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The Angelic Conflict - Part Five


The Future of The Angelic Conflict

Eschatology is the biblical study of future or final events. Prophesies yet unfulfilled anticipate history's concluding two dispensations, which are designated the tribulation and the millennium. The eschatological dispensations are defined as those after the resurrection, or rapture, of the church. In other words, they will occur after the royal family of god is completely formed and transferred to heaven (Rev 3:10). The eschatological dispensations are separate from the church because they are presented in the Old Testament, whereas the church remained an undisclosed mystery throughout Old Testament times.

For the Jews, the tribulation immediately precedes the founding of God's promised kingdom on earth. Thus, this approximately 7 year period of history (Dan 9:27, Rev 11:3, Rev 12:6) is the end of divine discipline against Israel. The tribulations is prophesied in the old testament (Isa 34: 1-6, Isa 63: 1-6, Jer 30: 4-8, Ezek 38-39, Dan 11:40-45, Zech 12: 1-3, Zech 14:1-2), in our Lord's Olivet discourse, and in Revelation 6-19. This short, dramatic era will commence immediately after the rapture of the church and will terminate with the second advent of Christ. It is the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer 30:7) and Daniel's seventieth week (or seventieth seven) based on the famous time table prophesy of Daniel 9: 24-27. The tribulation might also be called the time of Satan's desperation because of the violent power struggle that will occur (Rev 12:12).

Satanic Rulership
In this final seven years preceding the establishment of Gods Millennial kingdom, Satan will make this one last attempt to establish a "millennium" of his own to prove that he is equal with God (Isa 13:14). He will use a powerful world leader referred to in scripture as The Beast or The anti-Christ. The Beast will initially be hailed as a benevolent ruler who has come to solve the worlds problems (Rev 6) (2 Thess 2:1-12). But the Devil has only his own interest at heart; he cares nothing for mankind but merely wants to use man to prove himself justified in revolting against God. The first half of the tribulation will be a time of relative prosperity and overt world peace. There will be a world wide psuedo Christian church made up of unbelievers and apostates who have great influence and power but do not preach The Gospel (Rev 17). There will be a political union of power called the revived Roman empire that controls the middle east and Europe. The leader of this union will be the anti-Christ and he will make a treaty with Israel to protect them (Dan 7, Rev 13, Dan 9). This will be a time of Jewish revival. Many Jews will have their eyes opened to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah including the 144,000 Jewish evangelist who will operate throughout the seven year period. (Rom 11:25). The vast majority of Jews however will resume their ancient pre-Christ religious practices. Sacrifices will be preformed in a newly rebuild temple in Jerusalem. World peace will be the promise of the dictator anti-Christ under the vehicle of a one world government and a one world religion. A powerful religious leader called The False Prophet will join forces with Satan and the anti-Christ (Beast) to form a powerful unholy trinity of power (John 5:43). Behind the scenes Satan will be clamping the human race in tyranny through power politics and religious manipulation.

Unrestrained Evil
Evil will be unrestrained in the tribulation because the royal family, which is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, will have been removed at the rapture (2 Thes 2:7). The outbreak of evil will reveal, through contrast, the historical importance of mature believers as channels for divine blessing. At the beginning of the tribulation, there will be no believers on earth. The churches invisible, restraining influence will be gone from the devil's world. In this sudden absence of a spiritual presence, Satan will have his freest hand. But when Satan is left virtually to his own devices, the world situation will turn grim - characterized by an initial false prosperity that soon deteriorates into horrible disaster. Satan's arrogance will be ultimately revealed in his incompetence. Given every chance, he cannot rule the kingdom he usurped from Adam.

