The next event on God's Prophetic Program is the beginning of Daniel's 70th Week. This seven year period will be initiated by the Antichrist confirming "the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate" (Daniel 9:27). This verse defines the seven year period "one week" and also reveals the "abomination of desolation" that Jesus later spoke of in Matthew 24:15 which occurs at the mid-point of Daniel's 70th Week.
However, as a prelude to the 70th Week, the Antichrist will rise to power. He will have a three nation confederacy described in Daniel 7:8 as "three first horns". This gathering of nations should be no surprise to the student of Bible prophecy for Daniel pinpoints the activity of the Antichrist early on in his first personal vision.
The Antichrist, with his three nation confederacy in place, will then use his political clout to convince the majority of Israelites of the necessity to sign/confirm/reconfirm an agreement/covenant guaranteeing peace to Israel during this time of world trouble and confusion.
This perfectly agrees with the events surrounding the opening of the First Two Seals of Revelation 6:1-4. The one sitting on the white and red horses is the Antichrist himself! His activity coincides with the Lord's description in Matthew 24 and will indeed be a time of unprecedented world turmoil!
The opening of the third Seal demonstrates the continuing effects of the Antichrist's influence on world conditions. The black horse and rider holding balances symbolize famine which often follows war. This too agrees with the Lord's account of Matthew 24:7 "there shall be famines". The fourth seal reveals a pale horse and rider with Death and Hell following with the horrifying result of death by the sword, hunger, and beasts of the earth. The authority given to the Antichrist over one quarter of the earth's population will result in the killing of multitudes of innocent people!
These events are authored by men and Satan and should not be confused with the wrath of God which we as Christians will not experience. This opening of these Seals is only the "beginning of sorrows" referring to the first 3-1/2 years of Daniel's 70th Week, and, although our Lord controls the timing of these events, He is certainly not the author of the turmoil, tribulation and persecution that follows and intensifies as each individual Seal is opened. The events described as a result of the opening of the first five Seals portray what has occurred throughout history as the result of ruthless men and the wicked onslaught of Satan.
The opening of the Fifth Seal, brings about the escalating martyrdom of saints, and is the direct result of the Antichrist's vicious persecution of God's people. This heinous slaughtering of Lord's chosen surely can not be attributed to the wrath of God! This escalating martyrdom of the saints will occur when the Antichrist exerts his power on a global basis!
Remember, the wrath of God will not come upon the saints, but, the Antichrist's persecution will, for many will be "slain for the Word of God and for the testimony which they held"(Revelation 6:9) during the Antichrist's reign, but the Lord will triumph in the end as He later pours out His wrath (Isaiah 13:9, 13) during the Day of the Lord when "the Lord alone shall be exalted"! (Isaiah 2:11, 17)
This Bible doctrine concerning the saints experiencing the persecution of the Antichrist is not a new teaching, but, in fact was the belief of the early church and the overwhelming majority of the church fathers. Eleven of the thirteen church fathers affirmed their belief within their writings during the first four centuries of the Church age.
This Bible doctrine has been faithfully studied and revived during recent years by men of God who are concerned for the saints of today and that future day when the Antichrist will viciously persecute us, the born-again the Bible way Christians! Those who know the truth will be prepared for this most destructive of all persecutions in history the Great Tribulation!
However, the theory that is relatively new in origin is the pre-tribulation rapture theory which is only about 180 years old. If questions are raised concerning the Biblical validity of this theory, one need only review the book "The Rapture Question Answered" by: Robert Van Kampen. In this very readable volume the author examines the various theories that are held today and gives the Bible's teaching from a thorough and accurate viewpoint. Check it out, decide for yourself, but don't reject what you have not thoroughly evaluated! You just might be one of the unprepared!
So, "What's Next?" According to Scripture, God's road-map for eternity, the next specific event will be Israel's signing of the "covenant with death" with the Antichrist (Isaiah 28:15; Daniel 9:27). But, we also must be watching for Elijah the prophet as he will definitely come to “turn hearts” (Malachi 4:5, 6) and “restore all things”(Matthew 17:11) during the same timeframe when the Antichrist forms a three nation confederacy as a prelude to the 70th Week covenant signing with Israel. So, keep your eyes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God and the current events as God unfolds His prophetic plan right before your very eyes! What a great time to be saved and serving the King of kings, and Lord of lords our precious Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Chaplain LEWolfe www.btmi.org I-85 Exit 35 SC McPilot Stop in, and please pray for our ministry!