1. The mistaken idea that there is a "secret" coming of Christ BEFORE the great tribulation and BEFORE Christ comes publicly in great glory has clouded the whole endtime prophetic picture. The following study (as a companion volume to a former book, "In the Last Trump") is designed to show that there is no "secret" coming of Christ, but only one glory coming with numerous other public and official activities being transacted before the throne of God while the heavens are rolled back and all creation is looking on.
2. This mistaken interpretation has caused the scriptures which refer to Christ coming as a "thief" to be taken completely out of context. These "thief coming" verses are set in contexts which refer to the open, visible, public outpouring of the wrath of God, Mt 24; I Thess 5; II Pet 3. And the "thief" reference is carried far beyond what the contexts will permit. A candid examination of these passages will not permit the "thief" factor to be carried beyond the SUDDENNESS and UNEXPECTEDNESS of Christ's return.
The flood in Noah's day came as a "thief" upon the people of that day (Mt 24:36-44) because they were unaware ("they knew not"). However, when it came they were suddenly aware. They suddenly did know, and there was no doubt about it. God did NOT come as a "thief" and take Noah without everyone knowing it.
Conversely, it was altogether the wrath of God that hit them. They saw the black clouds, the frightful lightnings, the ear-bursting claps of thunder, the fierce winds, and the torrential rain falling forty days and nights. They saw the waters washing everything with them and finally rising over the house tops with people clinging to floating objects. They saw the ark rise upon the waters and float as the waters rose above the house tops long before the waters covered the highest land areas.
Noah escaped the wrath of God on that generation, and his escape was precisely at the same time the wrath of God was being visibly wreaked upon the world. This foreshadows, NOT the wrath of the Antichrist, but the wrath of God beginning at the same time the heavens are rolled back, Rev 6:12-17.
Lot escaped the wrath of God on those wicked cities, but the angels miraculously transported Lot, his wife, and two daughters to a safe distance immediately before the wrath of God visibly roared down upon the wicked cities.
The faithful covenant people who are watching and ready will escape the wrath of God that will come on the earth when Christ returns, Lk 21:34-36; Rev 3:10; et al. The 42 months wrath of the Antichrist will be stopped by the rolling back of the heavens and the appearance of the throne of God in the open heavens.
3. Trumpets 1 through 6 are NOT the wrath of God, but are a part of the "strong delusion" God will send on the world during the wrath of the Antichrist, i.e., God permits Satan through the Antichrist to perform overwhelming miracle working powers (II Thess 2:9-12) to deceive and convince the world that the Antichrist is God. God will permit this to come upon those who refuse to believe the truth and be saved. Trumpets 1 through 6 fit the same time period as Seals 2 through 5, which is the last half of Daniel's 70th week of 7 years.
God will not be in any way pouring out His wrath at the same time the Antichrist is pouring out his wrath. For one reason, the wrath of God will have the Antichrist and all the earth in complete and utter confusion. The Antichrist will have absolutely no ability to wear out the saints or anyone else during the period of God's wrath. The saints will be glorified, and soon after God's wrath begins they will be all over the Antichrist and his forces many times worse than killer bees on a defenseless, frenzied victim.
I. NEBUCHADNEZZAR IMAGE, DAN 2
- THE IMAGE of gold, silver, brass, and iron represents four of the Gentile powers God is permitting to run their course, to rule, oppress, enslave, kill, and pursue their ambitions and lusts until an appointed time.
- THE LITTLE STONE is Christ who will establish the kingdom of God on earth. At God's appointed time the Gentile powers will be suddenly stopped, gradually but furiously destroyed for 1335 days, while God through Christ will establish the kingdom of God on earth.
II. DANIEL'S FOUR BEASTS, DAN 7:1-27.In Daniel chapter 7 there are FIVE scenes very similar to a theatrical performance. As we study these scenes it becomes strikingly apparent that the throne of God DIVIDES the wrath of God FROM the wrath of the Antichrist. The five scenes provide a progressive revelation of details which build up to a single unified picture. The reason for the five scenes is to reveal, in part, a sequential relationship of events and to emphasize significant elements within each of the three major parts: 1) the wrath of the Antichrist, 2) the throne of God with its court, and 3) the wrath of God -- in this sequence in each of the five scenes.