Satanic Blasphemies
The horrible blasphemies of the beast demonstrate the anti-religious, anti-God element in the character of the beast. His blasphemies against God and God's people, however, are ultimately aimed at promoting the worship of the beast himself. He will speak against God and His name. This includes mocking God's holy character and essence. Perhaps he will even claim he has defeated God or that God is dead. He will speak against God's dwelling place and those who dwell in heaven; this could include making fun of the goodness and righteousness of believers and of those who have sacrificed their lives for Jesus Christ while the beast and his followers live in the riotous pleasures of sin. Filled with disappointed rage, Satan will use the beast whom he controls to promote such words of blasphemy that it will make the worst blasphemies of history seem trifling by comparison! According to Revelation 13, Antichrist, who will be energized by the Devil, will be considered so wonderful that many of the people of the earth will voluntarily offer to worship him. They will see him as a benevolent dictator. Not content with this, at the height of his power, he will make it mandatory for everyone to give him homage. In order to enforce this, he will have his religious leader, The False Prophet will set up an image of the Beast in the newly rebuilt temple. The image (an idol) must also be worshiped. The two Leaders will also institute a system of economic dictatorship that allows only those who agree to worship him to receive a mark (666). Without the mark, no one will be able to buy or sell anything. (Revelation 13:10; 20:4)

Satanic Persecution
Satan has always hated believers and done everything in his power to persecute the people of God whether Israel or the church, but he has been restrained by the hand of God. Without that restraint, God's people would have perished from the earth. During the Tribulation, however, his persecution of the people of God will know no limits. As Revelation shows us, this rule of the beast will end in slavery to Satan and to the flesh. Men will think they have freedom to do as they please, but find themselves with no mind of their own, dominated by the beast and by their flesh.

Political power
According to Revelation 13:5-7, and 16-18, the first beast will lead the development of the emerging one-world government, or New World Order which has been planned for centuries by the super rich behind the scenes. These power brokers are used to controlling who will be chosen for political positions, based on their ability to manipulate their pawns in high places. They will present Antichrist as a benevolent dictator. They will undoubtedly think that they can control him for their own advantage. But he will be very powerful, drawing his energy from the Devil. He will do as he pleases, though it is likely that much of what he does will also please the powerful elite group who have given him support.

Religious power
As can be seen even in our own American politics, support from religious groups can be very helpful to a politician. Revelation 13:11-15 tells about a False Prophet who is most likely the head of a one-world religion. This religious unity will finally be possible because after The Rapture, born-again Christians will be absent from public life. Even in the churches, those who are left are those who have never had a personal relationship with Christ. These people, for the most part, will not take the Bible literally. They will be willing to give up their doctrines for the sake of unity. The New Age Religion may be the uniting force behind this since it already draws heavily from various religions. The head of this union could be the leader of the World Council of Churches or of an apostate denomination.

"And the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority." In Revelation we are told that the world will marvel at this beast and wonder, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?" To the world of unbelieving and rebellious people, this beast will seem invincible and from the human standpoint, the answer to their question is simply, no one! His power will come from Satan; it is demonic and supernatural, far beyond the abilities of ordinary men, and far beyond anything the world knows today. He will be so powerful, self-sufficient, and impressed with his power, he will actually honor no one except "the god of fortresses" (Dan. 11:38) or military power and conquests.

Repeatedly, the Scriptures tell us that this end times dictator and his government will be the epitome of a Satan-inspired government. In fact the beast himself will be literally possessed by Satan from all accounts. No human being can be as cunning, as ruthless, lawless, vile and blasphemous as this man without being either demon possessed or at least under the total control of Satan.

The fake New Messiah will be the Antichrist of Revelation 13. He will be worshipped on earth and will have awesome authority.

Utopian Fallacy
The final form of world government in this tribulation period will have two aspects: Military, political and economic power will revolve around the first Beast. Subservient to him will be the harlot church. In Israel a powerful religious coalition will be led by the Second Beast(the False Prophet). Both of these Leaders are Satan's masterpieces for deceiving the world. Both are energized by Satan ,who until now has never found a complete way of expressing himself in human form ruling the earth.

During the tribulation, nations from around the world will begin to rebel and turn on the once great world leader known as the anti-Christ. Major armies will be involved in brutal and devastating warfare during these end times. Human failures will multiply under Satan's administration until, through a contagion of bad decisions; a shockingly large portion of the earth's population will destroy itself (Rev 6:1-11). Except for Eden and the millennial reign of Jesus Christ, utopias are masks for coercion, slavery, and violence. Neither man nor Satan (who is far more capable than man) can create a politically and socially perfect world.

