Lesson 34 – Revelation 9:3-11:2

Lesson 34 – Revelation 9:3-11:2

Revelation 9:3-6 – Out of the abyss will come locust-like demons from the abyss. They will be sent to inflict unbearable punishment on the ungodly. Locusts are a symbol of God’s anger against those that resist His will and rise up against His chosen people (Exodus 10:13; Joel 1:4). His chosen people are not just Israel but include those who have been grafted into Israel. These locust-like demons will be given scorpion-like power (Revelation 9:3). The scorpion strikes its victim with its tail; its sting is in its tail.

It has a poisonous fluid that it injects into the wound of its victim. The sting is not fatal, but it causes terrible suffering. Unlike Locusts that do not harm people but bring their destruction on crops, these demonic creatures will bring great physical pain on mankind.

The symptoms of a sting from one of these locust like animals, include severe convulsions and paralysis. Their symptoms, resemble those of demon-possessed individuals (Mark 1:23-27, 9:20, 26). Demons are pictured in some cases as animals such as in the Garden in the form of a Serpent and the animal kingdom in Revelation 16:13, where they appear as frogs. Sadly, even the horrifying experience of this demon infestation will not cause many to repent (Revelation 9:20-21). These demons will afflict only those who do not have the seal of God (Ezekiel 9:4-6).

They will not kill people, only torment them, and their power to do so will be five months, which is the average life span of locusts who live generally from May to September. God shows His mercy and is going to give man a chance to repent (Revelation 9:20-21), as always, most will refuse, but God will still offer His mercy. The result of the torment on people will be so agonizing that people will beg for death, but they will not die (Jeremiah 8:3).

Revelation 9:7-10 – Ten different times John uses the words “like” and “as” reminding us that they are not actual locusts or scorpions but like them. The demonic locusts are like horses prepared for battle. This could also mean that they will be larger than the average size locusts (Joel 2:4).

They have heads that look like they are crowned with gold: the word in the Greek is “stephanos” which was a crown of victory which speaks not only of the success that they will have in their work but of the authority that they have to afflict men. They will be as conquerors and be successful in their attacks. These demonic locusts will appear to have the faces of men: this speaks of their determination and intelligence like men.

They will have the intelligence and will to attack and inflict damage with their scorpion like poison. They are described as having hair like the hair of women: hair has generally been used in the Bible to describe beauty to seduce and ensnare, this will help them to seem innocent and harmless at first. They are described further as having teeth like a lion: ferocious, fierce, devouring, and cruel (Joel 1:6). They have breastplates as of iron, which was an allusion to being indestructible, and well protected.

People will be helpless in killing them. They are described as having wings that sound like many chariots rushing into battle: frightening and overwhelming. There will be a sense of hopelessness in defending against them (Joel 2:4-5), one can today envision the sound of invading helicopters. They are further described as having stinging tails like scorpions which will be the source of their demonic torture. What will the affects of this torture be like? We have some examples in Scripture (Matthew 4:23-24, 8:6, 28; Mark 9:20-22).

When these events of the tribulation approach, there will be far more demonic forces at work than ever before, they are cause for many to scoff at such supernatural elements. Many of us who are Believers have no problem accepting the supernatural of plagues of Egypt and other miracles and supernatural events in the past but then want to deny such things for the future. We must be consistent.

These events also cause some of us to be fearful but never forget that God loves us and wants us to escape these demonic judgments and has told us about what is coming. This is why we must live lives fully committed to the Lord that we might be used of God to lead others to safety by receiving and abiding in Jesus. God has made a way for us to escape by faith in The Lord Jesus the Messiah. We must receive Jesus Christ as our

Lord allowing Him to be our Master and Guide through the dark days that are coming (Proverbs 11:21; Hebrews 2:3; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; 1 John 3:3).

Revelation 9:11-12 – The King of the Abyss will be over these locusts. Many see him as Satan (Hebrew for adversary or Lucifer) but he is described differently than the creature here. Satan is known as the Lord of the air (Ephesians 2:2), whose domain is in the heavenlies (Ephesians 6:12) so this likely is a powerful underling. There are various levels of authority and power and rule in the spiritual world just as there are in this world.

This fallen angel rules over the abyss which is under his command and authority. He has both a Greek and Hebrew name. His Hebrew name is Abaddon which means destruction, and his Greek name is Apollyon which means destroyer. What better name could there be to describe this ruler of the demonic locusts? The enemy of man is the spiritual force that lies behind this world, in a series of sermons we are beginning this week John, Steve and I will be considering his work in the world. Jesus delivers us from the grip of this evil force and person who leads us into evil and has the power of death in his hands (Hebrews 2:14).

