The number 666: an indication of a human and a demonic
Antichrist? / Commentary, B. Blankenship, 2005-09-12
The two Antichrists in Daniel
The beast from the sea
The man of lawlessness
Where do the living faithful come from for the Rapture?
/ Commentary, H. Dietewich 00, 2001-04-08
Do the martyrs no longer form part of the
congregation? / Commentary, M. H. 00, 2004-11-17
18 Arguments for Placing Rapture Before the Great
Tribulation - and their Refutation Part 2, Discourse 862
(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)
As I continue to work through analytical Greek Scriptures/lexicon I have
encountered what I think might interest you. Having said this, I ask the input of your proven
Biblical wisdom and attention to the following question. Can Revelation 13:18 be transliterated
Greek Text with Strong’s Numbers:
wde <5602> h <3588> sofia <4678> estin <2076> (5748). o <3588> ecwn <2192> (5723) ton <3588> noun <3563> yhfisatw <5585> (5657) ton <3588> ariqmon <706> tou <3588> qhriou <2342> ariqmoV <706> gar <1063> anqrwpou <444> estin <2076> (5748); kai <2532> o <3588> ariqmoV <706> autou <846> cxV <5516>.
“Here is wisdom. He who has understanding let him count the number of the Beast: For (why - because) it is (consisteth) of the number of a man; and its (the Beast's) number is six-hundred threescore and six.”
“Here is wisdom. He who has understanding let him count the number of the Beast: because it consist of the number of a man; and its (Beast’s) number is six-hundred threescore and six.“ (…)
In addition, Luke 12:15 applies the same transliterated word ‘consisteth’ for the Greek word and its tense - estin.
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
Thus, it can be suggested that one of the reasons for counting (calculating) the number of the Beast is because it contains as a component of, constructed within it, the number of a man. Therefore, the ‘total calculated number 666’ of the Beast includes both the number of the Beast itself and the number of the man Antichrist - the two become one.
Consider this and let me know what you think.
Barney Blankenship email@example.com / www.shalach.org/
(See also Discourse 48: “An alternative view on
the sequence of events in the Last Days”)
There have been countless attempts in the past to interpret the number ‘666’ in
the Revelation of John. As we are urged in Rev 13,18 to calculate the number as the number of
the name of the Beast, it is clear that what is meant here is gematrics. Gematrics is based on the
fact that neither the classical Greek script nor the Hebrew had any special signs for numbers;
instead, both used letters in this function. Consequently the first letter of the alphabet can also
stand for 1, the second for 2 and so on. So any word in these languages can also be read as a group
of numerical signs. If we add up their total we will find a number that stands for the word.
Especially in the first centuries after Christ the names of various Roman emperors (e.g. Nero, Domitian, Gaius etc.) were adapted, sometimes using quite adventurous methods, in such a way that their cumulative total resulted in the number 666. So for example the title ‘Neron Kaisar’ in Hebrew adds up to 666, as also do the words ‘Balaam the son of Beor, the diviner’ from Jos. 13,22 and as does the Greek word ‘Lateinos’ (= the Latin or Roman empire?) - and so on and so forth. Even in recent centuries the name of Napoleon was used by some biblical commentators, with more or less realistic additions, for this gematric game - not to speak of the papal title (unsubstantiated) ‘VICARIUS FILII DEI’ (deputy of the Son of God) in Roman numerals.
The fact that in these attempts people always wanted to resolve ‘the secret of the name’, and so were necessarily compelled to associate it with a ruler in the past, is also a reason for the fact that evidently there has been no interpretation up to the present day which projects ‘the number of the name’ onto a ruler of the future. People therefore suppose that the Beast in Rev 13 is a resurrected dictator of the past - as it might be, a ‘Nero redivivus’ - and in principle this is actually not so far off track, seeing that the text of Rev 13,18 does after all indicate that the name of the Beast or its number is the number of the name of a person from the past.
Now the majority of the commentators are agreed that the Beast of Rev 13, of which we are told that ‘the dragon (i.e. Satan) gave him his power and his throne and great authority’, is to be understood as the Antichrist, and so all the statements about this beast in the following chapters of the Revelation of John are also to be referred to the Antichrist. But there is equal agreement too in the interpretation of the passage 2The 2,1-12, where Paul writes to the Thessalonians about ‘the man of lawlessness... whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan’. So we have here what is, apart from the Gospels, a rather unusual situation in Scripture, in that two independent sources are referring to the same event or the same person. And to take advantage of the opportunity this offers, let us now compare these passages in detail and check to see how far they agree.
The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will not come unless the man of lawlessness and the apostasy comes first
2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2The 2, 1- 4;
A beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads - immediately before the seven bowls of the wrath of God.
Rev 13,1 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. Then I
saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were
ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names. 13,2 And the beast which I saw was like a
leopard, and his feet were like those of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. And
the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority. 13,3 I saw one of his
heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and
followed after the beast; 13,4 they worshiped the dragon because he gave his authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with
him?" 13,5 There was given to him a mouth speaking arrogant words and blasphemies, and
authority to act for forty-two months was given to him. 13,6 And he opened his mouth in
blasphemies against God, to blaspheme His name and His tabernacle, that is, those who dwell in
heaven. 13,7 It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and
authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him. 13,8 All who
dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the
foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.13,9 If anyone has an
ear, let him hear. 13,10 If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills
with the sword, with the sword he must be killed. Here is the perseverance and the faith of the
saints. 13,11 Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like
a lamb and he spoke as a dragon. Rev 13, 1- 11;
Now although both passages are associated with the Antichrist, we can see from the
moment the two figures appear that there are important differences between them. Whereas the ‘man
of lawlessness’ Paul mentions will appear before the day of Second Coming of the Lord, John
reports in Revelation that he saw the beast ‘coming up out of the sea’ - and this happens in the
time after the plagues of the seals and the trumpets but before the bowls of wrath. Quite
irrespective of whether we place the Rapture before or after the Great Tribulation, this is in any
case only after the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture. Let us now see what happens to these
two figures in the end, as described in the following two passages.
That lawless one whom the Lord will bring to an end at His coming for our gathering together to Him.
2The 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 7-12;
After the battle of Armageddon the beast will be thrown alive into the lake of fire.
Rev 19,20 And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet
who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the
beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire
which burns with brimstone Rev 19,20;
So according to what Paul tells us in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, the
man of lawlessness will be removed and annihilated by the Lord Jesus through the breath of his mouth
at the time of his Second Coming for the Rapture. Quite in contrast to this, the beast in Revelation
is not annihilated: instead it is thrown, along with the false prophet, alive into the lake of fire
following the battle of Armageddon.
We might now think that Paul and John, in what they say here, are speaking of two completely different events and two completely different persons - but for the fact that when we compare the passages we can also find the following features in common:
- Both come in the activity of Satan, who gives them power and authority
(and in the case of the beast, even his throne) (2The 2,9; Rev 13,2)
- They raise themselves above everything that is called God and blaspheme
against God, his name and those who dwell in heaven (2The 2,4; Rev 13,6)
- They claim themselves to be God, and receive worship from human beings
(2The 2,4; Rev 13,8).
So there is an agreement in terms of their ‘employer’, Satan, and the job they
have been given by the employer - namely, to blaspheme in the sight of men against everything that
is called God or is the object of reverence, and to proclaim themselves as God. And to this end the
dragon has provided them with power and authority and false signs and wonders. But when we examine
all the circumstances more closely, we can nonetheless recognize that the beast from the sea has
been given a much more far-reaching plenary authority: not only has it been given the power and
authority of Satan, and exercises these quite explicitly over ‘all who dwell on the earth’ (Rev
13,8), it also receives an assistant - the beast that John sees coming up out of the earth, and
which is referred to in 19,20 and 20,10 as the ‘false prophet’. This false prophet is given the
full authority of the first beast, and exercises it in the beast’s presence. It makes all those
who dwell on earth worship the first beast (Rev 13,12).