Contempt of Court
In the middle of the tribulation, God will hear Satan's final argument. God will reject arrogant, scheming, belligerent Satan from the courtroom of heaven where he has enjoyed free access as defense council throughout the appeal trial of the angelic conflict (Rev 12:7-9, Job 1:6, Job 2:1, Zech 3:1). With Satan cast down to earth, the second half of the tribulation will witness unprecedented violence as Satan's plans unravel and he desperately struggles to retain his rule over the world.

Divine Judgment
During the tribulation, Gods wrath will come upon the inhabitants of the earth. Believing Jew and Gentiles will be spared the judgments but many will be martyred for their faith and refusal to worship the beast. Revelation describes the horrible events of the tribulation as the opening of Seven Seals, the judgments of Seven Trumpets and the disasters of the Seven Bowl judgments. The seven seals (Revelation 6:1-17; 8:1-5), seven trumpets (Revelation 8:6 - 9:21; 11:15-19), and seven bowls (Revelation 16:1-21) are three different and succeeding series of judgments from God. The judgments get progressively worse and more devastating as the end times progress. The seven seals, trumpets, and bowls are connected to one another - as the seventh seal introduces the seven trumpets (Revelation 8:1-5), and the seventh trumpet introduces the seven bowls (Revelation 11:15-19; 15:1-8).

The first four of the seven seals are known as the four horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first seal introduces the Antichrist (Revelation 6:1-2). The second seal causes great warfare (Revelation 6:3-4). The third of the seven seals causes famine (Revelation 6:5-6). The fourth seal brings about plague, further famine, and further warfare (Revelation 6:7-8).

The fifth seal tells us of those who will be martyred for their faith in Christ during the end times (Revelation 6:9-11). God hears their cries for justice and will deliver it in His timing-in the form of the sixth seal, along with the trumpet and bowl judgments. When the sixth of the seven seals is broken, a devastating earthquake occurs, causing massive upheaval and terrible devastation-along with unusual astronomical phenomena (Revelation 6:12-14). Those who survive are right to cry out, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?" (Revelation 6:16-17).

The seven trumpets are described in Revelation 8:6 - 9:21. The seven trumpets are the "contents" of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1-5). The first trumpet causes hail and fire that destroys much of the plant life in the world (Revelation 8:7). The second of the seven trumpets brings about what seems to be a meteor hitting the oceans and causing the death of much of the world's sea life (Revelation 8:8-9). The third trumpet is similar to the second trumpet except it affects the world's lakes and rivers instead of the oceans (Revelation 8:10-11).

The fourth of the seven trumpets causes the sun and moon to be darkened (Revelation 8:12). The fifth trumpet results in a plague of "demonic locusts" that attack and torture humanity (Revelation 9:1-11). The sixth trumpet releases a demonic army that kills a third of humanity (Revelation 9:12-21). The seventh trumpet calls forth the seven angels with the seven bowls of God's wrath (Revelation 11:15-19; 15:1-8).

The seven bowl judgments are described in Revelation 16:1-21. The seven bowl judgments are the result of the seventh trumpet being sounded. The first bowl causes painful sores to break out on humanity (Revelation 16:2). The second bowl results in the death of every living thing in the sea (Revelation 16:3). The third bowl causes the rivers to turn into blood (Revelation 16:4-7). The fourth of the seven bowls results in the sun's heat being intensified and causing great pain (Revelation 16:8-9). The fifth bowl causes great darkness and an intensification of the sores from the first bowl (Revelation 16:10-11). The sixth bowl results in the Euphrates River being dried up and the armies of the Antichrist being gathered together to wage the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:12-14). The seventh bowl results in a devastating earthquake followed by giant hailstones (Revelation 16:15-21).

Revelation 16:5-7 declares, "You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged; for they have shed the blood of your saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve. . . .Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments."