The first woe is the fifth trumpet judgment (Revelation 8:13) which has been described but there is more to come. The two woes yet to come are the sixth and seventh trumpet judgments, which include the bowl judgments.

Revelation 9:13-15 In the first four trumpet judgments man’s body will not be attacked; But after the natural disasters the last three trumpet judgments will be directed against men and women personally, and millions will be afflicted and destroyed.

The first woe judgment was the from the terrors of a demonic-like plague of locusts. They could only torture men, not kill them. But now the sixth trumpet brings forth another horde of demons who will take their toll on human life. There are the four fallen angels set loose. They are set loose by a command coming from the golden altar. This is the altar of incense where the prayers of God’s people are kept (Revelation 6:9-10, 8:3-4). This tells us that it is God who launches this judgment to vindicate the millions who have cried out to God for justice like the importunate widow of Luke 18:3 ff. God is going to execute perfect justice against the devil and his children who have slaughtered millions.

The four released angels are bound at the river Euphrates. Why would the angels come from the Euphrates? Scripture doesn’t say, but two reasons seem likely. The Euphrates river flowed out of the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:14), It was there, where Satan first tempted and overthrew man. It was also there that the first murder took place and it was in the region of the Euphrates that the first organized rebellion against God took place at the Tower of Babel.

The Euphrates was the western boundary of the land that God promised to Abraham. The land where the Assyrians and the Babylonians had come to destroy Israel, God’s chosen nation God now sends destruction in the opposite direction (Jeremiah 46:10). These four angels are sent to execute judgment on the earth slaying one third of unbelieving world. These angels were prepared for their work and God has already set the time for this judgment coming from them.

Revelation 9:16-19 These angels have at their disposal an army of two hundred million. The riders will have breastplates that are described as being “fiery red and sapphire blue (hyacinth) and sulphur (brimstone) yellow”. The breastplate indicates again that John saw them as indestructible, protected. Man will not be able to stop them. John describes the horse’s heads like lions fierce, devouring, and cruel and mouths that spit out fire. Horses are regularly described in Scripture as instruments of God’s judgment. They will kill one third of the unbelievers on earth. Their power is in their mouths, heads, and tails.

Revelation 9:20-21 The purpose for this judgment is to call men to repentance. Yet in the face of experiencing these prophesied judgments men will not repent and turn to God. Two thirds of the population will survive, not because they deserve to survive but because God is merciful giving man still another chance to repent, speaking to them through the judgments. God has never delighted in the death of the wicked. But sadly man’s heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

There are listed sins which must be repented of including the worship of evil spirits and the worship of idols. Actually, the demons are said to be behind the worship of idols. This is going on today Scripture declares that the worship of all gods except the Father through the Lord Jesus is the worship of an evil spirit or idol.

In fact, Scripture even declares that to covet is idolatry. Why? Because a person has set his heart on something other than God Himself, and we owe our first allegiance to God. Idols cannot see, hear, or walk; They cannot answer prayer, or give us strength, or help us in any way. But the evil spirits behind the idols can damage a person’s soul. The spirit of antichrist demands the worship of the state.

The worship of the state, as we have seen in Germany and pre war Iraq enables the government to maintain control of its people. Citizens must submit to the state or else be imprisoned or executed. So men fear man who have the power of the body but not the soul, rather than fearing God who has power of life and eternal life. (Matthew 10:28) “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

There will be an increase of murder. Remember all the martyrs John saw in heaven, the numberless multitude of believers slaughtered by the antichrist and his government and followers (Revelation 7:9). Believers will be slaughtered all over the world—from all nations and tribes and languages and people (Matthew 24:10).

The difference between the holocaust of the past and the holocaust of the antichrist. In the past leaders like Hitler and Stalin had only a number of people who supported their genocide; the antichrist will have world-wide support. There will be an increase in the sin of sorcery the Greek word is close to the spelling of the English word pharmacy, a place that handles drugs. Sorcery includes all kinds of witchcraft, the use of drugs or of evil spirits to gain control over the lives of others or over one’s own life. In the present context it would include astrology, palm reading, seances, fortune telling, crystals, and other forms of witchcraft (1 Chronicles 10:13; Isaiah 8:19-20; Micah 5:12; Galatians 5:20).

