proclaim a counterfeit gospel (Galatians  " 1:7-8).
Satan has his own throne (Revelation 13:2) and his own worshippers (13:4).
Satan inspires false christs and self-constituted messiahs (Matthew 24:4-5).
Satan employs false teachers who bring in destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1).
Satan sends out false prophets (Matthew 24:11).
All this mimicking indicates that Satan's plan has always been to establish and lead a rival rule to God's kingdom.
Scripture indicates that Satan performs counterfeit signs and wonders. Indeed, 2 Thessalonians 2:9 tells us, "The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders."


What About Miracles?

Though Satan has great spiritual powers, there is a gigantic difference between the power of the devil and the power of God. First, God is infinite in power (omnipotent); the devil is finite and limited. Second, only God can create life (Genesis 1:1,21; Deuteronomy 32:39); the devil cannot (see Exodus 8:19). Only God can truly raise the dead (John 10:18; Revelation 1:18).
Certainly the devil has great power to deceive people (Revelation 12:9), to oppress those who yield to him, and even to possess them (Acts 16:16). He is a master magician and a super scientist. And with his vast knowledge of God, man, and the universe, he is able to perform "false signs and wonders" (2 Thessalonians 2:9; see also Revelation 13:13-14). Simon the sorcerer in the city of Samaria amazed people with his Satan-inspired magic, but the miracles accomplished through Philip were much, much greater (Acts 8:9-13). The devils counterfeit miracles do not compete with God s true miracles.
Perhaps the best illustration of Satan's counterfeit wonders is found in the Exodus account. In Exodus 7:10, for example, we read that Moses's rod was turned into a snake by the power of God. Then, according to verse 11, Pharaoh "summoned wise men and sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same things by their secret arts." The purpose of these acts, of course, was to convince Pharaoh that his magicians possessed as much power as Moses and Aaron and that Pharaoh did not need to yield to their request to let Israel go. It worked, at least for the first three encounters (Aaron's rod, the plague of blood, and the plague of frogs). However, when Moses and Aaron, by the power of God, brought forth living lice from the sand, the magicians were not able to bring forth life (or living things). They could only exclaim, "This is the finger of God" (Exodus 8:19).
Biblical scholars differ as to whether Satan just does convincing tricks or genuine (albeit limited) miraculous works. Some scholars assert that the feats of Egypt's magicians, inspired by Satan, were done by sleight of hand. Perhaps the magicians had enchanted the snakes so that they became stiff and appeared to be rods. When cast down upon the floor, they came out of their trance and began to move as snakes. It is suggested that Satan, who is the "father of lies" (John 8:44), may have been pulling some kind of deceitful trick instead of performing a true miracle.
Other scholars say these were supernatural and miraculous acts of Satan who actually turned the rods of the magicians into snakes. Some believe the devil and demons may be able to perform some "grade B" miracles. As such, they may be capable of altering or manipulating the world's natural processes.
Still others believe Satan sometimes does tricks and sometimes does supernatural (albeit limited) miraculous works. Some of what he does is mere trickery, but some of what he does is supernatural. Remember that the devil showed the Lord Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (Luke 4:5) and is able to transform himself into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14). These are obviously supernatural acts.
The question of whether Satan can perform miracles hinges on how one defines a miracle. If a miracle is any event that transcends physical causes in a limited way, then we can say Satan can do a miracle. If, however, we define a miracle as a supernatural act produced by the immediate power of God, then of course, Satan cannot do a miracle.
Whether Satan has the ability to perform a few limited grade-B miracles or whether his works are just impressive tricks, the scriptural evidence is undeniably clear that only God can perform heavy-duty grade-A miracles. Only God can fully control and supersede the natural laws He Himself created, though on one occasion He did grant Satan the power to bring a whirlwind on Jobs family (Job 1:19). As the account of Job illustrates, all the power the devil has is granted him by God and is carefully limited and monitored (see Job 1:10-12). In other words, Satan is "on a leash." Satan's finite power is under the control of God's infinite power.


The Antichrist's Healing

In view of the scriptural evidence, we must conclude that in the end times, Satan will either perform a limited grade-B miracle in healing the antichrist or engage in some kind of masterful deception-— or perhaps a combination of both. In any event, the world will be amazed that the mortal wound of the antichrist will be healed, and many will worship him. This will contribute to his ultimate goal of world dominion.


