As chapter six of the book of Revelation begins, we see Jesus take a scroll from the right hand of the Father, who is sitting on the throne of God in heaven. All contracts in ancient Israel which deal with titles for property, had a clause for the redemption of that property. Upon its redemption, the seals of the contract are are broken one at a time and the one who is coming to redeem the land, will fulfill each of the terms that are specified. In regard to the earth and her redemption, there are twenty-one judgements that will take place. Seven Seals, Seven Trumpets, Seven Bowls. Each of these successive judgments becomes more severe than the one previous.
By His death and resurrection, Jesus has already meant all of the terms of redemption for the earth, In the sixth chapter of the book of Revelation, Jesus opens each of the seven seals and allows the particular events that are described to take place.
As the first seal is opened, we see a rider on a white horse, with a bow. When Jesus returns to earth from heaven, in Revelation chapter 19, He is riding a white horse. This man who is riding the white horse at the opening of the first seal, is a false Christ, an anti-christ. He has a bow in his hand, but no arrows. He is coming to make peace for seven years; the duration of the Tribulation period. The same duration of the 70th week of Daniel, chapter 9. We remember that a bow in the sky that was also seen after the flood of Noah. This was a sign of peace. God promised to never again destroy the earth by flood and He instituted the rainbow after this event as a sign of His promise.
Now I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals; and I heard one of the four living creatures saying with a voice like thunder, “Come and see.” 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse. He (the antichrist) who sat on it had a bow (Peace; Genesis 9:13); and a crown (conquer) was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer. (He conquers with peace in the beginning, 3 ½ years) —Revelation 6:1-2
The seven-year Tribulation will begin at a time when the nations that surround Israel, sign a peace agreement with for seven years. A bold new ruler will emerge on the scene to unite the world together. Securing a new global government, banking system, and religion, for the first three and one half years, the earth will experience unparalleled peace. Israel will rebuild their third temple on the Temple Mount and reinstitute the temple sacrifices.
We know that this is true because the antichrist is described by Paul in the book of 2 Thessalonians as coming into this new temple where a statue of his likeness will be placed. A command to worship this man will be given to all the world.
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day (the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation) will not come unless the falling away comes first (Christian Apostasy/Rapture?), and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4
This event takes place in the middle of the Tribulation, described by Jesus and Daniel as “the abomination of desolation.”
And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days. Daniel 12:11
(Jesus speaking) So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Mark 13:14
This abomination will occur three and one half years into the seven year Tribulation. From this point onward, until the conclusion of the last half of the seven years, this period is referred to as “The Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21). During this time, the wrath of the Lamb, (Jesus Christ, Revelation 6:16), is poured out on the kingdom of the beast, and all those who worship him.
Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom… —Revelation 16:10
The last 3 ½ years: The Great Tribulation
Soon after this false christ has promised peace for seven years, he breaks the peace and commands the world to worship him as God. This act unleashes the wrath of God upon the earth. As the seven horses of Revelation are sent out, war breaks upon the earth. Millions die as a result of this war and the ensuing destruction of earth’s food supply. Many people will die of starvation, disease, and pestilence.
Another horse, fiery red, went out. And it was granted to the one who sat on it to take peace from the earth, and that people should kill one another; and there was given to him a great sword. —Revelation 6:4
During the last three and one half years of the Great Tribulation, twenty -one judgments of God: seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls, each increasing in severity, are poured out on the earth. This wrath begins at Revelation 6:4 and continues through Revelation Chapter 18.
We never see the church present on the earth during the Tribulation Period
It is interesting that the church is not seen on the earth during this period of time, as she has already been taken to heaven at the Rapture. The church is observed in Revelation Chapters 4 and 5, singing the song of redemption to the Lord, wearing crowns and worshipping the Lord together in heaven. The Tribulation Period begins at chapter 6.
The twenty-four elders (leaders of the church) fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created.” —Revelation 4:10-11
We see Jesus redeemed church, in heaven, wearing their crowns, singing songs of redemption to the Lord. The church is represented in the above verse by the twenty-four elders.
In chapter 5, still before the Tribulation begins in chapter 6, we see the church singing a “new song.” This is a song that has never been sung in heaven before. The reason? This is the first time that the complete church of Jesus is all together, having been brought here by Jesus, at the Rapture.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9. And they (the redeemed) sang a new song (of redemption), saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, 10. And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” —Revelation 5:8-10
Only the church of Jesus Christ can sing this song of redemption: Jesus has redeemed us by His blood out of every tribe, tongue and nation of the earth.
The twenty four elders are the leaders of the redeemed church. Twelve from the Old testament period, and twelve from the New Testament period. The crowns they wear represent the rewards which have been given by Jesus—to all those who He has saved and are now present with Him in heaven. These crowns represent our right to rule with Jesus during the 1,000 years of His rulership on earth.
The seven years of peace is orchestrated by the antichrist
When the antichrist arrives on the earth, just after the Rapture of the church occurs, he will institute a seven-year peace plan over the nations of the world. In the midst of these seven years, he will announce that he is “God” and command the world to worship him.