There will also be an increase in immorality (porneia) this is a broad word including all forms of immoral and sexual acts (1 Corinthians 6:18; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5). There will be an increase in thefts the Greek word refers to cheating and stealing or to take wrongfully from another person, either legally or illegally (Exodus 20:15; Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:28; Titus 2:10).

Revelation 10:1-11
Revelation 10:1-2 Before the seventh trumpet sounds there will be an interlude, which forms the second parenthesis in the tempo of Revelation 7 which paused to talk about 144,000 who were going to be sealed before the seventh seal was to be opened. We also learned of the saints on earth who will be martyred during the tribulation. Now we have a second parenthesis which stretches from Revelation 10:1-11:14 , allowing John and his readers to pause and consider what has so far been revealed. The third parenthesis will be between the sixth and seventh bowl judgments .

During these interludes God comforts His people with the knowledge that He has not forgotten them, and that they will ultimately be victorious. Six trumpet judgments have been sounded and the earth has been hit with attacks on industry and shipping; Meteors from the heavens that has contaminated one third of the water supply; an eclipse that temporarily wiped out one third of the daylight; a demonic-like locust attack that caused agonizing torture on the wicked of the earth and another demonic-like military attack that killed one third of the unrepentant of the earth.

It is now time for the seventh trumpet judgment to blast forth. But before it does, God gives to His people and those who still might turn to Him a message of hope. John is given a vision of a mighty angel, the word angel means messenger. This angel comes down from heaven, from the very presence and throne of God Himself. This tells us that he is one of the exalted angels. The messenger is clothed with a cloud which indicates further his heavenly association because clouds are associated with the second coming of Messiah and His judgment in Revelation 1:7; 14:14-16; Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; 14:62; and Luke 21:27 .

The messenger had a rainbow on his head: which is a picture of the glory and mercy of God (Ezekiel 1:28), and it was the sign of God’s mercy shown to Noah (Genesis 9:12-13). The rainbow assures God’s people of His mercy in the midst of coming judgments. Malachi 3:16-4:2 presents this same duality of God’s covenant promise of mercy to His people in the midst of judgment. The angel had a face that shone as the sun, this further reflects that He has been sent from the presence of God and brings to mind Moses’ encounter with God in Exodus 34:29-35. The messenger had feet like pillars of fire that symbolizes the holiness, purity, righteousness, and strength of the messenger. The messenger held a little book open.

What is the book? This little book, if it is the same as the seven-sealed book, was originally in the hands of the Father in heaven (Revelation 5:1). It was given to the Lord Jesus who was the only One who could open it. The breaking of the seventh seals opened the book; and the seven trumpets, six of which have already been blown, are still part of what is in the book.

After He removes the seals, the Lord Jesus in turn transfers the book to the angel, who gives it finally to John to eat. This book is the title deed of the earth, and contains the judgments of the Great Tribulation through which the Lord Jesus is coming to power. This book is the angel’s authority for claiming both the sea and the earth for Messiah.

He puts one foot on the sea and the other foot on the earth, and he is claiming both for God. In Leviticus 25:23 the Lord gave instructions to Israel concerning the land He had given them, that the land belongs to the Lord and must not be sold permanently. The Lord also owns the seas (Psalm 8:6-8). The messenger had a voice that roared like a lion. This symbolizes the voice of God the lion of Judah, Jesus Himself (Revelation 5:5; Joel 3:16; Hosea 11:10).

Remember that are rule of interpreting symbols are that the interpretation is in the passage where the symbol is mentioned as in Revelation 1:12 with the Golden Lampstand and the interpretation in Revelation 1:20 where we are told that the lampstands are the 7 churches. Or the symbol is given in another portion of Scripture such as the voice roaring here in this chapter and seeing that it is an allusion to the prophecies of Joel and Hosea.

Some think that this angel here is the Lord Yeshua but this angel is not described in the same way as the Lord is described in other parts of Revelation 1-2. Other angels described in Scripture have the same splendor that this angel has. Ezekiel 28:11-15 describes Lucifer’s glorious angelic appearance before his rebellion against God.

The messenger calls forth seven thundering voices. The number seven symbolizes completeness, fulfillment and finality.

Thunder symbolizes the power and strength of God’s voice, and the seven thunders of God’s voice have the power to complete and finalize all things. But note: a voice from heaven stops John from revealing the message of the seven thunders. The voice tells John to seal up whatever it was that the seven thunders said. This is a reminder that we are to understand and know what has been revealed to us in Revelation and that the prophecy of Revelation is not a sealed Book.