(See also Table 17: “The chronology of the End-Time
And then there is another sign as well, which on the one hand constitutes a fundamental difference
between the two figures, but on the other it could be the point of approach that suggests a kind of
identity. Already when it is first introduced in Rev 13,3, here is what we are told about this beast
from the sea:
Rev 13,3 I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his
fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast; Rev 13,3;
One of the seven heads of the first beast, then, was as if it had been slain, but this fatal wound has been healed. John spells out this peculiar circumstance in more detail a few verses further on, in a passage from which we can derive additional information:
The beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life.
Rev 13,12 He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his
presence. And he makes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose fatal
wound was healed. 13,13 He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of
heaven to the earth in the presence of men. 13,14 And he deceives those who dwell on the earth
because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those
who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who had the wound of the sword and has
come to life. Rev 13,12-14;
On the basis of these statements, then, we can conclude as follows:
- The first beast had received a wound ‘as if it had been slain’ (Rev
- This wound was inflicted by a sword (Rev 13,14).
- This stroke of the sword occurred in a battle (Rev 13,4).
- As a result of this fatal wound it is clear that the whole beast was dead
(Rev 13,12, 13,14).
- But it was miraculously healed and has come back to life (Rev 13,12,
- Consequently all those on earth marveled at it and gave worship to the
beast and the dragon (Rev 13,3-4).
- So the people of this time are aware that this resurrection of the beast
has been brought about by the dragon, and they worship the dragon for this reason (Rev 13,3-4).
In particular the circumstance that the beast comes back to life again points up the
fact that this being cannot any longer be seen as a physical human being. In the same way as a
resurrected human being no longer has a body of flesh and blood, but an immortal spiritual body (cf.
also Rev 20,4!), so too this beast is a spiritual being; and since it has been raised from the dead
not by God but by Satan, the beast must be a demon. This is the reason why John refers to it as a
‘beast’ in the first place. This assumption receives confirmation in what is stated in Rev
19,20, where the beast is not killed, but thrown alive into the fiery lake. As a spiritual being and
demon, it has already died the first, physical death as a human being. So now, following its
resurrection, it is immortal, and can only suffer the ‘second death’ of eternal damnation in the
lake of fire.
(See also Excursus 07: “The resurrection body”)
But these conclusions now lead us to infer that this beast, this demon, was a human being before it was resurrected by Satan, and so must have died. And here we now have the link to what is stated in 2The 2,1-10. In 2The 2,3, Paul speaks of ‘the man of lawlessness’. Paul plainly sees this lawless one as a human being. And so, in all consistency, at the Second Coming of the Lord for the Rapture this person gets killed (brought to an end) by the Lord Jesus - by the ‘breath of his mouth’. If we now again compare this with Revelation, we find that at the end of the battle of Armageddon the beast and the false prophet, both of them demons, are thrown alive into the lake of fire (Rev 19,20-21). Here on the other hand is what we are told of the normal human beings who are involved in this battle:
Rev 19,21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came
from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh. Rev
He who sits on the horse, however, is none other than Our Lord Jesus Christ, out of whose mouth a sharp sword proceeds, with which he strikes down the nations and kills the armies.
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations.
Rev 19,11 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. 19,12
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. 19,13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name
is called The Word of God. 19,14 And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen,
white and clean, were following Him on white horses. 19,15 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. 19,16 And on His robe and on His
thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS." Rev 19,11-16;
And it is possible that Paul too was thinking of this sharp sword that comes out of
the mouth of the Lord Jesus, when he wrote in 2The 2,8 that the Lord Jesus will slay this lawless
one ‘with the breath of his mouth and bring [him] to an end by the appearance of his coming’.
And this could then also be the stroke of the sword of which John writes in Rev 13,14, when he
refers to ‘the beast who had the wound of the sword and has come to life’.
So plainly we have to do here with two Antichrists, who are nonetheless identical with one another:
o First of all, the Antichrist in human form, the ‘lawless one’ as Paul calls him. He is a man who rules by violence in the Last Days, and receives his authority from Satan. He works false signs and wonders, and his dominion is based on trickery and injustice (2The 2,7-10). When the Lord returns to claim those who are his in the Rapture, he will slay him with the breath of his mouth - by inflicting on him a deadly swordstroke with the sharp sword that comes out of his mouth.
o This person who has been killed is then raised from the dead by
Satan in Rev 13,1. Satan now gives him all his own power and authority, and even his throne (Rev
13,2). This demon will exercise absolute sovereignty on earth, and will have all human beings
put to death who do not worship him (Rev 13,15). This is now the second, the demonic Antichrist, the
beast from the sea, as John calls him in Rev 13 and following passages. He and the hosts of the
worldly kings who are in league with him will be defeated in the battle of Armageddon by the Son of
God and his heavenly host (Rev 19). Whereas the human beings who have fought for the beast in this
battle will be slain with the sword that comes out of the mouth of the Son of God, the beast and the
false prophet will be given over to the second death, and thrown alive into the lake of fire.
(See also Table 14: “The Great Tribulation - classified
As we can further understand from the context of these biblical passages, Satan is here trying to ape the death and resurrection of Jesus (Luther named Satan as “God’s ape“); similarly, the demonic Antichrist will endeavor with his conjuring skills and wonder-working power to imitate the miracles of the Lord. So it is an easy assumption that he will proclaim himself to be the ‘real’ Messiah, and depict the true Son of God, Our Lord Jesus Christ - like the Jews since nearly two thousand years - as an imposter and a charlatan.
Who denies that Jesus is the Christ this is the antichrist.
1Jn 2,22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the
Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. 1Jn 2,22;
The various additional statements of this passage in Rev 13 then show us that this
imposture will be successful worldwide:
- The whole earth was amazed at the beast (Rev 13,3).
- And they worshiped the dragon, because he gave authority to the beast;
and they worshiped the beast, saying “Who is like the beast, and who is able to wage war with him?”
- And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has
not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain
So the vast majority of people on earth will believe him. They will worship Satan,
the Antichrist and his image, and let the name of the beast or the number of his name be inscribed
as a mark on their right hand or forehead (Rev 13,16-17).
(See also Table 06: “The Antichrist, the 'queen'
in the chess of the devil”)
Finally the statement found in Rev 13,18 - ‘Here is wisdom. Let him who has
understanding calculate the number of the beast, for the number is that of a man; and his number is
six hundred and sixty-six’ - will certainly be helpful to the faithful in the coming dominion of
the Antichrist, giving them an important indication of the identity of this greatest imposter of all
time. But as Barney Blankenship has already noted in his above comments,
“Therefore, the ‘total calculated number 666’ of the Beast
includes both the number of the Beast itself and the number of the man Antichrist - the two become
So this remark by John in Rev 13,18 can also be a useful point of approach for us
who are living today, enabling us to recognize the double existence of the Antichrist - first as a
human being, then as a demon - and in particular to unmask his imitation of the death and
resurrection of the Son of God for the purpose of proclaiming himself the Messiah as the shameless
imposture it is.
Now although there has been worldwide agreement for centuries past on the fact that the two passages - 2The 2,1-12 and Rev 13,1-14 - both refer to the Antichrist, people may have noted the similarities, but plainly they have paid too little attention to the differences between them. The consequence was that biblical commentators repeatedly got into difficulties when they tried to understand these different circumstances as referring to one and the same person, because in point of fact - as the above analysis has shown - we have to do here not with one but with two persons.