Each of these five scenes provides additional and important data to the whole prophetic presentation, and gives solid emphasis to the throne of God being the ONE unmistakable and sharply pronounced factor DIVIDING the wrath of God FROM the wrath of the Antichrist. After 42 months of the wrath of the Antichrist the heavens will be rolled back and throne of God will be set up in the open heavens.
The rolling back of the heavens will stop the wrath of the Antichrist and will begin the wrath of God, which will last 1335 days (44 1/2 months, Dan 12:12; Rev 6:9-11). During this 44 1/2 months the glorified saints will wear out the Antichrist and his kingdom while the angels are pouring out the seven vials of God's wrath, Rev 16.
A. FIRST SCENE: Dan 7:1-8, 9-12.
1. FOUR BEASTS: Dan 7:1-8:
- "In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head while on his bed. Then he wrote down the dream, indicating the major things God wanted to reveal."
- "Daniel spoke, saying, I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the Great Sea.
- "And four great beasts came up from the sea, each different from the other.
- "The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings. I watched till its wings were plucked off; and it was lifted up from the earth and made to stand on two feet like a man, and a man's heart was given to it.
- "And suddenly another beast, a second, like a bear. It was raised up on one side, and had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. And they said thus to it: 'Arise, devour much flesh!"
- "After this I looked, and there was another, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird. The beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it.
- "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns.
- "I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words," Dan 7:1-8.
- GENTILE POWERS AFFECTING ISRAEL, from Babylon until and through the wrath of the Antichrist, are addressed in these verses.
- The KINGDOM OF ANTICHRIST WILL BE DESTROYED as a result of the decisions and actions of the court of heaven.
2. THRONE OF GOD: Dan 7:9-12:
- "I watched till THRONES WERE PUT IN PLACE, and THE ANCIENT OF DAYS WAS SEATED; His garment was white as snow, and the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire;
- "A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. THE COURT WAS SEATED, and THE BOOKS WERE OPENED.
- "I watched then because of the sound of the pompous words which the horn was speaking; I watched till the beast was slain, and its body destroyed and given to the burning flame.
- "As for the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away, yet their lives were prolonged for a season and a time," Dan 7:9-12.
- This is A COURT SETTING where covenant law and
record books are opened, laws and records are verified, judgments are passed, commands
are given, and those commands are executed by Christ and the saints as we later see, as
prescribed in "the books".
- THE COURT OF HEAVEN. God determined in the beginning to
govern the universe through a court consisting of the following:
- God Himself.
- Christ, as the kinsman Redeemer and defense Lawyer.
- Four cherubim, as throne guardians and witnesses.
- Twenty-four elders, as court officials and witnesses.
- The righteous angels, as court guardians and witnesses.
- Satan, as the accuser of the saints and all mankind.
- Mankind, especially the covenant people, as the accused.
- This is THE SAME THRONE and the same scene as that in Rev 6:12-17 (See also Jn 1:51; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; I Thess 3:13), which is a "heaven standing open" scene. This is when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of Christ, Rev 11:15; 6:112-17; Mt 24:29-31,36-51; I Thess 5:1-3; II Thess 1:7-9.
- Observe the ACTIVITIES OF THE FIRST SCENE:
- Thrones are set in place.
- God, as Judge, takes His judgment seat.
- One group of angels minister to God, while another group of angels stand by.
- The court is seated -- the elders are seated while the cherubim and angels take their places.
- The court books are opened by the elders for verification of predetermined judgments according to God's eternal counsel with the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- Records are verified and commands are given by the court by God, probably through one or more of the court officials.
- Court commands are executed by Christ and the glorified saints as we will later see.
- There is NO JUDGMENT upon the Antichrist and his kingdom UNTIL the throne of God appears in the heavens, the court is seated, and the judgment books are opened, records of predetermined judgments verified, and commands given by the court to execute the predetermined counsel of God.
- The ANTICHRIST'S KINGDOM IS DESTROYED and the Antichrist is given to the burning fire, the lake of fire, Rev 19:20.
- The REST OF THE BEASTS (nations now) will be permitted to continue through the Millennium.