Revelation 9:5-7 This mighty angel second makes a declaration and an oath. He swears by God Himself: “By Him who lives forever and ever.” “Who created heaven and the things in it.” “Who created the earth and the things in it.” “Who created the sea and the things in it.” Here is further evidence that the angel is not the Lord since He swears by God and from Hebrews 6:13 we know that God can not swear to anyone greater. The angel than declares that time will be no more. The consummation of all things is at hand.

When? When all the catastrophes have happened and all the horrors, that Revelation describes have unfolded. God is going to confront the ungodly and the evil of the world for the last time, and He is going to destroy them and establish righteousness in the earth forever and ever.

Revelation 9:8-11– John is commanded by the voice of heaven to go over and take the little book from the angel. The book is sweet to the taste which is true of all Scripture consider Jeremiah 15:16, Ezekiel 2:8-3:3; also Psalms 19:11(10), 119:103 on its words’ being sweet as honey. On the bitterness, see Ezekiel 3:4-11; also consider Yeshua weeping over Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-38, Luke 19:41) there is no joy in preaching the wrath of God and the reaction at times can be very bitter as well.

When John saw the truth of the world, its evil and corruption and the coming judgment upon it, he tasted the bitterness of God’s Word. When he saw the righteousness and perfection and the salvation that is coming to the world, he tasted the sweetness of God’s Word. Pleasant words are sweet, but if they are false their end leads to death (Proverbs 16:24-25). John is recommissioned by the Lord through the angel to proclaim the Word of God to the world; the bitter as well as the sweet, the judgments that are coming as well as the ultimate deliverance that is coming.

Like John all believers experience the sweetness of God’s Word and the bitterness that is associated with the Word that unless people turn from their own way to God’s through repentance and faith in Messiah Jesus they will not receive eternal life. We are commanded to declare God’s Word to the lost so that they might come to faith. Consider Ezekiel 33 in light of the necessity for faith in Yeshua. Knowing we have eternal life is something sweet to us but bringing the message of the Gospel to others as we are commanded to do can at times bring bitter responses from the unregenerate.

Revelation 11:1-2
V1 This is one of the most important and one of the most exciting chapters in Revelation. It points to the rebuilding and destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. It shows the destruction of Jerusalem by the Gentiles. It ties in with the prophecies of Jesus and the prophets about the end time and the Antichrist. It covers the salvation of Israel and the coming kingdom of God. It gives insight as to how Israel will be saved and how God will conquer the evil of this world and set up His own kingdom. It also serves as a summary and overview of the rest of the book.

A.T. Robertson says that no matter how a person interprets this passage, there are three clear points: “the chastisement of Jerusalem or Israel (Revelation 11:1-2), the mission of the two witnesses (Revelation 11:3-12), the rescue of the remnant (Revelation 11:13)” (Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol.6, p.376). The remnant refers to Jews who truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah.

John is instructed to take a rod and measure the temple, its altar and the people who worship there. The words rod and measure are used in the Bible in two ways. The rod can be used to measure a building for construction or for restoration, or it can be used to measure a place for preservation or protection (Zechariah 2:1-5). This is a possible meaning here. God could be saying that He wants the true worshipers of Israel preserved and protected while the Antichrist and Gentile nations trod Jerusalem underfoot (Luke 21:24; Romans 11:25). He could be saying that He wants a remnant of Jewish believers saved, protected, and preserved during the great tribulation (Romans 11:1-5).

The word rod can also mean to measure a place for destruction and punishment or correction and chastening (2 Samuel 7:14; 2 Samuel 8:2; 2 Kings 21:13; Psalm 2:9; Isaiah 34:11; Lamentations 2:8). This too is a possible meaning here. God could be saying that He wants the temple and the Jewish people measured for judgment and correction; that in the last days they must be judged along with everyone else because of their unbelief, denial, rejection, and blasphemy against God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Scripture says that the Antichrist is to walk into the temple and demand that the world give their loyalty to him and his government. Yeshua said that the antichrist would stand in the holy place of the temple and make this proclamation. We need to keep in mind that Jerusalem is considered sacred to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity making it the ideal place to launch the worship of the state (Matthew 24:15; Daniel 9:24-27; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 2:11).

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 tells us that the Antichrist will sit in the temple of God declaring that he is god, and that his will should be done on earth. Since the Scriptures clearly say that the Antichrist is going to appear in the temple, it means that the Israel must rebuild the temple in Jerusalem before this event can happen.