So if we have now succeeded, on the basis of the above analysis, in recognizing and
explaining the background to these two passages, this method may perhaps also be helpful to us for
the understanding of the statements about the Antichrist in the Old Testament. Here we are concerned
with chapter 2 and chapters 7 to 12 of the book of the prophet Daniel. These prophecies have been
understood as referring to the Syrian king and oppressor of Israel, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (215-163
BC). In some cases this is perfectly correct; in others however it is the result of an ignorance of
the biblical and historical circumstances. So in order to separate the chaff from the wheat, let us
take a quick look at what is stated in these various sections.
Let us take Dan 8,9-14 first of all:
And it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown.
Dan 8,9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn which grew
exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. 8,10 It grew
up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and
it trampled them down. 8,11 It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and
it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. 8,12 And
on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular
sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. 8,13 Then I
heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking,
"How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes
horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" 8,14 He said to me,
"For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored." Dan 8,
The reason why some commentators understand this passage as referring to the
Antichrist is of course Dan 8,11-13. The similarity of these statements with those of Dan 7,25;
11,31 and 12,11 is obvious, above all because these latter prophecies - as we will see presently -
by contrast with the passage in Dan 8, do indeed refer to the Antichrist. Here however, in Dan
8,9-14, we quite patently have to do with the Syrian king Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The proof of this
is the explanation given by the angel to Daniel starting with verse 8,20: the ram with the two horns
stands for the kings of Media and Persia. The male goat is the king of Greece, and its great horn is
Alexander the Great. The four following horns / kings are Alexander’s successors, the ‘diadochi’,
and the individual horn that has grown out of one of the horns (Seleucus) is in fact Antiochus IV
Epiphanes, one of the successors of Seleucus. Seeing that we have three other chapters in Daniel
with prophecies relating to the Antichrist, there is no need forcibly to reinterpret these
statements - the more so in that the angel’s explanation makes the identity of Antiochus perfectly
Before we proceed to Dan 7 to consider Daniel’s dream of the four great beasts that come up out of the sea, let us take a quick look at Dan 2, where Daniel is able, with the help of God, to provide such an excellent interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.
There was a single great statue; that statue was large and of extraordinary splendor.
Dan 2,31 "You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single
great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of
you, and its appearance was awesome. 31,32 "The head of that statue was made of fine gold,
its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 31,33 its legs of
iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 31,34 "You continued looking until a
stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and
crushed them. 31,35 "Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were
crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the
wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the
statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. Dan 2,31-35;
As later becomes clear from Daniel’s interpretation of this dream in Dan 2,37-45,
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream foretells to him prophetically the coming world empires that will follow
him. The golden head is Nebuchadnezzar’s own kingdom, Babylon. The breast and arms of silver stand
for the kingdom of the Medes and Persians, which took over power from Babylon. The belly and thighs
of bronze represent Greece, the armies of which were able to defeat the Persians under Alexander the
Great, as a result of which Greece became a world power. And finally the legs of iron and the feet,
part iron and part clay, stand for the Roman empire, which from around 201 BC replaced Greece as the
(See also discourse 98: „ The fifth kingdom in
the dream of Nebuchadnezzar: America?”)
The feet and toes, partly iron and partly clay, are a divided kingdom, namely, between the “kingdom of the feet” and the “kingdom of the toes.”
The feet and the toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom.
Dan 2,37 "You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of
heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 3,38 and wherever the sons of
men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and
has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. 2,39 "After you there will
arise another kingdom inferior to you, then another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over
all the earth. 2,40 "Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron
crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all
these in pieces. 2,41 "In that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and
partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron,
inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay. Dan 2,37-41;
The kingdom of the toes has a further specific characteristic in comparison with the kingdom of the feet: the people of the former intermarry, but they do not adhere to one another, like iron does not mix with clay.
The toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle
Dan 2,42 "As the toes of the feet were partly of iron and
partly of pottery, so some of the kingdom will be strong and part of it will be brittle. 2,43
"And in that you saw the iron mixed with common clay, they will combine with one another in
the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, even as iron does not combine with pottery.
2,44 "In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be
destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all
these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. 2,45 "Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was
cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver
and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the
dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy." Dan 2,42-45;
(See also Table 03: “The historical empires and
their effects on Israel”)
So as to give a better overview, we can summarize these historical events and their
biblical correspondences in the Table 02, along with other prophecies of these world empires.
(See also Table 02: “The world empires in the
As can be seen from the above representation of the statements in Daniel 2, the
interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream does not show us four world empires, as some suppose, but
actually as many as six. The legs of iron are explicitly referred to by Daniel as a ‘fourth
kingdom’, admittedly, but it is frequently overlooked that he also understands the feet and toes
as a fifth kingdom in its own right - standing for the world dominion of the Antichrist (Dan 2,41).
But within this kingdom of the feet in Dan 2,42, the toes are again presented as constituting a
kingdom of their own (the sixth), which will be partly strong and partly brittle. And likewise the
stone that was ‘cut out of the mountain without hands’ is described in Dan 2,44 as a kingdom -
the millennial kingdom of peace of the Son of God on earth - that ‘will itself endure for ever’
(for the interpretation of the various metals, see Discourse 13).
(See also Discourse 13: “Which world empires do
the 7 (or 8) heads (or kings) of Revelation 17 represent?”)
The Table 02 The world empires in the Bible now gives us an excellent overview of our topic, and provides a foundation for the interpretation of the following passages from Daniel. And here we can first look at Dan 7 and Daniel’s dream of the four great beasts coming up from the sea:
And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another.
Dan 7,1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a
dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the
following summary of it. 7,2 Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the
four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. 7,3 "And four great beasts were coming
up from the sea, different from one another. 7,4 "The first was like a lion and had the
wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the
ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. 7,5 "And
behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and
three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much
meat!’ 7,6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, 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.
7,7 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and
terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth. It devoured and crushed and trampled
down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it,
and it had ten horns. Dan 7, 1- 7;
As emerges from the interpretation of this dream in Dan 7,17 ff, in this vision as
well Daniel is seeing the world empires of the future. The lion is Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar, who
because of his arrogance was driven out by God from the society of men for seven years, being forced
to live in the wilderness as a beast. But then he had been brought back again by God ‘and made to
stand on its feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it’. The bear represents the kingdom
of the Medes and Persians, which followed next in historical terms, while the swift leopard
symbolizes Alexander the Great, who in the shortest possible time conquered the countries of his
kingdom. And here again the four heads or kings are an indication of Alexander’s successors, the
diadochi. Seeing that Greece was then replaced by Rome in this historical pageant, the fourth beast
represents the world empire of the Romans, which equipped its legions with breastplates, helmets and
shields of bronze and ruled in the countries it conquered with a heavy hand.
And then, here as well, Daniel goes on to speak of the kingdom that succeeds the Roman empire, corresponding to the feet in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. It is a small horn which comes up as an eleventh horn alongside the ten horns of the fourth beast, and pulls up three of the other horns.
While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them.