Then he (antichrist) shall confirm a covenant with many for one week (seven-years); But in the middle of the week (three and one half years) He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate. —Daniel 9:27
Paul informed the church at Thessalonica that when the antichrist comes to the earth during the seven-year Tribulation, he will sit on a throne as God, in the newly constructed Temple at Jerusalem.
… the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. —2 Thessalonians 2:1-4
Paul describes the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together with Him. He says that this day will not take place until there is first a falling away.
The original Greek word used here for falling away, is apostasia. The word apostasia has been translated as departure. Many have taken this to mean a departure from the faith. The meaning of apostasia is simply to depart. The term apostasia can also be understood in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 as a departure of the saints, as in departure by Rapture. This would fit the context of the verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 as a departure of the Saints (the redeemed) that happens before the man of sin (antichrist) is revealed and the seven-year Tribulation begins.
If it was the intent of Paul to tell us that there will be a departure of the faith amongst those who believe in Jesus, then this would fit the times that we are living in—perfectly.
In recent years there has been a systematic departure of those who believe in and follow Jesus as their Savior. We see the results of this by the manner in which the United States has fallen away from God, since 1962. In the past few years, I have been shocked by the increasing number of books that have been published by people who claim to have once been a follower of Jesus, but now—no longer believe. This is a clear fulfillment of the words of Paul; the day of the Lord, the Tribulation period, will not come until first there is a mass departure of faith from those who once followed Jesus, and then the antichrist will arrive.
For those who seek to use these verses to try and prove that the Tribulation, and the antichrist must arrive first, before the Rapture, this is not at all what Paul is saying. The frame of reference is the day of Christ, and our gathering to Him.
This is a clear description of the Rapture and the seven year Tribulation period. Before this can take place, first; a departure, then an antichrist. If the church was instructed to wait for the appearance of the antichrist first, before the arrival of Jesus, then all believers would be looking for the antichrist, not Jesus. Notice what Paul said to Titus, regarding what we should be watching for:
…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13
The Return of Jesus to Earth, with His Church
All of the events of the Tribulation (first 3 1/2 years), and the Great Tribulation (last 3 1/2 years), are completed at the end of chapter 18 of the Book of Revelation. As we read chapter 19, we see Jesus returning to earth on a great white horse, with an army of those who He has redeemed from the earth. Every person who has placed their hope of salvation in Jesus Christ, was removed from the earth before He unleashed His wrath upon the earth. Now that God’s judgment is complete, Jesus is ready to return and begin the 1,000 year kingdom that was promised to David.
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16
This army in white linen is unmistakably the church. In chapters 4 and 5 of the Book of Revelation, we learn that only people who have been redeemed by Jesus can wear these white linen garments. As we return to earth with Jesus, we will touch down at the Mount of Olives, from where Jesus departed earth, after His death and resurrection.
Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. Acts 1:12
And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west, Making a very large valley; Half of the mountain shall move toward the north And half of it toward the south. Zechariah 14:4
All of these events will begin with a plan of peace in Israel that will be necessitated by a time of conflict that will threaten a great war. On September 13, 2015, this conflict began at the Temple Mount in Israel. This is the location where the third Temple will be built at the beginning of the seven year Tribulation. This new Temple cannot be constructed until this peace plan is put into effect.
The specific terms and manner in which this could be accomplished will be extraordinary. It will take a feat of genius to make this possible. Under the current mindset of most Palestinians, Israel will never have the opportunity to rebuild their Temple again at Jerusalem. To imagine that this structure could be built next to the Dome of the Rock, Al-Aqsa Mosque, is unthinkable.
The antichrist is described as a man of unparalleled genius. He will possess the ability to bring people together under just such a peace treaty that would be required to cause the building of the third Temple. It may be that no person who loves Jesus and is awaiting His return, will be present on the earth to see this treaty signed. It is highly likely that the Rapture will take place, before this event transpires. I for one, would love to see how this becomes possible. At the present time, it seems quite impossible.
Who in the world today, has the skills and ability to bring Arab and Jews together to sign such a treaty? Many people believe that Donald Trump is just such a man. He has orchestrated deals around the world that have made him one of the richest and most powerful men on the planet. His running in the 2016 Presidential race has taken on a dynamic that no one ever expected. His fast rise to prominence and sustained lead in nearly every survey, has shocked and amazed pundits of presidential races from the past.
Whether or not Donald Trump becomes the President of the United States after the 2016 election, no one knows today. It is certain that he is the type of man that could fit the requirements that would be necessary to bring a deal to the table that would allow Israel to rebuild their third Temple on the Temple Mount.
As we watch the events that are taking place in Israel at the present time, we wonder if these conflicts will lead to the peace agreement that Daniel was told, must happen before the seven year Tribulation, the 70th week of Daniel, can begin.
“The Prophecies of the Messiah,” by Robert Clifton Robinson