- CHRIST AND THE SAINTS ARE NOT MENTIONED in this scene; however, the scenes that follow reveal that Christ and the saints are the ones who execute the commands of the court. The angels are involved as we see in the vials, Rev 16.
- SCENE ONE IS INTRODUCTORY, primarily emphasizing the Gentile kingdoms, the throne of God and the heavenly court, which passes judgments that reverse the whole course and character of actions on earth and bring an end to the anti-God world forces.
- These FIVE THRONE, COURT, AND JUDGMENT SCENES are consistently spliced in between the wrath of the Antichrist and the wrath of God. These five scenes consistently place the throne of God, the court, and judgment scenes in the FUTURE, as well as reveal that they were determined before creation, then later recorded and witnessed to by this court in the beginning of creation. This is evident from Dan 7; Rev 4 & 5, and numerous other parts of the Scriptures.
- The wrath of the Antichrist, which is the last 42 months of Daniel's 7th week.
- The heavens opened up and standing open, the throne of God and the court of heaven being viewed by all creation, and numerous activities resulting from the judgments of the court of heaven. The duration of this second major event is not indicated.
- The wrath of God, which lasts for 1335 days, and is a period of great joy and festive (marriage) celebration for the saints and heavenly hosts.
B. SECOND SCENE: Dan 7:13-14.
1. FOUR BEASTS:
The nations are given to Christ to be a part of His kingdom.
2. THRONE OF GOD: Dan 7:13-14:
- "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him.
- "THEN TO HIM WAS GIVEN DOMINION AND GLORY AND A KINGDOM, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed," Dan 7:13-14.
- This is THE SAME OCCASION and the same throne as in scene one and is viewed from the earth as indicated in the sixth seal, Rev 6:12-17; Jn 1:51; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; I Thess 3:13; 5:23. This is when the kingdoms or kingdom of this world become the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, Rev 11:15; 6:112-17; Mt 24:29-31,36-51; I Thess 5:1-3; II Thess 1:7-9.
- The EMPHASIS IN THIS SECOND SCENE IS ON CHRIST as the Son of man receiving the everlasting kingdom, which will forever include many nations of people according to God's precreation counsel and covenant with the Son. Christ is ushered in before the throne of God to receive the kingdom, Lk 22:29-30; I Cor 15:21-28.
- This REQUIRES INAUGURAL CEREMONIES during which Christ is crowned and God gives the inaugural address in which He chides the nations, laughs at them, and has them in a defenseless and excruciating state of derision, Ps 2; 59:8; Prov 1:24-31.
- A TIME SEQUENCE is evident here, as Christ does not appear until this second scene, and the saints are not mentioned until scene three. The sequence is that the throne of God and the heavenly court appears first, which verifies records of predetermined judgments and issues commands for appointed actions. After certain records are verified Christ is ushered in for crowning and receiving the kingdom, then comes the resurrection, glorification, and rewarding of the saints all in view of the whole universe. The resurrection, glorification, and rewarding of the saints is not explicitly seen in Daniel 7, but is required by the complete change in their status, power, and what they do.
C. THIRD SCENE: Dan 7:15-17, 18.
1. FOUR BEASTS: Dan 7:15-17:
- "I, Daniel, was grieved in my spirit within my body, and the visions of my head troubled me.
- "I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things:
- "'Those great beasts, which are four, are four kings which arise out of the earth,'" Dan 7:15-17.
- God moves Daniel's spirit to know these things.
- The four beasts are four kingdoms.
2. SAINTS: Dan 7:18:
- "'But the SAINTS of the Most High shall RECEIVE the kingdom, and POSSESS the kingdom forever, even forever and ever,'" Dan 7:18.
- This is THE SAME OCCASION and the same throne as in scenes one and two, and is viewed from the earth in stark terror as indicated in Rev 6:12-17. See also Jn 1:51; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; I Thess 3:13; 5:23. This is when the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of Christ, Rev 11:15; 6:12-17; Mt 24:29-31,36-51; I Thess 5:1-3; II Thess 1:7-9.
- THE THRONE OF GOD is not explicitly mentioned in this scene, but all five scenes necessitate the presence of the throne of God, the court, and the decisions made by the court in each scene.