Dan 7,8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another
horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the
roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering
great boasts. 7,9 "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took
His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne
was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. 7,10 "A river of fire was flowing And
coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads
were standing before Him; The court sat, And the books were opened. 7,11 "Then I kept
looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until
the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. 7,12 "As for
the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them
for an appointed period of time. 7,13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with
the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was
presented before Him. 7,14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the
peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. Dan 7, 8-14;
At the start of this Discourse we established the fact that there are clearly two Antichrists in Scripture: the ‘man of lawlessness’ prophesied by Paul in 2The 2,1-11 and the ‘beast from the sea’ that John sees in his vision in Rev 13,1-14. When we now try to allocate Daniel’s prophecies of the Antichrist as well to one of these two scriptural statements, the chronology of the above passage comes in very useful. As we have seen earlier, Rev 19,20 shows us that the beast from the sea of Rev 13 meets its end immediately before the judgment in heaven (Rev 20,4), after which the millennial kingdom of peace of the Son of God, in which the martyrs of the First Resurrection will be priests and kings, will be set up. And we find just the same sequence here, both in the above passage (Dan 7,8-14) and in its interpretation in Dan 7,23-26.
The sovereignty and the dominion under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest.
Dan 7,23 "Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth
kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole
earth and tread it down and crush it. 7,24 ‘As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings
will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones
and will subdue three kings. 7,25 ‘He will speak out against the Most High and wear
down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and
they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. 7,26 ‘But the court
will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever.
7,27 ‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the
whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will
be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ Dan 7,23-27;
Let us now present these and other parallels between Dan 7,20-27 and Rev 13,1-4 ,
19,20 and 20,4 in the following table:
|The beast out of the sea|
|Daniel 7,20-27||Revelation 13,1-7; 19,20; 20,4|
|ten horns||Dan 7,20.24||ten horns with ten diadems||Rev 13,1|
|his mouth utters great boasts||Dan 7,20||his mouth speaking arrogant words||Rev 13,5|
|he speaks out against the Most High||Dan 7,25||he blasphemes God||Rev 13,6|
|he wears down the saints||Dan 7,21.25||he will overcome the saints||Rev 13,7|
|he reigns the nations 3 ˝ times||Dan 7,25||he has authority to act 42 months||Rev 13,5|
|the court will sit for judgment||Dan 7,10.26||they sat for judgment||Rev 20,4|
|his body is given to the burning fire||Dan 7,11.26||he was thrown into the lake of fire||Rev 19,20|
|the saints take possession of kingdom||Dan 7,22.27||they reigned for a thousand years||Rev 20,4|
(See also Table 06: “The Antichrist, the 'queen'
in the chess of the devil”)
On the basis of this comparison we can now presume, with a high degree of
probability, that the passage in Dan 7 corresponds to that of Rev 13, and the small horn of the
fourth beast in Daniel is therefore to be identified with the beast from the sea in the Revelation
of John, in other words with the demonic Antichrist.
This brings us now to the second prophecy in Daniel that refers to the Antichrist,
in Dan 11 und 12. This is the well-known ‘revelation from the writing of truth’. In view of its
startling coincidence with historic events, many theologians and exegetes have taken this to be vaticinia
ex eventu, in other words a contemporary documentation of these events, which has subsequently
been predated. The precision with which these prophecies were confirmed by events may be seen from
the detailed representation in Table 04 (see link here below). So we will here just restrict
ourselves to the most important statements to be found in this passage.
(See also Table 04: “What is written in the
Writing of truth”) )
Just as in the three other passages in Daniel - in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar in
Dan 2, in the dream of Daniel in Dan 7 and in the vision of Daniel in Dan 8 - so at the start of Dan
11 we again find prophecies referring to Persia and Greece. Then however the story focuses on the
‘king of the North’ and the ‘king of the South’. As we can see from Table 04, each of these
refers to seven rulers, of whom the first six come from Greece (king of the North) and Egypt (king
of the South). Although in view of the historical facts the sixth king of the North is taken to be
Antiochus IV Epiphanes, some biblical commentators think the Antichrist is prefigured here already.
The seventh and last kings of the North and the South emerge in Dan 11,40 ff, and here the seventh
king of the North is understood by most exegetes to be the Antichrist.
But actually it is not in fact this text that has the most interest for us in connection with our theme. This revelation which Daniel receives from the angel Gabriel really begins back in chapter 9. There we are told that Daniel has read in the book of the prophet Jeremiah about the 70 weeks that were determined for his people (Jer 25), and he therefore addresses a penitential prayer for his people to the Lord his God and beseeches him to forgive Israel. Then the angel Gabriel appears to him and gives him an explanation of the 70 weeks. Daniel goes on to speak, in Dan 9,26, of a ‘prince who is to come’ who will destroy the city and the sanctuary. This prince is taken by most commentators to be Titus, whose Roman troops captured Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, when the raging soldiery proceeded - in spite of Titus’ explicit orders to the contrary - to destroy the Temple as well.
But then Gabriel is clearly speaking about a different person, when he says:
But in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering.
Dan 9,27 "And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one
week, but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on
the wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction,
one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate." Dan 9,27;
Here it is very difficult to make out the meaning of the original text in the second part of this verse, and so we find a lot of variant translations as well. In particular, Luther’s translation - ‘And in the sanctuary will stand an image of horror that works destruction’ - may be thought rather to be an interpretation of Rev 13,4. All parallel texts speak of an "abomination of desolation" (Dan 11,31; 12,11; Mt 24,15; Mk 13,14) and in no way of an "image" which Luther probably has "lend" from Rev 13,14. But what interests us here is the connection between this passage and what we find stated in Dan 12,11:
From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up
Dan 12,11 "From the time that the regular sacrifice is
abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Dan 12,11;
The angel who brings Daniel this revelation from the ‘writing of truth’ (Dan
10,21) in Dan 11 and 12 admittedly does not identify himself by name, but it seems reasonable to
assume that it is again Gabriel, as in Dan 8,10 and 9,24, to whom God has given the assignment of
enlightening Daniel. And if we now examine the above two texts, we can see - in spite of all the
difficulties of translation - an important feature that they have in common: a reference, that is,
to the abolition of the regular sacrifice which according to the law of Moses had to be carried out
twice every day without fail (Ex 29,38).
And this is just what we find again in the main part of this revelation (Dan 11,31):
They will do away with the regular sacrifice.
Dan 11,31 "Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary
fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.
This permits us now to make the following inference. If we look at chapters 9 to 12
of the book of Daniel, we can see that the passage quoted earlier (Dan 9,27) is clearly a
prefiguring of the actual revelation in Dan 11,31, while the angel in Dan 12,11 then gives Daniel a
subsequent temporal specification of the duration of the tribulation in the Last Days. So Dan 9,27
is as it were a ‘foreword’ and Dan 12,11 an ‘afterword’ to the principal statement they
enclose (Dan 11,31). And there are further parallels in terms of content between these two last
verses: together with the abolition of the regular sacrifice, the abomination of desolation is set
up as well. And what is more, Dan 12,11 tells us that the regular sacrifice was set up for this very
reason, so that it should be replaced by the abomination of desolation.
And as if that did not give us sufficient parallels already, in the New Testament we find yet another - a fourth, and for our purposes probably the most interesting parallel passage. In his discourse on the Last Days in Mt 24, the Lord himself mentions this abomination of desolation.
When you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place.
Mt 24,15 "Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation
which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader
understand), Mt 24,15;
And here he even refers explicitly to the statements of the book of Daniel, and urges the reader of this revelation to Daniel to read it attentively. But these New Testament statements give the above passages from Daniel a much more concrete significance. On the one hand, for believing Christians it means that the argument of a vaticinia ex eventu is no longer an option. In what he says here, the Lord would never refer to statements that had been predated with the intent to deceive. And furthermore, this is an unambiguous refutation of the view that Dan 11,29-39, in which we find the statement quoted earlier (Dan 11,31), should be exclusively understood as referring to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Antiochus lived some 160 years before the birth of Our Lord, so why should the Lord warn his disciples about future events that had already taken place 160 years before? And finally, this reference to Daniel occurs not just in a random context, but plumb in the middle of Our Lord’s discourse on the Last Days. And as if to confirm the importance and coherence of these statements from both the Old and the New Testament, we find in these two passages - Daniel 12 and Matthew 24 - two more practically identical statements:
And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time.
