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The End of the Age: Part II - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8111
Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. Luke 21:29-32
It’s easy to see how Christ’s depictions of the events in the Olivet Discourse, fit quite nicely into the Seal Judgments of Revelation 6. But just because they can fit, doesn’t mean they are exclusive to them. We’ve always had wars. We’ve always had earthquakes. We’ve always had famines. What is unique about the ‘beginning of sorrows’, is not that they happen, but how they happen. As if it is the culmination of all the signs together, both in intensity and frequency, all wrapped up in one generation.
But something else to consider about the ‘beginning of sorrows’ that often gets overshadowed by the increasing birth pangs, aside from the sharp pangs that comes when the woman’s uterus contracts, is the increasing discomfort of pregnancy itself. Similarly, true, born-again Christians are becoming more and more uncomfortable in this world, is as sure a testimony to the lateness of the hour, as is the sharp pangs of travail. “Christians” who aren’t uncomfortable in this world, are either completely oblivious to the darkening spiritual storm clouds gathering overhead, or they are Christians in name only.
The Mother of all Whoppers
This is a bit of speculation on my part, but in my mind, I’m trying to reconcile a number of different significant events and how they tie into each other. Both scholar and student have long wondered how and when the Battle of Gog and Magog tie into both the Olivet Discourse, and the Seal Judgments. The Apostle Paul, in his second letter to the Thessalonians, makes mention of something that has long puzzled many on what exactly it could be.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess. 2:9-12
Many have proposed ideas of what they think “the lie” really is, and here are a few of the front runners thus far;
‘The lie’ is that the Battle of Gog and Magog, is mistaken for the Battle of Armageddon, which at its conclusion, the antichrist rides in on proclaiming a ‘false peace’ that the Jews think will usher in the Messianic Kingdom they have for so long waited for. Due to the nature of that battle, it’s not a stretch for many people around the world to mistake the Battle of Gog and Magog, for the Battle of Armageddon, given both the general ignorance on the specifics of each for the Gentiles, and the fulfillment of Ezekiel 38-39 for the Jews. Adding to that, is the looseness that the word ‘Armageddon’ has had applied to it over the years in popular movies and culture. Bruce Willis anyone?
But if you read Ezekiel 38:18-23, there are a lot of similarities there, and it would not be difficult to imagine that Biblically illiterate people are fed the notion that the Biblical Armageddon had just transpired, (when in reality it was the Magog battle), and now “peace” has come upon the earth. This lie would particularly be effective on the Jewish people, who soundly reject the New Testament as divinely inspired and thus, also do not recognize the book of Revelation as divinely inspired text. That may also be the point in which the Antichrist introduces or reinforces a peace covenant or accord with Israel and her surrounding neighbors…and not for Israel’s protection, but for theirs. (Dan. 9:27)
Jews today and for the past 2,000 years, have largely rejected Jesus as their Messiah, because they state if Jesus was truly the Messiah, then He failed to usher in the peaceful Messianic reign that is promised throughout the Old Testament. They cannot reconcile that Jesus had to die first (Psalm 22; Isaiah 53), before coming back to bring in His Kingdom (Psalm 2; Isaiah 2, 11; Daniel 2:44-45; Zech. 12, 14)
Once this pseudo-peace is brokered, the Antichrist would then be in many Jew's and Gentile's eyes, the man who finally brought ‘peace’ to the Middle East, thus fulfilling the Jewish requirements for their Messiah, particularly after a great battle and victory as was the case for the Battle of Gog and Magog. Of note, God repeatedly claims to be the sole source of victory for Israel, and the nations will know HIS name because of it. It would seem that the Antichrist comes in riding on God’s coattails, and then takes credit for something God did. (Dan. 8:23-26, 11:36-39)
Again, students of Bible prophecy know and recognize the distinctions between the two battles, but I’d venture to guess that the general population have no idea what those differences are and will likely buy into ‘the lie’, that this was the battle to end all battles, and that a new era of peace is about to be ushered in. Realize, that Satan knows Scripture as well, and if he can get Israel going after the wrong Messiah immediately after a miraculous victory, then Israel will have that hand of protection removed from them allowing for the time of Jacob’s trouble.
So in how I see the order of events, based off of the Olivet Discourse, Ezekiel 38-39, and the Seal Judgments is as follows;
I am willing to admit, that it is difficult to know how much time transpires between the Rapture of the Church, and the start of the 70th Week. It’s also difficult to determine how much time transpires between each Seal, once they are opened. But three things are certain; the first is that the Church may live through some of the birth pangs, but it does not enter into the 70th Week. The world needs a global event that is big enough to knock the US off the top, and also triggers enough of an emergency that warrants the need for global, economic restructuring…which is what will happen at the Rapture of the Church. The second is that God’s wrath begins with Christ initiating the judgments by opening the seals in Revelation 6:1. The third, is that by the Sixth Seal, 1/4 of the earth’s population has died, which by today’s standard equals 1.75 billion people.
Truth is, it’s impossible to know when all of these things will transpire, because they largely hinge on the Rapture of the Church occurring first. In the intelligence circles, there are three types of scenarios; Known-knowns, Known-Unknowns, and Unknown-Unknowns. What we have today, is the Known-Unknown. In other words, we know what is coming, we just don’t know how and when. I also know that I hate to hear the phrase “the stage is being set”, because it seems like the stage has been ‘being set’ now for the last 40 years, and things have not yet progressed much beyond that…that is until our recent President was elected into office.
Our current administration has so fundamentally transformed U.S. economic and foreign policy agendas, that despite our abject repulsion to him and his objectives, he really has put God’s prophetic timeline on fast forward. We also must remember, that it is God who appoints kings and leaders, and that they work according to His plan. (Daniel 5:20-21, Romans 13:1) So even though we can’t wait for him to leave office, the damage has been done, and it’s highly unlikely that the U.S. can recover from all that has transpired over the last eight years.
Aside from the geo-political and military posturing that is affirming what Bible prophecy has stated all along, we see other markers that point to the lateness of the hour due to their increase and intensity:
Until then, Maranatha!
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:31-36