- The saints "RECEIVE" the kingdom. How do they receive it? From whom do they receive it. They receive the kingdom from the court of heaven -- from God, after the heavenly court has verified the record books (see verse 10 in Scene One). The "books" contain complete eternity spanning details of the precreation covenant between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, including all actions to be taken by the court through the ages. All actions were predetermined in covenant by God, agreed to by the Son and the Holy Spirit, 9 the recorded in record books, and verified by the court at the time for execution. The command is then given by the Father to the Son, the Holy Spirit, and other party or parties to execute the actions as recorded. See later chapter on The Court of Heaven.
- The saints "POSSESS" the kingdom. As we shall again see in scenes four and five, this requires the saints to be glorified, which requires the resurrection, glorification, and rewarding of the saints BEFORE they receive and possess the kingdom.
- These saints RECEIVE and POSSESS the SAME KINGDOM GIVEN TO CHRIST. This means these saints (Daniel's people) inherit and rule Christ's kingdom jointly with Christ "forever, even forever and ever." These are the bride of Christ.
D. FOURTH SCENE: Dan 7:19-21, 22.
1. LITTLE HORN: Dan 7:19-21:
- "Then I wished to know the truth about the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its nails of bronze, which devoured, broke in pieces, and trampled the residue with its feet;
- "and about the ten horns that were on its head, and about the other horn which came up, before which three fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth which spoke pompous words, whose appearance was greater than his fellows.
- "I WAS WATCHING; AND THE SAME HORN WAS MAKING WAR AGAINST THE SAINTS, AND PREVAILING AGAINST THEM," Dan 7:19-21
- The Antichrist makes war with the saints and PREVAILS against them. This is new information in the scenes and very important. See 7:25; Rev 13:7; and Mt 24:21-22.
- The Antichrist CANNOT make war with the saints unless God permits him to do so. Furthermore, he CANNOT overcome them unless God GIVES them into his hands.
- There is NO WRATH OF GOD upon the Antichrist and his kingdom UNTIL the throne of God appears which is AFTER the 42 months of the wrath of the Antichrist.
2. THRONE OF GOD: Dan 7:22:
- "UNTIL the Ancient of Days came, and a JUDGMENT WAS MADE IN FAVOR OF THE SAINTS of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to POSSESS the kingdom," Dan 7:22.
- This is THE SAME OCCASION and the same throne as in scenes one and two, and is watched from the earth as in Rev 6:12-17. See also Jn 1:51; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; I Thess 3:13; 5:23. This is when the kingdom of this world becomes the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, Rev 11:15; 6:12-17; Mt 24:29-31,36-51; I Thess 5:1-3; II Thess 1:7-9.
- There is NO WRATH or judgment from God on the Antichrist UNTIL God's throne and judgment tribunal intervenes AFTER the 42 months of the wrath of the Antichrist, as stated in scene five.
- A JUDGMENT IS MADE IN FAVOR OF THE SAINTS: the saints are being worn out by the Antichrist because God had GIVEN them into his hands for 42 months.
- Only AFTER Judgment is made in favor of the saints are the saints given power and authority to resist, overcome, and wear out the Antichrist. Until judgment is made in favor of the saints, the Antichrist wears them out.
- This is when THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD becomes the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ, as stated in the seventh trumpet, Rev 11:15.
E. FIFTH SCENE: Dan 7:23-25, 26-27.
1. LITTLE HORN: Dan 7:23-25:
- "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.
- "The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings,'
- "He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be GIVEN into his hand for A TIME and TIMES and HALF A TIME," Dan 7:23-25.
- The Antichrist will PROCLAIM HIMSELF TO BE GOD and require the world to worship him, II Thess 2:4; Rev 13.
- The Antichrist will PERSECUTE, wear out, and slaughter the saints, Rev 13:7; 6:9-11; 12:17.
- The Antichrist will try to CHANGE TIMES AND LAWS. Satan will change everything God has done that God will permit him to change. God will permit Satan to perform many great miracles as a part of the strong delusion God will send upon the unbelieving world, II Thess 2:9-12.
- God through the court will GIVE THE SAINTS into the hands of the Antichrist for a time, times, and half a time (1260 days, 42 months, or 3 1/2 years).