Dan 12,1 "Now at that time Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise. And there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time Dan 12,1;
For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now.
Mt 24,21 "For then there will be a great tribulation, such as
has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. Mt 24,21;
Both the angel in Daniel and the Lord in his discourse on the Last Days speak of an
affliction such as has never occurred in the past, which is to be anticipated in future time. This
is the Great Tribulation, which we can now see to have been foretold in the Old Testament as well.
So to summarize, if we look at Dan 11 and 12 on the one hand, and Matthew chapter 24 on the other, we find the following features in common:
At this time (halfway through the seventieth year week)
- the regular sacrifice (offerings of dead animals and grain) is abolished (Dan 9,27; 11,41; 12,11)
- the abomination of desolation is set up (Dan 9,27; 11,31; 12,11; Mt 24,15)
- there is a tribulation such as has never occurred before (Dan 12,1; Mt
This constitutes sufficient proof that both Dan 11 and Dan 12 refer to the Last
Days, so we can also take the passage in Dan 11,40-45 as prophesying the Antichrist - and
specifically, the ‘man of lawlessness’ as Paul calls him.
Although it has not been altogether easy to follow this analysis, we can now see in retrospect that the allocation of Daniel’s prophecies to the two different Antichrists is actually the logical consequence of the way in which they are characterized in Scripture. As we have seen earlier - in Table 04 in particular - the first Antichrist, the ‘lawless one’ or seventh king of Dan 11,40, is described as a ‘king’. So he must be a statesman, a politician, a general or however we may like to term him. He wages war against all countries, and will ‘enter countries, overflow them and pass through’ (Dan 11,40). He will go forth with great wrath to annihilate many (Dan 11,44). This description is somewhat suggestive of Alexander the Great, who conquered the eastern seaboard of the Mediterranean in the space of two years and defeated the Persians in three successive battles. Though it also suggests Hitler, who in the first two years of the Second World War overran and rolled up all the territories of Central Europe, occupying one country after another.
As a result of these massive successes achieved by the first Antichrist - successes achieved through the support of Satan - he will take his seat in the temple of God and proclaim himself as ‘God’ (2The 2,4). But in fact his miracles are no better than ‘false wonders’, as we are told by Paul (2The 2,9). They are not miracles of God, such as the Lord effected in the time when he was alive on earth, but just sophisticated conjuring tricks. False wonders indeed!
When we consider the second Antichrist, the beast from the sea, quite different categories come into view. This figure will be raised from the dead (from the sea) by Satan, and will be given all Satan’s power and authority, and even his throne (Rev 13,2). To him too ‘authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given’ (Rev 13,7), but the context makes it clear that this is not a military supremacy. He leads no hosts and fights no battles. In fact, when it comes to the only battle that he is compelled to engage in, because it is forced on him by God - the battle of Armageddon - he has to manipulate the worldly kings of the earth with whom he is in league with the help of unclean spirits, so that they will fight for him with their hosts (Rev 16,13). So his power is of a spiritual nature. He dominates people, not nations. He also proclaims himself to be ‘God’, and on this basis enjoys supreme success. ‘And all who dwell on the earth will worship him’ (Rev 13,8).
And while his miracles may be miracles of evil, it is really spiritual powers - demonic powers - that give him the ability to work such effects. We can see the really frightful characteristics of this supernatural spiritual power, if we consider the consequences of ‘striving against the enemy’ as described in Rev 13,15: ‘And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed’. Clearly no files, witnesses or proofs are needed here. This ‘image of the beast’ evidently controls the mind of everyone. And any person who in his inmost heart rejects the beast and is not prepared to worship it will be automatically killed - perhaps even as a result of spiritual forces. There is no possible way of escape. The statement about the First Resurrection in Rev 20,4 is also to be understood in this sense - where all those ‘who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand’ are described as having been beheaded. They have all been killed and so are martyrs - in any case, only martyrs come to life in the First Resurrection.
As we can now see from this, Revelation actually offers us a wealth of information about the second, demonic Antichrist (the beast from the sea). In as much as Revelation, above all, gives us a pretty comprehensive overview of the entire events of the Last Days, it is actually quite surprising that we should find in Revelation no statements about the first Antichrist, the ‘lawless one’, or about the seventh king referred to in Dan 11,40. But if we now go back to the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days (Mt 24,15), which of course, as said earlier, is explicitly connected with the parallel passage in Dan 11,31, we can find further parallels between Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7.
When the Lord speaks in the above passage (Mt 24,21) of the great affliction / Great Tribulation, this not only has a parallel in Dan 12,1, we can also find an important reference to this same Great Tribulation in Rev 7,14:
These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation.
Rev 7,9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude
which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before
the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands;
7,10 and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation to our God who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb." 7,11 And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders
and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God,
7,12 saying, "Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and
might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen."
7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 7,16 "They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 7,17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes." Rev 7, 9-17;
Seeing that this great multitude from all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues is already standing before the throne in heaven, this means that at this point in time the Great Tribulation has already come to an end. And the end of the Great Tribulation is mentioned by the Lord as well, in Mt 24,29:
But immediately after the tribulation of those days sun and moon will be darkened, and the stars will fall.
Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son of Man will
appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of
Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And He will send
forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four
winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;
This parallelism between the statements in the Lord’s discourse on the Last Days
and those in Rev 6 and 7 can then also be traced back as far as the beginning of the birth pangs in
Mt 24,8 and the rider on the white horse in Rev 6,2 (see Discourse 05).
(See also Discourse 05: “The parallel course of
events of Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7”)
A white horse, and he who sat on it a crown was given to him, and he went out conquering and to conquer.
Rev 6,1 Then I saw when the Lamb broke one of the seven seals, and I
heard one of the four living creatures saying as with a voice of thunder, "Come." 6,2 I
looked, and behold, a white horse, and he who sat on it had a bow; and a crown was given to him,
and he went out conquering and to conquer. Rev 6, 1- 2;
And it seems that here we have the seventh king of Dan 11,40 who we were looking for - the one who will ‘enter countries, overflow them and pass through’. He is the rider on the white horse who is let loose upon mankind at the breaking of the first seal. As we can see from the events that follow, the consequences are devastating:
To him it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another.
Rev 6,3 When He broke the second seal, I heard the second living
creature saying, "Come." 6,4 And another, a red horse, went out; and to him who sat on
it, it was granted to take peace from the earth, and that men would slay one another; and a great
sword was given to him. Rev 6, 3- 4;
And consider the parallel passage in Mt 24,6-7:
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
Mt 24,6 "You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that
you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 24,7 "For
nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will
be famines and earthquakes. Mt 24, 6- 7;
If peace is taken from the earth, with nation rising against nation and people slaughtering one another, this is a world war of a quite special kind. It is the start of the Great Tribulation, which will be characterized by suffering caused by human beings, with wars, environmental catastrophes and famines.
A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine.
Rev 6,5 When He broke the third seal, I heard the third living creature
saying, "Come." I looked, and behold, a black horse; and he who sat on it had a pair of
scales in his hand. 6,6 And I heard something like a voice in the center of the four living
creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a
denarius; and do not damage the oil and the wine." Rev 6, 5- 6;
In view of the quite excessive prices in the above passage (Rev 6,6), it may be
assumed that there will be an incredible shortage of food. And the injunction given to the angel not
to damage the oil and the wine permits us to draw the conclusion that this is a disaster caused by
drought - in which the more deeply rooted olive trees and vines would be less affected than would
cereals or vegetables.