The Gospel Goes On
In spite of a deceptive peace, followed by horrible violence, the gospel of salvation will be presented more intensively during the tribulation than in any other dispensation. With the church removed and with Israel remaining under divine discipline until Christ's Second Advent, no Christian nation will be operating on earth. Instead of a Christian nation, God's principal missionary agency will be 144,000 Jewish evangelists (Rev 7:4-8). They will risk martyrdom to present the gospel throughout the world. Supporting and supplementing the function of these evangelists, angels will also join in the presentation of the gospel (Rev 14:6-7). Furthermore, two Old Testament prophets - Moses and Elijah - will be resuscitated for a brief but powerful ministry in Jerusalem (Rev 11:3-13). By all these diverse means, the entire earth will be evangelized thoroughly in the brief span of the tribulation. Principal: grace precedes judgment.

The Great Tribulation
This latter part of the dispensation is the period actually called The Great Tribulation (Matt 24:21, Rev 7:14). Satan will commit all his forces to exterminating the Jews (Rev 12:17). His purpose will be to eliminate all potential beneficiaries of God's unconditional covenants to Israel. The devil will pursue this heinous policy in an attempt to prove God unfaithful to his promises. Satan will know from scripture that the fulfillment of God's covenants to Israel is imminent. The millennium will only be months away. But, reasons Satan, if no regenerate Jew remains alive, God would be unable to keep his promises and fulfill his prophesies. There would be no one to receive the promised blessings. And if God could not fulfill his unconditional covenants (a blasphemous and unthinkable presumption), his character would be flawed, and Satan would have grounds for demanding dismissal of all charges against himself and the fallen angels. But Satan's ploy will not succeed.

World War
An unprecedented world war will break out in the last half of the tribulation. Watching his utopian kingdom fragment and collapse into chaos, a desperate Satan will set vast human and demonic forces into motion. The ensuing war will culminate in the Armageddon Campaign, in which the forces of four great political powers will converge on Palestine. The probable scenario is that Antichrist, realizing that his power is waning, manages to unite all the forces of earth together against their common enemy--The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

In Jerusalem, a remnant of Jewish believers will refuse to surrender. Brilliantly commanded by aggressive, spiritually mature generals (Zech 12:5-6), these besieged few will fight for their lives against overwhelming odds. The situation will appear utterly hopeless. The last chance of survival will collapse. Then suddenly, the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth and join the battle.

Return of the King
And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; Rev 19

When Jesus Christ returns, he will be accompanied by His royal family, the church, who will reign with Him (Rom 5:17, Rev 1:16, Rev 1:20).

After Jesus ascended into Heaven, the angels declared to the apostles, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven" (Acts 1:11). Zechariah 14:4 identifies the location of the Second Coming as the Mount of Olives.

Matthew 24:30 declares, "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." Titus 2:13 describes the Second Coming as a "glorious appearing."

The Lord Jesus Christ will return to deliver the Jews (Isa 5:26-30, Isa 10:20-23, Isa 11:11-6, Isa 14:1-3, Isa 63:1-6, Joel 2:16-3:21, Zech 10:6-12). He will come to establish his kingdom in fulfillment of the unconditional covenants to Israel (Dan 9:24, Zech 14:9). As king of kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, the son of David will destroy the forces of Satan and depose the devil as the ruler of the earth. The Lamb of God will regather dispersed Israel and rule the earth for 1,000 years under the magnificent policies he declared on his sermon on the mount. Then will the wonderful prophesy be fulfilled, which describes "many peoples and mighty nations" of gentiles coming to Jerusalem "to entreat the favor of the Lord" (Zech 8:22-23).

The Second Coming is spoken of in greatest detail in Revelation 19:11-16: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, 'KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.'"

Compiled and Condensed from the writings of several authors and pastors including J Hampton Keathley , Robert Mclaughlin, Robert Dean, Robert D. Luginbill, Lambert Dolphin, Gene Cunningham, Ric Web, R.B. Theime, Charles Ryrie and Lewis Sperrry Chafer.

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