The last temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. There are five temples mentioned in Scripture: Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:1f): destroyed by Nebuchadnezar in 587 B.C.; Zerrubbabel’s temple (Ezra 3:12): he rebuilt the temple after the Babylonian captivity, but it was desecrated and dedicated to the god of Jupiter by Antiochus Epiphanes in 168-170 B.C., the events chronicled in Hanukkah; Herod’s temple (John 2:20) which was a total rehab of Zerubbabel’s Temple: this was the temple that existed in the days of Yeshua, that Temple was destroyed by Titus in 70 A.D.

There are two future temples yet to be built. The temple of the tribulation, the one to be rebuilt during the first three and one half years of the Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Revelation 11:2). The temple of the millennium (Ezekiel 40-43).

John is told to take the rod and measure the temple, the altar, and the worshipers for judgment and correction. The Tribulation is described by Jeremiah as the time of Jacob’s trouble and it is a time that God will bring judgment upon Israel to bring them back to Himself Hebrews 12:6. The Jewish people are just as guilty as the Gentiles in rejecting God’s Son, the Lord Jesus.

God has to judge them just as He has to judge all who have rejected His Son. God has no favorites and shows no partiality. God however has an everlasting covenant with Israel and will use the Tribulation to bring Israel to her knees and to prepare them to receive Yeshua as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10).

Revelation 9:2 Jerusalem will be dominated or “tread upon by the Gentiles” for three and one half years or 42 months. Some people suggest that when Jerusalem was liberated in the 6 day war that the time of the Gentiles has ended. Yet Jerusalem while under Jewish control is still very much an international city, and trodden upon by the Gentiles. First of all the Palestinians have not relinquished their claim on the City.

When Israel took over the City they allowed the WAQF (the Muslim leadership that administers the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque on the Temple mount) to have limited control of the Temple mount. The United States and U.N. still exerts its influence on Jerusalem, as well as the Catholic Church the Greek Orthodox Church and several other churches. So Israel still is very much trodden down by the Gentiles.

John is told in the vision not to measure the court of the Gentiles. The court of the Gentiles and the city of Jerusalem are not measured or marked for judgment. The court of the Gentiles was the outside courtyard of the temple. The temple was divided into four courts, all surrounding a center building or which housed the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

The courts moving out away from the Holy of Holies were the Holy Place, the court of the priests (where the altar of the burnt offering stood); the court of Israel or of Jewish men; the court of the women. These were the inner courts for Jewish worshipers only. No Gentile was ever allowed within these court barriers. We see the consequences of Gentiles entering the Jewish courts in Acts 21:23-30. Surrounding these courts for Jewish worshipers was a huge outer court, the court of the Gentiles. This was the only court the proselytes and God fearers were allowed to enter.

The Tribulation temple will be built early in the first half of the Tribulation with support and protection of Antichrist. Many orthodox Jews today dream of rebuilding their temple, in fact each year there is a ceremony that attempts to enter the Temple mount with a foundation stone to begin the rebuilding of the Temple each year, but the Israeli Army turns them away lest it cause a riot by Muslims.

As I already mentioned the site is now occupied (and in the minds of many Jews desecrated) by the Islamic shrine known as the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa Mosque. For the Jewish community to wrest that site away from the Muslims and build their temple there would be unthinkable in today’s political climate. But during the Tribulation, under the protection of Antichrist (Daniel 9:24-27), they will be able to rebuild the temple.

The reason that the Gentile court and the city of Jerusalem will not be measured for judgment is because they are already be under the antichrist and his government. The government of Israel and the other governments of the world will have already submitted to the rule of the antichrist. But this will not be the case with true Jewish worshipers, nor with true Christian believers. The antichrist will have a problem securing the loyalty of people all around the world who have strong faith. Strong Jewish worshipers will do what they have always done: refuse to buckle under to any Gentile ruler.

This passage, verses one and two, is a prophecy: the temple will be destroyed and Jewish worshipers will be persecuted. The antichrist is going to attack them with a vengeance never before seen in the history of the world. Of course, as has already been seen, he is also going to attack Christian believers (Revelation 7:9f) and all other persons of strong faith (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Matthew 24:15; Daniel 12:7)

Forty-two months (3 ½ years) is the set time that Jerusalem will be oppressed: forty-two months (Revelation 11:2). 1260 days or 3 ½ years is the time that the two witnesses will prophesy to Israel and the world (Revelation 11:3). This is the same amount of time mentioned for the woman in the wilderness to be (Revelation 12:6, 14). This is also the same amount of time that the beast will be allowed to blaspheme God (Revelation 13:5).