This famine is also foretold in Mt 24,7:
In various places there will be famines and earthquakes.
Mt 24,7 "For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against
kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. Mt 24, 7;
We are then told more about the global dimensions of these catastrophes in Rev 6,7-8:
Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine.
Rev 6,7 When the Lamb broke the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the
fourth living creature saying, "Come." 6,8 I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he
who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over
a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts
of the earth. Rev 6, 7- 8;
If the ‘fourth of the earth’ in Rev 6,8 means a quarter of the world’s population, at present day levels this would be around 1.7 billion people, or based on estimates for global population in the year 2025 some 2 billion people who would here lose their lives in the Great Tribulation. Truly a catastrophe such as the world has never seen before. A quarter of the people living on this earth will be killed as a result of worldwide wars in which they will slaughter one another, with nation rising against nation, and as a result of catastrophic global droughts, with resulting famines and water shortages. But the victims are not just the ungodly - they also include all those Christian believers who are seen standing before the throne of God in the following passage (Rev 7,16), and of whom the elder tells John that they have come out of the Great Tribulation, and now will no longer have to suffer hunger or thirst, nor will the sun beat down on them any more.
They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat.
Rev 7,13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who
are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 7,14 I said to
him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of
the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the
Lamb. 7,15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and
night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 7,16 "They
will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat;
7,.17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to
springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes.", Rev 7, 13-17;
But it seems that these wars, droughts and famines are just the catastrophic
scenario of the Last Days for which we human beings have been responsible. If we then also take into
account the consequences of the judgments of the wrath of God, in particular what we are told about
the sixth plague of the trumpets in Rev 9,15, where ‘a third of mankind’ is killed, the number
of victims comes to something like four billion - more than half of the world’s population - in
the space of just a few years.
In this connection, a Professor of Zoology at the University of Vienna, Dr. Kurt Kotrschal, who is also head of the Konrad Lorenz Research Institute in Grünau, opined in a recent article: “Modern human beings may well be right in being most afraid of themselves - as what we are doing today reduces the biblical bogey of the wrath of God to a paper tiger.” As we have seen from the above, the extent of the potential for destruction is much the same in either case - so you can only dream on about a “paper tiger” if you have never studied the Bible properly. Pace the evident opinion of the zoologist and evolutionist, it is not just the human greed for power and profit and the depredation of our planet that will in the end avenge themselves - the unfortunate fact is that humanity will also have to bear the justified wrath of God, who will ‘destroy those who destroy the earth’ (Rev 11,18).
From the above analysis we can now recognize that the Great Tribulation has a completely different background from that which has been generally assumed in the past. The reason for this mistaken assessment is the failure to distinguish between the two Antichrists and the circumstances that accompany them. A further consequence of this is the confusion of the Great Tribulation (first Antichrist, worldwide wars, environmental catastrophes and famines) with the Day of the Lord and of the wrath of God (second Antichrist, world dominated by demonic forces). This day of the wrath of God finds its climax in the plagues of the bowls, which will be poured out on the second, demonic Antichrist and his worshipers, and in the battle of Armageddon, where this demon with his false prophet will finally be defeated and thrown into the lake of fire.
(See also Table 14: “The Great Tribulation - classified
And this now permits us finally to clear up another misunderstanding. In the text quoted earlier (Rev 7,13-17), we are told that the faithful mentioned there come out of the Great Tribulation. As Rev 7,9 says, they are the ‘great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues’. They come from all peoples and tongues, and so can only be the Christian faithful from the Rapture. It follows that if they come out of the Great Tribulation and are now standing before the throne of God in heaven, they cannot have been raptured before the tribulation - as taught by the advocates of pretribulationism - but can only have been raptured after the tribulation, at the time of the Second Coming of the Lord. This is also shown by the following parallelism between Mt 24 and Rev 6 and 7:
Immediately after the tribulation of those daysthe sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give ist light, and the stars will fall from the sky.
Mt 24,29 "But immediately after the tribulation of those days
the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give ist light, and the stars will fall from the
sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 24,30 "And then the sign of the Son
of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see
the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. 24,31 "And
He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from
the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Mt 24,29-31;
Immediately after the affliction / tribulation, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And we find exactly the same sequence repeated in Rev 6,12-14:
The sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood. and the stars of the sky fell to the earth
Rev 6,12 I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great
earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like
blood; 6,13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its
unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. 6,14 The sky was split apart like a scroll when it is
rolled up, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. Rev 6,12-14;
Here again the heavenly bodies are darkened, the stars fall to the earth and the sky
vanishes away. But Our Lord’s statement in Mt 24 actually goes even further than this. He says
that when this happens the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then ‘they will see
the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory’. And in the next verse
the Lord becomes even more specific, when he says:
Mt 24,31 "And He will send forth His angels with a great
trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to
the other. Mt 24,31;
So this is where the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture take place - after
the Great Tribulation. And Paul sees it in just the same way, in his second epistle to the
Thessalonians. He writes to them in 2The 2,1 that ‘with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ and our gathering together to him’ they should not be shaken from their composure or
The man of lawlessness and the apostasy comes before the coming of our Lord and our gathering together to Him.
2The 2,1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, 2,2 that you not be quickly shaken from
your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the
effect that the day of the Lord has come. 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not
come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of
destruction, 2,4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so
that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. 2The 2, 1- 4;
The day of the coming of the Lord to gather his faithful to himself will not take place before the apostasy (the Great Tribulation) or before the man of lawlessness (the first Antichrist) is revealed. As we can see, these statements of Paul’s are quite in keeping with the statements of Our Lord in Mt 24,29 - ‘immediately after the tribulation of those days’ - and with the vision of John in Rev 7,14 - ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation’. Just as here the elder in heaven could not say to John ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation’, if these persons had already been raptured before the Great Tribulation, so too the Lord, in speaking of the Great Tribulation in Mk13,19-20, would not say that this fearful time would be shortened for the sake of the elect if these Christians had never had to experience this time of tribulation at all.
But for the sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
Mk 13,19 "For those days will be a time of tribulation such as
has not occurred since the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will.
13,20 "Unless the Lord had shortened those days, no life would have been saved; but for the
sake of the elect, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 13,21 "And then if anyone says to
you, ‘Behold, here is the Christ’; or, ‘Behold, He is there’; do not believe him; 13,22 for
false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead
astray, if possible, the elect. 13,23 "But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in
advance. Mk 13,19-23;
And this finally takes us back to the passage that was our point of departure at the start of this Discourse:
That lawless one whom the Lord will bring to an end at His coming for our gathering together to Him.
2The 2,7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who
now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. 2,8 Then that lawless one will be
revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the
appearance of His coming; 2,9 that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the
activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, 2,10 and with all the deception
of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be
saved. 2,11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe
what is false, 2,12 in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took
pleasure in wickedness. 2The 2, 7-12;
So if the Lord Jesus on his Second Coming will kill the first Antichrist, the man of
lawlessness, with the breath of his mouth, this lawless one must previously have ruled on earth. And
seeing that Paul writes in 2The 2,3 that both things - both the apostasy, or Great Tribulation, and
the lawless one - will come at the same time, this likewise confirms the statements that we find in
Mt 24,29 and Rev 7,14, to the effect that the Rapture, and so also the Second Coming of the Lord,
will only take place after the Great Tribulation and the appearance of the first Antichrist.