Satan Is Cast Out of Heaven

In Revelation 12:12-13 we find a sobering description of Satan's ousting from heaven, after which he indwells-—or, at the very least, fully energizes—the antichrist: "Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is shortl"
Notice  the contrast between the "woe" and the rejoicing. Satan's access to heaven is hereby removed, and he will no longer be able to stand before the throne of God and accuse the brethren. For this there is rejoicing in heaven (see verses 10-12a).
Satan is filled with fury because he knows his time is short. More specifically, he knows his time is limited to a mere 1260 days—the last three and a half years of the tribulation period. 


This brings woe to the earth. Arnold Fruchtenbaum makes this note: "Because of Satan's wrath, it is woe for the earth. This is a very important point to note in the understanding of what is happening during the middle and second half of the tribulation."7 In other words, things now go from bad to much, much worse on the earth. Thomas Constable writes, "Everyone living on the earth, especially believers, must beware because he now moves among them more antagonistically than ever."8


The World Church Is Destroyed

At this time, the antichrist, along with the ten kings who are under his authority, will destroy the false world church, the religious prostitute of the end times.

The ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled (Revelation 17:16-17).

The text gives no indicators or clues as to the precise timing of this event. However, it seems most logical and coherent to place it midpoint in the tribulation period, at the same time that the antichrist will assume the role of world dictator by proclamation (see Daniel 9:27; Matthew 24:15). It is logical to infer that at the same basic time, the antichrist will come into global dominion both politically and religiously, demanding even to be worshipped (Daniel 11:36-38; 2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 13:8,15).
The beast and his allies will eventually throw off the harlot and thoroughly destroy her.. .This will probably occur in the middle of the Tribulation when Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel and demands that everyone on earth worship him or die (Dan. 9:27; 11:26-38; Matt. 24:15; 2Thess.2:4;Rev.l3:8,15).9
The false religious system that flourished during the first half of the tribulation period will be obliterated because the antichrist will be on the religious center stage. The final world religion will involve worship of the antichrist alone. No competing religious systems will be allowed, including that of the Jews.


God's Two Prophetic Witnesses Are Executed and Resurrected

I previously noted that during the tribulation period, God will raise up two mighty witnesses who will testify to Him with astounding power. The miracles they perform are reminiscent of Elijah (1 Kings 17; Malachi 4:5) and Moses (Exodus 7-11).
These prophetic witnesses apparently emerge on the scene at the beginning of the tribulation period. They continue to minister for 1260 days, which is precisely three and a half years (the first half of the tribulation period). The two witnesses are then martyred by the antichrist.


When they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will he in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days some from the peoples and tribes and languages and nations will gaze at their dead bodies and refuse to let them be placed in a tomb, and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth. But after the three and a half days a breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. Then they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here!" And they went up to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies watched them (Revelation 11:7-12).

Notice several things here. First, the bodies of the witnesses lie lifeless in Jerusalem, and it is apparency by television and the Internet that people around the globe will gaze at them for three and a half days. Only modern technology can explain how the whole world will be able to watch all of this.
Notice also that the refusal to bury a corpse was, in biblical times, a way of showing contempt (see Acts 14:19; see also Deuteronomy 21:22-23). So God's two witnesses will be shown contempt with the whole world watching.
The people of the world will have something like a Christmas celebration when Gods witnesses are put to death. They will exchange presents, apparendy in relief that they are no longer around. As one expositor noted, "The only prophets people love are dead ones."10
But then something amazing happens. "A breath of life from God entered them, and they stood up on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them." The Christmas celebration quickly gives way to fear as people witness this mighty act of God. This resurrection and ascension of the two witnesses into heaven serves as a sobering exclamation point to their prophetic words throughout their three-year ministry.


Many will come to know the Lord during the tribulation period (Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 7:9), so we can surmise that some of these conversions are likely due to the testimony and miracles of these witnesses.

(THAT  IS  VERY  TRUE  -  Keith Hunt)

The Antichrist Breaks His Covenant with Israel

Daniel 9:24-27 reveals that the event that will mark the beginning of the tribulation period is the signing of a covenant between the antichrist and Israel. We know it is the antichrist who does the signing, for verse 26 tells us that the signer will be "the prince who is to come." The.....


To be continued

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