Both Jesus and Daniel say that the Antichrist will rule for a seven-year period. Jesus says that the abomination of desolation (the antichrist) will launch the worst tribulation the world has ever known (Matthew 24:15, 21). In His own words, the signs that occur up until the abomination of desolation are called “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8); and the trials after the abomination of desolation takes place are called “great tribulation,” tribulations so great that they are unparalleled in history (Matthew 24:21).

Daniel also gives a division of time just as Jesus does in Daniel 9:27 “In the midst of the week” (Daniel’s seventieth week) definitely points to a period of time (one week) that is divided into two parts. Daniel was dealing with the “seventieth week,” the end of his seventy week prophecy. Two things tell us that Daniel was dealing with the end time just as Jesus was:

(1) Jesus was dealing with the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world and,

(2) Jesus said He was elaborating on Daniel’s prophecy. Daniel said that the second half of his seventieth week begins “the abomination of desolation” or the prince who causes “abominable idols” (H.C. Leupold. Exposition of Daniel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1969, p.434).

When Jesus said in Matthew 24:15 “when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet”, He was beginning to elaborate and explain in more detail what Daniel prophesied. Jesus explained that the first half of Daniel’s week would consist of signs which were “the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8; Matthew 24:5-14), and the last half of Daniel’s week would consist of unparalleled trials of “great tribulation” which would be launched by “the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place” (Matthew 24:15, 21).

We need to consider the time frame of the end times (the seventieth week) as predicted by Yeshua and Daniel. Scripture refers to the length in these words as “Time, times, and half a time” (Daniel 7:25; 12:7); “1260 days” (Revelation 12:6); “42 months” (Revelation 11:2, 13:5-6).

Based on the days and months given in the Book of Revelation, if Daniel’s time equals one year, then his words, “Time [1 year], times [2 years], and half a time [½ year]” are equal to 3-1/2 years. Daniel stated that the abomination of desolation would begin “in the midst of the week,” after 3 ½ years. It is assumed by most scholars that Jesus’ words “the beginning of sorrows” is, the first half of the week which would be 3 ½ years.

So then in combining the two periods of time (3-1/2 years each), the length of the last days or end time is said to be a literal seven years. All this points to the final days of the Antichrist, and it is in the last 3 ½ years of his rule that he will launch the worst tribulation the world has ever known. As more and more Jews return to worship in the rebuilt Temple and they begin seeking their Messiah, Antichrist will act. At the midpoint of the Tribulation, he will halt their worship, desecrate the temple (the abomination of desolation; Daniel 9:27, 12:11; Matthew 24:15), and set himself up as the only acceptable object of worship (Revelation 13:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:4).

This will be the culmination of the ” times of the Gentiles ” (Luke 21:24), the thousands of years during which Gentile nations have in various ways occupied and oppressed Jerusalem. Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, the Turks, the British, and the Arabs have all ruled Jerusalem, and today Israel’s self-rule is fragile and under continual attack. The destruction and oppression by the rule of Antichrist and his demonic and human allies will surpass all the others.

During this 3 ½ year period, God will protect many Israelis in a place He has prepared for them in the wilderness, some believe it will the rock city of Petra. Is 63 describes a city called “Bozra” in Edom, which in the Hebrew means “sheep pen” and Petra which is in the land that was Edom, is like a sheep pen with an entrance through a 12 story canyon. Revelation 12:6 reads, ” Then the woman [Israel] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days ” (Revelation 9:14).

Many Jewish people will heed Jesus’ warning to flee to safety (Matthew 24:15–20). Those who remain (some in Jerusalem; Revelation 11:13) will face terrible persecution from the forces of Antichrist. At that time, God will bring salvation to Israel, using the two witnesses who will appear in Jerusalem (Revelation 9:3).

At the end of the 3 ½ years, Jesus will return (Revelation 19:11-16), destroy Antichrist and his forces (Revelation 19:17–21; 2 Thessalonians 2:8), judge the nations (Matthew 25:31-46), and establish His earthly millennial kingdom (Revelation 20:1-10). We will see in Revelation 11:3 and following that God will use this suffering to prepare them for the gospel and to glorify His name. This persecution is the first step to prepare them for their coming salvation.

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