Finally the relevant Bible-texts for this interpretation will be presented here.
o The apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is
revealed, the son of destruction (2The 2,1-4)
o Then I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten
horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous
names. (Rev 13,1)
o And he will make a firm covenant with the many for one week,
but in the middle of the week he will put a stop to sacrifice and grain offering; and on the
wing of abominations will come one who makes desolate, even until a complete destruction,
one that is decreed, is poured out on the one who makes desolate. (Dan 9,27)
o For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has
not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will. (Dan 12,1; Mt 24,21)
o These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation,
and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Rev 7,14)
o But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun
will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. (Mt 24,29)
o I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great
earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became
like blood; and the stars of the sky fell to the earth, as a fig tree casts its
unripe figs when shaken by a great wind. (Rev 6,12-13)
o Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation
which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader
understand) (Mt 24,15)
o From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and
the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. (Dan 12,11)
o And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky,
and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on
the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. (Mt 24,30)
o For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a
shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will
rise first. (1The 4,16)
o Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay
with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; (2The
o And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and
they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the
other. (Mt 24,31)
o The dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and
remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,
and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1The 4,16-17)
o Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of
our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him. (2The 2,1)
o When they (the two witnesses of God)
have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of
the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them. (Rev 11,7)
o While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn,
a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots
before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering
great boasts. (Dan 7,8)
This new point of view now also offers an opportunity of subjecting other questions
of biblical exegesis, which it has not been possible in the past to answer in a satisfactory manner
or at all - like the following two contributions for example - to re-examination, in order to find
the answers on the basis of these new findings.
(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)
In your chapter 06 (062: The Rapture) you describe the end of the time of the
government of the Antichrist and say that no one who refuses to worship him will be able to
survive. Here the question that naturally suggests itself is this - where can those believers
possibly come from who will be alive up to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus, and who
therefore will experience the Rapture? This could after all only be understood as implying that
there would have to be another sphere of governance, in which the Antichrist would not exercise
dominion without restriction. Or how do you see the matter?
(Harald Dietewich Harald@Dietewich.de / www.Dietewich.de
(See also Discourse 28: “Where are the living
believers for the Rapture coming from?”)
This question coming from Harald Dietewich dates from the year 2001. At that
time Immanuel.at was unable to provide a satisfactory answer, in view of lack of knowledge. But we
can now recognize in it again the old theory that the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are
one and the same event. People mistakenly merge the dominion of the second, demonic Antichrist (the
beast from the sea) with the Great Tribulation and the first Antichrist (the man of lawlessness).
But the above analysis permits us to disentangle these issues to some extent.
As we have seen, the Second Coming of the Lord and the Rapture occur after the Great Tribulation, which is initiated by the first Antichrist, the man of lawlessness (the rider on the white horse of Rev 6,1-2).
2The 2,3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless
the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.
Those believers who die during this period of worldwide wars, catastrophic droughts
and famines (Mt 24,7; Rev 6,3-8) will be raised with the other dead who sleep in Christ on the
Second Coming of the Lord, immediately following this time of affliction, and be raptured together
with the brethren who are still alive (1The 4,16; Mt 24,29-31). We then find them in Rev 7,13-17,
where they are already in heaven, before the throne.
But the dominion of the second, demonic Antichrist (the beast from the sea of Rev 13), does not start until a later stage, after the seventh trumpet. At this time the image of the beast will kill all people (Rev 13,15) who are not prepared to worship the beast, the second Antichrist. And here there will indeed no longer be any believers left alive. The image of the beast will kill them all without exception.
Mr. Dietewich's question:
“In your chapter 06 (062: The Rapture) you describe the end of the
time of the government of the Antichrist and say that no one who refuses to worship him will be able
to survive. Here the question that naturally suggests itself is this - where can those believers
possibly come from who will be alive up to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus, and who therefore
will experience the Rapture?”
now points exactly to the dilemma of the traditional interpretation. Because they
see the Great Tribulation (the first Antichrist) - at the end of which the Second Coming of the Lord
and the Rapture occur - in association with the Day of the Lord (the second Antichrist), which in
fact only comes later, people confuse the content of these two events. Knowing that under the
dominion of the beast (in the Great Tribulation, as they suppose) all the faithful will be killed,
they wonder, if the Rapture is to follow the Great Tribulation, where the living faithful for the
Rapture are going to come from. But if we now separate the two on the basis of recent findings, the
problem resolves itself.
o At the Rapture all the dead who sleep in Christ of all times,
including those who have died in the Great Tribulation of hunger or thirst or by war, will (with the
exception of those who have been killed for their faith) be raptured to the Lord together with those
who have survived from the catastrophes of the Great Tribulation. With this they have reached their
final goal of salvation, and will always be with the Lord in heaven, as Paul writes in 1The 4,17.
And so we shall always be with the Lord.
1The 4,16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout,
with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
4.17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. The 4,16-17:
o Those martyrs who then later, under the dominion of the demonic
Antichrist (the Day of the Lord), will be killed for refusing to worship this beast will come to
life again by coming down from heaven to earth, together with all the martyrs of all times who have
been killed for their faith (for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus) in the First Resurrection
(Rev 20,4) - not to be confused with the raising of the dead! - and will reign with the Lord in the
Millennium. Their role is therefore different from that of the congregation.
Those who had not worshiped the beast, and had not received the mark, they came to life.
Rev 20,4 Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was
given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of
Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and
had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life
and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 20,5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until
the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Rev 20, 4- 5;
As we can see, we have to do here with two completely separate events. The living
believers from the Great Tribulation, who are raptured with the dead in Christ who have been raised,
have already long been in heaven with the Lord when the martyrs are killed under the dominion of the
beast for their refusal to worship him.
But in order to guard against another confusion of events that is frequently encountered, we must make the explicit point here that the First Resurrection again has nothing to do with the raising of the dead in Christ and the Rapture. These again are two completely different events. With the raising of the dead and the Rapture, all those who sleep in Christ will be raptured who have not died a martyr's death. In the First Resurrection, on the other hand, only the martyrs in heaven will come to life again (be given a physical body) following the judgment of reward, and will reign with the Lord in the Millennium. But this relates exclusively to those who have been “beheaded”, that is to say, Christians who have been put to death because of their faith.
And this, now, is the starting point for another question from a visitor at Immanuel.at, dating from the year 2004:
(Texts in a black frame are quotations from visitors to this site or from other authors.)
But we now find in Rev 20,4 those who have remained faithful to their Lord in
spite of persecution. They have actually had to resist the beast and his mark. It follows that
they must have lost their lives in the second half of the Great Tribulation - subsequently, that
is, to the Rapture as you picture it. But anyone who is not included in the Rapture no longer
forms part of the congregation, as the numbers of the latter have already been made up and it is
now celebrating the marriage (according to standard teaching, anyway). We might suppose, then,
that we have to do with two groups of martyrs here, but I do not think this is a satisfactory
solution. Without an approach such as this, the fifth seal would be linked in with the Great
Tribulation, along with the Antichrist and the mark of the beast.
(M. H. www.bibel-info.net)
(See also Discourse 07: “The Rapture and the First
Resurrection: a single event?”)
Whereas Mr. Dietewich, in his comments quoted earlier, apparently interprets all the
judgments of Revelation as belonging to the Great Tribulation, here Mr. Hufnagel separates
them into a first half and a second half, allocating the second to the dominion of the beast. This
argument is completely correct, apart from the fact that we have to do here not with two halves, but
actually with two different events. Only the Marriage of the Lamb (Rev 19,6-10), in which the
raptured faithful are represented not by the Bride but by the wedding guests, is placed in the
temporal sequence of Revelation not immediately after the Rapture - as suggested here - but occurs
only at a later stage, immediately before the battle of Armageddon (Rev 19,11-21).