- This is a deliberate action by God through the supreme court of the universe. God knows what he is doing and His reward is immeasurable in the true riches. See God's trials of the saints in past ages. We must not complain but prepare ourselves, our children, and our churches for the worst both for now and for the great tribulation.
- This is a righteous, merciful, and gracious judgment on God's part, II Thess 1:3-5. See the response of the saints in Rev 6:9-11; 7:9-10; 15:3-4.
2. THRONE OF GOD: Dan 7:26-27:
- "'BUT THE COURT SHALL BE SEATED, and they (Christ and the saints) shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it until the end (of the period of God's wrath).
- "Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him,'" Dan 7:26-27.
- This is THE SAME OCCASION as in scenes one through four, the same throne, the same court , and is viewed from the earth in stark terror as indicated in Rev 6:12-17. See also Jn 1:51; Mt 26:64; Mk 14:62; I Thess 3:13; 5:23. This is when CHRIST RETURNS, when THE SAINTS ARE RAISED AND GLORIFIED, when the WRATH OF GOD begins, and when THE KINGDOM OF THIS WORLD becomes the kingdom of our Lord and His Christ -- this is the seventh and last trumpet, Rev 11:15; 6:12-17; Mt 24:29-31,36-51; I Thess 5:1-3; II Thess 1:7-9.
- THE COURT WILL SIT IN JUDGMENT. We must not overlook the overwhelming significance of 1) the heavens being rolled back, 2) the public revelation of the throne of God with the supreme court of the universe, and 3) the whole world shaking actions taken by the court of heaven. These constitute THE SINGLE GOVERNING FACTOR and pivotal point that 1) stops the wrath of the Antichrist 2) initiates the wrath of God, and 3) begins the Millennium. Review each one of the five scenes of Dan 7, and see if this is not the single governing force governing all events surrounding the return of Christ.
- THE JUDGMENT BOOKS WILL BE OPENED as in scene one. The judgment books contain the covenant made between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit before the foundation of the world, which covenant contains the laws established by God for the redemption stated in the covenants. The judgment books will also contain all that Christ has done for that redemption and the records of all mankind through the ages. The judgment books will likewise surely contain all that God had done through the court and through the righteous angels, as well as all that Satan and his forces have been permitted to do and will yet be permitted to do.
- JUDGMENTS WILL BE PASSED IN FAVOR OF CHRIST AND THE SAINTS based upon the prescribed requirements of the covenants and the records of compliance by Christ and the covenant people. The compliance must meet the requirements to the full extent.
- THE SAINTS WILL BE AUTHORIZED and commanded to take the kingdom away from the Antichrist and wear him and his kingdom out for 1335 days, Dan 12:12; Rev 6:9-11;
- THE SAINTS WILL EXECUTE the commands of the court to pour out THE WRATH OF GOD upon the wicked and defiant inhabitants of the earth.
- These will be DAYS OF BLESSEDNESS for the saints, a just punishment authorized by God through the court and executed by the saints for the bitter persecutions they endured, Dan 12:12.
- THE KINGDOM and dominion, and the greatness of the king- doms under the whole heaven, will be GIVEN TO THE SAINTS: the word "saints" refers ONLY to the covenant people, not all saved people.
- We have now gone through the five scenes in Dan 7. THE MOST STRIKING THING THROUGHOUT DAN 7 is that THE THRONE OF GOD and ITS ACTIVITIES THROUGH THE HEAVENLY COURT are the one single and sharply pronounced GOVERNING FORCE that determines the outcome of both the wrath of the Antichrist first and then the much superior and crushing wrath of God that follows. The return of Christ is a part of the throne and court activities which separate the wrath of God from the wrath of the Antichrist.
- It is without question from Dan 7 that THE COMING OF CHRIST and the RESURRECTION and GLORIFICATION OF THE SAINTS take place AT THE END of the wrath of the Antichrist and NEAR THE BEGINNING of the wrath of God. The saints will suddenly converted from a weak force, being slaughtered for 42 months, to an invincible conquering force that will overcome all enemies and put the Antichrist and the false prophet in the lake of fire, Rev 19:11-21.