(See also Discourse 15: “Who is the ‘bride of
The actual question, now, whether the martyrs from the dominion of the beast do not
belong to the congregation, has already been answered above: the martyrs who have been put to death
because of their faith clearly have a different starting position and also a different destination
from the other faithful. Whereas in the raising from the dead and the Rapture all those who sleep in
Christ will be raptured who have not died a martyr's death, the martyrs have laid down their lives
for their faith and will then, after the judgment of reward, again come to live (physically and in
bodily form) and reign with Christ for these thousand years as priests and kings. They thus belong
to a different category of believers. Although that may be taken as a sufficient answer to the
question, when we look at it more closely we can recognize behind it - by implication - a further
problem that remains unclarified to this day:
If the martyrs from the dominion of the beast (the second Antichrist) do not have a part in the Rapture, but nonetheless are found in heaven in Rev 20,4 to receive their judgment of reward, they must after all have been raptured somehow or other. The question whether and when this happens in the chronology of Revelation is one that has repeatedly exercised the commentators, but it has not been possible until now - even at Immanuel.at - to find any plausible answer. If we now look for possible statements in Revelation that might give us an indication, we find first of all the text in Rev 15,2-4:
Those who had been victorious over the beast and his image, standing on the sea of glass.
Rev 15,2 And I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and
those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name, standing on
the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 15,3 And they sang the song of Moses, the bond-servant
of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are Your works, O Lord God, the
Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, King of the nations! 15,4 "Who will not fear, O
Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy; For all the nations will come and worship
before You, for Your righteous acts have been revealed." Rev 15, 2- 4;
Temporally speaking - both in terms of its positioning in Revelation, and based on
the logic of the action - this comes after the dominion of the beast from the sea (the second
Antichrist, Rev 13) and before the judgment of reward in heaven (First Resurrection of the martyrs,
Rev 20,4). So here John sees the martyrs from the dominion of the beast on the sea of glass, which
as we know from Rev 4,6 is situated before the throne of God in heaven, singing the song of Moses
and praising God. The question, then, is how and when they have arrived in heaven. Seeing that
immediately after this, from Rev 15,6 on, the seven judgments of the bowls of the Wrath of God are
poured out on humanity - from which point on there really will be no Christian believers left alive
on earth (“and they did not repent”, Rev 16.9.11) - the Rapture of these martyrs must have taken
place before this event.
If, on the other hand, we also look for the time of the start of the persecution of these martyrs under the dominion of the beast, we find an indication in Rev 14,13:
Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!
Rev 14,13 And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, ‘Blessed
are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’" "Yes," says the Spirit,
"so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them." Rev
This text in Rev 14,13 likewise seems to be in the right place chronologically -
after the rising of the beast out of the sea (Rev 13), and before the appearance of these martyrs in
heaven (Rev 15,2-4). The phrase “the dead who die in the Lord from now on” likewise
points to the beginning of the persecution and killing of the martyrs. Apart from the fact that both
this text and also the statements in Rev 13,10.15 are a proof that there are still believers on
earth after the Rapture, we can pin down a further bit of information in what here is almost an
aside. We are told at the end of the verse that “they... rest from their labors, for their deeds
follow them”. This is an indication of what awaits these martyrs after their death, and could be
the basis for explaining their separate Rapture.
But we have yet another interesting indication with reference to the martyrs in Rev 6,9-11:
They should rest for a little while longer, until their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been.
Rev 6,9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar
the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony
which they had maintained; 6.10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O
Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the
earth?" 6,11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they
should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren
who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also. Rev 6, 9-11;
Here again we plainly have to do with the martyrs (“those who had been slain”).
In terms of the temporal sequence, here we are at the fifth seal, but still before the Second Coming
of the Lord and the Rapture, which take place with the sixth seal. And yet John says here that he
saw them “underneath the altar” (below / at the bottom of the altar). And this can only be the
altar in heaven, which is also mentioned in Rev 8,3, 14,18 and 16,7. The mention of the white robe
given to them also permits the conclusion that these martyrs here are already in heaven (see Rev
3,4-5; 7,9; 19,14). And finally the injunction that they should wait a short while longer, until
their brothers have been killed as well, plainly points to those same martyrs from the dominion of
the beast whose Rapture we are here trying to find.
These martyrs, then, are already in heaven before the Rapture of the dead in Christ and the surviving Christians from the Great Tribulation, and cry with a loud voice to God, urging him to avenge their blood on the people of the earth. And here again the question suggests itself how these martyrs can have arrived in heaven, and when they have been raised from the dead and raptured. As on the basis of the proofs rehearsed above we can with fair certainty exclude the possibility of their having had a part in the collective resurrection and Rapture of the dead and living faithful, there has to be a further Rapture for the martyrs exclusively.
But in view of the circumstance that we have here at least two different groups of martyrs, who are killed and taken up to heaven at different times (Rev 6,9-11 and 15,2-4), the consequence would be multiple Raptures. And when we take into consideration the fact that at least the martyrs from the Old Testament (the last of them being John the Baptist) and from the New Testament (the first of them being Stephen) were also killed, in some cases, at wide temporal intervals from one another, whereas here they appear in heaven together, we cannot avoid asking ourselves whether we do not have to do here with individual cases of raising from the dead and Rapture (see also Mt 27,52-53). This would mean that this special category of the faithful, the martyrs of all time, will be raised by God after death, each one independently, and raptured to heaven.
We also have a very good example of this in Revelation. The two witnesses of God to whom God has given authority to prophesy for 1260 days, and to shut up the sky for this time and to strike the earth with every plague as often as they desire, are killed by the beast from the sea when their time comes to an end. And their bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem, and people will rejoice because they have finally got rid of these prophets who tormented them, and celebrate and prevent their bodies from being buried. But after three and a half days we find the following event:
But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them,.
Rev 11,11 But after the three and a half days, the breath of life
from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were
watching them. 11,12 And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up
here." Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them. Rev
These two witnesses of God have been raised from the dead, then, and raptured into
heaven. This is exactly the process that we have been looking for in connection with the two groups
of martyrs above. Moreover, these two witnesses are of course also martyrs themselves, who have been
killed by the second Antichrist for the sake of the word of God which they have prophesied in
Jerusalem. And it is plain too that the Lord Jesus, who after three days was raised from the dead
and raptured in the clouds, may well, as the Son of God, be accounted the greatest martyr on earth
of all time.
And so it is quite conceivable that all the martyrs, by contrast with the believers in Christ who have died a normal death – who enter heaven in a collective raising from the dead and Rapture on the Second Coming of the Lord, at the sixth seal, before the day of the wrath of God - might be taken up into heaven immediately (three and a half days?) after their death and so arrive there by being raised and raptured individually.
The new view presented here of the circumstances of the Last Days - with their implications for the Antichrist or Antichrists, the Great Tribulation, the Second Coming of the Lord, the Rapture, the First Resurrection and so on - can however only be properly checked for plausibility if we can succeed, on the basis of these findings, in demonstrating and resolving the contradictions in former interpretations. So in the second part of this Discourse we will try to analyze the interpretation of these issues advanced by René Pache, one of the most prominent advocates of the theory of pretribulation, in his book ‘Le retour de Jésu-Christ’ [‘The Second Coming of Jesus Christ’] and contrast it with the new insights presented here.
18 Arguments for Placing Rapture Before the Great
Tribulation - and their Refutation Part 2, Discourse 862